How Ambassador Stevens Really Died – and why Hillary is still responsible

Posted on October 24, 2015

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 photo fake Chris Stevens meme_zpsrnctqqwe.jpg
this is a prime example of one of the fake Facebook memes that has circulated. Oh yes, that is someone’s dead body all right, but it is not Chris Stevens, this was not Libya or Benghazi and this photo originally showed up on the internet long before 2012 – 2004 to be exact!  And the photo of the victim was taken in the mid 1980’s – in Argentina…

Chris Stevens was not raped or tortured; Hillary Clinton is still criminally negligent and Tea Party people are ruining their brand with fictitious internet memes.

I cringe, pretty much daily, in response to much untrustworthy and counterfeit information that I see circulating in the ostensibly “conservative social media universe”. The reason that I resent it, is the pall that it casts on the intellectual capital on the right, and myself as a part of that community. What is it that troubles me? The propagation of faulty memes, narratives and rumors, which – when exposed to the harsh light of facts and verifiable data, collapse under their own weight. And, when they do – Democrats, Liberals and Progressives point to them as examples of the appalling lack of discernment on the conservative side. Speaking for myself, I prefer to be calling out Blasted Fools, not making one of myself.

Is this a problem and if so, why? Before I explain that, let me begin with an example of something ridiculous that is still in circulation and has been for over 2 years.

On Facebook, there is an anti-Hillary squib. Shown at the top of the page, it features an image that has been much in circulation, and the context and premise is obviously that Ambassador J.Christopher Stevens was taken by a mob of terrorists in Benghazi, murdered and mutilated.  It was created as a hoax and remains so. I have reason to suspect that the person responsible intended to embarrass the easily taken in among the conservative milieu. Based on how viral it went – that apparently is quite a few. And leading the pack at the time, were Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and others.

The patently false rape story was relayed by a popular – and completely worthless blog called the Gateway Pundit, but also by Front Page Magazine. The founder and editor of the Gateway Pundit – Jim Hoft, was awarded the Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award in 2013. That would be like former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner getting the Women’s Empowerment Award.

Now, before I continue further, allow me to take a moment to establish my anti-Hillary Clinton bonafides, because I know there will be some who will accuse me of trying to cut her a break here. They couldn’t be more wrong. I have been writing devastating critiques of Ms. Clinton for nigh on about 5 years, here on Blasted Fools and at other publications like CDN and I am in the finishing stages on a scathing book on her presidential bid. Now that that’s out of the way…

So, what is the issue? The issue is that no such thing happened and the above photo which depicts some terrible scene of the outcome of horrific violence to an unfortunate individual, is not Stevens. We will outline who it is and what led to their death and the truth will be more disturbing than the bogus narrative of that meme.

First though, what did happen to the Ambassador following the attack by a large rag tag contingent of Salafist jihadis loosely affiliated with al Qaeda? The terror group Ansar al Sharia comes up in some reports, but American officials readily admit they don’t know for certain and the known leaders of Ansar al Sharia deny involvement. One individual, Ahmed Abu Khattala, has been taken into custody at this point.

Well, we all know the story up to the point at which the Special Mission Compound was attacked. Hillary Clinton repeatedly ignored urgent requests to provide beefed up security for the compound. The UK’s Daily Mail reported that just hours before his death, he sent the Pentagon a cable describing ‘expanding Islamist influence in Dema,’ a town east of Benghazi, and said he was seeing a ‘troubling increase in violence and Islamist influence.’

On the day of the attack, 9/11/12 – we know that Stevens was trapped by a fire which started when diesel fuel was splashed on an area leading to the locked ‘safe haven’ by the militants. Stevens was in the safe haven with Special Agent Scott Strickland and Sean Smith, an information management officer. The safe room, which the attackers could not immediately breach, began filling with smoke. By the time the three decided to risk leaving the room through a window, only Agent Strickland made it out. He made some additional attempts to re-enter the room to find Smith and Stevens, but the dense smoke thwarted his efforts.

