Posted tagged ‘Gulags’

Amnesty International Attacks Democracies, Forgives Islamist Tyrannies

December 9, 2016

Amnesty International Attacks Democracies, Forgives Islamist Tyrannies, Gatestone Institute, Giulio Meotti, December 9, 2016

“Morally bankrupt.” — Salman Rushdie, author with a $600,000 bounty from Iran’s regime on his head, speaking of Amnesty International.

Amnesty sponsored a rally in Brussels, where Islamist speakers celebrated the 9/11 attacks, denied the Holocaust and demonized gays and Jews.

It seems that Amnesty turned its back on the battle of human rights in favor of a grotesque anti-Western bias. The Economist accused Amnesty of “reserving more pages to human rights abuses in Britain and the United States than in Belarus and Saudi Arabia.”

Amnesty’s secretary general compared Soviet forced-labor camps, where millions died of hunger, cold and executions, to a US military base where no prisoner has died, and which has prevented countless innocent civilians from being blown up.

“Canada is obliged to arrest and prosecute Bush for his responsibility for crimes under international law including torture”, said Susan Lee, Amnesty International’s Americas programme director. Amnesty also charged Obama of “war crimes.”

Alan Dershowitz summarizes Amnesty’s definition of Israel’s “war crimes”: “Whatever Israel does to defend its citizens.”

A report by NGO Monitor detailed Amnesty’s “systematic flaws in the reporting of human rights abuses; limited understanding of armed conflict leading to erroneous claims and incorrect analysis; and violation of the universality of human rights, including a consistent institutionalized bias against Israel through double-standards.” There are even Amnesty’s officials who called the Jewish State “a scum state.”

 

According to Amnesty International, the centers that host migrants arriving in Italy, known as “hotspots,” are like concentration camps. This is what you learn from Amnesty International’s new report, which accuses Italy of nothing less than “torturing” migrants. The report features a sequence of testimonies, never proven, that describe methods worthy of a South American military junta.

The report validates Salman Rushdie’s accusation against Amnesty International: “Morally bankrupt.” The Wall Street Journal added two more charges against the famous Western non-governmental organization (NGO): “Anti-American fervor and intellectual confusion”.

In the new Amnesty International report, a “witness,” under the name of only “Adam,” speaks of “a kind of clamp with three ends” by which Italian policemen allegedly grabbed his testicles. Evidence? Medical reports attesting to this violence? The version of the Italian police? Not in the wonderful world of Amnesty International, where a Western democracy can be safely accused of “torture” with flimsy, sub-standard, unverifiable “evidence” — the same as Amnesty’s many spurious charges against Israel. The Italian police and Interior Ministry denied all the charges, calling them ridiculous.

Already in February 2016, Antonio Marchesi, president of the Italian section of Amnesty, said: “Those in Italy who have committed acts of torture can sleep soundly.” A month ago, Amnesty issued a similar report on the immigration centers in Australia, another democracy denounced as a “torturer” by this now badly-degraded NGO that won the now badly-degraded Nobel Peace Prize in 1977.

The world owes a debt of gratitude to Amnesty — it fought hard to free political prisoners held by Communist regimes during the Cold War, and those held by South Africa’s Apartheid regime. But those days are gone. Now Amnesty keeps betraying its symbol: the light of its small candle trapped in barbed wire.

In 2005, Irene Khan, then secretary general of Amnesty, described the American detention center in Guantanamo Bay as “the Gulag of our time.” She compared the Soviet forced-labor camps, where three million people died of hunger, cold and executions, to a US military base where no prisoner has died, and which has prevented countless innocent civilians from being blown up.

It seems that Amnesty International abandoned the battle of human rights in favor of a grotesque anti-Western bias. This shift is why the British weekly, The Economist, accused Amnesty International of “reserving more pages to human rights abuses in Britain and the United States than in Belarus and Saudi Arabia.” This is the same muddled moral equivalence that probably led Amnesty International to use the same language for Italian “hotspots” as for the Saydnaya prison in Syria, run by the regime of Bashar al Assad.

If Guantanamo is the new Gulag, why not demand the arrest of its commander-in-chief? This is precisely what Amnesty did two years ago, when it asked Canada to arrest George W. Bush. “Canada is obliged to arrest and prosecute Bush for his responsibility for crimes under international law including torture”, said Susan Lee, Amnesty International’s Americas programme director. Amnesty’s also charged Obama of “war crimes”. The Western “war on terror”? According to Amnesty, “it is sowing fear“. US drone strikes? A “war crime.”

