Blood Shed Boosts Oil Price

The biggest potential losers in the still-roiling revolutions of the Middle East and North Africa are the people themselves. Many are democrats at high risk of being overwhelmed over time by new dictators and organised religious extremists. But the uncontested winners are already quite clear: those who own, sell, and bet on oil. In the last month alone, oil prices have leaped almost 10 per cent, even with only tiny dips in supply.

While these revolutions have produced daily thunderclaps worldwide about a new democratic future for the Middle East, power structures remain largely intact. Almost every country in the region looks as if it’s marking time, waiting. So far, those who took to the streets succeeded only in ousting their unwanted masters — Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia — and not in really changing the power status quo ante. In Yemen, the established leadership does look shaky. In Libya, where the media proclaimed the rebels as victors last week, it seems like a standoff with Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

In Tunisia, where it all began, the revolutionaries are awaiting elections. The once banned Islamist party Al Nahda has just been legalised. In Egypt, the protesters still find themselves in the strong grip of the military. Elections are set for September, and the military, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood, can be expected to top the parliamentary polls. In Bahrain, the huge Shia majority took to the squares  — only a causeway away from the Saudi Arabian oil jackpot. To date, the revolutions have generated far more drama and hope than real change.

The fighting in Libya has understandably monopolised attention, though its international importance is modest. Its normal output of oil sits at only one per cent of daily global consumption. But watch out: legions of neoconservatives are demanding military action against Gaddafi, though his Arab neighbours say, “stay out.”

Israel is the biggest strategic loser. The Jewish state has relied on Arab regimes to subdue the anti-Zionist sentiments of their peoples. And Israel can’t do anything to fix its plight. Times are not at all conducive for new talks with Palestinians. The United States is also a loser, but it need not be a big one. Washington’s power depends on whether the revolutions peter out or launch new anti-American rulers. Whatever happens, Washington will confront greater anti-Americanism. Counterterrorism operations and anti-Iran diplomacy will suffer.

Turkey will be a model for Arab nations lucky enough to democratise. Its foreign policy balances between the United States and the states of Islam and is also now somewhat anti-Israel. Internally, Turkey balances between an Islamic and a secular state. The country has internal stability and a promising economy.

Conventional wisdom holds that Iran has won the lottery. But don’t bet on it. Iranians are Shias and Persians; the revolutionaries are mostly Sunnis and Arabs. These groups don’t particularly care for one another. Most important, Arab revolutionaries must surely despise Iranian leaders who beat and slaughtered Iran’s freedom fighters a mere two years ago. It’s quite possible that the revolutionary fervour will tire amid economic shortages and other burdens, and fade. Or the revolutions could erupt once again, forcing profound recalculations of US policy. But two things are certain: the oil barons and traders will get richer, and most people worldwide will scramble against higher oil and food prices and declining economies.


Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. No universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition of terrorism currently exists. Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for a religious, political or ideological goal, deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants(civilians), and are committed by non-government agencies. However, terrorism is also the act of personal revenge, disperse ideology, relegious brain washing and extremism.



In todays 21st century, where every thing is on your finger tips, no universal law, criminal law is available for act of terrorism. It might be because international law makers did not find much time to make a legally binding or law. Or it may also be possible that, terrorism is an act that is hard to study and understand. Statistics shows that, 2 out of 100 terrorist have been identified, accepted the act or even blamed some party for the act. One of the possible reasons, why terrorists are not caught or identified, may be blasting themselves in the population. This kinds of acts gives the investigators really tough time.


In some part of the world, terrorism is practiced for getting religous goals. They train younge people, usually teenagers and religiously brain wash them by motivating them for an act of attack. The term brain washing is a general word for a common activity practiced in every religion. In some religion, the missionaries brain wash teenagers, diverting them towards the target religion. One of their targets are to create cloud of hatred people against their own religion. It is natural phenomenon, one get bored of some thing until and unless some thing new is introduced. This concept fails  in religion concepts, but any how they do follow these tricks and are successes over some population, such as conversion of hundreds of muslims from islam to cristianity.

