2011-02-15 Live blog for #Libya #Feb17 from February 15 - 28

Image WL Central will be updating news on Libya, with new items added at the top. You can contact me on twitter @GeorgieBC or by email at

Current time and date in Tripoli:

MONDAY, February 28

11:00 PM The US Treasury has said that US$30 billion in Libyan assets have been blocked and US naval ships and planes are being moved closer to Libya, "planning and preparing" for missions, "whether humanitarian or otherwise". Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, would not discuss military options but said that the US would consider a range of responses against Gaddafi if he continued to attack his own people. David Cameron said the UK did not rule out the use of force against Muammar Gaddafi and he has asked colleagues to work on plans for a no-fly zone and would consider arming the Libyan opposition.

France is sending two planes with humanitarian aid, including medicine and doctors, to Benghazi – the first direct western aid to the uprising.

9:00 PM Muammar Gaddafi tells BBC that no one is protesting against him, no one is against him, all the Libyan people love him and would die for him. He says the people protesting are Al Qaeda.

2011-03-01 Next big protest in #Iraq on #Mar4 #Kurdistan #Iraq4c #Feb25

WL Central will be updating news on Iraq, with new items added at the top. You can contact me on twitter @GeorgieBC or by email at

Current time and date in Baghdad:

TUESDAY, March 1

The next protest in Iraq has been set for Friday, March 4. Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki and Baghdad Operations Command have apologized today for restricting freedom of press during the February 25 protest and released all detained reporters. Maliki has also proposed a reduction in retirement age from 63 to 61 and called to dissolve the municipal council and to hold early provincial elections.

An account of the fourteenth day in Sulaymaniyah from The Moving Silent. MONDAY, February 28 An account of the thirteenth day in Sulaymaniyah from The Moving Silent.

"100s of civlians r held by #KDP in #Erbil 4 protestin, claims pro-democracy Australian doc (who was abducted by KDP) PLS RT WE NEED UR HELP" via @GorranGuy

"@BayanRahman @BarhamSalih @qubadjt Any comments on the kidnapping and torture claims by Australian doc Dr. Reben Renwar in #Erbil?" via @GorranGuy

2011-03-01 No million citizen march in #Zimbabwe, UN expresses concern over imprisonment #Mar1

ImageAs reported earlier on WL Central, a million citizen march was planned for today in Harare, by a facebook group with currently 1292 members. While the march did not materialize, and neither did protests or demonstrations of any kind, the group is claiming a victory for provoking a reaction from the country's military and police. Armoured cars, trucks of riot police and Israeli-built water cannon vehicles had swept through Harare over the weekend, fanning out into townships around the city. Authorities gave no explanation for the display of force.

The failure of any protest materializing could have been due to the government reaction, or it could indicate, in a country where 15% of the population have internet access, that they simply had not heard of it. There is no mention of it on the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition website and they in fact have stated that they were not aware of it. Neither did it have any stated backing of any other local human rights or political opposition movements.

WL Central also reported earlier on the arrest, imprisonment, and torture for some, of Munyaradzi Gwisai, the International Socialist Organisation (ISO) general coordinator, and 45 others on February 19. They were charged on the 23rd with treason, which carries the death penalty, or subverting a constitutionally elected government, for which the maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment for watching a video of the uprising in Egypt.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed her deep concern over the case today. "Many people in North Africa have said clearly and loudly that there is no democracy without freedom of expression and assembly. It is both ironic and disturbing that in Zimbabwe, activists are being arrested and abused for simply discussing the efforts in North Africa to bring change through peaceful demonstrations."

