Featured Post

Attorney Glenn Greenwald joins Trump defense team

Sunday, July 31, 2011

NATO over Tripoli - Air Strikes in the Age of Twitter

I had an revelation Friday about the Internet and especially Twitter as the tweets about that day's NATO bombing of Tripoli came in. The first ones noted large explosions but didn't know how they had been delivered.
Explosion in #Tripoli right now, unclear if it's @NATO or some sort of clash. #Libya #Feb17
and
FLASH: Powerful explosions Rocking #Gaddafi Regime in #Tripoli #Libya #Feb17
Minutes later they reported strikes in the direction of Qaddafi's compound,
BREAKING: air strikes a couple of minutes ago on #Tripoli at Gaddafi's compound and further south toe the capital
and still others claimed that the target appeared to be Libyan State TV.
#Nato says it has disabled three Libyan state TV satellite transmission dishes in the capital, #Tripoli, through a precision air strike.
As I read these coming in, in real time, I realized that because of this technology, neither NATO nor anyone else could bomb a city without the world knowing within minutes. The Nixon era secret bombings of Cambodia were truly a thing of the past.. .as long as we keep the Internet free.

The pro-Qaddafi PressTV was one of the first to break the story outside of Twitter with the headline NATO airstrikes hit Tripoli city center. The way they told it, you would think all of downtown Tripoli had been bombed. According to NATO they took out three satellite antennas for Libya State TV "with the intent of degrading Qadhafi’s use of satellite television as a means to intimidate the Libyan people and incite acts of violence against them." They also said "Striking specifically these critical satellite dishes will reduce the regime’s ability to oppress civilians while at the same time preserve television broadcast infrastructure that will be needed after the conflict." According to this source the strike was carried out by RAF Tornado and Typhoon aircraft.

freelibyasoon tweeted his delight:
Glad #Nato is targeting #Gaddafi State Lying TV , its about time! http://t.co/eEqn2kO #Libya #Tripoli #Feb17
While other tweets indicated that Libyan State TV was still on the air. moiatable note:
@NatoSources - #Libya State TV still broadcasting in #Nafusa (#Nilesat) even after taking out 3 dishes in #Tripoli :/
libyangovtinfo said:
#tripoli #rixos thanks to our good frends at #nilesat for keeping pappa G s broadcasts going the natos bombed old 1980s sat dishes
There was also another series tweets which I mysteriously can't seem to find now but remembers seeing in the Twitter bomb damage assessment after the strike. One was a series of tweets from someone calling himself navyguy something or other saying that NATO needed engineering drawings and other specific intelligence about Libya State TV. Another was a tweet claiming to carry the co-ordinates of a fourth satellite uplink antenna. Curious, is Twitter really being used to request and deliver target information?

Later the Libyan government called it an act of international terrorism and claimed that 3 technicians had been killed and 15 journalist had been injured. According to Director of Libyan English TV Khaled Bazelya:
"Three of our colleagues were murdered and 15 injured while performing their professional duties as Libyan journalists. NATO admitted the crime citing "silencing Gaddafi propaganda machine" as a justification for such murderous act. We are the employees of the official Libyan TV. We are not a military target."
Of course NATO made no admission of murder in this case and the phrase in quotes is not to be found in their statement but they did say that they had taken out the antennas. Libyan State TV also released this video showing the damage that NATO had done:



This video is interesting both for what it does show and what it doesn't show. It doesn't show where the bombs actually hit. We don't see the impact site or any fire damage and blacken soot we associate with explosives. We don't see any dead or injured or the sites where they have supposedly been killed or injured.

We are shown a number of building interiors that have been ram-sacked by the NATO bomb attack. Now, I'm no bomb damage expert but I do have common sense, and a little background in construction and engineering and this video smells really fake to me. Examine these stills I've taken from the video:

This is an interior door that we are suppose to believe was damaged by the NATO attack. Did NATO attack by having very burly guys bust through office doors without opening them first? Because that is what it looks like to me. There is no bomb or shrapnel damage to the beautiful wood finish of the door, not even a trace of soot. This wood has been damaged by a relatively slow impact, like being rammed, not by the extremely rapid shock and small particle spray of a modern bomb blast.

Next, look at this one:


This definitely looks to me like that window was ripped off the wall by the frame from the inside, and not by any bomb blast. The pane isn't broken, and the outside security grid isn't bent in at all. Now really, how does a bomb do that? Ditto with this one:


NATO bombs apparently knocked this window out of the wall and onto the floor. Fortunately for all, it wasn't even cracked. Other sections of the video show empty rooms and a conference room where the suspended ceiling has come down, making an absolute mess everywhere. The building roofs and real ceilings appear to have escaped the blast.

Now I know NATO used smart bombs for this attack but just how smart are they? Do they fall to the ground and then turn themselves into burly men who then ago around and sack everything? Because the scenes in this video remind me more of earthquake damage and any real bomb damage I have seen.

We certainly know that NATO has killed Libyan civilians in their strikes, they have admitted as much, but all the circumstances surrounding this strike and the quality of the proof offered by the Qaddafi government make it very hard to take at face value their claims that 3 technicians were killed in the strike on three satellite disks.

The Qaddafi regime has been using some questionable methods to avoid air strikes. For example, they have had their army ditch many of it's military vehicles in favor of pickup trucks so that they look like the freedom fighters. They have even gone so far as to paint the opposition flag on those vehicles. They also often accused NATO is hitting civilian targets and killing innocent people. Apart from differences between Qaddafi and NATO over what constitutes a legitimate military target, there is strong evidence to suggest that Qaddafi is misusing civilian locations to hide his military assets.

In another example on July 23rd, NATO was accused of attacking Libya's water supply, which is of course a war crime, and of killing an additional 6 civilians. Pravada ran the story:
NATO war crime: Libya water supply

A NATO terrorist attack has hit a water pipes factory in al-Brega, murdering six guards, this being the factory which makes pipes for the great man-made irrigation system across the desert which brings water to seventy per cent of Libyan homes, according to sources in Libya.
Although, as usual, no bodies were presented or names released, Pravada called upon the international community to "stop this murderous atrocity, this outrage against civilization and international law, now."

NATO had a different story and their's came with pictures:
Slide one, please. By the way, these pictures will be made available on the NATO site, so it would be possible for the media to download them.

So basically repeatedly over the past few weeks we got clear intelligence indicating that pro-Qadhafi forces are using this factory for military purposes. The factory is being used to hide military material, including multiple rocket launchers. These weapons have been used every day from within this factory compound and then carefully hidden after the day, within or along massive concrete pipes that you can see in this picture.
This is one of the pictures they showed:


Multiple rocket launchers, like the ones in the upper right hand corner insets in this picture and apparently destroyed in this raid, have been used by the Qaddafi forces for the indiscriminate slaughter of people in cities like Misrata. He was doing this before NATO intervened. He is still doing it however he can get away with it now and the so-called anti-interventionists want NATO out of it so that Qaddafi can get back to killing big time without interference.

The anti-interventionists never bothered to trouble themselves about the plight of the Libyan people as Qaddafi killed as many as 7,000 before NATO intervention and they have never seriously challenged the proposition that more Libyans were killed in the first four weeks before NATO intervened than in the four month since. In fact, they don't really care about the Libyan people. They just care about opposing the United States no matter what it does and they want NATO out of it.

Among other things, this has led to a serious imbalance in the anti-war movement. Yesterday, at a Los Angeles fund raiser for Haiti featuring, Danny Glover ( I gave him a copy of my film, Vietnam: American Holocaust), Pat Alviso of Military Families Speak Out [MFOS] complained to me that she thought the anti-war movement had forgotten all about Iraq and Afghanistan. She reminded me that we still have soldiers on the ground dying in those wars, and I would like to remind everyone that the U.S. is killing a lot more in those conflicts without even the fig leaf of a humanitarian cause.

And let me just add for the record today, they apparently don't care about the Syrian people either. If the U.S. opposes Assad's use of tanks in Hama, then they certainly can't. So don't look for statements of opposition to the Syrian crackdown from them, they're waiting for someone to try to stop it. Then they'll swing into action.

Here is a recap of my other DKos diaries on the Internet, North Africa and Anonymous:
How Many Libyans has NATO Killed?
Qaddafi Terror Files Start to Trickle Out!
Have Libyan Rebels Committed Human Rights Abuses?
Tripoli Green Square Reality Check
Behind the Green Curtain: Libya Today
Gilbert Achcar on the Libyan situation and the Left
NATO slammed for Libya civilian deaths NOT!
Qaddafi's Million Man March
NATO's Game Plan in Libya
February 21st - Tripoli's Long Night
Did Qaddafi Bomb Peaceful Protesters?
Tripoli Burn Notice
Libyans, Palestinians & Israelis
'Brother' Qaddafi Indicted plus Libya & Syria: Dueling Rally Photofinishs
An Open Letter to ANSWER
ANSWER answers me
No Libyans allowed at ANSWER Libya Forum
Are they throwing babies out of incubators yet?
Continuing Discussion with a Gaddafi Supporter
Boston Globe oped supports Gaddafi with fraudulent journalism
Doha summit supports Libyan rebels
Current Events in Libya
Who's running Egypt?
Amonpour Plays Softball with Gaddafi
Californians Support North African Revolts
Google Supports Revolts | Anonymous does too!
Secret U.S. Intelligence Source on Middle East Revealed !
Arming Gaddfi
Are "mutinous officers" are being executed in Egypt now?
Algeria's 19 year long State of Emergency to end soon, President says
Senior Egyptian Army Officers Ordered Massacre!
Tales of Tyrants: Ben Ali, Mubarak & Suleiman
The Mubarak Screw Up & the Suleiman Danger
BREAKING: Mubarak is Defiant
The Google Search for Wael Ghonim
Tunisia's Revolution Continues
Google Goes Rebel, Supports Egyptian Protest
Tunisian Anonymous activists take on Egyptian cause
Protesters roar back with "Day of Departure" for Mubarak
Act Now to Stop Mubarak's Thugs From Killing More! w Petition
Act Now to Stop Mubarak's Thugs From Killing More!
They Should Have Helped That Street Vendor
Million Egyptian Protest Planned as Resistance Continues
Huffington Post Disses the Jasmine Revolution Redux
No Internet? No Problem! Anonymous Faxes Egypt
Egypt is on Fire!
North African Revolution Continues
Egypt Protests Continue, Tunisia Wants Ben Ali Back
BREAKING: Protesters Plan Massive "Day of Wrath" in Egypt Today
Tunisians Thank Anonymous as North Africa Explodes
Huffington Post Disses the Jasmine Revolution
Tunisia: A Single Tweet Can Start A Prairie Fire!
Anonymous plans Op Swift Assist in Tunisia
Arrested Pirate Party Member Becomes Tunisian Minister
Is Libya Next? Anonymous Debates New Operation
Tunis: This Photo was Taken 66 Minutes Ago
The WikiLeaks Revolution: Anonymous Strikes Tunisia
EMERGENCY: DKos Must Act Now to Protect Tunisian Bloggers!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

How Many Libyans has NATO Killed?

