Eastern Europe’s Market System and the Changes of 1989

AAfter 1989, when the Communist world began to crumble, the old neo-Stalinist economic system of Eastern Europe was subjected to reforms. The quality of economic reform varied from country to country as the rule of law was unevenly established throughout. While it is true that many economies of Eastern Europe moved away from all-pervasive government controls, most East European market economies have remained in the hands of former apparatchiks, criminal mafias and “former” secret police officials. Thus, economic freedom did not take hold throughout the region.

Why were the market reforms in Eastern Europe disappointing on so many levels? “It is not what people think,” says filmmaker Robert Buchar, who has released his long-awaited documentary The Collapse of Communism: The Untold Story. I spoke with Buchar [click here for audio version] about his documentary to ask what he learned from interviewing key participants in the events of 1989, including CIA director Robert Gates. One of the more interesting tidbits came from Buchar’s attempt to interview one of the top Czechoslovak Communist Party leaders in 1989, Rudolf Hegenbart, who refused to say anything on the record. “Havel’s people warned me not to speak, or I would end up at the bottom of the lake,” Hegenbart told Buchar. Afterward, Buchar sent Hegenbart a copy of his book (based on the documentary) which shows how the changes in Eastern Europe were deceptive and misunderstood, especially in the West. “Yeah, you are right pretty much in everything that is in that book. We were taught all of this in Moscow when we were studying there,” Hegenbart admitted.

Buchar was born in communist Czechoslovakia and currently teaches at Columbia College in Chicago where he is head of the faculty’s cinematography program. “I was from a bourgeois family,” Buchar explained, “as my father was an entrepreneur. He had his own company and employed sixty people.” Of course, entrepreneurs were criminals under the old communist regime and the sons of entrepreneurs were denied opportunity. Buchar went from his home town to Prague where people didn’t know his background. “I got into a school in Prague, and when I moved to Prague my [secret police] file didn’t move with me…. I had no past,” Buchar mused. But his past eventually caught up with him. “Later, around 1972, when the Russians tightened their grip on everything … because I wasn’t in the [Communist] Party I couldn’t work in the media.” When it became impossible for him to work, he found his way to freedom in the West.

Buchar’s documentary presents testimony from former Czech secret police officials who say the events of the Velvet Revolution of 1989 were orchestrated on orders from Moscow. The body of testimony on this subject is large and credible, says Buchar. “Not just … [the] guys that are talking in my film; there are many other people I talked to that refused to talk on record about this … because they fear for their lives…. There are many documents – it is very well documented that it was a prepared plan… to change the regime and the Russians were working on it for decades….”

Buchar interviewed an officer of the secret police who staged a key event in the 89 revolution. “He was just a little piece in the big puzzle,” says Buchar. “He pretty much did what he was told to do…. He was in charge of creating the students’ organization. The objective was to penetrate dissident movements … and organize the demonstration on November 17, 89 which triggered … the revolution. And at the end of this demonstration he played a dead student … killed by riot police. Of course it was a fake.”

The Soviet Union and its satellites may have changed their economic system in a presentational sense, but most of the former Soviet economic space remains under indirect (if not direct) government control. This new form of control relies on financial intermediaries, agent networks and organized crime. Using crony capitalism, together with underworld money-laundering deals, the post-Soviet economic system is spreading everywhere. It may even be colonizing the West’s market system, contaminating the whole.

If the Cold War was a struggle between economic freedom and repression, how can anyone now say the Soviet side lost? “No,” says Buchar, “the West lost tremendously….” As anyone can see, the free market system is not consistently defended in the West. We assume the market is going to triumph, but we don’t have a plan. The other side definitely has a plan. “If you watch my documentary you will see that Robert Gates gives the official CIA version of events,” said Buchar. But this is not the real story, or the whole story. “Vladimir Bukovsky is a pivotal point of my project because he got hold of documentary proof from the Communist Party Soviet Union…. Nobody can deny these documents….”

