Entries Tagged as 'Libya'

Ex-CIA chief acknowledges open secret — drones

Yahoo! News
AFP – October 7, 2011

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta on Friday acknowledged what has long been an open secret — that the CIA deploys armed Predator drones to hunt down Islamist militants.

The US government officially declines to admit to the spy agency’s drone strikes, but Panetta — who served as Central Intelligence Agency director until taking over the Pentagon in July — made two casual references to the CIA’s use of robotic aircraft during a visit to US bases in Italy.

“Having moved from the CIA to the Pentagon, obviously I have a hell of a lot more weapons available to me in this job than I did at CIA — although Predators aren’t bad,” Panetta told an audience of sailors at the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet headquarters in Naples.

Later at a joint US-Italian air base in Sigonella, Panetta thanked air crews for their role in the NATO air campaign over Libya as he stood in front of a Global Hawk drone, a larger unmanned aircraft that flies at high altitude for surveillance missions.

Panetta cited the important role of drones in the Libya operation, including the Predator drones. …

Read on: http://news.yahoo.com/ex-cia-chief-acknowledges-open-secret-drones-184628103.html

John McCain Promised To Help Gaddafi Obtain US Military Hardware

The Raw News
By Stephen C. Webster
August 24th, 2011

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) promised to help former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi obtain U.S. military hardware as one of the United States’ partners in the war on terror, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable released Wednesday by anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

The meeting, which took place just over a year ago on Aug. 14, 2009, included other influential Americans, such as Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Susan Collins (R-SC) and Senate Armed Services Committee staffer Richard Fontaine, the document explains.

McCain opened the meeting by characterizing Libya’s relationship with the U.S. as “excellent,” to which Liebermann added: “We never would have guessed ten years ago that we would be sitting in Tripoli, being welcomed by a son of Muammar al-Qadhafi.”

“Lieberman called Libya an important ally in the war on terrorism, noting that common enemies sometimes make better friends,” the cable continues. “The Senators recognized Libya’s cooperation on counterterrorism and conveyed that it was in the interest of both countries to make the relationship stronger.”

Part and parcel to that relationship: military hardware, including helicopters and non-lethal weaponry, meant to ensure the security of Tripoli. In exchange for this and assisting the nation in rehabilitating its image with other lawmakers, Gaddafi pledged to send Libya’s highly enriched uranium supplies to Russia for proper disposal. …

Read on: www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/08/24/leaked-cable-sen-mccain-promised-to-help-gaddafi-obtain-u-s-military-hardware/

US Military Intervention in Libya Cost At Least $896 Million

ABC News Blog
By Luis Martinez
August 22, 2011

The cost of U.S. military intervention in Libya has cost American taxpayers an estimated $896 million through July 31, the Pentagon said today.

The price tag includes the amounts for daily military operations, munitions used in the operation and humanitarian assistance for the Libyan people.

The U.S. has also promised $25 million in non-lethal aid to the Libyan Transitional National Council, half of which the Defense Department has already on MRE’s (military lingo for Meals, Ready to Eat).

The military delivered 120,000 Halal MRE’s to Benghazi in May and a second shipment that included medical supplies, boots, tents, uniforms, and personal protective gear in June.

While Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi appears on the way out, NATO says flight missions over Tripoli will continue, with the U.S. playing a role in helping to keep a tight window over the area that’s been in effect for weeks.

Over the past 12 days, U.S. planes have flown 391 sorties for a total of 5,316 since April 1, according to figures provided by the Defense Department. That total includes 1,210 airstrike missions over the same three and a half month period. The U.S. has also conducted 101 Predator drone strike missions in Libya. …

Read on: http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2011/08/us-military-intervention-in-libya-cost-at-least-896-million-.html

US to send more drones to Libya

Press Association
August 18, 2011

The US military has sent two more armed Predator drones to the Libya conflict in response to requests from commanders seeking more intelligence-gathering capabilities. …

President Barack Obama approved the use of armed drones in the Libya conflict in April. Since then, they have flown routine surveillance operations, but they can strike targets when needed …


US House votes to block funding for Libya

June 13, 2011

Bill to prohibit funds for US military operations in Libya unlikely to become law, but seen as snub to president.

The US House of Representatives has voted to prohibit the use of funds for US military operations in Libya.

