Question about WTS/UN scandal

by gilwarrior 58 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • Lionel_P_Hartley


    You stated as to who may have library access privileges:

    (1) UN staff members, (2) institutions whose applications documented a legitimate research interest, and (3) organizations which became affiliated with the Department of Public Information.
    So you have noted that there are 3 options - (1) become a UN staff member, (2) be an institution whose application documents a legitimate research interest and (3) be an organization that affiliates as an NGO.

    # (1) is out

    # (2) would be for institutions that needed to do research for whatever their own ends were - that is they simply wanted access to the library without taking on any of the obligations of an NGO. This link outlines what those research needs might include:

    Clearly, WTS writers fall under the category of authors. Certainly they could be considered members of the press. Finally, the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead could qualify as an "institution" if one wanted to quibble about the difference between an institution and an organization. However, this letter from the Head Librarian demonstrates that there is no real distinction in the UN's eyes:

    # (3) this option would be, as the UN rules make clear, for organizations that wanted to further the goals that they held in common with the UN. Since the WTS chose this instead of option (2) then clearly, as the Portuguese branch stated, they had primary reasons going beyond getting a library card. At least that is the only conclusion that can be legitimately drawn based on the available facts.

    In view of this your comment:

    Thus, it evidently became “necessary” in 1991 for any organization to qualify in one of these three ways if it wished to have continued access to the main library. Thus, when the Watchtower says that it became "necessary" to affiliate itself with the DPI, it seems to be the truth, not a lie.
    is not accurate. Your last sentence implies that the WTS had only a single option when, based on your own words it had two. Option 2 was available to them if they merely wanted access to research materials as opposed to wanting to further the humanitarian goals which they shared with the UN. Subsequent Awake! articles show that they did a good job of publicizing the goals which they claim to share with the UN. In other words, they took their obligations seriously in promoting UN principles. Option (2) would have not required that they do this.

    Obviously, a researcher with access to the library need not necessarily share UN goals, or want to promote them, which is presumably why Option (2) exists. Or are you saying that one must support the UN in order for them to let you use their library?

    There is no doubt that WTS writers could obtain access to the UN librray without affiliating as an NGO. It may have been more convenient for them to affiliate but that is not quite the same thing as saying that it was necessary to affiliate. Is it?

    Let me make several more points:

    (i) How did you, Joseph, get a copy of Gillies' letter? Presumably it was from the internet. So why do you attach so much credibility to that letter and apparently so little to the letter from the Head Librarian when both have similar sources, i.e., the internet? It is probably a lot more easy to verify the Librarian's letter than Gillies' since the WTS tries to avoid talking about this matter. Email Gillies at and report back what he tells you.

    (ii) Why did the Portuguese branch issue a statement that is very much in line with what would be expected from an NGO and in total contradiction of Gillies' letter and the Nov. letter from WTS headquarters? The Portuguese letter did not mention the library card at all and, further, stated that the sole reason for affiliating was for humanitarian - which could involve political - reasons. There's that "sole" word again!

    (iii) When Gillies said that the "sole purpose was ...." he was being misleading. Whatever the private reasons the WTS may have had for affiliating, the reason they gave for affiliating does not exist. That is, one cannot become an NGO simply to get a library card. One becomes an NGO in order to further shared goals with access to the UN being one of attendant benefits. Gillies' letter was written cleverly and was designed to give the impression that they were merely applying for a library card. They were not. That is deceit because the impression conveyed was not accurate, even if Gillies statement was technically true inthe sense that the WTS had a hidden agenda that it did not inform the UN of in its application. That is the WTS's way. Fortunately their later letter clarified the matter.

    (iv) The requirements have not changed for NGO affiliates in any substantive way since the 1968 UN Resolutios 1296/97. When the WTS claims the rules have changed they are being dishonest. In itself that is enough to cast the WTS's explanation into serious doubt.

    As I noted, the onus is on the WTS to explain their voluntary decision to affiliate. JWs around the world are saying "it was nothing, they just wanted a library card!" The effectiveness of this bit of duplicty by the WTS demonstrates how good they are at their craft. JWs have little interest in the propriety of the matter so long as they have a buzz phrase to stop them thinking - "stopthink" in Orwellian terms.

