Just after midnight Saturday morning, authorities descended on the Cerritos home of the man believed to be the filmmaker behind the anti-Muslim movie that has sparked protests and rioting in the Muslim world.
The day after the murderous assault on the US consulate in Benghazi, and in the face of an ongoing mob assault on the US embassy in Cairo, and on US embassies in Yemen and Tunis, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called pastor Terry Jones in Florida and asked him to withdraw his support for a film that depicts Mohammed negatively. Dempsey’s belief that a third-rate riff on Mohammed supported by a marginal figure in Florida is the cause of the terrorist attacks on US embassies is not simply shocking. It is devastating.
It means that the senior officer in the US military is of the opinion that the party to blame for the assaults on US government installations overseas was an American pastor. To prevent the recurrence of such incidents, freedom of speech must be constrained…
A cursory consideration of the events that are still taking place makes clear these were not acts of spontaneous rage about an amateur internet movie. They were premeditated. In Egypt, the mob was led by Muhammad al-Zawahiri, the brother of al-Qa’ida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri…
The day before the attacks, al-Qa’ida released a video of Ayman al-Zawahiri in which he called for his co-religionists to attack the US in retribution for the killing in June of his second-in-command Abu Al Yahya al-Libi by a US drone in Pakistan. Zawahiri asked for the strongest act of retribution to be carried out in Libya…
In an online posting the night before he was killed, US Foreign Service information officer Sean Smith warned of the impending strike. Smith wrote, “Assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures.”
The co-ordinated, premeditated nature of the attack was self-evident. The assailants were armed with rocket-propelled grenades and machineguns. They knew the location of the secret safe house to which the US consular officials fled. They laid ambush to a marine force sent to rescue the 37 Americans hiding at the safe house. Yet Clinton and Dempsey could not fathom why the attack occurred.
According to one of the Libyan security guards who was stationed at one of the gates armed with only a radio, the assault began simultaneously from three directions.
Heavy machine guns and rocket -propelled grenades were used…After the consulate was attacked and set on fire, a number of Americans escaped to a safe-house in another part of the city. But that came under attack too….
A few hours later, Mabrouk said he received another call from Tripoli about the arrival of a U.S. team at Benghazi airport that needed transport into the city.
He met the seven Americans, who were heavily armed but not in military uniform, on the runway and provided them with an armed escort, he said.
As soon as the two vehicles carrying the seven Americans arrived at the safe house, they came under intense attackâ€”including a volley of grenades and machine-gun fire.Â
The president of Libya’s General National Congress claimed on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the assault was timed to coincide with the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Mohammed Yussef Magariaf blamed “people who entered the country a few months ago” from Mali and Algeria for mounting the assault that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others.
Sen. John McCain, the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, also said the violence bore the hallmarks of premeditation.
“How spontaneous is a demonstration when people bring rocket-propelled grenades and heavy weapons?” he said on CBS.
And the House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, told CNN early indications are it was a “well-planned probably terrorist” attack.
But on several morning news shows, America’s U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice insisted a preliminary investigation suggests it was not a coordinated, premeditated action.
IfÂ this videoÂ is genuine, the Libyan crowd trying to “rescue” the murdered US ambassador seems rather happy at his fate.
Several of the hundreds of demonstrators who marched on the city’s US consulate were carrying the black flags adopted by the proscribed terror organisation and its splinter groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq.
This is the behaviour of a drunkenly humiliated people: swinging wildly with the hope of landing a blow, any blow…
The protest is the point… Outrage and aggression is an intoxicating prospect for the powerless….
That’s why, when Gallup polled 35 Muslim-majority countries, it found that of all the gripes against the West, among the most pervasive is the West’s ‘’disrespect for Islam’’. And it is this disrespect that is the overarching grievance that subsumes others.
Everything can be thrown into this vortex: Swiss minaret bans, French niqab bans, military invasions, drone strikes, racist stereotyping, and yes, even films so ridiculously bad that, left to their own devices, they would simply lampoon themselves…
Sometimes you need a scandal to demonstrate an underlying disease. And that’s the good news here. The vast bulk of Saturday’s protesters were peaceful, and Muslim community organisations are lining up to condemn the outbreak of violence.
That’s the usual Aly stuff. Unrepresentative minority. Understand the anger. See what you’ve done to provoke it. Let’s not question the faith itself. Yada yada yada.
But this time Aly complains that victimology “grants an extraordinary level of power to those doing the offending”, and adds:
The trouble is that in our digital world, there is always something to oblige [if you search for offence]. Anyone can Google their prejudices, and there is always enraging news to share with others. Indeed entire online communities gather around the sharing of offensive material and subsequent communal venting. Soon you have a subculture: a sub-community whose very cohesion is based almost exclusively on shared grievance. Then you have an identity that holds an entirely impoverished position: that to be defiantly angry is to be.
Frankly, Muslims should find that prospect catastrophic.
Peter Fitzsimons runs even drier of excusesÂ – now that Islamists are bashing police in his home city, and not simply murdering 3000 people in America.
The non-discriminatory principle in our immigration is sacred, and rightly so. But it is not unreasonable for Australians to ask whether they are importing a population disproportionately prone to extremism.