The attacks against the US Embassy in Cairo and the US consulate in Bengazi Libya continue to resonate against the backdrop of domestic election politics in the US and the Obama Administration has to deal with the ongoing crisis that appears to be spreading to other countries as a result of protests against a film of bizarre provenance. Protests and riots are being reported in Tunisia as well against the publication of a film depicting Mohammad in derogatory fashion.
The origins of the film are still rather cryptic. Sam Bacile appears to have been involved in the film, and it was financed/promoted by one Morris Sedak and later promoted by pastor Terry Jones. Bacile's background will get scrutinized, but there's quite a few inconsistencies:
The bottom line is that we know very little about Sam Bacile, the man who produced the film. But The Wall Street Journal caught up with Bacile before he went into hiding.The term agent provocateur seems to be the best description. The video footage is amateurish and there's no indication that Bacile has any connection to the film industry whatsoever. There's no reference to him in imdb.com and we have only what he's said about his background to go on.
According to the Journal, Bacile raised "$5 million from 100 Jewish donors" and he produced the film using 60 actors and 45 crew members.
Bacile told the Journal that he made the film to expose "Islam as a hateful religion."
"Islam is a cancer," he told the paper. "The movie is a political movie. It's not a religious movie."
In another interview, Bacile told the Associated Press that he was a real estate developer and an Israeli Jew, but Israeli authorities told the wire service they have no records of him being a citizen.
Our library did not turn up any footprint for Bacile. They found no property, phone, licenses nor court records. And Bacile had not made news until today.
While the protesters in Egypt overran the embassy and briefly hoisted a protest flag, the situation in Libya may have been cover for a sophisticated terror operation against the embassy. The protests against the film there were a pretext for the attack.
Officials in Washington studying the events of the past 24 hours have focused on the differences between the protests on the American embassy in Cairo and the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, the Libyan city where Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and the other Americans were killed.Libyan security forces were attempting to defend the US embassy but were overrun by the attacking terrorists. Secretary of State Clinton made clear that the attack was not by the Libyan government or the people but a small group determined to break US resolve in the region.
The protesters in Cairo appeared to be a genuinely spontaneous unarmed mob angered by an anti-Islam video produced in the United States. By contrast, it appeared the attackers in Benghazi were armed with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. Intelligence reports are inconclusive at this point, officials said, but indications suggest the possibility that an organized group had either been waiting for an opportunity to exploit like the protests over the video or perhaps even generated the protests as a cover for their attack.
President Obama strongly condemned the killings and ordered increased security at American diplomatic posts around the world. American defense officials said 50 Marines were en route to Libya to strengthen security at United States diplomatic facilities, and the State Department ordered all “nonemergency” personnel out of the country and warned Americans not to go there, suggesting that further attacks were possible.
The death of Mr. Stevens was the first of an American envoy abroad in more than two decades.
“These four Americans stood up for freedom and human dignity,” Mr. Obama said in a televised statement from the White House Rose Garden, where he stood with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. “Make no mistake: we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.”
Mr. Obama also offered praise for the Libyan government, noting that Libyan security forces fought back against the mob, helped protect American diplomats and took Mr. Stevens’s body to the hospital. “This attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya,” he said.
The mission that drew Chris and Sean and their colleagues to Libya is both noble and necessary, and we and the people of Libya honor their memory by carrying it forward. This is not easy. Today, many Americans are asking – indeed, I asked myself – how could this happen? How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how complicated and, at times, how confounding the world can be.
But we must be clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group – not the people or Government of Libya. Everywhere Chris and his team went in Libya, in a country scarred by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners. And when the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to defend our post. Some were wounded. Libyans carried Chris’ body to the hospital, and they helped rescue and lead other Americans to safety. And last night, when I spoke with the President of Libya, he strongly condemned the violence and pledged every effort to protect our people and pursue those responsible.
