Trending Topics:

Amnesty Int’l collapse: new head is former State Dept official who rationalized Iran sanctions, Gaza onslaught

US Politics
on 25 Comments

A friend writes:

Thoughtful and angry piece by Ann Wright and Colleen Rowley about the new head of Amnesty International USA’s contingently defending NATO action in Afghanistan since it helps Afghan women’s rights. (This line of liberal feminist decoy apology for that war was spotted and tagged by Judith Butler in her book Precarious Life.) 

Former State Department official Suzanne Nossel triangulates Hillary, Madeleine, Samantha, Susan Rice, and the  Atrocity Prevention Board. See her 2007 blog on negotiations with Iran as a  tactical necessity (the Dennis Ross view)–i.e. we must go through the motions  because we have to prove them futile before we do what needs to be done. It is  strange and unfortunate that such a person now leads Amnesty International USA. A  valuable placement for the imperialists, as was Amano succeeding ElBaradei at  the International Atomic Energy Agency. How they have lined up the pins! 

And above is Nossel on the Goldstone Report–its flaw of putting “the most negative possible spin that you could put on Israeli behavior.”

“It draws a series of inferences about Israel’s motives and behavior that are simply not supported by the facts…. We do take exception to that…”

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

Other posts by .

Posted In:

25 Responses

  1. HarryLaw
    June 22, 2012, 2:00 pm

    Former Sec of state Madeleine Albright featured at an Amnesty International ‘shadow summit’ in Chicago, people were asking how a notorious apologist for the mass murder of children should be allowed to speak on the rights of women and children. When told that half a million children had died as a result of Iraq sanctions, and whether it was worth it, Albright replied “it is a hard choice, but we think the price was worth it” Amnesty International can only go downhill from here.

    • lyn117
      June 22, 2012, 4:17 pm

      Well, there goes my planned donation to Amnesty. I’ll give it to Doctors without borders.

    • Krauss
      June 22, 2012, 6:26 pm

      The new Amnesty head seems almost tailor-made for neocons (of the liberal variety) in the U.S.

      Protect Israel at all costs, defend U.S. expansionism.
      And this woman is now the head of Amnesty? Who got her there?
      We’ve long known that Israel hates the human rights organizations. Did it get one of their own there, in exchange for allowing someone who is also very sympathetic to U.S. wars? The story of her nomination is a huge story in of itself.

      Who get her in there, exactly? She’s totally out of touch for that place. It’s almost like a foreign implant.


      Okay so I notice she’s Jewish. Is she a ‘liberal Zionist’ too?
      This is tragic because there is a long and proud history of true human rights champions who were also Jewish(think Kenneth Rose). That this tradition is now broken to somekind of liberal neocon is a disaster.

  2. American
    June 22, 2012, 2:29 pm

    “Suzanne Nossel described her own background that inspired a lifelong dedication to human rights. “Looking back to what first sparked my own interest in human rights issues, it has everything to do growing up as an American Jew,” she said. Her mother’s parents were refugees from Nazi Germany who settled in Cape Town, South Africa in the 1930s, leaving many relatives behind. As a child, she visited relatives in apartheid South Africa. “I puzzled over the disconnect between what I saw there, and the liberal values of my suburban Jewish Day School,” she said of the apartheid era. “I have vibrant memories of being mobilized as part of the movement to free Soviet Jewry, marching down Fifth Avenue into Dag Hammarsjkold Plaza and standing with thousands to demand respect for human rights. She has frequently visited relatives in Israel, saying “It’s a place where I feel very comfortable and at home.”

    Ho hum, another zionist agent in the US serving Israel. Another article on her says she said she’s been successful at Dept of State in protecting Israel from being singled out for criticism.
    Total Israel firster.
    Sorry honey, your zionist actions speak louder than your ‘Jewish values’.

    • Sin Nombre
      Sin Nombre
      June 22, 2012, 4:19 pm

      Suzanne Nossel said:

      “Looking back to what first sparked my own interest in human rights issues, it has everything to do growing up as an American Jew.”

      Ah of course; what else but that … specialness explains … her specialness?

