Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Libyan Rebel Leader Abdelhakim Belhaj Admits to Al Qaeda Ties

Source: http://no-pasaran.blogspot.com
Published: Sunday, September 04, 2011.
Full copy:
Libyan Rebel Leader Admits to Al Qaeda Ties

In a Le Monde interview with Christophe Ayad that is highlighted on the front page of the French daily, the National Transition Council's newly-nominated head of Tripoli's security admits to having been part of Al Qaeda. Needless to say, Abdelhakim Belhaj adds in a reassuring voice that the faction that he was part of (the Islamic Combat Group) was never subservient to Osama Bin Laden's organization.

Not to worry, therefore: Abdelhakim Belhaj — who claims to having been arrested in Malaysia in 2004, tortured by the CIA in Bangkok, and put on a plane for Libya to be handed over to Kaddhafi's henchmen (he was not released until March 2010) — claims further that his ideals are "a civilian state with real liberties, and respect for law and justice. We wanted change, we wanted reforms. We never fought just for the sake of fighting."

All good, if true. Problem is, we might be getting exactly the same speeches, the same explanations, and the same excuses as from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.
Hat tip: Instapundit.com

Friday, 15 April 2011

False pretense for war in Libya? - "I don't care, Obama is awesome"

Incase the link breaks, here below is a copy of an opinion piece from the Boston Globe by Alan J. Kuperman, followed by a video/further reading entitled "I don't care, Obama is awesome", plus related reports and copy of text of Libyan leader Col. Gaddafi's letter to US President Obama, filed here for my own reference.

False pretense for war in Libya?
From Boston Globe website boston.com
Published Thursday, 14 April 2011; 12:47
EVIDENCE IS now in that President Barack Obama grossly exaggerated the humanitarian threat to justify military action in Libya. The president claimed that intervention was necessary to prevent a “bloodbath’’ in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city and last rebel stronghold.

But Human Rights Watch has released data on Misurata, the next-biggest city in Libya and scene of protracted fighting, revealing that Moammar Khadafy is not deliberately massacring civilians but rather narrowly targeting the armed rebels who fight against his government.

Misurata’s population is roughly 400,000. In nearly two months of war, only 257 people — including combatants — have died there. Of the 949 wounded, only 22 — less than 3 percent — are women. If Khadafy were indiscriminately targeting civilians, women would comprise about half the casualties.

Obama insisted that prospects were grim without intervention. “If we waited one more day, Benghazi ... could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.’’ Thus, the president concluded, “preventing genocide’’ justified US military action.

But intervention did not prevent genocide, because no such bloodbath was in the offing. To the contrary, by emboldening rebellion, US interference has prolonged Libya’s civil war and the resultant suffering of innocents.

The best evidence that Khadafy did not plan genocide in Benghazi is that he did not perpetrate it in the other cities he had recaptured either fully or partially — including Zawiya, Misurata, and Ajdabiya, which together have a population greater than Benghazi.

Libyan forces did kill hundreds as they regained control of cities. Collateral damage is inevitable in counter-insurgency. And strict laws of war may have been exceeded.

But Khadafy’s acts were a far cry from Rwanda, Darfur, Congo, Bosnia, and other killing fields. Libya’s air force, prior to imposition of a UN-authorized no-fly zone, targeted rebel positions, not civilian concentrations. Despite ubiquitous cellphones equipped with cameras and video, there is no graphic evidence of deliberate massacre. Images abound of victims killed or wounded in crossfire — each one a tragedy — but that is urban warfare, not genocide.

Nor did Khadafy ever threaten civilian massacre in Benghazi, as Obama alleged. The “no mercy’’ warning, of March 17, targeted rebels only, as reported by The New York Times, which noted that Libya’s leader promised amnesty for those “who throw their weapons away.’’ Khadafy even offered the rebels an escape route and open border to Egypt, to avoid a fight “to the bitter end.’’
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"I don't care, Obama is awesome"
A simulated water cooler conversation with an Obama supporter. Any similarities to leftists near you, especially religious progressives, are intentional and deliberate:

Source and further reading: wizbangblog.com by Rick, 26 March 2011.

Hat tip: Captain Marlow's tweet.
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US President Obama's Speech on Libya & What the US Stands to Gain from Being Involved
Essentially, it seems the Obama Administration did not want to see European Union countries and possibly countries in the Arab League launch an intervention that the US was not involved in leading. The Obama Administration engaged in a process that produced a UN Security Council resolution, which has given cover to military action in Libya. The current intervention is the inverse of counterinsurgency operations the US is used to mounting in the global war on terror. In this case, US forces are helping the insurgents. Full story at WL Central - wlcentral.org - by kgosztola published on Tuesday, 29 March 2011.
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SkyNewsBreak: White House confirms President Obama has received a message from Colonel Gaddafi
Twitter / SkyNewsBreak
06 April 2011; 14:43
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Text of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's letter to President Barack Obama
From google.com/hostednews
By The Associated Press
Published 6 or 7 April 2011. Full copy:
WASHINGTON — The following is the text of a letter sent to President Barack Obama on Wednesday by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The misspellings and grammatical errors are in the original letter.

