Melanie Phillips

27 October 2012

The game changer

Published in: Melanie's blog

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Until now, such public attention as has been devoted to the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11, in which the US ambassador to Libya and three others were murdered, has dwelt upon whether President Obama had falsely blamed the attack on violent reaction to a film about Islam even though he knew from the start that this was in fact a premeditated attack by al Qaeda.

But now, far more devastating evidence has emerged that not only did he indeed know from the start it was a premeditated attack, but that for several hours after it started the White House refused to answer desperate pleas for help by American forces trying to defend the consulate – and who died as a result.

Despite CIA denials, Fox News reports that that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later on the annex itself was denied by the CIA chain of command -- who also told the CIA operators twice to ‘stand down’ rather than help the ambassador’s team.

‘Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to “stand down,” according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to “stand down.” 

‘Woods and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The rescue team from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight. 

‘At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied... The fighting at the CIA annex went on for more than four hours -- enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators. 

‘A Special Operations team, or CIF which stands for Commanders in Extremis Force, operating in Central Europe had been moved to Sigonella, Italy, but they were never told to deploy. In fact, a Pentagon official says there were never any requests to deploy assets from outside the country. 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.’

There’s a heart-breaking interview with Ty Woods’s father here. And just look here at the crass vulgarity with which Vice-President Biden apparently addressed this bereaved father.

All this has been breaking in the US over this weekend. So how are the in-the-tank-for-Obama media responding to these claims? Hitherto, the mounting questions over the White House handling of the Benghazi attack have been downplayed or even covered up. As Breitbart reports, CBS chose to ignore its own interview with Obama by Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes on September 12. This showed that, despite administration insistence day after day that the Benghazi attack was caused by the protests over the film, Obama knew from the start that, on the contrary, it had been a premeditated terrorist attack:

 ‘In an interview on Sep 12 with Obama, Obama told Kroft: “You're right that this is not a situation that was exactly the same as what happened in Egypt, and my suspicion is, is that there are folks involved in this who were looking to target Americans from the start.”

‘Obama’s remarks pointed towards a premeditated attack, in contrast to the story the White House went on to tell for weeks. CBS chose not to air that portion of the interview with President Obama...According to Fox News, the clip first appeared online on Oct. 19. It was embedded Oct. 24 in an article by CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson.

‘What CBS chose to air, instead, was President Obama’s attack on his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, who had criticized the administration’s apologetic response to the Cairo demonstration. Obama said Romney “seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later.” That portion of the interview aired immediately, and drove the news for days. Obama’s comment suggesting that the attack had been premeditated was not aired.’

The Obama administration now stands accused of refusing to come to the aid of its own forces seeking to defend its own ambassador and consulate staff against murderous attack, thus suggesting the administration was complicit in their murder through either pusillanimity or incompetence – and then of trying to cover this up by falsely blaming an irrelevant video. And yet, at time of writing, the mainstream media is even now trying to ignore this. CNN is currently leading its website with the glad news that the Venezuelan President Chavez is backing Obama; NBC leads on Hurricane Sandy and Romney on defence cuts; CBS very similar; the New York Times in its section on US politics is mainly preoccupied by the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the presidential campaign; so is the Washington Post.

I may have overlooked it, but at this moment I can’t see any reference to the Benghazi story anywhere on the msm apart from Fox. Yet it is hard to think of a more devastating set of claims against an incumbent President. Does anyone doubt that, if similar claims had been aired against a Republican President at this stage of an election campaign, the mainstream media would have gone collectively and ballistically into orbit?

Tyrone Woods’s father said this:

‘In real time the White House, from the minute the first bullet was fired, they watched my son, they denied his pleas for help; my son violated his orders in order to protect the lives of at least 30 people. He risked his life to be a hero. I wish the leadership in the White House had that same level of moral courage...’

A sickening scandal and an electoral game-changer – but only in any sane universe.

About Melanie

Melanie Phillips is a British journalist and author. She is best known for her controversial column about political and social issues which currently appears in the Daily Mail. Awarded the Orwell Prize for journalism in 1996, she is the author of All Must Have Prizes, an acclaimed study of Britain's educational and moral crisis, which provoked the fury of educationists and the delight and relief of parents.

Read full biography


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Melanie Phillips
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