Category Archives: From The Desk Of Don Kesterson

History Channel Series – Lost Gold of World War II

On Tuesday, March 19, at 10 p.m. EDT, The History Channel is starting a new series on the gold the Japanese stole during World War II and buried in the Philippines. The series, Lost Gold of World War II, is about a Filipino family who believes gold is buried on their property and wants answers.

In October 2018, a Filipino here in the U.S. working with the team in the Philippines contacted me to unlock some of the unknowns or correct some of the inaccuracies of the story behind the gold. The first thing I asked was how they found me—and why me? They had seen the documentary a London production team put together for Myth Hunter’s regarding “Yamashita’s gold,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZU_xHCA4j4, which focused on the plight of Rogelio Roxas and the Golden Buddha. I learned several of the other experts regarding this “Lost Gold” have since passed away. Which leaves me as one of the few experts of the overall story still alive and willing to participate in their series.

On December 3 of last year, the young Filipino and the History Channel film team showed up at my residence to get to the bottom of these stories. We spent most of the day in a question and answer session regarding from what countries the gold was stolen, who was in charge of burying and documenting the gold, and why it was brought to the Philippines. The next round of questions revolved around whether any of the gold had been recovered.

When the filming was completed, the production team informed me the series would likely start in March of this year. A couple of weeks ago, a friend called and asked if I knew anything about a series called Lost Gold of World War II. Naturally, I replied yes, I’m in it. The next morning, I sent an email to the producer, who confirmed the series was starting on March 19, and I would show up in episode 7 or 8. Here is a preview of the series: https://www.history.com/shows/lost-gold-of-world-war-ii.

I was surprised to learn no one in the production team or the Filipino knew anything about my novels, The President’s Gold (http://www.donkesterson.com/the-presidents-gold/) or Gold of the Spirits (http://www.donkesterson.com/gold-of-the-spirits/). They said they would read them to fill in more detail than I was able to give them in their one-day visit. I cautioned them the Filipino family to be very careful, as pursuit of this buried gold was very dangerous. They left wishing they had more time for questions and answers, as some of my answers led them toward questions they had not even pondered for their Gold series.

Be sure to watch this series and let me know what you think.

The President's Gold

How the University of South Carolina created their sports mascot name “Gamecocks”

I wanted to write a light blog, but one still steeped in history. The mascot for the University of South Carolina is a gamecock (fighting rooster) named “Cocky.”  When asked about the mascot, I myself have used the standard line, “An ass-kicking chicken.” Since 1903, the University has used the name “Gamecock” for all its sports teams. However, the name did not come from the chicken, the gamecock, but from Brigadier General Thomas Sumter.

Cockyspringgame.jpg

Who was Thomas Sumter? He was an American Revolutionary war hero—perhaps the third greatest Revolutionary War leader, behind only George Washington and Nathaniel Greene. A British General fighting in the southern colonies is said to have told his troops that Sumter fought like a gamecock, thus he was ordained with the nickname “The Carolina Gamecock.”

https://www.battlefields.org/sites/default/files/styles/scale_crop_380x370/public/thumbnails/image/Thomas%20Sumter.jpg?itok=kRdgwvgq

Thomas Sumter was born in Hanover County, Virginia, in 1734. As legend goes, Sumter was “small” in stature but “big” in fight. He enlisted in the Virginia militia, rising to the rank of officer during the French-Indian War. After that war, Sumter was selected to go out among the Cherokee people to mend the relationship with the colonists. Later, Sumter was selected to travel to London, along with several Cherokee, including their leader Ostenaco, to meet British King George III.

Prior to the American Revolution, Sumter fell into financial trouble from his travel expenses to improve relations with the Cherokee. When Virginia would not forgive his debt, he was imprisoned. A friend came to Staunton, where Sumter was incarcerated, and gave him ten guineas and a tomahawk to buy his way out of debtors prison in 1766.

Sumter moved from Virginia to Stateburg, South Carolina, just to the west of the town which would later be given his namesake, Sumter. In 1767, he married Mary Jameson. They became planters, but soon Sumter went back to his roots and raised a local militia. By February 1776,  the divide between the Colonies and the British Empire had grown, and Sumter was elected lieutenant colonel of the Second Regiment of the South Carolina Line. Soon, he became a colonel. He subsequently was appointed brigadier general, a post he held until the end of the war. Some of his early Revolutionary War battle successes included preventing the invasion of Georgia.

Sumter was part of the defense of Charleston, South Carolina, at the Battle of Sullivan Island. However, when the British conquered Charleston in 1780, Sumter escaped to North Carolina.

After British Colonel Banastre Tarleton’s raiders burned his house, Sumter organized another local militia to fight the British. Sumter had victories over the British at Catawaba and Hanging Rock (in Lancaster County). Sumter confronted and defeated Tarleton at the Battle of Blackstock’s Farm. Tarleton commented to his superiors that Sumter “fought like a gamecock.” Perhaps his greatest military achievement is fighting Cornwallis to the point of the British abandoning the Carolinas and moving their army into Virginia. Cornwallis described him as his “greatest plague.”

After the Revolutionary War, Sumter went into politics, serving in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

If some of this story sounds familiar, part of Sumter’s history (along with that of several other South Carolinians) was used by Mel Gibson to define his persona in the movie, “The Patriot.

When the fort at Charleston, South Carolina, was constructed in 1829, it was named after Sumter. The city of Sumter is sometimes referred to as “The Gamecock City,” but it is the University of South Carolina that has made his namesake famous.

Sumter passed away at the age of 97 on June 1, 1832, and was buried near his home.

BENGHAZI – Part 5 – Everyone Left Behind

Suppose just for a moment that what I am about to tell you is what really happened. Suppose for a moment it is the truth that diplomats and elites do not want you to know.

First off, it will help you to understand that the world exists at two different levels: the one the elites want us to see, hear about, and is written about by the press; the other, which exists only for elites, takes place in a different realm, where only the few live.

In order to understand what really happened at Benghazi, this is the fifth and final in a series of articles that will provide the background to the diplomatic disaster that cost the United States the lives of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Information Management Officer (IMO) Sean Smith, and CIA contractors and former Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

In Libya, there was still no peace. The youth, as part of the Arab Spring Movement, turned on the National Transitional Council. There was so much division and chaos that the potential of setting up a stable government was virtually impossible. Battles brewed between local Libyans and returning members of the Libyan diaspora; between secular groups and religious ones, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood; within militia groups; and among Libya’s tribes and ethnic groups. In January 2012, new protests began in Libya against the National Transitional Council. The confrontations continued until there was basically no functioning government—at least not what the Western World wished to see following the overthrow of Gaddafi.

On April 5, 2012, Ambassador Stevens, a degreed international lawyer, arrived in Benghazi. This was not his first time in Libya. Most of his previous assignments had been in the Middle East, and he had been in and out of Libya several times, meeting with officials from all sides of the conflict. He had one very difficult mission, called OPERATION ZERO FOOTPRINT: negotiate with a radical group of rebels operating in Eastern Libya to get back the weapons NATO, the French, the British, and the United States had delivered to them, and then, once weapons were in hand, to send them to Syria. Also, he had to find the 20,000 missing MANPADS, or shoulder-held missiles capable of bringing down a commercial aircraft. The U.S. was concerned these weapons were now in the hands of the Libya element affiliated with al-Qaeda.

Special operators were part of the Global Response Staff. A CIA element, based at the CIA annex, included Glen Doherty and at least two others. They were there to protect CIA operators who were part of a mission to track and repurchase arms. On Stevens’ first mission to Libya, he worked for the Obama Administration in the CIA annex, overseeing a sophisticated weapons distribution supply chain to a variety of revolutionary terrorist groups in North Africa and the Middle East.

Soon after Stevens and his team established the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on June 25, Stevens sent a cable to the State Department advising that their compound had been attacked. He stated a “homemade bomb” had ripped a large hole in the security wall surrounding the Consulate. An Islamic extremist group, The Imprisoned Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman Brigade, claimed responsibility for the bombing. The “Blind Sheikh,” an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood member, was serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison for plotting to blow up bridges, tunnels and the U.N. headquarters in and around New York City.

In a later correspondence, Stevens noted he had observed the al-Qaeda flag flying over various buildings, including some government buildings in Benghazi.

At the beginning of August, the National Transition Council agreed to pass the government over to the General National Congress.

On August 8, Ambassador Stevens, while continuing his negotiations with the rebels, again expressed concerns regarding the security at the Consulate in his cable titled “The Guns of August.” On August 16, the Regional Security Officer for the Consulate complained that they would not be able to withstand a coordinated attack due to the overall size of the Consulate, compounded by inadequate manpower, slack security measures, and limited weapons capabilities. He also noted a lack of support from the new Libyan government. From this time forward, Stevens continued to request additional security, as he did not trust the security provided by Libya. His requests to the State Department were continually denied.

According to Greg Hick, State Department Station Chief in Tripoli, the State Department reduced the number of U.S. security personnel at the Embassy in Tripoli from 34 to 6, despite the deteriorating security situation in both Tripoli and Benghazi.

Because of his knowledge and experience in the Middle East, Ambassador Stevens had real reasons to worry. The Arab Spring Movement had grown across the Middle East with protests beginning in January 2011 in the countries of Oman, Yemen, Morocco, and Tunesia. However, it was Egypt that was the big prize, and, on February 11, President Hosni Mubarak resigned. In May, Mubarak was replaced by the election of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Dr. Mohammed Mursi. Additionally, Syria fell into a state of civil war.

By the time September 2012 arrived, many of the countries throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa had either changed governments or their streets were filled with protestors. Most of these events were carried out by various factions of the Muslim Brotherhood under the Arab Spring Movement.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Stevens continued to have “off the record” meetings with rebels about reacquiring weapons and other armaments. While progress was slow, Stevens believed he was close enough to a deal that it was time to start working the next part of his assignment—routing  those weapons to the rebels in Syria.

 

September 11, 2012

Ambassador Stevens held an afternoon meeting with a Turkish diplomat seeking permission to move weapons through Turkey into Syria. The contract security team assigned to the Consulate noted that a number of members of the Turkish security team used cellphones to take photographs of the interior of the Consulate and the security set up. This caused them great concern. Were they preparing for an attack? Why were these pictures even allowed?

2:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time (8:30 p.m. Benghazi time):

Ambassador Stevens walked outside with the Turkish diplomat after negotiations failed to produce an agreement to move weapons through Turkey into Syria. According to the records, no protestors were noted at that time around the Consulate. Stevens security team noted;  “There’s nothing unusual. There has been nothing unusual during the day at all outside.” In other words, there were no protests noted outside the Compound

3:00 PM EDT (9:00 p.m. Benghazi time)

Ambassador Stevens advised his staff he was retiring to his bedroom for the evening.

3:32 PM EDT (9:32 p.m. Benghazi time)

One of the security agents in the compounds heard “loud noises” plus “gunfire and an explosion.”  Security cameras outside of the main gate revealed a large number of armed men moving toward the Consulate compound.

Meanwhile, at the CIA Annex, just as the security team was ready to move out, on-site CIA Agent “Bob” ordered them to stand by.

3:37 PM EDT (9:37 p.m. Benghazi time)

Contract Security Member Kris Paronto requested the Spectre commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights, plus an ISR [an armed Predator drone]

3:42 PM EDT (9:42 p.m. Benghazi time)

General Ham learned about the assault on the consulate compound via a call from the AFRICOM Command Center.

According to General Ham: “My first call was to General Dempsey’s office to say, ‘Hey, I am headed down the hall. I need to see him right away.’ I told him what I knew. We immediately walked upstairs to meet with Secretary Panetta.”

Ham and Dempsey went to meet with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. They knew at that point that two individuals, Ambassador Stevens and Mr. [Sean] Smith, were unaccounted for.

It is important to note that the ambassador on duty in any country is the equivalent to the President of the United States. Would President Obama have felt so flippant had it been him under attack in Benghazi?

Approximately 4:00 PM (approximately 10:00 p.m. Benghazi time)

A senior administration official said the office compound in Benghazi was under attack from unidentified Libyan extremists. This was the first wave of a coordinated attack.

Two military surveillance drones were redirected to Benghazi shortly after the attack on the consulate began. They were already in the vicinity. The second surveillance craft had been sent to relieve the first drone, perhaps due to fuel issues. Both were capable of sending real time visuals back to U.S. officials in Washington, D.C. Any U.S. official or agency with the proper clearance, including the White House Situation Room, State Department, CIA, Pentagon and others, could access that video in real time.

At 4:07 PM in the United States (10:07 p.m. Benghazi time)

Maria Sands, a special assistant to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, forwarded an email from the State Department’s operation to Cheryl Mills, Chief of Staff to Secretary Clinton, that Benghazi was under attack. This email was also sent to Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Jacob Sullivan and Joseph McManus, Clinton’s executive assistant. The text from the Regional Security Officer in Tripoli reported approximately twenty armed men fired shorts, plus explosions had been heard. Ambassador Stevens and Chief of Mission personnel were in the compound safe area, constructed just for such occasions. The 17th of February militia, a Libyan group, were providing security support. (Note this came 35 minutes after the 9:32 Benghazi time attack.)

4:14 PM EDT (10:14 p.m. Benghazi time)

The attackers had gained access to the Compound and had begun to fire into the main building. As a result, the main building was on fire, holding three individuals in the building that included Ambassador Stevens, a regional security officer, and Information Management Officer Sean Smith. The Libyan guard force and mission security personnel responded to the attack.

A security agent at the diplomatic facility shouted into his communication device, “If you guys do not get here, we are going to die!”

At 4:38 PM in the United States (10:38 p.m. Benghazi time)

State Department Foreign Service Officer Lawrence Randolph forwarded an email from Scott Bultrowicz, Diplomatic Security Service, to Mills, Sullivan and McManus that the Compound was under attack.

Sometime between 4:15 PM EDT and 4:45 PM EDT, Sean Smith was found dead.

The security team of three men, including former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, sat in their vehicles for about 20 minutes while the attack was on going, waiting on “go orders.”

After waiting another 10 minutes, the security team decided to head to the diplomatic facility without orders, arriving about 10 minutes later and immediately returning fire. This team remained at the compound for the duration of this attack.

Still, they could not find the Ambassador.

The commandos again called for armed air support. Their request was denied by the CIA chain of command—who also told the CIA operators twice to stand down.

About 4:45 PM EDT (about 10:45 p.m. Benghazi time)

U.S. security personnel tried to retake the main building, but they are repelled back to the Mission Annex.

4:54 PM EDT Washington DC (10:54 p.m. Benghazi time) (1 hour, 22 minutes into the assault)

The embassy in Tripoli reported the attack on the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi had ceased, and the compound was cleared. A response team was on site to find COM personnel.

About 5:20 PM EDT (about 11:20 p.m. Benghazi time)

“U.S. and Libyan security personnel … regain the main building and they were able to secure it.”

September 12, 2012

About 6:00 PM EDT (about Midnight Benghazi time)

The second wave attack began at the Mission Annex and was carried out by Ansar al-Sharia, which had heavy ties to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and was funded by then Egyptian President Mursi. Meanwhile, the security team had failed to find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex.

Tyrone Woods was later joined at the scene by fellow former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, who was sent in from Tripoli as part of a Global Response Staff (GRS) that provides security to CIA case officers, countersurveillance, and surveillance protection.

At the request of the Spectre and ISR, Contract Security Kris Paronto asked for a status report, because the security team was coming under fire at the CIA safe house. He was informed that it was not available, but they were still working on it. Paronto called “people he knew” in the European Command (EUCOM) Commander’s In-Extremis Force. He was informed a counter-terrorism training mission was taking place in Croatia, a three-hour flight from Benghazi. They informed Paronto, “They were loading their gear into their aircraft and ready to go.”

Paronto would later learn from his friends in that unit they were waiting on go orders. The European Command told him InExtremis Force had been shut down sometime after midnight.

The special operator on the roof of the CIA annex had visual contact and “laser painted” at the Libyan mortar team that was targeting the CIA annex in anticipation of the arrival of a Spectre gunship.

6:06 PM EDT (12:06 AM Benghazi time)

Ansar al-Sharia claimed via Facebook and Twitter responsibility for the second attack on the Benghazi compound. They called for an attack on the Embassy in Tripoli, which never materialized. One minute later, the Department of State’s Operation sent out an email to the White House, Pentagon, and other government agencies that Ansar al-Sharia claimed credit for this attack.

