(In progress : follow on @Stranahan on Twitter for real time updates)
We have to start our Benghazi cover-up timeline somewhere, so I’m going to start it on the morning on September 11th, 2012.
This choice of 9/11/12 as a starting point isn’t the only option in telling this story. The attack on the mission didn’t happen in a vacuum. A coherent understanding of the Benghazi attack must include some discussion of events that preceded the attack such as The Arab Spring, the war in Libya, the Syrian conflict, the role of the Obama administration in the Istanbul Process, and the role that the CIA played.
My focus is on the cover-up, however, so Septemeber 11th, 2012 is where we begin. It’s point from which I believe we can most clearly see what came both before and after.
I also choose to begin on that Tuesday morning because I don’t want to lose the skeptical or critical reader. I’m making a serious accusation: that the Obama administration and CNN deliberately misled the public about Benghazi for political purposes. I’m aware that if I spend too much time on other topics without proving that case, some readers will head for the exits.
By the end of this chapter, I think the case that the Obama administration and CNN were engaged in a monumental cover-up will be proven.
In a couple of paragraphs, here’s what you need to know right now for some of the Benghazi timeline’s twists and turns to make sense.
Many of the official statements of the Obama administration about what they term the ‘disgusting and reprehensible’ film The Innocence of Muslims only make sense in the context of the administration’s promotion of United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18. This was an effort that had been led by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, a 57 nation alliance at the U.N. who describe themselves as ‘the collective voice of the Muslim world.’
Resolution 16/18 had the stated goal of ‘Combating Intolerance, Discrimination, and Violence Based on Religion or Belief.’ Critics of 16/18, such as Abigail Esman writing in Forbes, called it an ‘anti-free speech measure’ designed to stifle criticism of Islam. Passage of 16/18 was a priority for Obama/ Clinton State Department. Mrs. Clinton herself gave the closing remarks at the first meeting of the “Istanbul Process for Combating Intolerance and Discrimination based on Religion or Belief” hosted by the U.S. and held in Washington at the State Department on December 13th, 2011. Without debating the merits of resolution 16/18, it was a clear influence on statements by the White House surrounding the Benghazi attacks.
The film The Innocence of Muslims is exactly the sort of work that Resolution 16/18 was meant to combat. It’s openly, vehemently critical of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, accusing him of being, among other things, a pedophile. The crudely made film was produced by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula aka Sam Bacile, a Coptic Christian with a criminal background who was targeted and arrested shortly after September 11th. It was directed by the B-Movie filmmaker whose previous works include The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood.
The Innocence of Muslims played to a couple of empty screenings in Hollywood in June, 2012 before being posted on YouTube on July 2nd by ‘Sam Bacile.’ The film was reported to have been promoted to journalists on July 6th by Morris Sadek, an Egyptian-American critic of Islam. It’s believed a version of the trailer translated into Arabic was uploaded to YouTube and word began to spread.
There was rioting in a number of Muslim countries over the film in the next few weeks. Demonstrations in Pakistan on September 21st left fifteen people dead, for example.
It should be noted that Egypt–a member of the OIC that supposedly stands against “Discrimination, and Violence Based on Religion or Belief”–eventually sentenced The Innocence of Muslims filmmakers to death in absentia.
In Egypt, a protest over the film was planned for September 11th, 2012. Let’s begin the timeline.
All times are EDT.
9/11, 6am : The U.S. Embassy In Cario Tweets Condemnation Of Efforts To “Hurt The Religious Feelings of Muslims”
Before the protest started in Egypt, the official @USEmbassyCairo Twitter account of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo tweeted:
We condemn the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.
This tweet immediately caught the eye and ire of consecrative-leaning sites like Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy.com. They documented an exchange that shows Resolution 16/18 inspired logic behind the Embassy’s statement. Twitter user Eric Mertz asked the Cairo Embassy account:
Why are you condemning the 1st amendment rights of US Citizens? Do you have any idea how creepy that is?
And the Cairo Embassy replied:
we’re not condemning rights, we’re criticizing specific statements, a right guaranteed by freedom of expression
The Cairo Embassy also released a longer statement that contained a number of talking points that would be repeated in the following days.
The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.
These statements came before the Egyptian protest began.
