Abdel Majid Mlegta ran the companies that supplied meals to Libyan government departments including the interior ministry. The job was “easy,” he told Reuters last week. “I built good relations with officers. I wanted to serve my country.”
But in the first few weeks of the uprising, he secretly began to work for the rebels. He recruited sympathizers at the nerve center of the Gaddafi government, pinpointed its weak links and its command-and-control strength in Tripoli, and passed that information onto the rebel leadership on a series of flash memory cards.
The first was handed to him, he says, by Gaddafi military intelligence and security officers. It contained information about seven key operations rooms in the capital, including internal security, the Gaddafi revolutionary committees, the popular guards — as Gaddafi’s voluntary armed militia was known — and military intelligence.
Reuters reports on the amazing story of how Operation Dawn Mermaid came into existence, and ultimately lead to the fall of Tripoli.
(photo courtesy of Reuters/Louafi Larbi)
This week in Libya. A rebel military leader on Tuesday said he believes around 50,000 people have been killed in the past six months during the ongoing conflict in Libya.
[Photos: Women pray at the grave of a rebel fighter in Tripoli on August 31. Credit: Alexandre Meneghini/AP; Pro-Gadhafi soldiers rest in a school converted into a prison in Tripoli on August 29. Credit: Alexandre Meneghini/AP; Bashir Shgluf visited the grave of his son, who he says was killed fighting against Gadhafi’s troops, at a cemetery in Tripoli, Libya. Credit: Alexandre Meneghini/AP; Libyan rebels remove Gadhafi-era green flags from poles at Abu Salim square in Tripoli on August 26. Credit: Patrick Baiz/AFP/Getty Images]
Moammar Gadhafi told his people he lived modestly during his nearly 42-year rule over Libya, often sleeping in a Bedouin tent.
Even if that was true for the leader, it certainly wasn’t for his sons.
At a seaside compound in western Tripoli, the Gadhafi boys enjoyed a decadent lifestyle that his people could only dream about, while perpetrating unspeakable horrors on the staff that served their every whim.
CNN visited the seaside homes Sunday.
The first house we entered was apparently the “party” beach condo with an oversized door that led into sleek, modern, black-and-white rooms. It had been ransacked by the rebels, but still it was spectacular, with panoramic ocean views and plenty of evidence of the hedonism for which Hannibal Gadhafi — one of Moammar Gadhafi’s sons — is famous.
Discarded bottles of Johnny Walker Blue Label Scotch and Laurent Perrier pink champagne cases littered the floor. Much of the electronic equipment had been plundered, but instruction manuals remained for high end Harman/Kardon stereo components. Cabinets designed to hold two huge TV screens could still be seen.
The bedroom held a circular bed, while the in-suite bathroom was complete with sunken Jacuzzi tub lined with plastic white flowers. Outside, a hot tub, a bar and a barbecue area adjoined the private beach.
Another villa contained a white baby grand piano and more expensive stereo equipment. Next door was a huge swimming pool and diving complex, a gym, a steam room and a sauna faced in white marble. In other house.
We came upon rebels furtively dividing up a huge stash of alcohol. They seemed edgy and tense — this is the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and alcohol was supposedly banned under the Gadhafi regime.
We filmed them quixotically studying the labels of Cristal champagne and fine St. Emilion Bordeaux, apparently not realizing each bottle is worth hundreds of dollars.
As we were about to leave, one of the staff told us there was a nanny who worked for Hannibal Gadhafi who might speak to us. He said she’d been burnt by Hannibal’s wife, Aline.
I thought he meant perhaps a cigarette stubbed out on her arm. Nothing prepared me for the moment I walked into the room to see Shweyga Mullah.
At first I thought she was wearing a hat and something over her face. Then the awful realization dawned that her entire scalp and face were covered in red wounds and scabs, a mosaic of injuries that rendered her face into a grotesque patchwork.
Even though the burns were inflicted three months ago, she was clearly still in considerable pain. But she told us her story calmly.
She’d been the nanny to Hannibal’s little son and daughter.
The 30-year-old came to Libya from her native Ethiopia a year ago. At first things seemed OK, but then six months into her employment she said she was burned by Aline.
Three months later the same thing happened again, this time much more seriously.
In soft tones, she explained how Aline lost her temper when her daughter wouldn’t stop crying and Mullah refused to beat the child.
“She took me to a bathroom. She tied my hands behind my back, and tied my feet. She taped my mouth, and she started pouring the boiling water on my head like this,” she said, imitating the vessel of scalding hot water being poured over her head.
She peeled back the garment draped carefully over her body. Her chest, torso and legs are all mottled with scars — some old, some still red, raw and weeping. As she spoke, clear liquid oozed from one nasty open wound on her head.
After one attack, “There were maggots coming out of my head, because she had hidden me, and no one had seen me,” Mullah said.
The Bush administration cited Gaddafi’s shrewd decision to dismantle a crude nuclear weapons program and its payment of reparations to the families of the victims of Pan Am 103 to justify the opening of an American embassy in Tripoli.
