Amnesty International Targets Israel, US, Ignores China

By Monisha Bansal | July 7, 2008 | 8:17 PM EDT

( - The human rights group Amnesty International has "squandered its reputation," according to a new think tank report, by focusing on the alleged misdeeds of Israel and the United States while practically ignoring rights violations by China, North Korea and other notorious regimes.

"Amnesty International has moved its focus away from human rights as traditionally understood and toward human rights as Leftist ideology," stated Alex Svetlicinii of Capital Research Center (CRC), which conducted the study.

Svetlicinii looked at the human rights reports issued by Amnesty International as well as the separate scores that another human rights group -- Freedom House - assigned to countries for civil liberties and political rights. Svetlicinii then determined the "scrutiny score" for each country.

According to CRC's findings, Amnesty International applied the heaviest scrutiny to Israel (its scrutiny score was 255) followed by the United States (a score of 128). At the bottom of the list were the communist-run nations of Vietnam (a score of three), North Korea (a score of two) and China (a score of one).

"In recent years the leadership of Amnesty International has been taken over by the blame-America-first crowd," David Hogberg, senior research associate with CRC told Cybercast News Service.

Calling Amnesty International's reports "propaganda," Hogberg accused the organization of trying to "minimize or dilute the seriousness of real human rights violations [by placing] us on par with countries like China."

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the late Democratic U.S. senator from New York and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, had a theory about international human rights abuses still instructive today, Hogberg said.

According to "Moynihan's Law," Hogberg said, "t he amount of violations of human rights in a country is always an inverse function of the amount of complaints about human rights violations heard from there."

"The greater the number of complaints being aired, the better protected are human rights in that country," Hogberg said, paraphrasing Moynihan.

It is a lot easier for Amnesty International to criticize places that are relatively free, like Israel, the United Kingdom or the United States, because there is really no penalty for doing so," Hogberg added.

In a 2004 human rights report, Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan called the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison, which houses detainees from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, "the gulag of our times."

Her comments prompted criticism in a Washington Post editorial in May 2005.

"[L]ately [Amnesty International] has tended to save its most vitriolic condemnations not for the world's dictators but for the United States," the Post editorial stated.

The gulag, which was the systematic torture and forced labor of 20 million political dissidents in the former Soviet Union, does have a modern equivalent, the Post noted, but it's not the example cited by Amnesty International.

"Its modern equivalent is not Guantanamo Bay, but the prisons of Cuba, where Amnesty itself says a new generation of prisoners of conscience reside; or the labor camps of North Korea, which were set up on Stalinist lines; or China's laogai (forced labor camps), the true size of which isn't even known; or, until recently, the prisons of Saddam Hussein's Iraq," the Post editorial argued.

Telephone calls seeking comment from Amnesty International for this article, were not returned.

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