Libya, the CIA and Syria


This video is called Libyan militias are spiralling out of control.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Attack in Libya disrupted major CIA operation

25 September 2012

The September 11 attack that claimed the life of the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans disrupted a major CIA operation in the North African country.

According to the New York Times, at least half of the nearly two dozen US personnel evacuated from the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi following the fatal attack on the US consulate and a secret “annex” were “CIA operatives and contractors.”

“It’s a catastrophic intelligence loss,” a US official who had been stationed in Libya told the Times. “We got our eyes poked out.”

The Times report describes the mission of the CIA station in Benghazi as one of “conducting surveillance and collecting information on an array of armed militant groups in and around the city,” including Ansar al-Sharia, an Islamist militia that has been linked by some to the September 11 attack, and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM.

It further states that the CIA “began building a meaningful but covert presence in Benghazi” within months of the February 2011 revolt in Benghazi that seized the city from forces loyal to the government of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Stevens himself was sent into the city in April of that year as the American envoy to the so-called “rebels” organized in the Benghazi-based National Transitional Council (NTC).

What the Times omits from its account of CIA activities in Benghazi, however, is that the agency was not merely conducting covert surveillance on the Islamists based in eastern Libya, but providing them with direct aid and coordinating their operations with those of the NATO air war launched to bring down the Gaddafi regime. In this sense, the September 11 attack that killed Stevens and the three other Americans was very much a case of the chickens coming home to roost.

There is every reason to believe that the robust CIA presence in Benghazi after Gaddafi’s fall also involved more than just surveillance. Libyan Islamists make up the largest single component of the “foreign fighters” who are playing an ever more dominant role in the US-backed sectarian civil war being waged in Syria with the aim of toppling the government of President Bashar al-Assad. According to some estimates, they comprise anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 of approximately 3,500 fighters who have been infiltrated into Syria from as far away as Chechnya and Pakistan.

The CIA has also set up a center on the border between Turkey and Syria to oversee the funneling of arms, materiel, money and fighters into the Syrian civil war. Given the relationship established between the US agency and the Libyan Islamist militias during the US-NATO war to topple Gaddafi, it seems highly probable that the departure of such elements from eastern Libya and their infiltration into Syria would be coordinated by CIA personnel on both ends.

The government installed by the US-NATO war in the Libyan capital of Tripoli was apparently unaware of the size of the CIA presence in Benghazi, though the agency was supposedly cooperating with Libyan intelligence officials in monitoring the activities of the Islamists.

According to a report published September 21 in the Wall Street Journal, the attempt by Libyan government forces to coordinate a response to the militia assault on the US consulate and the “annex” used by the CIA was hindered by the refusal of American officials to provide the Libyans with GPS coordinates for the “annex,” which came under sustained assault and where two security contractors, former Navy Seals, were killed.

When the US and Libyan rescuers managed to evacuate some 30 Americans from the “annex” and bring them to the Benghazi airport, Libyan officials were stunned by the number of US personnel there and had to bring in a second plane to fly them all out.

“We were surprised by the numbers of Americans who were at the airport,” Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagour told the Journal. “We have no problem with intelligence sharing or gathering, but our sovereignty is also key,” he added.

In the aftermath of the attack in Benghazi, the question of security at US facilities has become a politically contested issue, with Republicans charging that the Obama administration had behaved irresponsibly in not having US military personnel protect Stevens and other personnel. They have also accused the administration of misleading the public by describing the assault on the two buildings as an outgrowth of a spontaneous demonstration over the anti-Islamic film that has triggered protests throughout the Muslim world, rather than a terrorist attack.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard McKeon, a California Republican, last week declared the lack of military guards in Benghazi as “inconceivable” given an earlier attack on the Benghazi compound and other incidents of armed violence in the city.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded to the criticism by insisting that local security forces and a private security company that deployed Libyan guards had provided security “of the kind that we rely on in many places around the world.”

By late last week, administration officials had begun referring to the assault as a “terrorist attack.” With the US having deployed warships, drones and a 50-member US Marine rapid reaction force to Libya, this may be preparation for military retaliation.

In Libya itself, thousands of people marched in Benghazi on Friday against the militias. Crowds laid siege to the headquarters of Ansar al-Sharia and another Islamist militia, the Rafallah Sahati brigade, leading to at least four deaths.

The demonstrations clearly expressed public anger over the sway of the Islamists over Benghazi, with participants talking of the need for “a new revolution.”

Late on Saturday, the authorities in Tripoli responded to the popular frustration. The Libyan army chief, Yusseff Mangoush, and national assembly leader Mohamed Magrief announced that “illegitimate” militias would have 48 hours to disarm and disband, or the army would use force.

What this meant was far from clear, however, as Libyan President Mohamed el-Megaref called upon Libyan protesters to leave the “legitimate” militias alone. The president demanded that the demonstrators stop attacks on militias that are “under state legitimacy, and go home.”

