Sunday, September 30, 2012

‘Free To See It Our Way’

Even while the Obama administration is being dragged, kicking and screaming, to the obvious fact already acknowledge by Libya’s president that the Benghazi attack had “nothing to do with” the trailer for “Innocence of Muslims,” the Detroit Free Press is reporting that “[c]oncern over an anti-Islam film that sparked protests around the world continues to build in metro Detroit . . .” (“Protesters march in Canton against anti-Islam film”).

Continues to build? Why? Is the trailer more dangerous now than it was on 9/11? Especially after “filmmaker” Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was bundled into a black maria by Eric Holder’s feds for (ahem) a “probation violation”.

Canton’s rally sounds less edgy than Dearborn’s on Friday night, which was attended, reportedly, by 1,000 people, including “Muslim leaders, the executive director of the Detroit NAACP, Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly Jr., and U.S. Rep. John Conyers, a Detroit Democrat.”

According to reporter Niraj Warikoo, the message of the two rallies, and of the even more rallies expected in October, is the same, that there’s a “growing tide of Islamophobia” in America. “It’s relentless,” Dearborn attorney Tarek Baydoun (and local Islamist foghorn) was quoted to say.

To recap: in the wake of a paramilitary jihad attack on an American mission in the Middle East, the murder of our ambassador, and a wave of similar Islamic attacks on U.S. missions and burnings of the American flag in more than a score of Muslim nations, people are rallying in response to a growing tide of attacks upon Muslims.

Interestingly, Dearborn rally participants “called for restrictions that limit free speech that would offend Islam and other religions. ‘Freedom of speech is not freedom of blasphemy,’ read one sign.”

Now it becomes clearer. All of this could have been avoided if we only had a law against offending Muslims. Which just happens to be the viewpoint of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which has been pushing for the criminalizing of defamation of religion (the Islamic religion, that is) for years. As the current head of the OIC, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sees it, “Freedom of thought and belief ends where the freedom of thought and belief of others starts.”

In other words, your freedom to your opinion ends where my opinion begins. Erdogan’s a Turk, not an Arab, (who we’re told invented algebra) so maybe we can overlook Erdogan’s algebraic contradiction here.  It’s just that he wants to go beyond that popular argument-ending notion of “agreeing to disagree” to the more unifying -- and blasphemy-ending -- notion of agreeing to agree – or else. But never mind the muddled logic, the kernel of what Erdogan is proposing is crystal clear: that “freedom of thought and belief ends.”

Period.

###

A Fresh Coat of Whitewash

The Washington Post has published a lengthy interview with Lee Boyd Malvo, the junior of the jihadist pair of Beltway snipers who terrorized the D.C. area ten years ago: “Lee Boyd Malvo, 10 years after D.C. area sniper shootings: ‘I was a monster’”.

It was known at the time Malvo was arrested, along with his emir, John Allen Muhammed, that the two were carrying out an Islamic jihad, but the fact was massively underreported:

During the days and weeks that followed, the national media made no mention of “Islam,” “Muslim,” or “terrorism.” They rather presented the Muhammad as “an ex-soldier,” “a former, Army combat engineer,” and “a Gulf War veteran who was an expert Army marksman,” and Malvo, an illegal alien from Jamaica, as either as a misguided youth or clueless dupe.

Such portraits were in keeping with the following dictate from Nihad Awad, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). “Police reports indicate the suspects acted alone, based on their own motivations. There is no indication that this case is related to Islam or Muslims. We therefore ask journalists and media commentators to avoid speculation based on stereotyping or prejudice. The American Muslim community should not be held accountable for the alleged criminal actions of what appear to be troubled and deranged individuals.” (“Beltway snipers exposed as Muslim terrorists”).

In 2007, Investors Business Daily ran an article criticizing a CNN special for having scrubbed from its five-year retrospective on the shootings any possible indicator that the attacks were motivated by the pair’s Muslim faith:

Nowhere in its one-hour special -- promoted as "The Minds of the D.C. Snipers" -- is Islamist brainwashing even hinted as a motivating factor behind their serial assassinations. Yet the evidence is overwhelming that they were on a jihad.

In their own words, Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo traveled across the country to terrorize Washingtonians on the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks -- first by picking off random people and then by blowing up school buses using plastic explosives loaded with ball bearings . . . .

. . . The jailhouse drawings of the younger sniper, Malvo, tell it all: One sketch of Osama bin Laden exalts him as a "Servant of Allah." A self-portrait of him and Muhammad is captioned: "We will kill them all. Jihad . . . Allah Akbar!" A sketch of the burning Twin Towers has as its caption: "America did this. You were warned." A poem scribbled alongside an American flag and star of David drawn in cross hairs reads: "Our minarets are our bayonets, Our mosques are our baracks, Our believers are our soldiers." The Quran (Surah 2:190) is quoted as follows: "Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you and slay them wherever ye catch them." Also: "Islam the only true guidance." The White House is drawn in cross hairs, surrounded by missiles, with the warning: "Sep. 11 we will ensure will look like a picnic to you," and "you will bleed to death little by little." Another warning reads: "Islam. We will Resist. We will conquer. We will win." (“Rehabbing The D.C. Snipers”).

The WP must still be honoring CAIR’s request, judging from Saturday’s 3,000-word article not containing a single reference to Islam nor jihad.

Islam’s designs on the West is the biggest taboo out there.  Is there any wonder the Obama administration’s false narrative of what happened in Libya gets a complete pass by the mainstream media?

###

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Brotherhood’s Best Friend in America

Speaking of President Obama’s demonstrated enmity towards Israel, IBD has a hard-hitting editorial that includes a timeline of the many steps Obama’s taken to strengthen and legitimize the Muslim Brotherhood.

With the Middle East now more hostile to U.S. interests than ever, the "Arab Spring" has become a major political liability for the president. Try as he may, he can't distance himself from it.

Betraying his frustration with Cairo's Muslim Brotherhood, which egged on U.S. embassy rioters, President Obama said, "I don't think we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy."

But in a May 2011 speech at the State Department, Obama essentially took credit for Islamists' rise to power as part of his broader Mideast strategy to help free them from the "repression" of despots, while ending their "suspicion" and "mistrust" of America from the war on terror.

"That's why, two years ago in Cairo," the president expounded, "I began our engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect."

The main beneficiary of his "engagement" was the radical Muslim Brotherhood, which has called for jihad against America and the destruction of Israel. The main loser was steady U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak.

The following timeline reveals how Obama sided, tragically, with the enemy from day one:

2009: Obama travels to Cairo to deliver apologetic speech to Muslims, and infuriates the Mubarak regime by inviting banned Brotherhood leaders to attend. Obama deliberately snubs Mubarak, who was neither present nor mentioned.

He also snubs Israel during the Mideast trip (and still hasn't stepped foot inside the borders of America's closest Mideast ally).

2009: In the speech, Obama blames Mideast hostility toward Israel and the West on "colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims." He also vows to withdraw U.S. troops from Muslim lands and push for creation of a Palestinian state, proclaiming:

"The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. ... It is time for the settlements to stop." Music to the ears of the anti-Semitic Brothers, who applaud wildly.

2009: Obama appoints a Brotherhood-tied Islamist — Rashad Hussain — as U.S. envoy to the Saudi-based Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, which works closely with the Brotherhood.

2010: Hussain immediately travels to Egypt to meet with the Brotherhood's grand mufti, and is followed by Obama, who makes another trip to Egypt.

There’s much more to read at “You Broke Mideast, Mr. President, Now You Own It .” 

Obama Is Not Israel’s Friend

Mona Charen has re-run a column she’d written last December about President Obama’s treatment of Israel.  It’s lengthy but worth reading.   From the Corner at NRO:

No Friend of Israel’s

20-Dec-2011 | By Mona Charen

The Obama Administration has tirelessly — one might even say tiresomely — proclaimed its rock solid commitment to Israel. The message has been delivered by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Advisor, and most flamboyantly, by the president himself. At a recent fundraiser attended by Jewish donors, President Obama boasted, “I try not to pat myself too much on the back, but this administration has done more for the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration.” Both clauses of that sentence are risible.

In fact, the Obama administration’s approach to Israel has been decidedly cool when it has not been openly irate. It began in the early weeks of the new administration. Traveling to the region, the president visited American allies Egypt and Saudi Arabia. He skipped Israel.

Rather than consult with Israel about the delicate state of relations with the Palestinians, President Obama jumped directly into the process with a peremptory demand: Israel should cease all settlement activity. Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, had made no such demand regarding renewing negotiations. But once the president of the United States had essentially declared the opening position of the Palestinian Authority, he could hardly demand less. Accordingly, while Netanyahu had agreed to a settlement freeze and no preconditions for resuming negotiations, talks stalled as Abbas refused to participate.

That the administration blamed Israel, and not the Palestinians or itself for the impasse became clear when Vice President Biden was visiting the Jewish state in 2010. During the Vice President’s trip, a municipal authority in Jerusalem announced a building permit for a block of apartments in Jerusalem. The usually phlegmatic President Obama went ballistic. Though Netanyahu apologized to Biden, and Biden accepted the apology on the spot, President Obama insisted that Secretary of State Clinton call Netanyahu and chew him out for 40 minutes. Details of the dressing down were immediately released to the press.

Not satisfied with this, a few days later presidential advisor David Axelrod appeared on a Sunday chat show to reiterate that the White House regarded building apartments for Jews in the capital of the Jewish state as “an affront.” Later, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the White House, President Obama delivered the final slaps – declining to pose for pictures or take press questions with the prime minister; delivering a list of steps Israel would have to take to restore trust; and then pointedly walking out on the prime minister with the parting words “Let me know if there is anything new.”

Contrast that treatment with the administration’s passivity in the face of Palestinian conduct. In March of 2010, Palestinian terrorists entered the home of Udi and Ruth Fogel in the town of Itamar on the West Bank. The terrorists first slit the throats of Udi and his 3-month old daughter Hadas. Ruth was in the bathroom but was attacked and killed as she emerged. Two more sons, Yoav, 11, and Elad, 4, were also killed by knives to the heart. Their throats were slit as well. There were three more Fogel children. Two other boys, ages 8 and 2, asleep on the sofa, were apparently missed by the murderers. Twelve-year-old Tamar, who had been spending Shabbat with friends, returned home to discover 2-year-old Yishai standing over the bodies of his parents and begging them to wake up.

