British government’s Libyan torture scandal


This video is called Tony Blair meets Colonel Gaddafi in Libya.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Libya rendition victims demand disclosure of UK surveillance policy

The government’s refusal to reveal when lawyers’ and journalists’ communications can be intercepted is central to claim brought on behalf of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi

Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent

Friday 17 October 2014 10.05 BST

Secret government policies which set out when lawyers’ or journalists’ phones and emails can be intercepted should be published, a court has been told.

In an open hearing of the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT), which examines complaints against the intelligence services and government use of surveillance, lawyers for two Libyan victims of rendition have called for the documents to be released.

The government’s refusal to reveal the policy papers has emerged as a key issue in the claim brought on behalf of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi who, along with members of their families, were kidnapped and sent to face punishment in Libya in 2004.

The case before the IPT alleges that the intelligence agencies or government spied on their communications with their lawyers, damaging their right to a fair trial in their claim for compensation for kidnap and torture.

Communication between lawyers and their clients are deemed to be “privileged” under longstanding rules. Similar protection applies to the communications between journalists and their sources and other protected groups.

In a hearing at the IPT, Dinah Rose QC, representing the Libyans, said: “We don’t understand why it’s being said that disclosure of policy will cause harm to national security. None of this information ought to be secret. Procedures for ensuring that privileged material is properly protected ought to be open to public scrutiny.”

The government has declined to disclose policies regulating the circumstances in which these communications are intercepted and any safeguards in place to avoid abuse. It says they are secret.

At Thursday evening’s hearing, lawyers for the government did not explain why the policies could not be released. Further preliminary hearings will be held before the case is tried in November. One issue is whether the tribunal has the power to order the government to disclose documents, a principle that could turn into a major confrontation between civil rights groups and the government.

The IPT complaint is one of a series of cases after revelations by the CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden about monitoring of the internet and telephone calls by Britain’s eavesdropping agency, GCHQ, through its Tempora programme.

Eight Libyans, members of the two families, say they were victims of rendition. They claim they were kidnapped by MI6 and US intelligence agencies, forcibly returned to Muammar Gaddafi’s regime and tortured. At that time, in 2004, when Gaddafi relinquished his nuclear weapons programme, intelligence relations between Tripoli, London and Washington were close.

A separate legal action between Belhaj and the UK government is due to be heard at the high court to resolve compensation for the kidnap and torture allegations. The human rights group Reprieve, which is supporting the claim, fears its ability to fight the case will be undermined because staff’s legal correspondence may be surreptitiously monitored.

Saadi, another Libyan dissident, and his family have settled their claim against the government for a payment of £2.2m. The Foreign Office did not, however, admit liability.

The “notice of complaint” by solicitors at Leigh Day on behalf of Reprieve and the Libyans lists the Security Service (MI5), the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, the home secretary and the foreign secretary as respondents. It calls for the case to be heard in open court. Most of the IPT’s hearings are in secret.

The claims states: “There is a strong likelihood that the respondents have intercepted and are intercepting the applicants’ legally privileged communications in respect of the [cases].”

Belhaj and Saadi were prominent military leaders of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group during the revolution, the document points out, and are, therefore, “likely to be of interest” to UK intelligence agencies.

Intelligence agencies ‘may have abused access to lawyer-client documents’. Lawyers for Abdel Hakim Belhaj claim MI5, MI6 and GCHQ may have intercepted legally privileged communications: here.

NATO’s allies killing each other and civilians in Libya


This video, recorded in Britain, says about itself:

Libyan human rights activist forced to flee Libya

25 April 2013

Magdulien Abaida is a Libyan human and women rights activist who was abducted, beaten and threatened by an Islamist militia in Benghazi. She was forced to flee to gain asylum in the UK and this is her exclusive story speaking out about her ordeal – which she was not able to do whilst in Libya. This was a BBC Newsnight film produced by Sharron Ward, reported by Tim Whewell. Director’s cut version.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Battle in Libya’s second city

Added: Wednesday 15 Oct 2014, 17:37

In the second city of Libya, Benghazi, a fierce battle has been raging all day between radical Islamic militia men and troops of former general Haftar.

Not only a former general. Also a (former?) CIA agent.

Who announced yesterday he would reconquer the city from the Islamists.

Benghazi since this summer has been in the hands of the radical militias, who are united in a coalition. Only small parts of the city and the airport of Benghazi are still in government hands.

