• Attack on consulate tied to illegal U.S. arms trafficking
• Administration refuses to back off ridiculous cover story
By Victor Thorn
It’s a dirty little secret in Washington that has so far been kept out of the public eye: The United States Special Mission Compound in Benghazi, Libya, served as the hub for a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) program to arm rebels battling against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. According to an April 29 column by political commentator Katie Kieffer, “Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-CIA Director David Petraeus were likely behind [this] gun-trafficking program.”
To launch this new version of Iran-contra weapons smuggling, in August 2011 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proposed the plan to CIA Director David Petraeus, who assigned U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens to handle the logistics for the clandestine operation.
From the beginning, Stevens played a crucial role in the scheme.
Earlier, in March 2011, military experts cited Stevens as the man in charge of deposing Libyan strongman Muammar Qadaffi. Following this mission, Stevens relocated to Benghazi, where he began amassing an arsenal of at least 20,000 shoulder-launched missiles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and infrared-honing surface-to-air missile launchers.
To facilitate arms shipments to Syria, Stevens worked with a man named Abdelhakim Belhadj of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. By November 2011, Belhadj was meeting with Free Syrian Army leaders to arrange the deals.
To secure a crucial 40,000-ton shipment of armaments, on September 2, 2012, Petraeus met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan in order for his country to act as a conduit into Syria. Four days later a Libyan vessel named Al Entisar arrived in Iskenderun, Turkey carrying the weapons cache.
On May 9, Liberty News—a grassroots TV station—revealed details about the point-man for these transactions.
“Stevens had dealt with applications coming from U.S. weapon dealers requesting licenses to sell arms to Libyan insurgents,” reported Liberty News. Finally, on September 11, 2012, Stevens negotiated in Benghazi with two CIA cutout organizations before his final meeting with Turkish Consular General Ali Sait Akin.
On August 1, award-winning journalist Jim Hoft of the conservative website Gateway Pundit summarized what transpired: “Turkey was the staging ground through which Syrian-bound guns and rebels were smuggled. . . . Mr. Akin and company made a substantial financial contribution [to Stevens] and left.”
Why No Rescue Operation?
• Why Obama ordered the U.S. military to stand down in Benghazi
On the 11-year anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, rebel groups in Libya launched an assault on the U.S. consulate there. Eight hours later, four U.S. personnel were killed, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and at least seven were wounded. It has been reported that the U.S. military had ships in the Mediterranean Sea and in Africa. So why weren’t U.S. forces dispatched to the Benghazi consulate and annex to stop the bloodshed?
On August 5 and 8, AFP spoke with David Smith, co-founder of an independent non-profit blog named Barracuda Brigade.
Smith said, “According to our military sources, I can say with 98% certainty that the Benghazi attacks were uplinked by overhead drones to networks that included the White House Situation Room, State Department and CIA headquarters so they could monitor the attacks in real-time. Yet almost immediately, Barack Obama issued a stand-down order before watching people die on camera. He then got up the next morning for a campaign rally in Las Vegas.”
When questioned about the possibility of a full-scale rescue, Smith answered: “We’ve categorically confirmed that the U.S. military had ships in Libyan waters 20 minutes away. It would have taken 10 minutes prep time and 10 minutes flight time, but Obama issued a stand-down order.”
Expanding on this notion, Smith continued: “There’s only one office with the authority to prevent a military response, and that’s the president. Commanders in the field were prepared to respond, and later, as a result, two of them were court-martialed while another was removed from duty.”
Providing more details, Smith explained: “A diplomatic security agent named David Ubben, along with two former Navy SEALS, rejected the stand-down orders so they could defend our men. During a rooftop firefight, Ubben––profusely bleeding––fired laser markers with GPS coordinates so that any ships or jet fighters within range could intervene. These guys on the ground fully expected help to arrive, but none ever came. Ubben still lies in Walter Reed hospital today.”
As to the motivation behind this executive decision to allow these American men to die, Smith offered a theory. “Being seven weeks before the 2012 election, Obama had no intention of retaliating against the responsible parties at Benghazi,” said Smith. “The reason why is that since weapons were being delivered to al Qaeda rebels in Syria, it’s an act of treason to aid, arm and abet a known enemy. . . . Obama wasn’t going to respond against the attackers, so he tried to let details about his administration’s arms-trafficking die there.”
Smith provided a closing thought: “Both entrenched political parties have their hands dirtied in this affair. As for Obama, since U.S. personnel were attacked, why is no one with information allowed to talk? It’s like telling a rape victim she can’t testify against her assailant. How is it constitutionally acceptable for a president to remove an individual’s right to speak by silencing them?”
