Shadowy Iranian spy chief helped plan the Benghazi attack

According to the book "Dark Forces," Major General Qasem Soleimani, right, was the powerful figure behind the 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, left. Photo: EPA/Ay-Collection/Rex USA

According to the book “Dark Forces,” Major General Qasem Soleimani, right, was the powerful figure behind the 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, left.
Photo: EPA/Ay-Collection/Rex USA

As a radical Islamic army marches across Iraq, America is making a deal with the devil. Qassem Suleymani, the head of Iran’s secretive Quds Force, is allied with us in Baghdad — but he’s plotted to kill Americans elsewhere.

As Kenneth R. Timmerman reveals in his new book, “Dark Forces,” Suleymani was even the shadowy figure behind the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya.

He’s the Wizard of Oz of Iranian terror, the most dreaded and most effective terrorist alive.

He is Qassem Suleymani, the head of the Quds Force, an organization that acts as a combination CIA and Green Berets for Iran, and a man who has orchestrated a campaign of chaos against the United States around the world.

Today, the Obama Administration has allied itself with Suleymani to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

In this case, Iran’s goals — a Shi’ite-friendly government in Iraq — coincides with America’s hope that the country doesn’t fall apart.

But don’t be fooled: It’s only a partnership of convenience, and one that won’t last.

“Iran wants chaos. They want to generate anti-American anger, radicalize the rebels, and maintain a climate of war,” a former Iranian intelligence chief for Western Europe told me. “They are very serious about this. They want to damage the reputation of the United States as a freedom-loving country in the eyes of the Arabs.”

Suleymani has orchestrated attacks in everywhere from Lebanon to Thailand. The US Department of Justice accuses him of trying to hire a Mexican drug cartel to blow up the Saudi Ambassador to the United States while he was in Washington, DC.

My sources, meanwhile, say Suleymani was involved in an even more direct attack on the US — the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya.

Read more at New York Post

 

Why Now? U.S. Nabs Top Al-Qaeda Suspect Known for Years

USS San AntonioBY CLARE LOPEZ:

This past weekend, U.S. Delta forces converged on a man parking his car in broad daylight in the middle of Tripoli, Libya and nabbed a senior al-Qaeda operative who went by the nom du guerre Abu Anas al-Libi. Al-Libi was wanted by the United States for his role in the 1998 East Africa Embassy bombings.

He is alleged to have conducted pre-attack casing and surveillance of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya prior to the August 7, 1998 suicide truck bombing there that killed more than 200 people and injured another 5,000. It is likely that al-Libi will be brought to New York City, where he is under indictment, to stand trial.

Al-Libi’s involvement with Osama bin Laden and al-Qa’eda (AQ) goes back much further than 1998, however, and his command position within the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group probably brought him into contact with former U.S. Liaison to the Libyan Opposition Christopher Stevens during the 2011 Libyan revolution.

Why al-Libi hadn’t been put away much earlier by either the U.S. or our British allies takes this story deep into international intrigue and a long history of Western intelligence associations with known al-Qa’eda jihadis.

******************

The August 2012 Library of Congress study, “Al-Qaeda in Libya: A Profile,” suggests that al-Libi’s role in Libya was coordination between Ayman al-Zawahiri and AQ Central and the Libyan militias.

By the time that U.S. career diplomat Christopher Stevens was named official U.S. Liaison to the Libyan rebels in mid-March 2011, AQ-LIFG fighters like al-Libi, Ben Qumu and Belhadj were leading the revolution against Qaddafi. Stevens’ job was to coordinate U.S. diplomatic, intelligence, logistical, military and weapons support to al-Qaeda jihadis such as these. The pending NYC Federal District Court indictment against al-Libi for the 1998 Nairobi Embassy bombing would just have to wait.

And wait it did … until a random day in early October 2013, when the U.S. government suddenly decided that it needed, urgently, to snatch an unsuspecting al-Libi off the street in Tripoli, where he had been living since the end of the Libyan revolution with his wife and four children.

