Friday, September 05, 2014


Benghazi is in the news again, thanks to the appearance of a new book titled 13 Hours. I have no doubt that the far-right-wingers will now crow that all of their absurd speculations have been justified. No they weren't.

The new story has it that the CIA station chief delayed a rescue mission, even as the people in the consulate were issuing dire pleas for help.
The commandos’ account — which fits with the publicly known facts and chronology — suggests that the station chief issued the “stand down” orders on his own authority. He hoped to enlist local Libyan militiamen, and the commandos speculate that he hoped the Libyans could carry out the rescue alone to avoid exposing the C.I.A. base.

No meaningful Libyan help ever materialized.
I see nothing in the above-linked NYT story to indicate that this book reveals the actual hidden story of Benghazi, the one that the right won't touch: The CIA in Libya was shipping weapons from Libyan stores to the rebels in Syria. Almost certainly, this would mean that the weapons were going to the Nusra Front and to the jihadis who now parade under the name ISIS.

(One day, the administration may break down and admit that weapons did go to the rebel alliance -- but were intended only for the so-called "moderates." Alas, the "moderate" Free Syrian Army is somewhat fictional. In the first place, they aren't so very moderate -- the guy who ate a Syrian soldier's heart was part of the FSA. In the second place, there has been an incredible amount of overlap between the FSA and the more radical groups.)

Are the Republicans ever going to tell this story? Unlikely. At the time the Benghazi attack happened, they supported arming the Syrian rebels.

In the mainstream media, the covert weapons shipments were first revealed -- very cautiously -- by Jake Tapper, one year ago. In April of 2014, The London Review of Books published Sy Hersh's breakthrough story, which confirmed that Assad was innocent in the Ghoutta sarin attack.
The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida.
David Patraeus (says Hersh) ran the ratline, the existence of which was not revealed to congressional overseers. Hersh never states that the chemical weaponry reached the rebels via this ratline, but the idea seems to waft in the background of his report.

If there's nothing about the ratline in 13 Hours, then you'll know that the book is an exposé that exposes only that which the intelligence community (or one faction thereof) wants to see exposed.

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