The spokesman for the national assembly went further. According to the Wall Street Journal, the spokesman, Omar Humidan, declared that while the militias “have wrong practices… serve their own agenda and have their own ideology… striking these militias and demanding they disband immediately will have grave consequences.”

He continued: “These are the ones that preserve security. The state has a weak army and no way it can fill any vacuum resulting in eviction of these militias… The street is upset because of the militias and their infighting. We are worried of the fallout in the absence of those militias. The state must be given time.”

The militias in Benghazi are almost all offshoots of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a jihadist group that had ties to Al Qaeda and whose leaders were abducted and tortured by the CIA as part of Washington’s “global war on terror.” This is the case with Ansar al-Sharia, which is responsible for providing security at the Al Jala hospital in Benghazi, as well as the Rafallah Sahati brigade, which has also been deployed as a security force in the city, including during the national elections.

In the aftermath of last Friday’s demonstrations, the militias struck back, claiming that the popular repudiation of their policies had been stirred up by supporters of the former Gaddafi regime.

The Rafallah al-Sahati militia announced Monday that it had rounded up 113 people for alleged involvement in the protests. A leader of the group claimed that most of those detained were former members of the Gaddafi-era military or supporters of the deposed president.

Libyan state television reported Monday that on the outskirts of Benghazi the bodies of six Libyan soldiers were found shot, execution style, with their hands cuffed behind them. It was also reported that an army colonel had disappeared and was believed to have been kidnapped.

According to the Wall Street Journal: “Some media reports accused militiamen of taking revenge on Gaddafi-era veterans in the military; in contrast, a military spokesman, Ali al-Shakhli, blamed Gaddafi loyalists, saying they were trying to stir up trouble between the public and the militias.”

About these ads

18 thoughts on “Libya, the CIA and Syria

  1. Irakees uit Almere vecht in Syrië

    Toegevoegd: zondag 30 sep 2012, 19:40

    In Syrië vecht een Irakese man uit Almere mee met een extreem-islamistische beweging. Dat blijkt uit onderzoek van het VPRO-radioprogramma Bureau Buitenland. Deze Khaled K. heeft in de zomer van 2011 in Nederland twee weken in hechtenis gezeten op verdenking van betrokkenheid bij terrorisme.

    Volgens de Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst, AIVD, wilde de Irakees zich in Syrië aansluiten bij al-Qaida. Mogelijk zou hij in Irak of in de Palestijnse gebieden een aanslag hebben willen plegen. Hij werd vrijgelaten omdat er niet genoeg bewijs was om hem langer vast te houden.

    Inreisverbod

    Na zijn vrijlating is Khaled K. naar Syrië afgereisd om zich aan te sluiten bij de gewapende groepering Jubhat al-Nusra, ‘Front voor de Overwinning van de mensen van de Levant’. Deze organisatie, die een streng salafistische ideologie aanhangt, heeft de verantwoordelijkheid opgeëist voor verschillende aanslagen op overheidsgebouwen in Damascus.

    De AIVD geeft geen informatie over individuele gevallen, maar zegt onder jihadisten in Nederland een verhoogde belangstelling voor de strijd in Syrië te zien. Wanneer deze militante moslims terugkeren naar Nederland, kan er volgens de AIVD “dreiging van hen uitgaan, of kunnen zij andere jihadisten ondersteunen bij het plegen van aanslagen in het Westen”.

    De Nederlandse verblijfsvergunning van Khaled K. is ingetrokken en hem is een EU-inreisverbod opgelegd. Volgens het Openbare Ministerie is Khaled K. nog steeds verdachte in de zaak waarvoor hij eerder was gearresteerd.

    http://nos.nl/artikel/424360-irakees-uit-almere-vecht-in-syrie.html

  2. Pingback: Bahraini absolute monarchy keeps killing subjects | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Call for a cease fire as starting point of a political process

    On September 23, 2012, an exceptional event took place in Damascus under the title
    “Rescue Syria”. The internal opposition around the ?National Co-ordination Body for
    Democratic Change? (NBC) held a conference for ending the violence and paving the way to
    a political solution of the conflict.

    http://www.antiimperialista.org/node/7841

  4. Pingback: Turkish government fires on Syria, represses pro-peace protest | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Romney wants more wars | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. From Associated Press:

    State Department: Libya Consulate Attack Not Preceded By Protest

    By BRADLEY KLAPPER and LARRY MARGASAK 10/09/12 08:57 PM ET EDT

    WASHINGTON — The State Department said Tuesday it never concluded that the consulate attack in Libya stemmed from protests over an American-made video ridiculing Islam, raising further questions about why the Obama administration used that explanation for more than a week after assailants killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

    The revelation came as new documents suggested internal disagreement over appropriate levels of security before the attack, which occurred on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the U.S.

    Briefing reporters ahead of a hotly anticipated congressional hearing Wednesday, State Department officials provided their most detailed rundown of how a peaceful day in Benghazi devolved into a sustained attack that involved multiple groups of men armed with weapons such as machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars over an expanse of more than a mile.

