“If you blow a whistle against a Bush or Reagan, you become a national hero on TV.  If you blow it against Obama, you get into a cone of silence except here and in other extremely select media outlets.”

Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”




April 30, 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Special Ops Benghazi Whistleblower Claims Obama Could Have Intervened

BAIER:  The administration has insisted from the beginning there was no help available for the Americans under assault in Libya.  None that could arrive in time to change the outcome in Benghazi.  Tonight is the first of three exclusive reports charging that claim is just not true.  Because the special operator in this piece is fearful of reprisal, we have agreed to conceal his identity. 

Correspondent Adam Housley has the story.


                (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

                HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE:  Many Americans are asking indeed, I asked myself.  How could this happen?

                ADAM HOUSLEY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  In a seven months since the Benghazi attacks on 9/11, information from the administration has been incomplete at best.  Details and timelines provided by the state department, the U.S. military and the CIA had been contradictory and failed to answer many questions.  In December, a state department review concluded


                ADM. MIKE MULLEN (RET), FMR JOINT CHIEF CHMN:  There simply was not enough time for U.S. military forces to have made a difference.  Having said that, it is not reasonable nor feasible to tether U.S. forces at the ready to respond to protect every high risk post in the world.

                HOUSLEY:  But members of the military who are monitoring events in Benghazi disagree.  Only a few dozen people in the world know what happened that night and Fox News spoke exclusively with a special operator who watched the events unfold and has debriefed those who are part of the response.

                UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I know for a fact that C-110, the (INAUDIBLE) was doing a training exercise in the region of Northern Africa but in Europe.
And they had the ability to react and respond.


                HOUSLEY:  The C-110 is a commanders and extremist force.  In Layman’s terms, a 40 men (ph) special operations force capable of rapid response and deployment, specifically, trained for incidents like the attack in Benghazi.  That night, they were training in Croatia just three and a half hours away.

                UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We had the ability to load out, get on birds, and fly there at a minimum stage.  C-110 had the ability to be there, in my opinion, in four to six hours from their European theater to react.

                HOUSLEY:  They would have been there before the second attack.

                UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They would have been there before the second attack.  They would have been there at a minimum to provide a quick reaction force that could facilitate their exfill out of the problem situation.  Nobody knew how it was going to develop.  And you hear a whole bunch of people and a whole bunch of advisors say hey, we wouldn’t have sent them there because, you know, the security was unknown situation.

                HOUSLEY:  No one knew that?

                UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If it’s an unknown situation, at a minimum, you send forces there to facilitate the exfill or medical injuries.  We could have sent a C-130 to Benghazi to provide medical evacuation for the injured.

Shadow Dustoff

                HOUSLEY:  Our source says many connected to Benghazi feel threatened and are afraid to talk.  So far, confidential sources have fed some information, but nobody has come forward publicly on camera until now.

                UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The problem is, you know, you got guys, in my position you got guys in special operations community who are — still active and still involved.  And they would be decapitated if they came forward with information that could affect high level commanders.

                HOUSLEY:  Despite the concern, our confidential source says the community feels there was a betrayal all the way to the top.  And that people on the ground in Benghazi were left to fend for themselves.

                UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don’t blame them for not coming forward, you know?  It’s something that’s a risky, especially in a profession to say anything about anything in the realm of politics or that deals with policy.

                HOUSLEY:  Our source provides insight into how the U.S. government and military reacted from the moment the attack began through the immediate hours after Ambassador Chris Stevens went missing, what they were told to do and what not to do as Stevens, diplomatic officer, Sean Smith, and former special operations members, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed.

                UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There’s a lot of responsibility, a lot of onus that needs to be taken up and accounted for.


                HOUSLEY:  The attack began about 9:30 p.m. on September 11th, 2012 at a diplomatic compound in Benghazi and culminated roughly seven hours later at a second location, a CIA annex about one mile away.

                While the official responses from Washington have been that the assets could not have made it to Benghazi in time to stop the second attack that killed Woods and Dohety, our source says otherwise and insists there were at least two elite military units that could have made it in time, including the one training in Croatia.


                So, besides those guys who went in on their own, we had two more assets that could have been there.

                UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Two more assets that could have been on the ground.  It’s frustrating.  It’s upsetting especially being in the community.  The hardest thing to deal with in any kind of, you know, dangerous scenario or gun fight, is, you know, we always look to each other to help each other and that’s how we get through situations.  It’s not about the assets overhead.  It’s about the guys on the ground.


                HOUSLEY:  He also says that as the attack began, there were at least
15 special forces and highly skilled state department security staff available in the capital Tripoli who were not dispatched, even though they were trained as a quick response force.  Meantime, a group of American reinforcements also in Tripoli, which included the CIA’s global response agent, Glen Doherty, and about seven others took matters into their own hands.

                A little known fact which also contradicts the version of events in the state department report.  The team commandeered a small jet and flew to Benghazi to help try and secure the CIA annex still under fire.  Doherty would eventually be killed on the roof along with his friend, Tyrone Woods.
And our source say, these men deserve the highest medal of honor for their actions.


                UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If it wasn’t for that decision, I think we’d be talking completely different about this entire situation.  I think you would be looking at either 20 plus hostages loose captured by AQ or you’d be looking at a lot of dead Americans dead in Benghazi.