Soon, Secretary of State Kerry was crowing about how terrorists “can run but they can’t hide” – but the thing was, al-Libi hadn’t been running or hiding for a long time. The U.S. knew perfectly well where he was for at least the prior two years — and didn’t seem to care.

Just to recap: ​

  • Al-Libi lived openly in the UK from 1995-2000, with the permission of the British government and no extradition request from the U.S., which knew he was there.
  • Al-Libi may have been in CIA custody from 2002 until an unknown date.
  • Al-Libi returned to live in Tripoli, Libya in December 2010, with his home address published by the UN Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee.
  • Al-Libi was likely a close working partner of Christopher Stevens, the U.S. Liaison to the Libyan al-Qaeda rebels in 2011.
  • Al-Libi continued to live at the published address of his Tripoli home from 2011-2013.

 

Al-Libi’s seizure now makes as little sense as did the apparent U.S. and UK indifference to his outstanding Nairobi indictment and his jihadist credentials for all the years that preceded it. (Despite the close relationship among former LIFG jihadis like al-Libi and Abu Sufian ben Qumu, until now, there has been no indication that al-Libi was involved in 9/11 attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans.)

Still, al-Libi undoubtedly would be able to answer a lot of questions about events leading up to that assault, as well as questions about those individuals and militias involved in its planning and execution. Reportedly, an FBI interrogation team is headed out to the USS San Antonio in the Mediterranean Sea (where al-Libi is being held) and plans to ask al-Libi about AQ operations in Libya.

Funny: If that’s what they’re after, seems they could have just read the cables Chris Stevens had been sending back for the last several years. “Die Hard in Derna” from June 2008 would have been a good one to start with.

Read more at The Clarion Project

Al Qaeda weapons expert: U.S. ambassador to Libya killed by lethal injection

us-libya-attacks_reps_s640x440By Bill Gertz:

An al Qaeda terrorist stated in a recent online posting that U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens was killed by lethal injection after plans to kidnap him during the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi went bad.

The veracity of the claim by Abdallah Dhu-al-Bajadin, who was identified by U.S. officials as a weapons expert for al Qaeda, could not be determined. However, U.S. officials have not dismissed the terrorist’s assertion.

An FBI spokeswoman indicated that the bureau is aware of the claim but declined to comment because of the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the Benghazi attacks.

“While there is a great deal of information in the media and on the Internet about the attack in Benghazi, the FBI is not in a position at this time to comment on anything specific with regard to the investigation,” spokeswoman Kathy Wright said.

A State Department spokesman had no comment.

The FBI is investigating the deaths of Stevens, State Department information officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. They were killed in attacks that U.S. officials say was carried out by an al Qaeda-linked group known as Ansar al-Sharia.

A State Department Accountability Review Board report and an interim House Republican report on the attacks gave no cause of death for Stevens, whose body was recovered by Libyans in the early hours of Sept. 12.

The House report, “Interim Progress Report for the House Republican Conference,” said that “Libyan doctors tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate Ambassador Stevens upon his arrival at the hospital.”

To date, no official cause of death for Stevens has been made public, although it was reported that a Libyan doctor who examined Stevens said he died from apparent smoke inhalation and related asphyxiation.

Video and photos of Stevens being handled by a mob in Benghazi were posted on the Internet. It is not clear from the images whether he was dead or alive at the time.

According to a March 14 posting on an al Qaeda-linked website, Dhu-al-Bajadin stated that Stevens was given a lethal injection that was overlooked during the autopsy.

The “plan was based on abduction and exchange of high-level prisoners,” the terrorist wrote on the prominent jihadist Web forum Ansar al-Mujahideen Network. “However, the operation took another turn, for a reason God only knows, when one of the members of the jihadist cell improvised and followed Plan B.”

Dhu-al-Bajadin’s claim of assassination also was copied to the Ansar al-Mujahidin website from the al Qaeda-accredited website Shumukh al-Islam. That site is open only to members, and the claim initially was posted for Dhu-al-Bajadin by a member identified as Adnan Shukri.

