Friday, May 13, 2011

Battlefield video: Libya rebels fight Gaddafi forces ...

Mutinous army units in pickup trucks armed with machine guns and rocket launchers deployed around the strategic oil installation at Brega on Thursday, a day after the opposition foiled an attempt by loyalists of leader Moammar Gadhafi to retake control of the port in rebel-held east Libya.

Today Picture...

NATO airstrikes raise questions over motives
Mon May 2, 3:41 AM ET

Painter paints caricature in Benghazi

A painter paints a caricature of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in Benghazi May 1, 2011.

Gadhafi taunts NATO; regime says 11 clerics killed

Moussa Ibrahim AP – Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim talks to the media as a group of muslim clerics is displayed …
TRIPOLI, Libya – Taunting NATO, Moammar Gadhafi said Friday that he is alive despite a series of airstrikes and "in a place where you can't get to and kill me." The defiant audio recording was broadcast after the Libyan government accused NATO of killing 11 Muslim clerics with an airstrike on a disputed eastern oil town.
Gadhafi had appeared on state TV but had not been heard speaking since a NATO attack on his Tripoli compound two weeks ago, which officials said killed one of his sons and three grandchildren. In a brief recording played Friday on Libyan TV, Gadhafi said he wanted to assure Libyans concerned about a strike this week on his compound in Tripoli.
"I tell the coward crusaders — I live in a place where you can't get to and kill me," he said. "I live in the hearts of millions."
He referred to a NATO airstrike on Thursday that targeted his Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli, claiming it had killed "three innocent journalist-civilians."
Hours after Gadhafi's minute-long speech, the sound of four explosions — most likely a NATO strike — could be heard in Tripoli early Friday.
Also in the Libyan capital, a local activist said Saturday that he witnessed some 50-60 residents attacking military trucks in the western neighborhood of Abu Sitta.
He said the events took place in the late evening on Friday. The physican-turned-activist said the residents burnt down a military truck.
"Everybody escaped after some cheering," the activist said.
The activist's statements could not be independently confirmed.
Government spokesman Ibrahim Uthman said the strikes targeted the country's Agriculture Ministry. The same building, however, was targeted days ago and, at the time, residents said it was a government intelligence building.
Reporters could not immediately verify the information. They may only to leave their hotel in the company of government officials.
On Thursday reporters were shown the airstrike damage by Libyan officials, including one who said Gadhafi and his family had moved away from the compound some time ago. One missile appeared to have targeted some sort of underground bunker at the compound — a sprawling complex of buildings surrounded by towering concrete blast walls
Many people "driven by their love for me put in many calls to check on my well-being after they heard of the cowardly missile attack of the crusaders on Bab al-Aziziya last Thursday, May 12," Gadhafi said in the recording, which lasted just over a minute.
NATO shrugged off the statement.
"We are not targeting him, our targets are solely military," alliance spokeswoman Carmen Romero said in Brussels.
Shortly before Gadhafi's remarks were broadcast, regime spokesman Moussa Ibrahim claimed that NATO had attacked Brega while dozens of imams and officials from around Libya were gathered there to pray for peace. Ibrahim said 11 imams were killed in their sleep at a guesthouse, and 50 people were wounded, including five in critical condition.
One of the slain men was wearing beige military clothing.
The alliance, responding to the claim, said it had attacked a military command-and-control center in Brega, 450 miles (750 kilometers) southeast of Tripoli.
"We're very careful in the selection of our targets and this one was very clearly identified as a command center," said an official at NATO's operational headquarters in Naples, Italy, who spoke under the alliance's rules that he could not be named.
NATO has been intensifying airstrikes in several areas of Libya against Gadhafi's troops in a bid to weaken his campaign against a rebel uprising. The sound of two airstrikes could be heard in Tripoli early Friday, though it was not immediately clear what they targeted.
Ibrahim rebutted comments from Italy's foreign minister, Franco Frattini, suggesting that Gadhafi may have been wounded and possibly had fled Tripoli for some other place in Libya.
"The leader is in very good health, high morale and high spirits," Ibrahim said. "He is in Tripoli, he is fighting... He is leading the country day by day."
Imams accompanying Ibrahim when he announced the Brega attack said the slain clerics should be avenged.
"We call upon Muslims all around the world to take revenge for our brothers," said imam Noureddin el-Mashrab. "For every man, he should take down 1,000 men."
Government officials said el-Mashrab's statements did not reflect official policy. But el-Mashrab spoke at a government-sponsored event with the help of a government translator, suggesting Libyan officials wanted to show the consequences of further attacks — out-of-control violence against citizens of NATO countries.
State-run Libyan television showed a concrete building in Brega with its facade blown off. Nearby houses also were damaged, and some of them were tipped off foundations. Upper stories were blown off other nearby buildings.
The bodies of many of the dead imams were laid out in two rows. Most had visible wounds, often to the head but also to legs and other extremities. Some were covered with dust scattered by the explosions.
"NATO proves that it doesn't have a moral center," Ibrahim said, speaking at a news conference in the square of the 600-year-old Mawlay Mohammed mosque in Tripoli.
"Now they are moving to kill imams, religious leaders who are calling for peace."
Ali Abou el-Sowa, one of the imams with Ibrahim, referred to Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader killed in a U.S. raid in Pakistan last week.
"I would like to remind my brothers ... how Osama bin Laden came into existence," el-Sowa said. "He was reacting to the extremist actions by the West against Islam. We do not think al-Qaida is justifiable, but we would like to remind you that hatred begets hatred."
The strike on Brega came as Gadhafi faced mounting diplomatic pressure to end his 42-year hold on power.
In the Hague, Netherlands, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said he would seek arrest warrants on Monday for three senior Libyan leaders for murder and persecution — with Gadhafi expected to be among them.
And in Washington, the White House says the U.S. and NATO will maintain their military operations in Libya as long as Gadhafi continues to attack his own people. The U.S. has been increasing its financial support for the rebels, but is not recognizing their transitional council as Libya's legitimate government.
A delegation from the council was meeting with U.S. officials in Washington on Friday.
NATO reported Friday it had carried out 52 missions across Libya the previous day. Gadhafi's fortified compound in the capital was among the targets, and the alliance identified others as anti-aircraft missile launchers near Tripoli and buildings and gun emplacements being used by regime forces in their siege of the rebel-held port city of Misrata.
The rebels control most of eastern Libya, while Gadhafi controls most of the west, including Tripoli. Misrata — about 125 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of Tripoli — is the only rebel stronghold in the west. Local doctors say more than 1,000 of its residents have been killed in the fighting and shelling during the siege by Gadhafi's forces, but NATO said the city experienced a day free of shelling on Thursday after several days of outward advances by rebel fighters.
El-Deeb reported from Cairo. Associated Press writer Slobodan Lekic in Brussels contributed to this report.

