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dkf's Journal
dkf's Journal
September 14, 2012

CNN: 2 marines dead, up to 4 injured in Afghanistan

Sustained attack on Base.

September 14, 2012

Did the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi Not Have Enough Security?

Did the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi Not Have Enough Security?
TIME speaks to the Libyan politician who had breakfast with U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens on the day of the American's death

Read more: http://world.time.com/2012/09/13/did-the-u-s-consulate-in-benghazi-not-have-enough-security/#ixzz26ShuVDJe

A tomato-and-onion omelette, washed down with hot coffee: that was the last breakfast of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens’ life. And although the scene in the U.S. consulate’s canteen in Benghazi on Tuesday morning looked serene, under the surface there were signs of potential trouble, according to the Libyan politician who had breakfast with Stevens the morning before the ambassador and three other Americans died in a violent assault by armed Islamic militants. “I told him the security was not enough,” Fathi Baja, a political-science professor and one of the leaders of Libya’s rebel government during last year’s revolution, told TIME on Thursday. “I said, ‘Chris, this is a U.S. consulate. You have to add to the number of people, bring Americans here to guard it because the Libyans are not trained.”

Stevens, says Baja, listened attentively — but it was too late. On Tuesday night, armed Islamic militants laid siege to the consulate, firing rockets and grenades into the main building and the annex, pinning the staff and its security detail inside the blazing complex; U.S. officials told reporters on Wednesday they believed it took Libyan security guards about four hours to regain control of the main building. In the chaos, Stevens was separated in the dark from his colleagues, and hours later was transported by Libyans to a Benghazi hospital, where he died, alone, apparently of asphyxiation from the smoke.

U.S. officials told reporters on Wednesday that the Benghazi consulate had “a robust American security presence, including a strong component of regional security officers.” And indeed, one of the four Americans killed was former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, who was “on security detail” and “protecting the ambassador,” his sister Katie Quigly told the Boston Globe. Also killed was an information-management officer, Sean Smith. The fourth American who died has not yet been identified. Yet Baja describes a very different picture from his visit on Tuesday morning, even remarking at how relaxed the scene was when he returned to the consulate building a short while after leaving Stevens, in order to collect the mobile phone he had accidentally left behind. “The consulate was very calm, with video [surveillance] cameras outside,” Baja says. “But inside there were only four security guards, all Libyans — four! — and with only Kalashnikovs on their backs. I said, ‘Chris, this is the most powerful country in the world. Other countries all have more guards than the U.S.,’” he says, naming as two examples Jordan and Morocco.

With the compound now an evacuated, smoldering ruin, Baja, who befriended Stevens in Benghazi during last year’s seven-month civil war, and in recent weeks had shared long Ramadan dinners with him, says he felt stricken not only by the loss but also by the sense that perhaps the tragedy could have been averted, had there been tighter security on the ground, and — more especially — had Libya’s nascent government cracked down against armed militia groups. Bristling with weaponry, much of it from Muammar Gaddafi’s huge abandoned arsenals, groups of former fighters have been permitted to act as local security forces in towns across Libya during the postwar upheaval in order to fill the security vacuum, despite the scant loyalty among many of them to the new democracy. “Up to now, there has been cover from the government for these extremist people,” Baja says, adding that he and Stevens had discussed for months the urgent threats from armed militia. “[Government officials] still pay them salaries, and I think this is disgusting.”

Read more: http://world.time.com/2012/09/13/did-the-u-s-consulate-in-benghazi-not-have-enough-security/#ixzz26Si8Wls6

September 14, 2012


NEW YORK (AP) -- Hours after it started, Apple has stopped taking orders for the iPhone 5.

Apple began taking orders for the phone at midnight Pacific time, promising delivery by next Friday, when the new phone also goes on sale in stores.

Four hours later, the expected delivery time had grown to two weeks, according to Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White.

Less than four hours after that, Apple's website stopped taking orders, saying "We'll be back."

White says the quick rise in the expected delivery time suggests much stronger demand than Apple expected. Last year, one-week delivery of the iPhone 4S was available into the afternoon of the first order day.


September 14, 2012

U.S. agencies didn't issue high alert over Mideast threat

(Reuters) - U.S. officials say they believe an Arabic talk show last Saturday showing parts of an anti-Muslim video made in the United States was the spark that set off violent attacks on U.S. missions in Libya and Egypt, but acknowledge the broadcast did not prompt a major upgrade in security precautions.

On Tuesday, four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in an attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that U.S. officials said may have been planned by one or more militant factions. On the same day, protesters in Cairo breached the U.S. Embassy's walls, and the protests have since spread to other countries, including Yemen, Bangladesh and Kuwait.

