Amnesty Intl. Explains Why It Won’t Oppose All Drone Murders

I was on Margaret Flowers’ and Kevin Zeese’s Clearing the Fog Radio today ( http://clearingthefogradio.org ) together with Naureen Shah of Amnesty International.  The show ought to appear soon on iTunes here, and mixcloud here, and is already on UStream here although it seems to be missing the audio.  I had earlier published a critique of AI’s report on drones.

On this show, Shah explained that Amnesty International cannot oppose all drone strikes in an illegal war, because Amnesty International has never opposed a war, because doing so would make it look biased, and A.I. wants to appear to be an unbiased enforcer of the law.  But, of course, an illegal war is a violation of the law — usually of the U.N. Charter which most lawyers whom A.I. hangs out with recognize, never mind the Kellogg-Briand Pact which they don’t.

Refusing to recognize the UN Charter, in order to appear unbiased, is a twisted notion to begin with, but perhaps it had good intentions at one time.  However, now the U.N. special rapporteur finds that drones are making war the norm rather than the exception.  That’s a serious shifting of the ground, and might be good reason to reconsider the ongoing feasibility of a human rights group avoiding the existence of laws against war.

Shah also argued against banning weaponized drones on the grounds that they could be used legally.  That is, there could be a legal war (ignoring Kellogg-Briand) and during that legal war a drone could legally kill people in accordance with someone’s interpretation of necessity, discrimination, proportionality, intention, and so forth.  Shah contrasts this with chemical weapons, even though I could imagine a theoretical scenario in which a targeted murder in a closed space could use chemical weapons in plausible accord with all of the lawyerly notions of “legal war” other than the ban on chemical weapons.

Of course, practically speaking, weaponized drones are slaughtering and traumatizing innocent people and will do so as long as they’re used.  The notion of civilizing and legalizing atrocity-free war was ludicrous enough before the age of drone murder.  It’s beyond outrageous now.

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  • goingnowherefast

    AI is not the same organization it used to be. I was an active member for many years, but unfortunately like many NGOs, it has been co-opted by the corporate state. They no longer receive my participation or financial support.

    • colinjames71

      Good on you, on both counts. Is it me or is it now impossible to believe that any large organization- rights, environment, whatever- isn’t totally compromised and ultimately counter-productive to their mission as stated? The only thing I support anymore is independent media.

  • ClubToTheHead

    So it felt like a betrayal when I heard that Amnesty’s American office was headed for most of last year by Suzanne Nossel;
    before taking up that job she had been a deputy assistant secretary of
    state under Hillary Clinton. Under Nossel’s leadership, Amnesty whitewashed
    the invasion of Afghanistan by hosting a conference praising NATO’s
    “progress” in that country. The guest of “honor” at that event was
    Madeleine Albright, the secretary of state who declared that killing as
    many as 500,000 children in Iraq by depriving them of essential
    medicines was a price worth paying.

    http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/david/how-amnesty-has-let-down-bradley-manning

  • jack

    Amnesty International has been penetrated by NATO intel. They also have very heavy giving donors. They don’t need our money. They only pretend to, to make us feel that AI is “of us”. Never give money to AI or Human Right Watch, another fraud. Doctors Without Borders may be another one.

  • markii

    there’ll be no need for amnesty when the drones have dispatched them all,…