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The NYT’s Anthony Shadid On His Captivity In Libya

New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid on being captured by Gadhafi forces and what’s ahead for Libya.

The New York Times' Anthony Shadid in the On Point studios. (Nicholas Dynan for WBUR)

The New York Times' Anthony Shadid in the On Point studios. (Nicholas Dynan for WBUR)

Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent Anthony Shadid knows the Arab world as well as any reporter working today. And he knows Libya maybe too well.

Last month, Shadid and three colleagues were taken captive by forces loyal to Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi. They were bound, blindfolded, and beaten for days as they bounced through Libya’s ragged battlefields. Now they’re out, and Shadid is talking about that experience, the US role in Libya, and the turmoil sweeping North Africa and the Middle East.

This hour On Point: Anthony Shadid on captivity and Arab uprising.

- Tom Ashbrook


Anthony Shadid is a Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent for the New York Times. On March 15, he and three colleagues from the New York Times were captured by Gadhafi forces. They were released on March 21.


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  • LRob

    While Mr. Shadid was in the presence of the Turkish ambassador, Shadid should have asked the ambassador why Turkey refuses to acknowledge the Armenian massacre and why Turkey is illegaly occupying half of Cyprus.

    • Cory

      Now THAT’S gratitude!

    • Cory

      Then the ambassador should’ve asked about the incendiary bombings of Tokyo and Dresden and the forced internment of Japanese Americans during world war two. Maybe then he could ask why the United States with five percent of the world’s population uses twenty five percent of the world’s energy resources.

      What’s your point, LRob?

  • Michael

    So Can the No Fly Zone target Civilians rallying for Gaddafi? What happens when the Rebels take over a town that has pro Gaddafi Civilians there? are they allow to protest?

    If anyone is interested those major victories last week (before it was over turned) reported in the U.S. press of rebel taking towns were due to the West Bombing out many of the towns so when rebels came there were little no resistance there.


    Meanwhile, rebels in the stronghold of Benghazi say oil fields in the areas they control are producing 100,000 to 130,000 barrels per day, and that this could easily be increased to 300,000.



    • Ellen Dibble

      From Michael’s “League of India” link (above), an issue dated a week ago today, Monday, “The Arab channel said many fighters loyal to Gaddafi have been taken hostage by the rebelas. Among them is one of Gaddafi’s senior-most officers gen Bilgasim Al-Ganga.”
      That’s another way to get Gaddafi’s henchmen to “switch sides,” if true — where is al-Ganga today? (And is mutual hostage taking replacing armed whatever — armed pickup-truck speed-herdings now east now west?)
      Note too, George Will, yesterday to Christiane Amanpour on ABC, referred to “humanitarian imperialism,” which suggests the UN, maybe is foisting civilization upon the planet.

  • Michael

    Question for Anthony Shadid,

    If the U.S. government asked him to hold a story in Libya would he? Like Rebels attacking African migrants and Libyans of African origin ? these groups would still be civilians.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I heard Shadid on some interview say that the hostage-takers, once they had determined our common humanity, treated them well. Was he in the hands of one group of hostage-takers the whole time? Did they convey to others they met, hey, these are okay human beings, okay to laugh together, joke together, break bread together?
    That’s crucial. Were those hostage-takers living in a two-faced world where you show the face of a dictatorial regime until you establish some common base (a shared language? a shared religion? a shared sense of proportion, whatever you call it, culture?)?
    Is Shadid Muslim? Arabic speaking? Was the woman treated the same way? Badly until some commonality was established?
    Were those Shadid met mercenaries? From Mali, Chad, Uganda? Were there higher-ups commanding more loosely coordinated ones? What was their atttitude to the rebels?

  • Peter

    Unfortunately, the American press has marginal credibility. The press is totally in bed with the Establishment/government. Read Carl Bernstein’s 1977 expose about CIA infiltration of the press. It’s ten times worse today. Shadid and his crew are propagandists. Gaddafi’s country is an economic engine for North Africa, and that is why it is being targeted. A prosperous North Africa is considered a security threat to Israel and the Western powers.

