Obama Speaks Out On Middle East Protests -- Beck's Just Not Listening

››› ››› FAE JENCKS

Glenn Beck slammed President Obama for not speaking out in support of Israel and protesters in the Middle East, despite ample evidence that Obama has done so. Beck also reanimated the long-debunked falsehood that Obama supported the release of the Lockerbie bomber.

Beck: "I Haven't Heard Anybody Explain What Our Policy Is With Israel"

Beck Claims He Hasn't "Heard Anybody Explain What Our Policy Is With Israel." From Beck's February 23 radio show:

BECK: Is it necessary to just lie, cheat, steal, commit fraud, do whatever you have to do? Do the ends justify the means? Are the enemy of my enemies my friends? Are they?

See, I don't even know what our country is -- I don't even know what it means anymore. You don't have to worry about failure because somebody will bail you out. You don't have to worry about paying your bills because you can just default. You can --you don't have to worry about defaulting even on your house loan. There are people in California that actually are using this and defaulting on their loan of their house and then their wife, or whoever's name wasn't on their other house, they're buying another house that's bigger because it's cheaper now. Doesn't bother them at all. They can sleep at night.

I don't even know what our policy is on Israel. Is Israel our friend, or are they our enemy? I always thought they were our friend. In fact, I always thought -- you know, sorry to get all biblical on you -- but I always thought we would be punished like nobody's business if you stand against Israel. That doesn't mean that you give Israel a free pass. That means you don't stand against Israel. I'm sorry, I haven't heard anybody explain what our policy is with Israel. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 2/23/11]

Last Week, Beck Said He Didn't "Even Recognize [His] Country Anymore" Because U.S. Was Going To Support The U.N. In "Taking A Stand Against Israel." From the February 17 edition of Beck's radio show:

BECK: May I ask. Did anyone get up this morning and read the story about the United Nations voting and taking a stand against Israel, and the United States is going to support that resolution? I have to tell you, our country is on the wrong side. I don't even recognize my country anymore. I don't recognize it. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 2/17/11]

U.S. Vetoed U.N. Resolution Against Israel

CNN: Ambassador Rice Vetoed U.N. Resolution That Would Have Declared Israeli Settlements Illegal. According to CNN:

The United States vetoed Friday a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have declared Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said that while the United States agrees about "the folly and illegitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity, we think it unwise for this council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians."

The veto is the first to be used under the Obama administration. [CNN, 2/18/11]

Beck Falsely Claims Obama Has Been Silent On Iranian Protests

Beck Falsely Claims Obama Waited 10 Days To Comment On 2009 Protests And That He Hadn't Commented On Most Recent Protests. From Beck's February 23 radio show:

BECK: I don't know if we're for or against Iran anymore. I have no idea. The president won't come out and talk about the protesters when he can actually help. I have no idea. He waits 10 days, till it's all over. Until the bloodshed. Until the protesters are in jails. Until they're being hung, shot in squares. He doesn't say anything. That was last year.

Just had another opportunity. Didn't do it again. He's not speaking out -- Hillary Clinton of course has been sent out. He couldn't -- I mean, he practically called all of us at home to tell us how great democracy was and this movement in Egypt. With a guy who was holding the peace. He was a thug. I hated him. But he was at least -- he was a keystone in stability.

And the president was just calling all of us at home. He couldn't get on television enough. "Hey, Glenn. Just wanted to call you. Have you seen? We're removing the keystone of peace. Isn't it great? Democracy lives." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 2/23/11]

Obama Spoke Out On 2009 Iranian Protests In Their First Days

June 13, 2009: Protests Began Following Iranian Elections. According to The New York Times:

The streets of Iran's capital erupted in the most intense protests in a decade on Saturday, with riot police officers using batons and tear gas against opposition demonstrators who claimed that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had stolen the presidential election.

Witnesses reported that at least one person had been shot dead in clashes with the police in Vanak Square in Tehran. Smoke from burning vehicles and tires hung over the city late Saturday. [The New York Times, 6/13/09]

June 15, 2009: Obama Says "It Would Be Wrong For Me To Be Silent About What We've Seen" In Iran. From a press availability:

Q Mr. President, on Iran, does the disputed election results affect -- there's been violence in the street -- in any way change your willingness to meet with Mr. Ahmadinejad without preconditions? And also, do you have anything to say, any message to send to people who are on the streets protesting, who believe their votes were stolen and who are being attacked violently?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Obviously all of us have been watching the news from Iran. And I want to start off by being very clear that it is up to Iranians to make decisions about who Iran's leaders will be; that we respect Iranian sovereignty and want to avoid the United States being the issue inside of Iran, which sometimes the United States can be a handy political football -- or discussions with the United States.