Egypt

Residents of the city report to international news agencies that there was fighting in various districts. They also said warplanes were flying over the city. According to news agency AP these are Egyptian aircraft.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are said to actively support the militias; Turkey and Qatar are, on the contrary, on the side of the government.

NOS TV had that wrong, and deleted that last sentence in an update. Quite the contrary, Associated Press says:

Egypt‘s direct military involvement, however, reinforces the notion that Libya has become a proxy battleground for larger regional struggles, with Turkey and Qatar backing the Islamist militias while Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are supporting their opponents.

Whether the wrong earlier NOS version or the presumably correct later Associated Press version: supposed allies of the USA and other NATO countries in the war ‘against ISIS‘ (really against ISIS? The Turkish government against ISIS? Or about oil?) are killing each other and Libyan civilians in Libya.

Egypt says Erdogan’s UNGA speech ‘full of lies and fabrications’. The Turkish president accused Egypt’s President al-Sissi of coming to power in a coup in his speech at the annual UN meet: here.

Warriors of Ansar al-Sharia, one of the militias, are said to have attacked an army base this afternoon. Ansar al-Sharia is held responsible by the United States for the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi in 2012, where the ambassador and three other Americans were killed.

Parliament fled

The armed militias in Libya make a central administration of the country impossible since the fall of former dictator Gaddafi. Also in the capital, Tripoli, the government has no power at all. A militia from Misrata, a city east of Tripoli, is calling the shots there.

The Libyan government and parliament have fled to Tobruk, in the northeast of the country near the border with Egypt.

From Associated Press today:

Egyptian warplanes are bombing positions held by Islamist militias in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi as part of a large-scale operation to rid the city of militants who have held sway there for months, two Egyptian government officials said on Wednesday.

From Middle East Eye:

Pentagon officials have claimed that Egyptian airbases were used by United Arab Emirate pilots in a mysterious series of airstrikes that have hit the Mistratan [sic; Misratan] Led Alliance (MLA) in Tripoli last month. Ten Libyans, picked up in August, are thought to be in the custody of Abu Dhabi‘s State Security Agency (SSA) and are at risk of being tortured, according to Human Rights Watch who called for the UAE to reveal their whereabouts earlier this week.

Co-ordinated car bombs went off outside the Egyptian and United Arab Emirates embassies in Libya today, causing some damage but no casualties: here.

It seems clear that the ties between Egypt and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), with the exception of Qatar, are evolving dramatically in economic and military matters, at a time when the unrest in Yemen and Egyptian concerns over the continued chaos in Libya are leading to a profound military cooperation between the two sides: here.

In a blow to anti-Islamist factions, Libya’s highest court has ruled that general elections held in June were unconstitutional and that the parliament and government which resulted from that vote should be dissolved: here.

The black flag of ISIS flies over government buildings. Police cars carry the group’s insignia. The local football stadium is used for public executions. A town in Syria or Iraq? No. A city on the coast of the Mediterranean, in Libya. Fighters loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are now in complete control of the city of Derna, population of about 100,000, not far from the Egyptian border and just about 200 miles from the southern shores of the European Union: here.

While the world’s attention is focused on disputes in coastal Libya, the tribal-controlled south is unstable, and a collapse of order would have consequences for the whole region: here.

Anti-humanitarian Bahrain government, ally in ‘humanitarian’ war


This video is called Bahrain: Human rights hero Nabeel Rajab arrested for a tweet.

From LobeLog in the USA:

October 9th, 2014

Fighting for Democracy While Supporting Autocracy

ISIS and Bahrain’s F-16

by Matar E. Matar

For the second time in recent history, the United States is trading away support for democracy and fundamental human rights protections in Bahrain as part of an effort to establish democracy and human rights protections in another Muslim country.

In March 2011, while the Obama administration was building a coalition to defeat Qaddafi in Libya, Saudi and Emirati troops were rolling toward Bahrain to reinforce a massive crackdown against unarmed pro-democracy protesters.

In her book, Hard Choices, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reveals how a very senior Emirati official pressed her to mute US opposition to this invasion if she wanted the UAE to join the anti-Qaddafi campaign. “Frankly, when we have a situation with our armed forces in Bahrain it’s hard to participate in another operation if our armed forces’ commitment in Bahrain is questioned by our main ally,” she quotes him as saying. It worked. Later that same day, in stark contrast to the US State Department’s response to the Russian intervention in the Crimea, Clinton issued a statement intended to soothe Saudi/Emirati concerns, saying in essence that their intervention in Bahrain was legitimate.

