| Will the US State Dept Condemn UK’s Attempt to Use ‘Terrorism’ Laws to Suppress Journalism?

Will the US State Dept Condemn UK’s Attempt to Use ‘Terrorism’ Laws to Suppress Journalism? ~ Trevor Timm, Freedom of the Press Foundation.

In a shocking court filing this week, the UK government accused journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda of “terrorism” for allegedly transporting leaked (and heavily encrypted) NSA documents from documentarian Laura Poitras in Germany to Greenwald in Brazil, on a journalistic mission paid for by the Guardian newspaper.

In a statement that should send chills down the spine of every reporter, the government made the unbelievable claim that merely publishing information that has nothing to do with violence still “falls within the definition of terrorism.”

“Additionally the disclosure, or threat of disclosure, is designed to influence a government and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism…”

Think about the sheer breadth of that statement. Not only are several Guardian reporters and editors also guilty of engaging in “terrorism” under the UK government’s logic, but so are New York Times or Pro Publica journalists who have received the same news-worthy documents for publication. If publishing or threatening to publish information for the purpose “promoting a political or ideological cause” is “terrorism,” than the UK government can lock up every major newspaper editorial board that dares write any opinion that strays from the official government line.

No matter one’s opinion on the NSA, the entire public should be disturbed by this attack on journalism. In fact, this is exactly the type of attack on press freedom the US State Department regularly condemns in authoritarian countries, and we call on them to do the same in this case.

For example, in January 2012, in response to Ethiopia jailing award-winning journalist Eskinder Nega, the State Department expressed “concern that the application of anti-terrorism laws can sometimes undermine freedom of expression and independent media.” Again in June State Department released a statement saying, “The Ethiopian government has used the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to jail journalists and opposition party members for peacefully exercising their freedoms of expression and association.”

The 2012 State Department human rights report on Turkey criticizes the country for imprisoning “scores of journalists…most charged under antiterror laws or for connections to an illegal organization.”

In April 2013, the State Department cited Burundi for imprisoning radio journalist Hassan Ruvakuki and three of his colleagues for “acts of terrorism.”

Just last month, in response to respected Moroccan journalist Ali Anouzla being arrested under an anti-terror law for linking to a Youtube video, the State Department said, “We are concerned with the government of Morocco’s decision to charge Mr. Anouzla. We support freedom of expression and of the press, as we say all the time, universal rights that are an indispensable part of any society.”

As the Committee to Protect Journalists noted in their excellent report on the misuse of terror laws, “The number of journalists jailed worldwide hit 232 in 2012, 132 of whom were held on anti-terror or other national security charges. Both are records in the 22 years CPJ has documented imprisonments.”

Warping “terrorism” laws to suppress journalism is the hallmark of authoritarian regimes and deserves to be condemned by all. The Miranda case is a classic example of, as the State Department has put it, “misus[ing] terrorism laws to prosecute and imprison journalists.”

We call on the State Department to apply the same principle they’ve applied to these authoritarian regimes and condemn the UK for misusing its “terrorism” laws to suppress journalism and free expression.

Editor’s Note: Both Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras are founding board members of Freedom of the Press Foundation



| Pakistani drone victims’ lawyer accuses US of blocking his visit to Congress!

Pakistani drone victims’ lawyer accuses US of blocking his visit to Congress ~ theguardian.com.

Shahzad Akbar says visa hold-up means he cannot take his clients to Capitol Hill to testify on CIA drone strikes in Pakistan.

The US government is being accused of derailing a congressional hearing that would be the first to hear testimony from survivors of an alleged CIA drone strike by failing to grant the family’s lawyer a visa.

Shahzad Akbar, a legal fellow with the British human rights group Reprieve and the director of the Pakistan-based Foundation for Fundamental Rights, says the state department is preventing him from taking his clients to Capitol Hill next week. The hearing would mark the first time US lawmakers heard directly from drone strike survivors.

