Was an FN F2000 assault rifle used during the Benghazi Consulate attack that led to the death of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens?
Well, according to CNN, it was. 

But, wait a minute. What is this CNN report based on?
Here’s what the anchor says (00:40-00:50):





An expert at GlobalSecurity.org tells us it is likely that the rifles being used were AK-47s and Belgian F2000s. The country is littered with these, from its many years of war.





In these two sentences, which took 10 seconds to be pronounced, several things are not accurate. Let’s focus on one thing: Libya could hardly be littered with FN F2000 assault rifles, since only 367 of these were sold to Gaddafi in 2008, shipped in 2009 and used by the 32nd “Khamis” Brigade in 2011 against protesters, at first, and opposition fighters thereafter. For more information about the F2000s delivered to Libya, see here.
While it is possible that the Sep. 11, 2012 attackers were equipped with FN F2000 assault rifles, this assumption needs to be verified on the ground. We contacted the GlobalSecurity.org website, which denied having said that this was the case to CNN. CNN did not reply to our emails asking whether they had tried to gather evidence to support their claims. The US State Department did not wish to comment on an ongoing investigation. In the meantime, UPI ran a story based on CNN’s information.
This story is anecdotal. But there’s some wisdom in it. Nobody talked about it in Belgium. Maybe because nobody saw the CNN, or UPI reports. If anything else, it shows the importance of documenting cases on the ground and it could stand as a lesson for journalists who have to deal with and report on the arms trade and armed conflicts. Accuracy is paramount. Many inaccurate things can be said in 10 seconds. And they will be talked over for days. What would bring a public debate based on pieces of information that are not accurate? It will take days to document a case, to dig deep and check the facts. The result of this kind of work is more interesting.

Was an FN F2000 assault rifle used during the Benghazi Consulate attack that led to the death of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens?

Well, according to CNN, it was. 

But, wait a minute. What is this CNN report based on?

Here’s what the anchor says (00:40-00:50):

An expert at GlobalSecurity.org tells us it is likely that the rifles being used were AK-47s and Belgian F2000s. The country is littered with these, from its many years of war.

In these two sentences, which took 10 seconds to be pronounced, several things are not accurate. Let’s focus on one thing: Libya could hardly be littered with FN F2000 assault rifles, since only 367 of these were sold to Gaddafi in 2008, shipped in 2009 and used by the 32nd “Khamis” Brigade in 2011 against protesters, at first, and opposition fighters thereafter. For more information about the F2000s delivered to Libya, see here.

While it is possible that the Sep. 11, 2012 attackers were equipped with FN F2000 assault rifles, this assumption needs to be verified on the ground. We contacted the GlobalSecurity.org website, which denied having said that this was the case to CNN. CNN did not reply to our emails asking whether they had tried to gather evidence to support their claims. The US State Department did not wish to comment on an ongoing investigation. In the meantime, UPI ran a story based on CNN’s information.

This story is anecdotal. But there’s some wisdom in it. Nobody talked about it in Belgium. Maybe because nobody saw the CNN, or UPI reports. If anything else, it shows the importance of documenting cases on the ground and it could stand as a lesson for journalists who have to deal with and report on the arms trade and armed conflicts. Accuracy is paramount. Many inaccurate things can be said in 10 seconds. And they will be talked over for days. What would bring a public debate based on pieces of information that are not accurate? It will take days to document a case, to dig deep and check the facts. The result of this kind of work is more interesting.

FN F2000 in Gaza: Belgian Foreign Minister answers to parliamentary questions, raises more questions

Recently, FN F2000 assault rifles were seen in the hands of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in Gaza. This flagrant case of arms diversion triggered some questions in the Belgian federal parliament. The Belgian Foreign Minister’s answer is raising other questions, and we’ll try to get some new answers.

In February 2012, FN F2000 were seen in the hands of more radical elements in Libya and many feared that Belgian rifles would proliferate outside of the country to other conflict areas. Soon after, the Belgian Foreign Minister dismissed those fears with a rather awkward argument.

