Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Human Rights Watch

"Human Rights Watch  characterizes itself as “one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights.” However, HRW's close ties to the U.S. government call into question its independence.

 For example, HRW's Washington advocacy director, Tom Malinowski, previously  served as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton and as a speechwriter to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In 2013, he left HRW after being  nominated as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights & Labor under John Kerry.

 In her HRW.org biography, Board of Directors' Vice Chair Susan Manilow  describes herself as "a longtime friend to Bill Clinton" who is "highly involved" in his political party, and "has hosted dozens of events" for the Democratic National Committee.

 Currently, HRW Americas'  advisory committee includes Myles Frechette, a  former U.S.  ambassador to Colombia, and Michael Shifter,  one-time Latin America director for the U.S. government-financed National Endowment for Democracy. Miguel Díaz, a Central Intelligence Agency analyst in the 1990s, sat on HRW Americas' advisory committee from  2003-11. Now at the  State Department, Díaz  serves as "an interlocutor between the intelligence community and non-government experts."

 In his capacity as an HRW advocacy director, Malinowski  contended in 2009 that "under limited circumstances" there was "a legitimate place" for CIA renditions—the  illegal  practice of kidnapping and transferring terrorism suspects around the planet. Malinowski was quoted  paraphrasing the U.S. government's argument that designing an alternative to sending suspects to "foreign dungeons to be tortured" was "going to take some time."" (thanks Shakib)