More "Reform" You Can't Believe In

Friday, May 13, 2011
Over a dozen pro-democracy activists were arrested yesterday, as they tried to hold a peaceful vigil in memory of deceased political prisoners Orlando Zapata Tamayo and Juan Wilfredo Soto.

Amongst those arrested were Heriberto Liranza Romero, Yunier and Pedro Arena, Carlos Alexander Borrego, Julio César Peña, Sergio García, Inés Antonia Quesada and Leyvis Quesada.

Also arrested (again) was former political prisoner Angel Moya (below), who was one of only 11 political prisoners released on the island during the last year.

Moya was handcuffed, beaten and placed upside down -- with his head on the floor of the police car -- while the authorities tried to asphyxiate him with a pillow.

Kudos to President Obama for seeing through the charade of Raul Castro's so-called "reforms."

Gerontocracy Equals Oppression

As the Castro regime moves to further concentrate power amongst its octogenarians, it's important to note the correlation between age of leadership and type of governance:

The older the regime, the less democratic.

From Zimbabwean columnist Conway Tutani in Newsday:

A gerontocracy is a society which is dominated by elders. In a gerontocracy, people who are substantially older than the bulk of the population hold most of the political power, and they tend to dominate companies, institutions, and organisations as well.

Gerontocratic leadership was common in communist states in which the length of one’s service to the party was held to be the main qualification for leadership. In the time of the “Eight Immortals of Communist Party of China”, it was quipped: “The 80-year-olds are calling meetings of 70-year-olds to decide which 60-year-olds should retire.” For instance, party leader Mao Zedong was 82 when he died in 1976, while his successor Deng Xiaoping retained powerful influence until he was nearly 90. Other gerontocrats have included Albanian leader Enver Hoxha, who was 76 at death, East Germany’s Erich Honecker, who was 77 when forced out, North Korea’s Kim Il-sung, who was 82 at death, and Romania’s Nicolae Ceauşescu, who was 70 when executed.

One of the issues with a gerontocracy, aside from an unfair balance of power, is that older leaders tend to become very set in their way, and fixated on specific ways of doing and thinking about things, according to Wikipedia. As a result, they are slow to act in response to emerging social trends and global issues. It can also ultimately cause problems, as leaders become inflexible and unwilling to consider the weaknesses of their nations. One oft-cited cause of the “Jasmine Revolution” in the Arab world is the age difference between youthful populations and “grizzled” leaders. Egypt’s average age is 24. President Hosni Mubarak was the fifth-oldest leader in the world before he was toppled aged 82. Such a wide gap is more common in autocracies like Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Algeria and North Korea.

