Scanlyze

The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Amnesty blames Ukraine for Alleged Russian bombardment

To Agnès.Callamard
Amnesty International Secretary-General
August 10, 2022

Dear Ms. Callamard and whom it may concern:

I am writing to express my concern about a purported Amnesty Press release I learned about from the New York Times. Here are the links:

An Amnesty International assessment that Ukraine ‘put civilians in harm’s way’ stirs outrage.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/07/world/europe/amnesty-international-ukraine-russia-war-crimes.html

Ukraine: Ukrainian fighting tactics endanger civilians
https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/08/ukraine-ukrainian-fighting-tactics-endanger-civilians/

My concern about this communication is profound.

Even granted this is one message in a larger corpus of Amnesty communications all of which I’ve not read, obvs, nevertheless there are a number of very problematic issues which stand out on first inspection.

First is the issue of tone.

This press release reads like Russian propaganda.

““We have documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war when they operate in populated areas,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.”

It uses a straw man argument, ““Being in a defensive position does not exempt the Ukrainian military from respecting international humanitarian law.””

Well ofc that’s true, but you don’t actually cite any instance of anyone saying or asserting that. Thus it is a straw man argument.

What the straw man argument elides is that there is a clear distinction in customary law between aggressive war and self-defense.

The judgment of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg states, “War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

Wars of aggression are recognized as crimes under customary law in the UN Charter Articles 1, 2, 33, and 39; in the Rio Pact; in UN General Assembly Res 3314, in the Rome Statute of the ICC; and elsewhere.

Your framing omits this important fact. You aren’t even even-handed. Your condemnation is weighted in scope and particulars against Ukraine, and thus one might reasonably infer, relatively favorable toward Russia’s perspective.

I find it problematic in the extreme that your April to July investigation of alleged Russian strikes by Russia against Ukrainian protected sites and persons results in this strange press release –condemning Ukraine! Seriously what???

Russia and Ukraine have obligations under customary law of proportionality; respecting cultural sites and hospitals; avoiding aerial bombardment of civilian areas; respecting the rights of prisoners of war and interned civilians; refraining from theft, rape, torture, not punishing people merely for fighting to defend their homeland, and eschewing extrajudicial punishments and executions.

Article 51(3) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I of the 1949 Geneva Convention provides that civilians shall enjoy protection against the dangers arising from military operations “unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities”.

If Russian troops are on the doorstep of Irpan or Bucha or Hostomel what is Ukraine to do, according to Amnesty?

Not defend the town or the people in it and leave them to the tender mercies of the Russians? is that your Amnesty’s idea of “protecting the rights of Ukrainian civilians?” Really? Think this through a bit.

You repeatedly state in this release that “international law” says this, that, and the other thing as though this is a settled and codified body of law. We both know that’s not true. What you do not do is to cite any particular, specific, actual customary law, precedent, resolution, or rule of war at issue.

You use testimonials in lieu of sufficient documented statistics, maps, and dates and locations and particulars. This is an informal logical fallacy, incomplete induction or “arguing from the specific to the general.”

You use weasel words like, “This did not appear to have happened in the cases examined by Amnesty International.” Sorry, but this is a very weak inference on which to end a section. As Carl Sagan famously said, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

Your one-sided and manipulative condemnation of Ukraine defending itself gives aid and comfort to Russia and deprecates Ukrainian forces and civilians for defending themselves, their homes, and the civilian population, from Russia’s war of aggression.

When Ukrainians civilians and military defend their homes, and Russians attack them with largely disproportionate, indiscriminate, unguided aerial bombardment, rockets and artillery, is it the Ukrainians who are at fault for defending their homes and families?

Are you sure?

How can you? Just, how can you make such one-sided, misleading, incomplete, erroneous, gaslighting, and classic victim-blaming statements?

Why don’t you send your “extended press release” to your colleague, Maksym Butkevych. Perhaps he’ll enjoy reading your victim-blaming, pro-Russian statement in the Russian concentration camp where you have abandoned him. Please, give him something nice to read between interrogation and re-education sessions. Not this.

The final and greatest concern I have, Ms. Callamard, is for you. Your quoted and published statements are notably lacking in humanity, empathy and caring.

Is this a game to you? All about Amnesty putting out trolling offensive statements to stoke controversy and build buzz for your brand?

When you make statements like these apparently justifying and providing cover for the illegal Russian aggressive war and alleged Russian war crimes, by blaming alleged Russian bombardment of protected buildings, sites, and persons on those targeted, those words should burn your heart and taste like iron on your tongue.

What have you become?

very sincerely and with good will,

Henry Edward Hardy
former Senior Systems Administrator
Tufts University*

*institutional affiliation for identification purposes only

Henry Edward Hardy

10 August, 2022 Posted by | Amnesty, customary law, human rights, Russia, Ukraine, war, war crime, war crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Open Letter to the Ann Arbor Democratic Party

Open Letter to the Ann Arbor Democratic Party

Surely the right to enthusiastically applaud a political speech is Constitutionally protected speech; if not then there is no freedom of speech whatever left in this country.

We are a Democratic Party, and many of us would call ourselves Liberals; but where even the mildest and most socially unexceptionable forms of dissent such as applauding a political speech are suppressed then there is neither Liberty nor Democracy.

sincerely,

Henry Edward Hardy

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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17 July, 2007 Posted by | Ann Arbor, censorship, democracy, democratic party, dissent, free speech, freedom, human rights, liberty, Michigan, scanlyze | Leave a comment

Human Rights Watch: Ghost Prisoner: Two Years in Secret CIA Detention

Human Rights Watch has compiled a comprehensive report about the case of one of the “disappeared”, Marwan Jabour. Most of the docile and pathetic British and US press have ‘reported’ on this publication without managing to link to it or even so much as mention the name of the report!

