Tag Archive: the United States


1 Timothy 4:12

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example in the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

1 Timothy 4:12

Michaele SalahiI Take The 5th on Adultery

http://www.tmz.com/2012/01/15/michaele-salahi-neal-schon-tareq-salahi/

Michaele Salahi

will neither confirm nor deny she banged Journey guitarist Neal Schon behind her husband’s back … this according to new legal docs.

Turns out, adultery is a CRIME in Virginia … and if Michaele admits that she slept around with Schon while she was married to Tareq Salahi, she could be punished by the law.

So, instead of responding to the adultery accusations Tareq included in his divorce filing — Michaele has now filed documents in which she “asserts her privilege pursuant to the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution not to respond.”

Additionally, admitting to adultery could put Michaele at a serious disadvantage in her divorce proceedings — because as we first reported, the couple’s pre-nup stipulates … if Michaele commits adultery, she gets zilch for spousal support.

Sources close to Michaele tell TMZ, she’s not concerned — because Michaele was already separated from Tareq when she started dating Neal. The couple celebrated their four-month anniversary on Friday.

For the record — the crime of adultery in Virginia is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by a $250 fine.

Swapping chicken pox-infected lollipops illegal

http://news.yahoo.com/swapping-chicken-pox-infected-lollipops-illegal-200633795.html

NASHVILLE (Reuters) – A federal prosecutor is warning parents against trading chicken pox-laced lollipops by mail in what authorities describe as misguided attempts to expose their children to the virus to build immunity later in life.

The warning came after media reports surfaced about a multi-state ring of parents, wary of vaccinations that prevent the disease, who were swapping lollipops licked by a sick child in a modern day incarnation of a chicken pox party.

In those so-called parties, parents purposely put sick children together with healthy children in order to spread the ailment and build immunity without having the children vaccinated. This new form of party shares the disease anonymously and long-distance.

“Sending a virus or disease through the U.S. mail (and private carriers) is illegal. It doesn’t matter if it crosses state lines,” said David Boling, public information officer for the Attorney in Nashville.

“Also, it is against federal law to adulterate or tamper with consumer products, such as candy.”

Boling said the issue came to light after a television “news report out of Phoenix that involved a Nashville woman that was shipping and receiving adulterated products.”

Sending chicken pox-infected lollipops, swabs or vials of saliva to parents who want to infect their children and avoid vaccinations is not only illegal, it can be lethal, said Dr. Tim Jones, Tennessee’s state epidemiologist.

“They are putting at risk the people around them,” said Jones, commenting on a controversy that has sparked anger in both the medical and legal communities.

An epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta agrees. “It’s an incredibly bad idea for a variety of reasons,” said Dr. Rafael Harpaz, of the CDC’s Division of Viral Diseases.

The transport and sale of contaminated items has been linked to a Facebook group called “Find a Pox Party in Your Area,” which helps people anonymously arrange for the swapping and sale of contaminated items.

“There are a substantial number of people involved in it,” Boling said, referring to the ring.

Nashville-based U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin has been outspoken on the matter because he wants to warn “folks that want to continue to engage in this kind of activity that they are certainly exposing themselves to criminal prosecution,” said Boling, who would “neither confirm (nor) deny existence of an investigation.”

POX PARTIES

Jones said old-fashioned “pox parties” were bad enough, but shipping items to infect children “is utterly inexcusable. In this case, these are people who are buying and selling infected or contaminated body fluids from complete strangers.”

“There are a bunch of things wrong with this,” he said, adding that parents could also be inadvertently giving their children items contaminated with influenza or hepatitis, in addition to chicken pox.

CDC’s Harpaz said one major issue is that giving children the chicken pox instead of a vaccine could be a fatal mistake.

“Before the vaccine was licensed, there were in the order of 100 kids (in the U.S.) who died of chicken pox per year. Now there are very few among vaccinated children… It’s kind of like playing Russian roulette with your child.”

In addition to exposing children to chicken pox, those who have it are more susceptible to getting shingles later in life than are vaccinated children, Harpaz said.

