ModernityBlog

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Posts Tagged ‘Collusion

Protesting in Saudi Arabia, Live Fire.

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If you listen to this clip you will hear the sound of live fire, real bullets being shot at people in Saudi Arabia.

On the Atlantic Wire:

“According to several news wire reports, Saudi Arabian police opened fire on Thursday at protests occurring in the kingdom’s east, specifically in the city of Qatif. The hundreds of mainly Shiite protesters were confronted with gunfire and stun grenades as police tried to clamp down on activists calling for democratic reforms. Groups had pegged this Friday for a “Day of Rage” aimed at bringing awareness for greater freedom in Saudia Arabia, even though the nation banned public protests last week.

As of this morning, western media outlets noted that the impact of the Saudi protests on oil prices has so far been minimal. “Here’s What The Market Thinks About Your So-Called ‘Day Of Rage,'” noted Joe Weisenthal’s headline at Business Insider, Weisenthal pointing to rising stocks and falling oil prices. That all changed in the afternoon as the price of crude oil jumped in what appeared to be a response of the scattered reports coming from the police shootings.”

BBC News covers yesterday’s protests in the city of Katif.

Written by modernityblog

11/03/2011 at 16:48

Shot, Protesting In Eastern Saudi Arabia.

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Events have reached Saudi Arabia as the Washington Post reports:

“DAMMAM, SAUDI ARABIA – Three people were injured when police opened fire during a protest in eastern Saudi Arabia on Thursday, according to a witness and a Saudi official.

The witness, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals by authorities, said police at first fired over protesters’ heads but then began shooting directly at them during a march in central Qatif, a predominantly Shiite town in oil-rich Eastern Province.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said police fired over the heads of protesters after demonstrators attacked them, the Reuters news agency reported. He did not say how the injuries were caused but said one of those hurt was a policeman.

At the time of the shooting, “the police were maybe 50 meters away” from the protesters, who were calling for the release of prisoners, the witness said. It was not immediately clear whether the bullets were live or rubber.”

The BBC adds:

“Protests are illegal in Saudi Arabia, which has had an absolute monarchy since its unification in the 1930s. “

Bloomberg has more background information:

“Saudi Arabia has seen protests in the kingdom’s Eastern Province this month, though nothing approaching the size witnessed in Bahrain and Egypt.

Shiite Muslims held two demonstrations on March 3 to call for the release of prisoners. About 100 people staged the first protest in the Shiite Muslim village of Awwamiya in the Eastern Province, while a similar number of people later demonstrated in the neighboring city of Qatif.

Security forces broke up another protest yesterday in Qatif. Police fired above the crowd of 120-150 people to end the rally after a policeman taking video to document the event was attacked, Major General Mansour al-Turki, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said in an interview. Three people were injured, two protesters and one policeman, he said. “

Written by modernityblog

11/03/2011 at 02:12

Libya, Egypt And Mauritania.

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News is coming out on Twitter that three private planes belonging to the Gaddafi family have set off from Tripoli.

“Karl Stagno-Navarra, a journalist in Malta, told al-Jazeera taht three out of five of the Gaddafi family jets are in the air, headed to Vienna, Athens and Cairo respectively. His sources were air traffic control in Malta and Cyprus. “

The Guardian has good on-going coverage of events in Libya.

International women’s day didn’t go well in Cairo, as the Washington Post reports:

“CAIRO – Women hoping to extend their rights in post-revolutionary Egypt were faced with a harsh reality Tuesday when a mob of angry men beat and sexually assaulted marchers calling for political and social equality, witnesses said.

“Everyone was chased. Some were beaten. They were touching us everywhere,” said Dina Abou Elsoud, 35, a hostel owner and organizer of the ambitiously named Million Woman March.

She was among a half-dozen women who said they were repeatedly groped by men – a common form of intimidation and harassment here that was, in fact, a target of the protesters. None of the women reported serious injuries.

The demonstration on International Women’s Day drew a crowd only in the hundreds to Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the popular revolt that drove President Hosni Mubarak from power. Gone, organizers said, was the spirit of equality and cooperation between the sexes that marked most of the historic mass gatherings in the square.

As upwards of 300 marchers assembled late Tuesday afternoon, men began taunting them, insisting that a woman could never be president and objecting to women’s demands to have a role in drafting a new constitution, witnesses said.

“People were saying that women were dividing the revolution and should be happy with the rights they have,” said Ebony Coletu, 36, an American who teaches at American University in Cairo and attended the march, as she put it, “in solidarity.”