Dima Khatib, a Syrian-born Palestinian journalist, wrote today, July 24, 2011:
One member of Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC), the rebels political body, said to me off-the-record that he disagreed with foreign military intervention in principle. "Of course I don't like it and don't encourage it, but this was our only choice. I know NATO comes with its own agenda, I know NATO is calling the shots now. After we get rid of Gaddafi, we will have to deal with the consequences of NATO intervention."

In the Vietnam War the U.S. faced a people that had already liberated half of their country and were intent upon sweeping the French and U.S. backed puppet regimes aside and liberating the other half. Contrary to U.S. claims at the time, they knew that "the battle for Hearts and Minds" had been lost a long time ago. They had the Diem regime cancel promised elections in 1956 because the CIA reported that even in the South, Ho Chi Minh would get more than 80% of the vote.

So the U.S. strategy in Vietnam was to simply bludgeon the Vietnamese back into the fold. As Lowell Sorely described commanding General Westmoreland's Vietnam strategy [my film]:
His approach to fighting the war in Vietnam was essentially that if he killed enough of the enemy, the war would be won and he killed an awful lot of them but the war wasn't won.
This campaign resulted in the slaughter of more than 3 million Vietnamese and most these people were killed in a bombing campaign, the intensity of which had never been seen before or since. It was the equivalent of 640 Hiroshima sized atomic bombs. I did a film documenting this human slaughter, Vietnam: American Holocaust, and a 10 minute segment on the bombing of Vietnam has been viewed 637,031 times on YouTube.