Politicians adopted the amendment to a military appropriations bill by a vote of 248 to 163 late on Monday.

A number of members of Congress have expressed their dissatisfaction at Barack Obama’s, the US president, decision to go ahead with operations in Libya in March and to continue without congressional authorisation.

According to US law, the president must seek congressional authorisation to send US troops into combat and must withdraw the forces within 60 days if Congress has not authorised the military action.

The amendment, introduced by Democratic representative Brad Sherman from California, invokes the War Powers Resolution, a 1973 law that limits presidential powers on sending troops abroad into combat zones without the consent of Congress.

Sherman’s text states that “none of the funds made available by this act may be used in contravention of the War Powers Act.”

Politicians must still approve the appropriations bill as a whole and the measure must still be approved by the Senate.

Al Jazeera Patty Culhane, reporting from New Hampshire, said: “This is going to be a bit of a shock for Obama administration as the vote was so overwhelmingly against allowing him to use the fund in Libya. …

Read on: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/06/20116147535393778.html

NATO’s Afrika Korps Escalates War Of Attrition Against Libya

By Rick Rozoff
June 11, 2011

The relentless and intensifying Western air war against Libya will soon enter its fourth month. For the first thirteen days starting on March 19 under the control of U.S. Africa Command and Operation Odyssey Dawn and thereafter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led Operation Unified Protector, the air assaults represent the second longest armed aggression in NATO’s history, already surpassing by a week the 78-day bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Only the now nearly decade-long war in Afghanistan exceeds the current campaign in length.

The U.S.-dominated military bloc not only acknowledges but fairly boasts of conducting almost 11,000 air missions and over 4,000 combat sorties since March 31. Preceding that, hundreds of air strikes and over 160 cruise missile attacks were launched by the U.S., Britain, France and other NATO powers.

Altogether, following in the North African footsteps of Napoleon Bonaparte’s France, imperial Britain, Benito Mussolini’s Italy and Adolf Hitler’s Germany, Western nations are engaged in the longest war against an African country in modern times and the most intensive armed aggression against one ever.

At the end of last month a Libyan government spokesman announced that NATO air attacks had killed 718 civilians and wounded 4,067 more between March 19 and May 26. In the interim the North Atlantic military alliance has intensified bombing of the nation’s capital and other parts of the country to an unprecedented level and introduced British and French helicopter gunship and U.S. Hellfire missile-wielding Predator unmanned aerial vehicles operations. …

Read on: http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/natos-afrika-korps-escalates-war-of-attrition-against-libya/

How the World Let Qaddafi Get Cluster Bombs

The Atlantic
April 29, 2011

Libyan government forces are deploying the horrific — and, throughout much of the world, banned — weapons against rebels, proving that we will have to do more if we want to end their use

Despite the Libyan government’s claims to the contrary, The New York Times recently found conclusive evidence that Qaddafi’s military is using cluster munitions in urban areas, deploying them against the rebels in Misrata. As is often the case with these weapons, which are banned by much of the world, Qaddafi’s cluster bombs appear to have caused far more civilian casualties than damage to legitimate military targets, raising the perennial question of the place of these weapons in modern warfare and what can be done to mitigate their terrible effects. …

Most modern cluster munitions are multi-purpose and may contain a mix of anti-armor, anti-personnel, and anti-materiel submunitions that offer an unparalleled opportunity to debilitate both enemy tanks and the men who attempt to repair the tank.

Their use in Libya, however, provides an important reminder of why cluster munitions are so problematic, especially in urbanized warfare where the enemy may not wear a uniform. These weapons are infamous for the harm they cause to civilians, which happens for two reasons: the indiscriminate, unguided nature of most models of cluster munitions and the high failure rate of submunitions currently in use. In the initial attack, individual submunitions strike at random. While this can be desirable when striking military positions, when used in urban areas, civilians are inevitably killed or maimed and non-military infrastructure is damaged, regardless of the intentions of the attacking force. During the invasion of Iraq, U.S. troops fired hundred of cluster munitions into Iraqi cities; in just one neighborhood, at least forty civilians were killed, even as the military tried to minimize civilian casualties.