Democracies, by contrast, seem to prefer more youthful leaders these days. So there is a correlation between the age of leadership and type of governance – whether democratic or oppressive.


Fariña: The government uses a mentally ill to cover up the murder of Soto García

Calls on the international community to facilitate the political asylum to the family, 'so they can leave the country and tell the truth. "
Guillermo Fariñas The opposition accused the government Thursday use mentally ill to cover the murder of John Wilfred Soto García and refuted the theories published in the gazette today Granma.
"In Santa Clara everyone knows that Rosa Soto García has psychiatric disorders since I was a teenager, "said Fariñas CUBA DIARY statements.
"It is regrettable that the Government use this woman for these things," he said.
Rosa Soto García had said that it had "a very disorderly life and did not follow" doctors.
"That's who beat him is a lie. I had no mark  of hitting, everything is a figment of the propaganda counter. We are very saddened with this campaign that has formed, causing great pain in the family, "said the woman,  According to Granma.
On the rest of the witnesses, the journalist said everyone knew  what would happen to a law student if Yasmil Pérez Rodríguez telling the truth, in a country where only the "revolutionaries" can enter university.
Fariñas said the flower vendor Jorge Alvarez Cabrera, quoted by Granma, Is a former soldier turned security agent of the State.
"It is striking that they are not the testimony of John's children Wilfredo "said the journalist, who said he had spoken with them Eve, which "denies" the accusation of an alleged Rosa Soto  expulsion of dissidents from the cemetery by the descendants the deceased.
"We went after the departure of mourning ended and left the family in private," he said.
'International Commission and asylum for the family'
The journalist, the Sakharov Prize for Human Rights 2010, said whether the scheme was so sure of his ideas, should accept the participation of an "international commission of forensic" to investigate the causes of the death of Soto García.
Farina asked the Organization of American States and the European Union Facilitate European political asylum status for family members of the deceased, "so they can leave the country and tell the truth, security for their lives. "
On Wednesday, Hector Bermudez Santana, who accompanied the dissident Soto from the hospital to home, they aggravate their health,  was attacked with a "hit in the head."
Granma Thursday published statements from relatives of Juan Garcia Wilfredo Soto designed to bolster their claim that the dissident died of natural causes.
As is standard in the media of the island (all controlled by the government), Granma did not include interviews with people who could provide information  contrary to their interests, as dissidents and other witnesses who Soto García say, a very sick man, had been beaten by  Police three days before he died.
The Communist Party newspaper said the death of the opposition is   "Manipulated by the transnational misinformation "that perform a" coarse media aggression. "
broken for almost half a century

Obama needs to see a "real change" in Cuba to normalize relations

MIAMI, May 13. (Reuters) -

U.S. President  Barack Obama, said he needs to see a "real change" by the government of Cuban President Raul Castro to power normalize relations between both nations, almost broken half a century.

In an interview with Spanish-language network Univision, based in Miami, Obama said that despite the Castro regime has undertaken some reforms in its political and social system can not be  talk about changes you are making "real" on the island.
"We will welcome a genuine change in Cuban government, Bush said. "We have relations normal as we have with other countries, we see changes significant in the Cuban government and that we have not seen yet, " Obama said.
Castro, who claims to be willing to discuss these issues with Washington after half a century of hostilities, has been launched a series of measures to revitalize the struggling and centralized socialist economy. Among the reforms include a open to private initiative, although Cuba has made it clear that this no means a turn to capitalism.
Havana, which requires the U.S. to end 50 years of economic blockade, has recently released dozens of prisoners politicians who left the island as exile, thanks to intervention of the Catholic Church and the Government of Spain.
But Obama believes the government led by Raul Castro, who in 2008 succeeded his brother and longtime leader of the revolution Fidel has not yet been a real response to this issue.
"The fact is that there are still political prisoners who should have been released long ago and that should never have been arrested in the first place. Political dissent is not tolerated even. The economic system is still very limited, "he said Obama.
"If you think about it, Castro came to power before I was born. He  is still there and basically has the same system when the rest the world has recognized that this system does not work, "said the U.S. president.
"Oppressive action"
In the interview, Obama was asked about the death Last weekend the Cuban dissident Juan Wilfredo Soto allegedly after being beaten by the police of the scheme as versions of dissent. The Castro government insists that the activist died of natural causes and denies having been assaulted after  have been arrested for allegedly shouted "slogans anti-revolutionary. "
"First, (Soto) should not have been arrested," Obama emphasized, though said he needs more details on this incidents. "Thousands of people have suffered the consequences of oppressive actions of the Cuban regime, "he lamented, to ensure your Government will work for the prosperity and freedom for Cubans.

