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Surviving in Libya

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Re: Surviving in Libya

Post by Kitkat on Thu 20 Oct 2011, 22:47

Umberto Cocopop wrote:It will probably be better for the country if he's dead.

It is probably better for a lot of people that he's dead Neutral (now confirmed). A trial would have revealed much inter-governmental dealing and scheming ...

From The Palestinian Chronicle
http://www.palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=17183

By Jeremy Salt – Ankara

A legend is being created that is going to haunt the people who have been propelled into power in Tripoli. In Sirte a handful of men have set an example of bravery in the face of impossible odds that will eventually find its place in Arab history. Weeks of missile and bomb attacks have reduced the centre of the city to ruins and killed an unknown number of civilians. The photos coming out of the city show Beirut-style devastation. The fighters defending the city would seem to be doomed. They have their backs to the sea and are surrounded on three sides. We don't know who they are or how many of them there are. Some might be the remnants of the Libyan army and others civilians who have taken up arms to defend their city. We don't know why they are fighting. We are told that they are just fighting for their lives. We are told that they are mercenaries, but mercenaries put down their arms when the money runs out. We are told that they are 'Gaddafi loyalists'. That discredits them immediately. Noone really knows what they are fighting for, but their country has to be a possibility for at least some of them.

Why was this war launched? The Gaddafi who has now been dislodged is the same old Gaddafi who arrived in Rome a couple of years ago with photos of Umar al Mukhtar pinned to his tunic as he stepped off the plane. He is the same Gaddafi who was embraced in Paris by Sarkozy and, according to Saif al Islam, gave generously to Sarkozy's election campaign. He is the same Gaddafi who was embraced by the ever-smiling Tony Blair in Tripoli. He was the same Gaddafi with whom Shell was very happy to do business. Between those occasions and now he didn't change. Years ago it was the 'stray dogs' – Libyan dissidents – he wanted to hunt down. This year it was the 'greasy rats' he vowed to pursue street to street – zenga zenga – and house to house. This was what gave the US, Britain and France their justification for taking military action. This was not supposed to be about regime change, but that is how it ended and if it was not planned from the start it was inevitable once these three powers intervened.

Whatever Libyans thought of Muammar Gaddafi, there were no signs that anything like the majority supported the uprising against him. As Gaddafi himself asked on October 6: 'The NTC, who gave them legitimacy? How did they obtain legitimacy? Did the Libyan people elect them? Did the Libyan people appoint them? And if only the power of NATO bombs and fleets grants legitimacy, then let all rulers in the Third World beware, for the same fate awaits you. To those who recognize this council as legitimate, beware. There will be transitional councils created everywhere and imposed upon you and one by one you shall fall'.

This was not a popular revolution or a war of liberation. This was not Egypt or Tunisia, where it was the people who overthrew the government. This was a war of conquest by Britain, France and the US, coordinating their efforts with armed groups on the ground. These three powers turned an uprising into a civil war, and then ensured victory for one side through the massive use of aerial fire power. The soldiers on the ground – the 'Gaddafi loyalists' – were as defenseless from the missiles being rained down on them as civilians in plain clothes. By themselves the 'rebels' would have been quickly scattered.

With the attack building up and the outcome all but certain, senior Libyan government ministers began to defect. The common metaphor is rats jumping from a sinking ship. Musa Kusa flew to London and told British intelligence everything he knew, which must have been quite a bit, because whatever crimes Gaddafi committed over the past four decades, Musa Kusa was in them up to his neck. Mustafa Abd ul Jalil was the Minister for Justice in the old regime. He also got out just in time. Deserting Gaddai, he then agreed to head an interim governing council set up in collaboration with the attacking foreign powers. People who do this kind of thing are usually called traitors. In the Second World War Marshal Petain collaborated with the Nazis and would have been executed afterwards but for his advanced age and his distinguished war record in 1914-18. William Joyce ('Lord Haw Haw') was executed just for broadcasting Nazi propaganda against his own country, Britain. Vidkun Quisling acted as the regent for the Nazis in occupied Norway and was executed after the war for treason. The foreign powers with whom Mustafa Abdul Jalil has collaborated have attacked his country and killed thousands of his fellow countrymen, women and children. Unless the word has lost its meaning, that makes him a traitor, too.

With NATO planes clearing the path ahead all the way to Tripoli and then to Sirte, the end result was inevitable. Without air cover and without ground defence against aerial attack the Libyan army – the 'Gaddafi loyalists' – had no chance. There are numerous parallels in the long history of western attacks on Muslim countries. In 1882 a British fleet bombarded Alexandria and then blamed arsonists and brigands for the massive destruction they had caused. Troops were landed to restore the order which had just been destroyed. Egyptians tried to defend their country but against the firepower, training and and organization of a modern European army, they had no chance. In 1898 about 60,000 followers of the Sudanese khalifa, the successor to the mahdi, stormed across a plain outside Omdurman towards the British battle lines. It was their country and they fought for it with enormous bravery but against Maxim guns, lined up in a row on the battlefield, they also had no chance. There were exceptions to the rule. In the early 1880s the Sudanese destroyed the Hicks expeditionary army, but that was before the invention of the Maxim gun. In 1896 an Ethiopian army all but wiped out an Italian army in the battle of Adowa. Nearly four decades an Italian army invaded Ethiopia again, suffering severe battlefield defeats before superior weaponry and the use of mustard gas gave them victory. Driven into exile, the emperor Haile Selassie told the League of Nations 'It was us today. It will be you tomorrow'. Indeed it was.

In 1911 the Italians invaded Libya but failed to penetrate the interior because of the resistance of the Sanusi tribes and the small Ottoman force sent to do what it could, Libya then being part of the Ottoman Empire. In the 1920s Italy embarked on a full-scale program to tame the Libyans. Thousands were moved from Jabal al Akhdar in Cyrenaica and penned up in concentration camps. The resistance was led by a Quran teacher, Umar al Mukhtar, who was captured in 1931 and hanged in the Suluq concentration camp. Now, getting on for a century later, Libyans themselves have opened the door to another foreign attack on their country.

Without the 'humanitarian' intervention of the US, Britain and France, Gaddafi would be still be in Tripoli but thousands people now dead would be alive. The buildings and the infrastructure that has been destroyed would still be standing. Libya would still be the most advanced country in Africa, instead of a country that has been battered by war and will now need repairing in accordance with the prescriptions of 'disaster capitalism'.

As an investment this war was not even a risky one. Libya is a large country with a relatively small population and almost no capacity to defend itself against outside attack by powerful states. It is rich in oil, foreign reserves and gold bullion. Would the attack even have been considered if it were poor? Its financial situation was far healthier than that of the countries attacking it. The notion that this was done for altruistic reasons has to be scotched immediately. Whatever the humanitarian packaging, ulterior motives lie behind every war launched by the western powers in the Middle East and North Africa over the last two centuries. The war on Libya is no exception. At a time of extreme financial crisis, the attacking countries are not sinking billions of dollars into the war without expecting a generous strategic and commercial return on their investment.

In all the weeks Sirte was being devastated from the air, where was the UN Security Council, which opened the door to the attack on Libya with its 'no fly' zone resolution but has taken no responsibility for the consequences? Where was the EU, where was the OIC, where was the Arab League, where was the outrage in the media, where were all the governments upholding a 'responsibility to protect' which had turned into a license to kill? They were all mute. Not a word of concern or even of condemnation passed their lips. They only wanted to talk about Syria. The pictures of destruction now coming out of Sirte give some indication of what Britain, France and the US have done. How many civilians have been killed we don't know, but the estimates being made for the country as a whole suggest a death toll running into the tens of thousands. Such is the cost of 'humanitarian intervention'. Such is the price the Libyans have had to pay for their own 'liberation'. They did not want this war. It was the governments of the US, Britain and France who wanted this war, for reasons of their own, and used the rising in Benghazi as their leverage.

A country which was stable is now in turmoil. The news agencies refer to the government in Tripoli but there is no government in Tripoli. The 'National Transitional Council' has still not got its act together. Uncertainty, turbulence and possibly a spreading war of resistance lie ahead, as the implications of what has been done sink in. History is written by the victors, so we are told, but if this western triumph over yet another Middle Eastern madman cannot be consolidated, the day may yet come when Libyans will be building statues to commemorate the bravery of the small band of men who fought to the last for Sirte.
- Jeremy Salt teaches the history of the modern Middle East in the Department of Political science, Bilkent University, Ankara. He previously taught at Bogazici (Bosporus) University in Istanbul and the University of Melbourne. His publications include The Unmaking of the Middle East: A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands (University of California Press, 2008). He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.
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Re: Surviving in Libya

Post by Kitkat on Wed 26 Oct 2011, 19:25

Panorama
Britain, Gaddafi and the Torture Trail
After four decades as one of the world's most notorious
dictators, Colonel Gaddafi is now dead - just weeks after being forced
from power. Panorama has uncovered shocking pictures and testimony,
never seen before, that reveal the truth about the regime and its ties
with the British government. Reporter Paul Kenyon tracks down the man
responsible for much of the brutality, who fled to Britain during the
recent civil war. Kenyon finds him at a luxury hideout in the Gulf, and
challenges him to come clean about his role in torture.

First broadcast on BBC One - Monday, 24th Oct 2011

Click link to watch on BBCi Player: LINK

(Duration 30 minutes )
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British spies thwarted plot by former Libyan allies

Post by Kitkat on Thu 17 Nov 2011, 01:19

British spies thwarted plot by former Libyan allies

it is in Britain’s national interests to do business with people we don’t like.


http://blogs.channel4.com/world-news-blog/british-spies-thwarted-plot-by-former-libyan-allies/19248
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Tripoli - 1994

Post by Kitkat on Wed 30 Nov 2011, 02:30

Libya, 1994. This is the Tripoli that I remember.
One of the first things I noticed on my arrival there (1993) - on [eventually] passing through the border point from Tunisia, my entry point into Libya, with still a good few hours drive before reaching Tripoli - everywhere you looked along the road were these giant billboards with huge pictures of Gadaffi, in every village that we passed, at every turn, on buildings ... everywhere. What I found intriguing was that also everywhere I looked I would see the number 24, it cropped up everywhere ... huge giant billboards along the roads ... over the entrance to the compound where I was to stay ... and my first day at work I noticed a giant 24 painted on our building. When I asked what this 24 was all about, I was told that it commemorates the number of years since the revolution (1969) when Gadaffi first came to power - and every year the number changed. Sure enough, in the September of 1994 the numbers everywhere had changed to 25.
That was my time there.

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Re: Surviving in Libya

Post by Kitkat on Mon 23 Jan 2012, 20:34

ITV programme on IRA was misleading, says Ofcom

Ofcom has ruled that ITV misled viewers by airing footage claimed to have
been shot by the IRA, which was actually material taken from a video
game.
A total of 26 people alerted the regulator, raising concerns
over the footage broadcast in Exposure: Gaddafi and the IRA, in
September.

ITV apologised after the issue came to light, saying it was "an unfortunate case of human error".

Ofcom said it was a "significant breach of audience trust".

The current affairs programme was investigating the financial
and military links between the former Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi,
and the IRA.

During the documentary, footage labelled "IRA Film 1988" was
shown, described as film shot by the IRA of its members attempting to
shoot down a British Army helicopter in June 1988.

However, the pictures were actually taken from a game called ArmA 2.

'Miscommunication'

ITV said the programme had intended to use footage of "a
genuine incident" which had been included in an episode of The Cook
Report.

While trying to source "a better version" of the footage, the
programme director viewed footage from the internet which "he
mistakenly believed... to be a fuller version".

ITV said that "regrettably" the internet footage was not
cross-checked and verified by the production staff as being The Cook
Report footage.

In another instance, footage of police clashing with rioters
in Northern Ireland was described as having taken place in July 2011.
But viewers complained to Ofcom that due to the type of police riot
vehicles shown, the footage must have been of an earlier riot.

ITV said although the incident referred to did happen, it admitted the footage was not from July 2011.

It said the programme's director had requested the film from a
local historian who had supplied footage to broadcasters in the past
and was considered a trustworthy source, however due to a
"miscommunication" between the two parties, "the discrepancy... was not
discovered".

ITV said the documentary had included footage intended to
portray two real events and apologised that in each case "the wrong
footage" was used, adding "mistakes were the result of human error and
not an intention to mislead viewers".

'Not sufficient'

Finding ITV in breach of the broadcasting code, Ofcom said it
was "greatly concerned" the broadcaster failed to authenticate the two
pieces of footage.

It said there were "significant and easily identifiable
differences" between The Cook Report footage and the footage taken from
the video game and was therefore "very surprised that the programme
makers believed the footage of the helicopter attack was authentic".

The regulator added it was also "not sufficient for a
broadcaster or programme maker to rely on footage provided by a third
party source, on the basis that that source had previously supplied
other broadcasters with archive footage".

"We take into account that ITV: apologised; removed the
programme from its catch-up video-on-demand service; and has now put in
place various changes to its compliance procedures to ensure such
incidents do not happen in future," Ofcom said.

"However, the viewers of this serious current affairs
programme were misled as to the nature of the material they were
watching."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-16677640

_______________________________


Here is the programme in question, as posted above
Exposure (ITV)
Monday, September 26, 2011


http://player.stv.tv/programmes/exposure/2011-09-26-2235/

ETA - Doesn't seem to be available to watch anymore.
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Re: Surviving in Libya

Post by Kitkat on Sun 04 Mar 2012, 16:32

04 March 2012 | pa.press.net

British graves desecrated in Libya

The Libyan government has been "extremely apologetic" about the desecration of British war graves in the eastern city of Benghazi, a Foreign Office Minister said.

Speaking on the Sky News Murnaghan programme, Jeremy Browne said people would be understandably upset by images of damaged graves in Sunday's papers, including the Mail on Sunday.
But he said the attacks were not aimed particularly at Britain or Christians, and did not represent a Libyan response to last year's military action when British aircraft took part in a campaign which toppled Colonel Gadaffi from his role as dictator in the North African country.

Mr Browne told the programme: "There is an appalling story and people will be shocked by the photos. My grandfather's generation were truly heroic in that part of Africa in the Second World War and I think people will be shocked by what they see.

"It is worth saying the Libyan authorities themselves are shocked too. We have had direct dealings with them. They have been extremely apologetic and made a very strong commitment they will get to the bottom of this happening. They will try and do everything they can to resolve it.

"My understanding it is not just British graves or just Christian graves that have been desecrated, there is wider desecration taking place. The Libyan authorities are keen to work with us on this. I would not want people to think this is somehow an ingratitude by the government of Libya. That's not the case."

More than 1,200 Commonwealth soldiers and airmen are buried in the eastern city of Benghazi. Of the 1,051 identified graves, 851 are British. Many were members of the 7th Armoured Division, known as the Desert Rats, which played a key role in fighting for control of Libya and Egypt between 1941 and 1943.

Reports in the Mail on Sunday said the attacks on graves took place over two days last week. A video was recorded by one of the men involved and posted online, the paper said.

Mustafa Abdul Jalil, head of state in Libya's caretaker government, told the paper the attacks were "unethical, irresponsible and criminal", adding: "(The Libyan government) severely denounces such shameful acts and vows to find and prosecute the perpetrators."

A Commonwealth War Graves Commission spokesman told the Mail on Sunday that the graves would be restored "to a standard befitting the sacrifice of those commemorated at Benghazi". He added: "This could take some time because we will need to source replacement stones."

A sign of the times, I would say.

During Gadaffi's time, the "British Cemetery" in Benghazi was always heavily guarded and security was very strict regarding visitors, locals included. It was just one of the [many] areas where expats were warned you do not go.

My neighbour (Yvonne) in the compound where I lived in Tripoli, was also employed by the same company where I worked (Agip Oil) and started there on the same day. We had actually travelled together for the most part of the journey on our first arrival in Libya. Although initially I was told I would be travelling on my own - from London to Tunisia, small plane from there to the desert island of Djerba, where I would be met by a company-owned vehicle to continue the overland journey through Tunisia and across the border into Libya. A few days before I was set to travel, I was told there would be two others starting on the same day. One was travelling from Manchester, via Geneva, and the other would be coming from London, same as me - all three of us would meet up at Djerba where the driver would meet us for the long journey to Tripoli. (No-fly zone at the time, just like there was during the recent uprising). lol - I was given the phone number of the one who would be travelling from London and we spoke on the phone the day before travelling, giving each other descriptions of ourselves so as to recognise each other. She told me she had blond hair and would be wearing jeans and a black top. Easy ... you would think. Not as easy as it sounded. You'd be surprised just how many blond-haired people wearing jeans and a black top strolling around in the boarding area waiting to catch a plane. As it turned out, the pair of us were actually seated together on the plane. She had had exactly the same trouble trying to spot me out of the crowd (long dark hair, jeans and a black top).