“The idea that it’s safer to give your kid the infection than it is to immunize them is just wrong, completely misguided and puts your child at unnecessary risk,” said Tennessee epidemiologist Jones.

First of all, he said, the vaccine is safe, while those who give the children the disease “are putting at risk people around them. There may be people they could infect that don’t have a choice, who can’t take the vaccine.”

The CDC’s Harpaz said symptoms of chicken pox aren’t noticeable for “10 days to 21 days when you are exposed.” But that doesn’t mean children aren’t contagious.

Children taking chemotherapy or other medications that affect the immune system are among those who can’t take the vaccine and would be at risk if exposed to infected children.

“You could infect them and kill them,” said Jones. “That’s murder.”

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Jerry Norton)

 

http://news.yahoo.com/egypt-closes-great-pyramid-rumors-rituals-104026490.html

 

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s antiquities authority closed the largest of the Giza pyramids Friday following rumors that groups would try to hold spiritual ceremonies on the site at 11:11 A.M. on Nov. 11, 2011.

The authority’s head Mustafa Amin said in a statement Friday that the pyramid of Khufu, also known as Cheops, would be closed to visitors until Saturday morning for “necessary maintenance.”

The closure follows a string of unconfirmed reports in local media that unidentified groups would try to hold “Jewish” or “Masonic” rites on the site to take advantage of mysterious powers coming from the pyramid on the rare date.

Amin called all reports of planned ceremonies at the site “completely lacking in truth.”

The complex’s director, Ali al-Asfar, said Friday that an Egyptian company requested permission last month to hold an event called “hug the pyramid,” in which 120 people would join hands around the ancient burial structure.

The authority declined the request a week ago, al-Asfar said, but that did not stop concerned Egyptians from starting internet campaigns to prevent the event from taking place.

“It has been a big cause now on Facebook and Twitter for many people to write about,” al-Asfar said.

The closure was unrelated to the rumors, he said, adding that the pyramid needed maintenance after the large number of visitors during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday last week.

The rest of the complex, which includes two other large pyramids, numerous tombs and the Sphinx, remained open Friday, though security appeared to be heavier than usual.

Dozens of police officers and soldiers were posted throughout the complex. Some patrolled on camel-back. One soldier stood next to his machine gun near a souvenir shop selling miniature pyramids.

Speaking by phone from the pyramids after 11:11 had passed, al-Asfar said he’d seen nothing out of the ordinary.

“Everything is normal,” he said. “The only thing different is the closure of the Khufu pyramid.”

Khufu is credited with building the Giza complex’s largest pyramid, now one of Egypt’s main tourist attractions. Khufu founded the 4th Dynasty around 2680 B.C. and ruled Egypt for 23 years.

Police: Bieber sexual tryst may be investigated

http://news.yahoo.com/police-bieber-sexual-tryst-may-investigated-215736596.html

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles police commander says his department could investigate an alleged sexual tryst between an underage Justin Bieber and a now 20-year-old woman because it violates California’s statutory rape law.

Cmdr. Andrew Smith said Thursday that no report has been taken about the October 2010 incident at Staples Center. However, police could look into the matter after various media outlets reported Mariah Yeater filed a paternity suit earlier this week against Bieber.

Yeater had just turned 19 when she says she and Bieber, then 16, had a sexual encounter after one of his concerts. Bieber’s camp denies he is the father of her baby boy, born in July.

California law states anyone who has unlawful sex with a minor and not more than three years older is guilty of a misdemeanor, which carries up to a one-year jail sentence.

 

Journey reunion unlikely, Steve Perry says

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31749_162-20127812-10391698/journey-reunion-unlikely-steve-perry-says/

CBS/AP) While the resurgence of Journey’s hit song “Don’t Stop Believin'”
provided some reunion hope to longtime Journey fans, former lead singer Steve
Perry says a it’s not likely.

 

 

“It’s like any emotional, committed relationship,” he said to the Associated
Press. “At some point, they seem to all have a shelf life and bands are no
exception.

 

“Life has moved us all on in different places in our lives. They’re doing
what they’re doing – they have been since ’98. And I’ve been doing what I’m
doing, which is living my life and having a personal life.”

