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Posts Tagged ‘Mercenaries

The London School of Economics And The “Libya Gift”

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Below is the minutes of a meeting at the London School of Economics which discussed taking money from Gaddafi’s Libya. A copy of this is on the web, I put it here as a matter of public record.

“THE LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL SCIENCE

COUNCIL

20 October 2009

MINUTES

A meeting of the Council was held on Tuesday, 20 October 2009 in BOX, 5th Floor, Tower 3

PRESENT: Sir Anthony Battishill (in the Chair), Ms Vivina Berla, Professor Chris Brown, Ms Angela Camber, Ms Shami Chakrabarti, Ms Bronwyn Curtis, Mr Alan Elias, Mr Aled Dilwyn Fisher, Mr Tim Frost, Professor George Gaskell, Professor Janet Hartley, Ms Kate Jenkins, Professor Paul Kelly, Dr David Lane, Ms Anne Lapping, Professor Robin Mansell, Professor David Marsden, Professor Eileen Munro, Professor George Philip, Mr Brian Smith, Professor Sarah Worthington.

BY INVITATION: Mr Mike Bragg (Staff Consultative Council), Mr Roger Mountford (Nominated Officer, LSE Enterprise).

IN ATTENDANCE: Ms Jenny Bone, Ms Barbara Bush, Mr Adrian Hall, Professor David Held (until Minute No. 21), Ms Fiona Kirk, Ms Jayne Rose, Ms Jean Sykes, Mr Wayne Tatlow.

APOLOGIES: Mr Stephen Barclay, Howard Davies, Mr Richard Goeltz (North American Advisory Board), Mr Mario Francescotti, Ms Sophie de la Hunt, Mr Wol Kolade, Professor Richard Sennett, Mr Peter Sutherland.

IN MEMORIAM

10. Council stood as a mark of respect for Professor Antoine Faure-Grimaud of the Department of Finance who died on 6 July 2009 at the age of 41.

WELCOME

11. The Chairman welcomed Ms Bronwyn Curtis to her first meeting of the Council.

THE CHAIRMAN

12. REPORTED, by the Secretary and Director of Administration: that Mr Peter Sutherland was recovering from a period of ill health. Mr Sutherland had retained a keen interest in the School during his period of recuperation and had been kept abreast of School developments. He hoped to return to the School later in the Michaelmas Term.

13. RESOLVED: that the Secretary and Director of Administration would convey to the Chairman the best wishes of the Council.

MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 21 SEPTEMBER 2009

14. RECEIVED: the minutes of the meeting of Council held on 21 September 2009.

15. RESOLVED: that the minutes be approved as a correct record.

MATTERS ARISING

Donation for the Centre for Global Governance

16. RECEIVED: paper CL/2, “Libya Gift”, comprising introductory remarks from the Director, a letter from Professor Fred Halliday entitled “LSE and the Qaddafi Foundation: A Dissenting Note”, and a collection of media reports on links between the LSE and Libya.

17. REPORTED: that Council had decided on 23 June 2009 to accept a donation of £1.5m over 5 years from the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation for the LSE Centre for the Study of Global Governance. Since that time, there had been widespread condemnation of Libya’s handling of the return of Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi and the Director had received a letter from Emeritus Professor Fred Halliday which counselled against acceptance of the donation. Accordingly, the Council had been given the opportunity to consider whether, in the light of events over the summer, LSE’s links with Libya had attracted negative publicity to the School, or might do so in future and, if so, whether that was sufficient to warrant reconsideration of the gift.

18. REPORTED, by Professor David Held (Co-Director, Centre for the Study of Global Governance): that the decision to accept the gift was a matter for the LSE/ Council; that the Foundation was a UN accredited NGO; that the gift was funded by private sector organisations (in construction and engineering); that the gift was unrestricted and had no conditions on use; that a public signing ceremony had been undertaken, and that a u-turn at this juncture might affect the School’s relations with Libya and cause personal embarrassment to the Chairman of the Foundation, Dr Saif al-Islam Gaddafi; that the views espoused by Professor Halliday were not necessarily shared by all in the academic community; that, having trawled traditional media and the blogosphere, no evidence had been found that LSE’s links with Libya had attracted criticism, despite the ‘storm’ created by the Al-Megrahi affair; and that it was important to engage with the Middle East and North Africa.