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The NGO has also accused Israel of “war crimes.” Alan Dershowitz summarizes Amnesty International’s definition of Israel’s “war crimes”: “Whatever Israel does to defend its citizens.” A report by NGO Monitor detailed “Amnesty’s repeated examples of “lawfare”; systematic flaws in the reporting of human rights abuses; limited understanding of armed conflict leading to erroneous claims and incorrect analysis; and violation of the universality of human rights, including a consistent institutionalized bias against Israel through double-standards”. There are even Amnesty’s officials who called the Jewish State “a scum state.”

In the name of “protecting human rights,” Amnesty International has even excused Islamic extremism. The secretary general of Amnesty, Claudio Cordone, said that “defensive jihad” is not “antithetical” to the struggle for human rights. He said this in response to a petition on Amnesty’s relationship with CAGE (formerly CagePrisoners), the NGO founded by Islamic extremist Moazzam Begg that campaigns for the release of acclaimed jihadists.

One prominent leader of Amnesty, Karima Bennoune, author of the book Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here, wrote:

“During my years at Amnesty I shared the concerns about torture in Algeria, but I could not understand the organization’s paltry response to the violence of fundamentalist groups.”

She is not the first Amnesty official who has flung criticism at her own organization. Amnesty suspended one of its senior officers, Gita Sahgal, for having expressed some concerns. “To be appearing on platforms with Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban, whom we treat as a human rights defender is a gross error of judgment,” she wrote.

There was a time when Amnesty International defended the victims of ideological repression, such as the wife of Soviet writer Boris Pasternak, Olga Ivinskaya, who spent years under arrest and persecuted for her husband’s refusal to bow down to the Kremlin. Now, the Times of Londonhas documented links between Amnesty International officials and Islamists.

Today, Amnesty evidently considers freedom of expression something to use with “responsibility,” as Amnesty claimed during the Mohammed cartoons crisis. Is freedom of speech the right to say whatever you like, about any topic, whenever you want? Not according to Amnesty International, the watchdog group that today would apparently have lectured the great Soviet dissidents to write with “responsibility.”

Amnesty International sponsored a rally in Brussels, where Islamist speakers celebrated the 9/11 attacks, denied the Holocaust, and demonized gays and Jews. Before that, Amnesty refused to punish an official, Kristyan Benedict, Amnesty’s UK campaign manager, who tweeted: “Israeli regimes [sic] response to our Gaza report: Amnesty is ‘a propaganda tool for Hamas & other terror groups’ (#JSIL?).” The hashtag “#JSIL” is used on Twitter to compare Israel with the Islamic State terrorist organization by replacing “Islamic” with “Jewish” in the group’s common alias, ISIL. Amnesty also sponsored a speaking tour of Bassem Tamimi, a Palestinian militant who promotes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

Given Amnesty International’s embarrassing record, it is at least doubtful that the Italian police and authorities are “torturing” migrants whom they have so generously been rescuing at sea for more than two years.

Some in the Western “human rights establishment” have crossed the red line that separates the defense of human rights, even for terrorists, from complicity and collusion with repressive totalitarian ideas.

Gulag, Western Style

November 23, 2016

Gulag, Western Style, PJ MediaDavid Solway, November 22, 2016

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In the last analysis, this system of subjugation looks to be even more effective than the cruder techniques of its tyrannical counterparts. In the absence of public awareness and concerted pushback, we will have sold our birthright for a mess of political potage.

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There are various ways of quashing social and political dissent, some more effective than others. The “Soviet method” practiced in stringently repressive regimes—torture, imprisonment, the ever-expanding Gulag, summary execution—works extremely well in the shorter historical timeframe, until a people rise up in revolt or such demonic societies collapse from their own internal contradictions. Of course, the truly Stygian regimes, closed to the world, indifferent to economic pressures, and under the heavy boot of unbroken military control, such as North Korea, may persist indefinitely or until defeated in war. But generally speaking, the tried-and-true methods of political oppression are sufficient to the task of keeping a population in a state of enslavement for a prolonged historical period.

In the sphere of the liberal West, however, there are other means of subjection to the will of increasingly centralized governments. Because they tend to function gradually and under the radar, these tactics are enormously efficient in their deadening effects, going unrecognized until it is often too late to mount significant resistance. They operate through a process of curricular distortions, social pressure and incremental legislation targeting speech habits, facets of normal behavior, assumptions of what counts as morally legitimate, and financial and job security.

