How the Cairo Video Became the Benghazi Video : Lawrence Sellin PhD

In his now infamous September 14, 2012 email, Benjamin Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting, had it exactly backwards. The September 11, 2012 attacks on the Cairo embassy and the Benghazi consulate were rooted in a broad failure of policy, not an internet video, which was later politically transformed by the Obama Administration from a pretext to the cause of the attacks.

The planned demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was announced on August 30, 2012 by the Salafist Gamaa Islamiyya (IG), a State Department-designated terrorist group. It was designed to protest the ongoing imprisonment of its spiritual leader, Sheikh Omar abdel Rahman, who is serving a life sentence for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

Interest in the anti-Islam video titled “Innocence of Muslims” spread throughout the Egyptian media beginning on September 8, 2012, when Khaled Abdullah, an ultraconservative Salafi, showed it on the Egyptian al-Nas channel.

Spontaneous anger over the video has been widely cited as the cause of the embassy protest in Cairo, but clear evidence shows that jihadists including senior members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), a group that merged with al Qaeda, and a senior IG leader who has longstanding ties to al Qaeda’s senior leadership used clips from that film that appeared on Egyptian television as a pretext to incite a mob.

After meetings between the American political officer and the Salafists, the embassy leadership in Cairo attempted to mitigate the video’s impact by releasing a statement before the protest (6am Washington time) distancing the United States from its content. The press release was requested by Deputy Chief of Mission Marc Sievers, written by visiting public affairs officer Larry Schwartz and approved after release by Ambassador Anne Patterson, who was on route to Washington DC.

“The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”


Critics have gushed over “Ida,” the new film by Pawel Pawlikowski, perhaps mesmerized by the moody gray cinematography that telegraphs the message that this somber art film is weighty and meaningful. The plot concerns a young novitiate about to take her vows who is sent by the Mother Superior to meet her only living relative, a woman who had previously spurned the convent’s attempts to summon her. Obediently, the young laconic woman goes to meet this unknown aunt from whom she discovers that she is actually a Jew whose parents were killed during the holocaust. Unfortunately, this film comes after this year’s “The Jewish Cardinal,” “Aftermath,” “The German Doctor” and numerous movies from previous years that touch on the subject of what happened to the Jews of Poland. We are no longer shocked or even startled by the news that a young Polish nun in the 1960’s might have been a Jewish child – orphaned, rescued and brought to a convent.

Neither is the actress who plays the part of Ida – her expression remains unchanged throughout most of the movie as she impassively observes the people and situations of life outside the convent without appearing to emotionally absorb them. Though eventually she hears the details of her parents’ violent murder and recaptures their bones for proper burial in a cemetery, Ida remains an enigmatic cipher. She is far less interesting than her flamboyant and tortured aunt who rescues the film from monotony by her self-flagellation for the sins of her communist past and one additional tragedy that cuts much closer to the bone. This performance by Agata Kulesza, though vivid and varied, relies too heavily on the Bette Davis props of constant smoking and drinking as shorthand for character development. Remembering the subtlety of Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Sophie in that eponymously titled movie makes you realize the difference between the visceral feeling of plunging into a character’s soul as opposed to watching an actor find devices to keep her hands busy. I don’t expect every actor to be compared with Meryl Streep but I like to think that critics reserve their superlatives for only those rare great performances, not ones for which the words “well done” would suffice.

NIDRA POLLER: The National Front’s Dark Underside

Rejection by Nigel Farage, head of Britain’s UKIP, and Morten Messerschmidt, lead candidate for the Danish People’s Party in the up-coming European elections effectively dashes Marine Le Pen’s hopes of presiding over an influential 7-country Eurexit group at the EU Parliament. The main issue is anti-Semitism.

While granting that National Front leader Marine Le Pen has shown courage and perspicacity on some crucial issues, Nigel Farage says she has failed to rid the party of its endemic anti-Semitism.

In a mail to Dispatch International, MEP Morten Messerschmidt writes that from the beginning he has distanced himself from theNational Front.
“As I read the party and its history, it has deep anti-Semitic roots. Regrettably it seems to attract support. This can only be explained by the fact that the other French parties have failed the French people, who only have the National Front to vote for if they want to express their criticism of the EU,” says Messerschmidt.
“At the election in 2009, Nicolas Sarkozy managed to appeal to EU-skeptical Frenchmen by criticizing the EU’s immigration policy and open borders. But today they have been forced into the arms of Le Pen. That is a bad omen for France and Europe. I will not cooperate with a party like the National Front,” says Morten Messerschmidt.


