The New Statesman's Laurie Penny has gotten into Saif Gadaffi's multi-million-pound mansion in London's tony MayfairHampstead, which has been squatted by Libyan exiles. She reports on life inside the reclaimed house:
We drink stewed tea from Saif's best china and eat cheese sandwiches using his silver cutlery, while the young man, Abdulla, tells me about how his uncle was "disappeared" by Saif's father. "In Libya, people disappear all the time. There was a prison massacre where 1,200 people died. They poured cement over the bodies." Abdulla nervously adjusts his glasses. "It's important that people know we're not creating a civil war for no reason.
Nearly every room of this enormous house boasts a large, flat-screen television. The occupiers have tuned each one to al-Jazeera, for rolling coverage of the people's revolutions that are sweeping the Arab world. Televised gunfire echoes in the marble hallway as Jay, 25, explains how activists from the London squatting movement took over the Gaddafi family mansion, moving in secretly and putting up notices declaring their intention to hold the empty house under English common law. "We wanted to show our solidarity the best way we know how," he says.
"It's a symbolic and practical reclamation of private property that belongs to the Libyan people. It's about their struggle, which is why the place has been handed over to the Libyans as a place to organise and a safe space for refugees," he says. "People have been arriving in support from all over the UK..."
"Last night, at about four in the morning, someone came to the door," says Jay. According to Abdulla, "It was a well-dressed Arab person, [wearing] nice clothes and gold. When I asked him what he was doing here so late, he said, 'I want to make you an offer.' He told us: 'I have £40,000 in cash. You can have it if you leave immediately.' No amount of money could make us leave this house. It's not a financial issue."
A team of BBC journalists in Libya were kidnapped by security forces loyal to the Gadaffis. They were hooded, imprisoned, beaten, and subject to repeated mock-executions. While imprisoned, they witnessed horrific torture of rebels who'd been captured by Gadaffi's forces.
One of the three, Chris Cobb-Smith, said: "We were lined up against the wall. I was the last in line - facing the wall.
"I looked and I saw a plain-clothes guy with a small sub-machine gun. He put it to everyone's neck. I saw him and he screamed at me.
"Then he walked up to me, put the gun to my neck and pulled the trigger twice. The bullets whisked past my ear. The soldiers just laughed."
A second member of the team - Feras Killani, a correspondent of Palestinian descent - is said to have been singled out for repeated beatings.
Their captors told him they did not like his reporting of the Libyan popular uprising and accused him of being a spy.
The third member of the team, cameraman Goktay Koraltan, said they were all convinced they were going to die.
A group of activist squatters have occupied Saif "War Criminal/Plagiarist/Zillionaire" Gadaffi's swanky £10M mansion in London's Mayfair.
A spokesman for the group said "We didn't trust the British government to properly seize the Gaddafi regime's corrupt assets, so we took matters into our own hands."
"The British government only recently stopped actively helping to train the Libyan regime in "crowd control" techniques, through the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and a midlands based arms manufacturer, NMS Systems. As well as training the regime in repression, British corporations are also guilty of providing the same weapons that are now being used by Gaddaffi against the Libyan people."
The mansion is managed by Gaddaffi through a holding company registered in the British Virgin Islands. The spokesman for occupiers said "Gaddafi, Mubarak, the House of Saud and numerous other tyrants use front companies in British protectorates to avoid paying tax and above all to protect their anonymity. Britain actively assists tyrants, corporations and the super rich to rob their people blind. Our aim is to make sure that the assets stolen by Gaddafi are returned to the Libyan people and don't disappear into the pockets of governments or corporations. In the meantime we want to welcome refugees from the conflict in Libya and those fleeing tyranny and oppression across the world."
An Egyptian man who fled the unrest in Libya talks on a phone provided by Telecom sans Frontiere (TSF) at a refugee camp near the Libyan and Tunisian border crossing of Ras Jdir March 1, 2011. (REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra)
In this video, Saif Gadaffi (the "liberal" Gadaffi scion to whom the London School of Economics awarded a PhD for a plagiarized thesis on soft power and democracy) is seen promising weapons and reinforcements to the militia forces who have been brutally slaughtering peaceful protesters in Libya.
Charlie Brooker's commentary on Gadaffi's erratic atrocities -- and the western leaders who've kissed up to him over the years -- from last week's Ten O'Clock Live is some of the most nose-milk-spurting material ever aired. I wish that all of Ten O'Clock Live's clips were on YouTube, as it would be amazing blogfodder -- the show is better than The Daily Show most weeks, IMO (I've asked, C4 say their lawyers won't let them because there are clips of the BBC, Sky, etc, which is some pretty weird fair dealing analysis).
The desperate Gadaffi regime in Libya has deployed powerful radio jammers that are blocking satellite-based TV networks and satellite phones around the region, as well as screwing up mobile phones across the nation.
