Photo from Al Jazeera
Who is Fatah al-Islam of Tripoli Lebanon?
Who are these bank robbers who can’t rob banks? Who are so inept their get-away plan sucked too.
So they're hole-up in a refugee camp, armed to the teeth with guns, grenades and... Night Vision Goggles.???
From the International Herald Tribune
"The Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation TV station reported that the dead militants included men from Bangladesh, Yemen and other Arab countries. Some wore explosive belts, security officials said. The men also had sophisticated military equipment, including night-vision goggles, heavy weapons, even antiaircraft guns, one senior officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity."
Wait a second, 'Night Vision Goggles'!
These guys are not who they appear to be. Night Vision Goggles are not for sale to terrorists, and, they are extraordinarily expensive. With a weapons cache, and this technology, it would appear they intended to engage the Lebanese Army from the start!
Less than a year ago, I read a story about how the State Department had to reminded the industry that Night Vision Goggles were a strategic advantage to the U.S., and are as such on a restricted sale list.
Here's and Industry link that sums it all up nicely, in this article about night vision technology from: GlobalWatch: The Newsletter Of The International Import – Export Institute, Est.1995 (http://expandglobal.com/globalwatch/2006_November-December.pdf)
Off the front page:
"Increasing global competition in most overseas markets for defense and commercial products has raised some concerns about the long-term competitive position of the U.S. and other countries and specifically about the U.S.’s ability to maintain technological leadership.
To better understand these concerns and the potential implications for U.S. defense production capabilities, the U.S. Army Night Vision &
Electronic Sensors Directorate supported a Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) assessment of the competitiveness of the industry."
So we know the technology has been shipped to the wrong people; but who? and when?
So these lousy bank robbers with no tactical plan, who have really expensive stuff that they shouldn't have, and don't need... Where are they from?
This from Al Jazeera's profile of Fatah al-Islam might shine some light on the confusion:
"Primarily made of Sunni Arabs, the resistance group announced its formation last November, shortly after two of its members were arrested by the Lebanese authorities."
The inference being, that the Lebanese government are running Fatah al-Islam.
So, this is a provocation by one of the players in the region, but pointing to Al Qaeda violates Occam's Razor. It seems to be the most difficult connection to make.
Any group COULD have Night Vision Goggles, but at $10,000 per, I doubt that this new group nobody knows or likes is a strong candidate.
The question is who's Really running them?
Lebanese Intelligence can get all the Night Vision Goggles they want... If the CIA wants them to. Perhaps all this is part of a plan from the "Empirists" to start a regional war that could resolve the 'Crisis' in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq, all at once?
One way to find out is by watching to see who benefits.
Coming to FilterBlogs Soon!
Update June 5, 2007
Believe it not, I came at this independently of Seymour Hersh, journalist for the New Yorker, here on Democracy Now. The empirist blog can't call him crazy enough times - he must be right.
For me it was the night vision goggles, and the way the un-named source in the Lebanese police accented them.