 

 

Perry’s interview came ahead of Tuesday’s release of Journey’s “Greatest Hits
Vol. 2” and the remastered version of Perry’s 1984 solo album, “Street Talk,”
which included the No. 1 hit “Oh Sherrie” and the ballad “Foolish Heart.”

 

Perry’s former band mates have continued on since his departure 13 years ago,
performing as Journey with a new lead singer, Arnel Pineda. Even though Perry
says they have all moved on, he said he still delights in the songs he did with
Journey that keep getting airplay.

 

Thirty years after its release, Journey’s most memorable hit, “Don’t Stop
Believin,'” is still heard in movies and on TV. Most recently, the song appears
in Brad Pitt’s “Moneyball.”

 

The song has managed to reach an even younger audience through the hit TV
show “Glee,” which has also featured other Journey hits “Faithfully” and the
medley version of “Any Way You Want It/Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin.'”

 

“It’s very shocking because now I’m getting it for 7-, 8-, 9-, 10-year-olds
coming up to me, and they love that song and they’ve made it their song,” said
Perry, 62. “It’s just amazing to me.”

First Look: Cameron shows 3-D ‘Titanic’ footage

http://news.yahoo.com/first-look-cameron-shows-3-d-titanic-footage-202639321.html

LOS ANGELES (AP) — James Cameron took his “2.99-D” version of “Titanic” out into open water Friday.

The director of the Oscar-winning 1997 film and producer Jon Landau previewed 18 minutes of assorted footage that has been converted into 3-D for next year’s rerelease of the film. The mastermind behind “Avatar” joked that it wasn’t fully 3-D because “Titanic” wasn’t filmed in 3-D. He was quick to note, though, that most other converted 3-D films are just “2.4-D.”

“I think it looks spectacular,” said Cameron. “If I had 3-D cameras at the time and there had been 3-D theaters at the time, I certainly would have shot it in 3-D. It’s also just a way of reinventing the concept of a rerelease and getting people to come back to theaters and commit that three hours and 15 minutes to go through the experience again.”

The footage shown during the invite-only presentation at Paramount Studios included eight scenes, spanning from Kate Winslet’s well-to-do Rose looking up at the Titanic for the first time to the moment when the stern dramatically plunges into the sea at a 90-degree angle, as well as the iconic scene of Rose and Leonardo DiCaprio’s drifter Jack embracing on the bow.

In the scenes previewed Friday, the 3-D footage showcased the conversion’s visual reinvigoration of the existing material, especially during moments involving depth, such as a car being slowly hoisted onto the deck of the ship or Jack anxiously awaiting Rose at the bottom of a grand staircase amid a series of columns that seemingly jut out of the screen.

Cameron said that DiCaprio and Winslet have yet to see the 3-D footage of “Titanic,” but he has spoken with Winslet about the project, and she is “on board.” He hasn’t talked to DiCaprio about the rerelease because he’s been busy shooting “The Great Gatsby” in Australia but he hopes to reconnect with the “J. Edgar” star soon.

“We’d love to have them involved to the extent that I think people are curious about what their journey has been since ‘Titanic,'” Cameron said. “I think ‘Titanic’ cast a very long shadow over the careers of two extremely brilliant young actors who had to spend a lot of time kinda reminding people they weren’t Jack and Rose over the next few years.”

Cameron said that it will take 300 artists 60 weeks at a cost of $18 million to create the 3-D version of “Titanic,” which won’t include any new material. Landau noted that the film will also be rereleased in 2-D and that the “2-D is going to be a better print than anything we could have done at the time” because they have since created a “digital master” of the film.

Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox are set to rerelease “Titanic” on April 6, 2012, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Titanic setting sail on April 10, 1912. After it debuted in 1997, “Titanic” won 11 Academy Awards and grossed more than $1.8 billion worldwide, second only to Cameron’s “Avatar,” which was filmed in 3-D and released in 2009.

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20th Century Fox is a unit of News Corp.

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AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang.