A useful technique for anaesthetizing the individual citizen and rendering him compliant is the erasure of authentic historical knowledge. We’ve remarked the success of this approach in the U.S. with the “history from below” or “people’s history” movement, associated with Howard Zinn, and the foregrounding of a bowdlerized version of Islamic history in American schools. Canada is no different. Eric McGeer, author of Words of Valediction and Remembrance: Canadian Epitaphs of the Second World War, writes: “In my last years of high school teaching I was increasingly infuriated and disgusted at the portrayal of Canada in the history textbooks assigned for use in our courses. There was no sense of gratitude in the textbooks, no empathy with the people of the past or an attempt to see them in their own terms, no sense of the effort people made to create one of the few truly liveable societies on earth. You would have thought that this country was nothing more than a racist, bigoted, this or that-phobic hotbed. My first lesson involved taking the book and dropping it into the waste paper basket and advising the students to do the same.” (personal communication). The study of history, McGeer concludes, is nothing now but a progressive morality tale and a mechanism of social engineering. Sounds a lot like Title IX. Pride in one’s nation, its accomplishments and sacrifices, is contra-indicated. There is more than one way of burning the flag.

The center-right consensus that has characterized Western nations has been under attack for some considerable time as nation after nation in the once liberal West gravitates progressively leftward. Robert Conquest’s Second of his Three Laws of Politics states that “any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.” The consequence of Conquest’s Law is, inevitably, what Robert Michels in Political Parties called “The Iron Law of Oligarchy,” which formulates how democratic institutions tend to succumb to the rule of an elite—in our day, a progressivist camarilla that controls government policy and media outlets, and harnesses the energies of dissenting associations and cabals. In many countries, the democratic process has become or is on the road to becoming a mere formality.

The oligarchic agenda can be detected in the disastrous nationalization of the health care system; the decadence of an academy which indoctrinates rather than educates; the rise of destructive feminism and the feminization of the culture; the transgendering of everyday life—in Canada, for example, Bill C-16 has been tabled, making “gender expression” a prohibited ground of discrimination and potentially mandating non-binary pronouns such as zhi or hir, as is already the case in New York City where astronomical fines are levied for contravention; the special status ascribed to the incursions of anti-democratic Islam; the “abolition of the family,” as Marx and Engels urged in The Communist Manifesto; and the regulatory strangling of the free market economy and the conjoint attrition of the middle class. Additionally, the leftist project is materially facilitated by the growing prevalence of kangaroo courts run by committed activists of every conceivable stripe and in which no provision whatsoever is made to assist those too often falsely accused of discrimination or being in violation of some obscure code or policy of sanctioned conduct. The judgments handed down against those who have offended the sensibilities of favored identity groups will often involve harshly punitive forms of retribution that may cost a defendant his employment and his livelihood.

A Romanian friend who suffered through Nicolae Ceaușescu’s dictatorship in his home country tells me that in many ways the situation in the “freedom loving” West is actually worse. In Romania, as in the Soviet Union and the rest of the Eastern Bloc, most people knew that the regime was founded on lies and that the media were corrupt, time-serving institutions. Here, on the contrary, people tend to believe that the government is relatively, if not entirely, trustworthy, that the judiciary is impartial, and that the media actually report the news. Citizens are therefore susceptible to mission creep and are piecemeal deceived into a condition of indenture to socialist governance, an activist judiciary, a disinformative, hireling press corps, and left-wing institutions. People will vote massively for the Liberal Party in Canada and the Democrats in the U.S., not realizing they are voting themselves into bondage, penury and stagnation. The process operates insensibly and takes longer to embed itself into the cultural mainstream, but the result is alarmingly effective and durable. My friend has never read F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom or George Orwell’s 1984, but his layman’s insights and practical experience bear out Hayek’s scholarly analysis and Orwell’s dire warnings.

A totalitarian regime will control its citizens through propaganda, censorship, and outright violence, modes of oppression that are at least publicly demonstrable, evident to most. But knowing that the enchainment of the spirit is ultimately more reliable than the enchainment of the flesh, a democratic polity veering towards oligarchy will focus on propaganda and censorship as well, but in a far more subtle form. It will function mainly through public shaming rituals, social ostracism, rigid speech codes, Orwellian disinformation, and legal or quasi-legal assault. It does not need to depend on physical violence.

Fear of social rejection, the lure of groupthink, the pestilence of political correctness controlling what one may say and think, public apathy, historical ignorance, and especially the Damoclean sword of selective hiring, job dismissal, and financial reprisal go a long way to subdue a people to the will of its masters and consign them to a Gulag that may be less observable a such, but one that is nonetheless socially and economically crippling to individuals, families and businesses.

In the last analysis, this system of subjugation looks to be even more effective than the cruder techniques of its tyrannical counterparts. In the absence of public awareness and concerted pushback, we will have sold our birthright for a mess of political potage.