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Attacks in Libya, Egypt Likely Pre-Planned for 9/11

Thu, September 13, 2012

The controversial film that Islamists in Egypt and Libya sited as the reason for their violent attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions yesterday was most likely a hoax. In addition, reports are emerging that the attacks were pre-planned to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11 as opposed to a spontaneous reaction to the release of the film’s trailer on YouTube.

The U.S. ambassador to Libya, along with three other Americans, was killed in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. In Cairo, the wall surrounding the U.S. embassy was breached, its American flag torn down and the black flag of Islamic jihad raised in its place, as thousand participated in the attack.

News Update: Protesters are storming U.S. Embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sana'a, with some reaching main gate and security rooms. The latest reports also say that protests outside the U.S. embassy in Egypt turned violent and that the protests had also spread to Tunisia and many other location in the Muslim world.

Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif, in an interview with National Public Radio in Benghazi, said that that attack was pre-planned by infiltrators from Al-Qaeda who recruited Libyans to carry it out.

CNN quotes a former top member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group Noman Benotman, currently with the Quilliam Foundation in London, as saying, "An attack like this would likely have required preparation. This would not seem to be merely a protest which escalated.

"According to our sources, the attack against the consulate had two waves. The first attack led to U.S. officials being evacuated from the consulate by Libyan security forces, only for the second wave to be launched against U.S. officials after they were kept in a secure location." Benotman said.

He also said that the group claiming responsibility for the attack, the Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades “prepared for a military assault; it is rare that an RPG7 [Rocket-Propelled Grenade] is present at a peaceful protest."

In addition, the attack immediately followed a call from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri for revenge for the death in June of a senior Libyan member of the terror group Abu Yahya al-Libi.

CNN reports that U.S. sources agree with this assessment and that the protest was merely a diversion used to launch the attack.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that in the film trailer that was used as the pretext for the attacks, the words denigrating Mohammed and Islam were clearly dubbed over. Actors in the film claim that they were told they were participating in a film called “Desert Warrior,” set in an era 600 years before the birth of Mohammed.

The “Jewish, Israeli-born director/scriptwriter,” Sam Bacile, as well as the $5-million budget for the film donated by “Jewish businessmen” also appeared to be non-existent.

The Jerusalem Post reported quotes a high-ranking Israeli official in Los Angeles who said that after numerous inquiries, it appeared that no one in the Hollywood film industry or in the local Israeli community had ever heard of him.  

Steve Klein, a self-described militant Christian activist in Riverside, California who was involved writing the script of the film, told The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg that Bacile was not the director's real name, and that he was not Israeli and probably not Jewish either. "I would suspect this is a disinformation campaign," Klein said.

The Wall Street Journal reported that on Wednesday, a records search done in the entire United States turned up no references to any man by the name Sam Bacile.

Israel also reports that there is no Israeli citizen with that name.

Tuesday night, a man saying he was Sam Bacile, identifying himself as a 52 year-old real-estate developer in California, said he had made the film in a telephone interview with The Wall Street Journal. He identified himself as an Israeli-American backed by Jewish donors. The cell phone number used in that call has been traced to a man by the name of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who identified himself as an Egyptian Coptic Christian who was concerned about the treated of the Copts by the Muslims. When located, Nakoula said he managed the company that produced the film. He later admitted to making the film and that the name and identity of "Sam Bacile" was a hoax.

As for the trailer itself, there is reason to doubt that it is part of a larger film. Judging from the shoddy quality of the film, it appears nowhere near the claimed $5 million budget.

The trailer was uploaded to YouTube in July. However, it wasn’t until September 6, when it was promoted by Morris Sadek, an Egyptian-American Coptic activist living in the Washington, D.C., area, that it received any attention when Sadek sent an email to journalists around the world promoting a Sept. 11 event held by the Rev. Terry Jones. Jones is famous for burning the Quran. In the email, Sadek linked to the trailer.

The trailer was then translated by Egyptian journalists into Arabic and broadcast in Egypt.

Response by Islamists government to the attacks has been shocking to U.S. officials. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi refrained from condemning the attacks. Rather he condemned the video while “affirming” his commitment to protect foreign diplomatic missions in Egypt.

His remarks angered U.S. Congressmen who note that America is currently in the process of forgiving $1 billion in Egyptian debts. In addition, America’s annual $1.3 billion aid package has also been approved. Some have suggested suspending that aid as well as security cooperation.

The secretary-general of the Morsi-affiliated Muslim Brotherhood, Mahmoud Hussein, also refrained from condemning the attacks. Rather, he called on Egyptians to hold peaceful protests against the film after the traditional Friday prayers.

However, senior officials in the Obama administration said the aid would continue and that it was in the long-term interest of the United States to provide assistance to “emerging governments.”

"We are as committed today as we have ever been to a free and stable Libya," a senior U.S. official was quoted as saying. "We are going to continue to help them get the future that they deserve."

Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai also refrained from condemning the attacks or calling for restraint but made a point of condemning the video.

Meanwhile, YouTube has decided to block the video in Libya as well as Egypt, which is said to be the most popular location of the video’s viewers.

CNN reports that the U.S. has dispatched two Navy destroyers, dozens of Marines, federal investigators and intelligence assets to Libya to protect Americans and help hunt for the perpetrators of the attacks.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blamed a “small, savage group” for the attacks but maintained that the U.S. "mission in Libya is noble and necessary … and will continue."

The last American ambassador killed by hostile forces was in 1979, when the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan was murdered in Kabul.

The attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was the second this year.