      What’s funny is that if anything the ideology of Amnesty International and human rights ideas are founded on the idea that nobody *is* special.

      But for the Nossel’s of the world, there’s still that one special specialness, isn’t there? Nobody else can have any specialness; indeed to even suggest it is vile, racist, fascist. And yet to point out *jewish* behavior based on ideas of specialness is … vile, racist, and fascist.

      Special special special; how special it must be to feel special. How … warming. How … self-satisfying. How … all-encompassing. Your achievements so … specially better than everyone else’s. Your mistakes so … specially innocent and unworthy of blame than everyone else’s. Your very thoughts and emotions so specially superior. Even your bad deeds have to be looked at as especially different from others given that, as with everything else you do, they still spring from your own specialness and thus by definition can’t be as bad as everyone else’s, and indeed are probably not bad at all.

      And, you know, because you are special, well yet another logical consequence of same affects who can judge you and whether you’ve been bad? Because it certainly isn’t any *non*-special person or body….

      Boy, being special sure is special. I sure wish I was special.

      • AllenBee
        June 22, 2012, 8:30 pm

        Sin Nombre, I’ve been trying to compress criticisms of Daron Acemoglu’s Why Nations Fail into something less than 10,000 words for a book group discussion tomorrow. Every page I turned revealed some other aspect of American exceptionalism; “it’s ok if we do it;” “If only they were like us then they’d be ok.”
        Acemoglu/Robinson have holes in their thesis the size of South Africa. They are thoroughly enamored of their bastardized — or Niall-ized — version of Creative Destruction, tho they appear to have missed the part where Shumpeter explained that destruction was an unfortunate side-effect of creativity & advances in productivity. Acemoglu/Robinson appear to believe, as does the US State Dept and foreign policy establishment, that the US is so Mary Poppinsish perfect in every way that its their exceptional right/duty to destroy other people’s lives & cultures in order to “liberate” them to the wonders of mortgages, centralized health care and propaganda-as-education.

        Acemoglu/Robinson used “extractive” and “creative destruction” (proportionally) as many times as you used special in your special comment about the specialness of special people.

        May their specialness be creatively destroyed.

      • Mooser
        June 22, 2012, 11:58 pm

        “… self-satisfying. How … all-encompassing. Your achievements so … specially better than everyone else’s. Your mistakes so … specially innocent and unworthy of blame than everyone else’s.”

        Hey Sin, you should be a little more understanding! Look what would you do if you were a Jew (I certainly don’t know if you are or aren’t) and had to face up, objectively to what Jewish history has been? Of course you would take refuge in some kind of exceptionalist fantasy if you could, it’s only human.
        I could sort of see Catholics doing the same thing under certain circumstances, or even Penn. State football boosters. Hey anything is better than admitting you’ve been badly taken by people you trusted, and the basic reason is your own shortcomings. It’s tough to take.

      • Sin Nombre
        Sin Nombre
        June 23, 2012, 3:46 pm

        Mooser wrote:

        “and [you] had to face up, objectively to what Jewish history has been? Of course you would take refuge in some kind of exceptionalist fantasy if you could, it’s only human.”

        A couple of points:

        I’m not a subscriber to what strikes me as the propagandist history that’s so put about these days that portrays the jews as always and everywhere the worst victims history has ever seen. I realize that this does seem to be the view of history that’s nurtured, but it just ain’t so. In fact I reject the very idea of talking about victims in this tribal sense: Merely if I am a gypsy, it doesn’t mean I’m entitled to one whit of special consideration because Hitler killed a lot of gypsies. And the same with “merely if I am a Slav, or a jew, or a Pole” or etc. Plus, if one still insists on speaking in some group fashion, there’s the fact that when jews as a group have had the whip hand historically they wielded it just as nastily if not worse than any other group. E.g., the jews among the Bolsheviks, and now of course and for the umpteen years the jews versus the arabs.

        Secondly though I have no problem with any exceptionalist fantasy or even ideology or whatever that’s used, say, to console. That’s not anywhere near the aggressive uses of the exceptionalist fantasies that I see amongst Ms. Nossel and etc.