In Iraq and Afghanistan the U.S. has also been waging a war against an insurgency. Since insurgents tend to live among the people, with their families and other civilians, and since U.S. war planners disregard that reality, these campaigns have also involved high civilian causalities even if they haven't brought back the murderous carpet bombing campaigns of the Vietnam era. Is it like that also in Libya? Is NATO running true to form with NATO bombing resulting in high civilian causalities? One would think so, if history is any guide. Or is it even worst? Possibly a slaughter from the air on a Vietnam scale? Some see it that way. Speaking on the ANSWER sponsored Eyewitness Libya tour in Los Angeles, June 18, Cynthia McKinney condemned the NATO bombing of Libya. She was witness to the bombing of Tripoli and said "Tripoli is under heavy aerial bombardment in all areas, in civilian areas." That certainly sounds like the type of bombing I document in my film on the Vietnam War. And while many anti-imperialist groups have blamed NATO bombing for "massive civilian deaths", few have tried to put a number on it. One that has, has been the Worker's World Party. They published an article by Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor Pan-African News Wire on June 15, 2011 that states:
Official NATO sources say that more than 10,000 sorties have been flown over the oil-rich nation resulting in large-scale destruction of the country’s infrastructure and the reported deaths of 10,000 to 15,000 people.
The Qaddafi regime for it's part, has made much more modest claims. It was reported, July 14th:
On Wednesday, Libya’s prosecutor general accused NATO of killing 1,108 people and wounding another 4,500 and filed charges against the alliance’s chief in Libyan court.
On July 4th the official Russian website Pravada spoke "of hundreds of casualties from the bombing of NATO since March 19 last." But even these numbers are hotly contested by NATO and they may be right. Unless you believe that NATO is just out to kill Libyans in massive numbers, which case a few hundred thousand could easily be killed in Tripoli alone, there is reason to believe that civilian causalities in this conflict might be significantly lower than they were in the previously mentioned NATO and US bombing campaigns. For once, NATO is attacking a state actor and a state army, not an insurgency. While insurgents live among the people and the imperialist will readily disregard "collateral damage" to get at them, state armies generally live in barracks and state run military installations, for a variety of security and other reasons, tend to be away from population centers. This means that if those are indeed the targets, and a little care is taken, civilian casualties can be minimized. However, as we well know from on-going wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, they are not squeamish about "collateral damage" if they think they have even a shred of a chance of killing what they consider a "high value target", so any civilians around Mummar Qaddafi or anyone else at the top of his regime's military or political leadership would undoubtedly be in grave danger. We have certainly seen this. This was the situation in the case of the most publicized civilian deaths of the NATO war on Libya, when about 8pm on a Saturday night, April 30, 2011 a Danish F-16 torn into Qaddafi's Tripoli compound with 4 smart bombs. They missed him but killed his son, 29-year old Saif al-Arab, and three of his grandchildren under 12, who remain unnamed. Cynthia McKinney wrote extensively about this strike in which "They killed the babies, they killed his grandbabies." She said:
It was a small whitewashed suburban type house in a typical residential area in metropolitan Tripoli. It was surrounded by dozens of other family homes. I spoke with a neighbor who described how three separate smart bombs hit the home and exploded, another one not exploding. According to the BBC, the NATO military operations chief stated that a "command and control center" had been hit. That is a lie. As anyone who visits the home can see, this home had nothing to do with NATO's war.
Then she says
Muammar Qaddafi was at the house. But he was outside near where the animals are kept. It is a miracle that he survived. From the looks of that house and the small guest house beside it, the strike was a complete success if the goal was to totally and thoroughly demolish the structure and everything inside it.
Since no other deaths or destroyed buildings were reported as a result of this strike, it also sounds like it was a complete success in not hitting anything they didn't intend to hit and since Qaddafi was there at the time, it sounds like it was based on good intelligence, neither are necessarily the norm when it comes to NATO operations. But they missed him nevertheless. Frankly, I wish they had gotten the murderer, a lot of people on both sides of this conflict that have died since May Day might still be alive. Yesterday I saw this desperate tweet:
@NATO #AlQatroun(24.94123829939631, 14.62554931640625)sending a cry4help, city under siege and continuous shelling by #Gadafi thugs, #Libya
One thing that Cynthia McKinney should understand is that that home, with Mummar Qaddafi in it, was a legitimate military target in the eyes of NATO. It may not be legitimate to kill a head of state in war but it is legitimate to kill a soldier in the opposing army, even a colonel, and especially if he is the top commander and the principal threat to the civilians NATO is authorized to protect. NATO has clearly been targeting Mummar Qaddafi for assassination in some of these air strikes and all denials to contrary can be disregarded. Me, if I knew, say, that the Mafia had a hit man out trying to kill me, I wouldn't be anywhere near my family. But that's just my speculation about a hypothetical situation. Each person and each family would have to decide for themselves how they might deal with a threat from a mad dog. In any case, the one thing we know from this April 30th air strike is that the NATO air strikes on Libya have killed civilians, including children. Beyond that we have these wildly different claims as to how many. According to NATO as of July 22, they have carried out 15,904 sorties, including 5,995 strike sorties since the beginning of Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR. A sortie is the deployment of a single aircraft. A note says strike sorties are intended to identify and engage appropriate targets, but do not necessarily deploy munitions each time. That means, as Defense Professionals put it, July 1,
One of the eye-opening features of the three month old NATO air campaign in Libya is the hollowness of the world’s premier military alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)... The Alliance publishes daily statistics of sorties flown and strike missions conducted. Of course, the vast majority of those strike missions are unsuccessful meaning that the aircraft went out armed and came back without having expended any ordinance.
Those daily statistics read like this:
For July 20th, NATO owned to 122 sorties of which 53 were strike sorties. It claimed to hit the following targets: In the vicinity of Brega: 2 Armed Vehicles, 1 Rocket Launcher. In the vicinity of Misrata: 2 Rocket Launchers, 3 Armed Vehicle. In the vicinity of Tripoli: 2 Surface-to-Air-Missile Launcher, 1 Radar. In the vicinity of Waddan: 1 Military Storage Facility. In the vicinity of Zlitan: 2 Command and Control Nodes, 4 Military Storage Facilities, 5 Military Facilities, 2 Military Refueling Areas.
For July 19th, NATO claimed 113 sorties of which 40 were strike sorties. It claimed to hit the following targets: In the vicinity of Brega: 5 Armed Vehicles, 1 Armoured Fighting Vehicle. In the vicinity of Misrata: 1 Anti-Aircraft Gun, 2 Armed Vehicle. In the vicinity of Tripoli: 6 Surface-to-Air-Missile Launcher, 2 Armed Vehicles. In the vicinity of Waddan: 1 Military Storage Facility. In the vicinity of Zlitan: 2 Command and Control Nodes, 2 Military Storage Facility, 3 Military Facilities, 2 Military Refueling Areas.
For July 18th, NATO owned to 129 sorties of which 44 were strike sorties. It claimed to hit the following targets: In the vicinity of Brega: 8 Armed Vehicles, 2 Armoured Fighting Vehicles. In the vicinity of Tripoli: 1 Artillery Piece, 1 Radar, 1 Surface-to-Air-Missile Launcher, 1 Command and Control Vehicle, 1 Command and Control Node. In the vicinity of Misrata: 6 Artillery Pieces. In the vicinity of Waddan: 1 Military Storage Facility.
And so it goes with NATO bombing, day in, day out, for four months now. In reading these sterile stats, it would do well to bare in mind that the home where they missed Qaddafi, the home where they killed the children, would have been listed in the NATO report as "1 Command and Control Node." The U.S. participation in this warfare seems relatively modest for a superpower. AFRICOM spokeswoman Nicole Dalrymple said in a statement on June 29th. “As of today, and since 31 March, the U.S. has flown a total of 3,475 sorties in support of OUP. Of those, 801 were strike sorties, 132 of which actually dropped ordnance.” That was only 16.1% of the 4,963 strike sorties conducted by NATO as of June 29th with a total of 132 targets being hit. Cynthia McKinney recalls the terrifying aerial campaign of the Iraq War when she speaks of "the shock and awe of NATO bombs and missiles" in Libya, but these numbers are still a long ways from the 38,358 sorties flown by U.S. aircrafts or the 29,199 munitions dropped on Iraq in the first 30 days of that war which started on March 19, 2003. Still innocent lives have been taken... NATO has admitted killing Libya civilians by accident in at least one case. On Sunday, June 19th, 15 civilians, including 3 children, were killed by a NATO bombing attack to the west of Tripoli according to Libyan officials. A NATO statement said, "A military missile site was the intended target of air strikes in Tripoli last night. However, it appears that one weapon did not strike the intended target; there may have been a weapons system failure which may have caused a number of civilian casualties." There have also been a number of so-called "friendly fire" incidences that the rebel forces have reported and that NATO has owned to, beyond that there is controversy. A NATO air strike 15 kilometers east of Brega on April 1, killed 9 rebels and 4 civilians.
"Thirteen dead, seven injured by friendly fire. It was a regrettable occurrence," rebel Abdulhafiz Ghoga said, calling them "unintentional deaths." Another rebel spokesman, Mustafa Gheriani, told Reuters the leadership still wanted and needed allied air strikes. "You have to look at the big picture. Mistakes will happen. We are trying to get rid of Gaddafi and there will be casualties, although of course it does not make us happy."
But at the same time there was growing frustration with NATO. On April 5th, Libyan rebel military leader Abdel-Fattah Younis spoke out publicly saying that NATO was falling short in it's mission to protect civilians. He also said the rebels had been routed from Brega because NATO was slow to conduct air strikes. They didn't "do anything", he said. A lower ranked soldier of the campaign, Pvt. Mohammed Abdullah, a 30-year-old former member of Qaddafi's army who has joined the rebel side, complained "NATO is not doing their job, the air strikes are late and never on time. NATO is not helping us. Qaddafi still gets ammunition and supplies to his forces, that's why he is pushing us back." Less than a week later, on April 7th, there was another "friendly fire" incident. This was also outside of the oil town of Brega. As the rebels were starting another major push against Qaddafi's front lines, NATO blasted them, killing 5 freedom fighters and knocking out a rebel tank. The rebels claim the NATO "friendly fire" forced a retreat and this time the attitude towards NATO was not so conciliatory as shouts of "Down, down with NATO," could be heard from the rebel ranks. Slobodian Lekic, writing for the Huffington Post saw it this way:
NATO holds its fire as Moammar Gadhafi's forces advance 100 miles into rebel territory. It then blasts a rebel tank, saying it didn't know the rebels had any – even though footage of rebels with tanks had been on YouTube for weeks.
There was a third NATO "friendly fire" incident on April 27th in which 12 rebel fighters were killed near Misrata. The NY Times reported:
As the bodies of the fighters who had been killed were being collected at a medical clinic in the Qasr Ahmed neighborhood, a grieving rebel commander, Abdullah Mohammed, provided an account of the errant strikes. Mr. Mohammed said that as pro-Qaddafi forces tried to outflank the city’s port from the east in recent days, rebels moved into a salt factory and fortified it as a blocking position. They first occupied the building on Tuesday, he said, and informed NATO of their presence. They continued to occupy the building, and on Wednesday they were struck from the air around 4:30 p.m. “We stayed in exactly the same place,” he said. “And they hit it.”
For it's part, NATO has complained that these incidents and some others involving civilians could be greatly diminished if the rebels would allow NATO to have it's own forward air controllers on the ground, but the rebels see that as a violation of their prohibition against foreign boots on the ground. In any case the lack of these incidents since April would seem to indicate that the necessary co-ordination has been achieved without the introduction of NATO boots on Libyan soil. NATO has also laid claim to successes that did not stand up to scrutiny. The Washington Post reported:
In late May, the British government declared that it had used precision-guided weapons to bring down guard towers at Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziyah compound and said that the Libyan regime would no longer be able to hide behind “high walls” to spread terror and crush opposition. A trip to the area the following day showed the towers and the walls still intact.
So for all the fanfare that accompanied NATO's entrance into this conflict, and all the decrying of NATO's 'massive bombing' by Qaddafi supporters, NATO's real contribution to the fight to overthrow Qaddafi has been less than you might think. There have also been a series of what looks like decapitation attacks as NATO pounded what they called command and control centers in and around Tripoli after the failed attempt on Qaddafi that Cynthia McKinney spoke of. On May 10 NATO carried out eight strikes in less than three hours in "an unusually heavy bombardment of Tripoli." Libyan authorities reported that four children were injured by flying glass as a result. "Two of the children were seriously hurt and are in intensive care in hospital," said one official. Two days later, May 12, they struck Qaddafi's sprawling Tripoli compound and three other sites only hours after Qaddafi had surfaced on Libyan State TV. Libyan officials said 3 people were killed and 25 wounded as a result. At this rate, the rebels will probably get Qaddafi before NATO does. We now know that the "kitchen explosion" reported by Libyan government spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, yesterday was a little more than that.
According to Ali Essawi, who is in charge of Foreign Affairs for the NTC, there was meeting in a room of top Gadaffi officials when it was struck by a rocket propelled grenade. People in the room at the time included Gaddaffi’s youngest son, Saif al-Islam, his Prime Minister al-Baghdadi Ali Al-Mahmoudi, his Intelligence Chief Abdullah al-Senussi (wanted by the International Criminal Court) and an official called Mansour Daw. It is believed that Daw, a former Gaddafi bodyguard and now a close aide, was the one seriously injured. The others escaped unharmed or with minor injuries.
May 13, the day after the Libyan government said 3 people were killed in the attack on Qaddafi's compound, they said that 11 clerics had been killed in a NATO air strike
TRIPOLI, Libya — Eleven Muslim clerics were killed in their sleep by a NATO airstrike Friday on the eastern oil town of Brega, a Libyan government spokesman said. The spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, says the clerics were among a large group of imams who had gathered in Brega to pray for peace in conflict-ridden Libya. He said 11 imams were killed and 50 people wounded, including five in critical condition.
I have tried in vain to find out more about the 11 imams or more details about this incident than were given in the initial gov't statement. I posted a tweet
The 11 imams killed in Nato strike May 14. Does anybody know their names? message me @clayclai
This was retweet to hundreds of close observers of the Libyan situation. I also emailed the same question to many U.S. Qaddafi supporters in the hopes that they would know. The only response I got back was this tweet:
@2011feb17 Tweeting Tripoli @clayclai No Imams were ever killed. Those were clearly Gaddafi's officers in Brega C&C. Imams don't wear Fly Emirates shirts & sports wear.
One of the things that makes it so difficult to determine the true extent to which NATO activity is harming the civilian population is that the Libyan government has no integrity in such matters. The most notorious case of out-right fraud on the part of the Libyan government concerns a baby girl that they said was injured in a NATO bombing on June 5th. The Telegraph reported the incredible story together with video proof:
Libya: government use injured baby in propaganda stunt In a Tripoli hospital, the Gaddafi regime's propaganda attempts are cruelly exposed as Libyan government officials present a baby girl as a victim of a Nato airstrike only for it to be revealed that she was injured in a car crash.
One might reasonably conclude that they attempted this deception because they had no child victims of NATO bombing they could honestly present. The Washington Post recounted:
On Sunday, journalists were taken to look at some broken windows in a church but were not allowed to visit a nearby military site that had been destroyed. Then they were taken to a farm and shown a dead dog and dead chickens. A man there said no humans had been injured, but that story changed by the time the journalists reached the Sharia al-Zawiyah hospital. As the baby slept, a man arrived at the bedside and was introduced first as a Health Ministry spokesman, and then as a neighbor of the family. “Killing our children, this is what NATO does,” he said, giving his name as Imad Gheith. Prompted by an official at his side, he repeated the regime’s slogan. “God, Moammar, Libya, that’s all we need.” A few hours later, in the early hours of Monday, the journalists were taken on another trip, to a different part of town, to see a rusty rocket lying in a field behind some houses, a wooden picnic table overturned and a furrow gouged in the earth. “Were there any civilian casualties?” one reporter shouted. “Look, the table,” an official replied. A family emerged, and the reporters were told that they were having “lunch” in the field when the rocket struck around midnight. Then, Gheith was spotted. Pressed on why he had come here, he eventually admitted that he was a Libyan “journalist” who worked for the government’s media operations team. Then, as he explained that the rocket had fallen from the sky and gestured at the NATO warplane still audible overhead, a reporter saw Cyrillic lettering on a piece of the rocket, which looked more like part of a Russian Scud than a NATO missile. The story quickly changed. Perhaps NATO had bombed a Libyan military site and this rocket was part of the debris, Gheith suggested. It feels like some vast piece of political improvisation, with the participants just riffing off the central theme — NATO is killing Libyans, all of whom love Gaddafi — without any regard for the truth.
The day after NATO admitted to an error that left 15 civilians dead, July 20th, Libyan authorities accused NATO of killing 15 civilians including three children in a NATO attack on a compound owned by long-time Qaddafi associate, Khoweildi al-Hamidi. On June 25th, the Libyans accused NATO of killing 15 people, saying an airstrike hit a restaurant and bakery in Brega. An unknown NATO official denied these reports, saying "We have no indications of any civilian casualties in connection with these strikes." On June 29th, Libyan State TV said that a NATO airstrike had targeted a market in the town of Tawragha had killed 8 civilians. Thus within ten days of NATO owning an error that cost 15 civilian lives, the Qaddafi government accused them of taking 38 more but NATO didn't take responsibility for these. More recently, the Libyan government reported that 6 security guards were killed on July 21st in a NATO airstrike at a water pipeline plant near Brega. Like the other reports, there is no verification, and it is hard to simply take the Qaddafi regime at its word. This is the conclusion that the Washington Post came to. In Libya government fails to prove claims of NATO casualties, they conclude:
Nearly three months into NATO’s bombing campaign, Moammar Gaddafi’s government churns out daily propaganda about the alliance supposedly inflicting civilian casualties. Last week, it said that 718 people had died from mid-March to late May and that 4,067 had suffered significant injuries. But it has failed to show foreign journalists more than a handful of dead or wounded people. Indeed, when reporters are taken on official trips, what they see suggests that NATO is being accurate and careful.
On her nationwide "Eyewitness Libya Tour", Cynthia McKinney shows a film produced for her by "ordinary Libyans." In that film, we are shown dozens of what we are told are civilians injured by NATO bombing. I found it interesting to note that all those that we are shown are men of military age. If over a thousand civilians have been killed by NATO bombing, there should be many women and children among them. Why were they absent from the video? So how many Libyans has NATO bombing killed in Libya? It is definitely more than the 60 of so that NATO has owned to and almost certainly less than the more than 1100 claimed by the Qaddafi regime. We won't know until peace comes to Libya and we may never know for sure. In any case it is far less than the estimated seven thousand Libyans Mummar Qaddafi has killed in attempting to suppress this uprising since February 15, 2011. Far fewer Libyans have died in the 4 months since NATO intervened in this conflict than in the four weeks before they did. NATO's intervention in Afghanistan has not had the same effect. This past year has been one of the most dangerous ones on record for civilians in Afghanistan. From the Guardian:
Speaking on 14 July, Stefan de Mistura, special representative of the UN secretary general for Afghanistan, and his colleague Georgette Gagnon – director of human rights for the mission – described a 15% increase in civilian casualties in the preceding six months, with May 2011 the deadliest month of the war for civilians since 2007.
They have documented 1,462 civilian deaths in the first six months of 2011 in the war in Afghanistan, at the same time U.S. officials claim NATO special forces raids have killed 834 "insurgents" just since April. Even if anti-government forces are responsible for 80% of the civilian deaths, as the UN report claims, NATO is almost certainly still killing more civilians there than in Libya. Perhaps those that are trying to re-task the antiwar movement to put opposition to attacks on Qaddafi in first place would do well to consider this. This is how some in Tripoli feel about NATO air strikes on their city. And this is also how they feel about NATO intervention. On her website today, Dima Khatib recounts what she was told recently by a woman on the street in Benghazi:
"We thank the US and France for what they are doing. But they have no say here in things. They should just give us the air cover we need to march to Tripoli. We Libyans will do it ourselves. We shall liberate Libya from the tyrant and we Libyans shall decide his fate". Foreign ground troops are out of the question for now. Signs in many parts of Benghazi clearly state they are not welcome. What rebels hope for is to get weapons, aid and money from friendly countries to help them make it to Tripoli. Qatar has already sent two batches of military and humanitarian aid but other countries are yet to do their part.
UPDATE: Bachmann claims NATO killed 30,000 civilians in Libya Qaddafi supporters in the anti-war movement need to think about why they are making the same exaggeration as Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
Click here for a list of my other dairies on Libya

