Archive | September 3rd, 2011

Rebel military chief says he was tortured by CIA


Abdulhakim Belhaj’s allegations suggest a close relationship between the US and Gaddafi’s regime

Patrick Cockburn

The overthrow of Gaddafi has brought together strange allies, but few stranger than Abdulhakim Belhaj, the military commander of all rebel military forces in Tripoli, and Nato. An Islamist whom Gaddafi tried to have the US list as a terrorist, Mr Belhaj says he was tortured by CIA agents after being arrested in the Far East in 2004 and later handed over by them to Colonel Gaddafi for further torture and imprisonment in Libya.

Mr Belhaj, the head of the military council for Tripoli, who led an Islamist guerrilla organisation fighting the Gaddafi regime in the 1990s, told The Independent in an interview that he had been directly “tortured by CIA agents” in Thailand after being first arrested in Malaysia.

If true, his story is evidence of the close co-operation between the CIA and Colonel Gaddafi’s security services after the Libyan leader denounced the 9/11 attacks. After his stint in the hands of the CIA, Mr Belhaj was kept in Abu Salim prison in Tripoli. He says: “I was in prison for seven years during which I was subjected to torture as well as solitary confinement. I was even denied a shower for three years.” Other Libyan Islamist prisoners have related how they were sometimes taken from Abu Salim to be questioned by US officials in Tripoli.

Released from prison in 2010, Mr Belhaj, who had military experience from fighting in Afghanistan against the Russians in the 1980s, became one of the most effective rebel military commanders. He is said by diplomats to have played a crucial role in the capture of Tripoli at the end of last month, and is highly regarded by the chairman of the Transitional National Council (TNC), Mustafa Abdul Jalil.

Ironically, given his claims of previous mistreatment at US hands, Mr Belhaj has emerged as one of Nato’s most important allies during their air campaign in support of the rebels over the last six months. Speaking in his headquarters in the Mitiga military airbase on the eastern outskirts of Tripoli, he forcefully denied that he and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which he helped found in 1995, had ever been allied to al-Qa’ida.

“We never had any link to al-Qa’ida,” said Mr Belhaj, a short, soft-spoken, bearded man, who does not use a military title. “We never took part in global jihad. The fact that we were in the same country, Afghanistan, [as al-Qa’ida] does not mean we had the same goal.” He stresses that the sole aim of the LIFG was always to overthrow Gaddafi.

Despite his current close co-operation with Nato, Mr Belhaj says he finds it difficult to forgive his treatment by the CIA in the past.

When first detained at an airport in Malaysia in 2004 he says he was with his wife: “She was six months pregnant and she suffered a lot.”

After a few days, CIA agents took him to Thailand as part of the notorious rendition process by which the agency transferred prisoners to countries where security forces were known to use torture. He says that in Thailand CIA agents took a direct part in his torture, though he did not give details. He says that “if I ever have the chance I will take legal action” against those responsible.

The disclosure of Libya’s intelligence files may reveal embarrassing details of co-operation between the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies with Gaddafi’s brutal and ruthless security services in pursuit of Islamist opponents. Mr Belhaj says that in the wake of 9/11, the US administration reacted by pursuing “any organisation with an Islamic agenda”.

Mr Belhaj spent seven years in Abu Salim prison which was the site of the Gaddafi regime’s most infamous atrocity, the massacre of some 1,200 prisoners in 1999, almost all of them Islamists, who had protested against conditions. The first protests which ushered in the uprising in Benghazi this February was by lawyers representing the families of the dead Abu Salim prisoners.

The Libyan prison was run with great savagery even against those whose offences were minor. Students accused of being excessively religious were stripped naked and attacked by dogs. Prisoners who survived might spend decades without seeing their families. In Abu Salim, Mr Belhaj helped write a 419-page document, published in 2009, which repudiated the Jihadi doctrine of holy war and the use of violence to change regimes. The name of the LIFG was changed to the Libyan Islamic Movement for Change. The ideological change, spurred by the failure of radical Islamic groups fighting on their own to overthrow governments, led to Islamists seeking the co-operation of more secular and liberal groups also opposed to Arab police states. It is these popular front coalitions that have won victories in Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya.

Mr Belhaj is keen to underline that he and other Islamists are not seeking to impose their agenda. He says: “The Libyan people have different views and those views will be respected.” He also evidently wants to reassure Nato countries that they have not helped get rid of Gaddafi only to see a fundamentalist Islamic state replace him. He had just returned from a meeting in Doha, the capital of Qatar, which has given him significant support, where “I explained to them our vision of the future.” Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of the TNC, specifically says he was taken to a Nato meeting in order to reassure the West that he presented no threat.

Mr Belhaj says the thousands of militiamen from all over Libya, who owe allegiance to his Military Council, will ultimately join a new Libyan army or return to civilian life. Asked about mass round-ups of sub-Saharan Africans, often undocumented workers, accused of being mercenaries, he said he wanted harassment stopped, but many immigrants had no identity card. He added: “Last night 10 immigrants came to this base for protection and we will check their IDs and either look after them or help them leave the country.”

On the whereabouts of Gaddafi, he said that the military operation room in charge of locating him had “strong information he is in Bani Walid”. Saadi, one of Gaddafi’s sons had phoned Mr Belhaj a few days ago “to separate himself from his father’s regime” and was told that, if he surrendered himself, his safety would be guaranteed and he would receive a fair trial.

