I am not going to respond here to As’ad AbuKhalil's liberal digs about me being a "fan" of dictatorships in regards to my efforts to give a platform to the Libyan and Syrian majority voices that support their leaders that have come under vicious attack by imperialism.
If Khalil would care to put down Britain's most liberal pro-war rag, the Guardian, for answers about me, and take a second to look more deeply into why I do the work that I do, he might find them here, here and here.
The first link answers his confusion about some of the interviews I gave when I was in the Rixos. In regards to the "guards" he refers to, some of whom had been my friends who had helped me and other journalists with our work up until NATO bombed the rebels into Tripoli - all of them were civilian volunteers, including students, academics and other civilian residents in Tripoli. When NATO bombed the rebels into Tripoli, they like many other people in the capital, picked up the weapons that they had been trained to use during the crisis to defend their capital. But if you had been only following mainstream western and GCC media, you wouldn't know anything about the hundreds and thousands of people who volunteered to defend their country and Leader, who NATO also viewed as legitimate targets of their bombs. And as for the volunteers who were defending the area around the Rixos, I still have contact with the ones who are alive.
I personally was not being prevented from leaving the Rixos by any volunteer, and I could have left at any point I wanted if I wanted to risk being hit by shrapnel or in crossfire, but I didn't and so I stayed in the Rixos, where contrary to reports that we were running out of food and water, the volunteers were bringing us supplies not to mention that all of the mini bars in the nearly 200 room luxury hotel were fully stocked, providing ample liquids for the 35 or so of us. Myself and a few others with the help of the volunteers even went into the Rixos kitchen and cooked a hot meal for all of the journalists.
I was in contact with others in Tripoli whenever the phones were working, including foreign diplomats, who were all in the same position as us and couldn't leave their homes or offices for at least five days because it was too dangerous, not because they were being held hostage.
It is a shame that Khalil continues to use only those media that were part of the essential war propaganda against Libya and now Syria to get his information to try to undermine my work against imperialism's latest plots.
It is interesting that he mentions how defending Cuba is more understandable than defending Libya or Syria. Well, perhaps Khalil should look more into the positions of Castro and other leaders from progressive Latin America on Libya and Syria, who clearly regard both Gaddafi and Assad as comrades.