7:09 PM EDT Washington DC (1:09 AM Benghazi time)

Jeremy Bash, a top aide to Secretary Leon Panetta, informed Mrs. Clinton’s office of various military assets that were “spinning up as we speak” to deploy to Benghazi. Those included a C-110 in Croatia, two U.S. Marine Corps Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) platoons based in Rota, Spain, the Spectre gunships, armed Predator drones, and possibly elements of Marine Expeditionary Units in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

One of the C-110 could be sent directly to Benghazi from Croatia. General Carter Ham, commander-in-chief of Africa Command (AFRICOM), issued orders transferring authority for the C-110 to him from European Command (EUCOM).

By laying the groundwork for a formal order he expected to come down an hour or two later, General Ham was doing what any smart U.S. military officer would have done.

Greg Hick, top U.S. diplomat in Tripoli at the time, later testified that the State Department never requested country clearance from Libya for any U.S. forces that night. Therefore, no action by U.S. military was ever contemplated.

8:09 PM EDT Washington DC (2:09 AM Benghazi time)

Orders from Panetta’s office included a retransfer of C-110 from AFRICOM back to EUCOM, along with orders for the unit to move to Sigonella the next day and hold in place, instead of flying to Benghazi.

Was this because Secretary Clinton refused to authorize those forces to deploy into Libya to assist State Department personnel and State Department facilities? Regardless, Panetta had no other choice but to put them on hold. Remember, Panetta was the Chief of Staff of then President Bill Clinton. Did they speak in confidence without anything put in writing or on private phone which would not be transcribed? The one thing that did leak out was the following:

A senior AFRICOM commander involved in that night’s events claimed, “The State Department was concerned that an overt U.S. military presence in Libya could topple the government.”

About 8:00 PM (About 2:00 AM Benghazi time)

An American Quick Reaction Force sent from Tripoli had arrived at the Benghazi airport (four hours after the initial attack on the consulate). They were delayed for 45 minutes at the airport because they could not get transportation—allegedly due to confusion among the Libyan militias who were supposed to escort them to the annex.

About 8:30 PM Washington DC (2:30 AM Benghazi time)

The Department of State received a message from the Embassy in Tripoli: “Libyan security forces were able to assist us in regaining control of the situation. At some point in all of this—and frankly, we do not know when—we believe that Ambassador Stevens got out of the building and was taken to a hospital in Benghazi. We do not have any information what his condition was at that time.”

About 9:00 PM (About 3:00 AM Benghazi time)

A motorcade of dozens of Libyan vehicles, some mounted with 50 caliber machine guns belonging to the February 17th Brigades, a Libyan militia which was friendly to the U.S., finally showed up at the CIA annex.

About 10:00 PM (about 4:00 AM Benghazi time)

Four mortars were fired at the annex. The first one struck outside the annex. Three more hit the annex. During the second attack, two additional U.S. personnel, former Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed by a mortar shell, plus ten others were wounded.

Secretary Clinton issued a statement confirming that one State official was killed during an attack on the Consulate in Benghazi.

In her statement, she made reference to an anti-Muslim trailer for a movie, Innocence of Muslims  It is important to note, no one had seen it up to that time—it sported a viewed count of only a few hundred on Youtube.com. Her announcement actually sent people to the youtube.com site. Also, later, the individual who made this video was arrested.

Part of her statement was as follows: “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.”

11:12 PM Washington DC (5:12 AM Benghazi time)

Secretary Clinton sent an email to Chelsea Clinton: “Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an al Qaeda-like group: The Ambassador, whom I handpicked and a young communications officer on temporary duty w a wife and two young children. Very hard day and I fear more of the same tomorrow.”

11:57 PM EDT Washington DC (5:57 AM Benghazi time)

Maria Sand, then a Special Assistant to Secretary Clinton forwarded the following email from the State Department’s Operations Center titled: U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi is Under Attack

“(SBU) [Sensitive But Unclassified] DS Command reports the current shelter location for COM personnel in Benghazi is under mortar fire.  There are reports of injuries to COM staff.”

12:04 AM EDT Washington DC (6:04 AM Benghazi time)

Randolph sent an email with the subject line “FW: Update 3: Benghazi Shelter Location Also Under Attack” to Mills, Sullivan, and McManus that contained one of the  updates read about the Benghazi attack:

“I just called Ops and they said the DS command center is reporting that the compound is under attack again.  I am about to reach out to the DS Command Center.”

12:11 AM EDT Washington DC (6:11 AM Benghazi time)

Cheryl Mills requested that the State Department stop answering press inquiries, including the ongoing questions about Ambassador Stevens whereabouts. :

“Can we stop answering emails for the night Toria b/c now the first one [Hillary Clinton’s “inflammatory material posted on the Internet” statement] is hanging out there.”

3:22 AM Washington DC (9:22 AM Benghazi time)

Senior Watch Officer Andrew Veprek forwarded an email to numerous State Department officials, which was later forwarded to Cheryl Mills and Joseph McManus, with the subject line “Death of Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi”:

Embassy Tripoli confirms the death of Ambassador John C. (Chris) Stevens in Benghazi. His body has been recovered and is at the airport in Benghazi. Cause of death was listed as asphyxiation. According to the reports from attending doctors, Stevens could have been saved had he arrived at the hospital earlier.

 

ANALYSIS THAT EMERGED AFTER ATTACK

Dear Reader:

Please comprehend that an Ambassador and one of his aids, plus two contract security men, were killed in Benghazi, Libya. The Ambassador is the equivalent of the President of the United States in that country. The diplomats and elites set up these rules more than two centuries ago, so they could literally walk through wars and conflicts unharmed. Only seven ambassadors have ever been killed in service—five assassinated and two died in plane crashes dating back to 1950.

Was an order given to stand down?

 

ROLE OF THE MILITARY

Here is the chain of command in the military for Benghazi on the night of September 11, 2012: SOCAFRICA commander Lieutenant Colonel Gibson, a desk officer, was first in line. Next, Marine Corps Colonel George Bristol, commander of the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara. Above him, Rear Admiral Brian Losey, Commander of Special Operations Command Africa. And, finally, the highest commander of AFRICOM, General Ham, who answered directly to President Obama and the Secretary of Defense. Period.

After a thorough investigation, no official documents, including sworn testimonies, has come forward that any of the “brass” (General Carter Ham or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey) were ever given the order to stand down. That was their official story. Conversely, they never gave an order to aid those under attack at the Consulate. Why?

General Ham claimed that when the first wave was over, he believed the attacks were over. Would you not want to reinforce, just in case there was a second attack?

General Dempsey claimed that since the Ambassador was missing, they were now on a hostage rescue mission, which required a completely different team to handle the situation. As Chairman of the Joint Chief, wouldn’t he be in charge of the military rescue mission?

While it is hard to buy into those two official positions, that is what they said on the record. So since no one said “go”, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs did nothing and the general in charge of AFRICOM did nothing. Did they need direct orders to do something? What happened to “we” leave no one behind?

Admiral Losey said there was “never an order to stand down.” His instruction to the team “was to remain in place and continue to provide security in Tripoli because of the uncertain environment.” Earlier on September 11, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo had been breached as well. He only discussed the situation in Tripoli—never discussed any other assets. Then he went on and claimed assigning the small team to defend a perimeter wouldn’t have been appropriate and would have meant the military losing its command operation in Tripoli “for the benefit of four riflemen who weren’t even riflemen.”

Now, know all that went on from the very beginning, Secretary Panetta claimed there was not a clear enough picture of what was occurring on the ground in Benghazi to send help.

Let that sink in.

 

ROLE OF THE PRESIDENT

There is a record that the President was first contacted about the attack by someone at the Department of Defense. Did President Obama call General Ham at AFRICOM and issue the stand down order without any witnesses? According to several sources, President Obama gave the order to “handle it” about 5PM EDT. No further contact was established with the President thereafter. The Obama Administration blacked out all correspondence, if there were any. The official story from the Obama Administration was he had to get ready for his trip to a Las Vegas fundraiser the next morning.

In September 2012, incumbent President Obama was facing the final months of his reelection campaign. He could not afford to provide his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, with a potential advantage on foreign policy. So, when this disaster occurred, he had to two choices: either put the best spin possible on the event or try to sweep it under the rug—which, with the help of the press, he pretty much achieved.

One of President Obama’s favorite campaign statements was: “Osama Bin Laden is dead, al-Qaeda is on the run.” A terrorist attack at an American embassy would have changed that narrative. Benghazi did not fit his slogan.

The irony in all of this was the Obama administration was already shipping Libyan weapons to Syrian rebels—you know, the “good” rebels, like al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other who committed genocide against Christians and destroyed humanity’s cultural heritage in ancient Mesopotamia—at the time of the attack. In other words, President Obama and Secretary Clinton were assisting the caliphate throughout the Middle East by grabbing weapons from Libya and sending them to radical groups, including the growing ISIS and those building for an Islamic invasion of Europe.