In Rafah, Palestinians celebrated the news of the massacre by dancing, singing, and handing around sweets.

The Obama Administration issued a pro-forma condemnation. “There is no possible justification for the killing of parents and children in their home” it read. Secretary Clinton called the murders “inhuman” and reportedly coaxed a more robust denunciation of the atrocity from Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas than he had at first offered.

But there has been little else – no ongoing campaign to shame or humiliate the Palestinians; no list of actions they must undertake to show their good faith – not even a particularly strong expression of revulsion.

The administration has let it be known, again and again, that it regards Israel as the obstacle to peace. This, at a time when Israel’s neighbors have given the world abundant reasons for worry. The Palestinian Authority has formally allied with the terrorist organization Hamas. Mahmoud Abbas announced just last week that “there are now no differences between us.” Does that include Hamas’s implacable determination to destroy the Jewish state and to exterminate Jews all over the world “no matter how long that should take”?

Meanwhile, in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood won 40 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections, while another 25 percent went to Salafi forces. The Salafis regard the Muslim Brotherhood as squishes. Sheik Abdel Moneim el-Shahat, leader of the Salafis, is scornful of the Muslim Brotherhood for talking about citizenship and freedom outside the strictures of Islamic law. El-Shahat is not so broad-minded. “I want to say: citizenship restricted by Islamic sharia, freedom restricted by Islamic Sharia, equality restricted by Islamic Sharia.” So two-thirds the Egyptian electorate supports candidates who will find Hamas utterly congenial.

The regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria is engaged in a bloody repression of his restive people that has claimed the lives of more than 5000 brave protesters.

But the Obama Administration is dismayed by Israel.

Every previous US administration has tacitly accepted that Israel has nuclear weapons and has chosen not to make an issue of it. And for good reasons. Every fair-minded analyst understands that Israel is a tiny nation surrounded by enemies dedicated to her destruction. Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons is understood to be a purely defensive measure. But the Obama Administration, in the person of Rose Gottemoeller, Assistant Secretary of State and America’s chief nuclear arms negotiator, has called on Israel (along with Pakistan, India, and North Korea) to sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. It is hard to interpret this as anything less than a hostile act by the United States.

When Turkey and a consortium of Islamist and leftist groups (including Obama friends Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn) organized the so-called “Freedom Flotilla” to run the legal blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza, President Obama failed to condemn the Turks. Yet when Israel was forced to confront the ships at sea, the U.S. declared that the blockade (also imposed, incidentally, by Egypt) was “unsustainable and unacceptable”. Rather than defend Israel at the United Nations when the inevitable resolution condemning Israel was presented to the Security Council, the U.S. voted with Israel’s enemies. It was a move that Elliott Abrams called “joining the jackals.”

The president telegraphed his intention to distance the United States from Israel in his first address to the United Nations. “The United States does Israel no favors,” he said, “when we fail to couple an unwavering commitment to its security with an insistence that Israel respect the legitimate claims and rights of the Palestinians.” The clear implication is that Israel is not, in fact, respecting the legitimate claims and rights of the Palestinians.

In his second address to the UN, the president went further — demanding that Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders (with land swaps). After enduring bitter criticism from Republicans and even some Democrats in Congress, the administration attempted to justify its recommendation of what Abba Eban called “Auschwitz borders” by suggesting that “everyone knows” that a future Palestinian state will be on the West Bank and Gaza. But once again, rather than insist that the Palestinians accept Israel as a Jewish state, or that the Palestinians purge the terrorists from their midst, the president placed all of the onus on Israel. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, repairing to the language of those with nothing on the line, encouraged Israel to “take risks for peace.” In his less serene moments, he has barked that Israel should “get back to the damn table” — an extraordinary example of anti-Israel bias by the Obama administration since it is the Palestinians, not the Israelis, who have refused to talk.

Incredibly, even Iran’s march toward a nuclear bomb — arguably the greatest foreign policy challenge of this decade — has been blamed on Israel by the Obama administration. Former National Security Advisor James Jones offered that “We understand Israel’s preoccupation with Iran as an existential threat. We agree with that. . . . By the same token, there are a lot of things that you can do to diminish that existential threat by working hard towards achieving a two-state solution.”

This was no stray remark. A few weeks later, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, made the same point: “For Israel to get the kind of strong support it’s looking for vis-√†-vis Iran it can’t stay on the sideline with respect to the Palestinian and the peace efforts . . . they go hand-in-hand.” In other words, any effort to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons is perceived by this administration not as a national security priority for the United States, but as a favor to Israel.

Even assuming that the U.S. were going to “reward” Israel with, say, tough sanctions on Iran in exchange for “progress” on a Palestinian state, what world are living in when you imagine that a two-state solution would have any bearing whatsoever on Iran’s nuclear ambitions? Does President Obama believe that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons in order to achieve a Palestinian state?

