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iNews-briefs217Cayman Islands fuel pump prices slowly fall

According to the Cayman Islands petroleum inspectorate’s latest price updates of all of Cayman’s gas station prices, on Christmas Eve both Walker’s Road and Mike’s Seven Mile Esso were selling regular gas for self-service customers at CI$5 a gallon.

It has taken THREE months for the fuel price to fall 60 cents

In the USA the price of petrol has fallen in the last 3 months from US$3.33 down to US$2.26. That is a fall of $1.07! [Source:]

The Cayman Islands obtains it fuel from the USA.

On Cayman Brac the two petrol stations are charging CI$5.75 per gallon and the one station on Little Cayman is charging $6.49 a gallon for regular gas.

Someone is making a lot of money at the public’s expense is the outcry on all three islands.


Facebook fends off appeal in Ad Click class action

By Marisa Kendall, From The Recorder

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook’s lawyers at Munger, Tolles & Olson have beat back an appeal in a case challenging the company’s online advertising fees.

Plaintiffs had accused Facebook Inc. of charging for invalid clicks in its pay-per-click advertising system. Ruling Friday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed with the district judge that there was no way to distinguish between valid and invalid clicks on a class-wide basis.

“Because plaintiffs failed to meet their burden of demonstrating a workable class-wide methodology to determine what constitutes a ‘valid click,’ the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying class certification because ‘common issues do not predominate,'” the judges wrote in a brief unpublished decision.

The panel, made up of Ninth Circuit Judges A. Wallace Tashima and Richard Paez and U.S. District Judge Gordon Quist of the Western District of Michigan sitting by designation, heard arguments Dec. 9.

Though the plaintiffs’ expert claimed he could develop algorithms to determine whether Facebook did its due diligence to prevent invalid clicks, the panel wrote, he never provided an actual method to determine valid clicks.

Munger Tolles partner Kristin Myles argued for Facebook, and Jonathan Shub of Seeger Weiss argued for plaintiffs.

On the same day it heard the Facebook case, the panel also considered a similar case involving Google. Plaintiffs in Levitte v. Google. 12-16752 had accused Google of inappropriately charging to place ads on error pages. U.S. District Judge Edward Davila of the Northern District of California declined to certify the class, and plaintiffs appealed.

That appeal was still pending Monday.

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Cayman Islands government provide family fun and food for their supporters

At the Water Cay Public Beach in North Side, Grand Cayman, the ruling Progressives Cayman Islands Government Party held a fun and food day for their supporters comprising children, the elderly and everyone in between.

Speaking on CITN/Cayman27 last Monday (29) Premier Alden McLaughlin said the event is a way for his party to give back to his supporters and get feedback on how well they are doing. ”It gives me an opportunity to hear from people about what’s on their mind; what they think we’re doing that’s good, what they think that’s not good,”said Mr. McLaughlin. “I never forget that the reason I am premier is because I have the support of these people.”


Trinidad receives $40 Million CDB loan for energy policy changes

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Trinidad and Tobago has received a $40 million policy-based loan from the Caribbean Development Bank to help reinforce “policy changes” in the energy sector, the bank announced.

The policy relates to a sustainable energy programme on which Trinidad embarked in 2011.

The programme is designed to “enhance the ability of the regulatory and legal framework to achieve efficiency, transparency and accountability; promote environmental sustainability of alternative energy fuels; and spur the efficient and rational production of fossil fuels,” according to a CDB statement.

The loan, which was approved by the CDB’s Board of Directors earlier this month, will also involve work in Trinidad’s Compressed Natural Gas Programme.

That includes support for the conversion of the Caribbean country’s fuel usage of vehicles in the transport sector from diesel and gasoline to compressed natural gas.

“This will have positive impacts for the country through a reduction in the fiscal burden of rising fuel subsidies and also improve the environment via the switch to cleaner burning natural gas,” the bank said.

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Reporters in Cayman Islands to have access to EU ownership register

Under a new agreement signed this month (Dec) the European Parliament and Council Investigative journalists and other concerned citizens with a “legitimate interest”, as well as law enforcement officials and legal authorities, will have access to the ultimate owners of companies listed in central registers in EU countries.