It is also noticed that the act of terrorism is a symbol of power in some part of world. The political parties hire gangs and outlawyers for their defend and acomplishments of demands. These activities are mostly noticed in south asian countries. For the one reason this mode of political advertisement is really a benchmark, because contacts in civil society of population exceeding millions really matters. The very first definition of terrorism “Forcing some one, group of people to act upon some desired task,” is mirror of social values and activities of south asian countries. The funniest part is that, the party leaders, even the men in government speak of equal rights and justice but what class of people are involved in justice making policies, are rarely known by lay man.

Today the word “Terrorism”, is a benchmark for some countries, such as USA, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries approaching for super power category. However it is fact that, no body knew the word terrorism before 9/11. All those activities are the act of terrorism which is not done by your own will and self esteem. But the important part is to diffrenciate between clarification and brain washing, because the above definition is not valid for forcing kids doing their homework.

Japan Confronts Multiple Crises as Death Toll Climbs

Japanese authorities struggled to contain new nuclear emergencies on Tuesday — including a possible rupture in a reactor containment vessel — as the death toll continued to climb with search teams reaching towns that were flattened by last week’s earthquake and tsunami.

The National Police Agency said Tuesday afternoon that 2,722 people have died, and many thousands were still missing. Bodies continued to wash ashore at various spots along the coast after having been pulled out to sea by the tsunami’s retreat.

Some 400,000 people were living in makeshift shelters or evacuation centers, officials said. Bitterly cold and windy weather that was pushing into northern Japan was compounding the misery as the region struggled with shortages of food, fuel and water.

An explosion Tuesday morning at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Station — the third reactor blast in four days — damaged the vessel containing the nuclear core at reactor No. 2 , government officials said, and there was a growing fear of a catastrophic meltdown.

The overwhelmed operator of the nuclear plants, Tokyo Electric Power Company, confirmed there had been radiation leaks and that water was being pumped into three overheated reactors in the Fukushima complex.

A fire that broke out Tuesday morning at a fourth reactor was extinguished by mid-afternoon, although the government’s chief spokesman, Yukio Edano, later said that temperatures were now rising inside a fifth and sixth reactor in the complex.

People living within about 12 miles of the reactors at Fukushima were ordered to evacuate, and those within about 20 miles were told to stay indoors and close all windows, doors and vents. If people had laundry hanging outside, the government advised, they should not bring it inside or touch it.

Tokyo-area residents began to buy and stockpile food, water, candles and batteries as shelves at grocery stores became increasingly bare. Prime Minister Naoto Kan went on national television to implore people not to panic.

But there was plenty of panic in the stock market: Fevered selling drove down the Nikkei stock index by 10.6 percent at the close of trading.

There were scattered news reports of some foreigners fleeing Japan, and one Western diplomat said Tuesday night that “anecdotes and rumors” were swirling in the international community.

Still, there appeared to be no mass exodus. The United States Embassy, for example, was not urging resident Americans to leave.

The ambassador, John V. Roos, said that about 1,300 Americans were living in the five northern prefectures most affected by the earthquake and the tsunami. American consular officers were making their way to Sendai and other northern cities on Tuesday to conduct “welfare-and-whereabouts” checks on American citizens there.

“We are encouraging U.S. citizens to heed the instructions of the Japanese civil defense authorities,” Mr. Roos said.

The commander of American forces in Japan, Lt. Gen. Burton M. Field, confirmed that some American troops aboard three helicopters had been contaminated by radiation when they apparently flew through a radioactive plume released from the crippled nuclear complex.

“We found contamination on the clothes of several crew members, and one crew member had some on his skin,” said General Field. “The exposure rate was about the same as you would get over a monthlong period outside in the sun. We assess that as very, very low.”

He added that the crew members got a good scrubbing with soap and water and were back on duty.

Chinese health and environmental officials on Tuesday gathered for emergency meetings on how to respond in case radioactive fallout hit China. The government said it was stepping up monitoring for radiation and would swiftly report results.

China’s Meteorological Administration said prevailing winds would carry radioactive material away from China until Thursday, and possibly beyond. “China will not be affected,” the agency said on its Web site.

Air China canceled all flights to and from Tokyo and Sendai until Thursday.

Nations such as South Korea and Singapore have announced they would bolster inspections of Japanese food imports.

