Category Archives: Libya

Benghazi and the deepening crisis of the Obama administration

16 May 2013
The controversy over last year’s Al Qaeda assault on US diplomatic and CIA facilities in Benghazi, Libya has been revived amid a deepening political crisis of the Obama administration.
Even as the debate between the Obama White House and its Republican opponents becomes more heated, however, the real issues underlying the September 11, 2012 attack, which claimed the lives of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans, remain hidden.
Some Republicans have gone so far as to suggest that administration’s handling of the Benghazi affair could become grounds for impeachment of the Democratic president. There is a sense that Obama, also embroiled in controversies over state spying on the media and IRS harassment of groups politically opposed to the administration, is in serious trouble as a result of anti-democratic and militarist policies pursued behind the backs of the American people.
As always, the presentation of these developments by the American media is dishonest and deliberately misleading.
The media has largely reduced the matter to the small change of electoral politics; whether the White House—aiming to fend off a Republican attack on the eve of the 2012 election—had a hand in altering “talking points” prepared for then-US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, who provided the first public explanation of the fatal assault in Benghazi.
This thesis, advanced by the Republicans, suggests that the White House was determined to prevent the truth about Benghazi from interfering with Obama’s plan to run on his record of supposed successes in the “war on terror”—most notably the assassination of Osama bin Laden. Thus, the administration misrepresented the Benghazi assault as a spontaneous anti-American demonstration by Libyans outraged over an anti-Muslim video produced in the US and aired over the Internet.
Some 100 pages of emails released by the White House Wednesday in an attempt to quash the controversy show that the CIA, the State Department, the Pentagon, the FBI, the National Security Council and the White House all intervened in the editing of Rice’s script, with the State Department exerting the greatest pressure to remove references to Al Qaeda and Libyan Islamist militias that were present in its first drafts.
These concerns suggest that there was far more at stake than denying the Republicans an opportunity to tarnish Obama’s record, or that the current controversy stems merely from a Republican strategy for torpedoing the anticipated 2016 Democratic presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton.
The overriding motive for concealing the identity of those who laid siege to the US facilities in Benghazi has its source in the tangled relationship that Washington had established with the elements that carried it out. Neither the Democratic White House nor the Republican leadership in Congress has any interest in probing this essential question.
For over a decade now, Washington under both Bush and Obama has sought to justify its military interventions abroad and its attacks on democratic rights at home in the name of a never-ending global war on terror, and specifically a supposed struggle to eradicate Al Qaeda.
The reality, however, is that the US and its intelligence agencies have long had a far more complex relationship with these forces than anyone in the US government cares to admit.
These are ties that stretch back to the founding of Al Qaeda as an adjunct to the CIA’s efforts to foment and finance an Islamist insurgency against the Soviet-backed government in Afghanistan beginning in the late 1970s. Before that, American intelligence had long viewed reactionary Islamist organizations in the Middle East, Iran, and Indonesia as useful assets in the struggle against socialist and left nationalist influences in these areas.
September 11, 2001, we have long been told, “changed everything,” but it did not fully change this relationship, which was so closely bound up with the terrorist attacks of that day.
In its intervention in Libya, Washington utilized Al Qaeda-linked fighters as a proxy ground force in the war to topple the secular regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, arming and advising them and using them to follow up the massive US-NATO bombing campaign.
Christopher Stevens was very much the point man in this relationship, having carefully studied the Islamist opponents of Gaddafi before the launching of the war for regime-change. He was deployed in April 2011 to Benghazi, where he coordinated the arming, funding and training of the so-called rebels, elements previously denounced by the US as terrorists and, in some cases, abducted, imprisoned and tortured by the CIA.
In October 2011, the imperialist intervention in Libya achieved its victory with the lynch-mob murder of Gaddafi, carried out by these US-backed forces.
One of the reasons that the Benghazi affair continues to roil political waters in Washington is that this same strategy is now being employed on an even larger scale in Syria, where once again even more dangerous Al Qaeda-connected militias are serving as the most important fighting force in the war to bring down Bashar al-Assad. As in Libya, the aim is to solidify US hegemony over the region’s oil wealth at the expense of American capitalism’s rivals, particularly Russia and China. In addition, regime-change in Damascus is sought as a means of preparing an even wider war against Iran.
With the Syrian intervention floundering, the Benghazi fiasco serves as a cautionary example of the potential rewards for success in these ventures. There are evidently bitter divisions within the American state apparatus over this policy.
The most likely explanation for the bloody events in Benghazi last September is that the relationship forged with Al Qaeda of the Maghreb turned sour in the aftermath of Gaddafi’s overthrow, perhaps with the Islamists believing that American promises had gone unfulfilled and they had not been adequately compensated for their services. With the assassination of Stevens, who was the US envoy to the “Libyan revolution,” they were sending a definite message to Washington.
This kind of “blowback” has a long and ugly history in US imperialism’s global interventions. On September 11, 2001, those blamed for the terrorist attacks had previously been hailed by Washington as “freedom fighters” and supported in the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan.
Even earlier, the Kennedy administration’s backing for the Cuban “gusanos” in the abortive 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba produced a layer of extreme right-wing terrorists in the US who were convinced that they were the victims of a political double-cross. This poisoned relationship in all likelihood played a role in the violent end of the Kennedy administration itself.
In the final analysis, the concerted efforts of the Obama administration, the State Department and the various intelligence agencies to avoid mention of Al Qaeda in the account of the Benghazi attacks was aimed at covering up the enduring covert relationship with this terrorist network and the fact that it is once again creating explosive crises in which the peoples of the Middle East and potentially the US itself are the innocent victims.
Bill Van Auken

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Libya wracked by protests targeting government and French forces

