What? Amnesty defending white terrorists? I never…


by Sunny
18th February, 2010 at 6:24 pm    

A common accusation levelled at Amnesty Int over the Moazzam Begg saga has been that even if they weren’t choosing to endorse all this views – Amnesty is somehow complicit anyway because it does this only for Islamists.

That “white liberal guilt” card is played by Nick Cohen et al so many times that it’s a wonder no one has coded a Nick Cohen column generator program yet.

Anyway, let’s take a little trip down memory lane shall we?

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher angrily criticized Amnesty International yesterday for requesting details of what it called a possible “extrajudicial execution” by the military of three unarmed Irish Republican Army members last month.

She called the human-rights organization’s request “utterly disgraceful” and added, “I hope Amnesty has as much concern for the more than 2,000 persons murdered by the IRA since 1969.”

What do you mean that sounds suspiciously like the arguments those trying to undermine Amnesty are making now? These people are lefties don’t you know? They may occasionally be ok with torture but they stand for universal human rights!

And then there’s this from 2001 highlighted by Kevin Blowe:

Timothy McVeigh is scheduled to become the first federal prisoner to be executed in the United States of America since 1963. Amnesty International urges you to prevent this retrograde step by announcing an immediate moratorium on all federal executions.

Such suffering deserves compassion, respect and justice. As an organization that works with and on behalf of victims of human violence on a daily basis, Amnesty International has the utmost sympathy for the families and friends of those killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. Nevertheless, the organization unreservedly opposes the planned killing of Timothy McVeigh, as it does all executions, in the belief that such a policy represents no more than a continuation of the cycle of violence it purports to confront. By imitating what it seeks to condemn – the deliberate taking of human life – society will once again have allowed violence and vengeance to gain the upper hand. Justice will not have been served.

What, Amnesty standing for the rights of a terrorist? A white terrorist? And I was told those guilty white liberals only cared for the rights of Islamists.

The obvious point in that over the course of its history Amnesty has always been accused of pandering towards nasties that certain commentators would rather pretend were just not given any attention to. Far better to let them languish in prison right? It’s far more convenient for these people to forget history and pretend that Amnesty just didn’t exist before the advent of Islamist terrorism.


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  1. Don — on 18th February, 2010 at 6:44 pm  

    And I was told those guilty white liberals only cared for the rights of Islamists.

    By whom?

    On this site? I have no idea whether you have or not, as there seems to have been an unusual flurry of deletions.

  2. Sunny — on 18th February, 2010 at 6:50 pm  

    By whom?

    Well I didn’t mean specifically me, though I’m sure many have made that comment in previous blog-posts.
    I believe Nick Cohen’s column said that anyway.

  3. Don — on 18th February, 2010 at 7:04 pm  

    Yes, in some places they probably have.

    I haven’t really said much on this because I’m just not sure. So I’ve been reading up and I haven’t seen that accusation leveled on any site with any standing. Are you sure it’s common?

  4. Rumbold — on 18th February, 2010 at 7:08 pm  

    The difference between Amnesty and the IRA and Amnesty and CagePrisoners is that Amnesty campaigned for the former’s legal/civil rights. It ddin’t share platforms with them and marginalise internal critics.

    I agree that some people are just using this whole thing as a way to attack Amnesty. But it doesn’t asnwer Gita’s criticisms.

  5. Sunny — on 18th February, 2010 at 7:24 pm  

    It ddin’t share platforms with them and marginalise internal critics.

    Rumbold – Amnesty did not marginalise Gita Sahgal. There was an internal debate (as the letter by Sam Zafiri indicates) and she lost that debate. Amnesty has no relationship at all with Cage Prisoners. They are a partner among others to take Moazzam Begg on a tour to raise the issue of Guantanamo Bay across Europe. Him being the highest profile ex-Gitmo prisoner, that makes sense. Gita was suspended because she went to the media and levelled accusations at Amnesty through a media organ that wanted to deliberately undermine Amnesty. I’m not surprised she was suspended (on full pay).

  6. Brownie — on 18th February, 2010 at 7:28 pm  

    A common accusation levelled at Amnesty Int over the Moazzam Begg saga has been that even if they weren’t choosing to endorse all this views – Amnesty is somehow complicit anyway because it does this only for Islamists.

    No, this is your attempt to justify the post you are about to right because you want to convince the more gullible of your commenters that you’ve just found a ‘gotcha’.

    Your problem will come when you’re asked to justify your opening paragraph by citing an example of what you claim is “common” from someone not generally considered to be mentally ill. When you fail to do so, everyone else will realise what some of us did after three seconds reading your post.

    You’ll write anything, won’t you?

  7. Brownie — on 18th February, 2010 at 7:31 pm  

    Amnesty has no relationship at all with Cage Prisoners. They are a partner

    Is someone else going to tell Sunny, or shall I?

  8. Refresh — on 18th February, 2010 at 7:34 pm  

    Brownie, you’ve got to read the whole sentence.

    The sentence goes:

    ‘They are a partner among others to take Moazzam Begg on a tour to raise the issue of Guantanamo Bay across Europe.’

    ‘They’ being Amnesty International.

  9. Brownie — on 18th February, 2010 at 7:41 pm  

    Refresh,

    So Begg (not CP) and AI are partners? Okay. So how can you be a “partner” but not have a “relationship”?

  10. Refresh — on 18th February, 2010 at 7:46 pm  

    I see.

    I think you’d better be the one to let Sunny know, its better coming from you.

  11. Brownie — on 18th February, 2010 at 7:47 pm  

    I just want to be clear, because for the last week or so Flying Rodent and others have been doing the blog rounds objecting to “partership” and “association” and all other synonyms. If we can now agree that AI and Begg are indeed “partners”, then I’d consider that progress.

  12. MoreMediaNonsense — on 18th February, 2010 at 7:47 pm  

    Breaking news – Begg is reconsidering his “partnership” (or whatever it is) with AI.

    He also blames much of it on David T !!!!! :

    “I think much of it can be traced back to when Cageprisoners launched a report on the detention of terrorism suspects in the UK last year entitled Detention Immorality, which was hijacked by a seemingly unhinged lawyer-cum-blogger who has openly stated that he aims to destroy Cageprisoners and me – though I still don’t understand why. He regularly blogs and cross-posts attacks against Cageprisoners, Islamic organisations and me – amongst others – in an effort to ‘expose’ us. But that is only a part of the problem.”

    http://www.cageprisoners.com/articles.php?id=31061

  13. MiriamBinder — on 18th February, 2010 at 7:59 pm  

    @ Brownie # 11 – So you hold that anyone who is invited to speak automatically becomes a partner?

  14. Brownie — on 18th February, 2010 at 7:59 pm  

    It’s one thing partnering with someone whose human rights credentials are questionable, but for AI to partner with someone who is this ignorant of the correct use of object pronouns following prepositions is truly unforgivable.

  15. Brownie — on 18th February, 2010 at 8:01 pm  

    So you hold that anyone who is invited to speak automatically becomes a partner?

    You’d better ask Sunny.

    They are a partner among others to take Moazzam Begg on a tour to raise the issue of Guantanamo Bay across Europe

  16. Sunny — on 18th February, 2010 at 8:10 pm  

    Let me clarify this further for Rumbold since Brownie doesn’t seem to understand English well.

    The point of the tour is to continuously keep Gitmo in the spotlight. Moazzam Begg is not only the most high-profile prisoner, but he happily tours with ex-Gitmo soldiers and they talk about their experiences of what happened with the press.

    Ergo, it gets into the news and keeps the story alive. The focus is purely on Gitmo.

