US braces for more violence from film

2012-09-14 09:07

Washington — The Obama administration was caught by surprise by the ferocity of the 11 September attack against the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the ambassador and three other Americans.

Now it is bracing for another potential eruption of violent demonstrations in parts of the Muslim world after Friday's weekly prayers — traditionally a time of protest in the Middle East and North Africa.

Angry demonstrations over an anti-Islam video already have occurred in Egypt and Yemen, and officials theorise that well-armed Libyan extremists hijacked a similar protest in Benghazi, where several Libyan security guards also were killed.

The US put all of its diplomatic missions overseas on high alert, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered an explicit denunciation of the video as the administration sought to pre-empt further turmoil at its embassies and consulates.

"The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video," she said before a meeting with the foreign minister of Morocco at the State Department. "We absolutely reject its content and message."

"To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible," Clinton said. "It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: To denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage."

No advance warning

US officials said they suspect that the attack at the Benghazi consulate, which had also been the target of an unsuccessful attack in June, may have been only tangentially related to the film.

They also stressed there had been no advance warning or intelligence to suggest a threat in Libya that would warrant boosting security, even on the 11th anniversary of the terror attacks of 11 September 2001.

"As we did with all of our missions overseas, in advance of the September 11 anniversary and as we do every year, we did evaluate the threat stream and we determined that the security at Benghazi was appropriate for what we knew," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.

The intelligence leading up to the attacks will be examined to "see if there was any way of forecasting this violence", as in any violent incident, House Intelligence Committee member Adam Schiff, said in an interview on Thursday.

But he said the focus now "has to be on finding out who is responsible and bringing them to justice".

According to a Reuters report, Libyan authorities have since made four arrests in the investigation into the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi on Thursday. The report cited the deputy interior minister.

'Opportunistic or spontaneous'

"Four men are in custody and we are interrogating them because they are suspected of helping instigate the events at the US consulate," Wanis Sharif told Reuters.

He gave no more details.

President Barack Obama, speaking a campaign event in Golden, Colorado, also vowed that the perpetrators would be punished.

"I want people around the world to hear me," he said. "To all those who would do us harm: No act of terror will go unpunished. I will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world. No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America."

As of Thursday morning, there was no intelligence indicating that what happened in Benghazi was planned, according to two US officials briefed on the investigation into the attack.

Intelligence officials said they believe it's more likely that the attack was "opportunistic or spontaneous", with militants taking advantage of the demonstration to launch the assault.

No ties to 9/11

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the ongoing investigation publicly.

There is also no evidence that the attack was tied to 9/11, one of the officials said.

But the Libyan-based militant group Ansar al Sharia is the leading suspect for carrying out the violence, possibly with help from al-Qaeda's main African-based offshoot, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

The officials said it may be hard to determine definitively which group was responsible, because many militants are members of both.

Despite the belief that the militants who hit the consulate did so separately from the protests over the film, US officials are deeply concerned that extremists may take advantage of non-violent demonstrations to copycat the Benghazi raid, or that otherwise peaceful protesters may be incited to attack because of the video, particularly on Friday.

It's virtually impossible to predict when a crowd might form and turn violent, according to retired US Ambassador John Negroponte, who served as chief of mission at five posts, including Iraq, and is a former director of national intelligence.

Ban denounces violence

"These things can be mobilised on the spur of the moment, set off by a spark," especially in places such as Egypt and Libya where the ruling strongmen have just fallen, Negroponte said on Thursday.

"When you get rid of authoritarian regimes, there's little or no institutional framework left. ...That's why there's disorder and chaos" that is so easily hijacked, he said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday denounced the violence, and also the provocative video. "Nothing justifies such killings and attacks," Ban said in a statement, adding that he condemns "the hateful film that appears to have been deliberately designed to sow bigotry and bloodshed".

Egypt's ruling Muslim Brotherhood called for demonstrations after Friday prayers as did authorities in Iran and the Gaza strip.

Large protests were expected in Baghdad and Iraq's second-largest city, Basra, as well as Amman, Jordan. Israel was stepping up security in anticipation of demonstrations after Muslim prayers.

The White House said it was prepared for more protests but stressed that any violence would be unjustified.

No justification: Clinton

"It is important to note that as these protests are taking place in different countries around the world, responding to the movie, that Friday, tomorrow, has historically been a day when there are protests in the Muslim world," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters in Colorado.