The United States Geological Survey revised the magnitude of the earthquake to 9.0, from 8.9, but it was the subsequent tsunami that did the most damage. The initial wave scoured away entire communities, and desperate survivors searched Tuesday for signs of friends and relatives who remained missing.

There was plenty that was missing in the fishing village of Minamisanriku: the city hall, the hospital, the shipyard, police stations — and 8,000 people.

The tsunami might have crashed most heavily into this town that once was home to more than 17,000. Situated at the back of a mountainous V-shaped cove, the town was swamped by the first surge of muck and seawater that was 30 feet high as it roared between the valley walls.

As the deluge pressed in on them, Sanae Sato, 71, said 400 townspeople rushed to the community center where she worked. They thought the five-story building would be high enough to protect them. But when the water reached the fourth floor, they all sought shelter in the attic.

From the attic window, Ms. Sato said, she saw the floodwaters hurling cars along, with drivers and passengers still inside. Houses broke from their foundations and were carried along, their owners perched on the ridges of the roofs.

“I saw people trying to balance on the rooftops like surfers,” she said. “It didn’t work. It was like hell.”

The Miyagi prefectural government said Tuesday that search teams had located 2,000 people in Minamisanriku who had been missing and presumed dead. They had fled to surrounding towns as the tsunami bashed the coastal areas of the town.

Troopers from Japan’s Self-Defense Forces cleared roadways into the village on Tuesday as a long line of fire trucks waited to enter. Closer to shore, teams of searchers rummaged through the crushed houses and collapsed shops. They peered into cars that had been swallowed by the mud, hoping to find survivors. Searched cars were marked with yellow tape.

One gruesome discovery was a mud-caked woman hanging by her head from the roof of a gas station. She was brought down, covered in a blue plastic tarp, and her body was laid by the station to await collection by another disaster team.

Rescue teams from 13 countries pressed on with the searches in other towns, some assisted by dogs. In the air, helicopters shuttled back and forth, part of a mobilization of some 100,000 troops, the largest since World War II.

Because Fukushima have been lost to the national power grid, Tokyo Electric announced plans for rolling blackouts across the region to conserve electricity — the first controlled power cutbacks in Japan in 60 years.

The first set of blackouts Tuesday morning began in four prefectures outside Tokyo. The utility, which provides service to 45 million people in the region, said the cuts could continue for six weeks.

Public conservation of electricity was significant enough, the company said, that the more drastic blackout scenarios were being scaled back. Still, anticipating deep and lengthy power cuts, many people were stocking up on candles, water, instant noodles and batteries for radios.


Japan Faces Potential Nuclear Disaster as Radiation Levels Rise

Japan’s nuclear crisis verged toward catastrophe on Tuesday after an explosion damaged the vessel containing the nuclear core at one reactor and a fire at another spewed large amounts of radioactive material into the air, according to statements from Japanese government and industry officials.

In a brief address to the nation at 11 a.m. Tokyo time, Prime MinisterNaoto Kan pleaded for calm, but warned that radiation had already spread from the crippled reactors and there was “a very high risk” of further leakage. Fortunately, the prevailing winds were sweeping most of the plume of radioactivity out into the Pacific Ocean, rather than over populated areas.

The sudden turn of events, after an explosion Monday at one reactor and then an early-morning explosion Tuesday at yet another — the third in four days at the plant — already made the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station the worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl reactor disaster a quarter century ago.

Engineers at the plant, working at tremendous personal risk, on Tuesday continued efforts to cool down the most heavily damaged unit, reactor No. 2, by pumping in seawater. According to government statements, most of the 800 workers at the plant had been withdrawn, leaving 50 or so workers in a desperate effort to keep the cores of three stricken reactors cooled with seawater pumped by firefighting equipment, while crews battled to put out the fire at the No. 4 reactor, which they claimed to have done just after noon on Tuesday.

That fourth reactor had been turned off and was under refurbishment for months before the earthquake and tsunami hit the plant on Friday. But the plant contains spent fuel rods that were removed from the reactor, and experts guessed that the pool containing those rods had run dry, allowing the rods to overheat and catch fire. That is almost as dangerous as the fuel in working reactors melting down, because the spent fuel can also spew radioactivity into the atmosphere.