    CP is not a “partner” in that Amnesty does not endorse with Cage Prisoners, it does not work with them, they have no input into what Amnesty does and vice versa.

    The main contention here about Amnesty working with Moazzam Begg is that:

    - This influences Amnesty’s agenda on other issues. No it doesn’t

    - That Amnesty only does this for Islamists. No it doesn’t.

    - That women’s rights are being sold down the river – no they’re not.

    - That it gives Cage Prisoners special status. No it doesn’t. I don’t care for Cage Prisoners at all as an org.

    But this is an attempt to undermine Amnesty via Cage Prisoners and pointing out that agenda.

    It’s no surprise HP readers are here breathlessly trying to smear me, while Nick Cohen is threatening to censor me from the Facebook page – they don’t like it when anyone challenges their narratives.

  17. Rumbold — on 18th February, 2010 at 8:14 pm  

    Sunny:

    I believe that Gita is a whistleblower. She raised serious and legitimate concerns, and wasn’t taken seriously. So she exposed them.

  18. Rumbold — on 18th February, 2010 at 8:17 pm  

    Begg is high profile, but then so is Nick Griffin. Raising awareness doesn’t exclude a multitude of signs.

  19. FlyingRodent — on 18th February, 2010 at 8:28 pm  

    I just want to be clear, because for the last week or so Flying Rodent and others have been doing the blog rounds objecting to “partership” and “association” and all other synonyms.

    Ahem, the accusation has been variously – amongst the various other misrepresentations and outright lies you and your pals have been pimping – that Amnesty is partnering CagePrisoners; that it “supports” (nudge nudge) and “endorses” Begg and various other risible bullshit attempts to turn “invites to speak about actual human rights abuses” into “Cheerleads for Islamic Jihad”. So please don’t now start kidding on that you give a damn about linguistic accuracy, eh? It’s not like you’ve been shy about what you’ve been up to.

    Amnesty’s relationship with Begg is that it invites him to speak about his own experiences in the context of an ongoing network of black prisons that disappears and tortures an unknown number of individuals at undisclosed locations across the planet, with no judicial oversight or official accountability. That’s certainly never been in doubt, and I don’t find it objectionable, given the gravity of the subject.

    Nor is it in doubt that people have had to repeatedly ram the existence of this prison network down your throats in order to elicit even the mildest, pro-forma Extrajudicial detention is bad, but from Amnesty’s critics. This is because you are habitual bullshitters, clambering over each other towards the thesaurus in a mad dash to find new ways of turning some speaking engagements on this Kafkaesque nightmare* into Jihad-flavoured mud to chuck at an organisation campaigning against it. The only reason that Begg’s speaking appearances could damage Amnesty’s reputation is because of the behaviour of mendacious attack dogs like yourselves.

    So please, let’s lay off the “human rights credentials are questionable” stuff here. You know exactly what you’re doing and we can all see you doing it.

    *Kafkaesque is the word here, BTW. The black prison network isn’t the regime in 1984 which, for all it’s brutality, at least had a crazy purpose and a vague idea of what it was doing. The US network and its proxies in places like Pakistan is more like Brazil, a faceless, headless organisation picking up Jihadi-Tuttles and taxi-driving-Buttles all over the planet and subjecting them all to the same treatment, because that’s what it was built to do. It’s an institutionally insane and unjust affront to everything human rights were meant to stand for.

    Oh, and while I’m at it, that’s a nice circle-jerk your buddies at HP have going over extrajudicial killing – good work.

  20. Roger — on 18th February, 2010 at 8:40 pm  

    “They are a partner among others to take Moazzam Begg on a tour to raise the issue of Guantanamo Bay across Europe. Him being the highest profile ex-Gitmo prisoner, that makes sense. ”
    Except that Begg has a high profile because of A.I.’s efforts on his behalf and his own efforts on behalf of Cageprisoners. It would at least be wise if A.I. were less dependent on the testimony of someone whose motives and opinions can be so easily questioned.

  21. Brownie — on 18th February, 2010 at 8:42 pm  

    Let me clarify this further for Rumbold since Brownie doesn’t seem to understand English well.

    I know what “partner” means. Do you?

    The main contention here about Amnesty working with Moazzam Begg is that:

    and then you list 4 things that are not the main “contention(s)” at all. The main criticisms are:

    1 – This, in your words, partnership undermines AI’s credibility as a totally apolotical NGO. Begg is a political animal. He’s not just a.n.other ex-Gitm detainee, of which there are plenty if AI is looking for a campaign partner. This is a strategic blunder by AI.

    2 – This, in your words, partnership confers a degree of legitimacy on Begg and, by extension, CagePrisoners (given Begg is a director and its most famous agitator). Which is not to say that AI are advocating for CP, but that their relationship with Begg can be seen as such by both friend and foe. Working with AI brings certain kudos, and Begg and CP are not so stupid that they won’t use that to its fullest.

    These are the main criticisms, and not that fantasy list you keep attributing to persons implied but not named.

    It’s no surprise HP readers are here breathlessly trying to smear me

    What is the nature of this “smear”? What, precisely, am I accusing you of? You’ve not been backward at coming forward with your own smear that those siding with Sahgal over this are all implacable enemies of AI, but I’m not aware that I’ve accused you of anything.

  22. Sunny — on 18th February, 2010 at 8:48 pm  

    I know what “partner” means. Do you?

    Tell me what partner means Brownie. Gimme the explanation.

    Just want to throw in another question in the mix for you. Let’s say I start presenting a programme for a channel. Or let’s say I have appeared on its programmes several times to offer my opinion. Would you say I’ve then “partnered” with it?

    As for your others comments:
    This, in your words, partnership undermines AI’s credibility as a totally apolotical NGO

    No it doesn’t. What terms of engagement should they be? Or should Amnesty not work with anyone not sanctioned by the ‘Decents?’

    This, in your words, partnership confers a degree of legitimacy on Begg and, by extension, CagePrisoners

    Again, you really have a problem with reading. I addressed that in point 4.

  23. Sunny — on 18th February, 2010 at 8:54 pm  

    Begg is high profile, but then so is Nick Griffin.

    This argument doesn’t stand up. Amnesty campaigned on behalf of IRA and McVeigh – so race is not the issue. If there was a systematic attempt to jail and imprison Griffin’s mates without trial – I’d expect Amnesty to take up his case.

    The whole point of human rights is that they apply to everyone not just the ones we agree with.

    I believe that Gita is a whistleblower. She raised serious and legitimate concerns, and wasn’t taken seriously. So she exposed them.

    An alternative reading is that the concerns WERE actually raised internally and she lost that debate. So she decided to go to the press – which is inexcusable for any org like Amnesty which relies on its staff not leaking internal discussions to the press over every issue.

    What I will accept, as its Asia director said – is that Amnesty did not clarify the nature of its work with Begg, which led all sorts of people who had an agenda against Amnesty to claim they were now supporting jihadis and muting criticism of the Taliban. Amnesty shoudl have been clearer on the nature of its relationship. But it hasn’t sold out women’s rights and there’s no proof of that at all. So I’m not sure how Amnesty is betraying human rights.

  24. Rumbold — on 18th February, 2010 at 8:59 pm  

    Sunny:

    Amnesty campaigned on behalf of IRA and McVeigh – so race is not the issue. If there was a systematic attempt to jail and imprison Griffin’s mates without trial – I’d expect Amnesty to take up his case.

    So you would be comfortable with Amnesty working the BNP to campaign against such detention? Or would you argue that Amnesty should stay clear of the BNP and campaign on its own?