    • Alex

      oh no don’t start with Israel . by the way Nothing on the retraction of the Goldstone report ….when it was the opposite it was constant in the media (and then they say jews control the media !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

      • Peter

        Israel is a big player in the region. Why the silence? You mean Israel is sitting around with its hands in its pockets while all this is happening in North Africa–their back yard?

        • Alex

          why did the New york times refuse to publish the Goldstone retraction?

          • Peter

            Retraction, Alex? For real? Can you give us a reliable source for that, a link, perhaps? I’d love to see it. I heard nothing about a “retraction.”

          • Michael

            they confuse retraction with regret,but amazing enough the WP, and other U.S. news sources didn’t publish this,


            The source also said that since the publication of the Goldstone Report two years ago, the judge and his wife have been socially ostracized in Jewish circles, which has caused them a great deal of sorrow.

            Broken man
            Dr. Alon Liel, a friend of Goldstone’s from his days as a Foreign Ministry representative in South Africa, went a step further and said that Goldstone has “been through hell” and that has contributed to his decision to publish a letter of regret.

            “He was being constantly harassed, received threatening letters, and was forced to change his phone number and email addresses,” Liel said. “When Israel decided to boycott him, it was an overwhelming insult.’I’m a Jewish judge, a respected Zionist – and Israel doesn’t trust me?’ He was a broken man.

            “I’m not saying that the threats he received and the hell he went through are what made him publish his article, but there is no doubt in my mind that it influenced his decision.”

          • Alex E.

            what BS …you have more in your pocket?

          • Alex E.


    • Anonymous

      Quite the conspiracy theory there. We didn’t get involved until we were asked to do so by the rebels, and Gaddafi’s hardly an example of enlightened leadership.

      How would a prosperous North Africa threaten Israel and the West? Prosperous nations that provide the needs of their peoples and liberty as well tend to be our friends, not our enemies.

      Why do you see Shadid as a propagandist?

      • Peter

        At least Shadid did admit that he and his crew could indeed have been spies, and that they were well treated. He also, to his credit, have described the “rebels” as a rag-tag group. But he seems to subscribe to the view that Gaddafi’s regime has had no upside to the people. The press has generally supported a pro-rebel viewpoint. NPR did air an interview of a Libyan citizen who was against the NATO-US intervention, but that seems to have been the only one. The West, gregcamp, want “client states” in North Africa. And they want their commission, in terms of IMF/World Bank subjugation. It’s called total control.

  • Tyrone M Jackson

    The claims by the US Military that they can’t take out the armor that Gadaffi has in the various towns in bogus. I used to work on the development of precision air to ground missiles, as well as anti-tank missiles. I worked on Maverick (AMG-65), TOW (BGM-71) and Hellfire (AGM-114). The dirty little secret is that the Israelis, in the 70’s, would buy Maverick’s with dummy warheads to take out tanks with almost zero collateral damge. These missiles are precise enough to actually hit the tanks almost all of the time, and the kinetic energy of the dummy warheads is enough to disable the tanks. In the case of Maverick’s, which is a much larger missile, a Maverick with a dummy warhead will punch completely though the tank.

    The US Military knows it can take out Gadaffi’s armor embedded in town squares with Hellfires with dummy warheads and have basically zero collateral damage.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Interesting, Tyrone, but is it that clear who is Government, and who is Rebel? Especially given certain assumptions (hopes?) about parts of the military switching sides?

