Thursday, March 15, 2012


Truth is important. If you base your outlook on the world on lies, then you are certain to be wrong. Only when you accurately see and understand the world around can you understand the world and make intelligent decisions. Its equally important thus to understand who is telling you the truth, and who is not. Its important to support those who would tell you the truth about the world. And to shun and never listen to those who would tell you lies.

Obama’s personal role in a journalist’s imprisonment by Glenn Greenwald in Salon.

This commentary is largely based around Why Is President Obama Keeping a Journalist in Prison in Yemen? by Jeremy Scahill in The Nation.

To understand the world, and to understand who is telling the truth, and who is not telling the truth, and who is actively working to suppress the truth and punish those who dare to tell the truth, please read both articles.

From Mr. Greenwald's piece ....

As we now know, on December 17, 2009, President Obama ordered an air attack — using Tomahawk cruise missiles and cluster bombs — on the village of al Majala in Yemen’s southern Abyan province; the strike ended the lives of 14 women and 21 children. At the time, the Yemeni government outright lied about the attack, falsely claiming that it was Yemen’s air force which was responsible.

The Pentagon helped bolster this misleading claim of responsibility by issuing a statement that “Yemen should be congratulated for actions against al-Qaeda.” Meanwhile, leading American media outlets, such as The New York Times, reported — falsely — that “Yemeni security forces carried out airstrikes and ground raids against suspected Qaeda hide-outs last week with what American officials described as ‘intelligence and firepower’ supplied by the United States.” Those U.S. media reports vaguely mentioned civilian deaths only in passing or not at all, opting instead for ledes such as: “Yemeni security forces carried out airstrikes and ground raids against suspected hide-outs of Al Qaeda on Thursday, killing at least 34 militants in the broadest attack on the terrorist group here in years, Yemeni officials said.” While it is certain that dozens of civilians were killed, Scahill notes that “whether anyone actually active in Al Qaeda was killed remains hotly contested.”

There is one reason that the world knows the truth about what really happened in al Majala that day: because the Yemeni journalist, Abdulelah Haider Shaye, traveled there and, as Scahill writes, “photographed the missile parts, some of them bearing the label ‘Made in the USA,’ and distributed the photos to international media outlets.” He also documented the remnants of the Tomahawks and cluster bombs, neither of which is in Yemen’s arsenal. And he provided detailed accounts proving that scores of civilians, including those 21 children, had been killed in the attacks. It was Shaye’s journalism that led Amnesty International to show the world the evidence that it was the U.S. which had perpetrated the attack using cluster bombs, and media outlets to reveal the horrifying extent of the civilian deaths. Shaye’s work was vindicated when WikiLeaks released a diplomatic cable — allegedly provided by Bradley Manning — in which Yemen’s then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh joked with David Petraeus about continuing to lie to the public: ”We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours.”

As Mr. Schahill's article documents, this journalist is now in prison, and largely on President Obama's orders. There had been considerable outcry about the journalist's imprisonment in Yemen, and the US-backed Yemeni tyrant had been ready to issue a pardon. But President Obama intervened with a phone call insisting that the journalist who revealed this US war crime continue to remain in prison.

If you vote Democrat in the coming election, this is what you are supporting. Pretty much the same for the Republicans. If you like tyrants imprisoning journalists who report on their atrocities, then vote Democrat, or vote Republican. The one sure lesson of the election of Obama and the rise to power of the Democrats is that it makes no difference at all which one you choose. A vote for one over the other might signify that you prefer red or blue as your favorite color, or it might signify a preference for elephants or jack-asses, but a vote for one party over the other most certainly is not a vote to change the course this country is on. There are a few brave exceptions. People like Ron Paul in the Republican party, or Barbara Lee in the Democrats. But by and large, a vote for either the Democrats or Republicans is a vote for both spending millions of your dollars killing innocent women and children as well as imprisoning any who dare to try to tell you the truth about it.

There are always other names on the ballot. Please pick one. In the last election, although some 60% to 70% of the American people tell pollsters they want these wars to end, something like around 97% to 98% of those same people voted for a President who would do exactly what's described here. There were other names on the ballot. There were other choices. In fact, there were probably too many other choices to stage an effective opposition campaign. But no one who voted for these war crimes and this suppression of the truth can claim that there weren't other choices.

Make a difference in 2012 and vote for something different.

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