ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Gaddafi

Ship Sinks, Why No News?

leave a comment »

At the moment, events in Libya are followed with great scrutiny, yet scraps of information are coming in to suggest that a boat carrying 600 people may have sunk on Friday

Perplexingly, it is not too clear if that is the case. The ship left port on Friday and witnesses in another ship say they saw debris etc:

“A boat carrying more than 600 migrants capsized off the coast of Libya Friday and many of the passengers are believed to have drowned, the United Nations said Monday, marking what may be the deadliest chapter yet in an escalating immigration crisis unleashed by the conflict in the North African country.

Migrants arriving in Lampedusa over the weekend told staff of the United Nations’ refugee agency that they witnessed a boat brimming with hundreds of migrants—who were predominantly Congolese, Eritrean, Nigerian, Ivory Coast and Somali nationals—sink near the port of Tripoli, said Laura Boldrini, spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. A spokesman for the Libyan government in Tripoli declined to comment on the matter.

Jean-Philippe Chauzy, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, said it was unclear how many people survived the shipwreck, but that some of the people aboard the capsized boat managed to swim ashore. He added that migrants have often drowned in similar incidents, because they don’t know how to swim. One woman who swam ashore told IOM staff that her baby drowned in the shipwreck. Mr. Chauzy said that once ashore, she and other migrants were “herded” by armed men onto another boat that eventually reached the tiny island of Lampedusa. “

It is bewildering. How could you lose a ship full of 600 people between the Libyan coast and Italy, and not know?

How can 600 people be thrown in the sea and it doesn’t get reported (or hardly) in the Western media?

Or is it simply a case of “No WASPs, Europeans or Westerners involved, move along, no story”.

Surely, a record of the ship leaving must have been kept, its Captain, its destination and when it didn’t arrive, why weren’t questions asked promptly?

Update 1: There are a few stories coming out, now, on Twitter, 3 days later:

My Fox Houston has a piece.

NPR too, but overall too little and far too late.

Gaddafi’s Crimes Against Humanity.

with one comment

Reuters on Gaddafi and the ICC:

“(Reuters) – International Criminal Court investigators have proof that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces committed crimes against humanity, and the court’s chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, said on Monday he would soon ask for up to five arrest warrants
.
The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously in February to refer Gaddafi’s violent crackdown against anti-government demonstrators to The Hague-based ICC and Moreno-Ocampo said his first recommendations for indictments should reach ICC judges within weeks.

“We have strong evidence on the beginning of the conflict, the shooting of civilians,” he told Reuters in an interview, noting that killing unarmed civilians would qualify as a crime against humanity.

“Also, we have strong evidence of the crime of persecution,” he said. This includes “massive arrests and torture of people, and some forced disappearances … (for) talking to journalists or going to demonstrations.”

Without giving precise details of his proof, Moreno-Ocampo said “for these two crimes we have a lot of evidence.” He plans to brief the Security Council on his probe on Wednesday.

Once Moreno-Ocampo makes his recommendations to the ICC’s pretrial chamber, the judges must decide whether there are sufficient grounds to issue arrest warrants.

Moreno-Ocampo said he would initially ask for up to five arrest warrants, but disclosed no names. “

Middle East Roll Up.

leave a comment »

There’s a lot of things going on, and normally I would like to do separate posts, but following Bob’s shining example, here is a slew of Middle East and related issues:

The Syrian President (and presumably many of his entourage) might end up at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, according to the Torygraph, for their murderous behaviour. Chance would be a fine thing. At latest count 350+ killed by the Syrian regime.

Meanwhile, the Gulf Daily News relates that in Saudi Arabia preparations are underway for a Royal visit to Bahrain and then presumably on to the Royal wedding in London, with blood still dripping from their fingers.

In Royal matters, numerous bloodsoaked dictators are coming over to meet the newly weds, share canopies and chat about how best to shoot the plebs, or whatever counts for small talk in royal circles nowadays. The Bahraini Crown Prince said, regrettably he couldn’t come as killing protesters was a more pressing matter at the moment, or something like that.

We shouldn’t forget that the Bahraini rulers are very close to the Royal family, particularly Charles.

They are very chummy with David Cameron too.

Elsewhere, forget Gaddafi’s “ceasefire” his forces are lobbing rockets into Misratah, killing civilians all over the place.

As Syrian Army tanks move in to slaughter the people of Daraa youths show their contempt by throwing rocks at the tanks.

Modern slavery exists, as Burmese workers are enslaved in the Thai fishing fleet.

Fawaz Turki on the intolerant streak continues to afflict Palestinian society.

We should not forget the revolts have spread from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Algeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran and to Mauritania.

Reuters has more on events in Nouakchott:

“NOUAKCHOTT, April 25 (Reuters) – Security forces using teargas and batons dispersed several hundred anti-government protesters in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott on Monday, the most serious clash in the West African state for nearly two months.

Inspired by uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, critics of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz began street protests in late February in the poverty-stricken desert country, although their number has rarely risen above one thousand.

“Mauritanians are fed up with this regime, and it is time that we said it loud and clear,” Cheikh Ould Jiddou, a leader of the protest, told Reuters.”

Jeff Goldberg is good on the Mysteries of Richard Goldstone.

Oh, just in case anyone asked, the US already has sanctions on Syria,

Gaddafi Using Children As Cannon Fodder.

leave a comment »

Channel 4 reports that Gaddafi is now using children as cannon fodder:

“Sixteen-year-old Murad, banters with his doctors from his oversized wheelchair.

Smooth faced and wide eyed, with a big innocent smile, he talks about football, computers, and blushes at the mention of girls.

