Vladimir Radyuhin / The Hindu & CBS News & Lee Ferran and Rym Momtaz / ABC News – 2012-01-02 14:46:07
US behind Deliberate Murder of Qadhafi: Russia
Vladimir Radyuhin / The Hindu
(December 30, 2011) — Russia has accused the United States and NATO of large-scale violations of human rights during the military operation in Libya, including the deliberate murder of its leader Muammar Gaddafi and the killing of hundreds of civilians.
The NATO forces “made the overthrow and murder of the Colonel their main goal,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry in its first report on the state of human rights in the world.
Citing unnamed sources, the report said the order to liquidate Qadhafi was given to US, French and British commandos. The Russian Foreign Ministry details numerous instances of mass killings of hundreds of civilians and destruction of infrastructure in NATO bombing raids in Libya.
The US is the main target of the Russian report, which also criticises the human rights record in Britain, Canada, Finland, the Baltic states and Georgia.
Russia took President Barack Obama to task for his failure to shut the “odious” prison at Guantanamo Bay and accused the White House of sheltering officials guilty of torture.
“The situation in the United States is a far cry from the ideals proclaimed by Washington,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry in a 90-page report posted on its website.
“Old systemic problems of American society are growing more serious, including racial discrimination, xenophobia, overcrowded prisons, unjustified capital punishment, including the execution of innocent people, imperfect electoral system and corruption,” said the report.
The report was released as Moscow hardened its rhetoric against the US on such issues as missile defence and interference in Russian internal affairs. The new head of the Russian Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Alexei Pushkov, said the “reset” in Russian-US relations had come to an end.
“The US had desisted from discussing the domestic situation in Russia as part of the ‘reset’. Clinton violated this tacit agreement,” said Mr. Pushkov. “I think we have entered a phase when the US will no longer show restraint towards Russia.”
Libyan Gov’t Searching for Lost Missiles
NEW YORK (December 23, 2011) — The Libyan government is searching for thousands of missiles believed to be missing and are offering incentives for their return. As Elizabeth Palmer reports, the government fears the missiles are finding their way into the hands of smugglers.
The Hunt for Libyan Missiles:
5,000-Plus Secured So Far, Official Says
Lee Ferran / ABC News
NEW YORK (December 12, 2011) — American and Libyan explosive disposal teams have rounded up more than 5,000 powerful shoulder-fired missiles that went missing in the chaos of the Libyan uprising and “thousands more” have already been destroyed in previous NATO bombing runs, a top US official said over the weekend.
Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for political and military affairs, made the assertion Sunday during a one-day visit to Libya during which he witnessed the safe detonation of dozens of the weapons.
The US State Department planned to put 50 weapon specialist teams on the ground in Libya and to invest at least $10 million in its race to secure as many of the shoulder-fired missiles, called MANPADS, as possible can before they can fall into the hands of terrorist groups. Though Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi had an estimated 20,000 missiles before the uprising began, a State Department official told ABC News today the teams on the ground are “still working to assess” how many stray missiles could still be out there.
Last month, a leading member of an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group told a local newspaper his group is better off because of the unsecured weapons.
“We have been one of the main beneficiaries of the revolutions in the Arab world,” Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a leader of the north Africa-based al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM], told the Mauritanian news agency ANI. “As for our benefiting from the [Libyan] weapons, this is a natural thing in these kinds of circumstances.”
Current and former US officials have long feared the heat-seeking missiles could represent a grave danger to commercial aircraft. There have already been reports of neighboring countries in all directions intercepting the smuggled Libyan weapons.
To the east of Libya, smuggled surface-to-air missiles are so ubiquitous in Egypt that the black market price for one actually dropped by more than 50 percent, according to an October report by The Washington Post.
To its south, Nigerian forces said they had clashed with a heavily-armed convoy heading out of Libya and seized heavy machine guns and rockets they were carrying, the BBC reported. AQIM is primarily based in the north African region to Libya’s west.
Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch first warned about the problem after a trip to Libya more than six months ago. He took pictures of pickup truckloads of the missiles being carted off during another trip just a few weeks ago.
“I myself could have removed several hundred if I wanted to, and people can literally drive up with pickup trucks or even 18 wheelers and take away whatever they want,” said Bouckaert, HRW’s emergencies director. “Every time I arrive at one of these weapons facilities, the first thing we notice going missing is the surface-to-air missiles.”
ABC News’ Brian Ross and Matthew Cole contributed to this report.
Al Qaeda Terror Group:
We ‘Benefit From’ Libyan Weapons
Lee Ferran and Rym Momtaz / ABC News
(November 10, 2011) — A leading member of an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group indicated the organization may have acquired some of the thousands of powerful weapons that went missing in the chaos of the Libyan uprising, stoking long-held fears of Western officials.
“We have been one of the main beneficiaries of the revolutions in the Arab world,” Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a leader of the north Africa-based al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM], told the Mauritanian news agency ANI Wednesday. “As for our benefiting from the [Libyan] weapons, this is a natural thing in these kinds of circumstances.”
The claim comes just days after the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling on Libya and its neighbors to secure the loose weapons — including some 20,000 man-portable surface-to-air missiles — before they could fall into the hands of terrorists. The resolution specifically mentioned AQIM as a dangerous potential beneficiary.
An official with the State Department, which has been at the head of the hunt for loose Libyan weapons for the US, told ABC News the department was aware of AQIM’s claim and, while they’ve been unable to confirm any weapons have made their way into the terror group’s hands, the possibility is “obviously of great concern.”
“We know al Qaeda has been long in pursuit of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles,” the official said. “This is a threat to which we’re paying close attention.”
Since the fall of Tripoli in late August, multiple weapons depots with stockpiles of heat seeking surface-to-air missiles, heavy machine guns and ammunition have been discovered unguarded by journalists and NGOs. Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch first warned about the problem after a trip to Libya earlier this year and shot a video featuring a huge cache of unguarded weapons last month.
“I myself could have removed several hundred [missiles] if I wanted to, and people can literally drive up with pickup trucks or even 18 wheelers and take away whatever they want,” said Bouckaert, HRW’s emergencies director. “Every time I arrive at one of these weapons facilities, the first thing we notice going missing is the surface-to-air missiles.”
Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro told ABC News last month there was “obviously” a race on to secure the weapons before terrorists get their hands on them and that the US planned to have 50 teams of weapons specialists on the ground in Libya to do just that. That deployment is ongoing, a State Department official said today.
“Matching up a terrorist with a shoulder-fired missile, that’s our worst nightmare,” Sen. Barbara Boxer, D.-California, a member of the Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said in September. The surface-to-air missiles represent a grave danger to civilian commercial aircraft, US officials said.
While the US may be expanding its search in Libya, there have already been reports of neighboring countries in all directions intercepting the smuggled Libyan weapons.
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