NO AL QAEDA LINK
A Deadly Mix in Benghazi
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK | December 28, 2013 | NY Times
A BOYISH-LOOKING AMERICAN DIPLOMAT was meeting for the first time with the Islamist leaders of eastern Libya’s most formidable militias.
It was Sept. 9, 2012. Gathered on folding chairs in a banquet hall by the Mediterranean, the Libyans warned of rising threats against Americans from extremists in Benghazi. One militia leader, with a long beard and mismatched military fatigues, mentioned time in exile in Afghanistan. An American guard discreetly touched his gun.
“Since Benghazi isn’t safe, it is better for you to leave now,” Mohamed al-Gharabi, the leader of the Rafallah al-Sehati Brigade, later recalled telling the Americans. “I specifically told the Americans myself that we hoped that they would leave Benghazi as soon as possible.”
Yet as the militiamen snacked on Twinkie-style cakes with their American guests, they also gushed about their gratitude for President Obama’s support in their uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. They emphasized that they wanted to build a partnership with the United States, especially in the form of more investment. They specifically asked for Benghazi outlets of McDonald’s and KFC.
The diplomat, David McFarland, a former congressional aide who had never before met with a Libyan militia leader, left feeling agitated, according to colleagues. But the meeting did not shake his faith in the prospects for deeper involvement in Libya. Two days later, he summarized the meeting in a cable to Washington, describing a mixed message from the militia leaders.
Despite “growing problems with security,” he wrote, the fighters wanted the United States to become more engaged “by ‘pressuring’ American businesses to invest in Benghazi.”
The cable, dated Sept. 11, 2012, was sent over the name of Mr. McFarland’s boss, Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
Later that day, Mr. Stevens was dead, killed with three other Americans in Benghazi in the most significant attack on United States property in 11 years, since Sept. 11, 2001.
Four Americans died in attacks on a diplomatic mission and a C.I.A. compound in Benghazi.
As the attacks begin, there are seven Americans at the mission, including five armed diplomatic security officers; the information officer, Sean Smith; and Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Both Mr. Smith and Ambassador Stevens die in the attack.
The cable was a last token of months of American misunderstandings and misperceptions about Libya and especially Benghazi, many fostered by shadows of the earlier Sept. 11 attack. The United States waded deeply into post-Qaddafi Libya, hoping to build a beachhead against extremists, especially Al Qaeda. It believed it could draw a bright line between friends and enemies in Libya. But it ultimately lost its ambassador in an attack that involved both avowed opponents of the West and fighters belonging to militias that the Americans had taken for allies.
Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.
A fuller accounting of the attacks suggests lessons for the United States that go well beyond Libya. It shows the risks of expecting American aid in a time of desperation to buy durable loyalty, and the difficulty of discerning friends from allies of convenience in a culture shaped by decades of anti-Western sentiment. Both are challenges now hanging over the American involvement in Syria’s civil conflict.
The attack also suggests that, as the threats from local militants around the region have multiplied, an intensive focus on combating Al Qaeda may distract from safeguarding American interests.
In this case, a central figure in the attack was an eccentric, malcontent militia leader, Ahmed Abu Khattala, according to numerous Libyans present at the time. American officials briefed on the American criminal investigation into the killings call him a prime suspect. Mr. Abu Khattala declared openly and often that he placed the United States not far behind Colonel Qaddafi on his list of infidel enemies. But he had no known affiliations with terrorist groups, and he had escaped scrutiny from the 20-person C.I.A. station in Benghazi that was set up to monitor the local situation.
Mr. Abu Khattala, who denies participating in the attack, was firmly embedded in the network of Benghazi militias before and afterward. Many other Islamist leaders consider him an erratic extremist. But he was never more than a step removed from the most influential commanders who dominated Benghazi and who befriended the Americans. They were his neighbors, his fellow inmates and his comrades on the front lines in the fight against Colonel Qaddafi.
To this day, some militia leaders offer alibis for Mr. Abu Khattala. All resist quiet American pressure to turn him over to face prosecution. Last spring, one of Libya’s most influential militia leaders sought to make him a kind of local judge.
FIFTEEN MONTHS AFTER MR. STEVENS’S DEATH, THE QUESTION OF RESPONSIBILITY REMAINS A SEARING ISSUE IN WASHINGTON, FRAMED BY TWO CONTRADICTORY STORY LINES.