The reference to Shumukh al-Islam has boosted the credibility of the claim among some U.S. intelligence analysts. A Western intelligence official said Dhu-al-Bajadin is a well-known jihadist and a key figure behind a magazine called Al Qaeda Airlines.

According to this official, intelligence analysts believe Dhu-al-Bajadin’s claim of assassination by lethal injection appears aimed, in part, at pressuring the U.S. government on its handling of the Benghazi attacks.

The article did not say what substance was used in the lethal injection. It also stated that the State Department had come under criticism for not providing adequate security in Benghazi before the attacks.

Dhu-al-Bajadin said he had more details about the attacks and the assassination, but would not reveal them in the posting.

Read more at Washington Times

US smuggling weapons to Syrian rebels: The real Benghazi story

By Daya Gamage:

Washington, D.C. 16 May (Asiantribune.com):

There is a ‘side story’ going on in the American media – both the electronic and print about the Islamist jihadists lethal attack on the American ‘post’ in Benghazi, Libya last September 11 which killed American ambassador Christopher Steven and three others; The emphasis and the debate is on why the event was twisted by the Obama administration to conceal a terrorist attack on eve of the presidential election.

US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens killed in attack on 11 September 2012

With the killing of Osama bin Larden on May 2 last year the administration, which was approaching the re-election of Mr. Obama in November, wants to convince the American people that the al Qaeda was now annihilated for good.

When the Islamist jihadist group affiliated to al Qaeda lethally attacked the American ‘post’ in Benghazi the Obama administration twisted the events to convince that a anti-Islamic video produced by someone in California was the cause of the attack.

These days the highlights and debate is about why the ‘talking points’ were changed twelve times to give that different picture.

As Obama rightfully said a couple of days ago about this debate, mostly spearheaded by the Republicans, was a ‘side show.’

The ‘real show’ is in fact buried. And the ‘real show’ is that the United States, Ambassador Steven playing a major role, was in the process of shipping arms to Syrian rebels to topple Basher el-Assad’s regime.

It was on October 25 last year that FoxNews.com broke the story that a mysterious Libyan ship was reportedly carrying weapons and bound for Syrian rebels would have had some link to the September 11 terror attack on the U.S. ‘post’ in Benghazi.

Why do we use the term ‘post’ in this report? Because when changes were made to the Benghazi attack story by the Obama administration it changed from ‘American Consulate’ to ‘American Post’. The reason: Benghazi operation was entirely a CIA operation.

Through shipping records, Fox News has confirmed that the Libyan-flagged vessel Al Entisar, which means “The Victory,” was received in the Turkish port of Iskenderun — 35 miles from the Syrian border — on Sept. 6, just five days before Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American officers were killed during an extended assault by more than 100 Islamist militants.

On the night of Sept. 11, in what would become his last known public meeting, Stevens met with the Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin, and escorted him out of the ‘posts’ front gate one hour before the assault began.

Although what was discussed at the meeting is not public, a source told Fox News that Stevens was in Benghazi to negotiate a weapons transfer, an effort to get SA-7 missiles out of the hands of Libya-based extremists. And although the negotiation said to have taken place may have had nothing to do with the attack on the consulate later that night or the Libyan mystery ship, it could explain why Stevens was travelling in such a volatile region on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

When asked to comment, a State Department spokeswoman dismissed the idea, saying Stevens was there for diplomatic meetings, and to attend the opening of a cultural center.

According to an initial Sept. 14 report by the Times of London, Al Entisar was carrying 400 tons of cargo. Some of it was humanitarian, but also reportedly weapons, described by the report as the largest consignment of weapons headed for Syria’s rebels on the frontlines.

The cargo reportedly included surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles, RPG’s and Russian-designed shoulder-launched missiles known as MANPADS.

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.

In November 2011 The Telegraph reported that Belhadj, acting as head of the Tripoli Military Council, “met with Free Syrian Army [FSA] leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey” in an effort by the new Libyan government to provide money and weapons to the growing insurgency in Syria.

The Internet Media reported at that time that Ambassador Stevens had only one person—Belhadj—between himself and the Benghazi man who brought heavy weapons to Syria.

