administration has imposed heavy secrecy and censorship measures on
the testimony of retired Gen. Wesley Clark, the former NATO
commander seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, when he
takes the stand later this month at the war crimes trial of Slobodan
administration's action will blunt the drama of what many expected
to be crucial moment in Milosevic's lengthy trial and perhaps one of
the defining moments in the presidential campaign of Clark, who
defeated the Yugoslav leader in the Kosovo campaign.
At the insistence
of State Department's legal office, the courtroom's public gallery
will be cleared when Clark is called to testify Dec. 15 and 16 in
The Hague. Cameras that normally broadcast the proceedings on closed
circuit television and the Internet will be blacked out."
Even when other
Generals or high level officials like former Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright testified at the Hague, this was not
done. If a subject comes up that might be sensitive, then that
portion is done in private, reports the OK Daily. But it is
important to have all proceedings done in open so the world doesn't
suspect and Milosovec can't claim anything shady went on while in
But Bush doesn't
care. He doesn't want General Clark getting the positive media
coverage showing him bringing down first hand one of the worst
tyrants and war criminals in recent history.
Of course, there's
even more. Not only has the President ordered a complete media
blackout, but - just in case you doubted he was doing this to stop
Clark from getting good coverage - he has ordered, "a 48-hour delay
on the release of the trial transcript that will enable State
Department lawyers to examine Clark's testimony and request the
deletion of portions that they deem harmful to national
interests." Yes, they want a delay that is long enough that
the press will lose interest before it gets the transcript and, in
typical Dictator Bush style, complete censorship editorial control
over what gets released at all.
this never has happened before. As the OK Daily reports, "for
a high profile public figure, the secrecy surrounding Clark's
testimony is unprecedented, especially in light of the fact that
Clark has written a lengthy book and numerous articles on NATO and
the Kosovo war, and has freely given his opinion on these subjects
as a TV commentator and presidential candidate."
The Daily reports
that the normal procedure is:
officials are called as witnesses, the normal procedure for dealing
with sensitive testimony is to allow representatives of their
government to be present in the courtroom and to intervene if they
believe the official's testimony might harm national interests. The
tribunal then goes into a temporary closed session to deal with that
portion of the testimony.
are for victims who might be harmed, not governments who might be
embarrassed," said a tribunal source."
For German General
Klaus Naumann, for British envoys Paddy Ashdown and David Owen, and
for former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, testifying in
public was just fine.
running for President against the first American Dictator.
acting as his own lawyer, the direct confrontation with General
Clark - the man who led the call and commanded the troops to bring
Milosovec down - should be fireworks like nothing seen before; a
true, great, exciting moment in the world's history and the history
of decency and democracy triumphing over brutality and tyranny.
But don't bother
trying to find out about it on the news. They won't know
anything that went on, not for at least 48 hours, and only what the
Bush administration decides to let out then.
candidates take note: stop worrying about what your message
should be or what snappy phrases might work best, stop dreaming of
that moment up on stage during a debate going toe to toe with
President Bush, and start to realize, the President and his people
will come up with method after method of ensuring your message never
gets heard. Last election they timed the war to ensure there
was no media space to cover election pitches, they are squelching
Clark, they censor the press when it covers President Bush already,
forbidding interviews of soldiers even here in America (see story here.)
Democratic hopefuls, and be ready America, a ruthless, free-speech
hating, self-promoting at all costs and damage to freedom,
democracy, and America dictator is out to silence you by any means
necessary. He thinks the world is his Rush Limbaugh show and
he gets to hang up on anyone who can show he is wrong. That is
how he operates.
The rest of the
press is asleep on this, and even The Oklahoma Daily that did such a
great job breaking this story couldn't just call it what it
is: a power play by a merciless dictator of a President.
They have to hint, infer, and not reach the obvious conclusion,
allowing the President's game of sewing doubt to succeed.
Moderate Independent operates like a kick in his Soviet-like balls
each time Premiere Bush tries to pull one of these stunts. He
is relentless - so are we. Spread the word, and by continuing
to grow The Moderate Independent's readership, we will further
become a media voice to be reckoned with for America - and best of
all, finally one that is capable of reporting truth and facts
without fear or reservation.