Also, as mentioned in previous blogs, according to official White House records, the Muslim Brotherhood—more particularly, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood—were among the most frequent visitors to the White House. Many of President Obama’s prominent appointees had direct ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, including Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin. Also please note, President Obama was not the first to establish a relationship with that organization—visitations actually go back to early on in the Cold War.

It had long been known the primary objective of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood was to free the Blind Sheikh from prison. They were very influential in the implementation of the attacks on the Consulate, including the second wave.

When it was finally time to investigate Benghazi, the FBI’s investigation of the crime scene was delayed by three full weeks, during which time the rebels rifled through the documents and other evidence left behind. Additionally, the Obama Administration chose an “investigator” who worked for George Soros at the International Crisis Group. Soros had ties to both the Clintons and Obamas, therefore, it is unlikely his group would have provided an unbiased investigation.

As a side note, Congress showed remarkably bad judgment and rubberstamped what President Obama and Secretary Clinton demanded—arm Islamic terrorists in order to overthrow secular governments in the Middle East and North Africa, the “Arab Spring” Movement, where we helped the “good” rebels to overthrow dictatorships.

Has the U.S. ever sent weapons to “good” guys they didn’t live to regret?

 

OFFICIAL ROLE OF CIA

One thing is for certain, CIA Agent “Bob”, Chief on site at the CIA Annex, did not act on his own when he told the operators to stand down. The CIA official position was that no stand down order came from any one of them, from David Petraeus on down, despite “eye witnesses” at the CIA Annex hearing “Bob” ordering security forces not to go to the Consulate.

Moreover, they claimed the only available operatives to send were in Tripoli, which amounted to a detachment leader, a medic, a communications expert, and a weapons operator with his foot in a cast. Yet, the CIA headquarters felt compelled to protect the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli instead of assisting those being evacuated from Benghazi.

To be clear, the official story was Director Petraeus was contacted directly on that night by Secretary Clinton for assistance with security during the attacks. The CIA claimed it had no such formal agreement.

To be clear, let’s examine Director Petraeus’s position:  The CIA didn’t have a formal agreement to provide backup security.

Ultimately, the CIA did send some of their consultants, such as Paranto, Tiegen, etc., to the Consulate, however, they were delayed in getting there for the reason above. Journalist Spencer Ackerman wrote that Petraeus did not want to send any assistance in order to keep their role at Benghazi secret. He did not elaborate that the CIA was part of the contingent there to acquiring arms from the Libyan rebels. So four Americans were murdered because Petraeus didn’t have a contract and wanted to keep his mission secret. Does that position sound right?

 

OFFICIAL ROLE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE

There is some evidence that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave the stand down order, even though she was not in the military chain of command. Conversely, I believe the Secretary had to be the one to request help, since there was no military presence at the embassy—only diplomatic officials and their security were there—which could put the request for assistance under the State Department’s direct authority. That would explain why, without a specific request for assistance from the State Department, the Pentagon decided to do nothing.

Here is a question? Secretary Clinton has joked about how poor she is with computers, phones, email, servers and the internet, so who on her staff found the inflammatory YouTube video that she claimed caused the “protests” outside the Benghazi Consulate?

 

LOCAL SECURITY TEAM

What was the role of the local security team?

The local security team, Blue Mountain Group, was hired by the Department of State since they were already had clearance by the Libyan government, plus, get this, they were the only company to agree to Secretary Clinton’s demand that they would not carry firearms. Seriously. Moreover, they advertised and hired some twenty residents. To get them in place and ready fast, Blue Mountain did not do perform any real background checks plus either failed to train or poorly trained their new employees. Reuter’s research even claimed one of the employees had thrown a firebomb into the Compound before being hired. Think about all of that Secretary Clinton hired a company that didn’t have employees, had no background checks and couldn’t carry weapons. Here is the clincher, some of those hired were members of Ansar al-Sharia and Al Qaeda, who provided information to the attackers.

When the attacks started, it was claimed that the security guards opened the gates to let them in. Needless to say, when the shooting started they were gone. As a matter of fact, some of the survivors of the attack claimed that several of the security guards were among the attackers.

 

ROLE OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY

Why did the Republicans not push to get to the bottom of the truth:

While we know that Blue Mountain held the contract for providing security at the Consulate, we don’t know what role a British-based security contractor Aegis Defense Services, a private military company, had there but part of their assignment was in Libya. Aegis held the contract to provide security to certain U.S. overseas diplomatic posts around the world with a $10 billion, 5-year contract with the State Department. Who was their CEO? Kristi Rogers. Who is Kristi Rogers? The wife of Congressman Mike Rogers, a seven-term Republican from Michigan who had climbed the political ladder to become chairman of the Intelligence Committee in January 2011. Mike and Kristi Rogers were quintessential Washington insiders.

It has been reported that Ambassador Stevens had a meeting with Congressman Rogers prior to the attacks but to date no records have emerged from that meeting.

The House Intelligence Committee report on Benghazi found no failures in intelligence on the lead up and the night of September 11, 2012. Having read my blog, would you agree?

My opinion, no one in the “Swamp” would go after “their own”, so the Republicans had to tread lightly in attacking the security at Benghazi. Out of fear of what would be exposed. It should be noted, before the 2014 election, Congressman Rogers left to go into the private sector.

 

FINAL CONCLUSIONS

According to both Kris Paronto and John Tiegen, another member of the security team, their delay in arriving at the Benghazi Consulate from the CIA Annex likely cost Stevens and Smith their lives. Several members of the security team believed what Paranto stated: “We need to have an answer of when the secretary of defense had assets that he could have begun spinning up. Why there was not one order given to turn on one Department of Defense asset? I have my suspicions, which is Secretary Clinton told Leon [Panetta] to stand down, and we all heard about the stand-down order for two military personnel. That order is undeniable. They were told not to get on — get off the airplane and kind of stand by — and they’re going to characterize it wasn’t stand down. But when we’re done with Benghazi, the real question is, was there a stand-down order to Leon Panetta or did he just not do his job? Was there a stand-down order from the president who said he told them to use their resources and they didn’t use them?  Those questions have to be answered.”

So, as the Consulate and CIA annex were under attack with gunfire and taking mortar rounds, the official claim from the military, the government and the CIA was…no request was made for help? We know those on the ground requested help and expected help.

With planes at Sigonella Air Base, just 480 miles away, and two separate Tier One Special operations forces nearby, no one was given the command to assist. However, this does not amount to stand down orders. The special operations team, or CIF (Commanders In-extremis Force), operating in Central Europe had been moved to Sigonella, Italy, but they were never told to deploy. A second force that specializes in counterterrorism rescues was on hand at Sigonella, according to senior military and intelligence sources. According to those sources, they could have flown to Benghazi in less than two hours. They were the same distance from Benghazi as those that were sent from Tripoli, including Spectre gunships. In fact, a Pentagon official said there were never any requests to deploy assets from outside the country.

However, individuals down the military chain in hindsight stated: “Could the military have responded to Benghazi, we should have tried.”

What we do know is that Greg Hicks knew special forces were ready to board a plane in Tripoli, and that even after they got word that Stevens was dead, Hicks said, “The Libyan military agreed to fly their C-130 to Benghazi and carry additional personnel to Benghazi as reinforcements,” including US Special Forces, but that a call came through from Special Operations Command Africa saying, “You can’t go now; you don’t have authority to go now.”  Also, Special Forces in Italy, less than an hour or so away, were suited up and ready to go, but were told to wait or got NO orders at all.

How could our diplomats, knowing that those at the Benghazi Consulate were out-numbered and out-gunned on the ground, just sit. Common sense says reinforce in case of a second attack. What did they do sit and “wringing their hands” trying to decide what to do, what to say and how to spin the attack?

Was there an order given to stand down by the President or Secretary of State? Sadly, I don’t believe it was given. In fact, I think the whole thing was set up so that no orders were given. So, were those in authority, who could help, afraid to issue orders without permission from above?

What I can say with a high degree of certainty, is that our politicians, diplomats, and elites either issued stand down orders in such a manner that there was no official record, or they spent the whole time trying to figure out what was going on.” Either way, no help was sent to the security protecting an ambassador in peril. Dempsey and Ham, at least on the official record, made statements to protect their pensions.

As to me, I have always wondered . . .

