Slaughter of Innocents Escalates in Libya; Gaddafi Defiant. It’s “High Noon” 2/22/2011

Posted on February 22, 2011

Tuesday 22 February and in Libya government forces continue their slaughter of unarmed protesters from aircraft and moving cars spraying the crowds with bullets.  Gaddafi’s son went on television to deny these reports as lies.  Gaddafi has not yet left the country and remains defiant in his first televised speech since the uprising began:

‘I am in Tripoli and not in Venezuela. Do not believe the channels belonging to stray dogs,’ Gaddafi told Libyan state TV, which said he was speaking outside his house on Tuesday.

On Monday, William Hague, the British foreign minister, had suggested that Gaddafi had fled to Venezuela, a report that the government of that country denied.

With a death toll at almost 300,  it is high noon in Libya.  This is an “Egyptian” standoff but with real bullets.

Highlights as of this hour [al Jazeera]

  • The government says that it is battling “dens of terrorists”.
  • Ali al-Essawi, who resigned as Libyan ambassador to India…told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that fighter jets had been used by the government to bomb civilians.  He called upon the UN to block Libya’s airspace to protect civilians on the ground.
  • Earlier, Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, said Gaddafi had started a genocide against the Libyan people”.
  • Witnesses told the AFP news agency that there had been a “massacre” in Tajura district, with gunmen seen firing “indiscriminately”.
  • In Fashlum district, helicopters were seen landing with what witnesses described as “mercenaries” disembarking and attacking those on the street.
  • Mohammed Abdul-Malek, a London-based opposition activist who has been in touch with residents, said that snipers have taken positions on roofs in an apparent bid to stop people joining the protests.
  • According to the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR), protesters are also in control of Sirte, Tobruk in the east, as well as Misrata, Khoms, Tarhounah, Zenten, Al-Zawiya and Zouara.

the west and other arabs react: [al Jazeera]

  • Hillary Clinton said “its time to end this unacceptable bloodshed.
  • The UN has echoed Clinton’s remarks and its Security Council is meeting in a closed door session.
  • A group of army officers issued a statement urging fellow soldiers to “join the people” and help remove Gaddafi….
  • Libyan authorities have cut all landline and wireless communication in the country, making it impossible to verify many reports.
  • …[K]ey cities near Libya’s border with Egypt were now in the hands of protesters, which he said would enable the foreign media to enter the country.
  • ,,,[T]he Egyptian military on Tuesday said it was reinforcing the border with Libya, but that it would leave it open throughout the day for those who require medical or other assistance. The army says it has set up two field hospitals and camps to receive Egyptians and Libyans who cross the border into Egypt.