by Bernice Lipkin

You may have noticed that there appears to be a news blackout or, more accurately, a smudge-out on the massacre of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya on 9/11, 2012. The main stream media has avoided presenting the events in much detail, and has ignored many significant details and almost all implications. In contrast to the constant feeding of the public with new information in the Watergate scandal, until the last couple of weeks in October, few stories appeared about Benghazi beyond the insistence that it's all the fault of a movie and, oh yes, an ambassador is dead. The Administration announced it would be investigating what happened. It is unnecessary to wait for an inquiry because many questions could be answered right now by the President himself. We want to know what he did and when he did it. We want to know why he didn't do the things that needed doing, that he knew needed doing and that only he could do.

With the exception of Fox News and some radio talk hosts, most reporters appear to rely on Government spokesmen rather than digging out the details themselves. Nevertheless, the information that has leaked out to date suggests that, at the very least, the Obama Administration was guilty of major negligence and extremely bad judgment. Newer information makes it a strong possibility that the President deliberately and knowingly allowed Americans to be massacred, then lied about the circumstances. Eventually it will out, but -- with the cooperation of the news media acting as the propaganda arm of the Administration -- most Americans won't become aware of what happened until after the election.

This article is what we know as of the end of October 2012 first few days into November about the Benghazi Massacre. By now, under normal circumstances we would know the life histories of all those that were killed, wounded or had escaped. Their families would have grown weary of going around the interview circuit. We would know exactly what weapons the terrorists brought in with them, and where these came from. We would know who organized the massacre and who paid for it. We'd know to the minute what happened where, who made it happen and who let it happen.

The Obama Administration called the Benghazi attack a spontaneous riot by Muslims angered by a movie said to be insulting to Muhammad. Within two hours at most, it was obvious that this was a terrorist attack. This was not a gathering of locals that turned sour. It was a planned and murderous assault with sophisticated weapons. This was not a mob that unknowingly acted as cover for embedded terrorists. It was a terrorist operation from start to finish.

Almost two weeks later, the Obama administration admitted it was a terrorist attack, and again, little more was said: the matter was "under investigation". The story was shocked into revival well over a month later when Charles Woods, father of one of the former Navy Seals that was killed fighting the terrorists, went public with what he knew of his son's death. To our horror, we discovered that trained and seasoned fighters within a mile from the Ambassador were forbidden from going to his rescue. Tyrone Woods and some others went anyways -- against orders. As we tried to absorb a story that was the equivalent of listening to the screams of someone drowning and refusing to let the life guard swim out to save him, we learned more. JoshuaPundit tells it this way:

There were helicopter gunships within easy range of the consulate, and F-18 fighters less than an hour away. One of those ex-Seals in the annex had a laser range finder and was actually radioing in coordinates of enemy targets. No U.S. aircraft were sent to attack.

There was even a Special OPs unit already deployed and ready to go at our airbase in Sigonella, Sicily, a little over a two-hour plane ride away from Benghazi. This force, known as the Commander's In-extremis Force (CIF) is specifically designated and trained for exactly these kinds of missions, where Americans are endangered and quick, decisive action is called for. The CIF forces are designed to go in with a minimum of information and hit the ground running, and every military theater commander has access to one. They never got the orders to move."

America has powerful resources, We could have used some of them to save the lives of the Americans stationed in Benghazi and show a chaotic Middle East what democracy is really all about. There was only one thing missing. The President had to push the Go button. He never did. He had a campaign to attend to. Tyrone Woods' father contrasted his son's bravery and the President's abysmal behavior when he said, "It is better to die the death of a hero, as my son and others did, than to live the life of a coward."

Why is the Benghazi scandal being smudged-out? Remember Watergate? Remember Bill Clinton and the Lewinsky affair? If those events were so damning they called for impeaching the sitting president, what does deliberate negligence during the Benghazi Massacre call for? How about ordering men ready to rush to Americans under attack to 'Stand Down'?