It is doubtful that Moscow’s plan worked in all the former bloc countries. Today the Czech Republic is rated by the Heritage Foundation 2012 Index of Economic Freedom as “moderately free,” ranking 30th. Of course, this does not reflect the secret levels of control which may operate through mafias and officials connected to the old system. More obviously, some East European countries have remained overtly repressive, like the former Soviet Republics of Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and Uzbekistan. Others, like Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Russia are rated as “mostly unfree.”

Freedom seems to have prevailed, however, in the Soviet Republics of Estonia (ranking 16th) and Lithuania (rating 23rd), which are considered “mostly free” by the Heritage Foundation Index. These, of course, were among the smallest and least significant of the Soviet republics; and perhaps they were the most sophisticated in making use of the opportunities presented by the fall of the Soviet Union. In the last analysis, however, we must view the collapse of the communist bloc as equivocal. This truth is indisputably brought forth in Buchar’s documentary. And as Buchar warned at the end of my interview with him, “Many people today are wondering what’s going on in the United States and how it happened…. Nobody is really looking at it from this big picture that it’s actually not an internal problem; it’s an external problem. Whatever happened here is not just because of us; but it’s because of other forces pushing things on a global scale.”

Jeffrey Nyquist is the President of the Strategic Crisis Center and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Political Science at the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government, and Social Thought.

This article was originally published on Financial Sense on August 27, 2012. The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

William H Kennedy Interviews Olavo de Carvalho on Philosophy and Contemporary Culture

On August 9, 2012, William H. Kennedy interviewed Olavo de Carvalho, philosopher and President of the Inter-American Institute, on the topic of the need for philosophy in contemporary culture. Mr. de Carvalho also told Mr. Kennedy and his listeners what the Inter-American Institute’s Philosophy Seminar is, and how it is different from ordinary academic philosophy courses. Listen to the interview below.


Socrates, a Sewer Rat, and Worms

The most essential, most vital part of Socrates’ philosophy is something he  cannot explain in concepts, something to which he is only able to allude through symbols, metaphors, and myths, which are, nonetheless, of so vibrant an eloquence that it becomes impossible for the reader not to realize that the distant and evanescent message Socrates alludes to is for him what is closest, most real, most immediately true.

We know that this message relates to three things. First, it points to the “unwritten laws,” the divine code that eternally hovers over social norms and the entire cosmos. But the divine order is not only a static set of rules. It also manifests itself as agency in the world, directing everything toward ultimate justice, and even penetrating into the intimacy of the human heart, inspiring it, through the whispers of a daimon, to do good, and warning it against the temptation of evil.

Does everyone have within himself a daimon? Does everyone have, deep inside at least, a distant echo of the eternal law?

Maybe so, but no one can hear it because everyone is distracted by the impact of sensorial stimuli and by the bewildering confusion of doxa—a body of foolish and mutually contradictory beliefs that, through repetition, custom, and endorsement by public authority, instill in their bearers a false sense of certainty.

Socrates is not a daimon, he is not the voice of divinity. He cannot breathe the truth into the hearts of his listeners. All he can do is try to remove the mental obstacles that keep them from seeing beyond impressions and doxa. These obstacles have been placed in their souls by education, habit, peer pressure, everyday conversations—in short, by culture. What Socrates does is take full possession of the means of influence created by culture and, perfecting them, turn these means against themselves. His art could be called “deconstruction,” had this term not, when it entered circulation in the twentieth century, become the name of one of the most vicious techniques designed by the representatives of doxa to block access to the “unwritten laws” and make social rules the ultimate limit of knowledge and existence.

