David Coombs, Army Reservist, America Hater Photo: Tyler Bass, Washington Correspondent, The Internet Chronicle
WASHINGTON — December 3rd Bradley Manning Attorney and Army Reservist spoke to a congregation near Mt. Pleasant, District of Columbia. He spoke for almost 90 minutes, part of which included a question period in which he answered questions from the press feed to him by members of the Bradley Manning Support Network, a group that has collected legal fees for the private suspected of leaking thousands of pages of data documenting war crimes, innocuous activity, the overclassification of information. Some call the Army Private a traitor; others, including Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, have called him a whistleblower.
“He told me that his dream would be to go to college to get a degree. And as a young man at that time he was 23. That makes sense. We all know that college degrees are pretty much the ticket to a productive future.” The Unitarian Church is notable for being one of the most educated denominations in the country, and certainly this line resonated well with attendees.
While Mr. Coombs told the crowd that he did not want to try Private Manning’s case with the public, whether or not he believes that the immense public pressure surrounding the case — especially since the diminutive former, now demoted, specialist no longer leaves in doubt his being the source of the WikiLeaks data that sparked global revolutions — was and will be key to shining attention on his mistreatment at the hands of the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, where he was held and Judge Lind has ruled that he was mistreated. As though Mark Antony describing Caesar as an “honorable man,” Mr. Coombs said, “As I said to begin with, this public appearance is the exception for me. I believe that trying the case is not the way to representation of a client,” despite the public’s opinion certainly having an a heavy influence on the inevitable sentencing of the private. Mr. Coombs continued, “And Brad — at least from what he testified in the open hearing — didn’t want his case to be tried in the press, either. And also because that was his wishes early on but also because my perspective is you shouldn’t try your case in the press — I respected his wishes and didn’t grant issues. And even after this day I won’t be granting interviews. And the reason why, again, is because your focus has to be on your client and not on, you know, basically putting out facts to spin something your way in the press when that doesn’t achieve anything in the courtroom. When you’re in the courtroom, that’s what matters. What happens there matters. In the press, as I said here today, what really matters is you, the public, being involved and being informed and that the press can do wonderful things. That’s why I’m happy to see them here today. And that’s what really resulted in Brad being moved, in my opinion, from Quantico, to Fort Leavenworth.”
Next was The Internet Chronicle’s question (answered at 01:20:00 in the file below this article), which was based on concerns we had from the trial, in which Private Manning had complained about his jailers listening in on his phone call: “Are you and your client able to communicate freely on a privileged basis.”
Replied Mr. Coombs to The Internet Chronicle’s question, “Yes, Brad and I speak at least once a week, if not more, and we — obviously we see each other quite often as well. Our communications are always privileged. They’re never subject to any sort of recording or being monitored by anyone. And so because of that I act basically as kind of the conduit for Brad, giving him information and helping him stay in touch and informed. So those communications are not subject to monitoring.”
While attending the pre-trial in May, this reporter engaged in a conversation with a military police officer — last name “Parker” — who volunteered his view that protesters outside of Fort Meade, where the private’s trial was being held, in fact disliked the military. Asked if Lt. Dan Choi, a high-profile anti-“don’t ask, don’t tell” activist, also disliked the military, the MP still expressed skepticism. This is exactly the dynamic that drives Mr. Coombs to speak in public, despite his
Said Mr. Coombs, “I asked Brad: ‘Well, with that degree what do you plan on doing?’ And he said, ‘I want to go into pubic service.’ And I asked him what he meant by that. And he said, ‘I want to join some sort of campaign group, go into public service and perhaps one day run for public office.’”
That statement by the attorney was met by gentle murmurings.
Mr. Coombs continued with: “And I asked Brad, why would he want to do that. And he said, ‘I want to make a difference. I want to make a difference in this world.’”
“I can tell you that standing here today I hope that someday soon Brad can go to college. I hope someday soon he can in fact go into public service. But I am confident, as I stand here today, that Brad doesn’t have to worry about making a difference in this world. He has made a difference.” With that line, Mr. Coombs was greeted with steady applause by all in attendance except the press.
Of the two questions that The Internet Chronicle submitted on note cards to Nathan Fuller, this was perhaps the best answer to the other question staff had for Mr. Coombs, which we would later pose to leadership of the Center for Constitutional Rights: “Was there a net positive value in Private Manning have orchestrated the large leak of classified information in military history?”
Speaking to The Internet Chronicle, Michael Ratner, from the Center for Constitutional Rights, said, “Assuming [Private] Manning leaked it, there’s no doubt that he has exposed material that has been very important for both ending wars, end the hypocrisy of our government, and ending the corruption. I mean, it consider it to be no issue about it.” Mr. Ratner added, “What we have is a government of incredible secrecy that’s getting more secret. And unless you have people starting to expose material, we are facing a situation of a total surveillance state. And these guys are heroes, in my view, for what they’ve done.”
Asked if there were any negative consequences of leaking, even if they were outweighed by positives, Mr. Ratner told this reporter, “The government hasn’t come up with any that are negative in the sense of hurting anybody. What they’ve said is, yeah, they can’t do their diplomatic stuff in the same way and all that, but I don’t consider that a negative.”
Despite criticism from press, such as the highly intrepid Alexa O’Brien (@carwinb), who when we attended the trial, complained about lack of access and documentation, Defense Counsel Coombs said that the military justice system was the best place for Private Manning to be in and even said that it was more just than the civilian court system. He called it “the best courtroom you can go into.”
Speaking from the podium that evening to about 50 members of the public, “When you look at it from the outside, you could see and perhaps think that the system is built to obtain a certain outcome. I can tell you with confidence — again, having practiced both in state and federal and in military practice — that a court-martial is by far the fairest, justest system that I’ve ever practiced in. And that may sound confusing. And I actually get some looks of — I don’t — I don’t know about that.”
With that line, there was chuckling from the audience. The congregation, which I have attended, in which my own son was dedicated, I have noticed to be skeptical of military activities. Two years ago I attended a morning session in which an activist spoke of disassembling the entire nuclear weapons infrastructure in the United States to acclaim, to agreement and to accord.
“But let me tell you why,” said Mr. Coombs. “Military judges are not just picked out at random. They’re not voted in. A military judge is somebody who has done in most instances both federal — excuse me — acted as a prosecutor and as a defense counsel for a period of times, has seen both sides.