On Monday, Al Jazeera television said Libya's intelligence agency was behind the powerful jamming that has disrupted the widely watched Arab satellite broadcaster's signal across much of the Middle East and North Africa.
On Saturday, Arbor Networks, a U.S. company that monitors Internet traffic said Internet service had been cut off in Libya for a second consecutive day.
Middle-Eastern media source @MAQAM reports that Gadaffi has SMS-spammed Libyans, offering 100 dinar mobile phone credit bribes to people who send out messages asking their friends to stop protesting and stay in their homes.
Soldiers and police in Beghazi, Libya's second city, have thrown in with protesters on the ground and declared the city to be "Free Benghazi." The Guardian is carrying eyewitness reports of more than 4,000 foreign mercenaries being brought to the country to fight for Gadaffhi, some of whom are in custody of the revolutionary army. The "ransacked" government buildings are flying pre-Gadaffhi-era flags.
An air force officer, Major Rajib Faytouni, said he personally witnessed up to 4,000 mercenaries arrive on Libyan transport planes over a period of three days starting from 14 February. He said: "That's why we turned against the government. That and the fact there was an order to use planes to attack the people."
Numerous witnesses in Benghazi have said that while artillery was used against citizens, air force planes did not fire on them here. They did, however, according to Faytouni, drop two bombs inside the Rajma military base to stop weapons falling into the hands of anti-government forces.
"The two colonels who defected in MiGs had refused orders to bomb the people," he said, referring to a pair of air force officers who fled to Malta in their jets on Monday. He added: "There were also two helicopters that flew to Tunis."
All around Benghazi there were indications that Gaddafi has lost control of the city. The military is no longer operating checkpoints, which are now manned only by a handful of traffic police. Every physical sign of the dictator has been taken down or burned. While there has been no violence in the past two days, angry demonstrators are driving through city firing Kalashnikov rifles into the air and demanding Gaddafi cede control and leave the country.
XS4ALL, a fantastic, hacker-friendly ISP in the Netherlands, has thrown open all its modem lines for free use by people in Libya when and if their network access gets blocked by the government. DPCosta sez, "It's expensive (international call), but can be very handy in an emergency. The number is +31205350535 and the username/password are xs4all."
An anonymous source at the LSE sez, "There appears to be some *at least* minor plagiarism in this thesis. If you look at the bottom of p45 there is a passage that goes:
'The expansions of the IMF's membership, together with the changes in the world economy, have required the IMF to adapt in a variety of ways to continue serving its purposes effectively'.
If you plug this sentence into Google you get a link to the IMF Wikipedia page.
I caught this within 60 seconds of opening the thesis. There's one more I found a page later. I tried twice with a hit rate of two out of two. Readers may want to look for more. My impression is the thesis is generally OK - the plagiarism may only be limited to boilerplate factoid stuff like this on the IMF. But it would be good to alert readers to comb through it using Google."
Saif Gadaffhi, son of Muammar, deliverer of speeches in which he pledges to hold dictatorial power until he has expended his last bullet, did his PhD at the London School of Economics on "THE ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE DEMOCRATISATION OF GLOBAL GOVERNANCE INSTITUTIONS: From 'Soft Power' to Collective Decision-Making?"
This dissertation analyses the problem of how to create more just and democratic global governing institutions, exploring the approach of a more formal system of collective decision-making by the three main actors in global society: governments, civil society and the business sector. The thesis seeks to make a contribution by presenting for discussion an addition to the system of international governance that is morally justified and potentially practicable, referred to as 'Collective Management'. The thesis focuses on the role of civil society, analysing arguments for and against a role for civil society that goes beyond 'soft power' to inclusion as voting members in inter-governmental decision-making structures in the United Nations (UN) system, the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and other institutions.
The thesis defends the argument that inclusion of elected representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in tripartite decision-making structures could potentially create a more democratic global governing system. This conclusion is supported by a specially-commissioned survey of leading figures in NGOs and IGO decision-making structures.
Trendsmap's Libya page is a real-time dashboard for all the media emerging from the Libyan uprising, with handy charts showing which subtopics are rising and falling (e.g., Venezuela's down, Tripoli is peaking).
Libya's UN ambassadors have joined the ranks of Libyan diplomats around the world to denounce Gadhafi's brutal crackdown on the popular uprising across the country. The entire Libyan UN diplomatic has appealed to the Security Council to defend their countrymen from the crackdown.
Dabbashi urged the international community to impose a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent mercenaries, weapons and other supplies from reaching Gadhafi and his security forces.
Dabbashi also said he was not resigning.
The diplomat says the Libyan delegation is also urging the International Criminal Court to investigate possible crimes against humanity committed against the Libyan people during the current protests.