                (END VIDEOTAPE)

                HOUSLEY (on-camera):  We’ve heard some of these same details from a number of our other sources who have not yet come on camera, also some of our British sources on the ground that night, Bret.  Tomorrow, more of our exclusive interview including the hunt for those responsible or the hunt that’s lack thereof — Bret.

                BAIER:  Interesting story.  Adam, thank you.  We’ll look for part two tomorrow.


Obama administration officials threatened whistle-blowers on Benghazi, lawyer says

By James Rosen Published April 29, 2013 |

At least four career officials at the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency have retained lawyers or are in the process of doing so, as they prepare to provide sensitive information about the Benghazi attacks to Congress, Fox News has learned.

Victoria Toensing, a former Justice Department official and Republican counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, is now representing one of the State Department employees. She told Fox News her client and some of the others, who consider themselves whistle-blowers, have been threatened by unnamed Obama administration officials.


“I’m not talking generally, I’m talking specifically about Benghazi – that people have been threatened,” Toensing said in an interview Monday. “And not just the State Department. People have been threatened at the CIA.”

Toensing declined to name her client. She also refused to say whether the individual was on the ground in Benghazi on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, when terrorist attacks on two U.S. installations in the Libyan city killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.

However, Toensing disclosed that her client has pertinent information on all three time periods investigators consider relevant to the attacks: the months that led up to the attack, when pleas by the ambassador and his staff for enhanced security in Benghazi were mostly rejected by senior officers at the State Department; the eight-hour time frame in which the attacks unfolded, and the eight-day period that followed the attacks, when Obama administration officials incorrectly described them as the result of a spontaneous protest over a video.


“It’s frightening, and they’re doing some very despicable threats to people,” she said. “Not ‘we’re going to kill you,’ or not ‘we’re going to prosecute you tomorrow,’ but they’re taking career people and making them well aware that their careers will be over [if they cooperate with congressional investigators].”

Federal law provides explicit protections for federal government employees who are identified as “whistle-blowers.” The laws aim to ensure these individuals will not face repercussions from their superiors, or from other quarters, in retaliation for their provision of information about corruption or other forms of wrongdoing to Congress, or to an agency’s inspector-general.

Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican from California who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday to complain that the department has not provided a process by which attorneys like Toensing can receive the security clearances necessary for them to review classified documents and other key evidence.

“It is unavoidable that Department employees identifying themselves as witnesses in the Committee’s investigation will apply for a security clearance to allow their personal attorneys to handle sensitive or classified material,” Issa wrote. “The Department’s unwillingness to make the process for clearing an attorney more transparent appears to be an effort to interfere with the rights of employees to furnish information to Congress.”

The Obama administration maintains that it has been more than forthcoming on Benghazi and that it is time for the State Department to move on. At a recent hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Kerry noted that administration officials have testified at eight hearings on Benghazi, provided 20 briefings on the subject and turned over to Congress some 25,000 documents related to the killings.

“So if you have additional questions or you think there’s some document that somehow you need, I’ll work with you to try to get it and see if we can provide that to you,” Kerry told committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., on April 17. But Kerry added: “I do not want to spend the next year coming up here talking about Benghazi.”

Asked about Issa’s complaints about attorneys not receiving security clearances, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell on Monday indicated that – far from threatening anyone – the administration hasn’t been presented with any such cases. “I’m not aware of private counsel seeking security clearances or — or anything to that regard,” Ventrell told reporters. “I’m not aware of whistle-blowers one way or another.”


Ventrell cited the work of the FBI – whose probe of the attacks continues almost eight months later and without any known instances of perpetrators being brought to justice – and the Accountability Review Board. The board was an internal State Department review panel led by former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas Pickering and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen. An unclassified version of the board’s final report that was released to the public contained no conclusions that suggested administration officials had willfully endangered their colleagues in Benghazi or had misled the public or Congress.

“And that should be enough,” Ventrell said at Monday’s press briefing. “Congress has its own prerogatives, but we’ve had a very thorough, independent investigation, which we completed and [which was] transparent and shared. And there are many folks who are, in a political manner, trying to sort of use this for their own political means, or ends.”




Apparently, insanity must run in the family.

Published on April 25, 2013 MAKHACHKALA, Russia — The mother of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects insisted Thursday that her sons are not responsible for the attack and said she did not see any aggression in the older brother, even when the FBI questioned him two years ago.  Speaking to reporters in Zubeidat Tsamaeya also said the elder son, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, came to Russia for six months last year to attend a family wedding, visit relatives and later renew his Kyrgyzstan passport.

“America took my kids away from me,” she said. “I’m sure my kids were not involved in anything.”

U.S. investigators have said they want to know more about why Tamerlan Tsarnaev was in Russia. When he returned to the United States in July, he began posting radical Islamic videos to his YouTube account.

Russia twice asked the United States for more information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011, investigators say, but the FBI found no sign of terrorist activity, and Russia failed to provide more information about why they were concerned about him.

In her press conference, the mother said that the younger and surviving brother, Dzhokhar, has not been questioned by investigators. She said that the brothers have not been identified as suspects by the U.S. authorities, only by reporters.

Both assertions have been directly contradicted by investigators. Tsarnaeva also said that the elder son, who investigators say was killed after a shootout with police early Friday, was alive longer than official accounts suggest.

“I wanted to scream to the whole world,” she said. “Why did they have to kill him? Why? They got him alive.”

Tsarnaeva, a naturalized American citizen, said that she is considering renouncing her citizenship. She evaded a question about traveling to the United States. Her husband, Anzor Tsarnaev, said he planned to leave later Thursday but did not have a ticket.

