Monday, February 21, 2011

LPP Latest News...

Is Castro Aiding Gaddafi's Genocide?

Monday, February 21, 2011
Are Cuban pilots flying Gaddafi's military jets, which are being deployed to attack peaceful Libyan protesters?
This wouldn't be surprising, as Libyan pilots are defying Gaddafi's orders to bomb civilian protesters and some have even defected in military jets.

Therefore, Gaddafi is unlikely to trust Libyan pilots any further, as he may very well become their next target. Amongst Gaddafi's few remaining allies, Cubans and Belorussians are the best trained fighter pilots.
By Hugh Miles in the London Review of Books:

After Gaddafi
Information is patchy as communication networks are down, but reports from Libya all indicate that after 42 years in power, Colonel Gaddafi's time is up. The tribes are heading to the capital en masse, soldiers still answering to the regime are trying to stop them, and the violence is escalating. According to the latest reports the regime has deployed helicopters and jets to crush the uprising, allegedly flown by mercenaries from Eastern Europe, Cuba and elsewhere. Meanwhile, former regime stalwarts have been defecting in growing numbers. The head of Afriqiya Airways, the head of the Libyan Chamber of Commerce and several ambassadors are among those who have resigned or relocated. Many of them are reportedly now in Dubai. Islamic scholars in Libya spoke up today for the first time to rule that fighting Gaddafi was legitimate jihad. The demonstrators are calling for a million people to march tomorrow on Bab al-Aziziya, the fortified military compound where Gaddafi lives in Tripoli. But no one knows where he is now.

Rather than stem the revolution, Saif al-Islam's rambling speech last night made the regime seem desperate. He looked nervous, and his threats only further enraged the people who have waited in vain for him to deliver on the promises of reform he made 11 years ago. In Benghazi people threw shoes at his image on the giant TV screens that have been set up in public places. His speech wasn't live – he gave the game away when he spoke about the 'pre-recording' – and it's thought that he has already left the country. Gaddafi's wife and daughter probably left on Thursday, and are rumoured to be in Germany. For Gaddafi himself, however, there are not many places to go. No African country could afford not to hand him over to face justice, and he can't go to Saudi Arabia, the dumping ground of choice for former dictators, on account of his old feud with the king. Venezuela or Cuba seems most likely.
Even if the regime collapses, more bloodshed is possible. But Saif's predictions of civil war and the 'Somalia-isation' of Libya are implausible, and were immediately undermined by the tribal leaders' calling for unity after his speech was broadcast. Assuming Gaddafi goes, however, it's far too soon to say who or what might replace him, not least because he so effectively suppressed all opposition for so long. Factions from the army, tribal leaders and religious authorities will all want a seat at the table. Whether or not there will be a role for any Libyans currently in exile remains to be seen.

Political Unrest in Cuba

There have been dozens of political confrontations throughout Cuba the last couple of days.

Amongst them are the arrest of Eriberto Liranza, head of Cuba's Youth for Democracy Movement and a siege at the home of pro-democracy leader Jorge Luis Garcia Perez "Antunez".

Other confrontations worth noting:

Fear over fate of arrested protesters in Santiago de Cuba
Yesterday, Cuba's political police arrested an undetermined number of dissidents soon after they staged a peaceful public demonstration in the city of Santiago de Cuba.
The repression was unleashed after several members of the umbrella group Cuban Council ("Concilio Cubano") took to the centric public park Cespedes in the morning hours of Saturday, February 19th. In an unprecedented and courageous public action, the demonstrators cried out for freedom and bore posters with the name Cuban Council and memorializing Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the political prisoner who died in a hunger strike last February 23rd. They also demanded justice for the four Cuban Americans murdered on February 24, 1996, when Cuban MiGS shot down their civilian airplanes, flying for "Brothers to the Rescue," over international airspace.