    Gitmo was hardly an unknown issue. Amnesty didn’t need any contact with Begg.

    An alternative reading is that the concerns WERE actually raised internally and she lost that debate.

    And she felt so strongly about it that she risked her job and career to say it. What does that tell you?

  25. Brownie — on 18th February, 2010 at 9:02 pm  

    Ahem, the accusation has been variously that Amnesty is partnering CagePrisoners;

    You’re correct this is not the case. It is merely partnering CP’s most celebrated spokesperson and a director thereof. Completely different.

    that it “supports” (nudge nudge) and “endorses” Begg and various other risible bullshit attempts to turn “invites to speak about actual human rights abuses” into “Cheerleads for Islamic Jihad”.

    It’s customary to put quotation remarks around actual quotes and not the fruits of your own fertile imagination. I don’t speak for the pro-Sahgal lobby in geenral or even HP in particular, but I’m happy to at least do the latter on this occasion and invite you to cite the example of an HP author claiming AI “supports” or “endorses” Begg’s agenda. Take your time.

    So please don’t now start kidding on that you give a damn about linguistic accuracy, eh?

    Oh, I really do insist on being quoted accurately and having my interlocutors address my actual arguments rather than those they would have preferred me to proffer. I’m funny like that and but also very sorry this means you have to work a little harder to think of suitable rebuttals.

    Amnesty’s relationship with Begg is that it invites him to speak about his own experiences in the context of an ongoing network of black prisons that disappears and tortures an unknown number of individuals at undisclosed locations across the planet, with no judicial oversight or official accountability. That’s certainly never been in doubt, and I don’t find it objectionable, given the gravity of the subject.

    A “partner” then. Good.

    Nor is it in doubt that people have had to repeatedly ram the existence of this prison network down your throats

    You might doubt it, or you might just pretend to believe any old shite you tap out on your keyboard. HP has consistently opposed the existence of Gitmo and detention without trial as our archives will demonstrate.

    The only reason that Begg’s speaking appearances could damage Amnesty’s reputation is because of the behaviour of mendacious attack dogs like yourselves.

    I think you need to revist the chronology. Sahgal went public and AI suspended her. I suggest the “damage” had already been inflicted long before HP got to the party. We’re normally more than happy to take credit for most of the things of which you accuse us, but on this occasion we’re going to have to pass.

  26. Brownie — on 18th February, 2010 at 9:07 pm  

    Just want to throw in another question in the mix for you. Let’s say I start presenting a programme for a channel. Or let’s say I have appeared on its programmes several times to offer my opinion. Would you say I’ve then “partnered” with it?

    Sunny, you wrote:

    They [AI] are a partner among others to take Moazzam Begg on a tour to raise the issue of Guantanamo Bay across Europe

    So AI are a “partner”. Who with? You can’t be a “partner” on your own, or with yourself. There has to be another party involved. Otherwise you’re not a “partner”. Do you see?

  27. MaidMarian — on 18th February, 2010 at 9:16 pm  

    Sunny – Whilst I appreciate what you are getting at with this series about Amnesty I feel that Amnesty has really not covered itself in glory.

    It would be great if the person could be separated from the issues, and the campaign may be about Guantanamo. However the reality is that Begg is not a blue-eyed poster boy.

    He is a provocative and divisive person who many people (including me) treat with deep suspicion. He is politicised and whether Amnesty want to favour Islamism or not using Begg to the extent they have is unwise from a PR standpoint.

    I appreciate that alot of people are using Begg as a stick with which to beat Amnesty, point taken Sunny. But the flipside of that is that when you are trying to reach out to constituencies who may have suspicions, the Begg line is a bizarre one to go down.

    And before anyone jumps on me, yes those suspicions may not be for good reasons.

    Brutal though it is, Guantanamo may be a bad thing, but some of the people who have been exposed to it are not really going to get sympathy. Amnesty should have known better and to say as much is not to somehow endorse Guantanamo.

    Amnesty’s best work was always done away from identity politics. It is a bit sad that it has decided to go down the identity route.

  28. MoreMediaNonsense — on 18th February, 2010 at 9:46 pm  

    Err – hello – Begg has ditched AI, game over :

    http://www.cageprisoners.com/articles.php?id=31061

    Noteworthy utter tripe from his bizarre rant :

    “So here I wish to point out some glaring facts that have been purposefully neglected by those leading the charge against me, including I’m afraid, Gita Sahgal, who I’d really hoped would have applied a little more wisdom before she began her crusade.”

    A crusade eh – very nice.

    “I will continue to campaign for the men suffering in the concentration camps of Bagram, Guantanamo and the secret prisons.”

    “Ms Sahgal has, perhaps unwittingly, become a cause celebre for some of the pro-war (hence, pro-by-products of the wars: targeted assassinations, ‘collateral damage’, refugee crises, secret and military prisons, torture etc) hacks in this country – and around the world. A tool for the intelligence services or people like Paul Rester, the director of the Joint Intelligence Group at Guantanamo, who says, “[Begg] is doing more good for al Qaeda as a British poster boy than he would ever do carrying an AK-47.” I firmly believe this, more than anything else, is the reason why people want my voice and that of Cageprisoners silenced. But it won’t be –not as long as I can help it.”

    “perhaps unwittingly” eh ? Sounds like he’s been reading some of the conspiracy theorists here for that bit.

    Best of all :

    “I think much of it can be traced back to when Cageprisoners launched a report on the detention of terrorism suspects in the UK last year entitled Detention Immorality, which was hijacked by a seemingly unhinged lawyer-cum-blogger who has openly stated that he aims to destroy Cageprisoners and me – though I still don’t understand why. He regularly blogs and cross-posts attacks against Cageprisoners, Islamic organisations and me – amongst others – in an effort to ‘expose’ us. But that is only a part of the problem.”

    He doesn’t “understand why” David T doesn’t like him. Hilarious.

    Sorry Sunny and FR but it seems the “Decent Conspiracy” has won this time. Better luck next time.

  29. Sunny — on 18th February, 2010 at 9:49 pm  

    I see you avoided answering my question Brownie about presenting for a TV channel. No worries – I have another post coming up about that, you can answer it then.

    Amnesty have partnered with Reprieve and a US constitutional affairs organisation – I hope that clarifies. They’ve not partnered with Cage Prisoners.

    So you would be comfortable with Amnesty working the BNP to campaign against such detention?

    As pointed out above – Amnesty has campaigned on behalf of Timothy McVeigh and the IRA. Why should I have more sympathy for McVeigh and not for Griffin.

  30. Sunny — on 18th February, 2010 at 9:53 pm  

    Sorry Sunny and FR but it seems the “Decent Conspiracy” has won this time. Better luck next time.

    Oh dear MMn – you poor thing. You think you’re going to get away that easily? Nahh mate. I’m going to hammer this for a long time. You better run and hide.

  31. resistor — on 18th February, 2010 at 9:54 pm  

    Funny how the HP trolls pretend that nobody knows what their agenda is.

    They operate a site that is pro-Israel, anti-muslim, pro-war and pro-torture. Their role is to smear anyone who takes the opposite view.

    http://www.neoconeurope.eu/Harry%27s_Place

  32. Paul Sagar — on 18th February, 2010 at 9:56 pm  

    Sunny,

    You are just a namby-pamby faux-left relativist.

    Not a real left winger. Like Nick. Nick is the only real left winger in Britain.

    Praise be to the heir of George Orwell. The only heir of George Orwell.

    (More seriously, anyone who would like to think clearly about torture and the state – i.e. anyone who doesn’t want to end up all confused and stupid like Nick – might appreciate my blog post today: http://badconscience.com – though you’ll have to wait until WordPress stops being dead).

