Since freedom of the press is one of our Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms about which Thomas Jefferson said “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.” one would think President Obama’s signing of the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act would be relatively noncontroversial and reason for bipartisan celebration. Yet, no. Once again in less than a week President Obama did not call BizarroWorld Central and ask for a Republican puppeteer to say the politically correct words as Obama moved his lips, Remarks by the President at the Signing of the Freedom of the Press Act Oval Office
THE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, everybody. I am very proud to be able to sign the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act, a piece of legislation that sends a strong signal about our core values when it comes to the freedom of the press.
All around the world there are enormously courageous journalists and bloggers who, at great risk to themselves, are trying to shine a light on the critical issues that the people of their country face; who are the frontlines against tyranny and oppression. And obviously the loss of Daniel Pearl was one of those moments that captured the world’s imagination because it reminded us of how valuable a free press is, and it reminded us that there are those who would go to any length in order to silence journalists around the world.
What this act does is it sends a strong message from the United States government and from the State Department that we are paying attention to how other governments are operating when it comes to the press. It has the State Department each year chronicling how press freedom is operating as one component of our human rights assessment, but it also looks at countries that are — governments that are specifically condoning or facilitating this kind of press repression, singles them out and subjects them to the gaze of world opinion in ways that I think are extraordinarily important.
Oftentimes without this kind of attention, countries and governments feel that they can operate against the press with impunity. And we want to send a message that they can’t.
So this legislation, in a very modest way, I think puts us clearly on the side of journalistic freedom. I want to thank Adam Schiff in the House and Senator Chris Dodd in the Senate for their leadership. And I particularly want to thank the Pearl family, who have been so outspoken and so courageous in sending a clear message that, despite Daniel’s death, his vision of a well-informed citizenry that is able to make choices and hold governments accountable, that legacy lives on.
So we are very grateful to them. I’m grateful to the legislative leaders who helped to pass this. It is something that I intend to make sure our State Department carries out with vigor. And with that, I’m going to sign the bill.
The far Right conservative Commentary writes, Obama Won’t Say Who Killed Daniel Pearl
At a signing ceremony for the Freedom of Press Act, it is ironic and shameful that Obama could not bring himself to identify the killers who beheaded the man who fearlessly reported on the jihadist terrorists.
[ ]..If you didn’t know already, you’d never figure out that he was talking about the Islamic fundamentalists who butchered Pearl. ( between paragraphs are just excerpts from the speech above).
[ ]…But of course they can and do, safe in the knowledge that they will pay no price so long as this administration is in power. Has Obama done anything about the suppression of media critics in Egypt (other than prepare a lucrative financial package for the Egyptian government)?
The president could not identify by name because there is some uncertainty as to who the exact person(s) is. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to Pearls’ murder, but he was waterbroaded 183 times and was probably crazy – at one time stating he said a lot of things to stop the torture. So no one is sure whether he did it or had someone do it for him or whether he was involved at all ( the right still perpetuates the myth that water boarding worked because KSM talked). The Freedom of the Press Act was named in Pearl’s honor but was not just about militant jihadist’s suppression of press freedoms, but rather freedom of the press as a human right regardless of the politics of the oppressor. Commentary and the Weakly Standard seem to think the only suppression in the world, the only press suppression that matters is militant jihadist suppression. That kind of tunnel vision is typical of the bed wetting Isalmophobia that has plagued the far right for years – about the same time they thought 9-11 was a tragic event that did not happen to America, just the Republican partay.
The remark about Egypt is part of the creepy campaign by the folks that lost Bin Laden at Tora Bora to dump all the evil in the world in Obama’s lap. Forget that Egypt has been the second largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid for years – certainly under Bush-Cheney. During the Bush-Cheney era Bush described Pakistan like this – Bush hails Pakistan as strong ally in terror fight
President George W Bush has upgraded relations with Pakistan by formally naming it as a major non-Nato ally.
The move is in recognition of Islamabad’s contribution in the fight against al-Qaeda, and is being seen as Washington’s way of saying thank-you.
Pakistan will now enjoy a special security relationship with the US.
Islamabad welcomed the move, calling it as a success for the country’s foreign policy and a recognition of the bold policies of President Musharraf.
Eligible for benefits
“I hereby designate the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as major non-Nato ally of the United States for the purposes of the Arms Export Control Act,” President Bush’s statement said.
Pakistan has always been a problem – War on terror loses ground – Al Qaeda is regrouping in Pakistan, an ally the U.S. must work with but doesn’t trust. CIA officers are frustrated. July 27, 2008. They have a military dictatorship – seeming to ignore the Bush doctrine of spreading democracy – on the other hand supporting that regime, while also applying pressure on the human rights front has been the better alternative. The other alternative is risking the militant jihadist taking over Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. The neocons were supposed to be the pros on foreign policy and they could not solve this riddle so applying a different standard to the Obama administration is just more of the knuckle dragging hypocrisy we’ve heard for the last ten years.