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Libya Tag

On December 21, 1988—30 years ago today—Pan Am Flight 103 dropped from the night sky killing 270 people, including all 259 of its passengers and crew and 11 people on the ground in the small town of Lockerbie, Scotland, which lies 120km southwest of Glasgow. It was the deadliest terror attack ever on UK soil.

A federal jury has found Ahmed Abu Khatallah, a key suspect of the Benghazi attacks in 2012, guilty on four of the 18 charges he faced. From Fox News:
Khattala, 46, was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, one count of maliciously destroying U.S. property and placing lives in danger, and one count of using and carrying a semiautomatic weapon during the attack. He faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison for the firearms offense and could still receive a life sentence.

U.S. forces have captured Mustafa al-Imam, a key militant in the 2012 Benghazi attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. From CBS News:
The commandos captured the man in Libya just before midnight local time on Sunday and are transporting him back to the U.S., officials told The Associated Press. The suspect is in the custody of the Department of Justice and is expected to arrive within the next two days on a military plane, according to one of the officials.

Italy has been struggling to deal with a flood of migrants from Libya and has received little to no help from the EU. This has led to strife, as we pointed out in earlier posts.

The United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM) has found slave markets along migrant routes in Africa from the Sahara to Libya, which is where the majority of the migrants will take another dangerous journey to Europe. The staff found out that "hundreds of young African men are being traded in public in what they described as slave markets." From The Independent:
“The situation is dire,” Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s Director of Operation and Emergencies, warned.

The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) continues to take advantage of the migrant issue by blending their fighters and shipping them through Europe. Smuggler Abu Walid told CNN that ISIS has contacted people in his business in Libya in the past two months, offering up to $40,000 for 25 people. Libyan officials told the new outlet they have found ISIS members attempting to sneak into Europe disguised as migrants seeking a better life:
A senior Libyan military intelligence official in Misrata, Ismail Shukri, said that ISIS militants sought to disguise themselves by traveling with "their families, without weapons, as normal illegal immigrants." "They will wear American dress and have English language papers so they cause no suspicion."

Back in July, we reported that Hillary's emails revealed a disturbing (but not altogether startling) connection between the former Secretary of State and Sidney Blumenthal. We already knew that Blumenthal was sending Clinton "off the books" intel reports on the situation in Libya, but new emails suggested that he was also offering advice on how to handle the politics of dealing with Iran, China, and Northern Ireland. Now, new reports show that the advisor and Clinton Foundation payee engaged in communications with the Secretary that both raise ethical questions about business practices, and could have endangered national security. In a 13-page letter to ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings, Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy previewed new and troubling details about just what sort of information Secretary Clinton was sharing with Blumenthal via her home-brew server. From the Weekly Standard:

You might think that the fact that four Americans died in the 2012 attack on our embassy in Libya (on Hillary Clinton's watch) was bad enough, but you'd be wrong. Stephen Collinson of CNN:
Hillary Clinton's real Libya problem Hillary Clinton has another Libya problem. She's already grappling with the political headaches from deleted emails and from the terror attack that left four Americans dead in Benghazi. But she'll face a broader challenge in what's become of the North African country since, as secretary of state in 2011, she was the public face of the U.S. intervention to push out its longtime strongman, Moammar Gadhafi. Libya's lapse into the chaos of failed statehood has provided a breeding ground for terror and a haven for groups such as ISIS. Its plight is also creating an opening for Republican presidential candidates to question Clinton's strategic acumen and to undermine her diplomatic credentials, which will be at the center of her pitch that only she has the global experience needed to be president in a turbulent time.

At least they know how to have fun? According to the Washington Times:

Islamists who gained control of a U.S. Embassy residential compound in Libya last week posted a video online of the men throwing a spring break-like pool party at the property.

A commander for the umbrella Islamist militia group, the Dawn of Libya, told The Associated Press that his fighters had been in control of the compound since last week. The group granted access to the compound to an AP reporter, who said some windows had been broken, but most of the equipment there appeared to remain untouched. The journalist saw treadmills, food, televisions and computers still inside.

U.S. Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones tweeted that the video appeared to have been shot in at the embassy’s residential annex, AP reported.

The video (which nauseatingly spins from side to side) shows a group men diving off a balcony into the pool below:

In today's bizarre news, at least six are dead in an airstrike that took out a small arms depot and other targets. The problem is, no one really knows who is responsible. The New York Times reports:
Unidentified warplanes on Monday bombed a small arms depot and other locations in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, that are controlled by Islamist-aligned militias, suggesting that a foreign state had intervened in the escalating battle for control of the city. At least six people were killed, The Associated Press reported. The origin of the planes remained a mystery. The airstrikes were beyond the capacity of the limited Libyan Air Force, and Libyan authorities said the planes had come from a foreign state. The United States, France, Italy and Egypt all denied responsibility. “The United States was not involved whatsoever in these events,” said Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman. But the targets indicated the intent of the strikes. Although the month-old conflict in Tripoli is largely a contest for power between rival coalitions of cities and tribes, one side is considered to be allied with the forces of political Islam, while the other portrays itself as fighting an Islamist takeover. The strikes on Monday all hit the Islamist side.
Some renegade Libyan general claims he was responsible for the airstrikes, but as the NYT pointed out, the strikes were, "beyond the capacity of the limited Libyan Air Force." It's also not uncommon for would-be bad guys to pop up and claim violent tragedies are part of their own criminal master-mind. Reuters explains:

Add Libya to the list of places around the world that are on fire. Over the weekend, U.S. embassy personnel -- including the U.S. Ambassador -- were quickly evacuated from the country amidst growing instability caused by militias battling the Libyan government.
Heavy clashes in Libya between army troops loyal to a renegade general and Islamist-led militias have killed 38 people—including civilians—in the country's restive east, health officials said Sunday. A security official said the fighting involved forces loyal to Gen. Khalifa Hifter and militias in the eastern city of Benghazi. The clashes started Saturday and continued through early Sunday morning. The official said commando forces regained control of four military camps captured by Islamist militias in the past few days. Health officials said rockets fired during the fighting hit civilian homes, causing casualties and wounding dozens of people.
Secretary of State John Kerry announced during an overseas trip on Saturday that the United States is temporarily suspending its diplomatic activities in Libya. Diplomats were quickly moved to locations in nearby Tunisia after the militias attacks had struck Tripoli's airport which is close to the U.S. embassy:

Update 11-8-2013: 60 Minutes backs off Benghazi witness story. ------------------------- 60 Minutes had an absolutely devastating report on the Obama administration's failure to protect Ambassador Chris Stevens and other Americans in Benghazi. I'll post the video when available (update - available and added), but the heart of the report is that there were clear and unequivocal warnings which were ignored, and the Obama administration lied about these warnings after the attack. Hillary and Obama blamed a video and stood by the caskets perpetuating that lie. And remember how almost all of the media obsessed with Mitt Romney's statement over Benghazi, and colluded to ask Romney gotcha questions while downplaying and obfuscating what really happened. 60 Minutes said its investigation took almost a year. (Transcript here)

1) The innocence of the Obama administration Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on September 14, 2012: This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave...