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The Life and Crimes of Amnesty International: Its links to Radical Islam and British government

Amnesty International was also accused of having links with the Taliban.

The world of NGOs is a shady mix of exploitation and corruption disguising itself underneath a pious garb of human rights and humanitarian concerns. Apart from serving as extended arms of western powers in their bid to undermine the sovereignty of other countries, NGOs are known to be riddled with numerous vices of their own. Amnesty International is one of those NGOs that have a shadowy past and have been trying desperately to meddle with the internal affairs of India. Now, they have decided to start a global campaign in defense of Jihad in Kashmir.

Amnesty India head Aakar Patel has been repeating the lies that have already been busted by the Jammu & Kashmir administration. According to him, the communication blockade has affected the ’emotional’ and ‘mental’ well-being of the Kashmiri people and also hampering their access to ‘necessary’ and ’emergency’ services.

Amnesty, of course, has a history of meddling with the internal affairs of our country. Somehow, their actions are always directed at undermining our sovereignty. Earlier in January, they had roped in actor Naseeruddin Shah in their attempt to influence the results of the Indian General Elections.

In the video featuring the actor, the NGO had claimed that the constitution is under threat and dissent is being suppressed in the country. It painted a grim picture of the country, at odds with observable reality, where human rights of individuals were violated at will.

On another occasion, Amnesty had claimed that India is becoming a dangerous place for human rights defenders based on the statement made by arrested ‘Urban Naxal’ Arun Ferreira. The NGO conveniently ignored the fact that Ferreira was arrested in connection with the violence at Koregaon Bhima and an alleged assassination plot to murder Prime Minister Modi, human rights had absolute zilch to do with it. But such inconvenient facts do not matter for Amnesty.

Furthermore, in an exclusive interview with OpIndia, former Maoist leader Pahad Singh had revealed that Arun Ferreira was present in meetings of the Maoists. In 2006, Singh witnessed Ferreira attending a division meeting of the terrorists, which was attended by central committee members of the banned outfit.

Humility, however, is not Amnesty’s forte. They appear to consider themselves far too morally superior to adhere to laws drafted by the puny mortals that govern this country. They consider themselves so righteous that they believe ordinary citizens like us should not expect them to adhere to the laws of the land.

In March, last year, it was reported that Amnesty is under the scanner for alleged violation of FCRA laws. Later, in October, its offices in Bengaluru were raided by the Enforcement Directorate for alleged violation of FDI guidelines under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and FCRA rules. Ordinary citizens like us would expect such punishment if we violate laws but Amnesty came to the most logical conclusion. The crackdown was due to their staunch defense of human rights, they said.

The rank and file of Amnesty India appears to be overflowing with people with mala fide intentions. One activist associated with the NGO, for instance, called for violence against Brahmins on social media. “RSS is afraid when Brahmins are attacked,” said the activist, “This is their real weakness.”

There have been other occasions when Amnesty International has demonstrated that it considers itself too righteous to subject itself to the same moral standards it expects others to adhere to. Recently, Amnesty made a woman sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement to settle an equal pay dispute. The NDA bars the woman from talking to the press about her experience working for Amnesty. So much for ‘transparency’ and the ‘ gender wage gap’ it keeps screeching about.

Unsurprisingly, Amnesty has a toxic working environment. A review into its workplace culture, undertaken by the KonTerra Group and led by psychologists, to look into its working environment following the suicide of two staff members last year discovered that bullying and public humiliation were routinely used by management as punishment. According to the report, there was widespread bullying, public humiliation, discrimination and other abuses of power.

“As organisational rifts and evidence of nepotism and hypocrisy become public knowledge they will be used by government and other opponents of Amnesty’s work to undercut or dismiss Amnesty’s advocacy around the world, fundamentally jeopardising the organisation’s mission,” said the report.

It added, “There were multiple reports of managers belittling staff in meetings, deliberately excluding certain staff from reporting, or making demeaning, menacing comments like: ‘You’re shit!’ or: ‘You should quit! If you stay in this position, your life will be a misery.’”

