Category Archives: Libia

CIA’s Benghazi Role

By Philip Giraldi 
December 02, 2012 “American Conservative” — The various accounts of the Sept. 11 Benghazi incident in which four Americans died demonstrate that there is a profound misunderstanding of what the Central Intelligence Agency does and how it interacts with the State Department overseas. The U.S. ambassador in any country is the personal representative of the president of the United States, and he is nominally in charge of all the American officials posted to the country. But the key word is “nominally.” The Chief of Station is the senior CIA representative, and he directs the activities of the intelligence personnel. His direct line of command is to the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia—not to the State Department—and that is the relationship that provides him with his authority. Normally, the ambassador has little desire to learn what the CIA is doing because he has no real need to know about the details of operations and is only interested in oversight relating to situations that might cause serious damage to Washington’s relationship with the local authorities. Apart from that, the CIA operates independently and only shares partial information on what it is doing if the ambassador seems interested and there is a good reason to do so.
To cite one example from my own experience, the agency had a hidden microphone in the office of a top Italian Communist official in the 1970s, which enabled Washington to know exactly what the Partito Communista Italiano was planning. The information obtained was shared through an unsourced “eyes only” memo to the ambassador, who assumed the source was a CIA agent present at the Communist meeting and asked how accurate the person’s recollection was. The Chief of Station answered that the information was completely reliable but there was no one else in the room—avoiding having to say that it was a highly sensitive technical intrusion and letting the ambassador work out the meaning of the reply.
Benghazi has been described as a U.S. consulate, but it was not. It was an information office that had no diplomatic status. There was a small staff of actual State Department information officers plus local translators. The much larger CIA base was located in a separate building a mile away. It was protected by a not completely reliable local militia. Base management would have no say in the movement of the ambassador and would not be party to his plans, nor would it clear its own operations with the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli. In Benghazi, the CIA’s operating directive would have been focused on two objectives: monitoring the local al-Qaeda affiliate group, Ansar al-Sharia, and tracking down weapons liberated from Colonel Gaddafi’s arsenal. Staff consisted of CIA paramilitaries who were working in cooperation with the local militia. The ambassador would not be privy to operational details and would only know in general what the agency was up to. When the ambassador’s party was attacked, the paramilitaries at the CIA base came to the rescue before being driven back into their own compound, where two officers were subsequently killed in a mortar attack.
Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

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The Real Blame for Deaths in Libya

By Ray McGovern
October 16, 2012 “Information Clearing House” – If you prefer charade to reality, inquisition to investigation, trees over forest — the House Government Oversight Committee hearing last Tuesday on “Security Failures of Benghazi” was the thing for you.
The hearing was the latest example of the myopic negligence and misfeasance of elected representatives too personally self-absorbed — and politically self-aggrandizing — to head off misbegotten wars and then too quick to blame everyone but themselves for the inevitable blowback.
“So what’s the problem?” a friend asked, as I bemoaned the narrowly focused, thoroughly politicized charges and countercharges at the hearing. “It’s just a few weeks before the election; it’s high political season; I found the whole farce entertaining.”
The problem? One is that the partisan one-upmanship of committee chair Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, and others soft-pedaled the virtual certainty that the murder of four American officials in Libya on Sept. 11, 2012, was a harbinger of more such killings to come. Worse still, few of the committee members seemed to care.
As I listened to the inane discussion, I wanted to shout: “It’s the policy, stupid!” The tightest security measures reinforced by squads of Marines cannot compensate for the fallout from a stupid policy of bombing and violent “regime change” in Libya and elsewhere in the Muslim world.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, one of Issa’s top lieutenants, stated his “personal belief” that “with more assets, more resources, just meeting the minimum standards,” the lives of the Americans could have been saved. Unfortunately for Chaffetz and Issa, their star witness, State Department Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom, shot a wide hole, so to speak, into Chaffetz’s professed personal belief.
While joining with others in bemoaning State’s repeated refusal to honor pleas from the field for additional security in Libya, Nordstrom admitted that, even with additional security forces, the attack would not have been prevented. Nordstrom, a 14-year veteran of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, was quite specific:
“Having an extra foot of wall, or an extra half-dozen guards or agents would not have enabled us to respond to that kind of assault,” Nordstrom said. “The ferocity and intensity of the attack was nothing that we had seen in Libya, or that I had seen in my time in the Diplomatic Security Service.”
