I’ve finally overcome my inertia and canceled the £5 monthly donation that I have been making to Amnesty International for the last 30 years or so. Twenty years ago I was an active AI supporter, more recently it has just been the donation. As Syrian Girl says, AI supports NATO’s wars; I do not.
The last two calls I’ve had from Amnesty asking for increased support highlighted abuses in Iran and China; I’ve never had a call about abuses in Saudi Arabia or Israel or any ally of the NATO countries.
My concern about Amnesty began with their support for military intervention in Libya and the disinformation that they spread about Gaddfi using black mercenaries against his own people. Amnesty later admitted that this information was false but it led to the murder of black civilians.
According to Wikipedia Amnesty has ‘form’ for spreading rumours like this, as in the lead up to the 1991 Gulf War:
Critics have also pointed out that AI had a role propagating disinformation in a press release before the 1991 Gulf War, in which it claimed that Iraqi soldiers were responsible for the deaths of “scores of civilians, including newborn babies, who died as a direct result of their forced removal from life-support machines.” It later transpired that this claim was a propaganda hoax, and AI’s press release was used in the opening salvo of this propaganda campaign – U.S. President George H. W. Bush showed AI’s press release on a prime time interview. Prof. Francis Boyle, an AI USA director at the time, gives a detailed insider account of the way the AI press release was handled. The normal process of double-checking and consultation was short-circuited in a rush to issue the press release. In an April 1991 statement, AI said that although its team was shown alleged mass graves of babies, it was not established how they had died and the team found no reliable evidence that Iraqi forces had caused the deaths of babies by removing them or ordering their removal from incubators.
The same Wikipedia article indicates that AI continues to spread rumours relating to the Syrian conflict:
In September 2011, Amnesty International reported that anti-Assad protestor Zainab al-Hosni’s body, mutilated by pro-Assad forces, was “discovered by chance by her family in a morgue in Homs while there to identify her brother’s corpse.” In October 2011, Hosni allegedly appeared on Syrian TV stating that the accusations of her killing were false and fabricated by anti-Assad protestors to “serve foreign interests” and that she was “alive in contrast to what the lying satellite television stations had said.” According to a report in Reuters, anti-Assad activists say she is a look-alike.
This is not to say that AI does not do some good work, it must in order to maintain any credibility, but the evidence suggests that it is either allied to NATO and its aims or else it is irresponsible and incompetent in its pronouncements about abuses by states.