What if the whole Benghazi scenario was a set up for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to kidnap Ambassador Stevens, and then exchange him for the Blind Sheikh? Both President Obama and Secretary Clinton would look like heroes if they could “negotiate” that exchange. And, it would be easy if it were pre-arranged. From the very beginning, the number one objective of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood was to get the Blind Sheikh released from prison. I believe the purpose of the second wave of the attack was to kidnap the Ambassador. Think about it. Obama goes off the grid, and Clinton’s people find a scarcely-viewed inflammatory Muslim YouTube video that explains the attack, while Ambassador Stevens’ life is in peril. Why would they not care what was unraveling in Benghazi? Because they already knew what the outcome was to be.

Then Stevens up and died and ruined their entire plan.

Think about it. Guns go to Syria, Obama looks like a hero negotiating Stevens’ releases before the election, Clinton campaigns on this, gets elected in 2016, and the Egyptians get the Blind Sheikh.

This is what the diplomats and elites don’t want you to know.

BENGHAZI – Part 4 – The Libyan Civil War to remove Qaddafi

Suppose just for a moment that what I am about to tell you is what really happened. Suppose for a moment it is the truth that diplomats and elites do not want you to know.

First off, it will help you to understand that the world exists at two different levels: the one the elites want us to see, hear about, and is written about by the press; the other, which exists only for elites, takes place in a different realm, where only the few live.

In order to understand what really happened at Benghazi, this is the fourth in a series of articles that will provide the background to what led up to the diplomatic disaster that cost the United States the lives of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Information Management Officer (IMO) Sean Smith, and CIA contractors and former Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

From the beginning of April 2011, NATO targeted sites associated with residences or other potential locations where Qaddafi and members of his inner circle may be found around Tripoli. Pro-Qaddafi officials immediately charged NATO with attempting to kill Qaddafi. Soon thereafter, Qaddafi’s son Saif al-Arab and three of his grandchildren were killed in NATO air strikes. This prompted a diplomatic effort from an African Union delegation to travel to Tripoli to attempt to negotiate a cease-fire plan. Shortly thereafter, the African Union announced that Qaddafi had accepted their plan. However, pro-Qaddafi forces continued attacking the rebels, causing the rebel leaders to reject the African Union plan—and not only because they were still being attacked, but also because their plan did not call for Qaddafi’s departure from Libya.

Despite the NATO attacks on pro-Qaddafi forces, the poorly armed and disorganized Libyan rebels were unable to remove Qaddafi. So, on April 19, the conflict still a stalemate, the United Kingdom announced that it would send a team of military liaison officers to advise the rebel leaders on military strategy, organization, and logistics. They were joined the next day by the French and Italian advisers. All three countries specified that their officers would not participate in fighting. However, NATO forces were already fighting alongside the rebels. This prompted an immediate protest from the Libyan foreign minister. Yet, the British Foreign Secretary claimed that the deployment of advisers was within the provisions of UN Security Resolution 1973, despite its language specifically forbidding a foreign occupation in Libya.

On May 11, the Polish Foreign Minister traveled to Benghazi to show his country’s support for the future of the National Transitional Council. The next day, the British Foreign Secretary recognized Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the leader of the rebel National Transitional Council and a former judge who had constantly opposed Qaddafi, as the “legitimate representative of the Libyan people.” That same day, British Prime Minister David Cameron invited the rebels to establish a permanent office in London.

On May 24, representatives of the National Transitional Council were invited to the White House to discuss the future of Libya with President Obama’s National Security Advisor, as well as open a representative office in the United States. It is of future importance to note that within the National Transitional Council were members of the Muslim Brotherhood of Libya, an organization that Qaddafi had restricted from becoming formally organized in Libya, unlike their counterparts in Egypt and Tunisia.

Next, Russia officially recognized the National Transitional Council as a legitimate negotiator on the future of Libya. On May 27, French President Sarkozy announced plans to visit with the National Transitional Council in Benghazi.

On June 1, NATO, the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) , and Sweden agreed to extend the military campaign for an additional 90 days from the end of June in an effort to protect civilians from pro-Qaddafi forces. On June 9, a conference was held between participating Western and Arab nations. They offered over $1.3 billion in aid to the rebel forces for a post-Qaddafi Libya. At that same conference, both Australia and the United States formally recognized the rebel government as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.

On June 16, another of Qaddafi ‘s sons, Saif al-Islam, announced his father was willing to hold free elections within three months, as well as draft a new constitution. The rebels demanded Qaddafi ‘s resignation. The son claimed his father was willing to give up power through a free election, but wished to live out his life and die in Libya. However, when the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Qaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and the Libyan intelligence chief, Abdullah Senussi, for ordering attacks against civilians rebel leaders believed this would prevent negotiations for Qaddafi to leave Libya in a bloodless coup. .

In June, the rebels, assisted by NATO attacks, were finally able to achieve some success as they advanced in the eastern and western regions of Libya. This left Qaddafi’s regime isolated internationally, yet still holding power in Tripoli.

On June 29, the French air-dropped a considerable cache of weapons, munitions, and food to aid Berber tribal fighters in the Jebel Nafusa region. Naturally, the French claimed the air-drop did not violate the arms embargo because the weapons were necessary for civilian protection. However, the air drop was met with disapproval by Russia and the African Union. Both expressed concerns these weapons would end up in the hands of al-Qaeda or another terrorist group, leading to further destabilization in the region. The next day, the British supplied 5,000 sets of body armor, 6,650 police uniforms, and 5,000 high-visibility vests to police loyal to the Transitional National Council. The equipment would allow police to perform their duties more securely and enable them to better protect Transitional National Council representatives and the refugee communities in rebel-controlled areas.

On July 3, the Turkish government officially recognized the Transitional National Council as the legitimate representative body. They also promised to provide $200 million in aid. This was in addition to the $100 million already provided to the rebels.

On July 4, Iran dispatched its third round of humanitarian aid to Libyan refugees living in Raas al-Jadir on the Libyan-Tunisia border. Two days later, Russia also delivered supplies to the rebels. On the same day, the UN World Food Program (WFP) established a regular sea route to deliver relief supplies and aid workers to Misrata from Benghazi. Over the previous four months, the WFP had distributed over 6,000 tons of food to at least 543,000 civilians attempting to flee the civil war.

On July 11, rebel commander General Abdel Fattah Yournes was assassinated by his own supporters. He was killed because his long-time association with Qaddafi created mistrust.

At the beginning of August, rebel forces advanced to the outskirts of Tripoli, taking control of strategic areas, including the city of Zāwiyah, the site of one of Libya’s largest oil refineries.

Then on August 21, the rebels overran a military facility also on the outskirts of Tripoli that had been run by the government’s elite Khamis Brigade. That brigade was commanded by one of Moammar Qaddafi ‘s sons, but rebels did not announce they had captured him. On the same day, rebel fighters moved into Tripoli’s central Green Square after breaching pro-Qaddafi defenses. In the fighting that ensued, rebel forces announced they had captured another of Qaddafi ‘s sons, the wanted Saif al-Islam, and Libya’s intelligence chief.

Following the rebel push into Tripoli, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and US President Barack Obama made statements indicating that Qaddafi’s regime was over. Qaddafi vowed to stay in power until the bitter end as rebel forces surrounded his compound in Tripoli. Qaddafi slipped into hiding, only occasionally issuing defiant messages. Rebels raised Libya’s pre-Qaddafi flag over the compound as jubilant crowds destroyed symbols of Qaddafi. Then, while conducting an interview on Al Jazeera, Qaddafi ‘s eldest son, Mohammad, was captured.

By early September, rebel forces solidified their control of Tripoli. Then the Transitional National Council transferred its operations there. Rebel forces focused their attention on the few remaining cities under loyalist control. However, before moving on these cities, they attempted to negotiate with commanders still loyal to Qaddafi to surrender peacefully and avoid a bloody ground assault. These attempts failed, so rebel troops began to push into the remaining cities.

On September 15, the Transitional National Council achieved new international legitimacy when the UN General Assembly voted to recognize it as the official representative of Libya.

On September 21, the Secretary General of NATO announced the extension of Operation Unified Protector, the mission to protect civilians in Libya, by another 90 days. This meant that NATO forces would continue their missions to enforce the embargo, enforce a No-Fly Zone, and continue with the protection of the civilian population. In a press briefing the next day, Lieutenant General Bouchard, Commander for Operation Unified Protector, announced NATO was pleased to report there were only three isolated areas where regime forces continued to fight.

