ProPublica – Luke Muise

Posted: February 2, 2011 by lukemuise in #3 Propublica

Until yesterday, the U.S. had been very careful not to choose a side when it was addressing the current revolution in Egypt. They were walking a political tightrope – praising the egyptian people for standing up for themselves in a democratic way, but stopping way short of condemning the leader they were revolting against. I found it weird that a country that prides itself on being the first democratic nation would hesitate to give its support to a people eager to install democracy themselves. Of course, that’s not all there was to it: the U.S. and Egyptian governments have been scratching each other’s backs for years, and the U.S. was not about to turn theirs. Probably because they would rather Egypt not spill the beans about this.

It’s too late though, ProPublica was already all over it. Yep, turns out the U.S. had been sending suspected terrorists to places like Egypt, where torture and illegal detention are not out of the ordinary. This strategy backfired in a terrible way for the U.S.. One of the men they shipped off to Egypt, Ibn al-Shaikh al-Libi, was detained and tortured until he agreed to give the Egyptian Intelligence Service the information it wanted. To escape the torture (which included being put in a box no more than 2 feet square for 17 hours), he gave false information. That information was passed on to the U.S., where then Secretary of State Colin Powell used it in his speech to justify war with Iraq, and we all know what was never found there.

This is why investigative journalism is so important, people need to know that things like this happen. The people in charge do make mistakes, and they will try to hide them if they think they can do it. We can’t just let them do this though. People need to keep them accountable, and ProPublica is doing a fantastic job of it. Some people might say that they’re journalistic methods are harsh, but you know what else is harsh? Being stuffed in a 2 foot squared box for the majority of a day then getting beaten afterwards. As long as they are journalistically sound, which they appear to be, people shouldn’t have a problem trusting the information they get from the site.


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