    I have a suggestion: why don't you call up Harry Peloyan, the editor of the Awake! magazine and identify yourself as an academic researcher interested in the UN affair. Ask him for copies of the original application, etc. Ask him about the Portuguese branch's letter and, finally, you might suggest to him that an informative, documented article in Awake! with copies of those materials would go a long way to resolving this matter.

    I can't really do it since I'm an apostate but I think you could.

    No one, I think, argues with the possibility that the WTS sold out for the conevenience of getting access to the library. If that is the case it looks even worse for them I believe. But there is not a shred of credible evidence that they affiliated solely to get a library card. To present even legitimate speculation as if it were a fact is unhelpful and misleading.


    ps: you stated that the WTS's claims are not extraordinary. Of course they are! Why else would they have been the subject of so news articles in the Guardian and the Tablet and so much discussion here. The affiliation with the UN is extraordinary precisley because of the 80 years of vitriloic hatred hurled at the UN - ergo the WTS should go to extraordinary lengths to clear the matter up. Once again, Joseph, you sem to have things upside down - you're looking at the inverse problem.

  • JosephAlward

    Hartley writes,

    Your comment

    Thus, it evidently became “necessary” in 1991 for any organization to qualify in one of these three ways if it wished to have continued access to the main library. Thus, when the Watchtower says that it became "necessary" to affiliate itself with the DPI, it seems to be the truth, not a lie.
    is not accurate. Your last sentence implies that the WTS had only a single option when, based on your own words it had two.

    Alward responds:

    My last sentence does not imply what you think it does. The WTS had definitely had two options, as I've noted before in other threads; it chose the one it evidently thought would be the most expeditious.

    Show me a letter from someone who was at the Dag Hammeskold Library in 1991 and who would have been in a position to know about any changes in admission requirements, and I will believe that the Watchtower was either lying, or badly misinformed. If there is no such letter, why should we believe the Watchtower was lying about this?

    Joseph F. Alward
    "Skeptical Views of Christianity and the Bible"


  • Lionel_P_Hartley


    Go back to to commenting on spelling mistakes. If I have two options A and B it is not necessary that I choose B.


  • JosephAlward

    Well, consider the following:

    "It was necessary to go to the market to obtain the groceries."

    This could mean one of two things:

    (1) The only way to obtain the groceries was by going to that market.


    (2) It was necessary to obtain food, and that was the only reason we went to the market."

    Thus, those who want the Watchtower to be lying prefer to believe that the writer meant that "The only way to obtain the card was by affiliating," when, in fact, they may have just meant, "The only reason we affiliated was to obtain the card."

    How do you know which is the proper interpretaion?

    Joseph F. Alward
    "Skeptical Views of Christianity and the Bible"


  • Lionel_P_Hartley

    It could also be argued that if someone wanted to state the truth on a matter then they would not use ambiguous language. The use of language that can mean either of two things is deceitful - especially when used in reply to the sincere requests of people whose lives are affected.

    But even here you childish semantics is wrong;

    If I say "Up until last week I used to get my groceries from the corner store. But now it is necessary that I go to the supermarket to get my groceries."

    what is being said - that it is still necessary to get food or that now, because of some change (e.g., the corner store closed down, I fell out with the owner, etc) I must go to the supermarket instead. Look what the WTS said;

    We had been using the library for many years prior to 1991, but in that year it became necessary to register as an NGO to have continued access
    Now, which of us has a better analogy with what the WTS said - you or me? Their need for continued access is implied and, so, "necessary" indicates the actions needed to get access. That is the lie.

    The reason, Joseph, that you cannot convince hardly anyone on this board of your point of view is that your use of double talk has destroyed your credibility. Either that or you're a bit dense.


  • JosephAlward

    Watchtower statement excerpt:

    We had been using the library for many years prior to 1991, but in that year it became necessary to register as an NGO to have continued access
    Accusers want the phrase above, "necessary to register," to mean,

    "This is the only way we could get the grounds pass,"

    in order to call the Watchtower liars, but all it may really mean is that the Watchtower found it "necessary" to provide justification for continued access, as did every other organization, and it evidently decided the most expeditious way to do this was by affiliating with the DPI, which is one of three ways of obtaining a grounds pass.

