May 9th, 2011

Libyagate: Tripoli National Conference Decisions, ICC

So its clear to everyone. The insurgency started as an unarmed protest in Benghazi. It was contained by local security until thugs joined in and started killing, a suicide bomber opened a local army camp, Benghazi prison was opened. The army was called in. Three NATO countries bombed the army. The insurgency spread. The spread has continued with open NATO assistance. NATO has turned down 5 calls for a cease fire and tried to kill Gaddafi during the latest call. NATO countries have boots on the ground aiding the insurgents. The number of "boots" keeps increasing. A lawyer in Belgium is filing charges against NATO for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The government in Tripopli is the only legal authority in the conflict. The government acted legally in trying to suppress the insurgency. NATO has absolutely no concern for civilians demonstrated by its bombing civilian targets and by the following:

Nato units left 61 African migrants to die of hunger and thirst
Exclusive: Boat trying to reach Lampedusa was left to drift in Mediterranean for 16 days, despite alarm being raised
[...] All but 11 of those on board died from thirst and hunger after their vessel was left to drift in open waters for 16 days
[...] International maritime law compels all vessels, including military units, to answer distress calls from nearby boats and to offer help where possible. Refugee rights campaigners have demanded an investigation into the deaths, while the UNHCR, the UN's refugee agency, has called for stricter co-operation among commercial and military vessels in the Mediterranean in an effort to save human lives.
The Guardian learned that an unidentified military helicopter delivered food and water to the boat while it was adrift, that the Italian coast guard had been alerted to its presence, and that the boat had once drifted within site of an aircraft carrier - like the French Charles de Gaulle.

National conference for Libyan tribes conclude their meeting and issue a group of decisions.
National conference for heads and sheiks of Libyan tribes in their final day issued on Friday a group of decisions.
The agenda that had been a subject of discussion at the conference as follows.
1- Preventing bloodshed of Libyans.
2- Foreign intervention and confronting the aggression.
3- Saving Libyan unity.
4- Future of Libya.
5- Any other agendas to be discussed.

The Libyan tribes decided to form the following committees.
1- Arab tribes contact committee.
2- A coordination committee to coordinately work with GPC for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation.
3- A committee for legal affairs to be made up by GPC for Justice.
4- Forming and announcing union of martyrs of crusader aggression.
5- An unbiased committee to be formed in order to find out on the alleged militias and to investigate on anti-humanitarian crimes that committed by NATO.
6- Illegitimacy of so-called national council, the council of shame that has been the main cause of suffering of Libyans so far.
7- Libyan tribes are so grateful and appreciated to African tribes which showed their readiness to defend Libya.

A Pretext for War: Do We Really Need an International Criminal Court? by Diana Johnstone
Year after year, people in the Arab countries are helpless spectators to the ongoing destruction of Iraq and Palestine by the United States and Israel. They see families wiped out by bombs in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon. They see Arabs tortured and humiliated in Abu Ghraib and in Guantanamo. They see Israel regularly carrying out "targeted" assassinations in the Occupied Territories (splashing death around the target) while extending its illegal settlement of land belonging to Palestinians. Probably no people have greater cause to yearn for an equitable system of international justice. But where are they to look for it?
Well, what about the International Criminal Court (ICC)? The ICC is supposed to punish perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity. It has been in operation since July 2002, but seldom gets as much attention as it received during a symposium in mid-January at the Academy of Graduate Studies in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. Underlying the two-day discussion on the "ambition, reality and future prospects" of the ICC was the question: is the ICC a first baby step toward international justice? Or is it just another element of Western "soft power", imposed on small countries?
Although Libyan leader Moammer Gadhafi has expressed the second view, on balance most of the legal experts and academics -- from Libya and other Arab countries, but also from Europe, China and South America -- tended to lean toward the first view. Although nobody denied the evident shortcomings of the ICC, lawyers and jurists generally see it as "better than nothing" and point out that democratic legal systems have evolved from institutionalized power relations toward greater justice. /I recommend reading the full article. The ICC is a tool for judgement under western ideals without consideration of circumstances.

