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Archive for February 23rd, 2011

Libya: Defections Leave Muammar Gaddafi Isolated In Tripoli Trap

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February 23, 2011: Ian Black / The Guardian (guardian.co.uk) – February 23, 2011

Muammar Gaddafi was looking increasingly isolated after damaging defections by senior regime figures and key military commanders and units as the uprising spread closer to Tripoli. 

Malta denied a report that Gaddafi’s daughter, Aisha, was on board a Libyan plane refused permission to land on the island on Wednesday. But Menas, a respected London Middle East consultancy, said the leader’s wife, daughter, daughters-in-law and grandchildren had left Libya for an unknown destination.

Mass protests erupted in Misurata, a Mediterranean port and the country’s third-largest city, and violence was reported in Sebrata and Zawiya, which are also in western Libya and closer to Tripoli.

Benghazi and much of the east of the country have now been lost to the government. Misurata is near Sirte, the leader’s home town, where a key tribe has reportedly come out in support of what is being called the 17 February revolution.

Al-Jazeera TV reported that tribes in the Azzintan and Nalut areas, also in the west, had come out against Gaddafi. Oil facilities were now under their protection.

Libyan and Arab sources said the biggest blow to Gaddafi so far had been the defection of his interior minister and veteran loyalist, Abdel-Fatah Younes al-Obeidi, who called on the army on Tuesday to “serve the people and support the revolution and its legitimate demands”.

But the whereabouts of other senior comrades remains unclear. Mustafa al-Kharroubi, a leading figure in the regime’s old guard, is rumoured to have left Tripoli. There are question marks too about another loyalist, Khweildi al-Hmeidi, whose daughter is married to the leader’s wayward son Sa’adi.

In another blow to the Libyan leader, his former justice minister, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, who stepped down this week, was quoted as saying today that Gaddafi personally ordered the Lockerbie bombing, in which 270 people were killed.

Another departure was of Youssef Sawan, who quit as director of the Gaddafi International Charitable Foundation run by the leader’s son, the supposedly reformist-minded Saif al-Islam.

Libyan exile sources also confirmed the defection of a senior figure in the revolutionary committees, Ali al-Sahouli, who warned that Gaddafi would sabotage the country’s infrastructure including oil installations, power stations and banks.

Scores of Libyan diplomats across the world have also now resigned – taking the opportunity to distance themselves from the regime while there is still time.

Details of the military situation remained sketchy, but the army commander and defence minister, General Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabber, was put under house arrest earlier this week.

Major General Suleiman Mahmoud, army commander in Tobruk, said he was “joining the people”, as did units in the eastern Jebel Akhdar area. Analysts say that while the army has never been a powerful force, Gaddafi desperately needs its support.

In one possible pointer for the future, al-Saiqa (Thunderbolt) special forces battalion is said to have attacked Gaddafi’s revolutionary guard in Benghazi.

Gaddafi may also have the support of foreign mercenary units, many of which are from ex-Soviet bloc countries.

Libya’s Quryna newspaper reported that a pilot and navigator bailed out and ditched their fighter plane rather than carry out an order to bomb Benghazi.

Anti-Gaddafi Libyans were outraged by his televised address on Tuesday when he urged his supporters to hit back at protesters and vowed to die a “martyr” in his homeland rather than relinquish power.

Many Libyans say they expect him to go down fighting if the situation continues to deteriorate. It was unclear last night whether he would be able to leave his headquarters at Bab al-Aziziyah in Tripoli. “He is surrounded by his guards and is too scared to come out,” said one opposition supporter. Gunfire was heard nearby on Wednesday.

“Gaddafi could hole up in his own tribal area around Sirte with a substantial back-up of military hardware or do the same thing at the al-Aziziyah complex,” said the Menas consultancy.

In an alternative scenario, Gaddafi may try to leave the capital for Sebha, a town on the edge of the Sahara that is dominated by the apparently still loyal Megarha tribe and where he declared the establishment of people’s power in 1977.

Qaddafi’s Power Slipping Away

Libyan Army Mutineers Executed?

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: It’s still rather difficult to believe that Gaddafi is even in Libya– SJH

Link to original article below…

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/23/muammar-gaddafi-libya-tripoli-uprising

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More Dead Dolphins Found In The Gulf Of Mexico Raise Questions

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February 23, 2011: AP Editors / Associated Press via The Intel Hub – February 23, 2011

Scientists have found four more dead baby dolphins on Horn Island in the Mississippi Gulf of Mexico and another on Ono Island off Orange Beach, Ala., adding to the unusually high number of dead dolphins found in the past two months.