  • Ellen Dibble

    As I think about it, I’m not surprised Shadid learned that Gaddafi’s fighters were taken in by his propaganda, about the rebels being al-Kaeda, which I guess means super violent??? More religious? Actually, I’m not sure, except that Gaddafi persuaded his supporters the rebels would bring outside sort of criminal tyranny. (??)
    I recall being a young person in a red-scared America, and it took some doing during the Vietnam War to get American students to look at the situation without the fear of the Soviet Union dominating. We didn’t like to have our propaganda (about the evil empire, however you want to say it) challenged at all. We didn’t like to think we had been brainwashed in order to unleash our army.
    I don’t think Shadid would have said to his captors, you’re crazy, I was just with the rebels, and they are elements of your own judiciary, and not a one we met from outside Libya — or whatever he was thinking. (Reporter that he is.)

  • Anonymous

    Is it only propaganda when you disagree with it? The Soviet Union was a real fear during the Cold War, as Russia is a concern today. That’s not propaganda; it’s just an assessment of the situation.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Were you alive during the era of McCarthyism? People avoided more than the particulars we needed to be afraid of. People were avoidant, shunning, both in the ways we thought, felt, didn’t think, didn’t look. We shut off a part of our humanity in the interests of a conflict that was vastly far extrapolated. There was no specific wolf at the door. I am still not sure we have a square view of what it was about the Soviet Union that was a threat. (Something similar is going on about the religion of Islam today.)
      Propaganda is when your emotions are being ginned up for someone’s ulterior motives, and the emotions bleed far over from where needed. It’s like a watercolor gone bad, flooded. In Libya, the government forces could be told the truth: the rebels are such and such, and this is why they are a threat.

  • Anonymous

    Libya appears to be heading toward the next Somalia–warlords battling each other, anarchy across the whole country, and pirates swarming the coast. Perhaps Benghazi will keep order, if the rebels can form a new government.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR

    • Ellen Dibble

      The American colonies weren’t much more than quarreling rabble at the beginning of 1776. If we hadn’t had a commander like Washington, would we have come together?

  • Darlene Sharman

    I would not trust somebody with a Christian First Name and an Arabic Last Name.
    Why was the leader of the Rebel Movement Khalifa has been living in Virginia for tha past 15 years and had a salary from CIA????
    NeoCons using CIA to stir problems all over again. Goal: Arabs killing each other!!!

    • Anonymous

      Why don’t you trust someone with a Christian given name and an Arabic family name? Shadid is Lebanonese. Many Lebanonese are Christians, while coming from an Arabic culture. Arabic doesn’t necessarily equal Muslim.

      About your other points, what are you talking about?

      • Darlene Sharman


        New Libyan rebel leader spent much of past 20 years in suburban Virginia
        .By CHRIS ADAMS
        McClatchy Newspapers
        WASHINGTON — The new leader of Libya’s opposition military spent the past two decades in suburban Virginia but felt compelled – even in his late-60s – to return to the battlefield in his homeland, according to people who know him.

        Khalifa Hifter was once a top military officer for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, but after a disastrous military adventure in Chad in the late 1980s, Hifter switched to the anti-Gadhafi opposition. In the early 1990s, he moved to suburban Virginia, where he established a life but maintained ties to anti-Gadhafi groups.

        Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/03/26/2136063/new-libyan-rebel-leader-spent.html#ixzz1IZDPNaCu

    • Peter

      The American CIA is a huge presence in foreign affairs. This entire “Arab spring” seems to be a concoction of foreign intelligence agencies.

      • Anonymous

        You ascribe a lot of power to the CIA. Why can’t this be a genuine uprising on the part of people who want a free society?

        • Peter

          Because historically, the CIA has been intimately involved in revolutions.

