Friday, October 28, 2011

Confiscated Property in Libya

Libyans want back property confiscated by Gadhafi
By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press – 6 hours ago

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Abdullah Ahmed Belal had all but given up on the sprawling seaside villa his family lost to squatters decades ago because of a provision in Moammar Gadhafi's Green Book saying anybody who lives in the house should own it.

Belal, a 48-year-old naval officer, is one of many Libyans who want their properties back now that the hated dictator is gone.

Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, head of the governing National Transitional Council, has called for such disputes to be settled legally. Belal is willing to be patient, but others have taken matters into their own hands — a sign of the post-revolutionary fights that threaten to rattle Libya as it transitions from decades of autocratic rule to what its interim leaders say will be democracy.

Armed men have tried to force families out at gunpoint, and neighbors have been caught in the crossfire as they tried to intervene. Even original owners willing to wait have spray painted their names on the concrete walls surrounding the buildings.

"The NTC keeps asking people to postpone trying to get their rights back until a committee is formed and it can be done legally," said Abdullah Belal, a Tripoli contract lawyer and a nephew of Abdullah Ahmed Belal. "They say you've waited 42 years, you can wait another month or two, but some people don't want to wait."

He described one instance in which the original owners came back with machine guns to force a Palestinian family from their home in Souk al-Jumaa, giving them no time to pack more than the belongings they could gather that night.

"We desperately need to get our properties and rights back, but at the same time we don't want anybody to be hurt because in the end the only one to blame is Moammar Gadhafi," the lawyer said.

The question of legality is murky in a country that was governed by the whims of one man for nearly 42 years.

The Green Book, the slain leader's quirky political manifesto that dictated the lives of Libyans, allowed people to occupy empty houses that had been purchased as rentals or vacated by landlords traveling abroad. High rises and other commercial buildings also were taken, often with no compensation.

It may be hard now to prove original ownership because the building holding property records burned down in 1982 under mysterious circumstances, and those who initially confiscated the property often resold it with new documents.

In some cases, gunmen laying claim to homes were not in fact the original owners.
In 1977, a colonel in Gadhafi's army is said to have seized a house on a side street in Tripoli's affluent Hay al-Andalous neighborhood.
On Sept. 8, nearly 35 years later, a man armed with a machine gun showed up around midnight to reclaim what he said was his.

Witnesses told The Associated Press that neighbors rushed to the scene and tried to calm him down, saying he should wait until the issue could be resolved in a court of law, but the man was drunk and refused to listen. His friend got out of the car and they both opened fire.

One of the neighbors, Tarek Abu Aisha, 38, was shot and killed, and two others were wounded. Bullet holes still pockmark the pavement as well as the iron door of a four-story apartment building across the street.

Seif Saad al-Jarushi, 36-year-old school bus driver who lives down the street, said the gunmen fled as revolutionary forces arrived.

He said the man currently occupying the house took his family away and only comes home at night.

He and other neighbors said they learned that the colonel who seized the house in the late 1970s had sold it to three different people after the uprising against Gadhafi took root in mid-February. The armed man who came to claim it was one of them.

Al-Jarushi said neighbors are ready to fight if the man comes back to try again.

"Even if he has the right, he should not be trying to get his rights this way. He should do it through legal means," he said, swatting away flies during an interview on a corner near the house.

The nationalization of businesses and property was one of the most glaring examples of Gadhafi's efforts to force his version of socialism on the desert nation of 6 million people. With the introduction of the property law in the late 1970s, thousands of landlords lost homes when tenants claimed them as their own. People also were allowed to occupy empty buildings.

Apparently sensing public anger over the issue, the regime late last year offered compensation to Libyans who could prove that they had owned confiscated property — part of purported reforms initiated by Gadhafi's son Seif al-Islam.

"This decision should have been taken many years ago," said Mustafa Bushaal, a member of the newly established Libyan Association for Justice and Development, which is discussing various ways to resolve the housing problem. He said the process was fraught with corruption.

Some solutions being floated include giving newly evicted families apartments being built by the government on Tripoli's outskirts or offering them compensation so they can find a new place to live.

Bushaal said the Tripoli city government already has asked claimants to present documentation for their property.

"The first thing is to convince the family that it's not their house, then find alternative housing for the other family," he said.
It is impossible to know just how many homes were confiscated by the Gadhafi regime, which destroyed many of the original documents.

Belal, the naval officer, said his father bought the seaside home in 1975 and eventually gave it to him.

Belal said he allowed a foreign company to rent it when he went abroad to study. When he returned to Libya in 1984 to start a family, he found that squatters had moved in after the company left.

He said the police told him the Green Book had given the family the right to move into the house.
Belal, who currently rents an apartment with his family, says he does not want to kick the family out of his original home until they have somewhere else to go. But he said a legal solution must come very soon.

"There are so many people with similar problems," he said. "The government should move very fast to solve this problem or there will be another civil war."

Libya and Syria

Robert Fisk
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/

Two days before Gaddafi was murdered, I was reading the morning newspapers in Beirut and discovered a remarkable story on most front pages.

At the time, the mad ex-emperor of Libya was still hiding in Sirte, but there was this quotation by the US Secretary of State, La Clinton, speaking in Tripoli itself. "We hope he can be captured or killed soon," she said, "so that you don't have to fear him any longer." This was so extraordinary that I underlined La Clinton's words and clipped the article from one of the front pages. (My archives are on paper.) "We hope he can be captured or killed soon." Then bingo. Nato bombs his runaway convoy and the old boy is hauled wounded from a sewage pipe and done away with.

Now in an age when America routinely assassinates its enemies, La Clinton's words were remarkable because they at last acknowledged the truth. Normally, the State Department or the White House churned out the usual nonsense about how Gaddafi or Bin Laden or whoever must be "brought to justice" – and we all know what that means. But this week, the whole business turned much darker.

Asked about his personal reaction, Obama the Good said that no one wanted to meet such an end, but that Gaddafi's death should be a lesson "to all dictators around the world". And we all knew what that meant. Principally, the message was to Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Maybe, ran the subtext, they would meet the same sticky end.

So now here I am in Damascus and I've been asking Syrians what they made of the whole business. Whenever I said Gaddafi was a crackpot, they would wholeheartedly agree. But when I spoke to a very senior government official who works directly for the Syrian leadership, he spoke in slightly different terms. "We don't accept any comparisons," he said. "But the seriousness of Gaddafi's killing is that in the West in the future, they are going to say: 'See how the Libyans behave? See how the Arabs behave? See how Muslims behave?' This will be used against Islam. It was humiliating for the Libyans more than it was for Gaddafi, and that is why I fear it will be used against all of us. This is my real concern."

On Syrian television this week, I made the point that Gaddafi was insane and that – whatever else you thought of him – Assad was not. This was met (naturally) by vigorous agreement from the presenter. But wait. I promised to tell readers what happened to the programme. Well, two days ago, quite by chance, I bumped into the journalist who had interviewed me. Alas, he said, he thought the translation and subtitles wouldn't be ready for Saturday night's broadcast. Maybe we could do another interview later. Back to that old saw, I guess: we shall see.

In any event, I was made very much aware by her own personal assistant how "deeply hurt" Bashar al-Assad's wife Asma was at a report in The Independent a couple of weeks ago which suggested that she was indifferent to the plight of civilian opponents of the regime killed by the security forces. The story – not by me – quoted an aid official in Damascus who was present at a meeting with the First Lady, saying that – when asked about the casualties – "there was no reaction".

Needless to say, this report was gobbled up by the Arab media, including al-Jazeera, Assad's most hated TV station. Now Asma al-Assad's assistant has just given me the Syrian Arab Red Crescent's own official Arabic-language account of the meeting. It makes interesting reading. SARC volunteers told the president's wife that they received better treatment from the army "which has a clear leadership" than they did from the intelligence services at the checkpoints across Syria – they said the "muhabarrat" intelligence "enjoys no leadership or clear principles, at least from our point of view" – and that vehicles from the Ministry of Health are sometimes misused by "parties without control and this has created a situation of fear among citizens". Mrs Assad was told how difficult it was for the SARC to work in dangerous areas and to move the wounded.

"Mrs Asma [sic] showed her understanding of the difficulties our volunteers are going through," the SARC report says, "and expressed her deep admiration for their efforts in serving humanity and individual people ... and promised to convey some of their demands to the authorities." Mrs Assad's visit was "informal" and the discussions "friendly".

In the days that followed, the SARC report continued, the behaviour of "security checkpoints" towards their volunteers improved. A subsequent report in the weekly Syria Today quotes Mrs Assad as telling the Red Crescent volunteers that they "must remain neutral and independent during this time, focusing solely on humanitarian needs".

So there you have it. Certainly not indifferent – but hardly a ringing condemnation of human rights abuses. Of course, I can see Asma al-Assad's problem. Had she spoken out directly against the killing of protesters, of course, the world's press and television would not have said that Mrs Assad stood up for human rights. The headlines would have been political, and would have read: "Syrian President attacked by wife." The truth, I fear, is that once war begins, you just can't win. Even if you are the wife of the president.

Gadhafi Propaganda Still Circulating Internet

Libya & QADDAFI ...FACTS THAT CAN’T BE DENIED By: Shughal Mela

1.There is no electricity bill in Libya; electricity is free for all its citizens.

2. There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at 0% interest by law.

3. Home considered a human right in Libya – Gaddafi vowed that his parents would not get a house until everyone in Libya had a home. Gaddafi’s father has died while him, his wife and his mother are still living in a tent.

4. All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 Dinar (US$ 50,000 ) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start up the family.

5. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25% of Libyans are literate. Today the figure is 83%.

6. Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming land, a farming house, equipments, seeds and livestock to kick- start their farms – all for free.

7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need in Libya, the government funds them to go abroad for it – not only free but they get US $2, 300/mth accommodation and car allowance.

8. In Libyan, if a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidized 50% of the price.

9. The price of petrol in Libya is $0. 14 per liter.

10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion – now frozen globally.

11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would pay the average salary of the profession as if he or she is employed until employment is found.

12. A portion of Libyan oil sale is, credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.

13. A mother who gave birth to a child receive US $5,000

14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $ 0.15
2.
15. 25% of Libyans have a university degree

16. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Man-Made River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.

Gaddafi’s pimps still peddling his lies. Libya’s tyrant Muammar Gaddafi is dead and buried but his pimps around the world don’t seem to have got the message yet. Perhaps, like some of Elvis Prestly’s fans, they believe that he’s immortal and is lurking among us, maybe in a disused sewer somewhere.

Be that as it may, it’s worth looking at some of the lies being peddled by these pimps, if only for a laugh – and to have some pity on these individuals. It’s bad enough being a pimp, but a pimp with limited intellect, chronic cognitive dissonance and perhaps also some literacy problems is a creature truly worthy of our pity.

Here’s a selection of the Gaddafi lies still working their way around the internet, with my replies beneath each lie. In contrast to Gaddafi's pimps, I have lived and worked in Libya for over 40 years, so I know what I am talking about .

Lie #1. There is no electricity bill in Libya; electricity is free for all its citizens.
This is a complete fabrication Libyans have always had to pay for utilities, including electricity.

Lie #2. There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at 0 per cent interest by law.

This is another fiction – Libyans have always paid interest on all loans. This includes students sent to study abroad – their “grants” are deducted from their salaries after they return home. In addition, under Gaddafi many Libyan have had to borrow money from banks, relatives and friends in order to seek medical treatment abroad, typically in Tunisia, Jordan or Egypt. This is in a oil-rich country with a small population of just six million (including at least two million foreign workers).

Lie #3. Home considered a human right in Libya – Gaddafi vowed that his parents would not get a house until everyone in Libya had a home. Gaddafi’s father has died while he , his wife and his mother are still living in a tent.

This is complete nonsense. It’s true that after Gaddafi’s coup in 1969 most of the corrugated iron shacks that dotted suburban areas in Libya disappeared, but that’s hardly a great achievement in a country whose population in 1969 was just 1.5 million and whose oil revenue grew at least tenfold during Gaddafi’s reign. In fact, it’s perfectly reasonable to argue that this would have happened anyway, Gaddafi or no Gaddafi, given the phenomenal growth of income from oil. And that's not to mention the palaces Gaddafi built for himself in every city – all paid for with the Libyan people's money.

Lie #4. All newlyweds in Libya receive 60,000 Libyan dinar (50,000 US dollars) from the government to buy their first apartment and help start up a family.

This is a complete fabrication. It never happened either before or during Gaddafi’s reign. In fact, a huge number of people in Libya are unable to marry because they cannot afford to rent, buy or build a home.

Lie #5. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25 per cent of Libyans were literate. Today the figure is 83 per cent .

Education and medical treatment have always been free, under the monarchy and during Gaddafi’s reign. However, under Gaddafi, and especially from the late 1970s onwards, if you were unlucky enough to go to a state hospital you would have had to (a) bring your own bedding, if you wanted to sleep in clean bedding; (b) get your family or friends to bring in food for you; and (c) put up with appalling standards of hygiene, including reused syringes. If you didn’t want any of this, then would have had to find the money to go to a private hospital.

Lie #6. Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming land, a farming house, equipments, seeds and livestock to kick start their farms – all for free.
This is a blatant lie. It never happened at any time in Libya.

Lie #7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need in Libya, the government funds them to go abroad for it – not only free but they get US 2, 300 US dollars per month accommodation and car allowance.

Utter nonsense. See my answer to Lie # 2 above - under Gaddafi many Libyan have had to borrow money from banks, relatives and friends in order to seek medical treatment abroad, typically in Tunisia, Jordan or Egypt. This is in a oil-rich country with a small population of just six million (including at least two million foreign workers).
Lie #8. In Libya, if a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidizes 50 per cent of the price.

Complete nonsense. In fact, you’d be lucky to find a car to buy. Gaddafi seized all car dealerships in the late 1970s and, from there onwards, only the state very occasionally imported motor cars and sold them to the public at exorbitant prices. And that’s not all. To get to buy a car at all, you also had to pay a large bribe to one of the officials in charge of selling the state-imported vehicles. And, if you wanted to import a car privately – whatever its make and whether brand new or used – you had to pay 100-per-cent import duties (plus a bribe to get the port authorities to release the car even after you paid the import duties).

Lie #9. The price of petrol in Libya is 0. 14 US dollars per litre.
As with all oil producing countries, the price of petrol was lower than in Europe or Japan. But it certainly was not 0.14 US dollars per litre. It was equivalent to the price of petrol in the USA.

Lie #10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amount to 150 billion US dollars – now frozen globally.

That’s true, but why should a country of vast oil revenues, six million people and almost no public expenditure have a foreign debt? In Gaddafi’s 42-year tyranny hardly any new infrastructure was built and existing infrastructure, such as roads, hospitals and schools, hardly received any investment at all. It’s also worth noting that, despite several contracts with Russian, Ukrainian and Chinese railway companies costing approximately 40 billion dollars, Libya has no railway at all. As for the reserves of 150 billion US dollars, that too is hardly surprising given the vast oil wealth and almost zero public investments. Almost all of these reserves were managed by Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, who spent the money in corrupt private dealings. The defunct dictator’s other son, Mutasim, also dipped into the country’s reserves, spending by his own admission two million dollars per month on gifts and parties for his girlfriends.

Lie #11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would pay the average salary of the profession as if he or she is employed until employment is found.
This is a complete lie. It is estimated that at least one-third of Libyan graduates are unemployed – none received anything from the state. And Libya has no social security, so these people, like all other unemployed citizens, had to rely on family and friends for support.

Lie #12. A portion of Libyan oil sale is credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.
Rubbish! It’s simply not true.

Lie #13. A mother who gave birth to a child receive 5,000 US dollars.
Another figment of the imagination of Gaddafi’s pimps. It never happened. Ever!
Lie #14. Forty loaves of bread in Libya costs 0.15 dollars.

Bread has always been cheap – even in impoverished countries like Egypt. But the price of one (repeat, one, not 40) loaf of bread in Libya in December 2011 (i.e. before the people’s revolution) was about 0.20 US dollars.

Lie #15. Twenty five per cent of Libyans have a university degree.
More or less true – and 30 per cent of them are unemployed!

Lie #16. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Man-Made River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.
That’s true. This is a prestige project that cost three times as much as originally estimated. It would have been much cheaper to develop desalinated water plants. And what happened when the “Great Man-Made River” was completed? They connected it to the country’s ageing water pipes which blew up all at the same time because of the huge increase in pressure, leaving millions in Benghazi, Tripoli and elsewhere without freshwater for months. And why weren’t the pipes renewed before connecting them to the “Great Man-Made River”? Well, money had been allocated to do this but the job was never done not one pipe was renewed? And why was that? Because Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and his brother Mutasim pocketed the money. All of it. Ten billion us dollars, in fact!

Lie #17. According to the United Nations Development Programme, Libya ranked first in Africa (53 globally) on the Human Development Index ahead of Saudi Arabia at 55, Iran at 70, South Africa at 73, Jordan at 82, Egypt at 101, Indonesia at 108, India at 119, Afghanistan at 155.

Go and tell that to the families of the hundreds buried alive in underground prisons in Libya, or to the loved ones of those locked up and left to die in shipping containers in ambient temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius. Or to the relatives of the 1,200 political murdered in three hours in Abu Salim prison in 1996. As for ranking 53 globally on the UN's Human Development Index, big deal! Onlt 53, in a country of immense wealth and only six million people? Why not ranking first globally? This is an indictment of Gaddafi, his thieving family and his murderous regime. And ranking first in Africa – is that a great achievement, considering that the overwhelming majority of African countries are either super poor or ultra-corrupt?

Lie #18. According to the US Energy Information Administration, “Libya has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa”.

It is a measure of the intellectual calibre of Gaddafi’s pimps that they cite Libya’s oil reserves as an achievement of the defunct tyrant. Well, let me surprise them: the size of a country’s oil reserves is determined by natural phenomena spanning billions of years, not by human intervention.

Lie #19. On 21 February 2011, five days after the Arab Spring broke out in Libya, Gaddafi launched a new programme to privatize all Libyan oil to every citizen of Libya, initially providing 21,000 US dollars to every Libyan from a total of 32 billion dollars in the Year 2011, so that the health, education, transport and some other ministries could be abolished and individual Libyans could use the profits of their own investments, including from oil ownership, to obtain the relevant services. This, Gaddafi said, is the best way to eliminate corruption, including the theft of Libyan oil by foreign oil companies, and to decentralize governmental power.

I’ve heard this story from Gaddafi’s own mouth before in fact, once every three years or so, the last time being in early March this year, shortly after the people’s revolution began. It’s a cheap attempt to tempt people, but never materialized at any time following promises along the same lines from 1979 onwards. Besides, after 42 years of Gaddafi rule Libya is still 97 per cent reliant on oil revenue. So much for development! So, even if Gaddai were serious, what will Libyans do with all that money. The answer is simple: with zero domestic output, it would mean a several-hundred-per-cent increase in imports. We already import everything. As for the theft of Libyan oil by foreign oil companies, well, who gave these companies control of Libyan oil in the first place, and who pampered them and gave them and their staff preferential treatment over Libyan citizens? Every Libyan knows the answer to that question but let me spell it out for Gaddafi’s intellectually-challenged pimps: the answer is Gaddafi and his corrupt sons.

Lie #20. The Great Man-Made River Project, begun in 1984 by Gaddafi, has been called the Eighth Wonder of the World. It supplies fresh water to the cities of Tripoli, Benghazi, Sirte and elsewhere. The US threatened to nuke this “chemical weapons factory”. Foreign companies covet the fresh water.

See my answer to Lie #16 above: This is a prestige project that cost three times as much as originally estimated. It would have been much cheaper to develop desalinated water plants. And what happened when the “Great Man-Made River” was completed? They connected it to the country’s ageing water pipes which blew up all at the same time because of the huge increase in pressure, leaving millions in Benghazi, Tripoli and elsewhere without freshwater for months. And why weren’t the pipes renewed before connecting them to the “Great Man-Made River”? Well, money had been allocated to do this but the job was never done not one pipe was renewed? And why was that? Because Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and his brother Mutasim pocketed the money. All of it. Ten billion us dollars, in fact! As for foreign companies coveting the “Great Man-Made River’s” freshwater, what exactly would foreign companies do with this water?

Lie #21. Muammar Gaddafi seized power in 1969 in a bloodless coup by overthrowing King Idris of Libya Idris achieved power with British backing in 1949.

If we're supposed to conclude from this that Gaddafi is a peace-loving man who only does things bloodlessly, then the defunct tyrant's pimps are stupid beyond our wildest imagination. Gaddafi's dismal, murderous human rights record in Libya is a matter of public record and is beyond doubt. Likewise, his murderous actions abroad are almost unparalleled. Just think of his sponsorship of drug-crazed limb amputators in Sierra Leone and Code d'Ivoire, his arming and funding of Charles Taylor's gangsters in Liberia and his decades-long bloody meddling in Chad and Sudan, to mention but a few. Also, staging a bloodless coup in Libya in 1969 can’t have been a very hard job.

Gaddafi’s colleagues arrested the crown prince and three army officers and seized the radio and TV station – one building. That was it! And there’s a sting in the tail here too. One of Gaddafi’s coup colleagues – Muhammad al-Mogaryaf, who was murdered by Gaddafi in 1972 related that at the crucial hour when some of his colleagues went to arrest the army chief, Gaddafi panicked and hid for a full four hours. Mogaryaf paid for this comment with his life. By the way, Libya’s population at that time of the coup was 1.5 million, in a country six times the size of the UK. It must have been really hard to stage a bloodless coup in such a tiny country with a super weak regime!

Gadhafi's Intelligence Chief survives assassination attempt

Ex-intel chief to Gaddafi wounded, raising more questions about handling of detainees
By Colum Lynch and Mary Beth Sheridan

The former intelligence chief to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi was seriously injured Tuesday while in the custody of the National Transitional Council, fueling concerns about the treatment of loyalists to the deposed government.

The cause of Abuzed Omar Dorda’s injuries are disputed, but a relative of Dorda, a one-time U.N. envoy, has appealed to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council president to intercede with Libyan authorities to protect the former official, saying he had been the target of an assassination attempt by his jailers. The U.N.’s special representative to Libya, Ian Martin, has instructed his staff to look into the claim.

“Mr. Dorda survived a murder attempt last night, 25 October, 2011, at the hands of his guards in the building where he was arrested,” Adel Khalifa Dorda, a nephew and son-in-law of the Gaddafi loyalist, wrote on behalf of the Dorda family. “He was thrown off the second floor leading to several broken bones and other serious injuries.”

The nephew said authorities were forced to move Dorda to a hospital in Tripoli, where “as of now he is being held under extremely poor conditions.”

The militiaman in charge of the hospital on Thursday confirmed Dorda was injured but refused to allow a reporter to interview him. The militiaman, Sadiq Turki, gave varying accounts of how Dorda was injured, first saying he had tried to commit suicide by jumping out of a second-story window, then saying the former official had been trying to escape his detention facility.

“He’s the one who gave orders to kill and rape in Tripoli,” Turki told a reporter at the Mitiga military hospital. He declined to allow a reporter to talk to Dorda, saying, “This is confidential.”

Dorda was brought to the hospital in an ambulance on Tuesday, officials said. Doctors who treated him said he had a fractured left hip and some hematoma, or internal bleeding, in the area of the injury.

“His general condition is stable,” said a surgeon, Faraj al-Farjani, adding that Dorda was being kept in isolation in the intensive care unit.

Al-Farjani and another doctor, Yahia Moussa, said Dorda’s wounds weren’t life-threatening but were serious for a 71-year-old man. The doctors said they hadn’t been able to question Dorda about how he was injured.

Conditions at the Mitiga hospital appeared relatively good overall, and both patients from the revolutionary forces and Gaddafi’s military said they had received decent care. Doctors said, however, that there was a shortage of medicine because of the recent fighting.

Dorda had long been a high-ranking official in Gaddafi’s government, playing a role during his years at the United Nations in negotiating the deal that ended U.N. sanctions on Libya imposed after the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and paving the way to a financial payout to relatives of the victims.

He went on to become the director of Libya’s foreign intelligence agency. Earlier this year, the United States and the U.N. Security Council imposed a freeze on Dorda’s financial assets and those of several other members of Gaddafi’s inner circle.

The request for help from Dorda’s nephew came hours after Martin, the U.N. special representative, expressed concern to the Security Council that the circumstances of the killing of Gaddafi and his son, Motassim, were troubling and merited investigation.

“Moammar and Motassim Gaddafi were mistreated and killed in circumstances which require investigation, and there are other disturbing reports that killings amounting to war crimes were committed on both sides in the final battle for Sirte,” Martin told the council. He said the “evidence has mounted of deliberate killings of prisoners by the Gaddafi regime during the conflict, including in its last days in Tripoli, as well as some abuses by the revolutionary fighters.”

“Such killings were contrary to the orders of the National Transitional Council, and we welcome their announcement of an investigation,” he added. “They are also within the scope of the International Commission of Inquiry mandated by the Human Rights Council.”

Martin also privately told Security Council members that he was seriously concerned about the treatment of detainees, officials said.

Sheridan reported from Tripoli.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Booze, Jews & Women in the New Free Libya

The announcement that the new Libyan constitution would be based on Islamic law, though moderate in tone, begs the questions of what the roles of booze, Jews and women will be in the new, free Libya.

While many women were active revolutionaries, some in the underground, others were armed "freedom fighters," like the pregnant doctor from Tripoli who fought at Bani Walid. But the announcement that Libya was declared free and liberated also included the determination that the Islamic law would be imposed that allow men to have up to four wives.

Certainly, as they did under Gadhafi's rule, women will be permitted to drive, but even moderate Islamic law puts women in their place, and this is an important point that must be resolved.

In addition, there was a large and active Jewish settlement in Tripoli who lived peacefully with the Berbers and Romans even before the Arabs arrived, but were driven out after Gadhafi assumed power.

The question isn't the one being asked - what will the new Libyan government policy be towards Israel, the question is whether the Libyan Jews can return to their homes in Tripoli and resume their role as an historic and integral part of the community and society.

This problem was not addressed when the young Libyan Jew living in exile in Italy returned to Libya, joined the revolution, fought with the Berber rebels and drove into Tripoli with them in August. He then began restoring the synagogue in old city. He asked the local Islamic religious leaders before he began, and they gave him their blessing, and even offered to help clean up the long abandoned building.

But shortly thereafter however, he was given a legal citation by the new government for breaking into an historic site, and intimidated by a number of armed men, and then a angry mob assembled at his hotel and physically threatened him.

For Libya to become a true open democracy it must include Libyan Jews.

Besides women and Jews, Islamic law and local social morals might prohibit alcohol, which will be a vital element if they want to develop the tourist industry, which under the Gadhafi regime was only a very small part of the economy.

With all of its ancient Roman ruins, desert petrographs and the history museum at the old castle fort, as well as beautiful beaches and a moderate climate, Libya could become another popular tourist resort for people from all over the world. But permitting people to have wine and beer with their meals and alcoholic drinks at social occassions is vital for the tourist industry to develop patrons from Europe and North America.

The problem with Islamic law is that it is based on the Muslim religion, and even those who don't subscribe to that specific religion must abide by their laws, which have traditionally strictly prohibited liquor.

That however, was not a problem during the revolution, as one of Gadhafi's sons was described by his European model girlfriend as drinking heavily shortly before Tripoli was over-run, and a number of journalists at the front lines, on more than one occassion, reported young rebels in pickup trucks were drinking whiskey like a bunch of Texans on a Friday night.

If alcohol was the drink of choice for both loyalist leaders and the young rebels during the revolution, it should be permitted in the new Libya, especially in the hotels and restaurants that cater primarily to tourists.

Of course if the radical Islamists are going to devise a new constitution that prohibits Libyan Jews from returning home, permits men to have four wives, depreciates the role of women in society, and prohibits alcohol even for those who are not devout Muslim, then they should not say it is the new Free Libya.

