Monthly Archives: March 2011
Photos: “unarmed” civilians
The law is the law, and it is crystal clear. Under the UN Charter and Resolutions 1970 and 1973 it would be illegal for any entity to arm the “rebels” in Libya and in so doing, this would constitute a breach of international law, leaving the perpetrators open to criminal liability. And has anyone researched the history of the “rebel” movement?
The legal principle which governs international law
The legal principle of the UN Charter is to avoid war and to ensure peace; that is why any act of aggression outside the specific scope of a Resolution must necessarily pass by a separate Resolution in the UN Security Council. Since the scope of the resolutions covering Libya – UNSC Resolutions 1970 (2011) and 1973 (2011) – do not include the supply of weaponry to the “rebel” cause in Libya – but instead prohibit it and cover attacks on civilians, then under no circumstances whatsoever would it be admissible, acceptable or legal for any entity to supply weapons or train the “rebels” against the Libyan authorities.
Definition of a civilian
Let us now turn to the definition of a civilian: someone who is not an active member of the military, police or a belligerent group. For this reason, men in uniforms, sporting weapons are not civilians and for this reason if such persons use violence against the Libyan armed forces, then any counter-attack by such forces cannot be deemed to be an attack against civilians.
UNSC Resolution 1970 (2011)
Paragraph 9 prohibits the supply of weapons to Libya:
“9. Decides that all Member States shall immediately take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, from or through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and related materiel of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and spare parts for the aforementioned, and technical assistance, training, financial or other assistance, related to military activities or the provision, maintenance or use of any arms and related materiel, including the provision of armed mercenary personnel whether or not originating in their territories,…”
UNSC Resolution 1973 (2011)
There is nothing whatsoever in this document which contradicts the scope of Resolution 1970 above. For a start, its introduction is very clear about the need to commit to the territorial integrity of Libya:
“Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,”
Paragraph 4 does not contradict Paragraph 9 of Resolution 1970 on the supply of weaponry. It does not state anywhere that the terms are revoked or annulled. The insinuation that it does is a puerile and very devious attempt to twist around what is very clear under international law. The expression “all necessary measures” is qualified and restricted to the protection of civilians:
“4. Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,”
and “notwithstanding” does not mean “substituting”. It means “in spite of” in the context of “in conjunction with” and not “in contradiction of”; otherwise it would be necessary to state clearly that the terms and conditions of Paragraph 9 of UNSC Resolution 1970 (2011) are revoked, annulled, substituted or replaced. This not being the case, the argument that 1973 allows such supply or weaponry is an indication of the malice of those politicians who propose it and certainly does not constitute a legal basis for action.
Paragraph 8 reiterates the expression “all necessary measures” but qualifies this as pertaining to a ban on flights:
“8. Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, to take all necessary measures to enforce compliance with the ban on flights imposed by paragraph 6 above,”
Finally, the reference by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that 1973 substitutes 1970 is as much an unadulterated, barefaced lie as the claim that she went into a war zone in the Balkans under fire. The expression “replace” indeed reiterates the implementation of the arms embargo and adds the provision for inspection of sea or air vessels.
“13. Decides that paragraph 11 of resolution 1970 (2011) shall be replaced by the following paragraph : “Calls upon all Member States, in particular States of the region, acting nationally or through regional organisations or arrangements, in order to ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo established by paragraphs 9 and 10 of resolution 1970 (2011), to inspect in their territory, including seaports and airports, and on the high seas, vessels and aircraft bound to or from the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, if the State concerned has information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that the cargo contains items the supply, sale, transfer or export of which is prohibited by paragraphs 9 or 10 of resolution 1970 (2011) as modified by this resolution, including the provision of armed mercenary personnel, calls upon all flag States of such vessels and aircraft to cooperate with such inspections and authorises Member States to use all measures commensurate to the specific circumstances to carry out such inspections;”.
As we see, the legal question is perfectly simple to follow and is very clear to see.
As for the bombing attacks, the scope of the law is to prevent attacks on civilians, therefore attacking Libyan government forces against the “rebels” constitutes a breach of the Resolution and is therefore a beach of international law, leaving the perpetrators liable to prosecution for criminal liability for war crimes.
Under these precepts, I hereby accuse Messrs Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nicolas Sarkozy, Alain Juppé, David Cameron and William Hague of war crimes for the deployment of military equipment against forces which were not attacking civilians.
Is the world going to stand back yet again as we have another illegal war based upon lies and propaganda and nonsense, or is someone going to take action and nip this in the bud, bringing a case against these perpetrators and hauling these criminals and murderers before the proper legal instances where they belong?
And just before we finish, Google up the Al Qaeda connection to the leader of the rebels, his history in fighting against the USA and British in Afghanistan, the legacy of the Benghazi bombers in Iraq and the history of the fighters themselves. This proves just how incompetent the above-mentioned are to perform their roles as Heads of Government and Diplomacy.
By Paul Craig Roberts
What does the world think? Obama has been using air strikes and drones against civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and probably Somalia. In his March 28 speech, Obama justified his air strikes against Libya on the grounds that the embattled ruler, Gadhafi, was using air strikes to put down a rebellion.
Gadhafi has been a black hat for as long as I can remember. If we believe the adage that “where there is smoke there is fire,” Gadhafi is probably not a nice fellow. However, there is no doubt whatsoever that the current US president and the predecessor Bush/Cheney regime have murdered many times more people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia than Gadhafi has murdered in Libya.
Moreover, Gadhafi is putting down a rebellion against state authority as presently constituted, but Obama and Bush/Cheney initiated wars of aggression based entirely on lies and deception.
Yet Gadhafi is being demonized, and Bush/Cheney/Obama are sitting on their high horse draped in cloaks of morality. Obama described himself as saving Libyans from violence while Obama himself murders Afghans, Pakistanis, and whomever else.
Indeed, the Obama regime has been torturing a US soldier, Bradley Manning, for having a moral conscience. America has degenerated to the point where having a moral conscience is evidence of anti-Americanism and “terrorist activity.”
The Bush/Cheney/Obama wars of naked aggression have bankrupted America. Joseph Stiglitz, former chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, concluded that the money wasted on the Iraq war could have been used to fix America’s Social Security problem for half a century. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/feb/28/iraq.afghanistan Instead, the money was used to boost the obscene profits of the armament industry.
The obscene wars of aggression, the obscene profits of the offshoring corporations, and the obscene bailouts of the rich financial gangsters have left the American public with
annual budget deficits of approximately $1.5 trillion. These deficits are being covered by printing money. Sooner or later, the printing presses will cause the US dollar to collapse and domestic inflation to explode. Social Security benefits will be wiped out by inflation rising more rapidly than the cost-of-living adjustments. If America survives, no one will be left but the mega-rich. Unless there is a violent revolution.
Alternatively, if the Federal Reserve puts the brake on monetary expansion, interest rates will rise, sending the economy into a deeper depression.
Washington, focused on its newest war, is oblivious to America’s peril. As Stiglitz notes, the costs of the Iraq war alone could have kept every foreclosed family in their home, provided health care for every American child, and wiped out the student loans of graduates who cannot find jobs because they have been outsoured to foreigners. However, the great democratic elected government of “the world’s only superpower” prefers to murder Muslims in order to enhance the profits of the military/security complex. More money is spent violating the constitutional rights of American air travelers than is spent in behalf of the needy.
The moral authority of the West is rapidly collapsing. When Russia, Asia, and South America look at Europe, Australia and Canada, they see American puppet states that contribute troops to the aggressive wars of the Empire. The French president, the British prime minister, the “president” of Georgia, and the rest are merely functionaries of the American Empire. The puppet rulers routinely sell out the interests and welfare of their peoples in behalf of American hegemony. And they are well rewarded for their service. One year out of office former British prime minister Tony Blair had a net worth of $30 million.
In his war against Libya, Obama has taken America one step further into Caesarism. Obama did Bush one step better and did not even bother to get congressional authorization for his attack on Libya. Obama claimed that his moral authority trumped the US Constitution. The hypocrisy reeks. How the public stands it, I do not know:
“To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and–more profoundly–our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”
This from the Great Moral Leader who every day murders civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Yemen and Somalia and now Libya and who turns a blind eye when “the
great democracy in the Middle East,” Israel, murders more Palestinians.
The American president, whose drones and air force slaughter civilians every day of the year went on to say Libya stands alone in presenting the world with “the prospect of violence on a horrific scale.” Obviously, Obama thinks that one million dead Iraqis, four million displaced Iraqis, and an unknown number of murdered Afghans is just a small thing.
The rest of Obama’s speech showed a person more capable of DoubleSpeak and DoubleThink than Big Brother and the denizens of George Orwell’s 1984.
How does a person as totally absurd as Obama expect to be taken seriously?
annual budget deficits of approximately $1.5 trillion. These deficits are being covered by printing money. Sooner or later, the printing presses will cause the US dollar to collapse and domestic inflation to explode. Social Security benefits will be wiped out by inflation rising more rapidly than the cost-of-living adjustments. If America survives, no one will be left but the mega-rich. Unless there is a violent revolution.
“To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and–more profoundly–our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”
great democracy in the Middle East,” Israel, murders more Palestinians.
By Spencer Ackerman
The mantra, from President Obama on down, is that ground forces are totally ruled out for Libya. After all, the United Nations Security Council Resolution authorizing the war explicitly rules out any “occupation” forces. But leave it to the top military officer of NATO, which takes over the war on Wednesday, to add an asterisk to that ban.
During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island asked Adm. James Stavridis about NATO putting forces into “post-Gadhafi” Libya to make sure the country doesn’t fall apart. Stavridis said he “wouldn’t say NATO’s considering it yet.” But because of NATO’s history of putting peacekeepers in the Balkans — as pictured above — “the possibility of a stabilization regime exists.”
So welcome to a new possible “endgame” for Libya. Western troops patrolling Libya’s cities during a a shaky transition after Moammar Gadhafi’s regime has fallen, however that’s supposed to happen. Thousands of NATO troops patrolled Bosnia and Kosovo’s tense streets for years. And Iraq and Afghanistan taught the U.S. and NATO very dearly that fierce insurgent conflict can follow the end of a brutal regime. In fact, it’s the moments after the regime falls that can be the most dangerous of all — especially if well-intentioned foreign troops become an object of local resentment.
In fact, Stavridis told Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma that he saw “flickers of intelligence” indicating “al-Qaeda [and] Hezbollah” have fighters amongst the Libyan rebels. The Supreme Allied Commander of NATO noted that the leadership of the rebels are “responsible men and women struggling against Col. Gadhafi” and couldn’t say if the terrorist element in the opposition is “significant.” But the U.S. knows precious little about who the Libyan rebels are.
The new prospect of NATO force on the ground in Libya seemed to alarm Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who got Stavridis to say that there’s “no discussion of the insertion of ground troops” in NATO circles. (And “to my knowledge” there aren’t troops there now, he said.) But Stavridis told Reed that the memory of the long NATO peacekeeping efforts in the Balkans is “in everyone’s mind.”
President Obama boasted about the rapidity with which the U.S. and its allies got involved in Libya. Some defense wonks, like Andrew Exum of the Center for a New American Security, criticized Obama’s team for not exhibiting diligent planning before Operation Odyssey Dawn began. Obama didn’t signal an endgame in his Monday speech, just vowing not to use any ground forces to get there.
That was exactly what President Clinton promised in Bosnia — right before sending 20,000 U.S. soldiers to enforce the 1995 Balkans peace deal. Because of the U.S.’ commitments to NATO and NATO’s commitments to enforcing the peace accord, U.S. peacekeepers ended up staying there for a decade. That history may be weighing on officers in Europe, but the Obama administration doesn’t seem to be so troubled.
Update, 12:08 p.m.: Stavridis argued that it’s “premature” to talk about an exit strategy for Libya. And as a way of underscoring NATO’s resolve, he reminded senators that nearly 12 years after NATO’s Kosovo air war, there are still 5000 peacekeepers in Kosovo, including 700 Americans.
Update, 12:33 p.m.: Got a question about the difference between Stavridis’ two jobs — chief of U.S. European Command and NATO military leader — as it applies to Libya? Check out a blog post Stavridis wrote about it on Monday.
Update, 2:25 p.m.: I asked Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, about sending ground troops during a post-Gadhafi phase. Any such “international peacekeeping force” would have to occur “through the United Nations, as well as the structures we’re setting up in NATO,” and would require an “assessment of what the security needs are in post-Gadhafi Libya,” he said. But as for a U.S. contribution, “I would rule it out for the time being. … the U.S. has no plans, we’re not doing any planning to have any boots on the ground in any fashion.”
The world is by now aware of the latest scandal involving US troops in Afghanistan, in which a group of soldiers went on a shoot. Not only a photo shoot but murderous rampage killing civilians – including innocent children – then posing smiling beside their trophies. The question arises, what moral right does this country have to be global policeman?
Abu Ghraib was the start of it – sickening pictures of representatives of the US authorities committing acts of torture, sodomy, warped and deviant acts of sexual perversion, urinating in food, and so on, for day after day after day on people held illegally, without trial. It went on to the concentration camp of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The USA has long spoken about human rights on this island. Guantanamo Bay negates all of that and adds to it. Prisoners were again tortured, held for years without trial, in a clear breach of due process. In its attempt to circumvent national terrestrial laws, holding prisoners in territories supposedly outside the areas of national jurisdiction, torturing them in aircraft and aboard vessels, or in third party countries bullied into allowing CIA torture flights, Washington forgot there is something called the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed in 1948, which governs such cases across the globe.
The sheer energy involved in trying to find legal loopholes was perhaps as morally degrading as the acts themselves were examples of the most blatant violations of human rights, common decency and norms of behaviour seen anywhere since the unspeakable cruelty of the concentration camps during the Second World War.
Fast forward to 2010, and it’s happened again. Not only has a platoon of US servicemen been caught murdering civilians, including children, but also desecrating the bodies and posing smiling beside their…trophies. Now, what sort of “person” does the United States of America allow into its armed forces? This is not a one-off, rogue soldier who runs amuck. It is a constant list of psychopaths who not only represent their country, but their country is responsible for them, for whose acts it holds all liability – they are after all members of its armed forces.
And once again we have the cover-up. From none other than the Pentagon. What sort of a “person” sits in there? We had Donald Water Boarding Rumsfeld (how would he like it if someone water-boarded him?) and now Gates, at whose feet this buck stops.
Why is he still in his position? Anywhere else on earth he would have been forced to resign if he didn’t have the human decency and courage or manliness to do it himself, which he evidently does not.
Members of the third platoon of the fifth Stryker Brigade (from Tacoma, Washington), set out in a convoy of military vehicles on January 15, 2010, looking for “savages” to kill, buoyed by the feeling of frustration at NATO’s combined might having been incapable of defeating the Taleban, a force they classify as 30,000 strong, after a decade. The locals admit the Soviets were far, far tougher.
Gul Mudin. A fifteen-year-old farmer’s boy, working alone in the field, was the first of a long list of civilians to be murdered in cold blood by this troupe of demons sent from Hell on Earth.
The images are available below in the links from the original story from Mark Boal*, the Kill Team.
Yet the real Kill Team is not only these soldiers, it is also the Pentagon. After unleashing illegal wars, spending thousands of millions of the US taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars on killing people, bombing civilian facilities then doling out rebuilding contracts without tender, after building concentration camps and torture chambers, now this, and the frantic attempts by the Pentagon to cover it up.
If the USA can call the Libyan Brotherly Leader “Gaddady” we can call the US Defence Secretary “Gates”. How Gates is still in his job, defies logic. Once can only assume that the Satanic regime presided over by the neocon stooge, Obama, who destroyed any iota of credibility with his murderous savage attack on Libya supporting Islamist fanatics in Benghazi, AQIM and Al-Qaeda in the Sahel region, has closed ranks behind yet another example of what can only be described as Hellish and demonic behaviour.
What gives with the USA and what moral right does this…country…have to be global policeman? It started with Yugoslavia, continued with the quagmire of Afghanistan and Iraq, and now Libya. It appears they will only stop when the people of the USA wake up and start asking where their money is being spent, by whom and for what.
Link to original article:
*The Kill Team
By Mark Boal
March 27, 2011
Link to videos. Warning: the first one is especially shocking. Extreme viewer discretion advised, it is extremely disturbing
by Cynthia McKinney
In 2005 in the basement of the United States Capitol at a meeting convened by Congressman John Conyers on the subject of the “Downing Street Memo,” Ray McGovern uttered the following truth: he testified that “the United States went to war in Iraq for oil, Israel, and military bases craved by administration neocons” so that “the United States and Israel could dominate that part of the world.” McGovern went on to testify truthfully that “Israel is not allowed to be brought up in polite conversation. The last time I did this, the previous director of Central Intelligence called me anti-Semitic.”
The routine condemnations of McGovern could be heard from all of the sources inside the U.S. political structure that has at its base finance from pro-Israel sources; that included from Dr. Howard Dean who was Chair of the Democratic National Committee at the time. This finance nexus has been thoroughly identified by Dr. James Petras, for those who want to do further reading.
Condemnations, however, do not disprove McGovern’s statement, but point, instead, to the political untouchability of the topic. However, if one wants to truly understand the formulation of U.S. foreign and military policies, one must carefully consider McGovern’s testimony.
On December 7, 1988 Mikhail Gorbachev described the need for a “universal human consensus” and he called that a new world order. And on September 11, 1990, President George Herbert Walker Bush characterized the crisis that led to his intervention in the Persian Gulf in Operation Desert Storm as an opportunity to move toward “a new world order.” Every President since Bush, including President Obama, has expressed some fealty in one way or another to the idea of a “New World Order” which represents the ultimate goal of internationalizing rule by a few oligarchs and the dissolution, by every means available, of dissent. On March 19, 2011, exactly eight years after George W. Bush launched “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” President Obama savagely bombed Libya.
One can begin to gain an understanding of exactly who these oligarchs are by investigating the financial winners in the oligarchization of the U.S. economy, in much the same way that the Russian oligarchs were created and eventually identified.
Israel was an important beneficiary of these economic operations and Israel has been an important beneficiary of certain U.S. military operations, exactly as McGovern testified.
The clear losers in this process are the people struggling globally for truth, justice, human rights, and peace. And there are clear and identifiable winners–if one dares to look.
Understanding who the winners are is necessary if one is to be able to decipher what they do and why. Therefore, it is necessary to understand that a new type of language has been adopted where war is peace, freedom is slavery, lies are truth, and ignorance is strength: we already know this as Orwell Speak. Our job is to pierce the intentional propagandistic obfuscations and expose the truth for those less aware of the modus operandus of the crafters of this new international order.
Nowhere should McGovern’s testimony be weighed more than in the context of the US-led “Global War on Terror,” the more recent “revolutions” of North Africa and West Asia, and more specifically for this paper, events unfolding in Libya.
Initially, the U.S. effort against Qaddafi’s Administration in Libya was termed a “humanitarian intervention” to protect the people. But, when since September 11, 1990 have U.S. troops been mobilized to innocently rescue civilians in danger? In reality, the U.S. military has been selectively called into action to cause civilian pain, suffering, destruction, and death since September 11, 1990 and to further unstated objectives.
The U.S. military was not called into action after its ally, Paul Kagame, oversaw the murder of two democratically elected Presidents, when their plane was shot from the air by a U.S. missile left over from Operation Desert Storm that found its way to Uganda and from Uganda into Kagame’s possession. The murder of the two sitting Presidents by way of shooting down their plane was an act of terror.
In the human conflagration that followed, the tragedy that has become known as the Rwandan Genocide, 100,000 innocent civilians were murdered every day for the next 100 days while the Clinton Administration, National Security Council Advisor Susan Rice, nor United Nations Ambassador Madeleine Albright did anything to provide humanitarian intervention because regime change was the accepted policy and if it meant the deaths of one million Africans, then so be it.
The Clinton Administration women who justified this non-intervention, later had an opportunity to stop the carnage in Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast since 2000, Sudan and they did nothing because what was happening in those areas, despite the tremendous human toll, was consistent with unstated U.S. policy.
Today, the Obama Administration is responsible for its own war crimes, torture, crimes against humanity, and crimes against the peace and defends in U.S. Courts those from the Bush Administration who bear responsibility for having approved or justified them in the past. Yet, this Administration will not even agree to investigate the violation of Mumia Abu Jamal’s civil rights in his first trial rife with racial innuendo, judicial misconduct, and a lack of evidence. Or in the case of Troy Davis where seven of nine witnesses recanted their testimonies and cited prosecutorial misconduct. But it did go to court to defend military commissions and insulted Native Americans in the process!
In addition, what the United States is responsible for in Afghanistan and Pakistan just since President Obama came to office is unthinkable and is despicable. And U.S. taxpayers continue to foot the financial and moral bill for the continued subjugation of Palestine, especially the people of Gaza who are still being bombarded by Israeli warplanes, all made possible by every one of us that pays taxes. And let us not forget this Administration’s efforts to quash the Goldstone Report (the United Nations Report on Israel’s Operation Cast Lead against Gaza) and criticism of Israel after nine Turkish citizens attempting to take humanitarian supplies to Gaza were brazenly murdered by Israeli forces attacking the humanitarian aid ship, Mavi Marmara.
But, amazingly, when the Obama Administration puts the U.S. war machine in action in a new front in Africa and characterizes it as a “humanitarian intervention,” the peace community seemingly accepts the obfuscation and forgets the facts.
But the peace community knows full well that the Obama Administration is continuing the longterm U.S. policies of dismemberment, Balkanization, carefully crafted chaos, and death and destruction to achieve its unstated objectives. Every possibility of dissent is being obliterated–for a reason. The FBI raids in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and elsewhere targeting activists who support peace and the human rights of Palestinians is no accident. Politically-motivated prosecutions of politically active Palestinians came first, from Sami Al-Arian and his brother-in-law to the Holy Land Five.
These raids, combined with the Administration’s unstated military objectives, undergird the economic transformation to which this Administration is fully committed. That is why the average taxpayer pays more taxes than General Electric or Bank of America, but shouldn’t expect any kind of bailout from this Administration.
Now, let’s explore Libya with respect to McGovern’s remark. Oil: well Libya’s got lots of it: the most on the African Continent. Israel: Preparing Israel to make “a clean break” from the past and establish a new relationship with the U.S. based on “maturity,” by “securing the realm” as written by the Project for a New American Century Study Group on “A New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000” with Richard Perle as its leader. This should be seen as the operative strategy defining events in the region: “Israel–proud, wealthy, solid, and strong” can “shape its strategic environment.”
France can be seen as an additional proxy for Israel in this action; France which announced that it was taking the lead in the anti-Qaddafi operation, is led by Nicholas Sarkozy whom the French media, Le Figaro newspaper, identified after his election as a Mossad asset. 99% of the population of Libya is Muslim. As long as Muslims are fighting each other they won’t have time to focus on Israel or Palestine; And as for logistics, AFRICOM, the United States military’s Africa Command, was not created for nothing: it was created to deepen the U.S. military presence and control over a Continent rich in land, water, strategic minerals, former preserve of U.S. allies and now facing aggressive penetration by China. Situated on the Mediterranean littoral, with oil money, and a revolutionary leader, I need not say much more about Libya and logistics useful for neocon objectives.
The reason Muammar Qaddafi is a target is because he has been a thorn in the side of anti-revolutionary forces since he took power in Libya, overthrowing the King and nationalizing the oil industry so that the people could benefit from their oil resources.
Libya’s Revolution brought free health care and education to the people and subsidized housing. In fact, students in Libya can study there or abroad and the government gives them a monthly stipend while they are in school and they pay no tuition. If a Libyan needs a surgery that must be done overseas, then the government will pay for that surgery. That is more than the soldiers of the United States military can say. While Libyans enjoy subsidized housing, members of the U.S. military risk foreclosure while they serve their country abroad. Money from oil is directly deposited into the accounts of every Libyan based on oil income. As one Libyan told me recently, the idea is that if people have what they need, then they don’t have to deny rights to or harm others and the Revolution believes that it is the responsibility of the government to provide the basic needs of its citizens.
Now, as for democracy, a country that has never practiced it is a poor trumpet for it. From genocide of indigenous Americans to enslavement of stolen Africans to disfranchisement of women, ours has been a less than perfect union. Now, it has turned the administration of its elections over to private voting machine companies and the finance of those elections to individuals and organizations that can mobilize vast sums of money; thus the United States is not in the best best position to dictate the terms of another country’s democracy. But, Libyans govern themselves by The Green Book, a form of direct democracy based on the African Constitution concept that the people are the first and final source of all power. Clearly, the U.S. move is counter-Revolution.
In addition, I remember watching the proceedings of the House of Commons on television about ten years ago and I was shocked by what I was hearing: a member of Parliament saying that the evidence was actually planted by the U.S. C.I.A.! So, I searched for the article and there it was. A Member of Parliament had done his own investigation and discovered to his satisfaction that “the [timing] device was a C.I.A. plant.” Kind of like the investigation I did, myself, to conclude that the Bush Administration was not telling us the truth about September 11th.
There is so much more on this to write. But I will leave that for another article. Let me just add this: Earl Hilliard was kicked out of Congress in 2002 by the pro-Israel Lobby because he was getting close to Libya and would learn some of the secrets that have not yet been revealed. What business was it of Israel and their U.S. supporters that an African American Member of Congress was reaching out to an African leader who has always been supportive of Black liberation in the United States?
Muammar Qaddafi’s daughter was murdered by U.S. bombs targeting him. I have visited the compound. Unfortunately, it has since been revealed by Victor Ostrovsky, a Mossad defector living in Canada, that the bombing took place as a result of faked intelligence and that Qaddafi was set up by Israel in Operation Trojan, that wanted him targeted. According to Ostrovsky, Ronald Reagan was tricked into bombing Libya by means of a “radio transmitter smuggled into Tripoli by the Mossad, which broadcast messages designed to fool the United States into thinking Libya was about to launch a massive terror attack on the West. On the basis of this bogus evidence, the US bombed Libya, killing Gaddafi’s daughter.” I have met with former members of MI-5 who were tasked with assassinating Qaddafi and refused.
At any rate, I must put this on the record, too. Muammar Qaddafi has long been a friend to African people. Pan-Africanists have travelled to and from Libya since the beginning of Qaddafi’s role as Libya’s leader, including Black Panther Party, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, All-African People’s Revolutionary Party, and Nation of Islam members. I once defended Nation Of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan in the House International Relations Committee when the late Tom Lantos–on behalf of Israel–challenged The Nation’s relationship with Libya and wanted to dash Qaddafi’s desire to give The Nation several billion dollars to help Black people.
Unfortunately, in an effort of goodwill, Mr. Gaddafi on at least one occasion, was also prepared to assist those who presented themselves as servants of the people but in fact were not: the Blackstone Rangers in Chicago. More importantly, hundreds of unnamed Black Americans have made the sojourn to Libya – all striving for the unification of Africans in Africa and the Diaspora.
Black people who would have not otherwise ever connected with one another have been able to do so for more than forty years because of the educational and cultural conferences that Qaddafi has sponsored. The only requirement for participation was that they be willing to commit to work towards the ongoing development of Africa–all of Africa and wherever Africans are. Mr. Qaddafi to this day continues to assist Black political organizations in an effort to keep people of African descent able to exercise their right of self-determination.
Meanwhile, on the Continent, Africans not ready to kowtow to France, the United States, or other former colonial powers maintain their independence thanks to Qaddafi, the former head of the African Union. Qaddafi was named African Leader of the Year in 2009. Qaddafi provided the African National Congress and Nelson Mandela the wherewithal to defeat apartheid in South Africa. In short, if you want to stop Black people, then one key move is to stop Colonel Qaddafi.
Finally, I have led two delegations to Tripoli. Among those I took with me are KPFK’s Dedon Kamathi, Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford, WBAIX.com’s Don Debar, WayneMadsenReport.com’s Wayne Madsen, National Hip Hop Political Caucus’s Troy Nkrumah, Block Report’s Minister of Information J.R. Valrey, Bob Fitrakis of FreePress.org, Keith Harmon Snow of allthingspass.com, and Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of Malcolm X. Chicago’s Pat Hill traveled with me twice and is in regular contact with people on the ground in Libya. You have heard them giving their impressions of what they saw and what they know on radio, television, and the internet.
The information I have included in this article is public information. Therefore, I am amazed that activist “leaders” who ought to know better accept special interest propaganda as the truth and then knowingly or unwittingly become tools of the disinformation artists. Responsible news outlets will search for those who know. I ask the readers of this article to trust no one who is merely a talking head, search for those who have experience and a track record for telling not a part of the truth, but the whole truth, and then finally do your own research and learn more about your government. And maybe, finally, then candidates who don’t deserve our votes won’t get them.
In conclusion, the United States, France, and Britain together have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan and their collective wars elsewhere without any punishment or any action from the U.N. Their action in Libya is illegal and Libya should launch a legal action in the International Court of Justice to obtain an injunction against this military action and I know just the right team of unbought international lawyers to do it. The claim that military actions against Libya protect civilians is a mockery and Presidents Obama and Sarkozy and Prime Minister Cameron should be called on it.
Interestingly, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya held its most recent meeting in the United States in July 2007. However, Libyans should be able to solve their own problems without foreign interference. Venezuela President Hugo Chavez has put forward a mediation proposal which I have endorsed. In addition, the Hugo Chavez International Foundation for Peace, Friendship and Solidarity released a communiqué stating that the “Arab League endorsements of Al-Qaida terrorism in Libya, [the U.S./NATO minus Germany and Turkey, plus the United Arab Emirates allies] is a racially-motivated hatred since the obnoxious slave trade centuries back.” The communiqué continues that opening contacts with terrorists amounts to nothing less than promoting international terrorism and characterizes the Arab League move as both anti-African and anti-Black. The Hugo Chavez Foundation communiqué concludes: Long live Muammar Al-Qathafi! Long live the African Union! Long live Pan-Africanism! Solidarity with Blacks everywhere!
By Against the Empire
Ever since the rebel opposition forces in Libya have taken control of the cities, there have been reports that have surfaced regarding torture, racial violence and repression. Coming across some recent articles regarding Benghazi, the last rebel stronghold in Libya, I can’t say that I’m amazed at the police state that they have designed and who is in power in Benghazi. It was no doubt a complete error on the part of so-called “progressives” to take the side of these rebel forces (never mind those who hailed them as “revolutionaries”).
“The young gunmen at the roadblock took no chances. They put a knife to the throat of the driver before hauling the three men and one woman from the car, dragging them through the street into a nearby mosque for a rough round of interrogation….
Libya’s young opposition movement is rounding up suspected opponents and delivering its own brutal form of justice in a city living in fear that they have been penetrated by a fifth column of government loyalists.
Rebel leaders admit that dozens of Gaddafi supporters have been arrested or killed.
Every night, gangs of vigilantes assemble at makeshift roadblocks – made from piles of rubble, oil drums or piping – to control entry and exit from their neighbourhoods.
Many residents are now too frightened to drive through the dark streets at night, fearing a shakedown or worse at the proliferating checkpoints.
“If they don’t know who you are, and are in their part of town, and you have a nice car, then they are going to think you are a car thief or they say you are with Gaddafi,” said one driver who now stays close to home after dark.” 2
“Opposition officials in Benghazi, whose wide sweeps to detain alleged Kadafi supporters have drawn criticism, take journalists on a tightly controlled tour of detention centers. Many detainees say they’re immigrant workers and deny fighting for Kadafi.
For a month, gangs of young gunmen have roamed the city, rousting Libyan blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa from their homes and holding them for interrogation as suspected mercenaries or government spies.
Over the last several days, the opposition has begun rounding up men accused of fighting as mercenaries for Kadafi’s militias as government forces pushed toward Benghazi. It has launched nightly manhunts for about 8,000 people named as government operatives in secret police files seized after internal security operatives fled in the face of the rebellion that ended Kadafi’s control of eastern Libya last month.
“We know who they are,” said Abdelhafed Ghoga, the chief opposition spokesman. He called them “people with bloodstained hands” and “enemies of the revolution.”
One young man from Ghana bolted from the prisoners queue. He shouted in English at an American reporter: “I’m not a soldier! I work for a construction company in Benghazi! They took me from my house … “
A guard shoved the prisoner back toward the cells.
“Go back inside!” he ordered.
The guard turned to the reporter and said: “He lies. He’s a mercenary.”
The Ghanaian was one of 25 detainees from Chad, Niger, Sudan, Mali and Ghana described by opposition officials as mercenaries, though several of them insisted they were laborers. The officials declined to say what would become of them.
One of the accused shown to journalists was Alfusainey Kambi, 53, a disheveled Gambian wearing a bloodstained sport shirt and military fatigue trousers. He said he had been dragged from his home and beaten by three armed men who he said also raped his wife. A dirty bandage covered a wound on his forehead.
Khaled Ben Ali, a volunteer with the opposition council, berated Kambi and accused him of lying. Ali said Kambi hit his head on a wall while trying to escape.
He commanded the prisoner to comment on his treatment in the detention center.
Kambi paused and considered his answer. Finally, he glanced warily up at Ali and spoke.
“Nobody beat me here,” he said in a faint, weary tone. “I have no problems here.”
These reports can be directly corroborated by this video from Al-Jazeera talking about how Black immigrants in Libya lived under complete fear of the rebels. Their businesses were burned to the ground, they were tortured, they were killed on the spot for being alleged “mercenaries”, etc.
Black Agenda Report expounded on this topic earlier this month when it was revealed that:
“What has become apparent from reports filtering out of the country is that many of the 1.5 million black African migrant workers trapped in Libya feel themselves under racial siege, hunted by what Black Americans would immediately recognize as lynch mobs – “pogrom” is another word that springs to mind – especially in the rebel-held areas.
The testimony of black African victims is most disturbing. “We were being attacked by local people who said that we were mercenaries killing people. Let me say that they did not want to see black people,” 60-year-old Julius Kiluu, an African building supervisor, told Reuters. Even in Tripoli, where the regime is not in full control of neighborhoods, Somalis told journalists they were “being hunted on suspicion of being mercenaries” and “feel trapped and frightened to go out.” Ethiopians told of being “dragged from their apartments, beaten up and showed to the world as mercenaries.” Ethiopian News and Opinions reported that “Muammar Gadhafi haters are taking revenge on black Africans for money Gadhafi threw for many African dictators. The mob attacked and killed many Africans including Ethiopians for being only black.”
The article then goes on to explain many other accounts of racial violence by the so-called “revolutionaries” and “freedom fighters. From a class standpoint, the opposition is not revolutionary. If we are to look again at the first article linked in this article, from Telegraph, we will see a striking passage there.
“The rebel’s interim government is made up of professionals academics, businessmen and lawyers often educated in the UK or US who make all the right noises about democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”
So here we have a leadership comprised of members of the privileged sectors of Libyan society but that’s not all. Just yesterday, it was reported that the new financial minister of the Libyan opposition is a senior lecturer in the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. To quote the spokeswoman for the Libyan Provisional Transitional National Council, Iman Bugaighis;
“Tarhouni understands the Western mentality.”
I think that says it all, really, but there are some of us who haven’t been duped. Unfortunately, many of the “progressives” and “leftists” in this country still condemn Gaddafi as the first order of business. Until it is recognized that the Libyan opposition is not to be cheered, romanticized or admired, the anti-imperialist movement of this country can not demand an end to bombs being dropped in Libya, an end to the armed conflict there or the right of the Libyan people to determine the course of their countries future. No, we will, instead, stand by idly as an insignificant minority in the heart of world imperialism.
On a world scale, it seems to be Venezuela and Cuba leading the way for the demonization of Western imperialism for their atrocities they have been committing in Libya for the past week or so as well as their support for the opposition rebels. Today, Venezuela proving itself (like it always does) to be a real, tangible progressive force in this world, announced that they would not recognize the Libyan opposition.
What comes next will surely be crucial in understanding Libya’s fate. If the police state in Benghazi continues the way it is now, this could be a precursor for the kind of society that the Western-bred intellectuals and other affluent individuals in power could’ve only dreamed of previously. A society where neo-liberalism is rampant and the oil reserves are milked like cattle for the pockets and investments of a few oil tycoons. A society where every piece of land, mineral and resource is plundered while Libya falls from the highest in Human Development in Africa to much lower. Needless to say, the potential for a progressive, egalitarian society which fits the needs of the majority of Libyans will be rolled back on a scale never before seen since 1969.
Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
By Praveen Swami, Nick Squires and Duncan Gardham
In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited “around 25” men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are “today are on the front lines in Adjabiya”.
Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader”.
His revelations came even as Idriss Deby Itno, Chad’s president, said al-Qaeda had managed to pillage military arsenals in the Libyan rebel zone and acquired arms, “including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries”.
Mr al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against “the foreign invasion” in Afghanistan, before being “captured in 2002 in Peshwar, in Pakistan”. He was later handed over to the US, and then held in Libya before being released in 2008.
US and British government sources said Mr al-Hasidi was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG, which killed dozens of Libyan troops in guerrilla attacks around Derna and Benghazi in 1995 and 1996
Even though the LIFG is not part of the al-Qaeda organisation, the United States military’s West Point academy has said the two share an “increasingly co-operative relationship”. In 2007, documents captured by allied forces from the town of Sinjar, showed LIFG emmbers made up the second-largest cohort of foreign fighters in Iraq, after Saudi Arabia.
Earlier this month, al-Qaeda issued a call for supporters to back the Libyan rebellion, which it said would lead to the imposition of “the stage of Islam” in the country.
British Islamists have also backed the rebellion, with the former head of the banned al-Muhajiroun proclaiming that the call for “Islam, the Shariah and jihad from Libya” had “shaken the enemies of Islam and the Muslims more than the tsunami that Allah sent against their friends, the Japanese”.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and fallen Egyptian President Hosni Mubarack are the merry co-chairs of the EU-Mediterranean summit held in Paris July 13, 2008.
Had Muammar Gaddafi become too pesky for the likes of Nicolas Sarkozy and his Atlanticist partners, by standing in the way of their agenda for the domination of the Mediterranean sea region? France’s direct role in nurturing the rebellion against the Libyan leader is no longer a secret. In this article, Rick Rozoff offers some additional pointers, and analyzes the Libyan war in the context of the advancing transformation of the Mediterranean into NATO’s mare nostrum.
A year after assuming the post of president of the French Republic in 2007, and while his nation held the rotating European Union presidency, Nicolas Sarkozy invited the heads of state of the EU’s 27 members and those of 17 non-EU Mediterranean countries to attend a conference in Paris to launch a Mediterranean Union.
In the words of Britain’s Daily Telegraph regarding the subsequent summit held for the purpose on July 13, 2008, “Sarkozy’s big idea is to use imperial Rome’s centre of the world as a unifying factor linking 44 countries that are home to 800 million people.”
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, however, announced that his nation would boycott the gathering, denouncing the initiative as one aimed at dividing both Africa and the Arab world, and stating:
“We shall have another Roman empire and imperialist design. There are imperialist maps and designs that we have already rolled up. We should not have them again.” 
The unprecedented summit was held with the intention of “shift[ing] Europe’s strategic focus towards the Middle East, North Africa and the Balkans.” 
- Blue: Members of the European Union Union for the Mediterranean / Green: Other members (primarily from the African Union & Arab League) / Striped green: Libya is currently only an observer member in the Union for the Mediterranean
The Mediterranean Union was renamed the less controversial Union for the Mediterranean and its members include all 44 nations originally invited to join except for Libya.
Less than three years later Sarkozy’s Mirage and Rafale warplanes were bombing Libyan government targets, initiating an ongoing war being waged by France, the United States, Britain and what the world news media refer to as an international coalition – 12 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the emirate of Qatar – to overthrow the Gaddafi government and implant a more pliant replacement.
The Mediterranean Sea is the main battle front in the world currently, superseding the Afghanistan-Pakistan war theater, and the empire of the new third millennium – that of the U.S., the world’s sole military superpower in the words of President Barack Obama in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, and its NATO partners – is completing the transformation of the Mediterranean into its mare nostrum.
The attack on Libya followed by slightly more than three weeks a move in the parliament of the Eastern Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus to drag that state into NATO’s Partnership for Peace program , which if ultimately successful would leave only three of twenty nations (excluding microstate Monaco) on or in the Mediterranean Sea not full members of NATO or beholden to it through partnership entanglements, including those of the Mediterranean Dialogue (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia): Libya, Lebanon and Syria.
NATO membership and partnerships obligate the affected governments to open their countries to the U.S. military. For example, less than a year after becoming independent Montenegro had already joined the Partnership for Peace and was visited by then-commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe Admiral Harry Ulrich and the submarine tender Emory S. Land in an effort “to provide training and assistance for the Montenegrin Navy and to strengthen the relationship between the two navies.”  The next month four NATO warships, including the USS Roosevelt guided missile destroyer, docked in Montenegro’s Tivat harbor.
If the current Libyan model is duplicated in Syria as increasingly seems to be the case, and with Lebanon already blockaded by warships from NATO nations since 2006 in what is the prototype for what NATO will soon replicate off the coast of Libya, the Mediterranean Sea will be entirely under the control of NATO and its leading member, the U.S.
Cyprus in the only European Union member and indeed the only European nation (except for microstates) that is – for the time being – not a NATO member or partner, and Libya is the only African nation bordering the Mediterranean not a member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue partnership program.
Libya is also one of only five of Africa’s 54 countries that have not been integrated into, which is to say subordinated to, the new U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
The others are:
Sudan, which is being balkanized as Libya may also soon be.
Ivory Coast, now embroiled in what is for all intents a civil war with the West backing the armed groups of Alassane Ouattara against standing president Laurent Gbagbo and under the threat of foreign military intervention, likely by the AFRICOM- and NATO-supported West African Standby Force and possibly with direct Western involvement. 
Eritrea, which borders Djibouti where some 5,000 U.S. and French troops are based and which was involved in an armed border conflict with its neighbor three years ago in which French military forces intervened on behalf of Djibouti.
Zimbabwe, which is among likely candidates for the next U.S.-NATO Operation Odyssey Dawn-type military intervention.
The Mediterranean has been history’s most strategically important sea and is the only one whose waves lap the shores of three continents.
Control of the sea has been fought over by the Persian, Alexandrian, Carthaginian, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Spanish, British and Napoleonic empires, in part or in whole, and by Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany.
Since the end of World War Two the major military power in the sea has been the U.S. In 1946 Washington established Naval Forces Mediterranean, which in 1950 became the U.S. Sixth Fleet and has its headquarters in the Mediterranean port city of Naples.
- The burning frigate USS Philadelphia in the harbor of Tripoli, February 16, 1804. Tripolitan War, was the first of two wars fought between the United States and the North African Muslim states known collectively as the Barbary States.
- Painted by Edward Moran in 1897.
In fact the genesis of the U.S. Navy was the Naval Act of 1794, passed in response to the capture of American merchant vessels off the coast of North Africa. The Mediterranean Squadron (also Station) was created in reaction to the first Barbary War of 1801-1805, also known as the Tripolitan War after what is now northwestern Libya. The U.S. fought its first naval battle outside the Western Hemisphere against Tripolitania in 1801.
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, also based in Naples, is assigned to the Sixth Fleet and provides forces for both U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command. Its commander is Admiral Samuel Locklear III, who is also commander of NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command Naples.
He has been coordinating U.S. and NATO air and missile strikes against Libya from USS Mount Whitney, the flagship of the Sixth Fleet, as commander of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, the U.S. Africa Command operation in charge of U.S. guided missile destroyers, submarines and stealth bombers conducting attacks inside Libya.
Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations (the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. Navy), recently stated that the permanent U.S. military presence in the Mediterranean allowed the Pentagon, which “already was positioned for operations over Libya,” to launch Odyssey Dawn on March 19. “The need, for example in the opening rounds, for the Tomahawk strikes, the shooters were already in place. They were already loaded, and that went off as we expected it would.”
“That’s what you get when you have a global Navy that’s forward all the time….We’re there, and when the guns go off, we’re ready to conduct combat operations….” 
On March 22 General Carter Ham, the new chief of U.S. Africa Command, visited the U.S. air base in Ramstein, Germany and met with British, French and Italian air force leaders to evaluate the bombing campaign in Libya. He praised cooperation with NATO partners before the war began, stating, “You can’t bring 14 different nations together without ever having prepared for this before.” 
As the AFRICOM commander was in Germany, Defense Secretary Robert Gates was in Egypt to meet with Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, commander in chief of the Egyptian armed forces and chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, to coordinate the campaign against Libya.
The Pentagon’s website reported on March 23 that forces attached to AFRICOM’s Task Force Odyssey Dawn had flown 336 air sorties, 108 of them launching strikes and 212 conducted by the U.S. The operations included 162 Tomahawk cruise missile attacks.
Admiral Roughead stated that he envisioned “no problem in keeping operations going,” as the Tomahawks will be replaced from the existing inventory of 3,200. Enough to level Libya and still have plenty left over for the next war. 
The defeat and conquest, directly or by proxy, of Libya would secure a key outpost for the Pentagon and NATO on the Mediterranean Sea.
The consolidation of U.S. control over North Africa would have more than just regional repercussions, important as they are.
Shortly after the inauguration of U.S. Africa Command, Lin Zhiyuan, deputy director of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Academy of Military Sciences, wrote the following:
“By building a dozen forward bases or establishments in Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and other African nations, the U.S. will gradually establish a network of military bases to cover the entire continent and make essential preparations for docking an aircraft carrier fleet in the region.”
“The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with the U.S. at the head had [in 2006] carried out a large-scale military exercise in Cape Verde, a western African island nation, with the sole purpose of controlling the sea and air corridors of crude oil extracting zones and monitoring how the situation is with oil pipelines operating there.”
“[A]frica Command represents a vital, crucial link for the US adjustment of its global military deployment. At present, it is moving the gravity of its forces in Europe eastward and opening new bases in Eastern Europe.”
“The present US global military redeployment centers mainly on an ‘arc of instability’ from the Caucasus, Central and Southern Asia down to the Korean Peninsula, and so the African continent is taken as a strong point to prop up the US global strategy.
“Therefore, AFRICOM facilitates the United States advancing on the African continent, taking control of the Eurasian continent and proceeding to take the helm of the entire globe.” 
Far more is at stake in the war with Libya than control of Africa’s largest proven oil reserves and subjugating the last North African nation not yet under the thumb of the U.S. and NATO. Even more than domination of the Mediterranean Sea region.
Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of Stop NATO international.
This author’s articles
To send a message
 Daily Telegraph, July 10, 2008.
 Daily Telegraph, July 14, 2008.
 Cyprus: U.S. To Dominate All Europe, Mediterranean Through NATO, Stop NATO, March 3, 2011.
 United States European Command, May 24, 2007.
 Ivory Coast: Testing Ground For U.S.-Backed African Standby Force, Stop NATO, January 23, 2011.
 U.S. Department of Defense, March 23, 2011.
 U.S. Air Forces in Europe, March 23, 2011.
 U.S. Department of Defense, March 23, 2011.
The Labor government of Australia’s largest and most populous state is facing an epic defeat tomorrow after 16 years in power, following a string of scandals possibly unrivalled in the Western world.
Corruption, pornography, drugs, gay sex romps, marital infidelity – the government of New South Wales (NSW) has had them all, and more, in the past two years alone. Now long-suffering voters are determined to wreak revenge, and not even a photogenic premier related to a Booker prize-winning author will be enough to save Labor from its worst post-war electoral drubbing.
“It will be the political equivalent of a slasher movie, a bloody affair in which the bodies of sitting members pile up as NSW voters go on the rampage against a government which… has truly worn out its welcome,” predicted David Penberthy, editor of The Punch, a news website.
The beneficiary of the bloodbath will be the leader of the conservative coalition, Barry O’Farrell, a genial but uncharismatic character who has failed to dazzle on the campaign trail. No matter: voters would rather elect a stuffed monkey than endure another five years of Labor sleaze and incompetence.
Ministers have fallen like ninepins since Ohio-born Kristina Keneally – whose husband, Ben, is nephew of the novelist Tom Keneally – became NSW’s first female premier 16 months ago. Her transport minister, David Campbell, resigned after being photographed leaving a gay sex club. Her ports minister, Paul McLeay, admitted surfing pornographic and gambling websites at work. Her regional development minister, Ian Macdonald, dubbed “Sir Lunchalot”, charged taxpayers for a holiday to Dubai and Italy. The husband of her education minister, Verity Firth, was arrested buying an ecstasy tablet.
Things were scarcely better under Ms Keneally’s immediate predecessors, Nathan Rees and Morris Iemma. Mr Rees’s police minister, Matt Brown, stripped to his underpants and danced on a green leather couch during a drunken party at Parliament House. His health minister, John Della Bosca, had an extra-marital affair with a 26-year-old woman (he was 53) who claimed they had sex in his parliamentary office.
More seriously, Mr Iemma’s aboriginal affairs minister, Milton Orkopoulos, was charged with molesting under-age boys. He was jailed for 14 years in 2008.
And several ministers were implicated in a corruption scandal involving a young and attractive female town planner who approved illegal high-rise buildings in exchange for designer handbags and sexual favours.
The watershed for Labor was the departure of the long-serving premier Bob Carr, a bookish and politically astute man who enjoyed high poll ratings and basked in the glory of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Since he retired in 2005, the party’s standing has plummeted – and now the only question is the scale of its political wipe-out.
Some commentators are predicting that the party could be left with as few as 15 seats in the 93-member Lower House. Matthew Knott wrote on the Crikey news website: “When it comes to his [Mr O’Farrell’s] policy platform, many voters don’t know and don’t care what’s on the table – so desperate are they to pull down NSW Labor’s pants on polling day.”
The government has even failed to make the trains run on time. Sydney’s public transport system was ranked below Mumbai’s and Mexico City’s in a survey two years ago by the accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The Libyan leader proposed the nationalisation of U.S. oil companies, as well as those of UK, Germany, Spain, Norway, Canada and Italy in 2009.
On January 25, 2009, Muammar Al Gaddafi announced that his country was studying the nationalisation of foreign companies due to lower oil prices.
“The oil-exporting countries should opt for nationalisation because of the rapid fall in oil prices. We must put the issue on the table and discuss it seriously,” said Gaddafi.
“Oil should be owned by the State at this time, so we could better control prices by the increase or decrease in production,” said the Libyan leader.
These statements have worried the main foreign companies operating in Libya: Anglo-Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, U.S. ExxonMobil, Hess Corp., Marathon Oil, Occidental Petroleum and ConocoPhillips, the Spanish Repsol, Germany’s Wintershall, Austria’s OMV , Norway’s Statoil, Eni and Canada’s Petro Canada.
In 2008, the Libyan state oil company, National Oil, prepared a report on the subject in which officials suggested modifying the production-sharing agreements with foreign companies in order to increase state revenues.
As a result of these contract changes, Libya gained 5.4 billion dollars in oil revenues.
On February 16, 2009, Gaddafi took a step further and called on Libyans to back his proposal to dismantle the government and to distribute the oil wealth directly to the 5 million inhabitants of the country.
However, his plan to deliver oil revenues directly to the Libyan people met opposition by senior officials who could lose their jobs due to a parallel plan by Gaddafi to rid the state of corruption.
Some officials, including Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi, Ali Al-Mahmoudi and Farhat Omar Bin Guida, of the Central Bank, told Gaddafi that the measure could harm the country’s economy in the long term due to “capital flight.”
“Do not be afraid to directly redistribute the oil money and create fairer governance structures that respond to people’s interests,” Gaddafi said in a Popular Committee.
The Popular Committees are the backbone of Libya. Through them citizens are represented at the district level.
“The Administration has failed and the state’s economy has failed. Enough is enough. The solution is for the Libyan people to directly receive oil revenues and decide what to do with them,” Gaddafi said in a speech broadcast on state television. To this end, the Libyan leader urged a radical reform of government bureaucracy.
Despite this, senior Libyan government officials voted to delay Gaddafi’s plans. Only 64 ministers from a total of 468 Popular Committee members voted for the measure. There were 251 who saw the measures as positive, but chose to delay their implementation.
Given the rejection of the Committee, Gaddafi affirmed before a public meeting: “My dream during all these years was to give the power and wealth directly to the people.”
So…another big LIE falls by the wayside, the false image of Ghaddafi the dictator who robs from his people.
So far we have had pictures of pro-Ghaddafi demonstrations being portrayed as being against him. The professional, foreign and Photoshop nature of anti-Ghaddafi posters being bandied about were noted, along with signs being held upside down by people not knowing the alphabet placed on the signs.
We have had pictures of one sided battles where heavily armed terrorists are “fighting” with nobody. We have had reports, glaringly false, that Ghaddafi was fleeing the country.
We have had more than enough reports of bombings against his own people that never happened, as well as attacks against “unarmed civilians” that proved to be incorrect. It is patently obvious that there are no “unarmed civilians” involved in these actions against Ghaddafi, but CIA and other intelligence service mercenaries, foreign elements and Al Qaeda.
It has been brought to light that the living standard in Libya is the highest in Africa and that Libya was to be commended for its human rights record.
How many lies do we have to catch them in before somebody in charge buys a clue? It’s no sale!
They try to portray Ghaddafi as crazy when he speaks of fighting Al Qaeda and now they have to admit it’s true.
Two documents strongly back Gaddafi on this issue, according to the findings of Alexander Cockburn.
“The first is a secret cable to the State Department from the US embassy in Tripoli in 2008, part of the WikiLeaks trove, entitled, “Extremism in Eastern Libya,” which revealed that this area is rife with anti-American, pro-jihad sentiment.
The second document, or rather set of documents, are the so-called Sinjar Records, captured al-Qaeda documents that fell into American hands in 2007. They were duly analysed by the Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy at West Point. Al-Qaeda is a bureaucratic outfit and the records contain precise details on personnel, including those who came to Iraq to fight American and coalition forces and, when necessary, commit suicide.
The West Point analysts’ statistical study of the al-Qaeda personnel records concludes that one country provided “far more” foreign fighters in per capita terms than any other: namely, Libya.”
So who is the crazy one? Obviously that gang of lunatics savagely launching attacks on Libya based on the worst collection of lies in the history of the world. If you want to know where they are headed, just look at their track record, littered with genocide, theft and destruction.
More and more evidence is surfacing that this entire operation has been planned from outside (read U.S. and EU) for quite some time. First surround (Egypt and Tunisia), then invade. Wesley Clarke revealed the laundry list which included Libya.
In the U.S., there is a particulary motley group of interventionist war mongers who don’t know what they’re doing: Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power, obviously sexually frustrated and repressed man hating lesbians who want to prove they are he-men.
We are also seeing attacks on residential areas, many civilians being killed. There have been attacks on Ghaddafi’s living area, a clear attempt at assassination. Today intelligence also reports they plan a ground invasion. The fascists of the west never change. The term “humanitarian bombing” reminds of George Orwell doublespeak.
One can only heartily agree on Gaddafi’s statement: They are “a group of crazy fascists that will end in the garbage dump of history.”
History will surely judge them on the same page as Adolph Hitler.
The United Nations Reporter, Richard Falk, said that Israel carried out ethnic cleansing in Palestine. Ethnic cleansing, apartheid and colonialism are the actions that Israel has practiced in the Palestinian territories, the United Nations Reporter for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk, said Monday through a report that was presented at the Human Rights Council of the multilateral agency.
The speaker defined the Israeli behavior and actions as acts of “ethnic cleansing and apartheid,” because of the restrictions, massacres and wars that originated against the neighboring people.
The Falk report was delivered to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva (Switzerland), in order to highlight the level that Israel has had in fulfilling the obligations which come from international law regarding the situation in the occupied territories.
Falk uses words in the document such as “annexation, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, colonialist and crime” in order to adequately describe “the real nature of the situation prevailing in the occupied Palestinian territories,” he said.
Similarly, he said that expansion of Israeli settlements and the forced eviction of Palestinian residents have not stopped, as the government of Shimon Peres, in East Jerusalem, is creating “an intolerable situation.”
“Israeli settlers have taken over Palestinian homes and expelled the Palestinians from their homes for decades and generations, while the Israeli authorities support their illegal actions,” said the UN Reporter.
The term “apartheid” is not linked specifically to the racist policies that were implemented in South Africa, but today is a crime associated with any institutionalized systematic oppression of one racial group over one or more racial groups and with the intention of maintaining that regime,” he said.
Falk, in this regard, suggested to refer the case to the International Criminal Court to confirm the definition of apartheid as well as clarify whether the continued practice of illegal settlements and expulsions in East Jerusalem can be considered ethnic cleansing.
As for “the persistent refusal of Israel to allow the Special Reporter to visit the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” Falk said that “this cooperation must be understood as a fundamental legal obligation inherent in membership in the Organization.”
Given the lack of Israeli cooperation, the reporter asked the Human Rights Council “to make one more attempt” to force Israel to comply with Article 104 of the Charter of the United Nations. That article states that the UN and its members “shall enjoy in the territory of each Member such legal capacity as may be necessary for the exercise of its functions and the fulfillment of its purposes.”
The UN Reporter believes that Israel is unwilling to make an account in a credible form, because in addition to denying entry into the Palestinian territories, it has not responded to allegations made in reports on the Israeli offensive in Gaza and attacks on the humanitarian flotilla.
“So the international community begins to have a strong impression that there is a lack of political will to implement the recommendations based on reasonable conclusions that Israel has been guilty of gross violations of international humanitarian law and international criminal law” he said.
“There is a feeling that no one wants to implement the recommendations. There is a widespread perception of impunity encouraged with regard to the conduct of Israel,” emphasized the reporter.
“This attitude of non-cooperation with official missions of the Human Rights Council should lead this body and the Office of the Secretary General to take concerted action to do everything possible to ensure the future cooperation of the government of Israel,” Falk concluded.
Two documents suggest northeast Libya, centre of rebellion, is an al-Qaeda hotspot
By Alexander Cockburn
March 24, 2011 “First Post” — The war on Libya now being waged by the US, Britain and France must surely rank as one of the stupidest martial enterprises, smaller in scale to be sure, since Napoleon took it into his head to invade Russia in 1812.
Let’s start with the fierce hand-to-hand combat between members of the coalition, arguing about the basic aims of the operation. How does “take all necessary measures” square with the ban on any “foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory”. Can the coalition kill Gaddafi and recognise a provisional government in Benghazi? Who exactly are the revolutionaries and national liberators in eastern Libya?
In the United States, the offensive was instigated by liberal interventionists: notably three women, starting with Samantha Power, who runs the Office of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights in Barack Obama’s National Security Council. She’s an Irish American, 41 years old, who made her name back in the Bush years with her book A Problem from Hell, a study of the US foreign-policy response to genocide, and the failure of the Clinton administration to react forcefully to the Rwandan massacres.
She had to resign from her advisory position on the Obama campaign in April of 2008, after calling Hillary Clinton a “monster” in an interview with the Scotsman, but was restored to good grace after Obama’s election, and the monster in her sights is now Gaddafi.
America’s UN ambassador is Susan Rice, the first African-American woman to be named to that post. She’s long been an ardent interventionist. In 1996, as part of the Clinton administration, she supported the multinational force that invaded Zaire from Rwanda in 1996 and overthrew dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, saying privately that, “Anything’s better than Mobutu”.
But on February 23 she came under fierce attack in the Huffington Post at the hands of Richard Grenell, who’d served on the US delegation to the UN in the Bush years. Grenell dwelt harshly on instances where, in his judgment, Rice and her ultimate boss, Obama, were dropping the ball, and displaying lack of leadership amid the tumults engulfing the Middle East and specifically in failing to support the uprising against Gaddafi.
Both Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton took Grenell’s salvo to heart. Prodded by the fiery Power, they abruptly stiffened their postures and Clinton lobbed her furious salvoes at Gaddafi, “the mad dog”. For Clinton it was a precise re-run of her efforts to portray Barack Obama as a peace wimp back in 2008, liable to snooze all too peacefully when the red phone rang at 3am.
For his part, Obama wasn’t keen on intervention, seeing it as a costly swamp, yet another war and one bitterly opposed by defence secretary Robert Gates and the joint chiefs of staff. But by now the liberal interventions and the neo-cons were in full cry and Obama, perennially fearful of being outflanked, succumbed, hastening to one of the least convincing statements of war aims in the nation’s history.
He’s already earned a threat of impeachment from leftist congressman Dennis Kucinich for arrogating war-making powers constitutionally reserved for the US Congress, though it has to be said that protest from the left has been pretty feeble. As always, many on the left yearn for an intervention they can finally support and initially many of them have been murmuring ecstatically, “This is the one”. Of course the sensible position (mine) simply states that nothing good ever came out of a Western intervention by the major powers,
whether humanitarian in proclaimed purpose or not.
So much for the instigators of intervention in the US. In France the intervention author is the intellectual dandy and “new philosopher” Bernard-Henri Levy, familiarly known to his admirers and detractors as BHL. As described by Larry Portis in our CounterPunch newsletter, BHL arrived in Benghazi on March 3. Two days later BHL was interviewed on various television networks. He appeared before the camera in his habitual uniform – immaculate white shirt with upturned collar, black suit coat, and disheveled hair.
His message was urgent but reassuring. “No,” he said, “Gaddafi is not capable of launching an offensive against the opposition. He does not have the means to do so. However, he does have planes. This is the real danger.”
BHL called for the scrambling of radio communications, the destruction of landing strips in all regions of Libya, and the bombardment of Gaddafi’s personal bunker. In brief, this would be a humanitarian intervention, the modalities of which he did not specify.
Next step, as BHL explained: “I called him [Sarkozy] from Benghazi. And when I returned, I went to the Elysee Palace to see him and tell him that the people on the National Transition Council are good guys.”
Indeed, on March 6, BHL returned to France and met with Sarkozy. Four days later, on March 10, he saw Sarkozy again, this time with three Libyans whom he had encouraged to visit France, along with Sarkozy’s top advisors.
On March 11, Sarkozy declared the Libyan National Transition Council the only legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Back in Benghazi, people screamed in relief and cheered Sarkozy’s name. Popularity at last for Sarko, whose approval ratings in France have been hovering around the 20 per cent mark.
So much for the circumstances in which intervention was conceived. It has nothing to do with oil; everything to do with ego and political self-protection. But to whom exactly are the interveners lending succour? There’s been great vagueness here, beyond enthusiastic references to the romantic revolutionaries of Benghazi, and much ridicule for Gaddafi’s identification of his opponents in eastern
In fact, two documents strongly back Gaddafi on this issue.
The first is a secret cable to the State Department from the US embassy in Tripoli in 2008, part of the WikiLeaks trove, entitled “Extremism in Eastern Libya“, which revealed that this area is rife with anti-American, pro-jihad sentiment.
According to the 2008 cable, the most troubling aspect “… is the pride that many eastern Libyans, particularly those in and around Dernah, appear to take in the role their native sons have played in the insurgency in Iraq … [and the] ability of radical imams to propagate messages urging support for and participation in jihad.”
The second document, or rather set of documents, are the so-called Sinjar Records, captured al-Qaeda documents that fell into American hands in 2007. They were duly analysed by the Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy at West Point. Al-Qaeda is a bureaucratic outfit and the records contain precise details on personnel, including those who came to Iraq to fight American and coalition forces and, when necessary, commit suicide.
The West Point analysts’ statistical study of the al-Qaeda personnel records concludes that one country provided “far more” foreign fighters in per capita terms than any other: namely, Libya.
The records show that the “vast majority of Libyan fighters that included their home town in the Sinjar Records resided in the country’s northeast”. Benghazi provided many volunteers. So did Dernah, a town about 200 kms east of Benghazi, in which an Islamic emirate was declared when the rebellion against Gaddafi started.
New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid even spoke with Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi who promulgated the Islamic emirate. Al-Hasadi “praises Osama bin Laden’s ‘good points’,” Shadid reported, though he prudently denounced the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Other sources have said that this keen admirer of Osama would be most influential in the formation of any provisional government.
The West Point study of the Sinjar Records calculates that of the 440 foreign al-Qaeda recruits whose home towns are known, 21 came from Benghazi, thereby making it the fourth most common home town listed in the records. Fifty-three of the al-Qaeda recruits came from Darnah, the highest total of any of the home towns listed in the records. The second highest number, 51, came from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. But Darnah (80,000) has less than two per cent the population of Riyadh. So Darnah contributed “far and away the largest per capita number of fighters”.
As former CIA operations officer Brian Fairchild writes, amid “the apparent absence of any plan for post-Gaddafi governance, an ignorance of Libya’s tribal nature and our poor record of dealing with tribes, American government documents conclusively establish that the epicentre of the revolt is rife with anti-American and pro-jihad sentiment, and with al-Qaeda’s explicit support for the revolt, it is appropriate to ask our policy makers how American military intervention in support of this revolt in any way serves vital US strategic interests”.
As I wrote here a few weeks ago, “It sure looks like Osama bin Laden is winning the Great War on Terror”. But I did not dream then that he would have a coalition of the US, Great Britain and France bleeding themselves dry to assist him in this enterprise.
2007 West Point Study Shows Benghazi-Darnah-Tobruk Area was a World Leader in Al Qaeda Suicide Bomber Recruitment
By Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D.
March 24, 2011 “Tarpley” — -Washington DC — The current military attack on Libya has been motivated by UN Security Council resolution 1973 with the need to protect civilians. Statements by President Obama, British Prime Minister Cameron, French President Sarkozy, and other leaders have stressed the humanitarian nature of the intervention, which is said to aim at preventing a massacre of pro-democracy forces and human rights advocates by the Qaddafi regime.
But at the same time, many commentators have voiced anxiety because of the mystery which surrounds the anti-Qaddafi transitional government which emerged at the beginning of March in the city of Benghazi, located in the Cyrenaica district of north-eastern Libya. This government has already been recognized by France and Portugal as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people. The rebel council seems to be composed of just over 30 delegates, many of whom are enveloped in obscurity. In addition, the names of more than a dozen members of the rebel council are being kept secret, allegedly to protect them from the vengeance of Qaddafi. But there may be other reasons for the anonymity of these figures. Despite much uncertainty, the United Nations and its several key NATO countries, including the United States, have rushed forward to assist the armed forces of this rebel regime with air strikes, leading to the loss of one or two coalition aircraft and the prospect of heavier losses to come, especially if there should be an invasion. It is high time that American and European publics learned something more about this rebel regime which is supposed to represent a democratic and humanitarian alternative to Gaddafi.
The rebels are clearly not civilians, but an armed force. What kind of an armed force?
Since many of the rebel leaders are so difficult to research from afar, and since a sociological profile of the rebels cannot be done on the ground in the midst of warfare, perhaps the typical methods of social history can be called on for help. Is there a way for us to gain deeper insight into the climate of opinion which prevails in such northeastern Libyan cities as Benghazi, Tobruk, and Darnah, the main population centers of the rebellion?
It turns out that there is, in the form of a December 2007 West Point study examining the background of foreign guerrilla fighters — jihadis or mujahedin, including suicide bombers — crossing the Syrian border into Iraq during the 2006-2007 timeframe, under the auspices of the international terrorist organization Al Qaeda. This study is based on a mass of about 600 Al Qaeda personnel files which were captured by US forces in the fall of 2007, and analyzed at West Point using a methodology which we will discuss after having presented the main findings. The resulting study1 permits us to make important findings about the mentality and belief structures of the northeastern Libyan population that is furnishing the basis for the rebellion, permitting important conclusions about the political nature of the anti-Qaddafi revolt in these areas.
Darnah, northeast Libya: World Capital of Jihadis
The most striking finding which emerges from the West Point study is that the corridor which goes from Benghazi to Tobruk, passing through the city of Darnah (also transliterated as Derna) them represents one of the greatest concentrations of jihadi terrorists to be found anywhere in the world, and by some measures can be regarded as the leading source of suicide bombers anywhere on the planet. Darnah, with one terrorist fighter sent into Iraq to kill Americans for every 1,000 to 1,500 persons of population, emerges as suicide bomber heaven, easily surpassing the closest competitor, which was Riyad, Saudi Arabia.
According to West Point authors Joseph Felter and Brian Fishman, Saudi Arabia took first place as regards absolute numbers of jihadis sent to combat the United States and other coalition members in Iraq during the time frame in question. Libya, a country less than one fourth as populous, took second place. Saudi Arabia sent 41% of the fighters. According to Felter and Fishman, “Libya was the next most common country of origin, with 18.8% (112) of the fighters listing their nationality stating they hailed from Libya.” Other much larger countries were far behind: “Syria, Yemen, and Algeria were the next most common origin countries with 8.2% (49), 8.1% (48), and 7.2% (43), respectively. Moroccans accounted for 6.1% (36) of the records and Jordanians 1.9% (11).”2
This means that almost one fifth of the foreign fighters entering Iraq across the Syrian border came from Libya, a country of just over 6 million people. A higher proportion of Libyans were interested in fighting in Iraq than any other country contributing mujahedin. Felter and Fishman point out: “Almost 19 percent of the fighters in the Sinjar Records came from Libya alone. Furthermore, Libya contributed far more fighters per capita than any other nationality in the Sinjar Records, including Saudi Arabia.” (See the chart from the West Point report, page 9)3
But since the Al Qaeda personnel files contain the residence or hometown of the foreign fighters in question, we can determine that the desire to travel to Iraq to kill Americans was not evenly distributed across Libya, but was highly concentrated precisely in those areas around Benghazi which are today the epicenters of the revolt against Colonel Gaddafi which the US, Britain, France, and others are so eagerly supporting.
As Daya Gamage of the Asia Tribune comments in a recent article on the West Point study, “…alarmingly for Western policymakers, most of the fighters came from eastern Libya, the center of the current uprising against Muammar el-Qaddafi. The eastern Libyan city of Darnah sent more fighters to Iraq than any other single city or town, according to the West Point report. It noted that 52 militants came to Iraq from Darnah, a city of just 80,000 people (the second-largest source of fighters was Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which has a population of more than 4 million). Benghazi, the capital of Libya’s provisional government declared by the anti-Qaddafi rebels, sent in 21 fighters, again a disproportionate number of the whole.”4 Obscure Darnah edged out metropolitan Riyadh by 52 fighters to 51. Qaddafi’s stronghold of Tripoli, by contrast, barely shows up in the statistics at all. (See chart from West Point report, page 12)
What explains this extraordinary concentration of anti-American fighters in Benghazi and Darnah? The answer seems related to extremist schools of theology and politics which flourished in these areas. As the West Point report notes: “Both Darnah and Benghazi have long been associated with Islamic militancy in Libya.” These areas are in theological and tribal conflict with the central government of Colonel Gaddafi, in addition to being politically opposed to him. Whether such a theological conflict is worth the deaths of still more American and European soldiers is a question which needs urgently to be answered.
Felter and Fishman remark that “The vast majority of Libyan fighters that included their hometown in the Sinjar Records resided in the country’s northeast, particularly the coastal cities of Darnah 60.2% (52) and Benghazi 23.9% (21). Both Darnah and Benghazi have long been associated with Islamic militancy in Libya, in particular for an uprising by Islamist organizations in the mid-1990s. The Libyan government blamed the uprising on ‘infiltrators from the Sudan and Egypt’ and one group—the Libyan Fighting Group (jama-ah al-libiyah al-muqatilah)—claimed to have Afghan veterans in its ranks. The Libyan uprisings became extraordinarily violent.”5
Northeastern Libya: Highest Density of Suicide Bombers
Another remarkable feature of the Libyan contribution to the war against US forces inside Iraq is the marked propensity of the northeastern Libyans to choose the role of suicide bomber as their preferred method of struggle. As the West Point study states, “Of the 112 Libyans in the Records, 54.4% (61) listed their ‘work.’ Fully 85.2% (51) of these Libyan fighters listed “suicide bomber” as their work in Iraq.”6 This means that the northeastern Libyans were far more apt to choose the role of suicide bomber than those from any other country: “Libyan fighters were much more likely than other nationalities to be listed as suicide bombers (85% for Libyans, 56% for all others).”7
The anti-Qaddafi Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) Merges with al Qaeda, 2007
The specific institutional basis for the recruitment of guerrilla fighters in northeastern Libya is associated with an organization which previously called itself the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). During the course of 2007, the LIFG declared itself an official subsidiary of al Qaeda, later assuming the name of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). As a result of this 2007 merger, an increased number of guerrilla fighters arrived in Iraq from Libya. According to Felter and Fishman, “The apparent surge in Libyan recruits traveling to Iraq may be linked the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’s (LIFG) increasingly cooperative relationship with al-Qaeda, which culminated in the LIFG officially joining al-Qaeda on November 3, 2007.”8 This merger is confirmed by other sources: A 2008 statement attributed to Ayman al-Zawahiri claimed that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group has joined al-Qaeda.9
Terrorist “Emir” Touts Key Role of Benghazi, Darnah in al Qaeda
The West Point study makes clear that the main bulwarks of the LIFG and of the later AQIM were the twin cities of Benghazi and Darnah. This is documented in a statement by Abu Layth al-Libi, the self-styled “Emir” of the LIFG, who later became a top official of al Qaeda. At the time of the 2007 merger, “Abu Layth al-Libi, LIFG’s Emir, reinforced Benghazi and Darnah’s importance to Libyan jihadis in his announcement that LIFG had joined al-Qa’ida, saying: ‘It is with the grace of God that we were hoisting the banner of jihad against this apostate regime under the leadership of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which sacrificed the elite of its sons and commanders in combating this regime whose blood was spilled on the mountains of Darnah, the streets of Benghazi, the outskirts of Tripoli, the desert of Sabha, and the sands of the beach.’”10
This 2007 merger meant that the Libyan recruits for Al Qaeda became an increasingly important part of the activity of this organization as a whole, shifting the center of gravity to some degree away from the Saudis and Egyptians who had previously been most conspicuous. As Felter and Fishman comment, “Libyan factions (primarily the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group) are increasingly important in al-Qa’ida. The Sinjar Records offer some evidence that Libyans began surging into Iraq in larger numbers beginning in May 2007. Most of the Libyan recruits came from cities in northeast Libya, an area long known for jihadi-linked militancy.”11
The December 2007 West Point study concludes by formulating some policy options for the United States government. One approach, the authors suggest, would be for the United States to cooperate with existing Arab governments against the terrorists. As Felter and Fishman write, “The Syrian and Libyan governments share the United States’ concerns about violent salafi-jihadi ideology and the violence perpetrated by its adherents. These governments, like others in the Middle East, fear violence inside their borders and would much rather radical elements go to Iraq rather than cause unrest at home. U.S. and Coalition efforts to stem the flow of fighters into Iraq will be enhanced if they address the entire logistical chain that supports the movement of these individuals—beginning in their home countries — rather than just their Syrian entry points. The U.S. may be able to increase cooperation from governments to stem the flow of fighters into Iraq by addressing their concerns about domestic jihadi violence.”12 Given the course of subsequent events, we are on firm ground in concluding that this option was not the one selected, neither in the closing years of the Bush administration nor during the first half of the Obama administration.
The West Point study also offers another, more sinister perspective. Felter and Fishman hint that it might be possible to use the former LIFG components of Al Qaeda against the government of Colonel Qaddafi in Libya, in essence creating a de facto alliance between the United States and a segment of the terrorist organization. The West Point report notes: “The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’s unification with al-Qa’ida and its apparent decision to prioritize providing logistical support to the Islamic State of Iraq is likely controversial within the organization. It is likely that some LIFG factions still want to prioritize the fight against the Libyan regime, rather than the fight in Iraq. It may be possible to exacerbate schisms within LIFG, and between LIFG’s leaders and al-Qa’ida’s traditional Egyptian and Saudi power-base.”13 This suggests the US policy we see today, that of allying with the obscurantist and reactionary al Qaeda fanatics in Libya against the Nasserist modernizer Qaddafi.
Arming the Rebels: The Experience of Afghanistan
Looking back at the tragic experience of US efforts to incite the population of Afghanistan against the Soviet occupation in the years after 1979, it should be clear that the policy of the Reagan White House to arm the Afghan mujahedin with Stinger missiles and other modern weapons turned out to be highly destructive for the United States. As current Defense Secretary Robert Gates comes close to admitting in his memoirs, Al Qaeda was created during those years by the United States as a form of Arab Legion against the Soviet presence, with long-term results which have been highly lamented.
Today, it is clear that the United States is providing modern weapons for the Libyan rebels through Saudi Arabia and across the Egyptian border with the active assistance of the Egyptian army and of the newly installed pro-US Egyptian military junta.14 This is a direct violation of UN Security Council resolution 1973, which calls for a complete arms embargo on Libya. The assumption is that these weapons will be used against Gaddafi in the coming weeks. But, given the violently anti-American nature of the population of northeast Libya that is now being armed, there is no certainty that these weapons will not be soon turned against those who have provided them.
A broader problem is represented by the conduct of the future Libyan government dominated by the current rebel council with its large current majority of northeastern Islamists, or of a similar government of a future Cyrenaica rump state. To the extent that such regimes will have access to oil revenues, obvious problems of international security are posed. Gamage wonders: “If the rebellion succeeds in toppling the Qaddafi regime it will have direct access to the tens of billions of dollars that Qaddafi is believed to have squirreled away in overseas accounts during his four-decade rule.”15 Given the northeast Libyan mentality, we can imagine what such revenues might be used for.
What is al Qaeda and Why the CIA Has Used It
Al Qaeda is not a centralized organization, but rather a gaggle or congeries of fanatics, dupes, psychotics, misfits, double agents, provocateurs, mercenaries, and other elements. As noted, Al Qaeda was founded by the United States and the British during the struggle against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Many of its leaders, such as the reputed second-in-command Ayman Zawahiri and the current rising star Anwar Awlaki, are evidently double agents of MI-6 and/or the CIA. The basic belief structure of Al Qaeda is that all existing Arab and Moslem governments are illegitimate and should be destroyed, because they do not represent the caliphate which Al Qaeda asserts is described by the Koran. This means that the Al Qaeda ideology offers a ready and easy way for the Anglo-American secret intelligence agencies to attack and destabilize existing Arab and Muslim governments as part of the ceaseless need of imperialism and colonialism to loot and attack the developing nations. This is precisely what is happening in Libya today.
Al Qaeda emerged from the cultural and political milieu of the Moslem Brotherhood or Ikhwan, itself a creation of British intelligence in Egypt in the late 1920s. The US and the British used the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to oppose the successful anti-imperialist policies of Egyptian President Nasser, who scored immense victories for his country by nationalizing the Suez Canal and building the Aswan High Dam, without which modern Egypt would be simply unthinkable. The Muslim brotherhood provided an active and capable fifth column of foreign agents against Nasser, in the same way that the official website of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is trumpeting its support for the rebellion against Colonel Qaddafi.
I have discussed the nature of Al Qaeda at some length in my recent book entitled 9/11 Synthetic Terrorism: Made in USA, and that analysis cannot be repeated here. It is enough to say that we do not need to believe in all the fantastic mythology which the United States government has spun around the name of Al Qaeda in order to recognize the basic fact that militants or patsies who spontaneously join al Qaeda are often sincerely motivated by a deep hatred of the United States and a burning desire to kill Americans, as well as Europeans. The Bush administration policy used the alleged presence of Al Qaeda as a pretext for direct military attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq. The Obama administration is now doing something different, intervening on the side of a rebellion in which Al Qaeda and its co-thinkers are heavily represented while attacking the secular authoritarian government of Colonel Gaddafi. Both of these policies are bankrupt and must be abandoned.
Rebel Leaders Jalil and Younis, Plus Most of Rebel Council are Members of the al Qaeda-linked Harabi Tribe
The result of the present inquiry is that the Libyan branch of Al Qaeda represents a continuum with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group centered in Darnah and Benghazi. The ethnic base of the Libyan Islamic fighting group is apparently to be found in the anti-Qaddafi Harabi tribe, the tribe which makes up the vast majority of the rebel council including the two dominant rebel leaders, Abdul Fatah Younis and Mustafa Abdul Jalil. The evidence thus suggests that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, the elite of the Harabi tribe, and the rebel council supported by Obama all overlap for all practical purposes. As the late Foreign Minister of Guyana Fred Wills, a real fighter against imperialism and neo-colonialism, taught me many years ago, political formations in developing countries (and not just there) are often a mask for ethnic and religious rivalries; so it is in Libya. The rebellion against Qaddafi is a toxic brew compounded of fanatical hatred of Qaddafi, Islamism, tribalism, and localism. From this point of view, Obama has foolishly chosen to take sides in a tribal war.
When Hillary Clinton went to Paris to be introduced to the Libyan rebels by French President Sarkozy, she met the US-educated Libyan opposition leader Mahmoud Jibril, already known to readers of Wikileaks document dumps as a favorite of the US.16
While Jibril might be considered presentable in Paris, the real leaders of the Libyan insurrection would appear to be Jalil and Younis, both former ministers under Qaddafi. Jalil seems to be the primus inter pares, at least for the moment: “Mustafa Abdul Jalil or Abdul-Jalil (Arabic: مصطفى عبد الجليل, also transcribed Abdul-Jelil, Abd-al-Jalil, Abdel-Jalil or Abdeljalil; and frequently but erroneously as Abud Al Jeleil) (born 1952) is a Libyan politician. He was the Minister of Justice (unofficially, the Secretary of the General People’s Committee) under Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi…. Abdul Jalil has been identified as the Chairman of the National Transitional Council based in Benghazi… although this position is contested by others in the uprising due to his past connections to Gaddafi’s regime.”17
As for Younis, he has been closely associated with Qaddafi since the 1968-9 seizure of power: “Abdul Fatah Younis (Arabic: عبد الفتاح يونس) is a senior military officer in Libya. He held the rank of General and the post of Minister of Interior, but resigned on 22 February 2011….”18
What should concern us most is that both Jalil and Younis come from the Haribi tribe, the dominant one in northeast Libya, and the one that overlaps with al Qaeda. According to Stratfor, the “…Harabi tribe is a historically powerful umbrella tribe in eastern Libya that saw their influence wane under Col. Gadhafi. The Libyan leader confiscated swaths of tribal members’ land and redistributed it to weaker and more loyal tribes…. Many of the leaders now emerging in eastern Libya hail from the Harabi tribe, including the head of the provisional government set up in Benghazi, Abdel Mustafa Jalil, and Abdel Fatah Younis, who assumed a key leadership role over the defected military ranks early in the uprising.”19 This is like a presidential ticket where both candidates are from the same state, except that Libya’s ferocious tribal rivalries make the problem infinitely worse.
The Rebel Council: Half the Names Are Kept Secret; Why?
This picture of a narrow, sectarian tribal and regional base does not improve when we look at the rebel council as a whole. According to one recent version, the rebel council is “chaired by the well-spoken former justice minister for Libya, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, [and] consists of 31 members, ostensibly representatives from across Libya, of whom many cannot be named for “security reasons”…. “The key players on the council, at least those who we know about, all hail from the north-eastern Harabi confederation of tribes. These tribes have strong affiliations with Benghazi that date back to before the 1969 revolution which brought Gaddafi to power.”20 Other accounts agree about the number of representatives: “The council has 31 members; the identities of several members has not been made public to protect their own safety.”21 Given what we know about the extraordinary density of LIFG and all Qaeda fanatics in northeast Libya, we are authorized to wonder as to whether so many members of the council are being kept secret in order to protect them from Qaddafi, or whether the goal is to prevent them from being recognized in the west as al Qaeda terrorists or sympathizers. The latter seems to be a more accurate summary of the real state of affairs.
Names released so far include: Mustafa Abduljaleel; Ashour Hamed Bourashed of Darna city; Othman Suleiman El-Megyrahi of the Batnan area; Al Butnan of the Egypt border and Tobruk; Ahmed Abduraba Al-Abaar of Benghazi city; Fathi Mohamed Baja of Benghazi city; Abdelhafed Abdelkader Ghoga of Benghazi city; Mr. Omar El-Hariri for Military Affairs; and Dr. Mahmoud Jibril, Ibrahim El-Werfali and Dr. Ali Aziz Al-Eisawi for foreign affairs.22
The State Department needs to interrogate these figures, starting perhaps with Ashour Hamed Bourashed, the delegate from the terrorist and suicide bomber stronghold of Darnah.
How Many al Qaeda Members, Veterans, or Sympathizers are on the Rebel Council?
Seeing as clearly as we can in the fog of war, it looks like slightly more than a dozen of the members of the rebel council have had their names officially published — in any case, not more than half of the reported 31 members. The US and European media have not taken the lead in identifying for us the names that are now known, and they above all have not called attention to the majority of the rebel council who are still lurking in the shadows of total secrecy. We must therefore demand to know how many LIFG and/or al Qaeda members, veterans, or sympathizers currently hold seats on the rebel council.
We are thus witnessing an attempt by the Harabi tribe to seize dominance over the 140 tribes of Libya. The Harabi are already practically hegemonic among the tribes of Cyrenaica. At the center of the Harabi Confederation is the Obeidat tribe, which is divided into 15 sub-tribes.23 All of this might be of purely academic ethnographic interest, were it not for the fact of the striking overlap between the Harabi tribe and the LIFG and al Qaeda.
The Senussi Movement of Libya — Monarchist Democracy?
The political-religious tradition of northeast Libya makes this area such fertile ground for the more extreme Muslim sects and also predisposes it to monarchism rather than to the more modern forms of government favored by Qaddafi. The relevant regional tradition is that of the Senussi or Sanussi order, an anti-western Moslem sect. In Libya the Senussi order is closely associated with monarchism, since King Idris I, the ruler installed by the British in 1951 who was overthrown by Gaddafi in 1969, was also the leader of the Senussi order. The Senussi directed the rebellion against Italian colonialism in the person of Marshal Rodolfo Graziani and his army in the 1930s. Today, the rebels use the monarchist flag, and may advocate the return to the throne of one of the two pretenders to the Idris line. They are far closer to monarchism than to democracy
King Idris, Revered by the Libyan Rebels of Today
Here is the Stratfor view of King Idris and the Senussi: “King Idris came from a line of rulers of the Sanussi order, a Sufi religious order founded in 1842 in Al Bayda, that practices a conservative and austere form of Islam. The Sanussiyah represented a political force in Cyrenaica that preceded the creation of the modern state of Libya, and whose reverberations continue to be felt to this day. It is no coincidence that this region is the home of Libyan jihadism, with groups like the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). The Gadhafi family has thus been calling the current uprising an elaborate Islamist plot….”24 Under the monarchy, Libya was by some estimates absolutely the poorest country in the world. Today, Libya ranks 53 on the UN Human Development Index and qualifies as the most developed country in Africa, ahead of Russia, Brazil, Ukraine, and Venezuela. Qaddafi’s stewardship has objective merits which cannot be seriously denied.
Glen Ford’s Black Agenda Report has correctly sought to show the racist and reactionary character of the Libyan insurrection. The tribes of southern Libya, known as the Fezzan, are dark skinned. The tribal underpinning of the Gaddafi regime has been an alliance of the tribes of the West, the center, and the southern Fezzan, against the Harabi and the Obeidat, who identify with the former monarchist ruling class. The Harabi and Obeidat are known to nurture a deep racist hatred against the Fezzan. This was expressed in frequent news reports from the pro-imperialist media at the beginning of the rebellion evidently inspired by Harabi accounts, according to which black people in Libya had to be treated as mercenaries working for Gaddafi — with the clear implication that they were to be exterminated. These racist inventions are still being repeated by quackademics like Dean Slaughter of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton. And in fact, large numbers of black Africans from Chad and other countries working in Libyan have been systematically lynched and massacred by the anti-Gaddafi forces. The Obama White House, for all its empty talk of not wanting to repeat the massacre in Rwanda, has conveniently ignored this shocking story of real genocide at the hands of its new racist friends in Cyrenaica.
Against the obscurantism of the Senussi, Qaddafi has advanced the Moslem equivalent of the priesthood of all believers, arguing that no caliphate is necessary in order to discover the meaning of the Koran. He has supplemented this with a pan African perspective. Gerald A. Perreira of the Black Agenda Report writes the following about the theological division between Gaddafi and the neo-Senussi of northeast Libya, as well as other obscuranitsts: “Al Qaeda is in the Sahara on his borders and the International Union of Muslim Scholars is calling for [Qaddafi] to be tried in a court…. [Qaddafi] has questioned the Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda from a Quranic/theological perspective and is one of the few political leaders equipped to do so…. Benghazi has always been at the heart of counter-revolution in Libya, fostering reactionary Islamic movements such as the Wahhabis and Salafists. It is these people who founded the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group based in Benghazi which allies itself with Al Qaeda and who have, over the years, been responsible for the assassination of leading members of the Libyan revolutionary committees.”25 And what would be for example the status of women under the neo-Senussi of the Benghazi rebel council?
Al Qaeda from Demon to US ally in Libya
For those who attempt to follow the ins and outs of the CIA’s management of its various patsy organizations inside the realm of presumed Islamic terrorism, it may be useful to trace the transformation of the LIFG-AQIM from deadly enemy to close ally. This phenomenon is closely linked to the general reversal of the ideological fronts of US imperialism that marks the divide between the Bush-Cheney-neocon administrations and the current Obama-Brzezinski-International Crisis Group regime. The Bush approach was to use the alleged presence of Al Qaeda as a reason for direct military attack. The Obama method is to use Al Qaeda to overthrow independent governments, and then either Balkanize and partition the countries in question, or else use them as kamikaze puppets against larger enemies like Russia, China, or Iran. This approach implies a more or less open fraternization with terrorist groups, which was signaled in a general way in Obamas famous Cairo speech of 2009. The links of the Obama campaign to the terrorist organizations deployed by the CIA against Russia were already a matter of public record three years ago.26
But such a reversal of field cannot be improvised overnight; it took several years of preparation. On July 10, 2009, The London Daily Telegraph reported that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group had split with Al Qaeda. This was when the United States had decided to de-emphasize the Iraq war, and also to prepare to use the Sunni Moslem Brotherhood and its Sunni Al Qaeda offshoot for the destabilization of the leading Arab states preparatory to turning them against Shiite Iran. Paul Cruikshank wrote at that time in the New York Daily News about one top LIFG honcho who wanted to dial back the relation to al Qaeda and the infamous Osama Bin Laden; this was “Noman Benotman, a former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. While mainstream Muslim leaders have long criticized Al Qaeda, these critics have the jihadist credentials to make their criticisms bite.”27 But by this time some LIFG bosses had moved up into al Qaeda: the London Daily Telegraph reported that senior Al Qaeda members Abu Yahya al-Libi and Abu Laith al-Libi were LIFG members. Around this time, Qaddafi released some LIFG fighters in an ill-advsided humanitarian gesture.
Northeast Libyan Jihadis Killing US, NATO Forces in Afghanistan Right Now
One of the fatal contradictions in the current State Department and CIA policy is that it aims at a cordial alliance with Al Qaeda killers in northeast Libya, at the very moment when the United States and NATO are mercilessly bombing the civilian northwest Pakistan in the name of a total war against Al Qaeda, and US and NATO forces are being killed by Al Qaeda guerrillas in that same Afghanistan-Pakistan theater of war. The force of this glaring contradiction causes the entire edifice of US war propaganda to collapse. The US has long since lost any basis in morality for military force.
In fact, terrorist fighters from northeast Libya may be killing US and NATO troops in Afghanistan right now, even as the US and NATO protect their home base from the Qaddafi government. According to this account, a top Al Qaeda commander in northwest Pakistan was killed by US action as recently as October 2010: “A senior al Qaeda leader who serves as al Qaeda’s ambassador to Iran, and is wanted by the US, is reported to have been killed in a Predator air strike in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan two days ago…. [This was] Atiyah Abd al Rahman, a Libyan national who has been based in Iran and served as Osama bin Laden’s ambassador to the mullahs. Unconfirmed press reports indicate that Rahman was killed in an airstrike….”28 The US State Department’s Rewards for Justice page for Atiyah Abd al Rahman notes that he was al Qaeda’s “emissary in Iran as appointed by Osama bin Ladin.” Atiyah “recruited and facilitated talks with other Islamic groups to operate under” al Qaeda and was “also a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and Ansar al Sunna.”29 Rahman was ranked high enough in al Qaeda to be able to give orders to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of al Qeada in Iraq, in 2005.
Also killed in Pakistan was another apparent northeast Libyan going by the name of Khalid al Harabi, whose choice of a nom de guerre may well link him to the jihadi farm among the Harabi tribe in Cyrenaica. According to one account, “Khalid al Harabi is an alias for Khalid Habib, al Qaeda’s former military commander who was killed in a US Predator strike in October 2008.”30
The Scenario Uncovered by the 1995 Shayler Affair is Operative Today
In 1995, David Shayler, an official of the British counterintelligence organization MI-5, became aware that his counterpart at the British foreign espionage organization MI-6 had paid the sum of £100,000 to an Al Qaeda affiliate in exchange for the attempt to assassinate Qaddafi. The assassination attempt did occur, and killed several innocent bystanders, but failed to eliminate the Libyan ruler. As Shayler understood the MI-6 scenario, it included the liquidation of Gaddafi, followed by the descent of Libya into chaos and tribal warfare, with a possible option for a direct seizure of power by al Qaeda itself. This situation would then provide a pretext for Britain, probably but not necessarily acting together with the United States or other countries, to invade Libya and seize control of the oil fields, probably establishing a permanent protectorate over the oil regions, the pipelines, and the coast.31 This remains the goal today.
Timed to coincide with the attempt to assassinate Qaddafi, MI-6 and other Western secret intelligence agencies fomented a considerable insurrection in northeast Libya, almost precisely in the same areas which are in rebellion today. Its insurrection was successfully crushed by Qaddafi’s forces by the end of 1996. The events of 2011 are simply a reprise of the imperialist attack on Libya 15 years ago, with the addition of outside intervention..
The War Against the Nation State
Today’s attack on Libya comes in the context of a broad attack on the institution of the sovereign nation state itself, as it has existed since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. The United States and the British are deeply concerned by the large number of nations which are seeking to escape from Anglo-American hegemony by actively pursuing large-scale cooperation with Russia on security, with China on economic questions, and with Iran for geopolitical considerations. The CIA/MI-6 response has been a wild orgy of destabilizations, people power coups, color revolutions, and palace putsches, signaled by the document dumps by the CIA limited hangout operation known as Wikileaks, which has targeted names of the CIA hit mist from Ben Ali to Qaddafi. The Obama strategy would have preferred an exclusive reliance and the illusion that the Arab Spring was really a matter of youthful visionary idealists gathering in the public square to praise democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. This was never the reality: the actual decisions were being made by brutal cliques of generals and top officials bribed or blackmailed by the CIA who were moving behind the scenes to oust such figures as Ben Ali or Mubarak. Whatever else Qaddafi has done, he has undoubtedly forced the CIA and NATO to drop the pleasant mask of youthful idealism and human rights, revealing a hideous visage of Predator drones, terror bombing, widespread slaughter, and colonialist arrogance underneath. Qaddafi has also ripped the mask of “Yes We Can” off Obama, revealing a cynical warmonger intent on the continuation of Bush’s infamous “Dead or Alive” and “Bring it on” policies, although by other means.
A Distant Mirror for Imperialists in Libya: Lucan’s Pharsalia
Modern imperialists eager to rush into Libya should ponder Lucan’s Pharsalia, which treats of warfare in the Libyan desert during the contest between Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great at the end of the Roman Republic. A critical passage in this Latin epic is the speech by Cato of Utica, a follower of Pompey, who urges his soldiers to undertake a suicide mission into Libya, saying: “Serpents, thirst, heat, and sand … Libya alone can present a multitude of woes that it would beseem men to fly from.” Cato goes forward, and finds “a little tomb to enclose [his] hallowed name, Libya secured the death of Cato….”32
Let us not imitate this folly.
Investigative leads from the West Point Study: An Appeal to Scholars
The West Point study, as noted, was conducted on the basis of almost 700 Al Qaeda personnel files captured by coalition forces in Iraq.33 The authors of the study have promised to keep available online the documentary basis of this investigation, both in the form of the raw Arabic language al Qaeda personnel files34, and also of the same file cards in English translation.35 Assuming that this material remains available, it might be possible for researchers and reporters, and especially those with capabilities in Arabic not possessed by the present writer, to investigate the Libyan fighters who went into Iraq with a view to determining whether any of them are family members, neighbors, or even political associates of the known members of the Benghazi rebel council or of other anti-Qaddafi forces. Such a procedure could contribute to allowing the European and American public as well as others around the world to better understand the nature of the military adventure currently unfolding in Libya by gaining a more specific knowledge of who the Libyan rebels actually are, as distinct from the hollow panegyrics purveyed by the controlled Western media.
By John Stanton
“You can’t handle the truth!” said Jack Nicholson’s character in A Few Good Men. To that should be added. “You can’t handle change!”
Both sentiments are easily directed these days at the leaders of the USA and the European Union who are dumbfounded at the rapid pace of revolutionary movements underway in Croatia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Ivory Coast, Wisconsin-USA, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Iraq. Natural disasters in Japan (9.0 earthquake and tsunami), flooding in the Northeast United States, and the affects of global climate change further expose the incompetence of American and European political, economic and military leadership. The Great Financial Crisis of 2008 was choice, of course, as it showed that government and Wall Street are nearly one in the same.
And let’s not forget the US led NATO wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have gone completely ironic. Iran has the upper hand in Iraq. Afghanistan is a kluge. As for Pakistan, assassin Raymond Davis, and his fellow Keystone Cops (who ran over a Pakistani with their SUV), through their actions summed up nicely the derogatory attitude the USA and Europe have towards Pakistan. One American commentator actually blamed Pakistan for Raymond Davis’ actions by saying that if Pakistan’s security were better, the incident would not have happened.
Yes, if the Earth did not exist, we would have no problems.
Into that stew of incompetence we can toss in the grand brains from think tanks, media organizations, academia and associations who, via the revolving door and board membership, never really leave the power centers of the ruling elite.
All of them are clearly staggered, as one might be from a series of punches from the incredible heavyweight champ Mohammed Ali. And well they should be on the ropes as the revolutionary movements seen in North Africa and the Middle East are a response to a system designed and tolerated by the USA and Europe for decades. It was a system where the middle classes on down were suppose to play by the rules.
The monopoly on fear, violence and information held by American and European leaders-and their cronies in their post colonial enterprises–was never meant to be aggressively challenged by the masses. Oh, a demonstration here and there, a critical opinion piece, even a sporadic leak of classified information could be tolerated even within the most autocratic of regimes.
But the width and breadth of the revolutionary street movements that came about-in Egypt and Libya, for example–was hardly contemplated by the increasingly desiccated American and European leadership and their institutions. They move slower than a snail’s pace in an era of Internet Time. The experts were stunned and recoiled at the changes afoot. Even as US President Obama offered half-hearted support to Wisconsin state workers, little voices in his head-national security advisors– must have been wondering, “Could it happen in the USA?” Not long after, 100,000 people would turnout in the state of Wisconsin to protest antiunion, anti-worker legislation pushed through by state officials there.
Their collective response to it all was to load up aircraft with political, military, diplomatic, and corporate personnel and jet them off to meet their counterparts at an exquisite hotel-conference center, a governor’s mansion, or even the United Nations in New York City.
The inevitable wine-dine meetings take place during which horse trading over which revolution to support, crush, and toy with is discussed. The days and hours lost in this archaic process of diplomacy are immense. And those lost days and hours mean young people in Libya, Bahrain or Yemen-in the vanguard of revolutionary movements-will continue to die to rid themselves of draconian governments supported by the USA and Europe.
Imagine it. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her counterparts in Europe throw back glasses of white or red wine–prior to a gourmet dinner–hundreds may have died waiting for support in their fight for “freedom.”
Can you hear the dinner conversation? Yes, quite, the Saudi led invasion of Bahrain was proper, I dare say. Yes, of course it was. Wow! This Beef Wellington is most excellent! I’ll need a cognac at dinner’s end, for sure. Do you think we should support those Libyans? I don’t know, pass the salt.
This is as a pivotal point in history for the USA and Europe as any in their history. But they have no sense for the moment and are content to use decision processes that are too slow to match events as they happen. President Obama stated in his National Security Strategy of the USA that the national security policy of the USA was to “move beyond traditional distinctions.”
That “move” is not evident yet. And that’s too bad.
The reality for the moment is that some form of the USA/Europe capitalist, representative republic (CRR) is the most effective system of governance and economics available to humanity. Europe developed it (think Montesquieu) and the USA took it to the next level though the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. The CRR produces people, life, death, culture, politics, things, slavery, consciousness, awareness, revolution, counterclaims, empowerment, etc. Even China and Turkey mimic the CRR. Perhaps their models will work as well or better than the USA’s and Europe’s, but no one can say.
At any rate, the current global reality/environment (minus the natural disasters) is the product of the USA and Europe. But they seem incapable of working with their own creation as it matures and races ever faster in some direction. In 2011, there is no place in the world for slow reaction, risk-averse leaders or citizens, particularly in the “Western World.” Further, the game is up: Wikileaks, Anonymous, Bloggers and Online Activists have exposed an “elite” decision making methodology that requires little academic training but a lot of street smarts. A gang leader from Los Angeles would likely be a better diplomat than many ambassadors currently filling the slots around the globe,
So ditch the antediluvian methods of diplomacy, politics and the decision process that are operational. Toss out the notion that there is classified information. Become truly exceptional: embrace change and challenge.
Cut travel and security costs by using the technological tools of the revolutionary-the Internet. There is no need to meet in brick and mortar structures any longer. It’s too slow.
Why waste time jetting around the globe? If someone needs to be sized up, use HD technology for full screen teleconferencing. On that note, the US House and Senate can easily telecommute and televote from their home districts. Better service may result for the US constituents.
The “Western World” should take some pride in the world it has shaped. Yes, the history of their enterprise is often horrendous but those moments should be met head on with lessons learned, hopefully never to be repeated.
The world still looks to the West and migrates to the West.
But the Western World must pick up the pace and get with the program of change and adaption. Otherwise, North, South and East will pass them by and this is no time to be left alone.
John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security and political matters. Reach him at email@example.com
While Ohio public employees’ rights to bargain collectively are under siege, the Ohio Republican Party executed a perfect sleight of hand by disenfranchising nearly 900,000 Ohio voters. In the most vicious and direct attack on voting rights since Bull Connor ran amok in the deep South, Ohio House Republicans passed HB 159 that requires Ohio voters to produce one of four state photo IDs at the polls.
The only IDs that will be accepted in Ohio if this bill passes the overwhelming Republican State Senate are a U.S. passport, a U.S. military ID, an Ohio driver’s license, or an Ohio state ID. This is the most restrictive standard in the nation.
The Republican Party’s target is obvious. Studies indicate that 25% of African Americans nationwide do not have a government-issued photo ID, 18% of voters over age 65 do not have a photo ID, and 15% of voters with incomes under $35,000 lack the ID as well. Besides going after blacks, the elderly and the poor, the bill also sets its sights on college students. What do these people have in common? They tend to vote Democratic.
The Republicans refuse to discuss an amendment that would have accepted a college student ID with a photo from their own state-funded university, including The Ohio State University, one of the nation’s largest institutions of higher education.
Usually cautious critics like Dan Tokaji, Professor of Law at Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law, offered dire assessments: “‘Disenfranchisement’ isn’t a word to be used lightly. But it is necessary to capture this bill’s purpose and impact. Passage of this bill would restore our state’s unfortunate reputation as our nation’s capital of vote suppression.”
The Republicans are justifying their assault on the most basic and fundamental right by invoking the myth of “voter fraud.” Not only have academics like Lori Minnite documented in detail the absence of voter fraud in U.S. politics, Tokaji addressed the issue in Ohio: “The only documented case of impersonation I could find in recent Ohio elections involved absentee voting by a mother pretending to be her daughter. This isn’t surprising. The few people who attempt voter impersonation aren’t likely to risk criminal prosecution by showing up at the polling place; they are much more likely to vote by mail. The bill won’t do anything about mail voting fraud.”
Ohio Republicans have frequently cried “voter fraud” while at the same time they’ve hired their political allies like Triad, ES&S and Premier voting systems (formerly Diebold) to secretly count Ohio’s vote with proprietary computer hardware and software.
The only way to understand House Bill 159 is to acknowledge its historical significance as the new Jim Crow, which is an even more insidious form of apartheid. This new apartheid encompasses African Americans, and also fits into a deliberate attempt by Ohio Republicans to wage class war against the Buckeye State’s most vulnerable citizens.
What the Republican Party did first with Senate Bill 5 by attacking the pensions, health care and collective bargaining rights of public employees was to establish the shock doctrine, outlined by Naomi Klein. The Ohio Republicans are using the state’s projected $8 billion debt as an excuse to destroy the political base of the Democratic Party. First they destroy the public unions and now they’re going after those constituencies who are likely to support the progressive programs of the New Deal and Great Society.
Another way to look at the recent activity in Ohio is to see how closely it parallels what the CIA calls “economic destabilization” in the Third World. This tactic throws economies into crisis in order to achieve regime change. Since Ohio is one of the nation’s most important swing states, and no Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio, both Senate Bill 5 and House Bill 159 are the obvious opening shots in the Republican presidential campaign.
The Republicans are astute students of numbers and demographics. They understand that they can’t beat Barack Obama in 2012 unless they cheat by restricting voting rights. Sadly, the history of Ohio’s Democratic Party is to roll over and allow the Republicans to do whatever despicable racist and undemocratic acts they wish.
Dr. Bob Fitrakis is Editor & Publisher of The Free Press (http://freepress.org), which first published this article.
After Prime Minister José Sócrates presented his resignation to President Anibal Silva on Wednesday, the Portuguese mass media indicates a new legislative election at the end of May. However, this is not the only option open to the President. After decades of mismanagement, reality slams Portugal square in the face. What happens now?
If you build a house of cardboard on the sand and without solid foundations, then throw away the few stones anchoring the structure to the ground, it is natural that it will collapse with the first gust of wind, the first drops of rain, the slightest pressure from within. Quite how Portugal’s cardboard house survived the 37 years since the 1974 Revolution is maybe a comment on the resilience of this people who seem to perform miracles getting things done with last-minute panic measures. In Portuguese it is called “desenrascar” (get out of trouble, somehow). This time, however, not even Houdini would escape.
Today, reality strikes Portugal and the Portuguese square in the face. Quite whose fault it is, is patently obvious: for a start, those political forces in positions of control since 1974 (namely the PSD – Social Democrats and PS – Socialist Party, both centre-right these days, sometimes in coalition with CDS-PP – Christian Democrats – Conservatives) and principally, the team of then Prime Minister and now President, Aníbal Silva, through whose hands billions and billions poured and who demonstrated neither the capacity nor the vision to invest that money adequately to make sure Portugal rose to the challenge.
Whether or not it was entirely his fault is another question. Was Portugal really prepared to enter the European Community back in 1986? Was Portugal really prepared to enter the Eurozone in 1999? Was Portugal ready to face the challenges imposed by the Convergence Criteria in the ensuing years? Does the EU actually work?
Over the years, successive Portuguese Governments received rivers of money which, it is now patently obvious, was abominably badly managed. EU membership saw the cities receive a facelift and in a few years bridged the decades which had separated Portugal from the rest of Europe. Thirty years ago, the Portuguese would describe themselves as “fifty years behind”. Today, Lisbon is a modern capital city with as many modern facilities, or more, than its peers.
But the same Governments sold Portuguese industry down the river, destroyed Portuguese agriculture and lost fishing rights. Portugal, with one of the largest Exclusive Economic Zones in the world, has not taken advantage of its resources, mainly because they have been sold off… or simply lost. It is therefore hardly surprising that the young people of today feel there are no jobs to go to.
They are right. They have been destroyed. The massive demonstration a couple of weeks ago across Portugal by the Young Generation (and older members of society) was a wave of revolt not necessarily against the Government of José Sócrates but a tsunami of frustration against abominable governance since 1974.
Where did Sócrates go wrong?
As Minister of the Environment (1999-2002), José Sócrates wrote his CV as a candidate for the office of future Prime Minister. He showed competence, determination, vision and intelligence. Yet this determination was soon to be taken as arrogance and lack of transparency as a growing cloud gathered over his head and people who levelled accusations against him (none of which have reached the Courts) felt threatened. Some were even driven from their jobs for daring to criticise him. True, his Government had to face the financial and economic crisis as the market oriented capitalist model lurched from disaster to catastrophe and true, there have been forces at work in the international community snapping at Portugal’s heels for over a year now.
For some, the idea of a Portuguese bail-out is very attractive. Next stop, Spain and pop! goes the Euro.
In politics, it is not necessarily what you do but how you are perceived to do it, which writes your epitaph. The recent decision to reduce VAT on golf when the family budget to eat is pushing even the middle class to breaking point – and if the interest rates rise, there will be a public calamity in Portugal – was perhaps the symptom rather than the cause. The fact that the Government of José Sócrates had had to push through three special austerity budgets (Stability and Growth Programme, PEC in Portuguese) in recent months, each one more punishing than the last, before presenting PEC IV to Parliament on Wednesday, gave off signals that neither the Prime Minister, nor the Government, knew what it was doing, amid real contestation on the streets and a continuation of dismal socio-economic indicators which have seen Portugal slide down the development classification to near the foot of the EU table.
In each austerity package, the Government had claimed that the measures would be enough to reach the objectives – yet the measures themselves were also extremely unfair socially and reflected policies which could only prove negative to the development of the economy. If we compare the socially progressive policies put forward by real Socialist Governments in Latin America, which avoided the economic crisis with the reactionary and repressive policies adopted in Europe (including by the Government of José Sócrates) and the tremendous social impact they incurred, then we have the answer to the questions.
Strange though it may appear, not many media outlets in Portugal are yet postulating a real possibility – namely that instead of calling another general election (the last was 2009), President Silva has the power to nominate a Government of National Unity. The first option would no doubt bring another hung Parliament, with José Sócrates again leading the Socialist Party claiming that the Opposition was irresponsible in failing his emergency package at such a delicate time and exploiting the inexperience of Pedro Coelho, the leader of the largest opposition party, PSD.
The smaller parties with seats in Parliament (CDS-PP, CDU – Communists and Greens and Left Block) and others without representation, might manage to captivate more votes but the outcome would be once more the Portuguese banging their heads against the same two walls hoping that finally something might happen. If it hasn’t for 37 years…
The second would work better if President Silva had the emotional intelligence to appoint a Government and more importantly, a figure, around whom a national consensus could be formed. He would be more likely to choose a figure from the past and with firm connections with his party, PSD. Let us however follow the lead of the Portuguese media and place this option in the background.
As for what happens next, whatever the case, nothing is going to make any difference at all until Portugal faces up to its weak points and does something about them.
Unity, humility, responsibility, transparency – and end the lobbies
What the Portuguese need to do, and until now have been incapable of, is the capacity to sit together and draw up a national plan in the short- and medium-term at least, which goes above and beyond the cosmetic whims of petty party politics. What Portugal needs is to establish benchmarks after broad consultation with all players involved and then to follow up and make sure they are being followed.
What Portugal needs is to sweep aside those thousands of leeches who suck the country dry, gravitating around the positions of power and control – an army of invisible, opaque and grey barons who make a living at the expense of the rest of the country. These are the lobbies, these are the boys for whom the jobs are reserved.
What Portugal needs is to show more humility, and this comes with accepting responsibility. This in turn passes by the need for properly drawn up job descriptions so that not only do people know what they are supposed to do, but can be held accountable if they do not fulfil their obligations. This also means that if some poor kid presses a button and gets his brains fried in a public street, the system does not push the poor parents around from court to court, then file the case as void, because the time to act has elapsed – and would eliminate the “Portuguese ping-pong scenario” whereby one tries to legalise something and spends days, weeks or months being sent from department to department to department, each one saying “it isn’t here where you should be”.
Responsibility and job descriptions also mean a different work ethic, in which the innate productivity of the Portuguese (who prove themselves to be excellent workers abroad but unproductive at home) could flourish – greater responsibility, more freedom, as per fulfilling the job description within the timetable stipulated, leaving work at the proper time, like in other countries, and having something called “a life” away from the office. This implies having a family/home life and enjoying leisure time, in turn creating jobs, not hanging around at work until midnight because “it is expected” by some failure/control freak without a private life to go home to.
Transparency is the last quality lacking in Portugal. What is the real state of the public finances? Why does nobody explain them clearly to the people? Why does nobody adopt the stance of a teacher with a blackboard and piece of chalk and say clearly where they are and where they need to go? Transparency means knowing the curriculum of those in public office, those leading the institutions – who they are and what their competences are.
Traditionally, Portugal has proven incapable of facing up to these shortcomings – the reaction to criticism, especially from foreigners, is aggressive and protective and there is even a phrase in Portuguese, quem não está bem, que se mude – if you don’t like it, clear off; basically this is an excuse to carry on making the same old mistakes and making the minimum effort.
The time for sweeping the dirt under the carpet is over. Time to listen and to act. The cardboard house is rotten. And the storm is coming. Portugal – it’s now or never.
Photos: Portugal is not only the sun, sand and sea package
The United States has trained the Libyan military in recent years and American manufacturers have sold the Gadhafi regime military equipment, putting the U.S. in the strange situation of bombing a foreign force that it helped build up.
The extent and nature of all the training is not clear, but State Department figures show that the sale of millions of dollars worth of aircraft parts to Libya was approved in recent years — ironic, in hindsight, given the current focus on Gadhafi’s air force. The cooperation highlights how quickly America’s Libya policy has shifted as well as the sheer reach of U.S. military training programs. In fiscal 2009, the U.S. spent at least $536 million on training military personnel from 159 countries.
The backdrop for the cooperation between the American and Libyan militaries was improving relations between the two countries generally, following the announcement in 2003 by President Bush that Moammar Gadhafi had agreed to give up “weapons of mass destruction” programs. When John McCain visited Tripoli in the summer of 2009, Gadhafi’s son Muatassim pressed a receptive McCain on getting military supplies. McCain, according to a diplomatic cable describing the meeting, spoke of the cooperation between the two militaries:
“[McCain] encouraged Muatassim to keep in mind the long-term perspective of bilateral security engagement and to remember that small obstacles will emerge from time to time that can be overcome,” the cable says. “He described the bilateral military relationship as strong and pointed to Libyan officer training at U.S. Command, Staff, and War colleges as some of the best programs for Libyan military participation.”
It’s not clear how many Libyan officers have taken part in training at American war colleges. But in fiscal 2009 (the year beginning in October 2008), the most recent period for which the government has released data, the Defense Department spent about $30,000 training two Libyans in the Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program. An annual report on foreign military training talks about increasing spending for fiscal 2010, including a State Department program to teach English to Libyan officers. The report praises Libya as “an important partner in counterterrorism and regional stability,” and makes the case for future training.
“[S]uch training and language capability will improve the Libyan military’s interoperability with U.S. forces, facilitate interaction in potential future contingency operations such as joint CT and Peacekeeping Operations, and prepare Libyan military personnel for increased training opportunities,” the report says.
In September 2009, three senior Libyan military officers visited headquarters of the U.S. Africa Command in Germany to receive “in-depth briefings on the command, how it functions and works with African militaries,” according to a DOD report. The Africa Command is now overseeing the bombardment of Libya.
Earlier that year, in March, “Libyan naval officers spent a day aboard the USS Eisenhower in the Mediterranean Sea to speak with crew members and watch flight deck operations,” according to the same report. That followed the January 2009 signing of a “memorandum of understanding” between the U.S. and Libya on military cooperation.
There’s also evidence that Libya has purchased American weapons. More than $15 million in arms sales from U.S. manufacturers to Libya were authorized by the government in fiscal 2009 alone, according to the State Department. (Only $400,000 of that was delivered that year; presumably the rest was delivered in later years, for which data is not yet available.) That sum was mostly authorized in the category of “aircraft and associated equipment.” That year more than 20,000 components and parts of aircraft were authorized for sale to Libya. In 2008, $46 million in military sales were approved by the government.
In late February, the State Department suspended all arms export licenses for Libya, suggesting there may have been a flow of U.S. arms into the country until very recently.
U.S. allies in the fight against Gadhafi have also been involved in arms deals with Libya, including Britain and France, which has reportedly sold missiles to the Libyans — something both countries, as well as the U.S., are probably regretting today.
- Justin Elliott is a Salon reporter. Reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin More: Justin Elliott
On March 20th 2003 Western forces launched their “Shock and Awe” attack on Iraq, heavily bombarding Baghdad and elsewhere, massacring hundreds if not thousands of innocent men, women and children. On March 20th 2011 the very same forces attacked Libya, beginning what many believe will be yet another mass slaughter.
What is obvious to all but the most duped and apathetic is that once again we have another war launched by the imperialist powers thinly veiled as a “humanitarian intervention”, dressed up as a mission of peace driven by the use of heavy bombardment and murder, where the truth lies diametrically opposed to the propaganda being pushed by the mainstream media. Nothing is what it seems; the lies and deceptions are as Orwellian as ever. The similarities with Iraq go well beyond the date of the opening salvo – indeed, there are many consistencies between the current attack on Libya and numerous other military interventions and acts of aggression carried out by the US, NATO and their allies in recent years.
The propaganda currently being pumped out by the mainstream media, led by the usual suspects in the American corporate press and the liars and sycophants over at the BBC, is essentially a re-run of the Iraq invasions and Kosovo: a largely fabricated case for humanitarian intervention based on violence stoked by special forces troops and covert operations, with the consistent demonisation of the leader recast as a mass murdering tyrant to justify a heavy saturation bombing campaign in the name of human rights and justice. Any historical context that might cast the so-called “Allies” in a negative light – for instance large-scale sales of weapons to the new enemy figure – is carefully omitted from the narrative.
The assault on Iraq during the first Gulf War was launched on the back of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait – an invasion carried out with the tacit support of the US, who then betrayed their puppet dictator and launched a huge slaughter, killing more than 100,000 people. The war was sold to the American public with a horror story in which Iraqi troops were accused of throwing Kuwaiti babies out of hospital incubators. Trouble is, the story was a complete fabrication, utilizing fake testimony from an unnamed nurse who turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the United States, coached by the pubic relations firm Hill & Knowlton, a company with a track record of providing services to notorious human rights abusers around the globe.
And let’s not forget the fabricated “evidence” to justify the 2003 invasion – the non-existent WMDs, the yellow cake from Niger, the repeated, false association between Saddam and 9/11 … all since proven to be lies, and the occupation continues…
In Kosovo, the Western media went all out saturating their broadcasts of a photograph of a thin man behind a fence accompanied by cries of “concentration camps!” The truth was rather different: the ITN film crew were on the inside of a refugee camp, and had asked the man to take his top off to pose for the camera. The photo was another propaganda coup from the so-called “free press” of the West, which eventually led to a lethal 78 day bombing campaign which caused a fragmentation of the region from which they have yet to recover. Around the same time, NATO member Turkey – receiving some 80% of their arms from the Clinton administration – proceeded to murder, torture and massacre Kurds in untold numbers. There was no call for a humanitarian intervention there – after all, they were our allies.
In addition to such fabrications, the Western media conveniently omitted any mention of CIA/MI6 use of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA-UCK) to instigate violence in the region, subsequently used as part of the justification for the NATO “humanitarian intervention”. It should be noted that since this campaign KLA leaders such as Hashim Thaci and Agim Ceku have been tied to criminal syndicates involved in arms, drugs, and human trafficking, prostitution and illegal organ harvesting, in addition to the numerous war crimes carried out under the auspices of NATO. This blatant criminalization of Kosovo politics was carried out with the full consent of the EU and the US. It should also be noted that the US themselves described the KLA as a terrorist organization up until 1998, when Bill Clinton reclassified them as “freedom fighters” and unleashed them on the Serbs. NATO’s strategy of high altitude bombing quickly moved from legitimate military targets to the wholesale destruction of infrastructure, hospitals, television stations and civilians – all in the name of “humanitarian intervention” …
And as the historical record now shows, the refugee crisis and the swathe of massacres was precipitated by the NATO bombing campaign.
Similarly, the media build-up to the current attack on Libya has been characterised by the same level of fabricated propaganda against a backdrop of covert actions utilising known terrorist groups. The rebellion against Colonel Qaddafi, which the mainstream media would have us believe is a completely independent and organic grassroots uprising against a brutal oppressor, has actually been manipulated by agents from the CIA, MI6 and covert special forces groups such as the SAS for a number of weeks. A team of British SAS were recently arrested by Libyan rebels, echoing the arrest of SAS soldiers in Bazra in 2005, equipped with weapons, explosives and Arab-looking disguises, caught shooting at an Iraqi police checkpoint, in a textbook example of divide and rule tactics.
Arms and al-Qaida-affiliated fighters have also been flowing into the country to fuel the insurrection from Saudi Arabia and Egypt directly from NATO and other Western sources in an attempt to foment the overthrow of Qaddafi. There are additional reports that Israeli-affiliated African mercenaries have also infiltrated Libya to support the attempted insurrection. It is the reaction of the Libyan government – a completely justified response to a violent insurrection aided by agents from foreign governments with reciprocal force – that the Western press is characterising as the oppression of unarmed protesters.
Stories of atrocities carried out by Qaddafi have also turned out to be of questionable veracity, for instance the accusation that Qaddafi was using his air force to strafe crowds of protesters. These accusations remain unsupported, but that hasn’t stopped them being repeated ad nauseum across the mainstream media. If there is a grain of truth in them (and it’s not simply a case of Qaddafi’s forces legitimately striking back at armed, Western-backed “rebels”), one has to wonder why such a supposedly unpopular leader has recently handed out 1 million machine guns to the public to fight against a foreign occupation. Hardly the tactics of a dictator fearing overthrow from within. Perhaps the media will release photographic or video evidence supporting their claims, but if the past is anything to go by … well, perhaps they won’t.
Fox News got in on the act of making things up recently as well, using the well worn “human shields” hoax popular amongst defenders of Israeli barbarism towards the Palestinians. Fortunately, CNN correspondent Nic Robertson set the records straight:
A predictable but entirely unfounded response to the above observations is the accusation of being a Qaddafi sympathizer. Those who make such accusations are guilty of obfuscation and missing the broader point. Certainly, Qaddafi is no angel – likewise Slobodan Milošević and Saddam Hussein were guilty of despotism, crimes against humanity and more. But those who make such charges miss the irony of their rhetoric, given that they support the unbridled use of violence by far more powerful military forces against largely civilian populations, leading to death tolls that far exceed those committed by the puppet dictators they seek to overthrow. That these dictators and despots committed their own atrocities with weapons supplied by Western nations is never mentioned, for doing so would lay bare their hypocrisy. “We must kill to avoid killing,” is the ideology they promote, oblivious to the inherent contradiction that lies within.
This hypocrisy is plain to see in the recent release of photos of American troops in Afghanistan posing for trophy shots with murdered civilians. While the BBC are busy ramming down the throats of the public endless news about our impressive fighter planes and their “precision” bombing and manufacturing tales of massacres at the hands of Qaddafi, photos such as this are completely ignored:
US Army “Kill Team” pose with with murdered civilians
And of course, there’s little mention of the genuinely brutal oppression in places like Bahrain, where the Saudi military were called in to massacre protesters there, or the recent outbreak of airstrikes and incursions into Gaza by the IDF over the weekend. Because they’re our “allies” and their crimes – like our own – are completely permissible.
Just another day in the Empire…
By John Lichfield in Paris
President Nicolas Sarkozy is proving to be as awkward a military ally in 2011 as Jacques Chirac was a disruptive opponent in 2003.
Although France, Britain and the United States are nominally working together in the anti-Gaddafi air campaign, divisions and resentments have appeared in their informal, tripartite “leadership”. US officials complain that France “jumped the gun” on Saturday by launching the first air attacks, largely to allow President Sarkozy to claim bragging rights at the end of the international conference on Libya in Paris.
British and Italian officials are also angry that France is opposing a transfer of the political leadership of the Libyan campaign from the US to Nato. A compromise solution to this problem emerged yesterday. France has proposed – and Britain and others have accepted – that “political” management should be switched to a committee of foreign ministers of the coalition plus the Arab League. The first meeting will take place later this week.
All the same, doubts are beginning to emerge in France about the vainglorious approach of President Sarkozy and his supporters. The French interior minister Claude Guéant, who was Mr Sarkozy’s chief of staff until last month, caused consternation yesterday when he said: “While others stood and watched, [President Sarkozy] led the crusade” for a Libyan intervention. “Imperialist Crusade” is Colonel Gaddafi’s mocking term for the air raids.
Officials in Paris have rejected the allegations – made at a Nato summit in Brussels on Monday and in press briefings in the US – that France launched attacks on Libyan ground forces near Benghazi on Saturday without properly informing its allies.
They said that it was clearly understood that French planes would be the first to go into action. With the rebel stronghold in Benghazi threatened by the advancing tanks, urgent intervention was needed, they said.
Some French commentators have also pointed out, however, that the first French jets entered Libyan airspace many hours before anti-aircraft defences were pummelled by US and British missiles and planes on Saturday night. The French pilots were, therefore, at greater risk of being shot down.
The unwelcome “coward in a cheap suit” (Charlie Sheen) visits Brazil. He never met a war he didn’t love.
When starting the offensive military action against Libya, the world powers referred to the U.S. strategy of maintaining global hegemony. Today it is unlikely that the White House wants to engage directly in a new military confrontation. Perhaps they do not need to.
Little by little, the U.S. has been getting increased international cooperation to achieve its geopolitical goals. Without the risks of isolation that marked the imperialist aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, military action in the Arab country was backed by a resolution of the UN Security Council. The dreams of a multipolar world suffer from a historic shift of such magnitude that it is no exaggeration to pay attention to an international perspective of extreme gravity.
In 1920, Americans danced the “Charleston” and called them the “crazy years”, while on the streets of Chicago, Irish and Italian gangsters clashed with bullets. In Libya, the guerrilla Omar al-Muktar, the “Lion of the Desert,” was fighting against Italian fascism and in Nicaragua, Augusto Sandino, “the general of free men,” fought the marines of Captain Frederick Hatsfield. Muktar was hanged in 1931 and Sandino was shot in 1934. “Terrorism” was being contained.
More than half a century later, Libya and Nicaragua were linked by something more than those imperialist deeds, almost simultaneously. The author of this linkage was the then president Ronald Reagan calling Muammar Gaddafi the “mad dog” of the Middle East and Commander Daniel Ortega “a hired assassin with fashion designer eyes.”
On April 14, 1986 a U.S. attack on Tripoli, Benghazi and three other cities with 18 bombings was made, which took off from bases in Britain, and 15 fighter jets stationed on aircraft carriers belonging to the United States 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea. The operation was justified as a retaliation for an attack on April 5, in a discotheque in Berlin, which killed four people, leaving 200 wounded. At the time, as always, Washington claimed it had “irrefutable” evidence of the participation of Libyan terrorists in the attack, although no evidence was presented.
Simultaneously, the CIA, with support from the Central American press, was spreading stories about the existence of Arab commands conducting terrorist actions in Honduras, from bases provided by the Sandinista government. As the sociologist Roberto Bardini said, “upon learning of the alarmist media campaign and the adoption of strong and ostensible security measures in Honduras, some observers have estimated that it was all a psychological operation that would have four objectives: to justify military reprisals against Libya, to demonstrate that Nicaragua lent its territory to export terrorism, in order to prove the existence of a Tripoli-Managua connection and, especially, to get Congress to approve the allocation of U.S. $100 million for the “contras.”
What did Reagan accomplish with the aggression against Libya? An unprecedented international isolation. They were reduced to the support of then British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, and the Israeli government. Never had such a wave of hostility been seen to the United States since the Vietnam War. Definitely, the pop of the 80s had no such power and charm as the Charleston.
The past two decades, and having experienced what went down in history as the Bush Doctrine, a lesson cannot be forgotten by progressive forces. Especially now, when, under the false pretext of “containing the barbarism of a dictator,” the U.S., France and Britain launched missiles against Libya: imperialism shortens time and space.
The Empire is very choosy when it comes to the question of rescuing what it thinks is its backyard. The attempt to modify the new political order in Latin America is what moves Obama’s steps in the region. To transform asymmetries into impossibilities and change the profile of Brazilian foreign policy are the imperatives of this time.
By declaring that “Our consensus was strong and our decision is clear. The people of Libya must be protected and, in the absence of an immediate end to violence against civilians, our coalition is prepared to act and act with urgency,” the president of the United makes it obviously clear that in the name of “hegemony” he is ready to mix without mercy the radio hit “Closer” by rapper Ne-yo with a tribal “mash-up” of Madonna’s “Miles Away.” It is hoped that the trail of individuals, almost always crowded with the naive or servile, are strongly repulsed by the appeals of the “DJ” of the empire.
Lula nailed it. It is not too difficult to guess who came for lunch.
UN Weaving tangled webs of lies for imperialism in Libya
It still amazes that ordinary people are so much smarter than the people placed in charge of them. Anyone could have told the UN when the deliberations were being held exactly what the aims of the US/UK and France were in the demand to establish a no fly zone over Libya.
Your ordinary citizen knew it was just going to be an excuse to pound the living daylights out of the place, while the military and the freaks supporting them have orgasms at the scenes of destruction.
Your ordinary citizen knew it was to regain colonial domination over the region and to steal the country’s rich plethora of resources.
No sooner had the orgy started, then those who allowed this began to say, “hey one minute here” beginning with the Arab League from whom the imperialists counted upon for the “air of legitimacy.”
The Anglo-French-American consortium leading this criminal activity has fallen for its own propaganda – blindly convinced that the Arab League is on board. If the Arab League totally approved without question, this means the crime is endorsed by the very people the Arab revolts are trying hard to get rid of.
Arab League chief Amr Moussa condemned the “bombardment of civilians” and called for an emergency meeting of the group of 22 states to discuss the Libyan issue. He demanded a report of the bombardment in which the Libyan armed forces command said 64 people, mostly civilians and children, were killed. Empire spokesmen accused Libya of lying, but the civilian casualties were confirmed by Russian citizens on site.
The abstaining countries also see they have been had in the most grotesque manner. NATO called a meeting and for all practical purposes the discussions have them eating each other alive.
The empire and its minions could not get rid of Ghaddafi by staging a revolt under the utterly absurd cloak of “peaceful protests” (“We are losing the information war” – Hillary Clinton. Ms. Clinton lies do not work when people are searching for truth) so they had to resort to bombs, violence, brute force.
Now comes to light another utter embarrasment for them and the UN, this one they can NEVER LIVE DOWN.
It just so happens that the United Nations Human Rights Council was scheduled to take another important vote. What was that vote?
The Council was about to vote on a report that affirmed and praised Libya and Colonel Ghaddafi for THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD. The report said that the Ghaddafi government protected “not only political rights, but also economic, educational, social and cultural rights,” and praised it for the nation’s treatment of religious minorities, and the “human rights training” received by security forces.
It was to be approved at a vote later this month. Did something suddenly happen over night? If you believe it did, I have a bridge to sell you.
No less than 46 delegations to the controversial Human Rights Council made positive comments, with rare criticism from, who else, the United States.
They have moved to postpone the vote. Anyone wonder why? Let everyone, particularly those in positions of power, take notice. We know why. How embarrassing for the dogs of war that vote would be if it were held honestly, no pressure, no blackmail, no bribes. How embarrassing…first the best standard of living in Africa and now a commendation for human rights practices. What a terrible dictator Colonel Ghaddafi is!
In Libya, have certain members of the international community have once again fallen into the trap of the Balkans Syndrome, when guilt at not having acted earlier provoked a knee-jerk reaction with disastrous consequences: the travesty of international law called Kosovo? In Libya, are they protecting “civilians” or are they helping “rebels”?
Photographs: Innocent unarmed civilians
Praiseworthy though it is to have preoccupations about the safety of fellow human beings, it is also the duty of the leaders of the international community to think carefully before they act and not fall into the trap of the Balkans Syndrome, when guilt at not having acted earlier provoked a knee-jerk reaction with disastrous consequences: the travesty of international law called Kosovo. And since when can a heavily armed group of bearded Islamist fanatics be described as “unarmed civilians”?
However, does anyone in the international community these days act or react through the goodness of their hearts, or through self-interest and the obligation to protect the groups that put them in power? How democratic are the “democratic” societies, when the real power is held by dark groups of grey barons who pull the corporate vested interest strings behind the scenes, and when Governments are elected depending upon how good the leader of the party looks on TV?
How democratic and free is the media when information is controlled and presented in a nice tidy package in which the truth is often suppressed or ignored and lies and misinformation manipulated?
Praiseworthy though it is to have preoccupations about the well-being of people, let us look beneath the surface of the issues surrounding the attack against Libya, led by the USA, UK and France.
Firstly, was the internal situation in Libya a question of a popular uprising against oppressive standards of living while a clique of elitists bled the country dry? No, because Libya’s wealth was distributed and will be, so long as Muammar Al-Qathafi retains an influence. Or was the situation in Libya fuelled by “rebels” aided and abetted and supplied from the borders to the West (Tunisia) and East (Egypt) whose governments had conveniently “fallen”? Let us take a look at where the “rebellion” started.
It did not start in Tripoli, the capital – where Muammar Al-Qathafi is so obviously still massively popular, it started in the traditionally separatist province of Cyrenaica (Benghazi) and on the western frontier.
Secondly, where are these “unarmed civilians”? It is difficult to imagine which TV set David Cameron, Barack Obama or Nicolas Sarkozy have been watching, because the “unarmed civilians” I have seen on the bank of TV sets in my editing center, linked in to a number of different stations, show heavily armed bearded marauding gangs of thugs yelling “Allahu Akhbar”. Now where have I heard that before?
Thirdly, have they got it wrong again? Have they jumped the gun and been taken in by those whose intentions are neither democratic, nor that clear, and probably eventually anti-western? Remember the Mujaheddin, those “freedom fighters” in Afghanistan who destroyed women’s rights in that country and then went on to morph into the Taleban? The thank you note was to be 9/11.
Fourthly, UN Resolution 1973 is sufficiently vague to have catered for a massive headache among the members of the international community. One can only imagine the shenanigans behind the scenes before its hasty adoption – it was obvious from the words of the French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé that it was to be passed even before it was voted for.
The wording of its Paragraph 4, on the Protection of Civilians, quotes Paragraph 9 of Resolution 1970 (2011), which expressly forbids the export of weapons to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Whoever, then, is supplying the “rebels”, is breaking international law; the wording of Paragraph 4 of Resolution 1973 (2011) mentions the authority “to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya”.
Does this not go against the precepts under international law that member states are free to protect themselves in cases of armed insurrection? And where does one draw the line between “protecting civilians” and attacking the Government forces, allowing the “civilians” to advance to Tripoli, as has been suggested in numerous media outlets?
Fifthly, how can a group of people in uniforms, armed with heavy weaponry, be considered “civilians” and therefore how can any substantial military attack on the forces of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya be anything except a breach of international law, occasioning interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state?
Sixthly, has President Obama gone to Congress for permission to wage war, as he is supposed to do? Has David Cameron informed those of his citizens whose maternity ward has just been closed, whose local school has been shut down, whose relative have been taunted by gangs of drunken thugs and drug addicts because the police force has been savagely reduced, quite how much money he is spending?
For those in Britain waiting for an operation, unable to get a hospital bed and whose social security benefits have been cut, sending them into misery, I am happy to inform them that the cost of a mission per aircraft per hour is between 35.000 and 50.000 pounds, or 200,000 per plane, per day. The cost of a back-seat role in a prolonged no-fly operation is in the region of 300 million pounds per year.
To do what? Help a marauding bunch of bearded fanatics seize power on Europe’s doorstep?
Finally, how many of the governments involved in this manic campaign have actually bothered to research the tremendous amount Colonel Al-Qathafi has done not only for his people, but also for Africa? How many of them have stated that he was one of the first voices to ring out against Al Qaeda and international terrorism? How many have explained that he took the poorest country in the world and turned it into the one with the highest human development indices in Africa?
Why was a session arranged at the UNO later this month to praise Muammar Al-Qathafi for his human rights record? On his policy of religious tolerance… a report which praised him for protecting “not only political rights but also economic, social and cultural rights”, praising him for his treatment of minorities and for the human rights training of the security forces…
Once again, the international community has been hasty, has fallen into the trap of the Balkans Syndrome, when Clinton wanted to take attention away from his midriff after what he did in the Oval Office, turning the White House into a whore house. This time around, who are the three leaders with most popularity problems at home? Barack Obama, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy, whose approval ratings are beneath those of Muammar Al-Qathafi’s.
Why Won’t Obama Explain His Third War?
By Ted Rall
U.S. forces fired 110 cruise missiles at Libya on the first day of the war. Each one cost $755,000 to build; $2.8 million to transport, maintain and shoot. Austerity and budget cuts abound; there’s no money for NPR or teachers or firefighters. Note to union negotiators: the government has lots of money. They’re spending it on war.
For people too young to remember Bosnia, this is what a violent, aggressive, militarist empire looks like under a Democratic president. Where Bush rushed, Obama moseys. No one believed ex-oil man Bush when he said he was out to get rid of the evil dictator of an oil-producing state; Obama, the former community organizer, gets a pass under identical circumstances. Over the weekend, also the eighth anniversary of the start of the Iraq quagmire, there were few protests against Obama’s Libya War, all poorly attended.
I spent the weekend in New York at LeftForum, an annual gathering of anti-capitalist intellectuals. “What do you think about Libya?” people kept asking. What passes for the Left is ambivalent.
In part this waffling on Libya is due to Obama’s deadpan (read: uncowboy-like) tone. Mostly, however, the tacit consent stems from televised images of ragtag anti-Qadafi opposition forces getting strafed by Libyan air force jets. We Americans like underdogs, especially when they say they want democracy.
Still, the President is not a dictator. He can’t declare war. And while he might be able to lie his way into one, he and his party will pay at the polls if he fails to explain why we’re attacking a nation that poses no threat to the United States.
There are a lot of questions we–and journalists–should be asking Obama. Obviously, we’re broke. Our military is overextended, losing two wars against the people of Afghanistan and Iraq. How can we afford this?
1. Whom are we helping?
The U.S. and its allies are destroying Libya’s air force in order to tip the balance in the civil war in favor of anti-Qadafi forces. A similar approach, aerial bombardment of Afghan government defenses, allowed Northern Alliance rebels to break through Taliban lines and enter Kabul in 2001. It could work again in Libya.
But who are these anti-Qadafi forces? Rival tribes? Royalists? Radical Islamists? What kind of government will they establish if they win? What are their ideological and religious affiliations? If anyone in the media or the White House knows, they’re not telling.
Or perhaps, as in Iraq, the White House doesn’t have a governance plan for post-Qadafi Libya. Which, as in Iraq, could lead to chaos. No nation should go to war without considering the long-term consequences.
Before we pick sides in a conflict, shouldn’t we know for whom we are going billions of dollars further into debt?
2. Does Qadafi have the right to defend himself?
From Shea’s Whiskey Rebellion to Confederacy to the Red Scares to the Black Panthers and the Weathermen, the U.S. government has violently suppressed armed rebellions. How then can the U.S. claim moral authority to prevent other governments from doing the same thing? (“The U.S. is more moral than Libya” is not an acceptable response. Obama murders and tortures more people than Qadafi.)
3. What about self-determination?
If the Libyan people rise up and overthrow Qadafi, an authoritarian despot well past his expiration date, that’s great. Shouldn’t that struggle be a Libyan matter, to be settled between Libyans? Isn’t a government that emerges from indigenous internal struggle more likely to enjoy widespread support than one that results from outside intervention?
“Free men set themselves free,” said James Oppenheim. Can a people truly feel emancipated when they owe their freedom–and later, inexorably, their oil and gas–to a foreign superpower?
4. Why are we OK with some dictators, but not others?
Since the Middle East began blowing up we’ve heard a lot of talk about Obama’s dilemma: How do we reconcile American values with American strategic interests? In a good country–at least a non-hypocritical one–they are the same.
Obama is employing circular logic. “Why strike only Libya, when other regimes murder their citizens too?” asks Chris Good in The Atlantic Monthly. “Obama’s answer seems to be: because the UN Security Council turned its attention toward Libya, and not other places.” But the UN reacted in response to the U.S.
In other words: We’re agreeing to a request that we made ourselves.
Ideology and policy must be consistent to be credible. If we have a policy to depose dictators, then all dictators must be targeted. We can’t just take out those in countries with lots of oil. We ought to start with tyrants for which we bear responsibility: our allies and puppets. At this writing the U.S. supports or props up unpopular authoritarian regimes in Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Jordan, Yemen, and elsewhere.
5. Is Libya our geostrategic business?
The United States has no substantial historical ties with, innate cultural understanding of, or geographic proximity to, Libya. Even under the imperialist doctrine of “spheres of influence” that governed international relations during the Cold War, Libya falls under the purview of other would-be interventionists. Italy, and to a lesser extent Britain and France, are former colonial masters. The Arab League and African Union have interests there. Even if you buy the sentimental argument–“Are we going to stand by and watch Qadafi slaughter his own people?”–why us? Why not the Africans or Europeans?
Ted Rall is the author of “The Anti-American Manifesto.” His website is www.tedrall.com
On Saturday afternoon French warplanes were the first to bomb Libya, in what one can only describe as open imperialist aggression. This was followed by US and UK ships and submarines launching 110 Tomahawk Cruise missiles. The French are strengthening their position by sending their Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier into waters off the Libyan coast.
Denmark, Norway, Spain and Canada are also sending planes. Italy is providing air bases and ports, while also preparing its own planes. Qatar is sending four planes making it the first Arab country to provide forces to bomb Libya, while other Arab countries – no doubt Saudi Arabia will be among them – are also preparing to send forces.
Since Saturday there have been further bombing raids, presented to the world as a mission to help the rebel held part of Libya against Gaddafi’s jets. Initially the rebels in the east declared they needed no help from outside. Once it became evident that Gaddafi had managed to hold together a significant force, and the revolution had stalled (See Why has the revolution stalled in Libya?), the idea that a no-fly zone imposed from the outside would be the answer gained ground. However, even the Provisional Council continued to insist that no foreign troops should set foot on Libyan territory. In fact, the revolutionary youth in more than one occasion produced banners against foreign intervention.
This explains why the UN resolution is carefully worded, on the one hand excluding “occupation” – with an eye to what we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan – and on the other authorising the use of “any means necessary” to “protect civilians”. Those who called for the no-fly zone are now getting more than they had bargained for. In revolutions and wars there are no short-cuts.
Already in the first couple of days we can see that this operation is not merely to impose a no-fly zone. They have also targeted troops, tanks and other military hardware on the ground, as well as specific buildings in Tripoli.
As Gaddafi advanced towards Benghazi and other cities, a cry went out that the “international community” must “do something” to help the people of Libya against Gaddafi’s forces. The idea was presented that it would be an operation limiting itself to stopping Gaddafi using his superior air power against the rebels. This was merely the excuse with which they were able to muster UN Security Council support for the operation. It is clear now that their aims go much further than merely imposing a no-fly zone.
Arab League, China, Russia: Having your cake and eating it
Faced with such a massive show of firepower, the Arab League now seems to be having second thoughts, or at least it is showing signs of internal division. Amr Moussa, the secretary general of the Arab League, has said that the jet and cruise-missile strikes “differ from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone,” criticizing the “severity” of the strikes and stating that they were only supposed to “protect civilians”. Only a few days earlier it was the very same Arab League that had voted in favour of a no-fly zone and called on the UN to sanction one.
Howw does one explain Amr Moussa’s sudden cold feet? It is clear that the sight of what amounts to fundamentally NATO forces bombing yet another Arab country is provoking widespread opposition among ordinary Arabs, and those Arab governments that are seen to be backing the bombings will start to feel the pressure from their own people.
This morning, no doubt after getting his arm twisted by his imperialist masters, Amr Moussa zig-zagged again, playing down any divisions on this question and issuing a joint statement with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, declaring that, “We are all united on the issue of protecting civilians.”
China, Russia and India have also criticised the bombings, stating that the “indiscriminate” bombing raids go further than what was stated in the United Nations resolution. A spokesperson of the Russian foreign ministry called for a ceasefire, complaining that the air raids had hit non-military targets, killing many civilians, as well as damaging a medical centre. China said it “regretted” the military action and respected Libya’s sovereignty.
It appears the Russian and the Chinese want to have their cake and eat it. They are two powers that have the right to veto any UN resolution. They preferred to abstain, which in practice amounts to support, as they knew that if they abstained the resolution would get passed. The Indian government has issued a statement that says that, “It regrets the air strikes that are taking place. The measures adopted should mitigate and not exacerbate an already difficult situation for the people of Libya.”
Reassuring public opinion
To reassure all these concerned ladies and gentlemen, the British Foreign Office has explained that:
“Unlike Gaddafi, the coalition is not attacking civilians. The UN resolution authorises all necessary measures to protect the Libyan people. For the No Fly Zone to be enforced safely, it is necessary to carry out carefully targeted operations against Libyan air defence capabilities. All missions are meticulously planned to ensure every care is taken to avoid civilian casualties. We will continue to work with our Arab partners to enforce the resolution for the good of the Libyan people.”
In clear English, that means “we have UN backing and we are going to bomb whatever targets we feel are necessary”. The resolution passed last week by the UN Security Council was ambiguously worded, precisely so that later it could be used to justify any amount of bombing. The wording “take all necessary measures” already implied that this was going to be more than a no-fly zone. Air strikes and actions such as bombing tanks and other forces on the roads were clearly envisaged as part of the aims of any force being sent to bomb Libya.
The problem the imperialists had was getting sufficient backing from so-called “public opinion” for an all-out war against Gaddafi. Working people in countries like the USA and Britain are tired of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are fully aware of the fact that they were lied to. Remember Blair and Bush banging away about weapons of mass destruction, which could even hit Britain within 45 minutes! Then we were told there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. People rightly do not trust their governments, after so many lies.
Now we are being told that the official aim of the no-fly zone is to stop Gaddafi using his airpower against the rebel held areas of the country. The point is this: Gaddafi’s ground forces are much better equipped and better trained than those under the control of the Interim Council in Benghazi. Let us assume that the imperialists limit themselves to simply hitting Gaddafi’s air forces – something which they have already gone well beyond. Thus weakened, the rebel forces will want to attack the areas controlled by Gaddafi. Should they fail in this, what will the UN-backed force do then? Inevitably they will have to attack Gaddafi’s ground forces, as they already have started doing.
Ground forces inevitable at some stage
Although, some of Gaddafi’s air power will have been destroyed in these first bombing raids, his ability to wage war has been far from removed. Most of his advance towards the east was done mainly by ground forces.
As an Al Jazeera report explained, “Assumptions of what air power alone can achieve against ground forces have usually turned out to be overrated; witness for example the relatively small amount of damage done to Serbian armoured forces by NATO in 1999. Results in Afghanistan in 2001 were better, but in that case the integration of Special Forces allowed air power to be targeted in the most efficient way.
It later added that:
“…the promise of no ‘boots on the ground’ may eventually have to be revisited, despite the potential repercussions, if only to put Special Forces observers in amongst the rebels. Otherwise it is hard to see how this campaign will be effective, at least within built up areas where most fighting is taking place.” (Al Jazeera, Strikes on Libya – a military perspective, 19 March 2011)
The UN resolution sanctions ”all necessary means” to protect civilians. “Regime change” is not mentioned in the resolution, but in reality that is what they are now aiming at. As George Friedman writing for Stratfor, the online intelligence publication, states:
“Gadhafi’s primary capabilities are conventional armor and particularly artillery. Destroying his air force and isolating his forces will not by itself win the war. The war is on the ground. The question is the motivation of his troops: If they perceive that surrender is unacceptable or personally catastrophic, they may continue to fight. At that point the coalition must decide if it intends to engage and destroy Gadhafi’s ground forces from the air. This can be done, but it is never a foregone conclusion that it will work.” (The Libyan War of 2011, March 19, 2011)
And for all those who may have thought aerial bombardment could alleviate the suffering of the Libyan people, the same writer states coldly the following: “Moreover, this is the phase at which civilian casualties begin to mount. It is a paradox of warfare instigated to end human suffering that the means of achieving this can sometimes impose substantial human suffering themselves. This is not merely a theoretical statement. It is at this point that supporters of the war who want to end suffering may turn on the political leaders for not ending suffering without cost. It should be remembered that Saddam Hussein was loathed universally, but those who loathed him were frequently not willing to impose the price of overthrowing him. The Europeans in particular are sensitive to this issue.
And, contradicting all the statements being made about this being merely a mission to impose a no-fly zone, in another article published by Stratfor we find the following: “The decision has been made that the mission is regime change in Libya. The strategic sequence is the routine buildup to war since 1991, this time with a heavier European component. The early days will go extremely well but will not define whether or not the war is successful. The test will come if a war designed to stop human suffering begins to inflict human suffering.”
The first two days of bombing have already claimed the lives of many civilians. So much for defending the “civilian” population! The imperialists have no real concern for the lives of ordinary people. The fact that they claim to be protecting civilians in Benghazi is merely a ruse to get the backing of public opinion. They will kill many civilians in Tripoli and other areas they feel need bombing. Kevin Connolly, reporting for the BBC from the rebel-held city of Tobruk has already explained that “it is not clear if the allies can attack Col Gaddafi’s troops operating in the centre of Misrata without harming the very civilians they have come to save.”
What the imperialists are out to do is remove Gaddafi, as they removed Saddam Hussein in the past. Prior to the Libyan revolution, they had managed to bring Gaddafi on board. He was collaborating with them in all fields and they felt no reason to push for “regime change”. And yet Gaddafi’s was one of the most brutal in the region, with anyone who expressed opposition risking imprisonment, torture and death. What was important for the imperialist was not the nature of the regime, but the fact that Gaddafi was opening up the economy to western investment. The economy had been partially privatized and more was on its way.
With the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, and the wave of protests that risk unseating more of their friends, the imperialist felt powerless to intervene. Gaddafi’s Libya has given them the excuse they were seeking. They have used the “humanitarian” card to justify what is outright imperialist aggression against a small country.
This war is aimed at cutting across the revolutionary wave that is sweeping the Arab countries. Obama claims that it will be a short campaign of just a few days, but this is clearly false. A few air raids are not going to achieve their aims. It will require sustained bombing and eventually they will be sucked in even more, possibly with ground troops. In the process many civilians will be killed. No doubt we will soon be hearing statements about the “unfortunate” bombing of civilians. We will hear that disgusting phrase about “collateral damage”.
Imperialist powers jostling for positions
This war is also about different imperialist powers intervening to carve out their own spheres of influence and also as a counter-weight to their own internal problems. Foremost in all this is Sarkozy, the President of France. A recent opinion poll shows that 71% of French people are unhappy with the performance of Sarkozy, his worst approval rating since he came to office in 2007. He has in fact become extremely unpopular in France, after his government introduced severe austerity measures last year which saw 3.5 million French workers on the streets protesting.
France was the first country to recognise the Interim Council in Libya as the official government of the country. And it was the most vociferous in pushing for the no-fly zone and also the first to actually bomb targets in Libya. We have to see what manoeuvres lie behind this. In recent years, France as a former imperial power has seen it influence dwindle, losing spheres of influence, particularly in Africa. In this they were in conflict with US and British imperialism. By being the most gung-ho in pushing for intervention in Libya, Sarkozy no doubt thinks he can regain some lost influence… and oil in Libya. His actions have nothing to do with humanitarian concerns.
Cameron is in a similar position in Britain, also suffering a sharp fall in public approval in the recent period. His popularity ratings have been “falling over a cliff” as some have put it. As his government continues to push forward with draconian austerity measures, Cameron is facing growing workers unrest, as we will see this coming Saturday in London with what promises to be one of the biggest demonstrations since the 1970s, if not bigger.
Thus both Sarkozy and Cameron could do with something that could distract attention away from the internal problems in their respective countries and direct people’s minds on intervention in Libya. At the same they can strut across the world stage, claiming to defend human rights and democracy around the world. No doubt, the governments of Denmark, Norway, Canada, and even little Qatar, can do with a bit of distraction from their own internal affairs.
The United States was wary of getting sucked into another military campaign in an Arab country. Public opinion has significantly changed towards the war in Iraq, where now a majority considers it was wrong, and the same applies to the war in Afghanistan. That explains why until the last minute [Tuesday of last week] the Obama administration wasn’t so keen on voting for a no-fly zone over Libya.
On Friday, the Wall Street Journal described the situation thus: “Just last Monday, when Nicolas Sarkozy urged Hillary Clinton to get the U.S. behind an international intervention in Libya, she demurred. The U.S. Secretary of State warned the French president that a war could be risky and bloody, say officials from both countries who were briefed on the exchange.
“Yet by the weekend, France, the U.S. and an international coalition stood poised to take ‘all necessary measures’—code for military strikes—in Libya, under United Nations authority.
“In hindsight, the meeting at the Elysée Palace in Paris was the launch point for four frantic days of diplomacy that turned the Obama administration toward intervention, western and Arab diplomats say. A lot of factors drove the shift, they say, including the administration’s concern about being out of step with the changes sweeping the Arab world and of being outmaneuvered by the U.K. and especially France, both more aggressive advocates of intervention.” (Wall Street Journal, March 19, 2011) [Our emphasis]
From all this, we can see how this aggression against Libya is not dictated by any concerns for the people of Libya. It is about a group of imperialist gangsters coldly calculating how they can best defend their interests in North Africa and the Middle East.
Do not fall for imperialist rhetoric
Workers and youth around the world should not be fooled by all the rhetoric about the so-called humanitarian aims of the military intervention in Libya. It is always the case that when imperialist powers go to war, they do so by first preparing public opinion. This time it is about the poor people of Benghazi.
In Iraq public opinion was prepared with a barrage of propaganda about weapons of mass destruction, and also that Saddam Hussein was an “evil dictator”, which he was of course, but they conveniently ignored their own past good dealings with the terrible dictator. In Afghanistan, first they backed the Islamic fundamentalists against the Russians, and then when these turned on the Americans in the form of the Taliban regime, they discovered the need to defend the Afghan people. Now they are defending them by bombing them to pieces.
Their hypocrisy is further laid bare when we look at Bahrain, as we have already mentioned in previous articles. The Bahraini regime is using British arms to crush its own people. Where is Cameron’s desire to intervene here?
To be fair on the man, it is true that has intervened… in February in the “democratic” parliament of Kuwait where he admitted that the West had been “wrong” to prop up some of the dictators now in the process of being overthrown. But while Cameron was making his speech more than 100 British companies were participating in a massive Middle East arms fair hoping to do some good business with some of these selfsame dictators. And it was British defence minister Gerald Howarth who was leading the British delegation of entrepreneurs.
In Yemen we have an equally brutal dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose security forces last week killed more than fifty people. Any sign of a UN resolution coming up? No, just a few speeches expressing regret at such incidents. Their minds are now concentrated on the situation in Libya.
Effect of bombing on Gaddafi regime
But what has been the effect of the bombing inside Libya, in particular in Tripoli? As we have already explained, the fact that the Interim Council called for a no-fly zone, giving the UN the excuse it needed to intervene, has allowed Gaddafi to use this to present the rebels as stooges of the west, as agents of foreign powers who want to take over Libya. Now that the bombing has started it seems that this effect has been multiplied. As western bombs fall on Tripoli and other parts of the country, undoubtedly killing many civilians and destroying important infrastructure, support for Gaddafi will be strengthened.
In the East meanwhile the leaders of the Interim Council have tied their fortunes to the intervention of imperialist powers. In this they have betrayed the revolution. They have put the fate of the Libyan people in the hands of France, Britain, the USA and other smaller powers. None of these powers are intervening to defend the revolution. And if they should successfully remove Gaddafi, the government they help put in power will not defend the interests of the Libyan workers and youth. How can Cameron and Sarkozy attack the workers in their respective countries and then go and defend the Libyan workers?
The present Interim Council has clearly indicated that it leans towards the west, it wants good relations with the west, and it will guarantee their investments in Libya, and so on. It would end up being a puppet government of the western imperialist powers, nothing more, and nothing less. Whenever and wherever new regimes have come to power on the back of imperialist bayonets, these have not won the freedom of their people, but merely enslaved them to the same old master as before. That is what the imperialists are aiming for. That is why the workers and youth of the world, struggling against their own capitalist classes, must oppose this imperialist aggression of Libya. The task of overthrowing Gaddafi belongs to the people of Libya and to no one else.
The aggression against Libya that began in the late evening on Saturday continues. NATO forces dominated by the Americans, British and French continue rocket and bomb attacks on Libyan territory under the framework of the operation Odyssey Dawn.
This did not come as a surprise to anyone. The West’s plan to overthrow Gaddafi by the opposition has failed, and the countries of the “golden billion” directly started the aggression. They point out that the operation was sanctioned by the UN. Russia and China have abstained, and now the West is trying to use it in their interests. However, it is important to mention that the Security Council imposed a no-fly zone over Libya and did not sanction the bombing of that country.
It is no accident that secretary general of the Arab League Amr Moussa spoke against Operation Odyssey Dawn. According to him, the West’s actions did not match the originally stated goal of a no-fly zone and protection of the civilians.
The question arises as to why the Western powers that talk about peace for the Libyan people allegedly bombed by Gaddafi are destroying this peace themselves? Currently Tripoli has claimed there were 64 victims of the aggression, most of whom are women and children.
Numerous sources, including health care workers from Russia working in Libya, confirm this information. In particular, they point out that one of the cruise missiles struck the building of a hospital in Tripoli. This is not surprising as NATO high-precision weapons have already shown its effectiveness against civilian targets in Yugoslavia and bomb shelters in Iraq.
As in the case of an attack on Iraq and Yugoslavia, Libya faced several opponents. Western powers do not act one by one, which is not surprising, because the golden billion countries have the same goal – prosperity by robbing all the others and, above all, through obtaining cheap raw materials.
Yet, this time the attack had new elements. The French were the first ones to attack Libya. They are the most zealous of all the other participants of the aggression. In his desire to punish the “dictator oppressing his own people” Sarkozy’ has surpassed even the Americans.
What is going on? We can certainly admit that he was angry over the fact that Gaddafi has recently refused to buy his fighter Rafale, opting for the Russian Sukhoi Su-35. According to various sources, the deal amounted to half a billion dollars. However, this is not the only explanation of the unexpected cooling of Sarkozy towards the colonel who was earlier welcomed by Paris as the dearest guest.
Experts Sergey Demidenko and Sergei Fedorov shared their thoughts in an interview with Pravda.ru.
Sergei Fedorov, a senior research fellow with the Institute of Europe, an expert on France: “It is no accident that Sarkozy has turned against al-Gaddafi. In recent years, the French public opinion has been strongly critical of his policies toward North African regimes. This is happening not only in relation to Gaddafi, whom Sarkozy heavily courted for signing of arms and oil deals, but also Tunis Ben Ali and Mubarak of Egypt. Many in France were greatly interested in things like the reasons of his purchasing a luxurious mansion in Egypt, or why Sarkozy until the last moment has supported Ben Ali and how he and his ministers have benefited from this?
The Tunisian affairs of the current French president had cost him dearly. As a result of the scandal concerning relations of his cabinet with Ben Ali a number of ministers, including Minister of Foreign Affairs, had to resign.
After Tunisia and Egypt, the revolt broke out in Libya. It would have looked bad if Sarkozy was reminded of his bowing before Gaddafi. Therefore, for him a small victorious war was a tool to make the public forget about the past. Fortunately, France has more than two centuries of experience as the champion of “liberty, equality and fraternity.” Sarkozy is now appealing to these values, trying to act as a defender of the Libyan population allegedly subjected to genocide by Gaddafi.
Sergey Demidenko, an expert of the Institute of Strategic Studies and Analysis: “There are a few reasons that made Sarkozy run ahead of the American democratic “locomotive.” First, it is oil and gas. This is not only that the production of Libyan black gold brings huge profits due to low production costs of the types of this resource highly prized in the West. And not only because at this point only a quarter of the geological map of the country has been researched.
The main reason that made the West try to eliminate Gaddafi is the fact that the latter used “oil weapon” for blackmailing purposes. Many European countries are dependent on the Libyan oil and gas, including France.
A year ago, Gaddafi threatened to deny oil to those countries that have been witnessed to disapprove of Islam. Now the policy under the ongoing crisis conditions is not favored by the West.
We must not forget that the Colonel was a difficult negotiator. He signed only the contracts with foreigners that were beneficial for him. However, the West needed the guarantee of uninterrupted supply of oil and gas on more favorable terms than those dictated by Gaddafi.
A rebellion against him was staged. The population generally supported it. That, however, is not surprising: it is enough to say that many preferred to just draw benefits than work. All this prosperity was provided to the people by Gaddafi. For this reason, in some few days his troops have moved the rebels to Benghazi and their protection was the reason for the intervention.
Not by chance, Sarkozy became the main proponent of the intervention. “Democratic society” vigorously criticized his connection with the North African regimes. It appeared as if France, the champion of “liberty, equality and fraternity,” sold out for the money of the African tyrants.
Of particular interest are the former secret backroom dealings between Gaddafi and Sarkozy. The colonel has threatened to make public the facts of him sponsoring his election campaign. For Sarkozy in the present moment it is very, very unpleasant. At any case, so far he was not able to clarify the situation regarding the origin of the $50 million spent additionally. Whatever the case is, he will not forgive Gaddafi certain things.”
For some reason, nobody rushes to strike at Bahrain and Saudi Arabia who are brutally suppressing Shiites riots on their territories and that really documented numerous civilian casualties. Apparently, France, like the U.S., has its own persons who are forgiven everything because the kings of the Persian Gulf have been playing by the rules that suit the West.
Serious fractures emerged in the international community yesterday over the military intervention in Libya, with some nations asking such basic questions as what the end-game is and how long it will take.
Just days after forsaking its chance to veto the United Nations resolution that authorised the air strikes, Russia offered the most jarring commentary, with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin saying: “The resolution is flawed. It allows everything and is reminiscent of a medieval call for a crusade. In fact, it allows intervention in a sovereign state.”
Germany, which like Russia abstained at last week’s UN Security Council meeting, also repeated its misgivings about the operation. And via a state newspaper, the Chinesegovernment condemned what it called “armed action against a sovereign country” and expressed its regret that “the West will not give up their jurisdiction over justice and injustice”.
Even Britain, France and the US, which together have conducted the raids aimed at destroying much of Libya’s air-defence capability and neutralising Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s military advantages, manoeuvred to manage diplomatic and domestic political fall-out from the still nascent operation.
Rising quickly to the top of a long list of concerns was the chance that, with most of the heavy bombardment over, the coalition may find itself drifting into a prolonged stalemate in Libya with no real change in the balance between the rebels and pro-Gaddafi forces. Asked when operations would be over, a senior French military adviser replied that it might be “a while”.
Meanwhile, international co-ordination on the aim of the campaign has been called into question by emerging splits within the British and US command structures on Colonel Gaddafi’s legitimacy as a target. After the Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, asserted that killing the Libyan leader was a “possibility”, the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, refused yesterday to rule out the option. But a chorus of US voices dismissed that prospect out of hand. Dr Fox’s US counterpart, Robert Gates, said it was “unwise to set as specific goals, things that you may or may not be able to achieve”.
Meanwhile, David Cameron made a series of telephone calls in an attempt to prevent further fractures in the coalition. Among those that the Prime Minister spoke to was Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the 22-nation Arab League, who on Sunday suggested that the West had gone too far in enforcing UN Resolution 1973.
After their conversation, a Downing Street spokesman said that both men “were on the same page”. Mr Moussa also sought to smooth over the controversy, saying: “We respect the Security Council’s resolution and we have no conflict with the resolution.”
Mr Cameron also spoke to President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Privately, ministers admit that while they had thought about the potential diplomatic fallout from concerted military action, there had been no time to “think through” all the eventualities. There are still unanswered questions about the command structure and whether this will turn into a Nato operation or remain an ad hoc coalition. Last night, the Italian government warned that it would review the use of its bases by coalition forces for air strikes against Libya unless the mission passed to Nato’s command.
Such difficulties are a reflection of the haste with which operations got under way at the weekend. The UN vote was rushed through with unusual speed because of fears that the last stronghold of the rebels, Benghazi, was within days or even hours of falling.
In Washington, the Pentagon emphasised that the pounding of targets in Libya had already grounded Colonel Gaddafi’s air force. But US officials were at pains to stress that they wanted to hand the lead in the operation to others – for example, Britain and France – as soon as possible. Mr Gates said he expected to see such a transfer within “days”.
Earlier in the day, President Barack Obama said the US would turn over leadership of the military operation to other, unnamed countries within a “matter of days, not weeks”, adding that removing Gaddafi was not the military’s mission. Instead, he proposed a combination of measures including sanctions, adding that the UN Security Council resolution did not include regime change. His comments reflect a US desire to have others be seen to lead the UN-mandated campaign.
Let us call a spade, a spade. Let us call a group of armed marauding thugs, committing acts of terrorism and arson, terrorists and arsonists and let us call those who manipulate the words of others to justify their actions, barefaced liars. President Obama is one of these and how wrong I was to believe that he represented a new America.
How wrong I was. I praised the American people for not playing the race card in the last election because I am not a racist. My oldest son’s four grandparents were born in four countries in three continents and how wonderful that is. But let us call a spade, let’s tell the truth and not invent lies to hide behind. The fact is, the west got the entire Libya story wrong.
Fact: There is a tremendous amount of support for Colonel Muammar Al-Qathafi in Libya. Fact: Libyans enjoy the highest human development indices in Africa. Fact: in 1951, Libya was the poorest country in the world. Fact: the rebellion in Benghazi began with armed groups of thugs perpetrating massacres and acts of terrorism, against unarmed civilians.
Fact: I praised President Barack Obama for his new and fresh and very welcome stance on international relations. How wrong I was. Let us call a spade, a spade. Call him a lawyer? He is a liar. A cheap, unadulterated, disgusting, barefaced liar. He purposefully misinterpreted the words of Muammar Al-Qathafi, claiming that he had threatened his people with violence.
He did not.
He said that he would give a window for terrorist elements to lay down their arms and then said he would be implacable in punishing those who did not. How Barack Obama can claim the opposite defies logic. The only conclusion I can make is that Barack Obama is either a snivelling yellow-bellied coward who does what he is told by the Clinton (War Zone) lobby or else he is a sham.
A fake. A front man, a failed salesman without an iota of character, an iota of substance, a spineless wimp who has destroyed any legacy he might have built in attacking Libya, standing up for Islamic terrorists in Benghazi. It is patently clear whose side he is on.
If Barack Obama is short on the truth, let us inform the people of the United States of America what is going on. Let us call a spade, a spade. The uprising in Libya was aided and abetted by the CIA, it concentrated on the hotbed of separatism, Benghazi, which is today crawling with Islamist terrorists – the “bearded ones” as the Libyans call them.
Once again, the United States of America has sided with Al Qaeda, as was the case in Bosnia, as was the case in Afghanistan when the Mujaheddin movement was launched against the socially progressive government. Once again, the USA has sided with terrorists, as was the case in Kosovo.
Then it was drugs, now it is oil.
And what a sickening disappointment Barack Obama has become. Rather than being the champion of a new approach, as he promised to be, he is a pathetic and useless shadow, a spent force before he got off the ground. Barack Obama is an insult to those who believed in him.
The people of the United States of America may as well vote for Sarah Palin next time around. At least she does not try to cloak her stupidity in swaddling cloths soaked in scent.
Barack Obama may not have the guts to explain to his people what he has done in Libya so let us explain it to them ourselves. In 1951 Libya was the poorest nation on Earth. Today, it has the best human development indices in Africa. Libyans enjoy free housing, education and healthcare.
When Barack Obama implements such policies in the United States of America then maybe people will applaud him. Until then let us see how much he has spent in supporting the bearded allahu akhbar fanatics in Benghazi: over 70 million USD in one day.
There goes your healthcare plan, there goes those ten schools in North Carolina, there goes the education for Martha in Wisconsin, there go your pensions, folks!
With Presidents like this, who needs enemies?
On January 21, 2010, the US Supreme Court handed over what little was left of this nation’s pretensions to democracy on a silver platter to the Big Banks and the US Chamber of Commerce. The case was titled Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission and the Court’s decision removed all limits on corporate campaign contributions. Elections are now a sham proceeding at every level of the US government. The vast majority of the American people who no longer participate in the electoral charade are the smartest among us. The willfully ignorant and delusional still cling desperately to their faux-alternative Democratic politician or their Tea Party Republican politician with the tin-foil hat.
The Big Banks are running the show. Not the banks: there are 956 of those operating in the US and 950 of them lost money last year. It’s the Big Banks headed by Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase and the six of those that made so much money last year that the banking industry as a whole turned a handsome profit. Goldman Sachs, the top campaign contributor to Barack Obama, decided that he rather than John McCain would take over for George W. Bush in January 2009 and also dictated that there would be essentially no changes in the direction of the United States. And the transformation has been seamless.
The Big Banks count on their partners in the US Chamber of Commerce to share the load of governance. The Chamber’s far-right wing embodied by the Koch brothers has generated the Tea Party, the working class shock troops that are necessary if fascism, a term that describes the corporate-state, is to actually function in the US. And the Chamber launders the money of the Chinese, German, Japanese, Indian, Saudi and other foreign corporate entities seeking to advance their interests in the US political arena. After demonstrating the extent of their control in the elections of 2010, Chamber President Thomas Donohue assured a nervous and shellacked-feeling Barack Obama that he would be allowed a second term. “The chamber has not, does not and will not participate in presidential politics,” Donohue told reporters. “And it is not our intention to participate in any activity to weaken the president for his re-election. We are not seeking any activity that would limit the president’s ability to advance his own re-election.” Obama then genuflected to the bosses, bringing JP Morgan Chase’s William J. Daley and General Electric’s Jeff Immelt into his Administration.
Just who are the corporate “people” whose free speech rights the US Supreme Court established in the Citizens United Decision and who are now unleashed to do as they please? Let’s look at some snapshots from the Chamber’s Annual Picnic last year.
Over there in pavilion eight, why it’s the murderers of Nataline Sarkisyan and thousands of other Americans who must go without basic life-saving medical care for the sake of CIGNA HealthCare profits. And look in the next pavilion, it’s the murderers of 29 mineworkers at the Upper Big Branch Mine in southern West Virginia, Massey Energy Co., where basic safety concerns were set aside for profits sake. There in three pavilions in close proximity, the criminal corporate syndicate of BP, Halliburton and Transocean that executed the crime of the century beginning with the murders of 11 oil workers on the Deepwater Horizon and ending with the poisoning death of the Gulf of Mexico. Not far away, the five corporate media giants, Newscorp (Fox), Time Warner (CNN), General Electric and Comcast (NBC, MSNBC), Disney (ABC) and Viacom (CBS and MTV), who helped the Obama Administration bury the crime in a massive PR blitz.
And there were the Chamber’s foreign guests in happier times, like the fellows from Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), who were happily operating their General Electric designed nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi despite warnings, according to Wikileaks, from the International Atomic Energy Commission and even US diplomats that the flaunting of safety concerns invited catastrophe. But ignoring the warnings was good for business so the catastrophe is upon us all multiplied to the tenth power. The world’s third largest economy is mortally wounded. The only hope for Japan rests on the shoulders of TEPCO workers who are volunteering for suicide missions against the ongoing nuclear reactor meltdowns to give their working class brothers and sisters the chance to survive into a civilized future, the chance to deal with those corporate ghouls who profited from cutting corners and falsifying reports.
Then Saudi Aramco was there too. The state owned national oil company of Saudi Arabia stands watch over the heart of global capitalism. Who knew then that in a few months they would send their troops in the guise of the Gulf Cooperation Council into neighboring Bahrain in a vain attempt to hold back the revolutionary human tsunami sweeping across the Middle East? Soon Saudi oil will be as difficult to extract as Libyan oil.
Well, then the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission will be placed where it belongs in history–on the compost heap of American’s backyard food gardens.
Commanders in Afghanistan are bracing themselves for possible riots and public fury triggered by the publication of “trophy” photographs of US soldiers posing with the dead bodies of defenceless Afghan civilians they killed.
Senior officials at Nato’s International Security Assistance Force in Kabul have compared the pictures published by the German news weekly Der Spiegel to the images of US soldiers abusing prisoners in Abu Ghraib in Iraq which sparked waves of anti-US protests around the world.
They fear that the pictures could be even more damaging as they show the aftermath of the deliberate murders of Afghan civilians by a rogue US Stryker tank unit that operated in the southern province of Kandahar last year.
Some of the activities of the self-styled “kill team” are already public, with 12 men currently on trial in Seattle for their role in the killing of three civilians.
Five of the soldiers are on trial for pre-meditated murder, after they staged killings to make it look like they were defending themselves from Taliban attacks.
Other charges include the mutilation of corpses, the possession of images of human casualties and drug abuse.
All of the soldiers have denied the charges. They face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted.
The case has already created shock around the world, particularly with the revelations that the men cut “trophies” from the bodies of the people they killed.
An investigation by Der Spiegel has unearthed approximately 4,000 photos and videos taken by the men.
The magazine, which is planning to publish only three images, said that in addition to the crimes the men were on trial for there are “also entire collections of pictures of other victims that some of the defendants were keeping”.
The US military has strived to keep the pictures out of the public domain fearing it could inflame feelings at a time when anti-Americanism in Afghanistan is already running high.
In a statement, the army said it apologised for the distress caused by photographs “depicting actions repugnant to us as human beings and contrary to the standards and values of the United States”.
The lengthy Spiegel article that accompanies the photographs contains new details about the sadistic behaviour of the men.
In one incident in May last year, the article says, during a patrol, the team apprehended a mullah who was standing by the road and took him into a ditch where they made him kneel down.
The group’s leader, Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, then allegedly threw a grenade at the man while an order was given for him to be shot.
Afterwards, Gibbs is described cutting off one of the man’s little fingers and removing a tooth.
The patrol team later claimed to their superiors that the mullah had tried to threaten them with a grenade and that they had no choice but to shoot.
On Sunday night many organisations employing foreign staff, including the United Nations, ordered their staff into a “lockdown”, banning all movements around Kabul and requiring people to remain in their compounds.
In addition to the threat from the publication of the photographs, security has been heightened amid fears the Taliban may try to attack Persian new year celebrations.
There could also be attacks because Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, is due to make a speech declaring which areas of the country should be transferred from international to Afghan control in the coming months.
One security manager for the US company DynCorp sent an email to clients warning that publication of the photos was likely “to incite the local population” as the “severity of the incidents to be revealed are graphic and extreme”.
By Mike Whitney
The Obama administration never would have launched a war on Libya if they didn’t have a puppet-in-waiting ready to take power as soon as the fighting ended. That puppet appears to be Mustafa Abdul Jalil, Gaddafi’s former justice minister. Jalil is presently the opposition leader of the Libyan National Transitional Council which oversees the insurgents from Al Bayda. This is not a grassroots movement that embraces the fundamental precepts of democratic government. It’s a clatter of rebels armed by the Egyptian military (with US approval) to topple the Gaddafi regime. Jalil has garnered the military support of the so-called “international community” despite the fact that peaceful protesters in Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia have been kicked to the curb. It’s just another example of the UN’s selective support for pro-democracy movements.
Here’s a clip from an interview with Mr. Jalil that appeared in The Daily Beast:
Question–Should you prevail, what’s your vision of the new Libya?
Mustafa Abdul Jalil—“We are striving for a new democratic, civil Libya, led by democratic and civil government that focuses on economic development, building civil society and civil institutions and a multi-party system. A Libya that respects all international agreements, is good to its neighbors, stands against terrorism, with respect for all religions and ethnicities….We will be seeking a smooth peaceful transition, with a drafting of a new constitution that will lead the country to a free and fair legislative and parliamentarian elections as well as presidential election…..There will be peaceful conference of governance according to elections, under the observation of the international organizations.” (The Daily Beast)
There you have it, another committed “democrat” like Karzai, Abbas, Calderon, Uribe, Siniora etc. Jalil predictably parrots all the familiar public relations buzzwords: Civil society, constitution, peaceful transition, parliamentarian elections, democracy, democracy, democracy and, oh, did I mention democracy. The idea that this US-sponsored farce is some type of spontaneous eruption of the freedom-seeking masses is laughable. Here’s an excerpt from an article in Reuters that reveals the truth behind the propaganda:
“Egypt’s military has begun shipping arms over the border to Libyan rebels with Washington’s knowledge, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. Quoting U.S. and Libyan rebel officials, the newspaper said the shipments were mostly of small arms such as assault rifles and ammunition. It appeared to be the first case of an outside government arming the rebel fighters, the newspaper said….
The United States is a major ally and supplier of military aid to Egypt….
“Americans have given the green light to the Egyptians to help. The Americans don’t want to be involved in a direct level, but the Egyptians wouldn’t do it if they didn’t get the green light.” (“Egypt arming Libya rebels, Wall Street Journal reports”, Reuters)
This may explain why Hillary chose to meet with Egypt’s new junta leaders just last week. She probably wanted to make sure that US operations were running smoothly next door in Libya. In any event, it’s clear that the Obama administration is using its influence in Cairo to smuggle weapons to rebels in Benghazi.
So, what’s the endgame here? Does Obama really think he can depose Gaddafi with this armed rabble of malcontents or does he have something else up his sleeve?
The answer to these questions can be found in an article in Businessweek titled “Libya’s Eastern Rebels, Long-Time Qaddafi Foes, Driving Revolt.” Here’s an excerpt:
“Decades of poor treatment and economic discrimination against Libyans in the country’s eastern province of Cyrenaica provided the kindling for the revolt against leader Muammar Qaddafi…. The rebellion began in Cyrenaica, a region endowed with oil….
With hundreds of miles of desert separating the main towns of Libya’s three regions, Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan, in the Sahara at the southwest of the country, the regions had little binding them together…
“Libya as a country is a relatively new concept,” said Elliott Abrams, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington and a former deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush. “The period of Libya as a modern nation really starts after World War II.”
Most of Libya’s proven oil and gas reserves lie in Cyrenaica, one of three provinces that the 20th century colonial power, Italy, melded into the precursor of modern Libya. Oil and gas account for 97 percent of Libya’s export earnings, one-fourth of the country’s economic output, and 90 percent of government revenue, according to the International Monetary Fund.
“Substantial revenues from the energy sector coupled with a small population give Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa, but little of this income flows down to the lower orders of society,” the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency wrote in a public document analyzing Libya’s economy.
With $105 billion of reserves in the national treasury and a population of about 6.5 million, Libya has ample funds to support a transition from Qaddafi’s regime and ease any regional tensions that may come from four decades of investment favoring the Tripoli region, Abrams said in an interview.
“If you had a new government, it could actually adopt a development plan that could buy years of stability,” Abrams said. (“Libya’s Eastern Rebels, Long-Time Qaddafi Foes, Driving Revolt,” Bloomberg Businessweek)
Repeat: “Oil and gas account for 97 percent of Libya’s export earnings, one-fourth of the country’s economic output, and 90 percent of government revenue.”
So, what does it mean?
It means that all of Libya’s resources lie in the eastern province which can be easily split-off Serbia-style with the support of foreign imperialists using their proxy armies and their “democracy promoting” puppets. This is what’s really at the heart of Obama’s “humanitarian intervention”, further Balkenization of the Middle East. It’s just more plunder disguised as magnanimity.
CAIRO—The Arab League secretary general, Amr Moussa, deplored the broad scope of the U.S.-European bombing campaign in Libya and said Sunday that he would call a league meeting to reconsider Arab approval of the Western military intervention.
Moussa said the Arab League’s approval of a no-fly zone on March 12 was based on a desire to prevent Moammar Gaddafi’s air force from attacking civilians and was not designed to endorse the intense bombing and missile attacks — including on Tripoli, the capital, and on Libyan ground forces — whose images have filled Arab television screens for two days.
“What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone,” he said in a statement on the official Middle East News Agency. “And what we want is the protection of civilians and not the shelling of more civilians.”
Moussa’s declaration suggested that some of the 22 Arab League members were taken aback by what they have seen and wanted to modify their approval lest they be perceived as accepting outright Western military intervention in Libya. Although the eccentric Gaddafi is widely looked down on in the Arab world, the leaders and people of the Middle East traditionally have risen up in emotional protest at the first sign of Western intervention.
A shift away from the Arab League endorsement, even partial, would be an important setback to the U.S.-European campaign. Western leaders brandished the Arab League decision as a justification for their decision to move militarily and as a weapon in the debate to win approval for a U.N. Security Council resolution two days before the bombing began.
As U.S. and European military operations entered their second day, however, most Arab governments maintained public silence, and the strongest expressions of opposition came from the greatest distance. Presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Evo Morales of Bolivia and former Cuban president Fidel Castro condemned the intervention and suggested that Western powers were seeking to get their hands on Libya’s oil reserves rather than limit the bloodshed in the country.
Russia and China, which abstained on the U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing military intervention, also expressed regret that Western powers had chosen to get involved despite their advice.
In the Middle East, the abiding power of popular distrust of Western intervention was evident despite the March 12 Arab League decision. It was not clear how many Arab governments shared the hesitations voiced by Moussa, who has said that he plans to run for president in Egypt this year. But so far only the Western-oriented Persian Gulf emirate of Qatar has announced that it would participate despite Western efforts to enlist Arab military forces into the campaign.
The Qatari prime minister, Hamad bin Jasim al-Thani, told reporters that the kingdom made its decision in order to “stop the bloodbath” that he said Gaddafi was inflicting on rebel forces and civilians in opposition-controlled cities. He did not describe the extent of Qatar’s military involvement or what the mission of Qatari aircraft or personnel would be alongside U.S., French and British planes and ships that have carried out the initial strikes.
Islam Lutfi, a lawyer and Muslim Brotherhood leader in Egypt, said he opposed the military intervention because the real intention of the United States and its European allies was to get into position to benefit from Libya’s oil supplies. “The countries aligned against Libya are there not for humanitarian reasons but to further their own interests,” he added.
But the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies in the youth coalition that spearheaded Egypt’s recent upheavals took no official position. They were busy with a referendum Saturday on constitutional amendments designed to usher in democracy into the country. Similarly, the provisional military-run government took no stand, and most Cairo newspapers gave only secondary space to the Libya conflict.
When the Arab League approved imposition of a no-fly zone, only Syria and Algeria opposed the decision, according to Egyptian officials. Syria’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday reiterated its government’s opposition, as diplomatic momentum gathered for the U.S.-European operation, saying the country rejected “all forms of foreign interference in Libyan affairs.”
Al-Qaeda, which could be expected to oppose foreign intervention in an Arab country and embrace Gaddafi’s description of the Western campaign as a new crusade, made no immediate comment. This was probably due in part to the difficulty for the al-Qaeda leadership to communicate without revealing its position. But it also was brought to mind Gaddafi’s frequent assertions that al-Qaeda was behind the Libyan revolt and that he and the West should work hand in hand to defeat the rebels.
Iran and its Shiite Muslim allies in the Lebanese organization Hezbollah, reflexively opposed to Western influence in the Middle East, also were forced into a somewhat equivocal position, condemning Gaddafi for his bloody tactics but opposing the Western military intervention.
“The fact that most Arab and Muslim leaders did not take responsibility opened the way for Western intervention in Libya,” declared Hasan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah’s leader, in video speech Sunday to his followers. “This opens the way for foreign interventions in every Arab country. It brings us back to the days of occupation, colonization and partition.”
At the same time, Nasrallah accused Gaddafi of using the same brutal tactics against his opponents as Israel has against Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry, which previously criticized Gaddafi’s crackdown, on Sunday expressed “doubts” about U.S. and European intentions. Like the Latin American critics, it suggested that the claims of wanting to protect civilians were just a cover for a desire to install a more malleable leadership in Tripoli and make it easier to exploit Libya’s oil.