A neighbour of Yvonne's (the Manchester one), on hearing she was going to work in Libya, had a close relative who was buried in the British Cemetery in Benghazi and had requested Yvonne if she gets the chance to take a photograph of the grave which they could have as a keepsake. Other expats who had lived and worked there for long time told her it would be an impossible task to go there - and as for taking photographs there, that would be an absolute no-no. Certain areas all over would mean instant confiscation of your camera, let alone whatever else it might involve. For instance, the whole of the port area in Tripoli was basically a military zone ... tanks and all sorts shown off on parade, a show of force, especially on the days when they would be commemorating something historical (like perhaps the day the Italians allegedly massacred thousands of Libyans hundreds of years previous). Expats were warned to stay inside on that day. Everyone wore black armbands and the cars and buildings all sported black flags flying .... (just one example) ...

Anyway, I'm digressing ... got to rush this now cos film just starting on telly about Harry Houdini ...

In short, Yvonne did get to Benghazi and was determined to keep her promise to her neighbour back home in Manchester. She managed to locate the grave and took her photograph just before a small but very scary looking man came running at her with a big stick, shouting and screaming at her in Arabic. She scarpered fast. Her neighbour got his much treasured photo though.
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Re: Surviving in Libya

Post by Kitkat on Mon 05 Mar 2012, 00:45



How the west wrecked Libya
by Patrick Hayes (Spiked)


‘People in Libya today have an even greater chance after this news of building themselves a strong and democratic future. I am proud of the role that Britain has played in helping them to bring that about.’

So declared UK prime minister David Cameron last year following the announcement that former tyrant Muammar Gaddafi had met his end at the hands of Libyan rebels just outside Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte. Cameron’s response typified the self-congratulatory backslapping of Western leaders. Western intervention, in their eyes, had saved the Libyan people in their hour of need and dislodged the great ogre Gaddafi and his rotten regime. Now the Libyan people could begin to build a ‘strong, democratic future’.

Blinkered by a Manichean mindset, which characterised their kneejerk meddling in Libya’s affairs from the start, Western politicians and their media cheerleaders genuinely seemed to believe that saving Libya would be that simple. To help the liberated Libyans on their way, the ‘international community’ thoughtfully cherry-picked a National Transitional Council (NTC) - headed by former Gaddafi cronies and an eclectic mix of other individuals - who spent much of their time during the rebellion last year reassuring the West that they would be suitable caretakers of a post-Gaddafi Libya. Many then flew into Libya to take the reins once Gaddafi fled Tripoli. What could go wrong?

It can surely bring no pleasure to anyone, except perhaps to the ghost of ‘Mad Dog’ Gaddafi, to report that post-Gaddafi Libya is currently a fragmented mess. And the outlook is bleak. One of the principal reasons for this – as reflected by ongoing protests in the country – is the impotence of the NTC, which has failed to gain the mandate of the Libyan people. Indeed, this unelected body often seems more concerned with the upcoming showtrial of Gaddafi’s son Saif, being conducted in Libya under the strict guidance of the International Criminal Court (ICC), rather than with bringing about democracy in Libya.

Over the past couple of months, there have been ongoing protests in Benghazi, the second largest city in Libya, which indicate there is little public satisfaction with the transitional government. Protesters are complaining about issues ranging from a lack of transparency regarding who is on the Council and its operations, to support for the thousands of rebels who participated in the uprising. After over a month of nightly protests, in January several thousand protesters stormed a government building where the NTC was meeting, some throwing grenades and Molotov cocktails. This led to the resignation of the NTC’s deputy head, Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, who - according to the BBC - was singled out by protesters as being ‘an opportunist, who switched allegiances from the regime of Colonel Gaddafi as the uprising gained strength’.

Criticising the protesters’ actions, NTC chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil claimed, ‘there is something behind these protests that is not for the good of the country’. The main argument he could come up with to try to placate protesters, however, was that if they didn’t support the NTC, they might ‘take the country to a bottomless pit’.

With no centralised army backing the NTC, much of the military power lies instead in disparate groups of militias – formed during the struggle to oust Gaddafi - which have become laws unto themselves. As Tessa Mayes reported on spiked plus last month: ‘Following the overthrow of Gaddafi, everyone seems to have guns. Even the Libyans who told me they never expected to use a gun now have one. You can hear celebratory gunfire in Tripoli most afternoons. And how and why did they get the guns? One man told me, “boats full of guns arrived last year and we took them to our neighbourhoods to protect ourselves”.’

Protests have been taking place in Tripoli to restrict the carrying of firearms by militias, but these rebels without a cause have so far been unwilling to hand over their weapons, demanding that first they are properly rewarded by the interim government for their service in the uprising. Abdul Naker, commander of one of the largest militias in Tripoli with 20,000 men, told Reuters that the rebels would not ‘join the government initiative until they clearly know what are the benefits they will receive… The people need higher salaries, economic stability, medical insurance, houses and cars, young single men want to get married. We want Islamic, interest-free loans so that we can live in prosperity. Why doesn’t the government give us loans of 100,000 Libyan dinars ($60,000) to realise our dreams?’

Militia from Libya’s third-largest city Misrata currently control Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown, in a way that some describe as being like an occupation. Much of the city – once one of the most developed in the whole region – has been reduced to rubble and there seems little desire to invest in rebuilding it. Even the rebuilding of Libya’s oil-extraction infrastructure, crucial for the regeneration of the country’s economy, is proving to be a slow process, with analysts estimating that a return to the pre-conflict level of 1.6million barrels extracted per day is unlikely to happen for a few years.

On top of this, tens of thousands of people with connections to the former Gaddafi regime are incarcerated and reports abound about prisoners sporadically suffering brutal treatment. There are also reports of forced displacement. For example, Tawergha, a town close to Misrata, has become a ‘ghost town’, with an estimated 30,000 residents being forced to leave their homes, ‘in what looked like an act of revenge and collective punishment carried out by anti-Gaddafi fighters’.

Amid the chaos, however, the people of Libya have far from given up. For example, frustrated with the NTC’s hesitancy to call elections, the citizens of Misrata have taken it upon themselves to hold independent elections for the city council, ousting the self-appointed councillors that came to power during the uprisings last year. This election, according to Associated Press, was ‘the first experiment in real democracy anywhere in Libya’ since Gaddafi came into power. While this is undoubtedly a positive step, it may also represent an increasing dissolution of Libya into disparate city states that have nothing to unify them.

No-one is more culpable in this state of affairs than the Western powers who – without any coherent strategy - decided to interfere in the affairs of this sovereign country. In doing so, they ripped the democratic initiative out of the hands of the rebelling Libyan people themselves – thus bringing an abrupt halt to the struggle for leadership, the battle of ideas, the necessary resolution of internal conflicts and differences that could have led to the Libyan people attaining a more unified vision of what a post-Gaddafi Libya could look like. Having been handed ‘liberation’ from the old regime by well-meaning Westerners, this necessary – albeit difficult - struggle to develop a collective sense of purpose failed to take place. The upshot is that Libya is run by an unelected clique with seemingly scant legitimacy in the eyes of the people; all the NTC has to offer as a rallying call is ‘support us or a bottomless pit awaits’.

Despite all this, some are still heralding the West’s intervention in Libya as a success – and considering it as a potential model for use in Syria. A Syrian National Council (SNC) has been formed, headed by an ex-patriot Syrian working as a sociology professor at the Sorbonne, Paris. An increasing number of countries and international bodies – including the EU – have now recognised the SNC as the ‘official opposition’ to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. And, despite Russia and China’s veto of a UN Security Council motion condemning Assad, intervention has already begun in the form of crippling sanctions – with no-fly zones, secure training areas and the supply of weapons to the Free Syrian Army being mooted by many countries. Further intervention seems to be imminent. As French president Nicolas Sarkozy declared last week, following the deaths of a French photographer and a British journalist in the besieged Syrian city of Homs: ‘That’s enough now, the regime must go.’

The question of whether the Libyan ‘model’ for intervention is one that could be repeated in Syria, or if another option is preferable, is currently being hotly debated by Western elites. Instead they should take a cold, hard look at the vacuum created in post-Gaddafi Libya and realise the best option is to let the Syrian people determine their own futures.

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/12173/
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Re: Surviving in Libya

Post by Kitkat on Sun 25 Mar 2012, 19:11

At last ...

Scottish Sunday Herald:

Lockerbie exclusive: we publish the report that could have cleared Megrahi

Exclusive by Lucy Adams and John Ashton

---------------------------------------------------------------

The explosive report on the man convicted of the Lockerbie atrocity ...why we are publishing it after five years of secrecy

The Sunday Herald today publishes the full 800-page report detailing why the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing could have walked free.