At that same time, large parts of the Bahraini population were being subjected to beatings, torture and imprisonment that had never occurred in the history of our country. Given our inability to protect our people from such abuse, several colleagues and I decided to resign our positions in Parliament in protest. I was then arrested while trying to inform the world about the casualties from excessive force and extensive torture. But Secretary Clinton was at peace with the trade-off: “I felt comfortable that we had not sacrificed our values or credibility,” she wrote in her memoir.

Today Bahrain is facing a similar situation. The US needs the appearance of strong Arab cooperation against the Islamic State (not because the US actually needs assistance from Bahraini F-16s), giving the Bahraini regime an opportune time to force bad deals on the people of Bahrain without criticism from Washington.

This time the regime is moving ahead, claiming that it has achieved consensus through what has clearly been a phony “National Dialogue”—the government’s response to international pressure for reconciliation after the repression of the pro-democracy movement.

The country’s absolute monarch, King Hamad bin Isa, dominates all power centers. He appoints all senior judges, members of the upper house of Parliament, and members of the cabinet, which is headed by the world’s longest-serving prime minister, Khalifa bin Salman (first appointed when Nixon was president). In addition, the King has given himself the right to grant public lands and citizenship to whomever he wants. He has abused these powers in a wide and systematic manner by concentrating wealth among his family and allies including within Bahrain’s minority Sunni population.

On October 12, 2011, half a year after the Bahraini uprising, opposition parties representing well over half of the country’s population issued a blueprint for democratic reform in Bahrain, the Manama Document. This paper identified a path toward an orderly transition to a constitutional monarchy, ensuring an inclusive government that represents all Bahrainis in the cabinet, parliament, and security and judicial institutions. Specifically, it called for the establishment of representative electoral districts; free elections; a single elected chamber in Parliament instead of the current bi-cameral arrangement, where the upper house is appointed by the king and only the lower house is elected; an independent judiciary; and the inclusion of Shia among all ranks of the military and security forces.

Instead of embracing any of these ideas, the unaccountable king has offered up pretend reforms, and the US government, with an eye to keeping the Fifth Fleet’s headquarters in Bahrain and now on keeping Bahraini F-16s in the air over Iraq and Syria, pretends that these reforms are real. Central to this pretense is the “national dialogue” that has been running in fits and starts since July 2011. In reality, it has been a one-sided conversation, since key leaders of the opposition have been systematically arrested.

Last month, the king tapped Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad to assume his first real political role in the government—namely taking the lead in closing the door on the dialogue and submitting what he considered to be its “common ground.” Among other things, the crown prince proposed a meaningless plan for redistricting that was later imposed by the king by royal decree. Under this plan, Shia constituencies, which comprise about 65% of the total population, would receive only about 45% of the seats in Parliament. The redistricting plan was apparently designed to reduce the variation in the size of districts by scattering the opposition throughout majority loyalist districts. Moreover, the variation in the size of districts would remain huge. For example, a loyalist-majority district of less than 1,000 voters would elect one MP while an opposition-majority district with more than 10,000 voters would receive the same representation in Parliament—a ratio of more than ten to one. In fact, 13 opposition-majority districts with more than 10,000 voters each would be treated this way under the plan.

Another part of the supposed “common ground” relates to the formation of the cabinet, which must be approved by the majority of the elected chamber of Parliament. If Parliament fails to approve the appointed government three times, then Parliament would be dissolved.

Thousands of Bahrainis rejected this proposal Sept. 19 by marching in western Manama in a demonstration of determination on the part of pro-democracy forces that have not diminished despite the repression of the last three and a half years.

Nonetheless, based on the purported “common ground,” the government now intends to hold elections on Nov. 22.

Time is short for constructive engagement between the opposition and the regime to resolve these political disputes, and the US needs to be heard. Washington should not think that its interests require it to remain silent about the need for real democratic reform in Bahrain. In fact, failing to speak out is detrimental to its own stated interests in Iraq and Syria. While the regime in Bahrain is participating in F-16 sorties against the Islamic State, its policies of systematic discrimination against its majority Shia population and its ongoing incitement in the media against Bahraini Shia (as agents of Iran and the US at the same time!) create a perfect environment for incubating terrorists who consider Americans and Shia their greatest enemy. Moreover, while the US government trains Bahraini “security forces” that exclude Shia (on sectarian grounds), it appears that some Bahrainis working for these same forces have left to fight with the Islamic State.