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Zionist Troubles-News Analysis

A year after Israeli forces shot and killed nine Turkish activists aboard an aid ship heading to Gaza, Tel Aviv is still refusing to apologize and Ankara has expelled the Israel ambassador and says will cut all bilateral ties. To complicate matters even more a long expected UN report says Israel’s naval siege of the Gaza Strip is legal.

Welcome to News Analysis. In other developments, there is a reverse immigration from Israel as more Israelis are seeking a safe-haven in European countries amid growing economic and security concerns, while huge protests are planned for later this week.

All Comments (28)
  • The Zionist scumbag spouting complete shite in Belfast, is a traitor not only to his fellow countrymen in the UK, but also to the rest of humanity. People with this mentality are the reason the world and humanity is in the state it is.


  • We germans are with palestinans side. Sorry that our goverment can’t support you because US has 50 000 soldiers here. they will nuke us or kill our civilians if we say something. and yes our goverment has been taken over by traitors and brainwashed people…

  • madjop22





  • 6:27 “It was an act of war against Turkey in my judgement” WHAT THE HELL? didn’t he say it was “under international law this was an act of war by Israel against Turkey.”

    So at a few minutes in it’s it’s actual “law,” and in a few minutes latter it’s in his OWN “judgement” double sided, double standard, two-faced, liar [sigh]

  • 6:25 “proven that there were no weapons of any kind aboard”

    Define “weapons.” And if he is talking about weapons relating specifically to give to Gaza, then he should be more clear.


  • @pkpapers Watch this short video: /watch?v=-RHEshpnQMY

    live in your fantasy world and call this propaganda if you wish.


  • @pkpapers They resisted the routine inspection of ships to Gaza.


  • 5:20 “and since Turkey is a member of NATO, and since Israel committed a UNPROVOKED war against turkey we have to ask ourselves why NATO didn’t kick in with some kind of military reaction against Israel” Officially a !*$# idiot. Imagine If they did use “military action. This guy should be a candidate for the next radical Iranian election.

  • @LampPlaceThing Just because you have a metal pole or chains, compared to that of the opponent’s gun, it doesn’t justify you using them. WATCH THE VIDEO: Turkey downgrades ties with Israel


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Not Wanted in IsraHell


The grating sound of metal on metal and the shuddering CLANG of heavy prison doors closing on you. The smell of prison; the malicious looks of the guards; the claustrophobic feel of a cell which distorts your intestines and bleaches your thoughts even before you enter.

‘I am legally in Israel. I have not been charged with anything. Does anyone know I am here?’ The walls are as interested as the Israeli guards.

My ‘crime’ was to say I was going to Bethlehem. There were 11 of us on the Easyjet flight from Luton, and every one of us was to be incarcerated in the lies and disinformation that was Givon Jail, Ramla, about 30 km south east of Tel Aviv.

The press dubbed us the ‘flightilla’, and Netanyahu had unilaterally announced we were hooligans and dangerous provocateurs about to undertake violent demonstrations against Israel. In reality we were a bunch of (mostly) middle aged men and women who had been invited by 14 Palestinian civil society groups to join them in a cultural tour, which would include theatre and arts groups dedicated to helping young people to live under occupation and channelling their energies towards passive resistance. To me this way of dealing with the psychology of living under an apartheid system was important and fascinating, and I was eager to learn more.

But we were branded as radicals; this motley crew from Belgium, France, the US, Australia and the UK were suddenly an attack on the very existence of Israel – without a shred of evidence. Some of our party were interrogated by British forces at Luton airport. When they said they were not going to demonstrate, they were accused of lying. We had all undertaken not to demonstrate.

The flotilla to Gaza had been delayed by many weeks, and boats were still trying to get through as we packed our bags. Netanyahu, in his hysterical attack on us, had linked our long pre-booked flight to the flotilla and whipped the press into a frenzy of ill feeling. Watching the news unfold from the safety of my home in Wales, it was disconcerting to see how the facts of our trip were being so grossly distorted, but we were committed to supporting our Palestinian friends in our small way.

It transpired that I, alone, was the one whose passport was stamped by Israeli passport control to go through to Israel and, as I declared, Bethlehem. I waited for others to join me, but to my surprise none did. I was in touch by mobile with those who had been delayed and was told that about 40 people of all nationalities were being held in the basement of Ben Gurion airport. Cameras had been rigged up and were filming. Suddenly I received a text from a fellow Newport resident. It said: “We are being attacked. GET HELP”. Soldiers had strode into their midst and were heaving people of Arab appearance away. It was supposed to provoke a riot. There were scuffles as those being taken were dragged back, but there was no riot.

I looked around. The airport was almost empty, a few uniformed people were milling around and I tried to enlist their help. They stalled. I showed them my text message and tried to explain the situation. No-one was interested. In the far corner of the large arrivals hall I espied 2 TV cameras so I approached them to enlist some help. I tried to show them the text message. One camera found me interesting, so thinking this was at least some insurance, I strode back into the airport, banging the doors open with my suitcase as I went. I was subsequently told that though they filmed me, my words were mistranslated when the piece was broadcast on Israeli networks.

Lined up before me were about 17 security guards ready for trouble. They shooed the journalists away, and to my horror the press meekly obeyed. This left me alone and vulnerable and I knew it. When the doors closed, a large man in uniform made a grab for my mobile. I was asking for help at the time and was unprepared for this. With my suitcase in one hand and my phone in the other hand I tried to stay on my feet as a struggle ensued, it was five on one. A hand was held to my throat, my arms were battered, my legs were pulled from under me and I landed face down on the hard floor. Air expelled from my body as the full weight of a 17 stone man landed on the small of my back. I am a 57 year old woman! The mobile clattered in pieces to the floor and my arms were pulled roughly behind me, my wrists tightly handcuffed. I had asked for help.