Islamists claim win in Tunisia’s Arab Spring vote

http://news.yahoo.com/tunisia-counts-votes-first-arab-spring-election-011055438.html

TUNIS (Reuters) – Moderate Islamists claimed victory on Monday in Tunisia’s first democratic election, sending a message to other states in the region that long-sidelined Islamists are challenging for power after the “Arab Spring.”

Official results have not been announced, but the Ennahda party said its workers had tallied the results posted at polling stations after Sunday’s vote, the first since the uprisings which began in Tunisia and spread through the region.

“The first confirmed results show that Ennahda has obtained first place,” campaign manager Abdelhamid Jlazzi said outside party headquarters in the center of the Tunisian capital.

As he spoke, a crowd of more than 300 in the street shouted “Allahu Akbar!” or “God is great!” Other people started singing the Tunisian national anthem.

Mindful that some people in Tunisia and elsewhere see the resurgence of Islamists as a threat to modern, liberal values, party officials said they were prepared to form an alliance with two secularist parties, Congress for the Republic and Ettakatol.

“We will spare no effort to create a stable political alliance … We reassure the investors and international economic partners,” Jlazzi said.

Sunday’s vote was for an assembly which will sit for one year to draft a new constitution. It will also appoint a new interim president and government to run the country until fresh elections late next year or early in 2013.

The voting system has built-in checks and balances which make it nearly impossible for any one party to have a majority, compelling Ennahda to seek alliances with secularist parties, which will dilute its influence.

“This is an historic moment,” said Zeinab Omri, a young woman in a hijab, or Islamic head scarf, who was outside the Ennahda headquarters when party officials claimed victory.

“No one can doubt this result. This result shows very clearly that the Tunisian people is a people attached to its Islamic identity,” she said.

REVOLUTION INSPIRED UPRISINGS

Tunisia became the birthplace of the “Arab Spring” when Mohamed Bouazizi, a vegetable seller in a provincial town, set fire to himself in protest at poverty and government repression.

His suicide provoked a wave of protests which, weeks later, forced autocratic president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to flee to Saudi Arabia.

The revolution in Tunisia, a former French colony, in turn inspired uprisings which forced out entrenched leaders in Egypt and Libya, and convulsed Yemen and Syria — re-shaping the political landscape of the Middle East.

Ennahda is led by Rachid Ghannouchi, forced into exile in Britain for 22 years because of harassment by Ben Ali’s police.

A softly spoken scholar, he dresses in suits and open-necked shirts while his wife and daughter wear the hijab.

Ghannouchi is at pains to stress his party will not enforce any code of morality on Tunisian society, or the millions of Western tourists who holiday on its beaches.

He models his approach on the moderate Islamism of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.

The party’s rise has been met with ambivalence by some people in Tunisia. The country’s strong secularist traditions go back to the first post-independence president, Habiba Bourguiba, who called the hijab an “odious rag.”

Outside the offices of the commission which organized the election, about 50 people staged a sit-in demanding an investigation into what they said were irregularities committed by Ennahda. Election officials said any problems were minor.

“I really feel a lot of fear and concern after this result,” said Meriam Othmani, a 28-year-old journalist. “Women’s rights will be eroded,” she said. “Also, you’ll see the return of dictatorship once Ennahda achieves a majority in the constituent assembly.”

Ennahda’s preferred coalition partners may reassure some opponents. Ali Larayd, a member of the party’s executive committee, said it was ready to form an alliance with the Congress for the Republic and Ettakatol, both secularist groups respected by Tunisia’s intelligentsia.

 

The Congress is led by Moncef Marzouki, a doctor and human rights activist who spent years in exile in France. Ettakatol is a socialist party led by Mustafa Ben Jaafar, another doctor and veteran Ben Ali opponent.

The only official results released were from polling stations abroad, because they voted early.

The election commission said that out of 18 seats in the 217-seat assembly allocated to the Tunisian diaspora, 9 went to Ennahda. Its closest rivals were Marzouki’s Congress on four seats and Ettakatol, which won three.

