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YouTube curbs access to film blamed for violence
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Sept 12, 2012

China media blame ambassador death on US policy
Beijing (AFP) Sept 13, 2012 - China's official news agency said Thursday the assault that killed the US ambassador to Libya highlighted an "arrogant" Washington's "flawed" Middle East strategy, in unusually outspoken comments.

In a strongly worded commentary Xinhua said the violent attack, which has been condemned by governments around the world including China's, showed the need for Washington to reconsider its policies in the region.

"The United States has been pursuing hegemony in the Middle East for decades, and people in the region are fed up with the image of 'the arrogant American'," it said.

Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other US diplomatic staff were killed in the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday initially blamed on a rampaging mob infuriated by an inflammatory film.

US officials have since said it was a well-planned assault by militants using the protests as a pretext.

The Xinhua commentary said the Benghazi attack and an assault on the US embassy in Cairo highlighted "America's flawed strategy in the Middle East and the necessity for Washington to rethink its policies toward the region".

It contrasted strongly with an official statement from foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei, who said Beijing was "shocked" by the attacks. "We strongly condemn the violent deeds," he added.

Beijing never accepted the NATO air strikes on Libya that led to the fall of Moamer Kadhafi, saying the West had gone further than authorised in UN resolutions.

The Chinese government has been wary of democratic aspirations spreading ever since the Arab Spring revolts that began in Tunisia in 2010 and went on to sweep the region.

A separate editorial in the Global Times daily on Thursday said the attacks showed that the United States "may have failed in its strategy to promote democracy in the Middle East over the past 10 years".

"The strategy has brought neither a beneficial process of local order nor has it given the Arab world an obvious inclination to the West," it said.

The video-sharing website YouTube said Wednesday it was restricting access in Libya and Egypt to a film that has sparked anti-US protests.

"This video -- which is widely available on the Web -- is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube," a spokesman said in a statement.

"However, given the very difficult situation in Libya and Egypt we have temporarily restricted access in both countries. Our hearts are with the families of the people murdered in yesterday's attack in Libya," he added.

The move by Google-owned YouTube came in the wake of a deadly attack on the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi that killed the US ambassador to the country and three of his colleagues.

US officials say extremists appear to have used protests over the controversial film -- which mocks and insults the Prophet Mohammed -- as a pretext to stage an assault involving small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades that lasted several hours.

The attack followed an earlier protest in Cairo, the capital of Egypt, in which hardline Salafist Islamists stormed the US embassy compound.

No one was hurt but the US flag was torn down and replaced by the black banner favored by supporters of militant groups like Al-Qaeda, in a protest triggered by the emergence on the Internet of the film.

The US-made amateur production was recently dubbed into Arabic and broadcast in part on some Egyptian-based television networks.

Ex-Navy SEAL among four dead in Libya attack: US official
Washington (AFP) Sept 13, 2012 - One of the four Americans killed in Tuesday's attack on the US consulate in Libya was a former member of the elite Navy SEALs, a US official said Thursday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, declined to reveal the name of the dead commando but US media -- as well as the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney -- identified him as 42-year-old Glen Doherty.

The former member of the famed special operations forces unit had been working on a mission to track down shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles in Libya, according to ABC News.

US military and intelligence officials have warned that thousands of the weapons, so-called MANPADs, were unaccounted for after Libya's former dictator, Moamer Kadhafi, fell from power.

The former SEAL described his job in an interview with ABC last month, saying he had traveled across the country chasing leads and then once the weapons were found, his team would destroy them on the spot, the American television network said.

Tuesday's harrowing assault in Benghazi by heavily-armed militants also claimed the life of the ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and a State Department information management officer, Sean Smith, US officials said on Wednesday.

A fourth victim has not been identified but Fox News reported he also was a former Navy SEAL working as a security contractor.

Doherty reportedly trained as a sniper and medical officer in a seven-year career with the SEALs, before leaving to work at a private security company.

According to an account of the attack from senior officials, Doherty was one of two people who died after staff were evacuated to an annex near the main US consulate building.

With the main building engulfed in flames, the annex then came under sustained gunfire until Libya forces eventually managed to restore order in the early morning hours.

At least three other Americans were wounded in the attack.

Although the Pentagon and State Department had yet to officially release Doherty's name or military background, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney issued a statement Thursday mourning the death of the ex-Navy SEAL, who was from Massachusetts, where Romney served as governor.

"Ann and I extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Glen Doherty, a native of Winchester, Massachusetts, who was among those killed in Tuesday's assault on our consulate in Libya," his statement said.

"Glen served America with bravery and distinction, and gave his life in an effort to save others."

The US State Department Thursday defended its security arrangements at the Benghazi consulate, even though dozens of militants were able breach the compound and keep US security teams at bay for hours.


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U.S. envoy slaying and the terror threat
Benghazi, Libya (UPI) Sep 12, 2012
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