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DIY Weapons of the Libyan Rebels
June 15, 2011 5:55 PM   Subscribe

DIY Weapons of the Libyan Rebels
posted by T.D. Strange (50 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
My little pony APV.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 5:57 PM on June 15, 2011


OK, so a lot of this stuff looks pretty crazy and hardcore (hello, Hilux-mounted helicopter missile pod!), but it really shows just how desperate the rebels are. I think a photo essay of "DIY hospitals of the Libyan rebels" would be more compelling, but also so horrifying that they probably couldn't publish it.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:02 PM on June 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


High school would have been way more awesome if we could have made those in metalshop
posted by Renoroc at 6:09 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


But do they have jungle-built, kevlar-coated supersubs?
posted by Nomyte at 6:09 PM on June 15, 2011


One cool dude.
posted by webhund at 6:10 PM on June 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I feel the need to import an old Hilux and keep it in the garage as a technical just in case shit gets fucked up. Sure I could just get a Tacoma, but it doesn't give me the same feeling of safety. Also I feel the need to take more shop classes through the local community college.
posted by humanfont at 6:15 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


As we marvel at the ingenuity and tenacity of the Libyan rebels and their struggle for freedom, let's also pause to remember that each weapon showcased here is designed to end human life-- an infinitely more complex and marvelous thing than any retrofitted Soviet UB-32.
posted by The White Hat at 6:15 PM on June 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


I mean, just look at your damn nervous system. Seriously.
posted by The White Hat at 6:19 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Btw, we're headed to a constitutional crisis over this illegal war.
posted by empath at 6:20 PM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Many of the United States' current worst enemies were once just like these guys. Just a thought.
posted by The World Famous at 6:23 PM on June 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Well... as long as they know what they're doing.
posted by Max Power at 6:26 PM on June 15, 2011


Interesting that that soviet-era rocket pod in pic #23 has english writing on it. I wonder what the provenance of that has been.
posted by wilful at 6:32 PM on June 15, 2011


Dude, make two trips.
posted by EatTheWeak at 6:33 PM on June 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I had no idea Warhammer 40K was so huge in Libya. They're only about half a dakka away from a full waaaagh!
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 6:36 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I saw this earlier this afternoon...now this guy is hardcore. I mean really? Grinding in sandals?
posted by ShawnString at 6:39 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Btw, we're headed to a constitutional crisis over this illegal war.

Boehner is the least of it now.
A bipartisan group of 10 lawmakers is suing President Barack Obama for taking military action against Libya without war authorisation from Congress.

The lawmakers say Obama violated the Constitution in bypassing Congress and using international organizations like the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to authorize military force.

The lawmakers want a judge to issue an order suspending military operations without congressional approval. They said they were filing their lawsuit Wednesday against Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The plaintiffs are Democratic Reps. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, John Conyers of Michigan and Michael Capuano of Massachusetts and Republican Reps. Walter Jones and Howard Coble of North Carolina, Tim Johnson of Illinois, Dan Burton of Indiana, Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee, Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland and Ron Paul of Texas.
posted by Trurl at 6:40 PM on June 15, 2011


Interesting report on the rebel weapons lab from Al-Jazeera - including a robotic gun made from a child's electric ATV
posted by Flashman at 6:43 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of the weapons displayed is an FN F2000, a Belgian assault rifle. Neat little illustration of how Khaddafi had been rehabilitated in the west.
posted by Grimgrin at 6:46 PM on June 15, 2011


The President and the Courts will say that the Constitutional remedies are to either refuse to fund it, or impeach the President.
posted by humanfont at 6:46 PM on June 15, 2011


FN USA's motto, according to their website, is "When the mission is defending freedom, the weapon is made by FN."

When the mission is defending against freedom, the weapon is also made by FN, apparently.
posted by dmz at 6:50 PM on June 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Many of the United States' current worst enemies were once just like these guys. Just a thought.

