Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for September 12th, 2012

Thanks for all the help, Israel. You’re a great ally. /updated

Posted by Charles II on September 12, 2012

[9/13: blockquote location corrected. The question of the identity of the film maker is coming into question. Via Juan Cole, a Coptic Christian by the name of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has been identified as involved in the film. Basseley-Bacile… could be the guy. Steve Klein, a Christian activist involved in the film is a Marine, not on active duty, who is anti-abortion protester. Therefore, my suggestion that there’s involvement by any Israeli is premature and possibly wrong–though based on the same organization which identified the film maker as an Israeli yesterday. But the outrageous OpEd in the Jerusalem Post–that is, unfortunately, all too representative of what passes for thought on the Israeli right.]
It’s not fair to blame an entire nation for one man. But Sam Bacile, in the film he made with Terry Jones, the “pastor” who planned to burn Korans purely to inflame Muslim opinion, is sadly representative of a strain of thinking in the Israeli right.

Amy Goodman, quoting the AP:

“Speaking by phone … from an undisclosed location, writer and director Sam Bacile” — if that’s how it’s pronounced, B-A-C-I-L-E — ‘remained defiant, saying Islam is a cancer and that the 56-year-old intended his film to be a provocative political statement condemning the religion.’

It goes on to say, ‘The two-hour movie, Innocence of Muslims, cost $5 million to make… The film claims Muhammad was a fraud. An English-language 13-minute trailer on YouTube shows an amateur cast performing a wooden dialogue of insults disguised as revelations about Muhammad, whose obedient followers are presented as a cadre of goons.

‘It depicts Muhammad as a feckless philanderer who approved of child sexual abuse, among other overtly insulting claims that have caused outrage.'”

A lot of Christians got p–sed by The Last Temptation of Christ, which doesn’t come anywhere to delivering the sort of deliberate offense that Innocence of Muslims apparently conveys. So it’s not hard to see how Muslims could get whipped up over this much more egregious insult.

It is, of course, outrageous that they would then murder the American ambassador at Benghazi and three other people who are completely innocent of having created or promoted the film. This is what one Libyan journalist said about the late ambassador (from DemocracyNow):

NIZAR SARIELDIN: Well, yes, I did meet him once in a demonstration in Tahrir Square, and he was alone talking to the people without guards. He trusted the people. He loved the people, and the people loved him so much. And I think that he respected. And he was going around with no high security in the beginning. And then he disappeared, of course, after the frequent incident happened in Benghazi. They start to have higher security. And after the attack on the embassy by the RPG like months ago, he disappeared. We didn’t know if he’s in Benghazi or in Tripoli.

So, the protestors killed a good, decent man, a career civil servant and not a political appointee, a man who empathized with Libya.

One feels deep sympathy for the innocents who were killed. One can feel some understanding of the people who got riled up over the film, though never with murder. But what about people like Sam Bacile and Terry Jones, who exist only to stir hatred?

And what about the Israeli right, from whose members I keep hearing anti-Muslim rhetoric like Bacile’s? And crap like this piece from Seth Frantzman of the JPost:

WHAT IS fascinating is that, as if in lock-step with the religious fanatics and hooligans, the US Embassy condemned not the violation of its diplomatic post or the incitement, but rather America. Yes, the US Embassy condemned America by blaming freedom of speech that “hurt religious feelings.”

Let’s understand the full implication of this. The US Embassy was aware that a riot would take place on 9/11. In order to be aware of the riot, it had to have been aware of its cause, namely a home-made movie. Yet the embassy staff saw fit to condemn the “continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.”

It’s a perfect echo of Mitt Romney:

“…I think it’s a — a terrible course for America to stand in apology for our values. That instead, when our grounds are being attacked, and being breached, that the first response to the United States must be outrage at the breach of the sovereignty of our nation. And apology for America’s values is never the right course.”

The embassy’s statement, however, came before the protests — not after, as Romney claimed.

This is the kind of knotheaded defense of the indefensible and attack on the unassailable that increasingly makes Americans wonder whether our national interests–as opposed to the interests of the Republican Party– are really served by the alliance with Israel.

Posted in israel | 2 Comments »

What Was That Again About Republicans Being Good At National Security?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 12, 2012

As was noted yesterday, Kurt Eichenwald explains in a recent NYT opinion-section piece that the reason George W. Bush blew off the repeated warnings about Al-Qaeda from the CIA as well as from the outgoing Clinton Administration’s national security team is because the neocon PNAC Platoonies he installed in the Pentagon (Wolfowitz et al) were saying that the CIA and the Clintonites had been fooled by Saddam, who was using Al-Qaeda to distract the US’ attention from the grand PNAC goal (inspired by the whisperings of Ahmad Chalabi) to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein’s neo-Socialist secularist government.

To my great and pleased astonishment, not only did Rachel Maddow have Eichenwald on her show last night, but NPR actually interviewed him yesterday morning as well. That’s how I learned about this story in the first place. Here’s the audio interview, with transcript.

From the interview transcript:

INSKEEP: Now, as I said, in the 9/11 report there had been hints of this debate before. Paul Wolfowitz is mentioned in the 9/11 report as being a Defense Department official who was doubtful about the warnings.

But at the same time, when you read that report, you do get a sense of a government that is trying to activate itself. You have warnings to Americans overseas in that period. You have warnings to airlines. You have U.S. troops on alert in a number of countries. You have ships putting out to sea. But what are you saying that they failed to do that they could have done in that circumstance?

EICHENWALD: There’s a difference between putting out a warning and going on high alert. In December of 1999, the CIA was picking up a lot of information that there was going to be an attack. And they went, you know, pedal to the metal. You had every division of the government that was ramped up full force.

The December of 1999 high alert was of course occasioned by the Millenium Plot, which the US was able to foil because the Clinton Administration actually heeded the CIA’s warnings and paid careful attention to them:

Richard Clarke, who had been President Bill Clinton’s counterterrorism chief and stayed in that job after Bush took office, said the Clinton administration reacted to such threats with urgent top-level meetings to “shake the trees” at the FBI, CIA, Customs and other relevant agencies.

Clarke said senior managers would respond by going back to their agencies to demand a search for any overlooked information and to put rank-and-file personnel on high alert, as happened when an al-Qaeda plot to bomb Millennium celebrations was thwarted in 1999.

“In December 1999, we received intelligence reports that there were going to be major al-Qaeda attacks,” Clarke said on CNN’s “Larry King Live” two years ago. “President Clinton asked his national security adviser Sandy Berger to hold daily meetings with the attorney general, the FBI director, the CIA director and stop the attacks.

“Every day they went back from the White House to the FBI, to the Justice Department, to the CIA and they shook the trees to find out if there was any information. You know, when you know the United States is going to be attacked, the top people in the United States government ought to be working hands-on to prevent it and working together.

”Now, contrast that with what happened in the summer of 2001, when we even had more clear indications that there was going to be an attack. Did the President ask for daily meetings of his team to try to stop the attack? Did (national security adviser) Condi Rice hold meetings of her counterparts to try to stop the attack? No.”

Ah, yes. Sandy Berger tried to warn Condi, but — being a neocon — she wouldn’t listen. And later, when the news first hit about how Team Bush ignored the repeated warnings by Berger, Clarke, the CIA and other parts of the national-security apparatus, the Bush crowd’s first instinct was to lash out against Sandy Berger with trumped-up charges in connection with his research for the book he was writing, an attack against Berger that even many Republicans at the time (such as the Wall Street Journal‘s editorial staff) condemned.

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