 "And we are watching very closely for developments that could lead to more protests. We anticipate that they may continue."

While rejecting the content of the video, Clinton stressed that no matter how offensive it is, the film cannot be used as an excuse for violence like that seen in Egypt, where a mob breached the walls of the US Embassy in Cairo on Wednesday, and in Yemen, where demonstrators tried to storm the embassy compound in Sana on Thursday.

"There is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence," Clinton said. "We condemn the violence that has resulted in the strongest terms. ... It is especially wrong for violence to be directed against diplomatic missions. These are places whose very purpose is peaceful: To promote better understanding across countries and cultures."

She then reminded foreign governments that they have a responsibility to protect embassies.

Around the world, US missions issued warnings to Americans about demonstrations that could turn violent. More than 50 embassies and consulates have released such alerts since Wednesday, the State Department said.

  • diana.gill.18 - 2012-09-14 09:28

    They have started such big song and dance around how people in Libya and Egypt violently reacted to deliberately provocative stunt. But question remains if the movie maker is going to be punished and if they prepared to serve their famous justice on him as well? They slam and condemn only the ones who murdered the US ambassador, but the blame is on both sides and everyone should equally pay for the wrong-doing.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-09-14 09:55

      Punished for what? America is a democratic country, people are free to express themselves. Freedom of expression is what the film maker has exercised. By the way, the film maker is an Egyptian living in the US. The US did not make the film.

      hallo.daar.56 - 2012-09-14 10:00

      Really bob? I pity you. You probably have no Muslim friends. Talk about backward. @Pointblank - the film maker is an American-Isreali JEW.

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-09-14 10:10

      So you name it freedom of speech if someone calls your wife a fat an ugly (w)itch right in front of you? Who is a retard after that?

      SNG62 - 2012-09-14 10:16

      Whoever made the film is really irrelevant - it was made & provoked virtually no interest until now. The reaction to the film by some Muslim elements have really done their cause no favours. They are now being protrayed as a violent, short-sighted group of zealots who have no tolerance of any non-Muslim view. I'm sure not all Muslims agree, with their current behaviour - but they will all tainted by the current situation. Reminds me a lot of the "Zuma Spear painting" debacle.

      hallo.daar.56 - 2012-09-14 10:17

      @diana - exactly. Let him have his freedom of speech. It's a pity that other people lost their lives because of it. He should have been the one who suffered. But he went into hiding. Wonder why.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-14 10:19

      I suppose Hitler was only enjoying freedom of expression with his speeches.

      bob.macphearson - 2012-09-14 10:22

      Well diana, that depends. If my wife is a fat and ugly witch then yes, its freedom of speech, if she isn't, then its libel. Regardless, neither circumstance calls for murdering some poor sod who had nothing to do with the insult in the first place. So I think the retard may still be you.

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-09-14 10:24

      @hallo.daar.56 Brady Manning had as many rights to speak freely as anyone else. Why he's been locked up?

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-09-14 10:25

      @fidel ha-ha-ha, you get my point! Let someone make a low-budget mockery of jewish extermination and we can sit back, nibble on pop-corn and watch the show.

      jaba.kov - 2012-09-14 10:34

      Hallo The film maker is NOT an American-Israeli JEW like you would have loved him to be, to support your sad and pathetic propaganda. The filmmaker is a Coptic Christian who was born in Egypt and no lives in the US...

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-09-14 10:42

      @ bob.clever.pants Problem is we christians promote ourselves as the biggest deal on earth, but the same time we dont give a damn about 10 commandments given and break them at every step, unlike muslims who are to be recognized as true believers and followers of their faith. A man who made that stupid film surely was aware of what he is trying to hurt and how deep. Either he was a low class attention seeker or a hired mess-stirrer he must be taken to a fire squad, and us, westerners, should stop been such hypocrites.

