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The Arab Autumn

I suppose you’ve all heard about the appalling attacks on the US Embassy in Cairo and the Benghazi consulate. The obvious reason that the Benghazi attack is bigger news is the murder of the US Ambassador and three other staff. Both attacks of course were apparently precipitated by a movie on Youtube. I shall mainly concentrate on the Egyption outrage despite (perhaps because) the other has displaced it on the news…

Now this is curious. It has some distressing parallels with the MoToons of Doom fiasco.

A trailer for the film, which is understood to be called either The Innocence of Muslims or Mohammed, Prophet of the Muslims, was first uploaded to YouTube in July to little attention.

Last week, however, a version was dubbed into Arabic and posted on the same YouTube channel and it was rapidly copied and viewed tens of thousands of times, before being shown on a Egyptian TV channel.

Sound familiar? In 2005 nothing happened for months until Clerics did a tour of the Middle East to whip-up outrage. Then all Hell broke out. Utter rabble rousing (though obviously not entirely spontaneous) and manufactured outrage just like this time. Why did they show this on Egyptian TV if not to create a restless mob? And who I wonder dubbed the movie into Arabic? I appreciate I use the word “mob” but obviously all of this is organised chaos. The craven response to the MoToons didn’t placate the Islamists in 2005 and certainly it hasn’t changed their attitudes since as many subsequent incidents attest including of course these two attacks on diplomatic property and diplomats.

So what has been the response from the USA? This was what the US Embassy in Cairo put on it’s website after the Embassy was stormed on the 11th of September and the flag torn down to be replaced by a black one bearing the inscription, “Allahu Ackbar”. That specific flag is associated with many Islamist groups including Al-Queda…

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 other.

The Grand Mufti of Egypt Sheikh Ali Gomaa said this about the movie two days before the attack:

Freedom of speech does not warrant desecrating sanctities.

Do they have the same speech-writer?

Now I don’t know if this is the specific graffiti pictured but apparently at least one of the scrawls read:

“If your freedom of speech has no limits, may you accept our freedom of action.”

From the Islamic Awakening Forum.

Quite.

PS. I’m not sure about this but I have heard from various sources (can’t remember where, sorry) that in Egypt the word out on the street was that the movie was financed by Copts. Hmm…

32 Comments

  1. Bill Sticker says:

    So they burn down the US Consulate, kill the Ambassador, and all over something he and the USA in general could have no control over. A movie that was well on its way to obscurity before it got noticed.

    As for the: “If your freedom of speech has no limits, may you accept our freedom of action.” insanity, there is a corollary to that; “We are also free to act.” Which I think will become all too apparent in the months to come. The US won’t take this one lying down. Expect more anti-freedom fallout.

    This is all so mindlessly stupid. The cycle of endless killing will go into a new phase. Just because of a dumb film. Pillocks.

  2. NickM says:

    Bill,
    Yeah… Well I’d just checked and Robert Spencer who tends to keep his ear close to the ground on such matters hadn’t heard of it either until this happened.

    And yes, one of the truly amazing things about the MoToons was the complete inability of various imams to understand individual or group actions as not being the fault of the government/the entire populace of a country. It’s a major disconnect and I guess it comes from the conception of “One Umma under Allah” being so deeply ingrained in the Salafi mindset.

  3. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    “Freedom of speech does not warrant desecrating sanctities”

    There is of course the counter-point, yes if fucking-well does. Mohammed, Ganesh, Zeus, Poseidon, Jesus, Moses etc etc ad nauseum to the dustbin of history for the lot of you.

    “If your freedom of speech has no limits, may you accept our freedom of action.”

    Hmm, so I say something you don’t like and you try and kill me? And this is the morality the prophet of God has taught you is it?

    I refer to these remarks

  4. Lynne says:

    Remind me again why, exactly, we went in and helped these civilisationally challeneged cretins to power?

    iDave?

    Rumpy Pumpy?

    Obummer?

    Anyone?

  5. JuliaM says:

    The response from The Messiah has been woeful. Someone Tweeted that at times like this, they yearn for the forthright, condemnatory, statesman-like leadership of the Carter Administration!

    If he doesn’t act, he’s finished. You cannot let your ambassadors be murdered without reprisals.

  6. Sam Duncan says:

    “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 other.”

    That’s a severe distortion of the history. Freedom of religion and of speech are included in the same Amendment, and to a large extent that’s because the Founding Fathers recognized that the former depends on a robust defense of the latter: caving in to religious demands to curtail freedom of speech results, perhaps not immediately, but eventually, in a curtailment to practice or express other faiths. The Pilgrim Fathers “abused” their freedom of speech in England (assuming they had any in the first place, which they didn’t). The Jews “abused” theirs in 1930s Germany, and again in 21st Century Egypt, as did the indigenous Copts. Hence the church burnings, and the imminent closure of the country’s last synagogue. That’s where giving in to those who would limit your freedom for the sake of “respect” gets you.

