President Obama Calls On China to Be More Transparent and Open — And Then Bars The Release of Any More Photos of Detainee Abuse to the Media and Public

225px-official_portrait_of_barack_obama180px-Abu_Ghraib_prison_abusePresident Barack Obama and his Administration set a new level of hypocrisy this weekend with calls on the Chinese government and military to end censorship and be more open with the public while barring disclosure of embarrassing photos of detainee abuse.

Obama appears much more fervent in his commitment to civil liberties and open government when it is someone else’s government. Recently, his Administration took an extraordinary step of demanding an investigation of a visiting defense official on allegations of torture — in Sri Lanka, here.

Obama waxed poetic in China in explaining how the government should not be afraid of allowing the free flow of information and openness.

He insisted “I’m a big supporter of non-censorship. I recognize that different countries have different traditions. I can tell you that in the United States, the fact that we have free Internet — or unrestricted Internet access is a source of strength, and I think should be encouraged.” Of course, we had a tradition of open disclosure of government documents and photos before the Bush and Obama administration argued that embarrassment alone is sufficient to bar release of such information.

For the China story, click here.

To make the hypocrisy complete, Defense Secretary Robert Gates took the occasion of this weekend when Obama was lecturing the China on openness to block the release of any more pictures of foreign detainees abused by their U.S. captors. The Obama Administration is opposing free speech and good government groups in the Supreme Court who have denounced his policy of nondisclosure as a dangerous and extreme policy of government control of information.

For the Gates story, click here.

180px-AG-10Then there is Rear Adm. Kevin Donegan, commander of the U.S. aircraft carrier group for the Asia-Pacific, who specifically used the same period to lecture the Chinese military on transparency in its activities. There seems no concern that Donegan was making such demands while Gates was denying transparency in Washington.

For the military story, click here.

The Obama Administration continues to leverage heavily on the growing cult of personality surrounding Obama — much like the one surrounding Bush in his first term. For many, Obama’s popularity is unaffected by the fact that he is pursuing the very same hostile policies as Bush on civil liberties, privacy, and open government. More importantly, there appears no reaction to the disconnect between his rhetoric and his actions. Once again, liberals are committing the same mistake that conservatives committed with Bush. Many continue to display blind loyalty and offer little criticism of the President while core values continue to be challenged by his Administration.

34 thoughts on “President Obama Calls On China to Be More Transparent and Open — And Then Bars The Release of Any More Photos of Detainee Abuse to the Media and Public

  1. Swarthmore mom,

    May I ask why you are convinced in 2009 that no one else can be a credible alternative to Obama in 2012? (I am asking a genuine question and not trying to bait you or put you down in any way.)

  2. Jill There could be a challenge from the left but that person would lose in the general and probably would not get very far in the primaries.Obama has the minority vote locked down. I don’t think the losers from 2008 will be able to do anything in the democratic primaries. Russ Feingold is the only creditable one to me but he won’t run against Obama. If you have a name put it out there.

  3. Swarthmore mom,

    Obama himself wasn’t considered a serious contender until rather late in the game. Too me, it is way to early to concede the race to Obama. I hope we will have a third party by that time as I pretty much agree with this tweet from Jeremy Scahill: “if we didn’t have 2 parties, women’s rights would be in trouble, wars wld expand & corporations wld rule #sarcasm 10:24 AM Nov 9th from TweetDeck.”

    More importantly, I think we have to jettison the idea of a “leader” making things right in the US. We are in deep trouble right now. We can’t wait for Obama to do what needs to be done, nor do I believe he has any intention of making things right. We have to get active as citizens again. For example I consider Obama at most irrelevant and actually a hindrance when it comes to global warming. I suggest it is useless to try to get him to do the right thing even though clearly this is a life or death emergency. Instead I suggest we start investing in alternative energy and the infrastructure right now ourselves. Any money that would go to Obama the candidate should be immediately diverted to this purpose. Any time should be diverted to useful works such as helping our neighbors. We could sort and lift their recyclables, compost for them, whatever acts of help and use we may be of, we should do. The nature conservancy is a good model. They just go ahead and buy the land. They don’t bother begging politicians for it. We should stop begging and make our own plans. This won’t work for issues such as the rule of law, but it will work for many other emergencies we face. We must not rely on “the one” for anything. He or she cannot do everything that needs doing and, given that we are truly a corporatocracy, they will be unlikely to do good things, be they Republican or Democratic.

  4. There was no incumbent in 2008. Obama enjoys all the powers of the presidency and all that it affords in an election. We couldn’t even knock the incumbent Bush out in 2004. If Obama loses, it will be to a right wing republican because unemployment stays high.

  5. Jill,

    See Theodore Roosevelt and what he did to Taft. Then read “The River of Doubt” which is a great read. Excuse me a damn good read.

  6. Obama is not irrelevant whether you like him or not.Goldman Sachs is not irrelevant either. Vote in 2010 for change. I don’t know how many blue dog democrats have primary challenges probably very few. The challenge is coming from the right not the left. Palin will be very active in the mid term elections.

  7. Swarthmore mom,

    Obama isn’t all powerful. We must move as citizens in a non-violent way to correct what is wrong in our nation. Voting is one way of trying to get change but it isn’t the only way. We need to reengage as citizens. Our rights, our Constitution, depends on it. Voting isn’t enough. Only an active citizenry who takes back their own power can oppose the corporate state. When I say he is irrelevant, I mean it is time to move around him. There is no sense in asking/expecting him to do the right thing. That isn’t why GS and the defense contractors paid for him. We should not rely on him. If we want to make things right, we as citizens will have to engage, fight, and do this ourselves. We must be active. It isn’t only Sara Palin who has the right to act. We do.

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