Category Archives: 9/11

Timeline of Benghazi victim #5: Nakoula Basseley Nakoula

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is escorted out of his home by Los Angeles County Sheriff's officers in Cerritos, California (Sept 15, 2012)
Okay, I’m the first to admit that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is a fairly unattractive victim. He has a long history of run-ins with the law, primarily on fraud charges, including bank fraud, check-kiting, and operating businesses under various aliases.

Oh, and of course, he’s still alive, unlike Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty, the four Americans killed during the Benghazi, Libya, attack. But as he sits in jail, denied bail, Nakoula’s a victim of the Obama Administration’s refusal to admit that what happened in Benghazi had nothing to do with Nakoula’s film, Innocence of Muslims, and everything to do with a planned terrorist attack aimed at the United States, specifically on 9/11.

So in order to keep up the administration’s Potemkin façade of riot and death by video (and only video), Nakoula currently remains in jail (since September 27) on charges of violating his probation, including using the Internet without permission from his parole officer.

Before I go into the timeline, there is this bit of legal perspective from Ken from Popehat (h/t Patterico):

Based on 6 years as a federal prosecutor and 12 as a federal defense lawyer, let me say this: minor use of a computer — like uploading a video to YouTube — is not something that I would usually expect to result in arrest and a revocation proceeding; I think a warning would be more likely unless the defendant had already had warnings or the probation officer was a hardass. But if I had a client with a serious fraud conviction, and his fraud involved aliases, and he had the standard term forbidding him from using aliases during supervised release, and his probation officer found out that he was running a business, producing a movie, soliciting money, and interacting with others using an alias, I would absolutely expect him to be arrested immediately, whatever the content of the movie. Seriously. Nakoula pled guilty to using alias to scam money. Now he’s apparently been producing a film under an alias, dealing with the finances of the film under the alias, and (if his “Sam Bacile” persona is to be believed) soliciting financing under an alias. I would expect him to run into a world of hurt for that even if he were producing a “Coexist” video involving kittens.

And Patterico’s comment on that is right on the money:

The problem we have here is that the head of the federal executive has criticized this guy repeatedly. His administration pressured Google to take down his movie; his Cairo embassy called it an “abuse” of free speech; and his State Department apologized for it in a country (Pakistan) where a public official offered money for the filmmaker to be killed.

So even if the line guys are doing their jobs the way they would otherwise, the President has made them look like political hacks. Which is unfortunate on several levels.

So, now to the timeline:

  • July 1-2 – You­Tube user “sam ba­cile” up­loads a 14-minute trail­er for a movie titled Innocence of Muslims, con­sist­ing of video clips that mock the Is­lam­ic proph­et Muhammad. (Los Angeles Times)
  • September 4 – An Arabic-dubbed version of the trailer is uploaded to YouTube.
  • September 8 – The Egyptian religious television channel Al Nas airs the video and condemns it.
  • September 11 – Four Americans, including Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, are killed when militants attack and burn the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. In Egypt, protesters scale the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and tear down an American flag. Emails from the State Department Operations Center linking terrorists (not protestors) to the Libyan attack are sent to a number of government and intelligence agencies (including the White House Situation Room, the office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the FBI) two hours after the attack begins. (CBS News, Sharyl Attkisson)
  • September 12President Barack Obama, in an interview with Steve Kroft of CBS 60 Minutes, says: “You’re right that this is not a situation that was exactly the same as what happened in Egypt, and my suspicion is, is that there are folks involved in this who were looking to target Americans from the start.” This part of the interview is not aired or reported by CBS until posted online on October 19. (Breitbart.com)
  • September 12 – President Obama condemns the film and any violence that has resulted from it. (USA Today)
  • September 12/September 13 – The U.S. government identifies and provides the media with the name of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, a Coptic Christian in southern California who is on probation after his conviction for financial crimes as the key figure behind the anti-Muslim film that ignited mob violence against U.S. embassies across the Mideast. It is not immediately clear whether Nakoula is the target of a criminal investigation or part of a broader investigation into the deaths of the four Americans in Libya. (AP, Stephen Braun) Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies are called to Nakoula’s Cerritos home after reports of a large group of news media gathered outside.
  • September 13 – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemns Nakoula’s film while meeting with Moroccan officials. (TPM)
  • September 13– The U.S. apologizes for free speech in an online statement issued by the U.S. embassy in Cairo:

    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. … 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.