    Is it nice to say rude things about someone else’s religion? Of course not. But should it be put a stop to? Should we try to “understand” such a hideously disproportionate response, and appease those who would kill and maim for the sake of a few words? Fuck, no. That’s the road to real religious oppression, not someone dissing Mo on teh Tubez.

    I hope the Romney campaign has the sense to make something of this gaffe, instead of keeping schtum for the sake of “national unity” or some such guff. The media would go spare of course, but I’ll bet a lot of Americans are seriously pissed off at their State Department right now.

  7. Mr Ed says:

    The Ambassador was a former Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco, reports suggest that he died of asphyxia, that is perhaps smoke inhalation. He was the US envoy to the rebels in Benghazi before returning as Ambassador.

    I wonder what his final waking thoughts were as he faced the evil mob.

  8. Tim Newman says:

    The US won’t take this one lying down. The US won’t take this one lying down.

    No, I expect they will bend over and clutch their ankles instead, grants much better access than lying down with buttocks clenched. That message on the embassy website says it all, I’m afraid.

  9. NickM says:

    Sam,
    Spot on about the distortion of the 1st there. I almost said something about it. I’m not a scholar of the US Constitution but my vague thought was that it expressly forbade the formation of state religion and by extension any special status for any particular religion and by corrollary that means all of them.

  10. Mr Ed says:

    The Daily Telegraph finds reason to have a dig at Romney over this, and to praise Obama:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/9538468/A-diplomat-who-risked-his-life-for-democracy.html

  11. GW says:

    Consider this the canary in the coal mine. The Salafists now have or are very near control throughout the Middle East. Over the last ten years, we won 99.999% of all the battles in the “war on terror.” We have rid the world of a lot of murderous savages, and, as a tactic, we have made it much harder for the Salafi / al Qaeda types to strike in our homeland. Yet it is hard not to sit back and, viewing the situation with as much objectivity as possible, conclude anything other than it appears the ghost of bin Laden is now on top in the war.

    Things are going to get much worse in the Middle East in the very near future. It should be noted that Egypt’s government, now under control of the Muslim Brotherhood, did nothing to stop this “mob” action, and indeed, has now doubled down, calling for a nation wide protest against the U.S. on Friday. It has also been reported in the past week that Egypt has now opened up intelligence contacts with Iran.

    The response of the Cairo Embassy to the attack was Carter-esque. It would be hard to imagine a weaker, more abject response – nor one more likely to invite similar actions over whatever pretext the muzzies want to make up that day. Obama should have immediately and publicly demanded that Egypt’s government provide all necessary security to U.S. consulates and promise to the U.S. people that the people and organizations that killed our Ambassador will be brought to justice. So far we have seen neither.

    It was a fluke that we were able to get to bin Laden on Obama’s watch. Intelligence, garnered under Bush, finally bore its last fruit. Yet Obama’s claim now to being competent at foreign policy starts and ends with killing bin Laden. The reality is that our position has greatly deteriorated in the Middle East under his watch. The causes are many, and Obama’s incompetence is only one of several important contributing factors, but regardless, we as a nation are significantly less safe today than on 9-11-01. Any foreign policy praise for Obama is misplaced indeed.

  12. NickM says:

    GW,
    I agree with about 50% of your points and disagree with the other 50%.

    There is a lot to go over and I’m a bit busy…

    But consider this. OBL knew 9/11 was his last throw of the dice actively. He knew he was the spark and not the flame. And that that flame would be a self-supporting vortex of chaos.

    And consider this also. This post almost didn’t have such a bland and obvious title. I considered writing something quite different called, “The Lt Ripley Option”. But didn’t.

    Sorry short shrift here. I’ll get back – probs in a full post – it needs it.

  13. Richard Carey says:

    As far as Libya goes, these are the people Nato helped bring to power, and the establishment media told us were the good guys, and they’re still playing the same record in Syria. At some point soon, a little bit of a re-think about helping the Muslim Brotherhood take over the Middle East and North Africa would be wise.

  14. Sam Duncan says:

    It’s beginning to look worse than the cartoons. The original film wasn’t about Mohammed at all. At least, it doesn’t seem to have been; given the shady identity of this “Sam Bacile” character (top pseudonym, by the way), it looks distinctly possible that it was a deliberate set-up.