Beginning of 2012, the Belgian Foreign Affairs made clear that they had no intention to contribute securing small arms and light weapons in Libya, even though the country is flooded with Belgian firearms. On the other hand, Belgium wanted to help securing MANPADS in the country.

Il va de soi que nous devons tout mettre en œuvre pour éviter que des armes tombent aux mains de mouvements terroristes. C’est la raison pour laquelle la Belgique prend des initiatives tant dans le contexte des Nations Unies que de l’Union européenne pour limiter les risques de détournement d’armes vers le circuit illégal et qu’elle collabore financièrement à une initiative américaine visant à sécuriser les dépôts d’armes en Libye.

Q&A below (in French and Dutch):

Senate Gaza

Yesterday, we published a picture on this website, along with a simple question: What do you see?
Well, if you read the French speaking press in Belgium, you’ve probably seen this already. If you read one of the best Belgian news outlets in Dutch, too.
What the picture of yesterday showed, and what the picture, above this post, shows as well, is a member of the al-Quds brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad — a terrorist organisation according to several countries — with a FN F2000.
The FN F2000 is a Belgian-made assault rifle that was exported as from 2001 and that equips some special operations forces around the world. The Walloon Region (the authority responsible for Walloon arms exports) and FN Herstal (whose sole shareholder is the Walloon Region), said they never exported any F2000 to the Palestinian territories. So how did those weapons arrive there?
One hypothesis is that they were diverted from Libya. But, as it is impossible to spot any serial numbers on the pictures posted on the official website of the al-Quds brigades, it is impossible to trace down those weapons.
After the Libyan example — where Belgian weapons have been used for purposes they were not sold to fulfill, and with the current Syrian one — where Belgian weapons have been seen where they should not have been, the Walloon arms exports are, yet again, cast in the light.
Here are the questions the VLD will ask the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, soon in the parliament (in Dutch. Google Translate can give you a good idea of what is going on, though).
Mondelinge Vraag - De Aanwezigheid Gesofisticeerde Wapens Van Belgische Oorsprong in Palestijns Gebied Bij …
—
The pictures are from the official website of the al-Quds brigades.
The GRIP, on its website, was the first to talk about the questions those pictures are raising.
Thanks to Nic Jenzen-Jones for his assistance.
Edit October 20, 2012: Mr. Jenzen-Jones wrote a piece about the issue that adds some depth to it. Read it here.

Yesterday, we published a picture on this website, along with a simple question: What do you see?

Well, if you read the French speaking press in Belgium, you’ve probably seen this already. If you read one of the best Belgian news outlets in Dutch, too.

What the picture of yesterday showed, and what the picture, above this post, shows as well, is a member of the al-Quds brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad — a terrorist organisation according to several countries — with a FN F2000.

The FN F2000 is a Belgian-made assault rifle that was exported as from 2001 and that equips some special operations forces around the world. The Walloon Region (the authority responsible for Walloon arms exports) and FN Herstal (whose sole shareholder is the Walloon Region), said they never exported any F2000 to the Palestinian territories. So how did those weapons arrive there?

One hypothesis is that they were diverted from Libya. But, as it is impossible to spot any serial numbers on the pictures posted on the official website of the al-Quds brigades, it is impossible to trace down those weapons.

After the Libyan example — where Belgian weapons have been used for purposes they were not sold to fulfill, and with the current Syrian one — where Belgian weapons have been seen where they should not have been, the Walloon arms exports are, yet again, cast in the light.

Here are the questions the VLD will ask the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, soon in the parliament (in Dutch. Google Translate can give you a good idea of what is going on, though).

Mondelinge Vraag - De Aanwezigheid Gesofisticeerde Wapens Van Belgische Oorsprong in Palestijns Gebied Bij …

The pictures are from the official website of the al-Quds brigades.

The GRIP, on its website, was the first to talk about the questions those pictures are raising.