The family came to the United States on an asylum petition a decade ago, and the parents have since returned to Russia. The mother suggested Thursday she regrets… to the United States.

“Why did I even go there? Why?” she said, crying. “I thought America was going to like protect us, our kids. It’s going to be safe for any reason. But it happened the opposite.”

Martin, Lingzi, Krystle and Sean


Martin Richard, Sean Collier, Krystle Campbell and Lingzi Lu (Clockwise from top)

Boston Marathon Help: Funds Set Up for Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu, Krystle Campbell,

Other Victims And Survivors (UPDATE)

The Huffington Post | By Eleanor Goldberg Posted: 04/15/2013 5:35 pm EDT  |  Updated: 04/22/2013 12:18 pm EDT

Updated 4/19/2013 at 5:00 p.m. EST

In the days since the devastating Boston attacks, donors have given millions of dollars to help the grieving families and the victims suffering from critical injuries.

The explosions at the Boston Marathon on Monday claimed three lives and injured 176 people, many of whom are facing amputations and other seriously life-altering injuries. As the survivors begin to face their “new normal” and families begin grieving for the loved ones they lost, relief organizations and grassroots campaigns are collecting donations to make sure that they have the funds they need move forward.

Find out how you can get involved below.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates on how to help.

Boston Marathon Explosions


Individual Funds

  • While waiting for their dad to cross the finish line, Martin Richard, 8, was killed in the blast and his younger sister, whose name has not been released, had her leg amputated in the aftermath. Their mother, Denise, was also hospitalized with serious injuries. To help the familiy get through this devastating period, friends and family have established the Richard Family Fund. Find out how you can support the Richards here.

The LU Lingzi Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established at Boston University in memory of the 23-year-old graduate student who was one of three people killed in the Boston Marathon bomb attacks. Find out how you can get involved here.

Boston Marathon Victims.JPEG-028ca

  • Brothers Paul and JP Norden each lost their right legs following the Boston attacks and Paul’s girlfriend, Jacqui Webb, has already undergone two surgeries for shrapnel damage to her legs. To help the three victims pay for their overwhelming medical bills, friends and family have established the Jacqui, Paul and JP Recovery Fund. Find out how you can get involved here.
  • In lieu of flowers, the family of Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old woman from Medford, Mass., who was killed in the explosions, has asked supporters to make donations to the Krystle M. Campbell Memorial Fund. Contributions can be sent to 25 Park St. Medford, MA 02155


  • Jeff Bauman, a spectator who lost both legs in the aftermath of the blasts, will likely face hefty medical bills as he begins to recover. To help offset the costs, friends and family have launched the Bucks For Bauman fundraiser. Find out how you can get involved here.
    Bauman’s family is also asking people to send letters of support to Jeff. Mail can be sent to: Jeff Bauman C/O Jen Joyce 117 Tyngsboro Rd. Westford, MA 01886 or Jeff Bauman C/O Jen Joyce P.O. Box 261 Chelmsford, MA 01824. Learn more about Jeff’s progress on his Facebook support page.
  • Friends and family of Patrick and Jessica Downes, newlyweds who each had a leg amputated after the blasts, are raising money for the couple’s medical bills. Find out how you can get involved with Help for Patrick and Jess here.


General Funds



















MSNBC anchor, Melissa Harris-Perry in her own words for a “Lean Forward” campaign ad.  You cannot make this stuff up, cats and kittens… Just out of their blooming minds, they is!  But it is EXTRA FAB that Media Matters was able to post an EXTRA FAB and MOST ACCURATE “interpretation”of what Rush Limbaugh said concerning this ad. Med Mat should serve as UN interpreters, they are THAT GOOD.   ss = s2 = stylish satirist

S. A. Grigoryev - Admission to the Young Communist League

How The Right Is Distorting Melissa Harris-Perry’s “Lean Forward” Ad

Blog ››› April 8, 2013 6:36 PM EDT ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

Rush Limbaugh distorted an MSNBC promotional ad to accuse Melissa Harris-Perry of advocating for forced child labor in service of the collective good. In reality, Perry’s comments were simply a call for society to rethink the way it values children in order to “start making better investments” in things like public education.

As part of its “Lean Forward” campaign, MSNBC is airing an ad with Perry calling on America to think about raising children as a community effort. Conservatives have latched on to the ad to criticize Perry and her call for renewed investment in education.


Limbaugh, for example, said on his April 8 radio show that the Perry was pursuing a communistic worldview that would lead to forced child labor:

LIMBAUGH: We haven’t had a very collective notion of “these are our children.” So we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families. We need to recognize that kids belong to whole communities, and not ’til then will we start spending the right amount of money on it. So how does this manifest itself?

You need your yard mowed, what do you do? You go knock on the door down the street and say, “Your kid that you don’t own, I do today for the next hour. Your kid’s gonna mow my yard, and then after that my trash needs taking out, and after that I need somebody to go to the grocery store for me. My kid’s tied up, so I’m claiming your kid.” How does this work? What is the practical application? What she is saying, Melissa Harris-Perry, what she is saying here is as old as communist genocide. But, the fact that it is said in America on a cable news channel, and is considered fairly benign is what has changed.  What’s changed is that people believe this. This isn’t that big a deal anymore. That’s what’s changed, folks.