After an emergency cabinet meeting, the Japanese government told people living within about 20 miles of the Daiichi plant to stay indoors, keep their windows closed and stop using air conditioning.

Mr. Kan, whose government was extraordinarily weak before the sequence of calamities struck the nation, told the Japanese people that “although this incident is of great concern, I ask you to react very calmly.” And in fact, there seemed to be little panic, but huge apprehension in a country where radioactivity brings up memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the haunting images of post-war Japan.

Radiation measurements reported on Tuesday showed a spike of radioactivity around the plant that made the leakage significantly worse than it had been, with levels measured at one point as high as 400 millisieverts an hour. Even 7 minutes of exposure at that level will reach the maximum annual dose that a worker at an American nuclear plant is allowed. And exposure for 75 minutes would likely lead to acute radiation sickness.

The extent of the public health risk depends on how long such elevated levels persist, as well as how far and fast the radioactive materials spread, and whether the limited evacuation plan announced by the government proves sufficient.

In Tokyo, 170 miles south of the plant, the metropolitan government said Tuesday it had detected radiation levels 20 times above normal over the city, though it stressed that such a level posed no immediate health threat, and that levels had dropped since then.

The government said later Tuesday that radiation levels at the Fukushima plant also appeared to be falling sharply.

But worryingly, temperatures appeared to be rising in the spent fuel pools at two other reactors at the plant, No. 5 and No. 6, said Yukio Edano, the chief cabinet secretary. Meanwhile, workers continued to pump seawater into the No. 1 and No. 3 reactors, where cooling systems remained unusable.

Japan has officially requested assistance from the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency. But on Tuesday, the United States Forces Japan said the Fukushima plant had turned away two fire trucks that had made their way to the plant to offer assistance.

“They said they didn’t need them,” said Sgt. Maj. Steve Valley of the military public affairs office. “So they came right back.”

The succession of problems at Daiichi was initially difficult to interpret, with confusion compounded by incomplete and inconsistent information provided by government officials and executives of the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company.

But industry executives in close contact with officials in Japan expressed extreme concern that the authorities were close to losing control over the fuel melting that has been ongoing in three reactors at Daiichi, especially at the crippled No. 2 reactor where the containment vessel was damaged.

Tokyo Electric Power said Tuesday that after the explosion at the No. 2 reactor, pressure had dropped in the “suppression pool” — a section at the bottom of the reactor that converts steam to water and is part of the critical function of keeping the nuclear fuel protected. After that occurred, radiation levels outside No. 2 were reported to have risen sharply.

“We are on the brink. We are now facing the worst-case scenario,” said Hiroaki Koide, a senior reactor engineering specialist at the Research Reactor Institute of Kyoto University. “We can assume that the containment vessel at Reactor No. 2 is already breached. If there is heavy melting inside the reactor, large amounts of radiation will most definitely be released.”

Another executive said the chain of events at Daiichi suggested that it would be difficult to maintain emergency seawater cooling operations for an extended period if the containment vessel at one reactor had been compromised because radiation levels could threaten the health of workers nearby.

If all workers do in fact leave the plant, the nuclear fuel in all three reactors is likely to melt down, which would lead to wholesale releases of radioactive material — by far the largest accident of its kind since Chernobyl.

Even if a full meltdown is averted, Japanese officials have been facing unpalatable options. One was to continue flooding the reactors and venting the resulting steam, while hoping that the prevailing winds did not turn south toward Tokyo or west, across northern Japan to the Korean Peninsula. The other was to hope that the worst of the overheating was over, and that with the passage of a few more days the nuclear cores would cool enough to essentially entomb the radioactivity inside the plants, which clearly will never be used again. Both approaches carried huge risks.

While Japanese officials made no comparisons to past accidents, the release of an unknown quantity of radioactive gases and particles — all signs that the reactor cores were damaged from at least partial melting of fuel — added considerable tension to the effort to cool the reactors.

“It’s way past Three Mile Island already,” said Frank von Hippel, a physicist and professor at Princeton. “The biggest risk now is that the core really melts down and you have a steam explosion.”