Saif the Artist


Saif Gaddafi's paintings

By Rob Beschizza at 2:50 pm Friday, Oct 28
http://boingboing.net/2011/10/28/saif-gaddafis-paintings.html

People keep talking about Saif Gaddafi's artwork, but it is useless without pictures. Here are a few of the paintings ascribed to him in press reports. Many are sadly but necessarily shot at oblique angles to make them more interesting.

Whenever they've been exhibited, critics have been very unkind to Mr. Gaddafi. It's true that the paintings resemble a high schooler's first stab at a selection of genres. But these critical notes play strongly into an established narrative of 'tyrant art' that does not do Mr. Gaddafi's spectacular work justice. In fact, Mr. Gaddafi's surrealism is not like, say, the studied mediocrity of a Hitler landscape. It is quite its own thing.


Take The Challenge, for instance, above. It appears to feature three Christian crusaders being burned from reality by the stern glare of a giant airborne bust of Muammar Gaddafi. Zardoz-Muammar is wearing vintage cocaine shades like you can get on Etsy. There is also an eagle. This one is my favorite.

http://boingboing.net/2011/10/28/saif-gaddafis-paintings.html

In this work, Gaddafi is doing that thing where you go for inoffensive decorative gradient effects so that it'll be decent no matter what. This is the sort of painting that journeymen do over and over again, until everyone realizes that it is going to be their career-defining motif and says, OK, sure. You could totally sell prints of this to restaurant chains in the southwest, or to tourists as numbered Giclée prints in galleries in New Orleans or whatever. It is seen here in Moscow at the international Small Picture Frame Default Art Expo. Photo: REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin



Titled Still Life, this one was presumably put in just to make sure he'd get a C if the examiner was really old-school. Evincing a degree of technical accomplishment not present in his more strictly symbolist entries or indeed the prior still life, this might be Mr. Gaddafi's Akiane moment. Photo: REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Jewels from Libyan Intelligence Files

Rebels Said to Find Al Qathafi Tie in Plot Against Iraq

(NY Times) - When Tripoli, the Libyan capital, fell, rebel fighters found secret intelligence documents linking Col. Muammar Al Qathafi to a plot by former members of Saddam Hussein’s military and Baath Party to overthrow the Iraqi government, according to an Iraqi official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The details of the plot were revealed to Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, this month in a surprise visit to Baghdad by Libya’s interim leader, Mahmoud Jibril, said the official, who demanded anonymity because the matter was supposed to be confidential. This week, Iraqi security forces responded, arresting more than 200 suspects in connection with the plot.

The looted ruins of Colonel Al Qathafi’s intelligence headquarters in Tripoli have revealed many secrets. The trove has uncovered ties between the Libyan strongman and the CIA and shed light on negotiations between Chinese arms dealers and Libyan officials during the course of the uprising, an embarrassment to officials in Beijing.

But here in Iraq, the records of Colonel Al Qathafi’s plot had special resonance. The Iraqi news media celebrated Colonel Al Qathafi’s death last week.

But the news that the colonel may have been backing a Baathist-led coup added another layer of intrigue just as Iraq was digesting the weekend news that President Obama had announced that the last American soldier would leave by the end of the year. Some suggested that it was a fiction spread only to allow for the arrests of Sunnis, a reflection of the fragile sectarian tensions.

“The people that were arrested do not deserve this, because many of them were old,” said Hamid al-Mutlaq, a member of Parliament’s security committee from the Iraqiya bloc, which is largely Sunni. “The timing for this is bad because the U.S. forces are about to leave, and we should focus on national reconciliation.”

On state television, Hussein Kamal, Iraq’s deputy interior minister, said the plot included agitators spread throughout the country’s south and just north of Baghdad, and had been planning “terrorist operations and sabotage” after the withdrawal of the United States military.

In Iraq, the memories of the Baath Party maintain a psychic hold on the population, even almost nine years after the American invasion that drove the party from power.

The Americans disbanded the army and barred most party members from any government job, a decision that many said contributed to the subsequent insurgency and sectarian civil war.

Before last year’s parliamentary elections, a de-Baathification process eliminated many more people from the political process, often based on flimsy evidence. And in Iraq’s zero-sum politics, opponents often accuse one another of being “Baathies,” the worst kind of insult here.

Rumours of coups often swirl through the capital, with evidence of the latest intrigue often seen in tanks taking up new positions in the fortified Green Zone.

Predictably, the latest uncovered plot prompted suspicion in some circles that the arrests were intended to score political points by playing to the vestiges of people’s fears from living under Mr. Hussein’s brutality.

Because the Baath Party was dominated by Sunnis, and ruled ruthlessly over a Shiite majority for decades, the term today also carries sectarian undertones, as was seen Tuesday in Tikrit, Mr. Hussein’s hometown in Salahuddin Province, north of Baghdad.

There, protesters denounced the arrests outside the provincial council building. “We are out today in peaceful protest to ask the government to stop arresting the sons of Iraq,” said Sheik Hussain al-Alusi.

He added, “We are happy that the Americans are leaving, but the government is taking advantage of that. Where is the national reconciliation? Where is the Constitution?”

In the southern port city of Basra, where 40 people were arrested, according to Reuters, former low-level Baath Party members feared they would be next.

“Frankly, I am very scared and I expect arrest at any moment,” said Hassan Abu Faleh, a government worker who said he had signed a pledge in 2003 renouncing the Baath Party. “The current practices are the same as what Saddam did.”

Saif to Surrender?


Will Saif Surrender?

Last seen in a caravan of armed cars and technicals heading for the Niger border, Saif Gadhafi just might consider it wise to seek the justice of an international European court than fading away into Sub-Sahara Africa where he could face the same fate as his father.

Last viewed on camera Saif appeared at the hotel in Tripoli where international journalists covering the war from the Loyalists side were embedded. He invited to take reporters on a tour of Tripoli's war zones to show how much in control things were. Upbeat and smiling like a slippery rascal, he then turned up in Bani Walid, the desert oasis mountain village that maintained its loyality until, well, until he left town.

Now, apparently unable to join his family in exil in Algeria, or his former generals in Niger, who would ostensibly respect the International arrest warrants out on him, he is considering a life in a relatively clean European jail, where he would get three square meals a day, a good legal team and a fun time as an actor in court and on the world's stage.

Or can he and will he simply disappear, stay on the lam and gather a network and army to continue the fight?

The National Transitional Council and the Libyan people are not at all happy that Seif al Islam, the second son of former Libyan leader Muammar Al Qathafi is still on the run. Most probably by now he might have reached his destination to seek a safe haven along with his convoy that crossed the desert towards the borders of Niger and Algeria. So far, no country seems to be aware of his presence.

The country that agrees to offer Seif its hospitality could be in trouble with the international organisations as he and his brother-in-law, Abdullah al-Senoussi, who is said to accompany him, are both wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Such cannot be taken lightly and the countries must abide by the rules.

Now more information is surfacing about Seif's role and his relations with his father after they, along with the other son, Muatassim and the former leader's inner circle fled from Tripoli after its fall in August.

AN officer who was very close to Seif, the only one of Al Qathafi's sons still unaccounted for, told Reuters that during the siege of Sirte and Bani Wlid, Seif called his father frequently on the telephone and increasingly feared being hit by a mortar as he tried to escape from the besieged town of Bani Walid.

Al-Senussi Sharif al-Senussi, a lieutenant in Al Qathafi's army who was part of Seif's security team in Bani Walid until the city fell on October 17 described Seif as a nervous wreck. He said Seif used to call his father many times. Senussi has no relation with Al Qathafi's powerful former security chief, Abdullah al-Senoussi.

"He repeated to us: don't tell anyone where I am. Don't let them spot me. He was afraid of mortars. He seemed confused," Senussi said, speaking to Reuters at a makeshift jail inside Bani Walid's airport where he has been kept by forces loyal to Libya's ruling National Transitional Council since his capture alongside other pro-Al Qathafi troops last week.

Al-Senussi's identity was confirmed by Omar al Mukhtar, commander of anti-Al Qathafi forces in northern Bani Walid whose brigade is in charge of the jail and the airport.

Mukhtar and Senussi, both said Seif al-Islam slipped out of the city around the day it fell to anti-Al Qathafi forces, with Senussi saying that when Seif's convoy left Bani Walid it was hit by an air strike but he escaped alive

Reuters said that it was allowed to interview Senussi and al Mukhtar separately by NTC soldiers. The conversations were privately conducted at the jail and, the news agency said, that nobody from the NTC listened in to the conversation.

On Monday, an NTC official had said that Al Qathafi's fugitive son was near Libya's borders with Niger and Algeria and planning to flee the country using a forged passport.

Mukhtar, the commander, said: "I and my unit were chasing him on October 19. Then NATO struck his convoy. He was in an armoured vehicle and survived and someone helped him to escape. We searched that area but we lost him there."

Senussi said he was in charge of communication among various pro-Al Qathafi brigades in Bani Walid, and fought until the last day. He said he saw Seif frequently until he escaped from Bani Walid, and attended many meetings with him.

"We were not friends but we knew each other. We had a professional relationship," Senussi, told Reuters. "We did not really listen carefully to what he said toward the end. We were too busy fighting."

He added that Al Qathafi's spokesman Moussa Ibrahim had also been there until recently but managed to escape separately days before it fell.

Bani Walid residents said Seif had been holed up in a safe house in a neighbourhood called al Taboul before his final push out of the besieged city last week.

