Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Smirk Is Worth A Thousand Words (UPDATED)

The AP just posted a photo from Romney's press conference this morning, taken as Romney left the podium. Romney had just doubled-down on remarks accusing President Obama of sympathizing with mobs attacking our embassies in Egypt and Libya.

He's smiling.

Four Americans - including the American ambassador - are dead in Libya.  Killed on 9/11. And Romney is smiling.

A little background if you're just tuning in.

Mitt Romney reiterated on Wednesday his condemnation of President Obama’s response to an attack on a diplomatic compound in Libya that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, accusing Obama of apologizing to Islamic militants.

In a press conference delivered minutes after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed the attacks, Romney expanded on his initial statement, in which he said the administration’s first response was “to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

“We join together in the condemnation of attacks on the American embassies and the loss of American life and join in sympathy for these people,”Romney said. “It’s also important for me — just as it was for the White House, last night by the way — to say that the statements were inappropriate, and in my view a disgraceful statement on the part of our administration to apologize for American values.”

It was the second time in just over 12 hours that Romney had suggested the White House sided with rioters and militants. Romney’s initial statement came late Tuesday, after news had broke that an American officer had been killed in Libya, but before the State Department had confirmed Stevens was among the dead. It inaccurately suggested that the U.S. embassy in Cairo, which also came under attack, had issued a statement condemning an anti-Muslim film online that had sparked the riots as its “first response” to the violence. In fact, the embassy and multiple press reports assert that the statement came before the protests and was intended to head off a confrontation......

Romney declined to answer whether he would have said the same thing on Tuesday if he had known that Stevens had been killed in the attack.

“I’m not going to take hypothetical what would have been known when and so forth,” he said. “We responded last night to the events that happened in Egypt.”

What makes Romney's "Ready, Fire, Aim" political exploitation of the fast-moving Libyan crisis particularly dangerous is that it's emerged this morning that the anti-Muslim video which sparked the violence turns out to have been made and financed by a self-identified someone posing as an "Israeli Jew" real estate mogul living in the US. So the repercussions could easily spread beyond Libya's borders and into an already combustive atmosphere between Israel and the Arab World.

Romney's full press conference can be viewed here. 


The story around the self-identified "Israeli Jewish real estate mogul" filmmaker is getting stranger by the minute. Gawker is reporting the man who claimed to have written and directed the video, Sam Bacile, may not, in fact, actually exist.

Web and public record searches bring up no evidence of the supposed real estate mogul. The Israeli government told the Post they couldn't find records Sam Bacile was a citizen. Even Bacile's age is a mystery: He told the Wall Street Journal he was 52, but told the AP he's 56, as pointed out by Religion Dispatch. His YouTube page says he's 75.

The mystery deepend this afternoon when The Atlantic's Jeffery Goldberg reported that "Sam Bacile" is a pseudonym and not Israeli. He spoke to a consultant on the film, a self-described "militant Christian activist" in California named Steve Klein. Klein told Golbderg:
Bacile, the producer of the film, is not Israeli, and most likely not Jewish, as has been reported, and that the name is, in fact, a pseudonym. He said he did not know "Bacile"'s real name. He said Bacile contacted him because he leads anti-Islam protests outside of mosques and schools, and because, he said, he is a Vietnam veteran and an expert on uncovering al Qaeda cells in California. "After 9/11 I went out to look for terror cells in California and found them, piece of cake. Sam found out about me. The Middle East Christian and Jewish communities trust me."
Klein told Golbderg that around 15 people were involved in the making of the film, "They're from Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, they're some that are from Egypt. Some are Copts but the vast majority are Evangelical," he told Golbderg.
The 80-member cast and crew who participated in the project released a statement to CNN saying they were mislead about the project.

The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer. We are 100% not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose. We are shocked by the drastic re-writes of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred.

Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress from Bakersfield, Calif. who has a small role in the video, told Gawker she had no idea she was participating in an offensive spoof on the life of Muhammed when she answered a casting call through an agency last summer for a script titled Desert Warriors.

"It was going to be a film based on how things were 2,000 years ago," Garcia said. "It wasn't based on anything to do with religion, it was just on how things were run in Egypt. There wasn't anything about Muhammed or Muslims or anything."

In the script and during the shooting, nothing indicated the controversial nature of the final product. Muhammed wasn't even called Muhammed; he was "Master George," Garcia said. The words Muhammed were dubbed over in post-production, as were essentially all other offensive references to Islam and Muhammed.

Garcia was horrified when she saw the end product, and when protesters in Libya killed four U.S. Embassy employee.

"I had nothing to do really with anything. Now we have people dead because of a movie I was in. It makes me sick."

No comments:

Post a Comment