Left Leaning Organizations. There’s a theory that states that any organization that isn’t explicitly right wing will, over time, lean to the left. That’s not quite true. All organizations, even explicitly right leaning ones, will lean left over time.

One organization that began as a nominally apolitical group is Amnesty International. When I first became aware of AI, they were protesting things such as “The Disappeared” in Argentina. Certainly a worthy goal. They also worked to secure the release of political prisoners in a variety of nations.

But over time, as AI has learned that they can make no progress on the worst offender nations, they are still faced with the self-serving goals of any organization ( to continue to exist and grow, of course) and as such, have sought easier targets. It is far easier, and safer, and I’d bet far more remunerative, to protest against western nations that against the true oppressors of the world. AI has made much hay protesting the detention of terrorists in Guantanamo Bay. They have consistently sought the release of unlawful combatants, who, under any sane interpretation of the Geneva Conventions, would be summarily executed, but instead find themselves with access to our civilian courts, able and dedicated defense counsel provided at our expense (not to mention the large number attorneys offering their services pro bono), and the most deferential detention of any prisoners in the history of warfare.

One might argue that a sharp eye must be kept on our government to reign in its tendencies toward the excess application of its power. I’m actually fairly sympathetic to that argument. But eventually, every organization forgets its true purpose, and takes its cause to the illogical extreme. Amnesty International has done so for some time now, and here is another example of its dangerous departure from its original laudable goals:

In response to the petition, AI Secretary-General Claudio Cordone has issued a letter in vigorous defense of AI’s collaboration with Begg and Cageprisoners. Steve Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism has the story, here. In the letter, Cordone states AI’s position outright: advocacy of “jihad in self defence” is not antithetical to human rights. That Islamists reserve unto themselves the right to determine when Islam is, as they put it, “under siege,” and when, therefore, forcible jihad is justified, is plainly of no concern — only actions America’s self-defense are worthy of condemnation.

Go read the whole thing. It’s a short read, but very enlightening.

One other note- I’m automatically skeptical of any organization that has a “Secretary General.”

7 thoughts on “LLO”

  1. I had wondered if AI could become any more partizan and any more statist, and I wasn’t disappointed.

    They are right up there with the SPLC and HRW in their denunciation of the very societies and nations which allow them to exist.

    Morons, indeed.

  2. The problem with these groups, some of which I used to support financially, is that they have lost sight of the forest for the trees. Its frustrating, because on the one hand, I agree with the basic goals of some of these groups, namely enhancing and protecting human rights and civil liberties. The problem, at least from my perspective, is that peaceful external protest has little effect on dictators and oppressors because they can simply ignore it. In order to demonstrate that they can have some concrete effect, organizations like AI pick on targets that they know will change their policies if they get enough bad press.

    Look at the case of another outfit, Human Rights Watch. They publish about 100 reports per year, not counting all their press releases. In response to Israel’s incursion into Gaza last year, they published 5 of these reports. However, although the conflict has been going on since before HRW existed, they still have not managed to get around to publishing a single report on human rights abuses in Kashmir where 80,000 people have been killed. When Iran began cracking down on protesters last year, not a peep came out of HRW. Another example is when the Lebanese Army killed as many as 100 civilians in a camp controlled by Fatah al Islam near Tripoli, Lebanon, there was one press release issued. According to some accounts, this caused more 30,000 Arabs to be displaced and turned into refugees. And that was through a fairly indiscriminate use of artillery.

    Its almost as though some of these groups have lost sight of the goal, human/civil rights, in favor of keeping their status up.

    Plus, there’s the whole western self-imposed guilt thing for colonialism/imperialism/expansionism (whatever you want to call it.) After WWII, we started to hate ourselves for being successful.

  3. To some extent, just by being open societies, Western nations will be attacked more. I mean, who knows what really goes on in Burma? And there’s not much an organization can do to “raise awareness” about things that they can’t show.

    The Western guilt thing is huge as well. Jay Nordlinger frequently posts on the fates of Cuban dissidents, and yet HRW and AI never seem to give them the same prominence that they give to alleged victims of the US.

  4. Hey Brad,

    Read the A Desert Called Peace series by Tom Kratman. Basically, it’s a manual for fighting the War on Terror his way. He has a wonderful way of dealing with the NGOs that are sympathetic with our enemies.

  5. Do you have any links to the theories regarding the evolution of left-leaning organizations?

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