For any but the most partisan listener this key observation punctured the festive, Issa/Chaffetz carnival balloon that had assigned most of the blame for the Benghazi murders to bureaucratic indifference of State Department functionaries in Washington.
Also falling rather flat were partisan attempts to exploit understandable inconsistencies in earlier depictions of the Benghazi attack and twist them into a soft pretzel showing that the Obama administration is soft on terrorism or conducting a “cover-up.”
There is also the reality that diplomatic service in hostile parts of the world is never safe, especially after U.S. policy has stirred up or infuriated many of “the locals.” For decades, as populations have chafed under what they regard as U.S. military and political interference, U.S. embassies and other outposts have become targets for attacks, some far more lethal than the one in Benghazi.
To recall just a few such incidents: Iranian resentment at longtime U.S. support for the Shah led to the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran under President Jimmy Carter; anger at U.S. involvement in Lebanon led to bombings of the U.S. Embassy and a U.S. Marine barracks killing more than 300 under President Ronald Reagan; U.S. embassies in Africa were bombed under President Bill Clinton; and the violence was brought to the U.S. mainland on 9/11 and also against numerous U.S. facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq under George W. Bush.
John Brennan, the Avenger
However, in this political season, the Republicans want to gain some political advantage by stirring up doubts about President Barack Obama’s toughness on terrorism — and the Obama administration is looking for ways to blunt those rhetorical attacks by launching retaliatory strikes in Libya or elsewhere.
Thus, it was small comfort to learn that Teflon-coated John Brennan, Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, had flown to Tripoli, hoping to unearth some interim Libyan government officials to consult with on the Benghazi attack. With the embassy’s help, he no doubt identified Libyan officials with some claim to purview over “terrorism.”
But Brennan is not about investigation. Retribution is his bag. It is likely that some Libyan interlocutor was brought forth who would give him carte blanche to retaliate against any and all those “suspected” of having had some role in the Benghazi murders.
So, look for “surgical” drone strike or Abbottabad-style special forces attack — possibly before the Nov. 6 election — on whomever is labeled a “suspect.” Sound wild? It is. However, considering Brennan’s penchant for acting-first-thinking-later, plus the entrée and extraordinary influence he enjoys with President Obama, drone and/or special forces attacks are, in my opinion, more likely than not. (This is the same Brennan, after all, who compiles for Obama lists of nominees for assassination by drone.)
If in Tuesday’s debate with ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Obama is pressed, as expected on his supposed weakness in handling Benghazi, attacks on “terrorists,” real or “suspect,” become still more likely. Brennan and other White House functionaries might succeed in persuading the president that such attacks would be just what the doctor ordered for his wheezing poll numbers.
But what about tit-for-tat terrorist retaliation for those kinds of attacks? Not to worry. With some luck, the inevitable terrorist response might not be possible until after the voting. Obama’s advisers would hardly have to remind him of the big but brief bounce after killing al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Mindless vengeance has been a popular political sell since 9/11. And so have drones. Both dovetail neatly with Brennan’s simplistic approach to terrorism; namely, just kill the “bad guys” — the comic-book moniker so often used for “suspected” militants, terrorists, insurgents and still other folks with an enduring hatred for America.
Where is Helen Thomas when we need her! She was the only journalist not to genuflect before Brennan’s inanities, and had the temerity to ask him directly to explain what motivates terrorists.
At an awkward press conference on Jan. 7, 2010, two weeks after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (the so-called “underwear bomber”) slipped through Brennan’s counter-terrorism net and nearly brought down an airliner over Detroit, Helen Thomas tried to move the discussion beyond preventive gimmicks like improved body-imaging scanners and “behavior detection officers” at airports. She asked Brennan about motivation; why did Abdulmutallab do what he did.
Thomas: “And what is the motivation? We never hear what you find out on why.”