INDIANA 2014 Primary: May 6, 2014 To see the actual voting records of all incumbents on other issues such as Foreign Policy, Second Amendment Issues, Homeland Security, and other issues as well as their rankings by special interest groups please use the links followed by two stars (**). U.S. SENATE : Dan Coats (R ) […]


Contranyms are words that are spelled the same way but can have opposite meanings. In Obamamerica they abound.

Take the word “sanction”…it can mean criticize and impose and penalty which is what we thought when Obama speaks of Iran. Not really, he means the other use of the word “sanction”- namely, approve and permit.

What about the word “oversight” as in the committees designed to observe and oversee chicanery in government agencies? In Obamamerica it is defined as ignore and overlook.

How about the word “trim” as in cut, shave and decrease? In Obamamerica it is used as adding, enhancing, decorating…as in the budget.

There is the word “screen” meaning to show and to make public. In Obamamerica it means to hide from public scrutiny and vision.

Do we get flogged by Obamamerica’s continual flogging of Obamacare?

Do we just toss out every new EPA rule that Obamamerica tosses at us?

And here is a great great contranym. Do we just “resign” ourselves to three more years or do we pray that he will resign?



The roots of Obama’s folly on Russia and Ukraine The Obama administration’s lofty, vacuous, self-indulgent folly over Russia and Ukraine has deep roots, and you just need to look at some of the early speeches to see how deep the roots of that folly go.

Let’s hop back to 7 July 2009. President Obama is addressing New Economic School students in Moscow, his first major speech to a Russian audience since his election. Vice President Biden will soon be in Ukraine to spell out the new Administration’s policies there too.

As Ukraine some 240 weeks later slumps into something looking horribly like a nascent civil war, how do the keynote speeches made by US leaders then now read?

What’s strange (and strangely bad) about President Obama’s speech that day is just how intellectually empty it was. Look how he describes the end of the Cold War:

You are the last generation born when the world was divided. At that time, the American and Soviet armies were still massed in Europe, trained and ready to fight…

And then, within a few short years, the world as it was ceased to be. Now, make no mistake: This change did not come from any one nation. The Cold War reached a conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years, and because the people of Russia and Eastern Europe stood up and decided that its end would be peaceful.

Well, that’s one vapid way of looking at it. But why not say at least something about the moral and political consequences of communism and the brutish Russian imperialism it represented? And spell out the huge and generous efforts the United States and its NATO allies have been doing to help Russia through the ensuing transition? And what tough reforms still need to be done?

Instead the President stresses that America wants a ‘strong, peaceful and prosperous Russia’, and makes a bold and (it turns out) dramatically incorrect assertion:

There is the 20th century view that the United States and Russia are destined to be antagonists, and that a strong Russia or a strong America can only assert themselves in opposition to one another. And there is a 19th century view that we are destined to vie for spheres of influence, and that great powers must forge competing blocs to balance one another.

These assumptions are wrong. In 2009, a great power does not show strength by dominating or demonizing other countries. The days when empires could treat sovereign states as pieces on a chess board are over.

No they’re not. As we now see, Russia has illegally annexed Crimea and is now busy destabilising huge tracts of eastern Ukraine, justifying its actions in part by the supposedly aggressive expansion of NATO.

President Obama aims to explain US policy in this especially sensitive security area:

State sovereignty must be a cornerstone of international order. Just as all states should have the right to choose their leaders, states must have the right to borders that are secure, and to their own foreign policies. That is true for Russia, just as it is true for the United States. Any system that cedes those rights will lead to anarchy.

That’s why we must apply this principle to all nations — and that includes nations like Georgia and Ukraine. America will never impose a security arrangement on another country.

For any country to become a member of an organization like NATO, for example, a majority of its people must choose to; they must undertake reforms; they must be able to contribute to the Alliance’s mission. And let me be clear: NATO should be seeking collaboration with Russia, not confrontation.

Fine. But what if Russia is seeking confrontation, not collaboration, with NATO? What if Russia just does not accept this breezy, kumbayesque way of looking at the former Soviet space?

In Kiev two weeks later Vice-President Biden after his meeting with then Ukrainian President Yushchenko was giving a necessarily different emphasis:

President Obama and I have stated clearly that if you choose to be part of Euro-Atlantic integration — which I believe you have — we strongly support that. We do not recognize — and I want to reiterate it — any sphere of influence. We do not recognize anyone else’s right to dictate to you or any other country what alliances you will seek to belong to or what relationships — bilateral relationships you have.

President Obama made it clear in his visit to Moscow this month: the United States supports Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and freedom, and to make its own choices including what alliances they choose to belong (sic).