By Jean Shaoul 
3 May 2013
Violence is engulfing Libya’s capital city, Tripoli. Coming less than a year after elections that were trumpeted as a vindication of the NATO-led invasion to topple the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, the renewed clashes testify to the tenuous hold that Prime Minister Ali Zeidan’s government has over the war-torn the country.
Last week, a car bomb blew up outside the French embassy, wounding two guards and several residents and causing extensive damage to buildings nearby. The bombing was thought to be the work of an Al Qaeda-linked group opposed to the French intervention last January in Mali against Islamist forces that had taken control over the northern part of that country. The previous week, Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM), Al Qaeda’s North African arm, had threatened retaliation.
Yesterday, a bomb destroyed a police station in the eastern city of Benghazi. There were no casualties.
Only a few days ago, the French parliament voted to extend its military mission in Mali, while the United Nations has raised the prospect of a second “parallel” task force to carry out “anti-terrorist” operations “outside the UN mandate”. This special unit is to be set up primarily by France and will be stationed either within Mali’s borders or elsewhere in West Africa.
French embassies across North Africa had been on high alert since the bomb attack on the United States consulate and a CIA facility in Benghazi in September that killed the US ambassador and three other officials, and particularly after armed militants seized hostages in the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria, demanding a prisoner release and an end to France’s operations in Mali. Thirty-eight civilians were killed in the Algerian army’s botched rescue operation.
France worked closely with Qatar and other Gulf petro-monarchies, which financed, armed and trained Islamist forces to oust Gaddafi, and is currently working with Doha, as well as Ankara and Riyadh, which are backing forces including the Al Nusra Front, which is linked to Al-Qaeda in Iraq, in a sectarian war to overthrow Syria’s president Bashar Al-Assad and isolate Iran.
The NATO war undermined the tenuous equilibrium Gaddafi helped keep among Tuareg and other tribal groups in the Sahara. Together with the influence of regional Islamist groups, boosted by NATO’s decision to place Al Qaeda-linked Libyans in positions of power, this undermined the Malian military’s control over the country’s restive north.
Some of these forces sought to wrest control of Mali and its mineral resources from the French-backed military junta in Bamako, cutting across France’s geo-strategic and commercial interests in Libya and its former colonies in North and West Africa.
France sent its military into Mali to drive out the Islamist and tribal armed forces. Now, Islamist groups ejected from Mali have moved north, crossing the Sahara through Algeria and Niger back into Libya, fuelling a growing insurgency. The cynical policy of using Islamists to advance France’s interests is now backfiring, as it did against the US in Benghazi last year, destabilising the NATO-installed regime.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who flew to Libya, said France “would work with the Libyan authorities to find out who had carried out the attack.” This may mean the dispatch of French special forces.
In other incidents, at least 200 gunmen have been surrounding the foreign ministry, the interior ministry and the state news agency since Sunday, demanding that officials who had worked for Gaddafi be banned from senior positions in the new government. On Tuesday, they occupied the finance ministry. Policemen also stormed the interior ministry earlier in the week, protesting pay.
There have been growing protests against former regime figures who still hold important positions. Last March, protesters barricaded legislators inside the Congress building for hours, insisting they pass a law prohibiting members of the old regime from holding office. Such a law, depending upon how it is implemented, would affect 80 percent of the National Congress, and if extended to the judiciary would remove almost all the judges.
Crucially, it would affect the cabinet, which includes ministers from the National Forces Alliance, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, and the Justice and Construction Party, as well as so-called independents, regional leaders and some former regime figures. Their confirmation by Congress last October led to angry protests outside the Congress building, which were dispersed by gunfire from the security forces.
Zeidan was a former diplomat who fell out with Gaddafi in 1980 and lived in exile in Switzerland where he worked as a lawyer. He was one of the founding members of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NSFL), which worked for the armed overthrow of the Libyan regime in the 1980s, backed by Saudi Arabia and the CIA.
In 2011, he served as the National Transitional Council’s European envoy and played a key role in persuading French president Nicolas Sarkozy to support the anti-Gaddafi forces. His party came second in the elections after the National Forces Alliance.
The NATO-led neo-colonial invasion of Libya in 2011 cut oil output, its primary source of revenue, to virtually zero and destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure. As a result, the economy contracted by more than 40 percent in 2011, from which it has yet to recover. Libya already suffered from massive social inequality, 50 percent youth unemployment, large economic disparities between the regions, and corruption. All of these problems were exacerbated by the war, which forced a million people to flee their homes.
Libya now functions as a global weapons bazaar, sending arms and fighters to Syria and other conflict areas. Within Libya, there are hundreds of militias, many affiliated to Al Qaeda, which fought in the NATO war against the Gaddafi regime.
These armed brigades now fight pitched battles against rival groups for “zones of influence” in Libya’s towns and cities. There were particularly deadly clashes in Zintan and Zuara over who should guard the oil and gas complex in Western Libya belonging to Mellitah, a joint venture between Libya and Eni, the Italian energy group, before the army restored order.
A recent report from the International Crisis Group spells out Libya’s pervasive insecurity. Armed gangs proliferate and lawlessness abounds. There is no functioning justice system in many parts of the country. Armed groups, originally sanctioned by Libya’s Transitional National Council, continue to run prisons and enforce their own summary justice systems, including assassinations, torture, abductions, and attacks on government forces.
The government is trying to cut the flow of men and weapons into its southern border region with the help of surveillance equipment supplied by Washington, which has set up a base for drones in Niger, from which it can monitor Mali and Libya. The Libyan government has also completed a 108-mile trench through its southwest desert border area to deter smugglers.
Zeidan is seeking to clear the militias out of the eastern port city of Benghazi, where attacks by Islamist militants are on the rise, but lacks the armed forces to do so. As of last December, the US has been supplying Libya with drones and an Orion electronic warfare aircraft to help it gain control of the city.
The government has launched a crackdown on the militias in Tripoli, with security forces stationed throughout the city. They have emptied several illegal detention centres and seized 36 bases used by the militias.
The continuation of these conflicts and the descent into street fighting expose as a lie the justification for the NATO-led war for regime change—that it would bring democracy and human rights—and the so-called left groups that supported it. These were convenient fictions behind which the US and its allies could advance their interests—by taking control of Libya’s oil wealth.

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Two Years After Launching Libya Intervention

