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Home arrow Blog arrow July 2011 arrow July 2, 2011: The Real Deal About Libya

July 2, 2011: The Real Deal About Libya
July 2, 2011: The Real Deal About Libya

Libya's Neighborhoods Prepare for NATO's Boots

Countdown to Invasion

By FRANKLIN LAMB

Tripoli, Libya

At ten a.m. Tripoli time on 6/28/11 the Libyan Ministry of Health made available to this observer its compilation entitled “Current Statistics Of Civilian Victims Of Nato Bombardments On Libya, (3/19/11-6/27/11).

Before releasing their data, which will be made public this afternoon, it was confirmed by the findings of the Libyan Red Crescent Society and also by civil defense workers in the neighborhoods bombed, and then vetted by researchers at Tripoli’s Nassar University.

As of July 1, 2011, military casualties have not been officially released by the Libyan armed forces.

In summary, the MOH compilation documents that during the first 100 days of NATO targeting of civilians, 6121 were killed or injured.

The statistical breakdown is as follows: 

3093 Men were injured and 668 were killed.

Women killed number 260 and 1318 injured.

Children killed number 141 and 641 injured.

Of those seriously injured 655 are still under medical care in hospitals while 4,397 have been released to their families for outpatient care.

NATO claims that private apartments and homes, schools, shops, factories, crops, and warehouses storing sacks of flour were legitimate military targets are not believed by anyone here in Libya and to date NATO has failed to provide a scintilla of evidence that the 15 civilians, mainly children and their aunts and mothers, who were torn to pieces by 8 NATO rockets in the Salman neighborhood last week were legitimate military targets.

Tripoli’s 3,200 neighborhoods, independently of the Libyan Armed Forces, are intensively preparing for the possibility that NATO forces or those they are seen as increasingly arming and directing, might invade the cosmopolitan greater Tripoli area during the coming weeks or months.

This observer has had the opportunity to visit some of these neighborhoods the past couple of nights and will continue to do so. As noted earlier, contrary to some media reports by the BBC, CNN and CBS Tripoli’s neighborhoods during the cool evenings with wafting sea breezes, are not tense, “dangerous for foreigners and in control of trigger happy soldiers or militias.” The latter assessment is nonsense.

Americans and others are welcomed and their presence appreciated. 

Libyans are anxious to explain their points of views,  a common one of which is that they are not all about Qaddafi but about protecting the family, homes, and neighborhoods from foreign invaders.

A majority does support the Qaddafi leadership which is what they received with their mother’s milk, but nearly all emphasize that for them and their friends it is very much about defending their revolution and country first.

They appear to  this observer to be very well informed about the motives of NATO and those countries that are intensively targeting their leader and their officials without regard to civilians being killed.

It’s about oil and reshaping African and the Middle East.

Sitting and chatting with neighborhood watch teams is actually an extremely enjoyable way to learn about and to get to know the Libyan people and how they view events unfolding in their country. It certainly beats hanging out at the bar at the hotel where the western press crowd often gather their journalistic insights and pontificate about what “the real deal is” as one told me the other day. I could not figure out much that he was talking about.

On the evening of 7/1/11 as many as one million, five hundred thousand Libyan citizens are expected to gather at Tripoli’s Green Square to register their resistance to NATO’s intensifying civilian targeting blitz.  Some western journalists will not attend this news event because they are afraid of potential danger or their stateside bureaus are suggesting they stay away “so as not legitimize the gathering” What has become of orientalist journalism?

The neighborhoods in Libya are preparing for a ground invasion and to confront directly the invaders with a plan that one imagines would not be unfamiliar to a General Giap of Vietnam or a Chinese General Lin Peio, being a massive peoples defense.   It has been organized with a house by house, street by street defense plan for  every neighborhood and will include all available weaponry.

The defenders are not military although many of the older ones had done one year compulsory service following high school. Their  ranks include every able bodied woman and man from age 18 to 65.  Younger or older will not be refused.

They are organized into 5 person squads once they complete their training.  It works like this:  Anyone over 18 years of age can report to his neighborhood “Tent”.  Knowing virtually everyone in the area, the person will make application and will be vetted on an AK-47, M-16 or other light arm.

Depending on her/his skill level he will be accepted and given a photo ID that lists the weapons the applicant qualified on.  If he needs more training or is a novice it is provided at the location which includes a training area, tent with mattresses for sleeping, a make shift latrine and canteen.

The basic training for those with no arms experience, including women, is 45 days. Past that, the commitment is four months.  Each accepted individual is issued a rifle (normally an AK-47 “Klash” along with 120 rounds of ammo.) Each individual is asked to return in one week to discuss their training and show that they did not waste their bullets which cost around one dollar each. If approved, they will be issued more.

Those who begin their duty work one eight hour shift.  Women tend to work during the day when kids are in school but I have seen many women also on the night shift.  Most men have regular jobs and proudly explain than they volunteer one work shift daily for their country. They appear to be admired by their neighbors.