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-09-14 10:58

      @hallo.daar.56 Actually so called author is not a jew, as i believe he has used this PR move to create a sort of sensation around himself. But he IS living in the States and receives a lot of support from american Coptic community due to the movie promotion.

      bob.macphearson - 2012-09-14 11:08

      Well, diana, if you love islam so much, there are several islamic states that you can move to so that your independence, respect and value as a women can be stripped from you through islamic credence. Damn us hypocritical westerners and our fight for gender equality and freedom of speech!

      hallo.daar.56 - 2012-09-14 11:17

      Jewish propaganda machine now trying to shift blame. Regardless of what he is. Call someone names and expect a reaction. This man deserved a kick in the face. Instead the ambassador to Libya suffered. He should be smoked out of his hole and punished.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-09-14 11:19

      By the same logic every time there is a anti-american posting on the net they have the right to invade the embassies of which ever country it originates from kill its diplomats because its direct provocation. They have made offensive materials about the jews , there's a band called ethnic cleansing and their album called 'piles of dead burning jews' . There are enormous amounts of anti-jewish stuff out there even put out by govts that are enormously offensive. Then, can non-believers who are derided , insulted , demonised and percecuted because of the 'holy books' get them banned and those punished because of the deep offense they cause ? Or is it that the 'pious' (the ones who do desecrate)get exemption. There is no defence for the resort to violence and this conversation on freedom of speech should not be even held, its a debate we left behind in during the enlightenment and it should not be had again especially under violent threat because of medievil justification . Without freedom of speeach , there is no democracy , there is no free press, there is no liberty , there is no equality, there is no art and the inevitable slide back into totalitarian dogma and censorship.

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-09-14 11:22

      The movie maker has done nothing wrong and the american ambassador is innocent.

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-09-14 13:48

      For some reason i expected that sort of answer from you. Guess what i do not try to convert anyone into Islam or christianity or buddism or whatever. I live my life as it feels comfortable for me, but the same time no one has given me the right to hail myself and despise others' beliefs. One more thing to me looks like you and majority of commentators learn about Islam from what is given in dumb american blockbusters or you just pick up some odd quotations which seem to satisfy you point of view. The same time i even doubt you can spell out the correct definition of the word "Jihad".

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-09-14 14:29

      PointBlank, at this stage NO One knows who have made the film. No Egyptian Christian will have anything to do with this. They know what would happen to their fellow christian countrymen if they participate in such a thing..

      richard.hipkin - 2012-09-14 15:51

      @hallo.daar.56 - you hatred of Jews clouded your logic: "Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55-year-old Egyptian Copt living in California.." Catch a wake up.

      hallo.daar.56 - 2012-09-14 21:39

      Jews financed the film. Catch a wake up.

  • bob.houston.3939 - 2012-09-14 09:41

    I do see the big fuss.

      felix.feline.3 - 2012-09-14 10:47

      Is your split personality still hunting cougars Bob?

  • dean.strong.395 - 2012-09-14 09:43

    It has now been revealed that the US was warned about attacks 2 days prior and did not notify the embassy,

  • ben.louw.5 - 2012-09-14 09:44

    Hahaha! This is the dumbest s**t ever!! People burning down their own town and cities over some american bigots' youtube movie... a whole new level of stupid. Kinda reminds me of some folks over here...

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-09-14 11:27

      Absolutely crazy , i wonder if they even noticed how many people just died in Pakistan factory fires which would seem to be a bigger story than a amateur video posted on you tube and demand more attention, outrage and concern but when you value death more than life ?

  • alex.nkosi.39 - 2012-09-14 09:45

    Its time for united states to neutralize its foriegn policy,by simply realizing that \TOO MUCH FREEDOM DESTROYS\, look at how much this premature US foriegn policy is in jeopardy, further more,its economic interests is being affected by protests, while terrorists like al qaeda are likely to take advantage from this turmoil.

      dawood.timol - 2012-09-14 09:50

      alex,are u blindfolded, or plain DUMB. Ignorant, gullible and idiotic are the words that suit you.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-09-14 09:56

      There is no such thing as TOO MUCH freedom, either you have freedom or you don't.

  • arthur.hugh - 2012-09-14 09:50

    I don't get it, really... I saw the "movie" which looked like Gerbils wrote the script and it was filmed with a potato, why anyone would take it seriously (to this point) is beyond me. I've seen preschool plays where the acting and props were more professional.

      terence.wessels.1 - 2012-09-14 10:09

      I havnt seen it yet what's the name of the movie

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-09-14 10:27

      arthur.hugh - 2012-09-14 10:28

      here you go. If you watch more than a minute of that rubbish I'd be surprised.