Akbar’s clients, Rafiq ur-Rehman, his 13-year-old son, Zubair, and his nine-year-old daughter, Nabila, are from the tribal regions of north Waziristan. The children were injured in the alleged US strike on the village of Tappi last year. Their grandmother – Rehman’s mother, Mamana – was killed.

Rehman and his children have spent months making preparations to visit Washington after being invited by US representatives to testify in the ad hoc hearing on drone strikes.

According to Akbar, his clients’ visas for the trip have been approved, but his has not. He believes the hold-up is political.

“It’s not like my name is scratched because there is some sort of confusion. My name is blocked,” Akbar told the Guardian. “Before I started drone investigations I never had an issue with US visa. In fact, I had a US diplomatic visa for two years.”

This is the third tangle Akbar has experienced with US authorities over a visa since 2011, a year after he began investigating drone strikes. In April, Akbar said he was being prevented from speaking at a human rights conference in Washington because of a delay processing his application. He was eventually granted entry.

Florida congressman Alan Grayson, who helped spearhead the effort to bring the Rehman family to the US, told the Guardian that the state department had not given “a specific reason as to why [Akbar]’s having trouble getting in”.

“I don’t know why the State Department has taken this action, but I think it’s extremely important that when it comes to a national security matter like drone attacks, we hear not only from the proponents of these attacks, but also from the victims,” Grayson said.

“We have a chronic problem in Congress that when the administration is involved in one side of the issue, we rarely hear about the other side of the issue.

“This is true with regard to NSA domestic spying. This is true with regard to proposed military intervention in Syria. And it’s also true with regard to the drone attacks in Pakistan and in Yemen.”

He added: “I think Congress and the American people simply need to hear both sides of the story, and that’s why we invited these witnesses to come and testify.”

Akbar is an internationally-known critic of US drone strikes in Pakistan, representing over 150 survivors of alleged US strikes and their family members in litigation against CIA and government officials in Pakistan.

His most recent request for visa approval began last month. Documents reviewed by the Guardian show he submitted his non-immigrant state department visa application on 26 August, while Rehman and his children submitted theirs on 28 August.

Akbar says he and his clients’ visa interviews were booked through the American Express offices in Islamabad and held in the US embassy there; his on 4 September, his clients’ on 6 September.

Akbar said his interview got off to an atypical start when an American official escorted him to a separate room for questioning. “Normally when you go to the embassy, there are different counters in the big hall and everyone is interviewed at the counter, and this is where the victims – Rafiq and his children – were interviewed, but I was interviewed in a separate room,” Akbar said.

“They got the result within a week and I’m still waiting for my visa.”

Akbar said the woman who interviewed him told him he had been “flagged.”

“She said they know me very well, so they don’t need really to clarify anything. They were aware that I was coming. They were aware of the invitation from the congressman,” Akbar said.

He claimed the woman told him her job was to identify immigration or flight risks, neither of which he was, then said that because his “history” with the US, “my visa has been flagged.”

A State Department spokeswoman said “two agents” were reviewing questions concerning Akbar’s visa submitted by the Guardian but did not respond with answers before publication.

“I keep checking and they still tell me that it’s in administrative process,” Akbar said. “They say they cannot tell me how long it will take.” A state department information sheet indicates the total wait time for a non-immigrant visa in Islamabad, including the appointment interview and processing, should not exceed 13 days. Akbar began the process one month ago.

Akbar believes another government agency may be blocking his visit. “We brought litigation, civil litigation and civil charges, against CIA officials in Pakistan for their role in drone strikes. I think it’s pretty clear that I have been blacklisted because of that.”


The Rehman family had been invited to Congress to describe the afternoon of 24 October, when their village was hit by four missiles, allegedly fired by drones that had been buzzing overhead for days.

Nabila was playing outside when the munitions struck. She tried to run but was burned by the blast. She and Zubair were hospitalized for injuries they sustained. Zubair required surgery to remove the shrapnel from his leg.

