Clinton says U.S. had nothing to do with film that sparked violence
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government had nothing to do with a film about the Prophet Mohammad that has triggered anti-American protests in Muslim countries, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday.
The film, apparently produced in the United States, sparked an attack on a U.S. mission in Libya on Tuesday that killed the ambassador and three other Americans. Clips posted on the Internet show an amateurish production portraying the Prophet Mohammad as a womanizer, a homosexual and a child abuser.
"The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message," Clinton said at the start of talks with senior Moroccan officials in Washington.
"To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage."
For many Muslims, any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous. Caricatures or other characterizations deemed insulting in the past have provoked protests and drawn condemnations from officials, preachers, ordinary Muslims and many Christians in the Middle East.
While distancing the U.S. government from the film, Clinton noted the history of religious tolerance in the United States and its commitment to freedom of speech and said there was no justification for people to respond with violence.
"I know it is hard for some people to understand why the United States cannot or does not just prevent these kinds of reprehensible videos from ever seeing the light of day," she said. "I would note that in today's world, with today's technologies, that is virtually impossible.
"But even if it were possible our country does have a long tradition of free expression which is enshrined in our constitution and our law. And we do not stop individual citizens from expressing their views no matter how distasteful they may be," she added.
"There are of course different views around the world about the outer limits of free speech and free expression. But there should be no debate about the simple proposition that violence in response to speech is not acceptable," Clinton said.
Here's how U.S. should respond to attacks
by Trudy Rubin
The violent attacks on the U.S. missions in Cairo, Egypt, and Benghazi, Libya — where a top U.S. diplomat was killed — are far too important to be reduced to fodder in a campaign debate.
We should be focused on a question that many Americans are probably asking about the tragic death of our ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans: How could this happen in a country that we helped liberate and a city we helped save?
The answer provides some clues as to how the United States should respond to such outrages. And it illustrates a perplexing problem that will confront whoever wins the presidential race.
Stevens' death is perplexing because of the lead role the United States played in the overthrow of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, and the fact that NATO intervention saved the rebel capital in Benghazi from being overrun by regime soldiers bent on slaughter. The question is especially poignant because Ambassador Stevens was an Arabic speaker with long experience in Libya, who had served as U.S. emissary to the Libyan rebels.
Yet Stevens was killed, on the anniversary of 9/11, in a violent demonstration against an obscure, and bizarre, 13-minute film, in Arabic, that denigrates the Prophet Muhammad. How could a ludicrous video, showing Americans lumbering around in Arab gear — a video that looks as if it were made by drunken teenagers as a sick joke — cause such a tragic result?
For several reasons: Because radical salafi groups deliberately advertise such films to manipulate crowds who would never otherwise know these videos existed. Because poor Muslims in Third World countries are vulnerable to anti-Western diatribes and have no grasp of constitutional principles such as freedom of speech: They believe any film that insults Islam has government backing.
Because many Muslim leaders are too fearful — or too weak — to crack down on the hard-line salafis on their far-right flank.
And because, in the YouTube era, hard-line salafis can instantly reach thousands. Ditto for flame-throwers such as the maker of the Web film, who said he wanted to showcase hateful Islam, or Florida pastor Terry Jones of burn-the-Quran fame, who helped him. Both men were eager to stir up violence, cloaked in their free-speech rights. They share in the blame for what happened in Egypt and Libya.
But, frankly, even if the filmmaker hadn't provided the oil for extremists to pour on the flames, these salafis could probably have found another offensive video — or cartoon.
Indeed, the 9/11 mayhem in Cairo and Benghazi was clearly planned beforehand. In Benghazi, the small group of violent protesters came prepared with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades; early signs indicate they hailed from a radical Islamist group called Ansar al-Sharia. In Cairo, according to the English website of the Ahram newspaper, a well-known salafist leader made calls on an ultraconservative satellite TV channel for the crowds to turn out.
So how should U.S. leaders respond?
First, by recognizing that the problems of the Arab Winter were not caused by one party. Republican and Democratic leaders alike supported the revolts in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and will have to deal with the complex results.
Second, by working with Arab leaders, like those in Libya, who do want to root out violent groups in their midst. Unlike their Egyptian counterparts, Libya's new leaders apologized for Tuesday's violence. Moreover, Libyans rejected Islamist parties in their first election, but their new institutions are weak.
Third, by making clear to leaders like Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi, whose party has Muslim Brotherhood roots, that he can't have good relations with the West unless he prevents future attacks — and stands up against salafi provocations.
