بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِِ
الَّذِينَ يُبَلِّغُونَ رِسَالاَتِ اللهِ وَيَخْشَوْنَهُ وَلاَ يَخْشَوْنَ أَحَدًا إِلاَّ اللهَ وَكَفَى بِاللهِ حَسِيبًا

Khamis, Mac 10, 2011

Islam emerges as key issue for GOP

Source: CNN
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wants a federal ban on Sharia and opposes a proposed Islamic center near ground zero.

(CNN) -- A conservative activist who served in George W. Bush's White House, Suhail Khan has lately found himself at odds with certain figures who should be allies, like fellow activists on the right and some leading lights of the Republican Party.

Khan, a Muslim, has chafed at recent remarks about Islam from potential Republican presidential contenders like Sarah Palin, who has called on "peaceful Muslims" to oppose a proposed Islamic center near New York's ground zero, and Newt Gingrich, who has called for a federal ban on Sharia, or Islamic law.

Khan supports the New York Islamic center and says there's no threat of Sharia taking hold in the United States.

Then, last month, as he presided over a strategy session at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, Khan was repeatedly interrupted by right-wing activists accusing him of having ties to the Islamic Brotherhood, the Islamist political party based in Egypt.

In recent days, Khan has gone on the offensive, meeting with Republican staffers on Capitol Hill and urging old friends to help halt or dramatically alter the direction of Republican Rep. Peter King's hearings on "radicalization in the American Muslim community," which begin Thursday.

"How did we go from the majority of American Muslims supporting Bush in 2000 to the very misguided comments of people like Palin and Gingrich and these King hearings," Khan asked in an interview this week.

While opinions vary on the propriety of Palin's and Gingrich's remarks and King's hearings, there appears to be a dramatic uptick recently in Republican rhetoric around Islam and Muslims.

In the run-up to last November's elections, Republicans including Palin and Gingrich weighed in against the proposed New York Islamic center, while Oklahoma voters approved a Republican-led effort to ban Sharia law (though the ban was blocked by a federal judge).

In the months since, roughly a dozen other states have started weighing bans on Sharia, with all or almost all of those efforts led by GOP lawmakers.

Other high visibility Republicans have criticized Islam or aspects of the religion or the Muslim community. Mike Huckabee, likely a 2012 presidential candidate, last month called Islam "the antithesis of the gospel of Christ" and criticized congregations that allow mosques to use their churches for prayers.

There are disagreements about what has caused such critiques to become an increasingly important part of GOP messaging and policy efforts. But with the Republican presidential primary on the horizon, as well as the 10-year anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, political analysts say the trend is likely to accelerate.

Republican operatives attribute the movement to lingering fears of terrorism, including an apparent spike in homegrown terrorism.

"People are concerned about terrorists, and anytime someone goes on an airplane they¹re reminded of that," says Ed Rollins, a veteran Republican strategist and CNN political contributor. "There is great mystery about Islam. I don't think the discussion is in a sophisticated place right now, but King is going to make a case."

Frank Gaffney, a conservative Washington activist who has long criticized Islam but whose views have often been rejected by mainstream Republicans, says a spate of high-profile terrorist incidents on American soil is making the GOP more receptive to his message.

The alleged gunman behind the 2009 Fort Hood, Texas, massacre reportedly was radicalized by an American-born cleric based in Yemen. The failed Times Square bomber, sentenced to life in prison last year, is a naturalized U.S. citizen who said he was motivated by Islam.

"We have a problem, and the country is coming to grips with that," says Gaffney, who is among the activists alleging that Khan has ties to radical Islamist groups.

"The Republican presidential candidates are going to have to be knowledgeable about this problem to a degree that they haven't had to be up to this point," Gaffney says.

But other Republicans suggest that inflammatory remarks about Islam are coming from the party's fringes.

"So far, a great many leading Republican figures have been very temperate in their remarks" about Islam, says GOP strategist Whit Ayres. "They¹re making a distinction between peace-loving Muslims and radical terrorists."

He rattled off a list of likely 2012 Republican presidential contenders who he says fit that description: Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour and Jon Huntsman, all current or former governors.