  • September 14Karen Redmond, a spokeswoman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, says that Nakoula’s federal probation on charges of bank fraud in 2010 is under review, but provides no details of why or when the probation review was initiated, or how long the process would take. (CNN)
  • September 14 – Bodies of the four Americans killed in Libya are returned to the U.S. for burial. At their memorial service at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, Charles Woods, father of fallen Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, says that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assures him that they are going to “arrest and prosecute” the man that made the scapegoated YouTube video critical of Islam. (Breitbart.com)
  • September 15 – Nakoula is escorted by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to an overnight “voluntary interview” with a probation officer, after federal officials say they are reviewing his probation. He is interviewed for about half an hour at the station shortly after 12 a.m. in his hometown of Cerritos, California. Nakoula leaves the local sheriff’s station after the federal officials are done interviewing him. (CNN and the New York Daily News)
  • September 17 – Family members of Nakoula leave their their home early Monday morning to join the filmmaker in hiding. Nakoula has not returned to his home since being interviewed by federal probation officers about his role in the creation of the film, which federal authorities claim have ignited ignited violent anti-American protests across the Muslim world. Shortly before 4 a.m., officers from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department escorted members of Nakoula’s family, who had their faces covered, out of the house and into police vehicles so they could rejoin Nakoula at an undisclosed location. It is the understanding of Steve Whitmore, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department, that they won’t ever return to their Cerritos house, though that decision is “entirely up to the family.” (ABC News)
  • September 20 – The U.S. government airs an advertisement in Pakistan condemning Nakoula’s film and apologizing, once again, for free speech. The ad, which costs around $70,000 and airs on approximately seven different television markets in Pakistan (according to U.S. State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland), is appearing in an attempt to undercut anger against the U.S. The television ad features clips of President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton during press appearances in Washington in which they condemn the video. Their words are subtitled in Urdu. “We absolutely reject its content and message,” said Clinton in the advertisement. A caption on the ad reads: “Paid Content.” Obama and Clinton did not film their statements for the ad, instead clips were taken from statements condemning the film each had made earlier. President Obama’s remarks were recorded in Washington, D.C. on September 12 and those of Secretary Clinton were from September 13 in Morocco. The ad ends with the seal of the American Embassy in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital. In an email, the embassy also sent out a link to video of ordinary Americans condemning the anti-Islam film, which appeared on YouTube. (CBS News and the Jewish Press)
  • September 27 – A hearing on Nakoula’s probation violations results in charges being brought against him and denial of bail. Citing a lengthy pattern of deception, U.S. Central District Chief Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal says Nakoula should be held as a flight risk after officials say he violated his probation from a 2010 check fraud conviction. Authorities say he has eight probation violations, including lying to his probation officers and using aliases, and he might face new charges that carry a maximum two-year prison term. Nakoula remains behind bars until another hearing where a judge will rule if he broke the terms of his probation. Under his probation, Nakoula is banned from using computers and the Internet without supervision. Some critics have said the probation-violation probe of Nakoula is a sign that the White House is seeking to appease extremists and weakening U.S. speech freedoms. U.S. law-enforcement officials portray the investigation of Nakoula as a routine response to public information about a potential violation. (Wall Street Journal and the Huffington Post)
  • October 10 – Nakoula appears before U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder in Los Angeles. He denies he violated his probation that resulted from a bank fraud conviction in 2010. Snyder schedules an evidentiary hearing for November 9, 2012 (after the presidential election). (Wikipedia)

Nakoula currently remains in jail.