The controversial report from the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) has remained secret for five years because, until now, no-one had permission to publish it.

The Sunday Herald and its sister paper, The Herald, are the only newspapers in the world to have seen the report. We choose to publish it because we have the permission of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of the bombing, and because we believe it is in the public interest to disseminate the whole document.

The Sunday Herald has chosen to publish the full report online today to allow the public to see for themselves the analysis of the evidence which could have resulted in the acquittal of Megrahi. Under Section 32 of the Data Protection Act, journalists can publish in the public interest. We have made very few redactions to protect the names of confidential sources and private information.

Click here to read the report in full

The publication of the report adds weight to calls for a full public inquiry into the atrocity – something for which many of the relatives have been campaigning for more than two decades.

Read more
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Modern Spies - BBC 2

Post by Kitkat on Mon 09 Apr 2012, 10:03

Rendition of Abdul Hakim Belhaj

By Peter Taylor
BBC News


Mr Belhaj was intercepted as he tried to fly from Malaysia to claim asylum in the UK

M16's alleged involvement in the 2004 rendition to Libya of Abdel Hakim Belhaj was approved by the government, the BBC can reveal.

Mr Belhaj is suing the British government, saying it was complicit in his illegal rendition and
subsequent imprisonment and torture under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's former regime.

BBC correspondent Peter Taylor explains.

It seemed to be one of Prime Minister Tony Blair's defining moments: a photo opportunity on 25 March 2004 with Libya's Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in the Brother Leader's desert tent. The setting had
been specifically requested by Number 10 "as the journalists would love it". The media circus, with an audience of 60 British reporters, was designed to mark Gaddafi's rejection of his terrorist past and
renunciation of his chemical arsenal and weapons of mass destruction. Gaddafi was now hailed as Britain and America's ally in the so-called war on terror.

This remarkable turnaround was primarily orchestrated by MI6's senior counter terrorist officer, Sir Mark Allen, an Arabist who was personally close to Gaddafi and his court - including his head of
intelligence, Musa Kusa. It marked the climax of a long career in MI6 that also culminated in Gaddafi providing full details of the 286 tons of heavy weapons, in four shipments, he had donated to the IRA during the previous decade. But he cannot have anticipated the political storm that was later to erupt after the discovery of a message he had sent to Musa Kusa only a week before Blair met Gaddafi.

'Cargo's' safe arrival

Gaddafi and Musa Kusa had already proved they were serious in helping the West against al-Qaeda and its supporters. Sir Mark's message was dated 18 March 2004. The body of it outlined Downing Street's vision of the forthcoming meeting, but the explosive content that was to come to haunt MI6 and the British government came right at the end when he congratulated Musa Kusa on the "safe arrival" of the "air cargo". The "air cargo" was Abdel Hakim Belhaj, the leader of the Libyan Islamic
Fighting Group (LIFG) that was opposed to the Libyan dictator.




The letter was found in the bombed intelligence headquarters of Musa Kusa

Britain regarded Belhaj as a terrorist who had met Osama Bin Laden during the Afghan jihad against the Russians in the late 1980s, and whose group MI5 believed was involved in recruiting young British
Muslims to fight jihad in Iraq. British intelligence had further reason to be concerned about the LIFG following French and Moroccan intelligence reports that the group had taken part in a secret meeting
in Istanbul in 2002 where a decision had been made to attack targets in North Africa and Europe. Casablanca was bombed the following year, followed by the Madrid train bombings on 11 March 2004 in which almost 200 people were killed. That was only a week before Sir Mark wrote his message.

Such was the climate of the time, just over two years after 9/11 when there were real fears of a secondary attack. The terrorist cell in the UK that was planning to bomb a shopping centre and nightclub in London was already under surveillance by the MI5 and the police in an operation code named Crevice. Britain's intelligence services and the CIA would therefore be very interested in the intelligence that any interrogation of Belhaj might produce. In his message, Sir Mark says that Belhaj's "information on the situation in this country is of urgent importance to us".

Sir Mark's message was never intended to see the light of day. But it did in the most remarkable and unfortunate way for MI6 and the British government. It was finally unearthed last year in the rubble
of Musa Kusa's intelligence headquarters, flattened by Nato bombs. The repercussions of its discovery are potentially seismic, given that successive British governments have always insisted that they were opposed to illegal rendition and torture and were never complicit in it.

CIA flight interception

At the beginning of March 2004, whilst preparations were being made for the historic rapprochement in Gaddafi's tent, Abdul Hakim Belhaj was in Malaysia. He was planning to fly to the UK and apply for
political asylum, thinking that Britain was as opposed to Gaddafi as the LIFG. He had no idea that all was about to change.


"When I entered the flight, I knew that things had been organised for my handover”
Abdel Hakim Belhaj


I met Belhaj in Tripoli recently, and asked him how he came to be rendered to Libya. He said that whilst in Kuala Lumpur, a friend had called the British Embassy and asked about possible political asylum.

"Perhaps this gave an indication of my presence and this was delivered to the intelligence service which subsequently acted in an attempt to hand me over," he said.

The British Embassy may then have alerted London, and MI6 would probably have tipped off its intelligence partners, including the CIA, that Belhaj was in Malaysia and heading for the UK.

The CIA then planned Belhaj's rendition and intercepted him when his flight stopped off in Bangkok.

"When I entered the flight, I knew that things had been organised for my handover," he told me.

"The last seats in the plane were reserved and the last section was empty of passengers."

He was then flown to Libya on an American aircraft that made a stop for refuelling at an island that he was later told "belonged to the United Kingdom" - probably Diego Garcia, the British overseas
territory in the Indian Ocean.

When he finally arrived in Tripoli, he says he was locked up for over four years in the notorious Abu Saleem prison where he was interrogated and allegedly tortured.

'Intelligence was British'

Belhaj's rendition is so sensitive for MI6 and the British government because Sir Mark concludes his message to Musa Kusa by saying that he has no intention of receiving the results of Belhaj's
interrogation via the Americans - as the Americans were requesting - as "the intelligence was British". There would therefore appear to be a prima facie case that Britain was complicit in his rendition, despite repeated government assurances that it had never been involved in such operations.

In an interview on BBC Radio 4 last year Labour's foreign secretary at the time, Jack Straw, appeared to be unequivocal. "We were opposed to unlawful rendition. We were opposed to any use of torture or
similar methods. Not only did we not agree with it, we were not complicit in it and nor did we turn a blind eye to it." He went on to add, "No foreign secretary can know all the details of what its intelligence agencies are doing at any one time." I spoke to Mr Straw's office and was told he had nothing further to add.

It appears that Sir Mark and MI6 did not act unilaterally. Despite the myths, that is not the way that Britain's intelligence services work. Everything has to be signed off and authorised. As the current Foreign Secretary, William Hague, told me, he signs off - or questions and rejects - MI6's operations "almost every day". In the case of Belhaj's rendition my understanding is that what Sir Mark and MI6
did was authorised by the government at some level.

Abdel Hakim Belhaj is now a senior military figure in the new Libya that Britain helped create and is suing Sir Mark Allen and the government for alleged complicity in his rendition and torture. The ins
and outs of what really happened back in Whitehall are currently being investigated by the Metropolitan Police. As a result, the Gibson inquiry into alleged British complicity in illegal rendition and torture has been placed on the back burner. The story of Belhaj's rendition and Britain's alleged complicity in it is far from over.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17651797


Watch Modern Spies on BBC 2 at 21:00 BST on Monday 9 April for more on this story.

Typical! I've lost BBC2 on my TV. All the best documentaries and films are on that channel.

I suppose there'll be a chance to get it on BBCiplayer, but it's not the same.
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Britons urged to leave Libyan city of Benghazi over 'threat'

Post by Kitkat on Thu 24 Jan 2013, 14:04

24 January 2013

British nationals should leave the Libyan city of Benghazi immediately "in response to a specific threat to Westerners", the Foreign Office says.

It said the British Embassy in Tripoli had been in contact with British nationals whose details it had.

It said it could not comment further on the nature of the threat, but said there was new travel advice for Libya.

The Foreign Office has been advising against travel to Benghazi and most parts of Libya since September.

BBC world affairs correspondent Caroline Hawley said that after the recent French military intervention in Mali there was the possibility of retaliatory attacks against Western interests.

On 11 September, US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died during an attack on the consulate in Benghazi.