At the jail, Senussi said that he had fought on the frontline, but was captured the day Bali Walid fell. He went on to say that the Al Qathafi commanders kept telling them that reinforcements were on their way to Bani Walid, that they were sending more men. “But they never did," he said.

Senussi said he now fully endorsed the revolution and wished he had realised it earlier. Asked why he did not try to defect, he said: "I wish I could have joined the rebels earlier. I was in hospital for five months, then military police handcuffed me and brought me here. I was forced to fight."

Gaddafi's son and intelligence chief "want to surrender"

Tripoli, Oct 27 (ANI): Slain Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam has offered to 'surrender' to the International Criminal Court in return for a guarantee of his safety.

Gaddafi's 39-year-old son has been on the run since the NATO airstrike on the city of Sirte last Thursday that led to his father's capture and execution.

A senior official in the National Transitional Council, Abdel Majid Mlegta, said Saif and former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, the ousted tyrant's brother-in-law, had been trying to broker a deal through a third country, believed to be Niger, to hand themselves in.

Senussi is said to have fled into Niger and there were reports suggesting that Saif had also crossed into the country, the Daily Mail reports.

According to Xinhua, a Nigerien military source said, Saif al-Islam who is being sought by Interpol had tried to cross over to the Nigerien territory on Monday night in the extreme northern parts of the country.

Saif and Senussi are being sought by the ICC for committing crimes against humanity.

Yesterday, the southern border area with Niger was the focus of an intense search operation said to include elite troops from Britain and Qatar.

The race is on to prevent Saif escaping over the border into one of Libya's neighbours, where other members of the Gaddafi clan have already found refuge. (ANI)


Published: 4:23PM Thursday October 27, 2011 Source: Reuters

Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam and former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi propose to hand themselves in to the International Criminal Court, a senior official with Libya's National Transitional Council said.

"They are proposing a way to hand themselves over to The Hague," Abdel Majid Mlegta told Reuters from Libya.

Spokesman for the Hague court Fadi El Abdallah said, "we don't have confirmation about this now. We are trying to contact the NTC for more information."

Saif al-Islam is wanted by the war crimes court, as was his late father. There is also a warrant out for Senussi.

Saif al-Islam has been on the run since Libyan forces overran his father's home town Sirte at the weekend. He is thought to be somewhere near Libya's southern border with Niger.

Mlegta said his information came from intelligence sources who told him that Saif al-Islam and Senussi were trying to broker a deal to surrender to the court through a neighbouring country, which he did not name.

They had concluded it was not safe for them to remain in Libya, or to go to Algeria or Niger, two countries where Gaddafi family members are already sheltering.

"They feel that it is not safe for them to stay where they are or to go anywhere," Mlegta said.

In any case, they said that Niger was asking for too much money for them to stay.

In June the ICC issued arrest warrants for Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam and Senussi on charges of crimes against humanity after the UN Security Council referred the Libyan situation to the court in February.

All three were charged with crimes against humanity for the Libyan regime's violent crackdown on protesters in February.

It was only the second time the UN Security Council had referred a conflict to the ICC, the world's first permanent war crimes court.

The Security Council referred the crisis in Sudan's Darfur region to the ICC in 2005.

Fighting continues

The war is not yet over for Libya's new rulers in the desert town of Bani Walid where Gaddafi loyalists vow to fight on for their fallen leader and other residents are angry over violence and looting.

Enraged by what they see as acts of retribution by forces loyal to Libya's new government, tribesmen say their men are already trying to regroup into a new insurgency movement in and around the strategic desert town south of the capital, Tripoli.

"The Warfalla tribe is boiling inside. They can't wait to do something about this," Abu Abdurakhman, a local resident, said during a tour of his house destroyed by what he said was a revenge attack by anti-Gaddafi forces.

"The Warfalla men of Tripoli and elsewhere are sending around text messages saying: 'We need to gather and do something about this. Let's gather! Let's gather!'"

Gaddafi loyalists have no hope of reinstalling the former strongman's clan following the dictator's death, with his son, Saif Al-Islam, on the run, and a wave of anti-Gaddafi sentiment sweeping Libya and internationally.

But Libya's interim government, the National Transitional Council (NTC), is aware that support from disenchanted, armed civilians could bolster a tiny but lingering Gaddafi force in the desert and some towns.

And to nip any further insurgency in the bud, it now needs to win people's hearts and minds - a formidable task in a war-shattered town like Bani Walid.

Bani Walid is of particular importance because it is the spiritual homebase to Libya's biggest tribe, the powerful Warfalla, which includes up to one million of Libya's six million population, with tribesmen scattered across the country.

The town is awash with guns and some neighbourhoods still flaunt pro-Gaddafi graffiti. Shootouts between government forces and Gaddafi loyalists occur daily on the edge of Bani Walid.

Government forces present in the city said they were aware of the problem but believed that with Gaddafi now dead, hostilities would soon fizzle out in the absence of a clear goal and before developing into a formidable insurgent force.

"Yes, we know there are armed civilian loyalists," said Omar al Mukhtar, commander of anti-Gaddafi forces in northern Bani Walid. "But I don't think they pose any threat because they only have light weapons. "

In private interviews, fighters were visibly more alarmed.

"We always stamp on Gaddafi portraits spread out on the ground but they step over them. There are shootouts every day with Gaddafi loyalists," said one soldier from a Bani Walid brigade.

Fighters said loyalists were using dried-up riverbeds to launch night-time attacks on their positions - a tactic that highlights the loyalists' resolve to fight on.

Revenge

Tucked away in desert hills 150km south of Tripoli, Bani Walid fell to NTC forces on Oct. 17 -- three days before Gaddafi's death marked the end of the eight-month war.

NTC forces rolled into the city in Soviet tanks seized from Gaddafi forces earlier in the war and set up military bases in central Bani Walid -- still very much a ghost town after thousands fled following weeks of fierce fighting.

Troops patrol deserted streets and revolutionary flags flutter above gutted buildings. Some families are slowly coming back, only to discover that many family homes had been ruined. There is still no water and electricity.

A step deeper into its neighbourhoods, their mud and brick homes cascading steeply into barren valleys, offers a glimpse into an unfriendly world still living in a state of war.

In one neighbourhood, Tlumat, gunshots rung out and locals gathered quickly during a Reuters visit on Tuesday, some looking alarmed and hiding their faces with black scarves.

Gaddafi may be dead and buried, but freshly sprayed graffiti offered a sinister reminder that for some people in Libya, his memory still lives on.

In Tlumat, crumbling walls were covered with fresh slogans sprayed in the green colour of Gaddafi's own revolution in 1969. One, peppered with bullet holes, echoed the ubiquitous slogan of the old rule: "Allah, Muammar, Libya, nothing else".

Residents said NTC units appeared regularly in their neighbourhood -- perceived as pro-Gaddafi -- shooting randomly in the air at night to terrorise the people in the past week.

Locals also accused brigades from far-flung places such as Zawiya and Garyan of attacking their homes because of their belief that Bani Walid tribesmen once fought on Gaddafi's side during the siege of those towns earlier in the war.

"This is not a revolution. These are acts of revenge. What I have seen is not a revolution," said Abdulkhakim Maad, 30.
"These so-called rebels are stealing everything, looting houses, cars, people's belongings. They storm into neighbourhoods and shoot everywhere to scare the people."

Swearing angrily, another man who was selling cigarettes on a street corner littered with rubble and bullet casings, said: "The rebels destroyed our houses. There is a lot of looting. We were already poor. All of this made our lives even worse."

Some locals said they were ready to give the NTC a chance to contain local brigades and enforce law and order.

"But if the NTC does nothing then we will consider them as an enemy," said Tabet Awena, 80, a tribal elder in Bani Walid, pointing at a house with a smashed-up facade destroyed in what he said was a recent raid by an NTC unit.

"The reaction here will be very strong. We will fight to the death."

Commanders denied allegations of looting and retribution.

"Yes, houses were ruined, cars, personal belongings and gold stolen. Homes were destroyed by gangs from Zawiya. They are not real rebels," said Abdusalam Saad Mheda, a field commander.

"Rebels are not involved in any looting. They are good people. They are loyal to their country."
Hearts and minds

Abu Abdurakhman, whose house was damaged in what he said was a raid by an NTC unit three days ago, said that people were so angry that even those who initially welcomed rebel forces during the siege of Bani Walid have now turned against them.

"Muammar Gaddafi may be over but these people see what the so-called rebels are doing and they are angry," he said.

"Most of the looting happened when people were away. When they came back even those who supported the revolution ... had turned against it."

With the staunchest loyalists hiding in the desert, any reconciliation effort will be hard. Many families are divided, and people spoke of growing bitterness even within their tribe.

"My cousins are Gaddafi loyalists, so they are staying in the desert," said Mustafa Hassan, 32, as he drove back into Bani Walid with his family from their war-time exile in Tripoli. "It's happening in every family. It's all divided now."

The NTC is aware that in a place like Bani Walid, its top priority is to win people's hearts and minds -- and to do so quickly, before it's too late to stop an insurgency.

"These are simple people. They were imprisoned by Gaddafi militiamen for months and now they don't know what is happening in other parts of Libya," said Mheda, the commander.

"Many families are coming back but their houses are destroyed. There is no electricity. We are working on that. Every day will be better."

Gaddafi's son Saif offers to 'hand himself in' to International Criminal Court
The 39-year-old is wanted for war crimes

He is thought to be in Libya's southern border area with Niger

By SAM GREENHILL and DAVID WILLIAMS
Last updated at 1:04 AM on 27th October 2011

Colonel Gaddafi’s favourite son – Saif al-Islam – has offered to ‘surrender’ to the International Criminal Court in The Hague in return for a guarantee of his safety, Libyan officials said.

The 39-year-old British-educated playboy has been on the run since the Nato airstrike on the city of Sirte last Thursday that led to his father’s capture and execution.

The offer of surrender raises the prospect of a trial in The Hague which could include new details of the background to the Lockerbie bombing and murder of policewoman Yvonne Fletcher.

But it could prove embarrassing as Saif was close to leading figures in the last Labour government, not least Tony Blair.

A senior official in the National Transitional Council, Abdel Majid Mlegta, said Saif and former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, the ousted tyrant’s brother-in-law, had been trying to broker a deal through a third country – believed to be Niger – to hand themselves in.

Senussi is said to have fled into Niger late last week and there were reports last night that Saif had also crossed into the country where hundreds of millions of pounds of Gaddafi’s smuggled money is held.

Saif and Senussi are wanted on ICC warrants for genocide and crimes against the Libyan people.

Commander Mlegta said the men believed ‘nowhere was safe’ for them. ‘They are proposing a way to hand themselves over to The Hague,’ he said. ‘They feel that it is not safe for them anywhere.’

Gaddafi’s four other surviving children – three sons and a daughter – are in Algeria and Niger.

Niger received millions of dollars of support from Gaddafi and he remains popular. Its government has said fugitives would not be turned back to Libya.

Yesterday, the southern border area with Niger was the focus of an intense search operation said to include elite troops from Britain and Qatar.

Should he not surrender, the race is on to prevent Saif escaping over the border into one of Libya’s neighbours, where other members of the Gaddafi clan have already found refuge.

Saif, who holds the secrets to Gaddafi’s 42-year reign, has been on the run since last Thursday when his father and brother Mutassim, 34, were captured and killed in Sirte.

A defiant broadcast from Saif was aired on Syrian television on Sunday, though it is not clear when it was recorded.

He had vowed: ‘We continue our resistance. I’m in Libya, alive, free and intend to go to the very end and exact revenge.

‘I say go to hell, you rats and Nato behind you.

‘This is our country, we live in it, and we die in it and we are continuing the struggle.’

Intelligence sources said the playboy, once a confidante of some of Britain’s leading Establishment figures, is believed to have swapped vehicles several times to avoid detection.

British Special Forces and reconnaissance forces are understood to be on the ground and involved in the manhunt, along with Libyan rebel fighters.

They are being assisted by Nato spy planes sweeping over the vast area conducting aerial searches, and also by sophisticated electronic eavesdropping to match Saif’s voice if he uses his phone.

Any incoming calls from Niger and Algeria, where the Gaddafi family and their former security chief Abdullah al-Senussi fled, can be tracked.

British spies also have the numbers from seized Gaddafi phones and those belonging to Saif’s brother Saadi and sister Aisha, who escaped Libya earlier in the year.

However, Libya’s 2,700-mile desert border is impossible to secure. One source described it as being ‘like a sieve…anyone can slip through. It is too big and too empty to police in any conventional form.’

The fate of Saif, who studied at the London School of Economics and owned a £10million London house, will be being keenly watched by certain figures in Britain.

If he is captured and brought to trial, he would doubtless take the opportunity to grandstand about his relationships with Tony Blair, Lord Mandelson and Prince Andrew.

Any court appearance by Saif would inevitably turn a spotlight on Britain’s attempts to foster a relationship with Gaddafi’s favoured son, who became the West’s ‘point man’ after Tony Blair signed the notorious ‘Deal in the Desert’ in March 2004.

Last year Saif described Mr Blair as a ‘personal family friend’ and said he had visited Libya ‘many, many times’ since leaving Downing Street.

There have been conflicting reports about Saif’s escape. Some say he was injured in Sirte when Nato warplanes struck the convoy his father was in.

Amid the carnage and confusion, he apparently slipped the net and regrouped with other fugitives from the entourage and is protected by the Nomadic Tuareg tribe.

Earlier this week, rebel forces surrounded an area near the Gaddafi stronghold desert town of Bani Walid, following a possible sighting. Bani Walid is about 100 miles south west of Tripoli, and is on the way towards Niger.

One Libyan official, quoted by Reuters, said: ‘He’s on the triangle of Niger and Algeria. He’s south of Ghat [an oasis town in southern Libya]. He was given a false Libyan passport.’

He said Saif’s escape was being masterminded by Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief Senussi, who is also wanted by the International Criminal Court.

Yesterday Rissa ag Boula, an adviser to Niger’s president, said that ethnic Tuaregs – long kept sweet with handouts from Gaddafi, and among his strongest supporters - were helping guide Saif across the sands.

Mr Boula said: ‘If he comes here, the government will accept him - but the government will also need to respect its international obligations. It is up to him to decide.’ He said Saif appeared to be poised to cross into Algeria in order to make his way to Niger, the same route that his brother Saadi and more than 30 other Gaddafi loyalists had used in September.

Niger’s government has said the fugitives would not be turned back to Libya without guarantees for their safety. It claims most of the group is currently under house arrest in the capital, Niamey, in a gated compound.

Mosques and hotels throughout Niger were built by Gaddafi and he remains deeply popular in the nation, making it a natural sanctuary for fleeing members of his inner circle.

Saif on the Lam

The National Transitional Council and the Libyan people are not at all happy that Seif al Islam, the second son of former Libyan leader Muammar Al Qathafi is still on the run. Most probably by now he might have reached his destination to seek a safe haven along with his convoy that crossed the desert towards the borders of Niger and Algeria. So far, no country seems to be aware of his presence.

The country that agrees to offer Seif its hospitality could be in trouble with the international organisations as he and his brother-in-law, Abdullah al-Senoussi, who is said to accompany him, are both wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Such cannot be taken lightly and the countries must abide by the rules.

Now more information is surfacing about Seif's role and his relations with his father after they, along with the other son, Muatassim and the former leader's inner circle fled from Tripoli after its fall in August.

AN officer who was very close to Seif, the only one of Al Qathafi's sons still unaccounted for, told Reuters that during the siege of Sirte and Bani Wlid, Seif called his father frequently on the telephone and increasingly feared being hit by a mortar as he tried to escape from the besieged town of Bani Walid.

Al-Senussi Sharif al-Senussi, a lieutenant in Al Qathafi's army who was part of Seif's security team in Bani Walid until the city fell on October 17 described Seif as a nervous wreck. He said Seif used to call his father many times. Senussi has no relation with Al Qathafi's powerful former security chief, Abdullah al-Senoussi.

"He repeated to us: don't tell anyone where I am. Don't let them spot me. He was afraid of mortars. He seemed confused," Senussi said, speaking to Reuters at a makeshift jail inside Bani Walid's airport where he has been kept by forces loyal to Libya's ruling National Transitional Council since his capture alongside other pro-Al Qathafi troops last week.

Al-Senussi's identity was confirmed by Omar al Mukhtar, commander of anti-Al Qathafi forces in northern Bani Walid whose brigade is in charge of the jail and the airport.

Mukhtar and Senussi, both said Seif al-Islam slipped out of the city around the day it fell to anti-Al Qathafi forces, with Senussi saying that when Seif's convoy left Bani Walid it was hit by an air strike but he escaped alive

Reuters said that it was allowed to interview Senussi and al Mukhtar separately by NTC soldiers. The conversations were privately conducted at the jail and, the news agency said, that nobody from the NTC listened in to the conversation.

On Monday, an NTC official had said that Al Qathafi's fugitive son was near Libya's borders with Niger and Algeria and planning to flee the country using a forged passport.

Mukhtar, the commander, said: "I and my unit were chasing him on October 19. Then NATO struck his convoy. He was in an armoured vehicle and survived and someone helped him to escape. We searched that area but we lost him there."

Senussi said he was in charge of communication among various pro-Al Qathafi brigades in Bani Walid, and fought until the last day. He said he saw Seif frequently until he escaped from Bani Walid, and attended many meetings with him.

"We were not friends but we knew each other. We had a professional relationship," Senussi, told Reuters. "We did not really listen carefully to what he said toward the end. We were too busy fighting."

He added that Al Qathafi's spokesman Moussa Ibrahim had also been there until recently but managed to escape separately days before it fell.

Bani Walid residents said Seif had been holed up in a safe house in a neighbourhood called al Taboul before his final push out of the besieged city last week.

At the jail, Senussi said that he had fought on the frontline, but was captured the day Bali Walid fell. He went on to say that the Al Qathafi commanders kept telling them that reinforcements were on their way to Bani Walid, that they were sending more men. “But they never did," he said.

Senussi said he now fully endorsed the revolution and wished he had realised it earlier. Asked why he did not try to defect, he said: "I wish I could have joined the rebels earlier. I was in hospital for five months, then military police handcuffed me and brought me here. I was forced to fight."

Reuters) - Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, fearing for his life if captured in Libya, has tried to arrange for an aircraft to fly him out of his desert refuge and into the custody of the Hague war crimes court, a senior Libyan official said on Thursday.

http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/10/27/idINIndia-60163920111027

Details were sketchy but a picture has built up since his father's grisly killing while in the hands of vengeful rebel fighters a week ago that suggests Muammar Gaddafi's 39-year-old heir-apparent has taken refuge among Sahara nomads and is seeking a safe haven abroad.