      • Ellen Dibble

        Which foreign intelligence agencies would that be? Google and FaceBook? Those in interested in lots of unrest and rearranging of all the seats? Hopefully so that Islamists can no longer say that in the name of stability the West is keeping most Muslim people oppressed? Whatever the State Department had in mind, this American thinks the idea of challenging American imperialism is very timely and good (post Cold War, that we didn’t “win,” just won the privilege of not having to continue to spend all our resources in “fighting”).
        It is at root a budgetary consideration. If we are going to try to be the global imperialist (for oil or for pride), we are going to go broke. And we are going to be hated and resented along the way. And we are losing our Value and Definition as Americans, which would be the Little Engine that Could, the colonies who threw off the yoke of the Great British Empire. We take under our wing, Statue of Liberty style, all those who yearn to breathe free.
        Nowadays, we take under our wing all those who yearn to breathe free all over the world, apparently, and do so by trusting them to do what we did, more or less. We salute the Universal Values and expect to see them emerge elsewhere. (I think.)

        • Peter

          I would not attach such altruistic notions to US actions abroad. The US trashed two countries in the past decade, and are working on a few more. Ellen, it looks to me like the game plan is to thwart the emergence of an economically strong and independent North Africa, which is seen as a threat to Western interests.

          • Marat

            Are you kidding? What economically strong and independent N. Africa were we thwarting with this CIA concocted “Arab Spring”?

            Mubarek and Ben Ali were each close an ally as the US could have, and Gaddafi cooperated with the West in the last 10 years or so.

            You seem incapable of thinking that those peoples rose up and demanded freedom and a new way of life on their own….

            If the US and theCIA has it’s way Mubarek and Ben Ali would still be in power….if you odn’t know that you are clueless. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the CIA is not as omnipotent as you believe.

  • Anonymous

    Many who disagree with our airstrikes are quick to label this as an attempt to grab oil or some other nefarious purpose, but what about the possibility that we feel sympathy with rebels who want freedom? That sounds like our own revolutionaries in the eighteenth century. As an advocate of democracy, America needs to support people who aspire to a representative government.

    Greg Camp
    Springdale, AR

    • Peter

      There are a thousand rebels. Are they representative of the country and what the country wants? What’s your evidence? People are said to live well in Libya. The fact that it imported a lot of foreign labor indicates that there was near full employment in that country. They are said to have free medical, education, etc. under Gaddafi. Have you educated yourself about real conditions in that country? Listen to the interview with the Libyan citizen aired by NPR news yesterday.

      • Anonymous

        Importing foreign labor doesn’t imply full employment of the citizens. Saudi Arabia imports foreign workers while many of its educated young adults are unemployed.

        What I hear from the interviews with Libyans are people who have lived in terror. I feel for people who want to overthrow a dictator.

        • Peter

          Selective interviews. By the way, you interview Americans and you will uncover quite a bit of discontent as well. All that has to be sorted through. A few cameo interviews by the media does not constitute an understanding of the state of Libya.

          • Marat

            But you, Peter, you know what is going on in Libya. All the journalists all over the world are all lying. They are all in the pay of the big corporations. All those Libyans who rose up…they were all CIA provocateurs….

            Give me a break…

  • Ellen Dibble

    I thought Gaddafi had spent decades trying to destabilize north Africa, funding rebels, maybe hoping for a sort of Master Libya to congeal, lording it over the region. It’s not just the oil. Diplomats know he needs to go.

    • Peter

      Gaddafi successfully resisted Western attempted hegemony, which is why people in his country have benefited from Libyan oil. If the West controlled it, it would be more like the US, where people can’t get a college education, it is so expensive. Gaddafi managed his country for the benefit of the population, in large part. Why is this not being reported? We still know little or nothing except that Gaddafi is supposed to be a “bad guy.” I don’t buy it. We still know nothing about the country itself, thanks to the government controlled American press.

      • Anonymous

        You forget the Lockerbie crash, perhaps? Gaddafi has supported terrorist groups around the world, when his agents aren’t actively involved themselves. He has meddled in Africa with the goal of making himself the leader of the continent. Yes, he gives his people (the ones who don’t question him) goodies, but at the same time, he has created an Orwellian state.