But that’s a complete distortion of Perry’s message. In the ad, Perry called on communities to think about children as the responsibility of all. She was not arguing that families should be replaced or that children should be a commodity to be shared throughout the community. The ad actually concludes with Perry saying:

PERRY: Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s, then we start making better investments.


SOS Benghazi


This is WHY it matters Madame Secretary…

Special Operations Speaks

End the Benghazi Cover-up

Months after the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, critical questions still remain unanswered:

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Virginia) has introduced a congressional resolution, H. Res. 36, calling for the establishment of a special Congressional committee to investigate the Benghazi attack and the Obama administration’s handling of it in the weeks that followed. It’s an opportunity for a comprehensive investigation that connects all the dots, and holds people accountable.

Over sixty Members of Congress have co-sponsored H. Res. 36. If your representative is not one of them, please take a moment to encourage him/her to do so.

Read the SOS Open Letter to Congress:

To:  Members of The U.S. House of Representatives

Subject: The Benghazi attacks on 9/11/ 2012

The undersigned are a representative group of some 700 retired Military Special Operations professionals who spent the majority of their careers preparing for and executing myriad operations to rescue or recover detained or threatened fellow Americans. In fact, many of us participated in both the Vietnam era POW rescue effort, The Son Tay Raid, as well as Operation Eagle Claw, the failed rescue attempt in April of 1980 in Iran, so we have been at this for many years and have a deep passion for seeking the truth about what happened during the national tragedy in Benghazi.

The purpose of this letter is to encourage all members of the US House of Representatives to support H.Res. 36, which will create a House Select Committee on the Terrorist Attack in Benghazi. It is essential that a full accounting of the events of September 11, 2012, be provided and that the American public be fully informed regarding this egregious terrorist attack on US diplomatic personnel and facilities. We owe that truth to the American people and the families of the fallen.

wplbe121101It appears that many of the facts and details surrounding the terrorist attack which resulted in four American deaths and an undetermined number of American casualties have not yet been ascertained by previous hearings and inquiries. Additional information is now slowly surfacing in the media, which makes a comprehensive bipartisan inquiry an imperative. Many questions have not been answered thus far. The House Select Committee should address, at a minimum, the following questions:

1. Why was there no military response to the events in Benghazi?

a. Were military assets in the region available? If not, why not?

b. If so, were they alerted?

c. Were assets deployed to any location in preparation for a rescue or recovery attempt?

d. Was military assistance requested by the Department of State? If so, what type?

e. Were any US Army/Naval/USMC assets available to support the US diplomats in Benghazi during the attack?

f. What, if any, recommendations for military action were made by DOD and the US Africa Command?

2. What, if any, non-military assistance was provided during the attack?

3. How many US personnel were injured in Benghazi?

4. Why have the survivors of the attack not been questioned?

5. Where are the survivors?

6. Who was in the White House Situation Room (WHSR) during the entire 8-hour period of the attacks, and was a senior US military officer present?

7. Where were Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey during the crisis, and what inputs and recommendations did they make?

8. Where were Tom Donilon, the National Security Advisor, Denis McDonough, his deputy, Valerie Jarrett and John Brennan during the attacks, and what (if any) recommendations or decisions did any of them make?

9. Why were F-16 fighter aircraft based in Aviano, Italy (less than two hours away) never considered a viable option for disruption (if not dispersal) of the attackers until “boots on the ground” (troop support–General Dempsey’s words) arrived?

10. Were any strike aircraft (such as an AC-130 gunship) in the area or possibly overhead that would cause former SEAL Tyrone Woods to laser-designate his attacker’s position and call for gunship fire support, thereby revealing his own location that led to his death?

11. Who gave the order to “STAND DOWN” that was heard repeatedly during the attacks?

12. What threat warnings existed before the attack, and what were the DOD and DOS responses to those warnings? What data (which will reveal exact timelines and command decisions) is contained within the various SITREPS, records, logs, videos and recordings maintained by the myriad of DOD, Intelligence Community and State Department Command Centers that were monitoring the events in Benghazi as they unfolded?

13. Why did the Commander-in Chief and Secretary of State never once check in during the night to find out the status of the crisis situation in Benghazi?

14. What was the nature of Ambassador Stevens’ business in Benghazi at the time of the attack?

15. What guidance has been provided to survivors and family members since the time of the attack, and who issued that guidance?

16. Why are so many agencies now requiring their personnel that were involved in or have access to information regarding the events that took place in Benghazi sign Non-Disclosure Agreements?

This was the most severe attack on American diplomatic facilities and personnel since the attacks on the US Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998.  Thus far, it appears that there has been no serious effort to determine critical details of this attack. This is inexcusable and demands immediate attention by the Congress. Congress must show some leadership and provide answers to the public as to what actually occurred in Benghazi. Americans have a right to demand a full accounting on this issue.

A longstanding American ethos was breached during the terrorist attack in Benghazi. America failed to provide adequate security to personnel deployed into harm’s way and then failed to respond when they were viciously attacked. Clearly, this is unacceptable and requires accountability. America has always held to the notion that no American will be left behind and that every effort will be made to respond when US personnel are threatened. Given our backgrounds, we are concerned that this sends a very negative message to future military and diplomatic personnel who may be deployed into dangerous environments.  That message is that they will be left to their own devices when attacked.  That is an unacceptable message.

The House Select Committee should focus on getting a detailed account of the events in Benghazi as soon as possible. H. Res. 36 will provide a structure for the conduct of a thorough inquiry of Benghazi and should be convened immediately.