Neither of these empty gestures translated into a fundamental change in the nature of the Gaddafi tyranny. Gaddafi cunningly suspended the foreign terror operations but continued to terrorize the Libyan people with the confidence of a tyrant with a new lease on life.
Bush never openly condemned the repression in Libya, despite his lofty rhetoric about America’s commitment to democracy in the Middle East at the onset of the war in Iraq. The appeasement with Libya was always about petroleum, never about principle. September 11 deepened the Bush administration’s disturbing relationship with Gaddafi.
The administration secretly reached out to Libyan intelligence to cooperate in the global war on terrorism. In their memoirs, former CIA officials describe surreal meetings with Libyan intelligence chieftains whom they suspected of involvement in the destruction of Pan Am 103. Libyan officials were only too pleased to identify, detain and torture Libyans who gravitated to Al Qaeda at the behest of the CIA.
Perhaps the collaboration with Libyan intelligence seemed like a morally acceptable compromise after the slaughter of Americans on 9/11, but the secret partnership with Gaddafi served emboldened him in his secret campaign to ratchet up the repression in Libya.
A reminder of how things change: This picture was taken at the 2010 “Arab African Summit” in Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown. The four leaders in front: Tunisia’s Ben Ali, Yemen’s Saleh, Libya’s Gaddafi and Egypt’s Mubarak.
Ben Ali has fled and been tried in absentia, Saleh has been seriously injured in an attack on his compound and is recuperating in Saudi Arabia, Mubarak faces the death penalty in his own country, and Gaddafi’s whereabouts remain unknown.
via Al Jazeera English
People of Syria Celebrating Freedom of Libya, Chanting “Bashar you are next.”
The people of Syria took to the streets to the freeing of Libya from Gaddafi and hoping it will be a catalyst as they hope achieve freedom of their own. They are shouting “Bashar you are next.”
A Libyan man holds a flair on top of a building in Freedom Square in Benghazi as Libyans celebrate. (Gianluigi Guercia / AFP - Getty Images)
Regarding Libya, here is what we know:
- Gadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam, his onetime heir apparent, has been arrested and is in rebel custody
- A second son, Mohammed, told Reuters that he has been detained and is under house arrest
- According to a rebel leader, the unit in charge of protecting Gadhafi and Tripoli has surrendered and joined the revolt, allowing the opposition forces to move in freely
Gadhafi’s location is undisclosed at this time.
The Longest Dictatorship in the World is Brought Down to its Knees
“This development, with the capital creating its own nationalist mythos of revolutionary participation, is the very best thing that could have happened. Instead of being liberated (and somewhat subjected) from the outside by Berber or Cyrenaican revolutionaries, Tripoli enters the Second Republic with its own uprising to its name, as a full equal able to gain seats on the Transitional National Council once the Qaddafis and their henchmen are out of the way. There will be no East/West divide. My hopes for a government of national unity as the last phase of the revolution before parliamentary elections now seem more plausible than ever. Tellingly, Tunisia and Egypt both recognized the TNC as Libya’s legitimate government through the night, as the Tripoli uprising unfolded. Regional powers can see the new Libya being born.”
My god, it is so beautiful. MashaAllah. I want to be there so badly.
Woot woot *_*
The battle for Libya, in photos:
August 21: Thousands of people, mostly Libyans, gathered outside the Libyan embassy in Tunis, Tunisia where the Libyan rebels’ flag was hoisted on the roof of a building, as Gadhafi’s regime appears to crumble after rebels advance on Tripoli. Credit: Stringer/EPA
July 29: Libyans mourned over the coffins of General Younes and Col. Muhammad Khamis in front of Benghazi’s courthouse. Credit: Brian Denton/NY Times
July 14: Libyan citizens mourn over the bodies of eight rebels killed by loyalist troops Wednesday, during a funeral in Zintan. Credit: Ammar Awad/Reuters
June 27: Tearful Libyans celebrated in Benghazi after learning that the International Criminal Court in the Hague has issued an arrest warrant for Moammar Gadhafi, one of his sons and his intelligence chief, accusing them of crimes against humanity. Credit: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters
May 30: New cadets for the rebel army dance and chant in Benghazi. Credit: Rodrigo Abd/AP
May 27: An unidentified woman grieved over the body of Mohsin Ali Sheikh, a one-and-a-half-year-old boy killed in clashes between rebels and Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s forces, as the child was prepared for funeral in Misrata, Libya. Credit: Missam Saleh/EPA
April 25: Loyalist bombs exploded on rebel positions near Brega. Any long-lasting campaign raises questions about the prospects for rebel success in the east, where the fighting lately has lapsed into a pattern of inconclusive skirmishes. Credit: Mahmud Hams/AFP-Getty Images
April 14: A rebel fighter celebrated as his comrades west of Ajdabiya fired a rocket toward troops loyal to Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi. Credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images]
March 26: Eman al-Obeidy, a Libyan woman who attempted to tell journalists of her rape by Gadhafi’s militia, displayed a broad bruise on her face, a large scar on her upper thigh, several narrow and deep scratch marks lower on her leg, and marks that seemed to have come from binding around her hands and feet. Credit: Jerome Delay/AP