The highest-profile secularist challenger to Ennahda, the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) conceded defeat. It had warned voters that modern, liberal values would be threatened if the Islamists won.

“The PDP respects the democratic game. The people gave their trust to those it considers worthy of that trust. We congratulate the winner and we will be in the ranks of the opposition,” a party statement sent to Reuters said.

Ennahda’s win was a remarkable turnaround for a party which just 10 months ago had to operate underground because of a government ban and which had hundreds of followers in prison.

In a slick and well-funded campaign, the party tapped into a desire among ordinary Tunisians to be able to express their faith freely after years of aggressively enforced secularism.

It also sought to show it could represent all Tunisians, including the large number who take a laissez-faire view of Islam’s strictures, drink alcohol, wear revealing clothes and rarely visit the mosque.

Secularist opponents say they believe this is just a cleverly constructed front that conceals more radical views, especially among Ennahda’s rank and file in the provinces.

The party’s final election rally last week was addressed by one of Ennahda’s candidates, a glamorous woman who does not wear a hijab.

On the fringes of the same rally, stalls sold books by Salafist authors, followers of a strict interpretation of Islam who believe women should be covered up and that the sexes should be segregated in public.

(Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by  Tim Pearce)

Arab strongman: With Gadhafi death, an era passes

FILE - This undated photo shows Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. A U.S. official says Libya's new government has told the United States that Gadhafi, 69, is dead. The official said Libya's Transitional National Council informed U.S. officials in Libya of the development Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011. His death on Thursday, confirmed by Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, came as Libyan fighters defeated Gadhafi's last holdouts in his hometown of Sirte, the last major site of resistance in the country. (AP Photo/File)http://news.yahoo.com/arab-strongman-gadhafi-death-era-passes-151535237.html

CAIRO (AP) — He often looked like a comical buffoon, standing before audiences, bedecked in colorful robes, spouting words that most of the world considered nonsense.

Yet the death of Moammar Gadhafi was a milestone in modern Arab history, in some ways more significant than the overthrow of lesser autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt.

Gadhafi was the last of the old-style Arab strongmen — the charismatic, nationalist revolutionaries who rose to power in the 1950s and 1960s, promising to liberate the masses from the shackles of European colonialism and the stultifying rule of the Arab elite that the foreigners left behind after World War II.

He was swept aside by a new brand of revolutionary — the leaderless crowds organized by social media, fed up with the oppressive past, keenly aware that the rest of the world has left them behind and convinced that they can build a better society even if at the moment, they aren’t sure how.

Gadhafi was the last of a generation of Arab leaders such as Gamal Abdel-Nasser of Egypt, Hafez Assad of Syria and Saddam Hussein of Iraq who emerged from poverty, rising to the pinnacle of power either through the ranks of the military or the disciplined, conspiratorial world of underground political organizations.

None of the latter crop of Arab autocrats, including Assad’s son Bashar, Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh and even Egypt’s colorless, ousted president Hosni Mubarak, could rival them in their heyday in terms of charisma, flair, stature and power.

Their model was Nasser, the towering champion of Arab unity who ousted Western-backed King Farouk in 1952 and inspired Arab peoples with fiery speeches broadcast by Egyptian radio from Iraq to Mauritania.

But Nasser’s dreams of Arab unity and social revival crumbled in defeat in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, when Israel seized East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Golan Heights from Syria and the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt. Nasser died three years later, and the fellow strongmen left behind led their countries instead into a political swamp of corruption, cronyism and dictatorship now challenged by the Arab Spring.

The hallmark of the Arab strongman was unquestioned power, the use of state media to promote a larger than life image and a ruthless security network that stifled even a whiff of dissent. That worked in an age before the Internet and global satellite television which opened the eyes of the strongman’s followers to a world without secret police and economic systems run by the leader’s family and cronies.

The Arab political transformation is far from complete. Autocratic rulers are facing challenges from their own people in Yemen and Syria. Bahrain’s Shiite majority is pressing the Sunni monarchy for reform. Rulers in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are maneuvering to contain the Arab Spring.

Iraq is struggling to build a democracy eight years after American-led arms brought down Saddam’s rule.

