Stirrings in the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

As Radley Balko noted in the morning links, anti-government protests have spread across the Maghreb and Middle East, with violent clashes in Iran, Bahrain, and Yemen, and both pro- and anti-government demonstrations are roiling the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

The Qaddafi dictatorship—widely and credibly believed to be behind the bombings of the La Belle disco in Berlin and Pan Am flight 103, and the target of a brief American bombing campaign in 1986—is no American stooge, though since the government handed over its nuclear program to the United States in 2003 and has loudly worked against the (anti-Qaddafi) extremists of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), his more radical opponents have claimed that he has "sold out" to the United States. In what appears to be a concession to protesters planning today’s “day of rage,” the government released the remaining 110 LIFG members it held in a Tripoli prison. The anti-LIFG campaign, which claimed to rehabilitate for members of the al-Qaeda affiliated group, was the Qaddafi Foundation’s show piece for Western journalists.

In other words, while everyone is hyperventilating about the peaceful protesters in Egypt being secret Qutbists, many of those flowing into the streets of Tripoli and Benghazi, as Al-Jazeera reported last night, are yelling that Qaddafi is an “American agent.” And as the Financial Times noted, the protesters are also marking the anniversary of the “February 2006 [deaths] of a dozen demonstrators during a protest against the Danish illustrator who drew images of the prophet Mohamed.” 

Reports of casualties from today’s clashes vary, with BBC saying that one person was killed by government forces, while Bloomberg claims “at least” 19 victims (using, it seems, Al-Arabiya as its source).

An opposition website and an anti-Qaddafi activist said violence broke out during marches today in five Libyan cities -- Beyida, Benghazi, Zentan, Rijban and Darnah, according to the Associated Press. The 19 deaths were in Benghazi and Al-Bida, according to Al Arabiya television, which didn’t say where it got the information. There was little confirmed information due to Libya’s tight press restrictions. The government-controlled Libyan media presented reports of people praising Qaddafi, who has ruled since 1969 while tolerating no dissent.

A quick note about Libya’s one-party, one-ideology press: The Internet, oddly, is not censored, which explains how all of this tumult could so easily be coordinated on Facebook. Indeed, Qaddafi “warned” citizens that they shouldn’t access the social networking site.

The Los Angeles Times highlighted a video purportedly showing members of the army firing on a crowd of protesters, but it appears to have been removed from YouTube for a “violation of Terms of Service.”

And this is very strange: I was going to recommend following the coverage at enoughgaddafi.com, a dissident website run by Libyan exiles that has proved a great source of video and other material from inside Libya. But while the cached version can be viewed here, the site now redirects to a Godaddy.com page.

I wrote a dispatch from Libya last year, in which I talked to former LIFG prisoners and marveled at the awesomeness of Tripoli’s “modern” airport.

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  • Almanian||

    anti-government protests have spread across the Maghreb and Middle East

    I'm rather enjoying the anti-gummint protests (of course, by gummint employees due to the Proposed Draconian Budget Cuts™) in Madison, WI and Columbus, OH. Full retard on display - bravo WI and OH!

  • ||

    LOL, those guys clearly know whats going on lol.

    www.total-online-privacy.us.tc

  • shmendrik||

    When I heard that schmuck Qadaffi urging the Palestinians to riot in Israel, I KNEW he was in trouble at home.

  • ||

    I would like Qaddafi to join the former President of Tunisia in a coma (if the reports about the latter are true).

    Another nasty SOB to bite the dust. At least we won't have to listen to the neo-cons lamenting his passing.

  • ||

    It's so hilarious that a dictatorial shithead like Qaddafi actually allows freeer media in his country than the US does through US cable network corporate censorship of Al-Jazeera:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/demandaljazeera/

  • spur||

    I really like Al Jazeera English - I've watched it online on Livestation for a long time before events in the ME and Maghreb as a nice counterbalance to the nonsense that is CNN, Fox, etc. However as I understand it its cable companies not carrying AJE because it has a dirka dirka sounding name and not government dictate. AJE just should have named itself something non-nonchalant like QVC or Speed or something.

    Its also possible Libya hasn't cracked down harder on socialmedia simply due to being incompetent. Never rule that out.

  • ||

    I am also a big fan of AJE. I realize that US government doesn't care if AJE is on or not in the states. That's why I called it corporate censorship. Even though there's rising demand, as is seen by the ratings of the 1-hour broadcasts seen in major cities, the Comcasts of the country have no interest in carrying AJE's potent, magnificent investigative journalism - mainly because they find themselves (and corporations who share their ethos) constantly under investigation.

    Nobody else in the world but AJE routinely spends ten minutes on a hard news piece peering into corporate-financed death squads killing fruit grower unionists in Chile, or twelve minutes on net neutrality facts-of-life pieces from across the industrialized west, or routinely naming the business bankrollers of murderous, despicable regimes from Shell in Nigeria to DeBeers in Sierra Leone to Nike in Indonesia. This is every day, all day.

    There isn't an American boardroom who'd put up with that. But libertarians can remain asleep, dreaming that the "free market" is working Just Fine.

