Speaking at Henry Jackson Society Event: Is Amnesty International Losing the Plot?


It has to be an epic form of hypocrisy. Amnesty International, after shamelessly being bludgeoned into publically distancing themselves from CAGE, now have their name on the Henry Jackson Society website. Abbas Faiz, senior research at Amnesty International South Asia is a listed speaker alongside neocon Haras Rafiq of Quilliam Foundation, and HJS’s very own Rupert Sutton at an upcoming event.

Gita Sahgal was paraded in the papers as the person who challenged Amnesty’s association with CAGE. Sahgal’s attack on Moazzam Begg was rooted in her bigotry toward Islam and Muslim in particular. The essence of her attack was ideological; Begg, she argued, subscribed to “a set of ideologies” which supported discrimination and violence. These were all responded at that time and are covered in my blog in detail.

It did not matter that CAGE advocated due process and rule of law. Neither did it matter that it campaigned against detention without trial and torture. Amnesty suffered amnesia regarding these aims when it decided to distance itself. What mattered was reputation under the façade of a defence of human rights. It sent an unequivocal message: a Muslim cannot campaign within the human rights paradigm, even if his calls support the causes of this very paradigm.

What acutely demonstrates the utmost bigotry of the faux liberals is the ear-drum-bursting silence on the “association” between HJS and Amnesty. As I argued early last year, human rights is often a stick used to beat the Muslim minority with. Islam is singled out and indeed, this is even “rationalised” by the likes of Sahgal and co.

Murray has supported American policies like done attacks and waterboarding

Murray has supported American policies like done attacks and waterboarding

The colourful (blood red) views of HJS and their members have been discerned on this blog a number of times (see here, here, here and here, for example). The neoconservative thinking, which HJS follows, encourages breaking of principles to achieve power(“prudence”), advises “statesmen” to be bad instead of good, declares the “cross of liberalism” the necessary “noble lie” in order to pursue neocon aims, and at its root prefers the fascism of Mussolini over the liberalism of the West. The manifestations of these “beliefs” include allowing and then defending torture, calling for unaccountability for torture, trivialising torture, circumventing the Geneva Convention, and eroding civil liberties.

A piece at 5pillarsuk has done a brilliant job of collating HJS’s vile views and is a must read (Click here).

I would add further that, neoconservatism actively advocates discrimination, and frowns at equality. Associate Director of HJS, Douglas Murray explaining neocon thinking writes,

“Welfarism was not, as it stood, the answer – it was a problem and it had become a problem because a piece of false or bad logic had been taken for granted… At the root of many of these assumptions, on race, welfare, employment and other issues, lay the most mistaken rallying cry of liberals: ‘equality’…”

He then cites the “godfather of neoconservatism”, Irving Kristol to elaborate this point,

“I know the question of equality is something that many religious people are quite obsessed with. Here, I will simply plead my Jewishness and say, equality has never been a Jewish thing. Rich men are fine, poor men are fine, so long as they are decent human beings. I do not like equality. I do not like it in sports, in the arts, or in economics. I just don’t like it in this world.”[1]

Apparently, racial equality is not a good thing in the neocon-verse. That cetainly explains a lot.

CAGE within its remit of the “War on Terror” upholds principles of human rights, due process and rule of law. HJS actively supports subversion of due process and rule of law. CAGE opposed detention without trial, torture and renditions. HJS and its members defend torture and its utility, and supports extra-judicial assassinations.

Is there an outcry? Will Sahgal get on the phone to Richard Kerbaj and tell him that an Amnesty senior researcher is sitting on a HJS platform? And that Murray subscribes to a dangerous “set of ideologies” which support discrimination and violence? Are we witnessing the Daily Fail smearing Murray and his cabal in the HJS, declaring them “torture apologists”? Is Boris Johnson going to do a comment piece in the Telegraph calling out the neocon “vipers” in the “bosom” of Parliament, which are tearing down the principles Britain apparently stands for? Will the families of neocons be splashed across the pages, with details of their assets highlighted? Will Maajid Nawaz and other Quillimites Tweet feverishly immature comments about how HJS are pro-war/torture-apologists and how they blame “Islamist extremism” for practically every wrong in the world? And please, spare me the I was in Egyptian prisons, I condemn torture spiel – it accentuates the hypocrisy when you repeatedly sit next to a person like Douglas Murray who claims there are justified forms of torture, and then condemn Amnesty for hosting events with CAGE against torture and illegal detention.

There isn’t an outcry. There is utter silence. Wrong religion. Wrong race. And wrong agenda.

I lost a great deal of respect for Amnesty when it backtracked its position on CAGE. If it shares its name with a “charity” like HJS, it will have no credibility left at all.


Below points of action taken from the 5PillarsUK article:

Action alerts

  1. You can submit a complaint to the Charity Commission if you are concerned regarding Amnesty sharing a platform with HJS on: https://www.gov.uk/complain-about-charity
  2. You can contact Amnesty UK and voice your concerns directly on: 0207 4135500 / contactus@amnesty.org
  3. Tweet this article to the Charity Commission and Amnesty: @AmnestyUK @ChtyCommission


[1] Douglas Murray, Neoconservatism: Why We Need It, Encounter Books: New York, 2006, p.37

One thought on “Speaking at Henry Jackson Society Event: Is Amnesty International Losing the Plot?

  1. Neoconservatives believe that democracy and liberalism is the preferred system to organize humanity. So what is wrong with that?

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