That, translated into Russian, means “If Ukraine wants to join NATO, that’s none of Moscow’s damn’ business”.

In short, right from the start the Obama Administration presented a policy face to Moscow and Kiev that was at best naively over-nuanced and at worst misleading. This was no accident. There was a real policy dilemma in play: how to help those former Soviet republics reform themselves when such reforms involve dismantling Soviet-era structures and colossal post-Soviet-era corruption that have links going right into the Kremlin?

NATO membership is especially important. It is not widely understood that one of the worst ‘deep’ features of the Soviet Union was the fact that the Soviet Army ran its own aggressive intelligence services in parallel with the KGB.

Rooting out these people and networks has proved to be one of the hardest challenges of post-communist reform in all the former Warsaw Pact countries; without NATO membership and the accompanying tough political and procedural reforms of the relationship between military structures and civilian accountability, it is highly unlikely that (say) Poland would be where it is now.

This is why it is existentially important for Ukraine and other former Soviet republics to move closer to the NATO way of doing things if they want to have substantive democracy.

And, in turn, why Moscow under current management is so determined that that should not happen: the networks of almost impenetrable patronage, coercion and corruption that come from unreformed military structures across the former Soviet space are key tools for maintaining direct Russian influence.


I’ve been asked to comment on the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. No thanks. I was doing something else Saturday night (details below), but, even if I weren’t, I’d rather shampoo the cat than sit through that, regardless of who’s president. I loathe both the fake self-deprecation of the politicians (which is mostly just another form of self-regard), and the fawning defanged jabs of the comics, and the cringe-making neediness of the journalists in attendance. An utterly repulsive spectacle.

And that’s on a good night. Whatever his other gifts, this particular president doesn’t seem willing even to fake self-deprecation – so the idea of the commander-in-chief pretending to be a good sport is largely abandoned, and the laughter of the sucks-ups is even creepier. And now I’m going to blow-dry the cat.

~Speaking of glittering social occasions, it was at one such last week that John Kerry made his “apartheid” crack about Israel, for which he has since “apologized” in the sense of voting for Israeli apartheid before he was against it. But, aside from that, what I found interesting about this classic Kinsleyan gaffe was that he made it at what was meant to be an off-the-record briefing with no press present. Yet somehow one guy managed to get in the room. As Laura Rosen Cohen comments:

You know what the extra bonus thing is?

A reveal of how idiotic, stupid and useless American “security” has become.

What a joke.

It’s like the TSA, security kabuki theatre.

Indeed. But this isn’t the TSA. This isn’t a kid hopping over the fence and boarding a Hawaii-bound jet at the Norman Y Mineta International Airport, hilariously named for the Transportation Secretary who inflicted post-9/11 TSA security kabuki on America, now and forever, yea unto the end of time. No, the Kerry event was being hosted by the Trilateral Commission, widely believed by gazillions of conspiracy theorists to be the shadowy organization secretly running the world.

So they’re supposedly behind everything that happens anywhere on the planet, but they can’t keep some hack from strolling in without a badge and recording their top-secret off-the-record briefing? Gee, it always looks so much harder in the conspiracy thrillers.

~On the other hand, a conspiracy movie for our times: All The President’s Dudes.


Dear John,

Every few years a messiah arrives in Jerusalem, shakes hands, makes demands and promises to make peace in our time. Then when the whole thing blows up in his face, he throws up his hands and flies back blaming the ungrateful Jews for not embracing his vision.

So many false messiahs have come before you, squinting against the bright sunshine, pounding the table at meetings, downing martinis and fantasizing about the Nobel Peace Prize that they were sure was waiting for them at the end.

And they left with nothing except sunburn and simmering rage.

Did you really think you would be any different? Were you so delusional that you imagined you could succeed where career diplomats with a lifetime of experience in the region had failed?

It’s not as if you had a good track record negotiating anything. Do you remember meeting Madame Binh in Paris? What about carrying Daniel Ortega’s peace offer after assuring everyone that he wasn’t a Communist? Right before he flew to Moscow. And let’s not gloss over your visit to Assad. Was that peace in the air or was it just the nerve gas?

I know you don’t have time to remember all your diplomatic triumphs. Or like Hillary, any of them.

You went to Paris to aid the Viet Cong. You went to Nicaragua to aid the FSLN terrorists. You went to Israel to aid the PLO. The USSR fell, but your old nostalgia for Communist guerrillas and killers hasn’t deserted you. It’s why you failed. And it’s why you’ll fail over and over again.

No matter what the PLO did, you blamed Israel. Just as no matter what the Viet Cong or the Sandinistas did, you blamed America.