The Administration is clearly hoping to keep the news quiet until after the election. Consider what could happen when the news will leak out and be absorbed by the general public. Impeachment will be almost impossible to avoid. Can the Obama Administration avoid it? Perhaps. By distractions? By declaring an indefinite State of Emergency? There's many possibilities. But attending to an economy already on its last leg isn't one of them.

Am I being paranoid, an alarmist? Not when the news media have already behaved in a seemingly impossible way: they have ignore the biggest story of the year, maybe of the century.

In what is written below, I believe I have the information correct. But it isn't always easy to pin down the time an event occurred even roughly, or the sequence in which events happened or the duration of a particular happening. I have not omitted any fact I know about. I have labeled speculation as speculation -- or it should be obvious from context. I freely make inferences from the facts we have. Accept them, create your own interpretations or ignore everything but the facts - as you wish. But, please, don't ignore what has happened, just because your news sources have chosen to keep you ignorant.


Neglecting the existential danger of Iran, a year ago we helped kill Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. In doing so, we were fighting on the same side as was al-Qaeda. We destroyed a dictator, true, but one who was no threat to us. A new government was installed but its infrastructure is still underdeveloped and its ability to govern is limited. Independent militias are in actual control in many places. The country is in turmoil, verging on chaos. Belatedly, there was concern about the many weapons stored in warehouses that might be looted by terrorists.

In the fullness of time, President's Obama policy of winning over the Arabs by flattery, fulsome sympathy and abject apology had shown results: Western embassies, including ours, were under attack throughout the region. Countries were recalling their personnel all over the Middle East.

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood commanded a seasoned 16-member Security Support Team, whose job was to support the Chief of Mission in Libya. They were there over a six-month period until August 5, 2012. Their contract was not renewed. Instead, security was given over to some locals, the 17th of February Martyrs Brigade (17FMB). Diane West informs us of the "ties among February 17 Martyrs Brigade leadership, the Muslim Brotherhood and the web of jihad-poison spun by Qatar's Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Libya's Ali al-Salabi." It says something for the whole story of the Benghazi Massacre that it isn't the most impossible-but-true fact that the terrorists who stormed the Diplomatic Mission, Ansar al Sharia (Supporters of Islamic Law), are a spinoff of another band of terrorists, the 17FMB, who were hired by the State Department to take care of the security of the Americans on duty in Benghazi. Actually, the Ansar al Sharia also hires out as security guards. The night some of them stormed the Compound, others were securing the local El Jala hospital, where the ambassador was taken and where he died.

As Diane West notes, putting the Martyrs in charge of the infidels was putting the fox in charge of the sheepfold.

Wood described the chaos in Libya following the fall of the Gaddafi government this way:

"While the sound of gunfire in and around Tripoli subsided from February to April, the situation remained unstable. Libyans struggled with a Transitional government that hesitated to make decisions and was forced to rely upon local or tribal militias with varying degrees to loyalty. In late spring, the police were allowed to return to work to help with traffic but were limited to that only. Fighting between militias was still common when I departed. Some militias appeared to be degenerating into organizations resembling freelance criminal operations. Targeted attacks against westerners were on the increase.

The security in Benghazi was a struggle and remained a struggle throughout my time there. The situation remained uncertain and reports from some Libyans indicated it was getting worse. Diplomatic security remained weak. In April there was only one US Diplomatic Security (DS) agent stationed there. The RSO struggled to obtain additional personnel there but was never able to attain the numbers he felt comfortable with."

On July 9, 2012, Ambassador Stevens himself requested an extension of the Wood team's contract. He also sent his superiors memos about the need for better security because of terrorist attacks. He wasn't just in a risky part of the world. It seems to me he was aware he was in personal danger and needed protection he could rely on.

As James Rosen writes,

despite often stonewalling testimony by State Department personnel, committee members at the House hearing on October 10, 2012 persisted in their questions. It was clear security arrangements were inadequate.

On Sept. 11 — the day Stevens and three other Americans were killed — the ambassador signed a three-page cable, labeled "sensitive," in which he noted "growing problems with security" in Benghazi and "growing frustration" on the part of local residents with Libyan police and security forces. These forces the ambassador characterized as "too weak to keep the country secure."

