More Special Reports


Posted October 20, 2011
Last modified October 29, 2011
Special Report - On the late erratic Libyan leader, Muammar el-Gaddafi
whose brutal end spells the end of a vile reign, one that, unfortunately last 42 years

Gadhafi's Wealth and Money Is Scattered All Over the Globe

Moammar Gadhafi could have accumulated an estimated $60 billion in personal wealth at the expense of the Libyan people, according to reports by ABC News. These assets are spread around the world in bank accounts that may be difficult to identify now that he is dead.

* There are hundreds of ways to spell his name, which makes identifying all his assets and bank accounts a more complicated process.

* The U.S. froze approximately $30 billion in Libyan assets in February 2011. These funds are held in Libyan government agency trusts, not in Gadhafi's personal name.

* Canada, Austria and the United Kingdom are among the list of countries that froze Libyan assets earlier this year.

* The Netherlands froze nearly $4.5 billion in assets in February, but announced it would begin distributing portions of that money to help Libyan citizens through the World Health Organization.

* Canadian banks hold more than $2.3 billion in cash for the Gadhafi family. The accounts were frozen after Gadhafi attempted to transfer the funds earlier this year.

* The Australian government is investigating whether millions of dollars were invested by Gadhafi's sons into Australian oil projects in the past nine years.

* The UK frozen nearly $1.7 billion in bank accounts, property holdings and bonds held in the name of Gadhafi, his daughters and other family members.

* The family owns extensive non-cash holdings in other African countries, such as Zimbabwe, Chad, Sudan, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

* The Libyan Investment Authority has $3.8 billion in American banks invested in the name of the Libyan people. An additional $30 billion in government assets held in the U.S. has been frozen since the start of the uprising.

* The government of Malta has frozen an indeterminate amount of assets belonging to Gadhafi's daughter - many invested in communication companies.

* Nearly $1.8 billion was invested in Austrian banks and has been frozen since early 2011.

* Switzerland froze nearly $700 million in Gadhafi's personal assets after a diplomatic confrontation, according to a report by Scribd. Gadhafi had kept nearly $6 billion in cash in Swiss banks prior to the diplomatic breakdown.

Dan McGinnis is a freelance writer, published author and former newspaper publisher. He has been a candidate, campaign manager and press secretary for state and local political campaigns for more than 30 years.




Hypocrisy and the West

When to celebrate a death

AFTER days of shelling during which untold numbers of diehard loyalists and unfortunate civilians were traumatised, maimed and killed, the despised dictator was cornered like an exhausted fox at the end of the hunt. How he took the bullet that killed him was disputed—in crossfire, the confusion of battle, or in what amounted to an execution. But so what? It was kinder than the lingering, agonising death he deserved and he was better dead than alive. Whoever pulled the trigger should be counted a hero, not investigated as a war-criminal. This was a time for rejoicing: a war over at last, and one of the great villains of the past half-century rendered incapable of causing further cruelty.

The death of Velupillai Prabhakaran in May 2009 marked the definitive victory of the Sri Lankan army in a war that had dragged on for 26 years and entailed the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians. He ran his fief of “liberated” Sri Lanka with an iron fist, systematically wiping out his ethnic-Tamil opponents, as he commandeered a monopoly on Tamil resentment at rule by a Sri Lankan government dominated by ethnic Sinhalese. Prabhakaran’s Tamil Tigers were pioneers of suicide-bombing, and notorious for the cyanide pills they wore as an alternative to capture and torture. He waged terror overseas, notably in India, where his agents assassinated a former prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, in 1991. And Tamil expatriates around the world were bullied and frightened into providing him with finance.

Yet the end of the war in Sri Lanka was marked by little of the celebratory tone that has marked some of the reporting of the death of Muammar Qaddafi this month. A few days before the Sri Lankan army’s final victory, President Barack Obama had called on it to stop using heavy weaponry in civilian areas. And when victory came, there was almost immediate condemnation of the tactics the Sri Lankan army had used in the final months of the war; calls for war-crimes inquiries predated the last battle, and persist to this day. Over Libya, there was no such call for restraint in the battle for Sirte, and on Qaddafi’s death, Mr Obama was quick to hail “the end of a long and painful chapter for the people of Libya”.