        • Peter

          Gregcamp, you need to examine Lockerbie a little more closely. A hint is that the guy convicted of the crime was let go. It was a political trial, and pinning the crime on Libya was a political phenomenon.

        • Michael

          Much like Saudi A. which btw is even worst on all fronts, and there is recent example of Saudi top officals money finding it’s way in the hands of terrorist.

          The Saudi King has stated that protesting against the government is against Sharia Law and can be meet with death(and has). We the U.S. just sold the Saudi’s 60 Billion in arms to stay in power even now the Saudi’s have produced and funded terrorist.

      • Ellen Dibble

        I’ve been reading about Libya. I’ve been finding Libyan novels translated into English. I find more about Libya than I found out about plenty of parts of the Soviet Union during several decades. There were reporters there, but to find out what really was going on, you had to go there yourself. It came across as an un-region, all gray.

        It seems control of the media has been less extreme in Libya, but the world has not wanted to know much what it’s like to live under Gaddafi, either in his idealist early phase, his outlaw second phase, or his latest appeasement phase.
        Shadid says he observes what I’ll call erratic behavior (of people, I believe he was saying both rebel and government), which he thinks is consistent with the erratic style of government. This may have to do with the median age of the population as well.

        But that is my take-home message from this man: He thinks civilian behavior/personality (in the Middle East anyway) reflects more or less the style of a government. Food for thought, that.

      • Bhejoon

        Gaddafi did not manage his country for the benifit of the people. He was an anti-tribal leader when he over threw the royals that ran the country. He has punished the region, and tribes that he was jelous of as a younge man. The areas near the oil fields are the poorest with no running water, or electricity, and raw sewage running in the streets… How does that benifit the civilians in those areas.

        • Peter

          No sewage system is standard operationg prodedure in most of the world, particularly in rural areas. I’m not saying that everybody lives like a king. There are people in America who live in their cars. My understanding is that life in Libya is much better than many other third world countries. I have not been there. I am not convinced that Gaddafi is a mad man bad guy compared to, say, GW Bush, who ravaged several countries in the Middle East and killed upward of a million people in Iraq, according to some estimates. But there’s no need to go through all this, because what NATO and the US in particular are doing is very, in your face, obvious. And the propaganda from the airwaves is nonstop–very pro-rebel faction, if they are real revolutionaries and not CIA contractors. One only very rarely hears from someone who would prefer that NATO planes don’t bomb their home country to smithereens.

      • Marat

        Gaddafi did not use oil revenues to benefit the ‘people’. His tribe has done well, as has the military and his lackeys.

        Why do you think he is so hated? My fiance is Libyan and if her family is to be trusted they say Gaddafi is an embarassment among Libyans and only has 15-20% supporters….

        You aren’t a neocon lemming if you admit that Gaddafi is a terrible despot with megalomaniacal tendoncies.

  • Wendy

    On the question of whether our intervention in Libya is about oil, here is part of a post from Professor Juan Cole, a middle east expert. A link to the whole post, An Open Letter to the Left, is below (it’s pretty long, but very interesting).

    Another argument is that the no-fly zone (and the no-drive zone) aimed at overthrowing Qaddafi not to protect his people from him but to open the way for US, British and French dominance of Libya’s oil wealth. This argument is bizarre. The US declined to do oil business with Libya in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, when it could have, because it had placed the country under boycott. It didn’t want access to that oil market, which was repeatedly proffered to Washington by Qaddafi then. After Qaddafi came back in from the cold in the late 1990s (for the European Union) and after 2003 (for the US), sanctions were lifted and Western oil companies flocked into the country. US companies were well represented, along with BP and the Italian firm ENI. BP signed an expensive exploration contract with Qaddafi and cannot possibly have wanted its validity put into doubt by a revolution. There is no advantage to the oil sector of removing Qaddafi. Indeed, a new government may be more difficult to deal with and may not honor Qaddafi’s commitments. There is no prospect of Western companies being allowed to own Libyan petroleum fields, which were nationalized long ago. Finally, it is not always in the interests of Big Oil to have more petroleum on the market, since that reduces the price and, potentially, company profits. A war on Libya to get more and better contracts so as to lower the world price of petroleum makes no sense in a world where the bids were already being freely let, and where high prices were producing record profits. I haven’t seen the war-for-oil argument made for Libya in a manner that makes any sense at all.