The ambassador died of smoke inhalation when he was trapped in the burning building, after armed men had stormed the compound.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21181742
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Lockerbie bombing: Scottish police to visit Libya

Post by Kitkat on Fri 01 Feb 2013, 07:44

Police officers investigating the 1988 Lockerbie bombing are to visit Libya, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.

The new Libyan government indicated in December it was prepared to open all files relating to the bombing.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-21281173


A pointless and futile exercise. Do they honestly believe at this juncture that they are going to get anywhere nearer to discovering the truth?
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Four foreigners arrested in Libya on suspicion of proselytising

Post by Kitkat on Sun 17 Feb 2013, 09:52


Four foreign nationals have been arrested in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on suspicion of being Christian missionaries, officials say.

A spokesman for Preventative Security said they were under investigation for printing and distributing tens of thousands of books about Christianity.

Proselytising was forbidden in the predominantly Muslim country, he added.

Those arrested were an Egyptian, a South African, a South Korean and a Swede with joint US citizenship.

The Preventative Security spokesman said diplomats had been allowed to visit them in detention, but would not say where they were being held.

"We are still holding interrogations and will hand them over to the Libyan intelligence authorities in a couple of days," Hussein bin Hamid told the Reuters news agency.

Agents reportedly found the suspects in possession of 45,000 books about Christianity when they were arrested at a publishing house on Tuesday. Another 25,000 were thought to have been distributed.

Last year, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had to suspend its activities in eastern and central Libya after its offices in Benghazi and Misrata were attacked.

The aid group was accused by some people of proselytising activities and distributing Bibles to internally displaced Tawargha people in Benghazi - accusations it strenuously denied.

Preventative Security was set up by rebel commanders during the conflict which ousted the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-21488976
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Libya after Gaddafi

Post by Kitkat on Sun 17 Feb 2013, 10:00

Libya's Col Muammar Gaddafi is dead, but his shadow and the decades of his iron rule have not quite departed to the other side.

He has left behind a tumultuous political transition that has little in terms of institutions to build on and that is still trying to lay the foundations of what it is hoped will be democratic and stable rule.

One year on, Libya has held its first ever elections for a congress that saw people vote with peaceful dignity, which appeared to be a pointed message against decades of tyranny and an appreciation for what the present has to offer.

Oil production is back up to pre-war levels and some foreign companies have resumed operations - though mostly in the oil sector.

But scores are still being settled, like the deadly stalemate between the cities of Misrata and Bani Walid that has escalated in recent weeks and appears to be on the brink of becoming a bloody battle which few Libyans have any appetite for.

Militias around the country are also still proving to be a persistent headache with no simple drug that will relieve people from them.

People are desperate for a sense of tangible political progress - even some of those who supported the late colonel, like the man I arranged to meet in a parking lot and who asked to remain anonymous.

"Nothing has changed, and maybe things are worse now", he said.

"Murder and violence was limited before… limited to certain people, certain families… and people understood that. Now you don't have wrong or right, the problem now is chaos. People have no direction and don't know who is leading them."

Much of life in most of the country is normal and functioning, but there remains a sense of "we don't know who's in charge" as many a Libyan will point out, and that is frustrating people.

'Green Book in the rubbish'

Tuning in to the radio is no longer a mind-numbing experience - robotic presenters on state-owned channels informing the audience of the latest news about the colonel.

Libyans are now allowed to own private media.

Tripoli's shops are no longer full of Gaddafi memorabilia

This has brought voices to the airwaves that were completely absent before. English and Arabic music and news channels, a Salafist radio channel and Libya's first all-English radio station, which would have been illegal a year ago.

The late leader and commemoration of his 1969 coup used to be a seemingly permanent feature of the Libyan landscape.

Martyrs' Square in central Tripoli was called Green Square to reflect Col Gaddafi's choice of national colour.

Even the metal shutters of shop fronts were required to be green. Most shop owners have repainted them now with their colour or design of choice.

1st of September street has been re-branded as the 24th of December street - its original name under the old kingdom, marking Libya's independence from Italian colonialism.

Many other streets and the university which were named to reflect dates or titles to promote Gaddafi's revolution have reverted to their previous names.

The death of Gaddafi also brought about the death of his political ideology, encompassed in the infamously confusing Green Book. Book shops, previously limited in what they could import, used to stock the Green Book. Not any more.

Stroll in to one of the oldest bookstores and publishing house in Tripoli - al-Forjani - and the changes are immediately apparent.

The spot where Gaddafi's poster once hung is now covered with the national flag, and on the other side hangs a massive portrait of the founding father of al-Forjani.

This is where you'll run in to one of many reminders of those who suffered at the hands of the previous government.

The Green Book, according to bookseller Moussa Youssef Shaagoush "is in the rubbish", he says as he points to the neatly stacked new titles lining his desk.

They include a voluminous whistle-blowing book by former Foreign Minister Abdulrahman Shalgham, called People around Gaddafi, and others like it.

"I was imprisoned for eight years… because I tried to set up a political party," Mr Shaagoush tells me with an infectious grin that seems rather inappropriate for the topic at hand.

He quickly fetches the 1980s documents to prove it and shows an officially stamped paper, and another one with his name on an execution list.

The bookseller, who was once limited to selling titles approved by the previous regime, is relishing the new era.

'Libya is free'

There are changes in the winding alleyways of the old city, with its dirt roads, peeling paint, and cracks in the walls.

The traditional Libyan dress, trinkets and the shiny copper plates with a map of Libya are still there.

Libyan bookshops now stock whatever they think will sell - rather than Gaddafi's Green Book
Unsurprisingly, the plates that used to have Gaddafi's image with a ball of sun behind him are nowhere to be found. Nor will you find the T-shirts with a similar image, or the stamps with his face on it.

Imad, one of the shop owners, says he sold the last of his Gaddafi memorabilia two days before the revolution.

"We don't do too much before… if the government want this we make 10 pieces… but we don't make too much of the picture of the ex-dictator," he says with a chuckle.

He says there is more national unity now.

"I think the whole world thinks wrong about Libya… you have a little trouble now in Libya, but this is normal.

After the revolution we need maybe six years… another country like France maybe needed 18 years - we are now just one year after the revolution, I think after two years everything will be OK."

Strolling out of one of the alleyways, I spotted an elderly man with a heavily etched face selling traditional carpets. He softly whispered: "Wait", as I took pictures of him in his chair.

He slowly got up, edging to the back of his small store room to retrieve a fan made from straw with two small national flags glued to the bottom of it.

Red, green and black markers had been used to scribble: "Long-live the 17th of February [revolution], Libya is free."

He sunk back in his chair, held up the fan and signalled that he was ready to be photographed now. This was the image he wanted the world to see.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20026583
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Libyans' new love affair with ice-cream

Post by Kitkat on Tue 23 Apr 2013, 13:36

Libyans' new love affair with ice-cream

Since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, Libyans have begun a love affair with ice cream.

It is often said that to taste real gelato, one needs to go
to Italy; but now its former colony Libya may well be en route to
becoming another ice cream haven.

Never before has the decadent Italian influence on Libya been more visible.
Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20850246



Before the revolution, there were only a handful of ice cream shops, known as gelaterias, in the capital, Tripoli.
I wish I had known about this when I lived there.

Never heard about or came across any ice cream-shop!
That definitely would have made surviving in Libya a lot easier.
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French Embassy in Libya hit by car bomb

Post by Kitkat on Tue 23 Apr 2013, 13:41

A car bomb has exploded outside the French embassy in the Libyan capital Tripoli, wounding two French guards and several residents.

The blast in Tripoli destroyed the embassy's ground-floor reception area and perimeter wall, as well as damaging neighbouring homes and shops.

French President Francois Hollande called on Libya to act swiftly over this "unacceptable" attack.

It is the first major attack on a foreign embassy in the Libyan capital.

Tuesday's explosion happened shortly after 07:00 (05:00 GMT) in a smart residential area of Tripoli.

One of the embassy's guards was severely injured while the other suffered lighter injuries. Several residents were also slightly hurt.

One young girl suffered a spinal cord injury and was being transferred to neighbouring Tunisia for treatment, her father told the BBC.

The blast took place in a small side street and left a scene of devastation, the BBC's Rana Jawad in

As well as extensive damage to the embassy building and perimeter wall, two nearby homes were badly damaged and others affected, while the windows of a shop were blown out and two parked cars were burnt out.

Many neighbours who gathered in the street to survey the damage were shaken and upset by what had happened, our correspondent says.

They told her that there was a lack of proper policing for such a potentially high-profile target.

"It was a big mistake to site the French embassy in our neighbourhood," a local resident said.