The men – their number estimated to be at least double that of the women’s – broke through a human chain that other men had formed to protect the marchers. Women said they attempted to stand their ground – until the physical aggression began. “

Meanwhile over in Mauritania:

“Young leaders have been severely beaten by dozens of policemen. Some 200 demonstrators have been dispersed by force and 30 were arrested fort further investigation. One leader was beaten so severely he remains in coma. Protesters collectively chanted their slogans, calling for justice, freedom and urgent social reforms. “

Stable Door And The London School of Economics

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Weeks after the horse bolted, those connected to the Libyan regime are slowly trying to sever their connections:

“A Nobel prize-winning British scientist has resigned from the charity run by Muammar Gaddafi’s son that gave a £1.5m donation to the London School of Economics, and disclosed that the funding was awarded without the approval of board members.

The elite British university has been in turmoil over the donation, which last week led to the resignation of its director, Sir Howard Davies, and the launch of an independent inquiry into its links with Libya. Sir Richard Roberts, who was on the board of the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, said the funding was given to the LSE without “any form of transparency or approval”.

The revelation underlines concerns that the Gaddafi foundation did not operate as a normal charity but was a vehicle for the Libyan dictator’s son Saif al-Islam.

The LSE council, its governing body, is facing scrutiny over its decision to approve the donation, granted in 2009. One of the LSE’s academics stood down from the board of the Gaddafi foundation in 2009 after a council meeting raised concern over a conflict of interests.

Roberts, an internationally renowned biochemist who won the Nobel prize for medicine in 1993, told the Guardian: “I never knew anything about that money before it appeared in the press. That was not done with any sort of clarity or transparency to the board.” “

Or does it all suggest that some of these supposedly smart people are not that smart at all, when it comes to rich dictators?

Over at the Beeb, they cover the Libyan Investment Authority with a choice quote:

“Like the rest of Gaddafi’s children, Saif lived a life of privilege and ease, although like his father he claimed to have no official position and denied having access large funds.

But now new evidence has emerged that despite his denials, Saif in fact controlled the multi-billion-pound Libyan sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA).

“I’ve seen the Godfather. This is the closest thing in real life,” commented a Libyan investment banker familiar with how the LIA was run.

“It is as if it is his own private farm. This was almost like a mafia operatiion.”

In the letters page of the Guardian there is an academic bun-fight on plagiarism, Saif Gaddafi and how to use Google:

“Lord Desai seems to be aggrieved because nobody told him as the PhD examiner of Saif Gaddafi that the candidate had committed plagiarism. But it is precisely the job of the examiner, as an expert in the field, to assess the originality of a doctoral thesis. So neither Desai, nor his co-examiner, nor Mr Gaddafi’s supervisors, did their jobs. Have none of them heard of Google? It’s not too hard these days to catch out the plagiariser.”

Fred Halliday On the LSE and Libya.

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OpenDemocracy has Fred Halliday’s memorandum to the London School of Economics from October 2009 concerning Libya and it is a good read:

“While it is formally the case that the QF [Qaddafi Foundation] is not part of the Libyan state, and is registered in Switzerland as an NGO, this is, in all practical senses, a legal fiction. The monies paid into the QF come from foreign businesses wishing to do business, i.e. receive contracts, for work in Libya, most evidently in the oil and gas industries. These monies are, in effect, a form of down payment, indeed of taxation, paid to the Libyan state, in anticipation of the award of contracts. The funds of the QF are, for this reason, to all intents and purposes, part of the Libyan state budget. ‘NGO status’, and recognition of such by UN bodies, means, in real terms, absolutely nothing. Mention has been made, in verbal and written submissions to the School and in correspondence to myself, of the membership of the QF’s advisory board: a somewhat closer examination of the most prominent politicians involved, and of their reputations and business dealings, should also give cause for some concern.

(ii) That the President of the QF [Qaddafi Foundation], and its effective director, is himself the son of the ruler, and, for all the informality of the Libyan political system (even the ‘Leader’, Colonel Qaddafi, has no formal position), in effect a senior official of that regime, confirms this analysis. In Arab states many of the most important positions have no official title, and kinship, and informal links, are more important than state function – and this, above all, in Libya. “

Libya, Dumped In The Street.

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The Associated Press reports on the terrible goings-on in Libya:

“Bodies of people who vanished have been dumped in the street. Gunmen in SUVs have descended on homes in the night to drag away suspected protesters, identified by video footage of protests that militiamen have pored through to spot faces. Other militiamen have searched hospitals for wounded to take away.

Residents say they are under the watchful eyes of a variety of Gadhafi militias prowling the streets. They go under numerous names – Internal Security, the Central Support Force, the People’s Force, the People’s Guards and the Brigade of Mohammed al-Magarif, the head of Gadhafi’s personal guard – and they are all searching for suspected protesters.