Having said all that, I am deeply troubled by the violence that I've been seeing on television. I think that the democratic process -- free speech, the ability of people to peacefully dissent -- all those are universal values and need to be respected. And whenever I see violence perpetrated on people who are peacefully dissenting, and whenever the American people see that, I think they're, rightfully, troubled.

My understanding is, is that the Iranian government says that they are going to look into irregularities that have taken place. We weren't on the ground, we did not have observers there, we did not have international observers on hand, so I can't state definitively one way or another what happened with respect to the election. But what I can say is that there appears to be a sense on the part of people who were so hopeful and so engaged and so committed to democracy who now feel betrayed. And I think it's important that, moving forward, whatever investigations take place are done in a way that is not resulting in bloodshed and is not resulting in people being stifled in expressing their views.

Now, with respect to the United States and our interactions with Iran, I've always believed that as odious as I consider some of President Ahmadinejad's statements, as deep as the differences that exist between the United States and Iran on a range of core issues, that the use of tough, hard-headed diplomacy -- diplomacy with no illusions about Iran and the nature of the differences between our two countries -- is critical when it comes to pursuing a core set of our national security interests, specifically, making sure that we are not seeing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East triggered by Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon; making sure that Iran is not exporting terrorist activity. Those are core interests not just to the United States but I think to a peaceful world in general.

We will continue to pursue a tough, direct dialogue between our two countries, and we'll see where it takes us. But even as we do so, I think it would be wrong for me to be silent about what we've seen on the television over the last few days. And what I would say to those people who put so much hope and energy and optimism into the political process, I would say to them that the world is watching and inspired by their participation, regardless of what the ultimate outcome of the election was. And they should know that the world is watching.

And particularly to the youth of Iran, I want them to know that we in the United States do not want to make any decisions for the Iranians, but we do believe that the Iranian people and their voices should be heard and respected. [WhiteHouse.gov, 6/15/09]

June 16, 2009: Obama Expresses "Deep Concern" About Election And Says "People's Voices Should Be Heard And Not Suppressed." From a press availability:

Q Iran?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: It was only -- let's see -- I think seven hours ago or eight hours ago when I -- I have said before that I have deep concerns about the election. And I think that the world has deep concerns about the election. You've seen in Iran some initial reaction from the Supreme Leader that indicates he understands the Iranian people have deep concerns about the election.

Now, it's not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling -- the U.S. President meddling in Iranian elections. What I will repeat and what I said yesterday is that when I see violence directed at peaceful protestors, when I see peaceful dissent being suppressed, wherever that takes place, it is of concern to me and it's of concern to the American people. That is not how governments should interact with their people.

And my hope is, is that the Iranian people will make the right steps in order for them to be able to express their voices, to express their aspirations. I do believe that something has happened in Iran where there is a questioning of the kinds of antagonistic postures towards the international community that have taken place in the past, and that there are people who want to see greater openness and greater debate and want to see greater democracy. How that plays out over the next several days and several weeks is something ultimately for the Iranian people to decide. But I stand strongly with the universal principle that people's voices should be heard and not suppressed. [WhiteHouse.gov, 6/16/09]

June 20, 2009: Obama Calls On "Iranian Government To Stop All Violent And Unjust Actions Against Its Own People." Froma statement by Obama:

The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.

As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.

Martin Luther King once said - "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples' belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.[WhiteHouse.gov, 6/20/09]

Obama Expressed Support For Recent Iranian Protests

Obama: "My Hope And Expectation Is, Is That We're Going To Continue To See The People Of Iran Have The Courage To Be Able To Express Their Yearning For Greater Freedoms." From a February 15 press conference:

OBAMA: Well, first of all, on Iran, we were clear then and we are clear now that what has been true in Egypt should be true in Iran, which is that people should be able to express their opinions and their grievances and seek a more responsive government. What's been different is the Iranian government's response, which is to shoot people and beat people and arrest people.