    At worst, it seems, the only thing in this statement that can be criticized is its lack of precision. Evidence of lying seems to exist only in the hopeful imaginations of Watchtower haters.

    Joseph F. Alward
    "Skeptical Views of Christianity and the Bible"


  • Lionel_P_Hartley

    WHat a ridiculous argument. Now you're putting additional words in the WTS's mouth to defend them - I ask again, why don't they clear the matter up. Why do they answer direct questions with ambiguity, if they are, in fact, ambiguous as you claim? You did say that the words were ambiguous, so at least you finally agree that your argument is also ambiguous, and therefore speculative, because it is based on the WTS's ambiguous statements.

    2nd Example:

    Up until recently I was using the gym. Then it became necessary to obtain a membership card to obtain access.

    That means:

    (i) I cannot get in without a card

    (ii) An implied subsidiary meaning is, I got a card so that I could get in.

    Why is (ii) implied and subsidiary? Because the only way to get in is to obtain a card. If other means of access were possible then (ii) would no longer be a necessary subsidiary meaning of (i). If you could, for example, pay to get in, thet it would not be necessary to get a card. So the rules would read: it became necessary either to pay to get in or get a card. So getting a card is then a choice rather than a necessity. But getting in does not imply getting a card.

    You said;

    but all it may really mean is that the Watchtower found it "necessary" to provide justification for continued access, as did every other organization, and it evidently decided the most expeditious way to do this was by affiliating with the DPI, which is one of three ways of obtaining a grounds pass.
    If that's what they meant then they should have said what they meant, now shouldn't they? Also, the Head Librarian says nothing changed in 1991 as far as she can recall. But you want evidence of no change when you ask:

    Will someone provide the written evidence showing that there definitely were no changes put in place in 1991?
    That's unbelievable coming from someone who runs a website that purports to be skeptical of Christianity and the Bible. The number one fundie argument is "prove there is no God." It cannot be done - recall freshman physics Joe. The correct thing to demand is for the WTS to demonstrate that something did indeed change in 1919 as they claim. You really are a liar, Joe, as hawk says.

    Only WTS lovers would take the line that you have. You are not the first person to engage in such disingenous semantic deconstruction so as to support WTS lies. For example, since you claim to look at things skeptically, do you know what the WTS did to Professor Aki's kind reply to the WTS's question to him about earthquakes? They changed the meaning so that he ended up saying the opposite of what he actually said. Did they employ you in that particular bit of chicanery, Joe? Are you a paid consultant for the WTS? How about you explain just why you are so vigorous in your defense of the WTS.

    Earlier you were grasping at straw men, now you're just grasping at straws. Have you no shame or sense of academic standards of honesty?

    By the way, Joe, your last post contained nothing new - it was simply a restatement of what you said before. Stamping our feet in anger are we now?

    Have a good weekend - I'd concentrate on the Physics though - I only hope you're better at it than you are at this.


  • ISP

    Heres a copy of the letter from Randy's site!



    Dear Ms. XX,

    The procedure for a library pass is the following: the interested party needs to fill out an

    application form and supply a letter of recommendation in support of the research. If the needed

    material is not available in a UN depository library (the list of depository libraries is posted at:, the application is approved and sent to UN

    Security. UN Security checks the application and, if approval is granted, instructs the Pass Office

    to issue a library pass for the applicant.

    The issuance of a library pass is independent of NGO status or any other status. There has been

    no change in the library pass policy in general; however, please be advised that, as a

    consequence of the September 11 attacks, no library passes are being issued for the time being

    while the security situation at the UN is being studied.

    Best regards,
    Dana Loytved

  • JosephAlward

    Excerpts below from the Head Librarian's letter (emphasis added):

    Although the Dag Hammarskjöld Library and the NGO Section are both within DPI, admission to the Library is not related to NGO status except in the positive sense: anyone with a pass permitting entrance to the United Nations premises (including accredited NGO representatives as well as accredited members of the press) can enter and use the Library facilities. Otherwise, a library pass is required. Passes are granted to serious researchers upon presentation of a letter with the raised seal of your institution and subject to clearance by both the Library and UN Security.
    I offer this excerpt in case there's any doubt in anyone's mind that DPI affiliation gains one entrance into the main library. The librarian's statement shows that "accredited NGO representatives" are permitted entrance, and I think we can assume that this includes representatives of NGO's affiliated with the Department of Public Information.

