Major media outlets have a new disinformation tactic.
Major media outlets have a new disinformation tactic. Instead of a fact-check, which used to be their old tactic, they drop a voluminous multi-part essay that claims to be the product of intensive reporting, but doesn't really offer much of anything new, except an attempt at reviving a discredited liberal narrative, which its own reporting doesn't support.
That was how the Boston Globe deployed its attempt at rebranding the Tsarnaev brothers from Islamic terrorists to a poor traumatized mentally ill duo. Now the New York Times' David Kirkpatrick is getting his "Ready for Hillary" tag on with another multi-part essay already being trumpeted by Media Matters for discrediting what its leader calls the "Benghazi Hoax".
The two tangible claims made by David Kirkpatrick are that
1. Al Qaeda had nothing to do with the Benghazi attack
2. The attack was motivated by anger over a YouTube video
The actual reporting about the attack is surface and neither claim is really backed up. David Kirkpatrick claims that there is no proof that Al Qaeda was responsible for the attack. That's because there is no definitive proof of who was responsible for the attack.
David Kirkpatrick and the New York Times choose to focus attention on Ahmed Abu Khattala, but their own story shows that virtually everyone in the Benghazi militias was collaborating to either allow the attack or cover for the perpetrators.
And their sole basis for the YouTube video claim is that some of the attackers supposedly mentioned the video to outsiders during the attack. That fails to support the New York Times' claim that the Benghazi attack "was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam."
But the timeline of the attack discredits the idea that a series of attacks across the region could have been done in two days.
Then, on Sept. 8, a popular Islamist preacher lit the fuse by screening a clip of the video on the ultraconservative Egyptian satellite channel El Nas. American diplomats in Cairo raised the alarm in Washington about a growing backlash, including calls for a protest outside their embassy.
The overall context for the September 11 attacks isn't the YouTube video, it's the wave of simultaneous attacks. If you believe Rice and the New York Times, these attacks were just spontaneous. But the Benghazi attack, which was the most organized, is the least plausible of these video attacks.
If you believe Obama and the New York Times' Benghazi YouTube hoax, the most severe wave of attacks against American targets in the Middle East in decades was thrown together on a whim by purely local organizations with no earlier planning or international coordination.
This is about as unlikely as WW2 beginning because Hitler had some bad kielbasa and suddenly decided to invade Poland.
Furthermore there were multiple prior attacks against foreign missions and personnel in Benghazi long before the YouTube video.
Back to Ahmed Abu Khattala and Ansar Al-Sharia and Al Qaeda, Kirkpatrick and the New York Times disprove nothing, as Media Matters claims they have.
Al Qaeda has multiple franchises that choose to hide or deny their affiliations. These include Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Al-Nusra Front in Syria, a group that even the New York Times admits is Al Qaeda.
Even the New York Times article admits that Ansar Al-Sharia is pro Al-Qaeda. Ansar Al-Sharia has repeatedly made a point of aligning itself with Al Qaeda.
Kirkpatrick and the New York Times blast the US for focusing on Al Qaeda instead of local militias, worrying about ex-Gitmoite Abu Sufian bin Qumu, instead of Ahmed Abu Khattala. But older reports stated that Qumu was leading Ansar Al-Sharia. Confusing matters is the roster of shifting names and affiliations, which make the situation occasionally impossible to decipher. Especially when there is more than one Ansar Al-Sharia and when groups appear to share names while remaining vague about their national and international affiliations.
Militia leaders go by non-de plumes. Militias fragment and then reconnect. The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, the original definitive militia, switched its allegiance from Al Qaeda to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The name Ansar al-Sharia is also being used by al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in so-called liberated areas of Yemen and by Salafist groups in Tunisia. The Facebook sites of Ansar al-Sharia in Libya and the group in Tunisia appear similar in design and content and also share contacts, suggesting coordination between the groups.
What the New York Times has done is simply chosen not to investigate any such links, declaring instead that there is no proof. That's an easy cop-out that disproves nothing.
There are bits of relevant information buried in the rubble of the New York Times' disinformation essay.
“We thought we were sufficiently close to them,” said one Western diplomat who was in Benghazi not long before the attack. “We all thought that if anything threatening was happening, that they would tip us off.”
That's probably the only significant paragraph in the whole essay.