White House Asks YouTube To Review “Innocence of Muslims” Film

The Obama Administration has formally asked YouTube “to review” the anti-Muslim film “Innocence of Muslims.” In a perfectly incoherent position, White House press secretary Jay Carney stressed that the White House was not asking for it to be removed . . . only “reviewed.” I have been discussing this controversy on NPR and CNN. The latest White House move appears to be an effort to get YouTube to remove the video without taking responsibility for expressly asking for the removal. For civil libertarians, the announcement leaves an uneasy — and all-too-familiar — feeling with this Administration. The White House has repeated compromised on civil liberties in favor of political advantage in areas like torture, immunity, and surveillance policies.


Carney announced that “The White House asked YouTube to review the video to see if it was in compliance with their terms of use.” Despite asking for such a review, Carney insisted “We cannot and will not squelch freedom of expression in this country.”

We have seen this type of double talk before — in the aftermath of the Danish cartoon violence. The Administration has joined Muslim allies in trying to develop what has been called an “international blasphemy” standard. (For prior columns, click here and here). The West has steadily yielded to the demands of religious groups that free speech must be curtailed in the name of faith. At the same time, Western governmental and religious leaders have denounced agnostics and atheists as one of the greatest threats facing the West (here and here and here and here). President Obama and Hillary Clinton have been facilitating this trend by working with Muslim nations to develop an international standard allowing for the prosecution of those who insult religion. The Administration has drawn a dangerous line with Muslim countries in first supporting the concept of an international blasphemy standard. As I have mentioned before, the efforts of the Obama Administration to work with these countries on an international blasphemy standard is a threat to free speech around the world. After first supporting an international blasphemy standard, the Administration sought to get Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other countries to adopt the Brandenburg standard as the basis for such prosecutions. This case also shows why the use of the Brandenburg standard is so dangerous in the hands of such officials who view free speech as the cause of imminent violence. Past cases show that even the suggestion of blasphemy is enough to trigger violent riots in some Muslim nations. Because any joke or image of the Prophet can trigger violence, the standard is immediately satisfied in countries like Egypt and Pakistan, which can then claim some legal legitimacy under the standard created with the United States.

YouTube should resist such efforts to withdraw the video in my view. Today in an exchange with Howard Kurtz on CNN is disagreed with his view that the video should be at least withdrawn from the sites on other countries. This suggests that free speech is an American value. Civil libertarians believe it is a basis human right. YouTube does not produce cars or widgets. It supplies a unique forum for a global dialogue. While it clearly has the right to remove material from its site, such an act (even with the obvious encouragement of the White House) would be an act of private censorship. If this video is removed, then why not any video that is deemed insulting to a given religious or religious figure. These deaths were not caused be any film. They were caused by religious extremism. It is not a question of whether the film is “worth” these lives. It isn’t. Free speech is.

The request from the White House reflects the same dishonest approach of some of our closest allies who refused to punish the Danish cartoonists while then quietly cracking down on anti-religious speech. The correct and only answer is that he filmmaker has a right to express his views of Muhammad and Islam. Muslims have a right to respond in kind. However, we cannot allow murderous mobs to turn this into a debate over free speech. These mobs are in countries that have long killed and arrested those who speak out against their beliefs. We cannot yield to such demands.

Source: Politico

78 thoughts on “White House Asks YouTube To Review “Innocence of Muslims” Film”

  1. Its such as you learn my thoughts! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the e book in it or something. I think that you just can do with a few p.c. to power the message home a little bit, however other than that, that is fantastic blog. A fantastic read. I’ll definitely be back.

  2. SlingTrebuchet 1, September 18, 2012 at 9:45 am

    It’s a mock-up, but true
    ===================
    Reality sucks. Stop selling us oil, and we’ll stop kicking your as*.

  3. Just plain leaving them alone has proved to be a failed policy.
    ==================================================
    Go over there and do it yourself.

  4. “‘review’ did not mean take down the film”
    Of couse not. It just meant review.

    This is like PayPal and the banks reviewing the processing of donations to Wikileaks, despite Wikileaks not breaking any laws that anyone could actually put a finger on.

    When it comes from the White House, a ‘review’ is ‘enhanced review’.
    .

    “sadly too many seem to be looking for any excuse in that part of the world to riot, maim, and murder.”
    Yes. The best course would be to invade that part of the world and bomb them into civilisation – especially if they have oil.
    Just plain leaving them alone has proved to be a failed policy.

  5. I saw law professor on TV yesterday, think his name was Weldon, who was sayng he believes, with other legal scholars, that there should be hate speech laws here. I think the professor finds something nefarious in almost everything Obama does. ‘review’ did not mean take down the film.
    You tube is private, like others said it is their right to remove content. I also think that the person(s) who made this film did know that there was a good chance it would lead to violence, possibly causing a charge of reckless disregard for human life, in the deaths of Mr. Stephens and the others. As for the rest of the violence and upheaval, sadly too many seem to be looking for any excuse in that part of the world to riot, maim, and murder.

  6. SlingTrebuchet 1, September 16, 2012 at 8:37 am

    “develop an international standard allowing for the prosecution of those who insult religion.”

    To hell with that.
    How about an international standard allowing for the prosecution of those who ‘insult’:
    Justin Bieber
    Football Team X
    etc.

    There is not much difference in principle between bad-mouthing that sort of thing and bad-mouthing a religion.

    So..
    How about an international effort to educate people that “sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me” ?
    =========================================
    Are you Ann Coulter?

