The Lebanon report on the murdered U.S. ambassador in Libya, Christopher Stevens, remains unconfirmed.
According to the Lebanese news organization Tayyar.org, citing AFP news sources, U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, who was killed by gunmen that stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday, was reportedly raped before being murdered. A translation of the report says :
A news report made by the Libyan Free Press is also reporting that Ambassador Stevens was sodomized before he was killed:
U.S. sources said on Wednesday they do not believe the attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, were in reaction to the online release of a film mocking Islam.
“It was not an innocent mob,” one senior official told the news network, adding, “The video or 9/11 made a handy excuse and could be fortuitous from their perspective, but this was a clearly planned military-type attack.”
The U.S. sources also said that two U.S. properties were attacked in Benghazi: first, the main compound where Stevens was, and later, and attack on another U.S. compound in Benghazi.
Regarding the attack on the main compound, a U.S. source said that three people – Stevens, Sean Smith, a U.S. Foreign Service information management officer and a security officer – were in a safe room. The house was on fire and the security officer got out. The officer then went back in for Stevens and Smith, and he found Smith’s body and retrieved it. The officer could not find Stevens, the source said.
It was also reported that a London think tank with strong ties to Libya speculated Wednesday that Stevens was the victim of a targeted al Qaeda attack “to avenge the death of Abu Yaya al-Libi, al Qaeda’s second in command killed a few months ago.”
The think tank said the attack was “the work of roughly 20 militants, prepared for a military assault.” It noted that rocket-propelled grenade launchers do not normally appear at peaceful protests, and that there were no other protests against the film elsewhere in Libya.
Libya’s Deputy Interior Minister blamed the U.S. for the attack, saying that embassy staff should have been evacuated by the United States as soon as news of the controversial film on the life of the founder of Islam was released.
“They are to blame simply for not withdrawing their personnel from the premises, despite the fact that there was a similar incident, when Abu Yahya al-Libi was killed,” Minister Wanis al-Sharif told reporters. “It was necessary that they take precautions. It was their fault that they did not take the necessary precautions,” Sharif repeated.
The “protesters” who attacked the embassy, he added, were more heavily armed than the Libyan security personnel who were assigned to protect the U.S. Consulate.
Sam Bacile, the producer of the two-hour movie “Innocence of Muslims”, (bottom of this article) has admitted that his film was intended to be a provocative statement condemning Islam.
Bacile, a U.S. citizen of Israeli descent producer and director of the film, confessed to U.S. Wall Street Journal that it is a political film.
“Islam is a cancer, period, and Muslims are bugs that need to be destroyed and I show with my movie that Islam is a religion of hatred,” Bacile said.
“It cost $5 million to make and was financed with the help of more than 100 Jewish donors and I made it for Israel,” said Bacile who also admitted that he was supported by priest Terry Jones who set a copy of Quran on fire in Florida, U.S.
Update: The self-proclaimed director of Innocence of Muslims initially claimed a Jewish and Israeli background and said he had gone into hiding because of the international controversy set off by the movie. But by Wednesday, others involved in the film said his statements about his background were contrived, and evidence mounted that the film’s key player was a southern Californian Coptic Christian with a checkered past.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, told The Associated Press in an interview outside Los Angeles that he managed logistics for the company that produced “Innocence of Muslims,” which mocked Muslims and the Prophet Mohammad and may have inflamed mobs that attacked US missions in Egypt and Libya.
Nakoula denied he had directed the film, though he said he knew the self-described filmmaker, Sam Bacile. But the mobile phone number that the AP contacted on Tuesday to reach the filmmaker who identified himself as Bacile traced to the same address near Los Angeles where Nakoula was located.
Nakoula said that he is a Coptic Christian and supported the concerns of Christian Copts about their treatment by Muslims.
Nakoula denied he had posed as Sam Bacile. Federal court papers filed in a 2010 criminal prosecution against him said Nakoula had used numerous aliases in the past. Among the fake names, the documents said, were Nicola Bacily and Erwin Salameh.
During a conversation outside his home, Nakoula offered his driver’s licence to show his identity but kept his thumb over his middle name, Basseley. Records checks by the AP subsequently found that middle name as well as other connections to the Bacile persona.