President Obama brought to relations with Israel the leftist views he’d imbibed from academia, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Prof. Rashid Khalidi, and from the left wing of the Democratic Party (Jimmy Carter supported the Palestinian’s bid for statehood at the UN). Yes, he’s sold the Israelis bunker buster bombs, and engaged in military to military cooperation. But the most important support America provides to Israel is public. The most damaging attacks on Israel in the 21st century (so far) have not been military but moral and psychological. Israel’s enemies have sought to delegitimize and defame the Jewish state — with some success. So-called “Israel Apartheid” protests have proliferated on university campuses. UN conferences at Durban have trafficked in anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic slanders. It is becoming acceptable in Europe to say that Israel’s birth was a mistake. Even a liberal columnist for the Washington Post, Richard Cohen, has expressed this view.

The nations of the world, never a sentimental lot, have the capacity to descend to a lynch mob where Israel is concerned. Only the military, political, diplomatic, and moral support of the United States prevents that. President Obama, whatever behind-the-scenes aid he has provided to the Jewish state, has failed in the far more important public support for one of America’s closest allies.

###

Monday, September 24, 2012

Crazy

A DU correspondent has provided a script we’ve been unable to confirm is the alternative version of the ad the Obama administration released in Pakistan apologizing for the “Innocence of Muslims” video. Unfortunately,  the ad, which features a song set to the tune of a classic Brenda Lee hit, was outside the range of the Secretary of State’s voice.  The result is the current ad. 

Hillary apology

Here’s the alternative if you’re interested.

“We’re Sorry” (with apologies to Brenda Lee)

(Fervently, with eyes cast down)

We’re sorry, so sorry                                                                                     That Copt was such a fool                                                                              You gotta know                                                                                                   We all agree: “That’s not cool”!                                                                   Oh, oh, oh, oh, uh-oh, oh, yes!

They tell us,  free speech                                                                                     Is amendment number one!                                                                           But that don’t mean                                                                                             A guy’s free to make fun                                                                                 Oh, oh, oh, oh, uh-oh, oh, no!

Spoken:
(We’re sorry) We’re sorry                                                                              (So sorry) So sorry                                                                                            We endorse your point of view!
You’re just  burnin’                                                                                           
To make sure that we learn  Shariah!                                                       Oh, oh, oh, oh Uh, oh Oh, yes

We’re sorry, so sorry                                                                                        Crossed the line while talkin’ free                                                                 But now we see                                                                                              That’s not how to be dhimmi                                                                            

(Sorry)

(Sorry)

(Sorry)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

From Our ‘They Think We’re Idiots’ Department

Friday’s “Rally Against Hate” in front of  the Islamic Center of America is being portrayed in the media as a peaceful protest of the “Innocence of Muslims,” and an example of the unity, peace, and mutual sweetness that is and has always existed amongst the great religions of the world.

anti-muslim

Right. 

But the real purpose of the rally is to inveigh against free speech, or specifically, against speech that criticizes Islam.  For instance:

“’We need to draw the line between freedoms of expression and hate speech,’ said Sayed Hassan al-Qazwini, imam of the Islamic Center on the border of Detroit and Dearborn.” (“250 rally at Dearborn mosque against worldwide violence”).

Last week Qazwini “urged the U.S. to do more to stop the people behind the video and those who are promoting it.” He believes the “U.S. response should be much more stronger [sic] than verbal condemnation." (“Dearborn imam: Violence not what Islam preaches”).

Stronger than verbal condemnation?  The government’s verbal condemnation was a positive disgrace.   

Government responses to speech that are stronger than verbal condemnation would have to mean civil or criminal sanctions, including anything from levying fines to capital punishment – absolutely none of which could be promulgated without violating the Bill of Rights (unless . Qazwini would be familiar with strong sanctions, because, before he came here to “be a part of the Islamic frontier in this country,” he experienced Saddam’s persecutions of his father, who had to flee with his family, first into Kuwait, and then to Iran. He certainly knows the meaning of government displeasure in forms “stronger than verbal condemnation.” What he clearly had no concept of, nor interest in, is freedom of speech.

Also featured at the rally was Reverend Edwin Rowe, of Central United Methodist in Detroit, who told the crowd:

that the blame of the escalating violence should be placed on those individuals who were responsible for creating the movie first and foremost. "Blood is on their hands. There is absolutely no way we can call this anything close to free speech. In fact, if you know the action that you are going to create is going to result in violence and death, then you are responsible for the blood that it causes and I pray that these folks will be brought to justice.” (“Interfaith leaders condemn hate speech at ICA rally”).

Whenever a Christian leader mentions praying for justice without also praying for mercy, it’s reasonable to question his religious seriousness. (On the other hand, Reverend Rowe’s credentials as a social gospeller and curator of Sixties leftism are absolutely solid!). Reports don’t tell us if Reverend Rowe was equally vociferous in praying for justice on any of the – by now – hundreds, if not thousands of Islamist community organizers who, unlike the movie creators, have explicitly called for violence in more than twenty nations, and many of whom also have blood on their hands -- literally.

Dawud Walid was on hand, naturally, director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and, as CAIR is only its front, as representative of the Muslim Brotherhood (Motto: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope."). Walid “said that violent Muslim protesters are actually acting against Islam.

"We can't take the law into our hands," Walid said. "The prophet Muhammad never returned insults with injury."