      • homingpigeon
        June 25, 2012, 2:04 am

        Hey I’m thinking of returning to the Druid roots of my ancestors, special and persecuted, as evidenced by how few they are. I want the real estate around Stonehenge for a national homeland to protect our remnant from further extermination.

  3. American
    June 22, 2012, 2:32 pm

    But here’s something good. The military kicked out the Muslim hater at the JFSC.

    Suspended; U.S. Military Instructor Taught Officers To Wage ‘Total War’ On Islam
    June 21st, 2012 |

    The U.S. military is taking concrete action against an instructor, Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley, who taught U.S. military officers at the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) to wage “total war” on Islam.
    The JFSC has been plagued by reports that course presentations delivered by visiting instructors as well as active duty U.S. military personnel cited numerous prominent American Islamophobes and promoted taking a war on Islam “to the civilian population wherever necessary.” Dooley’s suspension, as reported by Wired’s Danger Zone, marks a step forward in removing blatantly anti-Muslim teaching materials from the JFSC.
    ThinkProgress has obtained one of Dooley’s PowerPoint presentations. The presentation (which can be downloaded here) offers a stark example of the Islamophobic curriculum taught to U.S. military officers.
    The presentation, dated from July, 2011, offers a “counter-jihad op design model.” Dooley’s “model”:

  4. hughsansom
    June 22, 2012, 3:02 pm

    Amnesty International has had a poor to deplorable record on Israeli human rights abuses for many years. Suzanne Nossel’s placement reflects long-standing AI hypocrisy rather than any change of course for the organization.

    AI gives every indication of taking an approach seen with a large percentage of well-funded, well-connected NGOs — play down criticism of major powers (public or private) in the interest of maintaining contacts and funding sources. We see much the same pattern in several major environmental organizations.

    • seafoid
      June 22, 2012, 3:46 pm

      AI – very disappointing. It’s the same fear of the lobby that infects so many decision makers.

      And it’s why the fall of Zionism will be so squirm inducing for so many people who should have known better.

      And why ground up action like BDS is the only way.

      But we know BDS is what freaks out the bots the most.

  5. Les
    June 22, 2012, 3:24 pm

    Grotesque. Another reason for NPR, and others in the broadcast wing of the Israel Lobby, to boast that a fellow Jew has risen to the top of the heap in the power structure. Pointing out that the neocons are disproportionately Jewish, is still considered by them to be an observation that, however true, is anti-Semitic.

  6. ritzl
    June 22, 2012, 3:40 pm

    How can a group, self-tasked with monitoring human rights abuses, across the board, possibly hire a career US functionary as its head, when the US is “arguably” a major perpetrator of those abuses? First question.

    Please, someone, PLEASE explain that hiring Nossel is NOT a ploy to direct a major formerly-credible HR org into competing legitimacy (but AI says…) with other HR orgs, especially wrt Israel.

    Oh well. Second and third questions answered. Another donee gone. Not paying her salary.

  7. DICKERSON3870
    June 22, 2012, 3:41 pm

    RE: “Amnesty Int’l collapse: new head is former State Dept official who rationalized Iran sanctions, Gaza onslaught” ~ Weiss

    SOMEWHAT RELATED: “Right Wing Billionaires Push Israel Agenda in Democratic Party” [featuring Phil Weiss and Max Blumenthal], by The Real News, 6/21/12 (VIDEO, 09:02) –

  8. W.Jones
    June 22, 2012, 4:07 pm

    I am confused. I thought Amnesty International was a major leftwing global nonprofit organization for prisoners’ rights. How is it that such a person becomes its leader? Did the other board members vote the person in? If so, how did the board members get to the position of leading such a seemingly leftist independent organization without this being widely known?

    Instead, it seems to me more natural that Amnesty International would be made up of progressive activists fighting for prisoners rights against unjust government systems. How is it that instead its hierarchy is composed of people closely involved with the government’s militaristic wing?

  9. Rusty Pipes
    Rusty Pipes
    June 22, 2012, 5:16 pm

    I know that the economy has been bad and non-profits have been hurting for years (many have had staff cutbacks or gone under). Perhaps Amnesty USA felt the pinch as well. One hates to think that they would compromise their image of evenhandedness by making a hire and change of emphasis that could attract major donors with a weighted agenda.