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Qaddafi Terror Files Start to Trickle Out!

The truth illusion and horror of Qaddafi's 40 year rule of Libya will undoubtedly be revealed once people are free to talk and Qaddafi's secret files are made public. Then all of these rabid Qaddafi defenders will truly be embarrassed. In fact this is already starting to happen as certain documents and videos from the sacked security office in Benghazi get out. Those recent exposures generated this excerpt from the Christian Science Monitor:
The Guardian published some documents and video yesterday that were taken from a sacked state security office in Benghazi and handed to Human Rights Watch's Peter Bouckaert.

Among them are a video of the public execution of Sadiq Shwehdi in 1984 at the Benghazi basketball stadium. Shwehdi had studied in the US and met with Libyan exile groups critical of Qaddafi. When he came home to Benghazi in 1984, he was quickly arrested in a crackdown on political dissidents following a failed assassination attempt on Qaddafi.

A "revolutionary court" was assembled (the sole membership qualification being rabid fealty to Qaddafi), the stadium packed with jeering Qaddafi supporters and busloads of schoolchildren. The events that culminated in the murder of Shwehdi and others were beamed live on state television. In Benghazi, most of those old enough to remember have vivid memories of the horror of that day. Spreading that horror around was Qaddafi's point.

Though the video at The Guardian is better quality, I found this grainy old network news report on Shwehdi's execution far more interesting. It captures the way Qaddafi has used mob violence and state terror, while telling Shwehdi's story.

It is graphic in parts, so be warned (after the 2-minute mark, it shows the hanging of Shwehdi).

Libyan martyr executed publicly on May 1984 in Benghazi , Libya while his brothers and family were watching during Ramadan ....

Here is a recap of my other DKos diaries on the Internet, North Africa and Anonymous:
Have Libyan Rebels Committed Human Rights Abuses?
Tripoli Green Square Reality Check
Behind the Green Curtain: Libya Today
Gilbert Achcar on the Libyan situation and the Left
NATO slammed for Libya civilian deaths NOT!
Qaddafi's Million Man March
NATO's Game Plan in Libya
February 21st - Tripoli's Long Night
Did Qaddafi Bomb Peaceful Protesters?
Tripoli Burn Notice
Libyans, Palestinians & Israelis
'Brother' Qaddafi Indicted plus Libya & Syria: Dueling Rally Photofinishs
An Open Letter to ANSWER
ANSWER answers me
No Libyans allowed at ANSWER Libya Forum
Are they throwing babies out of incubators yet?
Continuing Discussion with a Gaddafi Supporter
Boston Globe oped supports Gaddafi with fraudulent journalism
Doha summit supports Libyan rebels
Current Events in Libya
Who's running Egypt?
Amonpour Plays Softball with Gaddafi
Californians Support North African Revolts
Google Supports Revolts | Anonymous does too!
Secret U.S. Intelligence Source on Middle East Revealed !
Arming Gaddfi
Are "mutinous officers" are being executed in Egypt now?
Algeria's 19 year long State of Emergency to end soon, President says
Senior Egyptian Army Officers Ordered Massacre!
Tales of Tyrants: Ben Ali, Mubarak & Suleiman
The Mubarak Screw Up & the Suleiman Danger
BREAKING: Mubarak is Defiant
The Google Search for Wael Ghonim
Tunisia's Revolution Continues
Google Goes Rebel, Supports Egyptian Protest
Tunisian Anonymous activists take on Egyptian cause
Protesters roar back with "Day of Departure" for Mubarak
Act Now to Stop Mubarak's Thugs From Killing More! w Petition
Act Now to Stop Mubarak's Thugs From Killing More!
They Should Have Helped That Street Vendor
Million Egyptian Protest Planned as Resistance Continues
Huffington Post Disses the Jasmine Revolution Redux
No Internet? No Problem! Anonymous Faxes Egypt
Egypt is on Fire!
North African Revolution Continues
Egypt Protests Continue, Tunisia Wants Ben Ali Back
BREAKING: Protesters Plan Massive "Day of Wrath" in Egypt Today
Tunisians Thank Anonymous as North Africa Explodes
Huffington Post Disses the Jasmine Revolution
Tunisia: A Single Tweet Can Start A Prairie Fire!
Anonymous plans Op Swift Assist in Tunisia
Arrested Pirate Party Member Becomes Tunisian Minister
Is Libya Next? Anonymous Debates New Operation
Tunis: This Photo was Taken 66 Minutes Ago
The WikiLeaks Revolution: Anonymous Strikes Tunisia
EMERGENCY: DKos Must Act Now to Protect Tunisian Bloggers!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Have Libyan Rebels Committed Human Rights Abuses?

Rough translation of Military Council of Libya Statement in Response to HRW Report on 13 July 2011. From Libya Al Hurra TV Thursday 21st July 2011:
"In response to the Human Rights Watch report on 13 July regarding the violation of homes and property in the liberated areas, we as the military council for the west of Libya do not support or condone these behaviors that have come into question. There are under investigations underway and the perpetrators of these actions do not rep the 17 February Revolution or the Freedom Fighters.

The Freedom Fighters are doing what they can to protect property, human life and to protect the captured Gadaffi troops and provide them with treatment in accordance with international law. Every effort is being made to protect minority groups and others at risk, in compliance with Geneva convention.

The Military Council will do its best to educate everyone on the proper treatment of civilians and captured soldiers in compliance with international law and the Geneva convention."

In a report titled Libya: Opposition Forces Should Protect Civilians and Hospitals
issued on July 13, 2011 HRW charged:
In four towns captured by rebels in the Nafusa Mountains over the past month, rebel fighters and supporters have damaged property, burned some homes, looted from hospitals, homes, and shops, and beaten some individuals alleged to have supported government forces, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch witnessed some of these acts, interviewed witnesses to others, and spoke with a rebel commander about the abuses.