On October 20, Qaddafi was discovered and killed by rebel fighters in his hometown of Surt. Qaddafi got his wish—he died in Libya.

How would the results of the civil war impact Libya’s future?

When the fighting was over, organizing a new government under the supervision of the National Transitional Council proved to be more difficult than toppling Qaddafi. Quickly, three main political powers emerged, including the Justice and Construction Party, the political branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Amin Belhajj, the head of the Justice and Construction Party, wanted to quickly rebuild the Muslim Brotherhood party along the lines of neighboring Egypt and Tunisia. They had finally prevailed to have a voice following years of repression at the hands of Muammar al-Qaddafi.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Libya had been formed in 1949. But the growth of their organizational structure was squashed with the coup of Colonel Qaddafi. Thereafter, the Brotherhood was never allowed to operate openly. Many fled to the United States, where they reorganized under the new name “Islamic Group – Libya.”  They made one last attempt to reorganize in 1982, when students returning from the United States pushed their political position, but Qaddafi either executed or imprisoned the organizers.

During the reorganized Libya’s first election, Khaled al-Mishri, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood,  was elected as the chairman of the High Council of State. The Western World hoped the elections would unify the divide between eastern and western Libya. Not everyone was pleased with the first election in forty years, in Benghazi, where the initial uprising began, armed protesters stormed several of the poling centers claiming the process method was flawed. After stealing away with ballot boxes and voter rolls in several places, the local gunmen took control of the eastern Libyan crude oil exporting terminals.

So now let’s look back at Benghazi Part 2 – The Gold. The World Prime European bankers and European leaders got what they wanted; using the Arab Spring Movement, they prevented Qaddafi from implementing his gold-backed currency for Libya and parts of Africa. Not only did they stop the issuance of the gold-backed currency, but some of the country’s central bank gold disappeared from official records. What happened to it? Since World War II, gold placed under the control of European banks and their controlled warehouses has magically disappeared. If you think this is an overstatement, just ask individuals and other entities who had claims against Ferdinand Marcos’ estate.

Moreover, what happened to Qaddafi’s assets? Supposedly, they are frozen around the world so his family cannot abscond with them. The question is, who will?

 

BENGHAZI – Part 3 – NATO Responds to the UN Resolution 1973

Suppose just for a moment that what I am about to tell you is what really happened. Suppose for a moment it is the truth that diplomats and elites do not want you to know.

First off, it will help you to understand that the world exists at two different levels: the one the elites want us to see, hear about, and is written about by the press; the other, which exists only for elites, takes place in a different realm, where only the few live.

In order to understand what really happened at Benghazi, this is the third in a series of articles that will provide the background to what led up to the diplomatic disaster that cost the United States the lives of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Information Management Officer (IMO) Sean Smith, and CIA contractors and former Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

My last blog referred to the gold and assets that Qaddafi owned and the world’s concerns of him creating a gold-backed currency. How did the world get to UN Resolution 1973? Let me explain.

On February 21, 2011, Libyan’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi, went before the council and requested a no-fly zone to keep supplies and mercenaries from joining Qaddafi regime’s military fighting and killing Libyan citizens. Remember, Qaddafi had fought his own citizens for years—killing anyone or any group he remotely believed could attempt to overthrow him.

Then two days later, French President Sarkozy went to the European Union, expressing his concerns regarding Qaddafi, and stating they must stop the attacks on his citizens, which got sanctions passed to freeze Qaddafi’s assets abroad.

On February 26, the UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1970, which referred the current Libyan government to the International Criminal Court for gross human rights violations. The UN also called for an arms embargo. Remember this fact. Then they agreed to freeze Qaddafi’s—and several other government officials’—assets outside of Libya.

On the last day of February, British Prime Minister David Cameron also proposed a no-fly zone so Qaddafi could not use the Libyan Air Force against his own citizens.

Surprisingly, without any explanation to the press from either the President or the Secretary of State, on March 1, the United State Senate unanimously passed a non-binding resolution urging the UN Security Council to impose a Libyan no-fly zone. Plus, they called for Qaddafi to step down as leader of the country. At the time, the U.S. had naval assets sitting near the Libyan coast, including the USS Enterprise.  Canada joined the stakes the next day. Oh, by the way, they, too, coincidentally already had naval assets near Libya. They upped the threat, saying NATO was looking at this as well. To set this straight, NATO’s charter was established to defend NATO countries from aggressors, more particularly,  the Soviet Union, now Russia. Was Libya threatening the citizens within any NATO country? This seemed like a stretch.

The next week, this worldwide movement against the pariah of the earth, Qaddafi, increased, beginning with NATO announcing twenty-four-hour a day AWACS flights. Britain and France increased their refining of the no-fly zone resolution to be brought before the UN Security Council. To keep the momentum going, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Arab equivalent to the European Union, of which, coincidentally enough, Libya was not a member, called for the establishment of a no-fly zone to protect Libyan citizens.

The Libyan National Transition Council, based in Benghazi, pleaded for the international community to impose the no-fly zone immediately, fearful that if Qaddafi’s forces reached Benghazi, they would kill “a half-million people.” For the record, the last available (2006) census of Benghazi placed its population at 670,797. According to Wikipedia, which is not a reliable reference but the only one with figures, the city’s population was 631,555 in 2011, while the greater metropolitan area held a population of 1,110,000. So, the National Transition Council believed that half of the population would be killed off? Seems like a stretch to me.

Then, on March 10, after a meeting with Sarkozy, France recognized the Libyan National Transition Council as the legitimate government.

The big development came on March 14, just before the G8 meeting in Paris. Sarkozy and the French Foreign Minister met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to push her to lead the U.S.’s intervention in Libya.

After you have read about how the elites and diplomats brought drama to this bad situation, here are some of the facts, which may not be a complete list of the actual on-the-ground situation.

Let’s look back at the beginning.

On February 16, 2011, Libyan anti-government protestors, inspired by uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia (you will remember the Arab Spring Movement), clashed with police. These protests continued for five days, spreading from Tripoli to Benghazi, which resulted in the deaths of a least five hundred Libyan citizens, while hundreds—perhaps as many as a thousand—were injured. By February 23, the eastern cities, including Benghazi, had fallen to the control of the “Arab Spring Movement”—or the rebels—or what was now pegged as the “good guys.” As violence continued throughout the country, it was estimated that more than 100,000 citizens had fled to surrounding countries.

Two weeks after the beginning of the uprising, it was estimated six thousand citizens had died, both pro-Qaddafi and anti-Qaddafi. Qaddafi loyalists had lost control of much of the country, except Tripoli. By the time the UN Security Council brought Resolution 1973 to a vote, the resolution stated: “Demanding an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to the current attacks against civilians, which it said might constitute “crimes against humanity”, the Security Council this evening imposed a ban on all flights in the country’s airspace — a no-fly zone — and tightened sanctions on the Qaddafi regime and its supporters.” civil unrest had tumbled the entire country into turmoil. Just before the UN no-fly zone was to go into effect, the Libyan government called for negotiations with the opposition—but Qaddafi’s forces attacked rebels in the city of Misrata, which unraveled any glimpse of hope Qaddafi had of his government withstanding what was about to be unleashed.

The first forces to intervene in Libya were the French on March 19, just two days after the resolution. Then on March 24, the French government agreed to let NATO take over all military operations, no later than March 29. NATO was empowered with enforcing the no-fly zone and the arms embargo (not to the rebels, of course, but only for the loyalists of Qaddafi). Only Turkey wanted to veto the forthcoming air strikes, but it never came to an official vote. The NATO operation began with the defense of Benghazi, the new capital of the Libyan Coalition Government.

On March 27, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was provided an intelligence briefing by one of her intelligence gatherers that the NATO-backed rebels were also committing war crimes. So, both Qaddafi fighters and the rebels were committing war crimes against one another. Additionally, it was reported from other sources that the rebels suddenly had a large number of AK-47s, which they had not had just days earlier. So, despite the arms embargo, the rebels were provided weapons.

On March 28, the day before NATO was to take over operations, President Obama addressed the American people on the Libyan situation. . He explained why it was the responsible thing to stop “violence on a horrific scale,” keeping Qaddafi from slaughtering thousands of Libyans, acting with a mandate from the UN, and being a part of a coalition force. Obama discussed that intervention was important to the peaceful transition of power in both Egypt and Tunisia, due to Libyan refugees pouring into those countries. It is important remember, as mentioned above, these two countries overthrew their dictators as a part of the Arab Spring Movement. President Obama claimed it was the right, albeit belated, decision to join with allies.