    • Avi_G.
      June 22, 2012, 6:22 pm

      Pinch shminch.

      The Lobby got to Amnesty International like they do with other organizations. This is part of Israel’s campaign of Lawfare.

  10. Avi_G.
    June 22, 2012, 6:20 pm

    And above is Nossel on the Goldstone Report–its flaw of putting “the most negative possible spin that you could put on Israeli behavior.”

    “It draws a serious of inferences about Israel’s motives and behavior that are simply not supported by the facts…. We do take exception to that…”

    Israel’s behavior in 2002 when it wiped out entire neighborhoods of the Jenin refugee camp, it’s behavior in 1982 when it massacred civilians and facilitated the massacre of Sabra and Shatila, it’s behavior in 1967 when it murdered a few hundred Egyptian POWs, and its behavior in 2006 when it flattened large swaths of Lebanese residential neighborhoods, are incriminating enough without having to resort to splitting hairs over the Gaza onslaught of 2009.

    And this doesn’t come close to describing Israel’s actions of ethnic cleansing in 1948 when Ben Gurion implemented his Tochnit Dalet (Plan D).

    In his memoirs, Yitzhak Rabin described how as a commander in the army he drove out Palestinians from Lydd.

    Would Nossel like to challenge THAT LIST of Israel’s crimes, as well? Or is Goldstone just a convenient punching bag for her and her ilk?

  11. ToivoS
    June 22, 2012, 6:34 pm

    AI has always been very cautious about Israel. I have always assumed that among their donors were some progressive Zionists. Human Rights Watch has been even worse.

    This is a good time for this story to break. Maybe enough progressive non-Zionists donors will realize where their money is going. Certainly, they should be aware that their donations are not needed since these organization have the backing of very wealthy Zionists.

  12. Keith
    June 22, 2012, 8:48 pm

    Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are both integral parts of imperial control. They function analogously to the missionaries of old. Like the missionaries, they do some demonstrably good work. They also legitimize much imperial behavior, primarily to the liberals in the home country. They are the arbiters of good behavior, the inheritors of the white man’s burden.

  13. Nevada Ned
    Nevada Ned
    June 23, 2012, 2:40 am

    Here is an essay that Suzanne Nossel wrote for Dissent magazine 5 years ago. She lays out a game plan for a carefully prepared US attack on Iran. The first paragraph reads…

    The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran—bent on regional domination, aggressive toward
    Israel, and hostile to the United States—is as serious a threat as the United States has
    confronted in recent decades. For at least two key reasons, that threat will not be directly
    confronted with force in the short term. First, there are genuine questions about how
    close Iran is to nuclear weapons capabilities. Estimates differ and are inconclusive. After
    the intelligence failure in Iraq, standards of proof are high, and policymakers in
    Washington and in capitals abroad will demand more certainty before taking aggressive
    action. Second, U.S. military capabilities, regional influence, and diplomatic leverage are
    effectively reduced by the grinding conflict in Iraq, making the prospect of a second
    simultaneous conflagration in the Middle East both politically and militarily untenable.

    As always, Dissent magazine is quite hawkish, including most of its readers and contributors.

    According to her Wikipedia web page, Suzanne Nossel previously served as a top officer of Human Rights Watch. Thus the job at Amnesty International was not her first job as a combination human-rights-activist and warhawk. Belgian peace activist Jean Bricmont has devoted an entire book to this phenomenon. “Humanitarian Imperialism: using human rights to sell war.”

    • Keith
      June 23, 2012, 4:55 pm

      NEVADA NED- Now if you can get Phil to read Bricmont’s book, perhaps he will rethink his support for “humanitarian intervention.” Yet, I somehow doubt it. Hard to picture Phil morphing into John Pilger. Pity.

  14. petersz
    June 23, 2012, 9:12 am

    What next Dick Cheney as head of Amnesty International? LOL

  15. hammersmith
    June 23, 2012, 11:13 am

    The infection spreads!

Leave a Reply