Thursday, February 18, 2010

Obama administration reluctant to Criticize Iranian Communications Jamming

The President has steadfastly refused to criticize the Iranian regime over its human rights violations and its brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the Obama administration actually tried to prevent the Broadcasting Board of Governors from protesting Iran's censorship policies:
The Iranian government's blanket censorship of satellite and Internet communications last week was so effective, it led many to wonder: Why didn't the U.S. government do more to stop it?

Despite strong statements from Foggy Bottom, the White House appears to be treading carefully. Three sources tell The Cable that the National Security Council discouraged Jeff Trimble, executive director of the Broadcasting Board of Governors - the independent agency that oversees the government's media operations, including Voice of America - from allowing VOA to attach its name to a statement last week with Deutsche Welle and the BBC protesting Iranian signal-jamming.

According to e-mails from Trimble to several Broadcasting Board of Governors staffers, the NSC first didn't want the VOA to join the statement if it mentioned "jamming." Later, the NSC modified its position to object to the use of the term "intensified jamming."

"NSC is ok with our confirming that jamming continues, they ask that we not say for now that it has intensified," a Feb. 11 e-mail from Trimble to several staffers read.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Dan Austin, director of VOA, acknowledged that changes had been made to the statement but declined to discuss the NSC's role...

VOA eventually joined the statement, and Trimble declined to confirm or deny that the White House pressured him...
Combatting the supression of Democracy, free speech and human rights has never been high on Obama's list of priorities. [In fact, some would even argue that Obama is encroaching on freedom of speech right here in the USA.] Last year, Egypt’s ambassador to the United States expressed satisfaction "that ties [between Egypt and the U.S.] are on the mend and that Washington has dropped conditions for better relations, including demands for ‘human rights, democracy and religious and general freedoms'. ’’

Clearly, Obama is more interested in reaching out to the Mullahs of Iran than he is in defending human rights and shielding the Iranian people from their despotic and tyrannical regime.

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