Yet when Nabeel Rajab, a prominent human rights activist, recently tweeted that the security institutions were the ideological incubator of sectarianism and anti-American attitudes in Bahrain, he was arrested on the grounds that he had “denigrated government institutions.”

Bahrain is a small country, but it represents a major test for US credibility. The Obama administration has traded Bahraini democracy away once before. Three years of bloodshed in Bahrain has not only radicalized elements of the opposition there but has also instilled a culture of abuse and impunity in Bahrain’s government and security forces, some of whom are now looking to the Islamic State to satiate their new-found appetite for violence. Any potential benefit the US thinks it might gain from an unaccountable (Sunni) autocrat’s F16s in the bombing campaign against the Islamic State is more than offset by the sectarian extremism that these alleged allies continue to provoke (and promote) at home.

Washington should not sell out democracy in Bahrain again. With a little attention and encouragement, President Obama could help bring democracy to this Arab country and claim at least one good result for his (currently empty) “win” category.

Matar Ebrahim Matar is a former Member of Parliament who served as Bahrain’s youngest MP representing its largest constituency. In February 2011, along with 18 other members from his Al-Wefaq political party, he resigned from Parliament to protest the regime’s crackdown against pro-reform demonstrators. During the Feb. 14 uprising, he served as a major spokesman for the pro-democracy movement. Matar was subsequently arbitrarily detained, and, after his release, left Bahrain for exile in the United States. In 2012, he received the “Leaders for Democracy Award” from the Project on Middle Democracy (POMED).

Again, hundreds of refugees from wars drown in Mediterranean


This video says about itself:

Syrian refugees left to die at sea

23 October 2013

Footage has emerged of the rescue of hundreds of Syrian refugees who say they were left to drown in the Mediterranean off the coast of Malta. Survivors said they were rescued off the Maltese coast after their boat was shot and sunk by Libya traffickers after an argument about payment earlier this month. Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull has more.

From the Daily Telegraph in Britain:

Up to 700 migrants drown in Mediterranean as people smugglers accused of deliberately capsizing boat

More than 650 migrants are feared to have drowned in the Mediterranean in two separate incidents, with humanitarian organisations calling for “legal avenues” to be opened up to enable refugees to reach Europe safely

Dutch NOS TV, quoting Libyan authorities, says 800 people dead.

By Nick Squires, Rome

4:46PM BST 15 Sep 2014

Up to 500 migrants were feared to have drowned in the Mediterranean after people smugglers deliberately rammed their boat, it was announced on Monday, as a second disaster claimed as many as 160 lives off the coast of Libya.

In the first tragedy, survivors of the sinking told officials from the International Organisation for Migration that around 500 people had been on a boat sailing from the coast of Egypt towards Malta last week and that most had drowned at sea.

The horrific story, which if confirmed would rank as the worst disaster in the Mediterranean for years, was recounted by two Palestinians who spent more than a day floating in the water before being picked up by a Panama-flagged merchant vessel about 300 miles off Malta.

They were brought to the port of Pozzallo in Sicily at the weekend, where they told their story to IoM officials.

Nine other survivors were rescued by Greek and Maltese rescue vessels.

The two Palestinians, believed to be fleeing Gaza, said the boat, packed with refugees and migrants from Syria, the Palestinian territories, Sudan and Egypt, set sail from the Egyptian coast on Sept 6.

The large group included small children and unaccompanied minors.

When the people traffickers in charge of the crossing ordered their human cargo to transfer to another, smaller boat in the middle of the sea, they refused.

A furious argument broke out and the traffickers in the smaller vessel allegedly rammed the migrants’ boat, forcing it to capsize.

“If this story, which the police are investigating, is confirmed, it would be the worst shipwreck in recent years. It is particularly grave, in that it seems to have been not an accident but mass murder, perpetrated by criminals without scruples or any respect for human life,” IOM said in a statement.

Among the hundreds of migrants who drowned was a young Egyptian boy who had hoped to earn enough money in Europe to pay for his father’s heart operation, the Palestinians said.

He clung to a life buoy along with one of the Palestinians but, suffering from exposure and hypothermia, was unable to hold on and slipped beneath the water.

In the second tragedy, more than 160 African migrants were feared dead on Monday after an overloaded boat heading for Italy capsized off the coast of Libya.

