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10 April 2011 @ 04:17 pm
Libyagate: Tuesday, 5th April  

The amount of people that fled the violence in Libya to date numbers 400,000, UN spokesman Farhan Haq said here Friday. Link
[Is that since the coalition's humanitarian aid bombing began?]

Rebels execute black immigrants while forces kidnap others
While much of the world’s attention is focusing on crude oil prices and the Libyan pipelines in the east of the country– human right groups say rebels are committing crimes against humanity.
In east Libya, African hunt began as towns and cities began fall under the control of Libyan rebels, mobs and gangs. They started to detain, insult, rape and even executing black immigrants, students and refugees. /Link
[It would be enlightening to discover how many were killed in east compared to west Libya.]

How Libya kept migrants out of EU – at any cost
European leaders have been criticised for the selective humanitarian impulses that impelled them to turn against their erstwhile ally Colonel Gaddafi, while remaining passive in the face of the repression of pro-democracy protests in Yemen or Bahrain. Libyan oil has been cited as one of the main reasons for this discrepancy.
But there is another aspect of European hypocrisy and double-standards in dealing with the Libyan dictator that has received less attention ­ namely Libya’s crucial role as a barrier against Europe’s unwanted immigrants.
With a possible endgame in the Libyan civil war now beginning to emerge, with Gaddafi sending his envoy Abdelati al-Obeidi to Greece to discuss a way out of the conflict, it is worth reminding ourselves of the extent of such cooperation. /full woeful tale here

2 Qaddafi Sons Are Said to Offer Plan to Push Father Out NYT link
At least two sons of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi are proposing a resolution to the Libyan conflict that would entail pushing their father aside to make way for a transition to a constitutional democracy under the direction of his son Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, a diplomat and a Libyan official briefed on the plan said Sunday.

Yanks asking why the US is involved in Libya
youtube.com/watch?v=Fbd8WgfjAos

Moussa Koussa could face criminal proceedings Daily Telegraph
Moussa Koussa could face criminal proceedings in a British court for his alleged involvement in IRA bombings within weeks, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
The legal team representing nearly 160 British victims of IRA bomb attacks which used Libyan-supplied Semtex are considering bringing a private prosecution against the former Libyan foreign minister within weeks. /Link

The ‘dirty secret’ of British arms sales to Libya just months before Gaddafi slaughtered pro-democracy protesters Mail
Britain sold weapons to Libya and other dictatorships in North Africa and the Middle East just four months before Colonel Gaddafi’s regime slaughtered hundreds of protesters, a damning report reveals today.Ministers approved the export of sniper rifles, bullets, tear gas and other ‘crowd control’ ammunition to Tripoli shortly before the murderous dictator ordered his military to crush a pro-democracy uprising.

Do we really have the stomach to keep bombing Gaddafi for six months? Mail
So it becomes official: this will not be over by Easter. Yesterday the head of the RAF, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, revealed that he expects his Tornados to fly many more missions over Libya.
‘In general terms’, he said, ‘we are now planning on the basis of at least six months, and we’ll see where we go from there’.
[Then another, and another, 12 years may still be conservative. Gaddafi will not go for free.]

Al Jazeera GMT+2 blogs.aljazeera.net/live/africa/libya-live-blog-april-5
Monday
10:30pm Franco Frattini, the Italian foreign minister, has once again reiterated his government’s stance that Muammar Gaddafi “must go”.

10:32pm The US government says that it has lifted sanctions on Moussa Koussa, the former Libyan foreign minister who has resigned from his post and left Libya for the UK, AFP reports.

10:42pm Training for Libya’s rebel army is an ongoing process. These pictures were taken today at a training camp near Benghazi by Reuters.

10:52pm Lawrence Gonzi, the Maltese prime minister, met with Abdel Ati al-Obeidi, Libya’s acting foreign minister, today, though officials remain tightlipped about the content of the talks.
[out of 'arms way?]

11:13pm A statement is expected within a few minutes regarding those talks between Gaddafi’s envoy al-Obeidi and the Maltese PM.
Karl Stagno-Navarro, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Malta, reports that it is possible that Libya is looking for Malta and Greece to act as mediators with the European Union in order to ease the pressure.
Navarro reports that it is possible that Malta could play an important role, but the prime minister has put the precondition that Gaddafi’s forces must lay down their arms.

11:30pm Libyan state television has shown footage of Muammar Gaddafi saluting supporters at his Bab Al Aziziyah compound in Tripoli, Reuters reports.

Tuesday
12:23am A Libyan government spokesperson said Libya is ready for a “political solution” with world powers, the Reuters news agency reports.
[Talk to the dog rather than the tail?]

