A post by Maynard

I have qualms about writing this. To assert that a political prisoner has been jailed in America is a serious charge. And the man in question is not exactly a Boy Scout. Do I really want to champion him? But, dammit, this must be said. Tell me if I’ve gotten it wrong.

Obama’s prisoner is Mark Basseley Youssef, the man behind that “Innocence of Muslims” film. Here is the L.A. Times report (Tweeted earlier by Tammy).

‘Innocence of Muslims’ filmmaker gets a year in prison

A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced the filmmaker behind “Innocence of Muslims,” the anti-Islam film that sparked rioting across the globe, to a year behind bars after the man admitted to violating the terms of his release from an earlier conviction.

Mark Basseley Youssef admitted to four violations, including lying to his probation officer and using bogus names. In exchange, prosecutors dropped four other counts, including allegations that Youssef lied in saying that his role in the film’s production was limited to writing the script. Youssef was under a type of federal probation — known as supervised release — after being convicted in 2010 of bank and credit-card fraud, in which he was accused of causing $800,000 in losses…

Youssef is an immigrant (a Coptic Christian out of Egypt) and an embezzler. I have no sympathy for a man that comes to America and robs it. If he committed an $800,000 crime in 2010 and was subsequently convicted, why isn’t he still in jail? Why wasn’t he deported? There’s a background story here, and I haven’t followed up on it.

Youssef was living a restricted life. The probationary constraints placed upon him were presumably for the general purpose of assuring that his financial dealings were aboveboard.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Robert Dugdale objected, saying the man’s record of fraud and deception made the violations particularly serious.

“This is not a defendant that you want out there using multiple names,” he said, noting Youssef had a passport under one name and a driver’s license under another, and worked on the film under a third identity.

That sounds reasonable enough in general. But does it apply in this case? If Youssef’s violations did not involve deceit for financial gain, then he’s being locked up on a questionable technicality. It’s obvious that Youssef came under scrutiny as a direct result of his exercise of free expression. Did his actions actually constitute a criminal threat, or is this just a handy excuse to prosecute him?

Free speech is an American fundamental right. It’s understandable that someone might want to use a pseudonym when expressing the “wrong” opinion about the roots of Islam. Ask Salman Rushdie or Theo van Gogh about that. (You can’t ask these people; Rushdie is in hiding with a price on his head and van Gogh was murdered. The offended Islamists have been known to play rough.)

No, Youssef wasn’t an innocent lamb. But in a bureaucratic state, everyone is in violation of something. Anyone can be jailed or held on a technicality.

Let’s pause for a quick summary of what happened in Libya on 9/11. The American embassy in Benghazi was hit by an organized military attack, resulting in the murder of Ambassador Stevens and others, and the public desecration of the ambassador’s body. Obama’s people knew this immediately; they had video and direct communication with the embassy under siege. General Petreaus reported from the outset that this was an attack by an al Qaeda affiliate. And yet, Obama and Hillary and Rice went before the American people with a fantasy narrative about a spontaneous demonstration that got out of hand. The “demonstration” was, we were told, an angry protest against a video that nobody ever heard of.

Is there any possible innocent explanation for this deception? Over a month later, Hillary blamed the Administration’s false story on the “fog of war”. Indeed, “fog of war” is a genuine battlefield phenomenon. But in this case, there was the clear line of communication; video and voice with the diplomats under siege. Obama’s people weren’t the victims of this “fog of war”; they were the cause of it.

The motivation for the lie is obvious enough. Obama had proclaimed the “Arab Spring” to be a glorious thing, and his Middle Eastern doctrine was based upon that interpretation of events. He sent our money, our military, to facilitate the revolutions. That power has passed to al Qaeda affiliates who murder our people and drag their bodies through the streets; this reality contradicts Obama’s naive vision. Thus the blunder begets the lie. The American public must be deceived, lest they realize the catastrophic results of Obama’s mistakes.

