al-Monitor, citing emails from Tyler Drumheller to Sidney Blumenthal:

According to one entry from March 22, 2011, “officers” with the General Directorate for External Security — the French intelligence service — “began a series of secret meetings” with Jalil and Gen. Abdul Fatah Younis in Benghazi in late February and gave them “money and guidance” to set up the council ... “In return for their assistance,” the memo states, “the DGSE officers indicated that they expected the new government of Libya to favor French firms and national interests, particularly regarding the oil industry in Libya.” ... Another memo dated May 5 asserts that individuals close to the council stated “in strictest confidence” that as early as mid-April 2011 French humanitarian flights also included “executives from the French company TOTAL, the large construction from VINCI and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V. (EADS).” Subsequent flights have allegedly carried representatives “from the conglomerate THALYS and other large French firms, all with close ties to [Sarkozy].”

Also blamed is Bernard Henri-Levy.

al-Monitor notes that this information is impossible to verify, and questions Drumheller's honesty due to his involvement in the Nigerian yellowcake hoax.

Here's a big long blog post about Benghazi. The theory goes that Qatar was arming ISIS with US/NATO weaponry, UAE and Saudi families put up the money, US managed the logistics, and it was run under NATO's authority to get around the DoD. Take it with all the grains of salt in the Morton packaging plant, but at least somebody's looking into it. This excerpt is interesting:

2002 through 2010 saw zero occurrences of SAMS, Stingers, or MANPADS in general. Within months after delivering weapons to the Benghazi and Darnah rebels (May, June and July 2011) we began facing MANPADS in Afghanistan.

Here's someone saying the "Innocence of Muslims" film was produced by John Brennan's Analysis Corporation. That's John Brennan as in head-of-the-CIA John Brennan. They also say the filmmaker was a meth dealer who had been recruited as a DoJ asset in 2010, and that the film was shown as "The Innocence of Bin Laden" and marketed to the local Arab community of Los Angeles in mid-2012. This reminds me of Walid Shoebat's claims, mentioned earlier.


Petraeus's mistress Paula Broadwell leaked that the CIA was holding prisoners at the Benghazi annex during the fight. In possibly related news, The DoJ is currently pressing felony charges against Petraeus.

Followup #1: The Internet shitstorm mentioned earlier is still going on and got a boost today from Breitbart reporting on the existence of a secret mailing list (allegedly) used by gaming journalists to set agendas and decide what stories to cover and what not to.

Followup #2: In a report by the Heritage Foundation, one of the State Department officials disciplined over Benghazi accuses Hillary Clinton's aides of withholding documents from Congress.

Both reports follow a couple of patterns. In both cases we see the hard-right, ideologically biased media breaking the news about a major scandal in a widely known situation where the majority of the media have told us that there is no scandal. By inference, we see that the traditional media failed in its job to get to the story first. Also, both are about situations where the cover-up may be worse than whatever original scandal there may have been.

This one is fun. Walid Shoebat alleges that the Obama administration created the "Innocence of Muslims" video to incite riots that could be cited to justify new laws against criticizing Islam. What makes this worth mentioning is that Shoebat does have evidence of...something. A summary of his findings:

  • Ahmed Abu Khattala, the alleged planner of the attack who was recently captured by US forces, was a leader of the February 17 Brigades which the State Department had hired to secure the consulate.
  • Government service agency Stanley Associates gave the film some promotional support, including the new name of the movie which had previously been The Real Life of Muhammad. In one of those twists that means absolutely nothing, Stanley Associates is a subsidiary of CGI Federal which built the broken Obamacare website.
  • One of the film's actresses says that Nakoula Basseley aka Sam Bacile aka that guy that made the video told her he was a Muslim.
  • Nakoula's Youtube account includes signs of support for Nader Bakkar and Wisam Abdul Waris, two of the leaders of the Sep11 Cairo embassy attack.
  • Nakoula became a federal informant allegedly after giving evidence against Eiad Salameh, but the US refused to accept Canada's offer to extradite Salameh for prosecution.
  • Shoebat personally knows Eiad Salameh to be so right-wing that he would not go into business with a Copt.
  • Within the span of one month, Eiad Salameh was released from prison; Nakoula began the first steps of producing his movie; and Hillary Clinton and Turkey's foreign minister co-chaired a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conference at which the organization called for laws to ban criticism of Islam.

