Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Amnesia International


By Bev Cotton

The internationally renowned journalist, Greg Palast offers the following advice in his 1999 book "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" - "if you are a member of Amnesty International, quit".  Mr. Palast's brush with Amnesty was in a court case in which he was sued after quoting Amnesty research containing allegations against the multinational mining company, Barrick. Amnesty refused to verify their own research in court. As Palast says, "Amnesty wants journalists to report their material. I would say to any journalist that they would be completely, utterly and absolutely insane to ever cite Amnesty again."

Failure to prioritise human rights

Why do increasing numbers of people believe that Amnesty has abandoned the cause of human rights? As Francis Boyle, ex board member of Amnesty International USA -  and renowned expert in international law puts it:
"Amnesty International is primarily motivated not by human rights but by publicity. Second comes money... To be sure, if you are dealing with a human rights situation in a country that is at odds with the United States or Britain, it gets an awful lot of attention... But if it's dealing with violations of human rights by the United States, Britain, Israel, then it's like pulling teeth to get them to really do something on the situation".

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