The AP located Bacile after obtaining his mobile phone number from Morris Sadek, a conservative Coptic Christian in the US who had promoted the anti-Muslim film in recent days on his website. Egypt’s Christian Coptic populace has long decried what they describe as a history of discrimination and occasional violence from the country’s Arab majority.
Well-armed Libyan extremists launched a sustained attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Tuesday, killing four State Department employees, including the American ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, and wounding three others.
The consulate, like all other U.S. diplomatic missions around the world, conducted a pre-9/11 anniversary security check. It found no imminent threat and therefore no need to boost security around the anniversary, according to senior U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the reporting of the incident is still preliminary.
What follows is a rough timeline of the attack on the consulate, according to the officials. The consulate consists of a main building and a nearby annex, each of which are protected by local Libyan guard force, a physical perimeter barrier and a “robust” American security presence inside the compounds.
All times are local Benghazi time.
10:00 p.m. Tuesday—The main consulate building begins began taking fire from unknown Libyan extremists. There are about 25 to 30 employees in the consulate and the annex at the time of the attack.
10:15 p.m.—Attackers gain access to main consulate building and set compound on fire. In the ensuring chaos, many escape the building, but Stevens, Smith and a regional security officer remain inside. They become separated due to heavy smoke and confusion while trying to evacuate. The security officer makes it outside and he and others from the consulate and annex go back into the building to try to rescue Stevens and Smith. They find Smith dead and pull him out but are forced by the flames, smoke and gunfire to withdraw before they can locate Stevens.
10:45 p.m.—A group of security officers from the annex try to take the consulate building back from the attackers, but they are repelled.
11:20 p.m.—U.S. and Libyan forces drive the attackers out of consulate and retake the main building. Everyone rescued is brought to the annex.
Midnight—The annex comes under heavy fire from the attackers. The shooting lasts more than two hours during which the other two Americans are killed and two Americans are wounded.
2:30 a.m. Wednesday—Libyan and U.S. security forces retake the annex. Officials believe that Stevens got out or was pulled out of the main consulate building during the battle for the annex and was taken to the hospital. The officials do not know if Stevens was alive when he arrived at the hospital.
6:00 a.m.—U.S. officials are told that Stevens is dead but are not able to confirm it immediately because they have not seen the body. The body is returned to U.S. personnel at the Benghazi airport at dawn. A chartered plane comes from Tripoli to Benghazi and evacuates all the consulate staff, the wounded and the remains to Tripoli.
They are all going to Ramstein, Germany. The uninjured will stay in Europe pending a security review, the wounded will be treated there at a U.S. military facility and the remains of the dead will be repatriated to the U.S.
In the aftermath of the attack, staffing at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli has been reduced to emergency levels and the U.S. has requested additional security from the Libyans. Elsewhere, all U.S. diplomatic missions around the world were ordered to review their security postures and take additional measures if needed.
The al Qaeda-linked terrorists emerged from their garrisons under a moonless sky in Benghazi, picked up their weapons and headed toward the US consulate.
The 50-person unit arrived at the mission at 10 p.m. Libya time, easily blending into a mob protesting a US-made film insulting the prophet Mohammed.
The thousands-strong protest provided the perfect cover — and the terrorists readied their AK-47 machine guns, mortars and powerful rocket-propelled grenade launchers.
They quickly stormed the consulate, fending off a group of lightly armed Libyan security guards who fired into the air only to be fired upon themselves.
After a 15-minute exchange, during which several guards were killed, the officers fled.
The terrorists then unleashed machine-gun bursts and rocket-propelled grenades into the windows. They “began firing into the main building, setting it on fire,” a senior Obama administration official said.
Inside were US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, 52, communications officer Sean Smith, 32, and an unidentified security officer.
“They became separated from each other due to the heavy dark black smoke as they were trying to evacuate the burning building,” said the official.
“The security officer made it outside and then he and other security personnel returned to the burning building in an attempt to rescue Chris and Sean.”
They found Smith dead, but “were unable . . . locate Chris before they were driven from the building by the heavy fire and smoke and the continuing small-arms fire,” said the official.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Stevens body was pulled from the consulate.