12:31am Libya has said Gaddafi must stay, but the country is ready to discuss reforming its political system, Reuters reports.
The government said only Libyans themselves can decided if Gaddafi should stay or not.

12:37am The Libyan government says it’s ready to hold elections, a referendum or any other reform to its political system, Reuters reports.

2:27am The US Treasury is ending its freeze on former Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa’s assets following his decision to sever ties to Gaddafi’s government and flee to Britain last week, a senior US Treasury official said.

3:20am Libyan rebels fighting Gaddafi’s forces are worried about their financial resources and want to start exporting both oil and natural gas, the UN special envoy to Libya said.

4:03am The European Union said it could provide special assistance to member countries facing a refugee crisis and ease refugees’ conditions after political upheaval in north Africa.
“In case of a massive inflow of displaced persons and refugees (from Libya, Tunisia or Egypt), the European Commission would be ready to make use of the 2001 directive that provides immediate protection” to these people, said Cecilia Malstroem, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, on Monday, the AFP news agency reported.
This comes as more than 22,000 migrants, mostly from Tunisia, have landed on the Italian island of Lampedusa since the Tunisian revolution in January.
[Any accepted by the UK should cause the number allowed in from elsewhere to be reduced, and not a "quango" type reduction either.]

7:00am Moussa Ibrahim, the Libyan government spokesman, tells reporters that they are ready for negotiations as long as it is from within Libya.

8:00am US fighter jets have ended their combat missions in Libya, with Nato to take full command of operations.

8:15am Al Jazeera’s Sue Turton reports on how the pro-democracy fighters have managed to push Gaddafi’s troops into the old town of Brega. And how many of the residents are desperate to leave due to shortage of basic supplies.

I’ll add DT Libya Live items that Al J hasn’t already reported to this post a little later.

Some stories I’ll be reading later:
World Socialist Web Site
Two or Three Things You Need to Know About Afghanistan
Egypt: Revolution or Coup?

Russians Have Second Thoughts on Libya Israel Shamir
Russia is different. The Americans, the British, the French by and large approve of their forces’ Libya bombing spree (yes, some doubt whether it’s good value for their tax money). The Russians are flatly against it, without ifs and buts. The Russian Ambassador in Tripoli Vladimir Chamov came back to hero welcome in Moscow. President Dmitri Medvedev dismissed him publicly after the Ambassador had sent him a cable. In the five-points cable leaked to the press, the Ambassador called Medvedev’s response to Libya crisis “betrayal of Russian national interests”.  (Later, the two sides climbed down a bit: the Foreign Office said Chamov was not “fired”, just “called back” from Tripoli, and that he retains his ambassadorial rank and salary, while Chamov denies he used the word “betrayal”.)
The Russians do not like the Western intervention in Libya. The rebels do not appear genuine, note the Russian internet critics; they are a peculiar, mixed bag of Kaddafi’s ministers fired for corruption, al-Qaeda mujahedeen,  riff-raff beefed up by SAS soldiers and supported by these best friends of every Arab, American cruise missiles. The Russian media discovered that the first reports of massive civil casualties inflicted by ruthless Kaddafi appears to have been invented by editors in London and Paris. More civilians were killed by the Western intervention than by the rebels. The mass-readership Komsomolskaya Pravda published reports from Russians in Libya that flatly disproved claims of Kaddafi’s planes bombing residential quarters: this was done by the French and British bombers. /more

A Very Dirty Trade-Off: the US / Saudi Deal on Libya and Bahrain
Fukushima Forecast: 417,000 Cancers, Will George Monbiot Donate His Bone Marrow?

Etceteras
Migrant crime wave revealed: Foreign arrests have almost doubled in just THREE years Mail
On climate time series, although the raw data is still inaccessible BEST have produced data that is not dissimilar to previous findings. Motl is still trying to download gigabytes of data from their website. We know T increased around 0.6C last century as a net, about a tenth of a degree above the average since the LIA ended. I’m expecting there to be a renewed war of attrition over hundredths of degrees when the graphs come out. Motl pointed out the speed with which the exercise reached a conclusion and the speed with which the conclusions were related to the US Houses.
The alarmist NYT piece (to stymie claims of bias) here

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Update

Comment on this Tuesday
08.41 Reports are emerging of a family rift opening up between Gaddafi’s two sons Mutassim and Saif over plans for a ceasefire.
Damien McElroy reports in today’s paper: Gaddafi sons split over plans for ceasefire
While Saif believes that talks would be impossible without a ceasefire, Mutassim wants to ensure the regime cannot be beaten. He is reported to have said ‘people get sick of dying, we have to keep fighting until we’ve beaten the opposition’.