    Of course, so were the “worst” of the Motoons…

  15. NickM says:

    Yes, Sam…
    The evidence all looks very Eminem (both slim and shady) so Allah knows. Especially considering the admission of “Pastor” Terry Jones of FLA.

    Now I know this is wikipedia and all but I thought this interesting…

    Jones screened the film for his followers on September 11, 2012, a day he dubbed, “International Judge Mohammad Day”

    (Insert whatever, “He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy” gag you want).

    Anyway. He had been implicated in production/distribution/publicity movie (or more likely implicated himself) post-facto of the attacks in a very vague sense in some media sources but if wiki is correct it would appear he only showed it to his own (very small) flock rather late in the day. And certainly after it had started to cause the outrage of the Egyptian Grand Mufti et. al.

    There is definitely something of the tang of Grimsby about this movie.

    Another point is Mr Bacille has been quoted as spending over $3m of his own on the movie. Yet, everything else I’ve read suggests v, v poor production values. Hmm… That didn’t tally.

    Any bugger with a camera, a laptop, some cheap/free software could make that for tuppence.

    It appears to still be on Youtube but I have no idea because what I saw of the “trailer” looked so shonky it could have been knocked-up this morning.

  16. Farenheit211 says:

    Oh Islamic Awakening, a lovely crowd. Have you seen their ‘politics and jihad’ forum. The IA forum gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘oxygen thieves’.

  17. zack says:

    First things first – my prayers and condolences are with the family members of those who where killed in the attacks.

    ——————–
    I hope the Romney campaign has the sense to make something of this gaffe, instead of keeping schtum for the sake of “national unity” or some such guff. The media would go spare of course, but I’ll bet a lot of Americans are seriously pissed off at their State Department right now.
    ——————–

    Romney’s response (and infuriating media questions) can be viewed here http://bcove.me/8hlfusj7. I think this was a magnificent response on his part. Damn near perfect.

    Also, yes, most Americans are very pissed, not only with the State Dept. but also Obama administration in general. I’m visiting a family in a fairly leftist area of NJ, and I’ve heard people comparing him to Bush unfavorably; I’ve heard people say they feel less safe now then they did 4/5 years ago – that this wouldn’t have happened under Bush, or that Bush wouldn’t let this slide like Obama is appearing to. Considering how reviled Bush was when he left office (though I think with time he will be viewed more favorably), that’s pretty damning. I’ve also head people equating him to Carter, which in American politics is also pretty damning.

  18. zack says:

    also, Nick, I think you’ll love this quote from Sarah Palin
    https://www.facebook.com/sarahpalin

    money quote below
    ————————-
    It’s about time our president stood up for America and condemned these Islamic extremists. I realize there must be a lot on his mind these days – what with our economy’s abysmal jobless numbers and Moody’s new warning about yet another downgrade to our nation’s credit rating due to the current administration’s failure to come up with a credible deficit reduction plan. And, of course, he has a busy schedule – with all those rounds of golf, softball interviews with the “Pimp with the Limp,” and fundraising dinners with his corporate cronies. But our nation’s security should be of utmost importance to our Commander-in-chief. America can’t afford any more “leading from behind” in such a dangerous world. We already know that President Obama likes to “speak softly” to our enemies. If he doesn’t have a “big stick” to carry, maybe it’s time for him to grow one.
    ————————-

  19. Simon Jester says:

    “If he doesn’t have a “big stick” to carry, maybe it’s time for him to grow one.”

    Did anyone else think of president Clinton, when reading this?

  20. Robert the Biker says:

    Of course what the ‘slims hate most of all is that they cannot complain about inaccuracy or injustice in the film, since it is based on the koran and the many hadith on the life of mo the child molester

  21. Farenheit211 says:

    Robert, you are correct there. When you quote from the Qur’an the Islamics say anti Islamics are lying and quoting out of context but there is so much dodgy stuff in there about Mohammed. Mohammed, guilty as sin.

    Slightly off topic, I’ve dealt with minority groups for years in various capacities and found good and bad in most, out of all those different groups of people I’ve never come across any where their groups and spokespersons who show such bad faith as Islamic groups. Dissembling about building plans, dissembling about not booking extremist and in many cases treasonous speakers and preachers, about not supporting overseas terrorist causes, about money and so much more.

    The Islamic culture has produced some me some of the most spectacular liars since Goebbels.

  22. Lynne says:

    Sam Bacile feels like a made up name. Has anyone else noticed that it is just one step away from imbecile? Is this an intentional near pun or just one of those ironic coincidences?