“While you are speaking to me now, there are spies everywhere and people watching me and you,” one man said, cutting short a conversation with an Associated Press reporter visiting the Tripoli district of Zawiyat al-Dahman on Thursday.

Residents said calls for new protests to be held Friday after weekly Muslim prayers were being passed by word of mouth in several districts of the capital.

Whether crowds turn out will depend on the depth of fear among Gadhafi opponents. Friday could prove a test of the extent of Gadhafi’s control. The capital is crucial to the Libyan leader, his strongest remaining bastion after the uprising that began on Feb. 15 broke the entire eastern half of Libya out of his control and even swept over some cities in the west near Tripoli.

The clampdown in Tripoli has left some yearning for outside help. One 21-year-old in Zawiyat al-Dahman said residents were hoping for manpower to come from the opposition-held east. A Libyan writer in his 70s said he rejects “foreign intervention” in Libya’s upheaval – but wouldn’t mind a “a powerful strike” on Gadhafi’s headquarters to stop further bloodshed. “

Written by modernityblog

03/03/2011 at 23:30

No Foreign Intervention In Libya.

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I think anyone watching the events unfolding in Libya must wonder, whether or not foreign intervention would help.

Clearly, Governments toned down their rhetoric whilst their nationals were in Libya and potentially under danger, but what now?

Sanctions are utterly useless, as they don’t address the here and now.

But shouldn’t more be done to aid the Libyans?

I think so but any foreign intervention would, in my view, be disastrous, for a number of reasons:

1) Such action would only bolster Gadaffi, it would allow him to argue that it was really imperialists that wanted to take over his country, in the first place, and that his people loved him but they were puppets of Western imperialism.

2) It would come too late and take precedence over the Libyans’ views, which should be paramount.

3) The Libyans, above all, should oversee their own emancipation and probably have sufficient resources now to complete it.

Ultimately, I think any western intervention in Libya would be counterproductive, I think aid and support for the refugees should be expedited, but that’s a different issue.

This is what some Libyans think:
No intervention in Libya

Blair Kissing Gaddafi.

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Just when you think that Tony Blair’s reputation can’t sink much lower, something new appears.

Take a look at the very first part of Charlie Brooker’s rant on Gaddafi, and you’ll see the warm greeting between Gaddafi and Blair.

Update 1: The NYT has an insider’s view of events:

“The younger Mr. Qaddafi promised journalists they would find the streets peaceful and his father beloved. Do not mistake the sound of celebratory fireworks for bursts of gunfire around the streets of Tripoli, he advised them.

The next morning, a driver took a group of foreign journalists to an area known as the Friday market, which appeared to have been the site of a riot the night before. The streets were strewn with debris, and piles of shattered glass had been collected in cardboard boxes.

A young man approached the journalists to deliver a passionate plea for unity and accolades to Colonel Qaddafi, then slipped away in a white van full of police officers. Meanwhile, two small boys surreptitiously offered bullet casings that they presented as evidence of force used on protesters the day before.

At another stop, in the working-class suburb of Tajoura, journalists stumbled almost accidentally into a block cordoned off by low makeshift barriers where dozens of residents were eager to talk about a week of what they said were peaceful protests crushed by Colonel Qaddafi’s security forces with overwhelming, deadly and often random force.

A middle-age business owner, who spoke on condition that he be identified only as Turki, said that the demonstrations there had begun last Sunday, when thousands of protesters inspired by the uprising in the east had marched toward Green Square.

Suddenly, he said, they found themselves caught between two groups of double-cabin pick-up trucks without license plates, about forty in all. Men in the trucks opened fire, and killed a man named Issa Hatey. He said neighbors had renamed the area’s central traffic circle “Issa Hatey Square” in his memory.

He and other residents said that over the past week neighbors had been besieged by pickup trucks full of armed men shooting randomly at the crowds, sometimes wounding people who were sitting peacefully in their homes or cars. At other times, they said, the security forces had employed rooftop snipers, antiaircraft guns mounted on trucks and buckshot, and the residents produced shells and casings that appeared to confirm their reports. Turki said that on one day he had seen 50 to 60 heavily armed men who appeared to be mercenaries from nearby African countries.

The neighbors built the low barricades on the streets to impede the trucks with guns. “They come and they kill whoever they can see,” he said. “We are just walking and we don’t have guns.”

After Friday Prayer, Turki and his friends said, a crowd of several thousand had gathered at Issa Hatey Square to march to Green Square. They raised what he called “the old-new flag,” the former tricolor of the Libyan monarchy that rebels have claimed as the flag of a free, post-Qaddafi Libya.