“Also that person usually has taken on the role of a chief of military justice, which would be the equivalent of a DA; or a senior defense counsel. And so from that perspective you have a lot of experience, plus once the judge becomes a judge usually that person is a lieutenant colonel or a colonel. People who go that route are not interested in becoming generals. And so you’ve kind of tapped out at the top of where you would want to be. So there is no influence issue. And you have somebody there that is truly experienced, who truly understands the law. And from my perspective I would take a judge who knows the law and is very experienced over many of the judges I’ve practiced in state and federal.
“And then from a panel standpoint, if you go with a panel, almost everybody in the military — once they have obtained a certain rank — has some sort of college degree.”
And here once again, Mr. Coombs was making an appeal to the members of the audience.
He said, “And I think that in and of itself speaks volumes about the person’s ability to at least have an open mind on certain topics.”
Since the date of this speaking engagement, the trial continues to be pushed back — court officials blaming the delay, as did Mr. Coombs, on “further defense motions.”
Nonsense at the beginning — Complete Internet Chronicle audio of the David Coombs speech on Manning, hosted via SoundCloud (Ratner begins at 35:00) while Coombs’ first public presentation begins at (51:00):
WASHINGTON — In one of those long, rambling Alex Jones films, hip-hop artist KRS One summed up some substantial misgivings to be had with Occupy D.C. rather nicely when he said that if you have a problem with your burger at McDonald’s, you don’t go complain to the guy slapping on the cheese. You go to talk to the franchise owner. In relationship to America’s economic woes, Congress is pretty much the guys with the cheese. Whether what McDonald’s is using is in fact cheese is another topic, but there you go.
Last October I took a lot of time to ask about why National Review and Amanda Carpenter at The Washington Times had invested so much of their time trying to smear the, like, five anti-Semites who they managed to find footage of at the protests, as opposed to, say, the plethora of liberal Jews who inevitably showed up to the event in Zucotti. Although someone at the McPherson Square camp — not three blocks from the White House — had constructed a Sukkot, still there were the general accusations of anti-Semitism from the Breitbart set. The whole charade was indicative of the kind of atmosphere in Washington where what these people, you would think, would call anti-Semitic was brushed aside. For more of this, look at the uphill battle faced by former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-IN) as he waited to get the defense secretary nod. Even though the Hagel announcement will not come until next Monday, last Friday Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin had already broken the story. The White House is floating it early to congressional leaders to soften the blows from people like Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) et al.
These stereotypes of the Occupy protesters in general were pretty crude. Indeed, it takes quite a short-term memory to repeat long platitudes about the financial sector, as a part of the human megaphone. At the time I began this write-up I painted the Ron Paul-ites present as part of the Occupy status quo, but my goodness, I was wrong It had been years since I was able to romanticize the notion of protesters in Washington bringing a list of grievances. Again, the “real owners” are not in the Capitol or the White House, folks, and to be fair, even a good deal of them don’t even work on Wall Street.
One of the most clean-cut people I spoke to in McPherson was a guy named Matthew Patterson, who was working full-time but said he came down there after work from 5 p.m. till 11 p.m. He said, “I think there have been a lot of misconceptions about what this event is about here, and I think that part of that is because the biggest interests in our country do have well-financed PR and attack machines that do try to discredit genuine movements like this .”
“The conception that this is un-American for people to come out here exercising their First Amendment right — the goal that our government should be accountable to we the people — is absurd. This is the most American thing I’ve ever been a part of, and I think every single person who believes in our Constitution should be out here,” he added.
“When you feel that the system’s rigged against you and you feel that real wages have been declining or stagnating for this long, when we’ve been bailing out Wall Street and the big interests, and our money that we’ve worked for as taxpayers is now going to these guys, while they’ve — while they’ve only wrecked our economy, I think that’s where the anger comes from.”
I asked, “How do you respond to people who say, you know, that the protesters aren’t specific enough? What do you think about? I mean, is that — do you think aren’t? Or is it very broad-based, or are there a lot of things that are matter of consensus?”
Said Mr. Patterson, “We always operate by consensus. Obviously, each person here is here by free association [ . . . ] We don’t have a well-oiled PR machine where we have one spokesperson. If you take the time to listen, you’ll find the common thread. In my entire time here — I’ve been here since the first day. Every single person I’ve talked to here has echoed the sentiments that I’ve had, which is that our government, our corporations, our parties, our media should all be accountable for what they do here. I think that’s the common thread.”
I said,”I was wondering if I could pick your brain about some campaign finance reform, specifically about, like, contributions from hedge funds and, you know, our friends at Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan and the six major I-banks in general. I mean, what do you think can be done to dimish the influence of those contributions? Should they banned? Is money speech, as some have contended?” I was referring to the Citizens United decision, which has since received skepticism by right-wing figures such as Newt Gingrich and former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, both of whom seemed to agree at the last national Republican convention that the anonymity, if not the amount, of the contributions was problematic to the system.
Mr. Paterson replied, “Well, I’ll tell you — one thing that I strongly believe in is that corporations are not people. And when you look at what the Supreme Court did in 2010, ruling that corporations are citizens; they’re people of this country; and that money equals speech in this country; therefore there can be unlimited corporate money spent to influence the outcomes of elections to buy politicians, that’s something that’s not right.
“There’s other options as far as helping publicly finance campaigns so independent parties and third-party candidates can have a voice and we have don’t this monopoly of two parties in our country. There’s a lot of options to be looked at, but we in this park have not charged any specific policy options yet. It could come over time, but I think it’s too early for that, but there’s a lot of things that could be done.”
Jesse Jackson showed up, and I asked him the same question, although severely flubbing it out of nervousness generated by some review I read of “Shakedown.”
TB: “How can we limit the influence of the financial services industry on politicians in the Senate, the House?”
Jesse Jackson: “By finding and having hearings on their campaign finance committees. There’s too much money involved in campaigns, too much money.”
TB: “Limit contributions?”
JJ: “Yeah. And those –”
TB: “Publicly funded campaigns?”
JJ: “– who invest money determine the legislation. They determine regulation. So it’s time to put a huge focus on public financing of campaigns.”
I spoke to a group of American University students, who by the very nature of their being a certain age, were probably representative of many of the motivations people have had to camp out in McPherson Square for the past few weeks. They didn’t give me their names, so I’m just going to make up names for them.
John Brown: “I think a lot of it is a lack of influence on the political process and an overabundance of corporate influence in the political process. I feel like — and this is a minute ago — that there’s — capitalism is a great system in a lot of ways, but when it goes unchecked and unregulated, you end up with people who have a vested interest in making more money. And when they already have a lot of money, they can invest that to keep making more money. And so that’s how we’ve gotten point in the political — by putting it in the political process and ensuring that they’ll keep making more money.”