Murad is still too young to shave, but until last week he was handling weapons on the deadliest front of Libya’s brutal civil war. Until he was injured, and captured by the opposition, Murad was an unwilling soldier in Colonel Muammer Gaddafi’s conscript army.

Now his arm is in plaster, and the white bed sheet draped over his thin frame covers the bloody, bandaged stump where his leg has been amputated.

Murad is one of an ‘army’ of child soldiers being used by Colonel Muammer Gaddafi in the battle to regain the besieged Libyan town of Misrata. School boys as young as 15 are being conscripted to the front line say government troops captured by the rebels.

Dozens of school boys who have been taken from Tripoli, and forced to fight for Gaddafi say eyewitnesses. “

What The Stop the War Coalition Says.

with one comment

Apparently Gaddafi has declared a ceasefire whilst still killing Libyans, as CNN reports:

“(CNN) — Libya’s government announced a “immediate” cease-fire on Friday, but witnesses in western and eastern Libya says conflict is raging.

Witnesses in the western city of Misrata said a pro-government assault is persisting and casualties are mounting.

“What cease-fire,” asked a doctor in Misrata, who described hours of military poundings, descriptions of casualties, and dwindling resources to treat the wounded. “We’re under the bombs.”

“This morning they are burning the city,” the doctor said. “There are deaths everywhere.”

“Misrata is on fire,” according to an opposition member — who said tanks and vehicles with heavy artillery shot their way into the city last night and the assault continued on Friday. He said Gadhafi’s regime announced a cease-fire to buy time for itself. “Please help us.”

In eastern Libya, CNN’s Arwa Damon reported the sounds of explosions, fighters’ accounts of heavy casualties, and ambulances. She said fighters, who don’t trust Gadhafi, believe the declaration is a trick

“Everybody around us is on very high alert, still expecting the worst,” she said. “

Elsewhere, in the UK the Stop the War Coalition is against the No Fly Zone, and by default, for allowing Gaddafi to advance on Benghazi unhindered. As a matter of record this is what they say:

“DEMONSTRATE: No military intervention in Libya by US and Britain Downing Street • Whitehall • London • Friday 18 March • 5-6pm

The lessons of two disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been learned. The price paid in the devastation of two countries and hundreds of thousands of deaths will now be extended to the people of Libya. Air attacks on Libya will not help end the civil war but will escalate it and could be the prelude to a much wider war. “

(H/T: Weggis)

Update 1: Dave Osler sums it up nicely:

“The stark fact is that without external support, the forces that have put their lives on the line in the current uprising against Gaddafi face certain defeat, and a reactionary regime will brutally and triumphantly consolidate its rule, perhaps bringing the revolution in North Africa and elsewhere in the Muslim world to a total halt.”

Update 2: The Beeb live update is good, and this piece most pertinent:

“1627: More from that Libyan spokesman. He says his government has asked the Turkish and Maltese authorities to help implement – and supervise – the ceasefire.

1620: A Libyan government spokesman says the ceasefire has already been implemented. He insists that no government military attacks have been launched in Misrata or anywhere else on Friday – this conflicts with a number of reports that the BBC has received.

1616: Ghaith Amanazi, former Arab League ambassador, tells the BBC the Libyan leadership is speaking with two voices. Only yesterday, he says, we had “blood-curdling language” from Col Gaddafi and his son, threatening reprisals against the rebels, and then today, we see the foreign minister trying to appease the international community.

1609: UN spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs tells AFP that parts of the Libyan government have “stated willingness to provide access for humanitarian agencies”, but no agreement has been reached on how an assessment of needs will be carried out.

1602: Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond says he “strongly supports” the UN resolution. He tells the BBC it sends a strong message to the Libyan regime and “will concentrate minds”. Asked if he supports the idea of “regime change”, he says he believes “the end game” is “a new government of Libya. “

Mauritania, The Forgotten Revolt.

with 4 comments

Mauritania is often forgotten about, but its people are up in arms too, Reuters explains things:

“NOUAKCHOTT (Reuters) – Hundreds of people took to the streets in Mauritania on Friday calling for better living conditions and more jobs in the vast, impoverished desert nation that straddles black and Arab Africa.

Such demonstrations are rare in the West African country and few expect to see protests on the scale of those that have rocked Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and to a lesser extent, neighbouring Algeria.

A handful in the crowd of 1,000-1,500 mostly young people who took part in the peaceful protest demanded the departure of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, but they were in the minority and there was only a light security presence.

“The president has to respect his people. Aziz has always said he’s the president of the poor; now the poor are in front of you asking for dialogue,” said Mocktar Mohammed Mahmoud, a social worker who said he had got involved through Facebook.

“There is no party behind us, there is no particular tribe behind this. We are behind you in your war against terrorism but you’ve got to stand behind us in our war against hunger.”

Abdel Aziz came to power first in a 2008 coup and then won an election in 2009, which has largely restored stability to the nation but failed to bridge the gap between the mostly rich Arab elite and the largely poorer African classes. “

Yahoo has more:

“The United Nations Development Program indicates the life expectancy for Mauritanians is 57.3 years.

* The U.N. Human Development Index ranks Mauritania 136th out of 169 countries, placing it high among the countries rated as having low human development. It is rated below Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia, all North African countries that have experienced protests and uprisings in the past two months.

* Half the population relies on agriculture and livestock, and the country is rich in iron ore, its main export. Fishing is a major, though threatened, resource and oil reserves have not materialized to the extent expected. “

Written by modernityblog

01/03/2011 at 02:22

Blair Kissing Gaddafi.

leave a comment »

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.

leave a comment »

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.