“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

NATO Disrupts LIbyan Missile Caches, Now in Hands of Who?


U.S. Fears Missing Libyan Weapons Could Fall Into Wrong Hands

Published September 07, 2011
| Associated Press

Read more:

TRIPOLI, Libya – Crates of mortar shells sit unguarded and empty boxes for missiles to blow up tanks and bring down airplanes are strewn about arms depots around the Libyan capital.

Former rebels say they took some ammunition for the fight against Muammar Qaddafi, but U.S. officials and others have expressed fears Libya's weapons could fall into the wrong hands.

The six-month civil war that ended Qaddafi's 42-year rule and sent him into hiding also threw open the gates to his regime's extensive armories. The country's new leaders, who are struggling to establish a government, have failed to secure many of the caches, making them free game for looters, former rebel fighters or anyone with a truck to carry them away.

Since Qaddafi's fall last month, American and U.N. officials have warned that the failure to control Libya's weapons could destabilize the whole of North Africa.
Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called on Libya's new leaders to secure the ousted regime's weapons. "They still have a huge hill to climb," Clinton said. "But they are working with the international community to secure both chemical weapons stockpiles as well as conventional weapons."
However, visits by The Associated Press to weapons caches around Tripoli show that many remain poorly guarded and have already been heavily looted. About a dozen rebels wandered around one site the AP visited on Wednesday, where a large hangar was strewn with the boxes of missing weapons. Rebels at another site were leaving with a load of tank shells they said they were taking to a safe place for storage. They acknowledged, however, that they'd found the site unguarded.

It remains unclear how many weapons have been uncovered in Tripoli since Qaddafi's fall, said Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch, who has been searching the city for them.

Lots of munitions appear to have been hidden in civilian buildings to avoid airstrikes by NATO, which bombed regime military targets under a United Nations mandate to protect civilians.

At one unguarded site, Bouckaert said he found 100,000 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines. Elsewhere, he found weapons caches hidden under fruit trees.
"The problem is that the locals usually find out first and by the time we arrive and we can get some guards there, a lot of the most dangerous weapons have already been taken away," he said.

A green sign at the entrance of a site the AP visited Wednesday said the facility belonged to the Libyan Education Ministry. The large hangar was strewn with hundreds of crates of mortars and tank shells.

Empty boxes of rifle ammunition and the anti-aircraft guns the former rebels fixed to the backs of trucks to fight Qaddafi's soldiers were scattered on the floor. Among them were dozens of long skinny boxes for missiles -- all of them empty.
Numbered codes on the boxes and packing slips inside indicated some were Russian-made anti-tank missiles. Others held shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles designed to bring down airplanes, helicopters or drones.

Salim Badi, a rebel who said his brigade came the day before to secure the site, said he'd been there 10 days earlier and found many more weapons.
He guessed the rebel fighters had taken the rifle and anti-aircraft ammunition, but doubted they'd taken the missiles.

"None of the rebels would take this stuff," he said, standing over an open box of tank shells. "These here, we don't even know what to do with them."
Bouckaert said the missing missiles could be used to down airplanes.
"If these weapons start flooding around, it's an absolute disaster for commercial flights in this region," he said.

Neither of the warehouses the AP visited had traces of chemical weapons, and Bouckaert said he'd seen no evidence of chemical weapons in his search. The U.N. chief weapons watchdog said Wednesday that Libya's remaining chemical weapon stockpiles are believed to be secure.

Ahmet Uzumcu, director general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said his inspectors left the country in February when the anti-Qaddafi uprisings started and will return "when the conditions allow us."

Uzumcu said Wednesday he had heard from sources that the "remaining stockpiles of chemical weapons are secured." He did not identify his sources.
In 2004, Qaddafi agreed to dismantle his weapons of mass destruction, and his regime underscored its commitment by using bulldozers to crush 3,300 unloaded bombs that could have been used to deliver chemical weapons.

But more common munitions, like mortars and tank shells, could be used to make roadside or car bombs by anyone wishing to fight Libya's new government.
"If people want to mount an insurgency against the new rebel government ... all they have to do is drive some trucks into some of these buildings and they can remove enough to fight an insurgency for years," he said.

