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Stevens was the personal representative of the President of the United States. The rupture of that personal relationship is the great shame of Benghazi

An Internet Autopsy: How did Ambassador Stevens Die?


By --March 23, 2013

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According to a CBS News/AP story, posted on the Internet (September 12, 2012, 10:37 AM), US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens died of “severe asphyxia,” sometimes referred to as smoke inhalation. It was reported to the media by a Libyan doctor, but was not an official autopsy report. In spite of this unofficial report, most Americans believe the ambassador was murdered.

To date, no official cause of death has been released. The results of an autopsy done on Stevens’ body after it was returned to the United States, has not been made public. In spite of that, rumors still persist that Stevens was tortured and raped before and after his death.

Grim photos of Stevens after the terrorist attack at the Benghazi mission are posted on the Internet. Most of them seem to have been taken with cell phone cameras. It is difficult to determine from this photographic evidence what happened to Stevens. Severe asphyxia is not readily photographed.

If we look at four of these photographs with a critical eye, we notice some unusual details that cause us to question the official explanation. The four photos at issue are labeled thusly:

  1. Stevens on the ground.
  2. Stevens on his back.
  3. Stevens being carried through the street.
  4. Stevens at a Benghazi morgue.

The photo of Stevens seemingly on the ground with his T-shirt under his armpits is most interesting (#1). Stevens’ face and stomach look to be covered in soot. There is what looks like a red gash on the left side of his forehead. This wound does not show up in any the other photos of Stevens after the attack. It is not seen in the photo taken of his body in the Libyan morgue. Was the body cleaned of evidence while the doctors waited for the Americans to claim it?

It’s hard to tell just what is happening here. Most intriguing is that man with a cell phone in his mouth. Wouldn’t he put the phone in his pocket as you or I would do if we were suddenly called upon to help someone? Whose cell phone is it? It may in all likelihood be Stevens’ phone, the phone that was used to locate his body in the morgue.

The MailOnline has a video that supposedly shows a man, later claimed to be ambassador Chris Stevens, being pulled from the smoke filled “safe room” following the attack at the Benghazi mission. Photo #2 is a screen shot from that video.

“Libyans reportedly shout ‘God is great!’ after finding out that Stevens is alive and breathing. Another voice says, ‘He is still alive!’” It is difficult to say who is being dragged in this dark video. It’s also hard to tell what happened to Stevens after he was taken from the Benghazi mission based on this photo.

A photo posted on the Gateway Pundit (#2) shows what looks like the body of Stevens carried shoulder high. It is striking that the body is almost naked. You have to wonder if this were your injured brother, would you take him to the hospital that way. This photo has been used to fuel the rumor that Stevens was raped and tortured.

Then there is the question of Stevens’ collar injury. The ConservativeTreeHouse.com claims this injury is evident in the photo they posted (#3). The body seems dressed in the same shirt and pants as the body in the other photos, but there are signs of blood by Stevens’ right shoulder. There is also a hand on the left of the photo taking another cell phone photo. Why all this attention to getting pictures of Stevens? How does this help an injured man?

Finally, there is a video supposedly taken at a Benghazi morgue that purports to show the body of Stevens waiting to be claimed. The last photo (#4) is a screen shot taken from that video. The soot and grime evident in photo #1 looks to have been removed.

What can we conclude from this Internet autopsy? The photographic evidence leads us to question the explanation that Stevens’ death was caused by smoke inhalation. There are just too many possible wounds on Stevens’ body for that explanation to be the whole story. Smoke inhalation usually does not leave a wound on the forehead or shoulder that miraculously heals itself in a Benghazi morgue.

Until the official autopsy results are released to the public we are left to wonder how Stevens died at Benghazi. The White House has repeatedly claimed his death was the result of a protest to a video insulting to Islam. We know this explanation is a lie.

A rumor of rape and torture will persist until proven otherwise. Like most of the facts surrounding the Incident at Benghazi, it is hard to see the truth through the darkness and the smoke.

When we look at these grim images we must remember that they show how a representative of the United States of America was abused. Christopher Stevens was a US ambassador. To overlook his brutal death and betrayal is to overlook an injury to the nation and its citizens.

Beyond that, ambassador Stevens was the personal representative of the President of the United States. The rupture of that personal relationship is the great shame of Benghazi.



Robert Klein Engler -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Robert Klein Engler lives in Des Plaines, Illinois and sometimes New Orleans. Robert’s books are to be found at amazon.com and Lulu.com. His long poem, The Accomplishment of Metaphor and the Necessity of Suffering, set partially in New Orleans, is published by Headwaters Press, Medusa, New York, 2004.

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