The following hours were interesting. I was told I was being taken to see my friends, but instead I was taken to an interrogation room where uniformed people sneered and jeered at me whilst some paperwork was devised, which I was asked to sign. It was written in Hebrew, so I declined. Next they told me I was being taken to my friends, but instead I was taken to a ladies cloakroom where about 20 women continued to try and humiliate me with shouts and snide remarks (you don’t have to know the language). My luggage was ransacked.

Finally they said I was being taken to my hotel, which I thought was strange because I had not booked one. I was unceremoniously put in a compartmentalised police van and shut in for hours. Through the narrow metal grating which served as a window, I could observe uniformed people smoking and laughing. A woman was shouting she needed a toilet. This provoked yet more laughing. It was cruel to watch.

Razor wire, gates, bright lights and shouting announced I was at my ‘hotel’. One man got mad at me when I said I was legally in Israel and was being held without charge. I asked to make a phone call. I asked to see the British consulate. At no time did I raise my voice. He clenched his fists and shouted at me. “WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE. WE DON’T CARE IF YOU ARE LEGAL OR ILLEGAL. WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE”, which was a lovely welcome.

I was shown to a solitary cell and refused to enter. They promised violence. I stood my ground. Finally at 2.00am I was taken to a cell with 5 other women, and there we languished for 5 days. I was never allowed to make my phone call. Our group conversation with The British Consul was recorded by Israeli security.

I have never been charged with any crime nor received any paperwork. I am informed only that I have been in transit, and have never been to Israel. By inference the British Consulate supported this untruth.

There remain unanswered questions:

·         Why does my country accept Israel as a sovereign state when it has no fixed borders?

  • Why does the UK and EU give Israel special status (EU-Israel Association Agreement) when its Human Rights position is untenable. Indeed, the South African Government Advertising Standards Authority  states that Israel can be called an Apartheid State.

  • Why can Israel enter the Eurovision Song Contest and take part in UEFA football championships whilst being an apartheid state?

·         Why are British police ordered to act on Israeli paranoia and lies and interrogate British citizens at British airports before they go to Israel?

·         Why does the British Consul in Israel say that no visitors are allowed to visit the West Bank, when the FCO website says no such thing?

This is the treatment of one British citizen on a peaceful mission to Bethlehem. Can you imagine the every day lives of Palestinians? 8 million out of 13 million Jews choose not to live in Israel, who can blame them.

Full prison diary at

3 days after my return, one of the theatre groups I had planned to visit was raided by 50 heavily armed and masked Israelis in the middle of the night. The terrified young manager was ordered to pull his trousers down and put his hands in the air. He was taken to an unspecified detention centre.

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Libyan NATO Zionist puppet’s Ku Klux Klan Type Atrocities


Killing black libyan police officer NATO Zionist puppet’s Rebels.

Zionist Obama, Zionist Camron, Zionist Sarkozy, Zionist Berlusconi, Zionist Abdullah bin Khalifa and Zionist Mohammed Bin Zayed have ploted the war against Libya to take all the natural resource. One of the dirty plots is to kill every black person & accuse him as Gaddaffi African Mercienaries used to kill the Libya people.

This way, the Libyan people will hate Gaddaffi & fight against him. The 2nd reason is killing as many african as possible so they wouldn’t immigrat from Libya to Europe. This is Zionist Serkozy to stop African immigration to France as his forces did with the boat full of 600 Africans who died in their way to Italy.

Media habitually tells us that Libyan rebels are noble freedom fighters, struggling aganist a bloodthirsty tyrant. But after all the buckets of half-truths and blatant lies, that news poured on our heads, treating us
viewers like brainless sheep and feeding us half-baked reports that often got disproved the next day, some of us started to look further and investigate. 

What they found out, is extremely disturbing. Say, from the very beginning of war we’ve been hearing reports about “Gaddafi’s black mercenaries”. We even saw photos and videos of several people that,
supposedly, were these mercenaries. But the whole truth is much more complicated – and scary.

Yes, there indeed are several divisions of black Africans and citizens of Chad in the army of Libya, that is formed on the principle of territorial militia. But they can hardly be considered mercenaries – not
more than French Foreign Legion or non-American citizens in US Army. In general, the status of black men of Libyan army’s various units is civil servants. 

In a country with 6 million inhabitants, one third are black (the most oppressed group in the country). Would not it be easier for the rebels to call for their solidarity and ask them join the rebel ranks? But not
only black Libyans do not join the rebellion – they flee in terror. 

The first wave of reports and evidence of beatings of black Africans began in February and March. The rebels, under the trademark of fighting with the mercenaries from Chad, were slaughtering all black people with no mercy. They even started to post various Youtube videos with their actions filmed

The victim was the Libyan citizen Hisham Mansour, born 22-02-1983. Back in early March, the Human Rights Watch even warned black migrant workers on the need to flee the revolutionary terrain.

“We left behind our friends from Chad. We left behind their bodies. We had 70 or 80 people from Chad working for our company. They cut them dead with pruning shears and axes, attacking them, saying you’re providing troops for Gaddafi. The Sudanese, the Chadians were massacred. We saw it ourselves. I am a worker, not a fighter. They took me from my house and [raped] my wife”, – a Turkish oilfield worker, who fled Libya, told BBC in February 25.

One of the editors of the Monthly Review, Yoshie Furuhashi, writes:

“The black African workers now live in fear in the territories held by the rebels in Libya. Some have been attacked by mobs, some have been imprisoned and some of their houses and shops have been torched. Many African workers say they felt safer under the regime of Gaddafi”.

In March, a reporter from the Daily Mail was in Benghazi and reported:

“Africans I saw ranged from a 20 year old and a late forties, with a grizzled beard. Most wore casual clothes. When they realized that I spoke English erupted in protests. “We did nothing,” one told me, before he was silenced. “We are all construction workers in Ghana. Do not harm anyone. “

Another accused, a man in green overalls, showed the paint on their sleeves and said: “This is my job. I do not know how to shoot a gun “

Abdul Nasser, 47, protested: “They lie about us. They took us out of our house at night when we were asleep. ” While still complaining, they were taken. 

International Business Times published an article on March 2 that says:

“According to reports, over 150 black Africans at least a dozen different countries escaped from Libya by plane and landed at the airport in Nairobi, Kenya, with horrific stories of violence.”

“We were attacked by locals who said they were mercenaries who killed people. I mean blacks who refused to see “Julius told Reuters Kiluu, a construction supervisor for 60 years. 

Michel Collon with a fact-finding delegation were in Libya in July and when he learned what had happened, he said:

“I met these people during my research in Tripoli. I could talk to some people. They were not “mercenaries,” as the rebels and the media tell. Some were dark-skinned Libyans (much of the population is of African type, in fact), others were black civilians from African countries whostayed in Libya for a long time. All support Gaddafi precisely because he opposes to racism and treats them as Arabs and Africans on an equal footing. On the contrary, the rebels in Benghazi are known for their
racism, and blacks were victims of terrible systematic atrocities. The paradox is that NATO wants to bring democracy to a section of Al Qaeda and Libyan Ku Klux Klan-type racists”. 

Here’s another footage, with English explanations given.

After the rebels entered Tripoli, numerous reports of black men being killed appeared again. Twitter explodes with rebels’ messages about killing “African mercenaries”. In the chaos of embattled Tripoli, black people are being simply seized from the streets and taken somewhereopenly.

On the photo above we can see that the lying people’s hands are tied with plastic handcuffs and their clothes are relatively clean. This means these people were captured not after a fight, but deliberately.

The Colonel was being building good relations with the south of Africa. NATO plan of destabilizing Libya might as well include having the black Africans turning away from this country forever, using contempt and xenophobia of the rebels as a driving force of the persecution. After all, lynching black people simply for being in Africa sounds ridiculous. 

But results are pretty much of the same racist kind, and they are not funny at all.

Editor’s Note: When the atrocities are finally documented, the corporate media that ignored ethnic cleansing of Black people will bear the stain of culpability.The Wall Street Journal reported on what amounts to ethnic cleansing of Black Libyans by the “Brigade for Purging Slaves, black skin,” on June 21, 2011. The newspaper has not revisited that story, which was ignored by major media such as CNN and The New York Times at the time the Journal reported it, probably because they believed it would “tarnish” the NATO-rebels’ reputation –small “sacrifice” to protect the corporate-media-favored side in the conflict. So what if the “liberators” had a little bit of KKK in them? The White House and State Department have yet to comment on the reported ethnic cleansing. The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor and publicity hound, Luis Moreno Ocampo, has yet to say a word; such is the devaluation of the lives of Black people globally.

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Libyan NATO Zionist puppet’s round up black Africans


Associated Press

Libyan Zionist NATO rebels commit murder and torture against LIbyan Black Africans prisoner.

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Rebel forces and armed civilians are rounding up thousands of black Libyans and migrants from sub-Sahara Africa, accusing them of fighting for ousted strongman Moammar Gadhafi and holding them in makeshift jails across the capital.

Virtually all of the detainees say they are innocent migrant workers, and in most cases there is no evidence that they are lying. But that is not stopping the rebels from placing the men in facilities like the Gate of the Sea sports club, where about 200 detainees — all black — clustered on a soccer field this week, bunching against a high wall to avoid the scorching sun.

Handling the prisoners is one of the first major tests for the rebel leaders, who are scrambling to set up a government that they promise will respect human rights and international norms, unlike the dictatorship they overthrew.

The rebels’ National Transitional Council has called on fighters not to abuse prisoners and says those accused of crimes will receive fair trials.There has been little credible evidence of rebels killing or systematically abusing captives during the six-month conflict. Still, the African Union and Amnesty International have protested the treatment of blacks inside Libya, saying there is a potential for serious abuse.

Aladdin Mabrouk, a spokesman for Tripoli’s military council, said no one knows how many people have been detained in the city, but he guessed more than 5,000. While no central registry exists, he said neighborhood councils he knows have between 200 and 300 prisoners each. The city of 1.8 million has dozens of such groups.

Justice Minister Mohammed al-Alagi told reporters this week that he’d visited several detention centers and found conditions “up to international standards.”

“We are building a Libya of tolerance and freedom, not of revenge,” he said.

Oil-rich but with a relatively small population of 6.6. million, Gadhafi’s Libya welcomed hundreds of thousands of black Africans looking for work in recent decades. Many young citizens of Mali and Niger who flocked to Libya in the 1970s and 1980s were recruited into an “Islamic Legion” modeled on the French Foreign Legion. In addition, Gadhafi’s military recruited heavily from black tribes in Libya’s south.