The European Parliament and Council agreed on a draft EU anti-money laundering directive, which will oblige EU member states to keep registers listing information on the ultimate beneficial owners of corporate and other legal entities, as well as trusts.

There will now be a central register that will be accessible to competent authorities and financial intelligence units without any restriction and to “obliged entities” such as banks conducting due diligence and the public, whose access may be subject to online registration of the person and to the payment of a fee to cover administrative costs.


Scrubbing away cruise ship emissions

By Phil Reimer, Ports And Bows From OCanada

“Scrubbing”…hear that word and you probably think of washing everything from your car to the floor to the family dog. In the cruise world, scrubbing is all about the environment and that’s why Royal Caribbean International’s plans to retro-fit 19 ships with scrubbers.

Most (13) will be on the flagship line, Royal Caribbean, with the other six on Celebrity ships. Much of the work is planned for the scheduled ship dry-docks from 2015 to 2017.

The systems, which have been tested for some time, are expected to remove more than 97 per cent of the sulfur dioxide emissions generated by the ships. That puts Royal Caribbean ahead of International Maritime Organization Emission Control Area standards, and with existing European Union standards.

Liberty of the Seas has been operating one of its six engines with a retro-fitted system for two years.

The purification system for maritime vessels is new, says Adam Goldstein the CEO of Royal’s parent company.

“And we expect that additional development will ultimately help industrialize AEP [American Electric Power] technology even more, which will benefit not only RCL but also the larger maritime industry.”

The company faced significant challenges installing the systems on existing ships because some pieces are as large as a school bus.

It’s probably not something you thinking about when planning your cruise but if you can wipe out 97 per cent of these emissions onboard your ship, that’s good for the future of cruising.

For a weekly newsletter from Ports and Bows with lots of cruise information and the best deals that we can find, click here to sign up:

All for now.

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Female bishop linked to US bicycle fatality

iNews B afp-female-bishop-linked-to-us-bicycle-fatalityFrom Business Insider

IMAGE: A memorial where a cyclist was struck and killed on December 27th in Baltimore, Maryland, is seen on December 29, 2014 © AFP Jim Watson

A memorial where a cyclist was struck and killed on December 27th in Baltimore, Maryland, is seen on December 29, 2014

Baltimore (AFP) – The first female Episcopal bishop in Maryland has been put on leave after she was involved in the hit-and-run death of a bicyclist, her diocese said.

Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook struck 41-year-old Tom Palermo on a tree-lined residential street in Baltimore on Saturday, then drove off.

She returned to the scene about 20 minutes later “to take responsibility for her actions,” Bishop Eugene Sutton said in a statement.

“Because the nature of the accident could result in criminal charges, I have placed Bishop Cook on administrative leave, effective immediately.”

He urged the faithful to “please pray for Mr Palermo, his family and Bishop Cook during this most difficult time.”

Palermo was well-known in the Baltimore area for hand-crafting bicycle frames in his own shop, and his death sparked anger among fellow cyclists.

“We urge the justice system to hold the driver who killed Tom accountable for her actions,” the Baltimore bicycle advocacy group Bikemore said, as police continued their investigation.

Mourners came on bicycles or on foot to lay flowers at the spot where Palermo was struck, on a street with a marked bicycle lane that otherwise had no divider to separate it from motor traffic.

“It is clear that dedicated bicycle lanes were not enough to keep even an experienced bicycle rider safe,” Bikemore said on its website.

New York state native Cook, 58,became Maryland’s first female Episcopal bishop when she was elected bishop suffragan — the second-highest position in the diocese — in May this year.

She was among four candidates for the position, all of them women.

In 2012, 726 “pedalcylists” – a category that also includes tricycle riders — were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Another 49,000 sustained injuries, the federal agency reported in April.

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HMS Severn spends festive season in Caribbean

From Royal Navy

It may be frosty in the UK for the festive period but for HMS Severn December was spent in the sunshine of the Caribbean as she visited Antigua, Barbados and Montserrat.

Her most recent visit was to Montserrat where the patrol vessel anchored in Little Bay while Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Steve Banfield met with His Excellency The Governor of Montserrat Mr Adrian Davis.