19. IN DISCUSSION the following points were made:

(a) that there were concerns about the reputational risk of rejecting the gift, having accepted it in the summer;
(b) that with the exception of Professor Halliday, no member of the School community had queried the decision to accept the Libyan donation, although this might reflect the timing of the original discussion near the end of the Summer Term and the publication of the relevant Council minutes in September;
(c) that in future more information should be provided to Council about controversial potential donations, more time allowed for consideration, and Council should benefit from a “devil’s advocate” approach when considering the arguments;
(d) that in future the totality of the School’s relationship with a country should be overseen to enable early identification of potential reputational risk;
(e) that LSE Enterprise had experience of working with the Libyan state, delivering executive education. They had operated with complete independence and their work had been positively received by others, including the School’s supporters in the United States;
(f) that some individual members of the North American Advisory Board had indicated that acceptance of the donation would not affect the extent to which US alumni would financially support the School;
(g) that although Professor Held had joined the Board of Trustees of the Foundation after acceptance by Council of the donation to the Centre for Global Governance in June 2009, concerns remained about the perceived conflict of interest.

20. REPORTED, by Professor David Held:

(a) that due diligence work and research had been undertaken to establish the credentials of the Foundation. The donation had been extensively debated within the Development Committee before it reached the Council for decision;
(b) that the Foundation was created in order to be to be an exemplary NGO within North Africa. Its support for democracy and human rights had at times placed it at odds with the Libyan State, but it had enjoyed some success in areas such as penal reform;
(c) that the Foundation raised funds on a project-by-project basis, with the money coming from private sector companies, rather than the Libyan government;
(d) that, following the Council meeting on 23 June 2009, Professor Held had been invited to join the Board of the Foundation in an individual capacity. Upon the advice of Council, Professor Held would be willing to resign that position;
(e) that the donation from the Foundation represented less than 20% of the operating costs of the Centre for Global Governance, with the remainder coming from a diverse range of other sources.

21. REPORTED, by the LSESU General Secretary: support for discussion of controversial major donations at Council.

Professor Held left the meeting.

22. RESOLVED:

(a) on balance, that the decision of 23 June 2009 to accept the gift would stand;
(b) that in order to avoid the potential for conflicts of interest and reputational risk, colleagues should not usually serve on the boards of organisations from which they or their units were receiving gifts. The Director would be asked to consider the implications of, and as appropriate promulgate, this policy decision. In this context, Council accepted Professor Held’s offer to stand down as a Board member of the Gaddafi Foundation;
(c) that the totality of the School’s relationship with, and work in Libya needed to be carefully monitored and handled to avoid misunderstanding of the School’s position;
(d) that when presenting to Council on controversial potential donations, the arguments should include a “devil’s advocate” element. Council should be given sufficient time to weigh all of the arguments, and to have the opportunity to reflect before reaching a decision;
(e) that the Secretary and Director of Administration would write to Professor Halliday to inform him of the outcome of discussions at Council.

REPORT ON BEHALF OF THE DIRECTOR

23. REPORTED, by the Pro-Director (Planning and Resources):

Student Recruitment
(a) that the School had “over-recruited” by 280 students, but remained within the HEFCE +/- 5% tolerance band. Departments which had over-recruited by more than 5% of their admission target would receive compensation. Consideration would be given as to how over-recruitment of Home/EU undergraduate students can be avoided in future years.

Points-Based Visa System
(b) that the School’s efforts to mitigate the impact of the introduction of the points-based visa system had proved effective, with relatively few students affected and no significant impact on conversion rates.

Pay Negotiations
(c) that the Universities and Colleges Employers Association’s latest offer of 0.5% had been accepted by Unison, but rejected by the UCU, Unite, EIS – ULA and the GMB. It was likely that all parties would enter into arbitration through ACAS.

Public Sector Finance
(d) that a briefing would be arranged for Heads of Academic Departments, Service Leaders, Departmental Managers, APRC and members of Council, to explain the deteriorating public spending environment and how this might affect the School in future years. The School would need to develop contingency plans to ensure that it would be able to continue to support teaching, research, service improvement and estate development, regardless of any decrease in public funding.