We never know when Walid is being serious, so we assume he never is. For an example of one of the better-known instances of Mohammed’s response to an offense, consider the slaughter of the Jews of Banu Qurayza

The Brotherhood had a second representative at the rally, Imam Mustapha Elturk, of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). As we have written elsewhere:

ISNA was explicitly named as a Muslim Brotherhood front group in the Explanatory Memorandum On the General Strategic Goal for the Group In North America introduced as evidence during the 2007 Holy Land Foundation Hamas-financing trial. The kernel of that strategic goal is anchored on this blog right below DU’s masthead, where you can read about the Brotherhood’s “Grand Jihad” in “destroying Western civilization from within.” (“FBI’s Mueller to Brotherhood’s ISNA: ‘I’m Your Puppet’”)

Elturk said on Friday that, "We urge all Muslims to peacefully oppose any provocative or aggressive acts against their faiths."

violenceElturk we know is lying when he calls for peaceful opposition to “aggressive acts.” The rules of war laid out in the Quran forbid aggression, but provide an absolute right to self-defense against “those who attack you.” Calling any action that offends a Muslim an “aggression” or “attack”  automatically makes it a justifiable act of self-defense to attack the source of the offense – through jihad. The Quran specifically command Muslims to “Fight for the sake of God those that fight against you, but do not attack them first. . . [Otherwise] slay them wherever you find them . . . if they attack you put them to the sword. Thus shall the unbelievers be rewarded”. Surah 2.  All the violence – all of it – that we’ve seen acted out in the Middle East since the 11th can be traced back directly to this doctrine.   And of course Walid and Elturk know it perfectly well.

When Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf  “demanded the international community to declare blasphemy a punishable crime on the global level” on Friday, he deliberately called the video an “attack”: “an attack on the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was an attack on the core belief of 1.5 billion Muslims, and was unacceptable.”

He regretted the violence of his people so much that he gave them the day off so they’d have more time to do it.

Which is why we can’t believe a word of what these people say.

###

Friday, September 21, 2012

Coming Soon to the Islamic Multiplex

Tuesday’s LA Times ran an op-ed laying out the case for limiting free speech in cases such as the one now raised by the imbecilic video fragment, “Innocence of Muslims.” Specifically, writer Sarah Chayes, a former special assistant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, proposes placing restrictions on speech, including “punishing it after it has in fact caused violence.” (“Does 'Innocence of Muslims' meet the free-speech test?”).

The “Innocence of Muslims” isn’t free speech protected under the First Amendment because, Ms. Chayes believes, it was likely to incite imminent violence.

Every attempt to limit speech critical of Islam, and Ms. Chayes’s op-ed is no exception, cites Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’s highly unhelpful dictum on free speech in a 1919 Supreme Court opinion (Schenck vs. U.S.), where he wrote “[t]he most stringent protection would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing panic.”

My reasons for saying Holmes’s remark is unhelpful include that the particular facts before the court in Schenck weren’t remotely similar to those of a man who falsely shouting fire in a theater. Rather, the court was reviewing the conviction of a man for distributing circulars opposing the draft during World War I, and unanimously adopted Holmes’s faulty reasoning to uphold the conviction. Further, Holmes’s theater rule has never been adopted as an actual legal standard for determining the limits of free speech.  And the standard that was adopted in Schenck -- that free speech protections don’t extend to words that “create a clear and present danger” -- had a disfavored history most of its life before being completely tossed out in favor of a stricter standard by the Supreme Court in 1969 .

Ms. Chayes is well aware of this history, and even attempts to show how the “Innocence of Muslims” still should be excluded from First-Amendment protection under the stricter standard. But arguing for the stricter standard as she does,  she still manages to cite the “shouting fire” metaphor not once, but twice, once in her opening, and once in her closing paragraphs.

It’s not hard to see why: if you needed to capture in just a few scant words the now-familiar reaction in the Muslim world to perceived insult, what niftier shorthand is there than the image of human beings massed into a mindless stampede of hate?

Ms. Chayes explains the prevailing legal standard adopted in 1969, in a case called Brandenburg vs. Ohio,  to provide that “only speech that has the intent and the likelihood of inciting imminent violence or lawbreaking can be limited.”

Except she’s fudging the language of the holding: Brandenburg doesn’t exclude speech with the likelihood of inciting violence, but advocacy of such violence -- a gigantic distinction. Brandenburg even distinguishes “the mere abstract teaching . . . of the moral propriety or even moral necessity for a resort to force and violence,” from “preparing a group for violent action and steeling it to such action.” No one’s accused the producer of the video of advocating Islamic violence – only of creating an insulting portrayal of Mohammed that, allegedly, incited Islamic violence. Certainly no one can credit Nakoula with preparing the Cairo mobs to invade the consulate or with steeling the Benghazi paramilitary for their multi-pronged attack on Ambassador Stevens – that was the doing of the Muslim Brotherhood, the al Qaeda operatives, and the imams.