In the document, Stevens also cited a meeting he had held two days earlier with local militia commanders. These men boasted to Stevens of exercising "control" over the Libyan Armed Forces, and threatened that if the U.S.-backed candidate for prime minister were to prevail in Libya's internal political jockeying, "they would not continue to guarantee security in Benghazi."

Roughly a month earlier, Stevens had signed a two-page cable, also labeled "sensitive," that he entitled "The Guns of August: Security in Eastern Libya." Writing on Aug. 8, the ambassador noted that in just a few months' time, "Benghazi has moved from trepidation to euphoria and back as a series of violent incidents has dominated the political landscape." He added, "The individual incidents have been organized," a function of "the security vacuum that a diverse group of independent actors are exploiting for their own purposes."

"Islamist extremists are able to attack the Red Cross with relative impunity," Stevens cabled. "What we have seen are not random crimes of opportunity, but rather targeted and discriminate attacks." His final comment on the two-page document was: "Attackers are unlikely to be deterred until authorities are at least as capable."

By Sept. 4, Stevens' aides were reporting back to Washington on the "strong Revolutionary and Islamist sentiment" in the city.

You can gain a vivid understanding of what it was like to be a foreigner in Tripoli in the months during the civil war and following Gaddafi's death by reading the US Embassy — Tripoli Libya Security Incidents Report since June 2011.

In June the Ambassador received a threat on Facebook with a public announcement that he liked to run around the Embassy compound in Tripoli. Wood traveled to Benghazi once to evaluate the security situation and a second time when the UK Ambassador's convoy was ambushed.

An August 16th cable from the U.S. mission in Benghazi, summarized an "emergency meeting" that concluded that the consulate could not defend itself against a "coordinated attack... and there were plenty of reasons to anticipate such an attack, since terror groups were running no less than ten training camps in the Benghazi area."

Wood and Eric Nordstrom, the former State Department RSO for Libya, heard that "foreign fighters were flowing across the Egyptian border and were making their way across the border to the Libyan city of Derna — which is to the east of Benghazi — and from there were making their way to Benghazi. But, as Jake Tapper wrote,

"State Department officials seemed oblivious to their Benghazi post's vulnerability. ... Nordstrom was worried — he did not know how much the Americans could rely on members of a local Libyan militia in Benghazi that provided security — the '17th of February Martyrs Brigade.' (17FMB) Mostly merchants and shopkeepers before the war, they seemed eager, but they hadn't much experience and other than a daily $30 stipend for food from the U.S. Embassy, they hadn't been paid in months. Nordstrom had 'no idea if they would respond to an attack,' he told investigators."

Considering the affiliation of 17FMB with terrorist groups and their allegiance to Islamic supremicism, this carries understatement to new heights.

Despite Ambassador Stevens' concern, the State Dept was replacing an experienced 16-man security team with what appears to be a larger number of inexperienced locals, with large turnover. Charlene Lamb testified that when the terrorists broke in, there were 3 17FMB in the compound and at least 40 in an outside building. It is not clear how many of them were actually employed by the State Dept. and/or available to them. Nor do we know who gave them their marching orders. As we shall see, the entire contingent of dozens did less than a couple of SEALS that stayed the course.

9/11 was coming up. Every year different terror groups have remembered the first 9/11 in their own special way. This year the Libyan president himself told the Americans terrorists were planning something for 9/11. ,]

Raymond Ibrahim on September 10, 2012 reported that jihadi groups, which include many Al-Qaeda members, had been threatening for weeks to burn the US embassy in Cairo unless we released the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdul Rahman, in jail in the USA for masterminding the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and plotting to bomb other New York City landmarks. Getting Rahman released was a popular political cause and had been for a long time. When Mohamed Mursi, Egypt's President since June 24, 2011, was a candidate, he announced he would work for the Sheikh's release.