So, that's it. It's not very convincing of anything, but it is interesting.

Shoebat's conspiracy theory fits into the conspiracy theory that the Obama Administration planned the Benghazi attack to kidnap Ambassador Stevens in order to justify releasing Omar Abdul Rahman in a prisoner swap.

If any of these rumours were true, I would assume that somebody could leak some evidence: NSA tapes, a list of everyone present when these decisions were made with a time and place that could be verified, or something that could potentially be trusted and validated.

Shoebat does not help his credibility by having a sidebar headline blaming Muslims for the MERS virus.

The CIA delivered anti-tank TOW missiles to the "moderate" group Harakat Hazm in Syria. That's a group I've never heard of and I can't find anything else about them on the web except for this anonymous letter to Daniel Pipes.

I wanted to bring to your attention a new terrorist and criminal salafist movment and it is called harakat hazimuun...

They are the personal army of Egyptian sheikh Hazim Abu Ismail. A supposed Libyan intelligence document names Abu Ismail as among the leaders of the September 11 attack on Benghazi.

Seymour Hersh has a new article on the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Summary of key points:

  • The Muslim Brotherhood's Al-Nusra group has had a sarin production program supported by Saudi and Turkish suppliers.
    • By the spring of 2013, Turkey's military intelligence and state police were directly involved in the Muslim Brotherhood's sarin production program.
    • The US Defense Intelligence Agency produced a report on al-Nusra's sarin production on June 20, 2013. An earlier Hersh report names DIA deputy director David R. Shedd as a recipient of the report.
      • The DIA firmly and clearly denies that this report exists.
        • Hersh quotes from the report.
    • The DIA produced a daily situational report on Syria titled "SYRUP" that used to include information on activities related to chemical weapons production.
      • According to "a former senior Defense Department official" White House chief of staff Denis McDonough "severely curtailed" the distribution of information on chemical warfare after reading a SYRUP report on the use of chemical weapons in March and April 2013.
  • A "person with knowledge of the UN’s activities" reported that United Nations investigators found that Muslim Brotherhood forces were responsible for the the March 19 sarin attack near Aleppo (mentioned earlier), but were under a mandate not to assign blame and the news did not get out because it was not what their sponsors wanted to hear.
    • Two sources report that by the time of a May 2013 meeting with President Erdogan and Hakim Fidan, President Obama knew that a chemical weapons attack was a false flag and that Turkish intelligence was involved.
  • British analysts at Porton Down found that the sarin used in the August 21 attack on al-Ghutah (mentioned earlier and earlier) did not match any sarin in Syrian stores.
    • President Obama had ordered a large-scale airstrike on Syria in retaliation for the attack, and he cancelled the order when the information came in from Porton Down. Britain and France had planned to participate in the airstrike.
    • "a former senior US intelligence official" claims to "know" that "some in the Turkish government" called for a false flag chemical weapons attack to push the US further into war against Syria.
    • A US intelligence report in late July or early August predicted that Turkey was likely to do something to instigate a US attack on Syria.
    • According to "the former intelligence official", "intercepts and other data related to the 21 August attacks" confirmed that Turkey was responsible for the attack.
      • These intercepts were blocked from reaching the White House.
  • The US funneled arms to Muslim Brotherhood / al-Qaeda forces through Libya.
    • The Senate Intelligence Committee report on Benghazi includes a "highly classified" annex mentioning an agreement between Presidents Obama and Erdogan to arm MB/AQ forces in Syria.
    • Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar provided the funding.
    • "The operation was run by David Petraeus."
    • "The involvement of MI6 enabled the CIA to evade the law by classifying the mission as a liaison operation."
    • "The [Benghazi] consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms".
    • The same "former intelligence official" is the source of all of this information.

