As members of Congress today grilled Hillary Clinton about the death of Americans in Benghazi, Libya, Republican Rep. Joe Wilson asked why U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on Sunday news shows to face the music immediately following the attack instead of the Secretary of State. “I have to confess, here in public, going on the Sunday shows is not my favorite thing to do,” she replied. “There are other things I’d prefer to do on Sunday mornings. And, you know, I haven’t been on a Sunday show in way over a year. It just isn’t something that I normally jump to do. And I did feel strongly that we had a lot that we had to manage, that I had to respond to, and that that should be my priority.” Clinton testified to Senate and House committees today about the attack by armed militants that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. During questioning by members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Clinton balked at Republican Sen. Ron Johnson’s inquiry into the State Dept.’s initial report that the attack had been a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islam YouTube video. “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans,” Clinton responded, raising her voice at Johnson, who continued to interrupt her. “What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.”
The release form suddenly provided this week by Innocence Of Muslims filmmaker Mark Basseley Youssef is a “forgery”, lawyers for actress Cindy Lee Garcia said today — and they’ve got an expert who agrees with them. Of course, it might not matter because Judge Michael Fitzgerald today canceled a scheduled December 3rd hearing on whether Garcia’s copyright claims to the film would give her the authority to request that YouTube take down the movie’s 14-minute trailer. The judge, who denied a previous injunction attempt by Garcia, said the actress hasn’t “established a likelihood of success based on the merits” of her case. “If Ms. Garcia is financially able, her legal team intends to file a motion for an immediate appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals,” Garcia’s attorney Cris Armenta said this afternoon, calling the film a “heinous piece of hate speech.”
Jailed Innocence Of Muslims filmmaker Mark Basseley Youssef still wants the world to be able to watch the controversial trailer of the anti-Islam film on YouTube. “Mr. Youssef said he believes in the message contained in the film and he does not want the trailer to be removed from YouTube,” said a filing (read it here) Wednesday by Google’s lawyers. The 14-minute trailer was the cause of violent protests around the Muslim world. Earlier this week, an Egyptian court sentenced Youssef and six others associated with the film to death in absentia. Timothy Alger, the attorney for YouTube owners Google, visited Youssef at LA’s Metropolitan Detention Center on Tuesday to get information from him in relation to actress Cindy Lee Garcia’s legal attempts to have the trailer removed from the Internet. “Mr. Youssef said that while other people assisted with the direction and production of the film, it was his creation, and he retains control over the film. He told me that his son uploaded both the English language and Arabic versions of the trailer for the film, now entitled Innocence Of Muslims, to YouTube at his request,” says Alger in the filing. Youssef, who is in jail for a year on parole violations related to a 2010 bank fraud case, has gone by various aliases including “Nakoula Basseley Nakoula“ and “Sam Bessi.”
A peaceful protest by several thousand people closed Buckingham Palace Road in London for 3 hours on Sunday as demonstrators called for Google’s YouTube to remove the Innocence Of Muslims video that sparked deadly violence last month. According to UK media reports, this was the first in a planned series of civil actions against the film ahead of a million-person march in Hyde Park in the coming weeks. One organizer told The Telegraph that further protests will be held at other Google and YouTube offices. As many as 800 imams in mosques across Britain helped arrange the demonstration, the newspaper said. A YouTube spokesperson said: “We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people to express different opinions. This can be a challenge because what’s OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere. This video – which is widely available on the Web – is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube.”
While Innocence Of Muslims producer Mark Basseley Youssef, aka Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, sits in a Los Angeles jail awaiting a Nov. 9 probation violation hearing, the fallout from his anti-Islam video continues. The leader of Al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who took over after the death of Osama bin Laden last year, has praised last month’s attacks in Cairo and Benghazi which were spurred on by the crudely-made film and has called for more protests outside U.S. embassies, Reuters reports. Four U.S. diplomats were killed in the Libyan violence including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. In a recording posted to Islamist websites today, Zawahiri called the violence “honest and zealous,” according to The Guardian. Zawahiri further called on “free and distinguished zealots for Islam” to “continue their opposition to American crusader Zionist aggression against Islam and Muslims.”
After the Cairo and Benghazi attacks, deadly protests of the film that lampoons the Prophet Mohammad spread throughout the Muslim world over a two-week period. Zawahiri said U.S. authorities
LATEST: Pakistani Islamist Demands Obama Hand Over Filmmakers Of ‘Innocence Of Muslims’; But U.S. Officials Now Claim Pic Didn’t Cause First Attack
From Dominic Patten in Los Angeles & Nancy Tartaglione in Europe:
FRIDAY PM, 39TH UPDATE WRITETHRU: U.S. intelligence officials issued a statement today saying they now believe the 9/11 attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya was a “deliberate and organized terrorist attack” and not sparked by Muslim reaction to the American-made film Innocence Of Muslims. The statement by the office of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper acknowledged that it represented a change in the U.S. intelligence assessment of how and why the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans happened. A spokesman for Clapper’s office says U.S. agencies initially believed the attack had begun spontaneously after protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo over the film that lampoons the Prophet Mohammad. But as more was learned, officials revised their initial assessment to reflect new information that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists. He said it remains unclear if any individual or specific group ordered the attack.
Following President Barack Obama’s address to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, a right-wing Pakistani Islamist told Reuters the president’s statements “have caused a religious war.” In Tuesday remarks, Obama explained why the Innocence Of Muslims video has not been banned in the U.S., citing the Constitutional right to free speech. On Wednesday, Hafiz Saeed, who has been accused by India of masterminding a 2008 attack in Mumbai that killed 166 people, called for the filmmakers to be handed over “to us” if the U.S. can’t take tough action against them, Reuters reports. India has repeatedly called on Pakistan to bring Saeed, who has denied any wrongdoing, to justice and Washington has offered a $10M reward for information leading to his capture.
Maker Of Anti-Islam ‘Innocence Of Muslims’ In Hiding After Film Sparks Deadly Violence In Libya Killing U.S. Ambassador
The online trailer for Innocence Of Muslims, a movie written, produced and directed by amateur filmmaker Sam Bacile, is being blamed for sparking deadly demonstrations in Cairo and Benghazi on Tuesday. The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other American diplomats were killed during the uprisings, leading to increased tensions in the Middle East. As a result, Bacile, who has no discernible film industry credits and told The Wall Street Journal “Islam is a cancer”, has gone into hiding, The Associated Press reports.