So it is not surprising that some commentators in Sri Lanka have been offended by the triumphalist tone of some of the Western coverage of the end of Muammar Qaddafi. Jehan Perera, a brave liberal voice who has constantly called for accountability in Sri Lanka, asked why there has been so little condemnation of the conduct of the last phase of the war in Libya, from either governments or human-rights watchdogs. His gloomy conclusion: “Undoubtedly a big part of the reason is that the very countries in the forefront of the war in Libya are also those that are the proponents of human rights.

It is not just in Sri Lanka that the hypocrisy of Western attitudes has rankled. In China, a commentary in Global Times, a Beijing newspaper, highlighted another aspect of it: “The more urgent question is why the countries that led a righteous crusade against Qaddafi, and rightly or wrongly are now triumphing in his defeat, are the very same that up until recently were busy trying to be his friends?”  So, of course, was China. But two hypocrites do not make a right.

The assassination in Pakistan in May of Osama bin Laden, without the Pakistani government’s knowledge, let alone permission, and the Western-backed onslaught on Sirte which culminated in the death of Qaddafi leave an impression of double standards. Both men did great evil. Both deserved to face justice. But the way the American administration has, in one case, arranged their killing, and in both, reacted to their deaths, suggests that their crime was not to kill huge numbers of people. Rather, it was to kill—over Lockerbie, in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania—huge numbers of Americans. Of course, a different standard applies when you take on the superpower. But this superpower and its allies seek to assert their standards and values as universal.

Asia’s dictatorships have long taken this with a pinch of salt. In the most despotic of them all, North Korea, Kim Jong Il will have watched satellite footage, denied his people, of Qaddafi’s end, and thought: “There but for the grace of a minimal nuclear deterrent go I.” Whatever slim hope survived that Mr Kim might voluntarily dispose of his nuclear capability evaporated when the West swung its military might behind the anti-Qaddafi rebellion. Nor is Mr Kim likely to be tempted by ideas of political liberalisation. Why tinker with a formula—of utter repression—that has endured for more than six decades?

The generals in Myanmar, however, seem to have drawn the opposite lesson from the “Arab spring”. With a constitution in place that assures them of ultimate power—and that cannot be changed without their say-so—they are hastening to present at least the appearance of fundamental political change. They have relaxed some press restrictions, flouted the will of their ally China by suspending a big dam project, and charmed the leader of the opposition, Aung San Suu Kyi, into contemplating the entry of her party into mainstream politics.

And yet, reasons to cheer

Regardless of the murky circumstances of Qaddafi’s demise, that is also the message taken by optimists across Asia. As Yang Hengjun, a widely followed Chinese-born Australian blogger, put it on the website of Hong Kong University’s “China Media Project”: “If the autocratic rulers of the world do not loosen their grip on power, they will find themselves without choices, like Nicolae Ceausescu, Saddam Hussein and Qaddafi before them.

And the hypocrisy of the Western powers is not absolute. It is tempered by the accountability democracy brings. As Mr Perera notes, Western governments have been willing to have alleged abuses investigated. Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary at the time, eventually took responsibility for American mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, calling it “inconsistent with the values of our nation”. Sri Lanka by contrast has tolerated no independent and credible inquiry into the end of its civil war. It matters far beyond the Middle East that the new order in Libya does so.

(Picture credit: Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons)

Posted October 23, 2011

In His Last Days, Qaddafi Wearied of Fugitive’s Life

Manu Brabo/Associated Press

The results of a NATO airstrike on Friday on the Qaddafi stronghold in the outskirts of Surt.

MISURATA, Libya — After 42 years of absolute power in Libya, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi spent his last days hovering between defiance and delusion, surviving on rice and pasta his guards scrounged from the emptied civilian houses he moved between every few days, according to a senior security official captured with him.