    • Peter

      Wendy, oil is a component of what is happening, but the overall reason is geopolitical. I sort of agree with you. Oil is only a component. However, the developments in the Middle East have been highly lucrative to oil producers in terms of higher oil prices. I heard one of the Bush boys on Chinese television today. He’s in the oil business and he knows what he’s talking about.

      • Shaman

        If these American wars in the middle east are ‘all about oil’ then why don’t we ever get any oil?

        Iraq was supposed to be “all about oil”…but here we are at $120 per barrel and the price is only going up and we are getting less oil out of Iraq than ever!

        Face it .. these wars are just blunders created by a hubristic, feel good USA which pump quadrillions into the benighted all-holy military industrial complex bent on eternal war.

        • Peter

          Shaman, there are two reasons why it is about oil. In the first place, oil revenues are actually being applied to programs that benefit the population and translate into economic growth for Libya and the region. This is what the Western powers see as threatening. Second, the West wants to make sure its constituency–elite investors and corporate clowns–get a piece of the action. It’s not about oil per se, but about revenue stream, Libya is not paying the proper amount of tribute to the West.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Hillary Clinton stated on air that she is not going to serve after the next election. I’m wondering what comes next in diplomatic leadership.

    • Michael

      Something far better, Hillary did a Horrible job, consisting of double talk almost everytime she spoke just about anywhere.

      She was picked as a token by obama to her supporters and will run in 2016 as a Moderate Hark Democrat.

      • Ellen Dibble

        She said she was sure Obama would win a second term (in the same sentence). I would be interested to know what the various perspectives of the State Department are (are they all children of the Cold War?). Who will replace Gates? Who Clinton? Check out the news about Clinton’s daughter if you want some idea why she might have other interests besides whatever her role is in a changing world order.

  • golem

    Shadid refutes caller who said life is cheap in Libya. Lets see, they probably killed his driver because he was not politically protected as an american. They punched and beat a tied up woman in the back seat. Beat the other journalists. But Shadid says they(libyans) are very hospitable? Because they offer you figs and tea when they come to your house? Where are this guys values. “The Americans Have done horrible things” What things horrible have the Americans done to Libya? His bias is showing. And finally he says the New middle east governments will be anti israel but “this is healthy” I ask Healthy for who?
    If NPR wants to continue federal funding you should at least try to balance you guest list. I have said this before and am astonished that there seems to be no effort on NPR shows -at any balance.

    • Peter

      Shadid lets a little truth out that contradicts your world view, and you get all tied up in knots about it. But I will agree, NPR should relinquish public support. Their news division is CIA-State Department run, as is the Associated Press.

    • Inasrullah

      And the last time you were in Libya or the Middle East in general? What do you know of other peoples cultures and customs? What governments do in times of self-preservation, crises, etc. is hardly the sentiment of citizens. There were plenty of horror stories about our own police killing citizens in the aftermath of Katrina, riots resulting in deaths in Florida, California (remember Rodney King?); we should not be so quick to pass judgement on others when we are not facing the same trials, don’t know the culture, people or country.