  • Tncm||

    That's right, Orel Hazard. Because from what I've learned after reading all these books and articles by people like Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard, it's that corporatism is a natural facet of the free market, and not at all a bi-product of economic interventionism.

    I swear, if the Left gets any more stupid, they could all get jobs on the writing staff of "Two and a Half Men".

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...murderous, despicable regimes...

    What? What's that? Governments killing people, you say? That's what governments do. That you find it more despicable when it's done at the behest of a company than when it's done for any other stupid reason says more about you than it does about anything else, especially the free market, since a market where some gain advantage by government is - by definition - not free.

    But you know this already, you dissembling, trolling asshole.

  • rather||

    lol-isn't early for dissembling, trolling asshole?
    Remember the new civility? It should be: Good morning you dissembling, trolling asshole

  • rather||

    I make a point of reading foreign papers and websites for that very reason. Newspapers have not had any meat in them for a long time.

  • God's buddy||

    But you've had your dad's meat in you, haven't you, rectal?

  • ||

    actually orel, BBC americas has comprehensive coverage of the arab street. al Jazeera english online is a good news site.

  • ||

    Ha ha. Free-market fellators pretend a deregulated market somehow is far from a free market. Imagine being so dull-witted!

    Ha ha. That AJE is effectively censored from US viewers due to its regular peeking up the skirt of business interests is ascribed by glibertarian half-wits to duh Gubmint when we already know the only people that do not wish the channel to be available are those whose business interests suffer the attention.

    Ha ha. Glibertarians think people will fall for the ancient lie that a philosophy, once evidently failed, "wasn't the real philosophy". That didn't work for communists, it didn't work for Reaganism, and it doesn't work here either. It will actually never work - but don't let that troubling thought interrupt your duty: to forever slurp, slurp, slurp on that corporate cock.

  • Old Man with Candy||

    Ha ha. That AJE is effectively censored from US viewers due to its regular peeking up the skirt of business interests is ascribed by glibertarian half-wits to duh Gubmint when we already know the only people that do not wish the channel to be available are those whose business interests suffer the attention.

    I would agree. The business interests of the cable providers is getting eyeballs and subscribers. No-one in the US really gives a rat's ass about AJE, so there's no ROI. Americans can get it from other sources than cable, and they're tuning in... in.... ...errrr, what's the opposite of "in droves"?

  • ||

    No-one in the US really gives a rat's ass about AJE, so there's no ROI.

    Hi, I'm the real world: glad to meet you. New here? Well, sit down and watch a little TV then:

    "Weekday daily AJE newscasts (8 AM and 7 PM ET) and weekend (7 PM ET) are available on the national channel of MHz Networks, called MHz Worldview, in over 35 million households across the country through our network of broadcast and cable affiliates in: Los Angeles- KCET; San Bernardino, CA- KVCR; Chicago, IL- WYCC; San Francisco,CA- KCSM; Washington, DC- WNVC/MHz Networks; Tacoma-Seattle, WA- KBTC; Cleveland/Akron/Youngstown, OH- WNEO/WEAO; Minneapolis, MN- MPS Cable; Miami, FL- WLRN; Denver, CO- KBDI; Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, FL- WCEU; Charlotte, NC- WTVI; Nashville, TN- WNPT; Salt Lake City, UT- UEN (statewide); Grand Rapids/ Kalamazoo/Beaver Creek, MI- WGVU; Spokane/Yakima, WA- KWSU/KTNW; New Orleans, LA- WLAE; Las Vegas, NV- Vegas PBS; Richmond, VA- WCVE; Flint, MI- WDCQ; Charleston, IL- WEIU; Plattsburgh, NY- Mountain Lake PBS (WCFE); Lansing, MI- LCC TV; Moline, IL (Quad Cities)- WQPT; Warrensburg, MO- KMOS; Topeka, KS- KTWU; Rochester-Austin, MN- KSMQ; Charlottesville, VA- WHTJ; St.Paul, MN- St. Paul Neighborhood Network; Stanford, CA- Stanford University Cable.

    "The newscasts are also available on MHz Worldview nationally via DirecTV channel 2183. Channel numbers and service providers are available here.

    "One on One with Riz Khan from AJE is also available on our national channel on Sundays at 10:30 AM ET and can be watched via the network of affiliates as well. MHz Networks is an independent, non-profit public broadcaster, bringing international perspectives and programming to globally-minded viewers throughout the United States

    So now what were you saying about AJE having no viewer interest in the US?

    Sorry, I can't hear you. Maybe you should take that corporate cock out of your mouth for five seconds.

    Ha ha.

  • Shorter Orel Hazard||

    Shorter Orel Hazard:

    Ha ha.

  • Abdul||

    Qutbists

    Between this and yesterday's story on qat, I will be kicking a lot of ass in scrabble.

  • New World Dan||

    I'll be somewhat sad to see Qadaffi be ousted. Perhaps the only 3rd world despot I'll miss after he's gone. The incoherent rambling speeches and his relatively progressive (for a muslim dictator) view of women's rights delight me to no end.

  • puma magasin||

    this

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