The senior Libyan official in the National Transitional Council said later that Saif al-Islam had crossed the border into Niger but had not yet found a way to hand himself in to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

"There is a contact with Mali and with South Africa and with another neighbouring country to organise his exit ... He hasn't got confirmation yet, he's still waiting," said the official, who declined to be named.

Even if he can still draw on some of the vast fortune the Gaddafi clan built up abroad during 42 years in control of North Africa's main oilfields, his indictment by the ICC over his efforts to crush the revolt limits the options open to him.

That may explain an apparent willingness, in communications monitored by intelligence services and shared with Libya's interim rulers, to discuss a surrender to the ICC, whereas his mother and surviving siblings simply fled to Algeria and Niger.

The Court, which relies on signatory states to hand over suspects, said it was trying to confirm the whereabouts and intentions of Saif al-Islam and ex-intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, the third man indicted along with the elder Gaddafi.

A source with the NTC, which drove the Gaddafis from power in Tripoli in August, told Reuters the two surviving indictees were together, protected by Tuareg nomads.

"Saif is concerned about his safety," the source said. "He believes handing himself over is the best option for him."

The younger Gaddafi, once seen as a potential liberal reformer but who adopted a belligerent, win-or-die persona at his father's side this year, was looking for help from abroad to fly out and take his chances at The Hague, where there is no death penalty:

"He wants to be sent an aircraft," the NTC source said by telephone from Libya. "He wants assurances."

COURT SEEKS CONFIRMATION

ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah said the court was trying to confirm the NTC comments and work out how to move the suspects:

"It depends where the suspect is and how we can get into contact with him and what would be necessary to bring him to The Hague. There are different scenarios," El Abdallah said.
Some observers question the accuracy of NTC information, given frequent lapses in intelligence recently. Some suggest surrendering to the ICC may be only one option for Saif al-Islam, who may hope for a welcome in one of the African states on which his father lavished gifts.

The African Union, and powerful members like South Africa, grumble about the nine-year-old ICC's focus so far on Africans and some of them may prove sympathetic. Even if arrested on charges relating to his role in attacks on protesters in February and March, Saif al-Islam could make defence arguments that might limit any sentence, lawyers said.

NTC forces, which overran Gaddafi's last bastions of Bani Walid and Sirte this month, lack the resources to hunt and capture fugitives deep in the desert, the source said.

NATO, whose air power turned the civil war in the rebels' favour, could help, he added.
But NATO, which will end its Libya operations at the end of the month, stresses its mission is to protect civilians, not target individuals - though it was a NATO air strike that halted Muammar Gaddafi's flight last week.

A captured pro-Gaddafi fighter at Bani Walid told Reuters that the London-educated Saif al-Islam had been in that town, south of Tripoli until it fell earlier this month.

The man, one of his bodyguards, said the younger Gaddafi was "confused" and in fear for his life when he escaped Bani Walid. If he has seen the gruesome video footage of his father's capture, he knows how he may be treated if he remains in Libya.

NTC WANTS TRIAL

Asked what the NTC was doing to cooperate with the ICC, the vice chairman of the Council, Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, noted that the Libyans still hoped to try the suspects themselves:

"There aren't any special arrangements by the NTC," he said. "If Abdullah al-Senussi and Saif al-Islam are arrested inside Libya they will be tried and judged based on Libyan law.

"If they fled and went to countries such as Niger, for example, they will have to be surrendered to the ICC," he adding, noting reports that Senussi had already reached Niger.

Earlier this week, an NTC official said Saif al-Islam had acquired a passport in a false name and was lying low south of Ghat, a border crossing with Algeria through which his mother, sister and two of his surviving brothers fled in August.

Algeria is not a signatory to the Rome treaty which set up the ICC, but might face strong diplomatic pressure to hand over indicted suspects. The NTC has also been pressing Algiers to hand over the other Gaddafi relatives.

Niger, an impoverished former French colony, has said it would honour its commitments to the ICC. The mayor of the northern Niger town of Agadez, a transit point for other fleeing Gaddafi allies, told Reuters Saif al-Islam would be extradited to The Hague if he showed up.

Tunisia, to where other Gaddafi loyalists have fled, is also a signatory to the ICC's conventions.
A member of the Malian parliament who has been in charge of relations with Libya's NTC discounted reports that Gaddafi and Senussi had crossed Algeria or Niger into Mali.

The mystery over their flight has spawned many rumours.

In South Africa, one newspaper said a plane was on standby there to fly north and rescue Saif al-Islam along with a group of South Africans working for him. NTC officials say South Africans may have been among those killed in Sirte last week when Gaddafi was caught and killed.

DEFENCE OPTIONS

Should he end up, like former Yugoslav leaders and others, in a Dutch jail, Saif al-Islam would have no shortage of defenders, though a defence of simply following his father's orders would carry little weight with ICC judges.

An Iraqi lawyer who defended allies of Saddam Hussein in the U.S.-supervised trials in Baghdad said the younger Gaddafi would be entitled to argue that his actions were legitimate acts of defence during an aggressive war by foreign powers.

Though some of the ICC indictment relates to the use of force against unarmed demonstrators before NATO intervened, Badie Arif, who defended former Iraqi deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz, told Reuters: "It was a foreign aggression made by colonialist countries and by NATO ... It is illegitimate and illegal by all international standards."

Geert-Jan Knoops, a Dutch-based international criminal law attorney, said Saif al-Islam could challenge the ICC case on two main fronts -- that it was a political show trial aimed at justifying Western-backed regime change, or by proving there was no evidence of a "political plan" to kill protesters.

A public platform could allow Saif al-Islam to embarrass some of the Western leaders with whom he led a rapprochement in recent years.

His role in promoting reforms, thwarted by domestic opponents, might also be used in his defence, though his angry outbursts against the revolt would enable prosecutors to bolster a case in which they accuse him of recruiting mercenaries to kill protesters as part of a "predetermined plan" with his father and Senuss.

Repatriation of Americans from Martyrs Square


Martyrs Square Tripoli parking lot where eight officers and men of the USS Intrepid are buried in an unmarked grave, "one cable's length" - or 720 feet from the castle wall.


Five others are buried nearby at Old Protestant Cemetery, where this sign is posted at the gate.


The Old Protestant Cemetery, Tripoli, where five of the men of the USS Intrepid are buried.

The United States House of Representatives has approved and the US Senate is considering an amendment to the 2012 Defense Authorization Act that calls for the repatriation of the remains of the American sailors who are buried at Tripoli harbor.

Master Commandant Richard Somers, Lt. Henry Wadsworth (uncle of Longfellow), Lt. Joseph Israel, of Maryland, and ten volunteers perished in the premature explosion of the USS Intrepid while on a secret night-time suicide mission against the Barbary Pirates. Their bodies were recovered and buried outside the walls of the old castle fort, what is now Martyrs Square. Later, five of the remains were uncovered by an Italian army road work crew and reburied nearby at Old Protestant Cemetery.

This is a summary of the wording of the resolution being considered as an Amendment by the Senate.

Tripoli Soldiers Summary

Legislation to provide for the exhumation and transfer of remains of deceased members of the Armed Forces buried in Tripoli, Libya

The Secretary of Defense shall take whatever actions necessary to exhume the remains of any deceased members of the Armed Forces of the US buried at the mass burial sight containing the remains of any deceased United States Sailors located n Protestant Cemetery in Tripoli, Libya and the mass burial site containing the remains of eight Untied States Sailors located near the walls of the Tripoli Castle in Tripoli, Libya.

The Secretary of Defense will transfer the remains to an appropriate forensics laboratory to be identified.

In the case of any remains that are identified, transport the remains to veterans cemetery located in proximity, as determined by the Secretary , to the closest living family member of the deceased individual or at another cemetery determined by the Secretary .

For any member of the Armed Forces whose rains are identified, provide a military funeral and burial.

In the case that any remains not be identified, transport the remains to Arlington National Cemetery for interment at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

For more info See: Remembertheintrepid.blogspot.com

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gadhafi's Desert Grave


By Mary Beth Sheridan, Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 1:40 PM

TRIPOLI — Former Libyan strongman Moammar Gaddafi was secretly buried in a desert grave on Tuesday, officials said, ending a four-day spectacle in which his bloody body was displayed to a public largely overjoyed about his ignominious end after decades of repressive rule.

Like other leaders toppled in the Arab Spring uprisings, Gaddafi was despised as a corrupt authoritarian ruler. But he was viewed here as more cruel and capricious than the presidents of Egypt or Tunisia, a man who would suddenly nationalize companies or hang dissident students — and force their classmates to watch.

That explains why most Libyans appear to have been unfazed by cellphone videos showing a blood-spattered Gaddafi punched, kicked and possibly even sodomized by revolutionaries before he died in captivity. Human rights groups have said the brutality surrounding Gaddafi’s death marked a troubling beginning for the new democracy emerging from an eight-month, U.S.-backed war. But many Libyans saw it as a fitting end for a tyrant.

“Have you seen the mass graves they discovered? Did you know we had more than 50,000 people die during this revolution?” asked Muhammad al-Jady, 53, an engineer walking near Tripoli’s downtown Martyrs Square, citing a widely quoted estimate.
Jady recounted a litany of abuses his family suffered under the Gaddafi regime. The government seized four of his father’s villas after passing a law banning ownership of more than one home. Then in 1984, Jady was jailed for six months without explanation upon returning from college in Oregon, he said.

“We are still hurting,” he said. “I am still feeling that six months of my life. Yes, they should kill him.”