President Hollande said the attack had targeted "all countries in the international community engaged in the fight against terrorism".

"France expects the Libyan authorities to shed the fullest light on this unacceptable act, so that the perpetrators are identified and brought to justice," he said.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius - who is on his way to Libya - said French officials would work closely with the Libyan authorities to find out who was responsible for what he called an "odious act".

Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdel Aziz condemned the bombing as a "terrorist act", but did not speculate on who might be behind it.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

French embassies across northern Africa have been on high alert since France sent in troops to help fight an Islamist insurgency in Mali in January.

France, under Nicolas Sarkozy, was at the forefront of Nato-led air strikes in 2011 that helped rebel forces topple long-time Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The US consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi was attacked by armed men in September 2012, leading to the killing of ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other American officials.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-22260856
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12 days in hell

Post by Kitkat on Thu 06 Feb 2014, 15:22

Alex Owumi: 'I played basketball for Gaddafi - and almost lost my life'

When US basketball player Alex Owumi signed a contract to play for a team in Benghazi, Libya, he had no idea that his employer was the the most feared man in the country. Nor did he guess the country was about to descend into war. Here he tells his story, parts of which some readers may find distressing.


Link to full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25933297

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Re: Surviving in Libya

Post by Kitkat on Sun 09 Mar 2014, 20:14

Niger extradites Gaddafi's son Saadi to Libya

By Ulf Laessing and Feras Bosalum

TRIPOLI Thu Mar 6, 2014


http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/06/us-libya-niger-gaddafi-idUSBREA2507220140306


Muammar Gaddafi's son Saadi, his special forces commander who fled abroad during Libya's 2011 revolution, was imprisoned in Tripoli on Thursday after Niger agreed to send him back from house arrest there.

Saadi, who had a brief career as soccer player in Italy and often lived the playboy life during his father's rule, is the first of Gaddafi's sons the central government has managed to arrest since the former dictator was overthrown.

Gaddafi's more prominent son Saif al-Islam, long viewed as his heir, has been held captive by fighters in western Libya who refuse to hand him over to a government they deem too weak to secure and try him.

Eager to close another chapter from the four-decade Gaddafi rule, Tripoli had long been seeking the extradition of Saadi, who had fled to the southern neighbor by slipping over the porous sub-Saharan border after the uprising.

"The Libyan government received today Saadi Gaddafi and he arrived in Tripoli," Prime Minister Ali Zeidan's cabinet said in a statement that thanked Niger's government for its help.

The extradition is a success for Zeidan, but also a test whether his weak government is able to hold such a high-profile prisoner and organize a fair trial in the political chaos that has followed the uprising.

The government said Saadi, 40, would be treated according to international law.

Since escaping Libya in 2011, he had been held under house arrest in the Niger capital Niamey. Libyan authorities believe he was active from there in fomenting unrest in southern Libyan.

Within an hour of the news of his arrival, a militia on the Libyan state payroll published photographs of an uncomfortable looking Saadi in a blue prison jumpsuit, kneeling while a guard shaved his beard and head with an electric razor.

"The first pictures of the criminal," the Libyan Revolutionary Operations Room militia said on its website, showing pictures of Saadi before and after the shave.

State prosecutors are investigating Saadi for crimes in suppressing the eight-month uprising against his father, state news agency LANA said.

Tripoli also wants to try him for allegedly misappropriating property by force and for alleged armed intimidation when he headed the Libyan Football Federation.

ARREST MIGHT CALM SOUTH

There was no immediate official comment from Niger, which Libyan analysts said had agreed to cooperate because both must worth together to try to secure their long border against weapons smugglers, militant Islamists and human traffickers.

Niger sources said Saadi was spirited into Libya on board a Libyan plane overnight, accompanied by Libyan security agents.

Political analyst Khalid al-Tarjaman said Libya had convinced Niger that Saadi's presence was giving a boost to Gaddafi loyalists in Libya's volatile south whom Tripoli has accused of provoking clashes in the main city Sabha in January.

"The government in Niger realized that Saadi's presence was the main source for tensions in Libya's south, which is also affecting Niger's sovereignty," he said.

Saadi, who also had a business career before 2011 thanks to the quasi-monopoly his family enjoyed in many sectors of the economy, is not wanted by the International Criminal Court.

The ICC has indicted Saif al-Islam for crimes against humanity. He is being held by militia fighters in Zintan and tried there for various charges, although a local court keeps adjourning proceedings after brief sessions.

Zintan fighters have allies themselves to tribes that once formed Gaddafi's power base, which analysts say partly explains their benevolent attitude towards Saif al-Islam.

Tarjaman said Saadi's expulsion from Niger might help Libya persuade other countries such as Egypt or Tunisia to extradite Gaddafi relatives and former top officials.

Several family members such as Gaddafi's daughter Aisha and her brother Hannibal had fled to Algeria during the uprising. They moved to Oman after Aisha had irritated Algerian authorities by discussing politics in public.


----------------------------------------------------

Other current news from Libya:

Libyan rebels say navy attack on tanker would be 'declaration of war'

BENGHAZI, Libya - An armed movement which has seized oil ports in eastern Libya said on Sunday any attempt by government forces to attack a North Korea-flagged tanker loading crude at a terminal under its control would be "like a declaration of war".
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Re: Surviving in Libya

Post by Kitkat on Sun 09 Mar 2014, 21:12

This documentary was aired on BBC Four on 3rd February 2014 - and is available to watch here on iPlayer for a further 4 weeks:

Mad Dog:  Gaddafi's Secret World

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03tj0n0

Duration: 1 hour, 25 minutes
_________________________________

Quite horrific in parts, I must admit to being quite shocked at the enormity of some of the detail revealed in this documentary.  I had heard snippets, bits and pieces of some of these stories whilst I was living in Tripoli, but so absurd were some of these tales, that I had thought that really is all they are - tales, rumour and gossip.  After having watched this, I realise now that there was truth in all of those rumours.

(Example:  Once, on remarking to a local about the emptiness and quiet of the skies over Tripoli and the surrounding areas - caused not solely because there were no aeroplanes to be seen in the sky (due to the No-Fly Zone at the time), but also very few birds to be seen - the only birds I ever saw in the whole time I was there would be falcons, eagles and other birds of prey.    I understsood this to be partly because there was no greenery around anywhere, no grass, no trees - specifically no trees (though I was lucky enough to have a jasmine bush right outside my front door (growing out of the sand!) - save for one sorry dead tree, slap-bang in the middle of a small 'field (of sand!) immediately outside the heavily-guarded entrance to our compound.  Sometimes, one lonely, skinny and bedraggled horse would be seen tied by a rope to that tree.  I felt so very sorry for this poor creature, the leafless and lifeless tree offered it no shade or succour from the searing, unbearable heat.  There was a bucket also under the tree, which I presume (at least - hope) contained some drinking water for him.  There was nothing else growing there - no hedge to surround the "field".  
Coming from the Emerald Isle, the 'greenery' is one thing that I missed terribly while I was there.
The story that I heard then in that discussion was that Gaddafi had ordered all the trees to be chopped down because there had been a failed attempt on his life, made by someone hiding in a tree.  I took this explanation with the proverbial pinch of salt, as of course it sounded just too absurd to be true - but the documentary confirms this and mentions his hatred and fear of being anywhere near trees after that incident.
That's nothing, however, compared to some of the shocking details revealed in this documentary.

Colonel Gaddafi was called Mad Dog by Ronald Reagan. His income from oil was a billion dollars a week. He washed his hands in deer's blood. No other dictator had such sex appeal and no other so cannily combined oil and the implied threat of terror to turn Western powers into cowed appeasers.

When he went abroad - bedecked in fake medals from unfought wars - a bulletproof tent was flown ahead, along with camels that would be tethered outside. His sons lived a Dolce & Gabbana lifestyle - one kept white tigers, while another commissioned a $500 million cruise liner with a shark pool.

Like other tyrants, Gaddafi used torture and murder to silence opposition, but what made his rule especially terrifying was that death came so casually. A man who complained that Gaddafi had an affair with his wife was allegedly tied between two cars and torn in half. On visits to schools and orphanages Gaddafi would tap underage girls on the head to show his henchmen which ones he wanted. They would be taken to his palace and abused. Young boys were held in tunnels under the palace.

Yet because of his vast oil lake there seemed no limit to Western generosity. British intelligence trapped one of his enemies overseas and sent him to Libya as a gift. The same week, Tony Blair arrived in Libya and a huge energy deal was announced.