Our son, Excellency,
President Obama

We have been hurt more morally that physically because of what had happened against us in both deeds and words by you. Despite all this you will always remain our son whatever happened. We still pray that you continue to be president of the U.S.A. We Endeavour and hope that you will gain victory in the new election campaigne. You are a man who has enough courage to annul a wrong and mistaken action. I am sure that you are able to shoulder the responsibility for that. Enough evidence is available, Bearing in mind that you are the president of the strongest power in the world nowadays, and since Nato is waging an unjust war against a small people of a developing country. This country had already been subjected to embargo and sanctions, furthermore it also suffered a direct military armed aggression during Reagan's time. This country is Libya. Hence, to serving world peace ... Friendship between our peoples ... and for the sake of economic, and security co-operation against terror, you are in a position to keep Nato off the Libyan affair for good.

As you know too well democracy and building of civil society cannot be achieved by means of missiles and aircraft, or by backing armed member of AlQuaeda in Benghazi.

You — yourself — said on many occasions, one of them in the UN General Assembly, I was witness to that personally, that America is not responsible for the security of other peoples. That America helps only. This is the right logic.

Our dear son, Excellency, Baraka Hussein Abu oumama, your intervention is the name of the U.S.A. is a must, so that Nato would withdraw finally from the Libyan affair. Libya should be left to Libyans within the African union frame. The problem now stands as follows:-

1. There is Nato intervention politically as well as military.

2. Terror conducted by AlQaueda gangs that have been armed in some cities, and by force refused to allow people to go back to their normal life, and carry on with exercising their social people's power as usual.

Mu'aumer Qaddaffi
Leader of the Revolution
Tripoli 5.4.2011
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Doha summit supports Libyan rebels
Full report at WL Central - http://wlcentral.org/node/1652
Submitted by clayclai on Thursday, 14 April 2011
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Libya: Nato appeals for more planes
Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has told a foreign ministers' summit the alliance needs "a few more" aircraft for its mission in Libya. Mr Rasmussen said he had received no offers from any ally at the meeting in Berlin to supply the extra warplanes, but he remained hopeful. Nato would continue "day by day, strike by strike" to target Col Muammar Gaddafi's forces, he told media. Britain and France have been trying to persuade other Nato members to do more. Full story (and video: "Libyan TV aired video it said showed Col Gaddafi in a motorcade in Tripoli") at www.bbc.co.uk Thursday, 14 April 2011; 20:32.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

A team led by a Libyan-American telecoms executive helped rebels hijack Gaddafi's cellphone network and create their own system dubbed "Free Libyana"

How eastern Libya got its phone service back - Rebels hijacked Gaddafi's phone network

According to the following news report, filed here for my own future reference incase the link becomes broken, after the rebellion in Libya started, officials cut internet access and jammed cellphone networks and the signal for satellite phone operator Thuraya.

So a group of expatriate executives and engineers, led by a Libyan-American telecom executive, helped the rebels hijack Col. Gaddafi's cellphone network and re-establish their own communications.

The Libyan-American telecom executive, Ousama Abushagur, a 31-year-old raised in Huntsville, Alabama, USA, masterminded the operation from his home in Abu Dhabi. Mr. Abushagur and two childhood friends working as corporate managers in Dubai and Doha started fund-raising on Feb. 17 to support the political protests that were emerging in Libya. By Feb. 23, when fighting had erupted, his team delivered the first of multiple humanitarian aid convoys to eastern Libya.

Note that the March cutoff had rebels waving flags to communicate on the battlefield.

"We went to fight with flags: Yellow meant retreat, green meant advance," said Gen. Ahmed al-Ghatrani, a rebel commander in Benghazi. "Gaddafi forced us back to the stone age."

Now the new cellphone network, opened on April 2, has become the opposition's main tool for communicating from the front lines in the east and up the chain of command to rebel brass hundreds of miles away.

The new network, first plotted on an airplane napkin and assembled with the help of oil-rich Arab nations, is giving more than two million Libyans their first connections to each other and the outside world after Col. Gaddafi cut off their telephone and Internet service about a month ago.

An added bonus of the new network - dubbed "Free Libyana" - is free for domestic calls, at least until Free Libyana gets a billing system up and running.

While cellphones haven't given rebel fighters the military strength to decisively drive Col. Gaddafi from power, the network has enabled rebel leaders to more easily make the calls needed to rally international backing, source weapons and strategise with their envoys abroad.

The U.A.E. and Qatar provided diplomatic support and helped buy the several million dollars of telecommunications equipment needed in Benghazi, according to members of the Libyan transitional authority and people familiar with the situation.

The Libyan expats in the project asked that their corporate affiliations be kept confidential so that their political activities don't interfere with their work responsibilities.

Full details below. Click here to view original copy, photos, graphics and related reports online at wsj.com.

From: The Wall Street Journal
Publication date: Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Written by MARGARET COKER in Abu Dhabi
and CHARLES LEVINSON in Benghazi, Libya
—Loretta Chao, Shireen El-Gazzar and Sam Dagher contributed to this article.

Rebels Hijack Gadhafi's Phone Network
A Group of Expatriate Executives and Engineers Furtively Restore Telecommunications for the Libyan Opposition

PHOTO: WSJ's Margaret Coker reports on efforts by telecommunications executives to restore cell phone service to rebels in eastern Libya, allowing them to communicate without interference from government personnel loyal to Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

A team led by a Libyan-American telecom executive has helped rebels hijack Col. Moammar Gadhafi's cellphone network and re-establish their own communications.

