Obama Admin Approved Arms For Libyan Rebels Ended Up Going to Militants

Evidence has surfaced that weapons approved by the Obama administration, for rebels in Libya, ended up in the hands of Islamic militants. C.I.A. officers in Libya during the tumult of the rebellion, provided little oversight of the arms shipments and within weeks of endorsing Qatar’s plan to send weapons there in spring 2011, there were reports that they were going to Islamic militant groups. Weapons were also shipped from the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar, a tiny nation whose natural gas reserves have made it enormously wealthy, for years has tried to expand its influence in the Arab world. Since 2011, with dictatorships in the Middle East and North Africa coming under siege, Qatar has given arms and money to various opposition and militant groups, chiefly Sunni Islamists, in hopes of cementing alliances with the new governments.

“To do this right, you have to have on-the-ground intelligence and you have to have experience,” said Vali Nasr, a former State Department adviser. “If you rely on a country that doesn’t have those things, you are really flying blind. When you have an intermediary, you are going to lose control.”

Mahmoud Jibril, then the prime minister of the Libyan transitional government, expressed frustration to administration officials that the United States was allowing Qatar to arm extremist groups opposed to the new leadership, according to several anonymous American officials. The administration has never determined where all of the weapons went inside Libya, officials said.

Some of the machine guns, automatic rifles, and ammunition are believed to have gone to militants with ties to Al Qaeda in Mali while several American and foreign officials and arms traders say some of the weapons have ended up in Syria.

The United Arab Emirates first asked the Obama administration for permission to ship American built weapons, supplied to the UAE, during the early months of the Libyan uprising. The administration instead urged the emirates to ship weapons to Libya that could not be traced to the United States.

“The U.A.E. was asking for clearance to send U.S. weapons,” said one former official. “We told them it’s O.K. to ship other weapons.”

“Nobody knew exactly who they were,” said one former defense official. The Qataris are “supposedly good allies, but the Islamists they support are not in our interest.”

No evidence has yet surfaced that any weapons went to Ansar al-Shariah, an extremist group blamed for the Benghazi attack.

 

CBS News Interview with Lt. Col. Wood “State Dept Initiated Ill Advised Security Draw Down Before Attack”

Obama Administration Denied Repeated Requests for Increased Security in Libya

 U.S. officials in Washington turned down repeated requests for increased security from American diplomats in Libya at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, where a U.S. ambassador was killed, despite two explosions and dozens of other security threats.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Rep. Jason Chaffetz said they have information from “individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya” detailing multiple attacks on U.S. diplomats and officials  in Libya in the months before the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the U.S.

The letter listed 13 incidents, but Chaffetz said in an interview that there were actually more than 50. Two of them involved explosive devices: a June 6 blast that blew a hole in the security perimeter. The explosion was described to the committee as “big enough for 40 men to go through”; and an April 6 incident where two Libyans who were fired by a security contractor threw a small explosive device over the consulate fence.

“A number of people felt helpless in pushing back” against the decision not to increase security and “were pleading with them to reconsider,” Chaffetz said.

The State Department declined to answer questions about whether extra security was sought by officials in Benghazi ahead of the attack.

Clinton did send a letter to Issa stating that she has established an accountability review board that will determine “whether our security systems and procedures in Benghazi were adequate, whether those systems and procedures were properly implemented, and any lessons learned that may be relevant to our work around the world.” She also asked the committee to withhold any final conclusions about the Benghazi attack until the committee can review the findings of the board.

Clinton also pledged to address the specific questions raised in the committee’s letter in addition to document requests.

Referring to the Benghazi attack, the letter said, “It was clearly never, as administration officials once insisted, the result of a popular protest.”

The Obama administration insisted that the attacks on our embassies was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islamic video circulating on the Internet. Since then, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and White House press secretary Jay Carney have called the incident a terrorist attack.

Other incidents cited in the Issa-Chaffetz letter to Clinton:

—Just weeks before the attacks, the unarmed Libyan guards at the consulate, employed by British contractor Blue Mountain Group, were warned by family members to quit their jobs because there were rumors of an impending attack.

—In April, a gun battle erupted about two miles from the consulate between an unidentified armed group and forces loyal to the transitional government.

—In June, a posting on a Facebook page mentioned Stevens’ early morning runs around Tripoli along with members of his security detail. The page contained a threat against Stevens and a stock photo of him. Stevens stopped the runs for about a week, but then resumed.

ABC News has obtained an e-mail detailing the Obama Administration’s denial of a request by US Diplomats in Libya for Security-Enhancing Transportation.

 

Human Rights Watch: NATO Ignoring Civilian Deaths in Libya Campaign

According to a new Human Rights Watch report, NATO has failed to investigate or even acknowledge the deaths of dozens of civilians in questionable air strikes during the 2011 campaign in Libya.