The Asian Tribune has also found that the Internet Media further reported that if the new Libyan government was sending seasoned Islamic fighters and 400 tons of heavy weapons to Syria through a port in southern Turkey—a deal brokered by Stevens’ primary Libyan contact during the Libyan revolution—then the governments of Turkey and the U.S. surely knew about it.

Furthermore there was a CIA post in Benghazi, located 1.2 miles from the U.S. consulate, used as “a base for, among other things, collecting information on the proliferation of weaponry looted from Libyan government arsenals, including surface-to-air missiles” … and that its security features “were more advanced than those at rented villa where Stevens died.”

As noted earlier, the Obama administration has since described the American facility in Benghazi not as a ‘Consulate’ but as a ‘Post’.

The U.S. Republican Senator Rand Paul, who is expected to run for his party presidential nomination in the year 2016, was the only American lawmaker who disclosed about this ‘arms deal’ which he connects to Ambassador Steven’s brutal muder in the hands of the Islamist Jihadists.

In an interview aired on CNN May 9 evening, Sen. Paul said he hasn’t ruled out the possibility that last year’s attack unfolded as a result of a secret arms trade. The confusion in the immediate aftermath of the event — including unfounded admissions from America’s United Nations envoy Susan Rice that contradicted what is known today about the attack — could actually be a cover-up, the senator said.

The Obama administration sent its ambassador to UN Susan Rice on the following Sunday talk shows to say that the offending Islamic video was the cause of the attack in Benghazi.

“I’ve actually always suspected that, although I have no evidence, that maybe we were facilitating arms leaving Libya going through Turkey into Syria,” he said.

Read more

The Benghazi Lie

pic_giant_051013_The-Benghazi-Lie

The government dispatched more firepower to arrest Nakoula Basseley Nakoula in Los Angeles than it did to protect its mission in Benghazi. It was such a great act of misdirection Hillary should have worn spangled tights and sawn Stevens’s casket in half.

By Mark Steyn:

Shortly before last November’s election I took part in a Fox News documentary on Benghazi, whose other participants included the former governor of New Hampshire John Sununu. Making chit-chat while the camera crew were setting up, Governor Sununu said to me that in his view Benghazi mattered because it was “a question of character.” That’s correct. On a question of foreign policy or counterterrorism strategy, men of good faith can make the wrong decisions. But a failure of character corrodes the integrity of the state.

That’s why career diplomat Gregory Hicks’s testimony was so damning — not so much for the new facts as for what those facts revealed about the leaders of this republic. In this space in January, I noted that Hillary Clinton had denied ever seeing Ambassador Stevens’s warnings about deteriorating security in Libya on the grounds that “1.43 million cables come to my office” — and she can’t be expected to see all of them, or any. Once Ambassador Stevens was in his flag-draped coffin listening to her eulogy for him at Andrews Air Force Base, he was her bestest friend in the world — it was all “Chris this” and “Chris that,” as if they’d known each other since third grade. But up till that point he was just one of 1.43 million close personal friends of Hillary trying in vain to get her ear.

Now we know that at 8 p.m. Eastern time on the last night of Stevens’s life, his deputy in Libya spoke to Secretary Clinton and informed her of the attack in Benghazi and the fact that the ambassador was now missing. An hour later, Gregory Hicks received a call from the then–Libyan prime minister, Abdurrahim el-Keib, informing him that Stevens was dead. Hicks immediately called Washington. It was 9 p.m. Eastern time, or 3 a.m. in Libya. Remember the Clinton presidential team’s most famous campaign ad? About how Hillary would be ready to take that 3 a.m.call? Four years later, the phone rings, and Secretary Clinton’s not there. She doesn’t call Hicks back that evening. Or the following day.