And my hope and expectation is, is that we're going to continue to see the people of Iran have the courage to be able to express their yearning for greater freedoms and a more representative government, understanding that America cannot ultimately dictate what happens inside of Iran any more than it could inside of Egypt. Ultimately these are sovereign countries that are going to have to make their own decisions. What we can do is lend moral support to those who are seeking a better life for themselves.

Obviously we're concerned about stability throughout the region. Each country is different. The message that we've sent even before the demonstrations in Egypt has been, to friend and foe alike, that the world is changing; that you have a young, vibrant generation within the Middle East that is looking for greater opportunity, and that if you are governing these countries, you've got to get out ahead of change. You can't be behind the curve.

And so I think that the thing that will actually achieve stability in that region is if young people, if ordinary folks end up feeling that there are pathways for them to feed their families, get a decent job, get an education, aspire to a better life. And the more steps these governments are taking to provide these avenues for mobility and opportunity, the more stable these countries are.

You can't maintain power through coercion. At some level, in any society, there has to be consent. And that's particularly true in this new era where people can communicate not just through some centralized government or a state-run TV, but they can get on a smart phone or a Twitter account and mobilize hundreds of thousands of people.

My belief is that, as a consequence of what's happening in Tunisia and Egypt, governments in that region are starting to understand this. And my hope is, is that they can operate in a way that is responsive to this hunger for change but always do so in a way that doesn't lead to violence. [WhiteHouse.gov, 2/15/11]

Beck Falsely Claims Obama Hasn't "Come Out About" Libya Protests

Beck: "I Haven't Seen Him Talk About Libya. ... I Haven't Seen The President Come Out About It. He Hasn't." From Beck's February 23 radio show:

BECK: I haven't seen him talk about Libya. Libya talks about burning the oil fields. Two hundred dollar a barrel for oil. Ten dollar a gallon gasoline. I haven't seen the president come out about it. He hasn't. Is Gadhafi our friend? Is Gadhafi our enemy? [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 2/23/11]

Obama Had Already Condemned Violence Against Protesters In Libya, Urged Restraint By Its Government

Obama: U.S. "Condemns The Use Of Violence ... Against Peaceful Protesters In" Libya, Bahrain, And Yemen, Urges Them "To Show Restraint." From a February 18 statement issued by Obama:

I am deeply concerned by reports of violence in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen. The United States condemns the use of violence by governments against peaceful protesters in those countries and wherever else it may occur. We express our condolences to the family and friends of those who have been killed during the demonstrations. Wherever they are, people have certain universal rights including the right to peaceful assembly. The United States urges the governments of Bahrain, Libya and Yemen to show restraint in responding to peaceful protests, and to respect the rights of their people. [WhiteHouse.gov, 2/18/11]

Beck Claims WikiLeaks Documents Show Obama Supported Release Of Lockerbie Bomber

Beck: "This President Just Said Go Ahead And Release The Lockerbie Bomber." From Beck's February 23 radio show:

BECK: Is Gadhafi our friend? Is Gadhafi our enemy? I know that this president just said go ahead and release the Lockerbie bomber. Release him. We told England we weren't doing that. But then later, WikiLeaks came out and said that's exactly what we did. We screwed Great Britain, who I thought was a friend of ours, but I don't know if they're a friend of ours anymore. I don't know who our friends are. I don't know who our enemies are anymore. I don't know my country anymore. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 2/23/11]

Right-Wing Media Previously Seized On Leaked Letter To Claim Obama "Backed" Release Of Lockerbie Bomber

Sunday Times Of London: Correspondence "Obtained By The Sunday Times" Reportedly Showed That U.S. Officials "Considered Compassionate Release" Of Al-Megrahi "More Palatable" Than Locking Him Up. According to The Sunday Times:

Correspondence obtained by The Sunday Times reveals that Barack Obama's administration considered compassionate release more palatable than locking up Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi in a Libyan prison.


In the letter, sent on August 12 last year to Alex Salmond, the first minister, and justice officials, [Scottish First Minister Richard] LeBaron wrote that the United States wanted Megrahi to remain imprisoned in view of the nature of the crime.

The note added: "Nevertheless, if Scottish authorities come to the conclusion that Megrahi must be released from Scottish custody, the US position is that conditional release on compassionate grounds would be a far preferable alternative to prisoner transfer, which we strongly oppose."