He also received briefings from the Disaster Management Coordination Agency and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory as part of the ship’s tasking over the next six months will be to provide assistance in the event of a natural disaster.

The ship’s company also helped to host a children’s beach party organised by the local Red Cross branch and went to a Caribbean Christmas carol concert.

HMS Severn docked in Barbados for four days where the CO met with the Barbados Defence Force while the rugby team met with the Barbados 7s International coach to set up a future match between the two sides.

The ship also opened its gangway to a number of visits, including the Barbados Coast Guard who toured the ship and discussed future training opportunities, Duke of Edinburgh Award participants and the families of the employees of the British High Commission based in Bridgetown.

And in Antigua the ship visited St John’s Harbour where they hoisted dignitaries and had a few days off to enjoy their surroundings before a busy period ahead.

The Portsmouth-based River Class Offshore Patrol Vessel has deployed to the North Atlantic as part of a long-standing commitment to the region. Having taken over from HMS Argyll which returned before Christmas, she will provide reassurance to British Overseas Territories and dependencies in the region, conduct Counter-Narcotics tasking whilst also being prepared to conduct disaster relief if called upon.

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AirAsia plane with 159 aboard overshoots Philippine runway

From Mashable

An AirAsia Zest plane carrying 159 people overshot the runway and got stuck in a muddy field Tuesday at an international airport in the central Philippines after landing from Manila in windy weather, officials said. There were no reports of injuries.

Crew members launched emergency slides to help passengers disembark from the Airbus A320-200 after it skidded off the runway in the resort town of Kalibo in Aklan province before nightfall, Giovanni Hontomin, who is in charge of AirAsia Zest’s operations, said by phone.

Initial reports indicated that three of the plane’s tires got stuck in the mud, said Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spokesman Eric Apolonio. He said the busy airport would be closed to air traffic until the stalled aircraft, which likely sustained some damage, is towed away from near the runway’s end.

A tropical storm has set off landslides and flash floods in the southern and central Philippines, leaving at least 31 people dead and seven missing, officials said Tuesday.

Kalibo town, 350 kilometers (217 miles) south of Manila, is a busy gateway to the Boracay beach resort, a popular tourist destination.

The accident came after an AirAsia plane crashed into the Java Sea on Sunday during a flight from Indonesia to Singapore with 162 people on board. Bloated bodies and debris were seen floating in Indonesian waters Tuesday.

It also came two days after another incident involving an AirAsia Zest plane. On Sunday, a jet operated by the carrier developed a tire problem in the central Philippine city of Tagbilaran while its 184 passengers and crew were boarding, prompting the airline to cancel the flight to Manila, officials said.

The Airbus A320 aircraft’s tire was later fixed, allowing it to resume its flight to the Philippine capital Monday morning. No reason was given for the problem.

Budget carrier AirAsia Zest is partly owned by AirAsia Philippines.

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[Bahamas] Department of Immigration responds to ‘photo disinformation on the web’

Statement from the Department of Immigration 28th December 2014

The Department of Immigration has taken note of a photo of migrants being held at Exuma that was circulated on social media sites on 26th and 27th December. The construction being given to this photo by those who are seeking to sabotage the policy of the Department is that somehow the migrants were being mistreated and being held in inhumane conditions. That is a false and malicious construction of events. The photo and comments appear designed to defame the Department.

The people in the photo were sitting on the back of a flatbed transport or trailer with an open end at the back of the trailer secured by a removable metal tailgate. The trailer was used to ferry the individuals from where they landed in Exuma to the holding facility the E C McKenzie auditorium in Ramsay, Exuma. The migrants were held at that auditorium overnight until they were transported by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to Nassau. The journey from the landing point in Exuma would normally take thirty to forty minutes. At no time was any person under the care or supervision of the Department of Immigration kept in inhumane conditions.


Bahamas launches branded wedding and honeymoon gft registry with wedding website program

From Bahama Islands Info

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida — The Islands Of The Bahamas are offering a white label honeymoon registry program to couples for a free account allowing them to create a registry for their wedding or honeymoon throughout the Islands Of The Bahamas.