  33. Shamit — on 18th February, 2010 at 9:58 pm  

    When David Kelly broke the Official Secrets Act and spoke to the Hack Gilligan – I believe there was much cheering going on for him from people who now seem squarely behind AI’s decision to suspend Ms. Sahgal.

    I am sure if the Met arrested Dr. Kelly(which would have been the right thing to do) then it would have been presented as how groupthink and authoritarian Government is trying to silence and take revenge upon a whistle blower.

    In this case, AI has suspended a renowned human rights activist with impeccable credentials who felt she had to go to the media because her concerns were not being taken seriously. Except for the deliberately leaked memo (which I think is a bad case of spin), there is no evidence that there was a real debate within the organisation. There could have been but no evidence is being highlighted.

    If so many people were happy with Dr. Kelly’s whistle blowing albeit unintentional why shouldn’t we accept the version of events provided by Ms. Sahgal – who does have impeccable credentials and decades of dedication towards upholding human rights.

    I think AI screwed up on this one big time – and it was not an intern who made the accusation but someone who herself headed the gender unit and who felt her and her unit’s work was being undermined by AI’s apparent association with CP.

    Gitmo is a well known issue – and there have been many who were incarcerated there who were innocent of any involvement/association with or support for terrorism at all. Mr. Begg does not fall in that category, by his own admission and therefore, while AI is absolutely correct in trying to defend his basic human rights and right to a fair trial through due process – highlighting him as a speaker sends the wrong message, in my opinion.

    His version of his faith does not include pluralism in any way (in his own words) and he in a recent article which I highlighted yesterday, has called for Jihad in Afghanistan – where a poll commissioned last year by renowned international organisations such as BBC showed over 90% of Afghans thought Taliban should never be allowed to come back to power. This man has also said that the jihadis out fought the Serbians in Kosovo and that while the Serbians raped and murdered – the Kosovo Muslim Groups did no such thing. Delusion and selective amnesia.

    How could this asshole be a good spokesperson in Europe when you want European Countries to take in prisoners being freed from Gitmo? He is probably the worst kind and no wonder, no one but Zapatero fell for it.

    Now any reasonable person would have thought Mr. Begg is probably not the best person to try to persuade European civil societies to host Gitmo prisoners. So on that front too, I think AI was wrong.

    I am all for AI fighting for the human rights of all including those who would not grant the same to others. including the most heinous criminals – because otherwise the rule of law suffers. But they dd not need Mr. Begg to make the case – and I have a feeling Europeans probably would have been more willing to accommodate prisoners if Ms. Saghal rather than Mr. Begg was the spokesperson.

    However, I also agree with Sunny when he says this is being hijacked by the likes of Cohen and Philips – and on that too the fault lies with AI. They could have dealt with this much better. Its not the ethos or credentials of the organisation that anyone reasonable is questioning – its their stupid administrative hierarchy who screwed up.

  34. Sunny — on 18th February, 2010 at 10:00 pm  

    He is a provocative and divisive person who many people (including me) treat with deep suspicion. He is politicised and whether Amnesty want to favour Islamism or not using Begg to the extent they have is unwise from a PR standpoint.

    MaidMarian – I expected you to think through this a bit more carefully.

    I’m still waiting for people to offer one simple example of Moazam Begg being a “jihadi” or pro-Taliban or some sort of an Islamist based on what he’s said after Gitmo.

    In fact – read the article he’s published carefully in response to this. That will tell you what a smear campaign this has been:
    http://www.cageprisoners.com/articles.php?id=31061

  35. Brownie — on 18th February, 2010 at 10:08 pm  

    I see you avoided answering my question Brownie about presenting for a TV channel.

    Ignored rather than avoided, but just for you:

    Let’s say I start presenting a programme for a channel. Or let’s say I have appeared on its programmes several times to offer my opinion. Would you say I’ve then “partnered” with it?

    No.

    Let’s say a blogger used the word “partner” to describe AI’s work with Begg. Let’s say it because that’s what you said.

    Retract it if you like, or stand by it. Or avoid doing either by asking me about a whole load of hypotheticals and hope nobody notices.

    Oops, too late.

  36. MaidMarian — on 18th February, 2010 at 10:10 pm  

    Sunny – Thanks for the reply. I am not aware of any post-Guantanamo comments by Begg along the lines you suggest.

    But Begg the man and Begg the issue are not easily separated. Whatever the rights and wrongs.

    His past is well-known and I am simply at a loss as to how Amnesty came to the view that he is a poster boy. Sure, I agree tha the attacks on AI are a lot of people jumping on a hobby horse and I certainly accept that this is blown out of all proportion.

    But I simply can not get away from a conclusion that Amnesty at least in part have bought this on themself. Guantanamo as an issue speaks for itself, it does not need Begg and his baggage.

  37. Kulvinder — on 18th February, 2010 at 10:11 pm  

    So you would be comfortable with Amnesty working the BNP to campaign against such detention?

    ‘Working with the BNP’ again suggests that Amnesty are actively ‘working with’ islamist organisations; its the kind of frankly hysterical nonsense this has degenerated into and is directly relevant to the Thatcher quote Sunny posted – that Amnesty were ‘working’ with the IRA.

    Its also what lead people in 1964 to sideline Mandela.

    For what its worth though i wouldn’t have any problem with Nick Griffin sharing a conference with Amnesty International if he’d been imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay; id be able to accept his views and opinions on his imprisonment were completely relevant and deserved wider publication whilst having the intellectual capacity to realise that didn’t mean i agreed with everything he said.

  38. Yasmin — on 18th February, 2010 at 10:12 pm  

    “I’m going to hammer this for a long time.”

    Nice one Sunny, keep it up. The Decents quite honestly don’t have a shread of decency about them or an ounce of humanity.

    In a world of suffering, pain and injustice what did you do this week?

    “Well we witch hunted a man who’d experienced years of brutal torture and sort to discredit an organisation that seeks to promote and uphold universal human rights”

    Brilliant – I bet their mothers would be so proud.

  39. Kulvinder — on 18th February, 2010 at 10:14 pm  

    His past is well-known and I am simply at a loss as to how Amnesty came to the view that he is a poster boy.

    Hes a ‘poster boy’ for what happened in Guantanamo Bay; that doesn’t mean hes ever been held up as an avatar for wider social issues.

  40. Sunny — on 18th February, 2010 at 10:27 pm  

    Oops, too late? Brownie, it looks like putting your fingers in your ears and screaming ‘lalalalala’ is how you debate. Well done.

    Shamit:
    When David Kelly broke the Official Secrets Act and spoke to the Hack Gilligan – I believe there was much cheering going on for him from people who now seem squarely behind AI’s decision to suspend Ms. Sahgal.

    Funny you should mention that. In fact the correction question is, who was ridiculing and dismissing as “conspiracy” whenever someone said they wanted to see an inquiry into David Kelly’s death?
    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2009/07/13/embarrassing-misprint-on-bbc-news/

    His past is well-known and I am simply at a loss as to how

    There was Ed Husain – who set up Quilliam Foundation and wrote The Islamist. There was Shiraz Maher, who now works for Policy Exchange and Standpoint magazine and constantly posts on HP and elsewhere. There was Hassan Butt – who was championed by Nick Cohen (before being exposed as a fraud). All were ex-Islamists.
    The difference with Moazzam Begg is that he didn’t follow the agenda that Nick Cohen and the bloggers at Harry’s Place would like after returning. So the idea that he has a dodgy past and should therefore be avoided doesn’t stand up…

  41. Brownie — on 18th February, 2010 at 10:31 pm  

    Oops, too late? Brownie, it looks like putting your fingers in your ears and screaming ‘lalalalala’ is how you debate. Well done.

