2011-02-26 Live blog for #Libya #Feb17 from February 15 – 28

SATURDAY, February 26

11:30 PM Saif Gaddafi’s London School of Economics examiner, economist Lord Desai,responded to acusations of plagiarism by Saif, saying that Saif earned the PhD, and “I read the thesis, I examined him along with an examiner, he defended his thesis very, very thoroughly, he had nobody else present there, and I don’t think there’s any reason to think he didn’t do it himself. This is over-egging the pudding. The man is evil enough – you don’t have to add that he’s a plagiarist as well.” The 1.5 million pounds he subsequently donated to the university had nothing to do with it.

7:30 Al Arabiya reports that the Tajoura district is now clear of security forces. “The residents said troops opened fire on demonstrators who tried to march from Tajoura to central Green Square overnight, killing at least five people. … Gaddafi’s strongest European ally, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said at a political rally in Rome on Saturday that Gaddafi appears to be no longer in control of the situation in his country. …”It seems that effectively Gaddafi no longer controls the situation in Libya… If we can all come to an agreement, we can end this bloodbath and support the Libyan people,” Berlusconi said.

“Peace is coming back to our country,” Saif al-Islam Gaddafi told reporters flown into Libya under close government supervision. “If you hear fireworks don’t mistake it for shooting. Hopefully there will be no more bloodshed. By tomorrow we will solve this.”

7:10 PM From Al JazeeraThe situation is very dangerous – every day there are more than a hundred who die – every day – every day there are shootings – the most dangerous situation is for foreigners like us – and also us black people – Because Gaddafi brought soldiers from Chad from Niger – they are black and they are killing Arabs.

7:00 PM Saif al-Islam Gaddafi continues round of interviews to persuade international community that the Gaddafis are fighting Al Qaeda.

Meanwhile, the London School of Economics is distancing themselves from their former PhD student. Saif al=Islam had given the school 1.5 million pounds (2.4 million) from his Gadhafi International Charity and Development Foundation. The school said the money was used to fund a North African research program, which has now been suspended.

7:00 PM Saif al_islam to C4 News: “The Libyan people woke up and they have seen the danger.” What spirit is your father in? “Very good. Morals are very high.”

6:00 AM We at WL Central have been publishing horrifying videos of carnage in Libya since February 15, in an attempt to show the world that what the rest of the media were calling “unconfirmed deaths” and “alleged accounts” were in fact real. There is only so much we can take, and the rest of the media has caught on to what is happening in Libya, so we are no longer showing all of the graphic videos and eyewitness accounts. That does not mean they are not still happening, see Libya February 17 for the latest.

According to Al JazeeraWashington is finalising sanctions against Libya; the precise plan will be outlined in “the near future” according to Washington spokesperson, Jay Carney. “The mechanics of the sanctions have not been finalised.” Still no word at all on how this would benefit the Libyan people. Meanwhile, The UAE will send two plane loads of humanitarian aid to Libya, where protesters are battling the regime. Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan was quoted as saying “two planes carrying humanitarian aid will leave Saturday from the UAE to Libya via Turkey in order to meet the urgent needs of the Libyan people in the circumstances they are facing.” Qatar sent a relief plane to Libya on Friday that Qatar Airways said will land in Libya’s second city Benghazi, which is in the hands of the protesters.

The Ottawa Citizen reports defecting generals from Gadhafi’s eastern army units said Friday that they’d moved 1,000 troops toward Tripoli, as well as assigned a special unit to hunt down the Libyan leader. Reserve soldiers are also being called up either to defend cities or march on Tripoli.

The United Nations Security Council is discussing sanctions, including a total arms embargo, freezing of assets and travel bans on Libyan government officials. The European Union is also looking at sanctions. U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order imposing sanctions against the Gadhafi regime, and had not ruled out military action. There is even some suggestion the International Criminal Court might investigate the Libyan government’s attacks on protesters, with a view to indicting senior officials for crimes against humanity.

However, the notion of using western military forces to impose a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent Gadhafi from using warplanes and helicopter gunships against his own people has been stymied by China and Russia, even though both countries have large numbers of nationals in Libya. So far, the only serious military response on the part of western countries has been to use planes and warships to help evacuate nationals stranded in Libya. Western politicians fear their citizens will be used as pawns if Gadhafi should seek reprisals for any sanctions or military interventions.

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