Whatever the case, the direction that Socrates impressed upon philosophy will be unfailingly followed by Plato and Aristotle, and with slight modifications, will continue to inspire and guide philosophers until at least the eighteenth century. Platonic dialectic raises the participant up to where he can grasp something of the “unwritten laws,” but when dialectic gets to this point, it then gives way to mythical narrative or closes itself in the discreet circle of oral teaching, inaccessible to outsiders. Aristotle does not even try to express the divine laws: he only refers to God as “first unmoved mover,” but, by describing him as pure spirit constituted of noesis noeseos (“knowledge of knowledge” or, as we say today, “consciousness of consciousness”), he vetoes in advance any attempt to reify Him as external cause of material events (Dr. Richard Dawkins has not been notified of this yet) and thus paves the way for Dante to describe Him better as  l’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle, “the love that moves the sun and the other stars,” the force that acts from the inmost of all beings and keeps them tied to a Center through the irresistible attraction of eternal love. This is a symbol that summarizes the three dimensions of divinity glimpsed by Socrates: the transcendent immutable law, the divine agency in the world, and the voice of God in the human heart.

The mission of philosophy is to lead souls up to the portal of the “unwritten laws” and then to become silent so that God Himself might begin to speak. Wittgenstein foresaw this somehow, but he then looked away. Long before him, Clement of Alexandria had realized this when he characterized philosophy as “a pedagogue who leads to Christ.”

Without this perspective, what goes by the name of philosophy can only be doxa struggling with itself to break free, with no way out, endlessly, like a rat trapped in a sewer pipe. One day the rat dies and begins to rot. Worms, then, take the initiative, decomposing the rat with a furiously analytical lust. At least some of them are driven by the blind hope of finding the “God particle” that will abolish the unwritten laws. Others know they will not find anything and move on precisely because of that: since there are no answers, the extinction of the questioners amounts to an answer. Nietzsche diving into the frenzy of syphilis, Michel Foucault self-destructing in rituals of sadomasochism, Louis Althusser confined to a mental hospital after killing his wife, were not merely adventitious events, just as the transmutation of philosophy into ideologies of genocide in the USSR, Germany, and China was not an accidental event either: all were inescapable conclusions of a wrong turn taken in a long argument that has crossed the centuries.

If philosophy has reached this point, why should one not expect the entire civilization to follow its example? Without a constant philosophical effort to rediscover the meaning of symbols in concrete experience, religious preaching itself, which believers take to be the voice of God, congeals into an oppressive verbal formalism, which is “fundamentalist” in the technical, and not the popular sense of the term. Insight into the unwritten laws is brought down to the level of pure “faith,” in the vulgar meaning of belief, and is expelled from the “secular” and “neutral” “high” culture.  The divine image of man splinters into millions of unconnected fragments, and each person, as long as he has money, power and a mass of activists, can impose upon others whatever morality suits him.

Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This article was translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota and revised by Graham Foster.

Divorced From Reality

Defenders of marriage must face some hard facts or they are going to lose their fight—and with it, quite possibly, their religious freedom as well. Federal judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling nullifying Proposition 8 in California illustrates that, unless we can demonstrate very specific reasons why same-sex marriage is socially destructive, it will soon be the law of the land.

With conservatives as prominent as Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter joining those “influential Americans,” in the words of the National Review, who “have been coming increasingly to regard opposition to same-sex marriage as irrational at best and bigoted at worst,” we can no longer rely on vague assertions that homosexual marriage weakens true marriage in some way—which in itself, actually, it does not.

Considerable nonsense has been written by some opponents of same-sex marriage, while some critical truths are not being heard. Confronting the facts can enable us to win not only this battle but several even more important ones involving family decline and the social anomie it produces.

First: Marriage exists primarily to cement the father to the family. This fact is politically incorrect but undeniable. The breakdown of marriage produces widespread fatherlessness, not motherlessness. As Margaret Mead pointed out long ago—yes, leftist Margaret Mead was correct about this—motherhood is a biological certainty whereas fatherhood is socially constructed. The father is the weakest link in the family bond, and without the institution of marriage he is easily discarded.

The consequences of failing to link men to their offspring are apparent the world over. From our inner cities and Native American reservations to the north of England, the banlieues of Paris, and much of Africa, fatherlessness—not poverty or race—is the leading predictor of virtually every social pathology among the young. Without fathers, adolescents run wild, and society descends into chaos.