Are murdered ambassadors like those 1.43 million cables she doesn’t read? Just too many of them to keep track of? No. Only six had been killed in the history of the republic — seven, if you include Arnold Raphel, who perished in General Zia’s somewhat mysterious plane crash in Pakistan in 1988. Before that you have to go back to Adolph Dubs, who died during a kidnapping attempt in Kabul in 1979. So we have here a once-in-a-third-of-a-century event. And at 3 a.m. Libyan time on September 12 it’s still unfolding, with its outcome unclear. Hicks is now America’s head man in the country, and the cabinet secretary to whom he reports says, “Leave a message after the tone and I’ll get back to you before the end of the week.” Just to underline the difference here: Libya’s head of government calls Hicks, but nobody who matters in his own government can be bothered to.

What was Secretary Clinton doing that was more important? What was the president doing? Aside, that is, from resting up for his big Vegas campaign event. A real government would be scrambling furiously to see what it could do to rescue its people. It’s easy, afterwards, to say that nothing would have made any difference. But, at the time Deputy Chief Hicks was calling 9-1-1 and getting executive-branch voicemail, nobody in Washington knew how long it would last. A terrorist attack isn’t like a soccer game, over in 90 minutes. If it is a sport, it’s more like a tennis match: Whether it’s all over in three sets or goes to five depends on how hard the other guy pushes back. The government of the United States took the extremely strange decision to lose in straight sets. Not only did they not deploy out-of-area assets, they ordered even those in Libya to stand down. Lieutenant Colonel Gibson had a small team in Tripoli that twice readied to go to Benghazi to assist and twice was denied authority to do so, the latter when they were already at the airport. There weren’t many of them, not compared to the estimated 150 men assailing the compound. But they were special forces, not bozo jihadists. Back in Benghazi, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty held off numerically superior forces for hours before dying on a rooftop waiting for back-up from a government that had switched the answering machine on and gone to Vegas.

Read more at National Review

 

Sean Hannity interviews authors of Benghazi: The Definitive Report

coverupThe Right Scoop:

Yesterday Sean Hannity interviewed on his radio show Jack Murphy and Brandon Webb for their new book Benghazi: The Definitive Report. I’ve clipped a portion of their interview below which describes something very different than what we’ve ever heard about what led to the attack on the ‘consulate’ and the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone S. Woods.

In short there were two operations going on in Benghazi, neither of which Stevens nor the CIA [Petraeus] were made aware, that made the situation on the ground in Benghazi far more dangerous than they even knew. We already know that Stevens was concerned about security, but he didn’t even know the full story.

One of the operations was direct raids against Al-Qaeda conducted by John Brennan, Deputy National Security Advisor, that instigated blowback in the form of the attack on our ‘consulate’ in Benghazi where Stevens visited that night. But because Stevens wasn’t made aware of these unilateral raids going on in his backyard, there was no way he could have even prepared himself for blowback. Stevens likely didn’t even know why he was being attacked the night he was killed.

Read more at The Right Scoop (with audio of the interview)

From Western Journalism:

Why Did Al-Qaeda Target Ambassador Stevens?

By Stephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen

Most of the questions related to the Benghazi debacle are about the mechanics, both offensive and defensive. What did the White House know and when? What assets were available to the military? Did someone order a stand down, and if so, who? Why was “the video” blamed long after the administration knew the truth — and didn’t the administration know the truth from the beginning? If it didn’t, why didn’t it?

All reasonable questions, but a generally unasked one deserves attention: “Why did al-Qaeda want to kill Ambassador Chris Stevens?”

The ambassador had good relations with some of the most extreme Libyan militias, including those with al-Qaeda ties. Did he upset them with something he did, or didn’t do? Was the White House fully apprised of his connections and dealings with the militias? Was he killed because of something the administration told him to start doing or to stop doing?

There are things we know and things upon which we must speculate, including the entry of surface-to-air missiles to the Levant.

———————————–

Emerging from the chaos is a dim understanding that the U.S. was operating a clandestine arms operation from the CIA post that was loosely — and incorrectly — described as a “consulate.” Before and during the revolution, Ambassador Stevens had helped arm the anti-Gaddafi militias, including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIF), whose leader Abdulhakim Belhadj later became the head of the Tripoli Military Council.