There were other security agents at the compound in another building that night, who each attempted to enter the safe room and were each in turn overcome with the smoke and had to exit, empty handed. When assistance arrived from the GRS team at the CIA Annex, they donned breathing masks and recovered Smith’s body, but not Stevens. The team, under fire from militants, retreated to the CIA annex without Stevens.

Some considerable time later after the band of terrorists considered its work finished and pulled out of the area, a group of curious local residents happened upon the smoldering remains of the compound. It’s critical at this point to understand that Stevens had been in a building, most likely in a semi-conscious state, ingesting smoke for approximately 3 to 3 ½ hours! Not knowing whether there were still victims of the attack inside, the party of curiosity seekers searched through the building and found Ambassador Stevens unconscious.

I should take a moment to comment on this part of the story. The manner in which events in what the State Department nicknames “the Sandbox”, are reported in the media, render a general impression on the person viewing the news that all cities in the Middle East and North Africa are just teeming with people who are belligerent, violent and hate Americans and Europeans. Naturally this impression leads us to think that the entire city of Benghazi was the security risk that Ambassador Stevens reported to his boss Hillary Clinton, because the neighboring community was full of Islamic fanatics. Such was not the case. The threat was specific as to consisting of external elements, not local residents.

I’ve reported on the attacks on Christians (Catholics and Coptics) in Egypt and outlined how non-Christians have often bravely attempted to come to the aid of the victims of Muslim Brotherhood attacks. What’s more, Ambassador Stevens was a person that had a very open and cordial relationship with the citizens of Benghazi. He attended social gatherings, dinners, and numerous other friendly interactions with members of the community and was thought of fondly as someone who had a key role in the events that led up to the overthrow of Gaddafi. Benghazi itself, was not riddled with jihadists.

The legitimate and real security threat that existed, stemmed from the marauding militia groups from outside the area. Until the Islamist militias began shaping up as a menace, beginning in May of 2012, Benghazi was a very hospitable environment for the Ambassador and his staff. Stevens would habitually go for morning runs in the neighborhood. He made and had many friends in Benghazi. The people who found him, were local residents.

As the Telegraph U.K. noted, most Libyans who voted in recent elections to reject pro-democracy Islamic parties, divided their blame between their own weak government and the forces seeking to undermine it. “We are so upset for what happened,” said Maher al-Senussi, an onlooker.

“Real Libyans cared about this guy, he was helping us. Believe me the majority are condemning this.”

Only two months prior, Mr Stevens sent an email describing how happy he was to have returned to a country “much more friendly” than when he was first stationed there under Col Gaddafi. “It is great to be back in the ’new Libya’, as people are saying,” he had said. It was a return that would claim his life.

So, in this instance, a handful of what can only be described as Good Samaritans in the truest sense, gathered up the seemingly lifeless body of the Ambassador and hurriedly attempted to get him to a local hospital – the Benghazi Medical Center. Unfortunately, Stevens was too far gone and even with the ministrations of an emergency room doctor, trying everything in the playbook for 45 minutes – succumbed to the effects of smoke inhalation. Smoke inhalation – not beatings, not rape, not torture, not stabbing or any other mob violence.

The attempted rescue of Stevens was captured on a smart phone video, which includes the following dialogue. “I swear, he’s dead,” one Libyan says, peering in. “Bring him out, man! Bring him out,” another says. “The man is alive. Move out of the way,” others shout. “Just bring him out, man.” “Move, move, he is still alive!” “Alive, Alive! God is great,” the crowd erupts, while someone calls to bring Mr. Stevens to a car. “Alive, Alive! God is great,” is not what we normally associate with extremists.

In the most negative context, “God is Great” would be an exultation from extremists in praise of Allah punching the ticket of an infidel. These men from the local neighborhood, on the other hand, were overjoyed at the prospect that they had perhaps actually been instrumental in discovering a fellow human being at death’s door and the opportunity to effect a rescue.

Eyewitnesses told the Associated Press that the scene was frantic and distressing. The Libyans who found him expressed frustration that there was no ambulance and no first aid on hand, leaving him to be slung over a man’s shoulder to be carried to a car.  Here is the report in which CNN interviewed the young man who made a video of the attempted rescue. If he is a terrorist or a rapist, I am a Miss World contestant.