Despite all the voiced concern about overheated terror-approving groups vocally furious that their jihardi hero was still in jail and despite all the anti-American activity, when the American government personnel were under attack, the Obama administration blandly and without investigation claimed it was a spontaneous riot by Muslims who were irate over an obscure movie on the life of Muhammad. The attackers came with machine guns and mortars, yet the Administration maintained the grassroots riot fiction for almost two weeks. They eventually acknowledged that it was Ansar al-Sharia that attacked the compound.


The official Ambassador's residence is in Tripoli, Libya. Ambassador Stevens traveled frequently to Benghazi, a city some four hundred miles away. After someone exploded a truck in front of the Tibesti Hotel where he was staying, he rented a compound consisting of his residence containing multiple bedrooms and a small windowless area with jail-style bars called a safe haven, a cantina, a barracks for the Libyan security guards and a tactical operations center with security cameras and message transmission equipment (TOC) There were also five Diplomatic Security (DS) agents responsible for the interior of the compound. They carried fire arms. The periphery was guarded by the 17FMB, which carried batons. And handcuffs. I suspect that like the other local militia they had looted sophisticated weapons, but they didn't bring them to work.

I've noticed that one of the ways that hard news is avoided is to make an issue of the fact that the Benghazi residence was not an official embassy, so why did the writer of the article say it was an embassy or a consulate. Yada. Yada. We will call the Ambassador's Quarters the Residence or the Big House or Main Building and the compound the Compound. or a Diplomatic Post. Let's get on with it.

On September 11, 2011, sometime during the day, Ambassador Stevens spotted a policeman taking pictures of the Compound. He rightly saw this as a sign of danger. The smart thing to have done was to rush to the airport. He didn't, perhaps because he needed to meet with the Turkish Consul General, Ali Sait Akin, his dinner guest that evening. Sometime after dinner, around 8:30p.m. or so (Libya time), he escorted Akin to the front gate. The terrorists had already stealthily blockaded the area. The Turk left without raising any alarms then or, as far as we know, afterward.

When the Obama Administration couldn't even kid itself that the attack was the reaction to an insulting movie, Prez Obama described the invaders as a mixture. There were rioters. There were terrorists. Sort of like a great big kumsitz standing up. In fact there was no evidence of a crowd gathering or small groups of angry men coalescing. But Ambassador Stevens did observe small things prior to the attack -- such as the man in uniform filming the building during the day -- that indicated that the Compound was being cased in readiness for some sort of attack. He sent a message to his superiors. This also makes sense of a mysterious message Sean Smith, the State Department Information Analyst, sent his game-playing buddies, "... assuming we don't die tonight. We saw one of our 'police' that guard the compound taking pictures," he wrote.

Muslims started breaking into the compound at around 9.40pm, (3.40pm Washington time), coming through the pedestrian gate. Estimates vary. Dozens. A hundred. Two hundred. Four hundred. It's a well-run operation, they know what they are doing. They are armed with RPGs, truck-mounted artillery and anti-aircraft machine guns. They come with diesel fuel. They set fire to the barracks of the Libyan 17 of February Martyr's Brigade and moved on to the main building. A Diplomatic Security agent immediately activated the Imminent Danger Notification system and alerted the CIA Security Team (also known as the Quick Reaction Security Team) stationed nearby. The Libyan 17 of February Martyr's Brigade in Benghazi outside the compound, the Embassy in Tripoli and the Security Command Center in Washington were notified.

The attackers set the Barracks for the local security guards on fire. In the main house, the civilians, Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith and Dave Oven are brought to the safe haven by Agent Scott Strickland. As Lt. Col. Wood explained on Fox News Special Report , it isn't a safe house. It isn't especially reinforced. It is intended to stretch the duration between the time of attack and the time an arriving rescue team can get there. Other agents go get their M4 carbines.

The invaders pour diesel fuel around the Residence, making the safe haven a smoke and fire trap. Strickland gets out of the safe haven via an emergency exit. When he returns, he can't find the civilians in the heavy smoke. The other agents have gone for an armored vehicle. They find Sean Smith. He is dead from smoke inhalation. They search for Stevens but don't find him.

A large number of the outside 17FMB have come. They explain they can't hold the perimeter and leave.