    You said I’d ignored your question. So I answered it for you. Were you expecting fireworks?

    Do you stand by “partner” to describe AI’s relationship with Begg?

  42. Sunny — on 18th February, 2010 at 10:35 pm  

    Do you stand by “partner” to describe AI’s relationship with Begg?

    Nope. I said they partnered with Reprieve and a US constitutional affairs organisation. Can’t put it any more simply than that. But carry on pretending whatever you like,

    You said I’d ignored your question.

    Also – my question was about going on the show of and presenting for TV channels and whether that meant “partnering”.

  43. MoreMediaNonsense — on 18th February, 2010 at 10:35 pm  

    Now Sunny’s deleting some of my and Brownie’s posts so this all makes no sense. HaHaHa

  44. FlyingRodent — on 18th February, 2010 at 10:37 pm  

    Take your time.

    Ho ho, would there be any point? After all, the modus operandi of Decency has always been to dredge up some link between treacherous leftist (x) and villainous figure (y), then let the audience fill in the blanks. This Amnesty hearts Islamists stuff is all over this debate like Ashley Cole on friendly nightclub females, and it sure as hell didn’t spawn out of the ether.

    You might be consistently wrong but, Brett aside, you’re not daft enough to come out with much that’s actually actionable. I know for a fact I’d struggle to find any HP author calling, say, HRW anti-semites, or the Red Cross collaborators with terrorists, but let’s not pretend we don’t know that’s the thrust of the argument.

    That said, you might like to keep an eye on your occasional poster Alexander Hitchens – he’s over at AW right now, accusing Amnesty of supporting Begg like it was the most obvious, natural thing in the world.

    HP has consistently opposed the existence of Gitmo and detention without trial as our archives will demonstrate.

    I chose the words “Extrajudicial detention is bad, but…” because the following phrase – Detention without trial is an important issue. But…” – was the sum total of what David T. had to say about this when I asked him about it yesterday. His half-arsed acknowledgement represents by far the most comprehensive attempt to deal with the black prison network I’ve managed to coax out of any HP writer or mere comment-box Amnesty baiter in, what, weeks of discussing this?

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to type “Black prisons” just to get that far. I think that’s because this is about Get Amnesty first, Human rights second and Human rights for individuals currently being shot, bombed or extrajudicially imprisoned by western nations not at all and never.

    I think you need to revist the chronology. Sahgal went public and AI suspended her.

    Sahgal spoke to News International on what, 6th February? You’ve got a series of posts on Amnesty going back at least to early January.

    We’re normally more than happy to take credit for most of the things of which you accuse us, but on this occasion we’re going to have to pass.

    Saucer, please. Every Decent journo in the land went for this one like a terrier with a bone, and they’ve barely stopped chewing it since.

    Anyway, I find myself hoping Begg has actually pulled out of Amnesty’s talks. I agree wholeheartedly with you that Begg’s speaking at their events is potentially very damaging to Amnesty and human rights; it’s just that the reason it’s so damaging is that your mates will use him as a stick to beat them with.

    This whole affair is eerily reminiscent of a shameful incident in my childhood, in which I held my brother’s hand and made him slap himself while asking him Hey, why are you slapping yourself?

  45. Brownie — on 18th February, 2010 at 10:41 pm  

    Me:Do you stand by “partner” to describe AI’s relationship with Begg?

    You:Nope. I said they partnered with Reprieve and a US constitutional affairs organisation. Can’t put it any more simply than that. But carry on pretending whatever you like,

    Let me quote you:

    They [AI] are a partner among others to take Moazzam Begg on a tour to raise the issue of Guantanamo Bay across Europe

    So AI are a “partner”. Who are they a partner with, Sunny?

  46. Sunny — on 18th February, 2010 at 10:54 pm  

    Who are they a partner with, Sunny?

    with Reprieve and the US Center for Constitutional Rights. We can do this all night. Keep repeating that question, I’ll keep answering it.

  47. Brownie — on 18th February, 2010 at 10:55 pm  

    Ho ho, would there be any point?

    No there wouldn’t. Because you’d waste valuable snide-minutes looking for something that you know doesn’t exist. But this is how you operate:

    1 – You make an accusation replete with fake quotes.
    2 – I ask you to support it with examples.
    3 – You don’t bother because there would be “no point”.

    Nice.

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to type “Black prisons”

    I haven’t. It’s 439, by the way. That’s just today.

    Anyway, I find myself hoping Begg has actually pulled out of Amnesty’s talks. I agree wholeheartedly with you that Begg’s speaking at their events is potentially very damaging to Amnesty and human rights; it’s just that the reason it’s so damaging is that your mates will use him as a stick to beat them with.

    Amnesty concede they had “vigorous internal debate” about using Begg. Not a blog-fight with ‘Decents’, but what we’re led to believe are protracted discussions about the pros and cons of such a move. I suggest that if this were the case (and of course Sahgal claims she wasn’t given an audience), then the obvious move was to look at an alternative campaign strategy. If people within AI opposed it, what did thye suppose would be the view of those outwith AI, both friends and enemies of AI?

    Here’s what I wrote earlier:

    Even if you think that AI ought to be able to use Begg to front campaigns, the issue is whether such a move is strategically sound for an organisation that, to be effective and indeed to survive as a body of influence, must retain uncontestable legitimacy. If there is even the slightest possiblity that doing something means credibility might be compromised, it’s probably not a good idea to it. It might not even be fair, but it’s the way it is.

    What is it they say?: ‘Don’t become the story’.

  48. Sunny — on 18th February, 2010 at 11:03 pm  

    Even if you think that AI ought to be able to use Begg to front campaigns, the issue is whether such a move is strategically sound for an organisation that, to be effective and indeed to survive as a body of influence, must retain uncontestable legitimacy.

    You really are quite an idiot if you can’t read what was written on this blog post right at the top. Amnesty retains it “uncontestable legitimacy” with people who can read. However there are some bloggers who, without any proof, are hinting that its research and work has been compromised.

    In fact you sound like Margaret Thatcher. Which, doesn’t surprise me, given how much support there is for the Decents among right-wingers.

  49. Brownie — on 18th February, 2010 at 11:05 pm  

    with Reprieve and the US Center for Constitutional Rights. We can do this all night. Keep repeating that question, I’ll keep answering it.

    Risible. Here it is again:

    Amnesty has no relationship at all with Cage Prisoners. They are a partner among others to take Moazzam Begg on a tour to raise the issue of Guantanamo Bay across Europe.

    Speaks for itself.

  50. Brownie — on 18th February, 2010 at 11:11 pm  

    You really are quite an idiot if you can’t read what was written on this blog post right at the top. Amnesty retains it “uncontestable legitimacy” with people who can read. However there are some bloggers who, without any proof, are hinting that its research and work has been compromised.

    Have you read some of your own commenters? You think the only people uncomfortable with this partnership between AI and Begg are HP, Cohen and what you would regard as the ‘usual suspects’? Have you read what Rumbold wrote? Or MaidMarian? Or numerous others? Are they all “idiots”?

    Christ, a matter of days ago you were hinting that you had misgivings. You demanded that Begg clarify his post-Gitmo position on women’s rights, etc.. What happened? Did FlyingRodent pop round to re-educate you?

