U.N. Scandal Clarfications Please.

by lowden 41 Replies latest jw friends

  • AuldSoul

    Okay, please follow this closely:

    (1) The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society has always been and will be (until its demise) and NGO. Since the organization first started, it has been an NGO. It is an organization that is non-governmental.

    (2) By far, the majority of NGOs have never been Associate members of the UN/DPI or and other UN agency or department. Any organization which is non-governmental is AUTOMATICALLY an NGO, there is no way to become an NGO through UN involvement.

    (3) There has never been an NGO member of the UN, the UN does not allow NGO members. The closest thing the UN allows is the Vatican, which holds observer status but no voting status because it is a nation/NGO.

    (4) The UN/DPI does not equal the UN. Both are secular organizations that have objectives contrary to the Bible, both are "under judgement by Jehovah God."

    (5) The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society was an Associate member of the UN/DPI, NOT a member (of any kind) of the UN.

    If we do not speak carefully about this issue it would be better not to speak about it at all, because we will be ripped to shreds over getting the details wrong. True, that won't change the facts at all. But if our objective is to wake someone up we will fail unless we are careful to be accurate with the terms and words we use.

    The following statements preceded by the word "Wrong!" are misrepresentations of the facts:

    (WRONG!) The WTS became an NGO in 1991.

    No matter who said it or to whom they said it, they were mistaken. The WTS became an NGO when they incorporated under that name nearly 100 years ago, they incorporated as an "organization" that is "non-governmental." That is all "non-governmental organization (NGO)" means, nothing more.

    (WRONG!) The WTS registered to become (an NGO, an Associate, a member, etc.) of the UN.

    First, there is no registration process available. This may seem nitpicky to some, but the fact is there is no Criteria for Registration to violate WTS standards, such criteria doesn't exist. Also, registering doesn't violate a single principle of the WTS, while a membership does. There is however, Criteria for Association that violated WTS standards in 1991. And "Associate" is a classification of membership. They APPLIED to become an Associate member of the UN/DPI. As stated earlier in the post there is no such thing as a membership for NGOs to use to join the UN itself. They joined the UN/DPI, not the UN. The UN itself makes this distinction.

    (WRONG!) The WTS withdrew their registration.

    They couldn't withdraw a registration that never existed. What's more, they had to apply to terminate the membership they applied to create. The same Committee on DPI NGOs that decided to allow them to join the UN/DPI as an Associate member had to decide to allow them to dissolve the relationship.

    Hopefully, these corrections will help us to speak with more forcefulness about the issue, since the facts as I have presented them hold up to very intense scrutiny.


  • Legolas

    Auld I don't know what you are getting at!

    But I do know that as an NGO they must support and respect the principles of the Charter of the UN and have a clear mission statement that is consistent with those principles.

  • AuldSoul


    The WTS has always been an NGO. That is the only way they would qualify for Associate member status with the UN/DPI.

    People have been getting the wrong idea about what an NGO is, your local grocery store is an NGO although it has no connection whatsoever to the UN/DPI. Typically, NGOs are non-profit, not-for-profit, or volunteer organizations, but technically EVERY organization that is non-governmental is by definition an NGO.

    as an NGO they must support and respect the principles of the Charter of the UN and have a clear mission statement that is consistent with those principles.

    In other words, this statement is almost correct but not quite.

    As an NGO Associate member of the UN/DPI they must support and respect the principles of the Charter of the UN and have a clear mission statement that is consistent with those principles.

    There are thousands upon thousands of NGOs around the world that do not have to support or respect the principles of the UN Charter or have a clear mission statement that is consistence with those principles. What you were referencing was the Criteria for Association, as in Associate membership status. The only NGOs that have to adhere to that criteria are the NGOs that apply to become Associate members of the UN/DPI.

    For instance, both the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) and the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) are NGOs, they are bot organizations, and they are both non-governmental in nature. But neither organization is an Associate member of the UN/DPI, nor are they connected in any way to a UN department or agency.


  • AuldSoul

    Trying again. The reason this is important is because with just a little investigation someone can find out the truth of what I am saying. If we have told that person something wrong, even a little bit wrong, the credibility of everything else we say is suspect immediately.