The administration must tell Morsi he can't receive $1 billion in U.S. debt forgiveness, U.S. help in getting international loans, and the Western investment that Egypt desperately needs, if he won't head off violence against Western interests. Morsi will claim that, as a “moderate” Muslim leader, he is squeezed by pressure on his right, but if he caves to that pressure he is no different from the salafis. And at some point, the salafis will turn against him.
Fourth, U.S. leaders must make plain to Muslim leaders that the U.S. Constitution protects free speech, however offensive. (Note: Free speech is under attack in Egypt; on Wednesday, an Egyptian court cleared a famous Egyptian actor, Adel Imam, of charges that he defamed Islam by playing a terrorist in a movie. Many similar cases accusing individuals of offending Islam are pending.)
President Barack Obama must repeat over and over what he said Wednesday: “We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this kind of senseless violence. None.”
With more trouble brewing over the Web film, Obama must demonstrate there is a price to be paid by those who perpetrate such violence, and by leaders who let it explode. On Wednesday, he said clearly that “justice will be done” toward those responsible for the death of Stevens and the others. U.S. officials should work with Libyans to make that pledge come true very soon.
Montclair police seek $1 million for improved public safety
by DIANE HERBST
Thanks to contacts forged through Montclair's formerly robust community police program 12 years ago, two witnesses to the murder of college student Brian Schiavetti on William Street in July felt comfortable enough to tip off township police - tips that led to the arrest of Montclair resident Ernest Williams, Jr., said Montclair Chief of Police David Sabagh during Tuesday night's Township Council meeting.
"That homicide," noted Sabagh, "was solved due to old community policing efforts."
Sabagh presented a proposal to bring back community policing in the form of a team of five officers and a supervisor who would travel to different neighborhoods in a high-tech command vehicle the size of an ambulance.
The police would stay in a neighborhood for several days, visiting residents and creating contacts.
"It's going from neighborhood to neighborhood, door to door, knock on doors and really listen," said Sabagh. "Neighbors might have issues we don't know about. People are fearful. We want them to know we are out there."
Twelve years ago, Montclair's community policing was funded by state and federal grants, Sabagh said. For the program he is proposing, the cost would be $475,000 for personnel salaries and $175,000 for the vehicle.
To make community policing work, Township Manager Marc Dashield cautioned the council that not only would the Police Department need a commitment for funding current staffing, but a commitment to spend money on new officers.
Fourth Ward Councilwoman Renée Baskerville, requested data showing the effectiveness of community policing.
Dashield noted that Plainfield used community policing with positive results, including the use of a specialized vehicle. "The presence of the police vehicle made people feel safer," he said.
Mayor Robert Jackson supported the idea of the program. "Crime overall is down," he said. "The beauty of this is, we have to get ourselves on a mission to root out crime in certain areas of town. If we don't, it will only fester and get worse."
"Violent crime is down significantly" in Montclair, acknowledged Sabagh. Referring to the shooting death of Schiavetti, he said: "You have a homicide and the perception of that number goes up.
"This is a proposal, an idea," Sabagh said in response to Baskerville's questions on the cost of the program. "I hope you support it."
Another aspect of community policing is the installation of closed-circuit television cameras at key intersections that would be monitored and used for purposes such as identifying suspects or zooming in to see a narcotics transaction, Sabagh said. The officer monitoring the cameras could then dispatch police to the incident. "It deters crime," he said.
Each camera and installation would cost about $25,000. Sabagh proposed installing them at up to 10 intersections at a total cost of $250,000, including: South Park Street and Church Street; Bloomfield Avenue and Church Street; Bloomfield Avenue and South Park Street and Walnut Street and Depot Square.
Sabagh later told reporters he would like to see both programs rolling "as soon as possible."
High tech 911 system
Imagine if you could text message a call for help to 911, share an image or videos of a crime scene taken on a smart phone with a 911 operator, or a 911 system able to track down a caller in need of help through global positioning systems.
Sabagh and Sgt. Michael Mongiovi of the Support Services/Training Bureau introduced this concept to the Township Council Tuesday night.
Called Enhanced 911, Sabagh said it is a much-needed, technologically advanced upgrade to the township's current 911 system.
"Our 911 system if failing," said Sabagh. "It's beyond its useful life. We can't get components for it. If it fails tomorrow, we'd have to transfer to Glen Ridge to get our 911 calls. It's a risk we can't take."
Next Generation 911, provided by a company called Intrado, comes at a price tag of $359,833.59, which includes a four-year service contract.
Dashield introduced a resolution for next week's regular Township Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 18, to purchase the system. The prior Township Council approved a bond ordinance on May 22 that included $393,750 for the system.