We ask that you fulfill your responsibilities to the American people and take appropriate action regarding Benghazi. With over sixty members of the US House of Representatives calling for this Select Committee already, it seems that the time is right to take appropriate action on Benghazi.


Lt Gen Leroy J. Manor, USAF (Ret)
Commanding General, Son Tay POW Raid, et al.


Che and Jay

Jay-Z and Beyonce visiting Cuba, April 2013. A wee bit too Eva Peron-ish for my taste.

Jay-Z and Beyonce visiting Cuba, April 2013. A wee bit too Eva Peron-ish for my taste.

Florida lawmakers cry foul after Jay-Z, Beyonce travel to Cuba for anniversary

Published April 08, 2013 | Associated Press

Beyonce’s and Jay-Z’s trip to Cuba has angered two Cuban-American politicians who are demanding information on whether the couple’s visit to the communist island was licensed.

U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida have written to the U.S. Department of Treasury expressing concern about the trip. In the letter, both said they represent a community that has been “deeply and personally harmed by the Castro regime’s atrocities.”

“The restrictions on tourism travel are commonsense measures meant to prevent U.S. dollars from supporting a murderous regime that opposes U.S. security interests at every turn and which ruthlessly suppresses the most basic liberties of speech, assembly and belief,” the GOP lawmakers wrote.

Beyonce Knowles,  Jay-Z

April 4, 2013: Singer Beyonce and her husband, rapper Jay-Z,
are surrounded by body guards as they tour Old Havana, Cuba. (AP)

John Sullivan, a Treasury spokesman in Washington, said he could not comment on specific licenses. He said the agency was working on a response to the letter from Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart.

Beyonce and Jay-Z marked their fifth wedding anniversary in Havana last week. The state-run website CubaSi called it a tourist trip. The artists declined to speak with reporters.

Read more at:

I guess celebrity twits don’t care about government purges (i.e., genocide), torture, censorship and imprisonment for homosexuality, to mention a few of the atrocities of the Cuban regime.

I cannot imagine a more romantic place to celebrate a wedding anniversary than on an island where the law of the land restricts movement, association and expression.

Let’s cuddle up in your Che shirt, darling, while I sing you a Che inspired love ballad as we toast Cuba’s 54th year of oppression.  Isn’t it romantic? Bat, bat, bat go the eyelashes and insert heavy sighs all around…

Read on about the real Che Guevara in a piece from Slate by Paul Berman

ss = s2 = stylish satirist

fifties a34 sub

The Cult of Che Don’t applaud The Motorcycle Diaries.

By Paul Berman|Posted Friday, Sept. 24, 2004, at 7:33 AM

The cult of Ernesto Che Guevara is an episode in the moral callousness of our time. Che was a totalitarian. He achieved nothing but disaster. Many of the early leaders of the Cuban Revolution favored a democratic or democratic-socialist direction for the new Cuba. But Che was a mainstay of the hardline pro-Soviet faction, and his faction won. Che presided over the Cuban Revolution’s first firing squads. He founded Cuba’s “labor camp” system—the system that was eventually employed to incarcerate gays, dissidents, and AIDS victims. To get himself killed, and to get a lot of other people killed, was central to Che’s imagination. In the famous essay in which he issued his ringing call for “two, three, many Vietnams,” he also spoke about martyrdom and managed to compose a number of chilling phrases: “Hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine. This is what our soldiers must become …”— and so on. He was killed in Bolivia in 1967, leading a guerrilla movement that had failed to enlist a single Bolivian peasant. And yet he succeeded in inspiring tens of thousands of middle class Latin-Americans to exit the universities and organize guerrilla insurgencies of their own. And these insurgencies likewise accomplished nothing, except to bring about the death of hundreds of thousands, and to set back the cause of Latin-American democracy—a tragedy on the hugest scale.


The present-day cult of Che—the T-shirts, the bars, the posters—has succeeded in obscuring this dreadful reality. And Walter Salles’ movie The Motorcycle Diaries will now take its place at the heart of this cult. It has already received a standing ovation at Robert Redford’s Sundance film festival (Redford is the executive producer of The Motorcycle Diaries) and glowing admiration in the press. Che was an enemy of freedom, and yet he has been erected into a symbol of freedom. He helped establish an unjust social system in Cuba and has been erected into a symbol of social justice. He stood for the ancient rigidities of Latin-American thought, in a Marxist-Leninist version, and he has been celebrated as a free-thinker and a rebel. And thus it is in Salles’ Motorcycle Diaries.


The film follows the young Che and his friend Alberto Granado on a vagabond tour of South America in 1951-52—which Che described in a book published under the title Motorcycle Diaries, and Granado in a book of his own. Che was a medical student in those days, and Granado a biochemist, and in real life, as in the movie, the two men spent a few weeks toiling as volunteers in a Peruvian leper colony. These weeks at the leper colony constitute the dramatic core of the movie. The colony is tyrannized by nuns, who maintain a cruel social hierarchy between the staff and the patients. The nuns refuse to feed people who fail to attend mass. Young Che, in his insistent honesty, rebels against these strictures, and his rebellion is bracing to witness. You think you are observing a noble protest against the oppressive customs and authoritarian habits of an obscurantist Catholic Church at its most reactionary.