Thanks to Nic Jenzen-Jones for his assistance.

Edit October 20, 2012: Mr. Jenzen-Jones wrote a piece about the issue that adds some depth to it. Read it here.

Here is an interesting video that was pointed out today by @Brown_Moses.

This video was shot by Kevin Dawes on June 9, 2011, on what is discribed as the Daphnea Front Line, near Misurata. It is interesting because we can listen to what a Libyan, a doctor called Tameem, has to say about the FN F2000, the 32nd Brigade and the battle of Misurata.

If it’s the first time you come to this website, you might want to click on this link in order to know a bit more about the 367 FN F2000 Belgium sold to Libya in 2008-2009.

Let’s go, here’s a transcription of the best part for our research:

Starting 4:45 - You know there is a guy who has a FN F2000, do you know that? He got it from the Khamis Brigade, you know the 32nd Brigade? It was specifically made for the 32nd [inaudible] Brigade. It’s [inaudible] over it (he probably means that the name of the Brigade is carved on the rifle). It uses a signature (?) round, 5.56. We call it a sniper rifle, but it has [inaudible] recoil. I believe that Libya… I’ve looked it up online and Wikipedia says that Libya bought like 600 or so of these. I know of at least five captured in Misurata.

(…) In Misurata, we have never lost a territory after gaining it. [inaudible, something about the Air Force Academy] that drove the people to attack the Academy to prevent them from attacking the city and we lost to many lives. We were going in with knives, with sticks, with spearguns. Then we gave up because nothing would work against the 14.5 mm. So we gave up and we started, like, mortaring the Air Force Academy. And by the 6th of March they attacked us very hard and they won all the inside of the city. But they were so [inaudible] and so cocky that they got closer, (then) we hit them with mortar, molotov cocktail, spearguns. We managed to kill them and we got so many guns from that day, hundreds. And from that day on, all the guns we have, we get them from the Gaddafi forces.

The transcription was edited on January 24th with the help of @Brown_Moses

May 2011, FN Herstal weapons demonstration in Venezuela

image 1 : FN F2000 Tactical TR with Aimpoint CompM4 (a 7.62x51mm NATO Minimi can be seen on the ground as well)

image 2 : FN Minimi TR machine gun (fixed buttstock)

image 3 : Several FN Herstal weapons: Five-seveN pistols (tactical models), Hi-Power MKIII pistol, FN303 launcher, Minimi machine gun, F2000 assault rifle, P90 sub-machine gun.

This information will certainly ask for a deeper investigation but I wanted to publish it here already. This blog is intended to show some “work-in-progress”, isn’t it? Of course, one must be careful with this kind of information. And I couldn’t independently verify it yet.

The pictures and the information come from, according to several websites, the General Direction of Arms and Explosivs (DAEX) of Venezuela. Published on May 26, 2011, the information states that, on May 19, DAEX welcomed, in its ‘Polygon and National Liberator Shooting Range’ facilities, a FN Herstal delegation that came to demonstrate its weapons.

In the Belgian delegation were: Jean-Paul Warnimont, Ambassador of Belgium in Venezuela ; Michel Thys, Sales Director for FN Herstal in Latin America and FN Herstal representative in Venezuela ; and two FN Herstal instructors: Enio Luciano Manfride and Giuseppe Librici (very interesting references can be found on the latter).

Those two instructors were in charge of the weapons demonstration. They used several FN Herstal weapons such as the FN F2000, the P90, the Five-seveN, the Browning MK3, the Minimi and the FN303.

Several Venezuelan Armed Forces and National Police representatives attended the demonstration and were able to manipulate and fire the weapons.

My Spanish is less than basic. If you find some mistakes in comparison with the original text, please notify me (damien (dot) spleeters (at) gmail (dot) com).

Such a demonstration is just what it is: a demonstration. If it leads to a contract, the details will be hard to verify because of the lack of transparency in the whole sector.