Filmed in Cuba, the Pacific, Brazil, the US, South Africa, Libya and Australia, the cast of this documentary consists of palace insiders and those who gave shape to Gaddafi's dark dreams. They include a fugitive from the FBI who helped kill his enemies worldwide; the widow of the Libyan foreign minister whose body Gaddafi kept in a freezer; and a female bodyguard who adored him until she saw teenagers executed.

Gaddafi was a dictator like no other; their stories are stranger than fiction.
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LIBYA AFTER GADDAFI

Post by Kitkat on Sat 26 Jul 2014, 17:32

US evacuates embassy staff from Libya due to militia clashes

26 July 2014

The US says it has temporarily evacuated its staff from the Libyan capital Tripoli over security concerns.

Staff, including marine guards providing security to the embassy, have been transferred to Tunisia "due to the ongoing violence resulting from clashes between Libyan militias," it adds.

Secretary of State John Kerry said there was a "real risk" to staff.

It comes amid fierce clashes between rival militias in the capital, with intense fighting at Tripoli airport.

Libya has been gripped by instability since the 2011 uprising, with swathes of the country controlled by militias.

With no army, Libya's central government has increasingly lost control over the country to rogue and powerful militias in the last two years, says the BBC's Rana Jawad in Tripoli.

Military assistance

The US embassy in Tripoli was already operating on limited staffing. All remaining personnel were driven overland to Tunisia in the early hours of Saturday.

The US military said it had "assisted in the relocation" of embassy staff, using F-16 and MV-22 Osprey aircraft.

It said the five-hour operation was "conducted without incident".

State department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the withdrawal "underscored the Obama administration's concern about the heightened risk to American diplomats abroad".

She said that fighting between rival armed groups was taking place "in very close proximity" to the US embassy in the capital.

The state department has also urged US nationals not to go to Libya.

It is the second time in more than three years that the US has closed its embassy in Libya.

Turkey has also withdrawn some 700 members of staff from Libya, Secretary of State John Kerry said.

Earlier this week, the UN also announced it was withdrawing all its staff from Libya.
Warning

US ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in September 2012.

The US move comes one day after Libyan government officials warned of the possibility of a break up of the country if clashes over Tripoli airport continue.
Libyans condemn and urge for an end of war during a protest at the Algeria Square on 26 July 2014 in Tripoli, Libya. Libyans rallied on Saturday in Tripoli to call for an end to the violence

Rival Libyan militias have been locked in battle at Libya's main airport in the south of Tripoli since last week, forcing the airport to shut.

Members of the Islamist Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room (LROR) are trying to seize control of the airport, which has been in the hands of the Zintan militia since the toppling of Col Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Our correspondent in the capital says both militia groups are believed to be on the official payroll.

The government has been unable to disarm the numerous armed groups that took part in the 2011 uprising and which have divided the country.

The eastern city of Benghazi has also been wracked by fighting between a rogue general, Khalifa Haftar, and Islamist groups, while many oil fields remain in the hands of separatist groups.

Dozens of government officials and high-profile military figures have been the target of assassination attempts in the city over the last two years.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-28500730
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LIBYA AFTER GADDAFI

Post by Kitkat on Sun 27 Jul 2014, 17:55

Leave Libya now, Foreign Office tells Britons
27 July 2014


The warning has been issued after fierce fighting near Tripoli airport

Britons should leave Libya immediately because of growing instability in the country, the Foreign Office has said.

It is advising against all travel to Libya because of the "greater intensity of fighting" and the likelihood of attacks on foreigners.

There are believed to be between 100 and 300 Britons in Libya at present.

The warning follows reports at least 36 people have been killed in clashes in the city of Benghazi - and an attempted car-jack on a British embassy convoy.

In that incident, British embassy officials said, shots were fired by unidentified gunmen at the embassy convoy in west Tripoli, but the attempted car-jacking was unsuccessful. No-one was hurt.

'Real risk'

Since late 2013, the Foreign Office said, a number of foreign nationals have been shot dead in Libya.

"Further attacks against foreigners are likely and could be opportunistic."

It said the British embassy remained open, but was operating with reduced staff, and its ability to provide consular assistance was "very limited".

It said there were several options for Britons wanting to leave Libya by commercial means.
A damaged building of stores is pictured after a shelling in Qaser Bin Ghashir, near the Tripoli International Airport on 26 July. Amid ongoing clashes to control Tripoli's international airport, Libya's central government has warned the country risks splitting apart

It comes as intense fighting between pro-government forces and rival militias has also been reported near the airport in the capital city of Tripoli, killing another 23 people.

Rival militias have been fighting at Libya's main airport since last week, forcing the airport to shut.

The Egyptian news agency Mena also reported that 23 Egyptian workers were killed Saturday when a rocket hit their residence in Tripoli.

On Saturday, the US evacuated its embassy in the capital, Tripoli, citing a "real risk" because of the fighting. Turkey has also withdrawn some 700 members of staff from Libya.

The US government also warned against all travel to Libya and recommended US citizens leave the country "immediately".
Smoke billowing from a plane at Tripoli airport Video footage showed smoke billowing from an airplane on the tarmac of the airport after fighting between rival militias

Earlier this week, the UN also announced it was withdrawing all its staff from Libya.

BBC correspondent Rana Jawad, in Tripol, said Libya's central government has increasingly lost control over the country to rogue and powerful militias in the last two years.

A multitude of armed groups emerged in the aftermath of the Libyan civil war, which ended Col Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year rule in October 2011.

There are now an estimated 1,700 different armed groups including state-affiliated forces and individual militias - among them Islamist groups - operating in the country.

The government - which has no effective army - has been unable to disarm the numerous armed groups that took part in the 2011 uprising.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28509017
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Re: Surviving in Libya

Post by Kitkat on Tue 29 Jul 2014, 14:26

Fire rages after rocket hits Tripoli fuel depot

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-28544877

A huge blaze engulfing Libya's biggest fuel storage facility in the capital, Tripoli, has spread to a second tank.

This is the Brega oil depot.  The company I worked for in Tripoli had some staff stationed there and we had daily dealings with Brega.  Heart-wrenching to see what is happening in the capital, Tripoli, and to the rest of the country.  I worked alongside and socialised with many Libyans during my time there - generous, warm, friendly, humble people who welcomed me wholeheartedly into their homes and family life.  Most of the children of those families will be grown up now and have families of their own (it was 20 years ago).  I dread to think what life must be like for those families now.  Sad 

Libya's National Oil Company (NOC) has described the fire as "out of control".

It comes hours after the authorities appealed for international assistance to try to contain the blaze.

The government blames clashes between rival militias for starting the fire, which it says may cause a humanitarian and environmental disaster.

At least 97 people have been killed in fighting between rival militia groups battling for control of Tripoli's main airport in the past week.

Evacuation

Firefighters almost managed to put out the blaze when it took hold of a first tank but had to withdraw after fighting resumed in the area, Libyan oil company spokesman Mohamed Al-Harrai told the BBC.

He said shrapnel hit the second fuel tank, igniting it, and the fuel compound was still being hit.
Plumes of smoke rise in the sky after a rocket hit a fuel storage tank near the airport road in Tripoli, during clashes between rival militias on 28 July 2014.


Libyan officials have called on local residents to leave the area within a perimeter of 5km


Residents within 3-5km (2-3 miles) of the area have been urged to evacuate, amid fears of a massive explosion.

But evacuations could be difficult, warns the BBC's Rana Jawad in Tripoli, due to the precarious security situation.

The fuel storage site, which belongs to the Brega oil and gas company, is the main hub for distribution of petrol in the city.

It is located on the main airport road, where much of the fighting of the past two weeks between rival militias has been taking place.

Officials have called on the militias to cease fire in order to allow firefighters to do their job.

The government has been unable to disarm the numerous armed groups controlling large parts of the country, which are behind Libya's worst violence since the 2011 uprising that toppled Col Muammar Gaddafi.

It has led some Western governments to urge their nationals to leave and withdraw foreign staff from their embassies in Tripoli.

Libyan government officials have warned of the possibility of a break-up of the country if clashes over Tripoli airport continue.

Members of the Islamist Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room (LROR) are trying to seize control of the airport, which has been in the hands of the Zintan militia since the overthrow of Col Gaddafi.

In Benghazi, at least 38 people were killed in clashes between between troops loyal to the Libyan government and Islamist fighters on Sunday.
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Newly elected Libyan lawmakers meet amid chaos

Post by Kitkat on Mon 04 Aug 2014, 08:44

.