Libyan officials recovered dozens of bodies, including those of women and children, from the sea off the coast of Tajoura, to the east of the capital, Tripoli.

Just 36 people had been rescued, officials said, although the search effort was continuing.

The boat was believed to have been packed with more than 200 migrants who had paid people traffickers thousands of pounds to take them to Italy.

The two shipwrecks were the latest in a series of similar tragedies in the Mediterranean.

The wars in Iraq and Syria, poverty and unrest in the Horn of Africa and West Africa, and chaos in Libya since the overthrow of Muammar Gadaffi has spurred a massive exodus of refugees towards Europe.

Since 1988, more than 20,000 adults and children have lost their lives trying to reach Europe by sea, according to Fortress Europe, a website that tracks the fatalities.

Enticed by the prospect of making tens of thousands of pounds from each crossing, people smugglers were putting migrants in increasingly “decrepit and overcrowded boats, causing directly or indirectly the death of thousands of people,” the IOM said.

The organisation called on the international community to identify, catch and punish the traffickers, while at the same time depriving them of their livelihood by opening up “legal avenues” for people fleeing war and persecution to enter Europe.

The actress Angelina Jolie, who is a special envoy for the United Nations’ refugee agency, also urged the international community to “wake up to the scale of the crisis.”

“There is a direct link between the conflicts in Syria and elsewhere and the rise in deaths at sea in the Mediterranean,” she said.

“We have to understand what drives people to take the fearful step of risking their children’s lives on crowded, unsafe vessels. It is the overwhelming desire to find refuge,” she said.

Mediterranean shipwrecks leave over 700 refugees dead, many fleeing Mideast wars: here.

100 children among migrants ‘deliberately drowned’ in Mediterranean: here.

Stop war crimes in Libya, Amnesty says


This 27 July 2014 video is called Libya in crisis as violence intensifies between armed militias.

In 2011, NATO started their war against Libya. Just after the Libyan government had aimed at a bigger share of Libyan oil money. NATO did not call that their official reason for starting their war, though. They said they suspected that the armed forces of the Gaddafi regime would fire on civilian areas of Benghazi city.

So, they started killing civilians (and sometimes, even anti-Gaddafi rebels) themselves throughout Libya. After much bloodshed, they reached their regime change goal. The regime changed, the bloodshed continued.

From Amnesty International:

6 August 2014

Libya: Indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas in Tripoli and Benghazi amounts to war crimes

Amnesty International is calling for all sides to immediately stop the indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas in Tripoli and Benghazi where clashes in recent weeks have evolved into two separate armed conflicts. Such indiscriminate attacks that result in death or injury to civilians amount to war crimes.

Intense fighting between rival armed groups and militias in both cities has killed 214 people and injured 981, according to the Ministry of Health, as well as causing damage to civilian property. Medical workers reported that the dead and injured included civilians, in particular women and children.

“The warring parties in Tripoli and Benghazi have displayed a wanton disregard for the safety of ordinary civilians who have found themselves mercilessly pinned down by indiscriminate shelling with imprecise weapons that should never be used in populated areas,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

“All sides in both these conflicts have an absolute obligation under international law not to target attacks against civilians.”

Parties to the conflict also have an obligation to refrain from attacks that disproportionately harm civilians or fail to distinguish between civilians and combatants.

In one of the most tragic incidents, five members of the same family were killed when a GRAD rocket struck their home in Sawani, on the outskirts of Tripoli on 31 July. Among the dead was Na’ima Bahloul al-Dawa, who was eight months pregnant and received shrapnel wounds to the stomach causing her to miscarry. A girl around 10 years old was also killed after sustaining head injuries. Three other members of the same family including a 14-year-old boy and a woman in her sixties were injured in the same incident.

In a number of other cases civilians have been killed at home when their buildings were shelled. These include a 60-year-old man from Qasr Ben Ghashir in Tripoli on 20 July. A day earlier Anas Kamal al-Harrabi, a young boy, was also killed. Several civilian deaths have also been reported in Benghazi.

In both Tripoli and Benghazi the indiscriminate shelling of urban areas using mortars, artillery, GRAD rockets and anti-aircraft weapons has been extensive. Firing such imprecise weapons in urban areas resulting in death or injury to civilians amounts to a war crime. All parties to the conflict must cease indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks and the authorities must launch effective and independent investigations into all credible allegations of war crimes perpetrated during these two conflicts.