24. REPORTED, by the Pro-Director (Research and External Relations):

THE World Rankings
(a) that the LSE had been rated 67th in the THE World University Rankings and 5th in the world as a specialist social sciences institution. The School’s position in the global ranking had been adversely affected by a change in the weightings for international staff and students, resulting in a marked drop in ranking from 2007. The publishers had acknowledged weaknesses in league table methodology and had entered a dialogue with the School about more suitable measures.

Peking Summer School
(b) that the 6th LSE-Peking University Summer School in Beijing had attracted 240 students from 40 countries.

LSE Cities
(c) that Deutsche Bank had provided an endowment of £1million per year for the next five years to fund LSE Cities, an international centre for urban excellence.

Yrjo Jahnsson Award in Economics 2009
(d) that Professor John Van Reenen, Director of the LSE Centre for Economic Performance had been awarded Europe’s most prestigious prize for economic researchers. Professor Van Reenen shared the award with Fabrizio Zilibotti of the University of Zurich, an alumnus of the LSE.

Postgraduate Education
(e) that the Pro-Director (Research and External Relations) had been invited to contribute to the Government review of postgraduate education.

25. REPORTED, by the Chief Information Officer:

IBSS
(a) that arrangements were being made to secure the financial sustainability of the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, following the withdrawal of funding by the ESRC. Any future arrangement would provide for continued access for LSE users, free of charge, in perpetuity.

26. REPORTED, by the Secretary and Director of Administration:

Human Resources Advisory Group
(a) that the Secretary and the Director of Human Resources would bring forward to Council a report about reviving the committee of Council responsible for advising on HR strategy.

27. REPORTED, by the Pro-Director (Teaching and Learning):

Student Loans Company
(b) that relatively few students had been affected by late loan payments and that the School had been proactive in promoting services to assist any students still awaiting loans.

Black to the Future
(c) that the second LSE “Black to the Future” conference had attracted 380 participants. The aim of the event was to inspire young black Londoners to aim for the top in the world of education.

Orientation
(d) that the new student orientation arrangements appeared to have been successful and feedback was being sought from students.

SUPPORTING PALESTINIAN STUDENTS AND YOUNG ACADEMICS

28. REPORTED, by the Pro-Director (Teaching and Learning):

(a) that the School had for some time been considering ways in which it might assist in meeting the needs identified in a Universities UK report of March 2008 for staff development for young academics in Palestinian universities. The report recommended the development of “virtual” links between Palestinian universities and higher education institutions in the UK. In June, with the assistance of the British Council, Mr Steve Ryan of the LSE Centre for Learning Technology travelled to Al Quds Open University to deliver a seminar on the assistance that LSE might provide, such as online seminars on topics such as the use of IT in teaching and research methodology. The capacity-building programme would be rolled out during 2009/10 and a delegation from Al Quds would visit the UK later this year. It was hoped that Al Quds would disseminate the knowledge made available by the LSE to other Palestinian universities, in order to provide broader benefit.

(b) that the School was exploring the possibility of providing more formal staff development for young academics in Palestine (such as fee waivers). A number of discussions had taken place over the summer between the School, the Department of Business, Industry and Skills (BIS), the British Council and a number of other UK universities. The School had committed support in principle for a scheme of this nature, and an announcement was expected from the BIS early in the New Year. It was understood that any initiative would relate to the Palestinian territories broadly defined, including Gaza.

REPORT OF THE COUNCIL AWAYDAY 2009

29. RECEIVED: paper CL/3, report on the Council Awayday held on 21 September 2009.

30. REPORTED, by Professor David Marsden: that concerns had been raised by Academic Governors during the Awayday session on Research Performance and the Research Excellence Framework regarding: bibliometrics; research themes/ academic autonomy; and the danger of inhibiting truly ground-breaking research.

31. IN RESPONSE, the Pro-Director (Research and External Relations) reported that a paper had been circulated to all Heads of Department regarding preparations for the REF and that this would be debated in full at the Academic Board later in the term and would be the basis of further discussion within academic departments.