"Opposition leaders should halt and punish all rebel abuses" said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "The rebel authorities have a duty to protect civilians and their property, especially hospitals, and discipline anyone responsible for looting or other abuse."

Rebel forces seized control of al-Awaniya, Rayayinah, and Zawiyat al-Bagul in mid-June 2011, ousting government forces that had used the towns as a base for attacks against rebel-held territory - some of them indiscriminate attacks on civilian-inhabited areas. Rebel forces captured al-Qawalish on July 6.

In all four towns, some residents had left when government forces first arrived to fight the rebels in April and May. In all the towns but Rayayinah, most of the remaining residents fled when government forces withdrew, apparently fearing reprisals from rebel forces.

Al-Awaniya and Zawiyat al-Bagul are home to members of the Mesheshiya tribe, known for its loyalty to the Libyan government and Muammar Gaddafi.

The rebel military commander in the Nafusa Mountains, Col. El-Moktar Firnana, admitted that some abuses had taken place after rebels captured the towns, but said such attacks violated orders issued to the rebel forces not to attack civilians or damage civilian property. He claimed that some people had been punished, but did not say how many people or for what offenses.
One of the major problems with war is that it brutalizes and dehumanizes even those fighting on the just side of a conflict, not that all wars even have a just side, but some do.

I believe the Libyan opposition has a just cause in their civil war with Qaddafi and his forces. If you still harbor any doubts about whether Qaddafi ever gave his opposition any choice other than going over to armed struggle or submitting to his brutality, please take ten minutes and spend it looking out a window onto a street in Benghazi back on Feb. 18 when only Qaddafi people were doing the shooting. [Watch this YouTube video.]

Even though their cause is just, they are not protected from the powerful corrupting forces of armed conflict. In the Nafusa Mountains, even more so than elsewhere, the rebel force is largely made up of civilian volunteers new to warfare. They tend to be poorly armed, poorly trained and poorly disciplined.

In mid-June, at a high cost in freedom fighter lives, they managed to retake the towns from which Qaddafi's forces were pounding the entire area. Apparently revenge was taken by members of this force and mistakes were made.

It is good to see that steps are being taken to correct the situation.

Similarly, war crimes were committed early in the struggle when the newly self-armed protesters in Benghazi finally got their hands on the pro-Qaddafi forces in the barracks that had been sniping at them for days. Some were lynched. This must also be admitted.

This recent video purports to show the treatment of a Qaddafi POW captured by the rebel forces near Misrata. I hope this is an honest portrayal of his treatment and this becomes the standard. Proper and fair treatment will encourage Qaddafi's soldiers to come over to the side of the revolution.



No crueler mid-wife to the birth of a new society can be found than civil war. When civil war is necessary, the desired end result of a nation at peace must be kept firmly in mind. Every effort must be made to assure that there are no excesses and no criminal acts committed by those that call themselves freedom fighters.

Vietnam today stands as a find example of what can be achieved in that regards. Owing to the extremes of U.S. imperialism, no nation has had a more violent birth. It took the Vietnamese 30 years of persistent armed struggle to throw off both domestic tyrants and colonial masters and yet today nowhere can you find a society that is more at peace with itself.

Finally, I'd like to share with you another video I've found from the protest in Tripoli at the beginning. This also supports today's theme because at the end of the video the protesters catch a Qaddafi thug that was shooting at them. The fate of the thug is not made clear by the video, but oh what they do to his car!



Click here for a list of my other blogs on Libya

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tripoli Green Square Reality Check

After a five day battle it is beginning to look like the rebels have taken the oil town of Brega but it has been at a high cost, maybe 13 dead and more than 300 wounded.

As the battle for control of Libya rages on the battlefields another important battle has taken place in the realm of the media for the claim of legitimacy based on popular support among the Libyan people.

In this realm, the centerpiece of Qaddafi's claims to popular support has been a series of mass rallies in Tripoli on June 17th, July 1st and July 8th. In each of these occasions the pro-Qaddafi folks have stated that 1.7 million Libyans rallied for Qaddafi in Tripoli's Green Square. For example:
Pro-Qaddafi Rally Draws 1.7 million: 1/4 of the Population
Worker's World Party reported:
rallies in Libya against the bombing, which reportedly had 1.7 million people in attendance.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation wrote:
July 1 as many as a million rallied in Tripoli against NATO bombing. This is in a nation of only 6 million people.
NATO WILL BE DEFEATED IN LIBYA! by Gerald A. Perreira
Instead, on July 1st, over a million Libyans, around one third of the Libyan population, were in Green Square and the surrounding streets, to hear Muammar Qaddafi speak and to rally against NATO.

Chinese media put the number at 1.7 million and Intifada – Voice of Palestine website called it ‘the largest demonstration ever in world history’. The crowd chanted over and over again ‘We want Qaddafi’ while unveiling a green flag 6 kilometers long.
TRIPOLI. Friday of July 1, 2011 like many other Fridays has seen huge rallies in Tripoli’s Green Square.

It’s very hard to get an accurate number of the mass of people that have attended these rallies. Estimates have placed the size of the July 1st rally in Green Square at one million people. [China reports 1.7 million.]
Note that the [China reports] link links to the Perreira piece above not to any Chinese source. That source is not linked or defined by anybody and remains a mystery. That's how this information war is played by the pro-Qaddafi people. Assertions without sources.

Now others reporting on these pro-Qaddafi protests have estimated much lower numbers for these crowds, in the range of 10,000 to 30,000. It has also been said that the majority of those in attendance had some relation to Qaddafi security forces, approximately 10% of the Libya population has such an association. It threatened if they failed to show up.

So there have been a lot of questions about the accuracy of these reports.

I got to wondering if it was even possible for 1.7 million people "the world's largest demonstration" to fit in Tripoli's Green Square and as it turns out it's not.

The world's biggest city square is Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad, Iran and is almost 600,000 sq. meters in size. The second biggest is the more famous Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China and measures more than 440,000 square meters. Tripoli's Green Square isn't even on the list.

In fact I couldn't find a size for Tripoli's Green Square listed anywhere. I had to get a map and do the math myself. Thank Google:



Green Square is roughly 646 meters long by 238 meters wide. Taking into account all the adjacent streets and odd bits like the spear of land on the right and the rectangle on the bottom I come up with an estimated size for the Green Square area of just 205,065 sq. meters.

205 thousand square meters would appear to be an impossible fit for 1.7 million people

So how many people can you fit into 205,000 sq. meters?

This authoritative study calls anything over 2 people per sq. meter "jammed," this report's densest category.

One study about a large rally in 2008 makes the following observation:
Crowd density estimates stem from the fact that people usually occupy around a quarter of a square meter in a very crowded space. This translates to around four (4) persons in a square meter. Lower crowd density means a larger space between each person. We should note that crowd density is usually not uniform, except in very crowded areas, and will taper off from the central hub of activity in the mobilization.
While How to Estimate Crowd Density says:
"Loose crowds" are those in which attendees stand an arm's length from one another, and give each person about 10 square feet of space. "Tight crowds" stand less than an arm's length from one another and provide about 4.5 square feet for each attendee, while a "mob crowd" is one that has no space between attendees and gives each only 2.5 square feet.

Read more: How to Estimate Crowd Density | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_7824574_estimate-crowd-density.html#ixzz1SWcDKvui
So using the most dense "mob crowd" of 2.5 sq. ft or .23 sq. m. per person it would appear that Tripoli's Green Square could support a rally of at most 891 thousands people. The estimates of as many as 1.7 million Qaddafi supporters in Green Square defy the possible.

Besides which, Green Square just hasn't been that crowded for these rallies. Look at the closeup below. This is Green Square on July 1, 2011. Notice the spacing between the people and few seem to be out in the street beyond the square. Notice also the camera crane that some on the DocuLink filmmaker list have speculated about. Makes it look rather more like a movie set than a rally doesn't it? Look at all the extras standing around waiting for the cue. And there's that French flag again! Since France has been first among the NATO countries in attacking Qaddafi, a French flag is the last thing you'd expect to see at a Qaddafi rally. What's it doing there?


Compare Tripoli's Green Square to the Washington Mall

In the United States, the national mall in Washington, DC is renown for it massive political rallies. In 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to a rally there that was generally considered to be about a quarter million people. This is what a quarter million people looks like. What you don't see is all the people on the sides under the trees and crowds all the way down to Washington Monument at the other end.



Here we superimposed Tripoli's Green Square over the Washington Mall, being careful to maintain the scale exactly. The red dot marks the location of the Washington Monument. If the Washington Mall gets crowded with 250,000 people how could Green Square hold 6 or 7 times as many people?



It simply didn't happen and all those that say that Qaddafi held a rally in Tripoli with over a million supporters in Green Square are selling an elaborate lie in the hopes of saving a tyrant and a mass murderer from his certain fate.

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Libya

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Behind the Green Curtain: Libya Today

The Bread Queue in Janzour

posted to the Free Generation Movement facebook page this morning, July 18, 2011 at 6:17am
Today, at a queue for bread in Janzour, I witnessed the following.

Production was slow and the queue was getting longer. The owner of the bread store came out, apologised and told those waiting that due to fuel shortage his machines were working at 50%. He urged people to just buy bread for ¼ dinar and then come back later for more. He said there was also a flour shortage so urged, again, for people to be economical.

One women shouted “it’s not your flour, its Moamers flour, who are you to ration it?”

The people in the queue were visibly angered by this comment and one man shouted “and do you think your moamer carry the flour here on his back?”

She fell silent but immediately made a phone call.

Minutes later people whispered in the man’s ear to leave as she is a well known revolutionary committee member and loud mouth. He disappeared into the side streets moments before uncountable security trucks turned up with armed men.

The men demanded that the shop owner tell them who the “traitor” was. The shop owner said that he was just a customer and can’t remember just a single person from hundreds of daily customers.