Unprecedented White House Whitewash
On Sept 12, 2012––one day after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya—Barack Obama appeared in the White House Rose Garden and pledged to capture those responsible for the assault. Nearly a year later, only one individual has been arrested and charged with organizing the attack. Amid a slew of baldfaced lies and ongoing cover-ups, Obama and his spokesmen now refer to Benghazi as a “phony scandal.”
But if Benghazi were merely hype, why are CIA officials subjecting key personnel to monthly lie detector tests and pressuring them into silence? Secrecy and intimidation at ‘The Agency’ is unprecedented. In fact, an unnamed insider told CNN on August 1 what his colleagues are being forced to endure in order to quiet those present at Benghazi.
“It is pure intimidation. . . . You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation,” he said. If pertinent details were divulged, he fretted, “You don’t [just] jeopardize yourself. You jeopardize your family as well.”
On August 2, Representative Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) accused the Obama administration of changing names, creating aliases, and shifting personnel to undisclosed locales around the country.
“What creates the appearance and perhaps the reality of a cover-up?” Gowdy asked. “Not letting us [speak] to the people who have the most amount of information.”
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voiced the same concerns on May 8.
“I’m a little curious when employees of the State Department are told by government officials they shouldn’t testify before Senate or House committees, and then they’re sequestered,” said Paul.
Speaking of the State Department, a finger of blame must also be directed at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. During January 23 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Paul directly questioned Mrs. Clinton about weapons trafficking from Libya to Turkey, who feigned ignorance, replying, “Nobody’s ever raised that with me.”
As a fixer extraordinaire for her entire political career, Mrs. Clinton seemed to be working hand-in-hand with CIA spooks to scrub the Benghazi annex of any evidence. On August 1, Dr. Mark Christian, the Egyptian-born founder of Global Faith Institute––a website specializing in Middle Eastern history––revealed, “While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was ignoring the body of American Ambassador Christopher Stevens, she was ordering that all of Stevens’ classified information in Tripoli be destroyed.”
On October 5, 2012 Susan Posel, chief editor of the website “Occupy Corporatism,” wrote, “The crime scene in Benghazi was left to be destroyed by CIA operatives dressed up as rioters to contaminate the evidence.”
Although Posel’s claims are unverifiable, on May 9 the free-market news outlet Liberty News confirmed part of her story.
“The CIA immediately jumped into action, scrubbing the annex facility of any trace of CIA operations,” reported Liberty News. “All documents, files and traces of a clandestine presence were completely removed or destroyed.”
For three weeks, the U.S. consulate at Benghazi was left unguarded and was not inspected by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigators. Could this erasure of evidence explain why?
• U.S. Reluctantly Arrests Chief Suspect in Consulate Attack
Veteran researchers familiar with the concept of political patsies immediately smelled a rat when, on August 6, U.S. prosecutors announced that they’d filed a sealed criminal complaint against a Libyan man named Ahmed Abu Khattalah. However, similar to Lee Harvey Oswald’s infamous response that he hadn’t been charged with killing President Kennedy, the Department of Justice (DoJ) refused to specify any of the accusations brought against Khattalah.
Why then, after nearly a year, did the DoJ and FBI finally decide to pursue Khattalah, especially since Fox News, the UK’s Daily Mail, the Associated Press and Huffington Post interviewed or identified Khattalah last October? The answer, quite simply, is the White House had been shamed into it after CNN’s Arwa Damon spoke with Khattalah at a hotel coffee shop in Benghazi only days before his arrest.
As Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told reporters, “CNN was able to talk to one of the suspected terrorists. How come the FBI isn’t doing this and CNN is?”
Who, precisely, is this supposed ringleader? As the admitted leader of a de facto al Qaeda terror group called Ansar al-Sharia, Khattalah had been arrested and imprisoned in Libya by Muammar Qaddafi’s security police for posing a threat to his regime.
Upon his February 2011 release, Khattalah eventually migrated to Benghazi, where he confessed to being in the city at the time of the September 11, 2012 attacks. He denied playing any role in the assault on the U.S. consulate, though.
His plea rings true, particularly because he’s been a suspect since day one yet has never been questioned by the feds.
Khattalah told Reuters a month after the attack in October 2012, “Here I am in the open, sitting at a hotel with you.”
Similarly, he informed CNN’s Damon that, despite scores of FBI agents in Benghazi, “The investigative team did not try to contact me.”
Victor Thorn is a hard-hitting researcher, journalist and author of over 40 books.