Brennan: “Al Qaeda is an organization that is dedicated to murder and wanton slaughter of innocents. … They attract individuals like Mr. Abdulmutallab and use them for these types of attacks. He was motivated by a sense of religious sort of drive. Unfortunately, al-Qaeda has perverted Islam, and has corrupted the concept of Islam, so that he’s (sic) able to attract these individuals. But al Qaeda has the agenda of destruction and death.”
Thomas: “And you’re saying it’s because of religion?”
Brennan: “I’m saying it’s because of an al-Qaeda organization that used the banner of religion in a very perverse and corrupt way.”
Thomas: “Why?”
Brennan: “I think this is a — long issue, but al-Qaeda is just determined to carry out attacks here against the homeland.”
Thomas: “But you haven’t explained why.”
Seldom does anyone have the guts to explain why. There is virtually no adult discussion in our mass media about the underlying causes of terrorism. We are generally asked to take it on faith that many Muslims are hardwired at birth or through appeals to their Islamic faith to “hate America.” And, as Brennan would have us believe, that’s why they resort to violence.
Chickens Home to Roost
It was no surprise, then, that almost completely absent from the discussion at last Tuesday’s hearing was any attempt to figure out why a well-armed, well-organized group of terrorists wanted to inflict maximum damage on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and kill the diplomats there.
Were it not for Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, impressionable listeners would have been left with the idea that the attack had nothing to do with Washington’s hare-brained, bomb-heavy policies, from which al-Qaeda and similar terrorist groups are more beneficiary than victim, as in Libya.
Not for the first time, Kucinich rose to the occasion at Tuesday’s hearing:
“You’d think that after ten years in Iraq and after eleven years in Afghanistan that the U.S. would have learned the consequences and the limits of interventionism. … Today we’re engaging in a discussion about the security failures of Benghazi. The security situation did not happen overnight because of a decision made by someone at the State Department. …
“We owe it to the diplomatic corps, who serves our nation, to start at the beginning and that’s what I shall do. Security threats in Libya, including the unchecked extremist groups who are armed to the teeth, exist because our nation spurred on a civil war destroying the security and stability of Libya. … We bombed Libya. We destroyed their army. We obliterated their police stations … Al Qaeda expanded its presence.
“Weapons are everywhere. Thousands of shoulder-to-air missiles are on the loose. Our military intervention led to greater instability in Libya. … It’s not surprising that the State Department was not able to adequately protect our diplomats from this predictable threat. It’s not surprising and it’s also not acceptable. …
“We want to stop attacks on our embassies? Let’s stop trying to overthrow governments. This should not be a partisan issue. Let’s avoid the hype. Let’s look at the real situation here. Interventions do not make us safer. They do not protect our nation. They are themselves a threat to America.”
Congressman Kucinich went on to ask the witnesses if they knew how many shoulder-to-air missiles were on the loose in Libya. Nordstrom: “Ten to twenty thousand.”
And were the witnesses aware of al-Qaeda’s growing presence in Libya, Kucinich asked. One of the witnesses, Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, an Army Green Beret who led a 16-member Special Forces security team to protect Americans in Libya from February to August, replied that al-Qaeda’s “presence grows every day. They are certainly more established than we are.”
Bottom line: Americans are not safer; virtually no one is safer because of what the United States did to Libya to remove the regime of Moammar Gadhafi. Q.E.D.
I was able to listen to most of the hearing on my car radio, and found it difficult to contain my reaction to the farce. So I was glad to get a call from RT TV, asking me to come at once to the studio and comment on the RT news program at 5:00 p.m. I cannot say I enjoyed trying to draw out the dreary implications. But, in this case, they were clear enough to enable “instant analysis.” And those ten minutes on camera were, for me, like lancing a boil.
Dead Consciences
We are told we should not speak ill of the dead. Dead consciences, though, should be fair game. In my view, the U.S. Secretary of State did herself no credit the morning after the killing of four of her employees, when she said:
“I asked myself — how could this happen? How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how complicated and, at times, how confounding the world can be. But we have to be clear-eyed, even in our grief.”
But some things are confounding only to those suppressing their own responsibility for untold death and misery abroad. Secretary Clinton continues to preen about the U.S. role in the attack on Libya. And, of Gadhafi’s gory death, she exclaimed on camera with a joyous cackle, “We came; we saw; he died.”