From the PJ Tatler

U.S. Merchant Marines and 9/11

A video on the heroic work of the U.S. Merchant Marine after the NYC attacks on 9/11.

Watch it all.

“The Pet Goat” ten years later

From the POH Diaries:

As Bush and the class were enjoying their time together, White House Chief of Staff Andy Card delivered the horrible news in the President’s ear; what followed next became the subject of much criticism from Bush detractors of which there is no short supply.

The left has spent much time (and money in the case of Michael Moore) claiming that because Bush didn’t immediately jump up and run out of the room screaming that we were under attack, that somehow he was indecisive in the face of the tragedy that was unfolding. That somehow because he continued with the class for a mere seven minutes that it made the tragedy of that day worse.

Ten years later, we know that this isn’t the case. President Bush reacted the way you’d want a leader to react in the face of a National tragedy on the scale of 9/11. After all, what difference would those seven minutes have made in the grand scheme of things? No one really knew what was happening yet anyway. And once the facts began to be known, there was no one more confident and resolute in knowing what had to be done than President George W. Bush. . .

And a story in the Guardian on recollections of that day by some of the students there:

Later, there were calls by critics for Bush to be impeached for sitting and doing nothing for so long, having already been advised that the US was being attacked on a scale never seen before. But the children who were there remain convinced that Bush made the right decision, buying himself time to think while not distressing them by rushing from the classroom.

“He did the best that he could,” said Chantal Guerrero, 17, now a student at the Sarasota military academy. “For me, it was right. If he had left straight away and freaked out that would have been the mindset he would have left for America. If he wanted the country to be calm he needed to stay calm … I’m not sure how much he would have been able to do in the seven minutes or so that it took.”

Smith agrees with his former classmate. “I would have done the same. I wouldn’t want these little kids, who were reading to me, to get all hyped up and go crazy about what had happened. Now I understand why he did that so everything was still calm, why he didn’t jump up and leave straight away.

“It was nice that he understood we were young kids and would probably have gone crazy if he had told us what had happened.”. . .

Sunday resurrection: 11 September 2011

Ground Zero 2011 (Copyright © 2011 Anne Guérard Coletta)
Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
(Exodus 20:8, from the New Jerusalem Bible)

Ground Zero 2011
(Copyright © 2011 Anne Guérard Coletta)

Flight 93 memorial speech

Former President George W. Bush in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at the 10th anniversary memorial speech for Flight 93 (September 10, 2011)

9/11 from space: Astronaut shares pictures and thoughts

Astronaut Frank Culbertson captured this image as the International Space Station orbited above New York on 9/11

From CNN, a story on Astronaut Frank Culbertson, who had been aboard the International Space Station for a month when the 9/11 attacks occurred:

On Friday, NASA released letters Culbertson wrote and images he took as the space station passed over the New York City area after the 9/11 attacks.

Frank Culbertson

Culbertson wrote that he first heard of the attack via radio from a NASA flight surgeon.

“I was flabbergasted, then horrified. My first thought was that this wasn’t a real conversation, that I was still listening to one of my Tom Clancy tapes,” Culbertson wrote. “It just didn’t seem possible on this scale in our country. I couldn’t even imagine the particulars, even before the news of further destruction began coming in.”

And he closed his letter on that first day:

“Other than the emotional impact of our country being attacked and thousands of our citizens and maybe some friends being killed, the most overwhelming feeling being where I am is one of isolation.”. . .

Check it out.

No firemen at Ground Zero this 9/11?

In the Wall Street Journal, a piece by Michael Burke, brother of a firefighter killed on 9/11:

In our darkest hour, they gave us hope—the firefighters of September 11. In the chaos at the World Trade Center, the rigs pulled up, the men climbed out, retrieved their roll-up hoses and marched stalwart to the towers. Carrying nearly a hundred pounds of equipment they climbed the stairs; flight after flight after flight. A woman in the North Tower, descending from the 89th floor said, “When I saw the firemen I knew we would be all right.”

