The “blame it on the video” fraud so carefully orchestrated by the Obama administration in connection with the Benghazi massacre on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks has always rested on a premise that remains unquestioned by the mainstream media – and that is itself a fraud. To wit: the Libyan violence, in which a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were murdered, was triggered by rioting at the U.S. embassy in neighboring Egypt which was unquestionably provoked by an anti-Islamic video (an obscure trailer for the more obscure film, Innocence of Muslims).
As I’ve previously recounted, “blame it on the video” was a fraud as to Egypt as well – a calculated fraud set in motion by State Department officials in Cairo who began tweeting about their outrage over the video before the rioting started. At the time they did so, our government well knew both that there would be demonstrations at the embassy and that those demonstrations were being spearheaded by al Qaeda. In addition to the general animus against the United States that is its raison d’etre, the terror network and its Egyptian confederates were animated by their long-running campaign demanding that the U.S. release the Blind Sheikh (Omar Abdel Rahman, the master jihadist I prosecuted in the nineties and who Osama bin Laden later credited with issuing the fatwa that approved the 9/11 suicide hijackings).
There is now more evidence corroborating the fact that al Qaeda-linked jihadists, not the video, propelled the Cairo rioting — just as al-Qaeda-linked jihadists, not the video, propelled the Benghazi attack. Tom Joscelyn of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who is the nation’s best informed analyst of the global jihad and its tentacles, recently testified before the House homeland security committee (specifically, the subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence). The testimony, on the topic of al Qaeda’s expansion into Egypt, has been posted at the invaluable Long War Journal site. While it is all worth reading, Tom offers the following observations on the Cairo rioting:
In addition, a contingent of EIJ [Egyptian Islamic Jihad] leaders loyal to al Qaeda’s leader [Ayman al-Zawahiri -- the EIJ leader who merged EIJ into al Qaeda] became especially active inside Egypt after their release from prison [following the fall of Mubarak]. They were led by Mohammed al Zawahiri, the younger brother of Ayman al Zawahiri. Until he was re-arrested in 2013, Mohammed al Zawahiri used the permissive environment following the fall of Mubarak to proselytize, often under the banner of “Ansar al Sharia Egypt.” This group was established by one of his former EIJ comrades, Ahmed Ashush. In interviews, Ashush proclaimed his allegiance to al Qaeda, saying that he was “honored to be an extension of al Qaeda.” Although Mohammed al Zawahiri spent much of his trying to win new converts for al Qaeda’s ideology, he likely returned to terrorist operations and was in contact with his brother as well.
Mohammed al Zawahiri was one of the chief instigators of the September 11, 2012, protest in front of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. The protest turned into an all-out assault on the compound, with the stars and stripes being ripped down and replaced by al Qaeda’a black banner. The protest-turned-assault was a pro-al Qaeda event from the first, with protesters openly praising Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. I have identified at least three other senior al Qaeda-linked jihadists who helped spark the protest: Tawfiq Al ‘Afani, ‘Adel Shehato, and Rifai Ahmed Taha Musa. Al ‘Afani and Shehato are longtime EIJ ideologues and leaders. Shehato has since been re-arrested and charged with leading the so-called Nasr City Cell, which had multiple ties to al Qaeda.
Rifai Ahmed Taha Musa once led the IG and was a close confidante of the Blind Sheikh. He was very close to Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri. He even signed al Qaeda’s 1998 fatwa declaring the formation of a “World Islamic Front for Confronting the Jews and Crusaders.” [ACM: That fatwa is considered al Qaeda’s clearest declaration of war against the United States and presaged the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, and the 9/11 attacks.] The CIA considered Taha Musa to be such an important terrorist that he was tracked down in Syria, where he was detained and deported to Egypt in late 2001.
President Obama’s policy of supporting Islamic supremacists throughout the Middle East led, directly and inexorably, to the empowerment of anti-American jihadists in Egypt and Libya. That is why the administration, in the run-up to what promised to be a close presidential election, worked so hard to deceive Americans into believing the story (absurd on its face) that the murderous violence was caused by a virtually unseen video. I stand by what I concluded last year in arguing that “blame it on the video” was just as fraudulent in the case of the Cairo rioting as in that of the Benghazi slaughter:
Obama’s re-election campaign was premised on the claims that he had decimated al Qaeda, that the war on terror was thus nearing an end, and that his Middle East policy of aiding Islamic supremacists in places like Egypt and Libya was stabilizing the region and fostering the birth of real democracy. The campaign could not afford powerful demonstrations that al Qaeda was anything but in its death throes; that terrorists were still targeting American facilities and killing American officials; and that, under Obama’s policies, Egypt and much of Libya were now controlled by rabidly anti-American Islamic supremacists.
The video fraud enabled the administration and Obama’s reelection campaign to stay on offense – aggressively pummeling the strawman of “Islamophobia” – rather than in the defensive crouch required to explain, or try to explain, the Obama administration’s performance in Egypt, Libya, and the broader Middle East. It worked: The Romney campaign was cowed and accountability for the Benghazi massacre would have to wait many months.