I agreed not to describe other weapons that will be used if NATO appears besides rifles, grenades, booby-traps, rocket propelled grenades (RPG’s) but they appear formidable.

But besides preparing for armed defense of their families and homes and neighbors, these neighborhood volunteer civil defense teams explained to me what their main work involves. When an area is bombed, they quickly help the residents exit their bombed building, get medical help on the scene for those who need it, help the families assure the frightened children that things are OK, make notes of needed repairs, provided temporary shelter nearby if needed, and countless tasks  the reader can imagine would be required.

Each check point becomes a neighborhood watch security center for the community. Cars are cursorily checked, usually just the trunk.  Often the drivers are known to the security forces, many of whom are university students, because they are also from the area.  Occasionally a car will stop and a citizen will exit and deliver a tray of fruit or pastries or a pot of Libyan soup etc.  A very congenial social atmosphere.

Because NATO has been increasing its bombing of these civilian manned checkpoints, about 50 of which are along the road from the Tunisian border to Tripoli, the neighborhood watch teams are now operating without lights at night.. Those on night duty have each been issued one of those small heavy duty five inch mini flashlights with has a powerful beam.  This observer was presented one as a souvenir and can attest to its fine quality.

They are civilian because they are volunteers and the regular policemen and women have in large numbers joined an army unit hidden elsewhere toward the east.

In addition to its current problems, NATO will face another major one if they decide to invade Western Libya.

Franklin Lamb can be reached at

 WITH PHOTOS AT:

http://uprootedpalestinians.blogspot.com/2011/07/libyas-neighborhoods-prepare-for-nato.html

Franklin P. Lamb, LLM,PhD
Director, Americans Concerned for
Middle East Peace, Wash.DC-Beirut

Board Member, The Sabra Shatila Foundation and the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Beirut-Washington DC
 
Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp
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On March 13, 2011 I wrote:

Gaddafi's Buying Time: But The Times Have A'Changed


[Orlando, Fl.]--The crowd converged at Lake Eola on 12 March 2011 after the word was spread on Facebook and Twitter to take it to the street in support of the people of Libya and demand a No Fly Zone, which they all began to call for on February 17, 2011 when Gaddafi started using air-strikes to bomb civilians.

After Ahmed Addarrat’s Enough!Gaddafi.com was hacked, he helped co-found http://feb17.info because of "the black hole of information."


IMG_1058
Ahmed Addarrat raises the new Libyan flag

Feb17.info's information gatherer's are all first generation Americans of Libyan descent who seized the Internet to document Gaddafi’s war crimes and petition the American government to support a No-Fly Zone.

Ahmed informed this reporter, "We want to level the playing field and even though the revolutionaries aren’t trained-they’re mostly just kids-they won’t give up! The revolution actually started early on February 15 despite calls for Libya’s ‘day of rage’ to be on February 17.  What happened began in 1996, when Gaddafi’s men mowed down 1,200 political prisoners in a matter of hours.  The spokesmen for the families, Fethi Terbil, a lawyer, was arrested after the families announced they would end all negotiations with the regime involving resolving the issue. The families immediately headed to the security building in Benghazi where he was being held and demanded his release. Supporters from around the city quickly met them and the demonstration quickly became larger and larger and it caught the regime by surprise."


Just hours prior to the Orlando demonstration, the Arab League released a statement asking "the United Nations to carry out its responsibility to impose a no-fly zone over Libya."

Everyone I spoke to in the crowd agreed they were relieved over that announcement and they all chanted, "Obama don’t you know: Gaddafi has got to go! Our blood, our tears, for more than 40 years! Hey, hey, ho, ho, Gaddafi must go Libya will be free from Benghazi to Tripoli!"

The Arab League is a 22-member organization but they cannot impose a no-fly zone, but their approval gives the U.S. and other Western powers the crucial regional backing needed by the revolutionaries who are dying to oust Gaddafi.

In this PBS report, Jonathan Rugman states, "These were the graves of rebels who died fighting in what had been renamed Martyr's Square. But look at those graves today. One man told us the bodies had been removed with bulldozers. If that's true, that could be a war crime by Gaddafi's supporters. When I was here on Sunday, I counted the graves of 20 people buried right here who had been killed in the fighting. Now those graves have been completely eradicated."

Gadhafi hiding Graves of dead people






Two of the organizers of the Orlando event, Wafia Sayf Al Nasr and Asmaa Elmani informed this reporter that Gaddafi also considers the Libyan Diaspora to be "traitors" and Asmaa added, "Anyone who kills his own people may not deserve to be called human."


IMG_1048

The two women founded Shirts for Libya-  http://shirtsforlibya.yolasite.com/ -to help raise funds and awareness for the current situation in Libya, with all donations going to Hope International for current and long term assistance of the Libyan people. www.hoperelief.org .

Jamal Naas and his four children all raised the Libyan flag and the Naas men also wore it on their heads:

IMG_1052


Jamal said, "I moved from Libya in 1978 to America as a student because of the oppression and mass killings that have made 42 years of hell for Libyans who are starving for freedom and democracy. All the people of the Middle East should be able to live like Americans, but everybody in the world has kept closed eyes because of the oil. The only difference between Hitler and Gaddafi is Hitler is dead. The American citizens have good hearts but dirty politicians have kept them in the dark."