Yet the entire movie, in its concept and tone, exudes a Christological cult of martyrdom, a cult of adoration for the spiritually superior person who is veering toward death—precisely the kind of adoration that Latin America’s Catholic Church promoted for several centuries, with miserable consequences. The rebellion against reactionary Catholicism in this movie is itself an expression of reactionary Catholicism. The traditional churches of Latin America are full of statues of gruesome bleeding saints. And the masochistic allure of those statues is precisely what you see in the movie’s many depictions of young Che coughing out his lungs from asthma and testing himself by swimming in cold water—all of which is rendered beautiful and alluring by a sensual backdrop of grays and browns and greens, and the lovely gaunt cheeks of one actor after another, and the violent Andean landscapes.

The movie in its story line sticks fairly close to Che’s diaries, with a few additions from other sources. The diaries tend to be haphazard and nonideological except for a very few passages. Che had not yet become an ideologue when he went on this trip. He reflected on the layered history of Latin America, and he expressed attitudes that managed to be pro-Indian and, at the same time, pro-conquistador. But the film is considerably more ideological, keen on expressing an “indigenist” attitude (to use the Latin-American Marxist term) of sympathy for the Indians and hostility to the conquistadors. Some Peruvian Marxist texts duly appear on the screen. I can imagine that Salles and his screenwriter, José Rivera, have been influenced more by Subcomandante Marcos and his “indigenist” rebellion in Chiapas, Mexico, than by Che.

And yet, for all the ostensible indigenism in this movie, the pathos here has very little to do with the Indian past, or even with the New World. The pathos is Spanish, in the most archaic fashion—a pathos that combines the Catholic martyrdom of the Christlike scenes with the on-the-road spirit not of Jack Kerouac (as some people may imagine) but of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, a tried-and-true formula in Spanish culture. (See Benito Pérez Galdós’ classic 19th-century novel Nazarín.) If you were to compare Salles’ The Motorcycle Diaries, with its pious tone, to the irrevent, humorous, ironic, libertarian films of Pedro Almodóvar, you could easily imagine that Salles’ film comes from the long-ago past, perhaps from the dark reactionary times of Franco—and Almodóvar’s movies come from the modern age that has rebelled against Franco.


The modern-day cult of Che blinds us not just to the past but also to the present. Right now a tremendous social struggle is taking place in Cuba. Dissident liberals have demanded fundamental human rights, and the dictatorship has rounded up all but one or two of the dissident leaders and sentenced them to many years in prison. Among those imprisoned leaders is an important Cuban poet and journalist, Raúl Rivero, who is serving a 20-year sentence. In the last couple of years the dissident movement has sprung up in yet another form in Cuba, as a campaign to establish independent libraries, free of state control; and state repression has fallen on this campaign, too.

These Cuban events have attracted the attention of a number of intellectuals and liberals around the world. Václav Havel has organized a campaign of solidarity with the Cuban dissidents and, together with Elena Bonner and other heroic liberals from the old Soviet bloc, has rushed to support the Cuban librarians. A group of American librarians has extended its solidarity to its Cuban colleagues, but, in order to do so, the American librarians have had to put up a fight within their own librarians’ organization, where the Castro dictatorship still has a number of sympathizers. And yet none of this has aroused much attention in the United States, apart from a newspaper column or two by Nat Hentoff and perhaps a few other journalists, and an occasional letter to the editor. The statements and manifestos that Havel has signed have been published in Le Monde in Paris, and in Letras Libres magazine in Mexico, but have remained practically invisible in the United States. The days when American intellectuals rallied in any significant way to the cause of liberal dissidents in other countries, the days when Havel’s statements were regarded by Americans as important calls for intellectual responsibility—those days appear to be over.

I wonder if people who stand up to cheer a hagiography of Che Guevara, as the Sundance audience did, will ever give a damn about the oppressed people of Cuba—will ever lift a finger on behalf of the Cuban liberals and dissidents. It’s easy in the world of film to make a movie about Che, but who among that cheering audience is going to make a movie about Raúl Rivero?

As a protest against the ovation at Sundance, I would like to append one of Rivero’s poems to my comment here. The police confiscated Rivero’s books and papers at the time of his arrest, but the poet’s wife, Blanca Reyes, was able to rescue the manuscript of a poem describing an earlier police raid on his home. Letras Libres published the poem in Mexico. I hope that Rivero will forgive me for my translation. I like this poem because it shows that the modern, Almodóvar-like qualities of impudence, wit, irreverence, irony, playfulness, and freedom, so badly missing from Salles’ pious work of cinematic genuflection, are fully alive in Latin America, and can be found right now in a Cuban prison.

Search Order
by Raúl Rivero

What are these gentlemen looking for
in my house?

What is this officer doing
reading the sheet of paper
on which I’ve written
the words “ambition,” “lightness,” and “brittle”?

What hint of conspiracy
speaks to him from the photo without a dedication
of my father in a guayabera (black tie)
in the fields of the National Capitol?

How does he interpret my certificates of divorce?

Where will his techniques of harassment lead him
when he reads the ten-line poems
and discovers the war wounds
of my great-grandfather?

Eight policemen
are examining the texts and drawings of my daughters,
and are infiltrating themselves into my emotional networks
and want to know where little Andrea sleeps
and what does her asthma have to do
with my carpets.

They want the code of a message from Zucu
in the upper part
of a cryptic text (here a light triumphal smile
of the comrade):
“Castles with music box. I won’t let the boy
hang out with the boogeyman. Jennie.”