  • Plowshares Cathy

    Just a word to all the people who repeat republican talking points without thinking about them. Their claim is that the Obama administration is playing favorites by imposing a no fly zone on Libya but not on Congo and Ivory Coast: There is street fighting going on in Ivory Coast and Congo. Since neither country is using planes to drop bombs, or even seems to have an airforce, both countries are already “no fly zones.” Maybe that is the reason why NATO and the UN are not imposing a no fly zone on these countries.
    It may turn out that in Libya, we are motivated by oil or by a desire to weaken any Arab resistance to Israel’s expansionist policies. I just don’t think the lack of a no fly zone over Ivory Coast or Congo proves anything. Cathy Etheridge, Sunderland, MA

  • Michael

    Apr 2, 2011 … Richard Goldstone retracted the central finding of a report …

    nytimes com/2011/04/03/world/midd…

    Why did the WP, NPR not post the attacks on goldstone and his family by the Likes of Alan D., Zionist groups.

    Goldstone family drawn into row over Gaza report
    guardian. co. uk /world/2010/apr/30/richard-goldstone-south-africa-jews

    “I was dismayed that the chief rabbi would so brazenly politicise the occasion of my 13-year-old grandson’s bar mitzvah to engage in further personal attacks,” he wrote. “His rhetoric about ‘open synagogues’ simply does not coincide with how my family and I have been treated.”

    As well Goldstone didn’t retract the goldstone report, He now disagrees with parts of the report. The basis is that hamas didn’t do anything and the IDF commanded that killed innocents was (sic) a error. That just so happen to have been denied until now.

    As well Human Shields were in facted used by Israel along with White P on civilians, this again was denied by Israel until overwhemling evidences finally made them to admit it . As well Abuse was reported by IDF own soilders who spoke out (who were than punished for it) of wide spread abuse.

    BBC- Soilders speak out
    BBC-Soilders demoted after using a 9 year old as a human shield
    Times online- Israel denies the uses of White Ph., Israel admits using White Ph.

    Ynet News-

    BEFORE “Alan Dershowitz, the prominent American constitutional lawyer, recently called Goldstone a “despicable human being”. Dershowitz has previously denounced the war crimes investigator as “an evil, evil man”, “a traitor to the Jewish people” and the UN’s “token court Jew”.’

    Now- Alan Dershowitz has called for Jew to forgive him for recanting.

    Both found on Ynet news,

    But a example,

    White Phosphorus was used, israel denied it until overwhelming evidences came out.

    January 5 The Times reports that telltale smoke has appeared from areas of shelling. Israel denies using phosphorus

    January 8 The Times reports photographic evidence showing stockpiles of white phosphorus (WP) shells. Israel Defence Forces spokesman says: “This is what we call a quiet shell – it has no explosives and no white phosphorus”

    January 12 The Times reports that more than 50 phosphorus burns victims are taken into Nasser Hospital. An Israeli military spokesman “categorically” denies the use of white phosphorus

    January 15 Remnants of white phosphorus shells are found in western Gaza. The IDF refuses to comment on specific weaponry but insists ammunition is “within the scope of international law”

    January 16 The United Nations Relief and Works Agency headquarters are hit with phosphorus munitions. The Israeli military continues to deny its use

    January 21 Avital Leibovich, Israel’s military spokeswoman, admits white phosphorus munitions were employed in a manner “according to international law”

    January 23 Israel says it is launching an investigation into white phosphorus munitions, which hit a UN school on January 17.

    • Peter

      Thanks for that, Michael. I still hope to hear from Alex. Maybe he knows something that we don’t.

      • Alex E.

        I know that you are both full of pooopooo (trying to be polite)

    • Alex E.


  • Michael

    My post was in response to Alex’s response to Peters.

  • Darlene Sharman

    Libya is a simple exercise for bombing the hell out of Iran … one of these days.

    All it takes some agents to provoke some events that will spill some blood on TV’s and bingo. Bet you, the Entire (E-n-t-i-r-e) Media and Washington will be singing War Songs, while Tel-Aviv will be celebrating the fireworks with joy in silence while saying “Missing Accomplished”.

    Tel-Aviv had three people on its hit list:

  • Mr. Jaja Tude

    what were you doing there?

  • Michael

    Worth noting that WP withheld a story once again for the government.