Arms from Libya are spreading out across the whole continent. 
By Alexander MEZYAEV
March 19, 2013 “Information Clearing House” -“SCF” – March 19 is the date the NATO intervention against Libya was launched two years ago. This day in 2011 NATO started combat actions against the Arab Jamahiriya under the pretext of complying with the United Nations Security Council resolution N 1973. It was illegal for the resolution allowed “to take all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack in the country,” but an armed intervention was not and could not have been included. A number of steps envisioned by the resolution were illegal by themselves. For instance, the introduction of “no fly zone” is a flagrant violation of Libya’s state sovereignty on the one hand, and the United Nations Charted on the other.
On March 14 a special United Nations session marked the two year anniversary of NATO’s aggression, a new resolution was adopted. The authors were Australia, Luxemburg, Morocco, Ruanda, Great Britain, France and the United States. The Security Council extended for 12 months the mandate of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya to assist the authorities in defining national needs and priorities and match those with offers of strategic and technical advice, and modified the two-year-old ban on arms imports to boost the country’s security and disarmament efforts. The tasks include managing the democratic transition and included technical advice and assistance to the electoral process and the drafting of a new constitution; rule of law promotion and human rights protection; restoration of public security; countering weapons proliferation; and supporting efforts to promote reconciliation. (1)
Besides, the new resolution introduces a number of significant changes into the existing relationship with the country. First, the solution of the issue related to the country’s frozen assets. The Council relegated to the Special Committee to study in consultation with the Libyan government the measures introduced by the resolutions 1970, 1973 and 2009 focused on ”the hidden assets of the two listed entities — the Libyan Investment Authority and the Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio — and on the assets of the listed individuals, most of which were believed to be held abroad in different names. In particular, the Panel had collected information regarding efforts by certain listed individuals to negate the effects of the assets freeze measures by the use of front companies and by accomplices who had assisted them. The Panel also reported on the implementation, or lack thereof, of the asset freeze by certain Member States”. The Committee is to abrogate the sanctions against the two entities mentioned when it finds it expedient so that free excess to assets would be guaranteed in the interests of Libya people.(2)
Second, there were significant steps taken aimed at liberalization of arms supplies. In important adjustments to the arms embargo, the Council lifted the requirement that the Sanctions Committee approve supplies of non-lethal military equipment and assistance for humanitarian or protective use.(3) It also removed the need for notification to the Committee of non-lethal military equipment being supplied to the Libyan Government for security or disarmament assistance, and urged the Government to improve the monitoring of arms supplied to it, including through the issuance of end-user certificates.(4) 
At that the resolution concedes there are constant breeches of the rules according to which the measures are to be implemented. The arms from Libya are spreading out across the whole continent. On December 16 the government announced the closure of borders with Algeria, Chad, Niger and Sudan. The southern areas of the country were declared “closed military zones”. By the way, Mali is not the only victim of arms supplies coming from Libya. The Darfur conflict may get sparked again: Sudan says the arms supplies to the rebels have significantly increased. Al-Bashir, the President of Sudan, acknowledged he supplied with the Libyan “revolutionaries” with weapons in 2011 to topple Gaddafi.(5)
The arms embargo against Libya is a blow to the interests of Russia and China. It the second time, the first time embargo went into effect in 1992 aimed against Russian supplies. The Council’s Sanctions Committee has recently asked China about the arms the Jamahiriya wanted to get, but didn’t, in the summer of 2011. The same Committee asked Russia in 2012 about serial number and individual markings of the AK 103-2 rifle captured by the Niger government to make precise if it was manufactured in Russia and what country has Russia sold it to. There has been no reply as yet.(6)
A mechanism is worked out to avoid compensation to the countries that suffered losses as a result of terminating the contracts which had been concluded before with the Gaddafi government. The UNSC resolution N 1973, “Decides that all States, including the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, shall take the necessary measures to ensure that no claim shall lie at the instance of the Libyan authorities, or of any person or body in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, or of any person claiming through or for the benefit of any such person or body, in connection with any contract or other transaction where its performance was affected by reason of the measures taken by the Security Council in resolution 1970 (2011), this resolution and related resolutions”. (7) Remember, Russia abstained from adopting this anti-Libyan and at the same time, anti-Russian resolution…
The process of Libya’s disarmament is kicked off. It affects two core areas: transfers to the neighboring states and the liquidation of chemical weapons. The new resolution’s provision on providing assistance to the “democratic” government of Libya is something one can understand: no matter victorious reports on the advent of democracy in the “new” Libya, the government doesn’t yet control the larger part of the country. That’s what the UN experts report says straight, “the National Transitional Council’s control has remained conditional, a product of continual negotiation with autonomous militia and local councils”. This conclusion the UN experts made in order to justify the Libyan government’s mass crimes”. The document says “Jockeying between rival militias has led to a number of violent incidents, while the lack of centralized control limits the Council’s ability to enforce international standards of human rights and due process”.(8)
The new Libya parliament sanctioned force against the people of Bani-Walid that remained faithful to the old regime. The city was sieged and then seized by force. The new democratic parliament also approved a “political isolation law” that isolates from political life all who supported Gaddafi. At that, democrats cannot come to agreement. The former Libyan Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur could not make it through a confidence vote in the parliament. Ali Zeidan, the incumbent Prime Minister of Libya, couldn’t push four new ministers through the High Commission for the Implementation of Integrity and Patriotism, including the candidate for the minister of internal affairs position. Libya is democratized and, any normal democratic state needs international assistance. On December 17 International Ministerial Conference on Support to Libya in the Areas of Security, Justice and Rule of Law took place in London with the participation of the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and the European Union. On February 12, a conference devoted to the same agenda took place in Paris. The United Nations leadership openly acknowledges the UN Mission does “assist” Libyan prosecutors and courts. They promise ‘assistance” in the preparation of the new constitution. Is it not the most obvious demonstration of Libya’s democracy and independence?
The discussions on federal structure, or legal territorial dismemberment of the country, are in full swing. It is accompanied by religious hatred, mainly aimed at the country’s Christians (9) , but not only. Sufi shrines are attacked more and more often…
At the end of last year a few serious clashed took place between the Salafi Muslims and local residents defending a Sufi shrine in the eastern Libyan town of Rajma, east of Benghazi. It was preceded by August attacks by the Salafi against the historic mausoleum of attacks by the Salafi against the historic mausoleum of Abdussalam al Asmar in Zlitan, the mausoleum of Sheikh Ahmed al-Zarruq in Misrata, the mosque of Sidi Al-Sha’ab in Tripoli…
Speaking to the United Nations, Prime Minister of Libya Ali Zeidan was open enough and expressed “gratitude to all partners and allies from friendly countries” that supported the coup in Libya in different ways. He said it was thanks to their efforts Libya won on October 20 2011. (10) 
Besides the prolongation of the UN Libya Mission mandate, new “partners and allies” are to come. It has just been announced the European Union will establish its border security mission in the middle of 2013… 
(1) Paragraph 7 resolution № 2095 March 14 2013 , // UN Document: S/RES/2095 (2013).
(2) Paragraph 13, resolution № 2095.
(3) It was introduced by item 9(a) of the UN Security Council resolution № 1970 (2011).
(4) The notification or absence of negative decision was envisaged by item 13(a) of the resolution 2009 (2011).
(5) Bashir says Sudan armed Libyan rebels, // Sudan Tribune, 26 October 2011 (official website of the «Sudan Tribune» (Sudan),40547 ).
(6) Paragraph 135,Final report of the Panel of Experts in accordance with paragraph 24 (d) of resolution 1973 (2011). February 17, 2012/UN Document: S/2012/163.
(7) Paragraph 27 UNSC resolution №1973 (2011).
(8) Paragraph 22 of Letter dated 17 February 2012 from the Panel of Experts on Libya established pursuant to resolution 1973 (2011) addressed to the President of the Security Council //UN document S/2012/163;
(9) Copt churches are exploded; a few hundred people were dead and wounded in December 2012 – March 2013.
(10) The record of the UN session on March 14 2013//UN document: S/PV.6934, p.7.

