Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
By now you have heard that a dedicated public servant, U.S. Ambassador to Libya John Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, were killed Tuesday in an assault on the American consulate in the city of Benghazi, Libya. U.S. ambassador to Libya, 3 other Americans killed in Benghazi - The Washington Post.
What you probably do not know is why this happened, as the reporting has been sketchy at best and is coming from multiple news sources that need to be pieced together to tell a comprehensive story. This is the best I have been able to piece together so far.
The attacks on U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya on Tuesday apparently were prompted by outrage over an amateur, anti-Muslim film made in the United States, "The Innocence of Muslims," of which an Arabic translation of the movie trailer was posted on YouTube. The movie was written and directed by an anti-Islam "filmmaker" (sic) Sam Bacile, a California real estate developer who described himself as an Israeli Jew. Anti-Islam filmmaker in hiding after deadly protests in Egypt, Libya; blames lax security - The Washington Post.
The Lede at the New York Times fills in the missing pirces of the story. Obscure Film Mocking Muslim Prophet Sparks Anti-U.S. Protests in Egypt and Libya:
A 14-minute trailer for the English-language film, which was posted on YouTube in July, attracted little attention until last week, when a version dubbed into Arabic was posted on the same YouTube channel and then copied and viewed tens of thousands of times more.
Although there was initial confusion about who made the film, The Wall Street Journal reported that the drama, titled “Innocence of Muslims,” was produced and directed by an Israeli-American, Sam Bacile, a California real-estate developer who called Islam “a cancer,” in an interview. Mr. Bacile told The Journal that he raised $5 million from about 100 Jewish donors and shot the two-hour movie in California last year.
Last week, an Egyptian-American Copt known for his broadsides against Muslims drew attention to the trailer in an Arabic-language blog post and an e-mail newsletter in English publicizing the latest publicity stunt of the Florida pastor Terry Jones, reviled in the Muslim world for burning copies of the Koran. Reached by telephone in Florida, a representative of Mr. Jones seemed unaware of the film, but hours later the pastor sent The Lede a statement by e-mail in which he complained of the attack on the embassy in Cairo and announced plans to screen the trailer for the film on Tuesday night. He said that it “reveals in a satirical fashion the life of Muhammad.”
The Coptic activist, Morris Sadek, did not respond to a request for an interview, but he is an ally of Mr. Jones and his blog post features a photograph of the two men at a tiny, anti-Islam protest outside the White House in June. Later, he told The Associated Press that he planned screenings of the film.
Although Mr. Sadek never claimed in his e-mail promoting Mr. Jones to have produced the movie — which dramatizes the life of Muhammad, incorporating scenes based on slurs about him that are often repeated by Islamophobes — three days after he passed around a link to the film’s trailer, a Cairo newspaper reported that the leader of an Egyptian political party had “denounced the production of the film with the participation of vengeful Copts, accompanied by the extremist priest Terry Jones.”
The same day, a scene from the film — in which an actor playing a buffoonish caricature of the prophet Muhammad calls a donkey “the first Muslim animal” — was broadcast on the Egyptian television channel Al-Nas by the host Sheikh Khaled Abdalla.
Last year, the Egyptian-British journalist and blogger Sarah Carr wrote, “Sheikh Khaled Abdalla is part of a school of particularly shrill religious demagogues who turn every possible event into an attack on Islam.” She added that Sheikh Khaled regularly attacked Egypt’s Coptic Christian community.
Are you following this so far? An anti-Muslim Israeli Jew makes a bigoted anti-Islam movie. An Egyptian Coptic Christian takes an Arabic translation of the movie trailer and sends it around with an e-mail boasting about his relationship with the anti-Muslim Evangelical Christian pastor Terry Jones, who has a penchant for burning the Koran. This gets picked up by a fundamentalist Islamic Sheikh in Egypt, who apparently confuses the connection between the bigoted movie and the bigoted pastor Terry Jones. This is what gets reported on Egyptian television, and the crowds go wild. Religious extremists all.
