amnesty March 31

Death Squad Coordinator Robert Ford Keynotes Amnesty International Annual Meeting

The former US Ambassador to Syria, Robert S. Ford, presented part of the keynote address during the 2012 Amnesty International Annual General Meeting, held in Denver, Colorado between March 30th and April 1st. While AI made sure to keep the appearance of Ford under wraps from the public, it was mentioned by supporting media prior to the event. As well, Ford was listed in the program as a keynote speaker during the second day of the conference. Among others, AI’s annual conference also featured “progressive” radio host Amy Goodman.

Between 2004 and 2006 Ford worked closely under US Ambassador John Negroponte at the US embassy in Baghdad. During his previous tenure as ambassador to Honduras, Negroponte devised and implemented the policy of funding and training death squads to combat leftist insurgencies in the region. In Iraq, Negroponte charged Ford with a similar task: funding and training militias to carry out sectarian violence aimed at a largely Sunni resistance. In late January of 2011, during the same time that the first protests in the country occurred, Ford arrived in Syria to serve as the newly-appointed ambassador. Since, violence has racked the country and Ford has been accused of recruiting and arming foreign fighters from the region to destabilize and possibly overthrow the Syrian government.

Amnesty International is widely supported by many for the work it supposedly does in supporting human rights. Much of its time is spent championing minor reforms in places like the United States. However, rather than effecting any fundamental change in this regard, Amnesty International uses its supposed legitimacy to build public support for regime change in various Third World countries to the inevitable effect of promoting a neo-liberal imperialist agenda. In this regard, Amnesty International is the part of the “left wing of imperialism,” and groups like Amnesty International are a crucial link between Western public opinion and Western-led foreign intervention. Besides Amy Goodman, who has a sizable support base among the US “left,” AI’s annual meeting also featured “one of the organizers of the Occupy Movement” presenting on “how you can Rise Up and become a key player in the international human rights movement.” Of course, they are not talking about rising up against the United States government, the primary human rights offender. Instead, their keynote address is by the former US ambassador to Syria, who helped initiate the civil conflict occurring there today.

It is not surprising that Amnesty International has omitted Ford’s appearance from their official online public record. His appearance is likely aimed to help mold the opinions of hard-core AI supporters in attendance during the meeting, who can then as “progressives” be used to further shape public opinion in regards to the US’s civil conflict in Syria. “Progressives” like Amy Goodman and the unnamed organizers of the Occupy Movement play into and further this agenda.

Underlying the conflict in Syria is US funding, recruitment and training, and various attempts by media outlets and “progressive” organizations to build public support for increased intervention. In many ways, this illustrates how imperialist countries such as the US can utilize nominally left politics to further their global agendas. Organizations such as Amnesty International are part of this agenda. By loudly mentioning a fraction of the human rights abuses committed by the United States, they are able to legitimately promote a global neo-liberal agenda to a “progressive” base of support and go so far as to host a death squad coordinator as the keynote to their annual conference. So-called “progressives” (Amy Goodman, et al) are also part of this scam. Focused primarily on reforms to more equally divide a stolen pie of imperialist profits among Amerikans, they become easy patsies for the promotion of State Department-sponsored civil conflicts and color revolutions against recalcitrant anti-hegemonic Third World states.