ONE HAS IT THAT THE VIDEO, WHICH WAS POSTED ON YOUTUBE, INSPIRED SPONTANEOUS STREET PROTESTS THAT GOT OUT OF HAND. THIS VERSION, BASED ON EARLY INTELLIGENCE REPORTS, WAS INITIALLY OFFERED PUBLICLY BY SUSAN E. RICE, WHO IS NOW MR. OBAMA’S NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER.
THE OTHER, FAVORED BY REPUBLICANS, HOLDS THAT MR. STEVENS DIED IN A CAREFULLY PLANNED ASSAULT BY AL QAEDA TO MARK THE ANNIVERSARY OF ITS STRIKE ON THE UNITED STATES 11 YEARS BEFORE. REPUBLICANS HAVE ACCUSED THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OF COVERING UP EVIDENCE OF AL QAEDA’S ROLE TO AVOID UNDERMINING THE PRESIDENT’S CLAIM THAT THE GROUP HAS BEEN DECIMATED, IN PART BECAUSE OF THE RAID THAT KILLED OSAMA BIN LADEN.
THE INVESTIGATION BY THE TIMES SHOWS THAT THE REALITY IN BENGHAZI WAS DIFFERENT, AND MURKIER, THAN EITHER OF THOSE STORY LINES SUGGESTS. BENGHAZI WAS NOT INFILTRATED BY AL QAEDA, BUT NONETHELESS CONTAINED GRAVE LOCAL THREATS TO AMERICAN INTERESTS. THE ATTACK DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN METICULOUSLY PLANNED, BUT NEITHER WAS IT SPONTANEOUS OR WITHOUT WARNING SIGNS.
Mr. Abu Khattala had become well known in Benghazi for his role in the killing of a rebel general, and then for declaring that his fellow Islamists were insufficiently committed to theocracy. He made no secret of his readiness to use violence against Western interests. One of his allies, the leader of Benghazi’s most overtly anti-Western militia, Ansar al-Shariah, boasted a few months before the attack that his fighters could “flatten” the American Mission. Surveillance of the American compound appears to have been underway at least 12 hours before the assault started.
The violence, though, also had spontaneous elements. Anger at the video motivated the initial attack. Dozens of people joined in, some of them provoked by the video and others responding to fast-spreading false rumors that guards inside the American compound had shot Libyan protesters. Looters and arsonists, without any sign of a plan, were the ones who ravaged the compound after the initial attack, according to more than a dozen Libyan witnesses as well as many American officials who have viewed the footage from security cameras.
A 20-person team from the Central Intelligence Agency is in the compound known as the Annex, about a half-mile from the mission, where the security officers Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty are later killed.
The Benghazi-based C.I.A. team had briefed Mr. McFarland and Mr. Stevens as recently as the day before the attack. But the American intelligence efforts in Libya concentrated on the agendas of the biggest militia leaders and the handful of Libyans with suspected ties to Al Qaeda, several officials who received the briefings said. Like virtually all briefings over that period, the one that day made no mention of Mr. Abu Khattala, Ansar al-Shariah or the video ridiculing Islam, even though Egyptian satellite television networks popular in Benghazi were already spewing outrage against it.
Members of the local militia groups that the Americans called on for help proved unreliable, even hostile. The fixation on Al Qaeda might have distracted experts from more imminent threats. Those now look like intelligence failures.
More broadly, Mr. Stevens, like his bosses in Washington, believed that the United States could turn a critical mass of the fighters it helped oust Colonel Qaddafi into reliable friends. He died trying.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
INSIDE THE RIGHT-WING LOVE AFFAIR WITH CONSPIRACY THEORIES
January 4, 2014 | AlterNet / By CJ Werleman
The New York Times recently published what is arguably the most comprehensive examination of the events that took place leading up to the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi. The six-part, multimedia report  is not only the most exhaustive account of the tragedy ever published by a major news organization, it is also completely apolitical. In other words, it revealed the truth. Yet right-wing conspiracy theorists refuse to believe it.
While the article hardly paints the administration in a positive light, it makes clear that right-wing, echo chamber-generated conspiracy theories have no basis in reality. Central to the right’s Benghazi narrative was the claim that President Obama, facing a fight for reelection, chose to lie and conceal the truth on Benghazi. In other words, the administration “knew” it was a carefully planned and orchestrated attack carried out by al-Qaeda, but instead chose to spin the story that it was a spontaneous protest carried out by a mob of Islamists, who were reacting to the release of anti-Muslim YouTube documentary.