Among those arrested are Ernesto Vera Rodríguez, former law professor at the University of Santiago, the economist Idalmis Nuñez, and another group leader, Eunice Madaula. Held at State Security headquarters in Santiago, their condition is unknown. Vera's mother, María Rodríguez Vaillant, reported they were charged with "possessing posters and demonstrating publicly", both of which are forbidden in Cuba.

And from the Miami Herald:

Los Aldeanos involved in melee in Cuba
A top Cuban hip hop duo that lashes the ruling system with its lyrics reportedly sparked a clash with police last week when they tried to visit two youths jailed since Dec. 25 for playing their music too loudly [...]

Havana human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez Santa Cruz said he had received reports that about 80 people were detained and five were injured, apparently by rocks thrown at police from a crowd of 1,500 youths that had gathered around the Aldeanos.

S:Capitol Hill Cubans
Cardinal Ortega offers his full support to Raúl Castro's "reforms"
Feb. 21 - Cuba's Cardinal Jaime Ortega offered his full support to the so called "reforms" that have been proposed by Cuban dictator Raú Castro, while at the same time asking the Cuban people for "patience."
Ortega, who has been called the "personal secretary" of the Cuban dictator, spoke on Sunday night at the opening of the Seminario Internacional del Programa Diálogo con Cuba (International Seminar of the Dialogue with Cuba Program).
"This involves all of us and the smooth progress of these changes is not only the responsibility of the authorities (...) but in the proper understanding by the people of the measures and our ability to clearly express criticism or pointing out our differences and what we consider should be modified," said Ortega.
"The Church also has a high responsibility in these efforts, including praying for the proper conduct of this process and to accompany the people during the same," Raul's "personal secretary" said in his lecture, according to the AFP.
Ortega's comments came at a time when the Cuban people are asking the regime to make real political reforms, not the small ecnomic measures that have been announced so far by the Cuban dictatorship. AFP (Spanish)
British Foreign Secretary: Qadaffi could be on his way to Venezuela
Feb. 21 - British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday he had seen some information to suggest Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi had fled the country and was on his way to Venezuela.
"You asked me earlier about whether Colonel Qaddafi is in Venezuela," he told reporters on the sidelines of a European Union foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels.
"I have no information that says he is, but I have seen some information that suggests he is on his way there at the moment."
Diplomats said Hague was not referring to rumors circulating in the media about Gaddafi's whereabouts, but to separate sources for the information.  Reuters
Another "Castro revolution" is causing serious health problems to the people of Cuba
Feb. 21 - The installation of generators, a government strategy to stabilize the electricity supply in Cuba, is causing serious health problems among the population and the authorities seem to have no immediate response to the claims of those affected.
Respiratory problems, hearing loss, nervous disorders and even delay in children's learning abilities are some of the difficulties encountered in a recent research by Cuban journalist Elaine Diaz, professor of the School of Communication at the University of Havana and the author of the blog  La Polémica Digital and featured today in the blog Cafe Fuerte.
The report makes reference to the problems caused by the generators (GE) in the community of Campo Florido, in Habana del Este.
Diaz visited 46 houses and interviewed many people affected by the installation of the generators in their neighborhood.
The GE are a series of internal combustion engines used to generate electricity from diesel fuel and began to be installed on the island in 2006, as part of the "energy revolution" proclaimed by Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in response to a shortage of electricity which caused prolonged power cuts all over the island.
The GE are currently producing 22.4 percent of electricity in Cuba, but are having a severe impact on the environment and human health.
The engines emit toxic substances such as nitrogen oxides, soot, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, sulfur compounds and lead, and produce high noise levels.
Since 2006, the approximately 500 residents residents of Campo Florido, have sent dozens of letters to authorities to complain about health problems caused by the GE, but the only response has been to build a soundproof wall that did not even have the appropriate height to amortize the noise.
"Miriam, whose house is located just 50 meters from the site, has asthma. Her doctor prescribes a can of spray per month, but as a result of the waste produced by the exhaust pipes and that led directly to the homes of the residents, she needs to use at least 3 cans of Salbutamol spray weekly. She and her mother, an old lady of 95 years, rate the current situation as "a slow death," according to Diaz.
Is the regime afraid? Five months after they were announced, still no layoffs
Feb. 20 - Yordan Rodriguez hasn't showed up for work in four months, but he still has a job — for now at least.
The 25-year-old ironworker was told not to bother coming in anymore because the state-owned construction outfit he works for doesn't have any iron. Since then he's been doing odd jobs at home, drawing a salary, and waiting anxiously.