The sharp deterioration came after a frantic day and night of rescue efforts focused largely on the No. 2 reactor. There, a malfunctioning valve prevented workers from manually venting the containment vessel to release pressure and allow fresh seawater to be injected into it. That meant that the extraordinary remedy emergency workers had jury-rigged to keep the nuclear fuel from overheating no longer worked.

As a result, the nuclear fuel in that reactor was exposed for many hours, increasing the risk of a breach of the container vessel and more dangerous emissions of radioactive particles.

By Tuesday morning, Tokyo Electric Power said that it had fixed the valve and resumed seawater injections, but that it had detected possible leaks in the containment vessel that prevented water from fully covering the fuel rods.

Then an explosion hit that reactor. After a series of conflicting reports about what level of damage was inflicted on the reactor after that blast, Mr. Edano, the chief cabinet secretary, said, “there is a very high probability that a portion of the containment vessel was damaged.”

The steel containment vessels that protect nuclear fuel in reactors are considered crucial to maintain the integrity of the reactor and the safety of the fuel.

Mr. Edano, however, said that the level of leaking at the No. 2 reactor remained small, raising the prospect that the container was sufficiently intact to protect the nuclear fuel inside.



Japan’s Death Toll Exceeds 10,000

Rescuers are recovering bodies and searching for the missing along Japan’s northeastern coastline, as millions of survivors are left without drinking water, electricity and proper food in the wake of the devastating tsunami.

The death toll in the tsunami and the earthquake which triggered it will likely exceed 10,000 in Miyagi prefecture alone, the local police chief said on Sunday.

Naoto Takeuchi was quoted as saying he had “no doubt” the toll will rise that high in Miyagi, one of the three prefectures hardest hit in Friday’s disaster.

In one astonishing rescue, a military helicopter on Sunday picked up a 60-year-old man floating off the coast of Fukushima on the roof of his house after being swept 15km out to sea by the tsunami, the defence ministry said.

“I ran away after learning that the tsunami was coming,” Hiromitsu Shinkawa told rescuers according to Jiji Press. “But I turned back to pick up something at home, when I was washed away. I was rescued while I was hanging to the roof from my house.”

Dislodged shipping containers piled up along the coastline and swathes of mangled wreckage consumed what used to be rice fields.

An elderly woman wrapped in a blanket tearfully recalled how she and her husband evacuated from Kesennuma town, north of Miyagi prefecture, where the massive tsunami swept through a fishing port.

“I was trying to escape with my husband, but water forced us to run up to the second story of a house of people we don’t even know at all,” she told NHK television.

“Water still came up to the second floor, and before our eyes, the house’s owner and his daughter were flushed away. We couldn’t do anything. Nothing.”

Water shortages

The quake, measured to magnitude 9.0 by the Japanese Meteorological Agency, was the strongest quake ever recorded in the country. It has been followed by more than 150 powerful aftershocks.

At least 1.4 million households have gone without water since the quake struck and millions of households are without electricity. Temperatures were to dip near freezing overnight.

Large areas of the countryside remained surrounded by water and unreachable. Many fuel stations were closed and people were running out of petrol for their vehicles.

Public broadcaster NHK said around 310,000 people have been evacuated to emergency shelters, many of them without power.

In Iwaki town, residents were leaving due to concerns over dwindling food and fuel supplies. The town had no electricity and all stores were closed.

As Sendai city endured a pitch-black night amid a power blackout, Sendai Teishin Hospital spokesman Masayoshi Yamamoto told AFP the building was able to keep its lights on using its own power generators, drawing in survivors.

Around 50 people arrived looking to shelter from the cold night air in the lobby of the downtown Sendai city hospital, he said.

“Many of them are from outside Miyagi prefecture, who had visited some patients here or came in search of essential medicines,” he said.

But with water supplies cut, Yamamoto said hospital officials were worried about how long its tank-based supply would last. The hospital may also run out of food for its patients by Monday.

“We have asked other hospitals to provide food for us, but transportation itself seems difficult,” he said.

In Sendai, 24-year-old Ayumi Osuga dug through the destroyed remnants of her home.

She had been playing origami, the Japanese art of folding paper into figures, with her three children when the quake stuck. She recalled her husband’s shouted warning from outside: “Get out of there now!”