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Amb. "Stephens Was Running Guns" Gen. Boykin’s Claims U.S. Gun-Running to Syrian Rebels Through Benghazi

By Billy Hallowell
You can watch Boykin’s interview, during which he made these statements, below:
January 24, 2013 “CNS News” — The CIA is claiming that retired Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin is incorrect in alleging that it’s possible that the U.S. was considering offering support or already in the act of supporting Syrian rebels with weapons via Benghazi, Libya. Boykin, who had an esteemed career as a commander of the U.S. Special Forces Command, the deputy under secretary of defense for intelligence and as a CIA staffer, made his comments during a recent video interview with CNS News.
On Tuesday, a CIA spokesperson told the same outlet that Boykin’s “assertions are both baseless and flat wrong.” The general has publicly wondered why U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was in Benghazi on Sept. 11 — the day that an attack on the consulate inevitably killed the American diplomat. The former special forces commander has posited that an operation to assist Syrian rebels might explain Stevens’ presence in the city.
“Then what was Stevens doing there on September 11 of 2012?,” Boykin said in an exchange with CNS News. “More supposition was that he was now funneling guns to the rebel forces in Syria, using essentially the Turks to facilitate that. Was that occurring, (a), and if so, was it a legal covert action?”
Here, Boykin is referring to the fact that Stevens, who was residing in Tripoli after being sent back to Libya as ambassador in May 2012, had gone to Benghazi on Sept. 10 — the day before the attack.
There were only five State Department mission employees in Benghazi at the time of Stevens’ arrival on Sept. 10. While the ambassador brought two security personnel with him, one left on the morning of Sept. 11, leaving six personnel and then Stevens, himself.
Boykin, who said he could not prove that a Syrian mission was on the table, noted that he had information that led him to believe that this might be the case. When asked by CNS why a “skeletal group” of State Department officials was present in Benghazi at the time, the former commander expressed his theory.
“Well, I think that they were anticipating that they would eventually be given a directive to support the Syrian rebels and that that would be the hub of that activity,” Boykin said. “So, I think they kept the facilities open, they kept them functioning, they had somebody there that had to be there because of the communications equipment, because of the potentially classified material that was still there.”
He went on to say that he believes the personnel stayed there in anticipation of helping the Syrian rebels, nothing that “they’d probably been given a heads up on that.” Boykin claims that he has information that corroborates a Syrian rebel support program. If, indeed, this is the case, he said that he has no problem with such a mission, pending it was done legally.
However, Boykin noted that if the program ran without following proper protocol (notifying Congress about the mission), then he would take issue with it. In such a case, he said that an operation moving under such parameters would be “outside of the way America should be functioning.” And if Congress was notified, Boykin believes the American people deserve to know the details.
“In the context of why Ambassador Stephens was there that day, I think that the American public needs an explanation,” he told CNS, noting that he doesn’t believe that the exact details of the covert mission need to be released — just the general sentiment. “And if that explanation is that he was there to meet with the Turkish General Counsel who was helping to facilitate the flow of arms, then I think that needs to come out.”
Following the CIA’s claims that Boykin’s statements on the Syrian matter are “baseless and flat wrong,” Boykin responded, seemingly doubling down on his stance.
“I believe there must be an explanation for why the ambassador was there on 9/11,” he told CNS. “I believe there has been significant information that has come out recently calling into question whether the ambassador was either involved in or making preparations for supplying material to the Syrian resistance forces.”
(H/T: CNS News)

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US spy agencies edited Benghazi “talking points”

By Patrick Martin 
24 November 2012
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the central coordinating body for the US intelligence apparatus, removed references to “al Qaeda” and “terrorism” from the documents that guided the initial Obama administration response to the September 11 attacks on US facilities in Benghazi, Libya, according to reports appearing this week in the US media.
CBS News and the Los Angeles Times both carried accounts of the DNI’s role in editing the “talking points” provided to US government spokesmen, including Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, during the first week after the attacks on the US consulate and a CIA annex that left four Americans dead, including US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.
Rice appeared on four Sunday television talk shows September 16, delivering a message that linked the Benghazi attack to protests that swept the Muslim world over an anti-Muslim video made in Los Angeles and publicized in early September over the Internet.
DNI spokesman Shawn Turner told CBS News, “The intelligence community assessed from the very beginning that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.” But the DNI office, reviewing “talking points” for Rice and other officials drafted by the CIA, downplayed the planned character of the attack and changed references to “terrorism” and “Al Qaeda” to a more general attribution of the violence to “extremists.” Further edits were made by the FBI, which was in charge of investigating the Benghazi incident, the network reported.
According to CBS, the DNI toned down the references to terrorism because “the links to al Qaeda were deemed too ‘tenuous’ to make public.” However, another “senior intelligence official” who spoke to CBS defended the edits as made necessary by the need to protect “sensitive details.”
In the final weeks of the US election campaign, Republican Party spokesmen and right-wing media mouthpieces like Fox News portrayed Rice’s appearances as a deliberate effort by the White House to deceive the American public and sustain Obama’s posture as the “commander-in-chief” who killed Osama bin Laden and decimated the Al Qaeda group.
This polemic was itself politically motivated, as the Romney campaign and its ultra-right backers sought to generate an “October surprise” that could be used to destabilize the Obama administration and even defeat Obama’s reelection bid.
The Republican campaign took advantage of the inability of the Obama administration to explain the actual circumstances surrounding the Benghazi debacle: the close ties which American imperialism has formed with its nominal adversary in the “war on terror,” the Islamic fundamentalist groups linked to Al Qaeda.
The Obama administration and the military made use of the services of Islamic fundamentalist gunmen in the campaign to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, with the result that such forces now dominate much of the country, including the eastern region around Benghazi, where the US-backed revolt began.
The attack on the consulate and CIA annex was conducted by the very same forces armed and mobilized by the CIA against Gaddafi, who now turned their weapons against their American sponsors. This was a classic example of “blowback,” similar to what took place in Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s, where the CIA-backed “mujaheddin,” organized to fight the Soviet army, recruited Osama bin Laden and gave rise to Al Qaeda in the first place.
Even more important than their role last year in Libya, similar forces are on the US payroll in Syria, where they play a leading role in the armed attacks on regime of Bashar al-Assad, now the target of an imperialist-inspired campaign of destabilization. In the eyes of the Obama administration, the overthrow of Assad, Iran’s only Arab ally, would pave the way for the next stage in American imperialism’s takeover of the Middle East, a military attack on Iran itself.
It is clear from the DNI’s role in vetting the official statements on Benghazi that references to terrorism were removed, not to avoid short-term electoral embarrassment to the Obama-Biden campaign, but to avoid drawing undue attention to the relations that have been formed between the US military-intelligence apparatus and its supposed chief adversary, Al Qaeda.
Former CIA Director David Petraeus discussed these issues in closed-door testimony November 15-16 before the House and Senate intelligence committees. Petraeus abruptly resigned November 9 in what was officially described as an unrelated scandal over an extramarital affair. There is little question, however, that his ouster is related to the ongoing political conflict within the US military-intelligence apparatus and in the US ruling elite more generally over how to pursue imperialist interests in the Middle East.
Senator John McCain of Arizona, who has led the denunciations of supposed White House interference in the Benghazi affair, admitted he was “somewhat surprised and frustrated” by the news reports that the intelligence agencies, not the White House, had toned down references to terrorism in the first statements on the Libyan events.
Another Republican leader, House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers, issued a statement claiming the DNI’s explanation contradicts that provided by Petraeus. He said that he “looks forward to discussing this new explanation” with DNI director James Clapper “as soon as possible.”
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[12 November 2012]

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Confirmed : US Was Holding and Interrogating "Prisoners" at Benghazi Annex


Jennifer Griffen at FOX News today confirmed that the US was holding and interrogating Libyan, Arab and African prisoners at the Benghazi annex near the consulate compound. at the Benghazi annex near the consulate compound. US agents handed three prisoners over to Libyan authorities on their way out of the city on September 12. The prisoners may have been held in the compound for several days.

