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10.23.11

Gaddafi Buried in Secret Desert Grave

The new Libyan government took the body of Muammar Gaddafi into the desert and buried it in a secret location at dawn on Tuesday. Plus, Bernard-Henri Lévy on the moral implications of the dictator's gory end.

Gaddafi Burial Witnesses Sworn to Secrecy

The new Libyan government took the body of Muammar Gaddafi into the desert and buried it in a secret location at dawn on Tuesday. Only a few witnesses were present, and they were sworn to secrecy. Gaddafi’s tribe, the Qaddafa, had asked for his corpse so he could be buried in his hometown of Sirte; the government, however, refused the request out of fear that the grave might become a shrine. Gaddafi’s corpse had begun to decompose after four days in a meat locker, which was ineffective due to the constant opening of the door. Meanwhile, the Global Post claims that a frame-by-frame video analysis shows that Gaddafi was sodomized by a knife or stick in the moments leading up to his death.

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'I Killed Gaddafi'

A Libyan revolutionary fighter claims that he's the one who did away with the strongman. "We grabbed him," says a man in a newly leaked video who still remains unidentified. "I hit him in the face. Some fighters wanted to take him away and that's when I shot him, twice: in the face and in the chest." In another part of the video, which is extremely graphic, the same man waves a ring he claims to have taken from Gaddafi's body as well as a bloody shirt.

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deadliest-dictators-teaser

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Libya Declares Freedom

After 42 years of oppressive rule by the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Libyan officials on Sunday declared the liberation of the nation to cheers from crowds in Benghazi, where the uprising began in February. Gaddafi met a violent death Thursday. “This is the humiliating end that God wanted to set as example for anyone who practices the worst forms of injustice ... against their people,” Salah el Ghazal said during the ceremonies, marking the beginning of the country’s transition to democracy.

Meanwhile, the first true multiparty national election in Tunisia since the ouster of strongman Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in January was underway. According to preliminary results, the moderate Islamist Nahda party—banned and persecuted under Ben Ali—will be the country’s strongest political force, with at least 40 percen (and possibly a majority) of seats. Two leftist parties who say they are ready to work with the Islamists also performed well.

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Details of Gaddafi’s Bloody End

Though there are conflicting reports, details of Gaddafi’s final moments have emerged. The Associated Press reports that after he was dragged out of a drainpipe, Gaddafi raised his hands and said, “Don’t kill me, my sons.” Upon being captured, Libyan forces tried to load him into a vehicle when loyalist forces engaged in a gunfight. At this point, Gaddafi was wounded in his right arm. As more shots rang out, the former dictator was struck in the head (possibly by his own bodyguards) and then died moments before reaching a hospital, said Libya’s transitional prime minister.

Al Jazeera aired footage of Gaddafi—dripping blood but seemingly alive—being dragged around Sirte. Another video showed Gaddafi with his eyes open and what looks like a gunshot wound to his head, as Libyan fighters fired shots into the air. In a third shocking video on YouTube, fighters posed for pictures with Gaddafi’s corpse, positioning the lifeless body by pulling his hair. Meanwhile, after Secretary of State Clinton heard of the former dictator’s demise, she joked with a reporter. “We came, we saw, he died,” she said, referring to her trip to Tripoli earlier this week.

An autopsy officially reported a gunshot wound to the head as the cause of death.

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Obama Warns Other Dictators

President Obama confirmed in a press conference Thursday that Gaddafi had been killed. “Today we can definitely say the Gaddafi regime has come to an end—the last major regime strongholds have fallen,” he said. Obama praised the U.S.’s “extraordinary support” of the former Libyan rebels, and he also said the U.S. will continue to be their “partner” while also acknowledging there will be “difficult days” ahead in the “long and winding road to democracy.” Obama called for remembrance of those lost in the alleged terrorist acts by Gaddafi, as well as the Libyan people who have died at his hands. He also warned iron-fist rulers of the Middle East that their reign will eventually come to an end.

Video screenshot

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Condoleezza Rice: Bush’s ‘Freedom Agenda’ Won

In an exclusive Newsweek excerpt, Rice takes us inside the Bush administration—and inside her head—during some of the world’s tensest moments when she was national-security adviser, describing what happened when she pressed for answers on what the plans were after a successful Iraq invasion. “When I finally arranged a briefing on the issue before the president in early February [2003] he started the meeting in a way that completely destroyed any chance of getting an answer. ‘This is something Condi has wanted to talk about,’ he said. I could immediately see that the generals no longer thought it to be a serious question."

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PHILIPPE DESMAZES