08.18 Ministers have been criticised by MPs over arms exports to regimes in Libya and Bahrain.
Telegraph In a report MPs from the arms export control committees accused the Coalition Government of misjudging the risk that arms could be used for internal repression. Sales only stopped in January this year.
(Article)

08.45 Col Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi claims Moussa Koussa was allowed to leave Libya and insists he knows nothing about the Lockerbie bombing. He tells BBC world affairs editor John Simpson:
“The British and the Americans they know about Lockerbie, they know everything about Lockerbie so there are no secrets anymore. Come on. The British government say this: you have no immunity unless you co-operate. He [Moussa Koussa] is sick, he is sick and old so if you put it this way, no immunity of course… [he] will come out with the funny stories.”

08.55 Meanwhile in war-torn Ivory Coast, The Telegraph’s Africa Correspondent Aislinn Laing is reporting that defeated Presidential candidate Laurent Gbagbo is negotiating his surrender.
(Article)

09.28 The Telegraph’s Damien McElroy reports that al-Qaeda meanwhile have benefited from the Libya unrest, with convoys of weapons looted from barracks to be taken to camps in northern Mali.

13.01 David Cameron, who is in Pakistan, has sought to reassure the Muslim population that the military operation in Libya is not an “attack on Islam”.
Opinion Nothing could be further from the truth.
I don’t think anyone can seriously argue that international action in Libya is an attack on Islam. Backed by the United Nations and the Arab League, we have taken action to protect people – predominantly Muslim people – from slaughter, just as we did in Kosovo over a decade ago.
(Article)

09.31 In Yemen, the US has quietly signalled it no longer backs embattled president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
(Article)

09.33 And in Syria, authorities are to unveil new legislation to replace the country’s emergency laws before the weekend, according to the al-Watan newspaper.
(Article)

10.14 Libyan rebels have been sent scattering under a barrage of shelling early today by Gaddafi forces on the edge of Brega, according to AFP.

10.25 Reports from AFP breaking that Nato has launched its latest airstrike on Gaddafi forces near the eastern oil town of Brega.

10.49 The Gbagbo camp is now saying that an assault by UN and French forces on two military camps killed many, as soldiers lived with their families on the bases.

11.06 Gbagbo’s camp is also now denying that he has reached the point of surrender.

11.59 William Hague yesterday assured the House of Commons that Britain is not involved in arming Libyan rebels but that non-lethal military equipment may be provided to support them.
[Cameron went to Egypt before starting the war sightseeing?]

12.33 The International Criminal Court prosecutor has now said he wants to speak with Moussa Koussa, the former foreign minister, for his investigation into crimes against civilians in Libya.

13.20 Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the African Union chairman, has condemned foreign military intervention in Ivory Coast and Libya

13.55 Alistair Burt, Britain’s foreign minister, stressed there will be no foreign occupation in Libya in an interview with the Arabic daily El Chourouk.
Opinion There will be absolutely no foreign occupation or invasion in Libya… the UK believes that Gaddafi should go, and should go now. Libya has no future with him at the helm.
[" ... unleashed hell", evidence please. Did he use British supplied weapons? The invasion will start when Italian troops "accompany" aid workers. Hell is Somalia, the Ivory Coast and dictatorships where unarmed protesters are shot.]

NYT’s gov’t approved view of events
Libya, an oil-rich nation in North Africa, has been under the firm, if sometimes erratic, leadership of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi since he seized power in 1969. But in February 2011, the unrest sweeping through much of the Arab world erupted in several Libyan cities. Though it began with a relatively organized core of anti-government opponents in Benghazi, its spread to the capital of Tripoli was swift and spontaneous. Colonel Qaddafi lashed out with a level of violence unseen in either of the other uprisings, but an inchoate opposition cobbled together the semblance of a transitional government, fielded a makeshift rebel army and portrayed itself to the West and Libyans as an alternative to Colonel Qaddafi’s erratic control.
Momentum shifted quickly, however, and the rebels faced the possibility of being outgunned and outnumbered in what increasingly looked like a mismatched civil war. As Colonel Qaddafi’s troops advanced to within 100 miles of Benghazi, the rebel stronghold in the west, the United Nations Security Council voted to authorize military action, a risky foreign intervention aimed at averting a bloody rout of the rebels by loyalist forces. On March 19, American and European forces began a broad campaign of strikes against Colonel Qaddafi and his government, unleashing warplanes and missiles in a military intervention on a scale not seen in the Arab world since the Iraq war.

Etceteras
Tata group chairman Ratan Tata quizzed over ‘G band allocation scam The Hindu
Tata spoke frankly, says PAC chief.
[Tata is renown in the UK for a charity that failed to disclose funding, Pachauri, (TATA chair) Houghton, Tickell vouched for it then didn't.]

