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The Elephant in the Benghazi Room is Al Qaeda as Frenemy

One of Obama’s damage control frontiers this week is the “cover up” after the tragic and deadly attack on the Benghazi consulate last September.

It is being roundly pooh-poohed as not scandal-label-worthy by Obama Team Dems. The one MSNBC anchor I am willing to watch, Chris Hayes, tonight led the pooh-poohers much to my frustration. He called it a “nothingburger”!

What the war-mongering and cynical Republicans are launching as the “scandal” seems mainly the consulate’s security understaffing on Obama’s watch and Susan Rice’s fudged talking points following the attack. This so misses the mark of what is most mind-numbingly OUTRAGEOUS about the reality of the attack in Benghazi and the real motivation for the brazen Obama administration cover up.

The Benghazi scenario with cover up is not a limited, partisan, political scandal. It is a scandal of massive and treasonous proportions. It reveals the serious and massive collusion of members and agencies of the Washington and military establishments in an “ends justifies the means” grotesquely anti-humanitarian, imperialist, regime change strategy by arming and using as shock troops Al-Qaeda-linked death squads in Libya and Syria.




Why does this reality not bother a significant number of Americans from government reps to media people to citizens?


The Benghazi crisis back in September of last year was swept under the rug thanks to Dem cronyism and corporate media collusion so that Obama handily won the election in November 2012.

Basking in his post-assassination of bin Laden afterglow, Obama and his handlers and cronies stood by the lie of a successful US/NATO “humanitarian intervention” in Libya -- helping those “freedom fighting” rebels. The truth of the sponsorship of merciless Al-Qaeda-linked death squads was obscured.

Bill Van Auken in “Benghazi and the deepening crisis of the Obama administration” writes:

In the final analysis, the concerted efforts of the Obama administration, the State Department and the various intelligence agencies to avoid mention of Al Qaeda in the account of the Benghazi attacks were aimed at covering up the enduring covert relationship with this terrorist network and the fact that it is once again creating explosive crises in which the peoples of the Middle East and potentially the US itself are the innocent victims.


The overriding motive for concealing the identity of those who laid siege to the US facilities in Benghazi has its source in the tangled relationship that Washington had established with the elements that carried it out. Neither the Democratic White House nor the Republican leadership in Congress has any interest in probing this essential question.


These are ties that stretch back to the founding of Al Qaeda as an adjunct to the CIA’s efforts to foment and finance an Islamist insurgency against the Soviet-backed government in Afghanistan beginning in the late 1970s. Before that, American intelligence had long viewed reactionary Islamist organizations in the Middle East, Iran, and Indonesia as useful assets in the struggle against socialist and left nationalist influences in these areas.

According to Van Auken the Al Qaeda-linked fighters in Libya were used as a powerful proxy ground force to topple Gaddafi while the U.S. and NATO provided a massive bombing campaign.

Van Auken:

Christopher Stevens was very much the point man in this relationship, having carefully studied the Islamist opponents of Gaddafi before the launching of the war for regime-change. He was deployed in April 2011 to Benghazi, where he coordinated the arming, funding and training of the so-called rebels, elements previously denounced by the US as terrorists and, in some cases, abducted, imprisoned and tortured by the CIA.

In October 2011, the imperialist intervention in Libya achieved its victory with the lynch-mob murder of Gaddafi, carried out by these US-backed forces.

One of the reasons that the Benghazi affair continues to roil political waters in Washington is that this same strategy is now being employed on an even larger scale in Syria, where once again even more dangerous Al Qaeda-connected militias are serving as the most important fighting force in the war to bring down Bashar al-Assad.

As in Libya, the aim is to solidify US hegemony over the region’s oil wealth at the expense of American capitalism’s rivals, particularly Russia and China. In addition, regime-change in Damascus is sought as a means of preparing an even wider war against Iran.

Van Auken speculates:

The most likely explanation for the bloody events in Benghazi last September is that the relationship forged with Al Qaeda of the Maghreb turned sour in the aftermath of Gaddafi’s overthrow, perhaps with the Islamists believing that American promises had gone unfulfilled and they had not been adequately compensated for their services. With the assassination of Stevens, who was the US envoy to the “Libyan revolution,” they were sending a definite message to Washington.

How reminiscent of what happened in Afghanistan, don’t you think? Afghanistan jihadists were “freedom fighters” when they were pointed at the Soviets. They became “terrorists” once they aimed themselves at the United States, of course. Apparently their short-term “frenemy” usefulness to destabilize imperialist targets for the US is irresistible to war gamesters despite continuing evidence of devastating blowback! 9/11 itself being a case in point.

Washingtonsblog (hat-tip to vzn) writes of the increasing numbers of acknowledgement of Al-Qaeda-linked involvement in the regime change of Libya and the regime change present attempt in Syria in “Its Dishonest to Talk About Benghazi without Talking About the Syrian War”:

... The fact that Democrats and Republicans alike have been using Benghazi as the center of U.S. efforts to arm the Al Qaeda-affiliated Syrian rebels.
Specifically, the U.S. supported opposition which overthrew Libya’s Gadaffi was largely comprised of Al Qaeda terrorists.

According to a 2007 report by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s center, the Libyan city of Benghazi was one of Al Qaeda’s main headquarters – and bases for sending Al Qaeda fighters into Iraq – prior to the overthrow of Gaddafi.