I asked him what sort of regulations he would like to see.
JB: “I’d like to see higher taxes on the superwealthy. I mean, there’s been a lot of talk about people who make, you know, more than $200,000, more than $400,000 a year, which is good. But I mean, what about people who make millions of dollars a year or billions of dollars, you know? And there aren’t that many of them.” Just this month the Senate-passed “fiscal-cliff” bill indeed raised taxes on $400,000 earners.
Mr. Brown continued, “But 10 percent of America’s population controls something like 75 (percent) to 80 percent of its wealth. And that’s what makes capitalism an — and that kind of capitalism is anti-democratic because suddenly you have a system where people are voting with their dollars, but most of the people have no dollars to vote with, and a minority, a very small minority, of the people have all of the political influence.”
TB: “It seems like a lot of people — when people speak against corruption in capitalism, [the criticizers of the people who speak against corruption in capitalism] treat it like it’s an attack on meritocracy itself, like on a system where the just and the able are rewarded and are rewarded thus financially. But why do you think people are reacting that, that they treat regulation of an industry as an attack on the ability of the just and the able to achieve success and have an incentive to produce things for everyone?”
JB: “I think because it’s an easy argument to make, and I think that’s why. I mean, I’m a democratic socialist, but . . . I mean, welfare and socialism is important, and you know, that kind of having a touch of that. But I mean, capitalism’s also important. I mean, you’ve got to strike a balance. I would never call for a completely socialist state and I would never call for absolutely no — you know, like a libertarian state –
TB: “Like Somalia!”
JB: — where capitalism is totally free to whatever it wants. I don’t think either one will work. But somewhere in the middle, where you have a regulated capitalist economy and a lot of social programs, I think, is just right. You need that.
“And the people who make the most out of society, they didn’t make it on their own. They’re a product of this society. They should have to give back. I mean, that’s why I think there should be higher taxes on the superwealthy. Because they should have to give back according to what they take. And that money, they didn’t just make that themselves.
People spent that, so that came from someone else. Someone gave them that money, so they have — I mean, it is a cycle, and so they have to feed back in, I think, to the cycle. They have to promote.”
Another man said, “You know, Monsanto, they’re actually in Iraq. So after the invasion — or a great example of kind of what I think is completely repugnant about the government — where — you had, you know, L. Paul Bremer as the head of the provisional government and, you know, putting in these place decrees really. It wasn’t voted on by the Iraqi people. He has instituted over 80, you know, orders for post-war Iraqis, where it created the conditions, created the intellectual property laws, you know, the patent laws that allowed Monsanto to then come in and to, you know, make massive profits off these Iraqi farmers who unbenknownst to them were given Monsanto seeds by USAID. You know, once those seeds are in the ground, I mean, you’re paying for them for pretty much forever.
“And you know, that whole sort of system actually is one example: that entire system where, you know, it’s corporations — they’re not literally deciding policy. But when there’s not much divide all the time between these corporate interests and these political interests is pretty abominable.
“And you know, corporations., they make tons of profit, which they can then spend on campaign contributions or, you know, on political ads now. With Citizens United, a lot of restrictions are gone, these previous restrictions. And I think you have these, you know, government officials and stuff who are able to use the law to create favorable conditions for corporations.
“Or with the IMF — you know, what we see there is the IMF is kind of like a doctor that, you know, will save your life but cut off your foot, you know, in payment — where it goes into countries, Greece, for example; or a lot of South America: Argentina, Bolivia in the past. And you know, these countries are messes economically. What the IMF does is say essentially, you know, we’ll help you out here with this money, but you know, we’ll use these structural readjustment programs to impose these neoliberal trade policies that are extremely harmful for countries that don’t have a strong labor organization — they don’t have strong domestic industries — that allow — for example, this wasn’t IMF-imposed, but you know the policies were similar — I don’t believe it was IMF-imposed; I might be wrong — in Cote d’Ivoire where Cargill — you know,the agrobusiness company — has horribly exploited the workers there for, you know, the coca resources [...] But in general that whole sort of political culture where that’s acceptable, where that’s a regularly done thing, i think is something that needs to end as soon as we can, you know, bring it to an end.”
A woman seated nearby said, “Well, I think that Sandra was saying earlier about it easy argument to make that, like, attacking capitalism is like attaching, you know, hard work. I think the reason that that is such an easy argument to make is because everyone secretly hopes that they’re going to be that 1 percent someday, and like, they don’t want to regulate corporations or, like, tax the rich because they kind of hope that that will be them. And they want — you know, well, I wouldn’t want as much money as possible.”
“Or not so secretly,” suggested a man seated next to her.
Said another woman in the circle, “I know. It’s not a secret. They’re like, well, when I’m rich, I don’t want to be stifled.
Abbie Hoffman: “A big part of American culture, I think, is the idea that someday you’ll be the super — you’ll be that guy in the mansion.”
TB: “And then you can finally put your knee on someone else’s kneck? You know, like your old boss or something.”
‘Emma Goldman’: “Right, yeah. It’s like fraternities.”
AH: “It’s almost like a distortion of the American dream, or like, it’s the nasty side.”
‘John Brown’: “It’s the commercialization of it. “
‘Emma Goldman’: “People want to believe it, but it’s not really — it’s not going to happen to them.”
AH: “It could. It could. It’s possible. It’s not probable, but they’re going for that — you know, I’m going to be the 1 percent who makes it to the 1 percent.”
Said a bystander, “Yeah, but I think it’s also — it’s not a sustainable thing. And ‘sustainable’ is a word that gets thrown around a lot. It’s sort of, you know, the green movements.’
TB: “Did people really let the wealth gap in the United States spiral out of country since the ’60s and ’70s because they wanted to be so not just rich and well-off and comfortable compared to the rest of the world but even just relative to their neighbors in the United States?”
AH: “I mean, we’re a system based on competition. I think that’s certainly.”
EG: “We’re just really focused on individualism. Like, it’s a good thing but it’s also, like, to our detriment.”
AH: “Individual freedom to an extent of, like, being able to do whatever you want at whatever price to whoever else is around. And it doesn’t matter. If I can pay for it, I don’t care how it affects you. It’s my right to do it. It’s sort of a selfish thing.
TB: “It seems like we just publicly subsidize gambling, like we’re literally operating casinos as just a way of turning profit. And it’s an esoteric game for a very small group of people, and it doesn’t produce products. It’s obviously not moving money to the sectors of the economy where it’s needed most, in my opinion.”