Was President Obama too slow to explain that decision or his long-term strategy to Congress and the American people?

 

 

 

BENGHAZI – Part 2 – The Gold – The Lead up to September 11, 2012

Suppose just for a moment that what I am about to tell you is what really happened. Suppose for a moment what I am about to tell you is the truth that diplomats and elites do not want you to know.

First off, it will help you to understand that the world exists at two different levels: the one the elites want us to see, hear about, and is written about by the press; the other, which exists only for elites, takes place in a totally different realm, where only the few live.

In order to understand what really happened at Benghazi, this is the second in a series of articles that will provide the background to what led up to the diplomatic disaster that cost the United States the lives of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Information Management Officer (IMO) Sean Smith, and CIA contractors and former Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

I assume when Qaddafi led a “bloodless military coup” and deposed of Libyan King Idris, he took possession of all of the assets of the Libyan King still in the country. I can find no reference to this assumption, although a small amount was returned to the country’s coffers. King Idris’s estate would have been small in comparison to other royal estates.

Nevertheless, it provided a good building block for Qaddafi. By 2011, it was rumored that Qaddafi had between 100 and 200 million US dollars hidden away in various corporate investments, as well as in front companies and bank accounts not associated with his name. It is my opinion the lower figure was more accurate. Plus, I assume a portion of his wealth was in physical gold. Additionally, his net worth was reported at $200 billion dollars, which included his personal and corporate ownership in crude oil field assets in Libya.

Within the decade that Qaddafi took over the Libyan oil and gas industry, political unrest resulted in  a significant increase in crude oil prices. Libya became the richest country in Northern Africa.  Despite the growth of a middle class, there was not a “trickle down” to the general population in proportion to the crude oil income.

The crude oil reserves in the country were the best in Africa and attracted the interests of many European countries in close proximity, including but not limited to Italy, Germany, Spain, and France. Additionally, Libya purchased goods from many of those same countries, including Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France.

As I had written in the first blog, Qaddafi had withdrawn from the terrorist business after September 11, 2001. Thus, he became “more acceptable” to the Western World, particularly with the countries with which they were doing business. Naturally, business was conducted in Euros, British Pound Sterling, Italian Lira, German francs and French francs, while crude oil was purchased in U.S. dollars.

As mentioned in the first blog, by 2011, Libya officially claimed to have 4.6 million troy ounces—or 146 metric tons—of gold associated with their central bank. The value of this gold had grown to approximately $8 billion dollars USD.

Qaddafi still had dreams of becoming the egotistical name he’d given himself—the “King of Kings”—which had little meaning for the most part. That is, until his plan was revealed that could make him the power broker for most of Africa. Again, most in the Western World paid little attention until Qaddafi decided to create a gold-backed Dinar, which could potentially become a currency used throughout Africa. It should be noted that Qaddafi believed he had a sufficient quantity of gold in the Libyan central bank to initiate his plan.

Suddenly, Qaddafi was a problem to the World. The official story, sold to the public via meetings at the United Nations, was that he was mistreating his own Libyan citizens. Now, as I stated earlier, Qaddafi was not a “prince,” but there had been no major change in the way he treated his people over the past decade or more. The “Arab Spring” movement—the last of several uprisings he’d put down—caused a segment of his own population to threaten to rise up against his reign. In the past, he had put down several uprisings, but the Western World paid little attention, while obviously hoping someone would take him down.

But this time was different to the Western World. Nicholas Sarkozy, then President of France,  was under extreme pressure from French banks to step in. If I had a guess, the British, Italian and German leaders were also receiving pressure from their bankers. But it was the French whom had the most to lose, as the French franc was one of the largest exchange currencies throughout most of Africa, and replacing it with the Libyan gold-backed dinar would have a huge ripple effect throughout the African continent. Those four European countries, as well as the World Prime banks in Europe, could not have that gold-backed currency go into circulation. Why, you ask? A gold-backed currency would cause non-gold-backed currencies to drop in value.

As a result of frantic meetings at the United Nations Security Council on March 17, 2011, there was a vote on Resolution 1973, with ten countries for it and five countries abstaining. Surprising to me, Germany was one of the abstention countries. Here is a portion of the quote of this resolution:

“Demanding an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to the current attacks against civilians, which it said might constitute ‘crimes against humanity,’ the Security Council this evening imposed a ban on all flights in the country’s airspace—a no-fly zone—and tightened sanctions on the Qadhafi regime and its supporters.

“The Council authorized Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, to take all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack in the country, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory—requesting them to immediately inform the Secretary-General of such measures.” Quotation taken directly from the United Nations text of Resolution 1973

However, in then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails, there was an e-mail that painted a different picture than the diplomatically crafted U.N. Resolution 1973, which came from none other than President Sarkozy, with the subject line “France’s client and Qaddafi’s gold”:

“…leading the attack on Libya with five specific purposes in mind: to obtain Libyan oil, ensure French influence in the region, increase Sarkozy’s reputation domestically, assert French military power, and to prevent Gaddafi’s influence in what is considered ‘Francophone Africa’.” Quotation from one of 3000 new Hillary Clinton emails released by the State Department – source – website http://thefreethoughtproject.com

As the Arab Spring movement went from talk to action, Qaddafi turned his army and mercenaries loose on the small group of poorly armed and organized rebels, which was composed of military deserters and ill-trained militiamen. They called their ill-fated movement the National Transitional Council (NTC). Qaddafi quipped these rebels were “17-year-olds, given pills at night, hallucinatory pills in their drinks, their milk, their coffee, their Nescafe.” Quotation of Qaddafi taken from website www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-12699033

Clearly, Mrs. Clinton bought into Resolution 1973. It can only be assumed that she also had undocumented conversations with bankers from the World Prime European banks. After the U.N. Resolution 1973 was enacted, there was no problem with President Obama getting on board, which is where he coined the famous phrase “Leading from Behind.” In my opinion, he wasn’t completely on-board with this action, but with Mrs. Clinton and the other European leaders egging him on, the United States joined the process.

Therefore, one can conclude that Resolution 1973 was carried out by world leaders, diplomats and elites to initiate a false narrative regarding Qaddafi, and start in motion a process not necessary for the protection of the Libyan population, but instead to stop Qaddafi from issuing a gold-backed African currency that would compete with the Western central banking monopoly.

Was there a precedence of stopping a gold-backed currency from going into effect by a third world country? Yes. Read up on Indonesian President Soekarno was planning to start an independent “third world bank” with a gold-backed currency in 1965. Shortly after he started this push, he was removed from office and a man the West could control, Suharto, was put in charge of the country.

In my next blog, I plan to write about what NATO did in Libya with respect to the United Nations Resolution 1973.

BENGHAZI – Part 1 Libyan Background – The Lead up to September 11, 2012

Suppose just for a moment that what I am about to tell you is what really happened. Suppose for a moment what I am about to tell you is the truth that diplomats and elites do not want you to know.

First off, it will help you to understand that the world exists at two different levels: the one the elites want us to see, hear about, and is written about by the press; the other, which exists only for elites, takes place in a totally different realm, where only the few live.

In order to understand what really happened at Benghazi, this is the first in a series of articles that will provide the background to what led up to the diplomatic disaster that cost the United States the lives of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Information Management Officer (IMO) Sean Smith, and CIA contractors and former Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

In 1969, Muammar al-Qaddafi rose to power via a military coup. At NO POINT am I saying Qaddafi was a GOOD GUY, but I want to convey how he ran his country.

In the early part of his iron-fisted rule, Qaddafi was a known sponsor of terrorism against the Western World. There were many training camps for terrorists throughout the desert, an unpopulated part of the country. Most Libyans live along the Mediterranean coast between Tripoli and Al Bayda, and most of the population are Sunni Muslim.

Shortly after Qaddafi took over the government, he nationalized the oil and gas industry, but still allowed joint ventures with outside corporations. His government utilized their huge crude oil income to build and maintain a relatively strong economy. Moreover, he used that income to attempt to develop agriculture and industry to diversify his country’s economy. It didn’t always work when crude oil prices were low.  Still, Libya’s per capita income was among the highest on the African continent. His government established a welfare state, which provided medical care and education at minimal cost to the people. Libya imported goods predominately from Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and South Korea, while it exported petroleum to Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Tunisia, and Turkey. Libya has had a positive trade balance since the 1960s. Additionally, the country and Qaddafi accumulated a large amount of gold bullion, 4.6 million ounces worth more than $8 billion dollars, received as payment for both legal and illegal activities. Some came from when Qaddafi overthrew the King of Libya. I will deal with the gold in a later blog.