She gathered her children and fled in her car to higher ground with her husband. They spent the night huddled in a hilltop home belonging to her husband’s family about 20km away.

“My family, my children. We are lucky to be alive,” she told The Associated Press. “I have come to realise what is important in life’.

Earthquake, Tsunami Now Nuclear Risk Alerts Japan

Cooling systems have failed at another nuclear reactor on Japan’s devastated coast, hours after an explosion at a nearby unit made leaking radiation, or even outright meltdown, the central threat to the country following a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.

The Japanese government said radiation emanating from the plant appeared to have decreased after Saturday’s blast, which produced a cloud of white smoke that obscured the complex. But the danger was grave enough that officials pumped sea water into the reactor to avoid disaster and moved 170,000 people from the area.

Japan’s nuclear safety agency reported on Sunday an emergency at another reactor unit, the third in the complex to have its cooling systems malfunction.

“All the functions to keep cooling water levels in No. 3 reactor have failed at the Fukushima No. 1 plant,” plant operator Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco] said, adding that pressure was rising slightly.

Japan’s nuclear safety agency rated the accident at four on the international scale of zero to seven. The 1979 Three Mile Island accident in the United States was rated five, while the 1986 Chernobyl disaster was a seven.

Japan dealt with the nuclear threat as it struggled to determine the scope of the earthquake, the most powerful in its recorded history, and the tsunami that ravaged its northeast on Friday with breathtaking speed and power.

The official count of the dead was 763, but the government said the figure could far exceed 1,000. Media reports said thousands of people were missing or unaccounted for.


Preventing meltdown

The explosion at the nuclear plant, Fukushima Dai-ichi, 274km northeast of Tokyo, appeared to be a consequence of steps taken to prevent a meltdown after the quake and tsunami knocked out power to the plant, crippling the system used to cool fuel rods there.
Inside that superheated steel vessel, water was being poured over the fuel rods to cool them formed hydrogen. The blast destroyed the building housing the reactor, but not the reactor itself, which is enveloped by stainless steel 15cm thick.
When officials released some of the hydrogen gas to relieve pressure inside the reactor, the hydrogen apparently reacted with oxygen, either in the air or the cooling water, and caused the explosion.

Officials declined to say what the temperature was inside the troubled reactor, Unit 1. At 1,200 degrees Celsius, the zirconium casings of the fuel rods can react with the cooling water and create hydrogen. At 2,200 C, the uranium fuel pellets inside the rods start to melt, the beginning of a meltdown.

Evacuation order

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said radiation around the plant had fallen, not risen, after the blast but did not offer an explanation.

Virtually any increase in dispersed radiation can raise the risk of cancer, and authorities were planning to distribute iodine, which helps protect against thyroid cancer. Authorities ordered 210,000 people out of the area within 20km of the reactor.
Officials have said that radiation levels at Fukushima were elevated before the blast: At one point, the plant was releasing each hour the amount of radiation a person normally absorbs from the environment each year.It was the first time Japan had confronted the threat of a significant spread of radiation since the greatest nightmare in its history, a catastrophe exponentially worse: the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States, which resulted in more than 200,000 deaths from the explosions, fallout and radiation sickness.

The Japanese utility that runs the plant said four workers suffered fractures and bruises and were being treated at a hospital.

Nine residents of a town near the plant who later evacuated the area tested positive for radiation exposure, though officials said they showed no health problems.

Although the government played down fears of radiation leak, Japanese nuclear agency spokesman Shinji Kinjo acknowledged there were still fears of a meltdown, the collapse of a power plant’s systems, rendering it unable regulate temperatures and keep the reactor fuel cool.


Gaddafi Vs Knowledge

The quill may be mightier than the sword. But this is a story of how some Western academics have succumbed to the power of the cheque book.

Which leads me to ask the question: is it money that makes the world go round? Whatever happened to the strength of liberal ideals, humanism, democracy and all that spiel?

There is a Libyan connection, which is the context of this story. Maybe Gaddafi, sons and henchmen have survived till now and may kill more Libyans due to the fact that many experts and academics, some brilliant voices of the global democratic agenda, have chosen  to accept the Libyan regime’s illicit funding over the ethics they preach to their own students.