Posted November 13, 2012

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How Colonel Gaddafi and the Western Establishment Created a Pantomime World

He’s Behind You

By Adam Curtis

October 25, 2012 “Information Clearing House” – Things come and go in the news cycle like waves of fever. A year ago Colonel Gaddafi was killed and an avalanche of camera phone footage of his last minutes was played again and again on the news channels. Then it stopped – and Gaddafi disappeared off into the dark.
What remains is all the footage recording Gaddafi’s forty year career as a global weirdo. But the closer you look at the footage and what lies behind it – you begin to discover an odd story that casts a rather unflattering light on many of the elites in both the British and American establishments.
Because over those forty years all sorts of people from the west got mixed up with Gaddafi. Some were simply after his money and they flattered and crept to him because they wanted to be his friend. But for many others he was more useful as an enemy and they helped to turn Gaddafi into a two-dimensional cartoon-like global villain.
Those involved were not just politicians, but journalists, spies from the CIA and MI6,  members of Washington think tanks, academics, PR firms, philosophers of humanitarian intervention, posh left wing revolutionaries and the leaders of the IRA.
They all had different aims, and were trying to use Gaddafi in different ways. But underlying almost all of them was a common fear – a feeling that power and influence was slipping away from them, and that increasingly they didn’t understand what was going on in the world.
In response, all these different groups began to simplify the world. They all did this in their own ways, but whether they were politicians or journalists or spies, they all began to create an almost pantomime-like picture of the world that maintained their own illusion of control and helped to disguise their loss of power from the general public.
And Colonel Gaddafi happily played a starring role in that pantomime as an absurd clown because it too gave him the global power and influence that he craved.
Together the western elites and Gaddafi helped to lead us into a simplistic two-dimensional vision of the world – full of exaggerations and falsehoods. A fake bubble of certainty that has imprisoned us in the west – and is now preventing us from understanding what is really going on in the world outside.

The story begins back in the mid-1970s with a lonely and frustrated Colonel Gaddafi. He had come to power in 1969 with a burning ambition to transform the world – by liberating the Arab countries from the domination of the west, especially from Britain and America. But no-one would help him – or even cared. He was simply ignored.
Gaddafi was following the vision that had been set out by his hero Gamal Abdel Nasser, the President of Egypt. Nasser had promised to unify the Arab world and transform it into a new revolutionary force that would be strong enough to stand up to the western powers.
But then, in 1970, Nasser died and his vision faltered. Gaddafi tried to keep it alive by unifying Libya with other countries – first with Egypt under Sadat, then with Tunisia and Algeria in something he called “The Steadfastness Front”. He even tried Idi Amin in Uganda. But one by one the Arab countries gave up and slipped back to being the compliant puppets of America or Russia.
And Gaddafi was left all alone without any friends.
Here is some of the earliest footage of Gaddafi. It starts with his first appearance ever before the western press.
But Gaddafi wasn’t going to give up. He was determined to challenge the old colonial powers.
He was convinced that Northern Ireland was very like Libya. The Catholics, he believed, were fighting a revolutionary struggle against the yoke of British imperialism. So he offered to supply them with money and arms.
He also offered the IRA semi-ambassadorial status – and an IRA supporter went out to live in Tripoli as the “ambassador”. His Libyan handlers gave him the code-name “Mister Eddie” and Eddie lived a life of luxury in a grand mansion in the heart of the city eating his meals off the crockery of the deposed King Idris, while old trawlers took lots of guns and semtex from Libya to deserted coves on the coast of Ireland.
Gaddafi also wanted to undermine the west’s support of Israel. He supported Palestinian groups fighting the Israelis. But he also decided to do something more dramatic – to send a submarine to torpedo the QE2 that was taking a group of British tourists to visit Israel. Gaddafi mentioned this to President Sadat – who told him that he was completely mad.
And Gaddafi also funded a left-wing revolutionary party in Britain. It was called the Workers Revolutionary Party and its most famous members were the actress Vanessa Redgrave and her brother Corin. The only problem was that it was probably the most useless of all the revolutionary parties in Britain.
It was run a a paranoid Trotskyite called Gerry Healy who believed all other Trotskyites were really CIA double agents. And Healy was also secretly forcing lots of young female comrades to have sex with him “for the sake of the revolution”.
I have found a wonderful film that was transmitted just once in a general election programme in 1974 at 4am in the morning. It shows what happened that night when Vanessa Redgrave stood as a WRP candidate for parliament – against a Labour MP called Reg Prentice. It was in Newham in east London and her behaviour as the results are announced shows dramatically why Colonel Gaddafi was backing the wrong revolutionary horse.
It is also very funny and very sad at the same time.
But there was also a sinister side to this relationship with Colonel Gaddafi. Later in the 1980s the WRP held an inquiry into what really went on. The report is still kept secret, but parts of it have been published. If these bits are true, they say that in April 1976 Corin Redgrave had signed a secret deal with the Libyan government for:
providing intelligence information on the ‘activities, names and positions held in finance, politics, business, the communications media and elsewhere’ by ‘Zionists’. It has strongly anti-Semitic undertones, as no distinction is made between Jews and Zionists
In other words Corin Redgrave agreed to use the party as Colonel Gaddafi’s spy agency in Britain and feed him information about prominent Jews in British society.
Here is Mr Redgrave preparing to do a party political broadcast on the BBC – promising to abolish parliament and create a workers state. But he seems to be most interested in how his tie looks.
By the late 70s Gaddafi decided that there was only one solution to his dilemma. If all the other revolutionaries were so useless – he would have to develop his own global revolutionary theory.
So he did just that and he gave it a name. He called it “The Third International Theory”. Gaddafi had discovered what he said was a Third Way, an alternative to capitalism and communism.
Traditional democracy as practiced in Britain and America was a sham he said. It was actually a form of dictatorship. All a party needed was 51% of the vote and it could then impose its ideas on everyone for four or five years – just like clans in Libya did.
The alternative was a new kind of direct democracy in which the people governed themselves. There were no parties – instead Peoples’ Committees elected People’s Congresses that would manage things. Then there were Revolutionary Committees that made sure the Congresses and their administrators did things in a revolutionary way.
In reality it was a one-man show. Gaddafi made decisions about everything and played all the different committees and congresses off against each other to maintain his power.
But Gaddafi was terribly proud of it. He wrote it all down in what he called The Green Book which he then published in lots of languages because he believed it was a universal, global theory.
You can see just how much this idea pervaded Libyan society from these odd shots I found in some news rushes. They were filmed on a Libyan Ferry going from Malta to Tripoli in the early 1990s. Below decks there are permanent metal signs everywhere explaining the Third International Theory of direct democracy. Good music on the PA system as well.
Gaddafi wanted to tell the world about his vision. He began to invite the BBC to come to Libya and film long interviews so he could explain how important it was.
The trouble though was that every time the BBC interviewers turned up they weren’t really that interested in his theory. Instead they wanted to ask him whether he is sending arms to the IRA, and whether he was really planning to torpedo the QE2.
That’s what they are really interested in. Not the Third Revolutionary Theory.
Colonel Gaddafi starts off being grumpy about this. But then you can see his face change as he begins to realise what the submarine story is doing for him. That maybe he doesn’t need friends – what he really needs are powerful enemies that will make him, and his Third International Theory, infamous, and thus famous.
There is also a fascinating moment in one when Gaddafi breaks into English and describes his time when he came to study in Britain as a young military student. He tells how he went to Beaconsfield and was bullied by British students there. You begin to feel sympathy with him – and then he blows it. They must have been Jews, he says.
Then, in the early 1980s Gaddafi got what he wanted, a global infamy that would make him a powerful presence on the world stage. And he got it because he suddenly became useful to two groups at the heart of the power structure of the West who were facing the growing uncertainty of the time.

One was a new wave of right wing ideologues around President Reagan in America who wanted to find a way of regenerating the moral purpose of their country in the world.
The other was the secret services in both America and Britain. The spies were beginning to realise that the Soviet Union might no longer be a serious threat – and that might threaten their own existence.
What they needed was a new enemy. And the more terrifying, unpredictable and mad the better.
At the beginning of 1981 President Ronald Reagan promised to regenerate America’s moral mission in the world – above all to confront the evil empire of the Soviet Union.
But in the back rooms of the CIA, analysts were beginning to question whether this was necessary. They said that all the data they were gathering showed that the Soviet Union was in a terrible state. Even the invasion of Afghanistan, they said, was defensive. There was no way that the Russians wanted to take over the world any longer – even if they ever had.
But the new head of the CIA, William Casey, and the new Secretary of State, General Alexander Haig didn’t want to hear this. They were convinced that America had to have something to fight for.
And bit by bit, through the spring and summer of 1981 a new enemy started to emerge in the American newspapers. It was Colonel Gaddafi. State Department officials and other administration “sources” briefed journalists that Gaddafi was at the heart of “the new global disease of terrorism”.
In August, American jets patrolling off the coast of Libya shot down two Libyan fighters over the Gulf of Sidra. Gaddafi was furious and began issuing all sorts of threats against America.
Then, in October, a famous journalist called Jack Anderson wrote a sensational article. It said that Colonel Gaddafi had sent a six-man hit team to the US to assassinate President Reagan. Sources in the administration, he said, had concrete evidence that they were led by the most famous terrorist in the world called Carlos “The Jackal”.
Then Newsweek said that Gaddafi had equipped them with “bazookas, grenade launchers and even portable SAM-7 missiles capable of bringing down the President’s plane”. The State department even issued photo fits of the six assassins.
But it seems that it was all completely untrue. Made up by the Reagan administration.
Here are some extracts from a documentary made later in the 1980s in which the journalist Jack Anderson explains how he was fed the story, why he believed it – and how it turned out not to be true.
It also includes an interview with one of the administration men who fed the story to the press. He was part of a committee that had been specifically set up to turn Gaddafi into the mad dog of terror. But even he admits that it was based on very little evidence.
It’s a fascinating piece because it is the earliest evidence of what would become known later inside the Reagan administration as “Perception Management”. This was the idea that you could use the press and television to tell stories that simplified the world for the American people and turned it into a struggle of good against evil. A cartoon-like picture that justified America’s policies in the world.
It didn’t matter whether the stories were completely true or not because the overriding moral aim was good.
But Colonel Gaddafi didn’t mind the lies at all – because they turned him instantly into a global figure of power and importance.
Gaddafi was a man who understood Perception Management as well, if not better, than the men around Reagan. And he now began to act the part to the hilt. His key ally in this was TV – and in particular the rise of 24 hour news. Underlying it was a shift away from considered packages and towards an exciting sense of immediacy.
Gaddafi was brilliant at it. Here are some of the best bits from the archives of that time. It starts with him appearing on a live satellite link to a mass meeting of The Nation of Islam in Chicago. Gaddafi offers to fund and arm a 100,000 strong black army in America so they can then go and shoot the whites who have oppressed them for so long.
And here is a bit from a film exposing how Colonel Gaddafi has invited German rocket scientists, some of whom had Nazi pasts, to come and build a rocket in Libya. Gaddafi appears in the film explaining that Libya wants to investigate outer space for peaceful purposes. But the film says it may be also so he can attack anywhere in Europe within minutes.
The German company was called OTRAG, and it had previously been building rockets in Zaire for President Mobutu. The BBC had reported on this the year before.
The film has a great graphic showing how the rockets could hit Israel and even Europe. It is remarkably like all the graphics produced about Saddam’s rockets attacking Europe in the “dodgy dossier” in 2003
And through it all Gaddafi plays the coy innocent beautifully. He knows just what he is up to.
And here’s a great rant attacking America
And then suddenly in the midst of being the world’s most dangerous dictator, Gaddafi goes all soft and offers the hand of friendship. He invites the British national team to come and take part in the Libyan International Show Jumping Contest.
The BBC programme Nationwide made a film following the team and what happened. It is just a wonderful film. Not least because it includes a song Gaddafi commissioned – sung in English – to promote his Third Way theory. Plus lots of horses.
Here it is
Then Gaddafi went bad again. He arbitrarily arrested six British oil workers. Lots of people turned up to see him in his tent and plead for their release including a very odd Labour MP with a large plaster on his nose, and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s special envoy Terry Waite. There is a good bit where the Archbishop of Canterbury shows off the copy of the Koran that Colonel Gaddafi has sent him.
And the fashion choice Gaddafi makes when he walks in to be interviewed by the BBC’s Kate Adie is fantastic. As is his eye-rolling.
But then all this went horribly wrong when WPC Yvonne Fletcher was shot dead in April 1984 by a “revolutionary student” inside the Libyan Peoples’ Bureau in London.
Here are some bits of the avalanche of news coverage. Even in the face of the tragic killing Gaddafi plays the cartoon villain – claiming that really it was the British who shot her. But there is also a strange two-dimensionality to the presenters in the studios – and to some of the police involved, especially the detective inspector in charge that day outside the Bureau. His description of how he sees the Libyans as strange aliens sort of sums it up.
At this distance you can see how terrorism and the beginning of rolling news coverage in the 1980s were somehow starting to work together to create a strange construction of an unpredictable but yet simplified world. Figures like Gaddafi, and later Saddam Hussein, along with presenters in TV studios holding up AK 47s, and “opposition” figures shot in shadow all combined with each other to create a weird pantomime version of the world outside.
Perception Management.
This all culminated in 1986 when the Americans bombed Libya, claiming that Gaddafi had been the mastermind behind a wave of terrorist attacks at European airports and the bombing of a discotheque in Berlin.
Reagan explained that Gaddafi was one of the central figures of global terrorism. Along with Iran and North Korea he was part of a set of:
outlaw states run by the strangest collection of misfits, looney tunes and squalid criminals since the advent of the Third Reich.”
And yet again Gaddafi played up beautifully. Here is a fantastic hand held video of him in his bombed-out house the next morning. He calls Thatcher a “harlot” and says that the Americans are trying to stop him spreading his Third Way theory to the young of the world.
And he says that the Americans killed his adopted daughter in the raid – which later turned out not to be true.
But yet again most of the American allegations turned out not to be true.
A year later the BBC journalist Tom Bower made a film that examined the claims in detail. It makes a very powerful case that Gaddafi had nothing to do with the airport attacks. It also looks at the facts behind the Berlin discotheque bombing and questions how much Libya was really behind that as well.
The film interviews men from European intelligence agencies, from Israeli intelligence and even the ex-prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin. All of them say that the Americans had taken Colonel Gaddafi’s mad rantings after 1981 and assembled the fragments of rants and quotes into a dossier that they said was “evidence” of him being a terrorist mastermind.
The hard evidence, they all insist, is that Syria was behind the attacks. They say that Libya had been chosen as a “soft target”. It was too dangerous to confront the real culprit – Assad and the terrorist groups he directed – because of the dangers of destabilising the region. Instead you went for Gaddafi – a man without friends or allies. Even the Russians didn’t care about him.
Colonel Gaddafi had willingly helped the west turn him into a pantomime villain. That invented character was then very attractive to those in power in the west because it helped in turn make their simplified, and often fictional, version of the world seem real.
And it wasn’t just politicians and spies who got involved in this strange two-way collaboration. Increasingly journalists also found themselves seduced by the special power that Gaddafi had – he could help you transform the world into an entertaining story of global super-villains and a battle against dark forces – and he made it feel real.
But just as had happened with the politicians and spies this would lead some newspapers, and their grand traditions of investigation and truth-telling, to lose touch with reality and create a semi-fictional world.
It began with Arthur Scargill, the leader of the National Union of Mine Workers.
Back in 1984, at the height of the miners’ strike, the Sunday Times published a “sensational expose”. It said that the Chief Executive Officer of the NUM had gone to Libya, met with Colonel Gaddafi, and that Gaddafi had secretly given money to help the British miners.
The Sunday Times said that the NUM man – Roger Windsor – had travelled there with “the European representative of a Libyan-backed terrorist group” and a high-up man in Libyan intelligence. The terrorist representative apparently also ran a grocers shop in Doncaster.
Here is the TV report that night – including footage of the NUM man meeting Colonel Gaddafi that had been released by the Libyans.
A few months later the strike collapsed, and the story was forgotten. But five years later in 1990 the Daily Mirror and ITV’s “Cook Report” programme brought it back to life in a sensational way.
They alleged that Scargill had used Colonel Gaddafi’s money corruptly to pay off the mortgage on his house while his members starved. This effectively destroyed Scargill – because although many people thought him vain, pompous and scheming – no one had thought that he was corrupt.
It was full of breathless detail, of the money being smuggled through Heathrow in suitcases, being hidden in biscuit tins and then counted out and distributed in Arthur Scargill’s office.
Here is a taste of the avalanche of reaction. Including the Mirror’s new proprietor Robert Maxwell challenging Scargill to sue. I have also included an extraordinary shot from some news rushes of a camera constantly pursuing Scargill – up stairs, through corridors, into a ballroom and then through a car park. In its odd way it gives a very good sense of the mood, and of what Scargill was like as a person.
And, as he is followed, notice that Scargill stops to buy a left-wing newspaper called News Line. It is the paper of the Workers Revolutionary Party which had got funding from Colonel Gaddafi.
But it seems that all the allegations of corruption were completely untrue.
It was true that Mr Windsor went to Libya and met Colonel Gaddafi. There was some money that was lodged in a bank account in Doncaster – but none of it seems to have ever got to the NUM or Arthur Scargill.
But more than that – many journalists and MPs who have looked into the whole episode are convinced that Arthur Scargill and the NUM were somehow set up, possibly by MI5. That the trip by Mr Windsor to Libya and the money he said received was stage-managed or manipulated in some way by the British intelligence services to smear Scargill.
On the other hand none of them have produced solid evidence. Some have alleged that Mr Windsor was really working for MI5, which he firmly denies. Others have asked whether the so called terrorist from Doncaster was a plant. He too firmly denies any such thing.
Then – in 2002 – the Mirror editor who had published the original expose, Roy Greenslade, wrote an article saying that he now believed that everything they wrote was false, and that the Daily Mirror with its great tradition of investigative journalism had been duped. It is a very powerful and courageous piece and it ends like this:
I am now convinced that Scargill did not misuse strike funds and that the union didn’t get money from Libya. I also concede that, given the supposed wealth of Maxwell’s Mirror and the state of NUM finances, it was understandable that Scargill didn’t sue.
Nothing I have said should be taken as criticism of the Mirror journalists: we were all taken in. I can’t undo what has been done, but I am pleased to offer the sincerest of apologies to Heathfield and to Scargill, who is on the verge of retirement. I regret ever publishing that story. And that is the honest truth.”
You can find the whole article here. It is really good.
In the article Greenslade speculates whether the Daily Mirror had been duped as part of an MI5 plot to discredit Scargill. But he says it remains a strange mystery.
His article though is fascinating because of the wider picture it gives of what was beginning to happen to investigative journalism as it got involved in this cartoon-like world of “internal subversion” and “international terrorists” and mad dictators. It didn’t seem to be so much about just revealing the truth any more – rather it was helping create a sense of dark shadowy plots and impenetrable mysteries surrounding modern life.
And it was going to get a lot weirder – and yet again Colonel Gaddafi was going to be at the heart of it
On December the 21st 1988 a Pan Am flight from London to New York was blown up – and the debris came down on the small Scottish town of Lockerbie. It was one of the first of the modern terror panics – and what made it feel more intense and frightening was the avalanche of reporting in the new 24-hours news cycle.
In the face of this, investigative journalism was going to go beyond the fog of immediacy and cut through and tell the truth – what really happened.
And it did – or so it seemed. Within months of the attack the famous Sunday Times “Insight” team had a series of scoops that revealed that the bombing on the Pan Am plane was a revenge attack by Iran for the shooting down of an Iranian airliner by an American warship in the Gulf in 1988. The articles laid it all out in enormous detail – how the Iranians had paid a Palestinian terrorist group based in Syria to plant the bomb in a Toshiba cassette player. And that this had been done with the help of the Syrian authorities.
The terrorists were named and “intelligence sources” were quoted with absolute certainty saying that they knew this is what had happened. There was no mention at all of Libya.
But then suddenly in December 1990 there was there was a complete switch.
“Intelligence sources” in America began to tell journalists that they had found evidence that showed that it was Libya who had masterminded the bombing.
Then in June 1991 the British and American governments formally announced that Libya had been behind the bombing. Here is the first TV report, it includes a conservative MP called Teddy Taylor who had been to see Colonel Gaddafi. He raises the question that was going to lie at the heart of this puzzle.