Can it come as a surprise to Clinton that this kind of attitude and behavior can set a tone, spawning still more violence?
The Secretary of State may, arguably, be brighter than some of her immediate predecessors, but her public remarks since the tragedy at Benghazi show her to be at least as equally bereft of conscience as Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and yes-we-think-the-price-of-a-half-million-Iraqi-children-dead-because-of-our-sanctions-is-worth-it Madeleine Albright.
Like Albright, Clinton appears to suffer from Compassion Deficit Disorder (CDD), especially when it comes to people who do not look like most Americans. (She does make occasional exceptions for annoying people like me who also merit her disdain).
Given that she is plagued with CDD, it would have been too much to expect, I suppose, for Clinton to have taken some responsibility for the murder of four of her employees — much less the killing, maiming and destruction caused by the illegal attack on Libya. But if she really wants to get “clear-eyed,” holding herself accountable would be a good start.
Was it dereliction of duty for Clinton to have failed to ensure that people working for her would honor urgent requests for security reinforcement in places like Benghazi? I believe it was. The buck, after all, has to stop somewhere.
In my view, counterterrorism guru Brennan shares the blame for this and other failures. But he has a strong allergy to acknowledging such responsibility. And he enjoys more Teflon protection from his perch closer to the president in the White House.
The back-and-forth bickering over the tragedy in Benghazi has focused on so many trees that the forest never came into view. Not only did the hearing fall far short in establishing genuine accountability, it was bereft of vision. Without vision, the old proverb says, the people perish — and that includes American diplomats.
The killings in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, validate that wisdom. If the U.S. does not change the way it relates to the rest of the world, and especially to the Muslim world, more and more people will perish.
If we persist on the aggressive path we are on, Americans will in no way be safer. As for our diplomats, in my view it is just a matter of time before our next embassy, consulate or residence is attacked.
Role of Congress
It is a lot easier, of course, to attack a defenseless Muslim country, like Libya, when a supine House of Representatives forfeits the prerogative reserved to Congress by the Constitution to authorize and fund wars — or to refuse to authorize and fund them.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Kucinich noted that in Libya “we intervened, absent constitutional authority.” Most of his colleagues reacted with the equivalent of a deep yawn, as though Kucinich had said something “quaint” and “obsolete.” Like most of their colleagues in the House, most Oversight Committee members continue to duck this key issue, which directly involves one of the most important powers/duties given the Congress in Article I of the Constitution.
Such was their behavior last Tuesday, with most members preferring to indulge in hypocritical posturing aimed at scoring cheap political points. Palpable in that hearing room was one of the dangers our country’s Founders feared the most — that, for reasons of power, position and money, legislators might eventually be seduced into the kind of cowardice and expediency that would lead them to forfeit their power and their duty to prevent a president from making war at will.
Many of those now doing their best to make political hay out of the Benghazi “scandal” are the same legislators who appealed strongly for the U.S. to bomb Libya and remove Gadhafi. This, despite it having been clear from the start that eastern Libya had become a new beachhead for al-Qaeda and other terrorists. From the start, it was highly uncertain who would fill the power vacuums in the east and in Tripoli.
In short, Oversight Committee members were among those in Congress who thought war on Libya was a great idea, with many criticizing Obama for not doing more, sooner, for “leading from behind” rather than “leading from the front.” Now, they’re making cheap political points from the consequences of a war for which they strongly pushed.
War? What War?
As Congress failed to exercise its constitutional duties — to debate and vote on wars — Obama, along with his Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Hillary Clinton, took a page out of the Bush/Cheney book and jumped into a new war. Just don’t call it war, said the White House. It’s merely a “kinetic humanitarian action.”
You see, our friends in Europe covet that pure Libyan oil and Gadhafi had been a problem to the West for a long time. So, it was assumed that there would be enough anti-Gadhafi Libyans that a new “democratic” government could be created and talented diplomats, like Ambassador Christopher Stevens, could explain to “the locals” how missiles and bombs were in the long-term interest of Libyans.
