Category Archives: From The Desk Of Don Kesterson

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.

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

War Between the States

 

In schools today, if students are even taught history, they are usually taught that Lincoln fought the war with the South to free the slaves. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, Lincoln thought slavery was terrible for the Union, however, the War was fought to re-unite the Union. PERIOD.

A “Civil War” is anarchy among the people, for the most part, it is neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother. The War Between the States was started over differing philosophies regarding taxation of goods and states rights. Only two States had philosophical conflict; North Carolina had a large pro-Union segment of their population, predominately in eastern North Carolina. Naturally, to state the obvious, Virginia had a large pro-Union segment of its population in western Virginia, which ultimately became West Virginia.

At the beginning of the War Between the States, Lincoln believed if he could re-unite the Union then he would resolve this volancic issue. Lincoln did not want to allow any new territories to enter the Union as slave States. This was the real problem with Lincoln’s election in the South, they were afraid the delicate balance of power in the Congress would be swayed against the South.Silhouette fedora

Most Southerns fought the War as they believed the US Constitution gave them the right to withdraw from the Union. Very few of them were slave owners. Did they believe in preserving Slavery, yes, many did but again most believed they had a right to withdrawal from a “Tyrannical Government” who was imposing unusually high tariffs on their cotton, which was becoming very popular with England and France, among other European countries.

In late 1862, as the Union was losing the War, Lincoln offered his famous Emancipation Proclamation. While it has long been reported to have been a turning point, philosophically in the War, it took the “wind” out of  many in the Union Army, as they did not believe that they were fighting for any other reason than to re-unite the Union. Neither Lincoln nor most of the northern population at that time, believed that the African-Americans were equals to the whites. Lincoln had in a lot of ways mis-interrupted the Slaves running to the Union seeking freedom. The irony of this Proclamation, Lincoln did not free the slaves in the Union States, only those in the Southern States.

Pet Peeves

Silhouette fedoraI will start lightly with how the history that we were taught in school was not based on history.

I have always been amazed with the history books crediting Christopher Columbus for  “discovering America”, at a time when Leifr Eiriksson’s heirs were hundreds of miles inland. Remember Columbus was not looking for America; he was looking for a short cut to the Far East to bring back goods. When he got to America, he did not know where he was! When he went back to Europe, he lied about where he had been. And this is the great explorer, who discovered America!

Blogging for beginners

My ongoing blog begins here.