The truth, however, punches holes in the GOP’s preferred version of what happened that day, and in doing so, yet another right-wing conspiracy unravels before our eyes:
“Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault.
The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.”
Benghazi now joins a laundry list of debunked right-wing conspiracies during the Obama presidency, taking its place alongside such faux-scandals as the IRS, Fast & Furious, and Obama’s birth certificate. But the GOP, having invested so much into Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, has now taken to the airwaves to reassure its faithful that theNYT report is a conspiracy to help elect Hillary in 2016. Yes, a conspiracy wrapped in an enigma, inside another conspiracy.
When a conspiracy theory is debunked, its proponents are faced with one of three options: they can either accept reality and move on to the next fancy; they can look for additional evidence that supports their hypothesis; or they can reevaluate their conspiracy in the light of new information. For the evolution, science, climate-change deniers on the Right, they can, evidently, accept only a fourth option: that the NYT is part of an even grander Benghazi conspiracy theory.
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, alluded to a “grander conspiracy” on Fox News when he said, “Of course, Secretary Clinton was in charge at the time, and you know there are just now a lot of rumors going and pushing about her running for president in 2016, so I think they are already laying the groundwork.” Rep Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, stood by claims that a group affiliated with al-Qaeda was involved in the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate.
Neither Issa nor Westmoreland has any evidence to support their claims.
Why do those on the Right revel in conspiratorial #$%$? Because the Republican Party’s base is the Christian Right. The evangelical base has latched onto every urban legend and bizarre Internet-generated memes because their worldview does not allow them to really understand how the world works. It’s healthy to be skeptical. A functioning mind demands evidence before formulating an opinion, which is why belief in religion infers the exact opposite. But evidence is the key word here. Conspiracy theories are not something to become emotionally unhinged and paranoid over, but the far right has become toxic over wild conspiracies, from same-sex marriage is an elaborate scheme to entrap men, to Planned Parenthood is trying to get kids hooked on sex. (Google those if you don’t believe me.)
Barry Beyerstein, a professor of psychology, says people are often unable to distinguish between science and pseudoscience. “People like to enchant themselves and this is classic mystery mongering," he says. "People want there to be grand conspiracies and they want the world to be an ever mysterious place than it is and want more simplistic pat answers as to why they are not happy and why the world isn’t the wonderful place they think it should be. And that’s more satisfactory psychologically than the sort of thing that science and decent scholarship will say.”
Conspiracy theories make the uninformed think they’re in the know; that they know the “truth.” The truth, however, is they’re afraid. They’re afraid of what they don’t know. They’re afraid of dealing with a complex political and economic world they don’t understand. It’s why religion has thrived since the moment we became afraid of the dark, disease, earthquakes, and droughts. Humans have a proclivity for simple answers to complex problems. Religion and conspiracy theories make for a comfortable intellectual shortcut. A crackpot conspiracy theory gives the intellectually lazy not only a simple explanation but also someone to blame.
One article about conspiracy theories  explains, “For those people who may be on the ‘losing’ side (politically, socially, economically) of society, believing in conspiracies is therapeutic. It allows them to explain why they are on the losing side (“we were robbed, lied to”), ease their hurt (“our opponents are too powerful and so evil, it’s no surprise we lost”) and then finally, restore their egos (“we know the truth, we are smarter than normal people, we are not sheep, we are special”).”
Public Policy Polling issued a couple of surveys  on conspiracy theories earlier this year, which demonstrates how belief pretty much breaks down along partisan lines:
34 percent of Republicans and 35 percent of Independents believe a global power elite is conspiring to create a New World Order—compared to just 15 percent of Democrats.
58 percent of Republicans believe global warming is a hoax; 77 percent of Democrats do not.
62 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Independents believe the Obama administration is “secretly trying to take everyone’s guns away.” Only 14 percent of Democrats agree.
42 percent of Republicans believe sharia law is making its way into U.S. courts, compared to just 12 percent of Democrats.
More than twice as many Republican voters (21 percent) as Democrats (9 percent) believe the government is using “false flag incidents” to consolidate its power.
44 percent of Republicans and 21 percent of Independents believe that Obama is making plans to stay in office after his second term expires. Only 11 percent of Democrats agree.