The notion that marriage exists for love or “to express and safeguard an emotional union of adults,” as one proponent puts it, is cant. Many loving and emotional human relationships do not involve marriage. Even the conservative argument that marriage exists to rear children is too imprecise: marriage creates fatherhood. No marriage, no fathers.

Once this principle is recognized, same-sex marriage makes no sense. Judge Walker’s “finding of fact” that “gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage” is rendered preposterous. Marriage between two men or two women simply mocks the purpose of the institution. Homosexual parenting only further distances biological fathers (and some mothers too) from their children, since at least some homosexual parents must acquire their children from someone else—usually through heterosexual divorce.

Here is the second unpleasant truth: homosexuals did not destroy marriage, heterosexuals did. The demand for same-sex marriage is a symptom, not a cause, of the deterioration of marriage. By far the most direct threat to the family is heterosexual divorce. “Commentators miss the point when they oppose homosexual marriage on the grounds that it would undermine traditional understandings of marriage,” writes family scholar Bryce Christensen. “It is only because traditional understandings of marriage have already been severely undermined that homosexuals are now laying claim to it.”

Though gay activists cite their desire to marry as evidence that their lifestyle is not inherently promiscuous, they readily admit that marriage is no longer the barrier against promiscuity that it once was. If the standards of marriage have already been lowered, they ask, why shouldn’t homosexuals be admitted to the institution?

“The world of no-strings heterosexual hookups and 50% divorce rates preceded gay marriage,” Andrew Sullivan points out. “All homosexuals are saying C9 is that, under the current definition, there’s no reason to exclude us. If you want to return straight marriage to the 1950s, go ahead. But until you do, the exclusion of gays is simply an anomaly—and a denial of basic civil equality.”

Feminist Stephanie Coontz echoes the point: “Gays and lesbians simply looked at the revolution heterosexuals had wrought and noticed that, with its new norms, marriage could work for them, too.”

Thus the third inconvenient fact: divorce is a political problem. It is not a private matter, and it does not come from impersonal forces of moral and cultural decay. It is driven by complex and lucrative government machinery operating in our names and funded by our taxes. It is imposed upon unwilling people, whose children, homes, and property may be confiscated. It generates the social ills that rationalize almost all domestic government spending. And it is promoted ideologically by the same sexual radicals who now champion same-sex marriage. Homosexuals may be correct that heterosexuals destroyed marriage, but the heterosexuals were their fellow sexual ideologues.

Conservatives have completely misunderstood the significance of the divorce revolution. While they lament mass divorce, they refuse to confront its politics. Maggie Gallagher attributes this silence to “political cowardice”: “Opposing gay marriage or gays in the military is for Republicans an easy, juicy, risk-free issue,” she wrote in 1996. “The message [is] that at all costs we should keep divorce off the political agenda.”

No American politician of national stature has seriously challenged unilateral divorce. “Democrats did not want to anger their large constituency among women who saw easy divorce as a hard-won freedom and prerogative,” writes Barbara Dafoe Whitehead. “Republicans did not want to alienate their upscale constituents or their libertarian wing, both of whom tended to favor easy divorce, nor did they want to call attention to the divorces among their own leadership.”

In his famous denunciation of single parenthood, Vice President Dan Quayle was careful to make clear, “I am not talking about a situation where there is a divorce.” A lengthy article in the current Political Science Quarterly is devoted to the fact—at which the author expresses astonishment—that self-described “pro-family” Christian groups devote almost no effort to reforming divorce laws.

This failure has seriously undermined the moral credibility of the campaign against same-sex marriage. “People who won’t censure divorce carry no special weight as defenders of marriage,” writes columnist Froma Harrop. “Moral authority doesn’t come cheap.”