Two carloads of Libyan Army soldiers had joined them, he said, though they never used their weapons to avoid provoking a bloody retaliation.

But when the march arrived at the Arada neighborhood, they were ambushed by snipers on the rooftops. Some protesters said they had been attacked by the personal militia of Colonel Qaddafi’s son Khamis Qaddafi, which is considered the most formidable battalion in the Qaddafi forces.

At least 15 people had died there, he and others said.

A precise death toll has been impossible to verify. A Libyan envoy said Friday that hundreds had been killed in Tripoli. “

Gaddafi In A Bunker.

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This programme on PBS, Getting to Know Gadhafi: Examining the Quirks, Intellect of Libya’s Strongmanm, is informative with an insightful assessment of Gaddafi:

JIM HOAGLAND: I think you can take that at face value. I think you have to wonder if he has a grip on reality, much less control of his country at this point.

Nobody is going in and telling him how bad things really are. If they did, he wouldn’t believe it, and he would probably punish them for doing that. So I think he’s in the bunker, and he’s there to fight on until the last. “

Very plausible, but the question is, what about the sons?

Over at Forbes a puff piece calls Al-Saadi Gaddafi “The African Renaissance Young Man Who Wears Many Hats”.

The piece is enough to make you vomit:

“Al-Saadi al-Gaddafi, son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, offers a unique perspective on Libyan development. His personality offers an amalgam of Bill Clinton-esque charm and Jack Welch’s keen intelligence. He could easily be mistaken for a corporate executive rather than the leader of a nation if you met him anonymously in a crowd, and, like a good business leader, Al-Saadi continuously looks for ways to open Libya to the world.

In a recent interview, he spoke authoritatively of the bright future he anticipates for Libya. “Change is coming,” he stated. “Libya and Africa will not be the same in 10 years.” As the conversation expanded to the recent multiple-sector expansion in Tripoli, he spoke of his father’s wise sense in modernizing Libya and leading it into the global economy.

A student of world history who idolizes Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Al-Saadi reflected upon the next steps for Africa in an even broader sense: “Africa has what the developed world needs to continue thriving in the 21st century. All the resources, minerals and manufacturing know-how are available in this gigantic untapped market.”

When it comes to the perception of Libya and Africa around the world, Al-Saadi was quick to acknowledge faults—but equally quick to point to the signs of positive change. He considers himself a true African, who loves observing nature and hunting in the African bush all over the continent.

“Western media has not always been balanced when speaking about Libya. But we will do whatever it takes to open hearts and minds as we strive as a country to open ourselves to the rest of the world. We want them to come enjoy our culture, our food, our history, our lives.” “

Yuck.

UN: A Parody On Libya?

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Despite the fact that Colonel Gadaffi’s dictatorship has been in power for 41 years it was allowed to chair an important UN committee on human rights.

But now, as he’s been murdering Libyans in the street for weeks, the UN has finally decided enough was enough, according to AP:

“GENEVA — The UN Human Rights Council unanimously called Friday for Libya to be suspended from the body and for a probe into violations by the regime, in a dramatic session which witnessed the defection of Tripoli’s envoy.
In a resolution adopted by consensus, the 47 member UN body decided to “urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry… to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya.”

It also “recommends to the United Nations General Assembly, in view of the gross and systematic violations of human rights by the Libyan authorities,” to consider suspending the country from the Human Rights Council.

Libya was elected in May 2010 to the council after obtaining 155 votes in a secret ballot from the 192-state General Assembly.”

However, that doesn’t answer the questions:

1. How did Libya, with a positively appalling human rights record, ever get to chair the UN committee on human rights, in the first place ?

2. Who within the UN colluded with Gadaffi in enabling him to do so ?

3. Why did the UN find out about Libya’s atrocious human-rights record only **recently**, and not decades ago?

Update 1: I should add that Libya was voted into the chair of the previous UN body on human right’s too, the Beeb has more:

“Libya has been elected chairman of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, despite opposition from the United States.
In a secret ballot, Libyan Ambassador Najat Al-Hajjaji was backed by 33 members, with three countries voting against and 17 members abstaining.

Human rights groups have been protesting at Libya assuming the chairmanship.

The job of the Commission, the UN’s main human rights watchdog, is to receive complaints about abuses, but it has been widely condemned as toothless.

Seif Gaddafi said “We have a better human rights record than our neighbours. Sure, we are not Switzerland or Denmark; we are part of the Third World and part of the Middle East. But we are better than our neighbours”. “