A Farcical “Human Rights” Award for Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón, and yet another Disgrace for NYU.
You may not be familiar with the name of the Spanish Judge, Baltasar Garzón, but he is about to receive in mid-May the first “Alba-Puffin Human Rights Award” of $100,000.00, from the Puffin Foundation and the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade archives, now housed- of course- at New York University. Judge Garzón is being awarded this honor for two reasons- his effort to investigate human rights abuses by the old Franco dictatorship that took place from the date of his victory in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930’s until the demise of his dictatorship in recent times. Second, he is being honored for his arrest while in Spain in 1998 of the late Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, whom he tried to have permanently detained in put on trial there for his crimes against the Chilean people after the overthrow of the Allende government in the 1970’s.
According to the statement issued by the Puffin Foundation’s Perry Rosenstein, “The award is designed to give public recognition, support, and encouragement to individuals or groups whose work has an exceptionally positive impact on the advancement and/or defense of human rights. It is intended to help educate students and the general public about the importance of defending human rights against arbitrary powers that violate democratic principles.”
One has to only look at the Wikipedia entry on the Judge to easily discern what is taking place. Judge Baltasar is an extreme leftist whose commitment to exposing human rights violations extends exclusively to those whose politics he opposes—late dictators of the far Right—and to excusing and trying to stop any expose of any human rights violations that occur from individuals who are on the political Left or those who committed them in the past and who came from the ranks of the left-wing. As the Wikipedia summary notes, the Judge sought to bring charges against the Bush administration for its running of the facility at Guantanamo:
In March 2009, Garzón considered whether Spain should allow charges to be filed against former officials from the United States government under George W. Bush for offering justifications for torture. The six former Bush officials are: Alberto Gonzales, former Attorney General; John Yoo, of the Office of Legal Counsel; Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy; William Haynes II, former general counsel for the Department of Defense; Jay Bybee, also at Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel; and David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney‘s Chief of Staff. On 29 April 2009, Garzon opened an investigation into an alleged ‘systematic programme’ of torture at Guantánamo Bay, following accusations by four former prisoners. According to Andy Worthington, writing in the Huffington Post, Spanish newspaper Público reported in September 2009 that Garzón was proceeding to the next phase of his investigation. Garzón has repeatedly expressed a desire to investigate former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in connection with a plot in the 1970s known as Operation Condor.
The Judge’s fortunes came crashing down in Spain, where he was himself charged with exceeding the rule of law as established in his own country. In April 2010, Garzón was indicted by the Spanish Supreme Court for prevarication for arbitrarily changing his juridical criteria to engineer the case in order to bypass the law limiting his jurisdiction. In addition, charges have been brought against the Judge for major involvement in corruption.
It is hardly a surprise that that Lincoln Brigade archives group is involved in the award. The Brigade- actually only a battalion but a name it took to make its role seem larger at the time of the Civil War- was composed of the American branch of the Stalinist shock troops that were created by Stalin’s Comintern to implement its policy in Spain. The Comintern meant to buy Stalin time while creating the façade of anti-fascism while Stalin was himself preparing an alliance with Nazi Germany. The Brigades were closely controlled by appointed commissars, who worked with Stalin’s NKVD agents in Spain, and participated in the hunt to isolate, kill and destroy independent revolutionaries including anarchists, independent socialists and of course, Trotskyists.
The best book written about the Brigades, for anyone interested, is the sadly ignored masterpiece by Cecil Eby, Comrades and Commissars:The Lincoln Battalion in the Spanish Civil War. Stanley G. Payne, one of the major historians of Spain and its Civil War, has written accurately that Eby “demonstrates a very good grasp of the volunteers as individuals, not as political puppets, and is thoroughly sympathetic to them on the human level, while at the same time showing the real character of the politics involved.”
In Spain, Stalin’s agents themselves carried out major atrocities, most famous of all being the kidnapping and murder of the leading revolutionary communist who led the P.O.U.M., the organization with which George Orwell fought when he was in Spain, and in which his participation led him to see the truth about Stalin’s goals, and to pen his classic Homage to Catalonia.
Somehow, an investigation by Judge Garzón of Stalin’s crimes in Spain is not one the Judge seems to be interested in. Nor does he seem today to express one drop of concern about the human rights violations committed by Hamas and Hezbollah in the Middle East. Nor has he ever expressed an iota of support for Israel, as other principled Spaniards have done.
Most upsetting about the award ceremony is the list of assembled sponsors and participants. They are, to date, Human Rights Watch ,the Robert F. Kennedy Center, Amnesty International, the International Federation for Human Rights, and the World Organization Against Torture. And the committee welcoming him includes Jonathan Turley, Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, the on-air legal analyst for CBS-News, NBC-News, and MSNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Sunday morning news talk shows. Special guests include Perry Rosenstein, President of the Puffin Foundation; Larry Cox, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA; and Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights. The honorary committee for this benefit (now in formation) includes Harry Belafonte, Mike Farrell and Susan Sarandon.
The last three entertainers, as we all already know, are three of the most prominent knee-jerk leftists in the business. (You might enjoy reading my op-ed of some years back on Belafonte.) Amnesty International, in giving its once good name to this event, now reveals itself as well to be more of a leftist agitation group than an organization dedicated to freeing political prisoners, and part of the spectrum of anti-American organizations in the world.
Finally, The Center for Constitutional Rights, as Discover The Networks has revealed, is a group formed in the 1960’s to defend the Old and New Left activists then under political attack. David Horowitz and Peter Collier, in their book Destructive Generation, state that all four CCR founders “had long histories of public support for communist causes,” and that by “representing such paramilitary groups as the Baader-Meinhof gang and the Black Liberation Army,” they “had attempted to justify terrorist acts and criminal violence by indicting America and its democratic allies as partners in a system of economic oppression and social injustice.” That sorry record continues to the present day. CCR has been a strong supporter of radical attorney Lynne Stewart, who in February 2005 was convicted on charges that she had illegally “facilitated and concealed communications” between her client, the incarcerated “blind sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman, and members of his Egyptian terrorist organization, the Islamic Group, which has ties to al Qaeda. CCR called Stewart’s indictment in 2004 “an attack on attorneys who defend controversial figures, and an attempt to deprive these clients of the zealous representation that may be required.”
In using the term “human rights” as the reason for the Judge’s reward, the sponsors inadvertently reveal how the cause of human rights has itself been hijacked by the far Left, which uses the term to advance its anti-American agenda. NYU should be ashamed of itself for once again using its facilities to house and then to honor organizations such as the Puffin Foundation and the ALBA group.