Under siege by the former rebels for weeks, Colonel Qaddafi grew impatient with life on the run in the city of Surt, said the official, Mansour Dhao Ibrahim, the leader of the feared People’s Guard, a network of loyalists, volunteers and informants. “He would say: ‘Why is there no electricity? Why is there no water?’ ”

Mr. Dhao, who stayed close to Colonel Qaddafi throughout the siege, said that he and other aides repeatedly counseled the colonel to leave power or the country, but that the colonel and one of his sons, Muatassim, would not even consider the option.

Still, though some of the colonel’s supporters portrayed him as bellicose to the end and armed at the front lines, he actually did not take part in the fighting, Mr. Dhao said, instead preferring to read or make calls on his satellite phone. “I’m sure not a single shot was fired,” he said.

As Libya’s interim leaders prepared Saturday to formally start the transition to an elected government and set a timeline for national elections in 2012, sweeping away Colonel Qaddafi’s dictatorship, they faced the certainty that even in death the colonel had hurt them. The battle for Surt, Colonel Qaddafi’s birthplace, was prolonged for months by the presence of the fiercely loyal cadre he kept with him, delaying the end of a war most Libyans had hoped would be over with the fall of Tripoli in August.

Mr. Dhao’s comments, in an interview on Saturday at the military intelligence headquarters in Misurata, came as the final details of the colonel’s death, at the hands of the fighters who had captured him, were still being debated.

Residents of Misurata spent a third day viewing the bodies of Colonel Qaddafi and his son at a meat locker in a local shopping mall. Officials with the interim government have said that they will conduct an autopsy on the bodies and investigate allegations that the two men may have been killed while in custody, though local security officials have said they see no need for such an inquiry.

Mr. Dhao, who is said to be a cousin of Colonel Qaddafi, became a trusted member of his inner circle. As head of the People’s Guard, he presided over a force accused of playing a central role in the violent crackdowns on protesters during the uprising, including firing on unarmed demonstrators in Tripoli’s Tajura neighborhood. The guard’s volunteer members harassed residents at checkpoints throughout the city. Mr. Dhao was believed to have kept weapons and detainees at his farm, according to Salah Marghani of the Libyan Human Rights Group.

In a separate interview with Human Rights Watch, Mr. Dhao denied that he had ordered any violence.

On Saturday, he spoke in a large conference room that served as his cell, wearing a blanket on his legs and a blue shirt, maybe an electric company uniform, inscribed with the word “power.”

A few guards were present, but they spoke only among themselves. He said his captors had treated him well and had sent doctors to tend to injuries he sustained before his capture, including shrapnel wounds under his eye, and on his back and left arm.

Many of his statements appeared to be self-serving; he said, for instance, that he and others had repeatedly tried to convince Colonel Qaddafi that the revolutionaries were not rats and mercenaries, as the colonel was fond of saying, but ordinary people.

“He knew that these were Libyans who were revolting,” he said. Other times, he seemed full of regret, explaining his failure to surrender or escape as his way of fulfilling “a moral obligation to stay” with the colonel before adding, “My courage failed me.”

His account of the battle did not address the accusations made by the former rebels of abuses by loyalist forces inside Surt. Ismael al-Shukri, the deputy chief of military intelligence in Misurata, said that loyalists had used families as human shields and that there were reports that loyalist soldiers had detained daughters to prevent families from leaving. The former rebels have also said that the Qaddafi forces executed soldiers who refused to fight.

Colonel Qaddafi fled to Surt on Aug. 21, the day Tripoli fell, in a small convoy that traveled through the loyalist bastions of Tarhuna and Bani Walid. “He was very afraid of NATO,” said Mr. Dhao, who joined him about a week later.

The decision to stay in Surt was Muatassim’s; the colonel’s son reasoned that the city, long known as an important pro-Qaddafi stronghold and under frequent bombardment by NATO airstrikes, was the last place anyone would look.