Photo: AP  In this handout photo provided by the Hellenic Navy, a navy special operations team inspects waters as a plume of smoke is seen over Libya's capital Tripoli on Thursday, July 31, 2014. A Greek frigate was was used to evacuate Greek embassy staff and others from Tripoli. The navy said 186 people, including the Embassy staff, other Greek nationals and citizens from China, Britain, Belgium, Russia and Albania were being transported to a port near Athens. With the violence in Libya escalating to its worst level since the 2011 ouster of dictator Moammar Gadhafi, governments from around the world are scrambling to evacuate their citizens from the country, many seeking help from nearby Greece.


Photo: AP  Plumes of smoke and debris rise from a base of Islamic militias after a MiG fighter jet's strike in Benghazi, Libya. MiG fighter jets, reportedly under the control of renegade general, Khalifa Hifter, struck in retaliation the bases of Islamic militias in Benghazi on Friday, as a coalition of Islamic militias over the past week captured a number of army bases in Benghazi, driving out troops and police and seizing large weapon stores.

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — More than three-quarters of Libya's newly elected parliament met for the first time Saturday in a city chosen by a prominent anti-Islamist politician, likely signaling a swing against Islamists and extremist militias amid violence unseen since the 2011 civil war that toppled dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

The lawmakers met in Tobrouk as rival militias battled for control over the international airport in the capital, Tripoli, with their fire setting more oil depots ablaze. Meanwhile in Libya's second-largest city of Benghazi, forces loyal to a renegade general were dealt heavy blow after the Islamist militias overran several army bases and took control of the city.

The violence, which has killed more than 200 people and wounded almost 900 in weeks of fighting, has sent diplomats, thousands of foreign workers and Libyans fleeing for their lives and presents the greatest challenge for a country still largely at war with itself.
Read more:  http://www.mail.com/int/news/world/3020896-newly-elected-libyan-lawmakers-meet-amid-chaos.html#.1272-stage-mostviewed1-10
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Survival tips

Post by Kitkat on Thu 07 Aug 2014, 11:57

How to stay alive in Libya as civil unrest increases

Civilians caught up in the ongoing struggle for control of Libya have started sharing survival tips on Twitter.

Since the 2011 revolution, violence in Libya's two biggest cities Tripoli and Benghazi has become a daily occurrence. There is no effective army to control almost 2,000 armed groups that have sprung up since Colonel Gaddafi was deposed.

Twitter users are now sharing helpful, often poignant, safety tips as there is very little official advice.

Survival tips: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-28657835
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Re: Surviving in Libya

Post by Kitkat on Thu 07 Aug 2014, 12:19

and found this on the Libyan section of the Expat Forum:  (I wish there was something like this forum around when I was there.  Didn't even have mobile phones then! - 1993/4)  We did have similar travel problems though as some are experiencing now, as the whole of Libya was a No-Fly Zone at that time.  The Tunisia/Djerba route and the Malta route of travel being discussed here were the only routes available to us - and even then you could travel the whole way to the border (from either side) only to find the border closed and have to go back to where you came from - and take a chance on trying again another day.

http://www.expat-blog.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=386066

Manila orders total evacuation after Filipino worker decapitated in Benghazi

By Callum Paton.

Tripoli, 21 July 2014:

A Filipino construction worker has been found decapitated in Benghazi six days after he was kidnapped in the citys Gwarsha district.

The Filipino Embassy has now ordered a nationwide, mandatory evacuation of its citizens over the deteriorating security situation, Filipino community leader Dora Bathai told the Libya Herald. She said Fillipino nationals in Benghazi had been left stunned by the gruesome attack which she described as inhuman.

She identified the dead man as Antonio Espares, an employee at Kibra construction company, who she said had been kidnapped by masked gunmen while driving to work. She explained that Espares had been targeted because his assailants believed him to be Christian. His mutilated body was found yesterday.

Bathai said Espares killing was the most recent in a string of aggressive and intimidating acts perpetrated against Fillipino workers who, she said, were threatened on a daily basis. She explained that the foreign workers, most of whom work in the citys hospitals, were followed and often robbed when they left their homes. Everyday there is crime and harassment. Everyday there is a hold-up, she said.

Bathai described one recent incident where armed men had forced entry into nurses accommodation, stealing their belongings. She said she herself was regularly hassled at her own place of work at Benghazi Medical Centre.

Bathai said the treatment was appalling when it was considered that the Filipino workers made up the majority of Benghazis medical staff and most have not been paid for as much as five months. We have sacrificed so much, she said, even before the revolution.

They should condemn theses people who target the foreigners, she said. We are not rich, many of us make less than the Libyans. We are tired, we are exhausted and then we are targeted by criminals, she added.

The Phillipines news agency EFE reported that the Manila government has raised its alert level in response to the extremely unstable political and security situations.

The countrys Department of Foreign Affairs has told all 13,000 Filipinos in the Libya to contact its embassy in Tripoli for assistance and instructions for evacuation.


I do remember feeling a little worried/scared when at one time while I was there - for about a 2-week period around about the same time every evening (10 o'clock) you could hear the noise of fighter jets flying over.  It was an eerie sound, considering no aircraft sound at all in the air was ever to be heard usually in the skies.

I also remember too one day our minibus didn't turn up at our compound (Regatta) to take us to work - a half-hour's drive along the coast into Tripoli.  (The minibus would come every morning and stop outside the little shop in the compound, not far from my villa.  It would pick up 6 of us UK expats - and there would also be 3 or 4 Italians already in the bus as they would be picked up first from the Italian compound which was a few minutes down the road from ours).  The Italians always sat up the front and we occupied the back of the bus.  (There wasn't much communication between the two).  For the half-hour or so's drive into work the drive would have Arabic music playing in the background on the radio - but often (especially during the periods that the People's Congress would be taking place - when Gaddafi would speak to the people every day - ALL day ... (we had these speakers dotted around the compound (one was literally just outside my window!) which firstly would wake you up in the early hours of the morning with a very loud and moany call to prayer, but also at impromptu times during the day would blast out music or 'the Leader' ranting (in Arabic) about something or other.  We had a fair idea what all this ranting was about, as repeated often in these speeches would be the words sounding like Britannia!, Faransa!, Amereeeca! (the 3 countries who had imposed the sanctions in Libya over the Lockerbie plane bombing).  You could actually hear and feel the hate when these words were spat out in the middle of the long rants - now and then you would also hear 'Reagan' or 'Thatcher' mentioned.
These rants would sometimes come on the bus radio in the morning going to work, and on those occasions the driver would turn up the volume very loud.  It was very intimidating to experience.)

Anyway, started to say ... one day the bus didn't turn up.  The official reason later given to us was that our bus had a flat tyre.  However, we discovered the real reason was that our minibus had been 'hijacked' at gunpoint, the driver forced to drive to a certain point out in the desert, and then they drove the vehicle off, after chucking out the driver, beating him up and leaving him there in the middle of nowhere.   scared

No two days were ever the same in Libya.   rock
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Re: Surviving in Libya

Post by Kitkat on Fri 29 Aug 2014, 20:31

As usual, I'm in agreement with Brendan O'Neill from Spiked.

His comment from this week's Spiked magazine:

Who said the following this week: ‘We believe outside interference in Libya exacerbates current divisions and undermines Libya’s democratic transition’? An anti-war campaigner, perhaps? Actually it was NATO, in a memo issued in the wake of suspected UAE airstrikes against Islamist militants in fragile, divided Libya. Yep, showing that they lack any smidgen of self-awareness, the governments of France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the US had the audacity to chastise regional powers for getting stuck into Libya on the basis that they might cause further instability. If they had issued such a warning to themselves in 2011, much of the current mayhem in Libya might have been avoided. The rising trend of regional intervention in the Middle East and north Africa – from Libya to Iraq to Syria – is itself a byproduct of Western intervention’s transformation of these parts of the world into stateless vacuums where everything’s up for grabs.
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LIBYA VOICES

Post by Kitkat on Mon 01 Sep 2014, 13:52

LIBYA VOICES:  This blog is a collection of the experiences of individuals who experienced the Libyan Civil War first hand.

Kevin Dawes, from San Diego, California travelled to Libya in June 2011 as a photojournalist, and almost immediately became involved with assisting rebel medics on the Dafniyah-Misrata frontline, and eventually ended up fighting alongside the rebels in Sirte, where his time in Libya came to a sudden and violent end.  He filmed much of what he experienced in Libya, and has uploaded around 300 of those videos onto his Youtube Channel.

Read more here:  Kevin Dawes Part One - Arrival

    Current date/time is Wed 19 Dec 2018, 15:26