Sunday, February 07, 2010

No Support For Amnesty International Until It Reinstates Gita Sahgal, Cuts Jihadist Ties.

This has been going on for far too long. Now it's gone too far.

To the embarrassment of its most principled supporters and against all internal entreaties, Amnesty International has persisted in whoring itself out to Cage Prisoners, a front for Taliban enthusiasts and Al Qaida devotees that fraudulently presents itself a human rights group.

After two years of trying to reason with her bosses, Gita Sahgal, the head of AI's gender unit, decided she'd finally had enough. This weekend, she blew the whistle. She gave the Times of London her January 30 appeal to her bosses, which states only the obvious: AI's service to Cage Prisoners is both prone and supine, it "fundamentally damages Amnesty International’s integrity and, more importantly, constitutes a threat to human rights.” AI's conduct has been driven by a cowardly fear of being labeled Islamophobic. More of the obvious: “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.”

Today, AI relieved Gita of her duties.

If you want AI's transparently subject-changing, point-avoiding non-explanation for its behaviour, you're welcome to it, here. For an account of the way Amnesty International started racing downhill with Islamist crackpots five years ago, Nick Cohen is, as always, indispensable. As Martin Bright points out in the Spectator today: "It is Gita Sahgal who should be the darling of the human rights establishment, not Moazzam Begg."

Cage Prisoners' Moazzam Begg, a Taliban admirer who happily trotted off to Afghanistan when the Taliban ran the show, before 2001, is a former Guantanamo inmate and was a collaborator of the "Underpants Bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab back in 2007, when Umar was a UCL Islamic Society president (and is now the fourth former UCL Islamic Society president to face terrorism charges in as many years). Moazzam and Umar are both rather more than mere acquaintances of the American-born Yemeni Al Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, Umar's former teacher (and the Fort Hood shooter's former confessor, if you don't mind). Here's Moazzam chatting up Anwar, and Anwar thanking Cage Prisoners for all the help.

Anwar's fatwas calling for the murder of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard have not yet hit their mark, but it's been close. After Westergaard visited Canada late last year, a Canadian living in Chicago was indicted in a plot to kill him. Tahawwur Hussain Rana, along with his pal David Coleman Headley, are also facing charges related to helping plan the Mumbai rampage that left 166 people dead in 2008. And if Umar's own testimony to the FBI is to be believed, it was Anwar al-Awlaki himself who directed him to blow up that airliner on Christmas Day.

All along, while Amnesty International brass has been promoting and servicing Begg and Cage Prisoners, Begg and Cage Prisoners have been promoting and servicing Anwar al-Awlaki. And that's not even the half of it.

So, enough. Amnesty International has long depended upon the trust, the goodwill and the generosity of liberals, civil libertarians, and people of conscience from across the political spectrum who have been pleased to send AI their money. Those people should stop.

Not a penny for AI until Gita Sahgal is reinstated and AI cuts all its ties to fraudsters like Cage Prisoners and Moazzam Begg.

In the meantime, if you want to directly invest some spare cash to free people from slavery, and get immediate results, you will be happy to know that you can help free the women of Afghanistan from the dungeons of obscurantism and illiteracy. You can do that by supporting the work of Ehsanullah Ehsan and the Afghan-Canadian Community Centre in Kandahar.

You can actually donate right now, without getting up from your computer, and the Canadian International Learning Foundation will even give you a tax receipt for your trouble.

UPDATE: Christopher Hitchens weighs in here. "It's now incumbent on any member who takes the original charter seriously to withdraw funding until Begg is cut loose to run his own beautiful organization and until Sahgal has been reinstated." Also, a blog for Gita. And here Gita is interviewed on CBC from Vancouver.


Blogger Alexandre Girardot said...

I support Amnesty International since a long time ago but don't give us any fond and not participate to the mails campaign because I know that all the big ONG have the same kind of pb you are englihtning here. Excepting Grenpeace and few others, when an ONG is on the way to attracting a lot of fond, they must be embeding into the system and then loose theire totaly action freedom. So, I will continue supporting this ONG because excepting some errors like that, they are doing a great job by revealing pb all around the world, but I will continue to be far of this ONG too. I know it's a paradoxal attitude but I think It's a good one.

2:00 AM  
Blogger Alexandre Girardot said...