Quake jolts north India The Hindu
A “moderate” 5.7 magnitude earthquake, with its epicentre on the India-Nepal border, jolted north India on Monday evening.
[No nuclear reactors were harmed in the shaking of this quake.
Reminds me, Piers Corbyn may be the man who almost always right about the weather but his N.US quake prediction failed to deliver. No great shakes, so to speak
.]

Update 2
Al J
3:59pm Denmark and Norway have expressed their support for an open-ended military campaign against Gaddafi, while all five Nordic nations have called for him to immediately step down.

4:21pm Brigadier General Mark van Uhm, NATO’s chief of allied operations, says that coalition airstrikes have continued apace since NATO took command of bombing operations from the US.
Van Uhm says that Misurata is the new priority for NATO. Residents of the western town report that they have come under constant bombardment from pro-Gaddafi forces, and have repeatedly called for NATO to intervene in the city.
“Misurata is a number one priority because of the situation on the ground over there. We have confirmation that in Misurata tanks are being dispersed, being hidden, (and) humans being used as shields in order to prevent NATO sorties to identify targets.”
Van Uhm also says that pro-Gaddafi forces are changing their tactics to cope with coalition airstrikes.
“What we have seen is that pro-Gaddafi forces have changed their tactics over days, what we see is that they are more and more using trucks and light vehicles to move their personnel to the frontline. We are trying to identify where those heavy assets like tanks and armoured vehicles are because we have seen that they have chosen to hide in urban areas, even using human shields in order to not be targeted.”

4:34pm A tanker has docked at the eastern Libyan oil port of Tobruk to pick up the first oil cargo to leave Libya for 18 days, says Michelle Bockmann, markets editor of shipping news and data provider Lloyd’s List.
The boat is expected to be loaded on April 6.

4:38pm The Associated Press reports that diplomats are dangling offers of immunity from prosecution and the lifting of asset and travel freezes to members of Gaddafi’s family in order to persuade them to withdraw their support for the Libyan leader.
[Clutching at straws? Who is the genius that came up with this idea? ]

4:40pm Chris Stevens, the US deputy ambassador to Libya, has arrived in Benghazi to hold talks with the opposition’s national council there, according to a US official who was speaking to the Associated Press.
Stevens will be discussing humanitarian and possible financial assistance to be provided to the opposition by the US.

4:53pm Anita McNaught, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Tripoli, reports that Libyan state television is planning to broadcast live from Brega at some point this evening.
Hoda Abdel-Hamid, our correspondent who has been reporting from the frontlines, says that it can be said with a fair degree of certainty that Gaddafi’s forces have taken all of Brega, given the intensity of their assault this morning towards Ajdabiya.

5:33pm Al Jazeera’s Laurence Lee has been reporting from Benghazi on the status of the conflict near Brega, as well as other stories out of the opposition stronghold.
youtube.com/watch?v=FPDPnGxpDuU

DT
15.00 Sky News’s Jeremy Thompson, who is in Tripoli this week, Tweets that a mosque on Zawiyah that was the subject of a Sky report three weeks ago, is now no longer there.
Twitter #Zawiya mosque now flattened was scene of #skynews Alex Crawford’s dramatic report 3 wks ago.
[Rockets, shells, grenades and bullets don't flatten.]

15.30 Andrew Mitchell, the international development secretary has told the Commons that the international community will learn the lessons of Iraq in planning to rebuild Libya.
[Anxious to help, cartel banks will lend the funds needed...]

15.46 Shifting focus to Yemen for a moment, William Hague has said he is “appalled” by the bloodshed. At least 24 people have been killed in as many hours.
[No goodwill humanitarian bombing for them then? The Yemenese people say thank the gods.]

15.47 Nato’s Brig Gen Mark van Uhm has said that the death of Libyan civilians in an air strike last week was an “unfortunate accident”. The air raid on Friday killed 13 people, four of them civilians, 10 miles east of Brega after rebels fired celebratory gunfire into the air prompting warplanes to act in self defence.
[And the 9 combatants?]

16.02 The International Criminal Court proescutor is alleging that Libyan authorities decided they were ready to kill unarmed proesters opposed to Gaddafi’s rule as early as January, even before unrest spread from Tunisia and Egypt.
[The war against Libya was planned in Nov. by some accounts. If so and the UN was aware, perhaps agreement had been secretly made and hence the unique speed the published approval was given for the assault.]

17.10 Watch the Telegraph’s latest Libya video here.
Rebels in Brega with waging war with a homemade rocket launcher mounted on the back of trucks.
[Milk bottles? Joking apart, these things have no guidance. Are they targetting the gov't forces in civilian areas?]

Marsa al Hariga

Google Earth map of Tobruk with Marsa al Hariga indicated.