More Dead Dolphins In The Gulf Raises Questions

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: I’ll go out on a limb here: the cause is from BP oil and dispersants! – SJH

Link to original article below…

http://theintelhub.com/2011/02/23/more-dead-dolphins-in-the-gulf-raises-questions/

Indiana Official: “Use Live Ammunition” Upon Wisconsin Protesters

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February 23, 2011: Adam Weinstein / Mother Jones – February 23, 2011

On Saturday night, when Mother Jones staffers tweeted a report that riot police might soon sweep demonstrators out of the Wisconsin capitol building—something that didn’t end up happening—one Twitter user sent out a chilling public response: “Use live ammunition.” — From my own Twitter account, I confronted the user, JCCentCom. He tweeted back that the demonstrators were “political enemies” and “thugs” who were “physically threatening legally elected officials.”

In response to such behavior, he said, “You’re damned right I advocate deadly force.” He later called me a “typical leftist,” adding, “liberals hate police.” Only later did we realize that JCCentCom was a deputy attorney general for the state of Indiana.

As one of 144 attorneys in that office, Jeff Cox has represented the people of his state for 10 years. And for much of that time, it turns out, he’s vented similar feelings on Twitter and on his blog, Pro Cynic. In his nonpolitical tweets and blog posts, Cox displays a keen litigator’s mind, writing sharply and often wittily on military history and professional basketball.

But he evinces contempt for political opponents—from labeling President Obama an “incompetent and treasonous” enemy of the nation to comparing “enviro-Nazis” to Osama bin Laden, likening ex-Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Service Employees International Union members to Nazi “brownshirts” on multiple occasions, and referring to an Indianapolis teen as “a black teenage thug who was (deservedly) beaten up” by local police. A “sensible policy for handling Afghanistan,” he offered, could be summed up as: “KILL! KILL! ANNIHILATE!

Early Sunday, Mother Jones sent an email to Cox’s work address at the Indiana attorney general’s office, asking if the Twitter and blog comments were his, and if he could provide context for some of them. He responded shortly after from a personal email address: “For ‘context?’ Or to silence me? All my comments on twitter & my blog are my own and no one else’s. And I can defend them all…[Y]ou will probably try to demonize me,” he wrote, “but that comes with the territory.”

To be sure, in the current political climate, partisan rhetoric has run hot online—and the Constitution guarantees everyone’s right to such rhetoric. Nonetheless, a spokesman for the Indiana attorney general’s office, Bryan Corbin, told Mother Jones that Cox’s statements were “inflammatory,” and he promised “an immediate review” of the matter. “We do not condone any comments that would threaten or imply violence or intimidation toward anyone,” Corbin added.

The incident seems all the more troubling now that the public-sector union fight playing out in Wisconsin is now headed to other states—including Indiana, where GOP senators Tuesday passed a bill that would abolish collective bargaining for state teachers. (Indiana’s Republican governor walked back his support of the measure Tuesday after taking stock of the opposition.) Cox’s public writings made it clear that he isn’t a member of a public-service union, and he has no love for those who are.

“Individuals have the First Amendment right to post their own personal views in online forums on their own time,” Corbin wrote to Mother Jones, “but as public servants, state employees also should strive to conduct themselves with professionalism and appropriate decorum in their interactions with the public.”

Cox had been contacted by the office, Corbin added: “We have reiterated to the employee the standards of professional conduct expected for all licensed attorneys and for employees of the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. After all the relevant information is obtained, this agency then will determine whether there has been any violation of the personnel handbook.”

In the meantime, we hoped to give Cox a chance to explain his thoughts in greater detail. In his initial email to Mother Jones, Cox had written, “Ask what questions you want & I will do my best to answer. Maybe you’ll learn something. Maybe I’ll learn something.” So we emailed him a list of questions:

What did he mean when he tweeted: “Planned Parenthood could help themselves if the only abortions they performed were retroactive”?

In referring to President Obama, why did he use a George W. Bush line once directed at the Iraqi people: “Your enemy is not surrounding your country, your enemy is ruling your country”?

Were members of the SEIU really like Hitler’s Sturmabteilung, and did he stand by his headline, “Putting the ‘Reich’ in Robert Reich“? We never heard back.

Wisconsin Protests Here To Stay

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Whether you’re pro-union or not is besides the point. This is all about Americans taking a stand and telling this fascist government to back the fuck off! – SJH

Update (3:15 pm ET): Indiana Deputy Attorney General Loses Job – The Indiana Attorney General’s office announced Wednesday that the deputy attorney general, Jeff Cox, who called for Wisconsin riot police to use deadly force on protesters is no longer employed by the agency, according to WISH.

Link to original article below…

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/indiana-official-jeff-cox-live-ammunition-against-wisconsin-protesters