With Gadhafi’s passing, however, a milestone has been passed. The future belongs to a different style of ruler, whoever it may be.

It may be difficult to imagine that the Gadhafi of his final years — with his flamboyant robes, dark and curly wigs and sagging, surgically altered face — was a trim, handsome, vigorous 27-year-old when he came to power as a strong and vigorous leader. Over the years he had become a caricature figure associated with grandiose dreams such as a “United States of Africa” or seizing all of Israel and sending Jews “back to Europe.”

Even when he was younger, eccentricity was the mark of Gadhafi’s public persona.

A generation ago, President Ronald Reagan described him as the “mad dog of the Middle East,” and his fellow Arab leaders such as Egyptian President Anwar Sadat considered him a dangerous megalomaniac.

Journalists covered his speeches and international visits primarily for amusement.

Images of Gadhafi’s final moments — toupee gone, terrified, confused, powerless in the grip of men who may be about to kill him — make the ousted tyrant appear more pitiable than powerful.

All that was far from his image when he and his comrades toppled a Western-backed monarchy in 1969 in a bloodless coup, promising to transform his poor, backwater country into a modern state.

Promising a new era for his people, Gadhafi closed a U.S. air base, forced international oil companies to hand over most of their profits from Libyan oil to the Libyan state and shook the world with his unabashed support for terrorist or insurgent movements in Northern Ireland, Palestine, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Oil gave him a reach beyond his sparsely populated desert land and enabled him to pursue his revolutionary dreams.

In the 1980s, the lobbies of Tripoli’s few hotels were populated by representatives of what the West considered the most dangerous groups on Earth — stiff North Koreans wearing lapel buttons of their leader Kim Il-Sung, Palestinian extremists huddled over cups of sweet tea, European anarchists and revolutionaries — all come to town to seek the oil-fueled largesse of the “Brother Leader.”

While insisting that Libya was the freest nation on Earth, Gadhafi ruthlessly suppressed dissent, dispatched agents to assassinate his opponents abroad and drove thousands of Libyans into exile.

It all came crashing down in the final battle in his hometown of Sirte. A man who came to power as an Arab revolutionary and self-styled leader of the oppressed and downtrodden died a brutal and inglorious death at the hands of the people he purported to lead.

___

Eds: Robert H. Reid is Middle East regional editor for The Associated Press and has reported from the Middle East since 1978.

Gaddafi’s death – who pulled the trigger?

SIRTE, Libya (Reuters) – Disturbing images of a blood-stained and shaken Muammar Gaddafi being jostled by angry fighters quickly circulated around the world after the Libyan dictator’s dramatic death near his home town of Sirte.

The exact circumstances of his demise are still unclear with conflicting accounts of his death circulating. But the footage, possibly of the last chaotic moments of Gaddafi’s life, offered some clues into what happened.

Gaddafi was still alive when he was captured near Sirte. In the video, filmed by a bystander in the crowd and later aired on television around the world, Gaddafi is shown being dragged off a vehicle’s bonnet and pulled to the ground by his hair.

“Keep him alive, keep him alive!” someone shouts. Gunshots then ring out. The camera veers off.

“They captured him alive and while he was being taken away, they beat him and then they killed him,” one senior source in the NTC told Reuters. “He might have been resisting.”

In what appeared to contradict the events depicted in the video, Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council said Gaddafi was killed when a gunfight broke out after his capture between his supporters and government fighters. He died from a bullet wound to the head.

It said no order had been given to kill him.

Gaddafi called the rebels who rose up against his 42-years of one-man rule “rats,” but in the end it was he who was captured cowering in a drainage pipe full of rubbish and filth.

“He called us rats, but look where we found him,” said Ahmed Al Sahati, a 27-year-old government fighter, standing next to two stinking drainage pipes under a six-lane highway near Sirte.

On the ground, government fighters and the scenes of sheer carnage nearby told the story of the dictator’s final hours.

Shortly before dawn prayers on Thursday, Gaddafi, surrounded by a few dozen loyal bodyguards and accompanied by the head of his now non-existent army Abu Bakr Younis Jabr, broke out of the two-month siege of Sirte and made a break for the west.

