Petraeus-Benghazi-Gate: the new Watergate moment that may shatter Obama’s presidency
By Richard Cottrell
Contributing writer for End the Lie
With each passing day, the unfolding saga of Petraeus-Benghazi-Gate displays ever more surprising turns which indicate a huge cover up at the heart of the American state.
Note: don’t forget to check out Richard’s latest articles, “General betrayal: the CIA, the murder of Ambassador Stevens and the return of Iran-Contra” and “So now we know: Hurricane Sandy voted for Obama“
What happened to the calm, taciturn, seemingly sedated Obama who quietly strolled the world stage for the past four years? He’s like a champion boxer who has suddenly emerged from the corner hurling punches in all directions, like a man on something seriously hot.
Note the significant change in language instead of his customary feeble meandering words. Now hear this: ‘Anyone who has a problem with Ambassador Rice has a problem with me.’ When did Obama play with tough guy macho man words like that before?
For the record Ambassador Susan Rice is the top US diplomat at the UN. She’s in the waiting lounge for Hillary Clinton’s throne at the State Department. But Clinton is heavily compromised by Petraeus-Benghazi-Gate because of her statements after the assault that ‘security’ for the consulate was adequate. It seems to be a quite ludicrous statement given the horrific circumstances in which the unfortunate ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens and three more Americans were butchered in the dusty North African city on the anniversary of 9/11.
She is also – up to now, at any rate – the shoo-in Democratic favorite to succeed Obama. There is every sign here of an enormous dropping of the knitting in the post-election triumphal White House and a very clear indication that Obama, after a first term dedicated to a virtual Trappist denial of anything and everything controversial, has lost his temper along with his contrived charms and mannered diffidence.
Rice was the star turn on wall-to-wall Sunday US talk shows five days after the September 11th Benghazi attack. She – and not Clinton – was the chosen spinner to promote the official Administration spoof that the riot which overwhelmed the consulate was ‘spontaneous’, provoked by a crude propaganda movie usefully promoted on YouTube, defaming the Prophet Muhammad as a debauched child abuser.
If we are to believe a very improbable story, this inflammatory biopic was the brainchild of a Californian property developer with the supposedly “Jewish sounding” name of Sam Bacile, who confessed his effort was intended to ‘promote’ Israel. But Bacile – which is not his real name – is neither Jewish nor a well-heeled property developer. He is an Egyptian-born low-life with the real (perhaps) name of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a petty fraudster, gas station owner and conman whose wit and resources certainly did not extend to a fairly sophisticated two-hour hate movie on the scale of some latter-day Cecil B DeMille.
Editor’s note: the Nakoula character used many aliases including Sam Bacile, Mark Bassely Youssef, Yousseff M. Basseley, Nicola Bacily, Robert Bacily and many more.
A man hung out to dry on a string of petty fraud offenses was obviously in no position to bankroll such an ambitious project. Yet even as the steam roller of Petraeus-Benghazi-Gate gathers speed, how curious it is that the alternative media, let alone the lackey corporate hear-and-see-no-evil media fail to notice the striking similarities with the Danish Muhammad Cartoons affair that broke in the fall of 2005.
These mockeries, clearly intended to be offensive, first appeared in the Copenhagen daily Jyllands-Posten and quickly spread to hundreds more newspapers around the globe. The same cry of ‘no censorship’ appeared almost instantly in the wake of the You Tube shocker. Nakoula’s alleged effort is clearly in the same line.
Reports describe him as an FBI sneak, which is probably correct, due to his quite questionable legal history. He certainly fits the bill of a petty informer. He definitely needs a get out of jail excuse, given his many brushes with the courts, and a pack of unresolved charges, which may well have led him to confess authorship of the offending diatribe. But that understates the resources and skills necessary to assemble a political hardcore porn movie denouncing the Prophet.
That said, I cannot entirely erase the image – not a strict parallel, I admit – of the ghost of Jack Ruby hovering over the whole affair.
The political gamesmanship scarcely needs stating. The Republicans, smarting at the humbling of their champion Mitt Romney, are scorching for payback. The Administration, for its part, was scarcely helped by Hillary Clinton’s maladroit remarks concerning the ‘adequate’ security precautions in Benghazi.
This seems to be a subliminal recall of the former presidential hopeful’s famous campaign ads featuring the crisis line ringing in the middle of the night. When the metaphorical phone rang this time, Hillary clearly had the receiver off hook.