Under Gaddafi, Libyans suffered some of the strictest curbs on freedom of expression in the Middle East. Munir Abdusalem Kridig, 25, said his brother was shot by security forces in June simply for complaining about Gaddafi as he sat in his car in a long line at a gas station. “They heard him and opened fire,” he said.

“Now that Gaddafi’s buried, I don’t think even Satan would accept him,” the deejay said, clutching a red, green and black revolt.

Thousands of Libyans lined up starting Friday to gaze with contempt or wonder at Gaddafi’s decomposing body, which had been laid out on a bloody mattress in a refrigerated meat locker in Misurata. The weak central government seemed powerless to wrest the body from the city’s fiercelyanti-Gaddafi fighters, who had captured him on Thursday.

Suliman Fortia, the representative of the city of Misurata on the national governing council, said in a telephone interview that Gaddafi’s body was put in an unmarked grave “somewhere in the desert” at dawn Tuesday. News services reported that a Muslim cleric recited prayers over the body before it was turned over for burial.

Libyan officials have said they wanted a secret site to prevent his tomb being desecrated or turned into a pilgrimage site. Gaddafi was buried with his son Mutassim and former defense minister Abu Bakr Yunis Jabir, officials said.

Human rights groups have called for an investigation into whether Gaddafi was executed by fighters who had found him alive. There is little enthusiasm here for such a probe, although the interim government has promised to request one.

In a fresh sign of how Gaddafi was abused after his capture, a new video obtained by Global Post appears to show a man trying to shove a knife between the former leader’s buttocks as revolutionaries lead him from his hiding place in a drainage pipe.

Libya’s interim government has said Gaddafi was killed when his supporters opened fire on revolutionaries escorting the wounded former leader to a hospital. There has been no evidence of such a firefight, however.

Like citizens of Tunisia and Egypt, Libyans blamed their authoritarian leader for high unemployment and corruption. Libyans appeared especially stung because their country is rich in oil. But little of that money trickled down.

Worst of all was the constant uncertainty of life under Gaddafi, they said. “I never felt safe,” said Salem Ghaith, 50. As a young man, he feared being yanked out of school and press-ganged to fight abroad, he said. As a college student, he was forced to watch several classmates hanged for political activity.

When he became the principal of a prestigious English-language school, he had to turn over students’ tuition payments to government officials. “They take the money, and they buy cars, furniture, farms,” he said.

Asked whether he was concerned about the way in which Gaddafi was manhandled after his capture, he said: “I don’t think so. Because what he did to people was worse.”

NTC backs down from insistence Gaddafi died in crossfire and pledges justice for anyone proven to have fired lethal shot

The killing of Gaddafi after his capture in Sirte, which was recorded on mobile phone cameras, has attracted international criticism. Photograph: Rick Gershon/Getty Images
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/27/gaddafi-killers-face-prosecution-libya?newsfeed=true

Libya's interim government says it will prosecute anyone found responsible for the death of Muammar Gaddafi after his capture, in a retreat from its earlier insistence that the dictator had been killed by crossfire.

The change in position comes after a week of sustained criticism of the Libyan leader's captors, who used their camera phones to chronicle his death. The footage, including images of a wounded Gaddafi being sodomised with what looked like a bayonet, caused widespread revulsion outside the country.

Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, deputy chief of the National Transitional Council, said it would try to bring to justice anyone proven to have fired the shot to the head that killed Gaddafi.

"With regards to Gaddafi, we do not wait for anybody to tell us," he told the al-Arabiya satellite channel. "We had already launched an investigation. We have issued a code of ethics in handling of prisoners of war. I am sure that was an individual act and not an act of revolutionaries or the national army. Whoever is responsible for that [Gaddafi's killing] will be judged and given a fair trial."

Attempts to launch an investigation are unlikely to be welcomed in Misrata, where the rebels who captured Gaddafi in his home town of Sirte are based. Asked this week about the questions surrounding his death by people outside Libya, Misrata's military chief, Ibrahim Beit al-Mal, said: "Why are they even asking this question? He was caught and he was killed. Would he have given us the same? Of course."

Talk of an inquest was being seen by Misrata officials as an attempt by the Benghazi-dominated NTC to claim prominence in post-Gaddafi affairs.

"Everybody knows who caught him and who fought the most during the past nine months," an official said. "It was us. It was no one else."

The identity of the man who allegedly pulled his 9mm pistol from his waistband and shot the wounded dictator in the left temple around 20 minutes after his capture is widely known in Misrata, as is the unit he belonged to, the Katiba Ghoran.

"They won't come near us," said the rebel who pulled Gaddafi from a drain last Thursday. "They won't dare. Gaddafi was saying: 'What's this, what's this?' After nine months of blood, he was saying: 'What's this?'. What does he expect?"

There is little sympathy on the streets of Misrata for Gaddafi's violent end, despite the troubling images and his rotting body being publicly displayed for the next four days.
Meanwhile, Gaddafi son and former heir apparent Saif al-Islam is thought to be in southern Libya approaching the Niger border, where Nigerien officials believe he is planning to join his brother Saadi and the former regime's spy chief Abdullah Senussi in exile.

The NTC maintains that Saif al-Islam is interested in handing himself in to the International Criminal Court, which has issued an arrest warrant against him and Senussi. The court in The Hague says it has had no contact from Libya.

The United Nations on Thursday said it would terminatethe Nato mandate enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya at the end of October, formally ending an eight-month blockade of the country's skies and military operations on the ground. The NTC had earlier asked for operations to continue until the end of the year.

"This marks a really important milestone in the transition in Libya," Britain's ambassador to the UN, Mark Lyall Grant, said. "It marks the way from the military phase towards the formation of an inclusive government, the full participation of all sectors of society, and for the Libyan people to choose their own future."

The security council said it looked forward "to the swift establishment of an inclusive, representative transitional government of Libya" committed to democracy, good governance, rule of law, national reconciliation and respect for human rights.

It strongly urged Libyan authorities "to refrain from reprisals", to take measures to prevent others from carrying out reprisals, and to protect the population, "including foreign nationals and African migrants".

Sadiq Hamed & Mummar Gadhafi


The assassination of Mummar Gadhafi was an ugly affiar as it was broadcast by Zapruder-cell phone cameras on the scene around the world.

While loud cries were heard denouncing the manner of his death, as I see it happening I think of Sadiq Hamed and the thousands of other Libyans who Gadhafi executed for disagreeing with him.

Hamed was educated in America and returned home, was arrested and hung in a school gymnasium for his crimes against the state. You can now view his execution by hanging on Youtube, but nobody complained at the time and there was no world wide outcry against the inhumanity of it. Nor do I recall any outcry against the mass execution of over one thousand political prisoners in Tripoli, an event that eventually sparked the revolution of Feb. 15 when a lawyer hired by the families of the victims was arrested.

In the end, when the murders and assassinations finally end, there should be a tally of the martyrs, not only the martyrs of the revolution, but those who died under the Gadhafi regime.

Libyan Executions

My first introduction to Arab sentiments over the value of human life was in the fictional film “The Flight of the Phoenix,” in which a group of plane crash survivors in the African desert seek assistance from a band of wandering Bedouin tribesmen. Two of the men visit their camp, and the next day they are found dead with their throats cut.

As the Arab curved swords and daggers are made for such tactics, the United States Marine Corps take their nickname “leathernecks” from the leather bands worn around their necks to prevent being killed in such a fashion during the Barbary pirate wars, which included Triopli.

During that war the first American ship to encounter the pirates in action reported that the enemy captain twice faked surrender before finally really surrendering. He then executed his own first officer and threw his body overboard. It was later reported that when this Captain made it back to Tripoli, the Bahaw Yousef Karamanli had him placed naked sitting backwards on a donkey and paraded through the streets of Tripoli to the jeers of its citizens.

While an entire nation and race cannot be judged as cutthroats, the Arab penchant for quick and lethal justice for minor offenses was brought out in one of the first stories I read about Gadhafi’s 1969 coup. The Wheelus Air Force base web site included recollections of some young students and children of American service families in Libya, recalling one young Libyan who loved Elvis, America and everything American. All he wanted to do was visit America, but shortly after the revolution, one of the Americans he knew came upon him in downtown Tripoli, lynched, hung for simply liking America.

Then with the beginning of the Feburary 17th Revolution, Huda, the mayor of Benghazi, who personally pulled the rope that killed Sadiq Hamed, was one of the first targets of the free Libyan rebels, who burned her house down. Huda "the executioner," as they call her, was reportedly arrested.
http://revolutionaryprogram.blogspot.com/2011/08/tripoli-prison-art.htm

It wasn't until after the revolution began that the rest of the world learned about the 1,000 political prisoners who Gadhafi had executed at a Tripoli prison, and whose families had hired a lawyer to seek some semblance of justice. When the lawyer was arrested on February 15, the families protests developed into a full fledged revolt. As the city of Benghazi fell, and the security forces left, one of the first places that the revolutionary rioters attacked was the home of the mayor, H, the horrible, who had personally executed some political prisoners at a school gymnasium, executions that are now shown over the internet on Youtube, much like Gadhafi’s execution at the hands of a mob is being shown.

While I have been repulsed by the scenes of the living Gadhafi being tortured and his dead body being paraded around like a hunter’s trophy, I am led to think of the deaths a few days earlier of the Australian aid worker and the Benghazi business owner who left a wife and four daughters behind, making them the last of the martyrs of Sirte.

Hopefully, Gadhafi himself will be the last of the maryters.