“Malta is the Casablanca of the 40s. Malta is the backroom base for all Libyan operations. The French, the English, the Italians, the Americans … everybody is there.”
Unnamed expert in Libyan affairs
“Contrary to what had been said in public, the aircraft wasn’t carrying out surveillance of human and drug trafficking routes, but making sure that French weapons were being supplied to the right people in Libya.”
October 26 2016 — France appears to be using Malta as a stepping stone for covert military operations in Libya. UPDATE (November 15 2018) — French secret service agents were using Malta as a base to monitor the delivery of French weapons to Libya. The five people killed in the plane crash were part of a nine-men cell based in the Balzan, Malta. The French could have their “LibyaGate”. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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UPDATE (November 15 2018) — David Hudson have written a very informative piece published by Malta Today.
The DGSE agents — acting for the French government — were flying reconnaissance missions to specifically track the movement of French armaments sent to Libya.
Two persons — Captain Fabien Pierret and first officer Marcel Bourret — were contractors of CAE, the Luxembourg company specialising in aerial surveillance that designed and owned the aircraft. They were working for GAM56, the transportation unit of the French secret service.
The three other crew members on the plane – Alexandre Chaissant, Vincent Pouplet and a third person whose name is not available to MaltaToday – were members of the DGSE, France’s external intelligence agency.
Weapons in Libya: The French connection — Despite the UN arms embargo on Libya — preventing the supply of weapons to any faction in Libya unless approved by the Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council — France secured $9.1 billion in arms exports during 2014.
The sale of French weapons to Libya had been documented in a leaked classified email to former US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, when she was still secretary of state.
The email from 2011 was released by WikiLeaks, a whistle-blower website, in 2015. The email on the subject of France’s interest in Libya made reference to a General Abdelfateh Younis.
General Younis was killed under unclear circumstances. His body and those of two other officers were found dumped on the outskirts of Benghazi. They had been shot, and the bodies burnt afterwards.
In an email to Hillary Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal stated that:
“In July and August 2011 NTC ‘security officers’ discovered evidence that Younis was in secret contact with Saif al Islam Qaddafi.
In response to this report a sensitive source stated that Jalil (NTC head Mustafa Abdul-Jalil ) ordered NTC security officers to assassinate Younis while en route to a meeting at NTC headquarters. Jalil then reported that Younis had been killed by Islamist dissidents among his troops.”
This is obviously a very bloody story. Intel Today would like to raise a very simple question. Where did Libya find the $9 billion to pay for the arms deal? Surely, there is no connection to the mystery of the €10bn missing from Gaddafi frozen accounts in Belgian banks?
END of UPDATE
Plane Crash — At about 7.20am local time on Monday (24/10/2016), a twin-prop Fairchild Metroliner crashed just after take-off , killing all five people on board.
Early Reports — Media reported that the flight was part of a “French customs surveillance operation”.
Reports also suggested that the plane had been chartered by the European Union’s border control agency, Frontex.
‘Série Noire’ pour la DGSE — High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, excluded the plane was involved in any EU operation.
French Customs stated that none of its personnel had been on board.
French Defence Ministry has now confirmed that three of the five men on board were officials from France’s external intelligence agency: the DGSE.
Last July, three members of the DGSE were killed in a helicopter crash in Libya.
French Boots on Libyan Ground
There can be no doubt that French DGSE and Special Forces are operating in Libya. According to the WSJ:
“The crash casts light on a major surveillance and covert military operation France has been running in the region to counter the threat posed by unrest in Libya, a few hundred miles south of Malta.
Islamic State has taken control of territory on Libya’s coast, raising fears in Paris that the group could use these bases to mount an attack in Europe.
Meanwhile, migrant smuggling rings are still active throughout the country, despite efforts by European governments to crack down on them.”
Blast from the Past?
The plane was registered in the US and leased to a Luxembourg based company: CAE Aviation. CAE is a private contractor used by various law enforcement agencies to conduct surveillance operations. Both pilots worked for CAE.
The French DGA (Direction générale de l’Armement) had proposed to buy three such planes (Two for the DRM — Direction du renseignement militaire — and one for the DGSE). They are currently renting nine planes, mostly from CAE.
They had three solid arguments. Firstly, it would lower the long-term cost of these missions. Secondly, it would make them more independent.
But early this year, the DGSE suddenly rejected the deal, arguing that they would rather continue their partnership with CAE.
The third argument of the DGA was the security of its personnel. They had argued that the CAE planes were suffering from poor maintenance.
Today, it appears that CAE Aviation is not just renting planes and equipment to the DGSE. They have also hired many former DGSE officers.
MALTA: 3 DGSE Officers Killed in the Crash
MALTA — 3 DGSE Officers Killed in the Crash (UPDATE – Weapons in Libya: The French connection)