The LIF’s Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi told an Italian newspaper [1] in 2011 (later reported in the BritishTelegraph [2]) that he had fought the “foreign invasion” in Afghanistan. Captured in Pakistan, al-Hasidi was handed over to the U.S. and returned to Libya, where he was released from prison in 2008. Speaking of the Libyan revolution, he said:

Members of al-Qaeda [3] are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader.

Belhadj met with Free Syrian Army representatives [2] in October 2011 to offer Libyan support for ousting Assad. Throughout 2011 and 2012, ships traversed the Mediterranean from Benghazi to Syria and Lebanon [4] with arms for the Syrian rebels. Turkish and Jordanian intelligence services were doing most of the “vetting” of rebel groups; in July 2010, the Washington Post reported that the CIA had no operatives on the ground [5] and only a few at border posts even as weapons were entering Syria. Said a U.S. official, addressing the question of even non-lethal aid:

We’ve got to figure out who is over there first, and we don’t really know that.

In August, a report [6] by Tony Cartalucci, a supporter of the Syrian nationalist opposition, detailed the extent of Libyan and al-Qaeda involvement in Syria, calling it a “foreign invasion.” In November, the Washington Post noted a $20 million contribution by the Libyan government to the Syrian National Council [7] — of which the Muslim Brotherhood is a member.

Ambassador Stevens would have known all of that; he was the go-to man. He didn’t seem to have a problem with it, so why did they want to kill him?

In 2011, it was reported that the Libyan rebels had acquired surface-to-air [2] missiles from Gaddafi’s arsenal, and smuggled them into their own. They were not used in the revolution because the skies were filled with allies of the militias, but American sources [8] worried that as many as 15,000 MANPADs (man-portable air defense systems — or mobile surface-to-air missiles) might have “gone missing.” Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro told USA Today [9]:

The frank answer is we don’t know (how many are missing) and probably never will.

He added that the Obama administration took “immediate steps” to secure the weapons, launching an effort to recover them even before collapse of the regime. Which is interesting, because the U.S. claimed to have no “boots on the ground.”

So who was looking for them? And if they found them, what did they do with them?

Some, at least, appear to have emerged in Syria — in August there was a report of a Syrian government plane downed by the rebels. [10] In October, the Russians claimed the rebels had U.S.-origin Stinger missiles. [11] (Stingers are designed to hit helicopters and low-flying planes — they wreaked havoc with Russian aircraft during the war in Afghanistan.) The BBC [11] reported that the Syrians had old Soviet SA-7 missiles that can destroy an airplane flying at higher altitudes.

Whether Russian or American, the introduction of MANPADS into the region would be cause for alarm. The Levant is not isolated to Afghanistan, and the multinational nature of the Syrian rebels puts a number of countries and their interests in harm’s way. A stray shot — or a deliberate diversion — could be used against Israeli commercial or military aviation. Or American aviation. Turkey would have to worry that the Kurdish part of the anti-Assad revolution might divert its energies to assist in the Kurdish guerrilla movement against Turkey; Turkey’s war against the PKK is largely conducted with helicopters. Jordan would have to worry that the Muslim Brotherhood part of the Syrian rebellion could divert its energies to assist the MB in Jordan against U.S. ally King Abdullah II. Russia would worry that missiles could be diverted to the anti-Russian Sunni jihadists of the Caucasus or Central Asia.

In October, the IDF confirmed [12] that a surface-to-air missile, said to be an SA-7, was fired at a helicopter from Gaza. Iran had not provided such weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon, perhaps understanding that such an escalation would produce Israeli retaliation. The fact that Israel struck the Sudanese Yarmouk rocket/missile factory [13] at the end of October may have been a reminder of the consequences of escalation.

So far, only the last bit is speculation.

But what if Turkish, Jordanian, Russian, or Israeli concerns about the appearance of MANPADS close to their borders made the administration decide that it had to exercise more control over weapons shipments to the Syrian rebels? What if the State Department told Ambassador Stevens to clamp down on the shipments or to stop them all together? If Stevens had told his militia allies that he was cutting back or cutting off the CIA-organized shipments to Syria, could they have been angry enough to kill him?

Read more at PJMedia