This put U.S. embassy pesonnel in peril on Tuesday. Hours before the attacks, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo issued a statement saying that it condemns “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions,” trying to calm the situation. The statement was in reference to the movie trailer and pastor Terry Jones.
Enter the Neoconservative war monger advisers to the Willard "Mittens" Romney campaign. After the attacks on U.S. embassies in Egyt and Libya, but before the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya John Christopher Stevens had been confirmed, the Romney campaign sought to politicize the crisis, focusing on the above statement from the U.S. embassy in Egypt before the attacks. Romney calls Obama administration response to Libya attacks ‘disgraceful’:
In a statement Tuesday night, Mitt Romney accused the Obama administration of sympathizing with the Libyan protesters who attacked a consulate in Benghazi, killing the U.S. ambassador and three other American diplomats.
“I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi,” Romney said. “It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”
Romney’s remarks came before the White House confirmed Wednesday morning that U.S. ambassador to Libya, John Christopher Stevens, was among those killed in the Benghazi attack.
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An administration official told ABC News that “no one in Washington approved [the embassy] statement before it was released and it doesn’t reflect the views of the U.S. government.”
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Obama [campaign] spokesman Ben LaBolt responded a few hours later that it was Romney who was out of line. “We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack,” he said.
Here is the Obama administration's actual response to the attacks on U.S. embassies. President Obama’s statement on Benghazi attack - The Washington Post:
President Obama’s statement on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya:
“I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.
I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.
On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya’s transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.
The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.”
Steve Kornacki at Salon gets it exactly right. Mitt’s shameful Libya statement:
[T]he U.S. embassy in Cairo – and not the Obama White House — put out a statement condemning “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”
The obvious intent was to cool the passions of the protesters. As Marc Ambinder explained, it was “exactly what Americans inside the embassy who are scared for their lives now and worry about revenge later need to have released in their name.”
Protests were also building in Libya, and sometime later the U.S. consulate in Benghazi came under siege, with news breaking late Tuesday night that a State Department official had been killed.
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The foolishness of Romney’s reaction is glaring. Pretending that the statement from the U.S. embassy in Cairo was anything other than a completely understandable and reasonable attempt by its occupants to save their own lives borders on disgraceful. Romney’s implication that the statement was issued at the height of the attacks is also false; it was actually released earlier in the day, a preventive measure aimed at keeping the protests from turning violent.
Chuck Todd in his First Read comments:
Romney said, “It's disgraceful that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” Yet after learning every piece of new information about those attacks, the Romney statement looks worse and worse -- and simply off-key.
First, Romney was referring to a statement that the U.S. embassy in Egypt issued condemning the “efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.” But that embassy statement, which the White House has distanced itself from, was in reference to an anti-Islam movie and anti-Islam pastor Terry Jones, and it came out BEFORE the embassy attacks began. Then this morning, we learned that the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and others died in one of the attacks.
This was news-cycle campaigning by the Romney campaign gone awry. Why didn’t the Romney campaign wait until it had all the facts? On his overseas trip in the summer, Romney was so careful not to criticize Obama while on foreign soil. But how much time do you give an administration to work through a diplomatic and international crisis before trying to score immediate political points? You’d expect the Sarah Palins of the world to quickly pounce on something like this, and she predictably did. But a presidential nominee running for the highest office in the land? After the facts have come out, last night’s Romney statement only feeds the narrative that his campaign is desperate.
The Romney campaign is doubling-down on its foolishness today, talking about defending "First Amendment freedoms" -- apparently the freedom of speech of an anti-Muslim Israeli Jew, an anti- Muslim Egyptian Coptic Christian, and the anti-Muslim American Evangelical Christian pastor Terry Jones to engage in religious bigotry and hatred that puts our U.S. embassy personnel in the Muslim world at risk for their lives. The Romney campaign is endangering American lives by embracing these religious extremists.