Libya, had pinpointed a gas station converted into a temporary headquarters for
Col. Gadhafi‟s forces. She tweeted the co
-ordinates, along with the longitude andlatitude of a few other targets passed along from the same source, asking NATO to
“clean up” the government troops.
Ms. Clinch was not sure whether NATO had bombed those locations, but shecontinued to scour the Internet for more leads.
“I don‟t believe in dictatorships,” she said. “It‟s inconceivabl
e to me that people
could live in these conditions.”
Twitter is no replacement for the forward air controllers who have guided bombsfrom the ground since the Second World War. Canadian and U.S. forces now callthese specialists Joint Terminal Attack Controllers; some elite foreign troops arerumoured to be among the advisers helping the Libyan rebels, but they apparently
do not include JTACs. This leaves an important gap in NATO‟s view of the war:
for all its sophisticated eyes overhead, the alliance suffers a shortage of real-timeintelligence from below.This shortcoming is part of the reason why air power has never succeeded inoverthrowing a regime, analysts say, a historical record that fuels skepticism aboutthe campaign.Those precedents may not be entirely valid in the new age of social media,however. In a press briefing on June 10, Wing Commander Mike Bracken, aNATO spokesman, described the so-
called “fusion centre” that pulls together
“We get information from open sources on the
Internet; we get Twitter,” WingCommander Bracken said. “You name any source of media and our fusion centrewill deliver all of that into usable intelligence.”
Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, the Canadian who commands the operation,ultimately decid
es whether to trust what he‟s hearing.“He will decide, „That is good information and I can act on it,‟ ” the spokesmansaid. “Where it comes from, it‟s not relevant to the commander.”