Which brings us back to the political prisoner. This part you’ll remember. The condemnation of the “hateful video” by Rice and Hillary. Obama’s speech to the UN. That’s the new American response to the murder of our people. No longer do our leaders stand up for free expression. No, instead they express empathy for those that rampage and murder. The American president goes to the UN and proclaims, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” In the context of the situation, this statement implies an appalling moral equivalence. Murder is bad, sure, but under the circumstances it’s understandable. If we put our house in order, if we stopped our provocative acts, then people won’t kill us anymore.

Obama spoke of bringing those responsible for the massacre to justice. In Obama’s mind, perhaps jailing Youssef is his way of making good on that promise.

The Muslim Brotherhood agrees.

Egypt court sentences 8 to death over prophet film

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court convicted in absentia Wednesday seven Egyptian Coptic Christians and a Florida-based American pastor, sentencing them to death on charges linked to an anti-Islam film that had sparked riots in parts of the Muslim world.

The case was seen as largely symbolic because the defendants, most of whom live in the United States, are all outside Egypt and are thus unlikely to ever face the sentence. The charges were brought in September during a wave of public outrage in Egypt over the amateur film, which was produced by an Egyptian-American Copt.

The low-budget “Innocence of Muslims,” parts of which were made available online, portrays the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, womanizer and buffoon.

Egypt’s official news agency said the court found the defendants guilty of harming national unity, insulting and publicly attacking Islam and spreading false information – charges that carry the death sentence.

I guess we should give Obama credit for supporting the moderate Muslims, in that America has merely imprisoned Youssef but not executed him.

It’s also worth remembering that Obama asked Google to take down the video in question.

White House ‘Innocence Of Muslims’ Request Denied: Google Will Not Remove Film From YouTube

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Google Inc rejected a request by the White House on Friday to reconsider its decision to keep online a controversial YouTube movie clip that has ignited anti-American protests in the Middle East…

We should be grateful that Google stands up for the fundamental American value and human right of free speech, even as the American leaders abandon it.

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12 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. dennisl59 says:

    Barack Hussein Obama, The Coward of Benghazi, Prisoner of War:

    Sgt Bowe Bergdahl, US Army, was captured in Afghanistan on 30 June 2009 by members of the Haqqani network, a Taliban allied insurgent group. He is currently being held as a prisoner of war. Now for 3 yrs, 4 mo & 3 weeks…

    posted 11/29 1050pm Texas[http://supportbowe.org/]Time

  2. Cernunnos81 says:

    I have to agree with you Maynard. If it looks, walks, quacks and swims like a duck, its a duck. If it Lies, Redistributes, Increases the Government’s Power and Pushes to Curb the Constitution and Bill of Rights like a Commie, its a commie. Statists and dictators imprison those who speak out against their views. Statists and dictators use scapegoats to draw attention away from their actions.

    With the statements made by Obama against those who insult Islam and with his blatant failure to act on the Benghazi attack he had to find some way to make people look the other way. Unfortunately I think he has found the wrong one.

    Is Mr. Youssef guilty of violating the terms of his probation/parole? Most definitely. Would he have ever faced any issue if this farce had not been brought forward as the cause of the attack in Lybia and riots in Egypt? No.

    The attack in Lybia was planned to kidnap the Ambassador and hold him to force the release of the blind sheik. The riots in Egypt were planned to show the solidarity of the Muslim Brotherhood with Osama bin Laden, even in death. Neither had a damned thing to do with a video that had been out for months and had almost no hits prior to the government bringing it to the attention of the mass media.

    Mr. Youssef is not in prison for violating his parole. He is in prison for insulting Islam and because Obama needed a scapegoat that he could publicly show the people of the US, so that they wouldn’t look more closely at Benghazi.

    • Piratin says:

      I disagree. This arrest/imprisonment was for the world, especially the muslim world and the “uppity” US Islam-critics.

      Both Obama and Hillary feel it necessary to show the Ummah, the UN, the Muslim Brotherhood and all of their (muslim bro) affiliates that the US will adhere to shariah. All US critics of shariah/Islam should be shaking in their boots.