Their father, who was finishing work when the attack happened, returned home to find a smoking crater, bleeding children and dead cattle. Scattered in a field a considerable distance from the blast site were the remains of his 67-year-old mother.

Initial reports citing unnamed security officials claimed as many as four “militants” were killed in the attack. North Waziristan is well-known for its militant population and has been a consistent target of the CIA’s drone campaign.

But Rehman says his mother – the wife of a retired headmaster – was the only person killed in the strike, and maintains there were no fighters present when the missiles were fired. Akbar said he was able to make contact with Rehman a week after the strike and, as a result, managed to collect a substantial body of evidence indicating it was unlawful.

“There is no evidence of any militant killed,” Akbar said. He said the only people injured were children; a total of nine, three seriously. Neither US nor Pakistani officials have disclosed the names or any other details of the militants they claim were the targets.

Akbar said Rehman and his children agreed to travel to the US on the condition he would join them as their lawyer, and they are now considering abandoning the trip. “This was a big plunge for these people,” he said.

Robert Greenwald, a US filmmaker, was introduced to the Rehman family through Akbar while working on an forthcoming documentary, Unmanned, examining US drone strikes. On Tuesday, Greenwald’s organization, Brave New Films, released a one-minute video featuring Rehman and his children, that called on the state department to allow Akbar to accompany his clients on their trip to the US.

“It’s very, very upsetting that the efforts of the state department may really stop something that’s pure democracy,” Greenwald told the Guardian.

Shahzad Akbar drones Pakistan

Shahzad Akbar, right, has represented more than 150 survivors of alleged US drone strikes and their family members. Photograph: Anjum Naveed/AP


| US to reopen 18 of 19 embassies closed amid security concerns!

U.S. to reopen 18 of 19 embassies closed amid security concerns ~ Reuters.

(Reuters) – Eighteen of the 19 U.S. embassies closed this month due to worries about potential terrorist attacks will reopen on Sunday, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

“Our embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, will remain closed because of ongoing concerns about a threat stream indicating the potential for terrorist attacks emanating from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

The United States will also keep its consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, shuttered, Psaki said, adding it closed on Thursday due to a “separate credible threat.”

On August 2, the U.S. shut the 19 embassies in the Middle East, saying it had picked up information through surveillance and other means about unspecified terrorist threats.

A worldwide alert said that al Qaeda could be planning attacks in the Middle East and North Africa.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government this week warned its citizens to avoid traveling to Pakistan, while some American diplomats from Yemen were evacuated and U.S. nationals were told to leave the country immediately.

President Barack Obama, during a White House press conference, declined to comment on reports of drone strikes in Pakistan that targeted militants in that country.

The State Department did not indicate when its facilities in Sanaa and Lahore might reopen, saying it will continue to evaluate the “threats.”

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Eric Walsh)




| BILLARY!! Hillary Clinton: Will she run for president in 2016?

Hillary Clinton: Will she run for president in 2016? ~ The Guardian.


The campaign T-shirts are already on sale, the Washington rumour mill is in overdrive. But even if Hillary Clinton does decide to run for the White House in 2016, can she win?


Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama

Many expect Hillary Clinton to make a bid for the White House in 2016, but she could face some major hurdles. Photograph: Elise Amendola/AP

Hillary Clinton, if you believe the hype, is only weeks away from girding up for her second run for president in 2016, this time going all the way to the White House. John Kerry, nominated last week as her successor as secretary of state, will be confirmed by the Senate in mid-January, leaving the coast clear for Clinton to begin preparing her battle for the presidency. And, after her successful term in Barack Obama’s administration, why shouldn’t she?

The entire Democratic establishment is urging Clinton to run – not least her husband, Bill. Die-hard fans are prepping for an announcement, with Hillary 2016 T-shirts for sale online and coy postings on the Friends of Hillary Facebook page: “Merry Christmas everyone! Hillary has a present, but she’ll only be able to give it to you in about 4 years …” And after 20 years in Washington, 2012 was the year Clinton officially became hip, with her own viral internet meme, a parody Tumblr site called Texts from Hillary.