Rebels were leaving a second site the AP visited Wednesday with a large truck full of crates of mortars. Fighter Abdel-Hamid al-Koti, 30, said his group would cart the munitions back to their hometown of Misrata for safekeeping.

Inside, a hangar with four large storerooms stood behind a row of building supplies stores and next to a house with grapevines growing over the entryway.
One room held hundreds of crates of tank shells. Another was full to the ceiling with mortars. Yet another contained thousands of land mines.
The remains of hundreds of empty munitions boxes littered some of the rooms and the sandy alley outside.

Al-Koti said he didn't know how many munitions had been taken from the site before his group arrived or who took them.

"When we came today, this is how it looked," he said, gesturing at the empty weapons crates. "We didn't find anyone here."



  1. Did it occur to anyone downrange that there are folks in London, for example, who would love to cripple flights in and out of the UK?

    All it will take is one provably downed commercial airplane to cause a panic among the people that no amount of airport frisking of little girls and old ladies will alay. The cost will run into the (what? I don't know)... it could drawf 9/11. Imagine the West with all that fancy airline stuff and nowhere to go.

  2. See the USA
    in a Chevrolet!

  3. Imagine....our politico wunderkinds wondering about the outcome of a stockpiles of weapons, some reportedly containing nuclear materials; after watching the continuing evolution of countless days, weeks, and months of so called protesters morphing into a rabble of the discontented, morphing into insurgents and then finally transforming into the rebels we see on the nightly news with no known leaders, all brandishing their personal ak 47’s in lieu of any placards while burning and destroying all private and governmental property in their path.

    Then imagine the audacity of our political sages who have encouraged, consoled and adopted this motley crew of so called rebels with no known leaders with their fiery rhetoric and continued promises of financial aid and moral support.

    Imagine....the notion of finally wondering about a stockpiles of weapons, some reportedly containing nuclear materials; after months of spending and supporting such an uprising; to even suggest their wondering, or even worse paying for such an affair with tax-payers monies with no clear understanding of the end game in sight, talk about contempt for the American people, and the self serving mendacity and hypocrisy of it all.

    It would be comical if not so horrific....I am reminded of the old children’s poem / riddle, and in this instance I think the riddle Humpty Dumpty is as good a simile as I can contemplate:

    Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
    All the king's horses and all the king's men
    Couldn't put Humpty together again

    Ain’t life grand in Pixie Hollow?

  4. A spokesman for the Libyan rebel military, Abdulrahman Busin, said the rebel authorities were aware of the schoolbook warehouse, which is located only about a quarter-mile from the headquarters of the Khamis Brigade, an elite loyalist military unit headed by a son of Colonel Qaddafi. He said that rebel “military police” had probably removed the missiles.

    “The military police were aware of this and they took charge of it, they’re the ones who secured it,” Mr. Busin said.

    However, if that was the case, he was unable to explain why the facility remained unguarded on Wednesday. And efforts were unsuccessful to contact the head of the military police to confirm if his forces indeed had the missing missiles.

  5. Same thing happened in Iraq, with US troops on the ground. Iraqi Army depots were not quickly secured, even where the US troops held sway. In Anbar, the US was not able to secure the Iraqi munitions depots until well after they were empty.

    There has always been a risk from shoulder fired SAMs. Even those that had been manufactured in the US, those that were left with the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan, after the Soviets withdrew.

    The Soviet models were widely proliferated. Their shelf life is not all that long. The batteries fail and are not easily replaced, especially by terrorists without State sponsors.

  6. It was not until President Bush went to Iraq, and asked who was in charge of the effort, that the US military began the search to secure Saddam's WMD stockpiles.

    Little wonder, then, that where there are no US troops that the US would not have control of either the search for nor the securing of Colonel Q's weapon stockpiles.

  7. You all

    Blame America First!

    Even when the United States is just a bit player on the stage.

  8. The Palestinian Statehood question will be brought before the General Assembly of the UN.

    No country can veto the decisions of the General Assembly.

    The veto power that the US has at the UN is in the Security Council, not the General Assembly.