Police, clergy, community take on S.W. Philly crime
SOUTHWEST PHILADELPHIA - September 13, 2012 (WPVI) -- Philadelphia police are tackling a big grid in West Philadelphia as part of what they are calling a "quality of life blitz." Police and clergy members will be going door to door - to every door- talking to neighbors - a new approach to tackling crime in a high crime area.
Thursday evening, Philadelphia police and members of the clergy will be knocking on doors in West Philadelphia - specifically the 19th District- an area with its share of violent crime. Just Wednesday, a 35-year-old man was shot in the stomach at Frasier and Arch in broad daylight. And there are plenty of other crimes, mainly burglaries and thefts.
"We identified three pretty large areas where we're experiencing crime or have experienced crime for a long time. We're going to hit these locations. go door to door to educate the community on different programs we have," said Philadelphia Police Inspector Dennis Wilson.
Police want residents to be aware of what's going on and to hear from them: Where are the trouble spots; what can police do to help.
Wilson added, "We want to know from residents if they're having any problems; poor lighting, abandoned vehicles, vacant property."
Police will also encourage businesses to register surveillance cameras with the city. They'll talk to residents about protecting their property more effectively.
In recent months, police increased foot patrols in West Philadelphia. It's all a return to old-fashioned policing. Residents we talked to believe it's the right approach.
"That's a long time coming," said Lawrence Barham. "We should have been doing that. We sorely need it yes."
"I've seen them in several neighborhoods," said Alyson Baylor. "It's wonderful. They should have never stopped. So much at a level that it is now."
The police and clergy members will be assembling at 55th and Walnut and head out into the neighborhood. Next week they'll tackle the 18th District and then the 12th after that. The inspector said with so much crime, crime-fighting today is about innovation and this is an approach they're willing to try.
Keep ‘things' from happening
by Katherine Hammer -- 21st Security Forces Squadron
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — We frequently measure success in the Air Force, and oftentimes life in general, by numbers. We look at measurable statistics, like numbers and dollars, to determine how well we did. Earlier this year, former fifth Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Robert Gaylor visited Peterson Air Force Base. As a prior security police member, Gaylor met with members of the 21st Security Forces Squadron and said something that resonated with many SFS Airmen. Referring to the quantification of success, he mentioned that at least with regard to measuring the success of policing efforts, we must be measuring what hasn't happened.
Members of the 21st SFS work every day to keep “things” from happening. We take a proactive, rather than reactive approach to keeping criminal activity off the installation through the utilization of various innovative policing techniques, including community policing, problem-oriented policing, and intelligence-led policing.
You might be familiar with the term “community policing,” which is the use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to find the root causes of issues that impact crime and disorder. It is based on collaborative efforts between policing organizations and those in the community they serve, by ultimately aligning various organizational elements that foster such partnerships. Community policing is a proactive approach for identifying problems through evaluation of an issue. The 21st SFS employs aspects of community policing in a variety of ways by dedicating patrols to housing sectors, conducting bike and foot patrols, attending town hall meetings, educating the public, and making great efforts to foster community relations. Our goal is to ensure Peterson Air Force Base residents, employees, and visitors always feel as safe as possible.
Another tool available to law enforcement agencies is the problem-oriented policing method. This particular approach examines different aspects of criminal activity at very basic levels. The idea is to find new solutions by taking an extremely close look at the tiniest aspects of any crimes or acts of disorder, ultimately meeting the PoP method goal of reducing crime. When examining recurring crimes, this method encourages the use of hyperanalyzation. The PoP method was used earlier this year, when there was a significant increase in the reports of larcenies occurring at the fitness center. Members of the 21st SFS broke down the problem (the recurring thefts) in its basic form and analyzed who the likely offenders were, likely targets (victims) and likely places. Rather than target the offenders, 21st SFS simply made the fitness center a less desirable target.
Finally, intelligence-led policing involves a fusion cell, and is a relatively new technique used by many law enforcement agencies. The concept includes the formation of a collaborative effort between multiple agencies wherein the use of problem-solving techniques leads to a variety of data that is available, improving the ability to deploy resources at the tactical level. The 21st SFS leads an intelligence-fusion comprised of representatives from security forces, intelligence, anti-terrorism, and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. They meet weekly, share information, and discuss trends not only on Peterson AFB, but also throughout the local community and nation. Through this cell, we are able to maximize the efforts of each of organization, producing an intelligence report that ultimately prevents or reduces criminal activities.
The 21st SFS strives to maintain Peterson AFB's status as the best place to visit, work, and live by keeping personnel and property safe through a combination of innovative means. We measure success not just in dollars and charts, but also in what we prevent on a daily basis.
As always, to report a crime on Peterson Air Force Base, call 556-4000. In the event of an emergency, dial 911