Posts Tagged With: guards

German probe finds 20 former death camp guards…..


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Around 20 former guards at the Majdanek death camp could face charges in Germany, following a widespread probe of the Nazi SS men and women who served there during World War II, war crimes investigators said Tuesday.

Federal prosecutor Kurt Schrimm, who heads Germany’s special Nazi war crimes office, said he expects to turn the cases over to state investigators within two weeks for them to pursue accessory to murder charges. Schrimm’s office has no power to file charges itself.

Lead investigator Thomas Will told The Associated Press that about 30 suspects were identified and located, but around ten had already died. The remaining 20 men and women all live in Germany, he said, but refused to elaborate further.

Some 220 others are still being investigated for possible charges but have not been located.

The Majdanek probe is the second major review of death camp guards undertaken after Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk in 2011 became the first person to be convicted in Germany solely for serving as a camp guard, with no evidence of involvement in a specific killing.

Though Demjanjuk always denied serving at the death camp and died before his appeal could be heard, Schrimm’s office in September recommended that state prosecutors pursue charges against 30 former Auschwitz guards based on his case.

The office then started investigating about 1,000 former guards at Majdanek — another death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, where some 360,000 Jews and others were killed.

While Majdanek was also used as a labor camp — meaning guards theoretically could have worked there at certain times and not been involved in the Nazi genocide — prosecutors focused on guards allegedly present during the killings.

The Auschwitz investigation also continues and Schrimm said he expects more suspects will be announced “in the coming months.”

Efraim Zuroff, the head Nazi-hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, urged state prosecutors to prioritize the new cases, given the advanced age of the suspects.

“We are very hopeful that the work will be expedited so as many people as possible can be brought to justice,” he said.

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BENGHAZI GUARDS REFUSED TO PROTECT FLEEING AMERICANS..Senate report provides new, startling detail….


The Senate’s 88-page report on the Benghazi assault provides a new detail about the role of an al-Qaida-linked organization that provided external security to the fated U.S. special mission.

According to the report, the Libyan 17th of February Brigade militia refused to “provide cover” for the U.S. security team that was trapped inside the compound.

The detail was not mentioned in the State Department-sanctioned Accountability Review Board, or ARB, investigating the Benghazi attack. The ARB paints a picture of the 17th of February Brigade as largely aiding in the evacuation of the U.S. personnel at the mission.

The 17th of February Brigade, which was hired by the State Department to protect the U.S. facility in Benghazi, operates under the Ansar-Al-Sharia banner.

Ansar al-Sharia, tied to al-Qaida, has been implicated in carrying out the attack.

Senate report contradicts State Department

The Senate report states “there were three armed members of the Libyan 17th of February Brigade militia” present and working as part of the mission’s security external detail during the attack.

“Outside the compound, the security team asked 17th of February Brigade members to ‘provide cover’ for them to advance to the gate of the Temporary Mission Facility with gun trucks,” the report says. “The February Brigade members refused, saying they preferred to negotiate with the attackers instead.

“Eventually,” states the report, “the security team initiated their plan of assault on the Mission compound. Some members of the 17th of February Brigade ‘jump[ed] into the vehicle’ and ‘a few 17 Feb members follow[ed] behind on foot to support the team’ according to the informal CIA notes provided to the Committee.”

The Senate picture of 17th of February Brigade members refusing to “provide cover” contrasts sharply with the image of the brigade painted in the State Department’s ARB.

The ARB claims the 17th of February Brigade helped American personnel escape a roadblock while fleeing the compound.

“The driver, ARSO 1, reversed direction to avoid a crowd farther down the street, then reverted back to the original easterly route towards the crowd after a man whom the DS agents believed to be with February 17 signaled them to do so.”

The ARB recounted how the 17th of February Brigade complained to the local Libyan government on the U.S. special mission’s behalf after a uniformed Libyan police officer was caught taking pictures of the compound prior to the attack.

The ARB states that as soon as the attack began, the 17th of February Brigade guards advanced “towards the Villa B area.”

Continued the ARB: “At the urging of the Annex security team and friendly militia members, who warned that the compound was at risk of being overrun, the TDY RSO and four ARSOs departed for the Annex without having found Ambassador Stevens.”

It’s all about spreading Islam

The Ansar al-Sharia group promotes strict Shariah, or Islamic law, implementation and the creation of an Islamic empire, or caliphate. It was first to take responsibility for the attack in social media. The group later claimed it “didn’t participate [in the attack] as a sole entity,” stating the assault “was a spontaneous popular uprising” in response to the anti-Muhammad film.