The security chief said to him “Either tell us who he is, or we close this place down”. The man bravely stood tall and said “Close it, but if you want me to give you details about a man I do not know then you are delusional”.

A symbol of defiance from a man standing in a queue. A symbol of nepotism by one woman who thinks she can say and do as she pleases because of who she knows. A symbol of intimidation by security forces enforcing jungle law.

You cant even speak your mind in a bread queue, and then Saif AlGaddafi says “we will have elections”. On what planet do these people live?

Audio: Live Phone Call w/ @Niz_FGM – Update on current situation in Tripoli

Below is the recording of a phone interview with a member of the Free Generation Movement based in Tripoli. In in Niz gives us his view of current events in Tripoli. He says that the security apparatus in Tripoli is falling apart. But they still have strength in numbers and a willingness to use brutal force. In the past week check-points have become more numerous and more heavily armed. He thinks this is because some of the gains in the western mountains have put some of their fighters within minutes to Tripoli by car. In the past week security has increased with more harassment and more arbitrary arrests.

For example there were reports that the security forces had been given 72 hours to find Free Generation Movement people and they just started going around randomly arresting people and accusing them of belonging to activist groups. They are very indiscriminate in their killing and arrests in Tripoli. It's not an arrest, more like kidnapping. The crackdown in Tripoli has been both brutal and effective.

They are slowing down the resistance but can't stop the inevitable fall of Qaddafi. We hear everyday of more and more deflections and are hearing now of military men who are deflecting but staying in place. Noticing now that a lot of the people manning check-points in Tripoli are not from Tripoli, more from Sirte and other Qaddafi strongholds.

There's no fuel. Long fuel cues of abandoned cars. No money in the bank. People can't make withdrawals, public employees aren't getting paid. A lot of people are not going to work. A lot of people are watching the news and waiting to see what happens.

Journalist not really covering Tripoli, but they can't because of Libyan government restrictions. This is supporting the story that there is a lot of support for Qaddafi in Tripoli. He wants everyone to know this is not true. There is a lot happening but it's mostly underground. FGM has done a lot of actions to raise the moral of the people and demoralize the regime. See my diary here for an example. There is also a growing armed struggle in Tripoli that is not being reported. This is mostly attacks on check-points late at night.

There has been a big decrease in NATO activity above the city, it's not non-existent but not like a month ago. This has also lowered moral in the city. NATO activity raises moral in the city. Now there moral is high for other reasons. The massive rallies in Benghazi, Misrata, London and other places, the gains in the west and the developments on the diplomatic front have all raised their moral.

But there is apprehension for what may be a very bloody battle very soon in Tripoli.

LPC #Tripoli w/ @Niz_FGM : Current situation in the city, state of security forces and resistance activity. #Libya (mp3)
1.7 million rally for Qaddafi? Not as it seems! Now we have another video from Qaddafi's massive support rally in Tripoli on July 8th, 2011. I have already blogged about certain questions surrounding this march in my dairy. Now this video from libyaresistence purports to show that many of those in attendance weren't from Tripoli. They write:
Attempts to call on Tripoli residents to abandon local mosques and pray at green square back fired for the regime, as attempts were made to show the people of Tripoli stood by the “leader”. Local mosques remained open despite the call by authorities, and local residents turned out in full to pray at their usual mosques in defiance of the regime. The atmosphere was visibly positive as it was very apparent that everyone present was making an open stand against the regime. The regime amassed another crowd at “green square” to rally for their cause. The crowd was not as large as previous Friday and FGMovement were in attendance to evaluate the situation. See this video for our explanation of the size of the crowd and the scenes at the square. Rest assured, people of Libya, the majority of the people of Tripoli were nowhere near “Green Square” today.
a New Video of the Beginnings of the Libyan Uprising is Posted This video from the beginning of the uprising, February 18, 2011 in Benghazi was posted on Saturday. It is particular instructive for those that weren't following the Libyan uprising in those early days and so have come to think that the rebellion in Libya is different from those in Tunisia and Egypt because they think that "right from the beginning" the rebels in Libya were armed. This 11 minute video was taken from a window. This was before the protesters in Benghazi had armed themselves but you will see why they soon did so. The shooting by Qaddafi's thugs starts near the end of the video. People are cut down in the street by the yellow hatted mercenaries sent by the Qaddafi regime to put down the demonstrations. Gaddafi yellow hats mercenaries 11 2 18 ?????? ??????? ?????? In closing I would like to show you two of the young people that are dying to free their country from the Qaddafi regime. Below is a picture of Muhammad Baltu and Muhammad Al-Qatrani taken in happier times. This was posted today @ Feb 17 Martyrs // A Tribute to Libya's Revolutionary Heroes the description reads:
Muhammad Baltu (right) and Muhammad (left) were friends in life and now are now martyrs. Baltu was killed on Friday July 15, 2011 in Dafniyah district following in the footsteps of his friend who died on February 19, 2011 in Benghazi. This picture was taken at their friend’s wedding in Misrata. May God bless their souls.
Click here for a list of my other blogs on Libya

Saturday, July 16, 2011

BREAKING: Liberty Bell Destroyed!

From the Sunday funnies dept.

Philadelphia (July 17) - Last week it was reported that the famed Liberty Bell has shattered into more than a dozen pieces. Experts say that in recent years the famous crack, started when it was first rung in 1776, has widened owing to repeated trampling of the Bill of Rights by the Bush and Obama Administrations. Finally, under the pounding Liberty has taken in the Supreme Court, the bell broken into more than a dozen pieces.

However, as every cloud has a silver lining, Linux Beach has been able to acquire, at auction, the pieces of the Liberty Bell. We have decided that these Liberty Bell scraps would be a fitting prize for those who have done the most to destroy liberty in America. Therefore we will be awarding them, one piece a year, for the next dozen years or alternatively, for as long as we are at liberty to do so.

It is therefore with great pride that we are happy to announce that nominations are now open for the first annual NO BELL PIECE PRIZE!



Special thanks to Suzy Williams and Brad Kay and the Lit show at Beyond Baroque last night for the inspiration,

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Gilbert Achcar on the Libyan situation and the Left

I found this Znet blog by Gilbert Achcar while following up a lead given to me by Carl Davidson and I found his thinking on these questions is in such agreement with my own that I have decided to republish large portions of his essay here without comment. Therefore I hope he is also in agreement with me with regards to copyright and creative commons.

He begins with a quote from V.I. Lenin, which I find speaks to those who would condemn a rape victim for calling the cops because that's "the man" and the police always arrive with their own agenda. I think it also speaks to those who condemn the Libyan opposition for demanding that the UN/NATO intervene, impose a no-fly zone and stop a slaughter.

"The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was indeed a compromise with the imperialists, but it was a compromise which, under the circumstances, had to be made. ... To reject compromises 'on principle', to reject the permissibility of compromises in general, no matter of what kind, is childishness, which it is difficult even to consider seriously ... One must be able to analyze the situation and the concrete conditions of each compromise, or of each variety of compromise. One must learn to distinguish between a man who has given up his money and fire-arms to bandits so as to lessen the evil they can do and to facilitate their capture and execution, and a man who gives his money and fire-arms to bandits so as to share in the loot."

Vladimir I. Lenin
For those who would like to read more Lenin, I do have V.I. Lenin's Collected Work for sale here.

His blog continues:
The debate on the Libyan case is a legitimate and necessary one for those who share an anti-imperialist position, lest one believes that holding a principle spares us the need to analyze concretely each specific situation and determine our position in light of our factual assessment. Every general rule admits of exceptions. This includes the general rule that UN-authorized military interventions by imperialist powers are purely reactionary ones, and can never achieve a humanitarian or positive purpose. Just for the sake of argument: if we could turn back the wheel of history and go back to the period immediately preceding the Rwandan genocide, would we oppose an UN-authorized Western-led military intervention deployed in order to prevent it? Of course, many would say that the intervention by imperialist/foreign forces risks making a lot of victims. But can anyone in their right mind believe that Western powers would have massacred between half a million and a million human beings in 100 days?

This is not to claim that Libya is Rwanda: I'll explain in a moment why Western powers didn't bother about Rwanda, or don't bother about the death toll of genocidal proportions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but intervene in Libya. Reference to the Rwandan case is given here only to show that there is room for discussion of concrete cases, even though one adheres to firm anti-imperialist principles. The argument that Western intervention in Libya is bound to make civilian victims (I'd actually care even for Gaddafi's soldiers from a humanitarian perspective) is not determinative. What is decisive is the comparison between the human cost of this intervention and the cost that would have been incurred had it not happened.

To take another extreme analogy for the sake of showing the full range of discussion: could Nazism be defeated through non-violent means? Were not the means used by the Allied forces themselves cruel? Did they not savagely bomb Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing huge numbers of civilians? In hindsight, would we now say that the anti-imperialist movement in Britain and the United States should have campaigned against their states' involvement in the world war? Or do we still believe that the anti-imperialist movement was right in not opposing the war against the Axis (as it was right indeed in opposing the previous one, the 1914-18 world war), but that it should have campaigned against any massive harm purposely inflicted upon civilian populations with no evident rationale of a necessity in order to defeat the enemy?

Enough now with analogies. They are always subject to endless debates, even though they serve the useful purpose of showing that there can be situations where there can be a debate, situations where you have to give up to bandits, or call the cops, etc. They show that the belief that any such attitudes should be automatically rejected as a "breach of principles," without taking the trouble of assessing the concrete circumstances, is just unsustainable. Otherwise, the anti-imperialist movement in Western countries would appear as only concerned with opposing their own governments without giving a damn about the fate of other populations. This is no longer anti-imperialism, but right-wing isolationism: the "let them all go to hell, and leave us in peace" attitude à la Patrick Buchanan. So let us calmly assess the concrete situation that we're dealing with these days.
This is why Dennis Kucinich was able to build a bi-partisan coalition of right-winger and anti-war types to back his bill to remove NATO protection from Benghazi and over civilian population centers threatened by Qaddafi.