An Egyptian TV network, al-Nas, broadcast last Saturday what its presenters described as extracts from an English-language film denigrating the Prophet Mohammad, which it said had been uploaded on the YouTube website by "migrant Coptics," a reference to exiled members of a Christian sect with a large minority presence among Egypt's Muslim majority.


One official, who like the others spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was at least one specific warning about possible unrest in the region that was circulated within the government, but was not so alarming as to lead to a major upgrade in security for a possible emergency.


September 14, 2012

U.S. denies premeditation report

The Obama administration is flatly denying a blaring British newspaper report that the U.S. diplomats in Libya were killed as a result of a “continuing security breach,” and that “credible information” about possible attacks had been ignored.

A U.S. official told POLITICO: “There's no intelligence indicating that the attack in Benghazi was premeditated.”

The newspaper, The Independent, plastered its cover with the headline, “Revealed: inside story of US envoy’s assassination,” and reported inside: “The killings of the US ambassador to Libya and three of his staff were likely to have been the result of a serious and continuing security breach … American officials believe the attack was planned."

The article continued: "According to senior diplomatic sources, the U.S. State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and ‘lockdown’, under which movement is severely restricted."

Shawn Turner, spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, emailed: “This is absolutely wrong. We are not aware of any actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent.”


September 13, 2012

BBC: Anti-Islam film protests spread across Middle East

Libya's Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur says there is "no justification" for the Benghazi attack and investigations are under way to find the "criminals" responsible

Iranians chanting anti-US and anti-Israel slogans stage a protest outside the Swiss embassy in the Iranian capital, Tehran, which represents US interests

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has postponed a planned visit to Norway, fearing violence could erupt in his country

A small protest has taken place in Dhaka, Bangladesh, demanding that the film-maker be punished

In Iraq, there have been demonstrations in Baghdad and Basra, with the leader of one Islamist militia warning the film "will put all American interests in danger"

Unrest is also reported in Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia


September 13, 2012

Manhattan Apartment Vacancies Climb as Rents Reach Record

Manhattan’s apartment vacancy rate rose in August to its highest level for the month in three years as record-setting rents pushed tenants out of the market in the busiest time for leasing, according to Citi Habitats.

The vacancy rate in August, when the greatest number of Manhattan leases are signed, was 1.19 percent, up from 1 percent a year earlier, the brokerage said in a report today. The rate was 0.88 percent in August 2010 and 1.62 percent in 2009.

The uptick signals that tenants are staying on the sidelines after average apartment rents reached a record in March and continued to climb each month, Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats, said in an interview. A rise in vacancies before the slowest months for rentals may limit the surge in rates and make landlords more flexible on lease terms, he said.

Apartment rents have surged in the past year as a stagnant sales market spurred demand for leasing. Rents averaged $3,461 in August, the highest since Citi Habitats began tracking the data in 2002. Lease prices are 2 percent higher than the 2007 peak of $3,394, the brokerage said.


September 13, 2012

Obama: Egypt is not US ally, nor an enemy

President Barack Obama has said the United States does not currently consider Egypt to be an ally.

He was speaking with reference to violent clashes at the US embassy in Cairo, over a US-made anti-Islamic film which has sparked anger among Muslims.
"I don't think we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy. They are a new government that is trying to find its way," Mr Obama said in a television interview with Spanish-language network Telemundo.

He said that so far Egypt's government has "said the right thing and taken the right steps" but it has also responded to other events in ways that "may not be aligned with our interests".


September 12, 2012

We lost an amazing person.

Current and former colleagues describe Stevens, 52, as a man of decency and intelligence whose easy manner belied a serious mind and a yen for tough assignments.

In some ways, his career pinnacle may have been his assignment last year to Benghazi as the U.S. emissary to the Libyan rebels who brought down dictator Muammar Gaddafi, a job that led to his elevation to ambassador this May.

"He really is a throwback to a bygone era, if you will, of what I would call the intrepid Arabist," said a State Department colleague who, like others, did not wish to be quoted by name about Stevens so soon after his death.

"He was a 'have satellite phone, will travel' kind of guy," the colleague added.

"They just killed the best of the next generation in the inner sanctum of the foreign service," said a retired senior U.S. diplomat who knew Stevens, describing him as a trustworthy and light-hearted man who made friends easily.


Breaks my heart...

September 12, 2012

OMG Drudge has a pic of the body of someone being hoisted around by Libyans.

Is that the Ambassador?

Awful awful.

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