Report from London links CIA Covert Op with Turkey, Syria
By William Boardman -- Reader Supported News
PSYCHIATRISTS CALL THIS PROJECTION. by [conservative-daily.com]
Answer offered by Seymour Hersh Gets Little Public Attention
"Benghazi" is one of those kneejerk labels that rightwing folks slap on a story they don't actually understand but have determined the "right" answer to anyway. It's a hot button, not an argument, like the "IRS scandal," which the right is finally beginning to admit it got wrong because it ignored the law as written. "Fast and Furious" is another of some two dozen, mostly less-well-known rightwing thought substitutes that aren't supported by persuasive evidence (meanwhile, the scripted herd of Obama-haters pretty much remains silent about real Obama administration scandals, like civilian murder by drone or massive global surveillance, the sorts of things that throw the left into denial).
The latest explanation of "Benghazi" comes from a non-partisan reporter, so that's a start, and it provides a credible framework for most of the anomalies associated with Benghazi. Even better, official spokes-people universally either refused to comment on the story, or denied it flatly. So there's hope.
"Benghazi" as a political story began with the Obama administration's strangely dishonest early responses to the killing of four Americans in Libya on September 11, 2012. The story got legs when Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney immediately falsified what the administration was saying, and was followed by just about every Republican who's talked about it since perpetuating one lie or another. Nobody has seemed interested in the truth, which especially makes sense from a Republican perspective, since "Benghazi" provided a handy rhetorical cudgel with which to pound the table and the president in order to appear "tough." But why has the Obama administration remained so opaque, tossing out one red herring after another for Republicans to gleefully chase, but still not offering a persuasive narative?
Even when Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer recently told Republicans to give up on Benghazi -- "the public is now tired of it" -- he was still clinging to the party line that there was a real scandal to be found somewhere, even though neither he nor anyone else seemed to know what it could be even though they were sure it was "worse than Watergate."
If some truth about Benghazi is available, does anyone want to know?
So far, every report -- from Congress and the executive branch and most media -- has come t5o conclusions with serious critiques that fall short of scandal. Despite a variety of shortcomings and contradictions in the administration's responses since September 2012, none of the investigations has produced a credible, fact-based explanation for the administration's obviously misleading response at the time or its apparent stonewalling since. This changed on April 6, 2014, when the London Review of Books published "The Red Line and the Rat Line," a long article by Seymour Hersh, focusing on evidence that the sarin nerve gas used in Damascus in August 2013 was likely a false flag gassing by rebel forces made to look like it was done by the Syrian government, in order to fool the United States into attacking Syria.
Hersh's analysis of how Turkish and Syrian agents almost managed to dupe the United States into going to war based on a lie (they'd seen that work before, right?), is the focus of his article, in which Benghazi is only a tangential element. The "Libyan spring" began in Benghazi and anyone who wanted to know could easily learn that the region was hot with jihadists among anti-government rebels.
By early 2012, Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddfi had been overthrown and killed. The U.S. had established a foothold in the Libyan turmoil. The U.S. also had access to Gaddafi's significant weapons cache, which was largely unneeded in a Libya already awash in arms. But those weapons had other uses, one of which was to support the rebels in Syria trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Reportedly, Turkey was already operating the Benghazi airport, primarily to fly humanitarian aid to Syria, but also to smuggle arms to the rebels. Since the U.S. and Turkey both wanted Assad gone, the CIA helped set up a more extensive, covert supply line to those rebels. As Hersh reports:
"The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a 'rat line', a back channel highway into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida. (The DNI [Director of National Intelligence] spokesperson said: 'The idea that the United States was providing weapons from Libya to anyone is false.')"
Libyans attacked both the consulate and the CIA safe house in 2012
CIA director David Petraeus apparently ran the rat line operation (his spokesperson denies there was such an operation) at the same time the FBI was investigating his extra-marital operations. (The CIA secretly coordinated its activities with Britain's MI6.) Coincidentally or not, Turkish media reported an unscheduled meeting in Ankara between Petraeus and "his Turkish counterpart on Sept. 2 in Istanbul during which the spy chiefs discussed the Syrian crisis and the Arab republic's possible transition process," without providing further detail other than noting that this was the CIA director's second visit to Ankara in six months. The Turkish report noted that a month earlier, U.S. and Turkish delegations met to discuss how "to coordinate ongoing efforts to extend humanitarian aid to Syrians and to produce a common road map to shape a possible post-Baathist era. The meetings also raised the issue of the need for a smooth transition in Syria to avoid chaos in the country in the event that President Bashar al-Assad's government collapses."