  51. FlyingRodent — on 18th February, 2010 at 11:13 pm  

    You make an accusation replete with fake quotes…

    I used those terms because “supports” is exactly how this argument was posed directly to me by Alex Hitchens earlier today, as the crux of the matter. If you prefer to load meaning onto “partnered with” instead, be my guest.

    It’s 439, by the way. That’s just today.

    441, I’ll have you know. Extrajudicial detention is, after all, the issue and not a trifling detail.

    What is it they say?: ‘Don’t become the story’.

    And the first rule of cheerleading the indefensible is “Ensure the NGO becomes the story”. Coincidence? Well, you gotta love them soundbites.

    Anyway, bedtime, 5am start – play nice, now.

  52. Brownie — on 18th February, 2010 at 11:17 pm  

    Anyway, bedtime

    I don’t know how you sleep at night.

    5am start

    An extra pint of gold top, please.

    It’s been the usual blast.

  53. Mark T — on 18th February, 2010 at 11:18 pm  

    And the first rule of cheerleading the indefensible is “Ensure the NGO becomes the story”. Coincidence? Well, you gotta love them soundbites.

    Who is ‘cheerleading’ what, exactly?

    Could you just be talking out of your arse again?

  54. Mark T — on 18th February, 2010 at 11:29 pm  

    It’s also worth noting that the title – nay, the entire thrust – of Sunny’s article here is wilfully misleading.

    The fact that AI has defended the rights of “white terrorists” in the past is – I’m sorry to say – utterly irrelevant. Why? For the simple reason that nobody is objecting to AI defending – in precisely the same fashion – the rights of Guantanamo detainees now.

    All that we are left with is a rather piss-poor attempt to suggest that critics of AI are only concerned about the organization when it stands up for dark-skinned people.

    Doesn’t wash.

  55. Sunny — on 18th February, 2010 at 11:30 pm  

    Have you read what Rumbold wrote? Or MaidMarian? Or numerous others? Are they all “idiots”?

    Unfortunately they seem to have fallen, in my view, for the view that there is no smoke without fire… all the smoke that you guys have been blowing. There has been numerous bullshit posted on HP and Cohen et all that I’ve had to systematically counter. There will be more, don’t worry.

  56. soru — on 18th February, 2010 at 11:35 pm  

    Amnesty retains it “uncontestable legitimacy” with people who can read.

    Sorry, but you are being delusional here.

    There is a reason propaganda operations have, at various times, attempted to portrayed Amnesty as working for the IRA, MI6, KGB and pretty much every other TLA.

    This is because them doing so _would be a bad idea_, would destroy their credibility.

    I’m sure the CIA could provide lost of invaluable graphic details about exactly what the Iranian regime is doing to it’s opponents. That doesn’t mean it is a sensible idea to sign up a CIA operative for a lecture tour of Tehran…

    If Amnesty can’t get it’s house in order, then it will be damaged. It starts form a strong enough position that it will likely survive that damage, but then people would have said that about Toyota two weeks ago.

  57. Brownie — on 18th February, 2010 at 11:41 pm  

    Unfortunately they seem to have fallen, in my view, for the view that there is no smoke without fire

    So not idiots, just extremely gullible. Nice.

    There has been numerous bullshit posted on HP and Cohen et all that I’ve had to systematically counter

    You mean like this post, which attempts to rebut an accusation that you say is “common” (see 1st para), but which no-one has actually levelled?

    Yeah, keep ‘em comin’, Sunny. You couldn’t “systematically counter” your way out of a wet paper bag.

    Laters.

  58. Shatterface — on 18th February, 2010 at 11:47 pm  

    “I’m going to hammer this for a long time.”

    I think that’s your thumb you are hitting.

  59. Sunny — on 18th February, 2010 at 11:49 pm  

    Brownie: You mean like this post, which attempts to rebut an accusation that you say is “common” (see 1st para), but which no-one has actually levelled?

    I believe it was levelled here by David T.

    Here is Nick Cohen:

    I have a piece in the forthcoming issue of Standpoint about ‘the borderless left’; about how it is, rightly, unacceptable for Tories to ally with white fascists, but how no one – or too few – protest when liberal and leftists move beyond the pale and ally with clerical fascists.

    Here was David T a few days ago:

    I believe in freedom of expression and oppose Holocaust denial laws.
    However, I would oppose Amnesty touring around David Irving to talk about his experiences in prison.
    Hits on the Amnesty UK site for Begg: 1,610
    Hits on the Amnesty UK site for David Irving: None.

    Thanks for dropping by. Amusing, as always.

  60. Shatterface — on 18th February, 2010 at 11:58 pm  

    ‘There has been numerous bullshit posted on HP and Cohen et all that I’ve had to systematically counter’

    You haven’t ‘systematically’ countered any of Cohen’s ‘bullshit’, what you’ve done in your last two brain-wrongs on the subject is ‘systematically’ quote, at length, some scumbag at the Indy and Mad Mel, then append an entirely unrelated snippet of Cohen’s in the hope your readers are dumb enough to mistake this Dadaism for a rebuttal.

  61. Mark T — on 19th February, 2010 at 12:01 am  

    Requesting a moratorium on the execution of white supremacists isn’t exactly the same as hauling them round Europe on a speaking tour though, is it Sunny?

    Unless you have a different understanding of what the word ‘defending’ means.

  62. Brownie — on 19th February, 2010 at 12:11 am  

    This is tedious. Here’s your first para:

    A common accusation levelled at Amnesty Int over the Moazzam Begg saga has been that even if they weren’t choosing to endorse all this views – Amnesty is somehow complicit anyway because it does this only for Islamists.

    And you’re citing the quotes above in support of this paragraph? Christ, we’ve mentioned the fact that AI in the past fought for Irving’s rights to free expression but eschewed a joint campaign strategy with the Holocaust-denying chump as the obvious example of how it is possible to champion rights whilst remaining at arm’s length. This is precisely the point DT is making in that quote above. They didn’t have to tout Irving around the meeting halls of Europe to defend free-speech.

    Cohen’s point is a wider one about the preparedness of some leftists to do what you yourself have condemned on this very blog numerous times in the past.

    There isn’t a sentient being anywhere claiming what you suggest in your first paragraph. Re-posting random comments makng the opposite points to the ones you think they’re making isn’t going to get you out of this hole.

    Amusing, as always.

    Hilarious, I’d say, but not in the way you think.

  63. Mark T — on 19th February, 2010 at 12:18 am  

    Exactly Brownie.

    The two examples Sunny gives – requesting information on possible extrajudicial execution of IRA members, and a moratorium on US executions – display precisely the kind of “arms length” distance from the people being defended that Saghal wanted with respect to Begg.

    It’s laughable that Sunny is presenting these cases to support his position.

  64. Sunny — on 19th February, 2010 at 12:31 am  

    display precisely the kind of “arms length” distance from the people being defended that Saghal wanted with respect to Begg.

    First, Begg doesn’t compare to someone like Timothy McVeigh or the IRA. Second, he was at arms length. It’s actually rather insane these two simple points most of you want to avoid.

  65. soru — on 19th February, 2010 at 1:33 am  

    First, Begg doesn’t compare to someone like Timothy McVeigh or the IRA.

    Agreed, more like Sinn Fein, or Howard Stern.

    If you can find some story from the 1970s when a prominent Amnesty activist was sacked by them for complaining about them maintaining insufficient distance with Sinn Fein, then you can consider the two cases comparable.

    If not, it just looks like you are willing to make any argument, no matter how bogus, that kind of vaguely points in the direction you want to position yourself towards.

    Few things persuade uncommitted people as effectively as a bad argument: it (sometimes wrongly) persuades them that if that is the best that side has to say, the other must be right by default.