Rodriguez knows the state plans to lay off half a million unneeded workers, and he is hoping that he isn't one of them. He may be in luck: A drive to radically cut the government payroll has stalled amid resistance to implementing the layoffs, leaving many Cubans still waiting for the ax to fall.
More than five months after the government announced that a tenth of Cuba's work force would be laid off by March 31, it is difficult to find an unemployed person, or even somebody who knows someone who has lost their job. The delays demonstrate the bind the government is in as it desperately seeks to reduce state costs without causing a social rupture.
Dozens of Cubans interviewed in the capital and elsewhere said nothing has happened yet, and the uncertainty is excruciating.
Read more
Prisoner of conscience Iván Hernández was released from prison
Feb. 20 - The Cuban government has freed a jailed dissident who refused to go into exile in Spain as a condition for release.
Ivan Hernandez, a journalist who was one of 75 opponents of the government arrested in 2003, was released along with six other prisoners.
He is among a group of dissidents whose freedom was brokered by the Roman Catholic Church, and most of whom were flown to Spain upon release.
He said he meant to continue working as an independent journalist.
"A major from the interior ministry told me that since I was being released from jail, that I should stay quiet at my home," he told AFP news agency by telephone from his home in Matanzas, 100km (62 miles) east of the capital Havana.
"But I told him that I was going to keep writing and working as an independent journalist just like before they convicted me."
Read more
The mother of Orlando Zapata Tamayo and her husband arrested by Castro's Gestapo (UPDATED)
Feb. 19 - Cuban police have freed the mother of a dissident who died last year after a long hunger strike.
Reina Luisa Tamayo said on Saturday that police held her for 12 hours at a station in her hometown of Banes. She says her husband Jesus Ortiz also was held.
Tamayo's son Orlando Zapata died last Feb. 23 after an 83-day hunger strike to demand. He was imprisoned after being charged with disrespecting authority.
Tamayo says she and 13 relatives have been given documents to go to the United States as political refugees. She says they still await Cuban paperwork.
Feb. 18 - The mother of a Cuban dissident who died last year after a long hunger strike has been detained by police, just days before the anniversary of her son's death, a prominent human rights worker said Friday.
Reina Luisa Tamayo, her husband and two other activists were taken into police custody in the eastern city of Banes, said Elizardo Sanchez, head of the independent Havana-based Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation.
Her son, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, died on Feb. 23, 2010, following a lengthy hunger strike behind bars.
Nobody answered calls to Reina Luisa Tamayo's mobile phone, and it was impossible to verify Sanchez's account. The Cuban government had no immediate comment.  Read more
Thursday's exchange between Sen. Marco Rubio and Arturo Valenzuela
Feb. 18 - During Thursday's hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps and Global Narcotics, there was this exchange between Florida Senator Marco Rubio Rubio, and Arturo Valenzuela, the Obama administration Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.
Rubio asked Valenzuela  if the State Department was going to warn those people traveling to Cuba about the risk they face, in view of what has happened in the case of Alan Gross, who has already been in jail for 14 months and who is now facing the possibility of being sentenced to 20 years after being charged with spying.
UN official Urges Castro to Heed Events in Egypt, Tunisia
Feb. 18 - The rapporteur of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Thursday asked Cuba to learn from the example of recent events in the Arab world to carry out democratic reforms on the communist island.
Pastor Elías Murillo Martínez said that what has occurred in countries like Egypt and Tunisia constitutes, "despite the historical and cultural differences, a call to all governments of the world to choose the road of democracy."
Murillo made his remarks during his speech at the session of the Committee to review the report in which Cuba displays its respect for the international convention on the elimination of racial discrimination.
Murillo made his remarks during his speech at the session of the Committee to review the report in which Cuba displays its respect for the international convention on the elimination of racial discrimination.
"For decades, the international community, at the same time that it has condemned the (U.S. economic) embargo against Cuba, has not ceased to anxiously hope that the country will democratize itself. Therefore, the entire world expects much of the large (Communist Party) Congress that the Cuban government has announced for April this year, where it is forecast that they will announce big reforms," the rapporteur said.  FoxNews
Demonstrations around the world February 21 - 26 in favor of freedom in Cuba
Feb. 17 - Karel Poort, the photographer from Holland who sent us the photos two years ago that he took while he was was in Cuba during the "Maleconazo," sent me this video of a cartoon that a friend of him made for the upcoming demonstrations planned for February 21 - 26.
Here is what he said: "My name is Karel Poort from Holland, photographer of the photos during 'El Maleconazo' – Havana, 5th of august 1994. A friend of mine, Cees Heuvel, is a talented cartoonist and at my request he made a video-cartoon about the upcoming demonstrations for a free Cuba, that will take place between 21 and 26 of February in front of various embassies around the world."
Click here to see the photos that Karel took during EL MALECONAZO