"Deputy Assistant Director for International Programs in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security in the Department of State Charlene Lamb testified to the time of the attack at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Hearing in written testimony submitted October 10, 2012. She was witness to the massacre. Now, Lamb is sitting in Washington. How does she know what's happening? She started viewing the footage from the security cameras at the Compound half hour after the attack began. It is only seconds or at most a few minutes delayed from real time. It was an audio feed.

I assume she immediately notified her superiors and they took over. Twenty-five minutes later, at 4:05 p.m ET, according to Lamb, "the State Department notified the White House and the Pentagon that the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi was under attack."

There were also one or two drones flying overhead. At least one of them was receiving video in real-time. According to Fox News, "The U.S. military says that two unarmed Predators were overhead Benghazi that night and providing one stream of video back to Washington beginning at 11:11 p.m. (1 hr and 24 minutes) after the attack began."

It is important to understand that the video information from the drone was automatically available to Government officials in AFRICOM, to various stations belonging to the State Dept and various Intelligence agencies and directly to the State Department and to the White House in Washington. The drones were capable of transmitting what was happening while it was happening.

leon panetta explaining why no help was sent
Leon Panetta, October 26, 2012
"(The) basic principle is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on; without having some real-time information about what's taking place," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Pentagon reporters Thursday in Washington.

Later, Defense Secretary Panetta defended not sending in the troops by saying that one doesn't go into harm's way with insufficient information. Or as he put it "a basic principle here, and the basic principle is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on, without having some real-time information about what's taking place." Watching imagery from the drone should have relieved the ignorance of the higher echelon of the Administration in short order. Then once they were up to speed, why did they not deploy (I hope I'm using the word correctly) the drones to attack the attackers, while they arranged for other groups to head for Benghazi.

Actually, Panetta is wrong on several accounts. As JoshuaPundit informed us (See Introduction), there exists exactly the type of military unit that is needed for quick response when information is minimal. They were not summoned. Maybe Obama and Panetta didn't know about them. There is a group that knows what resources we have, where we have them and how long it would take to ready them and how to move them along. It's called the Counterterrorism Security Group, (CSG). Curiously, they were not consulted.

Sharyl Attkisson writes that

"CBS News has learned that during the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, the Obama Administration did not convene its top interagency counterterrorism resource: the Counterterrorism Security Group, (CSG).

"The CSG is the one group that's supposed to know what resources every agency has. They know of multiple options and have the ability to coordinate counterterrorism assets across all the agencies," a high-ranking government official told CBS News. "They were not allowed to do their job. They were not called upon.

"Information shared with CBS News from top counterterrorism sources in the government and military reveal keen frustration over the U.S. response on Sept. 11, the night Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in a coordinated attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya."

As far as we know, the audio feed continued the entire attack -- unless, of course, they have a system with very limited capacity. The original audio tapes came from the 10 security cameras placed around the compound. We were told they were taken away by the local Libyans and not returned until October 1st, some 20 days later. I assume that the audio was copied as it was received but the originals might be needed for confirmation. No one seemed to have found it astonishing that the USA Government would just let them be taken out of their hands. In general, the Government treated some possible evidence needed for reconstruction in cavalier fashion. Reporters wandering into the unguarded building after the attack found papers strewn around. Material was still lying in the open late in October. Katrina Trinko writes

"It was shocking enough when CNN found sensitive documents at the Benghazi consulate in the immediate aftermath of the attack. Now, Foreign Policy visited it last week — and found additional information lying about:

When we visited on Oct. 26 to prepare a story for Dubai based Al Aan TV, we found not only Stevens's personal copy of the Aug. 6 New Yorker, lying on remnants of the bed in the safe room where Stevens spent his final hours, but several ash-strewn documents beneath rubble in the looted Tactical Operations Center, one of the four main buildings of the partially destroyed compound. Some of the documents — such as an email from Stevens to his political officer in Benghazi and a flight itinerary sent to Sean Smith, a U.S. diplomat slain in the attack — are clearly marked as State Department correspondence. Others are unsigned printouts of messages to local and national Libyan authorities. The two unsigned draft letters are both dated Sept. 11 and express strong fears about the security situation at the compound on what would turn out to be a tragic day. They also indicate that Stevens and his team had officially requested additional security at the Benghazi compound for his visit — and that they apparently did not feel it was being provided. . . ."