Arthur Goldwag, author ofThe New Hate: A History of Fear and Loathing on the Populist Right, writes, “America is becoming more multicultural, more gay-friendly and more feminist every day. But as every hunter knows, a wounded or cornered quarry is the most dangerous. Even as the white, patriarchal, Christian hegemony declines, its backlash politics become more vicious.”
The right-wing echo chamber becomes an endless positive feedback loop for the conspiracy theorist and the shrinking white Christian majority. It helps put paranoid thinkers in touch with like-minded individuals and groups. In ignoring every piece of evidence that points the other way to their warped sense of reality, these people can become dangerously nihilistic. Their language and beliefs become toxic, and that ultimately corrupts the political conversation in this country.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
DARRELL ISSA HID THE TRUTH ABOUT BENGHAZI FOR A YEAR WHILE ATTACKING PRESIDENT OBAMA
By: Rmusemore | December, 29th, 2013 | Politics USA
It is an unfortunate human trait to look for some kind of moral wrong or legal malfeasance in specific events to incite general public outrage either to benefit someone or to cast aspersion on someone else. Shortly after Republicans won a House majority in the 2010 midterm elections a corrupt Republican, Darrell Issa, promised his only job as chairman of the House Oversight Committee was to have “seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks” investigating the Obama Administration when the 112th Congress began. Issa was desperate to find a scandal to take down President Obama and has investigated everything from the 2009 federal stimulus program to fabricating President Obama’s part in the scandalous Republican government shutdown two months ago.
Issa has wasted taxpayer time and money for three years looking for Obama Administration scandals he subsequently never found, including the tragic deaths of 4 American diplomats in Benghazi Libya on September 11 2012. Issa’s scandalous investigations aside, it was revealed yesterday that an extensive investigation into the attack on the diplomatic outpost that claimed Amb#$%$ador Chris Stevens and three diplomats’ lives found no involvement of al-Qaeda or other international terrorists groups whatsoever like Republicans have claimed for over a year. Instead, the attack was precipitated by, as first reported, extremist Christians in the United States.
A lengthy and comprehensive New York Times investigation informed what Republicans are desperate to keep under wraps because it revealed the Benghazi attack was “accelerated in part by anger at a U.S.-made video denigrating Islam.” The report parroted what any American with half-a-mind has known since Republicans began their relentless propaganda campaign that the Obama administration attempted to cover up al-Qaeda’s alleged role in the attack. According to the chairman of the House Intelligent Committee, Republican Mike Rogers, who kept the al-Qaeda meme alive last month on Fox News, “It was very clear to the individuals on the ground that this was an al-Qaeda-led event.”
However, according to the Times, “The only intelligence connecting Al Qaeda to the attack was an intercepted phone call that night from a participant in the first wave of the attack to a friend in another African country who had ties to members of Al Qaeda. But when the friend heard the attacker’s boasts, he sounded astonished and had no prior knowledge of the #$%$ault.” The report said militants surveyed the U.S. compound at least 12 hours before the #$%$ault started, but “the violence also had spontaneous elements fueled in large part by anger at the (anti-Islam) video that motivated the initial attack.” It is important to note that the video, titled “Innocence of Muslims,” was made by an American and “had also prompted protests for hours the day before at the U.S. Emb#$%$y in Cairo.”
The report continued that “Dozens of people (in Benghazi) joined in, some of them provoked by the video and others responding to fast-spreading false rumors that guards inside the American compound had shot Libyan protesters.” According to a suspect who denied participating in the attack, “the video insulting the Prophet Mohammed might well have justified the killing of four Americans.”
Still, Congressional Republicans continue to #$%$ert that Stevens and three diplomats died in a carefully planned #$%$ault by al-Qaeda because they sought to undermine President Obama’s claim that al-Qaeda was decimated after killing its leadership including Osama bin Laden. Republicans #$%$ailed Susan E. Rice for announcing that based on early intelligence reports; the attacks were inspired by “spontaneous street protests that got out of hand as a result of the video denigrating the prophet Mohammed.” Susan Rice was mercilessly condemned by leading Republicans for allegedly lying about the attacks that led her to withdraw her name from consideration as President Obama’s Secretary of State.