In essence this is the response of an administration caught in the open by the searchlight beams.
John McCain and his allies are of course picking on Susan Rice as a surrogate target for Clinton. But I am sure there is another side to their belligerence, which Obama’s strident outbursts do little to dispel.
The superficially appealing possibility of impeaching the President for lying to Congress raises the prospect of Obama trapped in the same Nixon retro-vice. Obama insisted that Benghazi was a ‘spontaneous’ outburst of rage, just as Nixon claimed that the Watergate burglars were on-their-own freelancers.
Watergate was resolved when Nixon elected to resign before he could be subpoenaed and fired by Congress. I think this is what the Republicans are aiming for.
In the circumstances, lackluster Joe Biden would be the perfect stand-in for the former lame duck Gerald Ford, a push-over for a tough Republican choice four years from now. In all likelihood, the shell-shocked Republican leadership has concluded it must destroy any prospect of an entrenched Democrat dynasty acquiring deep roots.
Benghazi is the weapon they are going to use. It will be aimed at Hillary Clinton perhaps more significantly than Obama, in order to wreck the smooth succession project.
The portents are ominous. Obama’s ill-tempered outburst defending Rice quickly attracted fire from the three leading senators who originally raised concerns – John McCain, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. As a shot across the bows, these three ranking senators have framed a potentially hazardous proposition to instigate a Watergate-style dedicated committee to investigate the Benghazi attack.
Obama’s response, his determination to cling to the spontaneous riot cover up is of course nothing more than a flimsy attempt to hide the Syrian Arms for Libya revival of Iran-Contra, which I have already described exclusively for End the Lie. Nakoula is yet another simple-minded patsy straight from the production line of similar counterfeit villains assigned to justify the ‘official’ version of Benghazi. The Muhammad the Monster movie has the clear stamp of a CIA-Wood production, like many more of similar ilk.
In April 2011 the nation’s leading field general, the irredeemable narcissist David Petraeus, was the president’s surprise pick to fill the shoes of former CIA director Leon Panetta, who stepped down the road to the Pentagon.
Obama boasted that he’d picked a dream ticket ‘to lead us through the difficult days ahead’, an interesting phrase which at the time did not receive the attention it merited. No sunny vision of the future then, but a clear inference of dark rather than simply difficult times lurking around the corner.
Yet this may not be the least of the storm clouds gathering over the Obama presidency. A truly Shakespearian atmosphere of conspiracy and denial has engulfed the White House within days – hours, even – of the Obama victory, reminiscent of Richard III’s ghosts visiting his dreams the night before Bosworth. That famous battle, be it remembered, followed shortly on the Last Plantagenet’s ascendancy to the throne in 1483, whereupon he was immediately challenged and wasted by his Lancastrian rivals of the Red Rose. The Lancastrians in this scenario are the nostril-flaring Republicans.
– February: beginning of the Libyan uprising.
– March: the ‘Arab Spring’ protest conveyer belt delivers ‘popular rebellion’ to Syria
– Same month: fluent Arabic speaker J. Christopher Stevens named US Special Representative to the Libyan National Transition Council. He was formerly deputy chief of mission to the Gaddafi government, 2007-2009. The Libyan Arms for Syria Carousel begins here.
– September 6: Petraeus takes the wheel at the Central Intelligence Agency
– On the anniversary of 9/11 the consulate is overwhelmed. Stevens is murdered. His deputy and two ex-NAVY Seals employed as contractors, die with him.
– Dr. Mohamed Jamal, a physicist who returned to the city from working in Poland, tells western reporters that Benghazi was ‘far from infected with extremists.’ Libyans were deeply upset by the infamous film insulting Islam, ‘but there was no anti-American protest last week, simply a well-planned attack on the consulate. They came with machine guns and rockets.’ [London Guardian September 21st, 2011].
The US media has largely elected to play the administration’s game. Petraeus-Benghazi-Gate is drowned out by the sex romp line of the much-decorated hero who lost control of his trousers. This story is absurd at every turn. The empire’s former military consul in Iraq, and subsequently Afghanistan, then director of the CIA, is a leading candidate for vengeance by aggrieved Islamists. Petraeus had security close to that of the president himself. So how come his literally ‘embedded’ two-timing with his fragrant biographer Paula Broadwell raised no alarms over such an extended period of time?