    I am white. I cannot become white by joining a certain organization. White describes me.

    In the same way, the WTS is an NGO. They cannot become an NGO by joining a certain organization. NGO describes the WTS.

    It is an organization. It is not a governmental organization. It is a non-governmental organization (NGO). That is the type of organization it has always been, therefore, just as I have always been white, the WTS has always been an NGO.

    The term NGO has no direct relationship to the UN whatsoever. The term NGO does not describe a status with the UN or its departments, it describes the type of organization that seeks a relationship with the UN or its departments.

    An example: I am male. If I join the Boy Scouts, did I become male because I joined the Boy Scouts? If your answer is no, then the WTS did not become an NGO because they joined the UN/DPI. Just as surely as I am and have always been male, the WTS is and always has been an NGO. NGO describes the nature of the organization itself, like male describes my gender.


  • AudeSapere

    How about this:

    Consider the 'NG' to be silent and just use the 'O'.

    The 'Watchtower Organization' has been an Organization since the early 1900's (or whenever). It has been an Organization since before the UN even existed.

    The 'Watchtower Organization' became an Associate Member of the UN/DPI in 1991.

    The Organization called the 'Watchtower' can be found in the membership listings under the heading of "Organizations, NonGovernmental". (aka: NonGovernmental Organizations)

    The WTS is an Organization regardless of any existance of or affiliation with the UN. The WTS is also a non-government.

    I agree with AuldSoul. It's very important to keep the terminology straight. If we don't, the message loses it strength and confuses our audience. If you are confused about what AuldSoul has said, you may want to read it again. Otherwise you will also confuse the people you try to explain it to.


  • Oroborus21


    With the exception of the appearances of a few more or less "favourable" articles after becoming an NGO associate of the UN, I haven't seen any evidence that proves or even suggests that the membership was obtained for anything other than the reasons stated by the Society.

    (The issue of whether membership was necessary for library access is not really a "motivation" question but concerns other issues of reasonableness and knowledge, and maybe expertise of WT personnel.)

    Assertions that the status was obtained to get a foothold in international forums, other (unfavorable) countries, for fairer human rights determinations, etc. are completely speculative. Such claims require proof.

    -Eduardo Leaton Jr., Esq.

    PS: AuldSoul, I think you are drawing a distinction without a difference. In the context of the JW/U.N. Scandal, everyone understands the term NGO to refer to the membership/association with the U.N. Thus while technically you are correct that the WTS is a non-government organization, it seems pedantic to worry about the accuracy of such statements such as that the "WTS became an NGO in 1991" in the context of a discussion regarding the scandal.

    Additionally, it seems that few NGOs are overtly religious - and thus the term as applied to the WTBTS would almost certainly be understood to be in reference to the U.N. scandal and the approx. ten-year period when it was a recognized affiliate member of the U.N.

    Incidently found this page to be very useful regarding NGOs: http://docs.lib.duke.edu/igo/guides/ngo/

  • AuldSoul


    If population x understands a term a certain way, but population x is tiny in comparison to population y who understand a term to mean something different, it seems pretty clear to me that the semantics (the meaning of the words) becomes pretty freakin' critical. I submit as evidence the second paragraph of the letter I received in response to what I sent to the WTS. Keep in mind that I KNEW what an NGO was and explained the term in the second paragraph in my first letter to the WTS.

    They are so accustomed to scoring a point off explaining what an NGO is to the people who accuse them of wrongdoing in this that it is part of their stock letter even when the person who wrote them KNEW the difference. Which means, ex-JWs have been losing credibility with their friends and family by giving the WTS grounds to claim they have been misrepresented.

    The FACT, regardless of what ex-JWs believe to be true, is that the WTS DID NOT become an NGO in 1991. The FACT is that the second paragraph from this letter correctly explains the term NGO. It is accurate, any ex-JW who said something different is going to look like they are trying to make more of the term NGO than is present. If we don't stick to the facts any credibility is blown.

    The violation of their standards occurred in becoming an "Associate member to the UN/DPI", they already were an "NGO" and had been for nearly 9 decades. If your argument is that we should let a false and easily disprovable accusation remain uncontested just because most ex-JWs incorrectly believe the accusation to be synonymous with another thing altogether, I heartily disagree.

    Ex-JWs are ex-JWs because we already KNOW the WTS is loaded to the gills with skunks that stink to high heaven. The only reason to bring up the subject of the UN involvement is to educate current JWs, non-JWs don't care at all what the UN involvement was. But if we accuse the WTS falsely on any point, we can be dismissed easily on all points by current JWs.


  • AuldSoul


    Did you consider the parent organizations that sponsor the NGOs listed for North America on the site you linked to?


    I did a sampling of twenty that from their names had seemingly no religious connection and within minutes found religious connections for 13 of the twenty. Remember, the WTS is a non-profit publishing company, not a religious organization (legally speaking).


  • Oroborus21


    I understand that many NGOs are affiliated with (and some even had their origins within) a religious context but my comment was directed at their declared purpose. Most NGOs appear not to be dedicated to religious purposes. The Society is specifically organized for a religious purpose as are most religions. And also most religions have some form of incorporation so that is not really a distinguishment.

    For the most part in day-to-day conversations religious organizations are referred to as non-profit organizations (NPOs) even though they are also NGOs when one talks about their "legal status" or formal structure. In contrast, when one discusses an NGO it conveys that the organization is engaged in work which is supplementary or complementary to the State/Government's activity.

    My observation, which I think is valid whether one is discussing with ex-JWs, non-JWs, or current JWs, is that most often in discussing the UN scandal, we are likely to state something to the effect that "the Society became a UN NGO in 1991...". It seems to me that very often we would pair the term "NGO" with the "UN" so I don't think it is inaccurate to state it in that way. Of course the Society was an NGO before but it was a "U.N. NGO affiliate" beginning in 1991.

    I don't think that this type of hair splitting is necessary or detracts from the facts of the matter or undermines the criticism. But I don't see that it adds any value either.

    My only comment was in response to your chiding of others that it was improper or inaccurate to imply that the Society became an NGO in 1991. This is true but it seems to me that you overlooked the context in which one would be having such a discussion.

    You are accurate as far as the technicalities go, but my point was that is doesn't seem profitable to correct others when most who would be discussing it would be specifically limiting their context to the U.N. NGO affiliate membership and not having in mind the broader meaning of the term. Certainly, if you or anyone felt it necessary to do so, you could always educate the person you are discussing by explainng the differences. It just seems a bit petty to me to do so that's all.



  • Oroborus21


    Just wanted to add a comment about this:

    They couldn't withdraw a registration that never existed. What's more, they had to apply to terminate the membership they applied to create. The same Committee on DPI NGOs that decided to allow them to join the UN/DPI as an Associate member had to decide to allow them to dissolve the relationship.

    The end of your statement implies that the WTS had the power to "dissolve the relationship." This is not the case as you know. Only the UN/DPI had the power to "dissolve the relationship" since the relationship was a membership as an affliate/associate NGO to the U.N. (Perhaps you were only a bit sloppy and meant to say something else?)

    I think the Library Card paradigm accurately portrays the situation. Essentially, the Society chose 1) to no longer exercise its borrowing privileges and 2) asked that the library cancel its privileges (membership/library card).

    As to relying solely on the first option, while that would have worked from a practical viewpoint, given the appearance of the unseemliness of the membership, the Society had no real option but to also ask for #2.

    It may have also had to formally ask for #2 since the membership agreement (NGO application) entailed the objectionable pledges to support the U.N.'s mission, etc. thus being essentially contractual in nature.

    Anyway getting back to what is really important, I think much of what is in this thread doesn't address adequately the question of the Post which is whether there really are other motivations for joining in the first place?

    I haven't seen any viable and provable hypothesis put out by anyone and so I feel that the motivation to join was, as the Society declares, solely to gain access to U.N. materials for the research and writing departments.

    (Stating again for emphasis, that I fully understand that it may have been a misunderstanding on someone's part that membership was necessary and that most if not all of the library's material can be obtained without having to become an NGO affiliate.)


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