In February, witnesses reported African fighters shooting at protesters or being captured by anti-Gadhafi forces. Witnesses have described scores of mercenaries being flown in to put down the rebellion, although many of the fighters already were in Libya.

As a result, people with roots in sub-Saharan Africa and black Libyan citizens have been targeted by rebel forces in the messy and confusing fight for control of the country.

In the Khallat al-Firjan neighborhood in south Tripoli, Associated Press reporters saw rebel forces punching a dozen black men before determining they were innocent migrant workers and releasing them.

The Gate of the Sea club near Tripoli’s fishing port became a lockup Monday night, when residents rounded up people in the surrounding area.

Guards at the club said they looked for unfamiliar faces, then asked for IDs. Those without papers or whose legal residences were distant cities were marched to the club.

This week, an armed guard stood by a short hallway that led through two metal gates onto a soccer field surrounded by high walls. There was no roof, so the detainees clustered against the wall to get out of the heat.

One black Libyan from the southern city of Sebha said he had worked for a Tripoli cleaning company. A French-speaking man from Niger said he had a shop nearby. One black Libyan said he was in the army but quit during the uprising.

In an office nearby where sports trophies still lined the shelves, Ibrahim al-Rais, a 60-year-old fisherman, acted as prison director. A bag held wallets and IDs taken from the captives. Another was stuffed with cellphones, which occasionally rang.

He acknowledged that many of the detainees were likely innocent migrant workers stranded in the country but he insisted that a “big percentage” were mercenaries.

“These people were fighting against our people,” he said.

As proof, his team pointed to ID cards issued in Libya’s south that he said were fake and a document issued by the Niger Embassy in Tripoli. He said Gadhafi gave many mercenaries Libyan IDs so they could fight. He also said many had been carrying dollars or euros — which al-Rais said were mercenary wages.

Sabri Taha, a fish merchant in shorts and flip-flops who was guarding prisoners, said one had a video on his phone of a soldier shooting children. When asked by an AP reporter to play it, he couldn’t find it. The prisoner said he didn’t know how the video got on his phone.

In another detainee’s wallet, Taha said he found a photo of the detainee in a green military uniform and accused him of fighting for Gadhafi. The detainee said he had manned a regime checkpoint, but had defected to the rebels when they reached the city.

The captors insist their prison is temporary and that the local military council will question the detainees before releasing them or transferring them elsewhere.

In the meantime, they started a handwritten list of the men’s names, ages and nationalities.

“You see, we have no experience, but we have figured out how to get organized,” said Abu-Bakir Zaroug, a local volunteer.

They still didn’t know how many prisoners they held.

“The danger is that there is no oversight by any authorities, and the people who are carrying out the arrests — more like abductions — are not trained to respect human rights,” said Diana Eltahawy of Amnesty International. “They are people who carry a lot of anger against people they believe committed atrocities.”

For about a week, the Tripoli Local Prison has been receiving inmates and now holds about 300, said Anwar Bin Naji, a former prison employee who helps run the facility. About 50 are Libyans. The rest are from Ghana, Nigeria, Niger and other African countries.

“They are all arrested by rebels or by civilians who love the homeland,” Naji said.

As he spoke, two rebel trucks carrying about a dozen black men entered the prison, honking their horns.

“Those are all mercenaries, or most of them,” he said before speaking to the men.

In the cellblock, captives clustered by the barred doors of their cells. All said they were migrant workers who had come to Libya to work. Some said they’d lived here for years.

They said they hadn’t been beaten, and were given simple food once or twice a day. They had drinking water, but none for bathing, they said.

Of the 28 people in one five-meter-by-six meter (15-foot-by-18-foot) cell, one had blistering burns on his face, neck and arm. Naji, the guard, said volunteers were still setting up a medical clinic.

The burned man, Ahmed Ali, said he’d come to Libya from his native Chad two years ago and worked as a house painter before the uprising.

“When the rebels entered Tripoli, some guys came and burned down my house,” he said. He escaped and ran to some rebel fighters, hoping they’d protect him.

“They brought me here,” he said, adding that he’d received no medical care in the six days since his arrest.

“They believe that most of the black in Libya are mercenaries, so now all the blacks on the street, they pick them up,” he said.

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Gaddafi vows ‘long fight,’ defying rebels’ surrender demand


BENGHAZI, Libya — Fugitive leader Moammar Gaddafi vowed Thursday to wage a “long fight” to regain the power he seized 42 years ago to the day, calling on his supporters to set the country ablaze to defeat NATO and its Libyan allies.

A pair of defiant audio statements from Gaddafi, broadcast by a Syria-based television channel that has become the mouthpiece of his crumbling regime, appeared to set back the rebel leadership’s hopes for a peaceful surrender of his remaining strongholds.

With Gaddafi loyalists still in control of his home town of Sirte, rebels appeared to back away Thursday from their threat to attack the town this weekend if the holdouts did not surrender.

In a tacit acknowledgment of the formidable military challenges still confronting the rebels, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that it was too early to discuss halting the NATO air campaign, which has been underway since March.

“We must see our military mission through to its conclusion,” Clinton said after meeting in Paris with leaders of the rebels’ Transitional National Council. “Coalition military operations should continue as long as civilians remain under threat of attack.”

Clinton was in France for talks with officials from more than 60 countries and international organizations on how to help Libya’s new leaders meet urgent needs and begin forming a functioning government. The day of meetings began with the formal dissolution of the Libya Contact Group, an international coalition formed five months ago to assist the rebels. It is being re-branded “Friends of the New Libya.”

Despite his messages, Gaddafi’s whereabouts remained a mystery, with rebels leaders saying he could be in the desert between Sirte, 278 miles east of the capital, and Bani Walid, a town 100 miles southeast of Tripoli. An Algerian newspaper put him in the far western Libyan town of Ghadamis, near the borders with Algeria and Tunisia.

Since the fall of the capital last week, NATO has concentrated its firepower on Sirte, carrying out airstrikes as rebels advanced toward the Mediterranean coastal city from the east and west. NATO warplanes have hit dozens of military vehicles, several command posts and military facilities, observations posts, missile and rocket launchers, and an antenna.

Rebel leaders had set a Saturday deadline for Gaddafi loyalists in Sirte and other pockets in the south and center of the country to surrender. But Col. Ahmed Bani, a spokesman for the rebel military, said Thursday that Gaddafi’s fighters in Sirte would have until Sept. 10 to lay down their weapons, giving the town’s residents time to understand the new reality in Libya.

Much of the country — including the capital, Tripoli — is controlled by the rebels, leaving Sirte isolated, save for a desert corridor leading from the town to Bani Walid and on to Sabha, about 480 miles south of Tripoli. Sirte has no electricity or water service, and it is unclear whether residents know that Gaddafi has lost control of most of the country, Bani said.

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US government spying on Americans?


Government lawyers admit that they may be using cell phone data to track the locations of American citizens.

The rise of government surveillance is a troublesome legacy of the September 11 attacks. Today, video cameras are visible everywhere in public places, recording people’s every move. But what about spying that can’t be spotted?

Ten years after 9/11, new questions are being raised about what the US government is secretly doing on the internet and through satellites, using the Patriot Act and other national security law as justification.

Two American senators with access to top-secret intelligence raised the alarm in May, suggesting that the invasion of law-abiding Americans’ privacy was being carried out clandestinely – and that people would be shocked if they knew the extent.

“I want to deliver a warning this afternoon,” Senator Ron Wyden said on May 26 during a Senate debate. “When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry.”

Exactly what activities US agencies are carrying out remains unclear. Senator Wyden and Senator Mark Udall – also on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence – have been unable to elaborate on their accusations because of official secrecy law.

However, observers surmise that ordinary people may be caught up in an electronic dragnet searching for terrorists. Civil liberties advocates suggest that intelligence and law-enforcement agencies may be reading and cataloguing people’s e-mails in databases, as well as tracking their mobile phone locations.

US Justice Department public affairs officer Dean Boyd dismissed the senators’ allegations. “It’s quite unfortunate that your facts are so incorrect,” Boyd told Al Jazeera English when asked about Wyden and Udall’s comments.

Boyd highlighted one provision of the Patriot Act in his response, Section 215. “Contrary to various claims in recent months and years, Section 215 is not a secret law, nor has it been implemented under secret legal opinions by the Justice Department,” he said.

But the American Civil Liberties Union hasn’t been satisfied with that answer. The group has launched an extensive campaign to find out exactly how portions of the Patriot Act have been interpreted, and whether e-mails were being swept up and mobile phones tracked without probable cause.

Michael German is a 16-year FBI veteran of counterterrorism operations who quit the bureau and later joined the ACLU. He told Al Jazeera English: “It’s clear the government is broadly collecting information regarding innocent Americans. It appears officials no longer need individualised suspicion, and a person’s good conduct does not protect them from scrutiny.”

The evolution of national security law

Congress overwhelmingly passed the original Patriot Act in October 2001 after the 9/11 attacks, arguing that its broad powers were necessary to protect the country from terrorism. Civil liberties advocates have long questioned whether some aspects of the law threatened people’s privacy.

As debate took place in May on a vote to extend the Patriot Act for another four years, Senators Wyden and Udall warned that the executive branch had come up with a secret legal theory about what personal information it could collect, which didn’t dovetail with a plain reading of the text.

Wyden and Udall continued to press for transparency after the Patriot Act extension was passed in late May. They sent a letter to the Director of National Intelligence, James R Clapper, who oversees 16 spy agencies, including the National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency. The senators asked whether legal safeguards were in place to protect the electronic communications of law-abiding Americans under another security law, the Foreign Intelligence Service Act (FISA).

“It is a matter of public record that there have been incidents in which intelligence agencies have failed to comply with the FISA Amendments Act, and that certain types of compliance violations have continued to recur,” Wyden and Udall wrote. “We believe it is particularly important to gain an understanding of how many Americans may have had their communications reviewed as a result of these violations.”

Kathleen Turner, from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, told the senators that it was not “reasonably possible to identify the number of people located in the United States whose communications may have been reviewed”.

Wyden wasn’t happy with the answer. “I understand that it may be difficult to come up with an exact count … but I believe that Congress at least needs to obtain an estimate of this number, so that people can understand the actual impact of the FISA Amendments Act on the privacy of law-abiding Americans,” he said.

Turner assured that the privacy rights of ordinary Americans were being protected. “We believe that we have put in place a robust compliance and oversight regime,” she told the senators.

Top NSA lawyer admits Americans’ phones may be tracked

Another topic of concern raised by the senators is geo-location data – information generated by electronic devices such as cell phones, wirelessi-equipped laptops, and GPS navigation units – that can be used to determine where people are.