At any rate, both the tapes and the video feed have been marked top secret and are no more accessible to the public than they were right after the attack.

I can't evaluate the quality of information on drones and machine guns and mortars. In fact in military matters, I'm probably the sort of audience the Defense Secretary and the President hope for. But some of the reports and comment came from people I felt were knowledgeable. Someone calling himself raptor22 contributed this information October 27, 2012 as an IBD Editorial

"Despite real-time video, emails to the White House and desperate cries for help, our defense secretary says we didn't send rescue forces to our Benghazi consulate because we didn't know what was going on.

"In a statement bordering on the Kafkaesque, Leon Panetta told a news conference Thursday that four Americans, including our Libyan ambassador Chris Stevens, were left to die without a rescue attempt by nearby U.S. military forces because there's "a basic principle here, and the basic principle is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on, without having some real-time information about what's taking place."

"That would seem to sum up the Obama administration's assessment of and story line about the Middle East — it has no real-time clue about what's going on. Osama bin Laden is dead, but Islamofascism is very much alive, and to send an ambassador and his diplomatic mission into harm's way without so much as a Marine security detachment with bayonets is unconscionable.

"Excuse us, Mr. Secretary, but your administration had a drone over the consulate on Sept. 11, and you and President Obama had a meeting that included Vice President Joe "Nobody Told Us" Biden in the Oval Office at 5 p.m. Washington time, a little more than an hour after the onset of the attack. There were at least 50 minutes of real-time video of the attack as the battle was sent streaming directly to the Situation Room in the White House.

"Real-time emails were also pouring into the Situation Room detailing that 20 armed terrorists were attacking our Benghazi consulate, that Ambassador Stevens was crouched in a safe room waiting for help as the al-Qaida terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia was taking credit for the attack. Most claims of responsibility for a terrorist attack come days after the event. This was, as they say, in "real-time."

"If indeed you had insufficient knowledge concerning the attack itself, you certainly had knowledge of the threat. Ambassador Stevens had been begging for even the most basic security, and all his requests for additional security were denied. And how about this little factoid: the Benghazi consulate was and is sovereign U.S. territory that you and President Obama had a responsibility and duty to defend.

"According to Fox News, administration cowardice extended to the real-time denial of an urgent request from the CIA annex for military backup during the attack on the consulate and subsequent attack several hours later. The request was denied by U.S. officials, who also told the CIA operators twice to "stand down" rather than help the ambassador's team."

Mark Steyn beautifully puts into words the frustration so many of us at the lethargy of the Government in the person of the President and his Cabinet, unmoving and unmoved as they watched men fighting for their lives through seven gruesome hours.

"What is the point of unmanned drones, of military bases around the planet, of elite special forces trained to the peak of perfection if the president and the vast bloated federal bureaucracy cannot rouse themselves to action? What is the point of outspending Russia, Britain, France, China, Germany, and every middle-rank military power combined if, when it matters, America cannot urge into the air one plane with a couple of dozen commandos? In Iraq, al-Qaeda is running training camps in the western desert. In Afghanistan, the Taliban are all but certain to return most of the country to its pre-9/11 glories. But in Washington the head of the world's biggest "counterterrorism" bureaucracy briefs the president on flood damage and downed trees."

At 9:40pm or so, Tyrone Woods, an ex-Navy SEAL working under contract to the CIA in security heard the shooting from the CIA annex around a mile down the road from the Ambassador's compound. He requested permission from his CIA superiors for him and the other members of the security team to go help the Ambassador. We can speculate that the security people in the CIA building had talked over the unimpressive quality of Stevens' security guards. I'd like to tell you that the men rounded up weapons, took a few minutes to work out a plan and then went on to help their fellow Americans. I can't. Woods contacted his superiors and was told 'to stand down'; he was told not to leave the premises.

