Are the Coptic Christians Fall/Front Guys?

Morris Sadek is a Coptic Christian living outside Washington, D. C., who lost his Egyptian citizenship this year for anti-Islam activities.  On September 4, he emailed a link to “Innocence of Muslims,” to a newspaper reporter in Egypt, Gamel Girgis.  Girgis covers Christian Egyptians living abroad and had an ongoing relationship with Sadek as a source for stories.  Sadek told Girgis he produced the video.

At first Girgis didn’t want to write about the video, but Sadek pushed him, and on September 6, Sadek published a three-paragraph story.    The next day an Islamic web forum referenced the Girgis article, and more newspapers began writing about the video.

But there wasn’t much attention until Sunday the 9th, when a Salafist TV station showed part of the video.  Then Facebook pages popped up, calling for protests on September 10.

Then these planned protests became the story, widely reported in newspapers on September 10.

So the protests began in Cairo on September 11 and quickly spread all over the Muslim world.

For more, see “Anti-U. S. outrage over video began wit Christian activist’s phone call to  a reporter,” Nancy A. Yousset and Amina Ismail, McClatchy Newspapers

What I want to know is if the production and publicizing of this video is strictly the doing of Egyptian Coptic Christians living in the U. S., or if there are ties to the American political right.  Is this just about religion or is it about politics, specifically the presidential election?  Are the Coptic Christians we’re being told about just fall/front guys?

Who Is Behind “Innocence of Muslims”?

I don’t think that the inflammatory video “Innocence of Muslims” is just the work of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (aka Sam Bacile), a Coptic Christian who lives in L. A. and is now being questioned for possible parole violations.  Nakoula has a criminal history that includes bank fraud and making meth.

But who is behind him?  Who wanted this video made and why?  Is Nakoula the Lee Harvey Oswald of this bizarre episode?

It also seems to me that Americans who make and post such videos with the intent of stirring up anger and violence among Muslims can’t just claim a First Amendment right to free speech and not be held responsible for the threat to fellow Americans serving overseas as diplomats or in the military.

Way back in 1919, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote:

“The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre causing a panic….  The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger.”

I would argue that if an American posts such a video with the intent of offending and inflaming Muslims, he creates a clear and present danger to other Americans who may become the targets of Muslim outrage.

 

We Need More Facts

The Obama administration is being criticized for not better protecting Ambassador Chris Stevens and the three Americans killed along with him.  Critics are saying that he shouldn’t been at the consulate in Benghazi, which was not as well protected as the embassy in Tripoli, on 9/11.  But I don’t believe we know all the facts.  What if he was told/advised/warned not to go, and he went anyway?  He believed, with some justification, that he was popular in Libya and especially well-liked in Benghazi because of his efforts supporting the rebels before Qaddafi was overthrown.  He also knew that the country is filled with terrorists, especially the eastern part where Benghazi is.

But if the Ambassador was not following instructions or advice, is the President or Hillary Clinton going to stand there at Andrews Air Force Base in front of his casket and say, “We told him to stay in Tripoli and hunker down?”  Of course not.

In general, we’re hearing stuff from all sides that doesn’t make sense.  At the White House, Jay Carney is arguing that the Benghazi murders were because of the inflammatory video “Innocence of Muslims.”  He is saying that while others in the administration and in Congress, who have access to classified materials, are saying that the Benghazi attack was separate from and unrelated to the video-related violence.   They believe that it was revenge for the killing of Al Qaeda’s #2 in Pakistan in June, who was a Libyan.  The fact that it occurred on 9/11 seems to bolster that theory.  Someone Stevens trusted, but who was really working for the terrorists, may have lured him to Benghazi so he’d be there on 9/11.

On the other end of our political spectrum, The Weekly Standard has an article up on their web site, “The Video Didn’t Do It,” by Lee Smith.  Smith argues that none of the violence we’ve been seeing in 20 different countries is because of the video, which I believe is equally wrong.  He says the attacks are about “American principles and power and policy.”  Well, yes, but anti-American sentiment is a big wood pile always sitting there waiting for a match.  The video was that match.

It seems as if two different things happened simultaneously.  As best I can tell right now, the Benghazi murders were Al Qaeda or Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists seeking revenge for a murder in June and seeking to show they can still hit us on a 9/11 anniversary.  People protesting a video don’t show up with rocket propelled grenades and mortars.  It was a sophisticated attack at two locations, the consulate itself and then the safe house.  The other attacks seem to be sparked by the video.

Mitt’s “Piquant Melange”

“It’s not clear how the movie [“Innocence of Muslims”], the protests in Egypt and the murders of four American diplomats in Libya fit together.  That’s the job of intelligence experts.  We’re stuck with the task of evaluating Mitt Romney, who went for a cheap attack at a time when any calm, mature adult would have waited and opted for at least a brief show of national unity.

“The one big advantage to being a boring candidate is that you give the appearance of calm and stability.  But, suddenly, Romney seemed to want to go for a piquant melange of dull and hotheaded.”  Emphasis added.

Gail Collins,”Mitt’s Major Meltdown,” NYT