That night, Twitchy also documented how the original tweet had been deleted.
9/11 : 11am — Crowd begins to gather outside U.S. Embassy In Cairo
At around 5pm local time, the planned protest begins at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. The crowd is later estimated to be around 1,000 people.
Video from the protest shown that night on CNN showed a large crowd chanting and yelling. One protestor wore a Guy Fawkes mask.
The Egyptian protest is an actual protest as contrasted with what would happen hours later in Benghazi, which was an attack. However, the images coming back from Egypt would create an image of ‘protest’ in minds of many; something the Obama administration would play upon in their subsequent cover-up.
9/11 4:47 pm: Tweet from @USEmbassyCairo:
As Spokesperson Nuland said, protestors breached our wall and took down flag. Thanks for your concern and kind wishes.
One puzzling thing: despite the fact that a large protest was underway at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo where protestors breached the Embassy, there’s no indication that extra security was called for in Benghazi or anywhere else.
Meanwhile, in Libya…
That morning at the temporary mission in Benghazi someone dressed in a police uniform was taking photos.
Sean Smith, who would be killed in the attack, posted a message to video gaming friends of his that day saying:
assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures
Smith was actually online with his friends when he suddenly said GUNFIRE and disconnected.
This is significant. Smith didn’t tell his friends PROTESTORS OUTSIDE or make any reference to a protest. Simply “GUNFIRE” and then he vanished.
Despite the protests in Egypt and man taking photos, no extra security precautions were taken.
At 9:42 pm local time, the assault on the temporary mission in Benghazi began.
There’s gunfire and Ambassador Stevens calls Greg Hicks in Tripoli to say they are under attack. There is no discussion of an Egyptian style protest because there was no such protest.
9/11 3:59 PM Washington D.C. : The Department of Defense orders a surveillance drone to move over Benghazi mission.
9/11 4:54 PM State Department email says firing has stopped.
9/11 8:06pm State Department email: Ansar Al Sharia has claimed responsibility for Benghazi attack.
The third email is the smoking gun: the administration was told that it was Ansar Al Sharia behind the attack. There’s a written record of it.
However, let’s go beyond that email for moment. We also know today that, in fact, Ansar Al Sharia WAS behind the attack.
Not only was Ansar Al Sharia behind the attack but we know that it was clear to people on the ground in Benghazi that it was Ansar Al Sharia.
As eyewitness Sofian Kadura said in a report that was published just hours after the attack on France24.com:
The Islamists I talked to last night belong to a brigade affiliated with the radical Islamist group Ansar Al-Sharia…
The Obama administration suddenly had a real public relations problem on their hands; Obama had claimed that Al Qaeda was decimated yet our embassy had been been attacked by them.
Worse, there were numerous eyewitnesses who could tell this damaging truth. There wasn’t a great mystery. Al Sharia had blocked off the roads with military vehicles then attacked the mission in Benghazi with RPGs and automatic rifles.
Were there demonstrators? Not in the same sense there were demonstrators in Egypt earlier in the day. As Sofian Kadura asked one of the Al Sharia brigade:
…did you really think it was a good idea to show up to ‘protest’ with RPGs and automatic rifles?
By 6:07pm, the internal email had gone out to saying that Al Sharia was behind the attacks. President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, David Petraeus and others in the administration all knew it.
By 9:00pm, anyone watching CNN would know it, too.
But by 10:00pm, the truth about Benghazi would vanish until after the election.
9/11 8pm-9pm : Anderson Cooper’s CNN show AC360 reveals the truth about Benghazi.
On the night of September 11th, CNN’s Anderson Cooper had the TV news scoop of the decade. While the firefight in Benghazi was still going on, his show AC360 correctly reported the details of who was behind the attack and how it unfolded.
After a report on the Egyptian protests, Cooper brought CNN Producer Jomana Karadsheh on via audio from Tripoli, Libya. At the time, there was only one confirmed death in Benghazi. Cooper asked her what the situation was in Libya and she told him:
Well Anderson, according to the eyewitness up to about an hour ago he describes the situation there as a frontline. Libyan security forces were engaged in heavy clashes with members of an armed group; that is Ansar Al Sharia, that is a radical militant group that is based in eastern Libya. He also reported rocket propelled grenades hitting the consulate building. Libyan army troops were deployed. Roads were blocked off by military vehicles.