Well, maybe they're the admirable sort of rebels that the US has traditionally supported. Like the Contras.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:52 PM on June 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Great photo-essay, thanks. It did remind me of this, though, from the New Yorker at the end of March - Libya: Don’t Arm the Rebels:

Now the Administration’s policy may be migrating toward the idea of supplying the rebels with weapons. Yet the rebels have as yet no command and control; they serve a political entity (if that is not too generous a way to describe the councils that have been set up in eastern Libya) that is recognized as legitimate by France alone. There is no way to police the rebels’ conduct or to hold them accountable for their actions on the battlefield. It is not clear what the rebels are fighting for, other than survival and the possible opportunity to take power in a country loaded with oil.

...there are many political avenues still opening to force Qaddafi out. Even if there weren’t, it looks impractical to arm the rebels as a way to overthrow him quickly. Jon Lee Anderson reports that the number of rebels who are trained fighters is perhaps a thousand; their performance so far, his front line reporting makes clear, suggests that they will not be ready anytime soon to defeat Libyan security forces head on. Perhaps in six months or a year, with substantial training, they could march on Tripoli. But conducting such training and supply, covertly or overtly, would turn the Obama Administration’s intervention from a humanitarian action designed to protect civilians into the promotion of proxy war devoted to regime change, with civilians as prospective collateral damage.


I have no idea how much the facts on the ground in Libya have changed with regard to those pieces since early April, just thought the analyses from a couple of months ago were interesting enough to link again.
posted by mediareport at 6:53 PM on June 15, 2011


FN's rep gets to coast a loooooooooong time because of the FAL, the "right arm of the free world."
posted by codswallop at 6:54 PM on June 15, 2011


Legislative Branch requests to the Judicial Branch to somehow "enforce" anything remotely related to the War Powers Act is laughable no matter which party is doing involved. They all know this is part of the dance. Rinse. Repeat.
posted by webhund at 6:58 PM on June 15, 2011


Perhaps in six months or a year, with substantial training, they could march on Tripoli.

Well, someone is going to have to.
Almost three months into the campaign of air strikes, Britain and its Nato allies no longer believe bombing alone will end the conflict in Libya, well-placed government officials have told the Guardian.

Instead, they are pinning their hopes on the defection of Muammar Gaddafi's closest aides, or the Libyan leader's agreement to flee the country.

"No one is envisaging a military victory," said one senior official who echoed Tuesday's warnings by Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, head of the navy, that the bombing cannot continue much beyond the summer.
posted by Trurl at 7:00 PM on June 15, 2011


FN's rep gets to coast a loooooooooong time because of the FAL...

I'd rather have an FN-49.
posted by 445supermag at 7:11 PM on June 15, 2011


DIY Weapons of the Libyan Rebels, or Improvised Explosive Devices of Arab Terrorists

Funny how two things can mean the same and the opposite at the same time.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:34 PM on June 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


It sort of gives new meaning to "shoddy bomb casing full of old used pinball machine parts," doesn't it?
posted by The World Famous at 7:47 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fun Fact: The serial number on that FN F2000 is right there in the picture.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:49 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


My point being, it's being/been traced so perhaps us civilians might one day know the money trail on it.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:51 PM on June 15, 2011


My point being, it's being/been traced so perhaps us civilians might one day know the money trail on it.

Which would be cool and spy-ey and all, however the wikipedia link on the FN says that they were being sold to Qaddafi in 2008. So no great mystery I'm afraid.
posted by wilful at 8:38 PM on June 15, 2011


I haven't seen images like this before. It is unreal. It's no wonder that failed nations fail HARD these days. With all these weapons available to dictators and rebels, it only takes a few months to turn a country into rubble.