Here’s a bit from the Summary:

When Marwan Jabour opened his eyes, after a blindfold, a mask, and other coverings were taken off him, he saw soldiers and, on the wall behind them, framed photographs of King Hussein and King Abdullah of Jordan. He was tired and disoriented from his four-hour plane flight and subsequent car trip, but when a guard confirmed that he was being held in Jordan, he felt indescribable relief. In his more than two years of secret detention, nearly all of it in US custody, this was the first time that someone had told him where he was. The date was July 31, 2006.

A few weeks later, in another first, the Jordanians allowed several of Jabour’s family members to visit him. “My father cried the whole time,” Jabour later remembered.

Marwan Jabour was arrested by Pakistani authorities in Lahore, Pakistan, on May 9, 2004. He was detained there briefly, then moved to the capital, Islamabad, where he was held for more than a month in a secret detention facility operated by both Pakistanis and Americans, and finally flown to a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) prison in what he believes was Afghanistan. During his ordeal, he later told Human Rights Watch, he was tortured, beaten, forced to stay awake for days, and kept naked and chained to a wall for more than a month. Like an unknown number of Arab men arrested in Pakistan since 2001, he was “disappeared” into US custody: held in unacknowledged detention outside of the protection of the law, without court supervision, and without any contact with his family, legal counsel, or the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The secret prison program under which Jabour was held was established in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, when US President George W. Bush signed a classified directive authorizing the CIA to hold and interrogate suspected terrorists. Because the entire program was run outside of US territory, it required the support and assistance of other governments, both in handing over detainees and in allowing the prisons to operate.

–from the Summary of Ghost Prisoner: Two Years in Secret CIA Detention

See also: BBC Report: ‘Sleaze alleged in CIA’
European Union: Report on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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1 March, 2007 Posted by | Afghanistan, archives, Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, covert operations, crime, detention, human rights, Human Rights Watch, international law, investigations, Jordan, kidnapping, law, law of nations, Marwan Jabour, memory hole, Middle East, military, news, Pakistan, peace, politics, prisoner, prisoners, rendition, report, repression, torture, war, war crimes | Leave a comment

BBC: More on Tal Afar Iraqi soldiers rape accusation

BBC quotes acting Tal Afar mayor Brig Gen. Nijm Abdullah with more information regarding the alleged rape and torture of a mother of 11 by Iraqi soldiers in northern Iraq:

Iraqi soldiers charged with rape

…Gen Abdullah said he had received a complaint from tribal leaders that a group of soldiers had entered the woman’s house “a few days ago” and raped her.

“One of the soldiers did not approve. His name is Mushtaq Taleb from Basra. He wanted to stop his comrades by threatening them with weapons because it is an immoral act, but the rape took place anyway,” Gen Abdullah added.

He said he had referred the troops to the judiciary for prosecution.

The woman is thought to be a 40-year-old married mother of 11 from Iraq’s Turkoman minority.

The defendants are identified as a lieutenant and three enlisted men.

If the BBC report is correct, then Mushtaq Taleb should be commended for trying to stop the rape and torture of this mother.

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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22 February, 2007 Posted by | allegations, BBC, crime, human rights, Iraq, media, Mosul, mothers, news, Nijm Abdullah, peace, politics, radio, rape, repression, scanlyze, Tal Afar, television, torture, TV, war, war crimes | 1 Comment

Najaf Update: February 21, 2007

Interesting press release from the Multinational Forces in Iraq regarding Hilla, a town near An-Najaf, and the continuing suppression of heterodox Shia in the area. We must ask once again, what happened to the approximately 200 women and children captured near Najaf and Kufa in the “Battle of Najaf” on Jan 28, 2007?

Hilla SWAT captures 21 insurgent leaders
Saturday, 17 February 2007
Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RELEASE No. 20070217-05
Feb. 17, 2007

Hilla SWAT captures 21 insurgent leaders
Multi-National Corps – Iraq PAO

BAGHDAD – Iraqi Special Weapons and Tactics Team members of Hilla SWAT arrested 21 suspected insurgent leaders during operations with Coalition advisers Feb. 16 southwest of Hilla. The suspects are believed to be Mahdawiyah leaders who are threatening the lives of Iraqi Security Forces and civilians in the area.

The Mahdawiyah group was involved in the battle against Iraqi Forces Jan. 28 in Najaf. Since the battle, the Mahdawiyah leadership has made death threats to Hilla SWAT policemen and their family members.

There were Iraqi arrest warrants for all the suspects. Hilla SWAT also detained 13 additional persons for questioning.

The operation by Hilla SWAT resulted in minimal damage to the objective. There were no Iraqi civilian, Iraqi forces or Coalition Forces casualties.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT MULTI-NATIONAL CORPS – IRAQ, PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE BY E-MAIL AT MNCI-PAO-VICTORYMAINJOC@IRAQ.CENTCOM.MIL

See also: Keyword ‘Najaf’ on scanlyze

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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22 February, 2007 Posted by | America, Army, detention, human rights, international law, Iraq, Islam, massacre, media, MNF, Najaf, national security, news, peace, politics, prisoners, propaganda, repression, scanlyze, war, war crimes | Leave a comment