Wyden and Udall highlighted “conflicting judicial rulings on the legality of the government surreptitiously tracking an individual’s movements using a mobile electronic device”.

Are government agencies tracking mobile phones and other digital devices of law-abiding Americans?

At a Senate hearing on July 26, Sen. Wyden went head-to-head with the top lawyer at the National Security Agency, Matthew Olsen. “Do government agencies have the authority to use cell-site data to track the location of Americans inside the United States for intelligence purposes?” Wyden asked.

Olsen replied: “I think there are certain circumstances where that authority may exist”.

The ACLU announced in August that it filed hundreds of requests with law enforcement agencies throughout the country to uncover when, why and how they are using cell phone location data to track Americans.

Part of the problem, said German, is that legal protections haven’t kept up with the rapid advance of technology. “We have a perfect storm where technology has outpaced how the law protects individual privacy. The law hasn’t been updated, even though much of our lives are spent in an electronic world.”

If US agencies are spying on law-abiding Americans’ e-mails and phones, the next question is, why? German said that it is “official culture” to collect as much data on people as possible. The attitude is “while this person may not being doing something wrong today, what if they do something bad a year from now?”.

But not only does bulk data collection undermine democracy, it also fails to help root out terrorists, the former covert operations specialist said. Gathering vast amounts of information on the innocent only serves to blanket the bad guys, said German.

“It’s a foolish approach that affects innocent people, and it doesn’t actually help the government. The real threats get lost in the noise.”

One person with an insider’s view is Thomas Drake, a former top official at the National Security Agency from 2001 through 2008. Disturbed by what he describes as “malfeasance, fraud and illegalities” at the United States’ largest spy agency, he blew the whistle and was later prosecuted by both the Bush and Obama administrations.

Drake called out the government in an August 26 Washington Post opinion piece entitled, “Why are we subverting the Constitution in the name of security?”

“Shortly after Sept. 11, I heard more than rumblings about secret electronic eavesdropping and data mining against Americans … Before the war on terrorism, our country recognised the importance of free speech and privacy. If we sacrifice these basic liberties, according to the false dichotomy that such is required for security, then we transform ourselves from an oasis of freedom into a police state,” Drake wrote.

As for the dogged Sen. Wyden, his fight to expose secret surveillance law has not finished. “It’s my view that we have to keep (intelligence) operations and methods secret, but we’ve got to also have public awareness of the laws on the books.”

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Turkey President: Expulsion of Zio-Nazi envoy is just the first step


Abduallah Gul’s comment comes after Turkish FM announced a downgrade of Turkey-Israel ties over Israel’s refusal to apologize for the death of 9 Turkish nationals in a 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla.


The expulsion of Israel’s ambassador over an Israel Defense Forces raid of a Turkish aid flotilla is just one step in many possible measures taken against Israel if it persists in its refusal to apologize for the incident, Turkish President Abduallah Gul said on Friday.

Gul’s comments came just hours after Turkish Foreign Minister announced the downscale of diplomatic relations with Jerusalem, saying the move was a direct response to Israel’s refusal to apologize for the deaths of nine Turkish nationals in the May 2010 raid.

The implications of the downgrade are that the level of diplomatic representation in both countries will be scaled back from ambassador to first secretary. This means Israel’s ambassador to Turkey, Gabby Levy, and his deputy, Ella Afek, will be expelled.

A statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry, published minutes following Davutoglu’s press conference, indicated that Turkish and Israeli diplomats due to leave their respective posts as a result of the downgrade will do so by September 7.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul later Friday, Gul said that Israel apparently “did not understand how determined Turkey was to show it has not forgotten the events of the past,” adding that Turkey “would always defend our citizens’ rights,” saying that the “steps announced today were just the first phase.”

“In accordance with Israel’s stance, it is possible that more steps may come in the future,” the Turkish president added, saying of the UN’s Gaza flotilla report that “as far as we’re concerned that reports doesn’t exist.”

Gul also said that Turkey had considered to sanction Israel for its refusal to apologize sooner, but instead waited since it wanted to “give some of our good-willed allies the opportunity to end the crisis.”

The findings of a UN probe into Israel’s deadly raid on a 2010 flotilla to Gaza known as the Palmer Commission Report, which were leaked to The New York Times Thursday, have further raised tensions between Israel and Turkey, and senior Foreign Ministry officials warned that Turkey could respond to the report’s publication by expelling the Israeli ambassador and scaling back diplomatic relations.

“Israel squandered all of the opportunities to end the crisis, and now it must pay for it,” Turkish FM Davutoglu said during his announcement earlier Friday, adding that Turkey’s official position was that Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip was illegal, despite the fact that the UN report supported its legality.

Hinting at the possible consequences of Turkey’s disagreement with the UN’s interpretation of Israel’s blockade, the Turkish FM said that Ankara would “do whatever it takes to implement its interpretation of the significance of international waters in the Mediterranean.”

“We cannot accept the blockade on Gaza. We cannot say that the blockade aligns with international law,” he said, adding that the stance taken by the Palmer Commission Report was the author’s “personal opinion, one which does not correspond with Turkey’s position.”

Additionally, Davutoglu announced the cancellation of all defense contracts between Israel and Turkey, adding that Ankara would both initiaite legal action against the Gaza blockade in international courts, as well as aid families of those killed in the Gaza flotilla raid in seeking litigation against Israel.

