Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for December 20th, 2008

Paranoia Strikes Deep

Posted by MEC on December 20, 2008

Michael Connell, the GOP operative and IT expert who created campaign web sites for George W. Bush and John McCain, hosted the ‘gwb43’ server domain used by White House staff to send emails outside official White House channels, and provided a domain for Ohio’s official web site for election results in 2004 that was hosted on the same server as a long list of Republican domains, has been subpoenaed to testify in a case alleging GOP election tampering in Ohio.

He won’t be testifying. He died yesterday when his private plane crashed a few miles short of the runway. He was the pilot and sole occupant.

Posted in paranoia, WTF? | 9 Comments »

The watchdog corrupted: Human Rights Watch and the report on Venezuela

Posted by Charles II on December 20, 2008

There is an awkward relationship between most non-governmental organizations and governments, but never more so than the human rights organizations, especially Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. On the one hand, the human rights organizations can serve to bring light to dark places. On the other hand, because reports of human rights organizations are so useful for propaganda, governments may try to influence those reports.

Now, 100 academics and other people familiar with Latin America have signed a letter calling into question the Human Rights Watch report on Venezuela. Excerpts of their letter:

We write to call your attention to a report published by Human Rights Watch that does not meet even the most minimal standards of scholarship, impartiality, accuracy, or credibility. The document, A Decade Under Chávez: Political Intolerance and Lost Opportunities for Advancing Human Rights in Venezuela, appears to be a politically motivated essay rather than a human rights report. Indeed, the lead author of the report, Jose Miguel Vivanco, stated as much when he told the press just a few days after its publication, “We did the report because we wanted to demonstrate to the world that Venezuela is not a model for anyone…”

The criticisms in the letter look to me to be fair. Venezuela is no paradise, but the report was so conspicuously below standard that it seems probable that it was done with the encouragement of the US government. If HRW has been captured by the USG, it is a truly sad day. Watchdogs need, above all, to have integrity.

Posted in Venezuela | 6 Comments »

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