  23. RAB says:

    Good post Nick. I was wrestling with this one, trying to weave three strands together. The other two were…

    Channel 4 had a documentary on the other day (still on 4OD) called Islam: The Untold Story. Which has a distinguished historian go looking for physical and historical evidence to support the belief that the Koran sprang fully fledged from the visions of Mohammed and are the literal word of Allah. Basically he couldn’t find any evidence. Whatever those conquerors who swept out of Arabia believed in (apart from loot rape and pillage), nobody seems to know, because they certainly wern’t banging on about Mohammed or Allah. Mohammed didn’t even make it on to the coinage till at least 60 years after his death. So he basically concluded that like the Bible, the hands of men rather than God were all over the Koran and the Hadeiths.

    I watched it and it was fairly bland and dare I say timid in coming to it’s conclusions, but hey this is Islam, how fuckin dare you even question us! So this happens…

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2201699/Islam-The-Untold-Story-Screening-Channel-4-documentary-cancelled-presenter-threatened.html

    The second strand is Citizen Khan, a so called sitcom piece of propaganda by the BBC, purporting to show that Muslims are just as funny and cuddly as the rest of us. But it too got shedloads of complaints from Muslims who found it offensive.

    I found it offensive too, but for completely different reasons. First it is leg amputatingly unfunny, about as funny as Terry and June and Love thy Neighbour in fact. I contains every Asian cliche in the book, it makes My Family look like Shakespeare. In fact one of the My Family actors is a white convert Mosque manager (um how many of those do you suppose you can count on one finger?). It is dreadful, but so far as I can see does not insult Islam in any way. Intelligence yes, Islam no.

    So it seemsthat to challenge Islam or Muslims in any way whatsoever will bring howls of outrage and threats of violence. So we must continue to challenge and ridicule until the rest of the population wakes up to what is really going on here.

    I’d have titled it “Islamic Winter” myself Nick, for that is what it is. All the fools who thought the uprisings in the Middle East would usher in freedom and Democracy were barking mad. I could see that the whole region would go the way of Iran after the fall of the Shah from day one, and so it has. It has consolidated Islamic fundamentalism right across the whole region. If you are a Christian, Jew or any other religious or even non religious group, leave now, or your ass is toast. But at least now, we in the West know who, what and where our enemy is, and can act accordingly, but the craven cunts that rule us just won’t will they?

  24. Sam Duncan says:

    Okay, a few hours later, and the impression I’m getting (or rather, am being given, by the MSM) is that this Bacile character is a radical American Christian, who disguised the intent of his movie, and his identity, in order to get it made.

    Maybe. I mean, it’s possible, even likely. There may not be the exact parallel with the Jihadis that the Left would like to see, but some of those Jesus freaks are pretty wacko.

    Something still smells fishy, though. A) Why? Aren’t there enough radical Christians who can act badly? And B) How many radical Christian film directors speak Arabic? (Of course, there’s some suggestion he’s a Copt, which might explain that. Might explain his position, too. As far as the Western media are concerned, the situation in Egypt is: making offensive movies, unforgiveable; burning Coptic churches to the ground during Sunday service, yawnsville.)

    Also, this (note the date, Monday 10th):

    Jihadi groups in Egypt, including Islamic Jihad, the Sunni Group, and Al Gamaa Al Islamiyya have issued a statement threatening to burn the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to the ground.

    No mention of the movie, purely a “commemoration” of 9/11 and the previous WTC attack.

    Zack: Good to see. And I was right about the news media. Fuck ‘em.

    RAB: I wondered how long C4 would get away with that show. I’ve been meaning to watch it on 4OD for over a week now. James Walton’s review in The Sunday Telegraph is worth quoting:

    For understandable reasons, most documentaries on the subject stick to the party line, emphasising medieval maths and tolerance, and relying for the history on Muslim tradition – and even grievance. Personally, I’ll never forget Bettany Hughes ending a two-hour documentary on Moorish Spain with a heartfelt lament about how all traces of the Moors have been ruthlessly wiped out – which might have been more convincing if she hadn’t been standing in the Alhambra Palace at the time.”

    Heheh. Typical. He called it “a welcome return to the fearlessness of [Channel 4's] glory days”. Up to a point, I suppose. Wonder how long it’ll stay on 4OD…

  25. zack says:

    Egypt’s President Morsi is now calling for US officials to jail/prosecute the film makers http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL5E8KCJ5X20120912 .

    The State Dept. should (in its clearest ‘diplomatese’) tell Morsi to fuck off; we don’t do that here because we’re civilized. Won’t happen of course – this administration is too full of feckless crap-weasels to do that. From were I’m sitting, it looks like the limp-wristed ‘response’ and the apologies for OUR EMBASSIES being attacked invited this. Obama left an opening for this claim and Morsi’s is pressing it for all that’s worth.