Asked about whether Palin, Gingrich and Huckabee would make the cut, Ayres said, "I'll leave it at that."

Few Republicans have criticized King's hearings, which could stretch out for more than a year. The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, King has responded to criticism that the sessions single out Muslims, saying, "I will not allow political correctness to obscure a real and dangerous threat to the safety and security of the citizens of the United States."

"We're talking about al Qaeda," King told CNN over the weekend. "There's been self-radicalization going on within the Muslim community, within a very small minority, but it's there, and that's where the threat is coming from at this time."

Of course, the broader issues of terrorism and national security, which often touch on Islam, aren't new to the GOP. John Esposito, a Georgetown University professor of religion and international affairs who focuses on Islam, said in an email message that rhetoric around Islam by "Republicans like Peter King and others go back to post-9/11."

"You could especially see it in presidential primaries," says Esposito, the co-editor of a new book on Islamophobia. "Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mike Huckabee all played the Muslim terrorism card in 2008 without carefully distinguishing between the small minority of cases at that time and the Muslim-American community."

Khan, who served in the Bush White House's Office of Public Liaison and in its Transportation Department, says the increasingly charged GOP rhetoric on Islam reflects a leadership vacuum in the party since it lost the White House in 2008.

"Hours after 9/11, Bush made it clear that ours was a war on violent extremists that were limited in number and were not representative of Islam," Khan says. "That leadership was key in reminding Americans that we¹re all Americans, regardless of faith or ethnic background."

Khan and other critics of the GOP's recent Islam critiques allege that the campaign is part of a broader effort to falsely brand President Obama, who is a Christian, as a Muslim.

"Conservatives see a nice nexus of being able to take advantage of pairing the president as Muslim while burnishing their national security credentials by fear mongering about Islam and Muslims," says Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, a national group.

A Pew survey last fall showed that nearly one in five Americans believe Obama is a Muslim, up from around one in 10 Americans who said he was Muslim in 2009.

Republicans deny allegations of such a campaign. But some non-Muslim strategists within the party have also criticized the way some if its spokespeople treat Islam, warning that harsh rhetoric on Islam could scare off Muslim voters and other religious minorities.

"The support for criticizing a mosque is half a mile wide and an inch deep," Grover Norquist, a top party strategist, told the Washington Post last year around the time of the controversy over the Islamic center near ground zero.

"And at the end of the process," he said, "the only people who will remember it are the people who feel threatened by this -- not just Muslims, but Sikhs, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Mormons."

Source: CNN

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Family helps Gadhafi stay in power

Source: CNN
By Tom Foreman, CNN

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, 68, has been married twice. He has eight biological children and two adopted children, one of whom died.

(CNN) -- The embattled Libyan leader, Moammar Gadhafi, is one of those rare figures in the world who manages to not only seize power, but also hold onto it for decades. Despite the inevitable mythology that grows up around such figures, however, it is worth noting that he has not done it alone. He has had a large, if at times quarrelsome, family to help him hold onto the reins.

Gadhafi has nine grown children. One is the result of a short marriage to his first wife, seven are with his second wife, and one is adopted. They hold many positions of influence in Libya's security forces, military, telecommunications, and other industries, and plenty of Libya watchers believe Gadhafi uses them not only as agents of his will, but also his eyes and ears.

The most noted power player is Saif Al-Islam. He is the one who shows up relatively often in TV interviews. He is the second oldest son, the oldest from the second wife. He was educated at the London School of Economics. He speaks fluent English, is a fastidious dresser, and he paints. An exhibition of his work was displayed in Moscow.

More importantly, he has long been seen as a possible successor to his father. He has denied any such desire, but others were interested in the idea for quite some time because he was considered more modern in his thinking, even reform minded by many Libya watchers. But that was before his recent and very public vows to fight the protestors to the end.

Another possible successor to the family throne is Mutassim, and accordingly his relationship with Saif Al-Islam is believed to be tense. Mutassim once allegedly helped plot a coup against his father and had to flee the country when it failed. He was eventually forgiven and is now his father's national security adviser. Mutassim was involved in official talks with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009 about improving U.S./Libyan relations.

