SPOILER ALERT: Yes, they did.
The email described a deteriorating situation in Libya, with snipers shooting people in the streets as rebels tried to unseat President Muammar el-Qaddafi and worried American diplomats in the midst of a “phased checkout” from Benghazi. It arrived in the private email account of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, one Sunday morning in April 2011, with unforeseen consequences.
That email, which included an update from the Africa Command of the Department of Defense detailing Libyan military movements, is part of the evidence that law enforcement officials say the F.B.I. is now examining as it tries to determine whether aides to Mrs. Clinton mishandled delicate national security information when they communicated with their boss.
The Libyan dispatch, written by an aide to Mrs. Clinton and then forwarded to her by Huma Abedin, one of her top advisers, should have been considered classified, according to intelligence officials. And, they say, other emails to Mrs. Clinton they have found, including one addressing North Korea’s nuclear weapons system and a third discussing United States drone strikes in Pakistan, should have been marked “Top Secret.”
Recall Hillary declaring in August, “I have said repeatedly that I did not send nor receive classified material, and I’m very confident that when this entire process plays out that will be understood by everyone. It will prove what I am saying. It is not possible for people to look back now, some years in the past and draw different conclusions than the ones that were at work at the time.”
We Give, the Castro Regime Takes
The Washington Post notices that the Obama administration’s policy — and for that matter, the approach of Pope Francis — is generating the opposite of what we wanted to see:
The Vatican’s greatest success has been the adoption of its strategy by the Obama administration, which has also restored relations with the Castros while excluding the political opposition. Here, too, there have been disappointing results. U.S. exports to Cuba, controlled by Havana, have declined this year, while arrests of opponents have increased, along with refugees. Many Cubans are trying to reach the United States ahead of what they fear will be a move by the Obama administration to placate the regime with a tightening of asylum rules.
Pope Francis may believe that merely by touring the country he will inspire Cubans to become more active and press the regime for change. But two previous papal visits, in 1998 and 2012, did not have that effect. By now it is clear that the Castros won’t be moved by quiet diplomacy or indirect hints. A direct campaign of words and acts, like that Pope Francis is planning for the United States, would surely have an impact. But then, it takes more fortitude to challenge a dictatorship than a democracy.
Between this, our outreach to Iran, the collective shrug over the bloodshed in Syria, the shrug about the chaos in Libya, the refugee crisis arriving at Europe’s door, and the grandiose welcome given to China’s president this week . . . one of the “fundamental transformations” Obama completed was getting America to simply not care about human rights anymore.
However Bad You Think It Is in Mexico, It’s Actually Worse
At what point does Mexico reach a “failed state” status? Because this portrait from Michael E. Miller of the Washington Post makes our neighbor to the south look like a nightmarish realm of sudden violent, unexplained murders, spiraling into chaos:
Imagine 43 American students suddenly vanishing with hardly a trace. Then add half a dozen dead bodies, more than 100 arrests, mass graves, allegations of torture, political scandals, a protest movement not seen since the 1960s and a prison escape by one of the world’s most notorious criminals.
That is what Mexico has gone through, just in the past year. And that’s not even counting thousands of deaths related to the drug trade.
The year-long nightmare began with a bizarre and bloody night in Iguala, a city in the southwestern Mexican state of Guerrero. On Sept. 26, 2014, roughly 100 students from a teacher’s college in the tiny, poor town of Ayotzinapa commandeered a bus and drove it to Iguala. The plan was to commandeer several more buses — a common practice by student groups in Mexico — to raise money and vehicles for an Oct. 2 trip to the capital.
Once in Iguala, however, all hell broke loose. The students had commandeered a total of five buses, but their vehicles were now under attack from uniformed officials. First, it was tear gas. Then bullets. Then they began dragging the students out of the buses, throwing them into trucks and driving off.
By the time the strange siege ended, six people were dead on the street, including three students and three bystanders. One student was found with his face peeled off. Scores more were alive but injured, some of them shot.
Most terrifying of all, almost half the students were simply gone.
Wait, wait, wait. Go back to the “face peeled off.” That doesn’t sound like a normal kind of violence in a police action or riot or crackdown.
On Nov. 4, nearly six weeks after the students’ disappearance, officials apprehended the mayor and his wife. Then, in an hour-long press conference three days later, Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam laid out the government’s version of events. Worried that the students and their hijacked buses were going to interrupt his wife’s political event, Iguala Mayor José Luis Abarca allegedly ordered that local police get rid of them “by any means,” Karam claimed. Cops shot at the buses, killing six people, and then turned the wounded, terrified students over to a local drug gang, Guerreros Unidos.
The gang then took the 43 students to a trash dump and executed them, burning their remains in a giant funeral pyre and dumping their ashes into a river, Karam claimed, citing alleged testimony from several arrested members of Guerreros Unidos.
Here’s maybe the worst detail of all:
Searches around Guerrero state unearthed 60 mass graves containing 129 bodies — but none of them belonged to the students. The investigation was unearthing evidence, but all it showed was that Peña Nieto’s campaign promises of a safer, more prosperous Mexico were unfulfilled.
“Is that the mass grave we’re looking for?”
“No, no, it’s a different one.”
The Era of the ‘Rage Profiteers’
From Ryan Holiday, on our outrage culture, largely driven by social media and professional media:
It’s important to realize that today, we have a media system paid by the pageview and thus motivated with very real financial incentives to find things to be offended about — because offense and outrage are high-valence traffic triggers. We have another industry of people — some call them Social Justice Warriors — who, despite their sincerity of belief, have also managed to build huge platforms by inventing issues and conflicts which they then ride to prominence and influence. One might call both of these types Rage Profiteers. They get us riled up, they appeal to our notions of fairness and empathy — who likes to see someone else’s feelings hurt? — without any regard for what the consequences are.
Of course, the real and fair solution is much less politically correct but effective. It’s to stop trying to protect people’s feelings. Your feelings are your problem, not mine—and vice versa.
Real empowerment and respect is to see our fellow citizens — victims and privileged, religious and agnostic, conservative and liberal — as adults. Human beings are not automatons — ruled by drives and triggers they cannot control. On the contrary, we have the ability to decide not to be offended. We have the ability to discern intent. We have the ability to separate someone else’s actions or provocation or ignorance from our own. This is the great evolution of consciousness — it’s what separates us from the animals.
ADDENDA: The Jake Brewer Memorial Education Fund now has more than $385,000 as of this writing. There is something spectacularly beautiful and generous in the way so many people have responded to this tragedy. Mary Katharine Ham and their children undoubtedly have a difficult road ahead, but those children’s financial future is now much more secure.
This week’s pop-culture podcast looks at Pope Francis as a cultural figure and an unexpected statement from the Dali Lama; what’s gone wrong with ABC’s Castle television series; the new movie Black Mass and gangster movies and how one of the Bulger family’s toughest foes was . . . Mitt Romney; and finally, how South Park keeps it fresh after all these years.
Finally, this is why it helps to know a little about how the federal government works:
Trump won’t have much luck getting Lowry to pay up for his anatomical comment, as the Federal Communications Commission only polices indecent programming on terrestrial radio and broadcast television — not cable television, where viewers have greater control over their programming options.