The new network, first plotted on an airplane napkin and assembled with the help of oil-rich Arab nations, is giving more than two million Libyans their first connections to each other and the outside world after Col. Gadhafi cut off their telephone and Internet service about a month ago.

That March cutoff had rebels waving flags to communicate on the battlefield. The new cellphone network, opened on April 2, has become the opposition's main tool for communicating from the front lines in the east and up the chain of command to rebel brass hundreds of miles away.

PHOTO: (Reuters) A rebel fighter rested at the frontline at the western entrance of Ajdabiyah.

While cellphones haven't given rebel fighters the military strength to decisively drive Col. Gadhafi from power, the network has enabled rebel leaders to more easily make the calls needed to rally international backing, source weapons and strategize with their envoys abroad.

To make that possible, engineeers hived off part of the Libyana cellphone network—owned and operated by the Tripoli-based Libyan General Telecommunications Authority, which is run by Col. Gadhafi's eldest son—and rewired it to run independently of the regime's control. Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim, asked about the rebel cellphone network, said he hadn't heard of it.

Ousama Abushagur, a 31-year-old Libyan telecom executive raised in Huntsville, Ala., masterminded the operation from his home in Abu Dhabi. Mr. Abushagur and two childhood friends working as corporate managers in Dubai and Doha started fund-raising on Feb. 17 to support the political protests that were emerging in Libya. By Feb. 23, when fighting had erupted, his team delivered the first of multiple humanitarian aid convoys to eastern Libya.

But while in Libya, they found their cellphones and Thuraya satellite phones jammed or out of commission, making planning and logistics challenging.

Security was also an issue. Col. Gadhafi had built his telecommunications infrastructure to fan out from Tripoli—routing all calls through the capital and giving him and his intelligence agents full control over phones and Internet.

On March 6, during a flight back to the United Arab Emirates after organizing a naval convoy to the embattled city of Misrata, Mr. Abushagur says he drew up a diagram on the back of a napkin for a plan to infiltrate Libyana, pirate the signal and carve out a network free of Tripoli's control.

What followed was a race against time to solve the technical, engineering and legal challenges before the nascent rebel-led governing authority was crushed under the weight of Col. Gadhafi's better-equipped forces. After a week of victories in which the rebels swept westward from Benghazi toward Col. Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, the rebel advance stalled and reversed on March 17, when the United Nations approved a no-fly zone and government forces kicked off a fierce counterattack.

In a sign of deepening ties between Arab governments and the Benghazi-based administration, the U.A.E. and Qatar provided diplomatic support and helped buy the several million dollars of telecommunications equipment needed in Benghazi, according to members of the Libyan transitional authority and people familiar with the situation.

Meanwhile, rebel military commanders were using flags to signal with their troops, a throw-back that proved disastrous to their attempts at holding their front lines.

"We went to fight with flags: Yellow meant retreat, green meant advance," said Gen. Ahmed al-Ghatrani, a rebel commander in Benghazi. "Gadhafi forced us back to the stone age."

Renewed signal jamming also meant that rebel leaders and residents in Benghazi had little warning of the government forces' offensive across east Libya and the March 19 attempted invasion of Benghazi, which sparked panicked civilian evacuations of the city.

Mr. Abushagur watched the government advances with alarm. His secret cellphone operation had also run into steep problems.

The Chinese company Huawei Technologies Ltd., one of the original contractors for Libyana's cellular network backbone, refused to sell equipment for the rebel project, causing Mr. Abushagur and his engineer buddies to scramble to find a hybrid technical solution to match other companies' hardware with the existing Libyan network. Huawei declined to comment on its customers or work in Libya. The Libyan expats in the project asked that their corporate affiliations be kept confidential so that their political activities don't interfere with their work responsibilities.

Without Huawei, the backing from the Persian Gulf nations became essential—otherwise it is unlikely that international telecom vendors would have sold the sophisticated machinery to an unrecognized rebel government or individual businessmen, according to people familiar with the situation.

"The Emirates government and [its telecommunications company] Etisalat helped us by providing the equipment we needed to operate Libyana at full capacity," said Faisal al-Safi, a Benghazi official who oversees transportation and communications issues.

U.A.E. and Qatari officials didn't respond to requests for comment. Emirates Telecommunications Corp., known as Etisalat, declined to comment.

VIDEO: After 42 years under Moammar Gadhafi's rule, it's hard to imagine what Libya could look like without the dictator in power. WSJ's Neil Hickey reports from Washington on the cloudy outlook for the north African nation.

By March 21, most of the main pieces of equipment had arrived in the U.A.E. and Mr. Abushagur was ready to ship them to Benghazi with three Libyan telecom engineers, four Western engineers and a team of bodyguards.

But Col. Gadhafi's forces were still threatening to overrun the rebel capital and trying to bomb its airport. Mr. Abushagur diverted the team and their equipment to an Egyptian air base on the Libyan border. Customs bureaucracy cost them a week, though Egypt's eventual approval was another show of Arab support for rebels. Egypt's governing military council couldn't be reached for comment.

Once in Libya, the team paired with Libyana engineers and executives based in Benghazi. Together, they fused the new equipment into the existing cellphone network, creating an independent data and routing system free from Tripoli's command.

The team also captured the Tripoli-based database of phone numbers, giving them information necessary to patch existing Libyana customers and phone numbers into their new system—which they dubbed "Free Libyana." The last piece of the puzzle was securing a satellite feed through which the Free Libyana calls could be routed—a solution provided by Etisalat, according to Benghazi officials.