“There was not a single ambulance to carry him. Maybe he was handled the wrong way,” said Fahd al-Bakoush, a freelance videographer who shot the footage. “They took him to a private car.” The would be rescuers were under the likely mistaken impression that Stevens was still alive, and although technically that could have been the case,  he was certainly unconscious.

“We were happy to see him alive. The youths tried to rescue him. But there was no security, no ambulances, nothing to help,” said Ahmed Shams, the 22-year-old arts student. When they entered the consulate, “there was no one around. There was no fire fighters, no ambulances, no relief,” said the photographer, Abdel-Qader Fadl.

Once admitted to the nearby medical facility, Benghazi Medical Center, he was attended to on an emergency basis by Dr. Zaid Bouzaid, or in other reports as his name is rendered, Dr. Ziad Abu Zeid and several nurses. The account comes to us from Nancy A. Youssef, a respected and reliable journalist with McClatchy News in the region, whose reports I have relied on in other research I have done on reports dealing with the Middle East and North Africa.

Bouzaid, who was working a 24-hour shift, had already seen 10 Libyans come in that evening with various injuries, all saying they had been under attack. In a city inundated with armed militiamen vying for power, rumors were swirling in the emergency room about who was attacking whom.

This time, however, the Libyans who arrived were carrying Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya. He’s a diplomat, someone said. As Bouzaid began attempting to resuscitate him, he looked at man’s face and recognized the popular ambassador immediately.

“I had seen photos of him on Facebook,” Bouzaid said. Stevens’ lips were covered in black and his body was “reeking of smoke. There was no sign of life. There was nothing.” Bouzaid said. Even though he appeared lifeless, Bouzaid, according to witnesses and hospital records, spent the next 45 minutes trying to revive him.

Bouzaid said his initial assessment was that the ambassador had suffered from suffocation and carbon monoxide poisoning. Patients can survive carbon monoxide levels below 60 percent. As Bouzaid kept trying to revive him, Stevens’ body only reaffirmed what the doctor already knew. Blood poured out his nose and mouth. “That happens in cases of severe poisoning,” Bouzaid said. Stevens’ carbon monoxide levels were above 60 percent.

There have been some anecdotal and inaccurate reports that Dr. Bouzaid’s hospital was under occupation of Ansar al Sharia militants that evening. The claim is fallacious. In the weeks after the attack on the compound, Ansar al Sharia, was routed out of Benghazi by residents, but in absence of any competent government security (due to Hillary Clinton’s having spearheaded the removal of Gaddafi), the group re-emerged, attempting to polish its image by providing security to various public buildings, including Benghazi’s al Jalaa Hospital – not Benghazi Medical Center.

In case you are wondering whether there is other confirmation of Dr. Bouzaid and his legitimacy, consider the account in Foreign Policy written September 24, 2012, of William Lawrence of the International Crisis Group, a personal friend of the Ambassador’s, and a person who interviewed Dr. Bouzaid personally:

The high-speed Tunisian taxi driver, who doubles as a freelance currency trader, told me, “More Libyans are coming every day. I’m making lots of money. It’s getting worse.” I thought for a minute about his unscientific sample and wondered, “How bad is it?” At Tunisian customs, I was all alone. The immigration official spent too much time half-heartedly scrutinizing my passport, then looked up and said, “You came in yesterday?” “Yes,” I replied. “It was not a good day for you.”

“Why?” I asked. He hesitated, then mumbled, eyes downcast, “It was 11 September.”  He glanced up and returned my passport with a wince. Something was up, but I did not know what.

It was only when I arrived at Tripoli International Airport that I finally learned about the consequences of the attack on the U.S. consulate. I later learned that Chris had gasped his last breath just two or three hours before I had arisen, with Dr. Ziad Bouzaid at Benghazi Medical Center trying valiantly to revive him for 45 minutes. A few hours later his body would be lifted onto its last flight to Frankfurt amidst an outpouring of grief and disbelief on both sides of the Atlantic.