  • phathuchicos - 2012-09-14 09:52

    When will US and EU citizens(like Danishes and Frenches) start respecting people of middle-east and their way of life for the sake of peace. Unlike our Jesus that Red-bull energy drink company and everyone keep making jokes about and nothing happens... there version God isn't the one to be messed with, they are prepared to kill for their Allah, US and rest of the non-muslim world just don't get this verse ey "Eh- Qur’an 9:5-Kill The Disbelievers Wherever You Find them".

      richard.hipkin - 2012-09-14 09:57

      Yawn, a bunch of goat herders taking offence and their response is one of killing and blowing things up? Islam - you can have it. I don't want it.

      bose.knows.7 - 2012-09-14 10:00

      Really azanain. Usually you put up rubbish,but this is a whole new level of "uuuuuggghhh dumb"

      Desilusionada - 2012-09-14 10:09

      Black is da new gold...loliiiiiiing... You subscribe to a statement like this above, and it is implicit in your FB name that you have serious issues. (Especially with white people). And no-one goes out and kill you, burn your house, blow up your car. Now that is called tolerance and respect for the freedom you have: to state what you want to and live your life as you want to, within the laws of the country. Now pray tell why would any one have 'respect' for people or religion that do not respect my freedom, religion and way of life? (Including making movies) Tolerance perhaps, but respect NO.............

      tommy.jones.754918 - 2012-09-14 10:14

      Haven't seen the movie, but isn't the reaction proving a point made by the video. Also, Danishes and Frenches? Guess that makes us South-Africanses?

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-14 11:00

      @PointBlank It is those same goat herders that brought light to Europe when it was in the Dark Ages!

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-09-14 14:09

      @PointBlank your point is really blank man. Before the Crusades our very much enlightened forefathers knew nothing about the rules of basic personal hygiene. I suppose it was a big revelation to them that you should wipe your butt after going for some important business or how to exterminate the lice.

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-09-14 14:35

      TheAzanian, what are Danishes and Frenches?

      richard.hipkin - 2012-09-14 15:53

      @diana, having worked in Israel for 2 years and cleaning toilets used by Muslims, I doubt your claim at personal hygienic. The most disgusting sight I have ever witnessed.

  • bradley.kecskes - 2012-09-14 10:18

    The sheep are going crazy!!

  • Tony-Lapson - 2012-09-14 11:40

    "Quran (9:5) - Kill The Disbelievers Wherever You Find them". Quran (2:191-193) - "And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]... but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. Quran (3:151) - "Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, Quran (4:74) - "Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward." Quran (111:1-5)-”In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful perish the hands of abilahab, and perish he! His wealth will not suffice him, neither what he has gained; he shall roast at a flaming fire, and his wife, laden with firewood shall have a rope of palmfiber around her neck.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-14 12:35

      You could include the Bible if you wanted to be objective, especially Deuteronomy, with all its dreadful smiting and slayings, fornications and betrayals. The Old testament is sick compilation of Jewish scripture where violence, murder, prevarication, envy, theft, whoring, idolatry, pimping one's wife as a sister, genocide,rape , etc., etc.

      Tony-Lapson - 2012-09-14 13:10

      I agree with you, the old testament is half as bad as the Quran, however you have exaggerated a bit by just naming everything that is sick and evil. Rape? Genocide? Whoring? Fornication? Theft? Envy? The rest I can agree to, especially the "Pimping of ones wife", where it instructs followers to offer up their own wife in the event that a neighbors wife may be threatened with rape. I have always had a great interest in religions of all kinds, and studied them on my travels. There is only one truly peaceful religion in this world, and that is Buddhism. Not a single word can be found in support of violence or war.

  • maricke.botha - 2012-09-14 11:45

    How many huge, high profile films have Hollywood made that is blatantly slenderness to Christianity?

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-09-14 14:39

      Maricke. botha. I remember Mel Gibson's epic when the whole Christian world got ready to crucify him.I suppose that was o.k. because they were Christians. Luckily this piece of Anti-Islam rubbish won't get much attention.

  • diana.gill.18 - 2012-09-14 14:06

    By the way question to all people who gave me thumb-downs for mentioning Brady Manning? Looks like you have nothing to oppose to the fact of he's been detained only for exercising that very right you're trying to defend so much.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-09-14 16:30

      He is enlisted in the army and is not subject to the same laws and priviledges as civilians. Doesn't even matter because the distribution of classified military information is an grievous offence , before 1970 he would have been summarily executed so actually a bit lucky.

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-09-14 14:26

    What a bunch of cowards, making a movie that cause so much grief and then go into hiding. No one really know who produced this mediocre piece of crap, but who ever he is he should be arrested and thrown in jail.

  • peddiej - 2012-09-14 17:45

    Its just a movie!! no need to kill people...

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