Book review: USA in the Middle East

Retuters, Tuesday 22 May 2012

Safeya Saada analyzes the laws passed in the USA by George W. Bush and the Obama actions along the same lines

George W. Bush and Barak Obama
George W. Bush and Barak Obama (Photo: Reuters)

America fi al shark al awsat (America in the Middle East) by Safeya Saada, Beirut: Dar Kutub for Publishing, 2012. 155pp.

Researcher, Safeya Anton Saada, talks in her new book of the changes in American with the leadership of George W. Bush, turning into a country that limits freedoms, and that Obama didn’t remain faithful to his promises, staying along the same line as his predecessor.

“America under George W. Bush turned into an autocratic state, suppressing freedoms and mocking democracy, as clear in the law of “enemy combatant”, the national law, and the counterfeiting of media,” wrote Saada who’s the daughter of the founder of the Syrian National Social party.

Obama, in Saada’s viewpoint, didn’t only stop there, but even went further, “Allowing himself to order his secret police to assassinate an American citizen without trial when he doubted he worked with what he called terrorists. This is exactly what was done in Yemen when an American airplane killed the American, Anwar Al-Awlaky.” She confirmed her statement against Obama by referring to the continuation of the illegal prison of Guantanamo Bay, indicating that the behaviors of Abu-Gharieb prison have probably continued 10 years after the September 11 bombings.

Regarding the ‘enemy combatant law’, Saada writes that it targets, “anyone who does any hostile acts against the United States of America. ‘Hostile Acts’ aren’t necessarily military, but includes other activities. Second, it applies on American citizens who are tracked as enemies of American. Third, it allows the US president to name anyone an ‘enemy combatant’ … fourth, the law ignores torture of prisoners, refusing to name them ‘war prisoners’ so the international laws don’t apply to them. Fifth, he US authority is allowed to hold any of these people without trial and without releasing them, and the majority of them are still in Guantanamo prison.”

As for the ‘National Law’, Saada notes that it was passed in 26 October 2011, only 9 days after the ‘Enemy Combatant’ law was passed, and aimed to suppress personal freedoms protected by the American Constitution, “This law allows the monitoring of phone lines, mail and communication of all forms, medical and financial records, search houses and offices of suspects without their knowledge and without warrant from the legal authorities. It also includes deportation of those with ‘permanent residence’ in case they were suspected of any terrorist actions inside or outside the USA… These radical changes blew up the entire democratic and human rights basis long celebrated by the US government and pretending to spread them in countries throughout the world, while in reality it was turning into a dictator empire ruling by the sword whenever it could.”

On the topic of media manipulation, Saada who’s a graduate of the renowned Harvard University, explained that democracy is based on free media that allows the citizen to form a proper opinion, “This changed significantly with the September 11 accidents, when the American authorities pushed to use all means of communication, media, magazines, and TV channels, turning them into a big machine to advertisements that aren’t entirely truthful; manipulating facts in a way to indicate the properness of the American management and explain their action in front of the local and international viewers… George W. Bush couldn’t have convinced his people and the Security Council to invade Iraq except through a series of lies around ownership of mass destruction weapons and the Iraqi involvement in the plans crashing the World Trade Center.”

Saada criticized that the US would ask the world for full transparency while it punished everyone saying the truth, giving the example of Bradly Manning who was put for military trial for revealing information on what the US is doing in Afghanistan and Iraq; the information that was caught by Wikileaks and spread online.

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