The days, months, and years after an initial strike, however, are where the real danger to civilians lies. Submunitions frequently fail to explode on impact, especially as they age and component parts degrade. However, they can still explode if jostled, and no public education campaign has been able to convince children not to pick up colorful objects or prevent pedestrians from accidentally stepping on an unexploded bomblet. …

Read in full: www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/04/how-the-world-let-qaddafi-get-cluster-bombs/238014/

US to pull out warplanes, missiles from Libya mission

Associated Press
By Dan De Luce
April 2, 2011

The US military is poised to withdraw its combat jets and Tomahawk missiles from the air campaign against Libya’s regime, as NATO allies take the lead in bombing Moamer Kadhafi’s forces.

With NATO taking charge of the coalition effort on Thursday, US officials confirmed Friday that American fighters, ground-attack aircraft and cruise missiles would be pulled out of the operation starting this weekend.

The move follows pledges by President Barack Obama to quickly shift the lead to allies in the NATO-led coalition, with the US military playing a supporting role — providing planes for mid-air refueling, jamming and surveillance.

“As we transition to a support role, our focus will be on providing enabling capabilities and not on strike capabilities,” a US defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

Some lawmakers heavily criticized Obama over the decision at hearings on Thursday, saying NATO allies lacked ground-attack aircraft that were crucial against the Libyan regime’s tanks and artillery.

In keeping with the handover, US sorties aimed at striking targets in Libya had also been scaled back in recent days.

American pilots flew only 10 out of 74 strike sorties in the past 24 hours up to 0800GMT Friday, the US defense official said. …

Read on: www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hJs2nfL5q5ZB2nqbzWqcCX9k0-rw?docId=CNG.3bf4105ffa63410f8b0d2165e00d15f5.721

U.S. Role in Libya Already Costs Hundreds of Millions

Fox News
March 23, 2011

The cost of the American and European assault on Libya already easily tops hundreds of millions of dollars, and has the potential to rise significantly if the operation drags on for weeks or months.

Coalition efforts to undermine Muammar al-Qaddafi’s air defenses and save the rebels from defeat have lasted for four nights already. If the U.S. role continues to be limited, with the Pentagon using its existing budget to cover the expense, the price tag on involvement will only rise moderately.

As of Tuesday, a U.S. defense official told Fox News the U.S. has fired 161 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Libyan territory, with 24 missiles being fired overnight Monday into Tuesday. Each missile is priced at $1 million to $1.5 million apiece and dispatched B-2 stealth bombers — round-trip from Missouri — to drop 2,000-pound bombs on Libyan sites.

Read on: www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/03/23/role-libya-costs-hundreds-millions/

Suicidal cousins of drones lead attack on Gaddafi

Space satellites guide cruise missle attack on Gaddafi

By Noah Shachtman
March 22, 2011

When the US military wanted to take out Muammar Gaddafi’s air defense systems, it unleashed a barrage of 122 Tomahawk cruise missiles. But these munitions aren’t like most others in the American arsenal.

Smart, maneuverable, able to see its surroundings and shift to new targets mid-flight, the newest Tomahawks are closer to the unmanned planes flying over Afghanistan than to the weapons they fire. In some ways, the Tomahawk is the drone’s suicidal cousin: a robotic aircraft, packed with explosives, that has no intention of ever coming home.

When officers get ready to shoot off a Tomahawk, “they are basically planning a flight for a little aeroplane,” one Navy official tells Danger Room. “It’s got stubby little wings — but is is an unmanned aerial vehicle.”

The next-gen Tomahawks — known as “Block IVs” — start their flights out just like other missiles, launched from ships or subs. But after 12 seconds of flight, things change. The Tomahawk starts to fly horizontally, skimming above the ocean at a height of less than 15 metres to avoid enemy radar.

GPS waypoints keep the missile on track until it makes landfall. Then, a Tercom (Terrain Contour Matching) system kicks in. too. Using a radar altimeter, the Tomahawk Tercom checks its height, and matches that altitude against a database of satellite and overhead imagery, to make sure the missile is headed in the right direction and at the right height.

Once the Tomahawk’s target is in sight, the missile can dart in for the attack. A Digital Scene-Mapping Area Correlator (“dee-smack” in military jargon) matches a stored picture of the target to the missile’s last sight, to make sure the two match.

Or, the missile can wait a while. The Tomahawk’s controller can give it a new route, telling the Tomahawk to circle around in the air, lingering until an enemy pops up its head. Then comes the strike. …

Read on: www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-03/22/drones-suicidal-cousins