Just as marriage creates fatherhood, so divorce today should be understood as a system for destroying it. It is no accident that divorce court has become largely a method for plundering and criminalizing fathers. With such a regime arrayed against them, men are powerfully incentivized against marrying and starting a family. No amount of scolding by armchair moralists is going to persuade men into marriages that can mean the loss of their children, expropriation, and incarceration.

The fourth point is perhaps the most difficult to grasp: marriage is not entirely a public institution that government may legitimately define and regulate. It certainly serves important public functions. But marriage also creates a sphere of life beyond official control—what Supreme Court Justice Byron White called a “realm of family life which the state cannot enter.” This does not mean that anything can be declared a marriage. On the contrary, it means that marriage creates a singular zone of privacy for one purpose above all: it is the bond within which parents may raise their children without government interference.

Parenthood, after all, is politically unique. It is the one relationship in which people may exercise coercive authority over others. It is the one exception to state’s monopoly of force, which is why government is constantly trying to undermine and invade it. Without parental and especially paternal authority, legitimized by the bonds of marriage, government’s reach is total. This is already evident in those communities where marriage and fathers have disappeared and government has moved in to replace them with welfare, child-support enforcement, public education, and tax-subsidized healthcare.

Marriage is paradoxical in a way that is critical to our political problems—and that causes considerable confusion among conservatives and libertarians. Marriage must be recognized by the state precisely because it creates a sphere of parental authority from which the state must then withdraw. Government today can no longer be counted upon to exercise this restraint voluntarily. We must all constantly demand that it do so. Marriage—lifelong and protected by a legally enforceable contract—gives us the legal authority and the moral high ground from which to resist encroachments by the state.

Prohibitions on homosexual marriage will not save the institution. As Robert Seidenberg writes in the Washington Times, “Even if Republicans were to succeed in constitutionally defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman, some judge somewhere would soon discover a novel meaning for ‘man’ or ‘woman’ or ‘between’ or ‘relationship’ or any of the other dozen words that might appear in the amendment.”

This is already happening. Britain’s Gender Recognition Act allows transsexuals to falsify their birth certificates retroactively to indicate they were born the gender of their choice. “The practical effect C9 will inevitably be same-sex ‘marriage’,” writes Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail. “Marriage as a union between a man and a woman will be destroyed, because ‘man’ and ‘woman’ will no longer mean anything other than whether someone feels like a man or a woman.”

So what is the solution? A measure already before Congress may show the way. Though not intended primarily to save marriage, the proposed Parental Rights Amendment is the first substantial step in the right direction. It protects “the liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children.” How does this strengthen marriage?

Reaffirming the rights of parents—married parents particularly—to raise their own children would weaken government interference in the family. Especially if worded so as to protect the bond between children and their married fathers, such a measure could undermine both the divorce regime and same-sex marriage by establishing marriage as a permanent contract conferring parental rights that must be respected by the state. Within the bonds of marriage, it would preserve the rights of fathers, parents of both sexes, and spouses generally, and it would render same-sex marriage largely pointless. Marriages producing children would be effectively indissoluble, and there would be fewer fatherless children for homosexuals to adopt. Men would come to understand that to have full rights as fathers they must marry before conceiving children, and they would thus have an interest in ensuring the institution’s permanence.

This is not a small undertaking. It would mean confronting the radical sexual establishment in its entirety—not only homosexuals but their allies among feminists, bar associations, psychotherapists, social workers, and pubic schools. It would raise the stakes significantly—or rather it would highlight how high the stakes already are. It would also focus public attention on the interconnectedness of these threats to the family and freedom. It would foster a coalition of parents with a vested personal interest in marriage and parental rights.

The alternative is to continue mouthing platitudes, in which case we will be dismissed as a chorus of scolds and moralizers—and yes, bigots. And we will lose.

Stephen BaskervilleStephen Baskerville is IAI’s Senior Fellow in Political Science and Human Rights. He is Associate Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College and Research Fellow at the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society and at the Independent Institute.

