Stop making sense

Over at everyone’s favorite clearinghouse for wingnut excellence, Melana Zyla Vickers writes:

“Hundreds…faced detention, torture or ill-treatment, and up to three year’s imprisonment in appalling conditions. Prisoners reportedly died from malnutrition in labor camps … and in detention centers, which were severely overcrowded. … About 70 had been executed in public in January after being forcibly repatriated.”

Pretty horrible stuff. Too bad it’s nowhere near the top of Amnesty International‘s new annual report. Why isn’t it? Because it’s not about the 480-odd detainees in Guantanamo Bay or about the U.S. military, but rather about a Communist country, North Korea.

You know to expect lots of wingnutty goodness based on the fact that ZV links not to AI’s report (available here), but instead to AI’s site. Given her dubious quoting skills, that seems to have been a wise decision. Consider for example the line: “About 70 had been executed in public in January after being forcibly repatriated” which leads her to write:

The summary executions of refugees forcibly returned from China aren’t even elaborated upon beyond the tiny quote reprinted here.

How much more ominous that sounds until you get to the full sentence:

In February, there were unconfirmed reports that about 70 North Korean defectors had been executed in public in January after being forcibly repatriated from China.

To the Big ZV, lack of elaboration about unconfirmed reports of something that took place in a country where reporting is slightly problematic is indicative of AI’s “pro-leftist, anti-democratic-capitalist, anti-Anglo-American bias.” [Yes, that’s an accurate quote!] ZV continues finding bias in the report’s coverage of various countries in the regional summaries — because summarizing has a known anti-American bias:

Belarus, a one-party Communist state that incarcerates political opponents and holds sham elections, restricts freedom of assembly and other basic rights, is mentioned with one word in the report’s regional summary only because it continues to have the death penalty on its books.

Yeah, Belarus gets all the breaks:

The government continued to restrict freedom of expression and assembly. Opposition activists were arbitrarily detained and allegedly ill-treated by police. Some were given lengthy prison sentences for exercising their right to freedom of expression. Human rights defenders and civil society organizations were subjected to further restrictions and harassment. No progress was made in investigating four cases of “disappearance�. Use of the death penalty continued.

You can’t buy good PR like that. And by the way… only one word (which one? Is? It?) in the regional summary? Sadly, No!:

Belarus and Uzbekistan remained the region’s last executioners. […] Civil, political and religious dissent remained systematically and often brutally repressed in Belarus, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. […] In Belarus, opposition activists were imprisoned on false criminal charges. [Emphasis added, Belarus in the original.]

How bad is AI? According Melala Zyna:

So eager are Khan and Schultz to oppose Washington that they’ve hurt the cause of human rights globally at the United Nations. Earlier this month, a new U.N.-body called the Human Rights Council went against other human-rights groups’ criticism by electing human-rights violators, including Saudi Arabia, to its 47 seats. […] Yet unlike other human rights groups, Amnesty chose not to criticize the new body and the rights violators that comprise it. Instead, Amnesty criticized the U.S. for declining to run for a seat. [Emphasis added]

We give you the AI endorsement of the UN Human Rights Council: [Sadly, No!]

Some elected states have a record of serious human rights violations or failure to cooperate fully with the human rights mechanisms established by the Commission on Human Rights. These states must improve their human rights performance and now also fulfil their distinct obligation to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights, as resolution 60/251, which established the Council, specifically requires them to do. Human rights organisations will monitor how, and if, these important promises are put into practice.

We tell you: you can not buy good publicity like that. So what does AI care about, really?

These days, the more the group’s leaders abandon the human-rights agenda in favor of their petty concerns[.]

Such as?

Amnesty also has other pet issues that take it away from the mainstream. Domestic violence against women, the death penalty, and the global arms trade[.]

Damn you and your petty concerns and pet issues, Amnesty International! Now let’s all go out and beat our womens, execute minors and the mentally retarded, after which we can trade some arms while drinking Colt 45. Hooray!


Comments: 12


eck. it’s probably not even worth re-educating these people…


Just as kneejerk winger defenses of Bush, Delay, etc. prove their cultism, this is a fine example of the whole reverse-research nexus dealie (cranial-rectal inversion) on the right.

It’s easy! All do-gooder non-profits are corrupt and relativistical and anti-American (that’s the premise), so ragging on AI is a simple matter of filling in the blanks. You can probably still see the scratched out “ACLU” (or “ACL-Joo!”) in the original hard copy.

verplanck colvin

I wonder, is it more difficult to carefully research a position and write an article based on that information, or to cherry-pick facts and then obfuscate and misinterpret them? Sometimes it seems like it takes a lot of effort to write such utter crap.

At any rate, I’m so glad someone (especially a female) finally came forward and said what we’ve all been thinking in our heads for some time: everyone loves to hit women, and anyone against it is a big party pooper.


She’s right really, once you get past their condemnation of opressive states, the treatment of political prisoners, the arbitrary and/or malignant use of the death penalty, violence against women and the ubiquitous illegal arms trade, Amnesty barely stands for anything anymore. They’ve strayed so far from their roots of condemning opressive states, the treatment of political prisoners and the death penalty it’s not even funny.

pseudonymous in nc

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a wingnut blogger possessed of a gripe against Amnesty International, will never look at the hundreds of thousands of words used to condemn very bad, very nasty countries.


Wingnut: You only criticize US!
AI: Actually, we also criticize other countries…
Wingnut: You don’t criticize them enough!
AI: It’s hard to get information from some countries…
Wingnut: You should stop reporting on domestic violence and the death penalty, and start reporting on how much they hate our freedom.
AI: Shut up.


What pisses me off so much about this sorta bash Amnesty article is the whiney nature of it all: How dare Amnesty criticize the US for Guantanimo when North Korea executes people. There’s a pathetic desire for a medal or something because the US isn’t as bad as North Korea, Iran or China.

Newsflash Wingnuts: The United States of America is supposed to be a hell of a lot better than those countries. It spent years and years telling the rest of the world that it was special, a shining beacon of hope and light in a world of oppression, that it would uphold it’s own constitution and obey the rule of law. That’s the America I love. That’s the America that is right. For it to muck about in the valley of shit with torture, detainment without trial, and violations of the bill of rights is far sickening that what those bastards in Damascus or Pyonyang do to their own citizens.

After all, you expect such behaviour from petty tyrrants. To go, oh well, what America does isn’t so bad as those guys insults everyone who loves the constitution, what it stands for and the blood of every patriot who fought it.


I have to wonder what kind of childhood these people had:

Mom: Jimmy! Don’t hit the dog!
Jimmy: But I’m only hitting him! David kicks him! And sets his tail on fire!
Mom: That doesn’t change the fact that you hit him.
Jimmy: David is so much worse! You only yell at me because you hate me!
Mom: That’s not true!
Jimmy: Is-too-is-too! You like David best, and that’s why you’re yelling at me!
Mom: No Jimmy, it’s not true. And to prove it to you, why, you just go on and hit the dog whenever you like.
Jimmy: Thanks! Now can I have some Cheetos?

The mind boggles.


Yeah, they’re really out of the mainstream in the area of violence against women, them being against it and all.


But AI are criticising the United States of AMERICA! What other possible explanation could there be?!


Given that America was until recently one of only two countries to execute minors – the other being Iran – and still refuses to sign the UN convention on the rights of the child, it’s a bit fucking rich for her to talk about Amnesty being out of the mainstream.


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