Even more, his tête-à-tête with the luscious Gilberte (‘Jill’) Kelley the Beirut-born social climber and all-round Queen Bee who invited half the top brass of Central Command, based near her home in Tampa, Florida, around for regular house parties. She seems to have thought of herself as some kind of Crown Princess; certainly the sight of so much khaki and brass buttons clearly made her dizzy.
But maybe there is something else here: the moisture that glazes so many American eyes the moment they are invited to adulate the military, representing the latent spirit of Frontierism that confines Americans to perpetual uncertainty and insecurity even within their own shores.
Given the security considerations, the fact that Petraeus – and the Afghan commander and NATO chief warrior designate, Marine Corps General John Allen, dragged by his former boss’s coat tails into the quagmire of Petraeus-Benghazi-Gate – were obvious targets for honey-trapping, it boggles the imagination as to why they were allowed to get away with such blatant liaison dangereuse.
Are we saying that no one in the CIA, or military intelligence, was running checks on a high testosterone general with a penchant for hanging around glamorous near-40-somethings? To make matters more compromising, both Petraeus and Allen wrote letters to court officials on army stationary to support Kelley’s identical twin sister’s battle for child custody in her messy divorce proceedings. Suspension of judgment is the phrase that flies to mind.
In such concentrated details one detects cranial matter easily led astray. The modern US army invariably marches on inbred incestuous cronyism. At any rate, George Patten must be squirming (although perhaps more likely smirking) wherever he is now. In the history of US commanders Petraeus is – physically and intellectually – a midget who owes his rise to mentors even more inferior than himself.
But his service now is to divert the attentions of Americans from the breaking and entering of a sovereign state so that armed gangs on the CIA payroll could shunt arms from the deceased Gaddafi’s armories to the stooge revolutionaries aiming at Syria, ‘the last Arab castle.’
Now that we have open season on Petraeus, the hissing serpents are out in force, slithering from the seething undergrowth of DC politics. It is perfectly true that Washington gossip market sold short on Petraeus shares some time ago, thanks to numerous inconsistencies in his military and intellectual record plus lavish praise of what is, at best, a rather commonplace set of under-achievements mostly lifted from old army manuals dating back to the Vietnam War (the desperately failed creed of counter-insurgency, for example).
Petraeus was never an American Napoleon. He was at best an adequate staff officer with a gift for self-promotion. This and the adulatory heavy breathing of the embedded press corps made him the army’s dazzling rock star, a priceless diversion at a time when America’s wars continually reveal a military colossus with clumsy feet of clay.
Thanks to his cultivated PR, Petraeus managed the illusion that he possessed the philosopher’s stone for winning wars, taking good care however not to tarry around too long as the glittering potion of success gradually shed its magic charm. First in Iraq, then Afghanistan.
If Obama did not know that the FBI had nailed Pantsdown Petraeus months ago, then either he did not read his briefings, or even if he did, then he did not understand the potential dangers. The security implications are certainly quite alarming.
Both propositions are tenable. I have longed suspected that the president dislikes the chore of plowing through written commentaries and documents, which means that the Commander-in-Chief is at the mercy of highly partisan briefings which invariably steer him towards the most belligerent option.
The president has never indicated the slightest sign of independence of mind.
It is equally possible that the FBI was waiting to pull the trigger in its own good time (a vintage J. Edgar Hoover tactic, that one) until the Naked Agent Fred Humphries went rogue and decided to blow his whistle in the office of the House majority leader, Eric Cantor.
Humphries is a former Army intelligence officer, widely regarded in the FBI as a competent and passionate investigator, yet he suddenly veered widely off script by sending ‘topless’ pictures of himself to the luscious socialite Kelley. I’ll return to that possibly important sideshow in a moment.
At any rate this is where the politics begin to appear sharply in frame. L’affaire Monica derailed Clinton’s plans to shake up Social Security. So the tawdry media uproar surrounding the shirtless spook, the frolickings in desert tents (a splendid documentary helping of M.A.S.H.), the temptress Kelley with her bizarre double act as honorary consul for Korea and some kind of Fairy Godmother for a whole clutch of top brass in an ultra-secret military base, blew Benghazi and the murder of Stevens right off the front pages and news shows to far distant horizons, just as intended.
The not so invisible hand can detected everywhere in this Watergate meets Iran-Contra imbroglio.
