I am communicating with Matthew VanDyke, described as “an American who fought with Libyan rebels to oust Gaddafi.” He wrote to Business Insider right after the Benghazi consulate attack with a theory about what happened, and again this week stating that he’d been proven largely correct. He is a Mensa member, and there is a LinkedIn forum only accessible to members. Here’s what he said there:
An article at Business Insider about my accurate assessment of what happened in the 2012 Benghazi attacks, which I gave to Business Insider just one day after the attacks. My initial theory has now been proven largely correct by the recent New York Times investigation. I gave Business Insider an accurate assessment of what likely happened in Benghazi on September 12, 2012, just one day after the September 11, 2012 attacks. Business Insider published that assessment the following day, on September 13, 2012. The recent New York Times investigation has confirmed that my early theory about the attacks was largely correct, while much of what the press and politicians have been saying about the Benghazi attacks for the past year has been incorrect.
(My reply follows.)
You should probably contact the VanDyke fellow who wrote the referenced email. He confirmed that some of the Libyan rebels have “operational connection” and “communication link” with “the core leadership of Al Qaeda” and that some of “their actions are carried out” under “direction from that leadership [of Al Qaeda]”:
Complicating the “affiliation” issue is that individuals or groups may self-identify as being sympathetic to Al Qaeda or being part of Al Qaeda, without any actual operational connection or communication link to the core leadership of Al Qaeda. And even if they do have that rare link to the leadership, the majority of their actions are carried out independently, without direction from that leadership.
That VanDyke is clever about his phrasing, downplaying all of this as “rare” while admitting that it is true. But your point (and the point of those using this article for support) seems to be that it is non-existent, and I think that notion is pretty thoroughly refuted by this fellow. ];-)
Even your careful language here is political: your theory was “largely correct” which is to say that it was wrong in some details, with your judgment being applied as to how important those details were. But you don’t really know, do you? And the reports from the CIA station chief on the ground, based on about 50 eye-witness interviews and intercepts of communication from Al Queda in the Magreb, are pretty strongly pointing the other way. Not to mention captures of players in the intervening period, including as recently as this past week.
Do you have hard evidence that they are all mistaken?
But even you provide some confirming details, speculatively, including that this was “trucks packed with fighters,” you think, and not a “spontaneous protest” as the US administration attempted to portray it. That it was organized using cellphones by jihadist leaders whose connection with Al Qaeda, and taking operational control and direction from them, is “rare” though you seem to be only speculating as to whether it was true in this case.
Do you object to the term “jihadist”?
You sound like you have an interesting history. It seems, happily, that you were not actually part of the team that attacked the consulate. And if you have information on who was, I hope that you passed that information along to the investigators immediately. You don’t quite say that, though you contacted Business Insider, apparently.
I’d be interested to hear your assessment of the extent to which other ME players — Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Iran — are involved in Syria, and their operational and supporting roles.
Not part of my reply to him, but a general observation: The “degree of separation” from al Qaeda, the point that he and the New York Times and other leftists focus on, is not particularly crucial. The various franchise/spinoff/operational groups, including al Qaeda, AQIM (al Qaeda in the Magreb), AQAP (al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula), Ansar al Sharia, Hamas, et cetera, are all Muslim Brotherhood groups. They are all jihadists aligned more or less with the broad goals of destroying the West starting with Israel and the US and establishing a global caliphate. Which ones pledge allegiance to which other leaders and countries from moment to moment is not the issue.
We should probably, in the West, get used to calling all of these collectively Ikhwan, Arabic for “Brotherhood.” For the time being, I will continue to use jihadist to encompass all of these.
One reason why the degree-of-separation business is not crucial: The use of many Internet-based communication systems and social media by MB groups has made the traditional “command and control” simpler for them; they can operate much more spontaneously and still be effective, as Matthew indirectly points out.
Our enemy, the enemy of Western civilization, is the Muslim Brotherhood and all of its affiliated groups. These comprise “Jihadism Central” these days, and they are well-funded from governments (like Iran) and from players in governments (as in some in the Saudi royal family). And supported and protected, bizarrely, by the current US administration.
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle