ICONS OF EVIL. SERIAL KILLER OF MEN, AILEEN WUORNOS, THE DAMSEL OF DEATH

 

 Aileen Wuornos, nicknamed the Damsel of Death, spent 10 years on death row in Florida, after being convicted of killing six men when she worked as a prostitute on Florida’s highways in 1989 and 1990.

ABOVE IS A BRIEF INTERACTIVE INTERVIEW FOOTAGE OF HITCH-HIKING LESBIAN PROSTITUTE AND MAN HATER … AILEEN WUORNOS …. PRIOR TO HER EXECUTION…..INSANE?

ABOVE IS A BRIEF PICTORIAL INSIGHT INTO VARIOUS HANDWRITTEN AND SIGNED MURDERABILIA ITEMS FROM AILEEN WUORNOS HERE ON DISPLAY AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION , LITTLEDEAN JAIL

US-born highway hooker and serial man-killer Aileen Wuornos was put to death for a nine-month killing spree spanning north and central Florida.

The trail started on 1 December 1989 when a policeman found Richard Mallory’s abandoned vehicle. Just 12 days later the shop-owner’s bullet-ridden body was found in the undergrowth in a secluded wood.

Below is a brief interactive  background insight into the the life and crimes of former lesbian prostitute and serial killer Aileen Wuornos who was executed October 9, 2002 by Lethal Injection in Florida .

 

‘Damsel of Death’ executed
Aileen Wuornos in 2001 and 1991 (pictures from AP)
Wuornos said she “seriously hates human life”
A woman serial killer convicted of the murder of six men has been executed in Florida’s state prison.Aileen Wuornos, 46, died at 0947 local time (1347GMT) in the prison at Starke, after being injected with a lethal cocktail of drugs, according to a spokeswoman for Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
Governor Jeb Bush
Governor Jeb Bush ordered the execution

Wuornos, nicknamed the Damsel of Death, spent 10 years on death row in Florida, after being convicted of killing six men when she worked as a prostitute on Florida’s highways in 1989 and 1990.

Her killings began with Richard Mallory on 13 December 1989, and ended in January 1991 when she was arrested in Daytona Beach, Florida.

She is thought to have killed eight men in total.

Wuornos originally claimed she had killed in self-defence, after being raped.

Click here to see the map of the killings

Several years later, she admitted planning the murders with robbery as her motive.

At her 1992 trial, State Attorney John Tanner described her as “a homicidal predator”.

“She was like a spider on the side of the road, waiting for her prey – men,” he said.

Rejecting appeals

In April this year Wuornos refused to go along with another appeal.

“I would prefer to cut to the chase and get on with an execution,” she wrote.

“Taxpayers’ money has been squandered, and the families have suffered enough.”

Wuornos became a celebrity, and books, a film and an opera were written about her case.

Last week, Governor Bush lifted a stay on her execution when a team of psychiatrists ruled that she was sane.

‘Election ploy’

Wuornos was abandoned by her mother as an infant, and her father was a convicted child molester who committed suicide in jail.

She became pregnant at 14, but had to give up the child.

In April, she wrote to the authorities: “I have hate crawling through my system.

“I’m one who seriously hates human life and would kill again.”

She is only the second woman to be executed in Florida after the re-introduction of the death penalty in 1976.

Opponents of the death penalty say her execution, and that of Rigoberto Sanchez-Velasco last week, are being used by Governor Bush to help his re-election prospects in next month’s poll for the post of governor.


Aileen Wuornos

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Aileen Wuornos

Aileen Wuornos mug shot
Background information
Birth name Aileen Carol Pittman
Also known as [1] Sandra Kretsch
Susan Lynn Blahovec
Lee Blahovec
Cammie Marsh Greene
Lori Kristine Grody
Born February 29, 1956[1]
Rochester, Michigan
Died October 9, 2002 (aged 46)
Florida State PrisonBradford County, FloridaUnited States
Cause of death lethal injection
Conviction 6 counts 1st degree murder
Killings
Number of victims: 7
Span of killings 30 November 1989–19 November 1990
Country United States
State(s) Florida
Date apprehended 9 January 1991

Aileen Wuornos (29 February 1956 – 9 October 2002) was an American serial killer who killed seven men in Florida between 1989 and 1990, claiming theyraped or attempted to rape her while she was working as a prostitute. She was convicted and sentenced to death for six of the murders and executed bylethal injection on October 9, 2002.

Childhood

Early Life

Wuornos was born as Aileen Carol Pittman in Rochester, Michigan, on 29 February 1956.[2] Her mother, Diane Wuornos, was 15 years old when she married Aileen’s father, Leo Dale Pittman on 3 June 1954. Less than two years later, and two months before Wuornos was born, Diane filed for divorce. Aileen had an older brother named Keith, who was born in February 1955. Wuornos never met her father, because he was in prison for the rape and attempted murder of an eight-year-old boy[2] when she was born. Leo Pittman was considered to be a schizophrenic, who was convicted of sex crimes against children,[3] was in and out of prison, and hanged himself in prison in 1969.[1][4] In January 1960, when Aileen was almost 4 years old, Diane abandoned her children, leaving them with their maternal grandparents, Lauri and Britta Wuornos, who legally adopted Keith and Aileen on 18 March 1960.[4]

At age 12, Wuornos engaged in sexual activities in school in exchange for cigarettes, drugs, and food. Aileen had also engaged in sexual activities with her own brother.[3] Wuornos claimed that she was sexually assaulted and beaten as a child by her grandfather. Aileen’s grandfather was an alcoholic. Before beating her, he would force her to strip out of her clothes.[3] In 1970, at age 14, she became pregnant,[5] having been raped by a friend of her grandfather.[3]Wuornos gave birth at a home for unwed mothers, and the child was placed for adoption.[4] A few months after her baby was born, Aileen dropped out of school[3] as her grandmother died of liver failure; and Aileen and her brother became wards of the court. When she was 15, her grandfather threw her out of the house; and she began supporting herself as a prostitute and living in the woods near her old home.[4]

[edit]Early criminal career

On 27 May 1974, Wuornos was arrested in Jefferson County, Colorado, for driving under the influence (DUI), disorderly conduct, and firing a .22-caliber pistol from a moving vehicle. She was later charged with failure to appear (FTA).[6]

In 1976, Wuornos hitchhiked to Florida, where she met 69-year-old yacht club president Lewis Gratz Fell. They married that same year, and the announcement of their nuptials was printed in the society pages of the local newspaper. However, Wuornos continually involved herself in confrontations at their local bar and eventually went to jail for assault. She also hit Fell with his own cane, leading him to get a restraining order against her. She returned to Michigan[7][8] where, on 14 July 1976, Wuornos was arrested in Antrim County, Michigan, and charged with assault and disturbing the peacefor throwing a cue ball at a bartender’s head.[9] On July 17, her brother Keith died of esophageal cancer and Wuornos received $10,000 from his life insurance. Wuornos and Fell annulled on July 21 after nine weeks of marriage.[10]

On 20 May 1981, Wuornos was arrested in Edgewater, Florida, for the armed robbery of a convenience store. She was sentenced to prison on 4 May 1982, and released on 30 June 1983.[11] On 1 May 1984, Wuornos was arrested for attempting to pass forged checks at a bank in Key West. On 30 November 1985, she was named as a suspect in the theft of a revolver and ammunition in Pasco County.[11]

On 4 January 1986, Wuornos was arrested in Miami and charged with grand theft autoresisting arrest, and obstruction by false information for providing identification with her aunt’s name. Miami police officers found a .38-caliber revolver and a box of ammunition in the stolen car.[12] On 2 June 1986, Volusia County, Florida deputy sheriffs detained Wuornos for questioning after a male companion accused her of pulling a gun, in his car, and demanding $200. Wuornos was found to be carrying spare ammunition, and a .22 pistol was discovered under the passenger seat she had occupied.[13]

Around this time, Wuornos met Tyria Moore, a hotel maid, at a Daytona gay bar. They moved in together, and Wuornos supported them with her prostitution earnings.[14] On 4 July 1987, Daytona Beach police detained Wuornos and Moore at a bar for questioning regarding an incident in which they were accused of assault and battery with a beer bottle.[15] On 12 March 1988, Wuornos accused a Daytona Beach bus driver of assault. She claimed that he pushed her off the bus following a confrontation. Moore was listed as a witness to the incident.[15]

After seeing Wuornos on television prior to her first trial, a 44-year-old born-again-Christian woman named Arlene Pralle felt compelled to contact Aileen. She claimed Jesus told her to do so. Pralle quickly became an outspoken advocate of Wuornos, speaking with her daily and claiming her innocence

[edit]Murders

  • Richard Mallory,[1] age 51, 30 November 1989—Electronics store owner in Clearwater, Florida. Wuornos’ first victim was a convicted rapist whom she claimed to have killed in self-defense. Two days later, a Volusia County, Florida, Deputy Sheriff found Mallory’s abandoned vehicle. On December 13, Mallory’s body was found several miles away in a wooded area. He had been shot several times, but two bullets to the left lung were found to have been the cause of death. It was on this murder that Wuornos would eventually be condemned.
  • David Spears,[1] age 43—Construction worker in Winter Garden, Florida. On 1 June 1990, his nude body was found along Highway 19 in Citrus County, Florida. He had been shot six times.
  • Charles Carskaddon,[1] age 40, 31 May 1990—Part-time rodeo worker. On 6 June 1990, his body was found in Pasco County, Florida. He had been shot nine times with a small-caliber weapon.
  • Peter Siems,[1] age 65—In June 1990, Siems left Jupiter, Florida, for New Jersey. On 4 July 1990, his car was found in Orange Springs, Florida. Moore and Wuornos were seen abandoning the car, and Wuornos’ palm print was found on the interior door handle. His body was never found.
  • Troy Burress,[1] age 50—Sausage salesman from Ocala, Florida. On 31 July 1990, he was reported missing. On 4 August 1990, his body was found in a wooded area along State Road 19 in Marion County, Florida. He had been shot twice.
  • Charles “Dick” Humphreys,[1] age 56, 11 September 1990—Retired U.S. Air Force Major, former State Child Abuse Investigator, and former Chief of Police. On 12 September 1990, his body was found in Marion County, Florida. He was fully clothed and had been shot six times in the head and torso. His car was found in Suwannee County, Florida.
  • Walter Jeno Antonio,[1] age 62—Police Reservist.[16][page needed] On 19 November 1990,[16][page needed] Antonio’s nearly nude body was found near a remote logging road in Dixie County, Florida. He had been shot four times. Five days later, his car was found in Brevard County, Florida.

[edit]Justice system

[edit]Apprehension and sentencing

On 4 July 1990, Wuornos and Moore abandoned Peter Siems’s car after they were involved in an accident. Witnesses who had seen the women driving the victims’ cars provided police with their names and descriptions, resulting in a media campaign to locate them. Police also found some of the victims’ belongings in pawnshops and retrieved fingerprints matching those found in the victims’ cars. Wuornos had a criminal justice record in Florida, and her fingerprints were on file.[4]

On 9 January 1991, Wuornos was arrested on an outstanding warrant at The Last Resort, a biker bar in Volusia County.[17] Police located Moore the next day in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She agreed to elicit a confession from Wuornos in exchange for prosecutorial immunity.[18] Moore returned with police to Florida, where she was put up in a motel. Under police guidance, Moore made numerous telephone calls to Wuornos, pleading for help in clearing her name. Three days later, on 16 January 1991, Wuornos confessed to the murders. She claimed the men had tried to rape her and she killed them in self-defense.[19][20]

On 14 January 1992, Wuornos went to trial for the murder of Richard Mallory. Prior bad acts are normally inadmissible in criminal trials; but, under Florida’s Williams Rule, the prosecution was allowed to introduce evidence related to her other crimes to show a pattern of illegal activity.[1] On 27 January 1992, Wuornos was convicted of Richard Mallory’s murder with help from Moore’s testimony. At her sentencing, psychiatrists for the defense testified that Wuornos was mentally unstable and had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Four days later, she was sentenced to death.[20][21]

On 31 March 1992, Wuornos pleaded no contest to the murders of Dick Humphreys, Troy Burress, and David Spears, saying she wanted to “get right with God”.[1] In her statement to the court, she stated, “I wanted to confess to you that Richard Mallory did violently rape me as I’ve told you; but these others did not. [They] only began to start to.”[1] On 15 May 1992, Wuornos was given three more death sentences.[1]

In June 1992, Wuornos pleaded guilty to the murder of Charles Carskaddon; in November 1992, she received her fifth death sentence.[1] The defense made efforts during the trial to introduce evidence that Mallory had been tried for intent to commit rape in Maryland and that he had been committed to a maximum security correctional facility in Maryland that provided remediation to sexual offenders.[22] Records obtained from that institution reflected that, from 1958 to 1962, Mallory was committed for treatment and observation resulting from a criminal charge of assault with intent to rape and received an over-all eight years of treatment from the facility. In 1961, “it was observed of Mr. Mallory that he possessed strong sociopathic trends”.[22] The judge refused to allow this to be admitted in court as evidence and denied Wuornos’ request for a retrial.[20][22][23]

In February 1993, Wuornos pleaded guilty to the murder of Walter Gino Antonio and was sentenced to death again. No charges were brought against her for the murder of Peter Siems, as his body was never found. In all, she received six death sentences.[1]

Wuornos told several inconsistent stories about the killings. She claimed initially that all seven men had raped her while she was working as a prostitute but later recanted the claim of self-defense. During an interview with filmmaker Nick Broomfield, when she thought the cameras were off, she told him that it was, in fact, self-defense, but she could not stand being on death row—where she had been for 12 years at that point—and wanted to die.[24]

[edit]Execution

Wuornos’ appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied in 1996. In 2001, she announced that she would not issue any further appeals against her death sentence. She petitioned the Florida Supreme Court for the right to fire her legal counsel and stop all appeals, saying, “I killed those men, robbed them as cold as ice. And I’d do it again, too. There’s no chance in keeping me alive or anything, because I’d kill again. I have hate crawling through my system…I am so sick of hearing this ‘she’s crazy’ stuff. I’ve been evaluated so many times. I’m competent, sane, and I’m trying to tell the truth. I’m one who seriously hates human life and would kill again.”[25] A defense attorney argued that she was in no state for them to honor such a request.[26]

Florida Governor Jeb Bush instructed three psychiatrists to give Wuornos a 15-minute interview. The test for competency requires the psychiatrist(s) to be convinced that the condemned person understands that she will die and for which crime(s) she is being executed. All three judged her mentally fit to be executed.

Wuornos later started accusing the prison matrons of abusing her. She accused them of tainting her food, spitting on it, serving her potatoes cooked in dirt, and her food arriving with urine. She also claimed overhearing conversations about “trying to get me so pushed over the brink by them I’d wind up committing suicide before the [execution]” and “wishing to rape me before execution”. She also complained of strip searches, being handcuffed so tightly that her wrists bruised any time she left her cell, door kicking, frequent window checks by matrons, low water pressure, mildew on her mattress and “cat calling … in distaste and a pure hatred towards me”. Wuornos threatened to boycott showers and food trays when specific officers were on duty. “In the meantime, my stomach’s growling away and I’m taking showers through the sink of my cell.”

Her attorney stated that “Ms. Wuornos really just wants to have proper treatment, humane treatment until the day she’s executed”, and “If the allegations don’t have any truth to them, she’s clearlydelusional. She believes what she’s written”.[27]

During the final stages of the appeal process she gave a series of interviews to Broomfield. In her final interview shortly before her execution she claimed that her mind was being controlled by “sonic pressure” to make her appear crazy and described her impending death as being taken away by angels on a space ship.[28] Wuornos said to Broomfield, “You sabotaged my ass, society, and the cops, and the system. A raped woman got executed, and was used for books and movies and shit.”[29] Her final words in the on-camera interview were “Thanks a lot, society, for railroading my ass.”[30]Broomfield later met Dawn Botkins, a childhood friend of Wuornos’, who told him, “She’s sorry, Nick. She didn’t give you the finger. She gave the media the finger, and then the attorneys the finger. And she knew if she said much more, it could make a difference on her execution tomorrow, so she just decided not to.”[31]

Wuornos was executed by lethal injection on October 9, 2002.[32] She was the tenth woman in the United States to be executed since the Supreme Court lifted the ban on capital punishment in 1976,[33] and the second woman ever executed in Florida. She declined a last meal and instead was given a cup of coffee. Her final statement before the execution was “Yes, I would just like to say I’m sailing with the rock, and I’ll be back, like Independence Day with Jesus. June 6, like the movie. Big mother ship and all, I’ll be back, I’ll be back.”[1]

[edit]After death

After her execution, Wuornos was cremated. Her ashes were taken by Dawn Botkins to her native Michigan and spread beneath a tree. She requested that Natalie Merchant‘s song “Carnival” be played at her funeral. Natalie Merchant commented on this when asked why her song was played during the credits of the documentary Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer:

When director Nick Broomfield sent a working edit of the film, I was so disturbed by the subject matter that I couldn’t even watch it. Aileen Wuornos led a tortured, torturing life that is beyond my worst nightmares. It wasn’t until I was told that Aileen spent many hours listening to my album Tigerlily while on death row and requested “Carnival” be played at her funeral that I gave permission for the use of the song. It’s very odd to think of the places my music can go once it leaves my hands. If it gave her some solace, I have to be grateful.[34]

Broomfield later stated:

I think this anger developed inside her. And she was working as a prostitute. I think she had a lot of awful encounters on the roads. And I think this anger just spilled out from inside her. And finally exploded. Into incredible violence. That was her way of surviving. I think Aileen really believed that she had killed in self-defense. I think someone who’s deeply psychotic can’t really tell the difference between something that is life threatening and something that is a minor disagreement, that you could say something that she didn’t agree with. She would get into a screaming black temper about it. And I think that’s what had caused these things to happen. And at the same time, when she wasn’t in those extreme moods, there was an incrediblehumanity to her.[35]

56th murderer executed in U.S. in 2002
805th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
10th female murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
2nd murderer executed in Florida in 2002
53rd murderer executed in Florida since 1976
2nd female murderer executed in Florida since 1976

Summary:
Between December 1989 and September 1990, the bodies of several men were found murdered along the highways of northern and central Florida, including Richard Mallory, Dick Humphreys, Troy Burress, David Spears, Walter Gino Antonio, Peter Siems, and Charles Carskaddon. Items belonging to Mallory and Antonio were pawned near Daytona Beach and the alias names used were traced to Wuornos through thumbprints left on the pawn shop cards. Wuornos confessed to the murder of all six men, claiming that she was picked up by the men when she was working as a highway prostitute, and shot them in self defense after they attempted to sexually assault her. Wuornos was convicted of the murder of Richard Mallory after a jury trial in Volusia County and was sentenced to death. At trial, the State was allowed to introduce similar crimes evidence about Wuornos’ commission of several other murders. While on death row, it was discovered that Mallory had previously served time for Attempted Rape. Wuornos pleaded no contest to the murders of the other 5 men and was sentenced to death in each case.

Within two weeks of her arrest, Wuornos and her attorney had sold movie rights to her story. Investigators in her case did likewise. The case resulted in several books and movies, and even one opera on the life of “America’s first female serial killer.” Wuornos’s father, Leo Dale Pittman, was a child molester and a sociopath who was strangled in prison in 1969. Wuornos was pregnant at age fourteen. Shortly thereafter, she dropped out of school, left home and took up hitchhiking and prostitution. Wuornos had a prior conviction for armed robbery in 1982.

 

Final Meal:
Wuornos declined the traditional last meal, which could have been anything she wanted for under $20, and instead was given a cup of coffee.

Final Words:
“I’d just like to say I’m sailing with the rock, and I’ll be back like Independence Day, with Jesus June 6. Like the movie, big mother ship and all, I’ll be back.”

 

THE MASTERMIND BEHIND THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY (1963) BRUCE REYNOLDS FUNERAL 20TH MARCH 2013

R.I.P BRUCE REYNOLDS

NICK REYNOLDS DEVOTED SON OF HIS FATHER BRUCE , HIS BOYS , FAMILY , FRIENDS , ACQUAINTANCES AND MANY OTHERS SAY FAREWELL TO ONE OF THE MOST ICONIC FOLKLORE FIGURES IN BRITISH MODERN HISTORY AT ST BARTHOLOMEW THE GREAT CHURCH, SMITHFIELDS , LONDON, UK . 

FOLLOWED UP BY THE WAKE IN HIS HONOUR HELD AT THE KING’S HEAD PUB , KINGSLAND ROAD , LONDON. 

ON A PERSONAL LEVEL I  WOULD WISH TO ADD THAT IT WAS A GREAT DAY AND A GREAT SEND-OFF AND FURTHERMORE ALL THOSE THAT WERE THERE THROUGHOUT THE DAY AND EVENING HAD A FANTASTIC TIME . 

BELOW IS THE ORDER OF SERVICE FRONT COVER  , VARIOUS PERSONAL IMAGES TAKEN ON THE DAY AND THROUGHOUT THE EVENING BY OUR OWN ALWAYS LOYAL FACEBOOK ADMIN GEEZER………….. JULES,  AS WELL AS SOME OTHER PRESS USED FEATURES AND VIDEO ETC RELATING TO BRUCE REYNOLDS AND HIS LIFE……../

DSC_1868NICK REYNOLDS AND HIS SONS SAY THEIR LAST FAREWELLS TO BRUCE 

Nick Reynolds kisses his father, Bruce Reynolds coffin as it leaves  the church  at   Bruce Reynolds the Great Train Robbery masterminds funeral, London, UK

FOR MORE OF OUR IMAGES TAKEN BY JULES PLEASE VISIT

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Two fingers to you all: Frail and wheelchair-bound, Ronnie Biggs, 83, makes a feeble gesture of defiance at the funeral of one of his train robber pals

  • The former criminal mastermind Bruce Reynolds died in his sleep last month aged 81
  • Reynolds referred to the train robbery as ‘his Sistine Chapel’, says his son Nick
  • Brains behind £2.6million robbery of mail train with 16 accomplices
  • Jailed for 25 years for role and later wrote of experiences in memoir
  • Fellow gang member Ronnie Biggs attended private funeral in city of London

 

Even half a century later, he speaks of it as ‘an adventure’.

Ronnie Biggs might be a pathetic figure in a wheelchair these days but he still has fond memories of the Great Train Robbery and his 36-year flight from justice.

An engine driver coshed on the skull with an iron bar. A life on the run. A circle of friends including gangsters, hard-men, thugs and petty criminals.

Scroll down for video

Ronnie Biggs
Ronnie Biggs

Partner-in-crime: Ronnie Biggs makes an obscene gesture as he attends the funeral of Bruce Reynolds, the mastermind behind the Great Train Robbery

Event: Hundreds of mourners attended the service which took place at St Bartholomew the Great, in LondonEvent: Hundreds of mourners attended the service which took place at St Bartholomew the Great, in London
Gathering: Around 200 people attended the funeral of Bruce Reynolds in the city of London today
Bruce Reynolds

Colourful life: Bruce Reynolds, left, was the brains behind the Great Train Robbery (pictured in 1963 right)

Notorious: Mourners comfort each other outside the church. The funeral was very well attendedNotorious: Mourners comfort each other outside the church. The funeral was very well attended

Biggs said farewell to one of them yesterday – and found the strength to raise two fingers for the cameras.

Frail, 83, and unable to stray far from medical care, he made a rare public outing from his nursing home to join mourners at the funeral of his old pal Bruce Reynolds, fellow ex-fugitive and so-called ‘mastermind’ of the 1963 robbery.

In a tribute read out on his behalf, Biggs told a 200-strong congregation: ‘It was Bruce who set me off on an adventure that was to change my life, and it was typical of Bruce that he was there at the end to help me back from Brazil to  Britain. I am proud to have had Bruce Richard Reynolds as a friend. He was a good man.’

Well-known associate of the Kray brothers Freddy Foreman (centre) leads a group of mourners to the funeralWell-known associate of the Kray brothers Freddie Foreman (centre) leads a group of mourners to the funeral, including former celeb and football agent Eric Hall (right)
Respects: Mourners at the funeral of Bruce Reynolds who was jailed for 25 years for his part in the Great Train robberyRespects: Mourners at the funeral of Bruce Reynolds who was jailed for 25 years for his part in the Great Train robbery
Underworld: Self-styled gangster Dave Courtnay who was jailed in the Eighties for attacking five men with a meat cleaver at the funeraUnderworld: Self-styled gangster Dave Courtney, who was jailed in the Eighties for attacking five men with a meat cleaver, at the funeral

A mourner makes a display of his underworld connections at the funeral of Bruce ReynoldsA mourner makes a display of his underworld connections at the funeral of Bruce Reynolds
Eastenders actor Jamie Foreman - the son of former gangster Freddie Foreman - attended the funeral
Bobby Welch arriving

EastEnders actor Jamie Foreman – the son of former gangster Freddie Foreman, left, and another of the surviving Great Train robbers Bobby Welch, right

NICK REYNOLDS: GANGSTER’S SON WHOSE BAND FOUND FAME WITH THE SOPRANOS THEME TUNE

Nick Reynolds’ band, Alabama 3, was founded at an Acid House party in Brixton, London, in 1995, when members agreed that a fusion of country music with acid house was a possibility.

They were signed to Geffen Records for a million dollars which, in their words, was spent: ‘ on ‘various contraband items and with the rest we made an over-produced, brilliant situationist masterpiece called ‘Exile on Coldharbour Lane’

They achieved international fame when the producers of The Sopranos, a hit TV series about a Mafia family living in the U.S., chose their track ‘Woke Up This Morning‘ for the show’s opening credits.

That tune, written by band member Rob Spragg,’bought someone a swimming pool, but it sure wasn’t any of us…’, they claim.

Their music has also appeared in a number of films including Gone in 60 Seconds and A Life Less Ordinary.

That ‘good man’ was part of the gang that needlessly attacked train driver Jack Mills and left him bleeding in his cab.

Although Mills died seven years later from cancer, his family maintains the trauma never left him, insisting the blow contributed to his early death.

The robbery netted more than £2.6million in used bank notes, around  £40million in today’s money and the biggest of its kind.

Despite the unnecessary brutality, it captured public imagination for decades, spawned a succession of films and books, and earned leading gang members dubious celebrity.

Hence, other names from the past joined Biggs yesterday for the private church service in St Bartholomew The Great in the City of London.

Among them were former Kray brothers’ henchmen Freddie Foreman, known as ‘Brown Bread Fred’ for the assistance he gave in disposing of one of the twins’ high profile victims; fellow member of ‘The Firm’, Chris Lambrianou; and self-proclaimed gangster Dave Courtney.

Yesterday Courtney said of Reynolds: ‘He was a real class act.

‘He used to wear the cravat and everything. He was a monarch for naughty people. The Great Train Robbery – that was the big one for him. He always used to call it his Moby Dick.’

Reynolds, an antique dealer nicknamed ‘Napoleon’, boasted that he wanted to pull off a crime that would go down in  history and make him rich.

He succeeded in one of those ambitions – but was broke by the time he was arrested five years later in Torquay after returning to Britain from a  succession of hideouts in Mexico and Canada.

He was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in jail. In the 1980s he was jailed again, for drug dealing.

He died in his sleep on February 28, aged 81, a few months before the 50th anniversary of the robbery.

It might have been hailed as one of the most audacious of the 20th century, but Reynolds, the service was told, was not looking forward to celebrating it. In his 1995 memoirs, he labelled it ‘a curse’ that followed him for the rest of his life.

Yesterday his son Nick described his father as ‘a romantic, a true adventurer… a journeyman who chose a lunatic path and paid the price.’

He added: ‘He was an artist at heart and although he referred to the train robbery as his Sistine Chapel, his greatest triumph was in reassessing himself and changing his attitude about what is important in life.’

Having left the church to the strains of Let’s Face the Music and Dance, guests were invited afterwards to remember Reynolds at an East End pub.

Biggs
A note left at the funeral of Bruce Reynolds

Biggs was joined by a number of associates of Reynolds. A note (left) placed by a mourner at the funeral of Bruce Reynolds

Nick Reynolds' leads his family into the service where tributes and readings were madeNick Reynolds’ leads his family into the service where tributes and readings were made
An ailing Ronnie Biggs shakes Nick Reynolds' hand after an emotional service
Dave Courtney

An ailing Ronnie Biggs (left) shakes Nick Reynolds’ hand after an emotional service, while self-styled gangster Dave Courtney turns up with a toy train

Nick Reynolds performs with his band Alabama 3 during his father's funeralNick Reynolds performs with his band Alabama 3 during his father’s funeral
A statement read out on behalf of Ronnie Biggs described Bruce Reynolds as a 'true friend'A statement read out on behalf of Ronnie Biggs described Bruce Reynolds as a ‘true friend’
Flowers left by well-known associate of the Kray brothers Freddie ForemanFlowers left by well-known associate of the Kray brothers Freddie Foreman
A tribute from Reynolds' deputy Gordon Goody was also read out at the serviceA tribute from Reynolds’ deputy Gordon Goody was also read out at the service

Emotional: Tributes were read out by Bruce Reynolds' son Nick and his friend and fellow robber Gordon GoodyEmotional: Tributes were read out by Bruce Reynolds’ son Nick and his friend and fellow robber Gordon Goody
The coffin leaves St Bartholomew the Great church followed by mourners in the City of London Great church in the City of LondonThe coffin leaves St Bartholomew the Great church followed by mourners in the City of London
Nick Reynolds paid tribute to his father describing him as his best friend and greatest inspirationNick Reynolds paid tribute to his father describing him as his best friend and greatest inspiration
Ronnie Biggs, centre, said he was 'proud' to count Bruce Reynolds as a friendRonnie Biggs, centre, said he was ‘proud’ to count Bruce Reynolds as a friend
Arrest: Reynolds being taken away by police in November 1968 after spending five years on the runArrest: Reynolds being taken away by police in November 1968 after spending five years on the run
Family: Reynolds, left, with his wife Frances as well as fellow robber John Daly and his wife BarbaraFamily: Reynolds, left, with his wife Frances as well as fellow robber John Daly and his wife Barbara
Jim HusseyGang: Reynolds, centre, with his accomplices Buster Edwards, Tom Wisbey, Jim White, Roger Cordrey, Charles Wilson and Jim Hussey in 1979
Heist: The train which was targeted by the robbers pictured soon after the crimeHeist: The train which was targeted by the robbers pictured soon after the crime
Scene: The bridge where the bandits held up the train and attacked its workersScene: The bridge where the bandits held up the train and attacked its workers
Carnage: Inside a carriage of the mail train in the aftermath of the robbery in 1963Carnage: Inside a carriage of the mail train in the aftermath of the robbery in 1963
Cash: Detectives search through sacks of banknotes which were stolen in what was then a record robberyCash: Detectives search through sacks of banknotes which were stolen in what was then a record robbery
Investigation: A policeman picks up the train driver's hat from the railway tracks near the ambush siteInvestigation: A policeman picks up the train driver’s hat from the railway tracks near the ambush site
Father and son: Reynolds with his son Nick, an artist who is a member of the band Alabama ThreeFather and son: Reynolds with his son Nick, an artist who is a member of the band Alabama 3

THE FUNERAL OF BRUCE REYNOLDS: A CONGREGATION OF MURDERERS AND ASSORTED VILLAINS

THE MEAT CLEAVER MAN

Dave Cortney (left) and Chris Lambriano attend the funeral of Bruce Reynolds, the mastermind behind the Great Train Robbery of 1963 at St Bartholomew The Great Church in Smithfield, LondonDave Cortney (left) and Chris Lambriano attend the funeral of Bruce Reynolds, the mastermind behind the Great Train Robbery of 1963 at St Bartholomew The Great Church in Smithfield, London

Dave Courtney, 54, (pictured left – speaking to Chris Lambrianou, right) claims to have been shot, stabbed and had his nose bitten off. He also says he’s had to kill to stay alive.

The underworld hardman, who was jailed in the Eighties for attacking five men with a meat cleaver, is said to have been a debt collector for the Kray twins.

In this role, he cultivated a reputation for using the knuckleduster. He claims he was the model for Vinnie Jones’s character in the 1998 film Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. However, it’s been suggested that he’s embellished his past so his books sell better.

THE KILLER TURNED CHRISTIAN

Chris Lambrianou, 75, was involved in the attempt by the Krays to muscle in on Birmingham in the 1960s – but failed to wrest control of the city’s bars. He was handed 15 years in prison for his part in the 1967 murder of Jack ‘the Hat’ McVitie.

Lambrianou later turned to religion and after his release he moved to Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, to live a quiet life.

BROWN BREAD FRED
Freddie Foreman – aka ‘Brown Bread Fred’ – was a key associate of the Krays. Now 80, he was linked to the 1960s killings of ‘Mad Axeman’ Frank Mitchell and Tommy ‘Ginger’ Marks.

Foreman (right) has admitted he was asked by the Krays to kill  Mitchell. He shot him in the back of a van and had his body dumped at sea.

Marks was killed for arranging the shooting of Foreman’s brother George. Foreman was jailed for ten years in 1975 as an accessory to the killing of McVitie and served six years from 1989 for his role in the 1983 £7million Security Express robbery.

Biggs
Biggs

Notorious: Ronnie Biggs, pictured left at the time of the robbery and right in 2011, is the best-known of the gang after escaping from prison and spending decades on the run

Injuries: Jack Mills, driver of the train which the gang targeted, after being beaten by the robbersInjuries: Jack Mills, driver of the train which the gang targeted, after being beaten by the robbers
Police: Jack Slipper, left, and Gerald McArthur, right, were two officers intimately involved with the investigation
Gerald McArthur

Police: Jack Slipper, left, and Gerald McArthur, right, were two officers intimately involved with the investigation

Audacious thieves who shocked the nation: Where the Great Train Robbers ended up

By James Rush

Ronnie Biggs
Jim Hussey

Ronnie Biggs (left): The most famous of the train robbers, even though he played a minor role as a contact for the replacement train driver. He is best known for his escape from prison in 1965 and living as a fugitive for 36 years. He voluntarily returned to the UK in 2001 and spent several years in prison. During this time his health rapidly declined and on August 6, 2009, he was released from prison on compassionate grounds.

Charles Frederick (Charlie) Wilson (right): The treasurer whose role was to give the robbers their cut of the haul. He earned the nickname ‘the silent man’ after he was captured because he refused to say anything during his trial. Jailed for 30 years but escaped after four months. Was captured in Canada four years later and served another ten years in jail. Moved to Spain in 1978 where he was shot and killed by a hitman on a bicycle in 1990.

Jim Hussey
Roy James

Ronald ‘Buster’ Edwards (left): Fled to Mexico after the robbery but gave himself up in 1966. After nine years in jail he became a familiar figure selling flowers outside London Waterloo. Killed himself in 1994 at the age of 62. He was played by singer Phil Collins in the 1988 film Buster.

Roy James (right): The chief getaway driver left a fingerprint at the gang’s farm hideout and was caught following a rooftop chase. He moved to Spain after serving 12 years of a 30 year sentence. He was jailed again for six years in 1993 for shooting his wife’s father and hitting her with a pistol, and died soon after being released, at the age of 62.

1
Jim Hussey

Tommy Wisbey (left): One of the ‘heavies’ of the gang, Wisbey was there to frighten the train staff. Was jailed for 30 years and released in 1976 before being jailed for another ten years in 1989 for dealing cocaine. After being released he lived in north London, where he suffered a number of strokes.

Jimmy Hussey (right): ‘Big Jim’ died last year after apparently making a deathbed confession claiming he was the gang member who coshed the train driver. He was sentenced to 30 years for the robbery. After he was released in 1975 he eventually opened a restaurant in Soho after working on a market stall. He was convicted for assault in 1981. He was then jailed for seven years, eight years later, for a drug smuggling conspiracy, along with Wisbey.

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1

Roger Cordrey (left): Was jailed for 20 years after being arrested in Bournemouth. He was caught after renting a lock-up from a policeman’s widow. His sentence was reduced to 14 years on appeal. The florist returned to the flower business after he was released in 1971 and moved to the West Country.

Jimmy White (right): The ‘quartermaster’ for the robbery. The former Paratrooper was caught in Kent after being on the run for three years and was sentenced to 18 years, He moved to Sussex after being released in 1975.

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1

Douglas Gordon Goody (left): Was released in 1975 after being sentenced to 30 years in jail. After being released the hairdresser moved to Spain to run a bar.

John Daly (right): Reynold’s brother-in-law was arrested after his fingerprints were discovered on a Monopoly set linked to the case, but was acquitted when he successfully argued this did not prove he was involved.

Bobby Welch: Was also jailed for 30 years and released in 1976. The nightclub boss was left crippled after an operation on his leg went wrong. After being released from jail he became a gambler and a car dealer in London.

Brian Field: The solicitor was used to make the arrangement to buy the farm hideout used after the robbery. Jailed for 25 years, which was later reduced to five. He later died in a motorway crash in 1979.

Bill Jennings: The criminal who was hired to decouple the carriage with the cash in it was never caught and brought to justice.

Four other people were believed to be involved in the heist, but have never been identified. They include ‘The Ulsterman’, a key figure whose real name is a complete mystery.

R.I.P. BRUCE REYNOLDS …………….. IN MEMORY OF THE ADMIRAL

TRUE CRIME AND MUCH MUCH MORE ON DISPLAY HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION , LITTLEDEAN JAIL , FOREST OF DEAN , GLOUCESTERSHIRE,UK.

R.I.P. BRUCE REYNOLDS …………….. IN MEMORY OF THE ADMIRAL

Bruce Reynolds, mastermind behind the Great Train Robbery and inspiration for Michael Caine’s ‘Harry Palmer’, dies aged 81

  • Bruce Reynolds robbed £2.6million mail train with 16 accomplices
  • Jailed for 25 years for role and later wrote of experiences in memoir
  • Passed away peacefully in his sleep yesterday morning
  • The haul, which would be worth £40million today, was never fully recovered
  • Reynolds considered inspiration for Caine’s 1965 depiction of fictional spy Harry Palmer in film The Ipcress File

Bruce Reynolds, the crook regarded as the mastermind of the Great Train Robbery, died yesterday aged 81.

His death after a short illness came months before the 50th anniversary of the 1963 heist in which a gang escaped with a then record £2.6million – about £40million in today’s money.

A career criminal who enjoyed the high life and drove an Aston Martin, Reynolds was a notorious jewel thief and housebreaker who formed the 17-strong gang which held up the Royal Mail travelling post office in Buckinghamshire as it ran between Glasgow and London.

Mastermind: Bruce Reynolds, who organised the Great Train Robbery, has died aged 81
Ill health: Reynolds, pictured in 2007, was apparently ailing for some time before his death

Mastermind: Bruce Reynolds, who organised the Great Train Robbery, has died aged 81

Arrest: Reynolds being taken away by police in November 1968 after spending five years on the runArrest: Reynolds being taken away by police in November 1968 after spending five years on the run
Family: Reynolds, left, with his wife Frances as well as fellow robber John Daly and his wife BarbaraFamily: Reynolds, left, with his wife Frances as well as fellow robber John Daly and his wife Barbara
Reynolds was considered the inspiration for Michael Caine's 1965 depiction of fictional spy Harry Palmer (above) in the film The Ipcress FileReynolds was considered the inspiration for Michael Caine’s 1965 depiction of fictional spy Harry Palmer (above) in the film The Ipcress File

Nicknamed Napoleon, he bought his shoes at Lobb, his shirts from Jermyn Street and his suits in Savile Row  and was considered the inspiration for Michael Caine’s 1965 depiction of fictional spy Harry Palmer in the film The Ipcress File.

After the robbery, using a series of aliases and a false passport, Reynolds went on the run in Mexico and Canada for five years with his wife and young son before returning to Britain when the cash ran out.

Justice eventually caught up with him in Torquay in 1968.

When Tommy Butler, the Flying Squad detective who arrested him there, said: ‘Hello, Bruce, it’s been a long time’, Reynolds replied: ‘C’est la vie’. The last of the robbers to be caught, Reynolds was sentenced to 25 years in jail.

He was released on parole in 1978 and moved, penniless, into a tiny flat off London’s Edgware Road.

In the 1980s he was jailed for three years for dealing amphetamines.

Gang: Reynolds, centre, with his accomplices Buster Edwards, Tom Wisbey, Jim White, Roger Cordrey, Charles Wilson and Jim Hussey in 1979

Gang: Reynolds, centre, with his accomplices Buster Edwards, Tom Wisbey, Jim White, Roger Cordrey, Charles Wilson and Jim Hussey in 1979

His wife Frances, who had changed her name to Angela, died a couple of years ago, and he lived out his last years in Croydon, south London.

In his memoirs, written in 1995, he said the Great Train Robbery proved a curse which followed him around and no-one wanted to employ him, legally or illegally. ‘I became an old crook living on hand-outs from other old crooks,’ he said.

His musician son Nick Reynolds, whose group Alabama 3 produced The Sopranos theme tune Woke Up This Morning, yesterday announced the death of the Great Train Robber.

Heist: The train which was targeted by the robbers pictured soon after the crime

Heist: The train which was targeted by the robbers pictured soon after the crime

Record: The haul, worth over £40million in today's money, was the biggest robbery in British history

Record: The haul, worth over £40million in today’s money, was the biggest robbery in British history

‘He hadn’t been well for a few days and I was looking after him,’ he said. ‘I really can’t talk at the moment. I can confirm that he has passed away and he died in his sleep.’

The robbery went on to be the subject of several films and books, with a tawdry glamour attaching itself to the notorious crime – even though the train driver was violently attacked and all the robbers eventually caught.

No guns were used, but driver Jack Mills was coshed and left unconscious by an unidentified assailant, suffered constant headaches for the rest of his life and died in 1970 from leukaemia.

Scene: The bridge where the bandits held up the train and attacked its workers

Scene: The bridge where the bandits held up the train and attacked its workers

Carnage: Inside a carriage of the mail train in the aftermath of the robbery in 1963

Carnage: Inside a carriage of the mail train in the aftermath of the robbery in 1963

More than £2million of the gang’s haul was never recovered.

Seven of the gang, including its most infamous member Ronnie Biggs, were given 30-year sentences in 1964 after judge Edmund Davies called it ‘a crime which in its impudence and enormity is the first of its kind in this country’ and said he hoped the length of the sentences would ‘ensure that it is the last of its kind’.

Biggs lived as a fugitive in Brazil for 36 years after escaping from Wandsworth Prison before finally returning to Britain to face jail in 2001.

Aged 83, he was released on ‘compassionate grounds’ in 2009, has suffered a series of strokes and is now so frail he is unable to speak.

Cash: Detectives search through sacks of banknotes which were stolen in what was then a record robberyCash: Detectives search through sacks of banknotes which were stolen in what was then a record robbery

Investigation: A policeman picks up the train driver's hat from the railway tracks near the ambush siteInvestigation: A policeman picks up the train driver’s hat from the railway tracks near the ambush site

Father and son: Reynolds with his son Nick, an artist who is a member of the band Alabama ThreeFather and son: Reynolds with his son Nick, an artist who is a member of the band Alabama Three

Yesterday Biggs’s son Michael said: ‘Regardless of whatever mistakes Bruce made in his life, Bruce was a very, very kind person who was a true gentlemen who made many friends in his life. Bruce was my father’s closest friend, they met in borstal when they were 13.

Biggs’s son claimed: ‘He was very old school. He was absolutely against violence and deeply upset about what happened in the Great Train Robbery.

‘He believed that if you are going to be a criminal then be one but don’t go mugging old ladies. The attack on the driver was something that did upset everyone involved.’

Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read, the Scotland Yard detective who successfully pursued the robbers, said: ‘It really is the end of an era. It was certainly a well-organised operation and Reynolds was the pioneer.’

Biggs
Biggs

Notorious: Ronnie Biggs, pictured left at the time of the robbery and right in 2011, is the best-known of the gang after escaping from prison and spending decades on the run

Injuries: Jack Mills, driver of the train which the gang targeted, after being beaten by the robbersInjuries: Jack Mills, driver of the train which the gang targeted, after being beaten by the robbers

JACK SLIPPER
Gerald McArthur

Police: Jack Slipper, left, and Gerald McArthur, right, were two officers intimately involved with the investigation

Audacious thieves who shocked the nation: Where the Great Train Robbers ended up

By JAMES RUSH

Ronnie Biggs
Charles Wilson

Ronnie Biggs (left): The most famous of the train robbers, even though he played a minor role as a contact for the replacement train driver. He is best known for his escape from prison in 1965 and living as a fugitive for 36 years. He voluntarily returned to the UK in 2011 and spent several years in prison. During this time his health rapidly declined and on August 6, 2009, he was released from prison on compassionate grounds.

Charles Frederick (Charlie) Wilson (right): The treasurer whose role was to give the robbers their cut of the haul. He earned the nickname ‘the silent man’ after he was captured because he refused to say anything during his trial. Jailed for 30 years but escaped after four months. Was captured in Canada four years later and severed another ten years in jail. Moved to Spain in 1978 where he was shot and killed by a hitman on a bicycle in 1990.

Buster Edwards
Roy James

Ronald ‘Buster’ Edwards (left): Fled to Mexico after the robbery but gave himself up in 1966. After nine years in jail he became a familiar figure selling flowers outside London Waterloo. Killed himself in 1994 at the age of 62. He was played by singer Phil Collins in the 1988 film Buster.

Roy James (right): The chief getaway driver left a fingerprint at the gang’s farm hideout and was caught following a rooftop chase. He moved to Spain after serving 12 years of a 30 year sentence. He was jailed again for six years in 1993 for shooting his wife’s father and hitting her with a pistol, and died soon after being released, at the age of 62.

Tommy Wisbey
Jim Hussey

Tommy Wisbey (left): One of the ‘heavies’ of the gang, Wisbey was there to frighten the train staff. Was jailed for 30 years and released in 1976 before being jailed for another ten years in 1989 for dealing cocaine. After being released he lived in north London, where he suffered a number of strokes.

Jimmy Hussey (right): ‘Big Jim’ died last year after apparently making a deathbed confession claiming he was the gang member who coshed the train driver. He was sentenced to 30 years for the robbery. After he was released in 1975 he eventually opened a restaurant in Soho after working on a market stall. He was convicted for assault in 1981. He was then jailed for seven years, eight years later, for a drug smuggling conspiracy, along with Wisbey.

Roger Cordrey
Jimmy White

Roger Cordrey (left): Was jailed for 20 years after being arrested in Bournemouth. He was caught after renting a lock-up from a policeman’s widow. His sentence was reduced to 14 years on appeal. The florist returned to the flower business after he was released in 1971 and moved to the West Country.

Jimmy White (right): The ‘quartermaster’ for the robbery. The former Paratrooper was caught in Kent after being on the run for three years and was sentenced to 18 years, He moved to Sussex after being released in 1975.

Roy James
Family: Reynolds, left, with his wife Frances as well as fellow robber John Daly and his wife Barbara

Douglas Gordon Goody (left): Was released in 1975 after being sentenced to 30 years in jail. After being released the hairdresser moved to Spain to run a bar.

John Daly (right): Reynold’s brother-in-law was arrested after his fingerprints were discovered on a Monopoly set linked to the case, but was acquitted when he successfully argued this did not prove he was involved.

Bobby Welch: Was also jailed for 30 years and released in 1976. The nightclub boss was left crippled after an operation on his leg went wrong. After being released from jail he became a gambler and a car dealer in London.

Brian Field: The solicitor was used to make the arrangement to buy the farm hideout used after the robbery. Jailed for 25 years, which was later reduced to five. He later died in a motorway crash in 1979.

Bill Jennings: The criminal who was hired to decouple the carriage with the cash in it was never caught and brought to justice.

Four other people were believed to be involved in the heist, but have never been identified. They include ‘The Ulsterman’, a key figure whose real name is a complete mystery.

RONNIE BIGGS … THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY 1963 ….

RONNIE BIGGS POLICE MUGSHOT Ronald Biggs

Ronald Arthur “Ronnie” Biggs is an English criminal, known for his role in the Great Train Robbery of 1963, for his escape from prison in 1965, for living as a fugitive for 36 years and for his various publicity stunts while in exile

Mary Berry ( full name Mary-Rosa Alleyne Berry) at the Gloucester Quays, Food and drink festival 2013, Friday

16TH JULY 2013 – RONNIE BIGGS WITH ANDY JONES FROM THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTIONMary Berry ( full name Mary-Rosa Alleyne Berry) at the Gloucester Quays, Food and drink festival 2013, Friday Mary Berry ( full name Mary-Rosa Alleyne Berry) at the Gloucester Quays, Food and drink festival 2013, Friday Mary Berry ( full name Mary-Rosa Alleyne Berry) at the Gloucester Quays, Food and drink festival 2013, Friday Mary Berry ( full name Mary-Rosa Alleyne Berry) at the Gloucester Quays, Food and drink festival 2013, Friday Mary Berry ( full name Mary-Rosa Alleyne Berry) at the Gloucester Quays, Food and drink festival 2013, Friday

ABOVE ARE A  FEW PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN DURING A RECENT PRIVATE VISIT WITH RONNIE BIGGS AT HIS NURSING HOME RETREAT ( 16TH JULY 2013 ) . CERTAINLY ON FORM DURING THE VISIT AND ENJOYING THE GREAT BRITISH SUNSHINE !!

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VARIOUS PICTORIAL SLIDESHOW, VIDEO FOOTAGE, PICTURES AND NEWSPAPER REPORTS COVERING THE PRESS CONFERENCE FOR RONNIE BIGGS’S NEW AUTOBIOGRAPHY BOOK LAUNCH “ODD MAN OUT: THE LAST STRAW” HELD AT THE SHOREDITCH HOUSE , LONDON ON THE 17TH NOVEMBER 2011 . THE EVENT WAS ATTENDED BY MANY PHOTOGRAPHERS AND JOURNALISTS EAGER TO ASK RONNIE LOTS OF QUESTIONS DESPITE HIS CLEAR DISABILITY IN BEING UNABLE TO VOICE HIS ANSWERS . RELIANT SOLEY ON HIS SON MIKE AND HIS SPELLBOARD

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RONNIE BIGGS …THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBER USING HIS SPELLBOARD AT HIS BOOK LAUNCH … NOW ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL ALONG WITH VARIOUS OTHER GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY MEMORABILIA ITEMS .

THE SPELLBOARD USED BY RONNIE BIGGS AT HIS BOOK LAUNCH AND NOW ON DISPLAY AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL

RONNIE BIGGS WITH AJ BACKSTAGE AT HIS BOOK LAUNCH PRESS CALL .

ALSO PICTURED HERE WITH HIS SPELLBOARD USED BY HIM DURING THE DAY AND NOW ON DISPLAY AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL

RONNIE BIGGS SAT WITH AJ DURING PRESS CALL , PICTURED HERE LOOKING AT HIMSELF PICTURED WITHIN THE LITTLEDEAN JAIL TOURISM LEAFLET.

A J CHATTING TO LEGENDARY DJ (AND SON OF BLUES GUITARIST LEGEND JOHN MAYALL) GAZ  MAYALL  AKA GAZ’S ROCKIN BLUES

OUR … CRIME THROUGH TIME  @ LITTLEDEAN JAIL FACEBOOK ADMIN JULES SEEN HERE LOOKING AS IF HE’S JUST ABOUT TO CLOBBER RONNIE BIGGS AT THE BOOK LAUNCH …

  • Ronnie Biggs: I’ll be remembered as a loveable rogue

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 17 November 2011 20.29 GMT

Ronnie Biggs at a press conference in London to launch his book
Ronnie Biggs at a press conference in London to launch his book. Photograph: David Levene

Ronnie Biggs said he would be remembered as Britain’s “loveable rogue” as he made an appearance in public. The 82-year-old Great Train Robber said he was proud of his achievements, despite remorse for his crimes.

Unable to physically speak after several strokes, Biggs responded to questions at a press event to publicise his book, Odd Man Out: The Last Straw by pointing to a word and letter board. Asked how the country perceived him, he spelled out “loveable rogue”.

His son, Michael, speaking on his behalf at the east London event, said Biggs had no regrets about voluntarily returning from Brazil in 2001 to face justice for the 1963 robbery.

He had been working on the book since he was released from jail on compassionate grounds in 2009, the family said.

Biggs is unable to walk or talk. His son described how he developed a life-threatening chest infection every three or four weeks. “This is probably the first and last time he is holding a press conference.”

Launching his book, Biggs expressed sorrow over the fate of Jack Mills, the driver of the robbed mail train, who died in 1970 having never made a full recovery after being coshed. But when asked whether any proceeds from the book would go to Mills’s family, the ex-fugitive’s son said: “That has not been discussed yet.”

The book updates Biggs’s 1994 autobiography and has chapters covering his return to the UK, his time in prison, his release on compassionate grounds and his life since.

He Biggs first suffered a stroke in 1998 and has been admitted to hospital several times since returning to Britain.

Biggs was a member of a gang that made off with £2.6m from a Glasgow to London mail train. He was sentenced to 30 years, but escaped from Wandsworth prison, south London, in a furniture van 15 months later and spent more than 30 years on the run, living in Spain, Australia and Brazil. Biggs says in the book that he is a “very different man to the one who went on the run from HMP Wandsworth back in July 1965”. “Not only are there many, many more miles on the clock, but also there is the damage done to my body and soul by the strokes and other health problems that should have killed me already; and may have already done so by the time you get around to reading this,” he writes.

“I lay no claim to having been a perfect man who has led a faultless life, and never have, but I am a better man for the experiences of the past 50 years, a period in which I spent over three-quarters of my life trying to honestly maintain my family and myself as best I could.

“It has been said by those who don’t know me – and who have never met me – that I have no regrets, but that simply isn’t true. I have always regretted the hurt I caused by my actions, and especially to my own family and friends.”

BELOW SHOWS PICTURE FROM PORTUGESE NEWSPAPER WHICH ALSO SHOWS  OUR JULES (ADMIN) IN ACTION …..THE LARGER THAN LIFE (OR THE OTHER SNAPPERS) CHARACTER SEEN HERE ON THE FRONT ROW

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF LIBYAN TYRANT – COLONEL MUAMMAR GADDAFI …HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL

MANY SAY “WHAT GOES ROUND COMES AROUND ” AND LET US NOT FORGET GADDAFI’S APPARENT INVOLVEMENT IN THE DEATH OF BRITISH WPC YVONNE FLETCHER .

AN HISTORIC MOMENT IN WORLD HISTORY – THE BARBARIC DEATH OF A BARBARIC DICTATOR !!

HERE’S AN IMAGE OF AN INSCRIBED AND  SIGNED PHOTOGRAPH OF GADDAFI FROM 1987 SENT FROM HIS LIBYAN OFFICE TO THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION AND NOW HERE ON DISPLAY ALONG WITH A MONTAGE COVERING HIS  LIFE AND GRUESOME DEATH  BY HIS OWN PEOPLE ON THE 20TH OCTOBER 2011.

Gaddafi dead: ‘Colonel Gaddafi captured but died of injuries’, Libya transitional council official claims

Colonel Gaddafi (Pic: AFP /Philippe Desmazes)

FUGITIVE Colonel Muhammar Gaddafi was killed today during a final rebel attack on his birthplace.

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The toppled Libyan leader was badly wounded in both legs and shot in the head as rebels backed by NATO attacked a convoy fleeing the coastal town of Sirte, it was claimed.

Libya Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril later announced to the world Gaddafi had died.

He said: “We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gaddafi has been killed.”

Gaddafi was executed in cold blood in a drainage ditch desperately begging for his life, it emerged this afternoon.

The toppled despot is thought to have fled his car after his speeding convoy fleeing his Sirte stronghold was attacked in a NATO airstrike at 6am UK time.

Two fighter jets attacked the vehicles as they fled the Sirte assault, although neither of the planes that struck the convoy was flown by the RAF.

Another two-plane formation of British Tornado ground attack aircraft were on surveillance and reconnaissance missions over Libya at the time.

As the NATO strike on Gaddafi’s convoy hit the lead vehicles his aides started trying to exit from cars and escape on foot, realising the game was up.

Then as Gaddafi and several aides tried to run into the safety of a drainage ditch they were shot dead by rebel fighters pursuing them on foot.

Libyan National Transitional Council official Abdel Majid Mlegta said this morning Gaddafi was captured and wounded in both legs at dawn today as he tried to flee in a convoy which NATO warplanes attacked.

“He was also hit in his head.” the official said. “There was a lot of firing against his group and he died.”

A mobile phone picture was later released by AFP which apparently showed the Libya leader’s arrest.

Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam says he has confirmed that Gaddafi is dead after talking to fighters who said they saw the body.

He says he expects the prime minister to confirm the death soon, noting that past reports emerged “before making 100% confirmation’.

NTC vice-chairman Abdul Hafiz Ghoga told a news conference later: “We announce to the world that Muammar Gaddafi  has been killed at the hands of the revolutionaries.

“We will announce the liberation of Libya within hours, maybe sooner.”

An image reported to be Colonel Gaddafi (Pic: Reuters)

An image reported to be of Colonel Gaddafi

Colonel Gaddafi (Pic: Reuters)

Colonel Gaddafi’s reign has ended

Fighters celebrate the fall of Sirte

A man holds up Colonel Gaddafi golden gun (Pic: Getty Images)

A man holds up what is thought to be Gaddafi’s golden gun

A large concrete pipe where Colonel Gaddafi was allegedly captured (Pic: Getty Images)

A large concrete pipe where Gaddafi is thought to have been hiding

A large concrete pipe where Colonel Gaddafi was allegedly captured (Pic: Getty Images)

The area where Gaddafi was captured

Television broadcasts showed footage of NTC troops celebrating the fall of Sirte and the apparent capture of Gaddafi, who was wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

There were fierce gun battles on the streets of the coastal city in the morning, bringing an end to a siege which has lasted almost two months since the fall of capital Tripoli to rebel troops in August.

“Our forces control the last neighbourhood in Sirte,” NTC member Hassan Draoua said.  “The city has been liberated.”

Shortly afterwards senior National Transitional Council commanders claimed Gaddafi had died from wounds sustained in the final assault.

NATO said it was checking reports of the capture of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and said they could take some time to confirm.

‘’We are checking and assessing the situation.’’ a NATO official said. ‘’Clearly these are very significant developments, which will take time to confirm. “

Gaddafi has been rumoured to be hiding in Sirte for many weeks, although it was also believed he may be in his desert stronghold of Bani Walid, to the south.

A Libyan transitional forces commander said Moussa Ibrahim, former spokesman for Muammar Gaddafi’s fallen government, was captured near the city of Sirte this afternoon.

Abdul Hakim Al Jalil, commander of the 11th brigade, also said he had seen the body of the chief of Gaddafi’s armed forces, Abu Bakr Younus Jabr.

“I’ve seen him with my own eyes.” he said and displayed a picture of Jabr’s body.

“Moussa Ibrahim was also captured and both of them were transferred to our operations room.”

Libya’s son Mo’tassim was reported to have been captured alive.

Colonel Roland Lavoie, spokesman for Nato’s operational headquarters in Naples, said its aircraft today struck two vehicles of pro-Gaddafi forces “which were part of a larger group manoeuvring in the vicinity of Sirte”.

The Ministry of Defence in London confirmed that Nato warplanes today attacked a convoy of vehicles fleeing Sirte.

It is not known whether Gaddafi was in any of vehicles.

“It was targeted on the basis that this was the last of the pro-Gaddafi forces fleeing Sirte,” a spokesman said.

RAF fighters were not involved in the attack, although RAF reconnaissance aircraft were in the area.

The ecstatic former rebels celebrated the fall of Sirte after weeks of bloody siege by firing endless rounds into the sky, pumping their guns, knives and even a meat cleaver in the air and singing the national anthem.

In the central quarter where the final battle took place, the fighters looking like the same ragtag force that started the uprising eight months ago, jumped up and down with joy and flashed V-for-victory signs.

Some burned the green Gaddafi flag, then stepped on it with their boots.

They chanted “Allah akbar” or “God is great”, while one fighter climbed a traffic light pole to unfurl the revolution’s flag, which he first kissed.

Discarded military uniforms of Gaddafi’s fighters littered the streets. One revolutionary fighter waved a silver trophy in the air while another held up a box of firecrackers, then set them off.

A Libyan fighter claimed Gaddafi was hiding in a hole in his hometown of Sirte shouting: “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot.”

In a statement on NTC-controlled state television, a presenter draped in the flag of liberated Libya said: “Gaddafi is in the hands of the rebels. Gaddafi personally is in the hands of the rebels.

“We have captured Gaddafi. Libya is joyous, Libya is celebrating, Libya has given a lesson to all those who want to learn.

“I salute you, rebels. I salute you, revolutionaries. You have captured this criminal who has killed the mothers of the martyrs.”

Libyan fighters had earlier overrun the last positions of Gaddafi loyalists holding out in his hometown Sirte.

Map showing Sirte, Libya

Sirte has been taken by the National Transitional Council

Colonel Gaddafi (Pic: Reuters)

Colonel Gaddafi pictured in March

Revolutionary fighters celebrate the capture of Sirte (Pic: AP)

Revolutionary fighters celebrate the capture of Sirte

An anti-Gaddafi fighter prepares ammunition in the center of Sirte (Pic: Reuters)

An anti-Gaddafi fighter prepares ammunition in the centre of Sirte

Image of deposed Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi sits next to a copy of the magazine The Economist in the study room in a house belonging to one of Gaddafi's family members (Pic: Reuters)

An image of Gaddafi next to a copy of the Economist among belongings in a Sirte house

Anti-Gaddafi fighters celebrated the fall of Sirte (Pic: Reuters)

Anti-Gaddafi fighters celebrate

Anti-Gaddafi fighters hug as they celebrate the fall of Sirte (Pic: Reuters)

Anti-Gaddafi fighters hug after the capture of Sirte

Anti-Gaddafi fighters celebrate the fall of Sirte (Pic: Reuters)

Fighters are jubilant

The final push to capture the remaining pro-Gaddafi positions began around 8 am and was over after about 90 minutes.

Just before the assault, about five carloads of loyalists tried to flee the enclave down the coastal highway but were killed by revolutionaries.

Revolutionaries began searching homes and buildings looking for any Gaddafi fighters who may be hiding there.

“Our forces control the last neighbourhood in Sirte,” said Hassan Draoua, a member of Libya’s interim National Transitional Council.

“The city has been liberated.”

After the battle, revolutionaries began searching homes and buildings looking for any Gaddafi fighters who may be hiding there. At least 16 pro-Gaddafi fighters were captured, with multiple cases of ammunition and trucks loaded with weapons.

Reporters saw revolutionaries beating captured Gaddafi men in the back of trucks and officers intervening to stop them.

Celebratory gunfire echoed through Sirte, which fell into the hands of revolutionaries almost two full months after they overrun Tripoli and many other parts of the country.

An anti-Gaddafi fighter takes a break during clashes with pro-Gaddafi forces in Sirte (Pic: Reuters)

An anti-Gaddafi fighter takes a break during clashes with pro-Gaddafi forces in Sirte

Anti-Gaddafi fighters celebrate the fall of Sirte (Pic: Reuters)

Anti-Gaddafi fighters celebrate the fall of Sirte

Anti-Gaddafi fighters celebrate the fall of Sirte (Pic: Reuters)

A fighter shoots into the air in celebration

Anti-Gaddafi fighters celebrate the fall of Sirte (Pic: Reuters)

A group of fighters celebrate

Anti-Gaddafi fighters celebrate the fall of Sirte (Pic: Reuters)

Anti-Gaddafi fighters celebrate in the back of a pick-up

Despite the fall of Tripoli on August 21, Gaddafi loyalists mounted fierce resistance in several areas, including Sirte, preventing Libya’s new leaders from declaring full victory in the eight-month civil war.

Earlier this week, revolutionary fighters gained control of one stronghold, Bani Walid, and by Tuesday said they had squeezed Gaddafi ‘s forces in Sirte into a residential area of about 700 square metres but were still coming under heavy fire from surrounding buildings.

Deputy defence minister Fawzi Abu Katif said on Wednesday that authorities still believe Gaddafi’s son Muatassim is among the ex-regime figures holed up in the diminishing area in Sirte. He was not seen on the ground after the final battle today.

In an illustration of how difficult and slow the fighting for Sirte was, it took the anti-Gaddafi fighters two days to capture a single residential building.

It is unclear whether Gaddafi loyalists who have escaped might continue the fight and attempt to organise an insurgency using the vast amount of weapons Gaddafi was believed to have stored in hideouts in the remote southern desert.

Unlike Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi had no well-organised political party that could form the basis of an insurgent leadership. However, regional and ethnic differences have already appeared among the ranks of the revolutionaries, possibly laying the foundation for civil strife.

Gaddafi issued several audio recordings trying to rally supporters. Libyan officials have previously said they believe he is hiding somewhere in the vast south-western desert near the borders with Niger and Algeria.

Libyans celebrate at Martyrs square in Tripoli after hearing the news that Libyan leader Gaddafi was killed in Sirte (Pic: Reuters)

Libyans celebrate at Martyrs square in Tripoli

Libyans celebrate at Martyrs square in Tripoli after hearing the news that Libyan leader Gaddafi was killed in Sirte (Pic: Reuters)

Celebrations in Martyrs Square

Libyans celebrate at Martyrs square in Tripoli after hearing the news that Libyan leader Gaddafi was killed in Sirte (Pic: Reuters)

Libyans welcome the news

Libyans celebrate at Martyrs square in Tripoli after hearing the news that Libyan leader Gaddafi was killed in Sirte (Pic: Reuters)

Martyrs Square is packed

Libyans celebrate at Martyrs square in Tripoli after hearing the news that Libyan leader Gaddafi was killed in Sirte (Pic: Reuters)

Read more: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2011/10/20/gaddafi-dead-colonel-gaddafi-captured-but-died-of-injuries-libya-transitional-council-official-claims-115875-23502371/#ixzz1bsu0B2jt

Muammar Gaddafi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Gaddafi” redirects here. For other people named Gaddafi, see Gaddafi (name).
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Muammar Gaddafi
مُعَمَّر القَذَّافِي
Gaddafi at an African Union summit (2009)
Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution of Libya
In office
2 March 1977 – 23 August 2011
President
Prime Minister
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Position abolished
Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council of Libya
In office
1 September 1969 – 2 March 1977
Prime Minister Mahmud Sulayman al-Maghribi
Abdessalam Jalloud
Abdul Ati al-Obeidi
Preceded by Idris (King)
Succeeded by Himself (Secretary General of the General People’s Congress)
Secretary General of the General People’s Congress of Libya
In office
2 March 1977 – 2 March 1979
Prime Minister Abdul Ati al-Obeidi
Preceded by Himself (Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council)
Succeeded by Abdul Ati al-Obeidi
Prime Minister of Libya
In office
16 January 1970 – 16 July 1972
Preceded by Mahmud Sulayman al-Maghribi
Succeeded by Abdessalam Jalloud
Chairperson of the African Union
In office
2 February 2009 – 31 January 2010
Preceded by Jakaya Kikwete
Succeeded by Bingu wa Mutharika
Personal details
Born June 1942[nb 1]
SirteItalian Libya
(now Libya)
Died 20 October 2011 (aged 69)
Sirte or between Sirte andMisrata, Libya
Political party Arab Socialist Union (1971–1977)
Spouse(s) Fatiha al-Nuri (1969–1970)
Safia el-Brasai (1971–2011)
Children
Alma mater Benghazi Military University Academy
Religion Islam
Signature
Military service
Allegiance Libya Kingdom of Libya (1961–1969)
Libya Libyan Arab Republic(1969–1977)
Libya Libyan Arab Jamahiriya(1977–2011)
Service/branch Libyan Army
Years of service 1961–2011
Rank Colonel
Commands Libyan Armed Forces
Battles/wars Libyan-Egyptian War
Chadian-Libyan conflict
Uganda-Tanzania War
2011 Libyan civil war
Awards Order of the Yugoslav Star
Order of Good Hope

Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi[1] (Arabic: مُعَمَّر القَذَّافِي‎ Muʿammar al-Qaḏḏāfī About this sound audio (help·info);[variations] (June 1942[nb 1] – 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi play /ˈm.əmɑr ɡəˈdɑːfi/ or Colonel Gaddafi, was Libya’s head of state from 1969, when he seized power in a bloodless military coup, until 1977, when he stepped down from his official executive role as Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council of Libya, and claimed subsequently to be merely a symbolic figurehead.[2][3][4][5] Critics have often described him as Libya‘s de facto autocrat,[6][7] a claim his Libyan regime officially denied.[2][3] In 2011, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya regime he established was overthrown in a civil war which consisted of an uprising aided by a NATO intervention. His 42-year leadership prior to the uprising made him the fourth longest-serving non-royal leader since 1900, as well as the longest-serving Arab leader.[8] He variously styled himself as “the Brother Leader” and “Guide of the Revolution”; in 2008 a meeting of traditional African rulers bestowed on him the title “King of Kings”.[9]

After seizing power in 1969, he abolished the Libyan Constitution of 1951. He established laws based on the political ideology[10] he had formulated, called the Third International Theory and published in The Green Book.[11][12] After establishing the jamahiriya (“state of the masses”) system in 1977, he officially stepped down from power and had since then held a largely symbolic role within the country’s offical governance structure.[2][3][4][5] Rising oil prices and extraction in Libya led to increasing revenues. By exporting as much oil per capita as Saudi Arabia and through various welfare programs, Libya achieved the highest living standards in Africa; though not as high as several similarly oil-rich Gulf countries,[13][14] Libya remained debt-free under his regime.[15]Gaddafi started several wars and acquired chemical weapons.[16] The United Nations called Libya under Gaddafi a pariah state.[17][18] In the 1980s, countries around the world imposed sanctions against Gaddafi.[19] Six days after the capture of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003 by United States troops,[20] Gaddafi renounced Tripoli’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs and welcomed international inspections to verify that he would follow through on the commitment.[21] A leading advocate for a United States of Africa, he served as Chairperson of the African Union (AU) from 2 February 2009 to 31 January 2010.

In February 2011, following revolutions in neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia, protests against Gaddafi’s rule began. These escalated into an uprising that spread across the country, with the forces opposing Gaddafi establishing a government based in Benghazi named the National Transitional Council (NTC). This led to the 2011 Libyan Civil War, which included a military intervention by a NATO-led coalition to enforce a UN Security Council Resolution 1973calling for a no-fly zone and protection of civilians in Libya. The assets of Gaddafi and his family were frozen, and both Interpol and the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants on 27 June for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and his brother-in-law Abdullah al-Senussi, concerning crimes against humanity.[1][22][23][24] Gaddafi and his forces lost the Battle of Tripoli in August, and on 16 September 2011 the NTC took Libya’s seat at the UN, replacing Gaddafi.[25] He retained control over parts of Libya, most notably the city of Sirte, to which it was presumed that he had fled.[26] Although Gaddafi’s forces initially held out against the NTC’s advances, Gaddafi was captured alive as Sirte fell to the rebel forces on 20 October 2011 and died the same day under unclear circumstances.[27][28][29]

Early life and military academy

Muammar Gaddafi was born in Qasr Abu Hadi, a large, rural farming area located just outside Sirte.[30] He was raised in a Bedouin tent in the desert near Sirte. According to many biographies, his family belongs to a small tribe of Arabs, the Qadhadhfa. They are mostly herders that live in the Hun Oasis. According to Gaddafi, his paternal grandfather, Abdessalam Bouminyar, fought against the Italian occupation of Libya and died as the “first martyr in Khoms, in the first battle of 1911”.[31] Gaddafi attended a Muslim elementary school far from home in Sabha, during which time he was profoundly influenced by major events in the Arab world. He was passionate about the success of the Palestinians and was deeply disappointed by their defeat by Israeli forces in 1948.[citation needed] He admired Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and looked to him as a hero during his rise to power in 1952. In 1956 Gaddafi took part in anti-Israeli protests during the Suez Crisis.[32] In Sabha he was briefly a member of Scouting.[33] He finished his secondary school studies under a private tutor in Misrata, concentrating on the study of history.

Gaddafi entered the Royal Libyan Military Academy at Benghazi in 1961, and graduated in 1966. Both towards the end of his course and after graduation, Gaddafi pursued further studies in Europe. False rumours have been propagated with regards to this part of his life, for example, that he attended the United Kingdom’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.[34] He did in fact receive four months’ further military training in the United Kingdom, and spent some time in London.[35][36] After this, as a commissioned officer he joined the Signal Corps.[37] Although often referred to as “Colonel Gaddafi”, he was in fact only a Lieutenant when he seized power in 1969.[38] He was, nonetheless, a holder of the honorary rank of Major General, conferred upon him in 1976 by his ownArab Socialist Union‘s National Congress. Gaddafi accepted the honorary rank, but stated that he would continue to be known as “Colonel” and to wear the rank insignia of a Colonel when in uniform.[39]

Libyan revolution of 1969

In Libya, as in a number of other Arab countries, admission to a military academy and a career as an army officer only became available to members of the lower economic strata after independence. A military career offered an opportunity for higher education, for upward economic and social mobility, and was for many the only available means of political action. For Gaddafi and many of his fellow officers, who were inspired by Nasser’s brand of Arab nationalism, a military career was a revolutionary vocation.

As a cadet, Gaddafi associated with the Free Officers Movement. Most of his future colleagues on the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) were fellow members of his graduating class at the military academy. The frustration and shame felt by Libyan officers by Israel’s massive defeat of the Arab armies on three fronts in 1967 fuelled their determination to contribute to Arab unity by overthrowing the Libyan monarchy. An early conspirator, Gaddafi first started planning the overthrow of the monarchy while a cadet.

On 1 September 1969 a small group of junior military officers led by Gaddafi staged a bloodless coup d’état against King Idris of Libya while the king was inTurkey for medical treatment. Idris’s nephew, Crown Prince Sayyid Hasan ar-Rida al-Mahdi as-Sanussi, was formally deposed by the revolutionary army officers and put under house arrest; they abolished the monarchy and proclaimed the Libyan Arab Republic.[40]

Internal affairs

Gaddafi (left) with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1969

On gaining power he immediately ordered the shutdown of American and British military bases, including Wheelus Air Base. He told Western officials that he would expel their companies from Libya’s oil fields unless they shared more revenue. In his warning, he alluded to consultation with Nasser. The oil companies complied with the demand, increasing Libya’s share from 50 to 79 percent.[41] In December 1969, Egyptian intelligence thwarted a planned coup against Gaddafi from high-ranking members of his leadership. Many of the dissenters had grown uneasy with his growing relationship to Egypt.[42] In response to the failed coup, Gaddafi criminalized all political dissent and shared power only with his family and closest associates.[citation needed]

Gaddafi expelled Italian settlers in Libya in 1970.[43] Despising the Christian calendar, he replaced it as the country’s official with an Islamic calendar.[44] He renamed the months of the calendar. August, named for Augustus Caesar, was renamed Hannibal, and July, after Julius Caesar, was renamed Nasser, for Gamal Abdel Nasser. From 1971 to 1977, Gaddafi approved the Arab Socialist Union, modeled on Egypt’s Arab Socialist Union (Egypt), to function as a political party in Libya.[45]

Gaddafi increasingly devoted himself to “contemplative exile” over the next months,[10] caught up in apocalyptic visions of revolutionary pan-Arabism and Islam locked in a mortal struggle with what he termed the encircling, demonic forces of reaction, imperialism, and Zionism. As a result, routine administrative tasks fell to Major Jallud who became prime minister in place of Gaddafi in 1972. Two years later Jallud assumed Gaddafi’s remaining administrative and protocol duties to allow Gaddafi to devote his time to revolutionary theorizing. Gaddafi remained the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the effective head of state. The foreign press speculated about an eclipse of his authority within the RCC, but Gaddafi soon dispelled such theories by imposing measures to restructure Libyan society.

Elimination of dissent

In 1969, Gaddafi created Revolutionary committees to keep tight control over internal dissent. Ten to twenty percent of Libyans worked as informants for these committees. Surveillance took place in the government, in factories, and in the education sector.[46] People who formed a political party were executed, and talking about politics with foreigners was punishable by up to 3 years in jail.[citation needed] Arbitrary arrests were common and Libyans were hesitant to speak with foreigners.[47] The government conducted executions and mutilations of political opponents in public and broadcast recordings of the proceedings on state television. Dissent was illegal under Law 75 of 1973, which denied freedom of expression.[46][48] In 2010, Libya’s press was rated as 160th out of 178 nations in the Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders.[49]

During the 1970s, Libya executed members of the Islamist fundamentalist Hizb-ut Tahrir faction, and Gaddafi often personally presided over the executions.[50][51] Libya faced internal opposition during the 1980s because of the highly unpopular war with Chad. Numerous young men cut off a fingertip to avoid conscription at the time.[52] A mutiny by the Libyan Army in Tobruk was violently suppressed in August 1980.[53]

From time to time Gaddafi responded to external opposition with violence. Between 1980 and 1987, Gaddafi employed his network of diplomats and recruits to assassinate at least 25 critics living abroad.[46][54] His revolutionary committees called for the assassination of Libyan dissidents living abroad in April 1980, sending Libyan hit squads abroad to murder them. On 26 April 1980 Gaddafi set a deadline of 11 June 1980 for dissidents to return home or be “in the hands of the revolutionary committees”.[55] Gaddafi stated explicitly in 1982 that “It is the Libyan people’s responsibility to liquidate such scums who are distorting Libya’s image abroad.”[56] Libyan agents have assassinated dissidents in the United States,[57] Europe,[58] and the Middle East.[46][56][59] As of 2004 Libya still provided bounties on critics, including $1 million for one journalist.[60] During the 2005 civil unrest in France, Gaddafi called Chirac and offered him his help in quelling the resistors, who were largely North African.[61] There are growing indications that Libya’s Gaddafi-era intelligence service had a cozy relationship with western spy organizations including the CIA, who voluntarily provided information on Libyan dissidents to the regime in exchange for using Libya as a base for extraordinary renditions.[62][63][64]

Following an abortive 1986 attempt to replace English with Russian as the primary foreign language in education,[65] English has been taught in recent years in Libyan schools from primary level, and students have access to English-language media.[66]

Campaign against Berber culture

Gaddafi often expressed an overt contempt for the Berbers, a non-Arab people of North Africa, and for their language, maintaining that the very existence of Berbers in North Africa is a myth created by colonialists. He adopted new names for Berber towns, and on official Libyan maps, referred to the Nafusa Mountains as the “Western mountains”.[67] In a 1985 speech, he said of the Berber language, “If your mother transmits you this language, she nourishes you with the milk of the colonialist, she feeds you their poison” (1985).[68] The Berber language was banned from schools and up until 2009, it was illegal for parents to name their children with Berber names.[69] Berbers living in ancient mud-brick caravan towns such as Ghadames were forced out and moved into modern government-constructed apartments in the 1980s.[10] During the 2011 civil war, Berber towns rebelled against Gaddafi’s rule and sought to reaffirm their ancient identity as Berbers.[70][71][72] Gaddafi’s government strengthened anti-Berber sentiment among Libyan Arabs, weakening their opposition.[73]

Economy

Libya enjoys large natural resources,[74] which Gaddafi utilized to help develop the country. Under Gaddafi’s jamahiriya direct democracy system,[75] the country’s literacy rate rose from 10% to 90%, life expectancy rose from 57 to 77 years, equal rights were established for women and black peopleemployment opportunities were established for migrant workers, and welfare systems were introduced that allowed access to free education, free healthcare, and financial assistance for housing. The Great Manmade River was also built to allow free access to fresh water across large parts of the country.[76] In addition, financial support was provided for university scholarships and employment programs.[77] The country was developed without taking any foreign loans. As a result, Libya wasdebt-free under Gaddafi’s regime.[15]

Despite his role in developing the country,[76][15] critics have accused Gaddafi of concentrating a large part of the country’s high gross domestic product on his family and his elites, who allegedly amassed vast fortunes.[74] Many of the business enterprises were allegedly controlled by Gaddafi and his family.[78] Despite the regime providing financial assistance for housing,[76] segments of the population continued to live in poverty, particularly in the eastern parts of the country.[79][80]

When the rising international oil prices began to raise Gaddafi’s revenues in the 1970s, Gaddafi spent much of the revenues on arms purchases and on sponsoring his political projects abroad.[81]Gaddafi’s relatives adopted lavish lifestyles, including luxurious homes, Hollywood film investments and private parties with American pop stars.[82][83]

The Economy of Libya was centrally planned and followed Gaddafi’s socialist ideals. It benefited greatly from revenues from the petroleum sector, which contributed most export earnings and 30% of its GDP. These oil revenues, combined with a small population and by far Africa’s highest Education Index gave Libya the highest nominal GDP per capita in Africa. Between 2000 and 2011, Libya recorded favourable growth rates with an estimated 10.6 percent growth of GDP in 2010, the highest of any state in Africa. Gaddafi had promised “a home for all Libyans” and during his rule, new residential areas rose in empty Saharan regions. Entire populations living in mud-brick caravan towns were moved into modern homes with running water, electricity, and satellite TV.[10] A leaked diplomatic cable describes Libyan economy as “a kleptocracy in which the government – either the al-Gaddafi family itself or its close political allies – has a direct stake in anything worth buying, selling or owning”.[24]

At the time Gaddafi died, some of the worst economic conditions were in the eastern parts of the state.[79][80] The sewage facilities in Banghazi were over 40 years old, and untreated sewage flowed into ground and coast.[14] 97% of urban dwellers have access to “improved sanitation facilities” in Libya, this was 2% points lower than the OECD average, or 21% points above the world average.[84] In the first 15 years of Gaddafi rule, the number of doctors per 1000/citizens increased by seven times, with the number of hospital beds increasing by three times.[85] During Gaddafi’s rule, infant mortality rates went from 125 per 1000 live births, about average for Africa at the time, to 15 per 1000, the best rate in Africa.[86] Libyans who could afford it often had to seek medical care in neighboring countries such as Tunisia and Egypt because of lack of decent medical care in Libya.[80][87]

Libyans have described the Great Manmade River, built under Gaddafi’s regime, as the “Eighth Wonder of the World“.[88] Gaddafi also initiated the Libyan National Telescope Project, costing about 10 million euros.[89]

On 4 March 2008 Gaddafi announced his intention to dissolve the country’s existing administrative structure and disburse oil revenue directly to the people. The plan included abolishing all ministries; except those of defence, internal security, and foreign affairs, and departments implementing strategic projects.[90] In 2009, Gaddafi personally told government officials that Libya would soon experience a “new political period” and would have elections for important positions such as minister-level roles and the National Security Advisor position (a Prime Minister equivalent). He also promised to include international monitors to ensure fair elections. His speech was said to have caused quite a stir.[91]

Purification laws

Libya’s society became increasingly Islamic during Gaddafi’s rule. His “purification laws” were put into effect in 1994, punishing theft by the amputation of limbs, and fornication and adultery by flogging.[92] Under the Libyan constitution, homosexual relations are punishable by up to 5 years in jail.[93]

Foreign affairs

Activities in Sudan and Chad

Gaddafi, Algerian President Houari Boumediene, and Syrian President Assadattending the Summit in Libya in December 1977.

After Nasser’s death, Gaddafi attempted to become the leader of Arab nationalism. He wanted to create a “Great Islamic State of the Sahel”, unifying the Arab states of North Africa into one. As early as 1969, Gaddafi contributed to the Islamization of Sudan and Chad, granting military bases and support to theFROLINAT revolutionary forces.[94] In 1971, when Muslims took power in Sudan, he offered to merge Libya with Sudan.[95] Gaafar Nimeiry, the President of Sudan, turned him down and angered Gaddafi by signing a peace settlement with the Sudanese Christians.[96] Gaddafi took matters into his own hands in 1972, organizing the Islamic Legion, a paramilitary group, to arabize the region.[97] He dispatched The Islamic Legion to Lebanon, Syria, Uganda, and Palestine to take active measures to ensure Islamic control. The Islamic Legion was highly active in Sudan and Chad, and nearly removed the Touboupopulation of southern Libya through violence.[98] Through the 1970s and 1980s, Gaddafi led an armed conflict against Chad, and occupied the Aouzou strip. During the 1970s, two Muslim leaders, Goukouni Oueddei and Habre, were fighting against the Christian southerners for control of Chad. Gaddafi supported them, and when they seized control in 1979, he offered to merge with Chad. Goukouni turned him down, and Gaddafi withdrew Libyan troops in 1981 because of growing opposition from France and neighboring African nations. Gaddafi’s withdrawal left Goukouni vulnerable in Chad, and in 1982, his former partner, Habre, led a coup to remove him from Chad. Gaddafi helped Goukouni regain territory in Chad, and fought with Habre’s forces.[99] As a side note, Gaddafi’s occupation of Chad led to the liberation of French archeologist Françoise Claustre in 1977.[100] In 1987, Gaddafi engaged in a full-out war with Chad, suffering a humiliating loss in 1987 during the Toyota War. Libya took heavy casualties, losing one tenth of its army (7,500 troops) and 1.5 billion dollars worth of military equipment.[101] Chad lost 1,000 troops, and was supported by both the United States and France.[102] During the war, Gaddafi lost his long-time ally, Goukouni Oueddei, who repaired his relationship with Habre in 1987. Gaddafi gave Habre an offer to make complete peace, and promised to return all Chadian prisoners in Libya. He also promised to pay reparations for the damage done to Chad, and promised financial support to fight poverty. He also announced that he would push to end the death penalty in Libya, end “revolutionary” courts, free hundreds of political prisoners, and warmed relations with African leaders concerned about his “Green revolution.”[103] Former Libyan soldiers and rebel groups supported by Libya continued to fight the Chadian government independent of Gaddafi. Their organization, the Arab Gathering, was an Arab supremacist group that also contributing to violence in Sudan. Members of this group later developed into leaders of the Janjaweed.[104]

War against Egypt

Main article: Libyan–Egyptian War

The disappointment and failure Nasser faced for his lost Six-Day War motivated Gaddafi to better coordinate Arab attacks on Israel.[105] Beginning in 1972, Gaddafi granted financial support and military training to Palestinian militant groups against Israel.[106][107][108] He also strengthened his unity with Egypt, and in 1972, convinced Anwar Sadat to share the same flag and join a partial union with Libya. Gaddafi had offered a fully unified state where Sadat would be president and he would be defense minister. Sadat distrusted Gaddafi and refused. Gaddafi was further disappointed with Egypt’s political system, as he spoke to Egypt’s Arab Socialist Union and was suggested “a partial merger, in order to allow time for thorough and careful study”. Gaddafi quipped back, saying “There’s no such thing as a partial merger”.[109] In 1973, Gaddafi secretly sent Libyan military planes to join the Egyptian Air Force. The outbreak of the Yom Kippur War surprised Gaddafi, as Egypt and Syria planned it without his knowledge.[110] Gaddafi felt that the war wasted resources and manpower to chase limited objectives, and accused Sadat of trying to weaken the FAR by launching the War. According to Gaddafi, Assad and Sadat were foolish to fight for small areas of Israeli-occupied territory when the entire land could be returned to the Palestinians outright. He said, “I will participate only in a war if the aim is to oust the usurpers and send the Jews back to Europe from where they have come since 1948 to colonize an Arab land.”[111] Gaddafi’s relationship with Egypt further weakened because he opposed a cease-fire with Israel and called Sadat a coward for giving up after one Israeli counteroffensive. Gaddafi also believed that the Soviet Union and the United States would join forces with Israel, and would deploy troops on the demarcation lines to invade and “colonize” the Arab nations.[86] Anwar Sadat was equally angry with Gaddafi and revealed that he was responsible for foiling a 1973 submarine attack Libya planned for sinking the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 during an Israeli cruise. Gaddafi fired back, saying the Arabs could have destroyed Israel within 12 hours if they had adopted a sound strategy. Gaddafi charged Egyptian reporters with the breakdown of Libyan-Egyptian relations in 1973, and said Sadat was in-part to blame because he had “no control” of Egyptian information media.[112] Egypt’s peace talks in 1977 led to the Steadfastness and Confrontation Front, a group Gaddafi formed to reject the recognition of the Israeli state. Libya’s relations with Egypt broke down entirely that year, leading to the short-lived Libyan–Egyptian War. During the war, Libya sent its military across the border, but Egyptian forces fought back and forced them to retreat. Gaddafi’s animosity with Sadat was so high that in 1981, Gaddafi declared his death a national holiday.[113] He called it a just “punishment” for his role in the Camp David Accords.[112]

Maghreb countries

Gaddafi signed an agreement with Tunisian president Habib Bourguiba to merge nations in 1974.[114] The pact came as a surprise because Bouguiba had rebuked similar offers for over two years previously.[115] Weeks after the agreement, he postponed a referendum on the issue, effectively ending it weeks later. The idea of merging states was highly unpopular in Tunisia, and cost Bourguiba much of his people’s respect. The agreement was said to allow Bourguiba the presidency while Gaddafi would be defense minister. A later treaty with Morocco‘s Hassan II in 1984 broke down in two years when Hassan II met with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres.[116] Gaddafi said recognition of Israel was “an act of treason”.[117] In 1989, Gaddafi was overjoyed by the Maghreb Pact between Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya. Gaddafi saw the Pact as a first step towards the formation of “one invincible Arab nation” and shouted for a state “from Marrakesh to Bahrain”, pumping his fists in the air.[118]

Palestinians

Gaddafi’s image in the Arab world was damaged severely in 1978 when Shia imam Musa al-Sadr disappeared en route to Libya.[119] The Libyan government consistently denied responsibility, but Lebanon held Gaddafi responsible, and continues to do so. Allegedly, Yasser Arafat asked Gaddafi to eliminate al-Sadr because of his opposition to Palestinians in the Lebanese Civil War.[61][119] Shia Lebanese vigilantes hijacked two Libyan aircraft in 1981, demanding information on al-Sadr’s whereabouts. Shia Muslims across the Arab world continue to view Gaddafi negatively since this incident. His relations with Shia-populated Lebanon and Iran soured as a result.[110] Lebanon formally indicted Gaddafi in 2008 for al-Sadr’s disappearance.[120][121] Some reports claim that al-Sadr still lives and secretly remains in jail in Libya.

In 1995 Gaddafi expelled some 30,000 Palestinians living in Libya, a response to the peace negotiations that had commenced between Israel and the PLO.[122]

Weapons of mass destruction programs

Gaddafi’s attempts to procure weapons of mass destruction began in 1972, when Gaddafi tried to get the People’s Republic of China to sell him a nuclear bomb.[123]

In 1977, he tried to get a bomb from Pakistan, but Pakistan severed ties before Libya succeeded in building a weapon.[123] After ties were restored, Gaddafi tried to buy a nuclear weapon from India, but instead, India and Libya agreed for a peaceful use of nuclear energy, in line with India’s “atoms for peace” policy.[124]

Several people around the world were indicted for assisting Gaddafi in his chemical weapons programs. Thailand reported its citizens had helped build a storage facility for nerve gas. Germany sentenced a businessman, Jürgen Hippenstiel-Imhausen, to five years in prison for involvement in Libyan chemical weapons.[123][16]

Inspectors from the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) verified in 2004 that Libya owned a stockpile of 23 metric tons of mustard gas and more than 1,300 metric tons of precursor chemicals. Disposing of such large quantities of chemical weapons was expected to be expensive.[125] Following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by US forces in 2003, Gaddafi announced that his nation had an active weapons of mass destruction program, but was willing to allow international inspectors into his country to observe and dismantle them. US President George W. Bush and other supporters of theIraq War portrayed Gaddafi’s announcement as a direct consequence of the Iraq War. Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, a supporter of the Iraq War, was quoted as saying that Gaddafi had privately phoned him, admitting as much. Many foreign policy experts, however, contend that Gaddafi’s announcement was merely a continuation of his prior attempts at normalizing relations with the West and getting the sanctions removed. To support this, they point to the fact that Libya had already made similar offers starting four years before one was finally accepted.[126][127] International inspectors turned up several tons of chemical weaponry in Libya, as well as an active nuclear weapons program.

OPEC

From the beginning of his leadership, Gaddafi confronted foreign oil companies for increases in revenues. Immediately after assuming office, he demanded that oil companies pay 10 percent more taxes and an increased royalty of 44 cents per barrel. Gaddafi argued that Libyan oil was closer to Europe, and was cheaper to ship than oil from the Persian Gulf. Western companies refused his demands, and Gaddafi asserted himself by cutting the production of Occidental Petroleum, an American company in Libya, from 800,000 to 500,000 that year.[128] Occidental Petroleum’s President, Armand Hammer, met with Gaddafi in Tripoli and had difficulty understanding exactly what he wanted at first. He said at one meeting, Prime Minister Abdessalam Jalloud finally took out his gun belt and left the loaded revolver in full view. Later, Hammer recalled that moment and said he felt then “that Gaddafi was ready to negotiate”.[129][130] In The Age of Oil, historians considered Gaddafi’s success in 1970 to be the “decisive spark that set off an unprecedented chain reaction” in oil-producing nations.[131] Libya continued a winning streak against the oil companies throughout the 1970s energy crisis; Later that year, the Shah of Iran raised his demands to match those of Gaddafi. OPEC nations began a game of “leap frogging” to win further concessions from the oil companies after following Gaddafi’s lead.[128]

Gaddafi and the Shah of Iran both argued for quadrupling the cost of oil in 1975.[132] In 1975, Gaddafi allegedly organized the hostage incident at OPEC in Vienna, Austria.[133]

Alliances with other authoritarian national leaders

See also: Idi Amin and Uganda-Tanzania War

Gaddafi had a close relationship with Idi Amin, whom he sponsored and gave some of the key ideas, such as expulsions of Indian-Ugandans.[134] When Amin’s government began to crumble, Gaddafi sent troops to fight against Tanzania on behalf of Amin and 600 Libyan soldiers lost their lives.[135] Gaddafi also financed Mengistu Haile Mariam‘s military junta in Ethiopia, which was later convicted of one of the deadliest genocides in modern history.[136]

Gaddafi ran a school near Benghazi called the World Revolutionary Center (WRC). A notable number of its graduates have seized power in African countries.[137] Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso andIdriss Déby of Chad were graduates of this school, and are currently in power in their respective countries.[138] Gaddafi trained and supported Charles Taylor of LiberiaFoday Sankoh, the founder ofRevolutionary United Front, and Jean-Bédel Bokassa, the Emperor of the Central African Empire.[135][136]

Jakaya Kikwete, the president of Tanzania, embraces Gaddafi during theAfrican Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2 Feb. 2009.

In Europe, Gaddafi had close ties with Slobodan Milošević and Jörg Haider. According to the Daily Mail, Jörg Haider received tens of millions of dollars from both Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein.[139] Gaddafi also aligned himself with the Orthodox Serbs against Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo, supporting Milošević even when he was charged with large-scale ethnic cleansing against Albanians in Kosovo.[140][141][142]

Gaddafi developed a friendship with Hugo Chávez and in March 2009 a stadium was named after the Venezuelan leader.[143] Documents seized during a 2008 raid on FARC showed that both Chavez and Gaddafi backed the group.[138] Gaddafi developed an ongoing relationship with FARC, becoming acquainted with its leaders at meetings of revolutionary groups which were regularly hosted in Libya.[137][138] In September 2009, at the Second Africa-South America Summiton Isla Margarita, Venezuela, Gaddafi joined Chávez in calling for an “anti-imperialist” front across Africa and Latin America. Gaddafi proposed the establishment of a South Atlantic Treaty Organization to rival NATO, saying: “The world’s powers want to continue to hold on to their power. Now we have to fight to build our own power.”[144]

Focus on activities in Africa

In 1998, Gaddafi turned his attention away from Arab nationalism. He eliminated a government office in charge of promoting pan-Arab ideas and told reporters “I had been crying slogans of Arab Unity and brandishing standard of Arab nationalism for 40 years, but it was not realised. That means that I was talking in the desert. I have no more time to lose talking with Arabs…I am returning back to realism…I now talk about Pan-Africanism and African Unity. The Arab world is finished…Africa is a paradise…and it is full of natural resources like water, uranium, cobalt, iron, manganese.”[145] Gaddafi’s state-run television networks switched from middle eastern soap operas to African themes involving slavery. The background of a unified Arab League that had been a staple of Libyan television for over two decades was replaced by a map of Africa. Gaddafi sported a map of Africa on his outfits from then forward. He also stated that, “I would like Libya to become a black country. Hence, I recommend to Libyan men to marry only black women and to Libyan women to marry black men.”[146][147][148]

Gaddafi’s support frequently went to leaders recognized by the United Nations as dictators and warlords. Gaddafi used anti-Western rhetoric against the UN, and complained that the International Criminal Court was a “new form of world terrorism” that wanted to recolonize developing countries.[149] Gaddafi opposed the ICC’s arrest warrant for Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir and personally gave refuge to Idi Amin in Libya after his fall from rule in 1979.[150]

According to the Special Court for Sierra LeoneCharles Taylor‘s orders for “The amputation of the arms and legs of men, women, and children as part of a scorched-earth campaign was designed to take over the region’s rich diamond fields and was backed by Gaddafi, who routinely reviewed their progress and supplied weapons”.[138][151]

Gaddafi intervened militarily in the Central African Republic in 2001 to protect his ally Ange-Félix Patassé from overthrow. Patassé signed a deal giving Libya a 99-year lease to exploit all of that country’s natural resources, including uranium, copper, diamonds, and oil.[137]

Gaddafi acquired at least 20 luxurious properties after he went to rescue Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.[137]

Gaddafi’s strong military support and finances gained him several allies across the continent. He was bestowed with the title “King of Kings of Africa” in 2008, as he had remained in power longer than any African king. Gaddafi was celebrated in the presence of over 200 African traditional rulers and kings, although his views on African political and military unification received a lukewarm response from their governments.[9] His 2009 forum for African kings was canceled by the Ugandan hosts, who believed that traditional rulers discussing politics would lead to instability.[152] On 1 February 2009, a ‘coronation ceremony’ in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was held to coincide with the 53rd African Union Summit, at which he was elected head of the African Union for the year.[153] When his election was opposed by an African leader, Gaddafi arranged with Silvio Berlusconi to have two escorts sent to that leader to have him change his mind. It worked, and he was elected Chairman of the African Union from 2009 to 2010.[154] Gaddafi told the assembled African leaders: “I shall continue to insist that our sovereign countries work to achieve the United States of Africa.”[155]

State-sponsored terrorism

Gaddafi supported militant organizations that held anti-Western sympathies around the world.[156] The Foreign Minister of Libya called the massacres “heroic acts”.[157] Gaddafi fueled a number of Islamist and communist militant groups in the Philippines, including the New People’s Army of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The country still struggles with their murders and kidnappings.[46][158][159] In Indonesia, the Organisasi Papua Merdeka was a Libyan backed militant group. Vanuatu‘s ruling party also enjoyed Libyan support. In Australia he attempted to radicalize Australian Aborigines, left-wing unions,[160] Arab Australians,[160] against the “imperialist” government of Australia.[54][54] In New Zealand he financed the Workers Revolutionary Party[160][161] and attempted to radicalize Maoris.

In 1979, Gaddafi said he supported the Iranian Revolution, and hoped that “…he (the Shah) ends up in the hands of the Iranian people, where he deserves.”[162]

Gaddafi explicitly stated that he would kill Libyan dissidents that had escaped from Libya, raising tensions with refugee countries and European governments. In 1985 he stated that he would continue to support the Red Army Faction, the Red Brigades, and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) as long as European countries supported anti-Gaddafi Libyans.[106] In 1976, after a series of attacks by the IRA, Gaddafi announced that “the bombs which are convulsing Britain and breaking its spirit are the bombs of Libyan people. We have sent them to the Irish revolutionaries so that the British will pay the price for their past deeds”.[106] In April 1984 some Libyan refugees in London protested the execution of two dissidents. Libyan diplomats shot at 11 people and killed Yvonne Fletcher, a British policewoman. The incident led to the cessation of diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and Libya for over a decade.[163] In June 1984 Gaddafi asserted that he wanted his agents to assassinate dissident refugees even when they were on pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca and, in August that year, a Libyan plot in Mecca was thwarted by Saudi Arabian police.[56]

On 5 April 1986 Libyan agents bombed “La Belle” nightclub in West Berlin, killing three and injuring 229. Gaddafi’s plan was intercepted by Western intelligence and more detailed information was retrieved some years later from Stasi archives. Libyan agents who had carried out the operation, from the Libyan embassy in East Germany, were prosecuted by the reunited Germany in the 1990s.[164]

Following the 1986 bombing of Libya, Gaddafi intensified his support for anti-American government organizations. He financed the Nation of Islam, which emerged as one of the leading organizations receiving assistance from Libya; and Al-Rukn, in their emergence as an indigenous anti-American armed revolutionary movement.[165] Members of Al-Rukn were arrested in 1986 for preparing to conduct strikes on behalf of Libya, including blowing up U.S. government buildings and bringing down an airplane; the Al-Rukn defendants were convicted in 1987 of “offering to commit bombings and assassinations on U.S. soil for Libyan payment.”[165] In 1986, Libyan state television announced that Libya was training suicide squads to attack American and European interests. He began financing the IRA again in 1986, to retaliate against the British for harboring American fighter planes.[166]

Gaddafi also sought close relations with the Soviet Union and purchased arms from the Soviet bloc.

Seeking international acceptance

Gaddafi with then-President of RussiaVladimir Putin in 2008

Gaddafi (at far right) attending the G-8 Summit in 2009. Barack Obama is visible just below the globe-emblem. Most web-circulated photos captioned as “Obama / Gaddafi meeting” actually just show the handshake from this event.

Gaddafi with Spanish President of the Government José Luis Rodríguez Zapateroat the third EU-Africa Summit in Tripoli in November 2010.

Main article: Lockerbie bombing

As early as 1981, Gaddafi feared that the Reagan Administration would combat his leadership and sought to reduce his maverick image. He and his cabinet talked frequently about the pullout of American citizens from Libya. Gaddafi feared that the United States would be plotting economic sanctions or military action against his government. In 1981, he publicly announced that he would not send any more hit teams to kill citizens in Europe, and quickly obeyed a 1981 armistice with Chad.[167] In 1987, Gaddafi proposed an easing of relations between the United States and Libya. Speaking of the 1986 bombing of Libya, he said, “They trained people to assassinate me and they failed. They tried all the secret action against us and they failed. They have not succeeded in defeating us. They should look for other alternatives to have some kind of rapprochement.”[168]

After the fall of Soviet client states in eastern Europe, Libya appeared to reassess its position in world affairs and began a long process of improving its image in the West.[169]

In 1994, Gaddafi eased his relationship with the Western world, beginning with his atonement for the Lockerbie bombings. For three years, he had refused toextradite two Libyan intelligence agents indicted for planting a bomb on Pan Am Flight 103. South African president Nelson Mandela, who took special interest in the issue, negotiated with the United States on Gaddafi’s behalf. Mandela and Gaddafi had forged a close friendship starting with his release from prison in 1990. Mandela persuaded Gaddafi to hand over the defendants to the Scottish Court in the Netherlands, where they faced trial in 1999. One was found not guilty and the other, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, was given a life sentence.[170] For Gaddafi’s cooperation, the UN suspended its sanctions against Libya in 2001. Two years later, Libya wrote to the UN Security Council formally accepting “responsibility for the actions of its officials” in respect to the Lockerbie bombing. It was later claimed by Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem and his son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi that they did not believe they were responsible and that they simply wrote the letter to remove UN sanctions.[171] Gaddafi agreed to pay up to US$2.7 billion to the victims’ families, and completed most of the payout in 2003. Later that year, Britain and Bulgaria co-sponsored a UN resolution to remove the UN sanctions entirely.[172] In 2004, Shukri Ghanem, then-Libyan Prime Minister, openly told a Western reporter that Gaddafi was “paying for peace” with the West, and that there was never any evidence or guilt for the Lockerbie bombing.[173]

Gaddafi’s government faced growing opposition from Islamic extremists during the 1990s, particularly the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which nearly assassinated him in 1996. Gaddafi began giving counter-terrorism intelligence to MI6 and the CIA in the 1990s, and issued the first arrest warrant for Osama bin Laden in 1998, after he was linked to the killing of German anti-terrorism agents in Libya.[174] Gaddafi also accused the United States of training and supporting bin Laden for war against the Soviet Union. He said the United States was bombing al-Qaeda camps that they had supported and built for him in the past. Gaddafi also claimed that the bombing attempts by Bill Clinton were done to divert attention from his sex scandal.[175]

Intelligence links from Gaddafi’s regime to the U.S. and the U.K. deepened during the George W. Bush administration; the CIA began bringing alleged terrorists to Libya for torture under the “extraordinary rendition” program. Some of those renditioned were Gaddafi’s political enemies, including one current rebel leader in the 2011 NATO-backed war in Libya. The relationship was so close that the CIA provided “talking points for Gaddafi, logistical details for [rendition] flights, and what seems to have been the bartering of Gaddafi’s opponents, some of whom had ties to Islamist groups, for his cooperation.”[176]

He offered to dismantle his active weapons of mass destruction program in 1999. Gaddafi denounced the al-Qaeda bombers for the 11 September attacks and appeared on American television for an interview with George Stephanopoulos.[citation needed] In 2002, Saddam Hussein paid Gaddafi $3.5 billion to save him should he have an internal coup or war with America.[177] In 2003, following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by U.S. forces, Gaddafi again admitted to having an active weapons of mass destruction program, and was willing to dismantle it. His announcement was well-publicized and during interviews, Gaddafi confessed that the Iraq War “may have influenced him”, but he would rather “focus on the positive”, and hoped that other nations would follow his example.[178] Gaddafi’s commitment to the War against Terror attracted support from the United S