Ayesha, who is 34, is the only daughter. In many photos she looks like a blond model, and she is believed to play the role of peacekeeper among the brothers. Yet she also toes a very tough political line. She has been a longtime, loud supporter of anti-government groups (except at home) including the IRA and the insurgents in Iraq. She was famously part of Saddam Hussein's defense team when he was tried and hanged. When The Telegraph asked her how she felt about Iraqis who say he slaughtered thousands of their countrymen, she replied, "You are bound to meet people who may be against your policies."

Hannibal Gadhafi is the headline maker. He has reportedly paid millions of dollars for private parties featuring big name entertainers including Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Usher. Several of the artists now say they have given the money back.

It's not just Hannibal's parties that make news. He has been implicated in a string of violent incidents in Europe. He was accused of beating his staff, although the charges were later dropped. He is married to a model, Aline Skaf, and he was also accused of beating her in a London hotel. She later said her broken nose was the result of an accident.

In a spectacular episode, Hannibal was stopped after driving his Ferrari 90 mph the wrong way on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. He invoked diplomatic immunity.

The sixth son, Khamis, is said to command a special forces unit known as the 32nd brigade, or the Khamis brigade, which protects the Gadhafi family. His troops have been involved in much of the heavy fighting throughout Libya.

Still, despite the various problems and reported clashes among these strong personalities, nothing seems to have driven the family members far enough apart to weaken their collective grip on power for all these years.

Source: CNN

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Khan: Islam is not the Enemy

Source: CNN

Source: CNN

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U.S. Muslim groups slam radicalization hearings

Source: CNN
By the CNN Wire Staff

Washington (CNN) -- Leading American Muslims on Wednesday strongly criticized this week's planned congressional hearing into the alleged radicalization of members of their community, calling it an unfair attack on loyal citizens and a dangerous break from the traditional U.S. embrace of tolerance and pluralism.

Rep. Peter King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has said Thursday's hearing is necessary to explore the extent to which al Qaeda is trying to influence and indoctrinate U.S. Muslims, among other things. But his plans have created an uproar, with critics accusing Republican leaders of bigotry and comparing the hearings to Sen. Joseph McCarthy's allegations of Communist infiltration in the early years of the Cold War.

American Muslim leaders have also taken issue with King's assertion that they haven't sufficiently cooperated with law enforcement officials, and dismissed his claim that the overwhelming majority of mosques are run by extremist imams. Such claims are "demonstrably false," said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

"Except for a tiny minority," extremists have found "no fertile ground in America," he said. He said King is engaged in "fear-mongering," and called the New York Republican "unfit" to head the Homeland Security Committee.

"We are not in denial as a community that something is going on, that there are bad actors in every community," said Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, a member of the Council of Muslim Organizations. King is "onto something, but he is going in the wrong direction."

And Attorney General Eric Holder weighed in as well, disputing King's premise that Islamic leaders haven't done enough to help police during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Holder said the Justice Department has tried to establish a dialogue with American Muslims, "so that information flows to us, information flows from us." And he warned against doing anything to "alienate entire communities."

"Leaders of the Muslim community and the Muslim community itself have contributed significantly to the resolution of many of the things that we have resolved over the course of the last 12 to 18 months," Holder said. "Tips that we have received, information that has been shared, has been critical to our efforts to disrupting plots that otherwise might have occurred."

In an interview with CNN, King shot back, "That's not my experience."

"New York is the epicenter, and I'm not aware of any tips that have been given in Nassau, Suffolk [counties] or New York City," he said. "That's one. And then talking to officials around the country, I get the same complaints."

Holder has not been called to testify in King's hearings, because he would contradict those complaints, King acknowledged. And he said top Obama administration officials also say al Qaeda is attempting to radicalize American Muslims, so "Where else would we look?"

"I won't demonize anyone," he said. "We're going to show the threat is coming from certain elements and in many ways threatens Muslim Americans as much as it does the entire country."

But Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, said King is more interested in "scoring cheap political points by vilifying vulnerable communities."

On Tuesday, a national group, Muslim Advocate, launched a website aimed at tracking what it calls anti-Muslim rhetoric, particularly among elected officials.