2011-02-24 Street maintenance and a cup of tea with police in #China #CNJasmine2011 #cn227 #OpChina


WL Central will be updating news on China, with new items added at the top. You can contact me on twitter @GeorgieBC or by email at

Current time and date in Beijing:

Sunday, February 27

Since Friday, a message has gone out on Twitter that says was forged. The founders of the Jasmine Revolution in China, decided to cancel the action. Watching so many people be arrested and missing, we are deeply ashamed. It was a difficult decision: Please do not go to the afternoon to take to the streets, and the meetings at 2 pm every Sunday is also canceled. A "climate of fear" was also created in the two days prior to scheduled protests, with many midnight raids and arrests of activists. Many activists were invited to "come in for a cup of tea", the euphemism for an interrogation. The Chinese government is censoring not just the word "Jasmine", as the name of the revolution, but many other plant names as well, such as "azalea", "rhododendron" etc. There were two days of heavy snow in Beijing leading up to protests.

The protests in China today were marked largely by the beating of anyone attempting to film them. Either the Chinese government is afraid of the powerful images they have seen from other countries, or they just could not find a better way to deal with the "strolling" protest. The BBC says, "unable to distinguish the protesters, who'd been called to "stroll" peacefully and silently past McDonald's restaurant at 1400, from genuine shoppers they focussed on picking out foreign reporters and cameramen."

2011-02-28 #Qatar protest postponed, now rumours of attempted coup and more #Mar16

ImageAs reported previously on WL Central, a facebook group appeared calling for a protest "against corruption" in Qatar. "Support the revolution, Qatar February 27 against corruption."

As we reported then, Neither the posted info nor the comments have issued more specific demands, than to "topple this corrupt regime" but 500 people have liked the page which has been up since around February 8. The current Emir of Qatar, Hamad Bin Khalifa took control from his father in 1995. He has been criticized in the Arab world for meeting with Israeli minister Tzipi Livni, and for supporting the Al Jazeera news network which is critical of other Arab governments and frequently airs western and Israeli views.

Now a new Facebook page is calling for protests on March 16, and twitter is divided between retweets of

"It was written by non qatari people. It was 27feb and no body react to it and then they moved it to new date."


"Facebook Page of #16March Revolt in Qatar Was Blocked inside #Qatar"

2011-02-23 #Mauritania protests #Feb25


February 25 Update

Hundreds protesting turned into thousands today in the Mauritania capital Nouakchott, as people answered the call put out on facebook. Police removed the initial hundreds from Blocat Square and arrested one early on Saturday, only to have thousands return. The facebook page states the goal is to "achieve democracy and justice in our country." Discrimination between the poor non-Arab population and the richer Arab citizens is an issue, as is the military rule from a prime Minister, Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf, who came to power through a "coup d'etat". In response to the threatened protests, the prime minister had promised that the government would soon create 17,000 jobs, develop new infrastructure projects and boost local food production capacity to tackle spikes in prices.

The protesters have promised to continue until their demands are met.

February 23

From the AnonNews site:

Aziz isn't stronger than Ben Ali, Moubarak or Kadafi!

We are not weaker than the young people from Tunisia, Egypt or Libya.

Send text-messages to all your friends!

The 25th of Februari at 12:00 o'clock.

Place: The court blocks - NOUAKCHOTT

Objective: To overthrow Aziz.

Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz is the ruthless dictator of Mauritania, who acquired power through a "coup d'etat" on the 6th of August 2008, and established himself as leader without any democratic measures taken.

Image credit: Facebook page.

2011-02-27 A Cablegate Farewell to Tunisia Interim PM Mohammed Ghannouchi

ImageTime for a Cablegate farewell to interim PM Mohamed Ghannouchi. The revolution wanted Ghannouchi gone the moment he stepped into power. His ties to the Ben Ali regime could not be overcome.

Tunisian youths were allegedly throwing rocks breaking windows right after the resignation speech. Reuters reports security forces "fired tear gas and rounds in the air to disperse them. There was no sign of any wounded."