Witnesses told media they saw vehicles at the scene of the attack bearing Ansar al-Sharia’s logo and said gunmen taking part boasted of belonging to the group.

The role of Ansar al-Sharia’s 17th of February Brigade in providing security at the compound may prompt more questions following the naming last week of senior Ansar leader Abu Sufian bin Qumu as a ringleader in the Benghazi attack.

The Washington Post reported gunmen under the command of Qumu, participated in the Benghazi attack, according to a U.S. official.

The Post identified Qumu as “leader of Ansar al-Sharia in the Libyan city of Darnah,” while the extensive, 54-page Library of Congress document said Qumu in 2012 was “the leader of Ansar Al-Sharia” in Libya and not just in Darnah.

The Post reported witnesses told American officials that Qumu’s militia arrived in Benghazi before the attack and that the State Department was set to implicate him in the deadly assault.

The information will be used in part to designate Qumu’s branch of Ansar al-Sharia as a terrorist group, along with two other al-Sharia branches, reported the Post.

Qumu, formerly a driver for Osama bin Laden, was released by the U.S. from Guantanamo Bay in 2007 and was transferred to a Libyan prison where he remained until he was freed in a 2010 amnesty deal.

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U.S. Relied on Firm Using Unarmed Guards for Diplomatic Security in Libya….


The State Department’s decision to hire Blue Mountain Group to guard the ill-fated U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, entrusted security tasks to a little-known British company instead of the large firms it usually uses in overseas danger zones.
The contract was largely based on expediency, U.S. officials have said, since no
one knew how long the temporary mission would remain in the Libyan city. The cradle of last year’s uprising that ended Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, Benghazi has been plagued by rising violence in recent months.

Security practices at the diplomatic compound, where Blue Mountain guards patrolled with flashlights and batons instead of guns, have come under U.S. government scrutiny in the wake of the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Federal contract data shows that the Benghazi security contract, worth up to $783,284, was listed as a “miscellaneous” award, not as part of the large master State Department contract that covers protection for overseas embassies.

“Blue Mountain was virtually unknown to the circles that studied private security contractors working for the United States, before the events in Benghazi,” said Charles Tiefer, a commissioner at the Commission on Wartime Contracting, which studied U.S. contracting in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Several British government sources said that they were unfamiliar with Blue Mountain, which is based in Wales. They said British authorities used a different contractor for security protection in Libya.

Fred Burton, vice president of intelligence at the Stratfor consulting firm and a former U.S. diplomatic security agent, said he did not know Blue Mountain, but it likely got State Department work because it was already working in Libya.

“They may have been the path of least resistance,” he said.

Blue Mountain was able to work in Libya because it forged a business alliance with a local security firm, as required by Libyan regulations.

Eric Nordstrom, former regional security officer for the U.S. Embassy in Libya, testified at a congressional hearing last week that contracting out for security in the eastern Libyan city “was largely based on our concern of how long we would be in Benghazi. We were concerned that if we retained or brought on board full-time employees we would have to then find a position for them if that post ever went away.”

In describing the challenges of hiring private security at Benghazi, he added: “It’s my understanding that there was a very high turnover with those people.”

GUARDS OF BENGHAZI
Blue Mountain hired about 20 Libyan men – including some who say they had minimal training – to screen visitors and help patrol the mission at Benghazi, according to Reuters interviews.

Some of the guards sustained injuries and said they were ill-prepared to protect themselves or others when heavily armed militants last month stormed the rented villa that was serving as the mission.

They also described being hired by Blue Mountain after a casual recruiting and screening process.

State Department security officials had their own concerns about some of the guards at the mission months before the recent attack, according to emails obtained by Reuters this week. One guard who had been recently fired and another on the company’s payroll were suspected of throwing a homemade bomb into the U.S. compound in April. They were questioned but not charged.

The State Department has declined to comment on the company other than confirming it was the contractor in Benghazi. Blue Mountain did not respond to numerous emails and phone calls, and a person answering the phone at its office in Carmarthen, Wales, said the company would not discuss the issue.

Previously known as Pilgrim Elite, Blue Mountain says on its website that it offers security services and professional training and has operated in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan.

The website once listed General Motors as a client, and a GM spokeswoman in Detroit told Reuters that Blue Mountain’s work for the company was “on a very limited basis and mostly in the UK.”

A Blue Mountain recruiter posted a notice on a security website in 2011 seeking employees with visas to work in Libya.