LPP Archive...

Corruption in Cuba mentioned on Cuban television and website

PAUL HAVEN | Associated Press
Corruption at the highest levels of government — not the meddling of a small band of dissidents — is the greatest threat to Cuba’s communist system, a leading academic said in a highly unusual opinion posted Thursday on a state Web site.
The article by Esteban Morales — a historian who has written extensively on race and relations with the United States — crossed a number of red lines in tightly controlled Cuba,Including openly discussing corruption rumors surrounding the dismissal of a top government aviation official who had fought alongside Ernesto “Che” Guevara and the Castros in the 1950s.
Morales said some top Cuban officials are preparing to divide the spoils if Cuba’s political system disintegrates, like the shadowy oligarchs that emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s.
“In reality, corruption is much more dangerous than so-called internal dissent,” Morales wrote in the piece, which appeared on the Web site of the state National Artists and Writers Union of Cuba. “The latter is isolated ... but corruption is truly counterrevolutionary because it comes from within the government and the state apparatus, which are the ones that really control the country’s resources.”
Members of the artists union have been surprisingly critical of the government in the past, but often with little effect. Criticism can also appear in government newspapers, but rarely on such hot-button issues as corruption among senior officials.
Morales is a prominent intellectual who only Monday appeared on a state television program defending the government on another topic. The frank assessment on the Web site went far further than what is normally tolerated.
Morales never singled out Fidel or Raul Castro for blame, but he said cronyism is rampant in the system that has developed 51 years after their revolution won power and said some officials are waiting for a chance to grab the country’s resources.
“It has become evident that there are people in government and state positions who are preparing a financial assault for when the revolution falls,” Morales wrote. “Others likely have everything ready to produce the transfer of state property into private hands, like what happened in the former Soviet Union.”
Morales brought up the abrupt March 9 firing of veteran revolutionary Rogelio Acevedo, who had overseen the country’s airlines and airports since the 1980s. The government gave no reason for his dismissal, but the island has been awash with speculation that he has been placed under house arrest for corruption.
Exile Web sites have reported that a large amount of cash was found hidden at Acevedo’s house and that he is suspected of operating a private airline, among other things. The government has not commented on the allegations.
“There must be some truth to these reports, because this is a small country where everyone knows each other,” Morales wrote of the speculation over Acevedo. He said the government owed people a fuller account because the same sort of corruption is happening in other state-run institutions.
“Whether it be to vindicate or condemn Acevedo, the people must be told what happened,” he said.
While complaints of low-level corruption are not uncommon in state media, allegations of wide-scale, top-level malfeasance are very unusual and the fall of party officials has usually been seen as an anomaly rather than a symptom of broader rot.
When Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and Vice President Carlos Lage were dismissed last year, Fidel Castro wrote that “the honey of power ... awoke in them ambitions that led to an undignified role.”
Officials gave few public details of what they had done wrong, though Communist Party members said they were shown a video showing both making disparaging comments about the government and Miami journalist Maria Elvira Salazar released photos showing them partying with a Spanish business representative.
Morales appeared to refer to that case Thursday, when he complained of “favoritism, cronyism, certain acts of corruption” that led to information being passed to Spanish intelligence.