Knowledge is power

It may be so that knowledge is power, but surely not when knowledge serves dictatorships.

I first wrote this story for Al Jazeera more than two weeks ago. A few months ago Libyan friends (who have lost loved ones in the fight for Zawiya and before for Benghazi) shared with me and others documents coming from Monitor Group, the Harvard-based global consulting group.

This is the firm which was hired by the Gaddafis to revamp their image. That was before the eruption of the current anti-Gaddafi uprising in Libya.

A few observations are noteworthy here.

The Gaddafis have missed the traffic of information circulated by Libyans within Libya recording the visits, payments, lectures, and visits to either the Gaddafis or the colonel’s so-called ‘Green Book Centre’. Libyans have been for some time questioning Western complicity in extending the life of one of the worst regimes in the region.

Colonel Gaddafi, more than anything else, has struggled and failed all of his political life to emerge on the world stage as a thinker. He failed dismally and no serious scholar has taken his ‘Green Book’ seriously.

I had occasion to read it when writing The Search for Arab Democracy, suffice to say that those hours have been lost forever.

However, Gaddafi and his sons fully appreciate the value of ideas for the Libyan state after the lifting of international sanctions. They, especially Saif al-Islam, realised that in politics, ideas are instrumental to the reproduction of power.

Saif, groomed by his father as political heir, was being educated by the best – the London School of Economics.

Saif has been on a long quasi-presidential campaign for years. He has been recruiting and cultivating loyal followers by funding their higher education in Western universities.

One of these is a former undergraduate student of mine who graduated several years ago from the University of Exeter. His name is Musa Ibrahim, a member of the Qadhadhifa, who now serves as a spokesperson for the regime while it wages an illegal war for survival against its own citizens.

Where did the West go wrong?

Let’s reverse this standard question Orientalists have traditionally asked in reference to Arabs and Muslims. Arabs are today knocking on the doors of tyrants to seek their own answers locally.

The collaboration of those Western global actors driven by self-interest or self-importance with authoritarianism warrants this question. Regimes like those ousted in Tunisia and Egypt survived because they were brutal – and the technology of violence at their disposal was Western.

Many Western governments may have practised democracy for longer, but they also did so via support of autocracy.

The killings going on right now in Libya display the extent to which the Libyan regime has been misjudged.

Under Bush, the neo-cons sought to re-order the region, including by force (e.g Iraq). Maybe Libya was intended to be remodelled by approving and grooming acceptable dynastic heirs (plausibly the same for Egypt).

Libya’s vast riches (40 billion barrels of oil reserves, potential business deals, well-stashed sovereign wealth fund), might have been what saved Gaddafi.

But the Gaddafi regime should have fallen at the turn of the new millennium, around the same time when Baghdad was sacked by the US-led ‘coalition of the willing’.

However, Western political establishments chose to subdue Gaddafi’s Libya and conquer it economically, thus giving Gaddafi’s failed state a longer lease on life. There is no surprise here: economic gain often prevails over moral principles in the international relations of the Middle East.

Western academics were complicit in all of this, giving the ‘butcher of Tripoli’ an undeserved respite.

Yet months after they prevailed over Saddam, the neocons’ message reached Gaddafi: he was ready to play ball with the West. In August of 2003, Libya agreed a $2.7 billion compensation package for the families of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing victims.

In December 2003, Gaddafi gave Bush an unusual Christmas present by renouncing terrorism and giving up his WMDs programme.

In early 2004 Tony Blair’s visit to the Gaddafis signalled the rehabilitation of the Libyan dictatorship. Whether Blair was or was not making business for BP or acting in an advisory or consultancy capacity to the Gaddafis and their Libyan Investment Authority is incidental.

What was particularly interesting is that the Gaddafis worked with the very man whose power play in Iraq led to the ousting of Saddam.

Enter ‘Monitor Group’: Reinventing Gaddafi!

Soufflés, it is said, do not rise twice.

Monitor Group (MG) is in the business of a different type of cooking: consulting governments and business.

In undertaking in 2006 to help Libya shed its pariah status and ease it into a zone of “enhanced economic development”, MG defined two goals for its Herculean task:

1. “enhance international understanding and appreciation of Libya and the contribution it has made and may continue to make to its region and to the world”

2. “to introduce Muammar Gaddafi as a thinker and intellectual, independent of his more widely-known and very public persona as the Leader of the Revolution in Libya.”