When they arrived at the base of the towers, there were jumpers by the score. Two firefighters, terribly, were struck. “There is no other way to put it,” an EMS who witnessed it said, “they exploded.”

And still they went in. . .

As they crossed the plaza into the daylight, one of the men looked back. The fireman was still there, standing his ground in case others needed help. And there he undoubtedly was when the full 110-story tower came down upon him.

“Courage,” Winston Churchill said, “is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others.”

Three hundred and forty-three firefighters, 37 Port Authority police officers, 23 NYPD officers and three court officers died at the World Trade Center. In response, America and the world hailed their heroism and sacrifice. . .

Who—especially on the 10th anniversary of their sacrifice—would deny the first responders their due and proper honor? New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. His office says that because of the number of victims’ family members attending there’s not enough room to accommodate first responders at Ground Zero that day, though “we’re working to find ways to recognize and honor first responders, and other groups, at different places and times.” Different places and times?. . .

Check it out.

Sign the petition

9/11 First Responders
Check it out–a petition to NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg to allow first responders to attend the 10th Anniversary ceremony of 9/11

Speaking Truth to (wannabe) Power


Former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani slams current mayor Michael Bloomberg: “the microphone will not melt” if we have clergy at 9/11 Memorial

Heh, speaking Truth to (wannabe) Power

NYT: The 9/11 decade: Civil liberties today

From Adam Liptak, the New York Times Supreme Court correspondent, an interesting overview:

. . . By historic standards, the domestic legal response to 9/11 gave rise to civil liberties tremors, not earthquakes. And even those changes were largely a result of reordered law enforcement priorities rather than fundamental shifts in the law.

Consider the USA Patriot Act, which was short for this Orwellian mouthful: Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001. The law, more than 300 pages long, sailed through Congress seven weeks after the attacks with scant dissent. It quickly became a sort of shorthand for government abuse and overreaching.

The Patriot Act undeniably expanded the government’s surveillance powers and the scope of some criminal laws. But this was, in truth, tinkering at the margins and nothing compared with the responses of other developed democracies, where preventive detention and limitations on subversive speech became commonplace.

“In comparative perspective, the Patriot Act appears mundane and mild,” Kent Roach, a law professor at the University of Toronto, writes in a new book, “The 9/11 Effect: Comparative Counter-Terrorism.”

The story is different as one moves beyond domestic criminal law. Detentions at Guantánamo Bay, extraordinary renditions and brutal interrogations all tested the limits of the appropriate exercise of government power in wartime. The American government held people without charge for almost a decade, engaged in torture as that term is understood in international law, and sent people abroad for questioning to countries known to engage in what everyone must agree is torture.

But criminal law itself changed surprisingly little in the wake of the attacks. What did change was how law enforcement conceived its mission. . .

Check it out.

Bush: “It was like walking into Hell”

From National Geographic’s special on remembering 9/11 airing this week. Powerful stuff.

Bloomberg: No clergy, no FDNY – UPDATE

See my earlier post here. And from the ever wonderful Anchoress, more on the Bloomberg debacle of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks:

. . . But now — understanding all of that — we read that New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not inviting First Responders to observe the tenth anniversary of this day of death and sacrifice, at Ground Zero.

And we read, also that Mayor Bloomberg’s guest list is empty of any clergy, as well.

There will be no prayers at his little shindig. Heaven, forbid.

Apparently, there’s just not enough room for all the First Responders who want to be there, because there are so many important people who must be there! They cannot be denied their photo-op, and their speechifying, and their postures and poses, even though most of them were not even in office on that dreadful day.

No, Michael Bloomberg’s Super Colossal, Low-Salt 9/11 Memorial
and Networking Event is a big-ticket item for the the ones who can be tapped, later, for their money or their influence — the most important sorts of people.