    The first rule of any political campaign is, if you don’t have a strong argument on some issue, change the subject.

  66. Sunny — on 19th February, 2010 at 6:04 am  

    The first rule of any political campaign is, if you don’t have a strong argument on some issue, change the subject.

    Err, thanks soru, will keep that in mind. Still not sure how it applies to this topic though.

  67. Boyo — on 19th February, 2010 at 7:41 am  

    Sunny had five hours sleep. Not healthy!

  68. MiriamBinder — on 19th February, 2010 at 8:15 am  

    @ Mark T # 54 – Nope, not so much that it is only when Amnesty International concerns itself with “dark-skinned”. I reckon it is more a case of when it happens to be Islamists … That group of people that most of us in the West, including a large number of Muslims, are being told to fear, denounce and demonise …

  69. MiriamBinder — on 19th February, 2010 at 8:46 am  

    Personally I think that the issue is precisely because Begg happens to be one of the global bogeymen that our politically motivated journalists, our governments and our security forces are scaring us with. They want us to see them not so much as the enemy but as ‘Untermenschen’ … And no, it isn’t by implementing a sort of hierarchical racial measure equal to the theories expounded by Hans F. K. Günther. It is using the methodology behind the hierarchical racial theories as expounded by Herr Günther and applying them to ideologies.

  70. cjcjc — on 19th February, 2010 at 9:33 am  

    You mean some people actually have the nerve to suggest that theocracy is a bad idea?

    How very dare they!

    http://www.wluml.org/node/5986

  71. Morrigan — on 19th February, 2010 at 9:38 am  

    Miriam B

    Nope, not so much that it is only when Amnesty International concerns itself with “dark-skinned”. I reckon it is more a case of when it happens to be Islamists … That group of people that most of us in the West, including a large number of Muslims, are being told to fear, denounce and demonise

    So do you think the messages of support for Gita Sahgal from womens groups NOT based in the West were made because those groups have been ‘told’ to fear Islamists, or because they fear them for good reason?

    In fact, do you think that everyone fears Islamists because they are told to, or do some people fear them on their own rational judgement?

  72. MiriamBinder — on 19th February, 2010 at 10:53 am  

    @ cjcjc # 71 – Whether or not theocracy is a good or bad idea is immaterial. What is material is that individuals should be allowed to determine it for themselves …

    @ Morrigan # 72 – I shall reiterate for the sake of those who only dip into the comments … I have no desire to get drawn into the debate between Gita Sahgal and Amnesty International. I happen to hold that Gita Sahgal and the third rate hacks that support her are a symptom rather then a worthy cause in itself.

  73. Brownie — on 19th February, 2010 at 12:03 pm  

    I happen to hold that Gita Sahgal and the third rate hacks that support her are a symptom rather then a worthy cause in itself.

    Ignoring for a second the fact that the above doesn’t actually make any sense, what about the non-third-rate-hacks that support her? The women’s groups that support her? Do they enjoy your disdain, too?

    Whether or not theocracy is a good or bad idea is immaterial. What is material is that individuals should be allowed to determine it for themselves

    After a rigorous debate, shurely?

  74. Rachel — on 19th February, 2010 at 12:39 pm  

    “Whether or not theocracy is a good or bad idea is immaterial. What is material is that individuals should be allowed to determine it for themselves.”

    All individuals? Sarah Palin, the Israeli Settlers, Bin Laden, Narendra Modi, the Butcher of Gujarat? No thanks, I prefer to hold on to the old-fashioned notion that theocracy is a bad thing. I look forward to the retreat of god-based politics.

    Folks, since there seems to be nothing new coming out about the Amnesty story, why not ignore the blogs and do a little reading, maybe learn something? Perhaps we aren’t the experts we think we are.

    There’s the Begg book, Enemy Combatants, worth a read, and Gita Sahgals Refusing Holy Orders, and I’ve been looking at these articles:

    http://www.awid.org/eng/Issues-and-Analysis/Library/Cross-regional-aspects-of-Jewish-fundamentalisms-Interview-with-Nira-Yuval-Davis

    http://www.womenagainstfundamentalism.org.uk/ 2007 report on social cohesion

    http://www.opendemocracy.net/conflict-india_pakistan/article_1684.jsp
    -this about the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in – Gita Sahgal was active in the campaign to publicise this in Britain

    THE-FETISH-OF-THE-MARGINS-RELIGIOUS-ABSOLUTISM-ANTIRACISM-AND-POSTCOLONIAL-SILENCE by Chetan Bhatt – very academic but worth it

    Other reading suggestions?

  75. MiriamBinder — on 19th February, 2010 at 12:41 pm  

    @ Brownie # 74 – If it doesn’t make sense it is in al likelihood just beyond your ability to grasp.

    As for the second point you raise … certainly after rigorous debate if that is what (a) given individual/s want to engage in. Most assuredly not on the convenient or otherwise emotive machinations of politically motivated hacks.

  76. BrownEyedGirl — on 19th February, 2010 at 12:49 pm  

    Sorry maybe this has been mentioned but ive not looked at this since last night and after 2 dozen comments on ‘partner’ i had to say something.

    Amnesty will have put together a plan for a speaker tour on the issue of Gitmo. For that they need speakers – they will then approach people with the relivant knowledge and experience.
    AI will have asked Moazzam to be part of the event to speak about his experiences as an ex detainee.

    Thats as far as his involvement goes with the organisation, he is not acting as an ambassidor for any organistion he is there as an individual.

    I imagine the request will have gone to him directly and not via cagedprisoners.

  77. Brownie — on 19th February, 2010 at 12:51 pm  

    @ Brownie # 74 – If it doesn’t make sense it is in al likelihood just beyond your ability to grasp.

    I think it’s got more to do with the fact that the sentence is an amalgamation of half a metaphor and an entirely unrelated sub-clause, myself.

    As for the second point you raise … certainly after rigorous debate if that is what (a) given individual/s want to engage in. Most assuredly not on the convenient or otherwise emotive machinations of politically motivated hacks.

    The people who want to debate, will; the people who don’t, won’t. What, exactly, is your problem? Apart from the fact that you don’t agree with what some of those debating are saying, I mean?

    Let me quote you again:

    Whether or not theocracy is a good or bad idea is immaterial. What is material is that individuals should be allowed to determine it for themselves

    Problem is, in a theocracy you don’t get allowed to determine very much at all for youself. It’s kinda the point of a theocracy.

    What we do know is that in Afghanistan and Iraq, when people have been given the choice, theocracy has been given an overwhelming thunbs-down. I think this has surprised some more than others.

  78. Sunny — on 19th February, 2010 at 1:11 pm  

    BrownEyedGirl – I’ve only tried to repeat that about 20 times. But when certain people start to smell Islamists under their bed…

  79. BrownEyedGirl — on 19th February, 2010 at 1:15 pm  

    Sunny – They have Islamists under their beds….? why? what are they doing there?
    Are they illeagally detaining them? dont they know its against their human rights? ;)

  80. MiriamBinder — on 19th February, 2010 at 1:40 pm  

    @ Brownie # 77 – The last refuge of the inept … tear into the grammar or spelling … Well done. Good lad/lass but don’t give up the day job.

    I do believe that this particular thread was about Amnesty – When you start one on comparative ideologies let me know.

  81. Paul Moloney — on 19th February, 2010 at 2:06 pm  

    Sunny, did Amnesty organize a poetry reading tour for Gerry Adams in the 80s?

    P.