Harvard Business Professor Michael Porter’s expertise was sought to revamp the economy of a police state in which the likes of Gaddafi, his brother-in-law Abdullah Sanoussi – who dealt with MG – had their hands tainted with the blood of Libyans and foreigners.

Sanoussi is the man who had a part in the killing of 1,200 political detainees in the Bou Slim prison in 1996. The cabal advising Gaddafi on security included Musa Kusa, Touhami Khalid, and Abdullah Mansour. Two other associates, Matug Al-Warfalli and Abd Al-Qadir Al-Baghdadi, may be linked with the slaying of policewoman Yvonne Fletcher in April 1984.

This is hardly the kind of stuff that would be unknown to men and women of high learning.

The MG strategy aimed to “introduce to Libya important international figures”.

Once having been to Libya or met with Gaddafi and Saif, these high profile academics, journalists, politicians and businessmen are multi-tasked with “influencing other nations policies towards” Libya;  “making a contribution to economic development”; gaining “a more sensitive understanding” of the country; and becoming “part of a network building bridges between Libya and the rest of the world.”

The idea is that these international personalities share through major media outlets their knowledge about the ‘new Libya’ to combat stereotypes.

Is it Libya that these actors, and MG’s work, were packaging to the world? Saif did not consult with the Libyan people about his national economic strategy, which Porter was recruited to develop.

Note the similarity between Gamal Mubarak and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in their preference of privatisation.

Anyone who reads MG’s ‘Executive Summary of Phase 1’ entitled “Project to Enhance the Profile of Libya Muammar Gaddafi” is left with no doubt that Saif was being groomed for taking over Libya’s leadership.

Note also that MG was helping Mu’tassim, Saif’s younger brother, in setting up a National Security Council.

Literati or spin doctors?

Richard Perle going to Libya is something. But why did Francis Fukuyama, Anthony Giddens, Bernard Lewis, Nicholas Negroponte, Benjamin Barber, Joseph Nye, and Robert Putnam meet Gaddafi?

Some of these names were guest speakers at the Green Book Centre. Libyans who criticise the Green Book end up losing their employment, freedom or both.

Lewis wanted to learn specifically about Gaddafi’s idea of ‘Isratin’ (a joint Israeli-Palestinian state). Lewis according to the ‘Executive Summary’ shared his findings with Israel and the US.

Barber was deluding only himself when his 2007 Washington Post article seemed to do exactly GM’s PR work, crediting Gaddafi with “an extraordinary capacity to rethink his country’s role in a changed and changing world.”

The several meetings with the Gaddafis, father and son, earned him a seat in the board of Saif’s Foundation for International Development, the very foundation that turned human rights the exclusive bastion of Saif – excluding, for instance, human rights activist Fathi al-Jahmi, amongst others.

Like Barber, writing in 2006 in the New Statesman, Giddens brags about Gaddafi, granting him audience for more than three hours, not the standard half-hour political leaders (supposedly like Blair) give their visitors.

Giddens makes it clear in his article that Gaddafi and he did not agree on the meaning of democracy. Nonetheless, and for some reason, Giddens left the Colonel, convinced of Gaddafi’s “conversion” away from terrorism and pursuit of disarmament.

His article observes GM’s packaging instructions. He talks about Gaddafi’s “global prominence”, “egalitarianism”, intelligence, and, of course, the Green Book.

Gaddafi younger – Saif – is today renamed by Libyan dissidents ‘Zaif’, meaning fraudulence. There are many names of Libyan professors linked with the writing of his academic work.

However, in many Western political and intellectual establishments he was treated as ‘the chosen one’.

Elisabeth Rosenthal’s piece in the New York Times in September 2007 heaps even more praise on Saif than Giddens, highlighting the rise of his political stardom, describing him as “un-Gaddafi”.

MG amassed so much brain power for its Libya campaign. Yet how could so much misreading of the Gaddafis come from leading scholars?

Saif’s February speech showed him to be a monster in the closet, not the democratic subjectivity the LSE reconstituted.