UK Government admits to military ‘mentoring’ team in Libya, refuses to discuss special forces operations
Immediately after the onset of Operation Odyssey Dawn, the British media was replete with reports of British boots on the ground in Libya. Such a flagrant violation of international law (and the UN resolution that NATO purports to be acting on) prompted me to write to my elected representative for some answers. On Tuesday 29 March – 11 days after the start of NATO’s illegal aggression, I wrote to Julian Huppert – Member of Parliament for Cambridge.
2 months later, I have now received a response which came from Nick Harvey MP, Minister for the Armed Forces. I’ve included Harvey’s response in full as well as my original email sent to Mr. Huppert.
Without feeling the need to provide an iota of evidence, right off the bat Harvey started peddling the confirmed lies about Gaddafi supposedly ‘attacking his own people':
As a permanent member of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, the United Kingdom could not stand by and watch as Gaddafi attacked and murdered his own people.
Apparently UK-US intelligence cooperation has some room for improvement; Harvey is blissfully unaware that the Pentagon themselves have admitted that the ‘Gaddafi firing on his own people’ story is bullshit:
Q: Do you see any evidence that he actually has fired on his own people from the air? There were reports of it, but do you have independent confirmation? If so, to what extent?
SEC. GATES: We’ve seen the press reports, but we have no confirmation of that.
ADM. MULLEN: That’s correct. We’ve seen no confirmation whatsoever.
The UK has deployed a small military mentoring team to advise the Transitional National Council on how to improve their military organisational structures, communications and logistics.
The presence of British special forces in Libya is abundantly clear both from the plentiful press reports, and from the fact that such a presence is a logistical necessity for the coordination of airstrikes. Predictably, Harvey refuses to comment:
In relation to the media reporting of Special Forces’ involvement in Libya, it is the long-standing policy of the Government not to comment on operations involving either UK or other nations’ Special Forces.
I can’t say I’m surprised at this wet, cagey response but there you have it. See below for the email and letter in their entirety.
From: (Name removed for privacy)
Sent: Tue, 29 March, 2011 13:12:33
Subject: UK troops in Libya
Dear Mr Huppert,
I have seen some concerning news reports in the British media regarding the involvement of British troops within Libya. Despite the fact that the UN resolution passed does not allow for foreign troops on the ground in the country, this seems to be taking place. See the following news reports for example:
The bombing of the country came as it was revealed that hundreds of British special forces troops have been deployed deep inside Libya targeting Colonel Gaddafi’s forces and more are on standby.
While Chancellor George Osborne repeated that UK ground troops would not be involved, the Daily Mail can reveal there are an estimated 350 already mounting covert operations.
In total it is understood that just under 250 UK special forces soldiers and their support have been in Libya since before the launch of air strikes to enforce the no-fly zone against Gaddafi’s forces.
The troops in Libya were drawn from a squadron of SAS and SBS personnel, some who have been in the country for a month and are being re-supplied with water, food and ammunition via airdrops from Cyprus.
Those numbers were further boosted by nearly 100 this week when paratroopers from the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG) were sent to Libya as coalition commanders prepare to increase the tempo of operations.
A further 800 Royal Marines are on five days’ notice to deploy to the Mediterranean to support humanitarian relief and aid operations.
The beefing up of the Special Forces contingent comes as commanders switch attacks against command and control centres to low-level attacks against Gaddafi’s tanks.
Hundreds of British SAS soldiers have been operating with rebel groups inside Libya for three weeks, the Sunday Mirror can reveal today.
Crack SAS troops hunt Gaddafi weapons inside Libya
Libya: SAS ready to seize Col Gaddafi’s stores of mustard gas
Libya: Africans offer to host peace talks between rebels and Gaddafi
I’m sure you will appreciate the very serious nature of our deploying troops on the ground while publically guaranteeing not to do so.
Can you unequivocally confirm that British forces are not on the ground in Libya?
(Name removed for privacy)
(Address removed for privacy)