Warning of the possible consequences of Israel’s refusal to apologize for the flotilla raid, Davutoglu said on Thursday that Friday’s official release of the Palmer Report constituted Israel’s last chance to apologize for its raid on the Turkish-sponsored flotilla and warned of consequences, including sanctions, should Israel continue to refuse to apologize.

Unless there is an Israeli apology, “we will put Plan B into play,” Davutoglu said. He said Turkey intended to impose sanctions, “which both Israel and other international parties are aware of.”

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Zio-Nazi Troubles-News Analysis


A year after Zio-Nazi forces shot and killed nine Turkish activists aboard an aid ship heading to Gaza, Tel Aviv is still refusing to apologize and Ankara has expelled the Israel ambassador and says will cut all bilateral ties. To complicate matters even more a long expected UN report says Israel’s naval siege of the Gaza Strip is legal.

Welcome to News Analysis. In other developments, there is a reverse immigration from IsraHell as more Zionist are seeking a safe-haven in European countries amid growing economic and security concerns, while huge protests are planned for later this week.

 interview with Dr Saeb Shaath ,  Mark Donkof and Zio-Nazi Richard Millet

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“The Exclusive Revolution 2 ”


Abir Kopty writes:

Although some Israelis are calling for making a clear connection to Israel’s occupation, the July 14 movement for “social justice” is far from endorsing a position on this, for many reasons.

First, July 14 is not a united movement. Over time, the Israeli neo-liberal and capitalist regime has increased individualism. In Tel Aviv boulevards, one can find tents identified with many different groups and issues and demands: single mothers, teachers, students, social workers, the disabled, pensioners, etc. Israel has not only built cement apartheid walls, it has also created many psychological barriers and walls between its own citizens

The movement is trying hard to be inclusive, from right to left, in fact. It is true that all these groups have come together and rallied, chanting, “the people want social justice”. But when it comes to forming a list of demands, the divergent groups raise different interests–in some cases even conflicting ones. Consequently, major effort is put into finding common ground and agreeing on joint demands rather than addressing historical injustices and structural change.

Second, Israelis separate between the “social” and the “political”. Many people who are taking part in the movement keep repeating “the struggle is not political”. This will prevent many from questioning state priorities, which certainly entails questioning its politics. Furthermore, this mantra, along with the general inclusiveness, makes settlers, who are trampling on Palestinian rights on a daily basis, feel included. But this, of course, is political not social.

Third, the left in Israel (especially the non-Zionist left) has been delegitimized. The Israeli left is now labeled as “haters of Israel” after massive systematic campaigning by the right wing, backed by political parties like the Likud and supported by a wide range of organizations promoting the rightist agenda. The protesters of July 14 do not want to be affiliated or labeled as “anti-Israel extremists”.

Finally, Israeli protestors are not calling for the fall of the regime, as did protestors in Arab countries. If they were, I am not sure Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the state security apparatuses would be as tolerant. Netanyahu and Israeli “hasbara” (roughly “propaganda” in Hebrew) will do their utmost to distinguish Israeli democracy and freedom of speech from neighboring oppressive and criminal Arab regimes. Israelis remain eager to celebrate their democracy, and continue to deny their state’s lack of democracy or tolerance when it comes to Palestinians.

These Israeli limits are well known to the Palestinian community within Israel. This is why our reaction took some time. Currently, there are many Arab/Palestinian encampments in major towns like Nazareth, Baqa al-Gharabiya, Sakhnin, Arrabeh, Haifa, Jaffa, Led, Hurfeich, Yerka, Majd al-Krom, Qalansaweh, Um al-Fahem, Jaljuliya, al-Alaraqib and more.

These demonstrators did not go to Tel Aviv’s boulevards but decided to set up their own tents in Palestinian towns and neighborhoods. In Tel Aviv, the protests are about housing. For Palestinians, it is about house demolitions and land grabs. In Tel Aviv, protests are about the high price of apartments; for Palestinians, it is about the lack of housing and planning. In Tel Aviv, protests are about “cottage cheese”; for Palestinians, it is about the 60 percent of children living under the poverty line.

The discourse in the Palestinian tents is totally different than that in the Tel Aviv tents. Occupation and historical injustices are on the table, the connection between the social and political is very clear, and the demands are the same in Sakhnin, Nazareth, Haifa, Um al-Fahem, Jaffa or the Naqab: they are collective, not individual.

In addition, these encampments are a great opportunity to bring together Palestinian youth and mobilize them. Most tents offer different cultural and political activities–from demonstrations to lectures on planning and housing to commemorations for poet Mahmoud Darwish, film screenings, and musical events.

Many tents have even managed to bring together the various parties and political movements that represent the Palestinian community to cooperate and mobilize, which is in itself a blessing. Many tents have engaged Jewish activists, which creates an alternative and challenges the existing structure of separation.

To summarize, most Palestinians are choosing to bring their voice to this movement and not isolate themselves. July 14 is an opportunity for Palestinians to organize and motivate themselves. It will not, however, bring the change Palestinians seek. Our struggle did not start today; it started before 1948 and will probably continue after July 14.

July 14 has created opportunities for activism that the Israeli regime has worked long and hard to prevent. People have come together, and this is already power. Yet this movement will not go beyond the Zionist boundaries; it might achieve concrete demands, but it will not change the dominant social, economic and political structures. It won’t do so until it addresses the injustice underway since 1948 and comes to terms with Friedrich Engels’ famous saying: “A nation cannot become free and at the same time continue to oppress other nations.”

It is a good thing Israeli Palestinians have more sense than all too many of their foreign supporters.

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