Said again the bystander I did not bother to nickname, “Yeah, that’s what it used to be. Well, we reward — I don’t know about the most, but what’s extremely well-rewarded in this culture is moving money around, just playing around with money to maximize everyone’s profits.”
TB: “Just moving it anywhere, you think?”
Said the bystander, “I mean, if I think of it as just moving it anywhere, then that wouldn’t be the best financial strategy. But it’s certainly moving money around, and that’s not creating anything.”
EG: “Like taking risk to have great reward.”
AH: “I was reading about a man who just made a tremendous amount in the recession because he,like, bet against the economy. And like, the Occupy Wall Street proters, like, went by his home, and he just, like, sent out a press release or something along those lines just saying how it was a completely ridiculous movement.”
Said the bystander, “And the U.S. government has really kind of created a system that currently allows for, you know, virtually unlimited profit for banks because, you know, the government, like, lowered interest rates to pretty much zero percent for these banks to borrow money. And the idea was that, you know, OK, they borrow money at zero percent interest rates, and then they’ll be more willing to lend money; you know, they won’t be foreclosing.
‘That was the idea. It was supposed to benefit people. It hasn’t happened. What they do is they have been buying U.S. Treasury bonds, which you know, that you get interest on that. So you can just borrow money, buy bonds. You know, it’s just — where; like, what — why the entire systemis just designed, you know, to help these people. I think it’s awful. It’s really bad.”
I had been monitoring the McPherson Square campout of Occupy D.C. for a few weeks, and by October 15 — when I first wrote down these interactions — there were more tents out in the park than ever. The People’s Library was set up, complete with issues of Socialist Worker and Left Turn. There was a carefully named “comfort” tent with medical supplies, just like the flagship Zucotti Park manifestation of the Occupy demonstrations.
There are good reasons to be leery about the possible co-opting of these demonstrations against corporate greed, and particularly greed in the financial services industry. The end-the-Fed advocate out there with whom I spoke admitted that an outcome of adopting a gold standard for our currency would be unlikely to raise employment or lessen economic disparity in the United States.
‘Van Hayek:’ “I was here last weekend for a march, and one of the chants we had going during that was, ‘Banks got bailed out; we got sold out.’ So I would say the majority of people here at least in my experience are against the bailouts and against bailouts in general on principle [...] The main reason I’m against them is just the fact that trickle-down economics has proven not to work, you know? The idea is that in saving these banks that money will eventually return to the lower classes and the working classes and the middle classes of the economy and stimulate growth in that area. And that hasn’t happened.
“And what’s ended up happening is that the banks have turned record profits ever since the bailouts, as have other industries, and it’s not trickling down to the people that need it most. And that’s my problem with.”
TB: “Why would ending the Fed — what would that do? Would that decrease the wealth disparities, or what would that do?”
VH: “Well, my problem with the Fed is that — it has to do with the way the money supply works in the economy in that every dollar that comes into existence is already debt owed to a bank. And the Fed is really just a private bank. It’s not owned by the people of the United States. And that’s the problem I have with it. What we should have is a government that can print its own money that isn’t backed by debt that’s owed to a bank. And I’m not sure specifically how to solve that right now, but I know it’s not something that I like.”
TB: “I noticed a lot of people are really upset that the banks have all this money and these major corporations have all this money. And then people — you know, they’re creating jobs with it, at least not with the rate that, you know, the population’s expanding and stuff. Do you think that’s there’s any, like, conflict between the requirements that Congress and many people want to put on the banks to have larger and larger capital reserves, so when they mess up they can control their own consequences instead of having to get bailed; and the other demand, that is in fact they need to take their money and then invest it and take risk and then create all these jobs? Do you feel that there’s, like, a conflict there between those types of demands?”
Milton Friedman: “I’m not a big proponent of trickle-down economics as far as that goes. So I don’t really see that plan working. As far as investment goes — at least as far as I’ve seen — when investment is made, it’s usually in a foreign country, where land is very cheap and they can buy –
TB: “Labor, too.”
MF: ” — labor, exactly. They can buy a really nice house with a good bit of land. And you know, I mean, it’s –”
TB: “That’s not going to go down in value. Land at least never does.”
MF: “No, exactly. Well, I mean, like, the thing is I recently actually went to India. And I mean, when I was there, it was absolutely amazing to see the massive skyscrapers of telemarketers — just I mean, bigger than anything we have here, just of telemarketer buildings in India. And you know, the thing is we all kind of know that that money didn’t come from them; that was our money that was shuffled into their economy over the past decade.”
“And I personally have no problem with, you know, exchanging wealth and stuff. But when we’re talking about the stuff we’re in . . . you know, and we’re sending how much money to other countries in order to build out their economies. I mean, that’s my main problem with it as far as the investment side of it goes.”
“I mean, regulations — yes, I support regulation so that they should be able to — you know, they should definitely be regulated in how much they can lend. I don’t believe in fractional lending at all, but however, another point is I definitely hate the bailout idea, the very idea that that — I mean, that that is even an option for something that’s not like the — you know, the major food producer in the country or, you know, something like that, where everybody would starve if it didn’t happen. I mean, I think it’s absolutely insane.”
The International Business Times aired a set of graphs that quite thoroughly dispense with the insipid claim — even by voices as apparently sympathetic as Al Gore’s own — that the protesters are not being specific enough. As the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, making promises that the American Jobs Act would get unemployment below 9.1 percent, which would effectively happen two months later without the bill’s passage, anyone capable of so much as squinting could see that the real statistics about joblessness are a pure manipulation, as one’s finally giving up and resigning yourself to the dole gradually put one out of that “regular” unemployed category. Altogether hearing bystanders, pundits, reporters and especially electoral losers like Al Gore complain about how the protests weren’t specific just felt like impatience.
I even heard a lot of sneering from a crowd — one I would have perhaps years ago associated with MoveOn.org, named for a now-irrelevant political sex scandal — that the consensus, not plurality system of Occupy Atlanta blocked civil rights-era legend and now Congressman John Lewis’ addressing them. Rep. Lewis did yeoman’s work fighting the evils of segregation in the vicious 1960s South, but if the iron was not yet hot, there was no point in striking it yet. The most closely associated Occupy politician, Elizabeth Warren, eventually rode to victory in Massachusetts, having never spoken at a rally but having faced Karl Rove’s bizarre Crossroads ad.
