Amnesty International leader: left must join war on terror

dave dorkin ddorkin1 at
Sat Nov 15 12:19:37 MST 2003

An interview with Francis Boyle, one of the few
progressive international legal figures, on Amnesty
(he was a board member of Amnesty USA for a period):

Dennis Bernstein and Dr. Francis Boyle
Discuss the Politics of Human Rights
CovertAction June 13, 2002


Amnesty International is primarily motivated not by
human rights but by publicity. Second comes money.
Third comes getting more members. Fourth, internal
turf battles. And then finally, human rights, genuine
human rights concerns. 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, resources, man and womanpower,
publicity, you name it, they can throw whatever they
want at that. 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. They might, very
reluctantly and after an enormous amount of internal
fightings and battles and pressures, you name it. But
you know, it's not like the 'official enemies' list.
Amnesty International sent three people out there [to
Jenin] and came back with nothing more than a news
release dated April 22 [2002], saying well, we
received credible evidence of serious human rights
violations, and they came up with a list of eight. And
that was it. It's pretty shameless that that's the
best they could do. And indeed, it seemed to me, given
the way Amnesty works, this was a typical “CYA” (cover
your ass) operation, which is, they knew they were
going to have to do something on Jenin, so they did
the least amount possible in order to cover themselves...

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