The colonel traveled with about 10 people, including close aides and guards. Muatassim, who commanded the loyalist forces, traveled separately from his father, fearing that his own satellite phone was being tracked.

Apart from a phone, which the colonel used to make frequent statements to a Syrian television station that became his official outlet, Colonel Qaddafi was largely “cut off from the world,” Mr. Dhao said. He did not have a computer, and in any case, there was rarely any electricity. The colonel, who was fond of framing the revolution as a religious war between devout Muslims and the rebel’s Western backers, spent his time reading the Koran, Mr. Dhao said.

He refused to hear pleas to give up power. He would say, according to Mr. Dhao: “This is my country. I handed over power in 1977,” referring to his oft-repeated assertion that power was actually in the hands of the Libyan people. “We tried for a time, and then the door was shut,” the aide said, adding that the colonel seemed more open to the idea of giving up power than his sons did.

For weeks, the former rebels fired heavy weapons indiscriminately at the city. “Random shelling was everywhere,” said Mr. Dhao, adding that a rocket or a mortar shell struck one of the houses where the colonel was staying, wounding three of his guards. A chef who was traveling with the group was also hurt, so everyone started cooking, Mr. Dhao said.

About two weeks ago, as the former rebels stormed the city center, the colonel and his sons were trapped shuttling between two houses in a residential area called District No. 2. They were surrounded by hundreds of former rebels, firing at the area with heavy machine guns, rockets and mortars. “The only decision was whether to live or to die,” Mr. Dhao said. Colonel Qaddafi decided it was time to leave, and planned to flee to one of his houses nearby, where he had been born.

On Thursday, a convoy of more than 40 cars was supposed to leave at about around 3 a.m., but disorganization by the loyalist volunteers delayed the departure until 8 a.m. In a Toyota Land Cruiser, Colonel Qaddafi traveled with his chief of security, a relative, the driver and Mr. Dhao. The colonel did not say much during the drive.

NATO warplanes and former rebel fighters found them half an hour after they left. When a missile struck near the car, the airbags deployed, said Mr. Dhao, who was hit by shrapnel in the strike. He said he tried to escape with Colonel Qaddafi and other men, walking first to a farm, then to the main road, toward some drainage pipes. “The shelling was constant,” Mr. Dhao said, adding that he was struck by shrapnel again and fell unconscious. When he woke up, he was in the hospital.

“I’m sorry for all that happened to Libya,” he said, “from the beginning to the end.”

Suliman Alzway contributed reporting.

Copyright 2011 The New York Times Company. Reprinted from The New York Times, International, of Sunday, October 23, 2011.

Before the very sad end
  1. Gaddafi's son Saif speaking to crowds after escape
  2. Gaddafi speech 22/02/2011

    8 months ago
  3. Moammar Gadhafi on Larry King 9/28/09 2 of 5

    7:48 mins | 2 years ago
  4. Gaddafi's son says regime will fight on

    4:09 mins
  5. Gaddafi's son addresses Libya

    3:16 mins
  6. London School of Economics cuts ties with Gadda...

    2:47 mins | 8 months ago
  7. Gaddafi's Son Saif Al-Arab Gaddafi 'Killed In N...

    2:25 mins | 5 months ago
  8. Colonel Gaddafi Funny Caption - Colonel Gaddafi...

    12 sec | 7 months ago
  9. Gaddafi's son warns of civil war as protests wi...

    1:10 mins
  10. Gaddafis son Saifs Speech English Voice Over
  11. Gaddafi and family- home movie from 2005

    4:46 mins | 1 month ago
  12. Saif El Islam Gaddafi dirige a la nación Parte ...

    8 months ago
  13. After Obama 's "New Era" Speech Libyan Leader G...

    10:34 mins | 2 years ago
  14. Gaddafi's son claims deaths exaggerated in unrest

    1:16 mins | 8 months ago
  15. Saif al- Islam al- Qaddafi speaking in front of s...

    7 months ago
  16. Gaddafi son gives presser, repeats claims about...