"Our concern is that the King hearings are going to sow fear and mistrust of the Muslim community at a time when the nation needs to be coming together," said Farhana Khera, executive director of the group that launched WhatUnites.Us. "It's essentially a congressional stamp of approval for anti-Muslim hate."

In an earlier interview on CNN's "American Morning," King promised a "thoughtful, meaningful, very fair hearing" and insisted he was not condemning Islam as a religion or American Muslims as a group.

"I would never question anyone's religious beliefs," he said. "The overwhelming majority of Muslims are outstanding patriots." But he added, "There is a very small percentage who have allied themselves with al Qaeda," and he said U.S. Muslim leaders "do not face up to that reality."

"I want to encourage people in the Muslim community ... to be more aggressive in choosing their leaders," he said. "I don't think the leadership right now -- groups such as CAIR -- are doing an adequate job. I think in some ways doing a very poor job of representing the Muslim-American community."

CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper dismissed King's criticism, telling CNN the congressman "doesn't like that CAIR criticizes his past anti-Muslim statements and his Keystone Cops hearing."

Some critics of the hearings have called King's efforts against Islamic-American terrorism hypocritical. In the 1980s, King, an Irish-American, was an active supporter of the Irish Republican Army, an organization the State Department then deemed a terror group, and Gerry Adams, the leader of the IRA's political wing.

The IRA was responsible for hundreds of civilian deaths in terror attacks. But King, however, has defended his efforts, calling the IRA "a legitimate force" for decades. The congressman has insisted he only got involved so heavily with Adams because he knew Adams would be willing to broker peace with the British government.

A January 2010 study from researchers at Duke and the University of North Carolina concluded that the threat stemming from radicalized Muslims is overblown.

In the eight years following the September 11, 2001, attacks, 139 Muslim-Americans engaged in terrorism-related violence or were prosecuted for terrorism-related offenses with violent elements, the researchers concluded. That level -- roughly 17 individuals per year -- "is small compared to other violent crime in America, but not insignificant."

"Homegrown terrorism is a serious, but limited, problem," they asserted.

The report concluded that effective self-policing, denunciations of terrorism, and heightened political engagement were among the factors helping to minimize radicalization in the Muslim-American community.

Critics such as King, however, point to a number of recent examples of alleged homegrown terrorism as evidence of a dangerous trend, including the case of Army Maj. Nidal Hassan, a psychiatrist charged with killing 13 people at Fort Hood in 2009.

Hassan had been in contact with militant cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico and preached at a mosque in Virginia before leaving the United States for Yemen.

Last April, New York taxi driver Zarein Ahmedzay pleaded guilty to involvement in a 2009 plot to blow up crowded subway trains. Prosecutors said Ahmedzay conspired with another man -- Najibullah Zazi -- who also pleaded guity and cooperated with authorities.

According to a recent study from the New America Foundation and Syracuse University, the number of cases of American citizens or residents charged with or convicted of taking part in terrorist activities has jumped in recent years. There were 76 such cases in 2009 and 2010 -- nearly half the total since September 11, 2001.

But Muslim-Americans have played a key role in stopping such plots, noted Peter Bergen, a CNN national security analyst. More than 20 percent of post-9/11 Islamist terror cases in the United States began with tips from Muslim community members or involved cooperation from the family members of alleged plotters, he said.

Frank Cilluffo, director of George Washington University's Homeland Security Policy Institute, told CNN Wednesday that the threat of radicalized Americans "continues to metastasize (and) comes in varies shapes, sizes, and forms."

"To suggest that we don't face a threat is wrong," Cilluffo noted. "But to look for a single profile, unfortunately that doesn't exist right now."

CNN's Richard Allen Greene, Alan Silverleib, Dana Bash, Mike Ahlers, and Jeanne Meserve contributed to this report.

Source: CNN

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Rabu, Mac 09, 2011

GOP leaders back hearings on Muslims

Democrats, rights groups see panel singling out community

Source: The Washington Times
By Seth McLaughlin

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says the hearings “assess how we can better work with the Muslim community in America to stop the spread of radical Islam.” (Associated Press)

Saying extremist elements of Islam are a real threat that need to be confronted, House Republican leaders on Tuesday defended the Homeland Security Committee chairman’s decision to begin hearings this week to investigate the inroads radical Muslims have made in America.