    But asked about the administration’s initial – and since retracted – explanation linking the violence to protests over an anti-Muslim video circulating on the Internet, one official said, “That was not our conclusion.” He called it a question for “others” to answer, without specifying. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter, and provided no evidence that might suggest a case of spontaneous violence or angry protests that went too far.

    The attack has become a major issue in the presidential campaign, featuring prominently in Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s latest foreign policy address on Monday. He called it an example of President Barack Obama’s weakness in foreign policy matters, noting: “As the administration has finally conceded, these attacks were the deliberate work of terrorists.”

    The administration counters that it has provided its best intelligence on the attack, and that it refined its explanation as more information came to light. But five days after the attack, Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, gave a series of interviews saying the administration believed the violence was unplanned and that extremists with heavier weapons “hijacked” the protest and turned it into an outright attack.

    She has since denied trying to mislead Congress, and a concurrent CIA memo that was obtained by The Associated Press cited intelligence suggesting the demonstrations in Benghazi “were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo” and “evolved into a direct assault” on the diplomatic posts by “extremists.”

    Alongside defining the nature of the Benghazi attack, Congress is looking into whether adequate security was in place.

    According to an email obtained Tuesday by the AP, the top State Department security official in Libya told a congressional investigator that he had argued unsuccessfully for more security in the weeks before Ambassador Chris Stevens, a State Department computer specialist and two former Navy SEALs were killed. But department officials instead wanted to “normalize operations and reduce security resources,” he wrote.

    Eric Nordstrom, who was the regional security officer in Libya, also referenced a State Department document detailing 230 security incidents in Libya between June 2011 and July 2012 that demonstrated the danger there to Americans.

    Nordstrom is among the witnesses set to testify Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. According to the panel’s chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and the head of a subcommittee, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, the State Department refused repeated requests to provide more security for U.S. diplomats in Libya.

    “You will note that there were a number of incidents that targeted diplomatic missions and underscored the GoL’s (government of Libya) inability to secure and protect diplomatic missions,” Nordstrom’s email stated.

    “This was a significant part of (the diplomatic) post’s and my argument for maintaining continued DS (diplomatic security) and DOD (Department of Defense) security assets into Sept/Oct. 2012; the GoL was overwhelmed and could not guarantee our protection.

    “Sadly, that point was reaffirmed on Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi,” he added.

    Nordstrom said the incidents demonstrated that security in Libya was fragile and could degrade quickly. He added that Libya was “certainly not an environment where (the diplomatic) post would be directed to `normalize’ operations and reduce security resources in accordance with an artificial time table.”

    Nordstrom also said diplomats in Libya were told not to request an extension of a 16-member special operations military team that left in August, according to an official of the Oversight panel. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and thus spoke only on the condition of anonymity.

    The State Department has said it never received a request to extend the military team beyond August, and added that its members were replaced with a security team that had the same skills.

    Democrats on the Oversight committee were sharply critical of Issa, the chairman, calling his investigation “extremely partisan.”

    “The chairman and his staff failed to consult with Democratic members prior to issuing public letters with unverified allegations, concealed witnesses and refused to make one hearing witness available to Democratic staff, withheld documents obtained by the committee during the investigation, and effectively excluded Democratic committee members from joining a poorly-planned congressional delegation to Libya,” a Democratic memo said.

    It said in the previous two years, House Republicans voted to cut the Obama administration’s requests for embassy security by some $459 million.

    The Democratic memo said Nordstrom told committee investigators that he sent two cables to State Department headquarters in March and July 2012 requesting additional diplomatic security agents for Benghazi, but that he received no responses.

    He stated that Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary for international programs, wanted to keep the number of U.S. security personnel in Benghazi artificially low and that Lamb believed the Benghazi facilities did not need any diplomatic security special agents because there was a residential safe haven to fall back to in an emergency.

    Issa had a phone conversation Monday with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton about the committee’s investigation.

    The FBI is still investigating the attack. Clinton also has named a State Department review panel to look into the security arrangements in Libya.

  7. Pingback: US soldiers to Jordan … and Syria? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  8. Pingback: Libyan US ambassador murder, what politicians forget | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  9. Pingback: US taxpayers’ money to Al Qaeda | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  10. Pingback: Bani Walid, Libya civilians are dying | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  11. Pingback: CIA boss resignation, really about Libya? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  12. Pingback: Bahraini torture prince now Syrian ‘humanitarian’ | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  13. Pingback: Patriot missiles in Turkey, war in Syria | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  14. Pingback: Only 4% of US Americans want to invade Syria | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  15. Pingback: Slovenian philosopher Žižek on Syria | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  16. Pingback: Support CIA Syria policy, get 15 years prison | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  17. Pingback: Benghazi murder of US ambassador by CIA allies | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  18. Pingback: CIA violates United States constitution, Senator Feinstein says | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s