Mirroring a similar phenomenon in the U.S., the political Left in Germany has become increasingly strident in it’s criticism of Obama of late. The latest example of the trend appeared at the top of Der Spiegel’s website this morning in the form of an article on the Wikileaks affair entitled, “Obama Hunts the Scandal Hunters.” Written by Marc Pitzke, whose contributions are usually limited to the one-sided hit pieces Spiegel still posts occasionally to keep its legions of Amerika-hating readers happy, the article leads with the byline,
He wanted to do everything completely differently from George W. Bush: Barack Obama promised transparency in dealing with government information. In fact, he persecutes insiders who blab about embarrassing incidents far more severely than his predecessor. The arrest in the Wikileaks Scandal is only the most well known example.
and includes such bits as:
- The dramatic case shows how quickly a moral pitfall can become a judicial pitfall. Beyond that, it illustrates a phenomenon that rights activists in the U.S. have been viewing with unease for some time – the increasingly aggressive action Washington has been taking against “whistle blowers,” or government insiders who reveal malfeasance and state scandals.
- Liberals and leftists in the US are particularly enraged at the fact that, during the 2008 election campaign, it was just in this area that President Barack Obama promised a clean break with the politics of his predecessor, George W. Bush. M.’s arrest confirms an “increasingly poisonous trend,” writes Jesselyn Radack of the activist group, Government Accountability Project (GAP): “Bush bullied whistle blowers mercilessly, but Obama sets the law on them and puts them in prison,” Obama is “much harder than Bush.”
- One of the most prominent Obama critics in this case is Daniel Ellsberg, perhaps the ultimate whistle blower. Ellsberg passed the “Pentagon Papers” to the press in 1971 – internal memos that revealed that the government had already concluded the Vietnam War was a lost cause. Ellsberg suffered persecution for years as a result.
- “Obama is continuing the worst of the Bush Administration,” said Ellsberg in an interview with Spiegel Online about the persecution of whistle blowers. “This continuing assault on citizen’s rights is inexcusable.” Obama has “made a 180 degree turn.”
…and so on and so on. I think we can safely say the honeymoon is over.