US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens --- killed overnight in an attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi --- introduces himself
2011 GMT: With all the talk of the attack on the embassy, nearly forgotten is the fact that Libya also elected a new Prime Minister today. Though there were rumors of a recount, according to Al Arabiya the decision has been made:
#BreakingNews: Libyan parliament chooses Mustafa Abu Shakour as the country's new PM: correspondent— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) September 12, 2012
Mustafa Abu Shagur is currently the Deputy Prime Minister, and was a former adviser to the National Transitional Council. It appears Shagur has beat the former head of the NTC, Mahmoud Jibril, and 8 others, but only beat Jabril by 2 votes.
Consider this an unofficial result.
1950 GMT: It's been interesting to watch protests develop today in Libya. Not only are protesters still very angry about the video that sparked this, many have also expressed their condolences for the loss of life and have condemned the actions of those who attacked the US embassy. The Guardian points us towards two examples, a tweet and a Facebook page (with some spelling issues):
1623 GMT: We still do not have much information on "Sam Bacile", the California real estate developer said to be behind the amateur film that sparked demonstrations and violence in Egypt and Libya, but we believe this is an interview from 2007 with the film's "consultant", Vietnam veteran and former Marine Corps officer:
I would say that America does not get it. The "it" would be what I mentioned earlier . . . that we are in the Third Great Jihad. The Battle of Tours in 795 ended The First Great Jihad. The Second Great Jihad ended in 1683 when the Ottoman Turks failed to conquer Vienna. Now we are in The Third Great Jihad. Eventually, I do think America will get "it" but only after "a long train of abuses".
Max Blumenthal has much more on Klein's views and activities. And there is Klein's 2011 letter for "Concerned Citizens for the For the First Amendment" expressing alarm that Los Angeles officials "who have sworn to protect us from organizations that seek to replace the Constitution with a form of government antithetical to our Cherished First Amendment [and] our Cherished Constitution are making...public statements in support of The Muslim Brotherhood".
1613 GMT: An image which appears to be of Libyans trying to take the injured and unconscious US Ambassador, Chris Stevens, to hospital after an attack on his convoy (Photo: AFP/Getty):
1604 GMT: Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandli has read out a Cabinet statement balancing criticism of the amateur film on Prophet Mohammad that sparked protests at US diplomatic mission in Egypt and Libya with condemnation of the attacks on the American facilities and staff:
The film is offensive to the Prophet and immoral.
We call on the great people of Egypt to exercise restraint when expressing their anger.
What happened at the US embassy in Cairo is regrettable and rejected by all Egyptian people and cannot be justified, especially if we consider that the people who produced this low film have no relation to the (US) government.
We ask the American government to take a firm position toward this film's producers within the framework of international charters that criminalize acts that stir strife on the basis of race, color or religion.
Meanwhile, President Mohammed Mursi has asked the Egyptian Embassy in Washington to take legal action in the US against the makers of the film, according to the State news agency MENA.
1516 GMT: President Obama's statement on the "outrageous and shocking attack" that killed four Americans. Rejecting all efforts to denigrate religions, he called for an unequivocal rejection of the violence and emphasised that Libyans fought along US personnel during the assault and that Libyans took US Ambassador Stevens to the hospital.
Obama declared, "As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people that are wiling to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases lay down their lives for it,” Obama said at the White House. “No acts of terror will shake the resolve of this great nation.”
An earlier statement from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "Let me be clear. There is no justification for this. None. Violence like this is no way to honor religion or faith, and as long as there are those who would take innocent life in the name of God, the world will never know a true and lasting peace":
The Marines are members of the Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team, whose role is to respond on short notice to terrorism threats and to reinforce security at US embassies around the world.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press has a curious note from the doctor who says that he tried for 90 minutes to revive US Ambassador Chris Stevens, who died of severe asphyxiation from smoke inhalation.
That fits with earlier accounts, but this comment does not: "Stevens was brought to the Benghazi Medical Center by Libyans...with no other Americans and...initially no one realized he was the ambassador."
Where was the rest of Stevens' entourage? Was he taken by Libyans from the scene of an attack on his car, leaving other occupants behind?
1437 GMT: Libyan officials have given further details of the Benghazi attacks which both add to and further confuse the narrative of how US Ambassador Chris Stevens, three other Americans, and an unknown number of Libyans died:
Deputy Minister of Interior minister Wanis al-Sharif said the two US security guards slain were in a safe house after the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi. He added that a plane "with US security units" had arrived from Tripoli to evacuate staff, but militants discovered the location.