The greatest benefit of a wedding and honeymoon website perhaps lies in its emotional value of providing a treasured record of one of the most extraordinary events of a person’s life. But not all websites are created equal and it is for this reason that The Islands Of The Bahamas have created a premier white label wedding and honeymoon gift registry and website platform.

Partnering with, the world’s only full service Honeymoon Registry, couples may utilize The Islands Of The Bahamas wedding website program, wedding blogs for brides and grooms, and a branded online photo albums. Participating couples will have ready access to network gift registries; to all main direct to consumer gift sites like,,,,,,, and many others. There are also social media widgets so that registrants can upload easily to their accounts such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and others.

The premier White Label Honeymoon Registry site provides a unique URL of the Islands of the Bahamas throughout the user experience; a custom header; 5 custom rotating images on the home page; custom colors for background and navigation; three side titles with links to designated promotions; three custom images on home page buckets; custom image on sample header; quarterly updates to side tiles on different promotions and accommodations, amenities and activities available through The Islands Of The Bahamas, with a registry template as well as a virtual brochure.

For couples hankering for a champagne soaked wedding celebration with abundant sunshine, ivory sand and crystal clear waters visit and you will agree that The Islands Of The Bahamas is better for the perfect wedding.

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AWM Investment Company, Inc. – News Release

NEW YORK, Dec. 30, 2014 /CNW/ – AWM Investment Company, Inc. (“AWM”) announced today that two funds advised by it have disposed shares (“Shares”) of Xebec Adsorption Inc. (“Xebec”) in open market transactions.

AWM advises the Special Situations Fund III QP, L.P. (“SSFQP”), the Special Situations Cayman Fund, L.P. (the “Cayman Fund”) and the Special Situations Private Equity Fund, L.P. (the “Private Equity Fund”).   SSFQP, the Cayman Fund and the Private Equity Fund together will be referred to as the “Funds”.

On December 29, 2014, 2,749,342 Shares of Xebec at a price of CAD $0.0565 per share were sold by the Funds. SSFQP sold 1,972,099 Shares and the Cayman Fund sold 777,243 Shares. The above dispositions represent approximately 7.0% of the outstanding shares.

Following this disposition, the Funds own 9,333,761 Shares of Xebec, and warrants to purchase 2,500,000 Shares, representing approximately 28.3% of the outstanding Shares assuming the exercise of all warrants held by the Funds. SSFQP holds 6,544,547 Shares and warrants to purchase 1,750,000 Shares, the Cayman Fund holds 1,915,187 Shares and warrants to purchase 550,000 Shares, and the Private Equity Fund holds 874,027 Shares and warrants to purchase 200,000 Shares. The Funds own the securities, and AWM controls such securities.

AWM holds the Shares on behalf of the Funds for investment purposes. AWM and/or the Funds may purchase additional Shares and/or warrants and/or other securities, or dispose of Shares and/or warrants and/or other securities, of Xebec from time to time as circumstances warrant. AWM and the Funds may be considered to act jointly or in concert.

AWM’s address is 527 Madison Avenue, Suite 2600, New York, New York 10022.

SOURCE AWM Investment Company, Inc.

For further information: Rose Carling at 212-319-6670


Mouse delays plane for six hours


By Jessica Plautz From Mashable

A tiny rodent bummed a ride on a Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Madrid — and the airline took swift action.

Passengers on flight 150 saw the mouse running down the center aisle upon landing in Spain, according to local reports. That prompted the airline to immediately fumigate the plane.

It was bad news for the mouse, whose cadaver was quickly found after fumigating. And it was bad news for passengers, too: travelers booked on the return flight to Doha had to wait for six hours while the fumes dissipated.

The flight was scheduled to depart Madrid and return to Doha at 3 p.m. local time, but was delayed until 9 p.m., according to Spanish newspaper ABC.

Many of the passengers missed connecting flights, though the airline said it would cover any costs they incurred.

This isn’t the first time a rodent has caused problems for air travel. In October, a flight from Zurich, Switzerland, to Málaga, Spain, was delayed five hours after the discovery of a mouse.

And last December, a flight from London to New York was canceled after a mouse was spotted on the plane.

Even though mice seem like a small threat, airlines take such extreme precautions out of concern that damage has been done to electrical systems.

Someone tell Samuel L Jackson: maybe having a few snakes on a plane wouldn’t be so bad after all.

