View Full Version : Obamaís personal role in a journalistís imprisonment

03-23-2012, 09:05 AM
As we now know (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/yemen/7806882/US-cluster-bombs-killed-35-women-and-children.html), 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 (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/world/Yemeni-Forces-Launched-Second-Attack.pdf) that it was Yemen’s air force which was responsible.

The Pentagon helped bolster this misleading claim of responsibility by issuing (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/dec/29/obama-war-on-terror-yemen) a statement that “Yemen should be congratulated for actions against al-Qaeda.” Meanwhile, leading American media outlets, such as The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/25/world/middleeast/25yemen.html), 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 (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/18/world/middleeast/18yemen.html) vaguely mentioned civilian deaths only in passing or not at all (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/25/world/middleeast/25yemen.html), 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 (http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/yemen-images-missile-and-cluster-munitions-point-us-role-fatal-attack-2010-06-04) 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 (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/yemen/7806882/US-cluster-bombs-killed-35-women-and-children.html) the horrifying extent of the civilian deaths. Shaye’s work was vindicated when WikiLeaks released a diplomatic cable (http://www.salon.com/2010/11/29/wikileaks_yemen_revelations/) — 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.”

Despite that important journalism — or, more accurately, because of it — Shaye is now in prison, thanks largely to President Obama himself. For the past two years, Shaye has been arrested, beaten, and held in solitary confinement by the security forces of Saleh, America’s obedient tyrant. In January, 2011, he was convicted in a Yemeni court of terrorism-related charges — alleging that he was not a reporter covering Al Qaeda but a mouthpiece for it — in a proceeding widely condemned by human rights groups around the world. “There are strong indications that the charges against [Shaye] are trumped up and that he has been jailed solely for daring to speak out about US collaboration in a cluster munitions attack which took place in Yemen,” Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, told Scahill. The Yemen expert, Johnsen, added: “There is no publicly available evidence to suggest that Abdulelah was anything other than a journalist attempting to do his job.”.............................

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Drop bombs on Yemen. Check.
Kill scores of civilians. Check.
Lie about it. Check.
Arrest reporter for exposing the truth. Check.