So who is they that told Woods to ignore that the Americans down the road were in harm's way? I'm speculating now -- but it isn't likely that Woods et al were immediately told not to go. I think it more likely they were told to wait for permission. We might assume someone high in the CIA echelon was contacted. Or at the State Department. After all, this was an ambassador under attack. Maybe other agencies were on the way. The prudent thing was to check and coordinate. They waiting.

Twenty-five minutes later, at 4:05 p.m., according to Lamb, "the State Department notified the White House and the Pentagon that the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi was under attack."

Now this is where it gets interesting. You'd think within two minutes there's be standing room only in the Incident Room and the President would be running the discussion.

But the president doesn't surface despite the excited transmitting of the news that there's a mess of trouble in Benghazi. The news isn't just mouth to ear. There are audio tapes, videos, emails, cables, memos.


To just read the action, skip to End of Intermission

On September 11, 2012 the US Embassy in Cairo was the locus that drew thousands of men to vent their anger once more at the USA. Surprisingly, this time it wasn't because we were keeping the Blind Sheikh in jail their constant complaint the last few months. This time the Cairo Embassy decided the locals were rioting because of a movie called "The Innocence of Muslims." In fact, they decided that was so before there was a mob or a riot.

The timing of the events is interesting. The previous Sunday, the 9th, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa, had condemned the film. Judging from the translation of his remarks, what really bothered him was that it was done by "some extremist Copts who made a film offensive to the Prophet. (i.e., the uppity Copts had dared deride Mohammad). But that put the film into play.

According to the Atlantic, around noon Cairo time on Tuesday, 9/11, 2012, the Embassy in Cairo apologized for the movie this way: "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." Six hours later, Egyptians gathered at the U.S. Embassy. Some climbed the walls and tore down the flag. Some shot guns. Some burned tires and flags. The usual stuff. The Benghazi attack was started almost 4 hours later, a little before 10p.m. It lasted till the early hours of the morning and from its first moment, it had a completely different character.

The embassy statement was criticized by Mitt Romney (at 4am 12sep12 Cairo time, embargoed till after 9/11 in the States) , by Charles Krauthammer and by others for not defending free speech. Predictably, the White House disassociated itself. "'The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government,' an administration official told POLITICO, also about 4am 12sep12 Cairo time. .

Note that at this point the issue was one of defending free speech versus trying to calm angry mobs with apologies. It was hooked into politics in that Romney criticized the Embassy's non-defense of free speech, and the Democrats criticized Romney for making it political. Hillary Clinton on September 12 emphasized that the Libyan-USA connection was still on. On September 12 she told us that there's "never any justification for violent acts of this kind." She said:

"Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind,"

As noted, the Embassy issued its statement before either the Egyptian mob gathered or the Benghazi Compound was attacked. The Egyptian mob was likely anticipated. I haven't been able to find that protest was expected in Benghazi. If there were action, it would probably be in Tripoli.

The video trailer -- the movie was apparently shown only one time -- appeared on YouTube from July, 2012 on. The production is so amateurish it's actually funny -- at least in the parts that aren't soft porn.

But people were now aware of it. The video was now an object of interest and of potential utility.

There's no surprise that it was blamed for the local conventional riots. Reasons come and reasons go but rioting stays on. What I find puzzling is how it came to be the reason for the terrorist attack in Benghazi, which was a genuine terrorist attack and so, by definition, in the planning and implementation stages for some time. That it, it was in the works prior to the Sheikh's condemnation.

The claim that the attack was because of the movie would hardly have come from the Benghazi terrorists. So who did it come from? Who concocted the excuse that they were shooting up a US Goverment installation and killing people because of a Muslimophobic movie?

Senator Dianne Feinstein said the linkage of the attack to the video was based on an assessment by James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence , noted most recently for an absurdly inaccurate evaluation of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Clapper's blaming the video might be clownish, but, as Larry Johnson writes, "The head of the CIA General Petraeus joined him in insisting the video was responsible, despite the fact that the CIA station chief in Libya drew the correct conclusion from the presence of machine guns and mortars in the attack on the compound. Larry Johnson asserts flatly that there "was no intelligence reporting that the 'mob' in Benghazi was sparked by the video," which leads to the possibility that the bosses themselves made up the story that the video was causative out of whole cloth.