The report points to eight air strikes that killed 72 civilians, including 20 women and 24 children. Seven of eight strikes lacked a clear military target and may have possibly been violations of the laws of war. The group is calling for a full investigation as well as compensation for victims’ families.

“NATO took important steps to minimize civilian casualties during the Libya campaign, but information and investigations are needed to explain why 72 civilians died,” the report’s main author, Fred Abrahams, said in a statement accompanying the report. “Attacks are allowed only on military targets, and serious questions remain in some incidents about what exactly NATO forces were striking.”

The report recommends that NATO conduct post-operation investigations into civilian casualties.

NATO says it has no mandate to operate on the ground, but Human Rights Watch says that it has not asked Libya’s transitional government for authority to examine incidents of civilian deaths and should do so promptly.

“The overall care NATO took in the campaign is undermined by its refusal to examine the dozens of civilian deaths,” Abrahams said. “This is needed to provide compensation for victims of wrongful attacks, and to learn from mistakes and minimize civilian casualties in future wars.”

Russia has said NATO “grossly violated” its mandate in Libya and has used the March-October 2011 campaign to justify blocking U.N. action against Syria, but the report singles out Russia as having made “grossly exaggerated claims of civilian deaths from NATO air strikes … without basis.”

“The countries that have criticized NATO for so-called massive civilian casualties in Libya are trying to score political points rather than protect civilians,” Abrahams said.

NATO responded by praising the “unprecedented care and precision” of a campaign that “saved countless lives.”

“NATO did everything possible to minimize risks to civilians, but in a complex military campaign, that risk can never be zero,” the organization said in a press statement. “We deeply regret any instance of civilian casualties for which NATO may have been responsible.”

Feds to Monitor Internet for Uprisings with Predictive Software

Apparently some U.S. Navy-backed researchers has come up with a bizarre explanation for the grass roots uprisings that took place in Egypt last year. According to their thesis the reason for the revolt was not a cry for freedom and equality but that the idea of overthrowing their dictator spread like an infection throughout the Egyptian population. What’s even more disconcerting is the antidote they have come up with.

A team at Aptima Inc., with funding from the Office of Naval Research, is developing software that would scour the internet, including news stories, social networks and blogs, to extract topics and phrases that are gaining traction online. The software would then track how the conversations proliferate, both geographically and over time.

The software would use epidemiological modeling to chart the discussions and their trajectory. It’s the same method used in public health initiatives to figure out where a particular illness started, and how it spread. Epidemiologists collect data and use the information to make educated guesses on how causality, health and environmental factors contributed to outbreaks in any given community.

Applied to the online world, epidemiological models would treat an uprising like some sort of viral outbreak. They’d break down and track  web conversations by the author of the post, what site it was published on and the comments that followed and try to figure out which parts contributed most to the spread of a revolutionary message.

Called “Epidemiological Modeling of the Evolution of Messages”  or E-Meme for short, the program would also use language recognition technology to determine what people in certain regions, of certain age groups, genders, or any number of other demographics, are discussing. From “next week’s election” to “link up and cause havoc.”

“We witnessed the profound power of ideas to replicate in what began as anti-government sentiment in Tunisia, then moved like a virus, reaching and influencing new groups in Egypt, Syria, and Libya,”  Dr. Robert McCormack, the project’s lead investigator, said. “If we can better understand the flow of ideas through electronic channels to sway the perceptions of groups, we may be better prepared to develop appropriate strategies, such as supporting democratic movements or perhaps dissuading suicide bombers.”

E-Meme is currently one year into a two-year development plan and will even be designed to go beyond those abilities. After tracking the proliferation of topics, E-Meme will analyze what kinds of attitudes those discussing them appear to have and then how those attitudes influence the conversation’s spread across the web.

“A lot of tools exist to do things like look at trending topics, or how many people online are talking about X,” McCormack added. “We want to take that several steps further. We’re interested in the dynamics of those conversations.”

McCormack and co. certainly have high hopes for the software’s abilities. Eventually, they’d like to analyze “sentiments” and “the perceptions of groups” to predict “what the online discussion will actually turn into.” Egypt’s relative peace compared to Libya’s rampant violence. Of course, McCormack notes, that kind of analysis remains “incredibly difficult to do.”

The evolution of software like E-Meme will no doubt remain a major Pentagon priority. In the past two years alone, we’ve seen the CIA invest in a company that scours the Internet to “predict the future,”  Iarpa consider the merits of person-finding via web pic and spotting rebel citizens via YouTube.

Of course, governments worldwide already do plenty of online monitoring. But for those living under power hungry dictatorial regimes in which citizens can be indefinitely detained or even assassinated by their government with no due process? The prospect of monitoring that’s smart enough to understand the online spread of ideas, and their subsequent real-world outcomes, could be downright devastating. Good thing for us we in live in the U.S. where..wait a minute, damn.