Ghannouchi was one official the US State Department thought might succeed Ben Ali if he ever became fatally ill. This is how Ghannouchi was described in a January 9, 2006 cable titled, "Succession In Tunisia: Finding A Successor Or Feet First?":

Prime Minister Ghannouchi: (8/18/1941) A career technocrat and trained economist, Ghannouchi has served as Prime Minister since 1999. Ghannouchi is rumored to have told many that he wishes to leave the GOT but has not had the opportunity. The length of his service as PM also suggests that Ben Ali does not view him as a threat and that he is unlikely to be viewed as a qualified successor. However, average Tunisians generally view him with respect and he is well-liked in comparison to other GOT and RCD officials.

Average Tunisians' attitudes (whatever that demographic is to US officials) appear to have been made insignificant by the revolutionary organizers who continue to move Tunisia closer to the society they envision.

Messages from Libya via a friend/Feb 24, 2011

This is an account that was passed on to me by a friend’s friend.

Please help get this published/share/circulate. This person said it best: Talk to your friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, facebook friends and everyone else, about what is going on.

A friend of mine lives in Libya and has been in the center of the area where Gaddafi’s regime is brutally cracking down on protesters against the government. There are reports of hundreds, maybe thousands, of casualties. I’m going to post here excerpts from his emails from the last few days:

Please note, his identity is confidential as he is living with his family in a very dangerous situation – in a place where govt hired mercenaries are all over the streets shooting in the head and neck anyone and everyone they see, often randomly.

Read More

2011-02-26 Police Forces Block Protests in #Algeria

WL Central will be updating news on Algeria, with new items added at the top. You can contact me on twitter @kgosztola or by email at

Current time and date in Algeria:

SATURDAY, February 26

Image3:55 PM
El Watan live blogged the action in Algeria as police prevented a protest from taking place in Place des Martyrs. The NCCD tried to hold the protest.

The post describes how police swarmed the streets and occupied sidewalks and pedestrian spaces in the capital of Algiers. Said Saadi and other protesters showed up to begin the action and police divided a forming group into two smaller groups. Said Saadi tried to get up on a police vehicle and go talk to some of the protesters and the police brought him down violently.

Protesters on Che Guevera boulevard began to hold an action only to be dispersed by security forces.

At 12:00, the area was still filled with police. There were tiny pockets of protesters in the area carrying portraits of Bouteflika demanding his resignation but the police effectively prevented anything from taking place.

Here is what appears to be video from the February 26 action that was broken up by police:

2011-02-24 Former Guantanamo Detainee Denies Islamic Emirate Has Been Set Up in Eastern Libya [UPDATE:1]

ImageLibya’s deputy foreign minister, Khaled Khaim, has reportedly told European Union ambassadors in Tripoli that al-Qaeda has set up an Islamic emirate in Derna in Eastern Libya. He allegedly said a former Guantanamo Bay detainee is heading the emirate. Residents in Derna deny this has happened.

Residents in Derna deny this has happened. Al Jazeera posted this exclusive with the "man accused by the Libyan government of leading an Islamist emirate in Derna, Libya." Abdul Hakeem Al Hasadi said reports of an "emirate" were the result of pure propaganda and said the Gaddafi  is circulating this propaganda because he is a former political prisoner:

"I am, Abdul Hakeem Al Hasadi, a Libyan citizen and a former political prisoner. I would like to read the following statement in response to lies made by Dictator Gaddafi and his propaganda machine. I tell them that I am one of the participants in the revolution of Feb 17th along with the youth and people of Derna against the corrupt regime of Gaddafi. 

"Gaddafi is trying to divide the people of the nation. He claims that there is an Islamist Emirate in Derna and that I am its Emir. He is taking advantage from the fact that I am a former political prisoner."

Despite the fact that this may not be true, prepare for this latest report from a Libyan official to become a self-perpetuating thread in the story of the Libyan revolution. As WL Central waits for more information on whether this Islamic emirate has been established or not, let's consider what Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Leader Muammar Gaddafi have said since the uprising began (and the various WikiLeaks cables from Libya which we have available).

