The Seamy Evangelical Underbelly of Amnesty International and its Role in Denying the US Visa to Narendra Modi
Commentary

The Seamy Evangelical Underbelly of Amnesty International and its Role in Denying the US Visa to Narendra Modi

Untangling the complex web of networks of Amnesty International and its role in denying the US visa to Narendra Modi

Sandeep Balakrishna

Sandeep Balakrishna

In this series

It might come as a surprise but Amnesty International was allowed to open shop in India only as recent as 2012. However, a short trip to the past reveals its interventionist agenda for India. Remember the 1980s and early 1990s when Punjab was reeling under Khalistani terrorism, and Kashmir had come apart thanks to Islamic terrorism?

These were fertile grounds where Amnesty could hunt.

Let's look at what the primary sources say. The following are US Congressional records.

The Congressional House Record of June 10, 1991: Tabled by Rep Dan Burton, here’s how it reads: “...the President shall report to the Congress whether the Government of India is implementing a policy which prevents representatives of Amnesty International...from visiting India in order to monitor human rights conditions...

And what was the recommended action if the Indian government disallowed entry to Amnesty?

Answer: “all development assistance for India shall be terminated.

On Kashmir, “the Congress...demands that the Government of India open the borders of...Jammu and Kashmir to Amnesty International...to permit an accurate assessment of of the human rights situation...”

And who is Dan Burton? A prominent sponsor and member of the cabal of US politicians who participated in denying the US Visa to Narendra Modi.

The Congressional (House) Record of May 10, 2000 (Extensions of Remarks): Tabled by Rep Edolphus Towns. This cites an Amnesty International report that falsely blamed the then NDA government as responsible for the killing of 36 Sikhs at Chithi Singhpora. More revealingly, Towns says "America...should also support...plebiscites in Kashmir, in Christian Nagaland and throughout India. This is the way to bring real freedom, peace, prosperity and stability to South Asia.”

Let that sink in.

The Congressional (House) Record of June 1, 2004 (Extensions of Remarks): tabled yet again by Rep Edolphus Towns. In this document, Towns makes Punjab a part of “Khalistan.” It’s instructive to read this record at some length: “Mr. Speaker, on May 12, the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness conducted a hearing into human-rights violations in Kashmir and in Punjab, Khalistan...Witnesses travelled from Kashmir...to testify. Those testifying included... Mr. T. Kumar, Advocacy Director—Asia, Amnesty International...Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai... India claims to be democratic, but it is really a brutal tyranny... Amnesty International has not been allowed into Punjab since 1978."

One must be really blind to not notice how dangerous Amnesty really is to the unity and integrity of India. And what does this tell us about Amnesty’s alarming reach in the highest tiers of the US government? Given this, it’s hard not to appreciate the farsightedness of past Indian governments, which had correctly assessed its true character and kept it out of India.

But the true role that Amnesty played in India can be examined in tandem in light of its aggressive campaign in denying the US visa to Narendra Modi and its nexus with the global Human Rights Award industry with the generous backing of Evangelists of all hues. Let's look at this excerpt.

No Indian government will allow Amnesty International ...to set foot inside this country... Amnesty International ...will ask neither the Indian government for the truth, facts and figures...[but] will ask the likes of Teesta Setalvad, Harsh Mander and Kathy Sreedhar...

This quote is from the meticulously researched work, NGOs, Activists and Foreign Funds by Vigil, Chennai, first published in 2006. In other words, Amnesty had been banned in India even in 2006.

The book informs us how in the year 2000, a certain Martin Macwan, a Christian from Gujarat received these awards: the Magsaysay and the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award. And one William Schulz, former Executive Director of Amnesty International, Smita Narula of Human Rights Watch and Kathy Sreedhar of the Holdeen India Fund recommended Macwan’s name to the judges. Now, Schulz is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, and served as president of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Amnesty’s deep links with the Evangelicals show up more distinctively in its campaign to deny Modi the US visa. Here’s Zahir Janmohamed, former Amnesty employee describing how

In March 2005, the United States denied a visa to Gujarat’s chief minister, Narendra Modi...it came about from a highly unusual coalition made up of Indian-born activists, evangelical Christians, Jewish leaders and Republican members of Congress...I had a front-row seat to these events as they unfolded. I worked in Washington. D.C., from 2003 to 2011, mostly at Amnesty International and in the United States Congress, and I was a part of the campaign to deny Mr. Modi a visa...

And how Amnesty bullied talk show host Chris Mathews by writing a letter “to American Express asking it to withdraw its sponsorship of the conference” with Narendra Modi, a global witch hunt against the then Gujarat Chief Minister, which the violent communist Vijay Prashad gloats about. Of course, the conference never happened because Modi’s visa was denied.

Indeed, if Amnesty International operates with impunity on this scale, it is also because of its funding and its labyrinthine web of relationships which is nearly impossible to untangle.

Founded in 1961 by the Catholic lawyer Peter Beneson, Amnesty International was infiltrated very early by the UK Intelligence. The book Like Water on Stone: The Story of Amnesty International says,

Beneson’s suspicious about Amnesty’s collusion with the [UK] Foreign Office continued to fester in his mind...the Labour Party [Government’s] obvious embarrassment over the Aden issue deepened his suspicions that someone was working to keep the matter quiet. And top of his list of suspects was Robert Swann...[who] had worked for the British Foreign Office in Bangkok...Beneson began to suspect that Swann and...his colleagues were part of a British Intelligence conspiracy to subvert Amnesty... He contacted Sean MacBride [founding member of Amnesty and former Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army]... another bombshell exploded. An American source disclosed that CIA money was going to a US organization of jurists which in turn contributed funds to the International Commission of Jurists, of which Sean MacBride was secretary...Beneson became convinced that MacBride was tied up in a CIA network.

This cofounder of Amnesty International, Sean MacBride went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Subsequently, a Sean MacBride Peace Prize itself was instituted in his honour.

In 2000, the Communist journalist and author, the late Praful Bidwai, and Delhi University Professor Achin Vanaik were awarded the MacBride Peace Prize.

It appears that Amnesty has recruited only the topmost layers of the Indian bureaucracy, academia, media, and the so-called opinion makers. Its unstated goal is to destabilise India at various levels, on multiple fronts, and using a toxic mix of tactics. Its funding sources, which largely came from the global Church lobby, over time also began to include dangerous Jihadi terror financiers as we shall see.

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