 
IMG_1055


IMG_1054

IMG_1053

Gaddafi seized power in 1969 and has ruled Libya with an iron fist ever since. President Ronald Reagan called him the "mad dog of the Middle East" for his involvement in financing terrorist plots outside of his country; but the West began lifting economic sanctions on his government in 2004, following his decision to renounce unconventional weapons and cooperate with the United States in the fight against Al Qaeda.

That led to a flood of Western investment in Libyan oil and natural gas industries, and access to international oil and financial markets.

The New York Times reported that Gaddafi "likely has tens of billions in cash secretly hidden away in Tripoli, allowing him to prolong his fight against rebel forces despite an international freeze on many of the Libyan government’s assets, according to American and other intelligence officials." [1]


The United States has so far frozen nearly $32 billion of Libya’s assets, according to Treasury Department officials-but that action have been limited to funds in the international banking system and to business investments outside of Libya, and Gaddafi has amassed a huge rainy day fund of cash.

"Kenneth Barden, a lawyer who specializes in Middle East financing and advises financial institutions on ways to guard against money laundering, said there were indications that Colonel Qaddafi had moved billions of dollars in assets just days or weeks before the outbreak of violence in Tripoli, apparently to protect his family wealth from global sanctions.

"The money that is kept in Qaddafi’s name is probably small,” Mr. Barden said, “but he’s got a lot in the names of family members and close associates.” [Ibid]

Gaddafi is busy spending his pile of cash in payments to political supporters in Tripoli and buying the services of African mercenaries.

"The person close to the government estimated that 3,000 to 4,000 mercenaries from Mali, Niger and a rebel group operating in Darfur, Sudan, the Justice and Equality Movement, have been hired by the Libyan government for at least $1,000 a day apiece." [Ibid]



Nizar Abboud, a correspondent with the Lebanese daily Al Akhbar, reported that a son of Kadaffi had visited occupied Palestine on March 4, 2011, "to solicit for help. During his visit Saif el Islam has asked high placed Zionist officials for military assistance in terms of ammunition, night surveillance and satellite surveillance, trying to develop political and economic relations between the two countries.
 
"He also asked the Zionists to use their credit with the USA to protect the funds invested by his family, offering part of the profits. Saif el Islam maintains- for a long time already- narrow relations with the Zionist entity, and we have not forgotten how he used, since the beginning of the Libyan revolution, services from a famous Zionist 'security' firm. This firm has furnished mercenaries from Chad and elsewhere, making huge profits-Kadaffi has been willing to pay salaries of 1000 to 2000 dollars a day." [2]


On March 10, 2011, Reverend Stephen Sizer emailed:

"It should come as no surprise that Saif al-Islam, son of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi made a surprise visit to Israel last week to buy more weapons for his dad. Is this why the US is so reluctant to impose a no fly zone and wants to the UN to decide? Shame they did not do the same in Iraq.

"Yediot Aharonot revealed that Saif al-Islam asked senior leaders for military assistance with munitions and night observation devices, as well as satellite imagery, and in turn, pledged to develop ties between Tripoli and Tel Aviv ... in the fields of political and economic development."



That article only appeared in Hebrew, but Rev. Sizer elaborated his source also reported:

"The English translation is not very good but the content is shocking. The newspaper said that according to the Hebrew source of other Libyan spoke to Arab media outlets, the relationship between Saif al-Islam and Israel has evolved considerably during the current crisis came amid reports that Israeli security firms active in Chad and the recruitment of mercenaries sent to Libya unrealized gains billions of dollars.

"Yediot revealed that Saif al-Islam asked senior leaders in Israeli security military assistance munitions and night observation devices, as well as satellite imagery, and in turn, pledged to develop ties between Tripoli and Tel Aviv or what may remain of them under his authority with Israel in the fields of political and economic development.

"In another context, had been sources for the Libyan opposition's newspaper Al Rai Kuwait that a group of Israeli experts arrived in Libya on a plane large private landed at the airport, ‘walked’ a few days ago to help the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to regain the initiative in the field against the Revolution overwhelming that the country has seen."



It was a Palestinian America, Dr. Khaled Diab -the inspiration for my first book:



Who nailed it, "The rebellions that have been raging in the Middle East are largely a result the new technology that made access to information very easy. It is not only oppression that causes rebellions; it is the knowledge of deprivation and the rights of the people. This combination brings unstoppable rebellions."

 


Follow the Revolution @
http://feb17.info/
http://twitter.com/feb17libya
http://twitter.com/feb17voices -Recorded eye witness accounts   

 1. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/10/world/africa/10qaddafi.html?_r=1&ref=world

  2. http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/blog_comments/al_akhbar_son_of_qaddafi_visits_israel_asks_for_money_and_others



 












   
 
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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
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If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
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Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
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The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
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Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
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The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures."  - William Fulbright



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