2011-02-24 Arming Gaddafi

The young United States had barely thrown off it's own colonial shackles when in 1805 it flexed its nascent imperial powers against what is now Libya. U.S. Marines captured the Eastern Libyan city of Darnah, raise the U.S. flag over it and forced the ruler in Tripoli to sign a commercial treaty with the U.S. before withdrawing. Since those days, wherever US Marines fight and kill, from Vietnam to Afghanistan, they proudly remember those early battles to put down the Barbary pirates and insure favorable trade relations "on the shores of Tripoli."

Robbed of piracy as an income source the three areas which make up present day Libya, Tripolitania, Fezzan, and Cyrenaica, fell back under the control of the Ottoman Empire which had pretty much ran things there since the middle of the 16th century anyway. Libya rotted as a backwater of "the sick man of Europe" until Italy invaded and united the three areas as its colony in 1911. When Italy lost WWII, it lost its colony. It became the Independent and United Kingdom of Libya in 1951.

It stayed a kingdom until 1969 when a 27 year old army captain Muammar Gaddafi led a military coup d'état, installed himself as dictator and promoted himself to colonel. Military power put Gaddfi in control and he has always shown a keen interest in increasing it plus he has the petrol dollars to buy lots. This has long made him a most favored customer of the international arms industry.

2011-02-23 Mugabe seeks the death penalty for citizens watching video of #Tunisia and #Egypt, #Zimbabwe protest set for #Mar1

ImageMunyaradzi Gwisai, the International Socialist Organisation (ISO) general coordinator, and 45 others were charged in Zimbabwe today with treason, which carries the death penalty, or subverting a constitutionally elected government, for which the maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment. The charges stem from a meeting the plaintiffs allegedly held, by invitation, and participants, although invited, were subjected to thorough vetting before being allowed into a room which was kept under lock and key. In this room they allegedly complained that "in Zimbabwe, there was a long authoritarian leadership , general hunger, poverty, unemployment and capitalist practices where wealth was enjoyed by a few individuals while the general populace of Zimbabwe was suffering."

2011-02-21 Opposition leader attacked #Cameroon #Feb23

WL Central will be updating news on Cameroon, with new items added at the top. You can contact me on twitter @GeorgieBC or by email at

Current time and date in Yaoundé:

WEDNESDAY, February 23

A video of Cameroon's scheduled protests today.

Paul Biya - Clear police brutality against the demonstrators on February 23, 2011 in Yaounde.

The Cameroonian people rises to say no to Paul Biya, the Cameroon president for over 28 years, but as we can see from this video, the elements of the police and the army hesitate to use force to suppress a legitimate manifestation of Cameroonians.

2011-02-24 Bahrain February Protest Coverage

WL Central will be updating news on Bahrain, with new items added at the top. All times are ET in USA.

You can contact me on twitter @carwinb or by email at Don't send media when links available. Most email is not encrypted and not anonymous. I cannot guarantee anyone's safety in transmission.

Current time and date in Manama, Bahrain:

Send Arabic #firstaid images by MMS/SMS/email or print as fliers usng #Bahrain.

THURSDAY, February 24

  • Hassan Mashaima was arrested Tuesday at Beirut airport en route to Bahrain.

    Hassan Mashaima was arrested Tuesday at Beirut airport based on an arrest warrant issued by Interpol, the official, who requested anonymity, told AFP. "He was detained on order of the prosecutor general," he said.

    He added that when Mashaima was questioned, he pointed out that he was among several opposition figures pardoned earlier this week by the king of Bahrain.

    The official said that Lebanese authorities were seeking legal documents proving Mashaima had been pardoned.
    "When we receive these documents, we will act accordingly," he said.