But Reuters quoted a Libyan official as saying Stevens and several staffers dashed to a nearby vehicle in an attempt to flee.
Terrorists spotted the getaway car — likely not knowing Stevens was inside — and fired at least one RPG, scoring a direct hit.
The civilians rushed Stevens to Benghazi Medical Center.
Dr. Ziad Abu Zeid, who treated Stevens, said he died of asphyxiation, apparently from smoke inhalation.
“We tried to revive him for an hour and a half, but with no success,” he said.
Stevens died at about 1 a.m. yesterday.
Elsewhere in Benghazi, about 35 other American personnel were rushed to a safe house until they could be rescued by US troops.
But that villa soon came under an attack by more heavily armed men — a well-planned assault that included a mortar barrage that killed two unidentified Americans, likely from the military, Libyan officials said.
The Libyan security guards are believed to have tipped off the terrorists about the villa’s location, officials said.
US and Libyan security officers finally regained control of the compound 80 minutes after the initial attack.
He was America’s version of James Bond — a bold, fearless figure known in Libya as a “legend.”
A lifelong diplomat, Christopher Stevens was the natural choice to act as US liaison when rebels rose up against Moammar Khadafy in 2011.
He couldn’t just fly into the country — so he hitched a ride on a Greek cargo ship and sailed into Benghazi just as the fighting erupted.
“He arrived . . . in the port of Benghazi and began building our relationships with Libya’s revolutionaries,” Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton said yesterday.
His team initially set up in a hotel — until a car bomb blew up in the parking lot and drove them out. So Stevens and his team scrambled to set up a makeshift office — and got to work.
He risked his life to stop a tyrant, then gave his life trying to help build a better Libya,” Clinton said.
The outgoing Stevens, able to relate to both high-ranking officials and the ragtag rebels, sent cables back to the US detailing Khadafy’s monstrous actions.
“It’s especially tragic because Chris Stevens died in Benghazi . . . a city he fought to save,” President Obama said.
Stevens, who was single, is the first US ambassador to die in the line of duty since Adolph Dubs died in Afghanistan in 1979.
President Obama swore him in as ambassador to Libya in May — capping a distinguished, two-decade career in the Foreign Service.
An avid athlete, Stevens took time to play tennis and went running in the rural neighborhoods of vineyards and goat farms.
On July 4, he hosted an embassy party featuring a “Libyan band that specializes in 1980s soft rock.”
And on a recent trip to Libya, Sen. John McCain teased Stevens about his prowess with a coffee machine, tweeting a picture of the ambassador making a cup of joe and noting: “One of America’s favorite diplomats also makes the best cappuccinos in Tripoli.”
A few months ago, Stevens sent an e-mail to pals, talking about how Tripoli had changed since the Khadafy years.
“The whole atmosphere has changed for the better,” he wrote. “People smile more and are much more open with foreigners. Americans, French and British are enjoying unusual popularity. Let’s hope it lasts!”
It was that winning personality that earned him the trust of revolutionaries.
But friends said he was deadly serious about his mission — even though he carried it out with his trademark easygoing nature.
He was born in California, the son of retired lawyer dad Jan Stevens and symphony orchestra cellist Mary Commanday.
He graduated from Berkeley and got a law degree from Hastings College in San Francisco. He quickly abandoned a job as a lawyer, joined the Peace Corps and went off to Morocco to teach English.
He then joined the State Department, landing posts in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Israel.
A member of Stevens’ Foreign Service training class said he was the “quintessential diplomat,’’ who was “unflappable, but not nerdy.”
“I heard about his death when I was on the road, and I just pulled over and cried,” another friend, Daniel Seidemann, an Israeli lawyer, told The Guardian of London.
“We called him ‘the senator.’ He was capable of expressing empathy with Israelis and Palestinians simultaneously in the same room without being one bit maudlin or romantic about it. This was real nobility.”
Despite his exciting, high-powered career, Stevens remained close with his boyhood friends.
Paul Feist, who met Stevens in the 1970s as a California high school freshman, recalled his slain friend in a Facebook post: “25 years ago next week, John Christopher Stevens was the best man at my wedding. Today I awoke to the horrible news that Ambassador Stevens had been killed at the U.S. consulate in eastern Libya.”