    The Republican that Chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, does not understand the difference, nor the process taking shape at the UN.

    She should resign the Chairmanship, as penance for her ignorance.

    (Reuters) - President Barack Obama should say clearly and publicly the United States will use its veto on the U.N. Security Council to block any Palestinian bid to gain U.N. membership, a senior Republican lawmaker said on Wednesday.

    Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a conservative who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, made the call ...

    Little wonder the electorate thinks so little of a Congress that does nothing and knows less.

  9. Anonymous said...

    And finally, I would say to all our good friends who have supplied our enemies, start building bomb shelters.

    And the meaning of this is just what???


    I'm still trying to puzzle out the meaning of this, myself.

    ??If I (were King of Israel) I would say to all our good friends (USA?) who have supplied our enemies(Israel's enemies), start building bomb shelters.??

    What are we really being told here?
    Build bomb shelters in Atlanta cause Allen is King of Israel?


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  12. Albania
    Czech Rep
    United Kingdom
    United States

  13. I didn't think Spain contributed much to NATO but it appears I was mistaken:

    Defense Minister Carme Chacon said Wednesday that Spain will keep its diplomatic mission in Libya "just as up to now" and added that it will only change its military contribution in that country when a new post-Gadhafi era begins.


    She emphasized the "intense work" of Spanish troops in Libya, where they are participating in operations to hinder the entry of weapons by sea and prevent forces loyal to the Gadhafi regime from bombarding the civilian population.

    "Currently and as long as the civilian population may continue needing protection, neither the mission nor the capabilities that Spain has contributed is going to change," the minister emphasized.

  14. NATO operations, along with those authorized by the United Nations exempted from the War Powers Act.

  15. WFR said...

    Love it!!! Excellent!!!

  16. DR said...
    Little wonder the electorate thinks so little of a Congress that does nothing and knows less.

    Wed Sep 07, 08:12:00 PM EDT

    But, and this is going to hurt, DR, the electorate just loves, loves, loves, Israel. Bummer, Old Man!

  17. The legislation was created 38 years ago to check the power of any U.S. president with regard to declaring war without the express approval of Congress. The federal law was approved when two-thirds of Congress overrode the veto of then-President Richard Nixon, and the War Powers Act has remained controversial, most recently given the U.S. role in armed conflict with Libya, Iraq, Kosovo, and other countries.

  18. anon said...

    What are we really being told here?
    Build bomb shelters in Atlanta cause Allen is King of Israel?

    :-) hmmm...King of Atlanta...How's about King of Tel Aviv's topless beaches? And no daughters in sight... :-)

  19. What happens when the Muslim Brotherhood gains control of the Syrian military and those munition stockpiles?

    Libya, a walk in the park, by comparison.

  20. The Congress fetes Bibi, while its' approval rating hovers at 13%.

    Rock steady, allen.

  21. According to Wikipedia:

    "Between 1946 and 1971, the Chinese seat on the Security Council was the government of the Republic of China (from 1949 on Taiwan) during which its representative used the veto only once (to block the Mongolian People's Republic's application for membership in 1955 because the ROC considered Mongolia to be a part of China). This postponed the admission of Mongolia until 1960, when the Soviet Union announced that unless Mongolia was admitted, it would block the admission of all of the newly independent African states. Faced with this pressure, the ROC relented under protest.

    After the Republic of China's expulsion from the United Nations in 1971, the first veto cast by the present occupant, the People's Republic of China, was issued in 25 August 1972 over Bangladesh's admission to the United Nations. As of December 2008, the People's Republic of China has used its veto six times; observers have noted a preference for China to abstain rather than veto on resolutions not directly related to Chinese interests.[10]"

  22. Ignorance is bliss

    allen, a truly happy man.

  23. Like nearly all of the peoples of North and South America, most Americans are not originally from the territory that became the United States. They are a diverse collection of peoples primarily from a dozen different Western European states, mixed in with smaller groups from a hundred more. All of the New World entities struggled to carve a modern nation and state out of the American continents. Brazil is an excellent case of how that struggle can be a difficult one.