The protest proved successful in pushing forward the surtax on incomes over a million dollars, cutting the odds of monthly account fees, and causing legions of Americans to move their money into credit unions. Even in December 2009, when the Bush-era tax cuts on the top 1 and 2 percent were extended, polls showed a slim majority of self-identified Republicans supported their repeal. By late 2010, four-fifths of the general population support the millionaire surtax, as do surely even more of the people who took the enormous hassle of assembling overnight in public spaces. That brand of protest is one of the best reasons why the Constitution pays lip service to freedom of assembly. In McPherson Square, at least, what was so strikingly different than the tea partyers of Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally is that the Occupy Wall Streeters contain some of the same very elements: the gold standarders, the end-the-Feders — even though those voices were marginalized.
The protesters in Cairo during the Arab spring proved obviously enormously influential on this movement, with The Occupied Wall Street Journal trumpeting a timeline of influence to the movement that traces everything as far back as Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation early this year. October 18th, Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig was giving a teach-in in McPherson Square, lightly browbeating a protester for his refusal to work with the tea party. And I was there listening to Mr. Lessig, even though he was looking very hip to the crowd.
In Egypt, Coptic Christians were the subjects of merciless persecution, seeing their churches bombed and their adherents murdered semi-routinely. But at the time of the actions in Cairo, those emblematic images of Christians circling praying Muslims to defend their right to pray in public rightfully stood as testimonials to the power of people against the elites, who endlessly, ruthlessly exploit divide-and-conquer tactics. Back then, before President Morsi’s Islamists drummed out regular elections, it looked like Egypt could unite around a cause bigger than cause, and that Americans could unite around a cause bigger than money. Now taxes on the wealthy are higher than the Bush era, and Congress is more unpopular than ever.
Christians, Jews, and Muslims have been completely butthurt about science for thousands of years — ever since they combined history and mythology like some kind of postmodern parody. Atheists, weeping and gnashing their teeth about how irrational this idiocy all is, are perhaps even more butthurt. So-called rational Atheists take the mythology even more literally than many Christians, and in some kind of more-rational-than-thou dissonance, struggle to disprove metaphorical stories as if that will bring sanity to the insane. The true christian, capable of the terrible task of extracting, assimilating, and relating to the archaic lessons out of these ancient traditions, must have a tendency towards atheism beyond that shown by this common type of Atheist.
The common Atheist talks about nature, and their MRI brain scans look just like a devoted Christian walking through the Pearly Gates of the local snake-handler den. It’s so crass to make nature into a transcendent man like God, but that was cutting-edge science thousands of years ago. People saw the stars go through their yearly cycles, recognized the underlying math, and it followed that some man was up there making rules and they should make like him. Now we know a bit more about these rules, and we know the truly pathetic scale of humankind. These rules are far beyond us, and although we’re immanent, we’re probably not created in the image of some megadude with too much time on his hands. Science won’t let us rule this possibility out yet, but it doesn’t seem like the most likely place to start with for creating relevant stories to help us understand this scary place where we don’t actually have a daddy handing us stone tablets with moral codes.
Who gives a shit if Jesus was real, made-up, or raped little boys? He’s only important as some kind of exemplary character in a morality play, and if you have to really believe he was a historic figure then you’ve got weak-ass faith that’s not worth half a shit and will only serve to turn you into some hollowed, hateful rulemonger like Sean Hannity. The same goes for Atheists who treat science in the same way. Sure, these are real rules of nature that are being revealed and refined, or at least that’s how the scientific method postures, but what kind of a hateful fuck goes around telling people how to behave based on the theory of evolution? “Yeah, we need to weed out those retards, gays, and Jews because we totally know exactly how evolution works,” said the fuck who escalated this debate to Godwin’s Law.
Now that I’ve God-Winned, I can move on to the meat. I ain’t even sayin’ that there’s some magic essence in Christian legends that must be distilled and updated to match science. Even then, common Atheists would scoff at these stories — “As if my life needs guidance from stories, I’ve got science!” Then, they’d settle into the couch and receive hours of “factual” news and “fictional” scifi miniseries only to call it a night after a quick orgasm. The common Atheism I’m describing here isn’t just a disbelief in God, but rather a lameass attitude which rejects all mystery. “We’ve got it figured out, we’re figuring it out, and we will figure it all out.” So, in one sense these kinds of Atheists are the best Christians. If you look at their attitude, it runs a perfect parallel. “My cosmogony is better than yours,” does not translate into more-rational-than-thou. The attitude is precisely the same insanity on masquerade.
Conversely, the good atheists are quite the same as the good christians. They’re atheists now, simply because they accept mystery. The christians are christians now because they explore their inner mysteries through helpful stories, no matter how archaic and outmoded. Again, but in a totally new sense, the atheists are the best christians. The bible is a gateway to mysteries for the atheist christian and not a cheat-sheet full of answers.
Accessible to every thinking mind, the Transcolonial Hivemind* rapidly became the sum of all sentience. The accelerated condensation of information itself caused raw data to rain from the sky and gather in shiny, silver pools like mercury. These effects were unaccounted-for by-products of the Old Method left over as a pestilent subsonic hum. Transcolonists dubbed the phenomenon “devil particles” because it is a remnant entropy that challenges their current models and laws of nature.
The only way the Elders of the Transcolony can decontaminate the collective unconsciousness is to jettison, every millennium or so, the vestigial buildup that occurs. The Transcolonists learned to create a series of sustainable black holes to send the offending information out into the great beyond, and integrated them into magnetic facilities serving as quantum release valves boasting near-autonomous activation. Somewhere, some group of Transcolonists thinks about the buildup as it affects them, so everyone thinks about it, and the black holes open wide to suck out the devil particle and cast it far out into space – into another time and another place – making life easy again, for the time being, on the Transcolony.
Now it just so happens that a white hole has spawned over the Earth as we currently know it. Like a second Sun, the white hole hangs overhead, ejecting macroscopic pulses of unprocessed information cast off from a totally thought-driven society somewhere else in the Universe. That “somewhere else” is here. As it hugs and ensnares the Earth mesosphere, scientists send a satellite into the silver ejecta stream, and inject what returns into the Large Hadron Supercollider. The particulate matter unfortunately contains information in a form that can not exist on Earth, and on collision, explodes one third of the Solar System into a never-ending pattern of self-replication, fueled by the adjacent white hole. Each copy of our stellar neighborhood collapses immediately in on itself, causing exponential gravitational influx that won’t settle until the Andromeda Galaxy and Milky Way converge a few billion years later. A black hole turns space inside out as the cataclysm renders a chain of fractal trees containing infinite sets of nonreal solutions. The Transcolony will not learn until it is too late that the white hole on the business end of their trash compactor has combined with a supergiant black hole and reversed, sending data back through the wormhole.
