In the general reluctance to provide details of the origin of the munitions used by the coalition/rebel forces in the battle of Misrata, HRI has been taking a closer look at some of the video evidence available.
Here is a video taken by AFP after the clearing of a strategically important building overlooking Tripoli Street in Misrata for the rebels.
Take a close look at the grenade in the last seconds of the clip:
This grenade is a 40mm Double Flash-Bang Grenade made by Nico-Pyrotechik. Hamburg Germany:
First created by British for special air service as an incapacitant. The stun hand grenade, or “flash bang” is a non lethal weapon that is a diversionary or distraction device used during a building or room clearing.
Made in Germany
NICO-Pyrotechnik is a part of Rheinmetall Defence and is a long-established German weapons manufacturer. The German and Spanish arms industries, of course, have long thrived on secrecy and links with dodgey politicians (as we have found with the two most recent Spanish Industry Ministers Miguel Sebastian and Joan Clos i Matheu). Back in the 1930s Rheinmetall was controlled by Hermann Goering who managed to find ways to profit from sales to the Spanish Republicans whilst simultaneously urging Adolf Hitler to use the Condor Legion to provide bombing support to Franco’s fascists.
The German arms industry is now regaining its past glory and could perhaps be said to constitute a Fourth Reich – as Germany is now the third largest exporter of arms in the world, led by companies such as Daimler (better known as the producer of Mercedes) and EADS.
US Special Ops
Rheinmetall, through American Rheinmetall (ARM) has a contract to supply stun grenades to US special operations forces. This particular munition is marked NIC-08/03-0[?]. A NICO catalogue includes dummy rounds which have the code format JJ-MM-00 (Year, Year – Month, Month).
In an interview with €uro on 18th May the head of Rheinmetall, Klaus Eberhardt, stated that his company had exported no weapons to Libya and the German Federal Government had not given permission for any such sales. He also confirmed that the USA is a very important market for his company as is the United Arab Emirates.
So how did this particular munition get to be used in the battle for this strategically important building overlooking Tripoli Street? And how deeply involved were US Special Forces in supporting the Libyan rebels as they ethnically cleansed Misrata?