But they did not get far.

France said its aircraft struck military vehicles belonging to Gaddafi forces near Sirte at about 8:30 a.m. (0630 GMT) on Thursday, but said it was unsure whether the strikes had killed Gaddafi.

Some two miles west of Sirte, 15 pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machine guns lay burned out, smashed and smoldering next to an electricity sub station some 20 meters from the main road.

They had clearly been hit by a force far beyond anything the motley army the former rebels has assembled during eight months of revolt to overthrow the once feared leader.

But there was no bomb crater, indicating the strike may have been carried out by a helicopter gunship, or that it had been strafed by a fighter jet.

“MY MASTER IS HERE”

Inside the trucks still in their seats sat the charred skeletal remains of drivers and passengers killed instantly by the strike. Other bodies lay mutilated and contorted strewn across the grass. Some 50 bodies in all.

Gaddafi himself and a handful of his men escaped death and appeared to have run through a stand of trees toward the main road and hid in the two drainage pipes.

But a group of government fighters were on their tail.

“At first we fired at them with anti-aircraft guns, but it was no use,” said Salem Bakeer, while being feted by his comrades near the road. “Then we went in on foot.

“One of Gaddafi’s men came out waving his rifle in the air and shouting surrender, but as soon as he saw my face he started shooting at me,” he told Reuters.

“Then I think Gaddafi must have told them to stop. ‘My master is here, my master is here’, he said, ‘Muammar Gaddafi is here and he is wounded’,” said Bakeer.

“We went in and brought Gaddafi out. He was saying ‘what’s wrong? What’s wrong? What’s going on?’. Then we took him and put him in the car,” Bakeer said.

At the time of capture, Gaddafi was already wounded with gunshots to his leg and to his back, Bakeer said.

Other government fighters who said they took part in Gaddafi’s capture, separately confirmed Bakeer’s version of events, though one said the man who ruled Libya for 42 years was shot and wounded at the last minute by one of his own men.

“One of Muammar Gaddafi’s guards shot him in the chest,” said Omran Jouma Shawan.

Another of the fighters who said he took part in the capture toted a heavily engraved a golden pistol he said he took from Gaddafi as he was hoisted on the shoulders of his comrades.

Army chief Jabr was also captured alive, Bakeer said. NTC officials later announced he was dead.

Fallen electricity cables partially covered the entrance to the pipes and the bodies of three men, apparently Gaddafi bodyguards lay at the entrance to one end, one in shorts probably due to a bandaged wound on his leg.

Four more bodies lay at the other end of the pipes. All black men, one had his brains blown out, another man had been decapitated, his dreadlocked head lying beside his torso.

Joyous government fighters fired their weapons in the air, shouted “Allahu Akbar” and posed for pictures. Others wrote graffiti on the concrete parapets of the highway.

“Gaddafi was captured here,” said one simply.

“THEY BEAT HIM, THEN THEY KILLED HIM”

From there Gaddafi was taken to Sirte where he and his dwindling band of die-hard supporters had made a last stand under a rain of missile and artillery fire in a desperate two-month siege.

Video footage showed Gaddafi, dazed and wounded, but still clearly alive and as he was dragged from the front of a pick-up truck by a crowd of angry jostling government soldiers who hit him and pulled his hair to drag him to the ground.

He then appeared to fall to the ground and was enveloped by the crowd. NTC officials later announced Gaddafi had died of his wounds after capture.

Someone in the crowd shouted “keep him alive, keep him alive,” but another fighter cried out in a high pitched crazed scream. Gaddafi then goes out of view and gunshots are heard.

Further television footage showed what appeared to be Gaddafi’s lifeless body being loaded into an ambulance in Sirte.

An NTC spokesman in Benghazi, Jalal al-Galal, said a doctor who examined Gaddafi when he arrived in Misrata found he had been shot in the head and abdomen.

(Additional reporting by Rania El Gamal in Sirte and Samia Nakhoul in Amman; Writing by Jon Hemming; Editing by Maria Golovnina)

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