It’s interesting to me that all of the comments, so far,are about about Charlie and not about PEN and Suzanne Nossel. She “…came to PEN after a year’s stint as Executive Director of Amnesty International, USA (AI), in 2012. Before that she served in Hillary Clinton’s State Department as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs. …”
Perhaps everyone has forgotten that there was controversy when she was appointed Executive Director. I recall reading Chris Hedges describing why he resigned his membership.
Here are some reasons why the issue of PEN under Nossel is a story worth keeping in mind. An article by John Walsh and Coleen Rowley gives some background regarding the periods relevant to Nossel. "…AI’s “Shadow Summit” featured a number of panels at a Chicago hotel with the main speaker at the first panel former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, …What was such a person doing at an AI event? …Coleen Rowley and Anne Wright, who resigned from the State Department in 2003 to protest the war on Iraq, along with a handful of fellow antiwar activists attempted to attend the panel but were refused entrance …AI then allowed the group to enter, but in an apparent lapse of concern for free speech only if signs opposing NATO’s war on Afghanistan were left outside…how easy it was for these U.S. government officials to use the ‘good and necessary cause’ of women’s rights to get the audience into the palm of their collective hand — just as the CIA’s ‘strategic communication’ expert predicted!”
One has to ask what is afoot when a former State Department official takes over an organization like AI, which then neatly fits its approach into that of the U.S. government. A few months after the appearance of the Rowley/Wright piece and complaints by other members and donors of AI, …Nossel is often credited with coining the phrase “Smart Power,”2 which Secretary of State HillaryClinton repeated interminably in her Senate confirmation hearings to characterize how she would run State. Nossel defined the term in a 2004 article in Foreign Affairs as “assertive leadership —diplomatic, economic, and not least, military.”
IMO, Charlie is a small-minded bigoted magazine that did not fire its satire at all comers. It was far closer to a lapdog of the ruling paradigm. But PEN is an organization that ought to stand for the rights of all, representing all writers and public intellectuals with an independent stand. The co-opting of this organization should not be overlooked.