Memos reveal US-Libya standoff over uranium

Published December 04, 2010
| Associated Press
As it dismantled its nuclear weapons program, Libya sparked a tense diplomatic standoff with the United States last year when it refused to hand over its last batch of highly enriched uranium to protest the slowness of improving ties with Washington, leaked U.S. diplomatic memos reveal.
The monthlong standoff, which has not previously been made public, was resolved only after a call from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to Libya's foreign minister, apparently to underline Washington's commitment to warming relations. After the call, Libya allowed Russia to take away the uranium in December 2009.
But for that month, U.S. officials issued frantic warnings that the 11.5 pounds (5.2 kilograms) of highly enriched uranium was vulnerable to start leaking or be stolen, since it was sitting at Libya's Tajoura nuclear facility with only a single armed guard.
The incident illustrates Libya's unpredictability as it shakes off its longtime pariah status and rebuilds ties with the U.S. and the world. The series of memos released by the WikiLeaks website to the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, which published them this week, also shows the efforts of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli — which reopened in 2007 after a closure of nearly 30 years — to track Libya's opaque and often confusing politics. Several memos speculate on the jockeying for succession to power among the sons of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi — Seif al-Islam, Mutassim and Khamis.
"Burgeoning sibling rivalry between Gadhafi's progeny is near inevitable," reads a November 2009 embassy memo. Gadhafi "has placed his sons ... on a succession high wire act, perpetually thrown off-balance, in what might be a calculated effort by the aging leader to prevent any one of them from authoritatively gaining the prize."
Gadhafi's 2003 decision to renounce terrorism and dismantle Libya's secret nuclear, chemical and biological weapons development program was a key step in opening the door to normalization with the U.S and the West. Since that time, the U.S., Russia and other countries have been transporting centrifuges, uranium and other nuclear equipment out of Libya. The U.S. and the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, have declared Libya's nuclear and chemical weapons programs fully dismantled.
The standoff was a last-minute surprise.
On Nov. 23, 2009, a Russian cargo plane landed at Tripoli, expecting to take the last of Libya's highly enriched uranium, contained in seven containers known as casks. Then the Libyans informed the Russians and Americans that the material would not be handed over — and the plane left without the cargo, according to a Nov. 25 memo from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli.
The embassy raised the alarm, warning that Tajoura was "lightly guarded" and that U.S. experts had seen "only one security guard with a gun" there. It said it asked the Libyans to beef up security and remove a loading crane at the site "to prevent an intruder from using it to remove the casks." It also warned that within three months, the casks would start to leak and release radioactive material.
Two days later, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi — seen as a the main reform proponent in Libya — told the ambassador that the shipment was halted because Libya was "fed up" with the slow pace of relations between Tripoli and Washington, another memo reported.
Specifically, he said Libya wanted deals to purchase military equipment and other "compensation" for its dismantled facilities.
More broadly, he said the U.S.-Libyan relationship was "not going well" and pointed to slights against his father during his visit to New York the previous September for the U.N. General Assembly — including protests in several suburbs against Gadhafi's attempts to pitch a ceremonial Bedouin-style tent to stay in, and the refusal to allow Gadhafi to visit Ground Zero.
In the memo, the embassy recommended that Clinton contact Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa with a "general statement of commitment to work with the Libyans to move the relationship forward," coupled with a "strong" demand that the uranium be released and "not be held hostage."
On Dec. 3, Clinton called Kusa with "the statement of commitment," a later memo said, without specifying the content of the message. Soon after, the embassy reported that the Libyans promised the uranium would be released.
On Dec. 20, the Russian cargo plane returned, the uranium was loaded and taken to Russia the next day.
"Today's flight marked the successful completion of Libya's commitments to dismantle its nuclear weapons programs," the embassy reported.
nuclear weapons programs," the embassy reported.


Cuba fights back on the Internet

February 21, 2011, 10:43pm
 HAVANA, Cuba (Reuters) — It is 50 years since the last US-backed invasion of Cuba but the island’s communist leaders believe another one has begun – not on the shores of the Bay of Pigs as in 1961, but in the virtual world of the Internet.

Cuba fears “cyberdissidents” could use Twitter, Facebook, and other online social networks to undermine the government. Its concern has taken on added significance since the same communication tools were used by protesters in Egypt to help topple long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak last week.

A leaked video recently posted on the web shows a Cuban intelligence Internet expert telling interior ministry officials that the new cyber opposition is a more serious threat than the island’s traditional dissidents.

The authorities are worried about people like Claudia Cadelo, a frail-looking 27-year teacher of French who created Octavo Cerco, one of about 30 blogs critical of the government written inside Cuba.

“Social networks have become a new weapon for civil society,” she told Reuters in an interview. “They don’t want the social networks to spread because they are aware of the danger that poses to a totalitarian government which hides the truth from its people.”

Given Cuba’s low rate of Internet connectivity, the tweets Cadelo types into her mobile phone don’t reach many Cubans. But that could change as Cuba gains access to broadband Internet and mulls the pros and cons of granting wider access.

After initially blocking public access to some critical websites, the Cuban government has switched strategy and unleashed an anti-dissident counter-attack by a legion of some 1,000 pro-government “revolutionary” bloggers.

From his office in the headquarters of Cuba’s state telephone company ETECSA, journalist and blogger Manuel Henriquez is on the front lines of that official offensive.

“There is evidently an intention to attack Cuba through the Internet. And of course Cuba has the right to defend itself,” said the 47-year-old author of the blog Cambios en Cuba (

“It is an old war and this is its latest expression. What these (opposition) bloggers are looking for is to demonize the country, create an image of a repression that doesn’t exist and later on allows justifying laws and blockades.”

Bloggers like Henriquez take aim at Cuba’s cyberdissidents, led by prominent critic Yoani Sanchez and her Generacion Y blog ( They accuse the critics of being financed by the US government, Cuba’s ideological foe, and often post damaging rumors about their personal lives.

Experts say the Internet is offering Cuban dissidents unprecedented room for political debate, but that the transforming potential of Twitter and other social networks depends heavily on connectivity levels.

In Tunisia, the cradle of recent protests that have rocked the Arab world, 19 percent of the population was on Facebook, but Internet access in Cuba is restricted by the government.

“It’s worth asking what percent of Cubans have regular Internet access. Access to mobile phones. If those numbers are low, it’s unlikely these are the most effective organizing channels,” said Ethan Zuckerman, senior researcher at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Wilfredo Cancio, a Cuban exile journalist who publishes a Cuban affairs web site Cafe Fuerte ( in Miami sees a “Cold War” mentality in the Cuban government’s declared digital offensive against cyber opponents.

“I think the government is betting on winning this battle, above all from the control perspective,” he said.