    WashPost and the Wider War
    03/29/2011 by Peter Hart

    One of the questions about U.S.-led war in Libya is the scope of the conflict. Some rebel forces seem to want more U.S. military action. The Washington Post reports today (3/29/11) that this is already happening. Under the headline “U.S. Deploys Low-Flying Attack Planes,” Greg Jaffe explains:

    The U.S. military dramatically stepped up its assault on Libyan government ground forces over the weekend, launching its first missions with AC-130 flying gunships and A-10 attack aircraft designed to strike enemy ground troops and supply convoys.

    The use of the aircraft, during days of heavy fighting in which the momentum seemed to swing in favor of the rebels, demonstrated how allied military forces have been drawn deeper into the chaotic fight in Libya. A mission that initially seemed to revolve around establishing a no-fly zone has become focused on halting advances by government ground forces in and around key coastal cities.

    The obvious implication is that the United States is involved more deeply that we’ve been led to believe. And the Post has known this for some time:

    The Washington Post learned of their deployment last week but withheld reporting the information until their first missions at the request of U.S. military officials.


    Why did the Post keep this information from readers? The Post adds:

    Military officials consider AC-130s and A-10s well suited to attacks in built-up areas, although their use has led to civilian deaths. Unlike fighter jets and bombers, which typically carry 500- or 1,000-pound bombs, the AC-130s and A-10s deliver more discriminate but still devastating machine-gun fire.

  • Michael


    A Debate on U.S. Military Intervention in Libya: Juan Cole v. Vijay Prashad

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I believe that this movement of change cannot be turned back and that we must stand alongside those people who believe in the same core principles that have guided us through many storms: our opposition to violence directed at one’s own people; our support for a set of universal rights, including the freedom for people to express themselves and choose their leaders; our support for governments that are ultimately responsive to the aspirations of the people. Born as we are out of a revolution by those who longed to be free, we welcome the fact that history is on the move in the Middle East and North Africa and that young people are leading the way, because wherever people long to be free, they will find a friend in the United States.

    VIJAY PRASHAD: Well, wherever people would like to be free, unless they live in Bahrain, Yemen and, you know, for a long time, even in Egypt, until the tide was too strong for the Americans to push it back.

    You know, the resolutions that the United Nations passed—1970 was the first resolution, and then 1973—are deeply ambiguous resolutions. They got the support of the Arab League. They got the support tacitly, although they abstained of the Chinese and the Russians, because they said that there was going to be no attempt at assisting the rebels, there was only going to be the obligation to protect civilians. So, President Obama has been playing a tightrope between “we are protecting civilians” and “we want to get rid of Gaddafi.”

    The second thing, get rid of Gaddafi or give assistance to the rebels, is contrary to the U.N. Resolution 1973, and it should be borne in mind that as much as he said we will not commit ground troops, the United States has already committed ground forces. These may not be boots on the ground, but they’re the AC-130 aircraft and the A-10 aircraft, which are both low-flying ground troop support aircrafts. These are not to create a no-fly zone; these are to attack ground troops. So the United States has already taken a position in the middle of a civil war. You know, it has already established that it is, in a sense, the armed wing of the rebels.

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Sep 2, 2014
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks with Mark Wilson, event political speaker chairperson, with his wife Elain Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, August 4, 2012. (AP)

Nine weeks counting now to the midterm elections. We’ll look at the key races and the stakes.

Sep 2, 2014
Confederate spymaster Rose O'Neal Greenhow, pictured with her daughter "Little" Rose in Washington, D.C.'s Old Capitol Prison in 1862. (Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

True stories of daring women during the Civil War. Best-selling author Karen Abbott shares their exploits in a new book: “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.”

Sep 1, 2014
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) recovers a fumble by Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) in the second quarter of the NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP)

One outspoken fan’s reluctant manifesto against football, and the big push to reform the game.

Sep 1, 2014
This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
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