State Dep’t says it is ‘not consistent’ on human rights violations involving Israel and neighbors

Middle EastUS Politics
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The press briefing at State Department on Tuesday, a dialogue between spokesperson Victoria Nuland and AP reporter Matt Lee. Thanks to Idrees Ahmad.

VICTORIA NULAND, spokesperson for State Department:

Listen, before we leave Syria, I just want to take the opportunity, if you didn’t see it, to draw your attention to the Human Rights Watch report that was released today that identifies some 27 detention centers that Human Rights Watch says Syrian Government intelligence agencies have been using since the Assad crackdown on pro-democracy protestors. The report found that tens of thousands of Syrians are in detention by regime security and intelligence agencies and that the regime is carrying out inexplicable, horrific acts of torture, including – well, I’m not going to repeat them here, but I’ll leave it to you to read the report. And in many cases, the Human Rights Watch asserts that even children have been subject to torture by the Assad regime.

MATT LEE: Do you see that report as credible and solid, and you’re putting – you’re endorsing it? I mean, you’re saying –

MS. NULAND: We have no reason to believe that it is not credible. It’s based on eyewitness accounts, and they’re reporting from a broad cross-section of human rights figures inside Syria.

QUESTION: So the next time Human Rights Watch comes out with a report that’s critical of Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians, I’ll assume that you’re going to be saying the same thing, correct; that you think that the report is credible, it’s based on eyewitness accounts?

MS. NULAND: As –

QUESTION: And you’re not going to say that it’s politically motivated and should be dismissed?

MS. NULAND: Matt, as you have made clear again and again in this room, we are not always consistent.

Goyal.

QUESTION: So, in other words, anything that Human Rights Watch says that is critical of someone you don’t like, that’s okay; but once they criticize someone that you do like, then it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on?

MS. NULAND: Matt, I’m not going to get into colloquy on this one.

Goyal.

RAGHUBIR GOYAL (India Globe): India.

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

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29 Responses

  1. Les
    July 5, 2012, 9:55 am

    No working American journalist would be so persistent a questioner. That would guarantee not being recognized at future press conferences.

  2. CloakAndDagger
    July 5, 2012, 10:00 am

    I am amazed that Matt Lee still has a job after all this time. That man has balls of steel. If only the rest of the press corps were like him!

  3. Dan Crowther
    July 5, 2012, 10:15 am

    HAHAHA!!! Man, that was awesome. “As you have made clear, Matt, we’re generally full of poo around here.”

  4. FreddyV
    July 5, 2012, 11:09 am

    I love seeing these interchanges between Matt Lee and Victoria Nuland. She always gets her arse handed to her.

    Ha!

    • Bumblebye
      July 5, 2012, 12:05 pm

      Really, FreddyV!
      You imply that Matt Lee is groping his way towards the truth!

  5. HarryLaw
    July 5, 2012, 11:43 am

    Nuland, ” state not always consistent ” well hush my mouth, Nuland and her husband Robert Kagan are full of consistency, well they are full of something.

    • chinese box
      July 5, 2012, 4:56 pm

      As I was reading this I wondered how anyone could be such a soulless spokesmouth for state power and look at themselves in the mirror everyday, but seeing that she’s married to R. Kagan puts things into perspective.

    • lysias
      July 5, 2012, 5:22 pm

      The brazenness with which she says that they are not consistent is an in-your-face declaration that they don’t have to hide their lack of principles any longer.

    • lysias
      July 5, 2012, 5:27 pm

      According to her State Dept. biography, Victoria Nuland “was Principal Deputy National Security Advisor to Vice President Cheney from July 2003 until May 2005 where she worked on the full range of global issues, including the promotion of democracy and security in Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Lebanon, and the broader Middle East. “

  6. lysias
    July 5, 2012, 12:01 pm

    Did Matt Lee ever get an answer to his questions about Sandra Tamari’s mistreatment by the Israeli authorities and by the U.S. embassy in Israel?

    RT television just broadcast a story about her mistreatment and talked with her on air.

    • ritzl
      July 5, 2012, 1:10 pm

      Do you have a link, lysias? I couldn’t find it.

      • lysias
        July 5, 2012, 1:53 pm

        They will probably repeat that on link to rt.com

      • lysias
        July 5, 2012, 2:15 pm

        They’re right about to repeat it on air after the break that’s on now. They will probably continue to repeat it at 14 or 15 minutes after the hour for a few more hours.

        UPDATE: It’s starting right now. So correct that to 18 minutes after the hour.

      • ritzl
        July 5, 2012, 3:17 pm

        Thanks.

        Here’s another interview with her and James Zogby at the Arab-American Institute:

        link to aaiusa.org

      • seafoid
        July 5, 2012, 4:54 pm

        Thanks for the link .Sandra Tamari is very impressive. They picked the wrong lady to mess with.

        Americans need to know that the passport means nothing in Zionist territory.

        Discrimination on the basis of ethnicity is wrong. Surely Jews have figured this out.

      • seafoid
        July 5, 2012, 5:09 pm

        This a very good presentation by Lisa Hajjar on Israeli lawfare , also from the Palestine studies institute. She is very funny on the absurdities of Zionism.