Photo: European Pressphoto Agency - A Libyan rebel stood guard Tuesday on a checkpoint between Brega and Ajdabiya. Rebels now can use cellphones to communicate between the front lines and opposition leaders.

On April 2, Mr. Abushagur placed a test call on the system to his wife back in Abu Dhabi. "She's the one who told me to go for it in the first place," he said.

International calling from Libya is still limited to the few individuals and officials in eastern Libya who most need it. Incoming calls have to be paid for by prepaid calling cards, except for Jordan, Egypt and Qatar.

Domestic calling works throughout eastern Libya up until the Ajdabiya, the last rebel-held town in the east. An added bonus of the new network: It is free for domestic calls, at least until Free Libyana gets a billing system up and running.

—Loretta Chao, Shireen El-Gazzar and Sam Dagher contributed to this article.
Write to Margaret Coker at margaret.coker@wsj.com and Charles Levinson at charles.levinson@wsj.com

Copyright 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Can the CIA take out Libyan leader Gaddafi?

Can the CIA take out Gaddafi?
From: RIANOVOSTI Features & Opinion - en.rian.ru
By RIA Novosti political commentator Andrei Fedyashin
Thursday, 31 March 2011; 21:33. Full copy:
There is little doubt that the CIA could take out Gaddafi. So why haven't they?

According to sources in the Obama administration, President Obama has signed a "presidential finding" authorizing covert support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Whispers that CIA agents will be sent to Libya to size up the rebel forces call to mind the cloak-and-dagger operations of a bygone era. The intrigue is irresistible.

To kill or not to kill?

The Company (as CIA employees refer to the agency) has everything it needs to assassinate Gaddafi. The CIA could carry out the "executive action" ("assassination" in agency lingo) through intermediaries, cover its tracks, and let the world wonder if it had a hand in Gaddafi's demise.

There's one problem with this scenario: President Gerald Ford signed Executive Order 11905 in March 1976, explicitly forbidding U.S. government employees from engaging in or conspiring to engage in political assassination.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the CIA used its license to kill to take out Lumumba in Congo and to make an attempt on Fidel Castro, for example. This caused a huge public backlash, forcing President Ford to sign the executive order.

Although presidential orders are not technically law, they are faithfully upheld, even if some people are convinced that such legal obstacles have never prevented the CIA from doing what it wants.

They are wrong. The U.S. political system is structured so that any breaches of protocol become public knowledge sooner or later. This can result in resignations, ruined careers and even time in prison. At the very least, there is the threat of having to testify before Congress's intelligence committees.

Truth will out

Such secrets cannot remain secret forever, even in an inherently secretive institution like the CIA. There will always be disgruntled employees who are willing to leak secrets. And since the presidency and the Congress are usually held by different parties in the United States (including right now), there are always plenty of people digging for the truth.

Few government officials are willing to overstep their bounds or break the law, if for no other reason than political survival.

Americans give their government extraordinary powers only during times of emergency, such as George W. Bush's post-9/11"war on terror." Bush signed an order authorizing the CIA to kill terrorists, including Osama bin Laden, several months after the deadly terrorist attacks.

But I doubt the Company has been trying very hard to kill bin Laden. He is the perfect symbol of universal evil, and a useful pretext to justify all kinds of shady, quasi-legal operations. If anything kills him, it will most likely be a 1,000-pound bomb from the sky, not CIA operatives.

As for Muammar Gaddafi, he is not on any terrorist list, and the CIA has been working with Libya's intelligence service since Libya returned to the fold of the international community in the early 2000s. CIA employees acknowledge off the record that Libya had supplied them with vital intelligence about terrorists, al-Qaeda and other Arab "bad guys" until fighting broke out in Libya in February 2011.

New cracks in Gaddafi's regime

A man who could tell us a lot about Libya's cooperation with the CIA is Musa Kusa, the 64-year old foreign minister. Kusa, one of Gaddafi's closest advisers and a former spy chief, has defected to Britain, and says he no longer represents Libya.

Considered the most influential Libyan official outside the Gaddafi family, Kusa started brokering ties with the West in the early 2000s.

Now that such a high-profile official has deserted Gaddafi, people around the colonel may start to think the colonel's days are numbered. Lower-ranking officials can be expected to follow in the foreign minister's wake.

By law, the CIA requires special permission from the president to carry out activities designed to influence foreign events. President Obama allegedly signed such an order in the past two or three weeks, and it is safe to assume that CIA agents were in Libya before the coalition started bombing on March 19.

In addition to guiding air strikes from inside the country, the CIA needs to gather intelligence on the identities and capabilities of rebel forces in Libya. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said: "We know what they're against. We don't really know what they're for." The congressman said they are not sure if Islamists make up 2%, 50%, or even 80% of the rebel forces.

CIA agents in Libya will likely do more than collect intelligence. Washington is arguing that it is authorized to arm the rebels under UN Security Council Resolution 1973, as it overrides Resolution 1970, which imposes an arms embargo on Libya.

This could mean that CIA agents will arm and train rebels as well as supervise, and possibly command, their military operations, although the White House has denied this. After all, only military instructors were sent to Vietnam initially.

But the Obama administration is denying the possibility so vigorously than one can't help but think of that British saying: "Never believe anything until it has been officially denied."