Next he gives a short history of the Qaddafi regime:
We shall begin with the nature of Gaddafi's regime. The facts here leave little room for legitimate disagreement. It is only for the attention of those who believe, in good faith and out of sheer ignorance, that Gaddafi is a progressive and an anti-imperialist that I discuss it. True, Gaddafi started as a relatively progressive anti-imperialist populist dictator, who led a military coup against the Libyan monarchy in 1969 imitating the Egyptian coup that toppled the monarchy there in 1952. His first hero was Gamal Abdel-Nasser, although his regime was initially more right-wing ideologically, with much more emphasis on religion (later, Gaddafi pretended to give a new interpretation of Islam). He started very early on recruiting people from poorer countries as mercenaries in his armed forces, initially for the Islamic Legion that he set up.

He proclaimed the replacement of existing laws with the Sharia in the early 1970s, just before embarking on an imitation of the Chinese "cultural revolution," with his own Islamic version of Mao's Little Red Book: the Green Book. He also imitated the pretense of the "cultural revolution" of instituting "direct democracy," through the creation of a system of "popular committees" supposedly turning Libya into a "state of the masses" -- actually one with a record proportion of people on the payroll of the security services. More than 10% of the Libyan population were "informants" paid for exerting surveillance over the rest of the society. Gaddafi extensively jailed or executed opponents to his regime, including several of the officers who had taken part along with him in the overthrow of the monarchy. In the late 1970s, he decided to turn the Libyan economy into a combination of state capitalism in large enterprises and private capitalism with workers' "partnership" in smaller ones and abolish rents and retail trade (even hairdressers were nationalized!). He also devoted part of the state's oil revenue to improving the living conditions of Libya's citizens, a "revolutionary" version of the way in which some of the Gulf monarchies with high per capita oil income cater to the needs of their own citizens in order to buy themselves a social constituency -- while, as in Libya, mistreating the immigrant workers who constitute a major part of their labor force and their population.

In the next decade, faced with the disastrous results of his erratic policies and the crisis of the USSR, upon which he depended for his arms purchases, Gaddafi pretended to imitate Gorbachev's perestroika, liberalizing Libya's economy, but hardly its political life. His next major political turnabout took place in 2003. In December of that year, he came to the political rescue of Bush & Blair, announcing that he had decided to renounce his weapons of mass destruction programs. This was badly needed boost for the credibility of the invasion of Iraq as a way of halting WMD proliferation. Gaddafi was suddenly turned into a respectable leader and was warmly congratulated, with Condoleezza Rice citing him as a model. One after the other, Western leaders flocked to Libya paying him visits in his tent and concluding juicy contracts. The one who built the closest relation with him is Italian hard-right and racist prime minister Silvio Berlusconi: his friendship with Gaddafi was not only very fruitful economically. In 2008 they concluded one of the dirtiest deals of recent times, agreeing that poor boat people from the African continent intercepted by Italian naval forces while trying to reach European shores would be delivered directly to Libya instead of being taken to Italian territory, where they would have to be screened for asylum. This deal was so effective that it reduced the number of such asylum-seekers in Italy from 36,000 in 2008 to 4,300 in 2010. It was condemned by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, to no avail
He points out that Qaddafi has been getting along just swimmingly with the imperialists lately.
The idea that Western powers are intervening in Libya because they want to topple a regime hostile to their interests is just preposterous. Equally preposterous is the idea that what they are after is laying their hands on Libyan oil. In fact, the whole range of Western oil and gas companies is active in Libya: Italy's ENI, Germany's Wintershall, Britain's BP, France's Total and GDF Suez, US companies ConocoPhillips, Hess, and Occidental, British-Dutch Shell, Spain's Repsol, Canada's Suncor, Norway's Statoil, etc. Why then are Western powers intervening in Libya today, and not in Rwanda yesterday and Congo yesterday and today? As one of those who have energetically argued that the invasion of Iraq was "about oil" against those who tried to outsmart us by saying that we were "reductionists," don't expect me to argue that this one is not about oil. It definitely is. But how?
He says NATO intervention is about oil. But it's not what you think.
My take on that is the following. After watching for a few weeks Gaddafi conducting his terribly brutal and bloody suppression of the uprising that started in mid-February -- estimates of the number of people killed in early March ranged from 1000 to 10,000, the latter figure by the International Criminal Court, with the Libyan opposition's estimates ranging between 6,000 and 8,000 -- Western governments, like everybody else for that matter, became convinced that with Gaddafi set on a counter-revolutionary offensive and reaching the outskirts of Libya's second largest city of Benghazi (over 600,000 inhabitants), a mass-scale slaughter was imminent. To give an indication of what such repressive governments can perpetrate, just think of the fact that the Syrian regime's 1982 repression of the uprising in the city of Hama, with less than one third of Benghazi's population, resulted in over 25,000 deaths. Had a massacre on a similar scale occurred with Gaddafi's rule consolidating as a result, Western governments would have had no choice but to impose sanctions and an oil embargo on his regime.

The conditions of the oil market that prevailed in the 1990s were characterized by a depression in prices, at a time when the US was going through its longest economic expansion ever, the bubble-sustained boom of the Clinton years. It was very comfortable for Washington and its allies to maintain an embargo on Iraq during that decade (at a quasi-genocidal cost). It is only at the end of the decade that the oil market started moving out of depression into a rise of prices that everything indicated to be of a structural nature, i.e. a long-term rising tendency. And it is no coincidence that George W. Bush and his cronies came out then in favour of "regime change" in Iraq. For it was the condition without which Washington wouldn't tolerate lifting the embargo on a country whose major oil deals had been granted to French, Russian and Chinese interests (the three leading opponents of the invasion at the UN Security Council -- surprise, surprise!).

The present conditions of the world oil market are indeed conditions where oil prices, after falling briefly under the shock of the global crisis, have resumed their upward movement, several months before the revolutionary wave in North Africa and the Middle East. This, in a condition of unresolved global economic crisis, with an extremely fragile fake recovery. Under such conditions, an oil embargo on Libya is simply not an option. The massacre had to be prevented. The best scenario for Western powers became the fall of the regime, thus relieving them of the problem of coping with it. A lesser evil option for them would be a lasting stalemate and de facto division of the country between West and East, with oil exports resumed from both provinces, or exclusively from the main fields located in the East under rebel control.

To these considerations one should add the following: it is nonsensical, and an instance of very crude "materialism," to dismiss as irrelevant the weight of public opinion on Western governments, especially in this case on nearby European governments. At a time when the Libyan insurgents were urging the world more and more insistently to provide them with a no-fly zone in order to neutralize the main advantage of Gaddafi's forces, and with the Western public watching the events on television -- making it impossible that a mass-scale slaughter in Benghazi would go unseen, as it was so often the case in other places (like the above-mentioned Hama, for instance, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo) -- Western governments would not only have incurred the wrath of their citizens, but they would have completely jeopardized their ability to invoke humanitarian pretexts for further imperialist wars like the ones in the Balkans or Iraq. Not only their economic interests, but also the credibility of their own ideology was at stake. And the pressure of Arab public opinion certainly played a role in the call by the Arab League of States for a no-fly zone over Libya, even though there can be no doubt that most Arab regimes were wishing that Gaddafi could put down the uprising, and thus reverse the revolutionary wave that has been sweeping the whole region and shaking their own regimes since the beginning of this year.
What is to be done?
Now, what do we do with that? A mass uprising, facing an all-too-real threat of large-scale massacre was requesting a no-fly zone in order to help them resist the criminal regime's offensive. Unlike the anti-Milosevic forces in Kosovo, they were not calling for foreign troops to occupy their land. On the contrary, they had good reason for having no confidence in any such deployment: their awareness, in light of Iraq, Palestine, etc., that world powers have imperialist agendas, as well as their own experience of the way the same world powers cozied up to the tyrant oppressing them. They very explicitly rejected any foreign intervention on the ground, only asking for an air cover. And the UNSC resolution excluded explicitly upon their request "a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory."

I won't dwell on the unacceptable arguments of those who try to shed doubt on the nature of the uprising's leadership. They are most often the same as those who believe Gaddafi is a progressive. The leaders of the uprising are a mix of political and intellectual democratic and human rights dissidents, some of whom have spent long years in Gaddafi's jails, men who broke with the regime in order to join the rebellion, and representatives of the regional and tribal diversity of the Libyan population. The program they are united on is one of democratic change -- political freedoms, human rights, and free elections -- exactly like all other uprisings in the region. And if there is no clarity about what a post-Gaddafi Libya might look like, two things are certain: it can't be worse than Gaddafi's regime, and it can't be worse than the quite more obvious likely scenario of a crucial role of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood in post-Mubarak Egypt, given by some as an argument for supporting the Egyptian dictator.
What would Karl Marx do?
Can anyone claiming to belong to the left just ignore a popular movement's plea for protection, even by means of imperialist bandit-cops, when the type of protection requested is not one through which control over their country could be exerted? Certainly not, by my understanding of the left. No real progressive could just ignore the uprising's request for protection -- unless, as is too frequent among the Western left, they just ignore the circumstances and the imminent threat of mass slaughter, paying attention to the whole situation only once their own government got involved, thus setting off their (normally healthy, I should add) reflex of opposing the involvement. In every situation when anti-imperialists opposed Western-led military interventions using massacre prevention as their rationale, they pointed to alternatives showing that the Western governments' choice of resorting to force only stemmed from imperialist designs.