The report stated further, “Amnesty International had a reputation for doing great work but being a hard place to work. Across many interviews the word ‘toxic’ was used to describe the Amnesty work culture as far back as the 1990s. So were the phrases ‘adversarial’, ‘lack of trust’ and ‘bullying’.”

“Given Amnesty’s status and mission – to protect and promote human rights – the number of accounts the assessment team received of ‘bullying’,‘racism’, and ‘sexism’ is disconcerting,” it noted. The report came to the conclusion, “Amnesty cannot effectively strive to make the world a better place while perpetuating an organisational culture deeply marked by secrecy, mistrust, nepotism and other forms of power abuse.”

Not merely that, Amnesty International was also accused of having links with the Taliban. Gita Sahgal, the then head of the gender unit at Amnesty’s international secretariat, went public in 2010 and condemned the organization for collaborating with Moazzam Begg, a former British inmate at Guantanamo Bay, a US detention camp for terrorists that has been the subject of great controversy, and his organization CagePrisoners.

Moazzam Begg, for his part, claimed to be an innocent victim of the ‘War on Terror’. So does his organization. However, their problematic opinions became evident later on. One of the seniors at the org. Asim Qureshi, once said, ‘When we see our brother and sisters fighting in Chechnya, Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, then we know where the example lies. When we see Hezbollah defeating the armies of Israel we know what the solution is and where the victory lies. We know it is incumbent upon us, all of us, to support the Jihad of our brothers and sisters in these countries wherever they are facing oppression by the West’.

Qureshi was asked about it in an interview with Julian Assange but he refused to take back the comments. Instead, he sidelined the question with come ‘context’ and other tricks. Begg, on his part, expressed his hesitation at believing that Osama bin Laden was the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks. He said in the same interview, “But as far as, er, the ordering of the attacks, if that’s what he did, and that’s still… I don’t know, in my mind it’s not been established because he didn’t have due process… if that’s what he did, it was wrong because it started a chain reaction that we’ve not been able to recover from since.” In the interview, Qureshi and Begg also expressed their desire to see the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate along the lines of the European Union where the Sharia Law will be implemented authentically.

Begg has become somewhat of a superstar since his release from Guantanamo, with significant assistance. He featured in documentaries, wrote books, spoke at several events where he spoke out against the torture committed by the American regime. In 2014, he was arrested again for alleged terror links but he was soon released after the Police learnt that he traveled to Syria with consent from Mi5.

“I believe the campaign fundamentally damages Amnesty International’s integrity and, more importantly, constitutes a threat to human rights,” Sahgal had told senior functionaries in an email. She added, “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.” Sahgal was subsequently suspended from the organization. Amnesty, however, continued its association with Begg and Cage.

Cage Director Asim Qureshi, meanwhile, refused to condemn stoning during an interview. Not merely that, he refused to condemn bigoted positions including claims that Jews are descended from pigs and homosexuality is evil. Only days prior, he had described Jihadi John, the Islamic State executioner, as a “beautiful young man”.

Asim Qureshi told reporters that Mohammed ‘Jihadi John’ Emwazi was “the most humble young person that I ever knew” and that the British authorities had turned him into a terrorist. Cage said in a statement that British security services have “systematically engaged in the harassment of young Muslims, rendering their lives impossible and leaving them with no legal avenue to redress their situation”.

Qureshi said, “We now have evidence that there are several young Britons whose lives were not only ruined by security agencies, but who became disenfranchised and turned to violence because of British counter-terrorism policies coupled with long- standing grievances over Western foreign policy.”

Cage was condemned by politicians and intellectuals alike for acting as apologists for Radical Islamic terrorism. After all of this, it was only in 2017 that Amnesty decided to break off ties with Cage. It said in a statement, “Amnesty no longer considers it appropriate to share a public platform with Cage and will not engage in coalitions of which Cage is a member. Recent comments made by Cage representatives have been completely unacceptable, at odds with human rights principles and serve to undermine the work of NGOs, including Amnesty International.”