Ms. Chayes spent ten years in Afghanistan, and even her own description of conditions there make clear just who exactly deserves the blame for stirring up violence:

In Afghanistan, and in all of the Arab nations in transition, an extremist fringe is brawling for power with a more pluralistic majority. Radicals pounce on any pretext to play on religious feeling. I could pick out the signs of manipulation in Afghanistan — riots that started on university campuses where radicalized Pakistani students abound, simultaneous outbreaks in far-flung places, the sudden appearance of weapons. By providing extremists in Libya and elsewhere such an opportunity, the makers of “Innocence of Muslims” were playing into their hands.

Which raises the question, how can Nakoula be both the mastermind of the violent outbreaks, at the same time as he’s a dupe playing into the hands of the extremists? If it’s radicals who are pouncing on pretexts, playing on religious feelings, and supplying weapons for planned outbreaks, then why is it fair that Nakoula be punished? The worst thing he can be accused of is providing a pretext to opportunistic extremists by insulting the religion of Islam.   Yet isn’t the whole meaning of “pretext” that it’s false explanation for bad actions?

According to Ms. Chayes’s summary of free-speech rulings, “U.S. law makes a distinction between speech that is simply offensive and speech that is deliberately tailored to put lives and property at immediate risk.”  Maybe.  But “simply offensive” is about the best that can be said for Nakoula’s video – and that’s just speaking to its production values.  Still, Ms. Chayes seems to know for certain that Nakoula intentionally designed it to put lives at risk, because it “was deliberately publicized just before the sensitive date of Sept. 11, and could be expected to spark violence on that anniversary.”

How can she possibly conclude that from the facts? What Nakoula may have expected is hardly the cause of what followed. She may as well say that a Christmas card she sent last year was the cause of a national outbreak of gift-giving and decoration-hanging.

And since when is there anything sensitive about September 11 for Muslims? Muslims weren’t attacked on September 11, we were. The only thing sensitive about 9/11 in that part of the world is that, like Fridays after mosque, jihadists see it as an extra-special time to launch attacks on infidels and symbols of Western decadence. Trailer or no trailer, anyone paying attention already expected violence on that anniversary. That’s why the Obama administration’s failure to add security to our foreign missions in advance of 9/11 is now the object of a huge White House whitewashing.

The only real difference between ordinary “simply offensive” speech on any other subject and “simply offensive” speech on Islam is that any and every instance imaginable of the latter has the potential for putting lives at risk, because that’s how Muslims choose to respond to offense. Islam has no threshold of tolerance beneath which an insult to the Prophet might fail to justify violent reaction. “Especially in the heightened volatility of today's Middle East,” writes Ms. Chayes of the YouTube video, “such provocation is certainly irresponsible.” Stated another way, if we know that statements considered blasphemous to Muslims will lead to trouble, the only responsible thing to do is never make such statements.

Ergo, the only protected speech is that favorable about Islam.

And that sets Ms. Chayes up for her second, closing appeal to that much-maligned man shouting “fire!” in a theater. People wanting to criminalize speech against Islam love Holmes’s metaphor for aptly bringing to mind what we’ve all now seen for ourselves about the Islamic world: hundreds of millions of people in a confined society, with little chance for escape, easily tricked into mayhem and murder by an unfounded appeal to their basest instincts.

The thing is, that metaphor completely fails in the other part about the shouting man, for the reason that there isn’t now, nor ever has been, any Westerner in a like fashion shouting “fire!” at Islam. (For that matter, I couldn’t find any historical figure in American criminal history who was ever charged for shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater).  Terry Jones burning a Quran wasn’t shouting “fire!”; Nakoula’s trailer portraying Mohammed as a buffoon isn’t shouting “fire!”; and Salman Rushdie wasn’t shouting “fire!” when he wrote The Satanic Verses. Insulting someone’s religion is not the equivalent of falsely instigating a panicked stampede in a crowded building.

My response to Ms. Chayes’s argument is simply this: the Ummah doesn’t need us to start their stampedes.

And as if to underline the point, reports say that, among other acts of destruction by Pakistani rioters given the day off today by the government for that very purpose, two Peshawar cinemas actually were set afire.  

We don’t know if they were occupied at the time.  But if they were, we can only hope that some heroic loudmouth had the courage to shout, “Fire! Fire! Fire!”

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Free Speech Impediment

From the New York Post:

Nice Constitution ya got there

Yesterday was Constitution Day, the 225th anniversary of America’s fundamental document — an irony no doubt lost on Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, whose anti-Islam video is being cast by the Obama administration as the sole cause of anti-US violence across the Muslim world.

Nakoula was rousted from his home in the middle of the night Saturday by a squad of sheriff’s deputies and hauled away to “discuss” a possible federal probation violation.

Coming on the heels of a White House demand — rightly rejected — that YouTube “review” (i.e., pull) his tawdry video, Nakoula’s perp walk transmitted an unmistakable message: The Obama administration has scant respect for the First Amendment.

Yesterday, Nakoula was freed from custody — and immediately went into hiding.

Who can blame him, when Team Obama continues to hold firmly to the fiction that his film is the sole reason the Muslim world is on fire?

UN Ambassador Susan Rice went on the Sunday talk shows to deny that the attacks — including the one that resulted in the savage murders of the US ambassador to Libya and three companions — were anything other than spontaneous reaction to the video.