There was a non-violent solution out of the Kosovo crisis: for one, the offer made by Yeltsin's Russian government in August 1998 of an international force to implement a political settlement jointly imposed by Moscow and Washington. It was relayed by then US ambassador to NATO Alexander Vershbow, and just ignored in Washington. The same could be added about February 1999. The Serbian and NATO positions were different, but negotiable, as was shown after 78 days of bombing, when the UN resolution was a compromise between them. There was a non-violent solution to get Saddam Hussein to withdraw his troops from Kuwait in 1990: aside from the fact that he could not have withstood for long the tight sanctions that were imposed on his regime in order to force him out, he was offering to negotiate his withdrawal. Washington preferred to destroy the country's infrastructure and send it "back to the stone age," as the reporter for the UNSC described the country's situation after the war in 1991.
The no-fly zone should be supported.
What then was the alternative to the no-fly zone in the Libyan case? None is convincing. The day when the UNSC voted its resolution, Gaddafi's forces were already on the outskirts of Benghazi, and his air force attacking the city. A few days more, they might have taken Benghazi. Those who are confronted with this question give very unconvincing answers. A political solution could have been contemplated had Gaddafi been willing to allow free elections, but he wasn't. He and his son Saif gave the uprising no choice other than surrender (promising them an amnesty that nobody could have trusted), or "civil war." I'll ignore those who say that the population of Benghazi could have fled to Egypt and taken refuge there! It is not worthy of comment. I'll also ignore those who say that Arab armies only should have intervened, as if an intervention by the likes of the Egyptian and Saudi armed forces would have caused fewer casualties, and represented less imperialist influence on the process in Libya. The answer that sounds more convincing is the one advocating arms delivery to the insurgents; but it was not a plausible alternative.

Arms delivery could not be organized and become effective -- especially if we're thinking of sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles -- in 24 hours! This could not have been an alternative to a massacre foretold. Under such conditions, in the absence of any other plausible solution, it was just morally and politically wrong for anyone on the left to oppose the no-fly zone; or in other words, to oppose the uprising's request for a no-fly zone. And it remains morally and politically wrong to demand the lifting of the no-fly zone -- unless Gaddafi is no longer able to use his air force. Short of that, lifting the no-fly zone would mean a victory for Gaddafi, who would then resume using his planes and crush the uprising even more ferociously than what he was prepared to do beforehand. On the other hand, we should definitely demand that bombings stop after Gaddafi's air means have been neutralized. We should demand clarity on what air potential is left with Gaddafi, and, if any is still at his disposal, what it takes to neutralize it. And we should oppose NATO turning into a full participant of the ground war beyond the initial blows to Gaddafi's armor needed to halt his troops' offensive against rebel cities in the Western province -- even were the insurgents to invite NATO's participation or welcome it.
But that does not mean support for UN Resolution 1973.
Does it mean that we had and have to support UNSC resolution 1973? Not at all. This was a very bad and dangerous resolution, precisely because it didn't define enough safeguards against transgressing the mandate of protecting the Libyan civilians. The resolution leaves too much room for interpretation, and could be used to push forward an imperialist agenda going beyond protection into meddling into Libya's political future. It could not be supported, but must be criticized for its ambiguities. But neither could it be opposed, in the sense of opposing the no-fly zone and giving the impression that one doesn't care about the civilians and the uprising. We could only express our strong reservations. Once intervention started, the role of anti-imperialist forces should have consisted in monitoring it closely, and condemning all actions hitting at civilians where measures to avoid such killings have not been observed, as well as all actions by the coalition that are devoid of a civilian protection rationale. One article of the UNSC resolution should definitely be opposed though: it is the one confirming the arms embargo on Libya, if this means the country and not the Gaddafi regime alone. We should on the contrary demand that arms be delivered openly and massively to the insurgents, so that they no longer need direct foreign military support as soon as possible.
And in closing.
A final comment: for so many years, we have been denouncing the hypocrisy and double standard of imperialist powers, pointing to the fact that they didn't prevent the all-too-real genocide in Rwanda while they intervened in order to stop the fictitious "genocide" in Kosovo. This implied that we thought that international intervention should have been deployed in order to prevent or stop the genocide in Rwanda. The left should certainly not proclaim such absolute "principles" as "We are against Western powers' military intervention whatever the circumstances." This is not a political position, but a religious taboo. One can safely bet that the present intervention in Libya will prove most embarrassing for imperialist powers in the future. As those members of the US establishment who opposed their country's intervention rightly warned, the next time Israel's air force bombs one of its neighbours, whether Gaza or Lebanon, people will demand a no-fly zone. I, for one, definitely will. Pickets should be organized at the UN in New York demanding it. We should all be prepared to do so, with now a powerful argument.

The left should learn how to expose imperialist hypocrisy by using against it the very same moral weapons that it cynically exploits, instead of rendering this hypocrisy more effective by appearing as not caring about moral considerations. They are the ones with double standards, not us.
About Gilbert Achcar
Gilbert Achcar grew up in Lebanon, and is currently Professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London. His books include The Clash of Barbarisms: The Making of the New World Disorder, published in 13 languages, Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy, co-authored with Noam Chomsky, and most recently The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives.
Thank you Gilbert Achcar for your excellent Marxist-Leninist analysis of the Libyan situation.

Here are the links to my articles at WL Central:
2011-06-22 No Libyans allowed at ANSWER Libya Forum
2011-04-13 Doha summit supports Libyan rebels
Current Events in Libya
2011-03-11 Who's running Egypt?
Libyans are spilling their blood for us all!
2011-02-24 Arming Gaddfi
2011-02-14 Senior Egyptian army officers ordered massacre
2011-02-13 Tales of Tyrants: Ben Ali, Mubarak & Suleiman
2011-02-12 Algeria Protesters Defy Ban, Demand Change
The Mubarak Screw Up & the Suleiman Danger
2011-02-10 Mubarak is Defiant
2011-02-10 Mubarak Expected to Step Down!
2011-02-09 The Google Search for Wael Ghonim
2011-02-08 The New Egyptian Normal: Thousands Demonstrate in Cairo, Alexandria
2011-02-06 Tunisia's Revolution Continues
2011-02-04 Tunisian Anonymous activists take on Egyptian cause
2011-02-04 Protesters roar back with "Day of Departure" for Mubarak
2011-02-03 Algerians plan Feb 12 protest against 19- year-long state of emergency
2011-02-01 Jordan's King Sacks Government as Protests Grow
2011-02-01 Tunisian Islamic Leader Returns as EU Freezes Ousted President's Assets
2011-02-01 Army Vows Not to Shoot as Protesters make Million Man Marches in Cairo, Alexandria Today [UPDATE: 2]
2011-01-30 Million Egyptian Protest Planned as Resistance Continues
2011-01-29 No Internet? No Problem! Anonymous Faxes Egypt
2011-01-28 In Jordan Thousands Demand New Government
2011-01-28 Mubarak Refuses to Step Down!
2011-01-28 Egypt is on Fire!
2011-01-27 Libya is in Revolt as Gaddafi Worries
2011-01-27 Algerians Plan Big Protest Rally for February 9th
2011-01-27 Tunisia Protests Continues as a Warrant is Issued for Ben Ali
2011-01-27 Tens of Thousands Rally in Yemen, Demand Change
2011-01-27 Mubarak Blinks as Egyptian Protests Continue for 3rd Day

North African Hacker Humor

Here is a recap of my other DKos diaries on the Internet, North Africa and Anonymous:
NATO slammed for Libya civilian deaths NOT!
Qaddafi's Million Man March
NATO's Game Plan in Libya
February 21st - Tripoli's Long Night
Did Qaddafi Bomb Peaceful Protesters?
Tripoli Burn Notice
Libyans, Palestinians & Israelis
'Brother' Qaddafi Indicted plus Libya & Syria: Dueling Rally Photofinishs
An Open Letter to ANSWER
ANSWER answers me
No Libyans allowed at ANSWER Libya Forum
Are they throwing babies out of incubators yet?
Continuing Discussion with a Gaddafi Supporter
Boston Globe oped supports Gaddafi with fraudulent journalism
Doha summit supports Libyan rebels
Current Events in Libya
Who's running Egypt?
Amonpour Plays Softball with Gaddafi
Californians Support North African Revolts
Google Supports Revolts | Anonymous does too!
Secret U.S. Intelligence Source on Middle East Revealed !
Arming Gaddfi
Are "mutinous officers" are being executed in Egypt now?
Algeria's 19 year long State of Emergency to end soon, President says
Senior Egyptian Army Officers Ordered Massacre!
Tales of Tyrants: Ben Ali, Mubarak & Suleiman
The Mubarak Screw Up & the Suleiman Danger
BREAKING: Mubarak is Defiant
The Google Search for Wael Ghonim
Tunisia's Revolution Continues
Google Goes Rebel, Supports Egyptian Protest
Tunisian Anonymous activists take on Egyptian cause
Protesters roar back with "Day of Departure" for Mubarak
Act Now to Stop Mubarak's Thugs From Killing More! w Petition
Act Now to Stop Mubarak's Thugs From Killing More!
They Should Have Helped That Street Vendor
Million Egyptian Protest Planned as Resistance Continues
Huffington Post Disses the Jasmine Revolution Redux
No Internet? No Problem! Anonymous Faxes Egypt
Egypt is on Fire!
North African Revolution Continues
Egypt Protests Continue, Tunisia Wants Ben Ali Back
BREAKING: Protesters Plan Massive "Day of Wrath" in Egypt Today
Tunisians Thank Anonymous as North Africa Explodes
Huffington Post Disses the Jasmine Revolution
Tunisia: A Single Tweet Can Start A Prairie Fire!
Anonymous plans Op Swift Assist in Tunisia
Arrested Pirate Party Member Becomes Tunisian Minister
Is Libya Next? Anonymous Debates New Operation
Tunis: This Photo was Taken 66 Minutes Ago
The WikiLeaks Revolution: Anonymous Strikes Tunisia
EMERGENCY: DKos Must Act Now to Protect Tunisian Bloggers!