But Democrats, as well as religious and civil rights groups say committee Chairman Peter T. King is singling out the Muslim community and could stoke anti-Islamic sentiment nationwide while providing another recruiting tool for extremists worldwide.

Mr. King, a New York Republican who saw more than 100 of his constituents perish in the Sept. 11 attacks, said his goal is to explore radicalization in the American Muslim community. The first hearing, scheduled for Thursday, will feature testimony from relatives of radicalized Muslim Americans who’ve engaged in terrorism, and Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat who is the sole Muslim in Congress.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the backlash against Mr. King’s effort is unwarranted and that the purpose of the hearing is to “assess how we can better work with the Muslim community in America to stop the spread of radical Islam.”

“It is pretty obvious where the problems have been in terms of terrorist activity,” the Virginia Republican said, noting the apparent ties between the suspect in the terrorist attack at Fort Hood and radical Islam. “There is no question that it has been encouraged by the radicalization of folks coming out of Central Asia and the Middle East and [they] have used this as a reason to perpetrate terrorist acts. It is a fairly well accepted notion at this point and that’s where Chairman King is going.”

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, fired back a few hours later, saying he is “deeply concerned about these hearings, which demonize law-abiding American Muslims who make important contributions to our society, as I would be about congressional hearings to investigate Catholics, Jews or people of any other faith based solely on their religion.”

Asked about Mr. Reid’s comments, Peter Gadiel, president of 9/11 Families for a Secure America, said, “I think the difference is so far as anybody is aware, Jews and Catholics are not encouraging organized terrorism.”

“I have not heard of Southern Methodist conspiracies to blow up buildings or kill soldiers on military bases,” Mr. Gadiel said. “To the contrary, we know there is something called violent jihad and that is not something connected with Southern Methodists, that is connected with Muslims.”

The hearings come about six months before the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and have sparked a vigorous debate across the political spectrum, with some critics likening Mr. King’s hearings to former Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his efforts to expose communists in the 1950s.

But Mr. King said his opponents are “tied up in political correctness.” He said he has no plans of backing down and will do whatever is in his power to prevent another terrorist attack.

Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, applauded the effort, calling it an important step forward in safeguarding the country against the rising tide of homegrown terrorism.

“Without question, there’s a troubling factual pattern of American Muslims becoming radicalized and focusing on creating havoc here on U.S. soil,” Mr. Sekulow said. “This hearing is designed to get to the bottom of what’s taking place in our nation — how al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are recruiting and manipulating American Muslims to attack the U.S. This hearing isn’t about profiling — it’s about protecting our homeland.”

But J. Brent Walker, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, said the hearing “will send a further message that Muslims present a greater threat of terrorism than other religions.”

“It would imply that the potential for terrorism from outside of Islam is not significant enough to merit a hearing,” Mr. Walker said.

Source: The Washington Times

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Libya’s first lady owns 20 tons of gold: reports

Safia Farkash owns an airline company

Source: Al Arabiya News Channel
DUBAI (Mohamed al-Naeimi)

Farkash maintained a low profile throughout Gaddafi’s rule

Since the start of the Libyan revolution on Feb. 17, Libya’s first lady Safia Farkash has not been in the limelight unlike her Tunisian and Egyptian counterparts even though she is known for her enormous wealth and considerable influence.

Safia Farkash owns an airline company called Buraq Air headquartered in the Mittiga International Airport in the Libyan capital Tripoli. Farkash operates the company with the approval of her husband even though it is a rival of the Libyan national carrier and monopolizes the transfer of Libyan pilgrims.

Reports of Farkash’s wealth are varried, but one of the most widely-circulated reports suggests that the first lady owns 20 tons of gold.

News of Farkash’s wealth is in line with the Wiki Leaks documents which stated that Gaddafi is the head of a family that is powerful and rich, yet divided and dysfunctional.

According to Wiki Leaks, Farkash is generally low profile. She travelled in a rented plane and a procession of cars drove her from the airport to her destination. Even the banquet she held at the Bab al-Azizia compound, Gaddafi’s main headquarters, to celebrate the anniversary of the 1969 revolution was quite modest.