This article was originally published at theamericanconservative.com on November 22, 2010.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

Release Huma Abedin’s Security File!

Michele Bachmann upset the press again. Strange. The news media love handsome movie stars who daringly expose government corruption; why does the press now circle the wagons to pretend that government corruption cannot really exist?

You see, Rep. Bachmann, R-Minn., along with her House colleagues Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, Trent Franks, R-Ariz., Tom Rooney, R-Fla., and Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., wrote the inspectors general of the departments of State, Defense, Justice and Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, to ask for a national security probe of possible Muslim Brotherhood ties in the administration.

The concerns about possible Muslim Brotherhood influences riled the news mavens, and not only them but Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who proceeded to censure Rep. Bachmann. Yet she and her allies questioned security procedures and levied no charges.

History shows it is entirely reasonable to be on guard against foreign influence in the U.S. government. After all, Harry Hopkins, a Soviet agent, was FDR’s closest White House aide, Soviet agent Lauchlin Currie was another top FDR aide, while Soviet agent Harry Dexter White was a senior Treasury Department official. And not until the release of the Venona papers in 1995 was it certain that the Rosenbergs were indeed Soviet spies. In fact, our U.S. State Department has a track record of security malfeasance, for example, having given high security clearances in the post-World War II era not only to Nazi scientists, but to hundreds of brutal Communists and Nazis known to have massacred millions.

So, why the hate-Bachmann rants? Perhaps her reply to Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., documenting the naive governmental disregard for Islamic inroads holds a clue. There Rep. Bachmann quoted Hillary Clinton confiding to the secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that “some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming” could restrain Americans who might protest the OIC’s planned “Islamophobia” speech censorship.

Yes, the public deserves real “whistleblower” history.

For example, Otto Otepka, the U.S. State Department’s deputy director of the office of security in the 1950s and 1960s, was pressured and shamed for denying clearances to Communist sympathizers. John Loftus, former U.S. government prosecutor and Army intelligence officer, was pressured and shamed for revealing the State Department’s clearance of key Nazis. And what government agency protected the 9/11 victims in 2001?

Three months before 9/11, FBI Agent Robert Wright Jr predicted that the FBI failure to investigate domestic terrorists would cause more American deaths. Earlier, veteran FBI Agent Gary Aldrich had exposed the Clinton White House staff’s sabotage of his assignment, which was to conduct background checks of those seeking top-level government jobs – and there are many more.

Yet now our managed media obstructs public access to national security issues by singling out Rep. Bachmann for daring to inquire into dangerous lapses in government agencies! The hate speech against Bachmann counts on our forgetting the blood-soaked jihad revelries throughout the Muslim world after the cowardly massacre of almost 3,000 unprotected civilian Americans on 9/11.

The press subverts their craft, by hiding the evidential substance of the five letters sent by Rep. Bachmann and her colleagues. Her 12-page response should be studied by anyone interested in truth and national security.

Bachmann says, “The letters my colleagues and I sent on June 13 to the inspectors general … and the follow-up letter I wrote to Rep. Ellison on July 13 – are unfortunately being distorted.” She identifies “serious national security concerns” regarding “the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical groups’ access to top Obama administration officials.”

The Muslim Brotherhood, incidentally, was founded in Egypt in 1928. Its motto reads, “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Quran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

In their letter, Bachmann and her colleagues questioned the inspectors general about the direct influence within the intelligence community of Muslim Brotherhood operatives. They explained that the U.S. government in federal court has established that the group’s mission in the U.S. is “destroying the Western civilization from within.” The members went on to request that the respective offices of the inspectors general conduct a formal investigation of the extent to which Muslim Brotherhood-tied individuals or entities are involved.

“The national security of our country depends on getting straight answers from the inspectors general to the questions we posed in these letters,” explained Bachmann. “The Muslim Brotherhood is not shy about their call for jihad against the United States. We seek answers through these letters because we will not tolerate this group and its affiliates holding positions of power in our government or influencing our nation’s leaders.”