  82. Brownie — on 19th February, 2010 at 4:02 pm  

    The last refuge of the inept … tear into the grammar or spelling

    I didn’t “tear into the grammar or spelling”. I said it didn’t make sense. And it doesn’t. When you put words together in a sentence it’s supposed to mean something. I can either point this out, or respond with something like ‘a bird in the hand butters no parsnips’. It’s entirely up to you.

    BrowEyedGirl,

    Thanks for explaining how it all works. We really had no idea.

    I imagine the request will have gone to him directly and not via cagedprisoners.

    I imagine the request to front a campaign on free speech went straight to David Irving and not via the Ku Klux Klan.

    Oh, except it didn’t, did it? AI did once defend Irving’s right to free speech, but they didn’t have him readding piss-poor poetry at their campaign events.

    Can you imagine why not?

  83. BrownEyedGirl — on 19th February, 2010 at 5:17 pm  

    Brownie -

    my point was they didnt go to him in his role as a cagedprisoner abassador, just as an individual who had experienced illegal detention therefore, amnesty were not looking to ‘partner’ themselves with cagedprisoners.

    Anyway i rather liked the event at amnesty for the poems from guantanamo event a few years back….. but hey what do i know………….

  84. Yakoub — on 20th February, 2010 at 9:59 am  

    Human rights are universal – duh? It’s amazing how soft the left has been on the scum who think this isn’t so. The argument, “well, what about the human rights of the victims” etc etc are specious, emotionalist, and grounded in a belief that justice ought to be vindictive rather than rational and humane. The minute you deny one group human rights because you hate them is the moment you become no different to the criminals you malign.

  85. Reza — on 20th February, 2010 at 2:27 pm  

    Remember writing this Sunny?

    “…we are holding a demonstration on behalf of the 223 Guantanamo detainees to show that much still needs to be done to free them from illegal detention.

    Please join us and hold one of the 223 placards to show your solidarity for the detainees.”

    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/6068

    “Solidarity”?

    The dictionary definition of that word is “A union of interests, purposes, or sympathies among members of a group…”

    But you knew what the word meant when you used it didn’t you Sunny?

    I happen to oppose the death penalty in the USA. I’d happily demonstrate against it.

    But never would I demonstrate my “solidarity” with the murdering rapists on death row.

    Get it? Such a fine line between clever and stupid isn’t there?

    You cooked your goose with that statement. Showed where your true sympathies lie; that you’d lie down with the devil it you thought that it would be ‘anti-American’ to do so.

    The majority of Gitmo detainees are terrorist scum. Those that aren’t are Islamic extremists in every meaning of that term.

    By all means campaign for due process and rule of law for everyone, however unpleasant they might be. There’s honour and integrity in that.

    But demonstrating solidarity with evil scumbags? How much must you have to hate America to sink that low?

    There’s NO honour nor integrity in that.

    That’s why AI have lost so much credibility.

    And you would have too, if you’d had any to begin with.

  86. MiriamBinder — on 20th February, 2010 at 3:10 pm  

    Oh look … The diddums has found a new stick.

  87. Reza — on 20th February, 2010 at 4:45 pm  

    Oh Miriam, you’ve outdone yourself.

    That comment’s so worthless I couldn’t even dignify it as ad hominem.

    It belongs in a school playground.

    Although I suspect that my 12-year-old would be capable of a far more lucid, mature and may I say intelligent response.

    Not suprising.

    And pathetic.

  88. MiriamBinder — on 20th February, 2010 at 5:22 pm  

    When you make an intelligent contribution, you get an intelligent response. Come out with something as pathetic as your # 85 and # 86 is all you can expect ;)

  89. Reza — on 20th February, 2010 at 6:25 pm  

    I’m interested, what was “pathetic” about # 85?

    I’m sure many thinking people would find the image of a so-called ‘mainstream’ (by ‘mainstream’ I mean someone who is allowed to write in the Guardian) activist like Sunny standing in Trafalgar Square, proudly displaying a photograph of a terrorist or Islamic extremist in a demonstration of “solidarity” utterly repulsive.

    Or are you one of those people who choose to believe that every Gitmo detainee must by default be a thoroughly innocent and decent chap who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and got captured for no other reason than being a Muslim?

    Is there a little voice in your head that wills you to believe: “Of course that’s what happened; it had to be. The Yanks were behind it and I hate Yanks. Yanks are evil. Therefore the detainees must be innocent.”

    I’m sure that’s what happens in Sunny’s subconsious.

    The problem with lefies is that they don’t understand that opposing something they disagree with doesn’t necessarily mean that by default they should support the opposite evil.

    So opposing Israel, the Iraq or Afghan wars doesn’t mean you must demonstrate “solidarity” with Hamas, Hezbollah, Batthists, the various Sunni and Shia Islamist groups or the Taliban.

    Remember “…we’re all Hezbollah now”? I hope you aren’t one of those…

    And opposing the lack of due process in Guantanamo Bay doesn’t mean you demonstrate “solidarity” with the detainees, the majority of whom are doubtless thoroughly unpleasant and dangerous people.

    As Sunny (predictably) and Amnesty (sadly) discredited themselves by doing.

    I used to grapple with SWP and Militant goons at Uni, so I’m experienced with the utter moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the leftie thought-process.

    Try thinking about my ‘death-row’ analogy in # 85. See if you can overcome your leftie blind prejudice enough to appreciate the perfect rationality of that example.

    Or show me how I’ve got it wrong. How it was perfectly reasonable for Sunny to waddle around Trafalgar Square with a photograph of a probable evil scum-bag in his hands.

    Or stubbornly choose not to see it, lest it clashes with your leftie double-think and simply respond with another irrelevant and pathetic personal insult.

  90. MiriamBinder — on 20th February, 2010 at 7:28 pm  

    What I hate is incarceration without trial, extraordinary rendition, exclusion, paranoia and prejudice … Anyone is allowed to believe anything they want provided they do not enforce their belief, paranoia and prejudice on me or anyone else for that matter. As soon as someone does something that runs contrary to fundamental basic rights, regardless of what motivates them, they should be called to task.

    Two wrongs do not make a right … they never have and they never will. However I don’t think that pulling someone up because they have publicly condemned ‘x’ but haven’t publicly condemned ‘y’ ‘q’ and ‘z’ in the same sentence, or paragraph for that matter, is to be contentious for the sake of contention; it is stupid, non-constructive and … well yes, infantile. So go ahead and split hairs all you want. Just don’t expect to be taken seriously …

  91. Reza — on 20th February, 2010 at 10:34 pm  

    Miriam

    “What I hate is incarceration without trial, extraordinary rendition, exclusion, paranoia and prejudice… ”

    These certainly make me very uncomfortable.

    “Two wrongs do not make a right .”

    They certainly don’t, hence I have no problems opposing both the Iraq AND Afghan wars as well as Guantanimo Bay without feeling obliged to demonstrate any “solidarity” with the other side.

    “I don’t think that pulling someone up because they have publicly condemned ‘x’ but haven’t publicly condemned ‘y’ ‘q’ and ‘z’ in the same sentence, or paragraph for that matter, is to be contentious for the sake of contention…”

    A fair point Miriam.

    But failing to publicly condemn y, q and z is not the same as tacit approval.

    Not the same as, how did Sunny put it?

    “Please join us and hold one of the 223 placards to show your solidarity for the detainees.”

    And marching around Trafalgar Square with big photograph of a probable evil scum-bag held aloft.

    That’s not splitting hairs now is it?

  92. MiriamBinder — on 20th February, 2010 at 11:22 pm  

    If you can’t see the hair splitting Reza then so be it.

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