For the past year-and-a-half Republicans led a phony search for a Benghazi scandal wasting taxpayer time and money, but why did criminal Issa never investigate the Christian extremists for making, promoting, and releasing the video that clearly fueled the attacks that killed four American diplomats? If the criminal really wanted to get to the bottom of who was responsible for the attacks he would have begun immediate investigations into American Christians and not President Obama.
Issa can hardly claim Christian extremists were innocent in provoking the attacks because American non-profit Media for Christ obtained film permits to shoot the movie in August 2011, and the project was promoted by Morris Sadek by email and on the blog of the National American Coptic Assembly. By early September, the film was dubbed into Arabic and broadcast on September 9 on Al-Nas, an Egyptian television station; at this point it is prescient to reiterate the video “had prompted protests for hours the day before (the Benghazi attack) at the U.S. Emb#$%$y in Cairo.” The extremist Christian pastor Terry Jones, known for a Quran-burning controversy that led to riots around the world and endangered American soldiers, knew of the video’s existence prior to the Benghazi attacks and promoted it by announcing his plan to show the 13-minute trailer at his church on September 11, 2012. It is incomprehensible that the video did not incite protestors to attack the diplomatic outpost due to “anger at a U.S.-made video denigrating Islam,” or that extremist Christians are not culpable for the violence in Benghazi.
Law professors and constitutional law experts pointed out the government cannot prosecute the film’s producer(s) for its content because of the First Amendment, but regardless of First Amendment rights, the Obama administration asked YouTube to review whether to continue hosting the video at all under the company’s policies. YouTube said the video fell within guidelines because it is against Islam, not against Muslim people and thus not considered “hate speech.” Ben Wizner of the American Civil Liberties Union said, “It does make us nervous when the government throws its weight behind any requests for censorship.” However, the Supreme Court has ruled that there are circumstances when free speech is not protected and pulling the video before it was exposed in Muslim countries would have saved four Americans’ lives.
A popular metaphor for speech or actions made for the explicit purpose of creating panic that can lead to injury or death, “shouting fire in a crowded theater,” is a paraphrasing Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.’s Supreme Court opinion in the case Schenck v. United States which held the defendant’s speech in opposition to the draft was not protected under the First Amendment. It is true that Darrell Issa is not, and never will be, a member of the High Court, but if he is frantic to get to the bottom of why four American diplomats were killed in Benghazi it is within his purview and duty to investigate the extremist Christians who incited protests and outrage at Americans in Cairo, and Benghazi, as a result of an anti-Islam video that denigrated the faith and its prophet.
Extremist Christians have a right of free speech, but when their “freedom” results in the deaths of, as Republicans continue repeating, “four American heroes,” then they explicitly created panic leading to the diplomats’ deaths. Fundamentalist Christians have expressed every form of hate speech imaginable against gays, immigrants, and particularly Muslims with impunity and it is high time they are brought to account for their actions. However, there is a tendency in America to give anyone thumping a bible and wrapping themselves in the flag a free p#$%$ because they are Christians. The current scandal in Washington is that slimy #$%$ Darrell Issa who has had the same information the New York Times reported for over a year and sat on his #$%$ wasting taxpayer time and money pursuing Barack Obama. Republicans owe Susan Rice a humble apology, the American people tens-of-millions of dollars, and have once again exposed themselves as America’s biggest scandal.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
No one looks worse than Bam-now the video is back in play-just like I said, the vid started the spark. They should take the word "intelligence" out of the title of their reports. And move amongst the people right here in Brooklyn-they knew.
"No one looks worse than Bam-now the video is back in play-just like I said"
Deme, how does a supposedly good Catholic, like you prend to be, have such hate in your heart? That along with your foul mouth makes you look very unhappy and vile, maybe you need to look for another church, or crutch to lean on.
52 killed in various attacks on US embassies and consulates during the Bush-Cheney years. [OMG, I guess even with Benghazi that makes the Bush-Cheney years 13X worse in that respect than under Obama!!!]
PS: How dumb can you RWNJs be that you are not even aware of the above fact and then go and stuff your feet and much else in your mouths acting as if Benghazi is such an isolated, major disaster when you can only think that by virtue of not knowing what you are talking about, in part because you never check the nonsense you just pass on and pass on since your only criteria for believing it is that it so nicely fits the ideology.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
Elk, according to informed sources this is a highly disputed report. Why didn't you report that? Once again, you jump at anything that pleases your bias without any attempt to confirm it. You really need to clean up your act.