However, Amnesty refused to admit that they had made a mistake by ignoring Sahgal’s warning. It said, “Gita’s view was that it was inappropriate for Amnesty International to share a platform with individuals and organisations whose religious or political views were inconsistent with the full range of rights and women’s rights in particular. Amnesty International has never questioned the integrity of this view or the sincerity with which Gita held it. However, it is not uncommon for NGOs to enter into coalitions with other organisations or groups on one specific issue despite their disagreement on others.”

Furthermore, the statement made it clear that AMnesty chose to cooperate with Cage despite being fully aware of the Radical Islamic leanings of its members. “Based on an extensive review of comments made by Cage Prisoners (as it was then known) then available to the public, we concluded that limited cooperation with Cage on the narrow issue of accountability for UK complicity in torture abroad was appropriate, given their consistent and credible messaging on this issue.”

It added, “Comments made by Cage recently have clearly changed that assessment and have led to our decision to terminate such relations. But this does not alter the fact the decision in 2010 to continue this limited work was taken for good reasons and after extensive reflection. Further to that, the refusal of a Cage spokesperson to condemn violence such as FGM and stoning – themselves examples of torture and degrading treatment that we are campaigning for an end to – is of huge concern to Amnesty and has made any future platform sharing with Cage impossible.”

Given their history of allying with radical Islamic fundamentalists, is it any surprise that Amnest has decided to side with Jihadists on the Kashmir issue? There are more problematic aspects to the way Amnesty Internation functions. In several public declarations, the NGO has said that it doesn’t take government funding. In its guidebook for volunteers, it says, “AI neither asks for nor accepts direct donations from governments.” On its website, Amnesty declares, “We neither seek nor accept any funds for human rights research from governments or political parties and we accept support only from businesses that have been carefully vetted.”

As it turns out, Amnesty International does receive funding from governments. As reported by NGO Monitor, in 2009, Amnesty received €2.5 million (approximately 1% of its donations) from governments. The British government was the third largest donor (€800,000). Amnesty also received government funding in 2008 (€1million), 2007 (€1 million), and 2006 (€2 million). Furthermore, Amnesty International received £842,000 in 2011 from the UK Department for International Development as part of a four-year award commencing in 2008 and totaling £3,149,000.

There are troubling aspects to its government funding. While it has reportedly received funds from various other governments, the UK funds appear to coincide with the period during which Amnesty was collaborating with Cage and Moazzam Begg. Begg, as we know from reports, went to Syria with permission from Mi5, the British security service. What it could possibly mean, we leave for the readers to judge. In unrelated news, Amnesty has long been suspected of being an intelligence operation of British diplomacy.

Kirsten Sellars, Visiting Fellow Institute of Advanced Legal Studies University of London, wrote in an essay on the founder of Amnesty, “During the 1960s the United Kingdom was still in the process of withdrawing from its colonies, and civil service departments such as the Colonial Office and the Foreign Office welcomed information from those familiar with human rights issues. The relationship between Amnesty and Whitehall was placed on a more solid  footing in 1963, when the Foreign Office wrote to overseas missions urging “discreet support” for Amnesty: discreet, because its public endorsement would have seriously undermined the campaign’s credibility. It also explained that Amnesty would remain “independent”, in the sense that officialdom would not be responsible for its activities, “some of which might from time to time embarrass us”.

Even former National Security Advisor of the United States, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was on the Board of Directors of Amnesty for a while. Under such circumstances, it would be extremely naive to assume Amnesty is just another human rights organization.

As it so happens, a section of the British polity is protesting against the abrogation of Article 370. On Tuesday, a mob of Pakistanis led by one British MP attacked the Indian High Commission in London and damaged property. A couple of days later, Amnesty decides to launch a global campaign on Kashmir.

Thus, we see that Amnesty International has a history of allying with Radical Islam. At least in its early days, it cooperated with the British government. And in recent times, it appears to be overeager to undermine India’s sovereignty while violating our laws. Therefore, Amnesty’s stance on Kashmir is only to be expected given its extremely shady track record.

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K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

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