And of course, some of the families of the dead will be allowed in. One does need them for the pictures, after all.

First Responders and Clergyfolk are not very important to the powerful and the enlightened. They only protect us, rescue us, resuscitate us, console us, pray with us, bless us and bury us. And when they die doing it, well, one does feel terrible about it for a whole news cycle or two. And then one takes a private jet somewhere, and tries to forget…

I don’t know why I should be surprised. Priests and First Responders are, like our troops, front-line folk. They’re like heroes in the cowboy flicks; they ride in, shoulder the burden, help put things to rights, and then — while the elite get on with assuming their power and asserting their primacy –they recede into the background. Only the very few stick around to say ‘thank you’ and wave them off. Sometimes children ask them to come back, or to stay.

Bloomberg’s priorities are all wrong. He’s thinking like a Baron — or no, he’s not really thinking at all; he’s being pragmatic: mustn’t let the help get get too much recognition, get too full of themselves — they might start getting uppity and making demands on milords purse and time. Mustn’t let the damn clergy murmur their vulgar prayers, or next we’ll have tent-revivalists cluttering up the fairgrounds and making such spectacles of themselves. . .

Check it out.

WSJ: 9/11 exclusion of clergy spurs outrage

Someone please tell me this is a joke. From the Wall Street Journal:

Religious leaders are calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to reverse course and offer clergy a role in the ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Rudy Washington, a deputy mayor in former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s administration, said he’s outraged. Mr. Washington organized an interfaith ceremony at Yankee Stadium shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“This is America, and to have a memorial service where there’s no prayer, this appears to be insanity to me,” said Mr. Washington, who has suffered severe medical problems connected to the time he spent at Ground Zero. …

Wow. Just. Wow.

No clergy allowed by Mayor Bloomberg at the 10th anniversary of 9/11? What is he thinking??

Did Bloomberg forget this?

Mychal F. Judge, OFM (born Robert Emmet Judge on May 11, 1933; died September 11, 2001) was a Roman Catholic priest of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor, Chaplain of the Fire Department of New York, and the first recorded victim of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

And this?

Upon hearing the news that the World Trade Center had been hit, Father Judge rushed to the site. He was met by the Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, who asked him to pray for the city and its victims. Judge administered the Last Rites to some lying on the streets, then entered the lobby of the World Trade Center North Tower, where an emergency command post was organized. There he continued offering aid and prayers for the rescuers, the injured and dead.

When the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 AM, debris went flying through the North Tower lobby, killing many inside, including Judge. At the moment he was struck in the head and killed, Judge was repeatedly praying aloud, “Jesus, please end this right now! God, please end this!”, according to Judge’s biographer and New York Daily News columnist Michael Daly.

Shortly after his death, an NYPD lieutenant, who had also been buried in the collapse, found Judge’s body and assisted by two firemen and two civilian bystanders carried it out of the North Tower lobby to nearby St Peter’s Church. This event was captured in the documentary film 9/11, shot by Jules and Gedeon Naudet. Shannon Stapleton, photographer from Reuters, photographed Judge’s body being carried out of the rubble by five men. It became one of the most famous images related to 9/11. The Philadelphia Weekly reports the photograph is considered an American Pietà.

Judge’s body was formally identified by NYPDDetectiveSteven McDonald, a long-time friend of the priest. The coroner found that Judge died of “blunt force trauma to the head.”

Mychal Judge’s body bag was labeled “Victim 0001,” recognized as the first official victim of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Former President Bill Clinton was among the 3,000 people who attended his funeral, held on September 15 at St Francis of Assisi Church in Manhattan. It was presided over by Cardinal Edward Egan. President Clinton said that Judge’s death was “a special loss. We should live his life as an example of what has to prevail.”

And has Bloomberg forgotten all the other clergy that ministered to the dying and the survivors?

What. A. Putz.