      • Maynard says:

        When people in the Islamic world heard Obama’s UN speech and saw the picture at the top of this post, it conveyed to them the message that the American government could, when it cared to, clamp down on the “blasphemy” that is perpetrated by American citizens. Isn’t that the logical conclusion to be drawn? Our assertions that Americans have free speech and are not controlled by the government look like contrived excuses in light of what Obama’s government has shown it can do to control us. And if the government goes easy on blasphemers in the future, the key to motivating it is to murder more of our people.

        • Piratin says:

          Hmm…I guess I should have been more clear. I agree that the videomaker is in prison for insulting Islam. I disagree about the distraction/scapegoat part. Too few Americans could approve of “nabbing a filmmaker” that did work on a high school level. Plus we all understand freedom of speech…

          Or so I thought…

          • Cernunnos81 says:

            The reason I say scapegoat is because the whole situation (the pointing to the video as the causes of both the attack on Benghazi and the assault on the embassy in Egypt) was to draw questions away from what actually happened. Yes, once the video was pointed to it became a sore point to the Muslims and the poor bastard was put in jail for his part in the creation of the video. But the whole start of the situation was as a scapegoat to the American people to distract from the situations where the Muslim Brotherhood has taken over in places Obama has “helped”.

  3. Shifra says:

    Very interesting read, Maynard. And excellent points. And I must say, I had been suffering from “Political Prisoner Envy: — You know, the Left always has someone to scream about. (e.g. FREE MUMIA ABU JAMAL !!!) So now we Conservatives have our own “cause celebre” FREE YOUSSEF !!!

  4. LJZumpano says:

    I remember when JFK was shot. I remember the talk that even though he was the POTUS, even though he was more than just a man, but instead a symbol of America, the guy who shot him would be tried for the crime of murder, not the political crime of assassination. The United States, unlike other “democracies” does not have system for the incarceration of political prisoners. We do not as a general rule consider thought and word to be criminal, only action. The twists and turns which forced the courts to say shouting fire in a crowded theatre wasn’t free speech,and attempts over the centuries to stifle political thought not withstanding, it has always been a distinction which separates us from the rest of the world. It is something we mostly take for granted, and only when we see a case such as the one mentioned by Maynard do we begin to contemplate how powerful the rights of freedom of conscience and thought really are.

  5. ShArKy666 says:

    of COURSE this is true!. it’s all part of the execution of THE PROJECT of the muslim brotherhood which obastard is executing perfectly. in that project outline, one of the goals was to silence our first amendment rights by sending signals to anyone who would criticize islam. well here it is! the youtube video was used as the scapegoat SO THAT obastard could blame it on someone who just exercised their first amendment, and then silence them to send a message. it’s all part of the world wide calafate.

  6. Piratin says:

    The irony:

    “This is not a defendant that you want out there using multiple names,” he said…

    Have we EVER seen the date or legal papers proving that Obama legally changed his name from Soetoro to Obama? When? Where?

    Maynard, I’m glad you’re calling attention to this, but I don’t think Obama did anything for moderate muslims. He’s hurting them. Moderate Muslims need free speech protected as much as anyone. If reform is to ever happen in Islam it must be able to be discussed. Imprisoning critics of the “prophet” doesn’t allow for that. But it does allow for the bullies to rule!

  7. RuBegonia says:

    Maynard. As always, thanks for a slice with Occam’s Razor.

  8. Alain41 says:

    Speaking of Political Prisoners, here is what the Senate Democrats are now considering.

    “…A bill passed by the Senate intelligence committee would ban anybody but the top officials and public-relations staff at intelligence agencies from speaking to the media. The proposal, intended to crack down on classified leaks, would significantly set back freedom of the press, thwart whistle-blowers and squelch the airing of dissenting views on intelligence issues. This is part of a broader effort to make it a crime for national security officials to talk to reporters….”


    Credit to Dana Milbank for writing this.

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