But that view is flatly contradicted by Libyan officials, who said elements of al Qaeda were behind the attack, and that it was timed for the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

And that Nakoula’s film, though adding fuel to the mobs’ fire, was little more than a pretext.

Certainly the heavy weapons used in the Benghazi attack — mortars, machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades — fortify the Libyans’ claim.

All the more reason, then, for Washington not to admit as much: That would mean conceding a mammoth failure of US intelligence and consular security.

Indeed, Rice, an accomplished dissembler, suggested the fact that two of the dead in Libya were security guards proves there was no lack of security.

It proves no such thing. The State Department maintains a muscular security service of its own — in addition to the usual Marine Corps detachments — and neither were present in Benghazi last week.

No wonder the administration seeks to scapegoat Nakoula’s film — and to infringe grievously on his First Amendment rights.

All presidents take an oath to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution — though, clearly, some presidents take that oath more seriously than others.

The image of Nakoula being hustled away in the night should give pause to all Americans — not just those who have a dog in this fight.

It’s a clich√© to say that the reaction among the media and left-leaning public-policy types would have been explosive had George W. Bush been president.

Fact is, though, it would have been.

Fact is, when the First Amendment is successfully trashed to achieve political goals, unscrupulous politicians everywhere take note.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and his insipid video aren’t likely to be the end of it.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Cairo Wins

As we noted here the other day, the early cynical remarks by the Muslim Brotherhood over the embassy riots they organized in Cairo was to challenge the Obama administration that the United States should do a better job of protecting Islam.”

Accordingly, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man who is believed to have made “Innocence of Muslims,” was arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after most of the media had knocked off for the night.

It’s a reasonable inference that President Obama, who reportedly read Egyptian President Morsi the riot act Wednesday night over Egypt’s refusal to protect the American embassy, had Nakoula arrested as a quid pro quo.  On Thursday Morsi made a pretense to Egyptians that he did not support the attacks.  But in his Thursday statements he also said that “he had spoken with US President Barack Obama and told him that it was necessary to put in place ‘legal measures which will discourage those seeking to damage relations... between the Egyptian and American people.’” 

The United States enforcing Shariah was exactly what Morsi and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) wanted all along.  They want to see the USA “criminalize” criticism of Islam.  On Thursday, Muslim Brotherhood Deputy President Khairat El-Shater said in a letter to the New York Times that “we do not hold the American government or its citizens responsible for acts of the few that abuse the laws protecting freedom of expression.”  If that language sounds familiar, that’s because it matches almost perfectly the Cairo Embassy’s statement Tuesday that “to hurt the religious beliefs of others” is “to abuse the universal right of free speech.”  Translation: Free speech aside, blasphemy of Islam is a crime.

Now the Brotherhood has a photo they can flash around to their illiterate supporters showing the Coptic infidel being hustled off to who knows where.

Nakoula

Mission accomplished.

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'Court Eunuchs’

The Obama administration is now asking its supporters to suspend all disbelief in the matter of the Cairo-Benghazi attacks on 9/11. In lockstep the vanguard of those supporters, otherwise known as the American media, obeys. The official story is going to be that the attacks on the Egyptian and Libyan missions were nothing more nor less than a spontaneous eruption of Muslims who’d had their feelings hurt by a preposterous video that ran on the Internet weeks ago.

Mark Steyn captures only some of this present insanity at NRO:

But Hillary Clinton and General Martin Dempsey are guilty of something worse, in the secretary of state’s weirdly obsessive remarks about an obscure film supposedly disrespectful of Mohammed and the chairman of the joint chiefs’ telephone call to a private citizen asking him if he could please ease up on the old Islamophobia.

Forget the free-speech arguments. In this case, as Secretary Clinton and General Dempsey well know, the film has even less to do with anything than did the Danish cartoons or the schoolteacher’s teddy bear or any of the other innumerable grievances of Islam. The 400-strong assault force in Benghazi showed up with RPGs and mortars: That’s not a spontaneous movie protest; that’s an act of war, and better planned and executed than the dying superpower’s response to it. Secretary Clinton and General Dempsey are, to put it mildly, misleading the American people when they suggest otherwise.

One can understand why they might do this, given the fiasco in Libya. The men who organized this attack knew the ambassador would be at the consulate in Benghazi rather than at the embassy in Tripoli. How did that happen? They knew when he had been moved from the consulate to a “safe house,” and switched their attentions accordingly. How did that happen? The United States government lost track of its ambassador for ten hours. How did that happen? Perhaps, when they’ve investigated Mitt Romney’s press release for another three or four weeks, the court eunuchs of the American media might like to look into some of these fascinating questions, instead of leaving the only interesting reporting on an American story to the foreign press.

Read the rest at (“Disgrace in Benghazi”).

I use the term “court eunuchs” for the American media because their curiosity doesn’t seem to function. In a week of dramatic and consequential news, nothing seems to arouse them (other than Romney press releases).

For example, the Egyptian president demands the arrest of an obscure American who made an unseen film. And whaddayaknow? Next thing that happens, back in the land of the free, a large posse of heavily armed officers descends on his apartment at midnight so that he can be “voluntarily” taken into custody for alleged “probation violations” – because, as everyone knows, in civilized societies breach-of-probation orders are always served at midnight on a weekend when the dark is so much more conducive to persuading householders to “volunteer”.