Al Qaeda is now largely in control of Libya. Indeed, Al Qaeda flags were flown over the Benghazi courthouse once Gaddafi was toppled.


In 2011, Ambassador Stevens was appointed to be the Obama administration’s liaison with the “budding Libyan opposition,” according to ABC News. Stevens and the State Department worked directly with Abdelhakim Belhadj of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. Belhadj has direct connections to al-Qaeda.

CNN, the Telegraph, the Washington Times, and many other mainstream sources confirm that Al Qaeda terrorists from Libya have since flooded into Syria to fight the Assad regime.

Mainstream sources also confirm that the Syrian opposition is largely comprised of Al Qaeda terrorists. (Indeed, the New York Times reported last week that virtually all of the rebel fighters are Al Qaeda terrorists.)


The Wall Street Journal, Telegraph and other sources confirm that the US consulate in Benghazi was mainly being used for a secret CIA operation.


Retired Lt. General William Boykin said in January that Stevens was in Benghazi as part of an effort to arm the Syrian opposition:


Boykin said Stevens was “given a directive to support the Syrian rebels” and the State Department’s Special Mission Compound in Benghazi “would be the hub of that activity.”


In March 2011 Stevens became the official U.S. liaison to the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan opposition, working directly with Abdelhakim Belhadj of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group—a group that has now disbanded, with some fighters reportedly participating in the attack that took Stevens’ life.

Back in May of 2011, Patrick O’Connor wrote “Death squads reportedly assassinating Libyan regime figures in Benghazi”:

Reports of death squad operations in Benghazi have emerged as even closer relations are being forged between the TNC [Transitional National Council] and the Obama administration and European powers. TNC chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil has spent the last two days in Europe and the US, campaigning for more money and military support.


Jalil and Tarhouni also met with Senator John Kerry and other members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Kerry afterwards indicated that he would sponsor legislation facilitating the potential transfer of billions of dollars in frozen Libyan assets to the so-called rebels. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on May 5, at the second “Contact Group” summit in Italy, that “some portion” of the more than $30 billion in frozen Libyan assets would be funneled to the TNC.

Kerry’s legislation is aimed at providing this brazenly unlawful theft of a country’s sovereign wealth with a pseudo-legal cover.

Glenn Greenwald in “Obama officials' spin on Benghazi attack mirrors Bin Laden raid untruths” in September of last year explored the motivation for Obama to lie BIG about what happened re the attack on the consulate in Benghazi.

The Obama White House's interest in spreading this falsehood is multi-fold and obvious:

For one, the claim that this attack was just about anger over an anti-Muhammad video completely absolves the US government of any responsibility or even role in provoking the anti-American rage driving it. After all, if the violence that erupted in that region is driven only by anger over some independent film about Muhammad, then no rational person would blame the US government for it, and there could be no suggestion that its actions in the region – ... – had any role to play.

The White House capitalized on the strong desire to believe this falsehood: it's deeply satisfying to point over there at those Muslims and scorn their primitive religious violence, while ignoring the massive amounts of violence to which one's own country continuously subjects them. ...


Then, there are the implications for the intervention in Libya, which Obama's defenders relentlessly tout as one of his great victories. But the fact that the Benghazi attack was likely premeditated and carried out by anti-American factions vindicates many of the criticisms of that intervention. Critics of the war in Libya warned that the US was siding with (and arming and empowering) violent extremists, including al-Qaida elements, that would eventually cause the US to claim it had to return to Libya to fight against them – just as its funding and arming of Saddam in Iraq and the mujahideen in Afghanistan subsequently justified new wars against those one-time allies.

War critics also argued that the intervention would bring massive instability and suffering to the people of Libya; ....


When the White House succeeded in falsely blaming the consulate attacks on anger over this video, all of those facts were obscured. The truth, now that it is emerging, underscores how unstable, lawless and dangerous Libya has become – far from the grand success story war proponents like to tell. ....


Then, there are the garden-variety political harms to the White House from the truth about these attacks. If the killing of the ambassador were premeditated and unrelated to the film, then it vests credibility in the criticism that the consulate should have been much better-protected, particularly on 9/11. And in general, the last thing a president running for re-election wants is an appearance that he is unable to protect America's diplomats from a terrorist group his supporters love to claim that he has heroically vanquished.

I have been sitting here way too long wanting to come up with an eloquent conclusion to this blog. I feel weary and just not up to it.

All I can come up with is: The US is allied with Al Qaeda in Libya and Syria. WTF?


Obama should have some serious explaining to do. Has he ever once provided that? Has that been demanded of him or even been asked out loud on our mainstream media -- I don’t mean yadda yadda yadda-ed over like NewsHour patter. I mean WAFM!!!! ... [wait a f*cking minute!!!!] ... let’s REALLY address this crazymaking scenario.

Aiding and abetting Al Qaeda, our official enemy in the GWOT, in Libya and Syria is scandalous. Obscene. In fact, according to the Patriot Act and the AUMF resolution it is treasonous.

Why is there such a profound lack of curiosity or sense of outrage on the part of us citizens and media? Expressed confusion would be a step in the right direction.

This is no nothingburger!

Don’t give Obama a pass on this.

[cross-posted on open salon]

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