    North America is a triangle-shaped continent centered in the temperate portions of the Northern Hemisphere. It is of sufficient size that its northern reaches are fully Arctic and its southern reaches are fully tropical. Predominant wind currents carry moisture from west to east across the continent.

    Climatically, the continent consists of a series of wide north-south precipitation bands largely shaped by the landmass’ longitudinal topography. The Rocky Mountains dominate the Western third of the northern and central parts of North America, generating a rain-shadow effect just east of the mountain range — an area known colloquially as the Great Plains. Farther east of this semiarid region are the well-watered plains of the prairie provinces of Canada and the American Midwest. This zone comprises both the most productive and the largest contiguous acreage of arable land on the planet.


    It is common knowledge that the United States began as 13 rebellious colonies along the east coast of the center third of the North American continent. But the United States as an entity was not a sure thing in the beginning. France controlled the bulk of the useful territory that in time would enable the United States to rise to power, while the Spanish empire boasted a larger and more robust economy and population in the New World than the fledgling United States. Most of the original 13 colonies were lightly populated by European standards — only Philadelphia could be considered a true city in the European sense — and were linked by only the most basic of physical infrastructure.

    Inevitable Empire

  24. Allen the crude slips down a further loop in the inferno.


  25. .

    13 investigations into the Liberty Incident?

    There are those that say the 13 investigations vindicate Israel and that those that deny this are nutters. There are many others who view the "investigations" as mere whitewash for political reasons and consider those who believe them to be credulous enough to believe any fairy tale.

    Most of the references that comment on the 13 investigations into Liberty incident center around Jay Christol’s claim, as laid out in his book The Liberty Incident, that “Thirteen Investigations have all exonerated Israel .” Yet there are others who call Christol’s research slipshod and his assumptions suspect. Here is what they say about the “investigations”.

    The Investigations:

    1. The U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry: A rushed investigation pushed to a predetermined conclusion.

    - Chief Council for the investigation was given one week to complete it. The entire report was issued in 10 days [as a reference the investigation of the Pueblo incident took six months to complete].

    - No Israeli government official or participant in the attack was asked to testify.

    - 14 crew members were asked to testify. Key witnesses including the officer who took command when the Captain was wounded were not allowed to testify.

    - The crew was commanded to silence under penalty of court marshal and no two of them ever served together again.

    - The court's hearing began before the Liberty even arrived in Malta.

    - Certain testimony that was given(ie that on the strafing of the life boats) was left out of the final report.

    - Officers working for McCain have indicated that the evidence they saw during the investigation did not support the courts finding that the attack was a case of "mistaken identity."

    - The finding of the court was already predetermined before the hearing ever began as evidenced by the fact that telegrams were sent to all the relatives of the Liberty's victims indicating the deaths and injuries were the result of a terrible mistake and a case of mistaken identity.

    The telegrams were sent out before the hearings even began.


  26. .

    The 13 Investigations (continued):

    2. Israeli government investigations: The Ram Ron and Yerushalmi reports of 1967 were not investigations. Both were elements of an Israeli process to determine whether anyone in Israel should be tried for a crime. That the attack itself was an accident was a given. Both hearings officers determined that no one in Israel did anything wrong, and that the USS Liberty was partly responsible, for a number of contrived reasons, such as "failure to fly a flag" and "trying to hide" -- which the Navy Court of Inquiry found to be untrue.

    3. The Joint Chiefs of Staff Report of June 1967: This was an inquiry into the mishandling of several messages intended for the ship. It was not an investigation into the attack. It did not exonerate Israel, because it did not in any way consider the question of culpability.

    4. CIA report of June 13, 1967: This interim report, completed five days after the attack, reported "our best judgment [is] that the attack... was a mistake." No investigation was conducted, and no first-hand evidence was collected. Then-CIA Director Richard Helms concluded and later reported in his autobiography that the attack was planned and deliberate -- a fact ignored by Mr. Cristol.