    Let's continue with her letter:

    I am not aware of any changes in 1991.

    The last sentence goes to the heart of one of the controversies surrounding the Watchtower-UN issue: Is it true that there were changes in the admissions policy in 1991, as the Watchtower alleges?

    The Head Librarian's statement does little to answer that question. She does not say definitely that there were no changes, or that there were changes; she is just "not aware" of any changes. We need more than this. We need to know whether she was at the library in 1991, and if she was, whether she was in a position to know then what the policy was?

    What is needed is a definitive statement by someone who was at the library in 1991 and who is certain they would have known about the policy change, if there had been one. Only when we obtain a clear letter from such a person stating that there was no change should we consider calling the Watchtower a liar in this matter. Even if the Watchtower doesn't treat others fairly, would not waiting for better information before shouting "Liar!" be the fair--and intelligent--thing to do? If not, why not?

    Joseph F. Alward
    "Skeptical Views of Christianity and the Bible"


  • Lionel_P_Hartley


    There is an abundance of evidence that at least suggests strongly that the WTS has lied about its involvement with the UN to cover up its hypocrisy. This is a huge issue for JWs who would be shocked if they actually knew what the terms of that arrangement were. The evidence has been presented to the WTS and they refuse to give a straight answer. Many JWs knew that the WTS used the UN library - I knew that years ago. That is why the library card defense is so effective as a way of stifling discussion amongst JWs.

    So you charge in and say that the UN - not the WTS - should go to the trouble to see if there were any changes in 1991. That is riculuous - why should the UN go through all that paperwork when substantive evidence is available that at least suggests that the WTS is lying. To me the evidence is overwhelming, but even if you don't accept that, it is substantial. Since the WTS says that there were changes that precipitated their actions then they should supply documentation of those changes. They should also not be decitful in using language that is unclear. This is an old WTS trick and so it seems unlikely on an issue that they have taken very seriously they would be lax in their language.

    The Head Librarian would likely recollect any changes along the lines that the WTS is hinting at. However, no sane person would say "10 years ago there absolutely were no changes affecting the rules for using the library." The WTS, being a bureacracy itself is fully aware of that.

    Here are the facts:

    (i) The WTS affiliatied as an NGO which involved the obligation to further UN goals.

    (ii) For 10 years or so it fulfilled those obligations.

    (iii) Its status as an NGO was not generally known amongst JWs.

    (iv) When it was found out - and articles appeared in the press - only then did it withdraw.

    (v) No public statements were issued by the WTS but rumours that is "was just for a library card" started flying in the JW community. Who started those?

    (vi) The Portguese branch office issued a statement in direct contradiction to that emanating from London Bethel.

    (vii) HQ sent a letter to branches that claimed that the rules had somehow changed in 1991 necessitating that they affiliate. In effect, they deny - certainly they ignore - the existence of requirements laid down in 1968 in UN Resolutions 1296/1297/

    (viii) Hoeffel's letter spells out explicitly what the responsibilities for NGOs were in 1991 and his letter flatly contradicts the WTS's November letter.

    Yet you insist that the WTS has honestly stated its position. You have made no real attempt to address most of the points above - e.g., the Portuguese letter. Like most defenders of cults, and especially JWs, you ignore arguments or evidence that is damaging to your position. You also don't seem interested in the overall ethics - so I ask you, in view of this, do you think the WTS was being hyopcritical? In other words, for the sake of argument only let's assume that they did affiliate solely to get a library card - then was that hypocrisy or not. Yes or no?


    ps: of course NGO status gives access to the library. The Head Librarian's letter says that. Just like a faculty ID permits access to the university library. But a faculty ID is not a library card. There are other ways - besides joining the faculty - to enter the library. Thu sit is not necessary to have a faculty card to obtain access to the library.

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