Their school system has a similar structure to the Western World through the ninth grade.  After ninth grade, a student, male and female, may choose between higher education or vocational training. About 80% of the adult population is literate, and the government sponsors an adult educational program to attempt to increase that number.

As the oil and gas industry grew, the population did as well, including an influx of foreign workers. By the end of the 20th century and into the 21st century, death rates had greatly declined while birth rates were very high. Therefore, Libya has a young population. Their infant mortality rate was not only the lowest on the African continent, but well below the world’s average.

Qaddafi allowed some of the most liberal women’s rights of any Arab country. Women were allowed to receive an education, drive and hold jobs. He passed a law requiring equal pay for equal work. Young women marriages were banned. In 2008, there Libya had their first female commercial pilot. Qaddafi even had several female bodyguards.

Despite all this, Qaddafi was your usual despot. He ran Libya as an authoritarian state, with power concentrated among members of his inner circle of relatives and security chiefs. However, there was still a large segment of the population, which reasonably good lifestyles, comparable to the Western World. That is, up until the year 2011, when the “civil war” began.

Qaddafi’s relationship with the outside world was quite different. Beginning in the 1980s, Qaddafi and Libya were one of the main sponsors of worldwide terrorism. Because of the high crude oil prices at the beginning of the 1980s, Qaddafi had deep pockets filled with cash and was willing to fund the torment of the Western World. In 1986, Qaddafi sponsored the bombing of the LaBelle Discotheque in West Berlin, in which three individuals were killed and two hundred twenty-nine were injured, including seventy-nine U.S. soldiers. Ten days later, U.S. coalition forces struck Libya with jets and Tomahawk missiles, including landing one in the Qaddafi compound.

In 1988, Qaddafi responded to the attack on Libya by carrying out his most brazen, notorious deed: sponsoring the taking down of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.  In all, 243 passengers, 16 crew members and 11 Lockerbie residents were killed. Following a joint investigation completed in 1991 by the British MI5, Scotland Yard and the FBI, it was determined that two Libyan intelligence agents were behind the Pan Am 103 bombing disaster. Stiff sanctions were placed against Libya. After several years of fighting with Qaddafi, in 1999 he agreed to turn over the two agents. They were tried in the Netherlands. One of the agents was convicted, while the other was acquitted. In 2003, Libya accepted responsibility for the bombing. The next year, the U.S. government and Libya agreed to a payment of eight million dollars to each victim’s family. Three years after Pan Am went bankrupt, the international court awarded it thirty million dollars from the Libyan government for its lawsuit over the Lockerbie incident.

Following the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, Qaddafi attempted to improve his image with the Western World by offering assistance with al Qaeda’s North African camps. But in reality, he was still only looking out for himself. The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, the al Qaeda affiliate, he assisted in taking them down, previously tried to oust him from power.

However, on March 1, 2003, Qaddafi’s true character re-emerged when he got into a television feud with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah regarding Saudi-allowed U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia. Qaddafi said, “King Fahd told me that his country was threatened and he would co-operate with the devil to protect it.”

Crown Prince Abdullah retorted, “Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country and not an agent of colonialism like you and others. You, who brought you to power? Don’t talk about matters that you fail to prove. Your lies precede you, while the grave is ahead of you.”

I will pick up with the history here in the next blog.

 

Martin Luther King

Let me start out by say I am an older white guy. I have never been turned away from an eating Silhouette fedoraestablishment. I have never been told, if I can even get on the bus that I have to sit in the back. I have never stood in a place of business and looked to see a men’s restroom, women’s restroom and colored restroom, for both sexes. I can’t speak to the prejudice of a job interview. Further, I have never had anyone in my family go through the above experiences. 

The point I am trying to make is for me as a white person it is difficult to even begin to comprehend the impact that Reverend Martin Luther King had on the African-American community. We as white people often make statements as though we know, we get it and we feel your pain. As for me, all I can say is I have never been through the experiences, directly or indirectly, so I really can’t make such a statement. I can see a wrong, but I could never experience this one. No one could make me get it because of the color of my skin, I was denied.

I grew up at the end of the beginning of the civil rights movement; my parents discussed this with me every time something would appear on the news. I was taught by my parents to judge people by their character and how they treated me, nothing else. I was young enough to be open-minded and old enough to understand the impact this movement was having on the American Society during the early 1960’s. However, from my experiences of observing that time period, I know many in the white community had a real problem with Reverend Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement. Conversely, from my historical research, I have learned that some within the African-American community had a problem with him not being radical enough. Martin Luther King knew in his heart and from watching Gandhi, the only way to open this door to equality and to ultimately win over enough within the overall American population was to lead a peaceful movement. Dr. King knew it was the only way, while it took him a long time, certainly longer than he wanted, it was through these actions that the people began to respect the peacefulness of his action. Yes, it clearly was the correct way to accomplish his goal.

Is there still prejudges, of course. But Martin Luther King had a dream and a society – both blacks and whites – benefited from it.  

Inspired by Greatness: Keep Going!

“It always seems impossible until it is done.” –Nelson Mandela

South African President Nelson Mandela’s death a few weeks ago left his nation—and our world—without its beloved figurehead of ethics and morality. Despite twenty-seven years of imprisonment, Mandela always served as a beacon of encouragement in this sometimes dark world. His words, even after his death, inspire us to harbor a spirit of forgiveness, to remain steadfast, to work hard, to focus on our goals, and to always endure.

As writers, we can embody Mandela’s spirit in our own work by continuing to write and by keeping our goals of manuscript completion and publication in sight, even in the face of rejection.

I have days, like many writers, when I want to throw in the towel and quit. It would be easier to dig ditches, wouldn’t it? At least at the end of the day, you can see what you’ve accomplished. That’s not always the case with writing. Surely we may have more words on the page at the end of a long day of writing, but after a day of editing (which often involves deleting what we’ve written), we may feel like the time we spent prior has been wasted. Of course, this isn’t the case. If we stay the course, one day we can type, “The End.” If we keep honing our craft by writing and by studying good writing and craft, our work will indeed get better. If we keep submitting, one day we will be published.

What happens, then, when we’ve finished a manuscript, we’ve revised it, we’ve had it professionally edited, and we’ve finally had it published? Are we finished? Of course not! We are writers, after all, so we pull up a blank page on our screen, and we write.

Mandela knew that persistence was key to success. He knew that staying the course was the most important thing, even in the face of disappointment. He knew that a positive attitude in even the worst of times and places would see him through. He knew there is much work to be done, and that now is the best time to do it.

Keep writing!

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” –Nelson Mandela

REMEMBERING PEARL HARBOR: A DAY IN INFAMY

December 7, 1941.

The date, to many, seems little more than a number etched in the past; the words Pearl Harbor Day nothing more than tiny font at the bottom of a square on the calendar. But to a dwindling number of American soldiers, it’s a day  marked with a heartrending mixture of joy and tears. Joy in their survival of a horrific attack on American soil, in the Pearl Harbor of Oahu, Hawaii. Tears shed in memory of their 2,403 brothers-in-arms who died during the explosive assault.

The Japanese shot torpedoes and dropped bombs from 353 war planes launched from six of their aircraft carriers surrounding our fleet. Four of our US Navy battleships were sank. All eight sustained severe damage.

This infamous attack on the United States Naval Base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was an effort by the Imperial Japanese Navy to keep the US Pacific Fleet from thwarting Japan’s plans to attack the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and, yes, the United States of America. During the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese carried out simultaneous attacks on other US-held territories; the British Empire in Malaya, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and in the Philippines.

Survivors of the bombing at Pearl Harbor are now in their early nineties. Once young men who entered the military in the late 30s and early 40s—some seeking adventure, but most seeking a means to support their families since few jobs were available following the Great Depression—these US Veterans now memorialize their service and honor their dead in small-town celebrations. Few are physically able or can afford to travel to Oahu, Hawaii, site of the Pearl Harbor Museum & Tours, where the largest celebrations are held.

It is our job, then, to remember these men and women. Our job to thank them for their duty in protecting our sovereign nation at the expense of life and limb. It is our job, at least, to remember. In his moving speech (listen to it here), President Franklin D. Roosevelt called December 7th, 1941 “A date that will live in infamy.” We haven’t forgotten, President Roosevelt. And on behalf of the US Veterans who served us that ill-fated day, let us never forget.

–Don C. Kesterson