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A dangerous cover up
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-05-14 10:20:57
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While the Taleban gradually takes over Pakistan with the Allies NATO or not NATO watching, Barack Obama is thinking about photos that show things have changed only in theory and not in practice. The rest of us are thinking how many more hundred days will pass untill we can start pointing out the wrongs without feeling guilty.

When George W. Bush took over and before his first hundred days most of us had brought Armageddon before it comes in the face of Bin Laden but now with Obama most of us are thinking calm down, it’s too early, give him the chance. I’m not talking only about articles and public talks, we are doing the same even in our private moments, with our friends and we are doing it even with our selves. Was it the battle to get there so tense and did we give so big part of ourselves that we feel obliged to defend that no matter what? And is this no matter what our principals?

A few days ago the American President gave a speech in dinner dedicated to reporters and media people; among a lot of really funny things Mr. Obama said some really serious ones especially when it came to the freedom of speech and the role of the media to control and check the administration and any administration. And the press not only in USA but all around the world has often proved how critical is its role. So how come the same president is raising issues of national security by wanting to block the publication of photos that show American soldiers abusing prisoners.

First of all it won’t be the first time photos like that will come in public, everybody knows that things like that happen especially the people who live in Iraq and Afghanistan. Actually the people there know much more than we do because there are witnesses, a local prison worker or a guard who will say something or photograph something and nobody can stop that. So the excuse that the publication of similar photos will anger the people of those two nations sounds naïve at least.

Second and most important, nobody was expecting that Barack Obama will change things in hundred days and all the demons will become angels, everybody was expecting that things will gradually get milder until the day the troops will withdraw from Iraq. Why then Barack Obama needs to block the freedom of press? Would anybody except the usual suspects who will do anyway, blame him or his administration for the photos?

The latest news say that Obama is pretty determined to block the photos which means that the case will take the long road to the Supreme Court and that will mean that there is only one who will lose and that without a very good excuse and that will be Barack Obama and his administration. Decisions and acts like that can make the small door of doubt we all have at the moment to become a gate that can become really big and instead of remembering Obama for the hope he brought remember him in comparison for example to the Jimmy Carter administration who constantly made similar mistakes.

Barack Obama criticized past administrations on their relationship with the press and often emphasized the critical role of the media to remind to the ones in power their obligations not only to the people but to the principals that lay the foundations of every democracy, blocking the publication of those photos is a violation exactly of those principals. His work should be to find arrest and send to the justice the guilty making sure that in the future everybody knows that the administration is watching and acts when something similar happens. Now even if he follows the same way it will be too late because it will follow the act of a cover up and the people, not only the people of the America bit the people globally had enough with cover ups, after all that’s the reason the people voted him.

But most of all Barack Obama will disappoint all those people who gave him the chance the first hundred days and they are ready to give him the chance the second the third and fourth hundred days. People who realize what having and defending your principals under any cost means.

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Emanuel Paparella2009-05-15 09:18:30
At one point in Jehane Nowjaim’s documentary titled Control Room one of the reporters, Hassan Ibrahim, frustrated by the American condemnation of Al Jazeera for showing Iraqi civilians wounded in bombing raids, exclaims angrily: “You are the most powerful nation on earth, I agree. You can defeat everybody, I agree. You can crush everyone, I agree. But don’t ask us to love it as well!” And yet, moments later when a colleague asks Ibrahim who is going to stop the Americans, he answers thus: “The United States is going to stop the United States. I have absolute confidence in the American Constitution. And I have absolute confidence in the ability of the American people.”

Comment: does the Egyptian journalist Jehane Nowjaim know something that other journalists don’t seem to know about America, independent of who happens to be president of the country at the time?

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