    5. Clark Clifford report of July 18, 1967: Clark Clifford was directed by Lyndon Johnson to review the Court of Inquiry report and the interim CIA report and "not to make an independent inquiry." His was merely a summary of other fallacious reports, not an "investigation" as alleged by Mr. Cristol. The report reached no conclusions and did not exonerate Israel, as Mr. Cristol also claimed. On the contrary, Clifford wrote later that he regarded the attack as deliberate -- a fact ignored by Mr. Cristol.

    6. and 7. Two Senate Investigations: The Committee on Foreign Relations meeting of 1967 and Senate Armed Services Committee meeting of 1968 were hearings on unrelated matters which clearly skeptical members used to castigate representatives of the administration under oath before them. Typical questions were, "Why can't we get the truth about this?" They were not "investigations" at all, but budget hearings, and reported no conclusions concerning the attack. They did not exonerate Israel, as claimed by Mr. Cristol.


  27. Compounding the issues for Romney in the new poll is that fewer of his supporters now back him “strongly.” In July, 29 percent of Romney supporters were strongly behind him; now that has slipped to 15 percent.


    Following Perry’s entry, more Republicans say they are satisfied with their candidate choices. In the spring, fewer than half of Republicans said they were satisfied.

    That jumped up in July, and in the new poll, nearly two-thirds say they are at least somewhat satisfied.

  28. .


    The 13 Investigations (cont'd)

    8. House Appropriations Committee meeting of April and May 1968: This was a budget committee meeting which explored the issue of lost messages intended for the ship. It was not an investigation and reported no conclusions concerning the attack, as alleged by Mr. Cristol.

    9. House Armed Services Committee Review of Communications, May 1971: Liberty communications were discussed along with other communications failures. The committee reported no conclusions concerning the attack, as alleged by Mr. Cristol.

    10. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, 1979/1981: Mr. Cristol claims that the committee investigated the attack and exonerated Israel, yet he has been unable to provide minutes, a report or other evidence of such an investigation. Rules of the select committee require that any committee investigation be followed by a report. There is no report of such an investigation; ergo, there was no such investigation.

    11. National Security Agency Report, 1981: Upon the publication in 1980 of "Assault on the Liberty" by James Ennes, the National Security Agency completed a detailed account of the attack. The report drew no conclusions, although its authors did note that the deputy director dismissed the Israeli excuse (the Yerushalmi report) as "a nice whitewash." The report did not exonerate Israel, as claimed by Mr. Cristol.

    12. State of Israel-Israel Defense Force History Department report of June 1982: This Israeli government report was a reaction to a published report by Sen. Adlai Stevenson III that he believed the attack to be deliberate and hoped to provide a forum for survivors to tell their story. It was primarily a summary of the Ram Ron and Yerushalmi reports. The Stevenson forum, which was the impetus for the report, was never held. The report supports the official Israeli position that the attack was a tragic accident.

    13. House Armed Services Committee investigation of 1991/1992: Though cited by Mr. Cristol as an investigation which exonerates Israel, the U.S. government reports no record of such an investigation. Cristol claims that the investigation resulted from a letter to Rep. Nicholas Mavroules from Joe Meadors, then-president of the USS Liberty Veterans Association, seeking Mavroules' support. Instead of responding to Liberty veterans, however, Congressman Mavroules referred the matter to Mr. Cristol for advice. Survivors heard nothing further. Meadors' letter was never answered. The U.S. government reports that there has been no such investigation.

    The primary report rushed and the conclusion predetermined. Three self-serving Israeli reports. A number completed within days or weeks of the inident and building off the initial flawed investications. Others misrepresented. Others apparently never happened.


    Garbage in, garbage out.

    13 X 0 = 0


  29. 2 Simple Truths:

    Partners help each other undress before sex. However after sex, they always dress on their own.

    Moral of the story:
    In life, no one helps you once you're screwed.

    When a lady is pregnant, all her friends touch the stomach and saying "congrats". But, none of them come and touch the man's penis and say "Good job".

    Moral of the story:
    "Hard work is never appreciated”

  31. The coverage leading up to the debate — including in this space — has focused almost entirely on Perry’s relative dearth of debating experience. And, to the extent that the stories have analyzed the debating Perry has done, they’ve portrayed him as a mediocre debater who rarely shines but also infrequently scuffles.


    Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has sailed through the first two debates of the primary season — we declared him a “winner” after each one — thanks to a disciplined message focused on President Obama and a commitment to avoiding the barbs directed at him by his Republican opponents. But, coasting is no longer an option for Romney due to Perry’s rise.


    Judging by the new polls from the Washington Post/ABC News and NBC/ Wall Street Journal, it’s Texas Rep. Ron Paul not Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann who is sitting in third place at the moment.

  32. Three hits in a row for Sam.


  33. DR,

    Good try, but no cigar! Americans by huge majorities prefer Israel to ANY Arabian/Muslim state. You will either have to live with the pain or leave off :-)

    I would like to say sorry, DR, but your back is against the wall of logic and I love it.

  34. desert rat said...
    Ignorance is bliss

    allen, a truly happy man.

    Wed Sep 07, 08:54:00 PM EDT

    Gosh, what am I to say and still maintain the semblance of modesty?
    I am blissful, DR, because the overwhelming majority of Americans do not agree with either you or your pals. Wow! That felt sooooo goooood! Read the polls and weep.

    DR, on occasion I have disagreed with a one-time friend. He is sincere, if sometimes mistaken. You are merely a fraud. You do hate what both America and Israel stand for. Were it not for blatant anti-Semitism, you would have been run out of Dodge long ago and this site would have been one of the best on the net. Happy now?

  35. Newt has completely lost his mind. Gov. Big Hair and Mitt going at it was funny. I will call that one a draw. Ron Paul, as usual, is the most honest of the bunch. But he is also the craziest.

    Herman is doing like Moses Malone with his 9-9-9- tax plan. :)

    I think Huntsman is my favorite republicant.

  36. Wow, Sam, I just got through Part: 1. That is a Great look at U.S. History. (sometimes I think the author conflates planning with "luck, and happenstance," but what the hell. :)

    It's still a great piece of looking at History from an angle I hadn't before considered - the extreme importance of linking, navigable, waterways.

    I'm going to take a break, and go on to part deux.

  37. No More, Burned Yesterday

    Have shipped grain on that railroad, sure put up the black smoke.


  38. .

    There are those who complain that 2400 pages of data from the U.S.S. Liberty incident were released by the government in 2007 and that 'quantity' of data should be enough to convince anyone of Israel's innocence.

    When the "quality" or "completeness" of the information released is questioned or anyone questions the fact that FOIA requests were ignored or denied, we are told that that anyone is merely a conspiracy theorist or part of the worldwide anti-semitic movement. Almost as if they were part of a 'conspiracy' against Israel.

    Considering the number of people who are doing the questioning, including the military officers, politicians, statesmen, ambassadors, spooks, people who on any other subject would be considered "friends of Israel", the crew of the Liberty including Jewish crewmen and officers, authors, columnists, documentaries, et all, would have to be a "giant" conspiracy.

    But, here is another view from a newspaper article published at the time of the last government info dump in 2007. It's pretty long but quite interesting.

    Garbage In Garbage Out


  39. When clowns actually read, say, 1/2 the data compiled by honorable military memebers numbering in the hundreds, they may have some right to question the results. Simply holding one's breath until one turns blue is not rational debate and it is not considered. Grow up

    Israel 13

    Nutters 0

  40. Perry doubled-down on his "Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme" narrative.

    So long, Ricky; we hardly knew ye.

  41. Saying anything it takes not to get elected.


  42. All eyes were on Romney and Perry, who have separated themselves from the rest of the pack in national polling. While the two have occasionally sniped at one another on the campaign trail, Wednesday night's forum was the first to showcase the two men on the same stage.

    On the trail, Romney, a former CEO of Bain Capital who served as governor of Massachusetts from 2003-2007, has touted his experience in the private sector and bemoaned "career politicians." Perry, for his part, has trumpeted his record of job creation in the Lone Star State -- the best in the nation -- while targeting Romney's less-than-stellar jobs resume during his tenure as governor.

    Perry currently leads Romney 29 percent to 18 percent, according to the RealClearPolitics average of recent national polls. He also leads in the important early states of Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada, while Romney tops polls in New Hampshire and Florida.

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