The friendship between our countries, borne out of shared struggle, will not be another casualty of this attack. A free and stable Libya is still in America’s interest and security, and we will not turn our back on that, nor will we rest until those responsible for these attacks are found and brought to justice. We are working closely with the Libyan authorities to move swiftly and surely. We are also working with partners around the world to safeguard other American embassies, consulates, and citizens.
There will be more time later to reflect, but today, we have work to do. There is no higher priority than protecting our men and women wherever they serve. We are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet. America’s commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear – there is no justification for this, none. Violence like this is no way to honor religion or faith. And as long as there are those who would take innocent life in the name of God, the world will never know a true and lasting peace.
Meanwhile, the New York Times is reporting that the Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a statement about the unspeakable idiot who produced the film that sparked the protests, riots, and which may have been used as cover for a terror attack that killed the US Ambassador to Libya. The NY Times reports:
Yigal Palmor, the spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said in a telephoned statement: “Nobody knows who he is. He is totally unknown in filmmaking circles in Israel. And anything he did — he is not doing it for Israel, or with Israel, or through Israel in any way.” Mr. Palmor also called the filmmaker “a complete loose cannon and an unspeakable idiot.”Israel has further said that there's no evidence that Bacile is Israeli, and that he was acting on his own. At the same time Bacile was contacted from an undisclosed location and claims that the deaths of the Ambassador could be attributed the perpetrators and to lax security at the embassy and not his own actions. Really? That's what he's going to go with?
The Atlantic sheds more light, and it appears that Bacile is a misdirection play.
"Bacile" also claimed to be a California real estate developer, but there's no record of that either. He's not listed in any directories or incorporations or real estate deeds and is not licensed in California as a real estate broker.
There's also more information about another player in this, Morris Sedak. He is apparently the head of the National Coptic Assembly in the United States. He has no room for tolerance or coexistence with Muslims. He sees Egypt as being occupied by Muslims, and has used his position to shape Coptic Christian positions in Egypt and abroad.
Coptic Christians living abroad, many of whom are instrumental in developing public opinion, want little or nothing to do with inclusion and tolerance. Leading that charge are figures like Morris Sadek, the head of the National Coptic Assembly in the United States. He has on a number of occasions argued that Egypt is the national homeland of Copts and Muslims – the vast majority in the country – are an “occupying force.” It’s not difficult to see where mistrust can be manifested.Despite that, Sedak sees himself as a human rights advocate, and while there have been numerous instances of Copts being persecuted, his solution doesn't appear to be any better. At the same time, Sedak's Egyptian citizenship was revoked last year by the Egyptian courts, claiming that he called for war against Egypt.
Likewise, there are radical conservative Muslim leaders, spouting nonsense against their Christian sisters and brothers from the pulpit. They tell their congregations of the threat the “infidel” has upon Islamic society in Egypt. No wonder Muslims have little desire to know and understand their Christian counterparts.
Then, there's a self-described consultant to the film, Steve Klein, who, according to the SPLC, has trained paramilitary militias and far right groups, including the Church of Kaweah.
Klein is a Marine veteran who served in the Vietnam War and is based in Hemet, Calif. He believes that his state is riddled with Muslim Brotherhood sleeper cells “who are awaiting the trigger date and will begin randomly killing as many of us as they can,” according to an article in the Spring 2012 issue of the SPLC Intelligence Report.
Over the years, Klein has worked with a variety of far-right groups, including the Church at Kaweah, which the SPLC lists as a hate group. The Church of Kaweah is a secretive cohort of militant Christian fundamentalists in California who are preparing for war and who believe that churches should avoid government regulation and answer only to God. Kaweah has its own militia, headed by David “Dutch” Johnson (aka Dutch Joens), a longtime antigovernment veteran of the militia movement. Johnson looks forward to the battle that will begin when “Dictator Obongo” institutes martial law. He has called Mexicans savages “who can’t run their own government” and recommended sending guns to drug cartels to “decrease the excess population in Mexico so they don’t come north.”
Labels: Egypt, hate speech, Libya, protests, religion, Sam Bacile, sectarian violence, terrorism