Read the rest at (“Re: If Only Mitt Would Stop Preventing Us From Doing Our Jobs (The Sequel”).

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

‘Do A Better Job Protecting Islam’

Earlier Tuesday, the U.S. Embassy in Egypt had condemned insults to religion, saying in a statement that “we firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”

A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Morsi is a member, said that the United States should do a better job of protecting Islam.

“It isn’t a matter of freedom of speech,” Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Gozlan said. “It’s a matter of a holy Islamic symbol.” (“U.S. ambassador to Libya, 3 other Americans killed in Benghazi”).

Like the ancient Latin expression, “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi,” (“the law of praying is the law of believing”), the law of diplomatic pronouncements is the law of a nation’s true beliefs in foreign relations.

That is what makes the first statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, in the wake of an invasion by Islamists, so disgraceful.

By early Wednesday morning the Obama administration had issued a curative statement that will more than likely undo most of the political damage that the president so richly deserves from this. I’m afraid the events came too quickly for the significant facts to make any impression on the stiff wax encasing the brains of America’s Undecided Voters. It remains to be seen if the Romney campaign will exploit this effectively from here on out.

Make no mistake that Romney was absolutely within his rights to criticize President Obama over this. For God’s sake, the whole country is within its rights to expect him to do so: who else is better placed at this moment to take on the incumbent president; this entire set of events directly reflects Obama’s dangerous incompetence in foreign policy. The Cairo Embassy’s groveling denunciations of Americans who dare “to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims” is only the latest in a long line of similar statements from this administration, starting with Obama’s Apology-Tour Kickoff speech to Islam in Cairo in 2009. It was there that Obama redefined his Constitutional role “as President of the United States” to include fighting “against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”

Coming when it did, this had to be sweet music to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which has been pushing an anti-blasphemy resolution since 1999:

The OIC’s anti-defamation effort was inspired by Ayatollah Khomeini’s infamous 1989 fatwa, directing “all zealous Muslims to execute quickly” the British author Salman Rushdie and others involved with his book TheSatanic Verses. While not explicitly embracing vigilantism, the Saudi Arabia–based OIC, an organization of 56 member states, quickly endorsed Khomeini’s novel principle: that Western law should be subject to Muslim measures against apostasy and blasphemy. (“An Anti-Blasphemy Measure Laid to Rest”).

Tuesday, when a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (which controls the government of Egypt) commented on these events, he dismissed the silly infidel notion that “freedom of speech” is playing any role in the controversy: “’It isn’t a matter of freedom of speech,’” Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Gozlan said. “It’s a matter of a holy Islamic symbol.’”

That’s why the Morsi government can lecture us “that the United States should do a better job of protecting Islam.” And, you may ask, where does Morsi get the gall to tell America it’s got a job to do protecting Islam?

Just remember that Obama traveled to Cairo in 2009 expressly to announce to the Ummah: “I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”

Our Islamist enemies would dearly love to manipulate American foreign policy to include a ban on criticism of Islam. According to one source, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, in commenting on Tuesday’s attack on the U.S. Embassy, “said that he had spoken with US President Barack Obama and told him that it was necessary to put in place ‘legal measures which will discourage those seeking to damage relations... between the Egyptian and American people.’”

If you want to know what Morsi, Egypt’s Brotherhood head of state, means by “those seeking to damage relations,” here’s how it’s explained in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood companion statement on Thursday. “[Because] hurting the feelings of one and a half billion Muslims cannot be tolerated, and the people’s anger and fury for their Faith is invariably predictable, often unstoppable,” all assaults on “the sanctities of all heavenly religions” must be “criminalized”:

Otherwise, such acts will continue to cause devout Muslims across the world to suspect and even loathe the West, especially the USA, for allowing their citizens to violate the sanctity of what they hold dear and holy. Hence, we demand that all those involved in such crimes be urgently brought to trial.

In other words, this was our fault for allowing some of our citizens to produce a film insulting to Islam.

From the Brotherhood’s point of view, subjection of Western people to Shariah is a given. It’s only a matter of explaining it to us. And their job is made that much easier when so many non-Muslim Americans have volunteered to make explaining it to the rest of us their mission.  Take, for instance, how the U.S. Embassy in Cairo explained to us yesterday that “to hurt the religious beliefs of others” is “to abuse the universal right of free speech.”

Even though the OIC anti-blasphemy resolution failed last year, the Ikhwan is as determined as ever to achieve the same end by other means. And the enthusiasm the Obama administration has shown for this initiative in the past is all the more reason for the Ikhwan to think America is only a few shoves away from adopting the same kinds of hate-speech laws as those already gagging Westerners in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

The apology of the Embassy to a mob of invaders reveals the hollow and misguided “lex credendi” of President Barack Obama. As Mitt Romney correctly pointed out, “the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

The response from the Obama campaign and the media launched against Romney for “jumping the gun” means nothing outside the arena of domestic election politics. But you can be certain that the Islamist puppeteers in the Middle East have gotten a good look at Romney, and they aren’t going to think he’ll be so easy to push around.

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