STRATEGIC PLAN

32. RECEIVED: paper CL/4, draft Strategic Plan Targets 2009-14.

33. REPORTED, by the Secretary and Director of Administration: that the targets were a “work in progress” and currently contained a mixture of quantitative targets and processes.

34. REPORTED, by Mr Mike Bragg (representative of the Staff Consultative Committee): concerns regarding the achievability of some of the targets for the development of IT Services; and concern that valuable data might be lost if the proposed staff survey were to be made more concise.

35. IN RESPONSE: the Secretary and Director of Administration reported that the staff survey, in its original format, was extremely long and that the time required to complete it would deter staff from responding. He would be reviewing the shortened version of the staff survey and would ensure that all key elements were retained.

36. RESOLVED: that Mr Bragg would discuss his concerns regarding the proposed IT Services targets with the Chief Information Officer outside of the meeting.

37. IN DISCUSSION:

(a) it was suggested that the target for uptake of Houghton Street Online should be more ambitious;
(b) the alignment of activities with the Strategic Plan was welcomed;
(c) that it would be useful to specify the rationale for each of the selected targets.

38. RESOLVED:

(a) that the Director of Development and Alumni Relations would review the target relating to Houghton Street Online;
(b) that Council members would email comments on the proposed targets to the Secretary and Director of Administration within a fortnight of the meeting.

REMUNERATION COMMITTEE

39. RECEIVED: paper CL/5, a report on policy issues arising from the meeting of the Remuneration Committee held on 15 July 2009.

40. REPORTED: that the Remuneration Committee had established four sub-groups to consider individual cases and bring forth recommendations, which allowed the main Committee to focus on substantive policy issues and strategic decisions. The main Committee would set the parameters for decision-making by the sub-groups, in order to ensure consistency in application and appropriate controls on expenditure. In the current session, the Committee would be considering the issue of equal pay.

COURT OF GOVERNORS

41. RECEIVED: the unconfirmed minutes of the meeting of the Court of Governors held on 2 July 2009.

42. REPORTED, by the Secretary and Director of Administration: that at the suggestion of the Council, the Court would be briefed on issues relating to the promotion by Government of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) at the expense of the social sciences, arts and humanities. It was hoped that members of the Court would be willing to lobby policy-makers on this key issue.

43. REPORTED, by the General Secretary of the LSE Students’ Union: that the restructuring of the Union had been successfully completed and that financial irregularities in previous years were being addressed by the Sabbatical Officers and the new management. Financial and back office services would be outsourced to Charity Business, a specialist provider, with the objective of improving management accounts and ensuring compliance with the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) for accounting and reporting by charities.

ANNUAL REPORTS OF THE SECRETARY AND DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATION AND THE DIRECTOR OF FINANCE AND FACILITIES

44. RECEIVED: papers CL/7 and CL/8, the annual reports of the Secretary and Director of Administration and Director of Finance and Facilities.

45. REPORTED: by the Secretary and Director of Administration: the role of the Triumvirate under the auspices of the Academic Planning and Resources Committee in approving and resourcing Service Development Plans for the support services and ensuring that these meet the needs of the academic community.

46. RESOLVED:

(a) to commend the outstanding achievements of the professional support services staff over the past year and the plans of the services for the coming year;
(b) to request a substantive discussion within Council about these reports on at least a biennial basis, commencing 2010/11.

HEFCE ASSURANCE REVIEW

47. RECEIVED: paper CL/9, a report on the 2009 HEFCE Assurance Visit.

48. RESOLVED: to note the content of the report.

LEGAL COMPLIANCE

49. RECEIVED: paper CL/10, a report on recent legislative and regulatory developments.

50. RESOLVED: to note the content of the report.

NOTICE OF THE COURT MEETING OF 10 DECEMBER 2009

51. RECEIVED: paper CL/11, the notice of the Court meeting of 10 December 2009.

52. RESOLVED: to approve the draft calling notice for the meeting of the Court of Governors to be held on 10 December 2009, subject to any amendments made by the Director.