On Libya, the Obama administration dissed Congress even more blatantly than Cheney and Bush did on Iraq, where there was at least the charade of a public debate, albeit perverted by false claims about Iraq’s WMDs and Saddam Hussein’s ties to al-Qaeda.
And so Defense Secretary Panetta and Secretary of State Clinton stepped off cheerily to strike Libya with the same kind of post-war plan that Cheney, Bush, and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had for Iraq — none.
Small wonder chaos reigns in Benghazi and other parts of the country. Can it be that privileged politicians like Clinton and Panetta and the many “one-percenters” in Congress and elsewhere really do not understand that, when the U.S. does what it did to Libya, there will be folks who don’t like it; that they will be armed; that there will be blowback; that U.S. diplomats, given an impossible task, will die?
Libya: Precedent for Syria
Constitutionally, the craven Congress is a huge part of the problem. Only a few members of the House and Senate seem to care very much when presidents act like kings and send off troops drawn largely by a poverty draft to wars not authorized (or simply rubber-stamped) by Congress.
Last Tuesday, Kucinich’s voice was alone crying in the wilderness, so to speak. (And, because of redistricting and his loss in a primary that pitted two incumbent Democrats against each other, he will not be a member of the new Congress in January.)
This matters — and matters very much. At a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 7, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, pursued this key issue with Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.
Chafing ex post facto at the unauthorized nature of the war in Libya, Sessions asked repeatedly what “legal basis” would the Obama administration rely on to do in Syria what it did in Libya.
Watching that part of the testimony it seemed to me that Sessions, a conservative Southern lawyer, was not at all faking when he pronounced himself “almost breathless,” as Panetta stonewalled time after time. Panetta made it explicitly clear that the administration does not believe it needs to seek congressional approval for wars like Libya. At times he seemed to be quoting verses from the Book of Cheney.
Sessions: “I am really baffled … The only legal authority that’s required to deploy the U.S. military [in combat] is the Congress and the president and the law and the Constitution.”
Panetta: “Let me just for the record be clear again, Senator, so there is no misunderstanding. When it comes to national defense, the president has the authority under the Constitution to act to defend this country, and we will, Sir.”
(If you care about the Constitution and the rule of law, I strongly recommend that you view the entire 7-minute video clip.)
Lawyers all: Sessions, Panetta, Hillary Clinton, Obama. In my view, the latter three need to be called out on this. If they see ambiguity in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, they should explain the reasoning behind their flexible interpretation.
Cannot the legal profession give us some clarity on this key point before legally trained leaders with a penchant for abiding by the Constitution only when it suits them take our country to war in Syria without the authorization of our elected representatives?
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He served as an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for a total of 30 years, and now serves on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
This article was originally posted at

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The Libyan Election Farce

All candidates are neo-imperial candidates – Wall Street proxy Jibril of “National Forces Alliance” presumed winner.
By Tony Cartalucci
July 10, 2012 “Information Clearing House” – Ideally the West would like to install “liberal” pro-globalist candidates into power in each of the nations it has destabilized and destroyed during its premeditated, engineered “Arab Spring.” In the case of Egypt where Mohammed ElBaradei was sufficiently exposed and his presidential aspirations effectively derailed, the West’s Muslim Brotherhood proxies made for a viable second option. 
In Libya, a similar scenario has unfolded with two tiers of Western proxies poised to take power – pro-globalist technocrats like US-educated Mahmoud Jibril (Gibril) Elwarfally’s National Forces Alliance, and of course NATO’s terrorist proxies within the Muslim Brotherhood along with Al Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) warlords like Abdul Hakim Belhaj.
In Egypt where relative economic and social stability returned after the brief chaos and violence of the early 2011 protests, the alternative media was able to sufficiently expose and disrupt “liberal” candidate ElBaradei. In Libya, the nation has been plunged into nationwide lawlessness, violence, and sweeping genocide by sectarian extremists, tribal confrontations, and militant opportunists. The people of Libya have been too busy defending themselves and desperately fighting for their own immediate survival to function as a nation-state, let alone scrutinize candidates politically before the farcical Western-hyped elections. 
