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Washington Post journalist Glen Kessler, who wrote up the now infamous Condi Rice interview at Stanford from a YouTube video without mentioning his source, has now begun assaulting the new Obama administration with a series of unsubstantiated and tendentious claims about ‘human rights.’

Kessler now has attempted to portray a new administration unconcerned with human rights – through Kessler’s own structural confusion between concern for human rights and hawkish foreign policy.  Thus, quoting the present executive director of Freedom House (whose ‘freedom’ index is modeled, as Wikipedia notes, on that of the Heritage Foundation), Obama and the new crew may, in terms of sanctioning human rights ‘pariah’ regimes like Burma and Sudan, have ‘some good people’, but their ‘instinct’ is to ‘abandon everything President Bush stood for.’  

‘Human rights activists’, Kessler claims, are afraid the ‘pendulum’ will swing away from Bush’s ‘freedom’ and anti-tyranny agenda.  Whose activists? Which rights?  

The critics include:

• AEI’s neo-conservative Joshua Muravchik (‘freedom agenda’ = model of US manifest destiny via his variant of how the US strategies for Exporting Democracy (1991), viz., government and constitution as a commodity;
Lorne Cramer, Bush’s former Asst. Sec. for Human Rights at State (enough said);
Omar Ismail, described as an influential human rights activist from Darfur (which maybe true), except that the only reference to him available via Google News is a March 3rd Dallas Morning News article on the subject of Darfur by Jessica Meyers based on a group that organized a conference at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where Ismail has lived now for ten years after escaping ‘to Egypt’ after being jailed and tortured by the Sudanese regime;
Eric Reeves, a Literature Professor at Smith College who can indeed be said to be a Darfur activist campaigning there for human rights.

The links on Reeves’ web-page do get us to some ‘human rights activists’ if this is associated with known organizations with known campaigns and known members.  Reeves lists: Physicians for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group, and Refugees International.  

I wonder why Mr. Kessler did not try to call these organizations for an assessment of how the ‘human rights’ outlook of the new Administration is shaping up?  

Originally posted to John Ely on Tue May 05, 2009 at 03:47 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Freedom House (0+ / 0-)

    did just downgrade Israel's freedom of the press to "partly-free", from 'free", still tops in the region, though..  

    Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

    by Eiron on Tue May 05, 2009 at 03:52:44 PM PDT

  •  Human Rights... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bronx59

    The Obama admin is trying a new approach called "diplomacy" rather than hectoring nations w/ rhetoric...so lets see if it works.
    Hopefully they don't ignore human rights in an effort to pursuade dictators & thugs.

  •  Erm. (6+ / 0-)

    If President Obama's views on human rights are at odds with the Bush administration's, then we have nothing at all to worry about. That is the best news this country could get.

    "ENOUGH!" - President Barack Hussein Obama

    by indiemcemopants on Tue May 05, 2009 at 04:00:31 PM PDT

  •  Not many are being fooled by (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, Alohilani, Floande

    the punditry anymore.  And I consider any media critic who is (obviously) not dealing in fact a pundit. Kesslwhore missed the pundit watercraft by a couple years; he's gonna be floundering in that netherworld surf until his paycheck is gone.  And unless the press gets its credentials back REAL quick, it won't be long.

    When in God's name did fact-checking go out of favor with "journalists"?  Matter of fact, when did journalism go out of style with journalists?  

    When in doubt, tweak the freeqs.

    by wozzle on Tue May 05, 2009 at 04:24:37 PM PDT

  •  Privacy (0+ / 0-)

    seems to be a low priority for this administration.. thats very troubling, because the situation is really spiraling out of control fast.

  •  As a dedicated, senior human rights activist (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    C S McCrum, Alohilani

    I can say that while on the issue of prosecuting those who set up the torture regime we do disagree with the White House, this administration has gotten off to a stellar start on the human rights agenda. Banning torture, shutting down the secret prisons, and shutting down Guantanamo have done more for the credibility of the US's commitment to human rights than anything I've seen. With Hillary Clinton at State, Susan Rice at the UN and Samantha Power at the NSC I can't think of a stronger human rights team in American history.

    Give me liberty, or give me death!

    by salsa0000 on Tue May 05, 2009 at 04:32:42 PM PDT

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