  7. There might just possibly-perhaps-maybe-but-it-seems-so-trivial reasons other than YouTube videos for people to attack US outposts.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/09/16/afghanistan-nato-airstrike.html

    To me it seems absolutely inescapable that attacks out of the blue (literally) by drones or high/fast aircraft must result in attacks on US embassies / facilities / homeland. There is nothing else to strike back at.
    It just causes the buildup of a huge primal resentment that will eventually find a release.

  8. “develop an international standard allowing for the prosecution of those who insult religion.”

    To hell with that.
    How about an international standard allowing for the prosecution of those who ‘insult’:
    Justin Bieber
    Football Team X
    etc.

    There is not much difference in principle between bad-mouthing that sort of thing and bad-mouthing a religion.

    So..
    How about an international effort to educate people that “sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me” ?

  9. betty, I read somewhere (can’t remember where) that all of this has been orchestrated and they are trying to start WWIII in order to take everyone’s mind from the economies. Don’t know if it’s true or not, but it DOES look like it’s taken a lot of heat from the economy. More innocent people to bee maimed and die, and more money to be made for people already richer than Croesus.

  10. The West has steadily yielded to the demands of religious groups that free speech must be curtailed in the name of faith. At the same time, Western governmental and religious leaders have denounced agnostics and atheists as one of the greatest threats facing the West (here and here and here and here). President Obama and Hillary Clinton have been facilitating this trend by working with Muslim nations to develop an international standard allowing for the prosecution of those who insult religion.
    ====================================================
    Do you still want to buy books?

  11. Carney insisted “We cannot and will not squelch freedom of expression in this country.”
    ==========
    Sounds familiar.

  12. Even if there were no credible threats, having an ambassador so poorly protected is incredibly negligent and stupid.

  13. “According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before the attack that American diplomatic buildings may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert or to otherwise respond accordingly.”

    It’s really sweet that Obama (in term.3 of Bush), continues the tradition that allowed 9/11 to happen.

    And…. just in case anyone is wondering… the Saudis did not engineer the movie release. K?
    Yes of course I made that up.

  14. http://www.globalresearch.ca/washington-had-credible-information-of-attack-on-us-consulate-in-benghazi-no-action-was-taken/

    Excerpt:

    Washington had credible information of attack on US Consulate in Benghazi. No action was taken
    Al-Qaeda and Possibly Infiltrators in Libyan Forces at Center of US Consulate Attack

    The assault on the US consulate building in Libya Tuesday night was a planned attack by al-Qaeda militants that may have involved infiltrators within Libya’s new security forces.

    According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before the attack that American diplomatic buildings may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert or to otherwise respond accordingly.

    While the attack was initially thought to be solely in response to an insulting anti-Muslim film produced in the US, it included heavy weapons and rocket-propelled grenades and turned out to be a two-pronged attack too well coordinated to be a spontaneous protest.

  15. Jihad Watch has Pam Geller banging off about Obama

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2012/09/pamela-geller-you-cannot-ask-me-to-sacrifice-my-freedom-so-as-not-to-offend-savages.html

    “You cannot ask me to sacrifice my freedom so as not to offend savages”
    Pamela Geller on Fox and Friends this morning explains how Barack Obama is sanctioning the motive behind the murderous Muslim riots by trying to silence the Muhammad filmmakers.

    Then I noticed the Comments Policy:
    NOTE: The Comments section is provided in the interests of free speech only. It is mostly unmoderated, but comments that are off topic, offensive, slanderous, or otherwise annoyingstand a chance of being deleted.

  16. The “innocence of muslims” and the “role of government” are two issues which need some clarity. An innocent person is one charged with an offense or crime who is not guilty of that crime. Innocence connotes an unawareness of the facts of life. A child has innocence and so does a person who does not have a full set of mental faculties. A person so deluded by religion could be considered one of innocences but such a person has not just lost their way but forfeited their Way and is in need of enforced guidance. A person who believes a creed that others not of their persuasion are not worthy of respect or on the extreme, deserve to be killed, is not an innocent. Unless of course that person is under the age of five or is mentally deficient. It is wrong therefore to confer innocence upon a grown adult who is adled by relgiion and not adled by mental illness. If you want to say that religion is a mental illness I might agree, In any event, it needs to be eradicated if it exceeds the bounds of human respect decency and law.

    Areas of the globe which purport to be “nations” may in fact not be enttitled to that status. A land mass with hordes of terrorists is not a nation state but a state of terrorism. A place like Yemen or Somalia which allows its so called citizens to go out on the sea and kill and maim people and act as pirates goes way beyond the pale when they allow the pirates to bring home to shore a ship and hold the crew hostage and the ship hostage for ransom. America and the so called civilized countries, including all of Europe, are not holding up the bargain they purport to have made in upholding law, civilization and international law, when they allow this to go on for years.

    Now geographical areas which are denominated as Egypt and Libya have fallen into the terrorist state status. If Egypt cannot protect a foreign embassy in its capital city from a mob then Egypt has forfetited its right to be called a nation state. Same with Libya. The NATO allies and the US should immediately treat them as lame ducks. Pull out embassy staff. Stop allowing so called citizens from those defunct areas to enter our country or to travel on airlines. Police their coasts and wipe out pirates on the sea. Invade only if they go too far beyond the pale. That last term has geographical significance. The Pale. Iran uses its “Students” to take hostages, uses its stooges in Gaza to send missles into the Paletinate and Israel.

    Yemen, Somalia, Egypt, Libya, are all not worthy of being called nation states and have forfeited the right to be treated as such. Pirates on land, pirates on sea, havens for pirates. Religion? A mere subterfuge. In this day and age a turbin is a pirate hat. Get real people. Wake up to the flowers. They are poison ivy.

Comments are closed.