The State Department contract for “local guard” services in Benghazi took effect in March 2012. Several of Blue Mountain’s Libyan employees told Reuters that they had no prior security training or experience.
“I was never a revolutionary or a fighter, I have never picked up a weapon during the war or after it,” said Abdelaziz al-Majbiri, 28, who was shot in the legs during the Sept. 11 assault.

The Libyan commander in charge of the local guards at the mission was a former English teacher who said he heard about Blue Mountain from a neighbor. “I don’t have a background in security, I’ve never held a gun in my life,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity out of fear for his safety.

When hired, the commander said he was told “you have great English and get along with everyone and are punctual; we want you to be a guard commander.”

The unarmed guards were told to sound the alarm over the radio and then run for cover if there was an attack, a Libyan who acted as a supervisor for the Blue Mountain local guard team at the mission said during an interview with Reuters.

He also displayed a medal embossed with “Department of State” and a horseman carrying Libyan and U.S. flags. “They thanked us for our help and also gave us this medal as an appreciation,” he said.

Despite their inexperience, the Blue Mountain guards said they feared the Americans were not concerned enough about security.

“We used to tell the Americans who spoke to us on many occasions that we needed more support in security, because it felt thin on the ground. But they didn’t seem to be so worried, and (were) confident that no one will dare to come close to the consulate,” one guard said.
‘DOWN IN THE WEEDS’

Tiefer, who is also a government contracting law professor at the University of Baltimore, said the Benghazi contract paled in comparison to other State Department security awards.

“This is down in the weeds,” he said in a telephone interview.

Most State Department work goes to eight large private security firms with vast experience.

In the late summer of 2011, after Libyan rebels took control of Tripoli, Blue Mountain guards were seen working security at the Corinthia Hotel and its sister Palm City residential compound in the Libyan capital.

A United Press International report indicated that Blue Mountain and its local partner, Eclipse, also were competing for contracts guarding oil fields.

Blue Mountain and Eclipse parted ways in the spring over problems with Tripoli contracts, several sources familiar with the matter said.

The severed relationship may have prevented Blue Mountain from getting additional work in Libya, which required the local affiliation.

On a social network website earlier this year, a Blue Mountain official described the firm as “one of the few companies certified and legally allowed to work in Libya.”

Blue Mountain Chief Executive Officer Nigel Thomas, a former British special forces member, did not respond to emails or phone calls.

© 2012 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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REPORT: Al-Qaida, Gitmo Alum Involved in Deadly Embassy Attack


The deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that killed four Americans was directly tied to al-Qaida and involved a former detainee at the Guantanamo Bay prison, intelligence sources told Fox News.

The information comes as a top Obama White House official described the assault for the first time as a “terrorist attack” — and Republican lawmakers intensified their questioning of administration officials on security issues and whether consulate security personnel had communicated with extremists before the attack occurred.

The White House has long claimed the assault had been a “spontaneous” act.

“Yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy,” Matt Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said on Wednesday during a Senate hearing, Fox reports.

But Olsen echoed administration colleagues in saying U.S. officials have no specific intelligence about “significant advanced planning or coordination” for the attack.

His statement, however, goes beyond White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, saying the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate was spontaneous.

Olsen is the first top White House official to call the strike an act of terrorism, Fox reports.

Intelligence sources told Fox that Sufyan Ben Qumu is thought to have been involved — and even may have led the Benghazi attack, which killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Qumu, a Libyan, was released from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2007 and transferred into Libyan custody on the condition that he is kept in jail. His Guantanamo files also show he has ties to the financiers behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Olson, repeating Wednesday that the FBI is handling the Benghazi investigation, also acknowledged the attack could lead back to al-Qaida and its affiliates.

“We are looking at indications that individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to al-Qaida or al-Qaida’s affiliates, in particular al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb,” he said at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Fox reports.

“The facts that we have now indicate that this was an opportunistic attack on our embassy, the attack began and evolved and escalated over several hours,” Olson said, according to Fox.

But Olsen sidestepped a question from Maine Sen. Susan Collins about whether communication had occurred between extremist elements and the local consulate guards, Reuters reports.

“I think that would be better addressed in the session that we’re going to have tomorrow,” Olsen told the Republican senator, Reuters reports. U.S. officials said the possibility of such collusion is part of their investigation.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper are to brief lawmakers in a closed session on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers said on Wednesday that they agreed with Libyan officials who said the attack was preplanned.

“You don’t bring rocket-propelled grenades and heavy weapons to spontaneous demonstrations,” Arizona Sen. John McCain told Reuters.