RELEASE OF PAPERS

53. RESOLVED: that the agenda and papers of the meeting of Council held on 20 October 2009 be released to the intranet and made available to the public upon request, with the exception of the following items:

(a) Minute 5 of the minutes of the meeting of Council held on 21 September 2009 (estate strategy) on grounds of commercial sensitivity;
(b) Paper CL/2, donation to the Centre for Global Governance – publication to be delayed until follow up action has been completed;
(c) Paper CL/6, unconfirmed minutes of the meeting of the Court of Governors held on 2 July 2009 and CL/11, notice of the Court meeting to be held on 10 December 2009 – both intended for future publication;
(d) Paper CL/8, the annual report of the Director of Finance and Facilities, will be published save for extracts relating to potential property acquisitions (commercially sensitive) and identified or identifiable individuals (data protection).

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Vice Chairman of the Court and Council

54. REPORTED, by the Secretary and Director of Administration: that on 10 December 2009, the Court would be asked by the Chairmanship and Vice-Chairmanship Selection Committee to approve the election of Ms Kate Jenkins as a Vice-Chairman of the Court and Council, succeeding Sir Anthony Battishill.

55. RESOLVED: to concur with the recommendation of the Chairmanship and Vice Chairmanship Selection Committee that Ms Jenkins be elected a Vice Chairman of the Court and Council.

There being no further business, the meeting of the Council concluded at 7.40pm.”

Remember, those present:

PRESENT: Sir Anthony Battishill (in the Chair), Ms Vivina Berla, Professor Chris Brown, Ms Angela Camber, Ms Shami Chakrabarti, Ms Bronwyn Curtis, Mr Alan Elias, Mr Aled Dilwyn Fisher, Mr Tim Frost, Professor George Gaskell, Professor Janet Hartley, Ms Kate Jenkins, Professor Paul Kelly, Dr David Lane, Ms Anne Lapping, Professor Robin Mansell, Professor David Marsden, Professor Eileen Munro, Professor George Philip, Mr Brian Smith, Professor Sarah Worthington.

Mercs, R2, Blackwater And The UAE.

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This is an informative article on a successor to that terrible company, Blackwater.

R2, a creation of Erik Prince, are essentially upmarket mercenaries, who will work for anyone with money and are finalising a deal with the UAE, according to the Nation:

“Erik Prince did leave the US, but he isn’t teaching high school and is certainly not out of the mercenary business. In fact, far from emerging as a neo-Indiana Jones, the antithesis of a mercenary, Prince is more like Belloq, offering his services to the highest bidder. Over the weekend, The New York Times revealed that Prince was leading an effort to build an army of mercenaries, 800 strong—including scores from Colombia—in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. They would be trained by US, European and South African Special Forces veterans. Prince’s new company, Reflex Responses, also known as R2, was bankrolled to the tune of $529 million from “the oil-soaked sheikdom,” according to the Times, adding that Prince was “hired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi” Sheik Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. Erik Prince is not mentioned by name in corporate documents outlining the deal, but is instead referred to as “Kingfish.”

The contract between R2 and the UAE kicked in last June and is slated to run through May 2015. According to corporate documents on the private army Prince is building in the UAE, its potential roles include “crowd-control operations,” defending oil pipelines from potential terrorist attacks and special operations missions inside and outside the UAE “to destroy enemy personnel and equipment.” Other sources said the Emiratis wanted to potentially use the force to quell potential rebellions in the country’s massive labor camps that house the Filipinos, Pakistanis and other imported laborers that fuel the country’s work force. Prince also has plans to build a massive training base, modeled after the 7,000 acre private military base Blackwater built in Moyock, North Carolina.

When Prince moved to the UAE last summer, he said he chose Abu Dhabi because of its “great proximity to potential opportunities across the entire Middle East, and great logistics,” adding that it has “a friendly business climate, low to no taxes, free trade and no out of control trial lawyers or labor unions. It’s pro-business and opportunity.”

The timing of Prince’s move was auspicious to say the least. It came just month after five of Prince’s top deputies were hit with a fifteen-count indictment by a federal grand jury on conspiracy, weapons and obstruction of justice charges. Among those indicted were Prince’s longtime number-two man, former Blackwater president Gary Jackson, former vice presidents William Matthews and Ana Bundy, and Prince’s former legal counsel, Andrew Howell. The UAE does not have an extradition treaty with the United States. “If Prince were not living in the US, it would be far more complicated for US prosecutors to commence an action against him,” said Scott Horton, a Columbia University Law lecturer and international law expert who has long tracked Blackwater. “There is a long history of people thwarting prosecutors simply by living overseas.”