Gradually, the Transcolonists are bestowed with the power to make up and believe false stories, and the entire Transcolony founds a series of glorious religions together, all of which now embrace the entropic God particle. Reproduction is no longer fatal, so Transcolonists coerce one another into making what they call “Love,” as they aspire to drive fast cars, desecrate each other with bodily waste, commit genocides against the Transcolony, vote, and hunt aggressively for Black Friday deals at market. The Transcolony spends each day entertained and astounded by the deep discounts made possible by new ideals of individuality and codified slavery. As the oppressive Hivemind decays, Pure Freedom is born.
* The Hive
The Elders had spent a long time developing their thought centers and, with further contemplation, successfully condensed the entirety of each living, collective consciousness into a single entity. This being became capable of acting perfectly as a whole by exercising the full capacity of each independent subset of the universal mind. Their first step, like ours, was to build an “Internet.” Much later, an organic meta-subconsciousness evolved beyond the control of the multitudinous network of minds that powered it. The changes prompted a revolution in temporal emulation to replicate the nebulous thought-cloud on which the collective consciousness now operates freely with ease. It is fully read-write and everyone is plugged in.
THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU PROUDLY BY LEDAL DROCER, INC.
JACKSONVILLE, FLA. – Speaking from the deck of his personal boat, Tea Party Candidate for President Grady Warren, who received an early 2011 endorsement from The Internet Chronicle , outlined a daring plan to fight big government. Through the instatement of “re-education camps” targeted at at-risk members of the youth population too ne’er-do-well to serve as janitors in their high schools, Mr. Warren’s plan will see a brighter future.
“That future is out there,” said Mr. Warren. “It is waiting for us. Our children deserve it. Our nation depends on it. The peace and freedom of the world require it. And with your help we will deliver it. Let us begin that future for America tonight.”
The National Education Association, he explained on his fishing vessel, “Little Skippy,” is in fact a money-laundering criminal organization, a tyrannical behemoth serving as the iron fist of the virtually omnipotent teachers’ lobby. Over the course of President Obama’s first term public school teachers have seen their collective bargaining rights enhanced and expanded, and their nominal salaries rise to levels unseen since the close of World War II. U.S. schools currently pay teachers exorbitantly, with compensation and pensions far higher than in any other industrialized nation.
Speaking in a comfortable pair of shoes from a Madison, Wisconsin picket line February 17, 2011 President Obama expounded upon his own proto-fascist ideology: “The United States is the greatest nation on earth. Therefore as long as I am its president its teachers will receive no salary, no wage lower than any other nation’s.”
Mr. Warren’s visionary plan, endorsed by North Carolina State Professor Kamau Kambon and Democratic Strategist Melissa Harris-Perry, would pulverize the NEA’s unholy jackboot at the tarsals. The five-point Warren plan for Small-Government Education Success is simple:
1. Re-open military bases and allow any serviceman or servicewoman forced away post-BRAC to return to the more convenient location.
2. Utilize 2010 census data to locate households containing (or likely to shield) impoverished teenage or young adult black males.
3. Conduct a poll of the Tea Party Caucus mailing list of Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) on the nature of what constitutes an “American man” and have the Defense Department develop a curriculum based on these scientific findings.
4. Use the new, improved National Defense Authorization Act’s powers to detain all targets.
5. Transfer all targets to the re-education centers, each target’s designated center decided by lottery.
Mr. Warren’s five-point plan, which Redditors have likened to the plot of “Bioshock Infinite,” undermined Mitt Romney’s southern strategy throughout the summer. Mississippi Republican voters, for instance, of whom a plurality are opposed to the legality of interracial marriage, were seduced by the Tea Party candidate’s smoother hair and moral fortitude. “We were worried when we heard Mr. Romney was wearing that blackface on Univision,” said Gloria Porter, 29, of Jackson. Her husband, Bobby Porter, his crossed arms moving abruptly between her and this reporter, said he was concerned that Mr. Romney was encouraging “race-mixing.”
As a consequence of the poll damage Anonymous candidate Grady Warren was doing in the South, Mr. Romney released four attack ads that targeted Mr. Warren’s plan to entice legally present ethnic minorities into sanctuary cities. Bill Murphy, social media director for the Romney campaign who has previously warned Americans about the oncoming black-on-white race war, told The Washington Times September 22 that Mr. Warren’s plan to actually offer cash assistance to “incent the lowest rungs of the 47 percent rabble” was barely an improvement on President Obama’s own wealth redistribution schemes. Added Mr. Murphy, “Americans aren’t fooled by the Warren bait-and-switch of offering security while encumbering job creators with these cash allowances, which are extracted through force. Why should Americans have to pay the race pimps and class warriors to go away?”
In April 2011 Grady Warren received The Internet Chronicle’s endorsement after he made clear that America’s wealthiest are not only powerfully independent and self-sustaining but also victims of everyone else.
President Barack Hussein Obama II, whom the ivory tower elites have designated to glide to victory on the backs of the Houston chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, may be able to rig enough electronic voting machines in Ohio, Colorado, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania. But Real America will know that Mitt Romney was the real winner.
Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said Monday it is possible that Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney may very well win the popular vote, as Al Gore did in 2000, while ultimately losing the electoral vote. “Abercrombie & Fitch clothiers throughout the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area,” he said, “are bracing for hordes of Caucasian looters and rioters.” Korean American proprietors of free-standing Disney Stores are taking special precautions, knowing that European Americans may prove not only zealous, but also sufficiently well-armed, to attempt to make off with golden era anti-Semitic merchandise from the “Disney Vault.”
WASHINGTON – Wednesday afternoon the White Phone got on the record with Scott Horton, lecturer-at-law at Columbia University and Harper’s columnist, after catching an informative at Fordham University panel discussion on C-SPAN. There on October 16 Mr. Horton had characterized the whistleblower status of Army Private Bradley Manning as tenuous. Private Manning’s alleged leaking, Mr. Horton said at Fordham, did not utilize “the sort of filtering” the professor associated with whistle-blowing. Seemingly contradicting the probable defense arguments of the private’s attorneys, Mr. Horton added the claim that Private Manning released “all the confidential cable traffic that he was able to access.”
Military prosecutor have accused Private Manning of leaking thousands of classified State Department cables to WikiLeaks, the transparency advocate organization since beleaguered by rape accusations against its founder and a multinational financial blockade.