A specialist in aporia came,
a literary critic with the rank of interim corporal
who examined at the point of a gun
the hills of poetry books.

Eight policemen
in my house
with a search order,
a clean operation,
a full victory
for the vanguard of the proletariat
who confiscated my Consul typewriter,
one hundred forty-two blank pages
and a sad and personal heap of papers
—the most perishable of the perishable
from this summer.


 Read Jay-Z in his own words how he revers and relates to Che, ss = s2 = stylish satirist

How A Village Voice Reporter Helped Write the Second Verse of Jay-Z’s

“Public Service Announcement”

By Zach Baron
Published Thu., Nov. 4 2010 at 11:30 AM

 In 2003, this paper sent the writer Elizabeth Mendez Berry to profile Jay-Z on the eve of the release of what was then supposed to be his retirement record, The Black Album. Toward the end of the piece, which was published almost exactly seven years ago, Berry transcribes an interaction she had with Jay:

When I met with him, I gave him a copy of a critical–and I do mean critical–essay on Reasonable Doubt, Vol. 3: Life and Times of S. Carter, and The Blueprint that I contributed to the book Classic Material. The following day, he called to tell me that it provoked him to write a new second verse for “Public Service Announcement.” He said that what he appreciated most about the piece was its honesty, and invited me to come to Baseline and hear the cut.

She hears it, eventually, but is left–along with the reader–guessing somewhat as to what role she played in the writing of the verse. Not anymore. On November 16, Spiegel & Grau will publish Decoded, the much anticipated “narrative journey through the lyrics and life” of Jay-Z, written by the rapper with the former Source editor (and occasional Voice contributor) Dream Hampton. In the book, Jay finally tells his side of the story as far as what happened between him and Berry, and how she influenced the writing of one of the great Jay-Z songs. We took the liberty of excerpting that part, below. Enjoy:

Just Blaze was one of the house producers at Roc-A-Fella Records, the company I co-founded with Kareem Burke and Damon Dash. He’s a remarkable producer, one of the best of his generation. As much as anyone, he helped craft the Roc-A-Fella sound when the label was at its peak: manipulated soul samples and original drum tracks, punctuated by horn stabs or big organ chords. It was dramatic music: It had emotion and nostalgia and a street edge, but he combined those elements into something original. His best tracks were stories in themselves. With his genius for creating drama and story in music, it made sense that Just was also deep into video games. He’d written soundtracks for them. He played them. He collected them. He was even a character in one game. If he could’ve gotten bodily sucked into a video game, like that guy in Tron did, he would’ve been happy forever. I was recording The Black Album and wanted Just to give me one last song for the album, which was supposed to be my last, but he was distracted by his video-game work. He’d already given me one song, “December 4th,” for the album–but I was still looking for one more. He was coming up empty and we were running up against our deadlines for getting the album done and mastered.

Flyers no more che day(1)

At the same time, the promotion was already starting, which isn’t my favorite part of the process. I’m still a guarded person when I’m not in the booth or onstage or with my oldest friends, and I’m particularly wary of the media. Part of the pre-release promotion for the album was a listening session in the studio with a reporter from The Village Voice, a young writer named Elizabeth Mendez Berry. I was playing the album unfinished; I felt like it needed maybe two more songs to be complete. After we listened to the album the reporter came up to me and said the strangest thing: “You don’t feel funny?” I was like, Huh?, because I knew she meant funny as in weird, and I was thinking, Actually, I feel real comfortable; this is one of the best albums of my career. . . . But then she said it again: “You don’t feel funny? You’re wearing that Che T-shirt and you have–” she gestured dramatically at the chain around my neck. “I couldn’t even concentrate on the music,” she said. “All I could think of is that big chain bouncing off of Che’s forehead.” The chain was a Jesus piece–the Jesus piece that Biggie used to wear, in fact. It’s part of my ritual when I record an album: I wear the Jesus piece and let my hair grow till I’m done.

This wasn’t the first time I’d worn a Che T-shirt–I’d worn a different one during my taping of an MTV Unplugged show, which I’d taped with the Roots. I didn’t really think much of it. Her question–don’t you feel funny?–caught me off guard and I didn’t have an answer for her. The conversation moved on, but before she left she gave me a copy of an essay she wrote about me for a book about classic albums. The essay was about three of my albums: Reasonable Doubt, Vol. 3 . . . Life and Times of S. Carter, and The Blueprint. That night I went home and read it. Here are some highlights:

On “Dope Man” he calls himself, “the soul of Mumia” in this modern-day time. I don’t think so.


Jay-Z is convincing. When he raps, “I’m representing for the seat where Rosa Parks sat / where Malcolm X was shot / where Martin Luther was popped” on “The Ruler’s Back,” you almost believe him.

And, referring to my MTV Unplugged show:

When he rocks his Guevara shirt and a do-rag, squint and you see a revolutionary. But open your eyes to the platinum chain around his neck: Jay-Z is a hustler.

Wow. I could’ve dismissed her as a hater; I remember her going on about “bling-bling,” which was just too easy, and, honestly, even after reading her essays I was mostly thinking, “It’s a T-shirt. You’re buggin.” But I was fascinated by the piece and thought some more about what she was saying. It stuck with me and that night I turned it around in my head.