"It was supposed to be a secret place and we were surprised the armed groups knew about it. There was shooting," al-Sharif said. He added that two other peole were killed and 12 to 17 wounded.
It is not clear from a summary of al-Sharif's account if the two dead guards were part of the Consulate staff, the detail around US Ambassador Chris Stevens as he visited Benghazi, or the security units from Tripoli.
Nor was it clear how the safe house story fit with the incident in which Stevens was killed. Different accounts have said that Stevens died in the Consulate from smoke inhalation or in a rocket attack on his car, presumably as he was being taken to the safe house.
1158 GMT: At the press conference, Prime Minister Abdel Rahim el-Keeb has reiterated the condemnation of the attack and the promise of a full investigation.
The Prime Minister blamed the "despicable, cowardly acts" on "remnants of the former regime to undermine the revolution".
1152 GMT: Mohammed Al Magariaf of the Libyan National Council, in a press conference, has taken a much different line than the Deputy Minister of Interior's earlier blame of US officials for not taking security precautions before the overnight attack in Benghazi.
"In the strongest possible words, in all languages, we condemn, reject, and denounce what happened in Benghazi yesterday in the assault on the US Consulate," Al Magariaf said. He noted that the incident had occured on the anniversary of the attacks of 11 September 2001 and, regretting that Libyan soil had been used for a "despicable act of revenge", apologised to the "American people and the whole world".
Maqariaf promised a full investigation of the event.
1145 GMT: The White House has put out a statement in the name of President Obama, strongly condemning the "outrageous attack" in Benghazi.
1135 GMT: Reuters has a contrasting account of the death of the US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other embassy staff. While Al Jazeera English is reporting that Stevens died from smoke inhalation amid fire in the Consulate from the assualt, Reuters quotes a Libyan official that the four men were killed in a rocket attack on their car as they were rushed from the building.
1015 GMT: Deputy Minister of Interior Wanees El-Sharaf is giving a press conference in which he has confirmed the deaths of the four Americans, including the US Ambassador.
El-Sharaf said that Tripoli had warned US authorities of the prospect of demonstrations against the amateur film on the Prophet Mohammad. He said developments "spiralled out of control" and blamed the Americans for not taking necessary precautions.
The Deputy Minister blamed "outlawas and remnants of the former regime" for the assault. He said Libyan police were not sufficiently equipped to face "well-armed" groups in what was almost a "suicidal attack", repeating that it was "imperative to remove the security guards" at the Consulate.
0949 GMT: According to local officials and a journalist, the four US personnel killed in the Benghazi attack are the US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, a member of staff of the Finance Section, and two security guards.
The assault started at about 11:30 p.m. local time when protesters said Americans had insulted Islam with an amateur film about the Prophet Mohammad and called on others to join them. A local journalist said security at the US Consulate could not push the crowd back, some of whom were armed with rocket-propelled grenades, as they broke into the compound.
0923 GMT: Both Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya are reporting that the US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, was the American staff member killed at the US Consulate in Benghazi during overnight protests about an amateur film on the Prophet Mohammad.
Al Jazeera English is reporting from a local journalist that four people were killed and two were wounded in the incident. Stevens reportedly suffocated in a fire after the Consulate was struck, possibly by rocket-propelled grenades.
An armed crowd set fire to the building, following similar demonstrations at the US Embassy in the Egyptian capital Cairo.
Libyan officials said "a number" of US staff were injured, as rocket-propelled grenades were fired at the building from a nearby farm. They said there were "fierce clashes between the Libyan army and an armed militia".
Earlier in Cairo, protesters had climbed the wall of the US Embassy, taken down the US flag, and replaced it with a black banner.
The protests were sparked by Egyptian media reports about a 14-minute trailer, released on the Internet, for the amateur film "Innocence of Muslims”. The clip opens with scenes of Egyptian security forces standing idle as Muslims pillage and burn the homes of Egyptian Christians. It then portrays the Prophet Mohammad as a child of uncertain parentage, a buffoon, a womanizer, a homosexual, a child molester, and a greedy, bloodthirsty thug.
The trailer was uploaded to YouTube by a real estate developer in California, Sam Bacile, who said he had raised $5 million from 100 Jewish donors to make the film. Controversial Florida pastor Terry Jones began promoting the film with his proclamation of Sept. 11 as “International Judge Mohammad Day".
Jones said Tuesday that the film was "not designed to attack Muslims but to show the destructive ideology of Islam".