Updated on January 10: the F2000 on the first image was reportedly equipped with an ACOG, that was not correct. More details were also added in the descriptions of the pictures. h/t Nic Jenzen-Jones. Thanks to An Vranckx as well for clarifications.

April 8, 2011. A Libyan soldier with a Belgian FN F2000, in Misrata

In this photo taken during a trip organized by Libyan authorities, Libyan soldier Walid Mohammed Walid, 29, holds his hat against his head as he is taken to the hospital soon after receiving a head wound in the shooting at the coastal city of Misrata, 125 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of Tripoli, Friday, April 8, 2011. Moammar Gadhafi’s government brought foreign journalists to Misrata on Friday to show that its forces hold significant control over the only major city in western Libya still in rebel hands, but the trip suggested that their situation had if anything grown more dire after weeks of laying siege to the enemy’s stronghold.

Photos: AP, via and via

Belgian Weapons and the Mexican Drug Cartels

Image 1 : FN Five-SeveN pistol (via)

Image 2 : FN Five-SeveN pistol (via)

Image 3 : FN Five-SeveN pistols - "Items confiscated in Sonora, Mexico. It probably belonged to the Sinaloa cartel." (via)

Image 4 : FN Five-SeveN pistols - "Items confiscated in Sonora, Mexico. It probably belonged to the Sinaloa cartel." (via)

Image 5 : FN Five-SeveN pistol - Sinaloa, June 2010 (via)

Image 6 : FN Five-SeveN pistol (via)

Image 7 : FN PS-90 carbine (via)

Image 8 : FN PS-90 carbine - Sinaloa, 2010 (via)

Image 9 : FN PS-90 carbines, a FN F2000 and a Five-SeveN pistol (via)

Image 10 : FN FS2000 (via)

* * *

More pics:

A FN Five-SeveN pistol

And another FN Five-SeveN pistol

Two FN PS-90 carbines

A FN Minimi machine gun

A FN FNC

SS197SR bullets (5.7x28mm) in FN packaging.

Special thanks to Nic Jenzen-Jones for his knowledge.

Photos of the day: Yet another FN F2000 in Libya

I met the guy on 6th of November at the start of the battle for Bani Walid. I noticed the F2000 and asked him to take some photos , he was very proud of it. Since I covered the Libyan war from the beginning from the East and Misrata, this was the first time I saw a F2000 in rebel hands. Presumably he had taken it from one of the barracks were Qaddafi left tons of arms and ammunition.

Photos by: Daniel Demoustier

La possibilité d’un départ pour la Libye en janvier se rapprochant, je complète mes compétences en identification d’armes et je voudrais vous en faire profiter.
Vous vous en souviendrez peut-être, j’ai déjà publié plusieurs articles sur les F2000 retrouvés en Libye, dont un il y a deux mois qui identifie plusieurs numéros de série. Ce que je ne savais pas encore, c’est que certains de ces numéros de série identifient le lance-grenades attaché à l’arme (un accessoire appelé aussi LG1 ou EGLM), d’autres identifient l’arme en elle-même. L’image ci-dessous (qui n’est pas de Libye) montre clairement la différence.
Vous trouverez donc l’article en question mis à jour avec les corrections.
(merci à Nic Jenzen-Jones pour son explication)

La possibilité d’un départ pour la Libye en janvier se rapprochant, je complète mes compétences en identification d’armes et je voudrais vous en faire profiter.

Vous vous en souviendrez peut-être, j’ai déjà publié plusieurs articles sur les F2000 retrouvés en Libye, dont un il y a deux mois qui identifie plusieurs numéros de série. Ce que je ne savais pas encore, c’est que certains de ces numéros de série identifient le lance-grenades attaché à l’arme (un accessoire appelé aussi LG1 ou EGLM), d’autres identifient l’arme en elle-même. L’image ci-dessous (qui n’est pas de Libye) montre clairement la différence.

Vous trouverez donc l’article en question mis à jour avec les corrections.

(merci à Nic Jenzen-Jones pour son explication)