The views expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.
- - -


Seen on Twitter

Twitter / EthanZ
EthanZ: @agpublic there's a sense of American superiority regarding infrastructure that disappears the moment you get off a plane in Tokyo or Dubai.

Twitter / carneross
30 March 2011 14:49
carneross: however, legality is not always primary; arms 2 #Libya rebels in my view right & UN resltns shd have been more carefully drafted to allow it

Twitter / EthanZ
30 March 2011 15:20
EthanZ: New project - http://roskomvzyatka.com/ - uses @Ushahidi to track bribery, corruption in Russia

Gaddafi scion was steeped in U.S. internship when crisis broke

  • "After attending a course on consciousness, he goes and leads troops," says Deepak Chopra
  • "Why was he in my course? I have no idea."
  • Khamis Gadhafi was visiting U.S. military schools and weapons makers
  • Youngest son runs elite special forces
Gadhafi scion was steeped in U.S. internship when crisis broke
From: CNN.com - edition.cnn.com
Published date: Thursday, 31 March 2011 -- Updated 0952 GMT (1752 HKT). Full copy:

Photo: Gadhafi's son had a U.S. internship
(CNN) -- The athletic young man who arrived in Dr. Deepak Chopra's classroom last month for a course in leadership was impeccably dressed in a hunting jacket, polite and unassuming.

"He said he was in the investment business," the wellness guru told CNN in a telephone interview. "He did not say, 'I'm from Libya.' He said, 'I'm from North Africa,' or words to that effect."

But Chopra knew who he was and where he was from. "We had been informed by the State Department that he was going to be there, that he didn't want to use his official name and we should respect that. So, he introduced himself with his name, but he didn't use the name Gadhafi."

His name was Khamis, the 27-year-old scion of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi who was in the third week of an "internship" that took him across the country to hone his leadership skills.

Asked to list his hobbies, Khamis Gaddhafi said, "Adventure and horses."

Libyan foreign minister resigns No 'prolonged US engagement' in Libya

Someone with knowledge of his program told CNN his 36-day planned internship began in Houston on January 21, when he was to meet with officials from AECOM, the global engineering and design company that sponsored the program.

That weekend's options included a 236-mile flight to Hondo, Texas, for hunting at Lonesome Deer Ranch with a return flight arriving in Houston in time for dinner at Capital Grille, a high-end steakhouse.

The next day's classes in leadership and program management were to be followed by a visit to the Johnson Space Center, a class in traffic and emergency management and a "business dinner" at Willie G's, a steakhouse and seafood place.

The week included a visit to the Port of Houston. An official told CNN in a statement that it had granted a request to meet with Gadhafi during his internship associated with his pursuit of an MBA. "During his visit, he toured several Port Authority facilities and received briefings on trade relations," the statement said.

Visits with oil company and other business executives were scheduled around lunch at the Coronado Club, which describes itself as "a bastion of strength and financial solidity in Houston's downtown business district."

On January 29, Gadhafi was scheduled to travel to Los Angeles, where he was to receive a VIP tour of Universal Studios, meet with Silicon Valley and other business leaders there and in San Francisco and then travel to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Academy spokesman John Van Winkle told CNN that Gadhafi was given "a standard tour" during his visit on February 7.
The next morning, he was slated to fly to Chicago for more training with AECOM lawyers on such topics as "global contract management" and "foreign corrupt practices training."

It was in Chicago that he attended Chopra's three-day leadership class at the Kellogg School of Business. The author of "The Soul of Leadership," who has advised CNN management, noted to the class the turmoil faced by then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. "We were analyzing in the class why Mubarak was going through this and why it would have a ripple effect. He (Gadhafi) was taking notes extensively."

Chopra added, "I purposely didn't mention his dad because I thought it would be impolite."

After the class, when Gadhafi and a traveling companion, also from Libya, invited their teacher to visit Libya and meet Gadhafi's father, Chopra said he was tempted to accept. "I said, 'Wow, these guys are really interested in spirituality.' "

Gadhafi next traveled to Washington, where he met with defense contractors, including representatives of Northrop Grumman. A spokesman for the company, Randy Belote, confirmed that the meetings took place.

But, citing company policy, he would not comment on them.

National War College spokesman Dave Thomas said Khamis Gadhafi visited there accompanied by a State Department representative, meeting with faculty and deans. Tactics were not discussed, though the "structure of military education" was, Thomas said.

On February 16, a day after unrest erupted in his country, Gadhafi traveled to New York for more meetings and meals with business leaders.

New York Stock Exchange spokesman Richard Adamonis confirmed that Gadhafi visited the exchange as part of a group on February 17. "Neither he nor the group in question were part of a bell ring, simply a basic tour of the trading floor for the group," Adamonis said.

But later that day, he cut short his internship -- missing out on a planned tour of West Point, his choice of the Broadway shows "Mamma Mia" or "Jersey Boys" and a final leg to Boston for meetings with professors at Harvard University.

Instead, he returned to Libya to lead the 32nd Reinforced Brigade against rebel forces.

On Tuesday, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the department had not approved any of the meetings. "There was nothing, in fact, for the State Department to sign off on," he told reporters. "This was a private internship. We were aware of his itinerary, but that was the extent of it. And our role was limited to meeting him upon his arrival at the airport, which is not unusual in these kinds of situations."