    Obama has to go. He has to fucking go.

  26. Write here says:

    Does anybody know what the arabic for “this isn’t going to end well’ is?

    I mean, do they really think these repeated attacks and acts of violence will endear anyone to their cult or peoples? Do they think we secretly admire their aggressive ways and want to join?

    The day may come when we close all embassies and withdraw acts of friendship from that part of the world, though we might need to develop a viable alternative fuel source first before we leave the sheikhs to guard their dwindling money piles. As part of that, some people might invite the cult members to return to their homelands post haste, or allow them to buy one-way tickets to their professed ‘spiritual home.’

    Would make an interesting movie, me thinks.

  27. zack says:

    ———————-
    Wh: The day may come when we close all embassies and withdraw acts of friendship from that part of the world
    ———————-

    about 5 minutes ago I would have agreed with this, but then I read some actual good news: in response to the attack on our Lybian embassy, there has been a pro-American rally in Benghazi http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2012/09/does-not-represent-us-moving-photos-pro-american-rallies-libya/56803/#.UFHm9mOXoMI.facebook

    I know this doesn’t represent the entire region or country, but there’s hope for sanity and civilization in this protest. Maybe very small chance, but a chance none the less.

  28. zack says:

    Damn, forgot to add this: I agree with the general thrust of your post, but I don’t think that it makes sense for America/Anglosphere to completely abandon large parts of the world; if we’re not involved then events may develop in ways that go against our interests.

    My response to these attacks: track down and kill AQ in Lybia (since they appeared to the ones responsible for the attack) while working with the sane people there (few they may be) if feasible.

    In Egypt, I think your strategy Wh makes sense.

  29. Paul Marks says:

    Good reporting Nick.

    Zack – yes (as our friend Neil Cavuto has pointed out) the media are just interested in attacking Romney.

    Even the questions to Obama (when he can spare the time from fund raising in Las Vagas – which is much more important than intelligence briefings or meeting the Prime Minister of Israel) were “what do you think of the Romney gaffe” and so on.

    There is even a recording (which Mr Cavuto just played – in the best Glenn Beck tradition) of the media creatures discussing their questions before the Romney press conferences – how they would coordinate and word them.

    Yes – the “different” media outfits (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, New York Times…..) are, in fact, just one beast.

    What Ann Coulter calls the “non Fox media”.

    They could not care less that the American ambassador to Tunesia has been murdered.

    They really DO NOT CARE.

    They do not care about the attacks in Egypt and the Yeman either.

    What they care about is helping Comrade Barack win reelection.

    That is ALL they care about – and they will do ANYTHING to achieve this.

    “But why Paul”.

    Because socialist (not “liberal” – let us use accurate language) students do not vanish in a puff of Red smoke when their time as students comes to an end.

    Some become academics – and some go to other places.

    And one of the places they go to is – the media.

    You did not think that Comrade Barack was the only one did you?

    In fact they are Legion.

  30. NickM says:

    Oh, and I heard they’ve been demolishing Sufi shrines in Libya and getting top marks and a gold star on their homework from some Saudi Cleric… Sorry no links on the latter part. Let’s not forget the first line of those who suffer from Salafi Islam are Muslims.

  31. zack says:

    You have GOT to be shitting me – this has to be a fucking joke. The Obama Admin. can’t really be this craven and feckless, can they? (apparently, yes they can)
    *** Justice Department officials had opened a criminal investigation into the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, ID California man’s role in anti-Islam film**
    http://news.yahoo.com/feds-id-california-mans-role-anti-islam-film-164554115.html

    Also **Exclusive: America ‘was warned of embassy attack but did nothing’**
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/revealed-inside-story-of-us-envoys-assassination-8135797.html

    and **the last time the Obama attended his daily intelligence meeting was Sept. 5 — a week before Islamist radicals stormed our embassy**
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/revealed-inside-story-of-us-envoys-assassination-8135797.html

    I guess golfing and fundraising in Vegas were more important. In all seriousness – if the American people heard any of this (which they won’t because the media is running interference for O), then Obama would be dead in the water. Hell, I’d say most of the people I know would call for his impeachment if we weren’t within 2 months of an election.

    I’m calling it now – Obama has been the most disastrous president since James Buchanan (he makes Carter look competent)

  32. Bill Sticker says:

    NickM, news coverage on demolition of Sufi shrines:

    http://www.aljazeera.com/video/africa/2012/08/201282665348545366.html

    They’ve been at it all Summer

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