Why don't you installing the google translator module on your page ? I did it on my blog and it's rending the reading more confortable ;)

2:01 AM  
Blogger Alexandre Girardot said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:02 AM  
Blogger John Byrnes said...

the level where their goal is to give up their life for a cause, their body looses animation and we see the “thousand-yard stare.” But it is more than this, the whole body and behavior looses animation and this is how we can identify them. The problem is that security and law enforcement are still looking for the Primal Aggressor (red-faced and ready to explode). Of course they are finding it difficult to detect these terrorist; a terrorist is a Cognitive Aggression; they are looking for the wrong person!

As our Government analyzes what went wrong regarding Abdulmatallab’s entrance into the United States, you can be assured that Al Qaeda is also analyzing how their plans went wrong. Who do you think will figure it out first . . . ?

You can

2:51 AM  
Blogger dmurrell said...

Good comments on AI.

Note that Amnesty International Canada also supports Moazzam Begg, in this recent press release: re

Note that AI Canada has charity deduction status, so taxpayer dollars are supporting pro-Taliban sympathies.
--David Murrell
Fredericton, NB

3:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see how reinstating Sahgal will make any difference... the rot has to be cleared.

4:00 AM  
Blogger dmurrell said...

One more reason not to support Amnesty International Canada (beside their support for pro-Taliban groups) is their rather suspect budgetary reporting and methods. I refer readers to their last submission to the Canada Revenue Agency, available on the CRA's web site:

I mention three points:
1. The above submission is for the 2007(10)-2008(9) fiscal year. This report is some two years old. I do not know the CRA regulations for late submissions;

2. As readers know, AI-Canada is a rich, powerful NGO. The last submssion boasts charitable (tax receiptable) revenues of about $11.1-million. But of roughly $11.1-million in total spending during this fiscal year, some $5.8-million was on advertising and promotion, and another $3.5-million was on wages and salaries. So AI Canada includes much of its "advertising and promotion" as charitable program spending.

3. In the 2007(10)-2008(9) fiscal year, AI Canada reports that it took in $517.568 from professional fundraisers, but paid them $758.924 to do this -- a net loss according to my aritihmetic of $169.644. But AI Canada reports a net loss of -$441.356 -- so their arithmetic is wrong. Either way, somebody should report sloppy accounting proceedures, and hiring professional fundraisers at a loss, to the CRA.
-- David Murrell
Department of Economics, UNB
at Fredericton

6:46 AM  
Blogger Bill Horne said...

I was involved with AI back in the early 1980s and remember the organization being extremely careful about its associations with other groups to avoid messes like this one. Will now look for a copy of Nick Cohen's "Waiting for the Etonians" to find out what happened.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Russell Blackford said...

I used to belong to Amnesty International, but left it years ago. It had already long left behind its original raison d'etre as a group devoted to the plight of prisoners of conscience. It's not necessarily that great as a general-purpose human rights group, since, like so many others, it is unable to set rational priorities such as concentrating on the most hardcore enemies of human rights (such as the Taliban). This latest episode just reinforces my belief that Amnesty International has gone way downhill from what it once was. Pity.

Having said all that, Gita Sahgal does not seem to be a whistleblower. She is (1) in a high-level policy sort of role and (2) in public disagreement with the policies of her employer. She may well be correct - as per the first para above, I tend to think she is - but as a matter of honour she should resign. If she'd resigned in protest, it would have been a far more powerful statement.

I'm always astounded when I see high-level people who want to be able to fight publicly over policy with their employer - whose policies they are paid to implement - and at the same time still expect to draw a salary from that very same employer. If she's not prepared to keep the dispute in-house but wants to fight it out with her employer in public, she should leave its service, rather than try to have it both ways.

And it's just not like someone blowing the whistle on secret corruption or criminality (in which case, she would deserve anonymity and job protection). She is disagreeing with her employer's not-so-secret policies and actions, not blowing the whistle on them.

1:44 AM  
Blogger EscapeVelocity said...

The Baby Boomer New Left is now embedded in Western institutions.

They are what they always have been...except now they are at the height of their power.

Well done Leftists!

5:11 PM  
Blogger Basso said...

I think they are doing the right thing, supporting lefts and rights, islamists and catholics. Those ideals are opposite from the very beginning, and to pretend to end with one or the other only increases the heat and rage in both bands, what has actually happened since 9/11 (whether true, or planned by US). Tolerance and support for human rights basing themselves on the common human condition rather than on its different political/religious ideals makes those two worlds come closer together and diminish (not eliminate, for this same human condition) the hate between both of them, and as they come closer, Newton's law of gravitation applies on hate, which is inversely proportional to the distance between two groups. Continuing to attack and segregate distinct ideologies will only increase the ancestral debt of respect between them, as well as resentment, of course claimed by coming generations; sounds to me kind of perpetual.

12:46 PM  

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