All of which, bizarrely, could doom a potential Clinton candidacy.

For those who watched Clinton’s first run for the White House, the clamour for her to run again, the idea that there is no one more entitled than she is to the nomination and then the White House, is beginning to sound depressingly familiar.

When she launched her last bid for the White House in January 2007, Clinton was the ultimate establishment candidate: cautious, calculating, hawkish on defence (to the point of voting for the war in Iraq), and reactive rather than breaking new ground. The webcast announcing her presidential exploratory committee said it all – the nomination was Clinton’s for the taking. “I’m in to win,” she said in the video. But of course, she didn’t.

But Clinton has a chance, if she wants it, to show she has learned from the strategic and tactical errors of 2008. She has gained two big pluses in her four years at the State Department. The first is a cause bigger than herself, in her work for women’s rights. The second is an ability to reach out beyond a narrow circle of advisers – engaging ordinary members of the public on her frequent trips as secretary and commanding the loyalty of a large bureaucratic organisation like the State Department.

Her ultra-cautious handlers give every impression they are guarding her image for a future run for the presidency. But Clinton, for the moment, isn’t telling. She has spoken in interviews of taking time off, writing a memoir, teaching a class or engaging in philanthropic endeavours. Former aides and colleagues mention the possibility of a foundation, in tandem with her husband’s Clinton Global Initiative, or a thinktank on women and security. But it is hard to imagine Clinton willingly walking away from a public that, after all the years of flak and controversy, is now almost universally adoring.

As secretary of state she shed the political baggage accumulated as an activist first lady, and has so far avoided any blowback for the administration’s failures in the Middle East and Libya. Her domestic approval ratings are at a lifetime high, above 65%. When she goes abroad, world leaders are gushing in their praise. In September, during United Nations week, one of Clinton’s last set-piece events before standing down as secretary of state, there were standing ovations before she even got up to speak, and emotional tributes from a succession of world leaders.

At the launch of a US-backed initiative to expand women’s rights, Clinton perched in the middle of 12 red-and-gilt-arm chairs as a dozen presidents and prime ministers offered up their homages. “Hillary, you have done so much to inspire women and girls around the world,” Australia’s prime minister, Julia Gillard, said. “We stand taller and move freer because of your inspiring example.” Clinton did not appear embarrassed. She been hearing such effusive praise for years.

So what could keep her from running? Voter fatigue with Obama and the Clintons, the economic downturn, and the security failures at Benghazi (when four Americans, including the US ambassador to Libya, were killed in an attack on the US consulate in September this year) could all cause her problems. There is also the question of Clinton’s health. The secretary has not been seen in public since 10 December. Aides said she fainted and suffered concussion after being weakened by a stomach virus. And though she was quick to tell Barbara Walters in a year-end interview that she was full of “incredible stamina and energy”, Clinton will be 69 at the time of the next elections.

It would be dangerous for Clinton to take her high approval ratings for granted. The role of secretary of state operates at a remove from domestic politics; for now, Obama or house leader Nancy Pelosi are the main targets of conservative commentators. But if Clinton were to run for the White House, she would open herself up once again to a full-on attack from the right.

For now, Clinton leaves the State Department with a strong reputation – thanks in large part to the efforts of a personal staff that has been tending her image for years or even decades. A number of Clinton’s team have worked for her or her husband for most of their adult lives. The communications team, headed by Philippe Reines operates out of a ground floor office of the State Department. Staff make no secret of their mission. Fanned out on the coffee table, when I visited last autumn, were a series of magazines with flattering portraits of the secretary on their covers: Clinton gazing at the Taj Mahal on a travel publication, Clinton in a glamorous black-and-white portrait.

The secretary’s aides decided early on that when it came to repairing the US’s battered image in the world, Clinton was her country’s best asset. No previous secretary of state could match her charisma or resume: first lady, senator and, at her political height, presidential candidate who won 18m votes in the toughest, most gruelling campaign in modern US history.

