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US smuggling weapons to Syrian rebels: The real Benghazi story

Published: May 16, 2013
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Source: Asia Tribune

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Were they trying to obscure that there was an arms operation going on at the CIA annex?” Paul asked. “I’m not sure exactly what was going on, but I think questions ought to be asked and answered, and I’m a little curious when employees of the State Department are told by government officials they shouldn’t testify – before the Senate or House committees – and then they are sort of sequestered and kept away from testimony, so I think there may be more to this.”

This is not the first time either that Senator Paul raised questions about possible arms supplies under the CIA umbrella. During her testimony in the Senate in January, Rand Paul asked then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton whether the spy agency was sending weapons from Benghazi into other countries. Clinton replied that he would have to ask CIA officials about it.

Sen. Rand Paul said on Aaron Klein Radio in mid April: “First of all with regard to Benghazi, I think it’s important [to determine more about the apparent gun-running program] because it may have something to do with why the compound was attacked. If we were involved with shipping guns to Turkey, there was a report that a ship left from Libya towards Turkey and that there were arms on it in the week preceding this [attack]; there were reports that our ambassador was meeting with the Turkish attaché, so I think with regards to figuring out what happened at Benghazi, it’s very important to know whether or not the CIA annex had anything to do with facilitating guns being sent to Turkey and ultimately to Syria. With regard to arming the rebels, just this week in the armed services committee, General Dempsey, the [Chairman of the] Joint Chiefs of Staff said that we were no longer able to distinguish who the good guys were from the bad guys and that sounds pretty worrisome if we are actually arming people who in the end may be enemies of America…enemies of Israel… enemies maybe of the Christians who live within Syria…sending arms to a rebel force to that may include Al-Nusra and other radical jihadists.”

In the eighties, the Iran-Contra Arms Affair shook the Regan administration the way the Benghazi affair is developing to shake the foundation of the Obama administration.

Iran-contra affair, in U.S. history, secret arrangement in the 1980s to provide funds to the Nicaraguan contra rebels from profits gained by selling arms to Iran. The Iran-contra affair was the product of two separate initiatives during the administration of President Ronald Reagan. The first was a commitment to aid the contras who were conducting a guerrilla war against the leftist Sandinista government of Nicaragua. The second was to placate “moderates” within the Iranian government in order to secure the release of American hostages held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon and to influence Iranian foreign policy in a pro-Western direction.

Despite the strong opposition of the Reagan administration, the Democratic-controlled Congress enacted legislation that prohibited the Defense Dept., the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or any other government agency from providing military aid to the contras from Dec., 1983, to Sept., 1985. The Reagan administration circumvented these limitations by using the National Security Council (NSC), which was not explicitly covered by the law, to supervise covert military aid to the contras. Under Robert McFarlane (1983–85) and John Poindexter (1985–86) the NSC raised private and foreign funds for the contras. This operation was directed by NSC staffer Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North. McFarlane and North were also the central figures in the plan to secretly ship arms to Iran despite a U.S. trade and arms embargo.

In early Nov., 1986, the scandal broke when reports in Lebanese newspapers forced the Reagan administration to disclose the arms deals. Poindexter resigned before the end of the month; North was fired. Select congressional committees held joint hearings, and in Dec., 1986, Lawrence E. Walsh was named as special prosecutor to investigate the affair. Higher administration officials, particularly Reagan, Vice President Bush, and William J. Casey (former director of the CIA, who died in May, 1987), were implicated in some testimony, but the extent of their involvement remained unclear. North said he believed Reagan was largely aware of the secret arrangement, and the independent prosecutor’s report (1994) said that Reagan and Bush had some knowledge of the affair or its cover-up. Reagan and Bush both claimed to have been uninformed about the details of the affair, and no evidence was found to link them to any crime. A presidential commission was critical of the NSC, while congressional hearings uncovered a web of official deception, mismanagement, and illegality.

A number of criminal convictions resulted, including those of McFarlane, North, and Poindexter, but North’s and Poindexter’s were vacated on appeal because of immunity agreements with the Senate concerning their testimony. Former State Dept. and CIA officials pleaded guilty in 1991 to withholding information about the contra aid from Congress, and Caspar Weinberger, defense secretary under Reagan, was charged (1992) with the same offense. In 1992 then-president Bush pardoned Weinberger and other officials who had been indicted or convicted for withholding information on or obstructing investigation of the affair.

Will the Benghazi Affair leads that far?

- Asian Tribune –

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