In other words, no matter who wins the so-called elections in war-torn Libya, the West has ensured all the candidates are loyal proxies, and will most assuredly have one of these proxies in place to guide Libya according to its own agenda rather than that of the Libyan people.The New York Times has already proclaimed in its article, “Party Led by Pro-Western Official Claims Lead in Libya,” that Jibril’s party is the likely winner. Readers might recall that in May of 2011, Jibril had made a pilgrimage back to the United States where he received his higher education and spent years teaching in Pittsburgh, to speak before the corporate-financier funded Brookings Institution (Brookings page here) about turning Libya into a “lake” to develop the skills of Africans to serve the needs of markets in the European Union. 
Jibril will serve not as an “elected representative” of the Libyan people, but as a technocratic proxy implementing not only the West’s designs for Libya, but carrying out its role in recolonizing and exploiting both the vast populations and resources of the entire African continent. Jibril, or whoever the West finally installs into power will not only carry out this agenda, they will do so under the guise of a “democratic mandate.” While impressionable and/or duplicitous people the world over applaud Libya’s elections, they are but the most superficial attempt to spin NATO’s genocidal destruction of one of the most developed nations in Africa.
And despite these elections, Libya will remain largely lawless and a terrorist safe-haven by design so that it may continue serving its purpose as a weapons, fighter, and cash hub for NATO militant proxies throughout the region, particularly verses Syria. 
Libya’s “transitional government” led by Western big oil representative Abdurrahim el-Keib had already played a significant role in carrying out Western designs against other geopolitical targets throughout North Africa and the Middle East, including Mali and Syriawhere Libya has shipped both weapons and fighters to augment NATO-backed terrorists seeking to overthrow these targeted governments. Libya under el-Keib has also lent significant political support to the West’s Arab World agenda. Along with the government of Tunisia – led at the time by US funded “activist” Moncef Marzouki, Libya had withdrawn recognition of Syria’s government. The US-installed Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has likewise backed Western designs throughout the region, most recently backing US calls for intervention in Syria
What the uninformed public believes it is seeing is a transition to “democracy” across the Arab World and each of these nations joining together to ensure such a transition in remaining “dictatorships” takes place. It might be mistakenly believed then that the United States is merely “reacting” to this unfolding paradigm in a supportive capacity.
What has happened in reality is that the so-called “Arab Spring” was planned by the West as early as 2008 with activists literally flown to the United States to receive training, funding, and equipment with which to return to their home countries and begin a campaign of coordinated destabilization. It was under this cover of seemingly legitimate peaceful protesting that more violent elements, organized as early as 2007 or even earlier (as was the case in Libya), began violently overthrowing regimes targeted, according to US Army General Wesley Clark, as early as 1991, with a complete list documented as early as 2001. This list, provided during General Clark’s talk at the Commonwealth Club of California, October 3, 2007, included seven nations slated by the Pentagon for destabilization and destruction: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.
Libya’s elections are therefore an absolute farce in the wake of a premeditated Western military campaign aimed at the entire Arab World – the elections a motion gone through to couch the creation of a Western client regime within the perceived legitimacy elections may grant it in the minds of both Libyans and global public opinion.

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An Ongoing Disaster Libya, Africa and Africom

By Dan Glazebrook

May 25, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — The scale of the ongoing tragedy visited on Libya by NATO and its allies is becoming horribly clearer with each passing day. Estimates of those killed so far vary, but 50,000 seems like a low estimate; indeed the British Ministry of Defence was boasting that the onslaught had killed 35,000 as early as last May. But this number is constantly growing. The destruction of the state’s forces by British, French and American blitzkrieg has left the country in a state of total anarchy – in the worst possible sense of the word. Having had nothing to unite them other than a temporary willingness to act as NATO’s foot soldiers, the former ‘rebels’ are now turning on each other. 147 were killed in in-fighting in Southern Libya in a single week earlier this year, and in recent weeks government buildings – including thePrime Ministerial compound – have come under fire by ‘rebels’ demanding cash payment for their services.$1.4billion has been paid out already – demonstrating once again that it was the forces of NATO colonialism, not Gaddafi, who were reliant on ‘mercenaries’- but payments were suspended last month due to widespread nepotism. Corruption is becoming endemic – a further $2.5billion in oil revenues that was supposed to have been transferred to the national treasury remains unaccounted for. Libyan resources are now being jointly plundered by the oil multinationals and a handful of chosen families from amongst the country’s new elites; a classic neo-colonial stitch-up. The use of these resources for giant infrastructure projects such as the Great Manmade River, and the massive raising of living standards over the past four decades (Libyan life expectancy rose from 51 to 77 since Gaddafi came to power in 1969) sadly looks to have already become a thing of the past.