“No one really quibbles with the underlying notion that, since [President Obama] took office and named her as secretary, America has greatly improved and restored its standing in the world,” said Reines. “It is not an image thing. It is not a popularity thing. It is a necessity and prerequisite to getting work done that needs to be done to advance interests and values of the United States.”

And so Clinton put herself out there, like an old-style politician using her celebrity and personal connections to try to smooth over the rough years of the US’s relations with the rest of the world. She logged 956,000 miles as secretary of state, visiting 112 countries, according to the State Department website. On virtually every visit, Clinton made a point of reaching beyond the stilted, formal diplomatic encounters to meet women’s groups, health workers, environmentalists, students, business leaders, and to spend time with US embassy staff.

Clinton family album

Hillary Clinton with husband Bill and daughter Chelsea in 1972. Photo: Sipa/Rex 

This constant campaigning for America didn’t hurt Clinton’s future political prospects, either. Clinton’s team went out of their way to promote an image of Clinton, not just as the nation’s top diplomat, but its top “gal pal” – someone everyone would want to hang out with. She appeared on a comedy sketch with Australian duo Hamish & Andy. She sent in a response and posed for photos with the creators of the Tumblr parody Texts from Hillary, which featured the secretary running the world and sending badass tweets from behind dark sunglasses. She even joked about her fondness for scrunchies, the covered elastics from the 1990s she uses to pull back the longer hair she has favoured as secretary.

But those hundreds of public encounters during her years as secretary of state also helped Clinton find her way back to a lifelong cause: women’s rights. Since her days as a young lawyer, Clinton has cared passionately about the rights of women and children. But until she arrived at the State Department, she was ambivalent about defining herself publicly as a women’s advocate.

She maintained relationships with women’s organisations in Africa and Asia that lasted decades, immersing herself in issues such as sex trafficking, violence against women, female genital mutilation, child marriage and women’s exclusion from politics.

“When it really comes to the poor and women’s issues, she definitely gives it the topmost priority. She always finds time to go into the depths of it,” said Reema Nanavaty of the Self-Employed Women’s Association, who has been in touch with Clinton since 1982. “She shows more of a personal touch.”

Despite that authentic interest, however, Clinton hesitated to put women’s rights centre-stage during her earlier life in elected politics. “She didn’t want to just be seen as a woman. She wanted to be seen as the best candidate,” said Neera Tanden, who joined Clinton’s staff when she was first lady, and is now president of the leftwing Centre for American Progress think tank.

Her campaign staff were divided about how to frame Clinton as a candidate. Some feared she was missing a historic opportunity by opting to run as an institutional candidate, rather than as one representing change, a potential first female president. “There was that sense that the first woman president was within our grasp, and we were losing it,” said Patti Solis Doyle, who was removed as Clinton’s campaign manager in February 2008.

But Clinton was swayed by other advisers who warned she could put off male voters. There was also the rampant sexism of the campaigning, the dismissive commentary from TV pundits, the hecklers at campaign events calling for Clinton to iron their shirts.

Key players in her campaign now acknowledge they got it wrong. “With the benefit of hindsight, there were probably more opportunities to be taken to highlight the change a Clinton presidency would represent – as opposed to presenting her as more of an institutional figure,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster and strategist brought in to manage Clinton’s campaign during its final weeks. “I think some of the people who were running her campaign at the time were concerned about the possibility of scaring off men in the general election. But it’s clear that as a primary candidate there was, I think, a greater sense of energy and excitement that could have been generated from the historic nature of her candidacy.”

By the time Clinton came around to embracing the idea of change, it was far too late.

At the State Department, however, with no immediate political stakes, Clinton felt freer to put women and children at the centre of policy-making. “Hillary came in to the office as an international superstar. I think she could afford to take a little bit more risk on that front,” said Isobel Coleman, director of the women and foreign policy programme at the Council on Foreign Relations. There were still elements of the old political calculation, reminders that Clinton was still keeping options open for 2016. She disappointed activists on her trip to Ireland earlier this month, possibly her last as secretary, when she failed to publicly take up the case of Savita Halappanavar, who died after being refused an abortion.