During the Lockerbie crisis, the International Coalition against War Criminals (ICAWC), based in France, revealed in 1992 that Gaddafi’s wealth had reached 80 billion U.S. dollars and that his wife’s was estimated at 30 billion.

Story of first lady

Safia Farkash al-Baraasi is the second wife of Libya leader Muammar Gaddafi. She was born in the city of al-Baida in eastern Libyan and hails from al-Baraaesa tribe. They got to know each other when she worked as a nurse and he was admitted to hospital for an appendectomy in 1971. They got married the same year and had seven children, six boys and their only daughter Ayesha.

During the first years of their marriage, Farkash rarely made media appearances, yet in the past few years she started engaging in social activities like taking part in celebrating the 1969 revolution that brought her husband to power and attending the graduation of female police students in 2010.

In 2008, Farkash was elected vice president to the African First Ladies Organization in a meeting of African Union leaders in the Egyptian Red Sea city Sharm al-Sheikh even though she was not present at the meeting and has never taken part in activities related to it.

Several websites reported that Farkash and her daughter Ayesha landed in Germany on February 20, but no one denied or confirmed the news.

(Translated from the Arabic by Sonia Farid)

Source: Al Arabiya News Channel

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Rabu, Mac 02, 2011

LSE may withdraw Gaddafi's son PhD

Critics are calling on the London School of Economics to withdraw a doctorate it granted to the son of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi as he donated £1.5 million to the university.

Source: PressTV

A Libyan protester holds a sign during a demonstration against Libyan ruler Moammar Gaddafi in Benghazi.

Director of LSE Sir Howard Davies has admitted that he is “embarrassed” about the university's relations with the Qaddafi family saying they should not have accepted the research funding.

"We looked at the pros and cons of engaging with someone like Saif Qaddafi and with the problems in North Africa and we decided that we would do so," Davies told the BBC Radio 4.

The LSE also said it will examine the allegation that Saif al-Islam's cheated to get his PhD degree.

This comes as angry students at the central London campus have called for an independent inquiry into the issue saying the LSE may have given a doctorate to Qaddafi's son to ensure it gets the £1.5 million funding.

Saif al-Islam offered the reward to the university in 2008 shortly after he received a degree from the university's Centre for the Study of Global Governance.

According to Professor David Held from the center there were always concerns at the time of Saif al-Islam's studying there that his work was not his own.

"After he handed in the thesis there was a rumour that he may not have been the sole author. I wrote straight away to his supervisor but there was no substantial evidence," Held said.

This comes as a spokesman for the LSE Students Union said they are “angry” about the issue.

"LSE students are angry and upset that university officials are using degrees at the LSE to raise vast sums of money. There are serious questions about Saif al-Islam's PhD, and we call for an external investigation," the spokesman said.

The questions about the LSE's links to Qaddafi family and the validity of his son's degree were further strengthened when a video emerged showing senior university officials praising the Libyan dictator in a closed door meeting through video link two months ago.

The video shows Qaddafi expressing offensive views about Lockerbie and hitting out at former world leaders including former British PM Margaret Thatcher and former US president Ronald Reagan.

The student who made the video public said the “sycophantic Qaddafi address was held in secret because it was all about keeping money from a tyrant flowing into the LSE”.

"Now that his regime is facing collapse, it's only right that this love-in should be made public," she said.


Source: PressTV

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Libya protesters take over military base

Hundreds of Libyans including, children and elderly men, have taken over a military air base in southern Benghazi, hoping to begin training to repel attacks by Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi's troops.

Source: PressTV

Libyan pro-democracy protesters who are now part of the forces against Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi organize ammunition at a military base in Benghazi in eastern Libya, February 28, 2011.

"We are receiving dozens of civilians who want to get trained and then enlisted. We are ready to defend Benghazi and its suburbs. We are here to help our brothers in Tripoli if they ask our support, but I'm sure that they can defend themselves," Colonel Maraey Logny said on Monday, Reuters reported.