Paul Gennaro, the senior vice president and chief communications officer for AECOM, issued a statement saying, "The educational internship, which consisted of publicly available information, was aligned with our efforts to improve quality of life, specifically in Libya, where we were advancing public infrastructure such as access to clean water; quality housing; safe and efficient roads and bridges; reliable and affordable energy; and related projects that create jobs and opportunity."

Gennaro said the company was "shocked and outraged" to learn of the young Libyan's role in his country's crisis. "We were aware of the student's family relationship, but we were not informed of any military connection whatsoever," he said.

It was the company's understanding that Khamis was an MBA student from a university in Spain, he said.

Since 2008, AECOM has been involved in a multibillion-dollar initiative with Libya to modernize the country's infrastructure. The company withdrew its expatriate employees and their families from Libya this month. The joint project to train Libyan engineers to build and maintain homes, roads and water systems is on hold, he said.

Vice Adm. William Gortney of the Joint Staff on Monday described the brigade led by Khamis Gadhafi as "one of the most active in terms of attacking innocent people."

Libya's state TV on Monday night broadcast live footage from Gadhafi's Tripoli compound of the former intern dressed in uniform and greeting people.

The world events soon changed Chopra's mind about visiting his former student in Libya. "I believe he is killing people. I mean, it's bizarre. The whole thing is bizarre. After attending a course on consciousness, he goes and leads troops."

He added, "Why was he in my course? I have no idea."

CNN's Pam Benson and Brian Todd contributed to this story.
Hat tip: Drima

CIA sends teams to Libya; US mulls aid for rebels - Obama says US had 'Responsibility' to prevent massacre in Libya

From: The China Post - www.chinapost.com
Thursday, 31 March 2011 1:03 pm TWN
Report by Adam Goldman and Donna Cassata, AP
CIA sends teams to Libya; US mulls aid for rebels

WASHINGTON -- The CIA has sent small teams of operatives into Libya and helped rescue a crew member of a U.S. fighter jet that crashed, and the White House said Wednesday it was assessing "all types of assistance" for rebels battling Moammar Gadhafi's troops.

Battlefield setbacks are hardening the U.S. view that the poorly equipped opposition probably is incapable of prevailing without decisive Western intervention, a senior U.S. intelligence official told The Associated Press.

Lawmakers, in private briefings with top Obama administration officials, asked tough questions about the cost of the military operation and expressed concern about the makeup of the rebels.

Members of Congress quoted officials as saying the U.S. military role would be limited, and heard President Barack Obama's director of national intelligence compare the rebel forces to a "pick-up basketball team."

"No decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition or to any groups in Libya," said White House press secretary Jay Carney. "We're not ruling it out or ruling it in."

The CIA's precise role in Libya is not clear. Intelligence experts said the CIA would have sent officials to make contact with the opposition and assess the strength and needs of the rebel forces in the event Obama decided to arm them.

An American official and a former U.S. intelligence officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information, told the AP about the CIA's involvement in Libya after the agency was forced to close its station in Tripoli, the capital.

They said CIA helped safely recover the F-15E Strike Eagle's weapons specialist, who was first picked up by rebels after the crash March 21. The pilot was rescued by Marines.

They suffered only minor injuries, the military has said. Officials have declined to say what mission the F-15 was on at the time it went down. The crew ejected after the aircraft malfunctioned during a mission against a Libyan missile site.

The former intelligence officer said some CIA officers had been staging from the agency's station in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

The New York Times first reported the CIA had sent in groups of CIA operatives and that British operatives were directing airstrikes.

Obama said in a national address Monday night that U.S. troops would not be used on the ground in Libya. The statement allowed for wiggle room as the president explores options in case he decides to use covert action to ship arms to the rebels and train them. That would require a presidential finding.

In that event, the CIA would take the lead, as it has done in the past such as in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks and the run-up to the Iraq invasion in 2003. In those covert action programs, CIA officers along with special operation forces were sent in, providing arms to opposition forces to help fight the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

Gadhafi's land forces outmatch the opposition by a wide margin and are capable of threatening the civilian resistance, said the senior U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Obama's director of national intelligence compared the rebel forces to a "pick-up basketball team."

Lawmakers met with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, and intelligence head James Clapper

"They're absolutely committed to keeping the U.S. role limited," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore. "Nobody is making guarantees we'll be out in two weeks."

The top NATO commander, U.S. Navy Adm. James Stavridis, has said he's seen "flickers" of al-Qaida and Hezbollah among the rebels, but no evidence of significant numbers within the political opposition group's leadership.

During the meeting, Clapper, compared the rebel forces to a "pick-up basketball team." He indicated that intelligence has identified a few questionable individuals within the rebel ranks but no significant presence, according to lawmakers.

Lawmakers expressed frustration because administration officials couldn't say when the U.S. operation might end.

Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said Clinton and Gates did not provide much information about the future in Libya.

"Do we arm the rebels? What happens if Gadhafi holds on? What is our next move?" said Smith.

Smith said arming the rebels may make sense, but added, "I think we have to figure out who exactly we would be arming. There are a lot of different rebel groups. I think we need greater intelligence on who is on the ground."

Said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas: "The administration answered as well as they could, given the ambiguity of the situation."

The Pentagon put the cost of the Libyan operation so far at $550 million. Blumenauer said officials estimated the cost could be $40 million a month depending on the length of the operation for the U.S. "It could be higher," he said.