“I think it was a preplanned event to have occurred probably on 9/11,” Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee chairman, told Reuters. “It seemed well-coordinated.”

He described the assault as an “al Qaida-style attack.”

There was command-and-control on the ground, with initial reports showing clearly that the attackers were moving toward specific targets on the compound, Rogers said.

“They had objectives. They had targets they were working toward. They were using military-style movements,” he told Reuters. “I just look at that and think I don’t know how you say that that wasn’t a pre-planned event when you have that kind of coordination.”

Obama administration officials say U.S. intelligence agencies had not seen any warnings to indicate the consulate was going to be attacked.

In fact, Press Secretary Carney said earlier on Wednesday that there was still “no evidence of a preplanned or pre-meditated attack,” which occurred on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

“I made that clear last week, Ambassador Rice made that clear Sunday,” Carney said at the daily White House press briefing.

Rice appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and four other morning talk shows to say the attack was “spontaneous” and was sparked by an early protest that day outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, over an anti-Islamic video.

“It was a reaction to a video that had nothing to do with the United States,” Rice told Fox on Sunday. “The best information and the best assessment we have today is that this was not a pre-planned, pre-meditated attack. What happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo.”

That account clashed with claims by the Libyan president that the attack was in fact premeditated, Fox reports.

Other sources, including an intelligence source in Libya who spoke to Fox on Wednesday, have echoed those claims. The intelligence source even said that, contrary to the suggestion by the Obama administration, no major protest in Benghazi occurred before the deadly attack at the U.S. consulate.

A U.S. official did not dispute the claim, Fox reports.

Meanwhile, other new details emerged on security arrangements at the Benghazi consulate, Reuters reports. Five civilian American security officers were stationed at the consulate, congressional aides said on condition of anonymity.

The State Department said it had contracted with a private security firm, U.K.-based Blue Mountain Group, to hire Libyan nationals to carry out security measures at the Benghazi consulate. Their jobs included operating metal detectors and sweeping cars for explosives.

On Wednesday, Republican lawmakers also pressed their questions on U.S. security arrangements in a region where weapons, including sophisticated arms looted from arsenals assembled by the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, were widely available.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard McKeon said he was “really concerned about the lack of support that the ambassador had, the lack of protection.”

“We had no military personnel there” in Benghazi, McKeon said after a closed-door briefing from Pentagon officials, Reuters reports.

He said this was “inconceivable” after an attack on the compound earlier in the year.

Clinton defended the security arrangements earlier this week.

“Let me assure you that our security in Benghazi included a unit of host government security forces, as well as a local guard force of the kind that we rely on in many places around the world,” she said on Tuesday.

Also on Wednesday, FBI investigators arrived in Libya after an initial delay over security concerns. The investigation team should reach Benghazi before the end of the week, U.S. officials said.

Their goal is to determine what happened on the ground and who was responsible.

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Social Security Administration Buying 174,000 Bullets


CNSNews.com is reporting that the Social Security administration is buying …bullets?

The Social Security Administration posted a blog on Thursday to explain why it was planning to purchase 174,000 hollow point bullets.

SSA posted a “Request for Quote for Ammunition” on the FedBizOps.gov website on Aug. 7. The request listedthe commodity that SSA desired as “.357 Sig 125 grain bonded jacketed hollow point pistol ammunition.” The quantity listed was “174 TH.”
The SSA “thought it would be appropriate to address recent media reports regarding the organization’s purchase of ammunition for our special agents’ duty weapons.”

The Number 1 Sign People Are Becoming Angry With the Social Security Ponzi Scheme – The Social Security Administration purchases 174,000 bullets to arm the SSA special agents who “respond to threats against Social Security offices, employees, and customers.”

The blog states that the SSA has 295 special agents who work in 66 offices across the United States.

“These investigators have full law enforcement authority, including executing search warrants and making arrests,” the blog post states. “Our investigators are similar to your State or local police officers.

“They use traditional investigative techniques, and they are armed when on official duty,” the blog post states.”

This isn’t entirely crazy, because the SSA said they are “processing more applications than ever, which means more traffic in SSA offices,” and they are extremely concerned about employee safety, but is this not a sign of an inefficient system?

If the government thinks Social Security is “fine” and people aren’t already becoming upset with the system headed for bankruptcy, even though we all pay into it every single day, then they quite possibly need to take a second look at everything. I actually understand the SSA buying ammunition for their guards, because employee safety is extremely important, but let’s look at the cause here instead of the effect.

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