    1:33 mins | 7 months ago
  17. Mohammed Gaddafi Son of Libya in War and Peace ...

    2 months ago
  18. Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam: US looks on Libya...

    23:57 mins | 3 months ago
  19. Gaddafi's Son To Replace Him

    6:31 mins | 6 months ago
  20. NTC president responds to Saif al-Islam's 'escape'

    1:09 mins | 2 months ago

Posted October 22, 2011
Hell-sent dictator Muammar el-Gaddafi's blood-streaked body on display in a commercial freezer at a shopping center Friday, October 21, 2011  
gaddafi body display  
Body of Gaddafi's son Mutassim
gaddafi son body
Mutassim, who was permitted to smoke a cigarette, as one of the videos below will show, after he was captured, his body was on Thursday, October 20, 2011 laid in a private house in the city of Misrata. 

Libya’s liberation

The colonel is caught

The demise of Muammar Qaddafi will give new life to the Arab revolution

FORTY-TWO years after he took power in a coup as a handsome 27-year-old captain, Africa’s longest-serving dictator was finally brought to bay on October 20th in his home town of Sirte. At first it was said that Muammar Qaddafi had been wounded. Later reports, as The Economist went to press, suggested he had died.

Either way, his demise spells the end of a vile reign. He tormented his own people and made mischief far and wide—in his own country, across Africa and the Arab world, and in the skies and cities of Europe. Some, among his own tribesmen and in parts of sub-Saharan Africa that received his largesse, may mourn his demise. But for the overwhelming mass of humanity, at home and abroad, his capture is a cause of undiluted celebration.

The fall of Sirte, which followed that of the other surviving holdout town of Bani Walid, means that virtually the whole of Libya is in the hands of the forces that took up arms against the colonel in February. The country is not entirely safe, however. In Abu Salim, a suburb of Tripoli where support for the colonel was deemed strongest, there was a recent armed eruption of opposition to the new rulers, albeit quickly put down. In the vast desert to the south of the coastal strip where more than 90% of Libyans reside, there may be pockets of resistance. It could take time for pro-Qaddafi people to be fully defeated and rounded up. The whereabouts of the colonel’s most prominent son, Seif, are not yet known.

The fall of the colonel marks only the beginning of a hoped-for political, economic and moral renaissance. Justice will need to be done, and be seen to be done; but reconciliation must also be pursued. It is up to the new ruling authorities, led by the avuncular chairman of the transitional national council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, to balance the two.

The fledgling government’s behaviour in Tripoli and elsewhere suggests that it will go out of its way to avoid undue triumphalism. Leaders of the transitional council have said that all of the body’s members will step down within a month of the total liberation of the country and that a new government, also transitional, will be set up leading to elections within a fairly short time; some say less than a year, others perhaps two years.

Meanwhile, the economy has shown early signs of bouncing back, as the country’s plentiful oil wells begin pumping again. Production has already exceeded 350,000 barrels a day (b/d) and is set to rise to 1m b/d within four months or so. Libya’s 6m-plus people should, if a more efficient and decent system of government is established, become some of the most prosperous in the world.

But politics is another matter. There is already rivalry between Islamists and secular-minded people, between tribesmen and urbanites, between east and west, between Tripoli and Benghazi, the original rebel headquarters in the east. Some Western observers already fear the Islamists have the upper hand—and may not remain pro-Western for long. But so far Mr Abdul Jalil and his de facto prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, seem level-headed and sincere in their insistence that they want to help build a pluralistic and democratic state.

Fallen at last

The colonel’s final fall is also welcome news for David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy and for NATO. Heavily criticised for willing an end without having the means to achieve it, both the British prime minister and the French president stuck to their guns even when some of the military advice they were receiving was glumly predicting a long-drawn-out stalemate and the division of the country into a pro-Qaddafi west and an anti-Qaddafi east.

NATO too came under fire, particularly in America, for its at times cautious approach to targeting and for lacking the firepower without greater American participation to bring about a decisive conclusion. In fact, the extreme accuracy of the thousands of missions flown by NATO aircraft (mainly British and French) patiently ground down the regime and reduced its ability to carry on fighting. Moreover, it did so with remarkably few civilian casualties.