LeBaron added that freeing the Lockerbie bomber and making him live in Scotland "would mitigate a number of the strong concerns we have expressed with regard to Megrahi's release". [The Sunday Times, 7/25/10, via Factiva]

Right-Wing Media Seized On Sunday Times Article To Claim Obama "Backed [The] Release" Of Al-Megrahi. Numerous members of the right-wing media, including Atlas Shrugs' Pamela Geller, Matt Drudge, Jim Hoft, and Fox News contributor Dana Perino claimed that the Obama administration "supported the release" of al-Megrahi. [Media Matters, 2/26/10]

Full Letter Said U.S. Will Not "Endorse The Early Release Of Megrahi Under Any Scenario"

State Dept. Letter: U.S. "Not Able To Endorse The Early Release Of Megrahi Under Any Scenario." From the August 12, 2009,State Department letter to Scottish First Minister Richard LeBaron:

-- The United States is not prepared to support Megrahi's release on compassionate release or bail. We understand that Scottish authorities are ensuring that Megrahi receives quality medical treatment, including palliative care, while incarcerated. The United States maintains its view that in light of the scope of Megrahi's crime, its heinous nature, and its continued and devastating impact on the victims and their families, it would be most appropriate for Megrahi to remain imprisoned for the entirety of his sentence. This was the understanding and expectation at the time arrangements were made for his trial in Scottish Court in the Netherlands, were he or his confederate to be convicted and their appeals upheld.

-- Nevertheless, if Scottish authorities come to the conclusion that Megrahi must be released from Scottish custody, the U.S. position is that conditional release on compassionate grounds would be a far preferable alternative to prisoner transfer, which we strongly oppose.

-- If a decision were made by Scotland to grant conditional release, two conditions would be very important to the United States and would partially mitigate the concerns of the American victims' families. First, any such release should only come after the results of independent and comprehensive medical exams clearly establishing that Megrahi's life expectancy is less than three months. The results of these exams should be made available to the United States and the families of the victims of Pan Am 103. The justification of releasing Megrahi on compassionate grounds would be more severely undercut the longer he is free before his actual death.

-- Second, the United States would strongly oppose any release that would permit Megrahi to travel outside of Scotland. We believe that the welcoming reception that Megrahi might receive if he is permitted to travel abroad would be extremely inappropriate given Megrahi's conviction for a heinous crime that continues to have a deep and profound impact on so many. As such, compassionate release or bail should be conditioned on Megrahi remaining in Scotland.

-- Again, while we are not able to endorse the early release of Megrahi under any scenario, we believe that granting compassionate release or bail under the conditions described (i.e. release with a life expectancy or less than three months and with Megrahi remaining in Scotland under supervision) would mitigate a number of the strong concerns that we have expressed with respect to Megrahi's release. [State.gov, 8/12/09]

WikiLeaks Documents Show U.S. Ambassador To Libya Advised Against Involvement In Talks On Releasing Bomber

CBS: WikiLeaks Documents Show Ambassador "Cautioned The U.S. From Entering Into The Negotiations Between Libya And The U.K." According to CBS News:

For several months, the Libyan government engaged in a behind-the-scenes campaign for the release of the Lockerbie bomber and threatened "harsh, immediate" consequences if the man jailed for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 died in prison.

A British diplomat even wrote that the Libyan government promised "enormous repercussions" if the release of bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was not handled properly, the Guardian newspaper of London reported Tuesday evening.

The disclosure comes from the trove of secret State Department cables released to a number of news outlets by the document-dumping website WikiLeaks.


The cables show that the British government was heavily pressured to release Megrahi, the Guardian reported.

"The consequences if Megrahi were to die in prison ... would be harsh, immediate and not easily remedied ... specific threats have included the immediate cessation of all UK commercial activity in Libya, a diminishment or severing of political ties, and demonstrations against official UK facilities," U.S. Ambassador Gene Cretz wrote in a January 2009 cable about a conversation between the Libyan government and U.K. embassy officers. "[Libyan] officials also implied, but did not directly state, that the welfare of UK diplomats and citizens in Libya would be at risk."

Describing the Libyans' approach as "thuggish," Cretz also cautioned the U.S. from entering into the negotiations between Libya and the U.K., the Guardian reported.

"If the [US government] publicly opposes al-Megrahi's release or is perceived to be complicit in a decision to keep al-Megrahi in prison, [America's Libyan diplomatic] post judges that US interests could face similar consequences," Cretz wrote. [CBSNews.com, 12/7/10]

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, International Conflicts
Premiere Radio Networks
Glenn Beck
Glenn Beck Program
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