“Armed groups involved in the fighting have demonstrated a recklessness towards civilians and their property in recent weeks, launching indiscriminate attacks while paying little attention to the devastating consequences of such irresponsible actions,” said Philip Luther.

In and around Benghazi, a coalition of Islamist militias and armed groups, including Ansar al-Sharia, which was recently re-named the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, has been engaged in a conflict against armed forces allied with retired General Khalifa Haftar since mid-May.

In Tripoli, rival militias from Zintan and Misratah and their respective allies, have been fighting for control of Tripoli International Airport since 13 July.

Indiscriminate shelling in urban areas surrounding the capital’s airport has prompted thousands of residents to flee. Many of them, including foreign diplomats and aid workers, fled across the border to Tunisia. According to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, some 30,000 people crossed the border into Tunisia over the last week, many of them Egyptian workers. Airports in both Tripoli and Benghazi have been shut due to the spiralling violence.

Damage to civilian buildings and infrastructure

As well as the rising civilian death toll, persistent shelling has caused significant damage to civilian buildings and infrastructure in Tripoli and Benghazi.

Scores of civilian homes, as well as factories, mosques and shops, have been damaged or destroyed in the residential areas of Qasr Ben Ghashir, Al-Akwakh, Kremiya and along the main airport road in Tripoli. Farms have been shelled and livestock killed in Qasr Ben Ghashir, according to local authorities. Dozens of houses in the area have been reportedly looted or vandalized by criminal gangs. The looting of private property during armed conflict is prohibited under international law.

The attack on the Zintan militias, in charge of protecting Tripoli International Airport since the fall of Colonel al-Gaddafi, has damaged several buildings and 20 aircraft, according to state officials. The airport has been repeatedly attacked, including with GRAD rockets, since 13 July. While most civilians living in the vicinity of the airport left their homes in the first week of the fighting, others have been unable to leave as a result of shelling or because of a general fuel shortage in the city.

Residents in Tripoli reported a shortage of food, baby milk and medicine for the treatment of chronic diseases as a result of the closure of roads in the southern areas of the city.

Damage to the power station in southern Benghazi and major transmission lines in Tripoli caused by shelling has also caused power cuts in both cities.

At least three medial facilities were damaged in the fighting in Tripoli and two medical warehouses destroyed. A medical clinic and medical warehouse in Benghazi were also partially destroyed as a result of shelling.

Al Afya clinic, the largest private hospital in Tripoli, just 3km away from Tripoli International Airport, was damaged by a GRAD rocket and gunfire after an armed group established a base around 200 metres away from which it was launching attacks on the airport. Staff said that at the time of the shelling there were hundreds of people including medical works, patients and visitors at the hospital. The clinic remained open for the treatment of wounded fighters and civilians in the area but was forced to shut down completely on 17 July after it was hit by mortar fire.

LIBYA STRIKES CATCH U.S. BY SURPRISE “Twice in the last seven days, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have secretly launched airstrikes against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli, Libya, four senior American officials said, in a major escalation of a regional power struggle set off by Arab Spring revolts. The United States, the officials said, was caught by surprise: Egypt and the Emirates, both close allies and military partners, acted without informing Washington, leaving the Obama administration on the sidelines.” [New York Times]

US officials have confirmed that Egypt and the United Arab Emirates combined forces to carry out air strikes in Libya, according to a report Tuesday in the New York Times. The extraordinary intervention was aimed at Islamist militias fighting for control of the international airport outside of Tripoli, the Libyan capital. Air strikes on the militia from Misrata, Libya’s third largest city, fighting near Tripoli took place on August 18 and again on August 23, according to local reports that were unable to identify the origin of the warplanes conducting the raids: here.

Islamabad, Sep2 (BNA) The Government of Pakistan has evacuated 261 of its nationals from war-ravaged Libya: here.

The United States embassy compound in the Libyan capital of Tripoli has been raided by militiamen, but no Americans were present as the embassy was evacuated more than a month ago: here.

PREPARATION is underway for a ‘decisive’ battle, to storm the city of Benghazi and expel the Islamist militias, by pro-US forces led by Major-General Haftar: here.

France: Paris is calling for a new intervention in Libya, supposedly to fight the Islamist forces it armed during the 2011 NATO war: here.

THE El-Khabar newspaper in Algeria has reported on the preparations of imperialist countries to launch a military campaign against Islamist militias in Libya: here.

Teenage peace activists among dead in Libya ‘black Friday': here.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees in ‘new’ Libya: here.