Said Rep. Gohmert, “Evidence indicates that this administration continues to bow before groups associated with the goal of ‘destroying Western civilization from within.’ … Our enemies have been identified; now we need to know what they have done to our ability to protect ourselves.”

Said Rooney, “The Muslim Brotherhood openly calls for violence against the United States, but we’re learning that this organization may be infiltrating our ranks, even within our military. We need our top security agencies to investigate … what impact that has on our national security.”

Said Westmoreland, “We must always stay vigilant when fighting against those who want to destroy our way of life. … [We] cannot ignore the Muslim Brotherhood and must look into their operations and membership with the seriousness that is necessary in order to root them out of our government.”

These “Free Five” serve on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (Bachmann, Rooney and Westmoreland), the Armed Services Committee (Franks and Rooney) and the Judiciary Committee (Franks and Gohmert). Additionally, Gohmert is the vice chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.

Instead of doing their investigative job, the press and certain GOP peers shame the congresswoman and then play the “damsel in distress” card about Ms. Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Clinton. This would deflect attention from the letters’ list of questionable people and agency fiascos. In their joint “Letter to the Deputy Inspector General,” June 13, 2012, the five legislators questioned Ms. Abedin connections to the Muslim Brotherhood because:

“… Huma Abedin, has three family members – her late father, her mother and her brother – connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations.

Why are some Republican peers and the press fixated on one name in one paragraph in one letter? A cynic might think the hysterical defense of Ms. Abedin was to dodge security issues raised by the legislators. Ms. Abedin is a practicing Muslim, wed to an “infidel,” an adulterous Jewish Democrat. As far as I understand Islam, such a union is still criminal, unless it meets some unusual conditions.

So a closer look at Ms. Abedin, who became a White House aide to the then-first lady Hillary Clinton in 1996 and now works for Ms. Clinton at the State Department, is warranted. In 2011 Abedin’s brand new X-rated husband, Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., caught sending pornography to a college lass, along with other treacheries, finally resigned. (In the real world, sinful politicians are sitting ducks for blackmail.) One New York Times comment about the Abedin/Weiner expose wrote their pregnancy announcement would “deflect attention, try for sympathy” for the “expectant mother and fetus.”

Now, headlines! WND reports Ms. Abedin “worked on the editorial board of a Saudi-financed Islamic think tank alongside a Muslim extremist [Abdullah Omar Naseef] accused of financing al-Qaida fronts.” Moreover, says WND, “Naseef is secretary-general of the Muslim World League, an Islamic charity known to have spawned terrorist groups, including one declared by the U.S. government to be an official al-Qaida front.”

Is that the reason Ms. Abedin’s “family connections” are forbidden territory? For my U.S. Department of Justice grant in 1983, my entire family was investigated. Did the press verify if this highly influential official was properly vetted prior to employment in a security position? If yes, clarify the entire debacle by publishing her security file. If not, this is another bait and switch; shielding a “lady” to deflect from administrative collusion – or indifference – to radical Islamic dangers within our government.

In “Questions about Huma Abedin,” Andrew C. McCarthy notes that inquiring about a State Department adviser’s possible ties to the Muslim Brotherhood “is neither contrived or weightless – like when the left wanted to keep Samuel Alito off the Supreme Court because, 40 years ago, he was a member of ‘Concerned Alumni of Princeton.’” So far, however, McCarthy adds, “no one is accusing Huma Abedin of a crime.”

No government official should be off-limits to inspection. It turns out that the Transportation Security Administration’s “Alien Flight Student Program” was training 25 aliens, most illegal. They received flight training at a Boston-area school without “necessarily getting a security background check.” This should remind every American, including the news media and certain senators and congressmen who should know better, that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

6Dr. Judith Reisman is a Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Study of Social Trends, Human Rights, and Media Forensics.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This article was originally published on WorldNetDaily on July 27, 2012.. You can buy Dr. Reisman’s book Sexual Sabotage on her website.