The burning embassy blindside
Mass unrest tends to intensify over the weekend in the Middle East, so warnings are being issued that further trouble at our embassies can be expected. Demonstrations continue near the U.S. embassy in Cairo, with the police thus far able to hold the mob at bay. Indonesian police are nervous. The State Department has warned embassies in Kuwait, Oman, and Jordan to be ready for trouble. We don’t have an embassy in Iran, so the bloodthirsty mobs are marching around in front of the Swiss embassy there.
Friday morning brought reports of an attack on the British and German embassies in Khartoum. Sky News cites the “Innocence of Muslims” film as the pretext for the attack, although a dispatch from the Swiss embassy in Khartoum says “the German Constitutional Court’s decision to allow cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed to be displayed in public demonstrations” got the ball rolling, and the famed “anti-Mohammed film” got folded into the protests later.
The Obama Administration is back into grovel mode, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announcing that “the United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video” and “we absolutely reject its content and message.” As if the rioting mobs – and the shadowy hands guiding their rage – will suddenly look at each other, decide they’ve been silly for unfairly venting their anger at the innocent American diplomatic apparatus, and go home!
From the Associated Press comes word that Eric Holder’s Justice Department has actually been working to track down the creator of “Innocence of Muslims,” and it looks like they finally found him: Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55-year-old Coptic Christian living in southern California, who created the false persona of “Israeli-American film producer Sam Bacile” to hide his true identity. Nakoula has a criminal record, including federal bank fraud, and has a history of creating false identities. He denies he’s the one behind the “Sam Bacile” identity, which was also the name given by the director to actors who appeared in the film. The actors say they were misled about the movie’s nature, and their dialogue was overdubbed with language critical of Islam and Mohammed.
Florida pastor Terry Jones, the Koran-burning guy, has been working to associate himself with “Innocence of Muslims” and promote it to viewers. His efforts earned him a call from no less than the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, asking him to knock it off. Jones, who as of yesterday said he hasn’t actually watched the film yet, said he would “consider” the General’s request.
In a lengthy interview with the Daily Beast, Jones said, “Our problem is how far and when do you back down. Once you start moving backwards it’s very easy to continue moving backwards. So, I don’t know.” He doesn’t sound inclined to tone down his criticisms of Islam. “Even though we know it may possibly cause some type of reaction; then there’s always the question how far do we pull back,” he told the Daily Beast. “We could say, ‘OK. We cannot do it. We cannot burn the Quran. We cannot show the movie.’ But where do we stop? Because actually everything you do against Islam is an insult. If you just speak out against Islam that’s an insult. You can’t speak out against Muhammad, Sharia, or Islam, so how do we back off?”
Every one of these official compromises of our First Amendment principles does nothing but feed the mob. The rioters feel satisfaction that violence is getting results. Their masters are pleased to see the Administration working hard to reinforce their camouflage, by building up the storyline that this is all a burst of spontaneous outrage against a year-old movie that everyone simultaneously noticed on YouTube this week.
There’s still a lot of conflicting information about exactly what happened in Cairo and Benghazi at the beginning of this crisis, but one thing has become painfully clear: the Administration was utterly blindsided by these attacks. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton do not know what they are doing.
The UK Independent on Friday published a bombshell report on the deadly attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, in Libya. The report alleges that “the U.S. State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and ‘lockdown,’ under which movement is severely restricted.”
Furthermore, the Independent says “sensitive documents have gone missing from the consulate in Benghazi,” which “are said to list names of Libyans who are working with Americans, putting them potentially at risk from extremist groups, while some of the other documents are said to relate to oil contracts.”
And for all of Hillary Clinton’s glowing praise of how much the government we installed in Libya has been helping during this terrible crisis, the actual commander of the government security forces in Benghazi talks like the attack was just desserts for daring to offend Islam: “There were definitely people from the security forces who let the attack happen because they were themselves offended by the film; they would absolutely put their loyalty to the Prophet over the consulate. The deaths are all nothing compared to insulting the Prophet.”
The Administration pushed out an elegantly lawyered “denial” of the sensational Independent report, telling Politico via email, “This is absolutely wrong. We are not aware of any actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent.” That’s nice, but that isn’t what the Independent’s report said. They wrote about a 48-hour warning that “American missions may be targeted,” not a specific threat against the Benghazi consulate.
Bizarrely, an unnamed U.S. official also assured Politico that “There’s no intelligence indicating that the attack in Benghazi was premeditated.” You mean other than the rocket-propelled grenades used to carry out the attack? Or are those things dispensed from vending machines on the streets of Benghazi? The sheer cosmic stupidity of that statement should be good enough to get heads rolling at whatever agency would tolerate the presence of the official in question.
The Jerusalem Post says the Egyptian intelligence services also gave the State Department warning about planned terrorist attacks on the American and Israeli embassies in Cairo. And there’s no way Obama’s stooges in the American media can deny that report, because the Post published it on September 11.
There is no denying that the Benghazi consulate’s security was horribly inadequate for the 9/11 anniversary, in a city known as a locus of al-Qaeda activity – it seems to have consisted of four Libyans, at least one of whom turned coat and betrayed the American diplomats he was supposed to be protecting. There is no denying that the Benghazi consulate had already been hit by a terror attack – an explosive device was detonated outside the building on June 6. There is no denying that Barack Obama skipped his intelligence briefings for the week leading up to the attacks… and the day after the attacks, because he had fundraising in Las Vegas to attend to. There is no denying that the Administration still hasn’t locked down the details of exactly what happened to Ambassador Stevens, or if it has, it’s not sharing the news with the American people.
This President brings a dangerous combination of arrogance and disinterest to the foreign policy table. He’s noted for telling his staff he knows their jobs better than they do. He thought he knew foreign affairs better too, but he doesn’t, and until he woke up on Wednesday morning, he didn’t really care. He believed his own press, and thought the stories in Egypt and Libya were over when the media lost interest in them. As with every other aspect of his rank incompetence, he assumes the media can cover everything up, and he can keep the polls goosed with a few nice speeches, while the American voter finds it increasingly necessary to turn to British and Israeli newspapers to get the actual news.
Obama’s press auxiliaries bought him a couple of days by focusing on Mitt Romney’s temerity in criticizing the unbelievable disaster they’ve been trying to hide. That’s over now.