As to the question of illegal war? Times have changed so that everyone gets wiretapped and every war gets funded by the USA, directly or via proxy, by default. You only have to ask Congress if you want to turn the money off.
posted by vicx at 9:06 PM on June 15, 2011


Very Mad Max.
posted by bardic at 9:16 PM on June 15, 2011


Does anyone know how exactly an RPG is recycled? Are the nose and fins not destroyed when they explode? Or are they retrieving duds?
posted by Mitheral at 9:40 PM on June 15, 2011


Mitheral, I think maybe they're just re-using the launch tubes.
posted by atrazine at 2:11 AM on June 16, 2011


#20/21 talks about machining new pieces for used RPGs and shows a new aluminum cylinder being fitted to what looks like a used RPG nose cone and tail.
posted by Mitheral at 3:53 AM on June 16, 2011


It's weird how it looks like an edgy, rebel-chic photo-shoot with product placement by Coca Cola, Toyota and whoever makes these awesome sneakers.
posted by Mooseli at 6:44 AM on June 16, 2011


Mitheral, RPGs can fire both standard high explosive or armour piercing rounds. When it's an anti-armour round it's a shaped charge designed to explode forward, injecting a high density metallic rod or pin through the armour to ricochet around inside the vehicle - the remaining parts of the round can be remarkably undamaged. When it's HE everything pretty much just explodes.

In the pic it looks like he's re-cased the warhead (or made a new one) and added a new detonator.
posted by dazed_one at 6:48 AM on June 16, 2011


Interesting that that soviet-era rocket pod in pic #23 has english writing on it. I wonder what the provenance of that has been.

That's not English; the TARDIS translation circuit is kicking in.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:06 AM on June 16, 2011


OK, so this is about pain and death, I know. But these are also images, and thinking about this layer, not the suffering behind them, some random questions come up:

1. Why does it all look so cool and ridiculous at the same time? Guys grinning or casually, not-giving-a-fuck-ingly leaning against rocket launchers, sporting unbelievable jheri curl mullets, smoking and cradling AKs. Or firing a FAL sitting — oh the small details — in an office chair in the middle of the street. I am sitting in a chair like that right now. This could've been us.

2. Why are game designers so boring. Stupid energy blasts and falling from buildings and not dying. I want to steal a Hilux, hack off a rocket laucher from a downed enemy chopper, rig up a technical and raise hell. A literal "sandbox", duh. Level up when you find a lathe or a welding rig and you get to recycle RPG casings. Protect a news crew so the West watches you on TV and you get ammo.

3. I love the Land Rover Defender, but nowadays it's become an image thing much like Harleys. The Hilux is the ultimate kick-ass macho vehicle ever.
posted by Tom-B at 8:44 AM on June 16, 2011


The Hilux is the ultimate kick-ass macho vehicle ever.

See also Top Gear's attempts to destroy a hilux, including driving it into the sea and letting the waves have their way with it, putting it on the top of a building, then blowing the building up and collapsing an industrial smokestack on top of it. All this after driving it to the north pole. And up a volcano.
posted by dazed_one at 9:10 AM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


dazed, YES!
posted by Tom-B at 9:25 AM on June 16, 2011


See also Top Gear's attempts to destroy a hilux, including driving it into the sea and letting the waves have their way with it, putting it on the top of a building, then blowing the building up and collapsing an industrial smokestack on top of it. All this after driving it to the north pole. And up a volcano.

Actually, they drove a completely different Hilux to the North Pole and up the volcano, well after the attempts to destroy the other Hilux. The one they destroyed was a very old one. The ones they drove to the North Pole, etc. were extremely heavily modified new models, modified for their specific purposes so extensively that it's not really fair to call them Hiluxes anymore. And, although the "destroy the pickup" stunt did show remarkable resilience on the part of the truck, what it really showed was that any car can survive an amazing amount of abuse if you have a team of mechanics on hand to work for hours repairing it after every incident.
posted by The World Famous at 9:39 AM on June 16, 2011


The ones they drove to the North Pole, etc. were extremely heavily modified new models, modified for their specific purposes so extensively that it's not really fair to call them Hiluxes anymore.

These seem rather heavily modified too. Although, technically I suppose they too are no longer pick-up trucks but rather technicals.

And if any car can take that kind of beating, I wonder why they have to keep getting new Maurice Marinas after pianos fall on the old ones.
posted by dazed_one at 9:49 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


These seem rather heavily modified too.