We Rebellious, We Back Home

One of Big’s genius lines wasn’t even a rhyme, it was in the ad lib to “Juicy,” his first big hit:

Yeah, this album is dedicated to all the teachers that told me I’d never amount to nothin, to all the people that lived above the building that I was hustlin in front of that called the police on me when I was just tryin to make some money to feed my daughters, and all the niggas in the struggle.

I loved that he described what a lot of hustlers were going through in the streets–dissed and feared by teachers and parents and neighbors and cops, broke, working a corner to try to get some bread for basic shit–as more than some glamorous alternative to having a real job.

He elevated it to “the struggle.” That’s a loaded term. It’s usually used to talk about civil rights or black power–the seat where Rosa Parks sat / where Malcom X was shot / where Martin Luther was popped–not the kind of nickel-and-dime, just-to-get-by struggle that Biggie was talking about. Our struggle wasn’t organized or even coherent. There were no leaders of this “movement.” There wasn’t even a list of demands. Our struggle was truly a something-out-of-nothing, do-or-die situation. The fucked-up thing was that it led some of us to sell drugs on our own blocks and get caught up in the material spoils of that life. It was definitely different, less easily defined, less pure, and harder to celebrate than a simple call for revolution. But in their way, Biggie’s words made an even more desperate case for some kind of change. Che was coming from the perspective, “We deserve these rights; we are ready to lead.” We were coming from the perspective, “We need some kind of opportunity, we are ready to die.” The connections between the two kinds of struggles weren’t necessarily clear to me yet, but they were on my mind.

The Renegade, You Been Afraid

The day after the listening session, Just finally played a track for me. It opened with some dark minor organ notes and then flooded them with brassy chords that felt like the end of the world. It was beautiful. When a track is right, I feel like it’s mine from the second I hear it. I own it. This was the record I’d been waiting for. I spit two quick verses on it–no hook, no chorus, just two verses, because we were running out of time to get the album done and mastered and released on schedule. I called it “Public Service Announcement.”

cuba libre 03

The subject of the first verse wasn’t blazingly unique. It’s a variation on a story I’ve been telling since I was ten years old rapping into a tape recorder: I’m dope. Doper than you. But even when a rapper is just rapping about how dope he is, there’s something a little bit deeper going on. It’s like a sonnet, believe it or not. Sonnets have a set structure, but also a limited subject matter: They are mostly about love. Taking on such a familiar subject and writing about it in a set structure forced sonnet writers to find every nook and cranny in the subject and challenged them to invent new language for saying old things. It’s the same with braggadocio in rap. When we take the most familiar subject in the history of rap–why I’m dope–and frame it within the sixteen-bar structure of a rap verse, synced to the specific rhythm and feel of the track, more than anything it’s a test of creativity and wit. It’s like a metaphor for itself; if you can say how dope you are in a completely original, clever, powerful way, the rhyme itself becomes proof of the boast’s truth. And there are deeper layers of meaning buried in the simplest verses. I call rhymes like the first verse on “Public Service Announcement” Easter-egg hunts, because if you just listen to it once without paying attention, you’ll brush past some lines that can offer more meaning and resonance every time you listen to them.

Cuban Refugee Boat Sailing for America

Mariel Boatlift

The second verse for “Public Service Announcement” was almost entirely unrelated to the first verse. I wrote the second verse, which opens with the lyrics, I’m like Che Guevara with bling on, I’m complex, as a response to the journalist. When someone asked me at the time of the Unplugged show why it was that I wore the Che T-shirt, I think I said something glib like, “I consider myself a revolutionary because I’m a self-made millionaire in a racist society.” But it was really that it just felt right to me. I knew that people would have questions. Some people in the hip-hop world were surprised by it. There are rappers like Public Enemy and Dead Prez who’ve always been explicitly revolutionary, but I wasn’t one of them. I also wasn’t a Marxist like Che–the platinum Jesus piece made that pretty clear.

Later I would read more about Guevara and discover similarities in our lives. I related to him as a kid who had asthma and played sports. I related to the power of his image, too. The image on the T-shirt had a name Guerillero Heroico, heroic guerrilla. The photo was taken after the Cuban Revolution and by the time I wore the T-shirt, it was probably one of the most famous photographs in the world. Like a lot of people who stumble across the image with no context, I was still struck by its power and charisma.

No wonder Shawn finds, Che so heroic and inspiring, read below some of Che’s charismatic statements…


“The blacks, those magnificent examples of the African race who have conserved their racial purity by a lack of affinity with washing, have seen their patch invaded by a different kind of slave: The Portugese…. the black is indolent and fanciful, he spends his money on frivolity and drink; the European comes from a tradition of working and saving which follows him to this corner of America and drives him to get ahead.” Che Guevara

The journalist was right, though. Images aren’t everything, and a T-shirt doesn’t change who you are. Like I said in the song “Blueprint 2,” cause the nigger wear a kufi, it don’t mean that he is bright. For any image or symbol or creative act to mean something, it has to touch something deeper, connect to something true. I know that the spirit of struggle and insurgency was woven into the lives of the people I grew up with in Bed-Stuy, even if in sometimes fucked up and corrupted ways. Che’s failures were bloody and his contradictions frustrating. But to have contradictions–especially when you’re fighting for you life–is human, and to wear the Che shirt and platinum and diamonds together is honest. In the end I wore it because I meant it.

Wow that is so deep, like so much landfill.  Sure glad you meant it, Shawn. I am sure Fidel and Raul are pleased as punch. Bling and Che and Che and bling, ring-a-ding-ding.

ss = s2 = stylish satirist