Some stuff twitted from ~00:01
A group of volunteers specialists begins clearing Misrata & its surroundings from mines
Muammar has a huge armed convoy coming to #JabalNafusa from southern city of Ghdamis.
Hanger weapons storage facility hit by NATO strikes south of Zintan
Yefren mostly evacuated
Insurgents occupy Al Zarayg area which is 25km west of Misrata and very close to Zliten

Al Jazeera May 7
11:19am Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International's senior crisis advisor, has just been speaking with Al Jazeera. Here's what she told us: "The findings of our investigation so far are that the forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi have committed widespread violations of international law in Misurata as well as elsewhere in the country. Notably, the attacks, which are indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population - that is to say, rocket attacks, attacks with artillery, with mortars as well as the use of cluster bombs in civilian populated neighbourhoods within Misurata."
"Now obviously rockets are indiscriminate, they can never be used in civilian areas. The other weapons used ... are weapons that are designed for the battlefield, and again, should not be used in residential areas."
[No mention of insurgents using the same weapon to assault Brega and elsewhere??]
Rovera also said that Gaddafi forces had been using residential areas to shield their tanks from NATO air strikes.
"Yes, indeed, I was able to go into neighbourhoods from which the Gaddafi forces had just evacuated, and I saw for myself tanks that were parked right between the houses in areas which are quite dense. Now apparently that was to shield the tanks from NATO attacks. That again is a serious violation of international law."
"Shielding is a war crime."
[Does she recommend they paint targets on them? Are the insurgents not embedded in civilian areas? Is she an insurgent?]
1:00pm A rebel spokesman has told Reuters that Libyan government warplanes have bombed four oil storage tanks in Misurata. If this is the case, the Libyan planes will have violated the no-fly zone established over Libya under UN Security Council Resolution 1973.
[No mention of the insurgent jet shot down by insurgents or NATO over Benghazi or 2 helicopters shot down by the army?]

1:02pm British prime minister David Cameron's office has said that both he and Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, will be "increas[ing] the pressure militarily, politically and economically" to isolate Muammar Gaddafi's government..
Cameron and Sarkozy spoke on the phone on Friday .
[Purely in the interests of protecting civilians you understand, regime change couldn't be further from their minds.]

4:44pm NATO said aircraft under its command conducted 149 sorties on Friday, including 56 "strike" sorties designed to hit military assets.
Among the targets were tanks, ammunition storage depots, military trucks and "command and control" facilities in and around Sirte and Ras Lanuf.
[This is not about regime change. There is a chance the weaponry could be used against civilians instead of insurgents, you understand.]

1:30pm Libyan state television says NATO warplanes have launched air strikes on several government targets.
It came after pro-government forces started a fuel fire in the western city of Misurata.

May 8
11:59pm Shelling by Gaddafi's forces is choking off supplies to the rebel-held city of Misrata, leaving only enough food and water for about a month, a rebel spokesman said on Sunday.
Shipments of food, water and medical supplies arrived two to five times a week until two weeks ago, when they dropped to once a week or stopped due to sustained shelling of the city's port, Saddoun El-Misurati, a Misrata-based rebel spokesman, said.
"The city will have supplies of basic foodstuffs and water supply that will last for another month or so without really having to ring the alarm bell, but it really depends on the flow of further shipments. If this deliberate attack on the port area continues without something done about eliminating that kind of threat, we might come to a really bad situation as far as food supplies, especially water supplies, are concerned."

1:42pm The Reuters news agency, citing Libyan state television, says groups of rebels in the city of Misurata have "turned themselves in to government forces".
Al-Jamahiriya television gave no exact numbers but quoted a military spokesman as saying that some of those who had surrendered made recorded "confessions" which will be broadcast on television later, Reuters said.
Sieg Heil. Libya vill haf democracy, ve haf voted for Gaddafi to go. Ze Libyan folk can choose from US-Brussels approved new leaders. Der central bank vill be privatised, dat ist democracy. Ze oil vill belong to Europe. Heil Obama.
"The game is over for Gaddafi. He should realize sooner rather than later that there's not future for him or his regime. We have stopped Gaddafi in his tracks. His time is running out. He's more and more isolated." Rasmussen

US kills eight in Pakistan drone attack FT
The US has risked infuriating Pakistan’s military by launching a drone attack in North Waziristan, on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, killing eight suspected militants.
The missile attack on Friday is the first since the shooting of Osama bin Laden in a US helicopter-borne raid on his refuge in a garrison city, 50km from Islamabad, earlier this week.
 A renewed US assault on Pakistani territory comes hours after Pakistan’s top commanders warned that they would not tolerate a repeat attack by the US. Their terse public reaction to bin Laden’s killing also called for a reduction in the number of US military personnel in Pakistan.

The secret of Iran's Islamic gov't's ability to stay in power, mysticism (it's magic)
Ahmadinejad allies charged with sorcery Guardian
Close allies of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have been accused of using supernatural powers to further his policies amid an increasingly bitter power struggle between him and the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being “magicians” and invoking djinns (spirits).
Ayandeh, an Iranian news website, described one of the arrested men, Abbas Ghaffari, as “a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds”.