Nah. They're just carrying extra stuff. This is the old Hilux that Top Gear destroyed. These are the brand-new heavily-modified Hiluxes they drove to the North Pole and up the volcano. They have modified engines, transmissions, completely replaced suspensions, modified frames, replaced body panels, and a host of additional modifications. There's a big difference between rebuilding a Hilux for an arctic expedition and sticking a big machine gun and an old office chair in the bed.

And if any car can take that kind of beating, I wonder why they have to keep getting new Maurice Marinas after pianos fall on the old ones.

You know Top Gear's a scripted entertainment program, right? And that they didn't actually do the same thing to the Hilux that they did to the Morris Marinas?

I think we can stipulate that a Hilux is more durable than a Morris Marina. I also think we ought to be able to agree that Top Gear did not drive a Hilux to the North Pole or up a volcano after driving it into the sea, etc. The trucks they drove to the North Pole and up the volcano were not the same truck they destroyed. And that's the point of my previous comment.
posted by The World Famous at 10:32 AM on June 16, 2011


Mooseli: "It's weird how it looks like an edgy, rebel-chic photo-shoot with product placement by Coca Cola, Toyota and whoever makes these awesome sneakers"

Adidas, it looks like.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:51 AM on June 16, 2011


The World Famous; I had hoped my terrible pun about the Hilux in question technically being a technical would have demonstrated that most of what I was saying was with my tongue firmly in my cheek.
posted by dazed_one at 12:21 PM on June 16, 2011


Tom-B: You might enjoy a Battlefield 2 mod called Project Reality. It's an online simulation/wargame which includes asymmetric battles between conventional armies and insurgent forces - plenty of battered ex-soviet weaponry, jury-rigged devices and guerilla tactics.

Some people might question playing a videogame about something that's happening as we speak; it's something I wrestle with as a pacifist, but at the least it's less troublesome to me than the varnished, cinematized "war" of Call of Duty, etc...
posted by Drexen at 12:25 PM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Drexen, yeah that's what I'm talking about!
posted by Tom-B at 2:59 PM on June 16, 2011


Google Earth, an iPhone compass and experience playing 'Call of Duty' have been vital to Libya's rebel war plan.
IT is probably not what the designers of Google Earth had in mind, but for the rebels in the besieged Libyan city of Misrata their software has become a crucial part of the revolutionary armoury: a free battlefield system that helps them to aim mortars and pinpoint Gaddafi tanks.

Other uprisings in the Arab Spring have leant heavily on the organising powers of Facebook and Twitter, but in Libya it is Google Earth that has become an invaluable asset.

"The idea was that of an engineer named Ahmed Eyzert," said Mohammad Bashir al-Ruiyati, 35, who is in charge of artillery on Misrata's southern front.

Mr Eyzert first looked at using the system to help the rebels when they began capturing mortars and artillery pieces from Colonel Gaddafi's troops in March, he said.

The engineer was killed in fighting three weeks later, but not before he had worked out how to drop mortar shells on enemy positions by combining information from a French mortar-ranging table with the images and data available on Google Earth.
...
In a building behind the front lines, Mr al-Ruiyati works from a child's notebook into which he has transcribed dense conversion tables. On his computer screens he points out yellow pin markers showing all the rebel weapons positions, while other markers are used to show the enemy weapons positions. The program shows the distance between any two points, accurate to one metre, and the relevant angle.

The compass application (app) on his iPhone has also proved highly accurate, he said, with the rebels using an eight-metre length of wire run from the mortar barrel, with the iPhone on the end, to line up the weapon.
...
The rebels in Misrata say that despite their lack of experience they have been able to innovate their way around every problem that they have faced. In this they have been helped by the high numbers of university students, academics and professionals in their ranks, as well as the popularity of computer games in the city. Many of the rebels cite the sophisticated computer war game Call of Duty as their first resource of tactical military knowledge.

"The secret of Misrata is that from the beginning we were an organisation," said Mr al-Ruiyati.
posted by metaplectic at 9:35 AM on June 17, 2011


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