The only discrepancy between the version of events as provided by local residents and government reports, is that the State Department characterizes the party that delivered Stevens to Benghazi Medical Center, as “Libyan Security Forces”. I tend to think that was part of an attempt to stem the fallout from the negligence characterizing the whole affair – particularly the many requests for beefed up security from the Ambassador’s office that were rebuffed by Secretary Clinton.

From whence did the false report of Stevens’ death at the hands of militants originate?  As for the claim that Stevens was raped, that seems to have originated from a story on the Lebanese news outlet Tayyar.org that erroneously cites the AFP Agence France-Presse , and that was picked up by the Washington Times.

The AFP told TWT that the “report falsely quoted our news agency and has no truth whatsover to it.”  Tayyar.org describes itself as a newspaper and a political organization – the Free Patriotic Movement FPM, led by Michel Aoun.  I’ll let you decide what degree of credibility and motivation would exist with such an arrangement, but the Tayyar report has no verifiable provenance.

None of the above detracts from the basic truth of Hillary Clinton’s criminal negligence and dereliction of duty. Chris Stevens, Sean Smith and the men who attempted to rescue them, Tyrone Woods and Glen Dougherty died needlessly.

The other take away should be that these bogus Facebook memes are no more credible than the initial story that was put forth by Hillary’s minions, that a YouTube video sparked the attack on the compound. The photo used in the meme, was traced back to the mid 1980’s, and which later surfaced among 6 others in a government scandal that led to an investigation of who the victims were and how they were killed. Thanks for this detective work on the origin of the photo, goes to Ross Elder, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan.

Ross notes that when he discovered the Chris Stevens meme was based on a falsehood, quite a few Tea Partiers and so called ‘Patriots’ were not happy with him and that is putting it mildly. Some people have a greater vested interest in a notion even if it is patently false, than they do the truth. That the last hours of Chris Stevens’ life were not even more traumatic than they actually were, was hugely disappointing to those folks, because they felt that Stevens being raped and tortured is more damning than the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton simply not doing anything to launch a rescue at the compound.

Here, is a link to the original article in Diario DeLeon, an Argentine newspaper, where this photo was the featured photo in a story about an obscure government army militia training camp named Ouebrada de la Arena in the province of Cordoba where – according to the story told to Argentine government officials, the persons shown in the harrowing photos were supposedly army recruits who had agreed to be subject to experiments in withstanding torture. Apparently, if the account is accurate, those conducting the research got over enthusiastic, carried it to an extreme and wound up murdering their subjects.

The families of the victims received compensation in the form of proceeds from insurance policies. It was of little consolation. The psychology involved in this horror story would take another entire article to outline. When the photos and more specific details of the program surfaced in 2004, an investigation was launched by the late Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, whose wife Christina, succeeded him in the office as the current President.

Who would issue an insurance policy for such sordid goings on, is beyond comprehension – but this is Latin America in the late 1980’s after all. The news article is in Spanish, but if you are interested, you can have someone literate – not likely your pool boy or landscaping crew, translate it for you. The military training explanation is one possibility.

The other possible explanation is that the victims depicted in the photos were missing persons killed by government forces during the years known as the Dirty War (1976–1983); in which Wikipedia discloses that the “disappeared” were often tortured and killed before their bodies were disposed of in rural areas or unmarked graves.

 photo burial site of Dirty War victims_zpsg2hxk3m1.jpg

researchers and investigation teams inspecting a site where Argentinian victims of the “Dirty War” were dumped

There were as many as 30,000 persons abducted by the Argentina military dictatorship during the “Dirty War” years. The government brutality sparked a protest movement of women whose children were missing. It was called the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. The song, “Mothers of the Disappeared” by U2, is a tribute to the struggles and suffering of the women of this campaign, some of whom themselves were kidnapped by the military, murdered and their bodies dropped into the Pacific Ocean.

In summing up, Please, for the love of Pete, don’t circulate these memes without doing a little research. Let’s rebuild our brand, one reality check at a time.

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