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5981853019_a5cf8a035f_bTwo reasons why Blackstone’s investment in Crocs was a smart move

By ASHLEY LUTZ From Business Insider

Crocs’ shares are going crazy today on the announcement that private equity giant Blackstone invested $200 million in the company.

The Blackstone endorsement bodes well for Crocs — a retailer that has struggled to build a brand image outside of its clunky signature product.

Despite mass hate for the shoes Crocs is known for, the brand still has a couple of huge opportunities for growth, report Dana Mattioli and Mike Spector at The Wall Street Journal.

First, the brand isn’t just about rubber clogs. Crocs is aggressively pushing new products like ballet flats, pumps, and open-toe wedges, as Bloomberg Businessweek reported earlier this year.

Crocs is even manufacturing the shoes in Italy to give the footwear some credibility.

Executives hope the new merchandise will double sales in the next five years. Brand experts told Businessweek that with the right audience and marketing, the shoes could do well.

Crocs’ other big opportunity is in Asia, where the retailer is aggressively expanding its wholesale and retail businesses.

Asian customers also don’t have the negative assumptions about Crocs that U.S. customers do, which has led to huge success. Last year, Asia accounted for 41% of Crocs’ $1.1 billion in total sales while the the U.S. and Canada accounted for 44%, according to the Wall Street Journal.

PHOTO: johnrobertshepherd/Flickr

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Divining the underlying value of Bitcoin

screen-shot-2013-12-30-at-10-59-29-amBy Alex Wilhelm From Techcrunch

Business Insider’s Joe Wiesenthal today published an interesting piece on Bitcoin, partially responding to Paul Krugman’s somewhat inscrutable recent blog post that called the cryptocurrency “evil,” and partially answering the question of why Bitcoin has value. It’s been a topic we’ve been discussing for months, making Wiesenthal’s argument worth digging into.

He breaks Bitcoin into three interrelated characteristics that support one another: It’s a currency, equity, and a social network.

Bitcoin acts as a currency because you can use it as a generic exchange medium in lieu of dollars and other traditional currencies in a growing number of places. Bitcoin also at least behaves as an equity, because the more people who use and accept it, the more the value of each coin — at least thus far — generally rises.

Interestingly, Bitcoin’s ability to act as a currency and an equity are both predicated on its network effects. Wiesenthal puts this succinctly: “Strong, robust network effects are crucial for making the whole thing work.” He links to Antonis Polemitis who makes the same argument: “If people stop using bitcoin, its intrinsic value is zero. Its value is 100% derived by the fact that it is a network.”

If we view Bitcoin’s value as a currency and an equity as supremely predicated on its strength as a network, we can then state that its value rises and falls with the strength of that network. This means that Bitcoin’s value is something that we can therefore better understand.

The gist is that it’s been frakking hard to explain to anyone why Bitcoin makes more sense at $700 than $800 or even $300. However, if we can consistently point to an expanding network, we can presume that Bitcoin’s value should therefore be rising.

This does not allow us to say that Bitcoin’s current price, and its requisite swings, match its inherent value. In fact, I think that we can presume that they do not. According to Coinbase, Bitcoin spiked from $208 at the start of November to $1,049 on the first of December. If we assume that Bitcoin’s network effects gave its exchange rate (currency) or asset value (equity) a proper valuation at the start of the month, we can either argue that its network became (roughly) five times as valuable in the month, or that investors overbid Bitcoin. Its ensuing price slump would point towards the latter.

I’ve correlated the price of Bitcoin to its current news volume a few times, and it’s a connection that I think is quite plain. That’s not a bad thing, of course, as Bitcoin needs the public to become better informed about its existence so that it can grow its buying class and bolster the cohort of sellers willing to accept it.

But if the growth of the network is the growth in Bitcoin’s value, does it not have a risk of negative reinforcement? That’s to say that a strong negative correction in Bitcoin’s price would harm both sides of the table, skewering the positive impacts of network effects by flipping them around.