But Clinton’s allies argue her advocacy on women’s issues has made a profound difference. “When a secretary of state goes to a country and the embassy gets engaged in those issues again and again and again, I think that is the way you begin to change the mindset,” said Alyse Nelson, who runs the Vital Voices group fostered by Clinton when she was first lady. “Hillary took it to a whole new level.”

When Clinton took the job as secretary of state four years ago, she could have messed up. After all, in the single most important foreign policy vote of her time in the Senate, the decision to invade Iraq, Clinton picked the wrong side, voting for war. There were also concerns about her capacity to work with her former rival Obama. “When she came in she had a very tough political task,” said David Rothkopf, chief executive of Foreign Policy magazine. “She was seen as a rival to the president. She had her own political base. She could easily be seen as someone upstaging him, but that didn’t happen. She put her head down and she got to work.”

In 2008, Hillary Rodham Clinton was a flawed candidate. Has she done enough to address those flaws and make it to the White House in 2016? Only time will tell.



| Revealed: inside story of US envoy’s assassination!

Revealed: inside story of US envoy’s assassinationKIM SENGUPTA, The Independent. 

Exclusive: America ‘was warned of embassy attack but did nothing’

The killings of the US ambassador to Libya and three of his staff were likely to have been the result of a serious and continuing security breach, The Independent can reveal.

American officials believe the attack was planned, but Chris Stevens had been back in the country only a short while and the details of his visit to Benghazi, where he and his staff died, were meant to be confidential.

The US administration is now facing a crisis in Libya. Sensitive documents have gone missing from the consulate in Benghazi and the supposedly secret location of the “safe house” in the city, where the staff had retreated, came under sustained mortar attack. Other such refuges across the country are no longer deemed “safe”.

Some of the missing papers from the consulate are said to list names of Libyans who are working with Americans, putting them potentially at risk from extremist groups, while some of the other documents are said to relate to oil contracts.

According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and “lockdown”, under which movement is severely restricted.

Mr Stevens had been on a visit to Germany, Austria and Sweden and had just returned to Libya when the Benghazi trip took place with the US embassy’s security staff deciding that the trip could be undertaken safely.

Eight Americans, some from the military, were wounded in the attack which claimed the lives of Mr Stevens, Sean Smith, an information officer, and two US Marines. All staff from Benghazi have now been moved to the capital, Tripoli, and those whose work is deemed to be non-essential may be flown out of Libya.

In the meantime a Marine Corps FAST Anti-Terrorism Reaction Team has already arrived in the country from a base in Spain and other personnel are believed to be on the way. Additional units have been put on standby to move to other states where their presence may be needed in the outbreak of anti-American fury triggered by publicity about a film which demeaned the Prophet Mohamed.

A mob of several hundred stormed the US embassy in the Yemeni capital Sanaa yesterday. Other missions which have been put on special alert include almost all those in the Middle East, as well as in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Burundi and Zambia.

Senior officials are increasingly convinced, however, that the ferocious nature of the Benghazi attack, in which rocket-propelled grenades were used, indicated it was not the result of spontaneous anger due to the video, called Innocence of Muslims. Patrick Kennedy, Under-Secretary at the State Department, said he was convinced the assault was planned due to its extensive nature and the proliferation of weapons.

There is growing belief that the attack was in revenge for the killing in a drone strike in Pakistan of Mohammed Hassan Qaed, an al-Qa’ida operative who was, as his nom-de-guerre Abu Yahya al-Libi suggests, from Libya, and timed for the anniversary of the 11 September attacks.

Senator Bill Nelson, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said: “I am asking my colleagues on the committee to immediately investigate what role al-Qa’ida or its affiliates may have played in the attack and to take appropriate action.”

According to security sources the consulate had been given a “health check” in preparation for any violence connected to the 9/11 anniversary. In the event, the perimeter was breached within 15 minutes of an angry crowd starting to attack it at around 10pm on Tuesday night. There was, according to witnesses, little defence put up by the 30 or more local guards meant to protect the staff. Ali Fetori, a 59-year-old accountant who lives near by, said: “The security people just all ran away and the people in charge were the young men with guns and bombs.”

Wissam Buhmeid, the commander of the Tripoli government-sanctioned Libya’s Shield Brigade, effectively a police force for Benghazi, maintained that it was anger over the Mohamed video which made the guards abandon their post. “There were definitely people from the security forces who let the attack happen because they were themselves offended by the film; they would absolutely put their loyalty to the Prophet over the consulate. The deaths are all nothing compared to insulting the Prophet.”

Mr Stevens, it is believed, was left in the building by the rest of the staff after they failed to find him in dense smoke caused by a blaze which had engulfed the building. He was discovered lying unconscious by local people and taken to a hospital, the Benghazi Medical Centre, where, according to a doctor, Ziad Abu Ziad, he died from smoke inhalation.

An eight-strong American rescue team was sent from Tripoli and taken by troops under Captain Fathi al- Obeidi, of the February 17 Brigade, to the secret safe house to extract around 40 US staff. The building then came under fire from heavy weapons. “I don’t know how they found the place to carry out the attack. It was planned, the accuracy with which the mortars hit us was too good for any ordinary revolutionaries,” said Captain Obeidi. “It began to rain down on us, about six mortars fell directly on the path to the villa.”

Libyan reinforcements eventually arrived, and the attack ended. News had arrived of Mr Stevens, and his body was picked up from the hospital and taken back to Tripoli with the other dead and the survivors.

Mr Stevens’ mother, Mary Commanday, spoke of her son yesterday. “He did love what he did, and he did a very good job with it. He could have done a lot of other things, but this was his passion. I have a hole in my heart,” she said.

Global anger: The protests spread


The furore across the Middle East over the controversial film about the Prophet Mohamed is now threatening to get out of control. In Sana’a, the Yemeni capital, yesterday around 5,000 demonstrators attacked the US embassy, leaving at least 15 people injured. Young protesters, shouted: “We sacrifice ourselves for you, Messenger of God,” smashed windows of the security offices and burned at least five cars, witnesses said.


Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed Morsi yesterday condemned the attack in Benghazi that killed the US ambassador. In a speech in Brussels, Mr Morsi said he had spoken to President Obama and condemned “in the clearest terms” the Tuesday attacks. Despite this, and possibly playing to a domestic audience, President Obama said yesterday that “I don’t think we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy”.

Demonstrators in Cairo attacked the mission on Tuesday evening and protests have continued since.


Militants said the anti-Islamic film “will put all the American interests Iraq in danger” and called on Muslims everywhere to “face our joint enemy”, as protesters in Baghdad burned American flags yesterday. The warning from the Iranian-backed group Asaib Ahl al-Haq came as demonstrators demanded the closure of the US embassy in the capital.


Islamists warned they may “besiege” the US embassy in Dhaka after security forces stopped around 1,000 protesters marching to the building. The Khelafat Andolon group called for bigger protests as demonstrators threw their fists in the air, burned the flag and chanted anti-US slogans.


There was a Hamas-organised protest in Gaza City, and as many as 100 Arab Israelis took to the streets in Tel Aviv. In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai postponed a trip to Norway, fearing violence. Officials in Pakistan said they “expected protests”. Protesters in Tunis burnt US flags.

*Patrick Cockburn: The murder of US ambassador Christopher Stevens proves the Arab Spring was never what it seemed

*Editorial: Obama must measure his response

*US defends itself to the world – but back home it’s war

*Jerome Taylor: Fear and loathing – Another unholy row about Islam

*The softly spoken diplomat who lifted the rebels’ resolve

*Robert Fisk: The provocateurs know politics and religion don’t mix