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Obama’s Offensive Against Journalists & Freedom of Speech

March 17
22:54 2012
ADAM MICHAEL LUEBKE
Los Angeles

Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye was convicted of terrorism-related charges in January 2011, and jailed. For two years Shaye had been abruptly taken from his home, beaten, interrogated, released, arrested again, tortured, and kept in solitary confinement until he was finally charged. In early February, Yemeni tribal leaders, sheikhs, and activist groups were calling for his release, and Yemen’s president listened. President Saleh had a pardon plan for Shaye. All he had to do was sign it, except, almost in a nasty fairy tale sort of way, Saleh received a call from President Barack Obama.

Pres Obama expressed concerns over releasing Shaye on the grounds that he’d been reporting news about Al Qaeda, and in doing so, somehow helping their cause. Saleh scrapped his pardon and Shaye has been in prison ever since. But what is Shaye’s real crime? Glenn Greenwald succinctly writes, “that he reported facts that the U.S. government and its Yemeni client regime wanted suppressed. But while the imprisonment of this journalist was ignored in the U.S, it became a significant controversy in Yemen.”

What facts did Shaye expose to the world that the United States government, and more particularly, Barack Obama, want to keep suppressed?

On Dec 17, 2009, Pres Obama ordered an airstrike on al Majala — a small village in Yemen. Yemen claimed the attack came from its own air force, and the Pentagon quickly asserted that claim by congratulating the government for their actions against terrorism.

There were probably multiple reasons Yemen’s president was willing to take the responsibility of the air strike, including tens of millions of dollars, and that he’s an American puppet. Another reason might be that the United States is not widely known (at least to the American population) to be invading or bombing or having any military action in Yemen. And they’d like to keep it that way.

The deadly Tomahawk cruise missile and cluster bomb strike on the Yemeni village resulted in the gross loss of life. Fourteen women and 21 children were killed. We wouldn’t have even known about this assault on civilians from our own government if jailed journalist Abdulelah Shaye hadn’t traveled to al Majala and broke the story.

The Nation‘s Jeremy Scahill only days ago updated us on Shaye’s extended imprisonment, and Barack Obama’s personal vendetta against the Yemeni journalist. His report is chilling, and it tells the story of what Shaye found at the bomb site:

…the remnants of Tomahawk cruise missiles and cluster bombs, neither of which are in the Yemeni military’s arsenal. He photographed the missile parts, some of them bearing the label “Made in the USA,” and distributed the photos to international media outlets. He revealed that among the victims of the strike were women, children and the elderly. To be exact, fourteen women and twenty-one children were killed. Whether anyone actually active in Al Qaeda was killed remains hotly contested. After conducting his own investigation, Shaye determined that it was a US strike. The Pentagon would not comment on the strike and the Yemeni government repeatedly denied US involvement. But Shaye was later vindicated when Wikileaks released a US diplomatic cable that featured Yemeni officials joking about how they lied to their own parliament about the US role, while President Saleh assured Gen. David Petraeus that his government would continue to lie and say “the bombs are ours, not yours.” 

Shaye has received very little attention in the United States. The State Department has stood by Pres Obama’s statements about Shaye, and the concerns the US government has if he is released.
According to Scahill, a Yemen scholar at Princeton University, named Gregory Johnsen, had been in regular contact with Shaye since 2008. Johnsen makes the point that Shaye is not working with Arabian Peninsula Al Qaeda, but instead helping to fill in vital information about the enemy that should be, for the United States government, ultimately important.
Johnsen continues to assert that Shaye is not guilty of working with terrorists, that there is no evidence to prove he has been, and that the US and Yemeni governments refuse to release the evidence they say they have to back up their claims he is working with AQAP.
White House spokesman and Obama’s right limp wrist Jay Carney told ABC news he would have to get back to them on information about why Shaye is still in jail. Carney had virtually the same awkward, fidgety response toward questions about the murder of American citizen and Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, after Pres Obama killed him in a predator drone attack.
Credit: Jane Rahman
It’s about time America’s trendy pseudo-liberals stop supporting Barack Obama and pretending he’s the sane answer to George Bush Jr. He’s more eloquent and seemingly more intelligent than Bush, but he’s the same type of tyrant and war criminal.
Barack Obama has expanded America’s war fronts all around the world. He ordered the devastating troop surge in Afghanistan, he lied about there being no military missions in Pakistan, until we later found out he’d been ordering predator drone attacks throughout the country and killing hundreds of civilians.
As mentioned above, Pres Obama murdered Anwar al-Awlaki, and then later Awlaki’s sixteen year old son and his friend. Under the Obama administration, our country has also launched air strikes in Libya (which left rebels, civilians, and pro-Gaddafi forces dead), Yemen, and Somalia (Jeremy Scahill exposed the massive CIA presence there in a report last year).
The Obama administration, along with Sec of Defense Leon Panetta (who won’t speak to his own soldiers without first forcing them to disarm) are threatening military intervention in Syria, and a full-blown war in Iran. For the sake of popularity, the Iran conflict will probably be held off until after Obama’s reelection, but his harsh sanctions on that country might also be considered an “act of war”.
We’ve got the Kony 2012 yupsters hemming and hawing over why we should send our military into Uganda to chase the newest boogieman, Joseph Kony. They wave their hands in the air, shout slogans fit for thirteen year olds, and have no historical context about Africa, and remain completely clueless about the crimes committed by the Obama administration right beneath their noses.
We’ve got war criminals in our own country, writing books, giving speeches, and living far better lives than Joseph Kony might be (although he’s probably dead). We can start supporting the truth by supporting journalists like Abdulelah Haider Shaye, who have risked their lives to give us the facts behind this global, rampant war on terror.
We can spread worthwhile information that largely gets ignored by the American mainstream media. We can support our people, starting with Bradley Manning, who work to expose the criminal activities of our leaders.

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