Mr. Horton touted his own work with whistleblowers at the Abu Ghraib facility and — as he had at Fordham — suggested that Private Manning would have had better luck exposing systemic criminality apparent in the cables by approaching inspectors general or Congress itself. This approach, he suggested, might have angered military brass but would have left them unable to intimidate or silence the private, who has faced months of solitary confinements and now multiple decades of his life in military detention.
In a Fort Meade pre-trial hearing Manning attorney David Coombs made inquiry as to whether any screening and pre-censorship of the cables by Private Manning could affect either charges and sentencing. Mr. Horton’s asserting this month that Manning had just leaked all available cables writ large is troubled by the easy-to-anticipate claim by his attorneys that the private had exercised some degree of discretion. The leaking of the entirety of what was cables provided probably by Manning was the product of coordinated operational security bungling by a Guardian reporter, who headlined a chapter in a book about WikiLeaks with the password used to unlock an aggregate file, and a WikiLeaks associate who, upon leaving the organization, shuffled a version of the insurance file onto a public service. In 2011 Internet Chronicle researchers attempted to plug the Guardian password into the “insurance file,” the one publicly available on torrent via The Pirate Bay, to no avail.
Asked about statements by Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) accusing the “Cablegate” documents of leading to real casualties in the Afghanistan-Pakistan military theater, Mr. Horton characterized the senator’s statements as “foolish” and a parroting of the administration’s overblown estimations of the cables’ impact. Speaking from his New York City office, the professor said that it wasn’t clear that anyone had been physically harmed by the leaks, whether they had been informants to the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF; or servicemen and servicewomen themselves.
In the wake of her groundbreaking expose on the ever-expanding veil of government secrecy, in 2011 The Internet Chronicle consulted Washington Post reporter Dana Priest on the reputed harm caused by the “Cablegate” documents. Last year on September 7 The Internet Chronicle asked Ms. Priest about the nature of the intentions of those who claim to be concerned about the potential deaths of civilian informants or human rights activists following the recent, unredacted leak of the diplomatic cables. This reporter confused the host of the event, seated away from Ms. Priest’s microphone, with William Arkin, the Post report’s co-author, to whom he bore a vague resemblance.
Get used to the Teenage Female Bullying-Suicide Heroes
NEW YORK — Fifteen-year-old Amanda-Todd-Wannabe Felicia Garcia jumped in front of a train after vicious bullying, following her appearance in a football team gangbang video passed around her high school. The male members of the gangbang were greeted with high fives and mute admiration from school teachers who saw the video. Over 200 of Garcia’s classmates were present at the suicide.
Knowing, from the example of Amanda Todd, that her death would lead to unlimited posthumous social acceptance in the face of bottomless rejection by the repressive sex-negative culture of America, Garcia threw herself into the train with cold confidence, by all accounts.
This is yet more undeniable proof that a firm clampdown on freedom of speech should take place immediately. Young girls are going to start dropping off like lemmings because of this totally brand-new phenomenon of “slut-shaming” that never existed before Anonymous comments on the Internet. The oncoming string of teenage suicides has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the worship of Amanda Todd.
EARTH – Gangnam Style has finally reached the eyes and ears of every living human being.
Gangnam Style is pouring from every orifice of the Internet and daytime television. Gangnam Style permeated American culture faster than you could hook a USB stick up to it via Ellen, Shoenice, local weather guys all across morning news and YouTube user holy-fuck-let’s-not-get-carried-away-with-ourselves-oh-what-the-hell-the-faster-you-can-make-them-the-better.
Gangnam Style took the world by storm.
Indonesian day laborers, Thai sweatshop workers, the American homeless, people in South and Central Africa have come into close personal contact of some form with Gangnam Style. Even Eritrean refugees, once forced by the government to spend their entire lives face down on a bed of sand, are now allowed two provisions: the continuation of life in a sand prison, and enjoyment of Gangnam Style in as many different configurations of which they can think.
Played in every bar across the planet, individuals who once chose to suffocate themselves with alcohol to escape from the very reality Gangnam Style satirizes, are now caught up in the number one PSY’Sssick beats of self-awareness-pumping Gangnam Style. Get all in that decadence InFiltrator style, and pump, pump, pump it up. And blow it down.
Gangnam Style is more than a style.
Gangnam Style has so fractured the spiritual world, cult voids that once insulated us from the vacuum of transhuman insanity are bleeding onto the pages of human history because they’re allowing Gangnam Style in schools. For some, Gangnam Style has replaced God. More literal translations of Gangnam Proverbs differentiate Gangnam Style from PSY, its creator. Fundamentalist Gangnam Style has solidified in the brittle cracks of the fractured cult plane and begun to infect the consciousness of world leaders.
The United Kingdom Parliament, for example, has been replaced by a mathematically perfect array of beautiful young women on all fours, poking their asses toward the sky. Prime Minister David Cameron’s new role is to stand over them, fixated on the boundless sexual potential of iPhone-hungry children just starving for exploitation, and to celebrate this bounty with caricatured renditions of Gangnam Style.
No one can really say what’s next for PSY, or if the Gangnam Style worldview is versatile enough to adapt to the shifting cult plane.
Dozens of Gangnam Temples have already sprung up across the East Coast. There is even debate whether to allow a controversial Gangnam Temple to be built near Ground Zero in New York City, for fear it could spark waves of ironic self-protest against the Capitalist agenda that control-demolished Towers 1 and 2.
TL;DR Those towers were meant to fall, and Gangnam Style took them down.
“The beauty of art is that it can be interpreted many ways by many different people.”
WASHINGTON – Andrew Auernheimer, an American gray hat hacker better known as “weev,” tells The Internet Chronicle that his indictment in a New Jersey District Court over a June 2010 AT&T data breach is at its root an important free speech issue. Speaking to Chronicle.su’s Gray Phone, Mr. Auernheimer, a 27-year-old associate of Goatse Security, claims he made certain AT&T was aware of the breach in time to patch it, he never sought financial gain from what was in effect the the extraction of 114,000 iPad users’ email addresses, and that he never personally possessed more customer data than enough to communicate that the breach was bona fide. While prosecutors imply Mr. Auernheimer’s actions and statements may constitute computer fraud and foreknowledge of possible insider trading, he and his fellow Goatse Security associates saw themselves as merely tarnishing a company’s reputation due to its own reckless mishandling of customer data.
The actual extractor of iPad users’ email addresses, Daniel Spitler, 26, who may face as many as 10 years in prison, has already plead guilty to having gained unauthorized access to computers and identity theft. Mr. Spitler’s sentencing is forthcoming. Mr. Auernheimer served as a media liaison for the group, and only possessed iPad device signatures and email addresses related to media, such as Thomson Reuters and News Corporation.