As Jomana Karadsheh spoke about how the consulate had been taken over and looted, eerie video credited to Reuters/Libya showed the scattered groups of fighters with heavy weapons. They looked nothing like the earlier footage of protestors in Egypt. They looked like terrorists.
Elvis Costello once said ‘writing about music is like dancing about architecture.’ In other words, the right way to experience music is to hear it.
And so it is with this Anderson Cooper segment that exposed the truth about Libya months before the Obama administration would admit the truth.
I can write a description of the segment but what you should do now is stop reading this and watch the segment for yourself.
Then, you might do what I did when I first saw it and watch it again. It’s not often you can see a buried story.
Then you may want to sit quietly and consider that you’ve just seen. You might want to consider a few questions, such as:
1) On the night of the attack-while Ty Woods and Glen Doherty were still alive-White House and State Department knew that Al Sharia was behind the attack. It was reported live on Anderson Cooper’s show. Why did it take David Petraeus until November 12th to admit it to Congress, behind closed doors?
2) Since Anderson Cooper and Jomana Karadsheh had reported the story, why didn’t they bring up this eyewitness testimony ever again?
3) Who was the eyewitness? Is he one of the people who was at mission that night like Dave Ubben, who is now apparently still at Walter Reed hospital?
One of Anderson Cooper’s slogans is ‘keeping them honest.’ It’s time for Mr. Cooper to be honest.
An honest journalist who’d been told in no uncertain terms by a producer on live television that the people who attacked the Benghazi mission were the Al Qaeda connected Al Sharia brigade would have questioned the White House version of the story.
An honest journalist would have kept pursuing the lead and brought the producer back on the show to get answers.
An honest journalist would have pursued the truth, even if the consequences of telling the truth meant the possible election of a candidate you didn’t favor.
Anderson Cooper did none of these things.
So, after he and CNN producer Jomana Karadsheh reported the truth about Benghazi on September 11th, did they shout it from the rooftops on September 12th?
Luckily, we don’t need to speculate.
CNN keeps a nice archive of the contents of Mr. Cooper’s AC360 shows. We need only look at them to see that Anderson Cooper used the death of four Americans at the hands of Al Qaeda terrorists for a segment on September 12th…to attack Mitt Romney.
Cooper did a ‘Keeping Them Honest’ segment on September 12th titled “Libya attack now campaign controversy.” The description on the AC360 website reads:
Mitt Romney is accusing the White House of apologizing to the mob that attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Anderson Cooper is Keeping Them Honest.
Another segment on the September 12th show was called “The timing of Romney’s Libya criticism.” It’s described as:
Ari Fleischer and Cornell Belcher debate Mitt Romney’s swift reaction after the attacks in Libya.
Lest you think he was being unfair, Anderson Cooper did have a special guest on to defend Mitt Romney; Senator John McCain. According the AC360 website:
McCain said he hasn’t paid much attention to the back-and-forth, but he told Anderson that he shares Romney’s argument that “this president is weak in his leadership.”
It’s unknown whether Sen. McCain wasn’t “paying much attention’ because he was distracted by video poker, as McCain was doing during a hearing on whether to go to war with Syria earlier this year.
While Anderson Cooper dropped the truth about Benghazi like it was hot, what about CNN producer Jomana Karadsheh — the woman who actually reported the story? Is there any evidence of a political bias in her past?
There is, actually.
Karadsheh wasn’t always a CNN producer. In 2006, she was working in the Middle East for Fox News. That’s right; Fox News, the outlet that the left reviles and hates.
However, Karadsheh left Fox News in a very public way that actually reveals a good deal about her own political bias.
Two weeks ago, two producers working for Fox News in Amman Jordan resigned in protest of the network’s coverage. In their resignation letter, Serene Sabbagh and Jomana Karadsheh wrote “We can no longer work with a news organization that claims to be fair and balanced when you are so far from that.” They went on to write “Not only are you an instrument of the Bush White House, and Israeli propaganda, you are war mongers with no sense of decency, nor professionalism.”
STILL WRITING. Follow @Stranahan on Twitter.
Copyright 2013, Lee Stranahan
for more info: LeeStranahan.com
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