“We are grief struck,” wrote Feist. “Thank you, Chris, for being a friend and for serving your country and the international community so well and so selflessly.”
Stevens would take ski trips with friends or show up at their homes for a home-cooked meal.
“He was such an unpretentious guy,” Feist told the Sacramento Bee.
“He’d want to know about your son and how he was doing in school. He was a remarkable man.”
In Libya, friends echoed the sentiment.
“Everybody in Benghazi and Tripoli are appalled,” tweeted Omar Amer Al Barghathi, founder of the Libyan Youth Movement.
Several Libyans last night rallied to protest Stevens death.
They held up signs that read, “Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans,” and, “Sorry, People of America.”
Sean Smith Predicted His Own Death
A U.S. diplomat who was among four Americans killed in Libya was mourned Wednesday by the Internet gaming community, of which he was a well-known member.
U.S. Air Force veteran Sean Smith, a Foreign Service information management officer, was on a gaming forum just before his death and made a comment suggesting he thought he could die in the Benghazi assault.
Smith, who used the handle “Vile Rat,” was in an online conversation in which he wrote, “assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police” that guard the compound taking pictures.”
“He was on (messaging service) jabber when it happened, that’s the most f—d up thing,” said a gaming friend who uses the handle “The Mittani,” who added that Smith wrote “GUNFIRE” and then disconnected and never returned.
The friend said Smith was “my friend for over six years, both in real life and in Internet spaceships” and a key member of the online multiplayer platform Eve.
The FBI has opened an investigation into the deaths, and agents will be sent to sift through the wreckage for evidence. They will be accompanied by a second team sent just for their protection.
As part of the hunt for the attackers, officials say the U.S. will increase its surveillance over Libya, including the use of unmanned drones. In addition, the U.S. Navy is positioning two destroyers armed with cruise missiles off the coast of Libya.
The investigation will focus on whether the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya was a planned terrorist strike to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and not a spontaneous mob enraged over an anti-Islam YouTube video.
Wanis al-Sharef, a Libyan Interior Ministry official in Benghazi, said there had been threats that Islamic militants might try to take revenge for the death of al Qaeda’s No. 2 commander Abu Yahya al-Libi, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan in June, and he said the U.S. consulate should have been better protected.
Confirming al-Libi’s death for the first time in a video posted online Monday, al Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahri called on Muslims in al-Libi’s native Libya to take revenge for his death.
U.S. officials believe the militants were using the demonstration against the video as a cover to get into the consulate and then take as much revenge as they could on Americans, Martin reports.
While the White House has been hesitant to call the attack planned, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers was not so ambiguous.
“Absolutely it’s a terrorist attack,” Rogers told CBS News Capitol Hill producer Jill Jackson. “This was not done by the Libyan government. It was done by an external group we believe has at least extremist ties, maybe al Qaeda ties, and the style and the signature of the attack clearly would be something that we have seen before and would be in line with something al Qaeda would do.”
Analysts are working on several different scenarios based on intelligence that could lead to a motive for the attack. Some concern the possibility of targeting high-ranking officials, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation. But none of the intelligence thus far has suggested terrorists would specifically target Stevens, said the official who also spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.
The USA has dispatched two warships loaded with missiles and a marine team to beef up the security at its missions in Libya after American Ambassador was killed in a violent attack on its consulate in Benghazi.
Senior Obama administration officials said the 50-member Marine unit was being flown from their base in Europe. This is in addition to two US warships ~ USS Laboon and USS McFaul ~ which are now being moved to the coast of Libya.
The warships are equipped with Tomahawk missiles that could be used if the Obama administration orders a strike against those responsible for the attack on US mission. The crews of each warship equal approximately 300 people.
The move came hours after President Barack Obama said he has directed his administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of US personnel in Libya, and to increase security at diplomatic posts around the globe.
Pentagon spokesman George Little declined to comment on specific ship movements but said precautionary steps are being taken by the US military.
“The Fleet’s Anti-terrorism Security Teams (FAST) that we deploy when requested are responsible for the protection of embassy personnel and property, and they also play a role in the evacuation of personnel, as required,” the senior administration official said on condition of anonymity.