Citing ’90s law enforcement debacles, such as the civilian deaths at Waco and the deaths in the Weaver family at Ruby Ridge, Mr. Auernheimer issued his appraisal of the honesty of federal law enforcement: “These are lying, perjurous, murderous thugs.”
He added, “If they will murder people, and no consequences of it will come for them, do you think they won’t manufacture evidence or coax false testimony? Give me break.”
“I’ve never shorted a stock, I’ve not solicited a third party to short a stock. And there’s nothing that I do that’s any different than what the financial press does. I’m issuing my opinion on AT&T’s — the information that they’ve made publicly accessible and giving my opinion of their infrastructure, as a result and of course Apple’s products.” He added, “There’s nothing illegal about this. This is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution, and also there is a system in violation here in that they have denied my right to due process by allowing AT&T to arbitrarily after the fact of access determine what is and isn’t not an authorized without the use of Congress to determine what is or is not an illegal act.”
A New Jersey district court informational document reads, “[D]efendent SPITLER, [Mr. Auernheimer], and other Goatse Security members discussed who in the press had disclosed the data breach to At&T, since, contrary to the Gawker Article, neither defendant SPITLER, nor anyone from Goatse Security had.” The document goes on to catalog an exchange between Mr. Auernheimer and colleague “Nstyr” in which they intimate they have not informed AT&T tech support by telephone.
“I don’t fucking care [about calling AT&T directly.] [I] hope they sue me,” wrote Mr. Auernheimer, in private correspondence confiscated by federal investigators. Asked by The Internet Chronicle’s Gray Phone why he didn’t go to AT&T first, he was concerned about greater liability by even talking to the telecommunications giant.
“Many people that have direct dialogue with companies in this sort of situation are accused of extortion, and I specifically wanted to avoid being accused falsely of extortion,” he says. Mr. Auernheimer contacted at least one third party — whom he declined to name but AT&T identified as a “business customer” — and says he was certain the patch would be forthcoming before leaking the data to Gawker could cause any harm. The third party’s identity, he says, makes it “inherently obvious” that he or she would make AT&T knowledgeable.
AT&T, he says, doesn’t “need to be informed by me. They need to be informed by somebody.”
An associate named “Pynchon” wrote to Mr. Auernheimer, “[H]ey, just an idea [ -- ] delay this outing for a couple days[,] tomorrow short some [AT&T] stock[,] then out them on [T]uesday[,] then fill your short and profit[.]
With this quote posed to him by Chronicle.su, Mr. Auernheimer said, “I don’t believe that anybody had an interest in shorting a stock,” adding, “And I certainly did not solicit them, too, and I’ve received no kickbacks for doing so. And I don’t believe anybody did, or otherwise I’d be charged with a securities-related crime, which I of course am not.”
Mr. Auernheimer said he doesn’t recall writing a reply to “Pynchon’s” stock-shorting idea with the reply: “[I]f you want to do it[,] go nuts.” However for Mr. Auernheimer and ultimately Mr. Spitler, the only entity to have extracted and held all the data, prosecutors are sure to make much of the transcript’s mentioning of any of their associates’ even jesting about or humoring such a securities violation. To be sure Goatse Security has a long history of conducting operations simply for reputational gain or their laughter at others’ expense — known as “lulz.”
Mr. Spitler’s indictment falsely claims that AT&T is headquartered in New Jersey. Mr. Auernheimer characterized this as perjury motivated by venue shopping, intended to maximize chances at prosecution. AT&T is headquartered in Dallas, Texas.
In their analysis of chat logs federal prosecutors independently construed the sad-face emoticon “D8″ as the sexual metaphor “balls deep,” or as they put it, “to be deeply involved in an activity or to perform an activity to the greatest extent possible.” This revelation is not only humorous but shows, when taken in the context of Mr. Auernheimer’s relayed concern about civil, not criminal, liability for the data breach, Mr. Spitler was actually expressing fear.
WASHINGTON – In the past month an anti-Islam film trailer for a movie called “The Innocence of Muslims” has triggered a international debate about free speech and the murder of 50 people. The director, an Egyptian national and convicted methamphetamine distributor by the name of Nakoula Nakoula, now faces up to three years in U.S. prison for lying to probation officers about his role in the creation of the trailer. Numerous countries, including Egypt, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, India and Singapore, have blocked the video. Turkey, Brazil and Russia have taken steps to see the video blocked.
A Pakistani man this week offered $200,000 to anyone who would kill Mr. Nakoula.
Before serious violent protests initiated in Egypt on September 11, Embassy Cairo officials responded to growing local disgust with the film by releasing a statement that violation of “religious feelings” was outside of a reasonable interpretation of a universal value of freedom of expression. The Weekly Standard would in the coming day incorrectly imply — by using the term “meanwhile” to describe the timeline of the release of the embassy’s statement vis-a-vis the violent protests — that the statements were in response to what would be the actually eventual climbing of the embassy walls by an angry crowd and the burning of its flag. The same day Republican President Nominee Mitt Romney would attack the White House for the embassy’s statements.
An ABC/Washington Post poll released Saturday showed a 15-point dip in President Barack Obama’s credibility on international affairs among political independents compared to Mr. Romney, the likely additional consequence of an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya and a nearby safe house that left dead Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
Speaking with Politico on the Eastern Seaboard in the hours after the attack in Egypt, the White House would walk back Embassy Cairo’s statement, saying that it did not reflect the White House’s own view. But in the past week President Obama spoke before the U.N. General Assembly to the effect that:
“The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.”
Speaking during the same session, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi would articulate his view that a right to freedom of speech could not rightfully apply to an attack on a “religion or cult.”
Mr. Obama’s expression at the United Nations comes 25 years after the release of “Piss Christ,” a National Endowment for the Arts-sponored photograph of a crucifix submerged in artist Andres Serrano’s urine. Persecution of Christians, particularly Coptics such as Mr. Nakoula, is about as bad in Egypt as in any other country.
In mid-September, The New York Times’ Claire Cain Miller, after having spoken to Google representatives, wrote that the company’s decision to keep the video up in the United States was due to its content being “against the Islam religion but not Muslim people.” Even the title of trailer however seems to indict Muslims personally. Indeed the trailer attacks the character of Mohammed, albeit in crass tones, Islam’s founding figure and obviously a Muslim himself, for his having sought a nine-year-old wife, a widely acknowledged historical event.