Does Bitcoin’s reliance on its network make it less stable than a traditional currency? I think so, but not necessarily fatally. Krugman quotes Brad Delong on the things you can’t do with Bitcoin:

Underpinning the value of gold is that if all else fails you can use it to make pretty things. Underpinning the value of the dollar is a combination of (a) the fact that you can use them to pay your taxes to the U.S. government, and (b) that the Federal Reserve is a potential dollar sink and has promised to buy them back and extinguish them if their real value starts to sink at (much) more than 2%/year (yes, I know).

You could argue that paying your taxes with dollars is a form of network effect, but that feels like a stretch. What this means is that Bitcoin’s value is less moored to things that we can jokingly call offline.

What is important to take from the above is that Bitcoin’s ability to expand its network is critically important as the supply of coins continues to grow. There is a hard cap of Bitcoins that will be released, but we are not there yet. So, Bitcoin fans want expanding utility (network) to grow at a higher rate than new coins are introduced.

There is another issue involved with the long-term utility of Bitcoin that is worth discussing, which is that its price volatility makes it hard to sell tangible goods (as opposed to non-tangible digital services, etc.) with the stuff. If I sell you a Tesla with Bitcoin, and the next day Bitcoin falls 25 percent before I can cash out my coins, that’s a pretty big deal. So Bitcoin needs a more stable price, which can only come to fruition after its network becomes large enough to have validated the price of Bitcoin at a certain level. And for that it needs to attract more retailers, which are kept out by its price swings.

This is all simple in summary: The utility of Bitcoin as a currency and its value as an equity depend on its network, which provides the market opportunities for Bitcoin to behave as either.

Top Image Credit: Flickr

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Three false assumptions that made the Benghazi mission vulnerable to attack

bengBy Geoffrey Ingersoll From Business Insider

A long report out of the New York Times uses several anonymous interviews and months of reporting to paint a more detailed picture of the attacks that occurred in Benghazi last year.

On Sept. 11, 2012, Libyan militias attacked the U.S. Diplomatic Mission and a secret CIA Annex in Benghazi, killing four Americans. The attack came following a streak of violent protests spurred by a anti-Islam video which portrayed the Prophet Muhammed in a negative light.

The report also shows a few false assumptions by the State Department that increased its vulnerability to attack.

These assumptions were:

  1. That locals would give warning before potential attacks

From The Times:

“We thought we were sufficiently close to them,” said one Western diplomat who was in Benghazi not long before the attack. “We all thought that if anything threatening was happening, that they would tip us off.”

A State Department review later found “a tendency on the part of policy, security and other U.S. government officials to rely heavily on the probability of warning intelligence.”

It’s possible no warning occurred because the attacks weren’t as planned as some people believe. Still, no concrete indication has surfaced which would indicate the level of planning behind the attacks.

  1. That the CIA would definitely help during a security breach

Much talk has revolved around who was responsible for additional security at the mission in the event of an attack. Apparently, State thought it would be reinforced by the CIA Annex, whereas the Agency didn’t seem to be on the same page.

“State Department officials believed that responsibility was set to be shouldered in part by CIA personnel in the city through a series of secret agreements that even some officials in Washington didn’t know about,” the WSJ reported at the time.

From The Times:

The Americans had another reason to feel secure: the team of at least 20 people from the Central Intelligence Agency operating out of an unmarked Benghazi compound known as “the Annex” that was about a half-mile southeast of the mission.

Some were highly skilled commandos. “I knew the backup guys at the Annex, who were quite heavily trained and equipped,” said an Obama administration official who visited in the months before the attack.

  1. That the militias were predictable

The American security posture in the area assumed a depth of knowledge about the local militias that was far too confident. Not the same thing as an expectation of warning, rather this assumption was an expectation of predictability.

Many of these militias were very recently formed, and that they’d settle into alliance with the West was a fatal assumption.

From The Times:

Despite [Ambassador Christopher Stevens’] expertise and the C.I.A.’s presence, though, “there was little understanding of militias in Benghazi and the threat they posed to U.S. interests,” a State Department investigation into the mission attack later concluded.

Finally, sources in the special operations community tell Business Insider that, unbeknownst to the CIA, Joint Special Operations troops were targeting militia members in Benghazi who also doubled as CIA assets.

So while CIA and JSOC may not have been communicating, it’s likely that local militia leaders viewed these kill or capture missions as American aggression.

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