“Whether or not US military personnel will be involved in future operations to track down the perpetrators of this attack, I’m simply not going to speculate on what may or may not be in the works in the future,” the official said.
According to the official, the department of defense is working closely with the White House and state department to provide all necessary resources to support the security of US personnel in Libya.
The FAST teams were formed in 1987 to provide a quick response to security threats after a series of terror attacks on American interests in the 1970s and 1980s.
“This support includes a Marine Corps fleet anti-terrorism security team based out of Europe. The mission of this team is to secure the diplomatic facility in Tripoli, our embassy, and protect US citizens as needed,” the official said.
The USS Laboon, along with other Norfolk-based destroyers, had been recently equipped with the ballistic missile defense system.
Just short of two days after some 3,000 protesters breached the walls of the U.S. embassy and tore down the American flag in protest to a recent film that lampoons Islam and shortly after the U.S. ambassador and three other personnel members were killed in Libyan riots, new riots broke out in Cairo Wednesday night, into Thursday morning.
Riot police fired warning shots and tear gas outside the U.S. Embassy to keep hundreds of protesters away. Six police officers suffered minor injuries during the clashes, according to the Interior Ministry. Protesters received medical treatment inside ambulances.
The protest turned violent when demonstrators threw rocks and broke through barbed wire fencing outside the embassy, according to the Interior Ministry. Two police trucks and a car were set afire.
The protests are happening in Tahrir Square.
Many of the protesters were chanting anti-U.S. slogans, according to reporters at the scene.
Egyptian President, Muhammed Morsy referred to Egypt’s moral duty to protect and respect diplomatic missions and its opposition to violent protesters.
“The presidency condemns in the strongest terms the attempt of a group to insult the place of the Messenger, the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and condemns the people who have produced this radical work,” the president wrote in a statement posted on his Facebook page.
“The Egyptian people, both Muslims and Christians, refuse such insults on sanctities.”
“…the Egyptian government is responsible to protect private and public properties and diplomatic missions in addition to embassy headquarters of various countries” and that “it respects and protects the right of expression and the right to protest peacefully under the law and will firmly oppose any irresponsible attempt to veer off the law.” he wrote. On Wolf Blitzer’s show on CNN, guest Dan Rather said, “The Arab spring became the Arab winter and now a very hard Arab winter is setting in.” He also said, analyzing recent events in the Middle East, “The center cannot hold, there is a battle going on for the national soul of Egypt and Libya.”
YouTube, the video website owned by Google Inc, will not remove a film clip mocking the Islamic Prophet Mohammed that has been blamed for anti-U.S. protests in Egypt and Libya, but it has blocked access to it in those countries, as mystery remained over exactly who was behind the anti-Islam film.
The clip, based on a longer film, depicts the prophet as a fraud and philanderer and has been blamed for sparking violence at U.S. embassies in Cairo and Benghazi. U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other American diplomats were killed by gunmen in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday.
Google’s response to the crisis highlighted the struggle faced by the company, and others like it, to balance free speech with legal and ethical concerns in an age when social media can impact world events.
Analysts say they have seen a handful of Internet companies generally take a more hands-off approach to controversial political speech, perhaps motivated by idealistic and business considerations.
In a brief statement on Wednesday, Google officials rejected the notion of removing the video on grounds it did not violate YouTube’s policies, but restricted viewers in Egypt and Libya from loading it due to the special circumstances in the country.
“This video — which is widely available on the Web — is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube,” Google said in a statement. “However, given the very difficult situation in Libya and Egypt, we have temporarily restricted access in both countries.”
The company added: “Our hearts are with the families of the people murdered in yesterday’s attack in Libya.”
The 14-minute clip is a trailer for a film called the “Innocence of Muslims,” widely attributed to a man who described himself as a California-based Israeli Jew named Sam Bacile.
Under Google’s procedures, YouTube users can flag objectionable content. It is reviewed by a team of Google staff scattered around the world. By late Thursday, a copy of the video had been viewed more than 122,000 times and had been flagged by users for removal, but it remained.
When videos come under review, YouTube weighs the content against “community guidelines,” which prohibit hate speech, including speech that attacks or demeans a group based on religion. The guidelines can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/t/community–guidelines.
