A CBS and Murdoch Hoax?  The “Sexual Assault” on Lara Logan, Part 2

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The 60 Minutes Interview


We now have a little bit more information from CBS News.  “Just once,” we were told by 60 Minutes interviewer, Scott Pelley, Lara Logan is speaking out to “break the code of silence” about sexual assaults.  It was on their program last night


What we learn is that Logan and her team arrived in Tahrir Square that same day, driving in from the airport.  We also learn that there were six people in the crew in addition to Logan (producer, cameraman, two Egyptian drivers who double as security, a security specialist, and an Egyptian interpreter and “fixer.”)  Only two of them, the cameraman, Richard Butler and producer Max McClellan, are identified by their full names.  McClellan is the only person besides Logan to be questioned by Pelley.  All he speaks about is the “rag-doll” condition of Logan after they were reunited.  It’s a shame, because, to my mind, as the captain of the crew he has a great deal to answer for.


Filming and reporting had gone just fine for about an hour before the camera battery went down, we are told for the first time.  This is a convenient way of dealing with my question in part 1 as to why we had not been shown any pictures of what happened subsequent to the one picture we have been shown over and over of Logan looking concerned in the crowd’s midst. 


They may have addressed the one-photo criticism—however implausibly—but they provide no explanation for their four-day reporting delay.  They also have no explanation for the last-minute redundant coverage of the Tahrir Square celebration by 60 Minutes in this era of financial hardship by the news networks.  CBS already had its live coverage of the event.  What was the 60 Minutes story to have been in the absence of the “sexual assault?”


They do have an explanation as to how the group of rescuing Egyptian women came upon the scene.  The attacking melee was somehow “swept along” until it encountered this knot of local women in the crowd.  Only then, we are told, did things begin to change for the better.


What really cries out for better explanation in this new version of events is how the six-man crew failed so utterly to protect Logan.  Before, with the “got separated” story, one could imagine terrible things perhaps happening to Logan that the crew knew nothing about.  The scene as now painted, though, has the menace arriving with their full knowledge, and Logan, the one person the crew was there to guard, was somehow culled out by the mob.  Had I been interviewing McClellan I would not have wanted so much to hear about Logan’s wounds; I would have wanted to hear about his wounds.


It is perhaps significant that the producer of this latest 60 Minutes piece was none other than Robert Anderson.  This is the same person who, in the Vince Foster case, put the following complete lie into the mouth of Mike Wallace: "The forensic evidence shows that the fatal bullet had been fired into Foster’s mouth from the gun found in Foster’s hand and that Foster’s thumb had pulled the trigger."  (See the appendix to Part 6 of “America’s Dreyfus Affair.”)  The Descartes admonition with which we began this essay in part 1 would seem to be even more appropriate than I thought it to be when I began writing.


An Independent Report


I wrote the speculative lines above, and in part 1, before discovering what appears to be a genuine independent account of the event.  It suggests that CBS was a good deal less creative than I have credited them with being, but what they have reported is not even close to the truth.  The account comes from freelance Mexican journalist, Témoris Grecko:


I was buying tea from a vendor in Tahrir with two friends, Amr Fekry, a 26 year old Egyptian call center agent, and Andi Walden, a San Francisco political science student. Then we heard the noise and saw the mob coming. A blonde woman, neatly dressed with a white coat, was being dragged and pushed. It didn’t seem to me she was panicking, but rather trying to control the situation. They passed us in an [sic] moment. They were yelling “agent!, agent!”

I tried to run to intervene, but some Egyptians I didn’t know prevented me from doing it.  There was nothing I could do and, as a foreign journalist, I’d surely end up being accused of being an agent too, and attacked. Fekry did go there and dissapeared [sic] into the crowd, 50 or 100 people strong.

Later I spoke with two young male activists who helped the person I later learned was Lara Logan (I didn’t know her before, I don’t usually follow US networks).  They were Omar El Shennawy, a 21 year old teacher of English, and Abdulrahman Elsayed, a 25 year old teacher of physical education. They said they had formed a human chain with other young men to protect Logan, and then delivered her to the Egyptian Museum military post.

When I read CBS’s story and its interpretation by other media outlets, I felt troubled.  It seemed misleading. “It didn’t make sense to me”, said Benjamin Starr, from Boston who arrived as a tourist on January 24th, and stayed to witness the uprising.  He also saw the mob pass by with Lara Logan. “I want to give her the benefit of the doubt, maybe something happened in another part of the square, but from what I saw, she was being taken by men to the soldiers, and her clothes were not torn off. There were no women. I didn’t see a single woman in the crowd around her.”

Similarly, in hearing the CBS’s communiqué, Amr Fekry wrote on my Facebook wall: “It’s a little bit ridiculous what we hear that she was raped in Tahrir!! We were there! You remember she was about two meters away from us when we were buying tea! Maybe someone harassed her, but she ran and people protected her from being hit! I tried to go and help her but many people pushed me hard to go away as they thought I was trying to hit her. The only thing that some people only thought she was an Israeli spy!”

Notice the contrast in journalistic professionalism between this account and what we have been told by CBS and the Murdoch news organs.  Grecko names his witnesses and tells you something about each, making it easier to check his story out.  CBS didn’t even give us the name of the hospital in New York City where Logan was supposedly sent for several days.  It certainly makes you wonder if there really was any such hospital to name. 

If Grecko’s is the correct account, which to this observer has a much greater ring of truth, what CBS did with its four-day reporting delay was not to hatch a story out of whole cloth, but to figure out a way to put their propaganda spin on the story.  The real story would have done nothing for the larger mission of the U.S. mainstream press, which these days no doubt includes addressing the growing Zionist propaganda crisis:

What AIPAC operatives reportedly told the conferees was that Netanyahu is once again furious with President Obama and outraged by what he sees as a vacillating US Government attitude towards Israeli needs. They were told that the Israeli PM sees real political danger for Israel in the shifting US public opinion in favor of the young sophisticated attractive Arab and Muslims increasingly seen on satellite channels from the region who remind the American public of their own ideals.

A human chain of young men protecting the mildly harassed accused Israeli agent, Lara Logan, just wouldn’t do.

David Martin

May 2, 2011



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