Britain admits NATO helping rebels hunt down Gaddafi
British Defense Secretary Liam Fox has admitted NATO is providing intelligence and reconnaissance assistance to Libyan rebels hunting Col Muammar Gaddafi.
"I can confirm that NATO is providing intelligence and reconnaissance assets to the NTC [National Transitional Council] to help them track down Colonel Gaddafi and other remnants of the regime," Fox told Sky News.
Fox made his comments after an article appeared in the Daily Telegraph newspaper claiming British special forces were guiding the hunt for Gaddafi after the rebels seized his heavily-guarded compound in the capital, Tripoli.
Gaddafi's whereabouts are unknown, though he is believed to still be in or around Tripoli.
Fox denied British soldiers were present in Libya but admitted Britain was advising the NTC.
"We have absolutely no plans to have any British boots on the ground," he said, before adding: "We have always had some advisers to the NTC, helping them with logistics, communications, chain of command and so on, and we would of course want to continue with those relationships."
However, a former member of the SAS told RIA Novosti on condition of anonymity that Britain's special forces had been there "since day one."
In March, Al Jazeera TV filmed a group of six Westerners in Libya and said the footage was ''evidence for the first time of allied boots on the ground''.
The report said the foreigners shown talking to the rebels were "possibly British."
Fox said that despite "some understandable euphoria in recent days about the overthrow of the regime," world leaders "must maintain a sense of perspective."
NATO operations will continue until the remaining pockets of resistance in south Tripoli and other areas are eliminated, he said.
Meanwhile, NATO's actions in Libya have begun to draw sharp criticism among Western politicians.
In a statement, U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich said NATO had, all long, pursued regime change in Libya, in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973.
"NATO acted with impunity. The NATO command recklessly bombed civilians in the name of saving civilians. Usurping the United Nation's traditional role, NATO looked the other way as the arms embargo was openly violated by UN member nations," Kucinich said.
"NATO's top commanders may have acted under color of international law but they are not exempt from international law. If members of the Gaddafi regime are to be held accountable, NATO's top commanders must also be held accountable through the International Criminal Court for all civilian deaths resulting from bombing."
"Otherwise we will have witnessed the triumph of a new international gangsterism."
[Source: Ria Novosti, Moscow, 25Aug11]
|This document has been published on 24Oct11 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.|