In my opinion, there is way too much reliance on one anonymous "former senior US intelligence official" but it all has an air of believability. There are also signs of counterintelligence problems with apparently multiple people shutting off the flow of information about Muslim Brotherhood sarin production.

I wonder if this guy from a few days ago got an advance copy of the Hersh report.

Edit: The National Security Council denies the story, calling the former intelligence official's claims "completely fabricated".

Summary of 60 Minutes interviews on Benghazi:

  • from "Morgan Jones", commander of the guards at the Benghazi consulate:
    • Al-Qaeda was openly flying its flag in the city.
    • The guards at the consulate were incompetent.
    • The guards were unarmed.
    • Repeated requests to get new guards were denied.
  • from Lt. Col. Andy Wood, chief of security at the Benghazi consulate:
    • Al-Qaeda had published their intent to attack the Benghazi consulate months earlier, and had followed this up with additional planning intercepted by US intelligence.
    • State and DoD were informed, repeatedly, with increasing urgency, that al-Qaeda's plans to attack the consulate in Benghazi were in the final stages of preparation.
    • In desperation, Wood had called for abandoning the city.
    • Wood personally left Benghazi three months before the attack.
  • from Greg Hicks, deputy chief of mission in Libya:
    • Hicks had made two official requests for more security forces and was denied.
    • During the attack, Hicks asked the defense attache what military help could be expected and was told that none was coming.
    • (Note: Hicks was demoted for previously speaking to the press, making him one of the few people punished after the Benghazi attack)
  • from unidentified sources:
    • Diplomatic staff had sent numerous "detailed cables" to Washington requesting more security, with one mentioning that "the al Qaeda flag has been spotted several times flying over government buildings".
    • A CIA "quick reaction force" was ordered to stand down and allow the attack to proceed. They ignored the orders and are credited with saving five lives.

[Edit Nov 8:] The Washington Post found differences between the report "Morgan" gave to CBS and the one he gave to the Blue Mountain mercenary group. The Post also revealed his real name, Dylan Davies. A "State Department" employee using a fake name means he's a covert agent, or at least that it would be harmful to US interests for his real name to be released. This could be another Plame Affair. Davies denied having written the Blue Mountain report. CBS has apologised for the 60 Minutes report after the NYT reported that Davies's report to the FBI corresponded more closely to the Blue Mountain report than to what he had said in the CBS interview. It is well worth noting that Davies is was selling a book that is was being published by CBS's subsidiary Simon and Schuster. [Edit #2:] The book has been recalled.

The Telegraph has reported that "Darryl Davies" flew out of Libya "hours before the attack was launched".

The reporting on the controversy seems driven to make us look at anything other than the fact that this was an al-Qaeda attack and the allegations by everyone else that the leadership in Washington ignored requests for more security from its people in Libya. [Edit #2: Here's an example, and note also the disruption and redirection by user 'djchefron' of any attempt to raise the relevant issues.] 60 Minutes had two other witnesses and they are all the top officials there after Ambassador Stevens, but all of their testimony is being dismissed because one of them seems to have made up a story about sneaking back into the compound and killing a terrorist to sell his book. Breitbart may have solved this last year: The State Department had issued "Rules of Engagement for Libya" that forbid the standard use of Marines, necessitating the hiring of mercenaries, and also forbid the guards from carrying arms. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed off on the plan, so admitting that it did not work would be politically damaging to her. This explains the freakout from the partisan Democratic blogs whenever anyone suggests that the State Department should have known that the place was vulnerable to attack. They are planning to run her in 2016.

In a side note, Clare Lopez notes a discrepancy in the timeline: the State Department claims "everything is calm at 8:30PM", while five witnesses told the Associated Press that al-Qaeda had begun setting up roadblocks at 8:00 PM, an hour and forty minutes before the attack began. The Turkish diplomat who left the compound at 8:30 would probably have noticed something and failed to notify the Americans. Then again, according to the 60 Minutes interviews, the presence of al-Qaeda in Benghazi would not have been unusual.

[end of Nov 8 edit.]


Other Benghazi-related information:

Libya

Oct. 11th, 2013 04:41 pm

Interesting quote from James Stafford of Oil Price:

[Libyan prime minister Ali Zeidan] was apparently seized by militias linked to Libya’s Interior and Defense Ministries, which makes one ask whether he was kidnapped or arrested, or indeed whether it is even worth getting into the semantics.

France 24, Time, and the AP back him up on that, naming the militias as the Revolutionaries Operations Room and the Anti-Crime Department. Other reports suggest that ACD is not a militia but the part of the Interior ministry that Zeidan was taken to. One report describes the Revolutionaries Operations Room as a combination of rebel fronts from various cities, suggesting both a recent formation under high command and that the specific team that arrested the PM could have been anybody.

The short version of the story seems to be that the Prime Minister was arrested by the state police on suspicion of cooperating with the US in the war against al-Qaeda.


My thoughts on the al-Libi raid can be summarized:

  1. The raid to capture al-Libi was an act of war.
  2. So was allowing al-Libi to operate.
  3. Obama needed Congressional authorization for the raid.
  4. He had it.

Are the US and Libya at war? That is for the diplomats to work out. And this is another example of why contained dictators are sometimes preferable to the chaos that results from carelessly removing them.

If the US knew where al-Libi was, why wait so long to get him? And if the US had the intelligence to find him and the guy in Somalia that escaped, why go after only two guys instead of rolling up their entire networks? While taking out the enemy's leaders is warfare 101, their organizations are robust enough that this action is more symbolic than strategic.

Someone finally came through with evidence on this talking point. The CIA knew it was an al-Qaedalike attack from the start. Political appointees in the State Department Lawyers (see edit May 21 below) forced the CIA to change their public assessment because it could embarrass the White House other TLAs told them to. Then Obama and top officials and spokesmen spent several weeks telling a made-up story that the attack was merely a protest about a Youtube video that got out of hand. There are still many open questions about this incident, but that answers one of them.

Edit May 8: It may be worse. Deputy mission chief Gregory Hicks says he was demoted after privately questioning the Youtube story. By my understanding, Hicks was the #2 man in Benghazi behind the dead Ambassador Stevens.

And worse: Mohammed Magariaf refused to cooperate with US investigators for more than two weeks after Barack Obama undercut his credibility by claiming it was not a terrorist attack after Magariaf had said it was.

We have also learned that two units were explicitly denied permission to intervene, but not that either was in a position of changing the night's events. One was a group of four soldiers in Tripoli denied permission to hop on a jet that was already going to Benghazi, but after the four victims were already dead. The other was a Foreign Emergency Support Team that was some distance away from Libya. The story at this point sounds like a communications snafu; my guess is that the NSC met at an early time and decided that no action was necessary at that time, then broke leaving standing orders to do nothing which were followed as the consulate was attacked again throughout the night.


Edit May 21: More of the email dialogue has since been published. The turning point came at 4:20 PM (pg. 14) when CIA General Counsel (top lawyer) Stephen Preston referred to "express instructions from NSS/DOJ/FBI that, in light of the criminal investigation, we are not to generate statements with assessments as to who did this, etc. -- even internally, not to mention for public release." Thereafter, at 4:42 PM, the CIA's chief of media relations changed the CIA's assessment of the event from from an attack to a protest that turned violent. All other suggestions that an attack took place were later excised by a team of seven, including six officials identified by name as part of the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence and National Clandestine Service (whoops) plus Obama speechwriter Ben Rhodes.

So were Obama and his people merely acting stupid as a tactic to prevent the attackers from knowing that they were being investigated? If so, it hasn't worked; no one has been arrested, and the fake protest story harmed rather than helped the investigation. Were they deliberately misinformed by the executive? That would be astounding irresponsibility on the part of the middle executive; leaders need good information to make good decisions.

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