“They’ve had a number of years to be thinking about free speech issues,” Harvard law professor Jonathan Zittrain said.
“I can see them trying to keep an eye on the longer term and not wanting to go down the slippery slope of entertaining more and more demands to take things down. That can be corrosive in the longer haul.”
Observers say Google has grown more averse to removing videos. After its 2006 acquisition of YouTube, it was accused of censorship in several high-profile controversies.
“They’re squeezed on all sides,” said Rebecca MacKinnon, a fellow at the New America Foundation. “But because of pressure from a lot of people who feel they made the wrong decisions, they now generally err on the side of keeping things up.”
In recent years, Google has used technology to filter out videos in certain countries to comply with local regulations. Twitter announced a similar technology to censor tweets by country this year.
Others say Google has not done enough and bears a responsibility to police hate- speech more closely.
In 2008, Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut accused Google of not doing enough to remove YouTube videos produced by Islamic militants. An Italian court in 2010 convicted four Google executives of invasion of privacy after faulting the company for not moving quickly enough to pull a video of an autistic child being bullied.
Pastor Terry Jones, a Florida pastor who is promoting the Innocence of Muslims film that sparked the anti-US protests in Libya and Egypt, rejected criticism of his involvement, although he said he “regretted” the loss of life at the US consulate in Benghazi.
“People who are aware of the dangers of Islam are happy that someone is standing up to it,” he said in an interview at his fundamentalist Christian church in Gainesville, where a full-sized effigy of Osama bin Laden hangs from a gallows outside.
“I feel for the families of those who died, I understand that it’s tragic when loved ones are lost, but the fault lies with the radical Islamists who did this, not us 5,000 miles away and not a threat to anybody.”
The U.S. military’s top officer has urged the pastor to disavow a film that has ignited violent protests over its portrayal of the Islamic faith, a spokesman said Wednesday.
A day after a deadly assault on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi, General Martin Dempsey made a direct appeal to Pastor Terry Jones to reject the film to defuse tensions.
“In the brief call, Gen. Dempsey expressed his concerns over the nature of the film, the tensions it will inflame and the violence it will cause,” his spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan said in an email.
“He asked Mr Jones to consider withdrawing his support for the film,” he said.
Gaza: Dozens of people were protesting in Gaza City on Thursday at an anti-Islam film.
Witnesses said the protesters burnt US and Israeli flags and chanted, “Death to America! Death to Israel!”
They also burnt black-and-white pictures of a person believed to be the producer of the film. Some young men waved black flags of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a radical armed faction active in Gaza.
The protest was in Gaza City’s Rimal neighborhood, which houses the headquarters of international organizations such as UNRWA, the UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the World Health Organization.
International organizations shut their offices for one day as a precautionary measure.
Yemen: Protesters angered by an anti-Islam film have stormed the U.S. Embassy compound in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.
The protesters were on the embassy’s grounds but did not enter the building housing the offices.
Before storming the embassy compound today, the demonstrators removed the embassy’s sign on the outer wall and set tires ablaze.
Once inside the compound, they brought down the U.S. flag and burned it.
Yemen is home to al-Qaida’s most active branch and the United States is the main foreign supporter of the Yemeni government’s counterterrorism campaign.
Tunisia: Police fired teargas and rubber bullets into the air today to disperse a protest over a US-made film depicting the Prophet Mohammad near the US Embassy in the capital Tunis, reporters said.
Around 200 protesters, many of whom with long beards and wearing robes, threw rocks at the police, burned US flags and chanted slogans such as “Obama, Obama, we are here for the triumph of Islam” and “Mohammad is the master of creation”.
Police chased the protesters away while Tunisian army soldiers guarded the embassy building. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
Nigeria: Police chief on Wednesday ordered “24-hour water-tight security” at all foreign embassies and missions following attacks in Libya that killed the US ambassador to Tripoli and three others.
Explaining the “red alert” issued on Wednesday, police spokesman Frank Mba said that violence in Libya “easily could ricochet in other parts of the world.”
Police chief Mohammed Abubakar has ordered “a 24-hour water-tight security in and around all embassies and foreign missions in Nigeria as well as other vulnerable targets,” a police statement said.