Even after the White House abandoned the story that it was a bunch of irate Muslims that attacked the Compound, they insisted the initial assessment that it was a grass-roots mob came from the CIA. I find it hard to imagine the CIA, an organization that had the skill to spot missiles in photographs of Cuba half a century ago under difficult conditions, making such amateurish mistakes.

The timing itself reminded me of that scene in The Sting where they are pawing through the results of horse races recently run but not yet announced, searching for one that will work for them in scamming their targeted victim. In contrast to Obama's current request for patience while they do an intensive investigation, the movie was blamed almost immediately for the anger of the supposedly grass-roots invaders.

In the days that followed the attack, Clinton was still against violence as a response to the trailer, which she calls "disgusting and reprehensible." She reminded people that free speech is allowed, more as a statement of fact than of commitment. But now it seems to be taken for granted that the video was responsible for the protests in the Middle East, including the one in Benghazi.

Is it possible that someone needed a cover story for the Benghazi attack to avoid the real story, and here was one made to order? Forgetting the poor quality, the movie has the virtue of being an easy sell. It doesn't take elaborate explaining. After all, it is conventional wisdom that if we give insult to Mohammad, some Muslims somewhere might "spontaneously" riot, sometimes weeks after the supposed insult.

Eleanor Norton and other members at the House wondered why Susan Rice, five days after the attack, broadcast false information, relying on the NEI assessment after it was obvious this was a terrorist attack. at 1:38 on tape, 10oct12] --> This was particularly silly, given that some of the terrorists were identified within a day from the security camera film as members of an al-Qaida affiliate.

If we look at the stages of Obama's retreat from insisting it was the wickedness of the movie -- he went from certainty, to allowing that some terrorists might have come in the crowd to agreeing the crowd was a distraction with the terrorists having an agenda to conceding that it was a terrorist attack. It is surprising in this day of instant communications, he doesn't seem to have told his team including pet media people when he was switching stories, so often they were reading on different pages. He was talking about terrorists being involved while Susan Rice was still using the righteous indignation over a movie excuse.

Larry Johnson ended his article by accusing the major power in this hoax, "Finally, there is the ultimate failure — Barack Obama. He stuck with this nonsense that he could not declare the Benghazi attack a terrorist strike. He either blamed it on a video or insisted that it was 'under investigation' and did not want to jump to any conclusions. Pure garbage!"


THERE IS A DARK SIDE to blaming the Benghazi attack on something that insulted Muslims instead of blaming Muslims for slaughtering Americans. In the days that followed the Benghazi massacre, blaming the anti-Islam movie encouraged world-wide protests and rioting and anti-Americanism. In Afganistan, they pelted police with stones and opened fire on them. The police had been told not to return the fire.

kabul children protesting the movie about Mohammad
Up in arms: Afghan protesters, including dozens of young children, march in front of thick, black smoke in the capital Kabul in protest over an U.S.-made anti-Islam video. The smoke is from burning tires.

Indonesia's anti-terror squad arrested 11 people planning terror attacks against foreigners, including the U.S. Embassy. "Police seized a number of bombs, explosive materials, a bomb-making manual and ammunition, along with a small gas cylinder filled with highly explosive material during the Friday and Saturday raids in four cities, including the capital Jakarta." Muslims rioted in Sydney, Australia. The Pentagon sent Marines to protect embassies in Yemen and Sudan. on Sep 16, protesters gathered outside the US embassy in London to vent their anger. Altogether some twenty protests were recorded. Anger against America was not measured.

A viewer of the trailer asked: "Riddle me this Einstein. At the time the protests began in Egypt and Libya the anti-islamic video on youtube only had a little over 300 hits? So are you telling me that 300 plus viewers of this video caused all that violence?" Maybe all it took was the help of a large number of cooperative media people.



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