    Mashaima was among 25 men charged in Bahrain in October with forming an illegal organisation, engaging in and financing terrorism and spreading false and misleading information. (Source:

    Bahrain: Ensure Rights of Freed Political Prisoners | Human Rights Watch

2011-02-23 The United Arab Emirates chooses #Mar25 #UAE!/MessyLittleRain/status/40280331504467968

A Facebook page and hashtags #UAE and #Mar25 announce a day of protest for the United Arab Emirates "a revolution against the era of the Senate - a revolution against oppression and suppression of freedoms in the United Arab Emirates - a revolution against the wealth looted from the people of the UAE." There are currently 2,598 members on Facebook. On Twitter it is going over with about as much enthusiasm as the announced Qatar protest.

2011-02-21 #Djibouti release opposition, promise "severe measures" for future protests

ImageSunday, February 20

Afrol News is reporting that the government has freed the country's three main opposition leaders, Ismaël Guedi Hared, the leader of Djibouti's main opposition coalition Union for a Democratic Alternative (UAD), Aden Robleh Awalleh and Mohamed Daoud Chehem, leaders of the minor opposition parties PND and UJD. The government is also warning against further protests.

Protesters were able to keep control of the Balbala neighbourhood during the night from Friday to Saturday. Protests on Saturday were concentrated in Balbala, as armed security forces stopped the protesters from reaching the city centre.

National Security chief Hassan Said Khaireh said that "authorities will have to take severe measures to punish those responsible for these troubles and senseless act of violence."

Saturday, February 19

2011-02-19 "This Week in WikiLeaks Podcast" on MENA Protests & WikiLeaks


The third episode of this weekly podcast, which looks at stories related to WikiLeaks from the past week, featured guest Michael K. Busch, who teaches international relations at the City College of New York, where he is also program coordinator at the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies. He has posted on blogs on released cables on WikiBlogged, and he is listed as a resource in the back of Greg Mitchell's recently published book, "Age of WikiLeaks," which you can purchase in print on or in e-book form off of Amazon. [Follow him on Twitter @michaelkbusch]

The program for this week's show was dedicated to protests and violence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The show will provide updates on what is happening in the region and discuss some released WikiLeaks cables that provide context for what is happening.

2011-02-19 #Libya, a Republic for the Masses?

Muammar al-Gaddafi came to power in Libya on the 1st of September 1969 through a military coup which proclaimed the Libyan Arab Republic. Now he is the longest serving national leader that does not belong to a royal family. His stance on international affairs has mostly been conflictive and aggressive in nature, although after a long list of disputes, such as financing terrorism worldwide or military clashes with the U.S., he moderated his policies seeking collaboration with international corporations, especially with the Bush Administration.

In the early years of his regime Gadaffi set up a system based on what he called Islamic socialism. In practice this meant a system based on popular or direct democracy, where the population would be organized in communes or popular councils so as to personally elect their leaders. The state was built upon these units and controlled the larger companies, leaving the small ones for private ownership. In 1975 he started publishing a recollection of his philosophy in what he named the "Green Book", where he called the system in Libya the Third International Theory, a third way in between capitalism and communism. He also called his form of government Jamahiriya (a term coined by him), often translated as “republic of the masses”, thus officially making Libya the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. After some years Gaddafi stepped down from his leading position in the General Peoples Committee (the ruling governmental organ) and is now considered a spiritual guide under the title of “Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution".

2011-02-18 #Kuwait stateless arabs protest for citizenship - 30 wounded

Update: Saturday, February 19 Reuters has reported 30 people wounded and 50 arrested after yesterday's protests below. Seven of the wounded were security forces.

Youtube videos are posted of an estimated 1000 stateless Arabs protesting in Jahra, demanding citizenship. Police attacked with guns and water and reportedly arrested dozens.

Previously on WL Central:
2011-02-14 Kuwait Shaikh Jaber, investigated for death by torture, in the state cables - protests on March 8

2011-02-19 More cables reveal corruption in #Bahrain

Every day the constant flow of leaks reveals why the people are fighting so hard to tear down the regime and write a new constitution: they show Bahrain as a country based on media manipulation, government lobbying and all sorts of corruption and trafficking of influences.

Policies in Iraq

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