      • ritzl
        July 5, 2012, 11:30 pm

        It’s been a long time since I looked at my passport, but yeah on page 1:

        “The Secretary of State of the United States of America hereby requests all whom it may concern to permit the citizen/national of the United States named herein without delay or hindrance and in case of need give all lawful aid and protection.”

        Doesn’t seem to be the case, in practice.

  7. radii
    July 5, 2012, 2:50 pm

    you go Matt Lee! … israel will have you re-assigned before too long, so get as many sharp questions in there as you can before they do

  8. Kathleen
    July 6, 2012, 9:31 am

    Oh yeah
    “QUESTION: So the next time Human Rights Watch comes out with a report that’s critical of Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians, I’ll assume that you’re going to be saying the same thing, correct; that you think that the report is credible, it’s based on eyewitness accounts?

    MS. NULAND: As –

    QUESTION: And you’re not going to say that it’s politically motivated and should be dismissed?

    MS. NULAND: Matt, as you have made clear again and again in this room, we are not always consistent.”

    “not always consistent” Not ever. How absurd Secretary of State Clinton lecturing Assad about killing. A murderer lecturing a murderer about murder.

    • Citizen
      July 6, 2012, 2:20 pm

      But her only child’s Jewish in-laws think Hillary is great! Especially the ex-criminal father-in-law. Bill and Hillary, they are wonderful examples of the American Dream come true. And their daughter leads the way for all future Americans who want to attain it! BTW, isn’t Hillary a Presby? Were is she on the recent Presby vote re BDS?

    • MHughes976
      July 7, 2012, 11:33 am

      I think that this reply comes rather close to conceding that Mr. Lee has a point.

  9. giladg
    July 6, 2012, 10:02 am

    How many international reporters are based in Israel? How many international reporters are based in Syria? How many international reporters are based in Gaza? How free are the reporters, in each respective location, to go about and do their jobs?
    It is clear that there is far too much focus on Israel, based also on the abuse of the freedoms they enjoy in Israel fed by their historic stereotypical views of Jews . Now not all are antisemitic. Far too many are and on slow days their imaginations often run wild. Democracies, like Israel, allow these journalist to run amuck and over report.

    For those of you who don’t know, around 80% of the foreign journalists in the region are based in Israel.

    • Woody Tanaka
      July 6, 2012, 11:12 am

      What are you talking about, zio? The question is the State Department of the USA’s inconsistent treatment of evil regimes. When it is an evil regime like Syria, the USA loves human rights and Human RIghts Watch. When it is an evil regime like the zionist entity, they hate it. Why? Because the US State Department is a bought-and-paid-for, traitorous organization who sold out the US for 30 pieces of silver going to some politicians.

    • Citizen
      July 6, 2012, 2:24 pm

      Doesn’t that 80% figure match up pretty well with US government-appointed, and US media & thinktank-selected “consultants” on Israel? About 80% Jewish?

    • mig
      July 6, 2012, 3:39 pm

      Yup, because they can’t enter palestinian areas without Israel permission. Rest stay in Israel because they buy Israeli hasbara.

    • The Hasbara Buster
      July 6, 2012, 8:36 pm

      It is clear that there is far too much focus on Israel, based also on the abuse of the freedoms they enjoy in Israel fed by their historic stereotypical views of Jews .

      During the Apartheid era, there was “far too much focus” on South Africa, when other countries had much worse human-rights records. Black people could travel abroad (unlike in China); black women could drive (unlike in Saudi Arabia). Do you believe that excessive focus reflected the media’s prejucie against Afrikaners?

      But that aside, your comment does not address the issue: the Department of State has one standard for eyewitnesses in Syiria (whom it always believes) and for those in the West Bank (whom it always dismisses).

  10. piotr
    July 6, 2012, 11:40 pm

    The special standard for Syria is quite far reaching. Essentially the same people and activities are in some places deserve (a) recruiting a Communist regime from a nearby country to fight them, plus the drones — in Somalia, (b) supporting the local regime, including the drones — in Yemen, (c) direct engagement of our forces — in Afghanistan, (d) no comments — in Iraq, (e) baffled consternation — what to do in the middle of Sahara, in Mali and finally (f) warm support — in Syria.

    “inexplicable, horrific acts of torture” — how they compare with American tortures, say in Bagram base? Perhaps Syrians also apply them only when they are convinced that they interrogate terrorist and only when they are duly authorized by the President with the benefit of some legal analysis? Who knows, perhaps they are using the legal analysis of John Yoo?

  11. Kathleen
    July 7, 2012, 10:22 am

    “far too much focus on Israel” give me a break. This is just not happening. Ever hear MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Ed, Lawrence O’ Donnell, certainly not Martin Bashir. Dylan Ratigan would go there..but now he is gone. The Diane Rehm show has seriously reduced their coverage of this critical issue. Barely a whisper on that program

    • MHughes976
      July 7, 2012, 11:39 am

      Those of us who think that Zionism is a major moral mistake which has overwhelmingly powerful support in the Western world, and therefore deserves to be challenged in the best words we can find wherever a reasonable challenge will be heard, have that focus certainly. I wish more people were not distracted and misled.

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