Sudan: Hundreds of Sudanese protesters infuriated by a film ridiculing the Muslim religion and its prophet Mohammed demonstrated outside the U.S. embassy in the suburbs of the capital Khartoum on Wednesday.
A U.S. embassy official in Khartoum said that a group of few hundred people calling themselves the “Sudanese youth” demonstrated outside the embassy on Wednesday and delivered a memorandum demanding an apology for the film and its removal from Youtube.
The anonymous official said that the embassy compound was not touched.
President Barack Obama: 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.
Hillary Clinton: It is with profound sadness that I share the news of the death of four American personnel in Benghazi, Libya, yesterday. Among them were United States Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith. We are still making next of kin notifications for the other two individuals. Our hearts go out to all their families and colleagues.
A 21-year veteran of the Foreign Service, Ambassador Stevens died last night from injuries he sustained in the attack on our office in Benghazi.
I had the privilege of swearing in Chris for his post in Libya only a few months ago. He spoke eloquently about his passion for service, for diplomacy and for the Libyan people. This assignment was only the latest in his more than two decades of dedication to advancing closer ties with the people of the Middle East and North Africa, which began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. As the conflict in Libya unfolded, Chris was one of the first Americans on the ground in Benghazi. He risked his own life to lend the Libyan people a helping hand to build the foundation for a new, free nation. He spent every day since helping to finish the work that he started. Chris was committed to advancing America’s values and interests, even when that meant putting himself in danger.
Sean Smith was a husband and a father of two, who joined the Department ten years ago. Like Chris, Sean was one of our best. Prior to arriving in Benghazi, he served in Baghdad, Pretoria, Montreal and most recently The Hague.
All the Americans we lost in yesterday’s attacks made the ultimate sacrifice. We condemn this vicious and violent attack that took their lives, which they had committed to helping the Libyan people reach for a better future.
America’s diplomats and development experts stand on the front lines every day for our country. We are honored by the service of each and every one of them.
U.S Embassy, Cairo – Prior to the attack: The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.
After the attack- via Twitter: The American embassy in Cairo sends a message on Twitter that it “still stands” by their initial statement. The message was later deleted.
This morning’s condemnation (issued before protest began) still stands. As does our condemnation of unjustified breach of the Embassy
British Prime Minister David Cameron: “This senseless attack ended the lives of people who had worked selflessly alongside Libyans during their darkest days. We look to the new Libyan authorities to do all in their power … to bring the killers to justice. …”
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor on California-based moviemaker Sam Bacile, the man apparently behind the Muhammad movie, who claims to be an Israeli Jew: “Anything he did or said has nothing to do whatsoever with Israel. … This was not done with or for or through Israel.”
Libyan interim President Mohammed el-Megarif: “We extend our apology to America, the American people and the whole world.”
Afghanistan: The Government on Wednesday strongly condemned anti-Islam film which insults Prophet Muhammad.
Afghanistan banned the YouTube website on Wednesday to stop Afghans watching a U.S.-made film insulting the Prophet Mohammad.
The Afghan presidential palace following a statement said, with deep sadness, we found out that the producer made a film in the United States which allegedly insults the Prophet Mohammad.
The Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan strongly and resolutely denounces this desecrating act and declares its serious abhorrence in the face of such an insult.
In fact, insult to the ‘’greatest Prophet’’ of Islam means insult to high values of 1.5 billion Muslims across the world.
This offensive act has stoked inter-faith enmity and confrontation and badly impacted the peaceful coexistence between human beings.
This heinous act has created outrage and anxiety for all peace-loving humans who back up the idea of peaceful coexistence.
The Government of Afghanistan strongly calls for efforts to prevent the release of this insulting film along with the video-clip currently promoting it as well as demands that such an evil act of the film producer and radical Pastor is not to be allowed to further affect sentiments of our people in the Muslim world.
The US embassy in Kabul on Wednesday appealed to Afghan leaders to help in “maintaining calm” after an anti-Muslim video in the US had led to the killing of diplomats in Libya.
Pakistan has condemned a US-made video insulting the Prophet Mohammed and thought to have contributed to a mob attack on the US consulate in Libya, which killed the ambassador and three other Americans.