Lawmakers, especially Republicans, are smarting from what they consider a lack of consultation from the administration and Obama's decision not to seek congressional authorization for the use of force.

The briefings — the Senate had a separate session later Wednesday — came 12 days after the no-fly zone began. Obama did speak to congressional leaders the day before the military action began.

"I understand how evil Gadhafi is. I don't understand the unwillingness to come to Congress first," said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore.

Republicans, however, don't speak with one voice on the issue.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Obama's 2008 presidential rival, said the president couldn't wait for Congress to take even a few days to debate the use of force "there would have been nothing left to save in Benghazi," the rebels' de-facto capital.

Stavridis told the House Armed Services Committee that "the strike part of this and the aviation combat air patrol will be filled largely by the allies" and the U.S. will focus on things such as "intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, refueling ... combat search and rescue."

Still, committee members had reservations.

"It is a mission that I'm concerned as to whether or not its goals are clear. And also I'm a little concerned and believe it's unclear as to who we are supporting in this conflict," said Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio.

Said freshman Rep. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., who did four Army combat tours in Iraq: "I think we have so much on the plate right now that we need to do to bring to closure with regard to Iraq and Afghanistan."

An Associated Press-GfK poll found the country split on U.S. involvement in military actions in Libya, with 48 percent approving and 50 percent disapproving.

About three-quarters say it's somewhat likely that U.S. forces will be involved in Libya for the long term. Fifty-five percent say they would favor the United States increasing its military action to remove Gadhafi from power, although only 13 percent favor U.S. ground troops, a step Obama has said he would not take.

The poll was conducted in the days leading up to the president's speech.
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From: Ben Smith - www.politico.com
Monday, 28 March 2011
Obama briefed columnists before speech

Before delivering his defense of the American action in Libya this evening, President Obama surprised a group of top newspaper columnists by dropping by their briefing with national security aide Denis McDonough.

The guests at the meeting included David Ignatius of the Washington Post, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, Doyle McManus of the L.A. Times, and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, according to a source who asked that his name not appear.

(Obama's argument appears to have worked, at least, on Kristol.)
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Full text of Barack Obama's address on military operations in Libya
Obama Says US Had 'Responsibility' To Prevent Massacre In Libya - Dow Jones report. Click into telegraph.co.uk for the full text of Barack Obama's address on military operations in Libya delivered at the National Defense University, published 1:17AM BST Tuesday, 29 March 2011.
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Some tweets seen on Twitter
The President did a good job of explaining what we're doing in Libya. He may have been lying, but at least they weren't insulting lies.
4:20 PM Mar 28th via web from Manhattan, NY
Retweeted by 7 people
Dave Winer
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If the Libyan rebels take reprisals against the civilian population in the Gaddafi heartland, does the coalition bomb them? Surely, yes.
6:29 PM Mar 28th via web
Retweeted by 4 people
Christopher Meyer
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still a bit too much merci Sarkozy if you ask me #libya
5:53 PM Mar 27th via web
Retweeted by 4 people
Rob Crilly
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NATO agrees to take over command of all aerial operations including air strikes in Libya
8:17 PM Mar 27th via SkyNews Alerts - Breaking
Retweeted by 28 people
Sky News Newsdesk
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The Pentagon says it has not received a single confirmed report of civilian casualties in Libya
10:06 PM Mar 28th via SkyNews Alerts - Breaking
Retweeted by 35 people
Sky News Newsdesk
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The Pentagon says Tomahawk strikes in Libya total 199 to date http://bit.ly/gowtFJ
10:22 PM Mar 28th via SkyNews Alerts - Breaking
Retweeted by 22 people
Sky News Newsdesk
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US President Obama says Nato will take charge of Libyan operations on Wednesday
2:16 AM Mar 29th via SkyNews Alerts - Breaking
Retweeted by 16 people
Sky News Newsdesk
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AFP: NATO delays its planned takeover of military command in Libya by 24 hours to 06:00 GMT on Thursday.
2:29 PM Mar 29th via SkyNews Alerts - Breaking
Retweeted by 31 people
Sky News Newsdesk
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U.S. Nato Commander: Intelligence shows "flickers" of Al Qaeda presence in Libyan opposition.
4:51 PM Mar 29th via SkyNews Alerts - Breaking
Retweeted by 47 people
Sky News Newsdesk
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Further Reading

London Conference on Libya: Chair's statement
Click into www.fco.gov.uk for London Conference on Libya: Chair's statement Tuesday, 29 March 2011.
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Who are Libya's rebels?
From: BBC News Online - www.bbc.co.uk
28 March 2011 Last updated at 21:29
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UK backs role for rebel Libyans
From: The Scotsman - news.scotsman.com
Published Date: 29 March 2011, By DAVID MADDOX. Excerpt:
Prime Minister David Cameron and French president Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday issued a joint statement supporting the interim National Transitional Council.