Libya: Protesters, security clash in capital

Libyan protests in Malta AP – Demonstrators shout slogans in front of the Libyan Embassy in Attard, Malta, Monday, Feb. 21, 2011. Libyan …

CAIRO – Libyan protesters celebrated in the streets of Benghazi on Monday, claiming control of the country's second largest city after bloody fighting, and anti-government unrest spread to the capital with clashes in Tripoli's main square for the first time. Moammar Gadhafi's son vowed that his father and security forces would fight "until the last bullet."
Even as Seif al-Islam Gadhafi spoke on state TV Sunday night, clashes were raging in and around Tripoli's central Green Square, lasting until dawn Monday, witnesses said. They reported snipers opening fire on crowds trying to seize the square, and Gadhafi supporters speeding through in vehicles, shooting and running over protesters. Before dawn, protesters took over the offices of two of the multiple state-run satellite news channels, witnesses said.
During the day Monday, a fire was raging at the People's Hall, the main hall for government gatherings where the country's equivalent of a parliament holds its sessions several times a year. The pro-government news web site Qureyna said flames were seen leaping from the building, and that the headquarters of the Olympics Committee was also on fire.
Protesters were calling for a new protest at sunset Monday in Green Square, setting up the likelihood of new clashes. Already, armed members of pro-government organizations called "Revolutionary Committees" were circulating in the streets hunting for protesters in Tripoli's old city, said one protester, named Fathi.
The city on Monday was shut down, with schools, government offices and most shops closed except a few bakeries serving residents hunkered down in their houses, said a Tripoli lawyer, Rehab, who like Fathi spoke on condition she be identified only by her first name.
The protests and violence were the heaviest yet in the capital of 2 million people, a sign of how unrest was spreading after six days of demonstrations in eastern cities demanding the end of the elder Gadhafi's rule.
Gadhafi's regime has unleashed the bloodiest crackdown of any Arab country against the wave of protests sweeping the region, which toppled the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia. More than 200 have been killed in Libya, according to medical officials, human rights groups and exiled dissidents.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, visiting neighboring Egypt, called the Libyan government's crackdown "appalling."
"We can see what is happening in Libya which is completely appalling and unacceptable as the regime is using the most vicious forms of repression against people who want to see that country — which is one of the most closed and one of the most autocratic — make progress. The response they have shown has been quite appalling," he told reporters in Cairo.
Seif al-Islam Gadhafi warned of civil war in Libya if protests continue, a theme continued Monday on Libyan state TV, where a pro-regime commentator spoke of chaos and "rivers of blood" turning Libya into "another Somalia" if security is not restored.
Fragmentation is a real danger in Libya, a country of deep tribal divisions and a historic rivalry between Tripoli and Benghazi. The Arab world's longest ruling leader in power for nearly 42 years, Moammar Gadhafi has held an unquestioned grip over the highly decentralized system of government he created, called the "Jamahiriya," or "rule by masses."
Libya's former ambassador to the Arab League in Cairo, Abdel-Moneim al-Houni, who a day earlier resigned from his post to side with protesters, issued a statement demanding Gadhafi "be put on trial along with his aides, security and military commanders over the mass killings in Libya."
"Gadhafi's regime is now in the trash of history because he betrayed his nation and his people," al-Houni said.
The spiraling turmoil in Libya, an OPEC country that is a significant oil supplier to Europe, was raising international alarm. Oil prices jumped $1.67 to nearly $88 a barrel Monday amid investor concern.
Two leading oil companies, Statoil and BP, said they were pulling some employees out of Libya or preparing to do so. Portugal sent plane to pick up its citizens and other EU nationals and Turkey sent two ferries to pick up construction workers stranded in the unrest-hit country. EU foreign ministers were discussing on Monday the possible evacuation of European citizens. Mobs attacked South Korean, Turkish and Serbian construction workers at various sites around the country, officials from each country said.
The Internet has been largely shut down in Libya, residents can no longer make international calls from land lines and journalists cannot work freely, but eyewitness reports trickling out of the country suggested that protesters were fighting back more forcefully. Most witnesses and residents spoke on condition they be indentified by first name only or not at all, out of fear of retaliation.