Deadly Earthquake in Murcia

Lorca 7,500 left homeless

Only 48% of the houses can be occupied immediately - The Most of the damaged buildings are the most popular neighborhoods, populated by immigrants

F. J. PEREZ / M. Altozano - Murcia - 14/05/2011
Still Eskup last hour of the Earthquake in Murcia

Still Eskup last hour of the Earthquake in Murcia | Follow the Twitter Javier Ruiz, a correspondent for El Pais in Murcia | Phone concerned: 900 11 78 16 | Phone to locate family members: 900 11 70 16 | Phone injured: 900 12 12 12
Lorca's earthquake homeless will short and medium term to about 7,500 of the 65,000 inhabitants of the main town of the municipality, as calculated  EL PAÍS, based on damage assessment data provided by the Regional Government of Murcia.

Zapatero described as "exemplary" cooperation between national authorities
It halved the number of inmates in the three camps
Technical architects were finishing at the end of the editing damage assessment in the affected houses.  With 80% of 1374 work-house, 48% had been marked by technicians with green paint, which allows its owners and tenants occupy and normally and without fear. Of Remaining 52%, 40% are marked with color properties yellow. This color means that residents can not access them than to "pick up essential belongings." According to sources Government of Murcia, these houses will be subject to work rehabilitation, strengthening and demolition of structures potentially dangerous, such as false ceilings or cornices, before being inhabited again. Finally, there is 12% of houses with red code, and its neighbors  are strictly forbidden to enter them "so far" before the fear of structural damage.
Extrapolated to 100% and taking into account the National Statistical Institute provides that, on average, every apartment building has 2.8 Lorca housing and each housing an average of three occupants, a total of 7,492  Lorca residents may not occupy their homes at short notice. The prime problem particularly in popular neighborhoods city mainly populated by immigrants working in agriculture.
Yesterday was a day of emotions to the surface in Lorca. Morning was held the funeral for four of the nine fatalities the earthquake. The event, concelebrated by the Bishop of Diocese of Cartagena, José Manuel Lorca, and 30 priests of the parishes of the city, some badly damaged by the earthquake-attended Prince and Princess of Asturias, later toured some of the  worst hit areas, both human, as the district of La Viña and heritage, the Baroque church destroyed Santiago, whose Cruise came down with the shaking. At the gates of the temple,  closed "for years", according to the Diocese, Don Felipe encouraged  Lorca to "stand up forcefully to face the future and little  bit back to normal as possible and continue with their lives. "
"The earthquake has been tough and strong, but stronger is this country," said the Prime Minister,  José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero after visiting the Vineyard and before attending  funeral. The Chief Executive announced that the central government and Murcia sign an agreement next Tuesday to start "immediately" the process of rehabilitation and reconstruction of houses. This agreement is in addition to decree approved yesterday by the Council of Ministers and it is directed "to people affected, economic activity and companies in the fiscal framework and social security as well as public buildings and damaged infrastructure. "
Zapatero also stressed "the coordination "and" unity of action of all governments to catastrophe ", which he described as" exemplary. "There should be an example  for any of the circumstances that may live, "he said.
This collaboration allowed on Wednesday to provide blankets and food to more than 20,000 neighbors spent the night in the open in parks and places authorized by the authorities. Under Murcia government coordination, the Executive made available the victims of the Military Emergency Unit which, together with the Cross Red tents and bunks set up to house a total of 4,000 posted only a day and a half after the incident. They are all served daily for Civil Protection, Red Cross Emergency Murcia. The device also involved firefighters autonomous community, the National Police, Civil Guard and  Local Police.
Lorca Campaign
The shock national earthquake did not prevent the match ends transforming it into political ammunition. Federal Secretary Institutional Relations and Regional Policy of the PSOE, Gaspar Zarrías, branded as "unworthy" and "infomercial" the visit of President of the PP, Mariano Rajoy, to Lorca on Thursday to show solidarity with those affected.
The  PP countered by saying that Zarrías words are "a meanness "and Rajoy's visit yesterday to Lorca, and not Yesterday's funeral was a "show of unity and support of all country "to the victims of the earthquake.
Progressive review affected properties has allowed to return home to thousands of citizens. The night of Thursday to Friday, they had to sleep in the camps was 6,000, according to Emergency Murcia.  By midafternoon yesterday, the number of persons living in the three camps in the Garden of the conference, the institute Giner and Ros  Vine neighborhood and declined to 2,464, according to these same sources. By the way, the Army plans to set up tents and bunks for 1,000 people.
In hospitals installed by the Red Cross and the Army had been treated  in the morning yesterday to 386 wounded. The three remaining major developing well in the hospital Virgen de la Arrixaca of Murcia.