The statement came as a Downing Street spokesman confirmed diplomats were on the ground in Libya and had made contact with the council.
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Obama and Libya: The professor’s war
From: The Washington Post - www.washingtonpost.com
Published date: Thursday, 24 March 2011, 8:21 PM, By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER. Excerpt:
President Obama is proud of how he put together the Libyan operation. A model of international cooperation. All the necessary paperwork. Arab League backing. A Security Council resolution. (Everything but a resolution from the Congress of the United States, a minor inconvenience for a citizen of the world.) It’s war as designed by an Ivy League professor.
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The most troubling reports about the Libyan rebels
The opposition includes former Gadhafi loyalists and, potentially, Islamists
From: The Salon War Room - www.salon.com
Published date: Friday, 25 March 2011; 09:01 ET, By JUSTIN ELLIOTT. Excerpt:
There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the composition of the Libyan rebels that the U.S. and its allies are now supporting in their fight against Moammar Gadhafi. What we do know is that it is a motley group including both former regime figures as well as longtime dissidents. (The Atlantic Wire has a good rundown of the leadership of the rebels here.)

While the Obama administration has insisted that the U.S. mission does not go beyond protecting civilians, it is clear we are supporting the rebel side in Libya's civil war. So it's important to be clear-eyed about who the rebels are. And the reports so far are not all positive.
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Gaddafi regime fed names of jihadists to the CIA and to Britain
Alexi Mostrous From: The Times - www.theaustralian.com.au
Published date: 22 March 2011 8:45AM. Excerpt:
COLONEL Muammar Gaddafi's regime secretly provided information to Britain and the US on Islamic extremists in the east of Libya, according to leaked diplomatic cables and intelligence sources.

The names of hundreds of suspects were passed to the CIA and British intelligence.

“There was a strong, shared concern between Gaddafi and the US and UK Governments about radical Sunni jihadist terrorists, including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG),” Paul Pillar, a CIA veteran who negotiated with Libya over its nuclear program, told The Times.

Diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks paint eastern Libya as a fertile ground for radical extremism. One source told US officials in 2008 that for young men from Derna, a city east of Benghazi, “resistance against coalition forces in Iraq was an important act of 'jihad' and a last act of defiance against the Gaddafi regime”.
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Meet the Libyan Rebels the West Is Supporting
From The Atlantic Wire
Published date: Thursday, 24 March 2011, By URI FRIEDMAN
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Operation Ellamy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Operation ELLAMY[6] is the codename for the United Kingdom participation in the 2011 military intervention in Libya.[7] The operation is part of an international coalition aimed at enforcing a Libyan no-fly zone in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 which stipulated that "all necessary measures" shall be taken to protect civilians.[8] UK sorties are under the operational command of the United States.[9] The coalition operation is designated by the U.S. as Operation Odyssey Dawn.[10][11] The Canadian participation is Operation MOBILE[12] and the French participation is Opération Harmattan.[13]

The no-fly zone was proposed during the 2011 Libyan uprising to prevent government forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi from carrying out air attacks on rebel forces. Several countries prepared to take immediate military action at a conference in Paris on 19 March, 2011.[14]
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State Department: Arming Libyan opposition would be 'illegal'
From" The Cable - thecable.foreignpolicy.com
Published date: Tuesday, 08 March 2011; 11:29 AM

The State Department believes that supplying any arms to the Libyan opposition to support its struggle against Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi would be illegal at the current time.

"It's very simple. In the U.N. Security Council resolution passed on Libya, there is an arms embargo that affects Libya, which means it's a violation for any country to provide arms to anyone in Libya," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said on Monday.

Crowley denied reports that the United States had asked Saudi Arabia to provide weapons to the Libyan opposition, and also denied that the United States would arm opposition groups absent explicit international authorization.

Pressed by reporters to clarify whether the Obama administration had any plans to give arms to any of the rebel groups in Libya, Crowley said no.

"It would be illegal for the United States to do that," he said. "It's not a legal option."

Crowley's blanket statement seemed to go further than comments on Monday by White House spokesman Jay Carney, who said, "On the issue of … arming, providing weapons, it is one of the range of options that is being considered."

Crowley maintained that U.N. Security Council Resolution 1970, which imposed international sanctions on Libya that included an arms embargo, applied to both the Qaddafi regime and the rebel groups.

"It's not on the government of Libya: It's on Libya," he said.

Britain and France are drafting a new Security Council resolution that would authorize a no-fly zone over Libya. The United States still might support such a resolution, but U.S. Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder argued on Monday that a no-fly zone wouldn't likely do much to protect Libyan civilians anyway.

The United States and its international partners have been reaching out to the Libyan opposition, with some mixed results, but the State Department still has not officially withdrawn its recognition of the Qaddafi regime despite President Barack Obama's public call for him to step down.

"As we've said, we think that the Qaddafi regime, having turned its weapons on its people, has lost its legitimacy," Crowley noted. "But as I said last week, there are also legal issues involved in recognizing or de-recognizing governments."

UPDATE: Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) issued a statement Tuesday evening refuting Crowley's claim that arming the Libyan opposition is "illegal" under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1970:
Earlier today, the spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State said that, because of the arms embargo imposed by UN Security Council Resolution 1970, it would be ‘illegal' for the United States or any other country to provide military assistance to the opposition forces fighting for their survival against a brutal dictatorship in Libya. In fact, the text of the UN resolution does not impose an arms embargo on ‘Libya,' but rather on the ‘Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,' which is the self-proclaimed name of Qaddafi's regime. We believe this language should be construed narrowly in order to hold open the possibility of providing military aid to the opposition, which presumably does not consider itself part of the ‘Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.'

The President has consistently and correctly said that ‘all options are on the table' in Libya. If the State Department's statement today is correct, however, it means one of the most effective options to help the Libyan people has been taken off the table. We urge the Administration to clarify its position on this important issue.