The event has hurt Muslims across the world, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement issued late Wednesday.
“Such abominable actions, synchronizing with commemoration of atrocious events like 9/11, provoke hatred, discord and enmity within societies and between peoples of various faiths.”
The statement said Pakistan believed that “all manifestations of extremist tendencies must be opposed.”
Iran: Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparsat strongly condemned the anti-Islam film which sparked riots in Egypt and Libya on Tuesday claiming it was offensive to Prophet Muhammad.
“The systematic and constant silence on the part of the US administration in respect to such disgusting acts is the primary cause for their continuation,” he said in a statement.
Indonesia demanded Thursday that YouTube block an anti-Islamic film that has triggered violent protests to prevent it being watched in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
“We demand YouTube block the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ videos from being watched in Indonesia,” Communications and Information Ministry spokesman Gatot Dewa Broto told AFP.
“We are also working with Internet service providers here to block access,” he said. “We are still in talks with YouTube management and believe they will cooperate,” Broto added, saying no deadline had been set.
“The film certainly is offensive… and has upset Indonesian Muslims. We don’t wish for anyone to be provoked by it and for violence to break out here,” Broto said.
An instant consensus appears to have developed among reporters and commentators that Mitt Romney made a mistake when he released a statement last night condemning the Obama administration’s response to attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt. At Romney’s hastily-arranged news conference in Florida Wednesday morning, nearly every question was predicated on the assumption that Romney’s statement was a miscalculation. Also on Wednesday morning, journalist Mark Halperin, a reliable indicator of media insider sentiment, tweeted that Romney’s decision at the news conference to repeat his criticism of the Obama administration’s action could be the “most craven and ill-advised move of ’12.”
But Romney was, and is, right. As events in Benghazi and Cairo unfolded, the Obama administration’s first instinct was to apologize for any offense Muslims might have taken from an Internet video, made in America, that mocked and ridiculed the prophet Mohammed, and which the radicals cited as the cause for their actions. In his original statement last night, 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.” Then, on Wednesday morning, Romney said the administration “was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt instead of condemning their actions.”
And that is exactly what the administration did. First, when embassy staff in Cairo knew there was trouble but before Islamist radicals overran the walls, the embassy released this statement:
The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.
That was before the most serious problems. Afterward the radicals had breached the walls, torn down the American flag and replaced it with an Islamist banner, the embassy sent out a tweet (now deleted), which said: “This morning’s condemnation (issued before protest began) still stands. As does our condemnation of unjustified breach of the Embassy.” It is not clear if the embassy actually sent out a statement condemning the breach, but it most certainly sent out a statement condemning any possible offense against Muslim sensibilities.
Then, early Thursday morning, after the extent of the violence in Libya and Egypt was known, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a three-sentence statement, the first two sentences of which addressed possible offense to Muslims. “The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others,” Clinton said. “Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.” Clinton’s statement was: Regret, affirmation, condemnation, in that order.
So after the initial statement of apology for the video, there were two statements in which the Obama administration reacted apologetically to the attacks in Libya and Egypt. When Romney took to the microphone in Florida, he was careful to say that the administration “was wrong to stand by” its original pre-attack apology.
To the Romney campaign, the events reveal an administration that is too eager to apologize for the United States. “When you have a situation that is unfolding rapidly, a lot of times people fall back to first instinct, and in that first instinct, which is more reflex than strategic thought sometimes, you get to see what they think is most important,” says former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a prominent spokesman for the Romney campaign. Pawlenty says that one might assume the administration would instantly condemn such attacks, “but it takes them three statements and the better part of a day to get to that point.”
About 7:20 Wednesday morning, President Obama released a statement that first and foremost condemned the attacks. Only after that condemnation did Obama add, “While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally opposed the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.”
Later Wednesday morning, both the president and Secretary of State Clinton made second statements, both tough condemnations of the violence. But Romney remains right: the administration’s first instinct was to express regret for hurting any Muslim feelings, and not to strongly condemn attacks against the United States.
In Case You Have Missed it, Here is a sneak peek of The Video That Has Caused Muslims to be Muslims
Many news sources were used in compiling this report. Hat tips to those that sent me information while I was working on this – Vin.