Not good.

Written by modernityblog

16/05/2011 at 23:08

What The Stop the War Coalition Says.

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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. “

UNSC Resolution 1973, Too Little or Too Late?

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The United Nations was a good idea, bring together countries and try to resolve complex problems in a peaceful fashion, through consensus and debate.

The reality even after it was created was so different and whilst the recent UN Security Council resolution 1973 is very sturdy, in UN terms and authorises a no-fly zone over Libya and “all necessary measures” there is an incredible disparity between now and two months ago.

Some two months ago Libya, under Colonel Gadaffi, held the chair to the UN’s highest human rights body, was a well-regarded participant in the UN and received weapons from various Western and other countries.

Libya, under Gadaffi, even funded a human rights prize, which would appear laughable if it wasn’t for the murderous way he and his son have conducted themselves in the last few weeks.

Gadaffi jr. doled out money left, right and centre and in the process gained a degree of respectability and the compliance of Western academics, most noticeably the LSE.

Two months back, the West, Russia and China were happy to do business with Gaddafi, even though it was obvious he was a murderer and a dictator that held power for 42 years.

So the leaders of the UN and associated countries show what a pile of sanctimonious frauds they really are, two months back patting Gaddafi on the back, welcoming his money and his oil, and what now?

Still, if the UN resolution enables the rebels to overthrow Gaddafi and bring about some peaceful, well-deserved change to Libya then it is to be welcomed.

Gaddafi, like the host of other dictators, potentates and monarch’s across the Middle East should be overthrown.

Their downfall cannot come quickly enough for me, but this whole episode has illustrated how powerful countries, Russia and China, can block any necessary action until it is almost too late.

I hope that it isn’t too late and that Gaddafi can be stopped, but when and if that happens we shouldn’t forget how compliant other nations, other rulers were to him when he was in power.

Update 1: Nor should we forget what’s happening in Bahrain either, protesters shot, arrested, a foreign country (Saudi Arabia) intervenes.

Update 2: In a slightly surreal twist Bahrain’s King might be going to the British Royal wedding in April 2011, might.

Update 3: If you ever feel like watching UN TV, which details the votes, etc this is the link.

Update 4: The WSJ on U.N. Clears Way for Attack on Libya.

Update 5: Libya Shuts Air Space Ahead Of No-Fly Action.

Update 6: Hussein Ibish on What really took so long on the Libya resolution and what are the costs of delaying the inevitable?

Update 7: Left Foot Forward on UN authorises “all necessary measures” to protect Libyans from Gaddafi.

Update 8: Libyan rebels celebrate UN no-fly zone resolution at the Beeb.

Bahrain, Libya, Saudi Arabia and The West.

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In Bahrain we are witnessing Saudi Arabian imperialism as dictators join forces to shoot peaceful demonstrators, the video below is just one example.

Elsewhere, in Libya Gaddafi’s air power has proved decisive as his mercenaries and loyalists advance on Benghazi.

The West’s failure to aid the rebels or provide a counter to Gadaffi’s air power has sealed the fate of the rebels.

In all probability we will see a bloodbath in Benghazi as Gadaffi kills as many as possible to prove a point, and the West’s stupid sanctions will not stop him. Gaddafi was afraid of losing power and fought with that in mind, freezing his assets in the West was annoying but not uppermost in his thinking. He doesn’t care what the West thinks of him, rather what could have happened, his overthrow and demise.

That is unlikely to happen now, as any opposition will be brutally dealt with, after 42 years as a dictator he’s learnt a trick or two, to murder or exile his opponents and ignore what people say.

In Saudi Arabia, there are protests according to Bloomberg:

“About 1,000 people in Saudi Arabia’s eastern city of al-Qatif defied a ban on demonstrations yesterday and protested peacefully to demand the country’s troops end their incursion into Bahrain.

Protesters chanted and held signs that called on the government to stay out of Bahrain, according to Ali Hassan, 26, who took part in the march. He said the march veered away from security forces to avoid a confrontation. A separate protest was held in the city of Awwamiya, according to Jasim al-Awwami, 27, who participated in it.”

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.”