More importantly for the Arab world in general, it will provide a fillip for those who seek to build democracy and the rule of law elsewhere. Tunisia is due on October 23rd to hold an election to a constituent assembly. Egypt, though passing through a rocky patch, is still on course to hold an election next month that should lead to the removal of the military authorities and the establishment of a proper democracy. So, with luck, a belt of countries across north Africa should now see democracies gradually entrenched. The demise of Colonel Qaddafi is a vital piece of the jigsaw falling into place.

 Use the interactive "carousel" to browse our coverage of the Arab uprising through graphics

The rest of the Arab world still has a long way to go. Syria remains turbulent. Week after week, protesters are continuing courageously to demonstrate against the regime of President Bashar Assad, perhaps the nastiest in the region after Colonel Qaddafi’s. The forces of democracy there too will be given a big boost.

The end of Colonel Qaddafi may be a largely symbolic moment. It will not necessarily spell the onset of sweetness and light across the region. But it is a turning point all the same.

Posted October 22, 2011
Philippe Desmazes/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Libyans waited to view the body of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi on the outskirts of Misurata on Friday.
Libyan Leaders Appear to Differ Over Qaddafi Burial

Euphoria in Libya over the death of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi was tempered on Friday by frictions and confusion over where and when to bury the former strongman.

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After Qaddafi, New Protests and Hope in Syria

The Syrian National Council, trying to emulate the success of Libya’s opposition leadership, has closed ranks in the most concerted attempt yet to forge an alternative to President Bashar al-Assad.

Libyan War Shows the U.S. Is Still the Key Ally

The United States remains the backbone of any NATO offensive, despite the process of “leading from behind.”

Posted October 21, 2011

Violent End to an Era as Qaddafi Dies in Libya


Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi was killed Thursday as fighters battling the vestiges of his fallen regime took control of his hometown of Surt after a prolonged struggle, the interim government said.

After Making Capture in Pipe, Displaying the Trophies of War


Fighters from Misurata were the first to find Colonel Qaddafi and kept as souvenirs his last prized possessions.

Dictator's Demise Turns Focus on Challenges of Transition


The exhilaration prompted by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's capture was quickly tempered by images of his corpse, a reminder of the many still-unresolved conflicts that the Arab Spring has also unleashed.

"We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Qaddafi has been killed."
MAHMOUD JIBRIL, the prime minister of the Transitional National Council, Libya's interim government.

Blocked imageSlide Show: Muammar el-Qaddafi: 42 Years as the Face of Libya

The 27-year-old junior officer who led a bloodless coup that deposed Libya's monarch in 1969 became a powerful dictator who styled himself a desert nomad philosopher.


Colonel Qaddafi's End

Libyans must resist reprisals and channel their passion into building a free and productive country. If not, they risk even more chaos and suffering.

Posted October 20, 2011


Last Stronghold Falls to Libyan Forces

Disturbing Images Raise Questions About How He Died

Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi was killed Thursday as fighters battling vestiges of his fallen regime seized his hometown of Surt after a prolonged struggle, the interim government said.

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Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, 1942-2011

An Erratic Leader, Defiant to the End

For more than 40 years, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, a provocative dictator, ruled Libya with an iron hand.

The Lede Blog

Latest Updates on the Death of Muammar el-Qaddafi

The Lede is following developments in Libya on Thursday, where the interim government has announced the capture of the city of Surt, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's hometown.

News Analysis
Another Success for a New Approach to War

It is unclear whether the strategy’s gains will be lasting, and if they can be replicated in other conflicts.

  • comment icon
The Lede Blog
Latest Updates

An amateur video shows that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi was still alive when he was captured.

Battle for Libya

Nine months of images from the fighting in Libya.

Interactive Timeline: Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi

Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi led Libya through 40 years of authoritarian rule before being toppled by a rebellion., the scholarly journal of democracy and human rights
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