The PLO can call for Israel’s destruction, champion terrorism and ally with Hamas, but your minions will still provide anonymous quotes saying that the PLO can’t be expected to negotiate while Israel possibly considers building houses in Jerusalem.


Judge Blocks Witch-Hunt Against Wisconsin Conservatives By Arnold Ahlert

The relentless efforts by Wisconsin leftists to undermine Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow conservatives—by any means necessary—has taken another hit. In a 26-page decision, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa granted a preliminary injunction halting a politically-motivated John Doe investigation that probed campaign spending and fundraising by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign, Eric O’Keefe, his Wisconsin Club for Growth (WCFG), and other conservative entities. “The Defendants must cease all activities related to the investigation, return all property seized in the investigation from any individual or organization, and permanently destroy all copies of information and other materials obtained through the investigation,” Randa wrote.

Randa illuminated his contempt for the investigation. “The defendants are pursuing criminal charges through a secret John Doe investigation against the plaintiffs for exercising issue advocacy speech rights that on their face are not subject to the regulations or statutes the defendants seek to enforce.This legitimate exercise of O‘Keefe‘s rights as an individual, and WCFG‘s rights as a 501(c)(4) corporation, to speak on the issues has been characterized by the defendants as political activity covered by Chapter 11 of the Wisconsin Statutes, rendering the plaintiffs a subcommittee of the Friends of Scott Walker (―FOSW‖) and requiring that money spent on such speech be reported as an in-kind campaign contribution. This interpretation is simply wrong.”

As a result, Randa ordered that the plaintiffs “and others” are “hereby relieved of any and every duty under Wisconsin law to cooperate further with Defendants‘ investigation. Any attempt to obtain compliance by any Defendant or John Doe Judge Gregory Peterson is grounds for a contempt finding by this Court.”

The ruling completely undermines the efforts of Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, who launched the probe in mid-2012, shortly after Democrats’ failure to remove Walker in a recall election prompted by the passage of Act 10. That piece of legislation limited the power of unions to collectively bargain, setting the stage for a ferocious pushback that included Democratic state legislators fleeing the state to prevent a vote on the issue, an effort to effect a liberal majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court for the purpose of overturning the law, and the attempt to remove Walker in the aforementioned recall vote that ultimately failed.


It is not enough to say that this is old material, that a special committee is a diversion, that a rehash of the events will not find the Administration culpable when previous attempts failed, that it is time to move forward, to ensure that such killings will never happen again.

There is no question about the latter: we should not let such a tragedy recur, but neither should we allow the cover-up to go unpunished. The former represents a dereliction of duty; the latter, a fraudulent depiction of events for political purposes. A cover-up amplifies the original crime. Loyalty is a worthy trait, but when taken to extremes it becomes a defense of the indefensible. Every Administration has had incidents they would prefer never happened. Most were done not at the insistence of the President, but erroneously on his behalf, an example being a young aide like Ben Rhodes who apparently represented what he believed to be the President’s wishes in an e-mail.

Most offenses are of no great consequence, and disappear into the mists of history. But in a serious incident – as this was, with four people killed including a U.S. Ambassador – it is the cover-up that almost always proves fatal. Yet, Americans are a forgiving people. Admitting mistakes, while hard to do, is almost always accepted. In the early years of the United States, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton was seduced by the wife of a political enemy. Hamilton publically admitted his guilt; so the planned blackmail attempt came to naught. People are as forgiving today as they were 220 years ago.

Until Benghazi, the best known example of a massive cover-up in my lifetime was that of a second-rate burglary at the Watergate Hotel and Office complex on June 17th, 1972. Nixon was running for re-election. By October 10th the FBI had tied the break-in to the Nixon re-election campaign. Nevertheless, on November 7th Richard Nixon won re-election with one of the largest majorities in U.S. history. In May 1973, Eliot Richardson, the Attorney General-designee, tapped Archibald Cox as a special prosecutor. The October massacre, with Nixon firing Cox and Richardson resigning, occurred on the 20th of the month. Nixon’s White House finally turned over some of the tapes in December, but with an eighteen and a half minute gap. In April 1974, still stonewalling, the White House turned aver 1200 pages of edited tapes. On July 23rd, more than two years after the break-in, the Supreme Court (which included four Nixon appointees, including Chief Justice Warren Burger) ruled unanimously that executive privilege did not apply and all tapes must be turned over. Three days later the House passed the first of three articles of impeachment, charging obstruction of justice. Thirteen days later, on August 8th 1974, Richard Nixon became the first U.S. President to resign. Partisanship did not mar justice, as is the case today.