In Libya's second largest city, Benghazi, protesters were in control of the streets Monday and took over the main security headquarters, known as the Katiba, after bloody clashes Sunday that killed at least 60 people, according to a doctor at the main hospital.
Cars honked their horns in celebration and protesters in the streets chanted "Long live Libya." Protesters took down the Libyan flag from above Benghazi's main courthouse and raised the flag of the country's old monarchy, which was toppled in 1969 by the military coup that brought Moammar Gadhafi to power, according to witnesses and video footage posted on the Internet.
Benghazi's airport was closed, according to an airport official in Cairo. A Turkish Airlines flight trying to land in Benghazi to evacuate Turkish citizens Monday was turned away, told by ground control to circle over the airport then to return to Istanbul.
There were fears of chaos as young men — including regime supporters — seized weapons from the Katiba and other captured security buildings. "The youths now have arms and that's worrying," said Iman, a doctor at the main hospital. "We are appealing to the wise men of every neighborhood to rein in the youths."
Youth volunteers were directing traffic and guarding homes and public facilities, said Najla, a lawyer and university lecturer in Benghazi. She and other residents said police had disappeared from the streets.
Benghazi has seen a cycle of bloody clashes over the past week, as security forces kill protesters, followed by funerals that turn into new protests, sparking new bloody shootings. After funerals Sunday, protesters fanned out, burning government buildings and police stations and besieging the Katiba.
Security forces battled back, at times using heavy-caliber machine guns and anti-aircraft guns, according to residents. One witness said she saw bodies torn apart and that makeshift clinics were set up in the streets to treat the wounded. Ahmed Hassan, a doctor at the main Al-Jalaa hospital, said funerals were expected Monday for 20 of those killed the day before, but that families of 40 others were still trying to identify their loved ones because their bodies were too damaged.
In some cases, army units reportedly sided with protesters against security forces and pro-Gadhafi militias. Mohamed Abdul-Rahman, a 42-year-old Benghazi merchant, said he saw an army battalion chasing militiamen from a security compound.
After seizing the Katiba, protesters found the bodies of 13 uniformed security officers inside who had been handcuffed and shot in the head, then set on fire, said Hassan, the doctor. He said protesters believed the 13 had been executed by fellow security forces for refusing to attack protesters.
Protest leaders and army units that sided with them were working to keep order in the streets Monday, directing traffic and guarding homes and official buildings, several residents said.
On Sunday night, Gadhafi's son Seif el-Islam took to state TV, trying to take a tough line in a rambling and sometimes confused speech of nearly 40 minutes.
"We are not Tunisia and Egypt," he said. "Moammar Gadhafi, our leader, is leading the battle in Tripoli, and we are with him."
"The armed forces are with him. Tens of thousands are heading here to be with him. We will fight until the last man, the last woman, the last bullet," he said.
He warned the protesters that they risked igniting a civil war in which Libya's oil wealth "will be burned." He also promised "historic" reforms in Libya if protests stop.
Seif has often been put forward as the regime's face of reform. Several of the elder Gadhafi's sons have powerful positions in the regime and in past years have competed for influence. Seif's younger brother Mutassim is the national security adviser, with a strong role in the military and security forces, and another brother Khamis heads the army's 32nd Brigade, which according to U.S. diplomats is the best trained and best equipped force in the military.
Even as Seif spoke, major clashes had broken out for the first time in Tripoli.
Sunday afternoon, protesters from various parts of the city began to stream toward central Green Square, chanting "God is great," said one 28-year-old man who was among the marchers.
In the square, they found groups of Gadhafi supporters, but the larger number of protesters appeared to be taking over the square and surrounding streets, he and two other witnesses said. That was when the backlash began, with snipers firing down from rooftops and militiamen attacking the crowds, shooting and chasing people down side streets. they said.
Gadhafi supporters in pickup trucks and cars raced through the suqare, shooting automatic weapons. "They were driving like mad men searching for someone to kill. ... It was total chaos, shooting and shouting," said the 28-year-old.
The witnesses reported seeing casualties, but the number could not be confirmed. One witness, named Fathi, said he saw at least two he believed were dead and many more wounded.
After midnight, protesters took over the main Tripoli offices of two state-run satellite stations, Al-Jamahiriya-1 and Al-Shebabiya, one witness said.