by Garret Ean
Mar 16 2012
Abdulelah Haider Shaye is a name most in the western world aren’t familiar with, and Barack Obama would like to keep it that way. Shaye is a Yemeni independent journalist who was covering the impact of military activities in Yemen. He was daring enough to interview some of the most wanted men in the world. Anwar Al-Awlaki met for an interview with Shaye which later broadcast on Al-Jazeera, prior to it becoming known that Awlaki was the first US citizen added to a CIA kill list. In the same month that the interview was aired, Shaye took the initiative to investigate a missile attack claimed by the Yemeni government to have been orchestrated by their military. It was December of 2009 when the village of Majala was targeted as the alleged site of an Al-Qaeda training camp. After the bombing, Shaye traveled to the area and took the pictures which were broadcast by news media around the globe. His report revealed remnants of tomahawk cruise missiles and cluster bombs. Neither of these weapons being in the Yemeni national arsenal, the Made in the USA stamp emblazoned on the debris revealed the true source of the attack. The pentagon refused to comment on the photos and Yemeni officials denied all involvement by the US government. Wikileaks later published a US diplomatic cable which documented Yemeni officials admitting to lying to their parliament about US military coordination. Fourteen women and twenty-one children were killed in the strike (the number of males killed is not known, and assuredly all are automatically assumed to be Al-Qaeda terrorists). The Majala bombing was the first of what would be an ongoing deadly string of aerial assaults by the US military in association with Yemeni state militants.
The following July, Shaye was at a grocery store when armed men put a hood over his head and threw him into a waiting car. Shaye was detained for days, threatened, and released. Before he was released, one of his captors told him, “We will destroy your life if you keep on talking about this issue.” Within a month, he was kidnapped again, and after a kangaroo court proceeding, which his lawyer denounced from the beginning, he was sentenced to five years in prison on accusations of coordinating with Al-Qaeda.
Such an uproar was caused by his conviction that tribal leaders pressured then-president Ali Abdullah Saleh to pardon him. It was national news that the pardon was to be signed this past February. But then the president’s phone rang, and it was the president of the United States.
The White House acknowledged that Barack Obama telecommunicated to Saleh that he had concerns over Shaye’s impending release. After the phone call, Saleh decided not to pardon the imprisoned journalist.
Anwar Al-Awlaki was targeted in large part because he was seen as a public relations arm for Al-Qaeda. It was cited that he had a facebook page and published youtube videos, implying that those abilities among Islamic terrorists are lacking. Perhaps Shaye is being targeted for daring to talk to untouchables, terrorists.
Read the detailed story by Jeremy Scahill at truthout.org. Embedded below is video coverage by Democracy Now.