But woe betide anyone who mentions that now. It was decided long ago that no supporters of Gaddafi would be allowed to stand in the upcoming elections, but recent changes have gone even further. Law 37, passed by the new NATO-imposed government last month, has created a new crime of ‘glorifying’ the former government or its leader – subject to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Would this include a passing comment that things were better under Gaddafi? The law is cleverly vague enough to be open to interpretation. It is a recipe for institutionalised political persecution.
Even more indicative of the contempt for the rule of law amongst the new government – a government, remember, which has yet to receive any semblance of popular mandate, and whose only power base remains the colonial armed forces – is Law 38. This law has now guaranteed immunity from prosecution for anyone who committed crimes aimed at “promoting or protecting the revolution”. Those responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Tawergha – such as Misrata’s self-proclaimed “brigade for the purging of black skins” – can continue their hunting down of that cities’ refugees in the full knowledge that they have the new ‘law’ on their side. Those responsible for the massacres in Sirte and elsewhere have nothing to fear. Those involved in the widespread torture of detainees can continue without repercussions – so long as it is aimed at “protecting the revolution” – i.e. maintaining NATO-TNC dictatorship.
This is the reality of the new Libya: civil war, squandered resources, and societal collapse, where voicing preference for the days when Libya was prosperous and at peace is a crime, but lynching and torture is not only permitted but encouraged.
Nor has the disaster remained a national one. Libya’s destabilisation has already spread to Mali, prompting a coup, and huge numbers of refugees – especially amongst Libya’s large black migrant population – have fled to neighbouring countries in a desperate attempt to escape both aerial destruction and lynch mob rampage, putting further pressure on resources elsewhere. Many Libyan fighters, their work done in Libya, have now been shipped by their imperial masters to Syria to spread their sectarian violence there too.
Most worrying for the African continent, however, is the forward march of AFRICOM – the US military’s African command – in the wake of the aggression against Libya. It is no coincidence that barely a month after the fall of Tripoli – and in the same month Gaddafi was murdered (October 2011) – the US announced it was sending troops to no less than four more African countries – the Central African Republic, Uganda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. AFRICOM have now announced an unprecedentedfourteen major joint military exercises in African countries for 2012. The military re-conquest of Africa is rolling steadily on.
None of this would have been possible whilst Gaddafi was still in power. As founder of the African Union, its biggest donor, and its one-time elected Chairman, he wielded serious influence on the continent. It was partly thanks to him that the US was forced to establish AFRICOM’s HQ in Stuttgart in Germany when it was established in February 2008, rather than in Africa itself; he offered cash and investments to African governments who rejected US requests for bases. Libya under his leadership had an estimated $150 billion of investments in Africa, and the Libyan proposal, backed with £30billion cash, for an African Union Development Bank would have seriously reduced African financial dependence on the West. In short, Gaddafi’s Libya was the single biggest obstacle to AFRICOM penetration of the continent.
Now he has gone, AFRICOM is stepping up its work. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan showed the West that wars in which their own citizens get killed are not popular; AFRICOM is designed to ensure that in the coming colonial wars against Africa, it will be Africans who do the fighting and dying, not Westerners. The forces of the African Union are to become integrated into AFRICOM under a US-led chain of command. Gaddafi would never have stood for it; that is why he had to go.
And if you want a vision of Africa under AFRICOM tutelage, look no further than Libya, NATO’s model of an African state: condemned to decades of violence and trauma, and utterly incapable of either providing for its people, or contributing to regional or continental independence. The new military colonialism in Africa must not be allowed to advance another inch.
Dan Glazebrook writes for the Morning Star newspaper and is one of the co-ordinators for the British branch of the International Union of Parliamentarians for Palestine. He can be contacted at
This this article was first published at Counterpunch

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