A shady Egyptian pretending to be a Jewish property developer uses the California desert as the stage set for a profane anti-Islamic shocker. The movie is beamed on YouTube the night before the attack on the consulate in which the ambassador and three more Americans died. The screening is blamed for enraging a mob that attacked the consulate, but every eyewitness described well-armed mercenaries who burst into the compound with heavy weapons.
Each act in the drama is attributed to coincidence. But, as The Washington Post remarked, the comings and goings of Petraeus and General John Allen to various events on the cocktail circuit were clearly known well in advance, suggesting substantial eavesdropping behind the scenes. Both generals, it seems, were being electronically profiled for future deployment.
Army seniors are not allowed to indulge in adulterous practices for perfectly obvious honey-trap reasons. Yet Petraeus dived into an association with his biographer, suggestive of a 60-year-old with a late middle age identity crisis, at best.
How strange then that he was declared squeaky clean before he went to his new job at the CIA, despite the fact that the FBI evidently knew all about his infidelities. There are at least seventeen secret intelligence operations in the US, snooping and sneaking and wire tapping. Were they all out to lunch around the clock?
The word on the grapevine suggests that Petraeus was magnificently under-qualified in his CIA role, that he had no mind for raking the muck heap of espionage. A ‘fish out of water’ seemed to chime with overall opinion of his brief reign as CIA director.
As a guardian angel of national security, he appeared incredulous. Even his relations with Broadwell seem to be fogged. Does she, as now claimed on several US radio shows, count among the various arrows in her quiver, part-time advocate for a small arms company looking for military tie-ups for its new lightweight battlefield machine gun?
Was this another topic for pillow talk on those hot desert nights? Broadwell is herself a West Point alumnus. Her tribute to her consort “All In” is rated at best as a dull hagiography. I suspect that large sums are already being entertained for the follow on, given the indications that now point to the ground-breaking scandal of the early 21st century.
We come now to flippant Fred, the Shirtlifter. Pictured naked from (presumably) the waist up, arms linked with a pair of dummies, an FBI agent with a noticeably creditable record either freaked out with the pictures he allegedly sent to Fairy Godmother Kelley, or there is another story altogether.
I suspect Humphries was assigned a lonely task without the benefit of back-up or assistance and found his masters, at best, sitting on the Petraeus investigation until orders came from higher up. That explains why he went to Cantor with such a seemingly improbable story.
The FBI has put forth no convincing explanation as to why their famous trusty apparently went haywire. Professional burn-out seems one possible answer, or there may be others, as we see in a moment.
But like so much else in the Petraeus-Benghazi affair, surface illusions will not prove the most reliable or enduring.
Humphries is not the ideally perfect companion to Lt.-Col Oliver North, the leading actor in the Iran-Contra affair, save in one respect. The voluble North did take much of the flak from the media and effectively shielded Ronald Reagan, by publicly preening and playing the all-American hero to the public gallery.
Humphries’ antics with his topless poses and peppered dummies have likewise introduced a comedy feature, a safety valve, into the otherwise deadly seriousness of Petraeus-Benghazi-Gate, which works in the same Iran-Contra manner of diverting public opinion into secure channels of waste disposal.
The big picture is not the decorated general’s problems with keeping his trousers on, at least not directly.
Petraeus resigned on the eve of giving evidence to the House committee looking into the Benghazi affair. The diversion of stolen Libyan arms supplied to the so-called popular rebels fighting the Assad regime in Syria is clearly analogous to Iran-Contra and equally illegal under international law.
The CIA has a long history in illegal arms and narcotics trading, which either Civilian-General Petraeus discovered for himself, or not, as the case may be. His evidence subsequently delivered in secret to the House committee, simply underlines the reality that he fell on his sword for very cogent reasons, at a time when the Middle Eastern powder keg is on the verge of exploding.
In his last hours, Ambassador Stevens was frantically cabling the State Department to the effect that local security in Benghazi had broken down, the consulate and the lives of its staff were now in extreme peril. His locally drawn militia guards had melted away.
The Pentagon countermanded the dispatch of Special Forces from Tripoli, who might have arrived in time to preserve the lives of those who subsequently perished in the onslaught.
At the State Department, Secretary Clinton’s crisis phone rang unheard.
Richard Cottrell is a writer, journalist and former European MP (Conservative). His new book Gladio: NATO’s Dagger At The Heart Of Europe is now available from Progressive Press. You may order it using the link below (or by clicking here – Gladio, NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe: The Pentagon-Nazi-Mafia Terror Axis):
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Edited by End the Lie