Worldly Talk

Civil discussion and debate on real world events and issues.

Libya consulate attack

Originally Posted by Powderhorn View Post
It's a question of control. The military people in that situation have to maintain the discipline not to assault somebody. As soon as they throw the first punch they have assaulted somebody. Yes, breach of the peace is an offense that warrants an arrest. However, escalating it beyond, "You need to leave, or we're going to call the cops" now places the military personnel in danger of facing both civil and military punishment.
I don't dispute that, and they wouldn't be immune from punishment. But at the same time, I could still be charged for using Fighting Words to start the fight. Similar concept should be applied to the OP story. Persecute the attackers to the maximum extent of the law. But at the same time, the people that provoked them shouldn't get off with a 'you shouldn't have done that'.

You can't start making those excuses. It just excuses others to threaten violence to silence critics.

Let's see if I can hunt it down. A friend of mine showed it to my on his tablet so I don't have the address handy.

I believe this is the one that he showed me, though the length doesn't quite seem to match up. Could just be a cut version though. Will keep searching.

Edit: Yeah, after sitting through it again, it's pretty clear it's the same one. There were a few extra minutes of slightly less offensive content in the one I saw, but you get the 'best' of it here.

I think the potential question of ethical culpability on behalf of the film-makers is a bit of a red herring though: it's early days yet but given the timing, the scale and violence involved the video in question seems an excuse for the violence, not the cause. If the NY Times reporting is correct the translated video was only viewed 40,000 times, and the original trailer only 60,000 times before they went to print this morning - by internet and Youtube standards that's nothing: this was not a grievous wound inflicted against the cultural zeitgeist of these countries and more to the point it feels like something reached for retroactively. This isn't the same as the riots Terry Jones sparked with his public and repeated threats to burn the Koran; there was no build up, no media controversy to spread the word - as incitements go it's a dismal failure. No one had heard about this until after.

And, honestly, I think there are problems with the incitement/response model being proposed here - I'm vastly uncomfortable with turning the whole of the Arab World into some kind of monolithic single celled amoeba capable of nothing but reflexive responses to external stimuli. I can see the appeal of the idea on a causal level - poke with stick, get poked back; it's math but with violence! - but any sort of international or cross cultural interaction is worlds more complicated than that. And then you throw in the politics of separate countries, separate ethnicities in recently reorganized and reshuffled societies . . . it doesn't work like that, it can't. It's just an easy way to assign blame and make something like this seem somehow logical.

And to come back around to the they are terrorist angle, I think it needs to be underscored here because the point, Savayan, is not a bit of linguistic sophistry to somehow absolve the filmmakers. It's an indicator that the filmmakers =/= cause in this case. These attacks/
EDIT 2: The reports I'm reading from online news sources are split on this; some say both were planned, others say just one was, with the other a happenstance of timing. I admit that I might be wrong about this interpretation, early days yet.
attack were planned for a specific day, a day with fairly heavy symbolic significance for both Americans and it's allies and enemies abroad, with a specific cause in mind. It increasingly appears that these were not protests that got out of hand or simple riots; they were attacks on American citizens first,
EDIT: Or more specifically, they're political statements, just not the political statement you're arguing that they're making. It's bigger than this one instance.
political statements second. If it wasn't this film cited as a cause it would have been something else, some other offense be it real or imagined that demanded redress.

The film isn't the cause here, Savayan, it's the excuse and I don't think there's a legal remedy for its existence. Should there be? I don't know - I think, personally, that the filmmaker in question is a bigot with an agenda and a desire to play armchair politician or agent provocateur, but I also think they are over-weaned on thoughts of their own importance. But that's not a crime. And more to the point I'm not sure it can be - intent is hard to judge and trying to prosecute a creation for the intent of its creator is a dicey proposition at best which can and does lead to censorship. And if one sidesteps that pitfall I don't even think that one could hang the guilty intent on the means of transmission instead; with technology the way it is these days once something is uploaded to the web it can get pretty much anywhere whether the creator wills it or no. And that, well it's reasonable doubt, at
"No one "meant" for it to get translated into Arabic and reposted, nudge nudge wink wink, and you can't prove otherwise Mister Judge"
least legally.

Is the film a good thing? God no. Is it offensive? Heck yes. Does that make the filmmaker somehow legally culpable in four deaths halfway across the world? No. Ethically? IF the video was actual first cause for this chain of events and if it was the explicit intent to prompt some sort of violent retaliatory action for rationalization/justification/hate/publicity? Then and only then yes. Otherwise it's at worst a maybe.

I haven't checked anywhere else but I just got a CNN alert in my email with some info.

Cut and Paste, bold mineThe attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens was planned by attackers who used the protest outside the consulate as a diversion, U.S. sources say.
The sources could not say whether the attackers instigated the protest or merely took advantage of it, and they say they don't believe Stevens was specifically targeted. Stevens and three other Americans suffocated trying to escape a fire after a grenade was thrown into the building, a senior U.S. official said.
London terror analysts speculated that Stevens was the victim of a targeted al Qaeda revenge attack. The assault "came to avenge the death of Abu Yaya al-Libi, al Qaeda's second in command killed a few months ago," the analysts said.
Get complete coverage of breaking news on, CNN TV and CNN Mobile.

According to them the video thing was just a smokescreen.

That was the entire email, it didn't have a link except to CNN's homepage which has a dozen articles or so about the story and I haven't read them to see which contains that. Usually when I get the alert there is a half an hour or so before a good article shows up anywhere and I haven't had time to look for it.

If their source is "London Terror Analyst" it's unlikely to be verifiable anyway. And with any big event like this there is bound to be bad information circulating everywhere but good stuff too so who knows. I find it extremely plausible.

So, an unidentified source making unverifiable claims. Sweet.

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