Enlisted men at the air base in the city will receive intensive training sessions on using heavy cannons and anti-aircraft weapons.

"I'm calling all Libyan youth to be enlisted to confront this despotic dictator to defend our country, blood and lives," enlisted man Saleh Al-Abidy said.

Large swathes of youth have hurried to military bases all over the country to defend it and be ready to confront any attacks by troops under Libyan ruler.

"I came here to join the Libyan military, because we want to topple Muammar who kills the people." Libyan child Suleiman Meftah said.

A brutal crackdown by the Libyan regime on pro-democracy protesters that began nearly two weeks ago has left an estimated 2,000 people dead so far.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly 100,000 people have fled the violence in crisis-hit Libya over the past week.

Gaddafi, who led a military coup against King Idris, came to power and established "the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" in 1969.

The Libyan leader has ruled the North African country for nearly 42 years. He has seven sons and one daughter from two marriages.

Gaddafi and his family members have been holding a tight grip on the country's industries. Reports say they have hidden an estimated at $32.5 billion in secret foreign bank accounts.

The United States and other foreign governments discussed military options for dealing with Libya on Monday as beleaguered Gaddafi scoffed at the threat to his government from a spreading popular revolution.


Source: PressTV

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US mulls military attack on Libya

The US has reportedly planned to deploy thousands of its naval and aerial forces near Libya as it mulls over military intervention in the North African country.

Source: PressTV

A Libyan protester holds a sign during a demonstration against Libyan ruler Moammar Gaddafi in Benghazi.

The US military announced on Monday that it will deploy naval and aerial forces near Libya, the Washington Post reported.

A Pentagon spokesman said various contingency plans have been taken into consideration in order to provide options and flexibility once decisions are made.

One option on the table is using NATO air power to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya. This measure, however, requires UN approval.

Also on Monday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "We will continue to explore all possible options for action."

The development comes as Libyan air force attacked ammunition depots in two separate locations south of Benghazi.

Fighting flared up Monday in Misrata, near the capital where protesters have shot down a helicopter and captured its crew.

A brutal crackdown by the regime on opposition protests that began nearly two weeks ago has left an estimated 2,000 people dead so far.

In Benghazi, many are celebrating their freedom from Muammar Gaddafi's rule after taking control of the city.

However, many Libyans are still dying as a result of insufficient medical supplies to treat severe injuries.

Colonel Gaddafi has been in power since a military coup in 1969.

Gaddafi and his family members have been holding a tight grip on the country's industries for the past four decades. Reports say they have hidden away a massive amount of wealth in secret foreign bank accounts.


Source: PressTV

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PRESS RELEASE: Egypt – Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Chairman Khairet El-Shater suffers heart attack in prison

Mubarak regime prisoners given preferential treatment, while political prisoners languish under further restrictions.

Source: Islamic Human Rights Commission

Khairet El-Shater is reported to have suffered a heart attack today in Tura prison. El-Shater was involved in an argument with guards over the preferential treatment received by former Mubarak cohorts Habib Al-Adli, Ahmed Ezz, Ahmed Zuhair Garana, Al-Maghrebi and other government figures who are detained in the same prison for the crimes they committed during Mubarak's era.

El-Shater and others were denied access to open spaces, visitation sessions etc on the basis that the former regime’s prisoners were exercising and would decide when they would like to stop. Other amenities were denied the political prisoners on similar bases relating to privileges granted to Al-Adli et al.

The family of El-Shater expressed their deep concern, and have stated that they hold the Supreme Council for Armed Forces responsible for El-Shater’s condition. El-Shater’s health was already in a poor state. He suffers from diabetes for which he has often been denied treatment while in prison.

IHRC Chair, Massoud Shadjareh stated:

“It is imperative that the focus on human rights issues not be taken away from Egypt simply because Mubarak has gone. His erstwhile military backers still hold power and many issues need to be resolved.

“The new regime needs to do more than simply talk about elections. It must release all political prisoners now, and make serious efforts to find the disappeared men and women who protested during the revolution. Without starting to address the human rights abuses perpetrated in Egypt the new regime fails to inspire confidence in its willingness to transform the country.”

Source: Islamic Human Rights Commission

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