M D Nalapat
Pakistan Observer, 28 June 2013
Hundreds of millions of people across the world took Barack Hussein Obama's rhetoric at voice value and believed the man when he claimed that he was dedicated to change. Even after he cast aside almost all of those who had helped him come as the lawful occupant of the Oval Office in favour of Clinton-era retreads, there was an expectation that he would trod the path taken by Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, not to mention Lyndon Baines Johnson, who ensured that social welfare and equal rights for all ceased to become an aspiration, by making them into law.
President Obama may still surprise the many who now regard him with disappointment, but the signs are that he has been completely house trained, and will follow to the letter what his minders wish him to. The way in which he has allowed the vicious prosecution of Bradley Manning is a case in point. The armyman was "guilty" - if such be the word - only of uncovering acts of violence against unarmed civilians by criminal elements in the US military. Yet rather than prosecute for murder the pilots responsible for the murders of Iraqi civilians exposed by Manning, it is the whistle-blower who is in jail.
The fate of Julian Assange, who rendered an international public service by revealing the State Department documents handed over to him is only slightly better, he having been sequestered in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, a country whose "democratic" government has arranged round-the-clock plainclothes security personnel to grab Assange should he step out of the embassy compound. And now we have the Obama administration going after Edward Snowden in a manner surprising to those who came across the many supportive references to freedom of speech and of the internet in Obama's speeches.
However, all this pales in comparison to the manner in which President Obama is shielding the supporters of Osama bin Laden. When they attacked his residence, US special forces commandos got possession of sackfuls of computer discs as well as documents. They seized two hard drives from the compound. This trove contains information about the many VVIPs across the world who were secretly backing Osama bin Laden, including many who claimed to be the best friends of NATO. Such people needed to be publicly named and shamed,as a warning to others who in future may facilitate terrorists. However, President Obama has clearly taken a decision to keep the entire trove to himself and to his administration and their close allies.
The reason is obvious. Obama, Cameron and the rest of the NATO alliance intend to use the information not to ensure that justice be done but to blackmail in private those individuals who assisted Osama bin Laden, so that they can achieve some of the tawdry aims of a military alliance which ought to have been disbanded in 1993 but was expanded under Presidents Clinton and (George W) Bush. Thus, the population at large has been denied any but the most limited knowledge of the contents of the material seized from the Bin Laden compound, when a democratic government ought to have followed the rules of transparency in revealing them. Not surprisingly, the so-called "free" media within the NATO bloc has been visibly uncurious about the Bin Laden cache.Clearly, a word from friendly officials in Washington was enough to ensure that editors and publishers kept their journalists away from any questions about the cache.
When he appointed a full-blown Europeanist, Samantha Power, to the post of UN Representative, President Obama signalled his fealty to President Truman's vision of the US and Europe marching in lockstep in an effort to continue to dominate the rest of the globe. It was Truman who swiftly reversed Franklin Roosevelt's policy of seeking engagement with Asia and returned to a policy of backing colonial powers such as France as they used military force to subdue restive populations. In an era when Asia is once again becoming the centre of gravity of global geopolitics, it was expected that Obama would ensure equal treatment of Europrean as well as Asian allies.
Instead, even after the departure of Hillary Clinton from his team, he has remained committed to the Europeanist policy of the Clintons, seeking to insert NATO all across the world rather than acknowledging the multicultural legacy of his country by forging regional alliances that would remain bilateral rather than have Europe inserted everywhere that the US went. In the War on Terror, President Obama has retained the policy of not trusting non-NATO allies with information, as witness the refusal to allow the Manmohan Singh government to access David Headley,despite (or perhaps because of) the Indian Prime Minister's subservience to the strategic interests of NATO.
In the implementation of the Bush-Singh nuclear deal, President Obama has walked back from the promise of fullscope cooperation, thereby opening up the possibilty that a future government in Delhi will resume nuclear testing in view of the near-zero benefits that the India-US nuclear deal has brought to the weaker country. Indeed, several more nuclear tests are needed if India is to ensure a credible nuclear deterrent,and it is a travesty of truth to argue that computer models can substitute for this.
Despite President Obama's efforts at ensuring that "lesser breeds" do not gain access to information that in the view of his administration should remain the preserve of the "higher caste" countries of the US, France, the UK and to an extent Germany, enough information has seeped through about the revelations contained within the Osama Bin Laden records,whether these be electronic,voice or in written form.
Three Heads of Government of countries that are for the record allied with the US are, according to the information collected from the Bin Laden compound, have assisted Al Qaeda with funds and facilitation, despite being aware of the links of those given such help. In a democratic world order,which is what Barack Obama endlessly repeats as his objective, it is the public who have the right to know the facts.
A lot of documentation about the way in which the USSR functioned became available once the Soviet Union collapsed as a result of the exertions (or lack of them) of Mikhail Gorbachev. Then why is the Obama administration refusing to part with details of what was found in the Bin Laden compound? Who are they protecting, and why? Is it to ensure that the threat of exposure gets used in order to control their actions? If so, it is a cynical ploy with only short-term benefits. Disclosure would be of much greater value not just to the international community (which to BBC and CNN refers to NATO and to Al Jazeera as NATO plus the GCC) but to the people of the US. Hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens across the globe have in their own way participated in the battle against terrorists. They need to be trusted with the facts, rather than denied access to them.
It is because the Obama administration has followed a policy of North Korea-style secrecy that Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden behaved in accordance with the idealism preached by Candidate Obama during his quest for the job he now has. Hopefully, despite the persecution that they are being subjected to,others will follow their example and redeem the reputation of the US from the depths to which Barack Obama's fealty to an exclusivist past has condemned it.
In the meantime, more US diplomats may label this columnist with the appellation that was affixed to him in a document revealed by Wikileaks, of being "notorious". It is an honour to be described as such by those to whom the people of any country are regarded as not worthy enough to know the truth.