Courtesy of The Three Percenter’s Club, although it’s been widely circulated and appears to have originated from Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children. This meme shows a man being tortured, presumably Ambassador Christopher Stevens, during the Benghazi attacks in 2012. This would be an effective attack against Clinton and Obama, except it’s false.
Source of the Photo
This photo has circulated the internet in several different ways unrelated to Ambassador Stevens or Benghazi. It’s been used on sites claiming to chronicle CIA torture methods, here, here and here It’s also been used here in a post about detention centers at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. This last link is significant because it has a time stamp of 2009, about 3 years prior to the Benghazi attacks, meaning the picture is likely not of Ambassador Stevens (unless one is to believe the author added this photo 3 years later to an obscure webpage and outdated story).
The real smoking gun seems to be this page, which is from 2004, a full 8 years before Benghazi. It’s a foreign website, so the translation is shown below if you don’t speak Spanish. In this case, the photo is used in a story about Argentina military torture training.
The MP was unable to confirm if this is the original source of the photo, but it’s largely irrelevant, as it’s obviously not of Ambassador Stevens. Furthermore, the photo is most likely not even from the Middle East, but from Latin America.
Was Ambassador Stevens Tortured?
While it’s clearly in bad taste to use a fake photo in this way, it could still be considered “artistic license” if it accurately captured what happened. There were initial reports from Trayyar, a Lebanese news organization, that the ambassador was raped before being murdered, but that report also claimed the incident was due to a youtube video, which we all famously know was false. This story was later proved to be a mistake and was retracted.
There was also a supposed account by naval chaplain Charles Roots, which claimed Ambassador Stevens was brutally tortured. However, both Snopes and Factcheck.org have debunked this story (as has the real Charles Roots!).
There seems to still be some mystery around Ambassador Stevens’s death, but it seems likely he died of smoke inhalation suffered from the embassy fire. Here is a detailed account of the tragedy. There’s even a video from CNN which claims the crowd tried to help the ambassador after they found him. This can’t be proven either, but the video is compelling.
Regardless, there is no reliable evidence that Ambassador Stevens was tortured as described in this meme.
There are legitimate criticisms and failures that can be attributed to Clinton and Obama regarding the Benghazi attacks. There are no shortages of this information on the internet, so it won’t be covered here. As it relates to this meme, the photo is clearly not of Ambassador Stevens, nor is there any evidence it accurately depicts the event. It’s meant to inflame emotions of the viewer, who likely doesn’t know the facts, and is an example of the worst type of political discourse.