Isn’t it a bit odd, he says, that at the very moment in 1990 when Syria became America’s ally in the first Gulf War, that America suddenly stopped accusing it of Lockerbie? And at the very same moment America and Britain suddenly find evidence proving it was Libya.
Suddenly the media was deluged with reports that said that the Lockerbie bombing had been carried out by Libya.
And many of the investigative journalists who had previously said that it was definitely Iran also changed their tune as well. Even the journalists who had written the Sunday Times articles saying there was concrete proof it was Iran and Syria now said it was the mad dog of terrorism – Colonel Gaddafi. And what’s more their “intelligence sources” were absolutely sure too.
But a few old-school investigative journalists held out against this sudden swerve. The main one was Paul Foot from Private Eye. He wrote a devastating pamphlet that tears part the whole American and British case against Libya.
Foot showed that much of it rested on the evidence of one extremely dubious witness called Mr Giaka who claimed to be high up in Libyan intelligence. In fact he was a mechanic in a garage who serviced the vehicles for Libyan intelligence – and he had been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the Americans.
Even his CIA handlers were very suspicious of him – and after two years of getting nothing from Mr Giaka they told him they would stop paying him unless he came up with some incriminating evidence for the US Department of Justice. The next day Giaka did just that – describing a samsonite suitcase that was loaded onto a plane in Malta by Libyan intelligence. Something he had forgotten to mention for two years.
Giaka explained:
“When I met with the representatives of the Department of Justice, they are very good investigators, and they can distinguish truth from lies. One way or another, they can obtain what they want.”
The other key piece of evidence was a tiny fragment of what the Americans said was a kind of timing device that had been sold only to Libya. It too was only discovered to be important 18 months after the bombing – but yet again Foot shows how dubious the claims were that the Americans made about this tiny fragment.
Foot’s pamphlet is a powerful piece of journalism that makes a strong argument that the case against Libya is at best massively flawed and more probably a work of fiction.
But it also shows what was happening to journalism – because Foot argues that the tradition of investigative journalism that the Sunday Times Insight team represented had fundamentally changed. And the reporting of Lockerbie and Gaddafi showed this.
When Rupert Murdoch had bought the Sunday Times in 1983 he had appointed a new editor who disapproved of the Insight column and its traditions. Foot says:
“One casualty was the tradition of independent journalistic investigation. This was replaced in the main by material which posed as “investigative” but which in fact recycled information from safe sources, safest of which were the police and the security and intelligence services.”
That reliance on sources in the police would come to have disastrous consequences for News International – as we have recently seen.
But the key point back then in the early 90s is that that growing reliance upon sources in the secret intelligence world happened at the very moment when those sources were themselves becoming hopelessly lost. The Cold War was over and all the old certainties were disappearing and the spooks were floundering around, not really knowing what was going on any more.
This made both the intelligence services and their political masters increasingly prey to those right-wing ideologues who had first emerged around President Reagan and who seemed to believe that you could base policy “on not very hard evidence” in order to manage the world.
And some journalists, desperate for crumbs from the powerful went on blithely publishing what they were told by their sources, no matter how illogical, contradictory or phoney it was.
And everyone moved further into a two dimensional world.
But Colonel Gaddafi did still have some friends in Britain. Yet again another group who were feeling power and influence slipping away from them turned to him for help. This time it was the National Front.
By the late 80s the extreme right in Britain were falling apart. To try and save themselves a new younger generation in the National Front decided that racist xenophobia was not enough and that what was needed was a positive, inspiring model for how to organise society as an alternative to the two-party parliamentary system.
And the model for that, they decided, was Colonel Gaddafi’s Green Book and its Third Revolutionary theory.
A National Front delegation went to Libya. They asked for money to fund their new project – but all they got were bulk copies of The Green Book. Undaunted they decided to try and set up a model for this new politics in the London suburb of Isleworth.
Here is a lovely bit from a documentary made about what happened to the NF in the 1980s and 1990s. There is a great grabbed interview with the architect of the scheme – Phil Andrews. He admires Gaddafi because he criticises “traditional corrupt politics”.
Phil sets out to create a Gaddafi -style popular democracy in Isleworth. To help in this he donates a copy of The Green Book to the local library.
We went to Isleworth Library to see if anyone had borrowed the Green Book since the film was made. But we found that Gaddafi’s book is no longer there. Robert Deighton who works in the library said that it had now become “a hub”. To do this they had got rid of all the books that no-one borrowed, so it looks like no-one in Isleworth ever read about Gaddafi’s Third Way. And now they never will.
Here is a picture of Robert in his “hub”.
By the mid 1990s Colonel Gaddafi was all alone again. The sanctions over Lockerbie isolated his country from the rest of the world and his economy began to fall apart. With it also went his vision of the Third Way.
When he held a lavish parade for the 25th anniversary of the Libyan revolution practically no-one came from other countries. But John Simpson from the BBC turned up and did a very good report.
It’s good because he cuts through the fog – and says clearly that Gaddafi is really a showman, he is not a serious threat. And that for the past ten to fifteen years Gaddafi has been used as the easy alternative to confronting the serious threats in the Middle East.
Here is his report.
But the fake vision of Gaddafi had by now gone very deep in the western  imagination. He was at the centre of an interconnecting web of ludicrous, largely fictional stories. And what was now going to happen was that those stories would begin to a coalesce with other simplified and exaggerated stories about other super-villains around the world. Out of that odd stew would come a grand unified theory that would be one of the central beliefs of our age.
MI6 called it “Global Risks” and it was a vision that we now lived in a terrifying world of mad dictators at the head of rogue states who were teaming up with international terrorists, drug barons and ruthless adventurers offering to sell things like smuggled nuclear weapons to the highest bidder.
The world, this theory said, now had to be seen as one interconnected system that transcended nations and their petty preoccupations. And western elites had a duty to defend the system against this new array of “Global Threats”. In short they should become world policemen.
MI6 loved this theory because it gave them something new to do. And the obvious place to start was by getting rid of Colonel Gaddafi.
In 1998 a whistleblower from inside the British intelligence services called David Shayler claimed that in 1996 MI6 had paid an Islamist Jihadi group in Libya to kill Colonel Gaddafi. If true it was not very good for MI6 because it meant that agents of the British government were engaging in a programme of assassinating foreign heads of state.
The Islamist group were called The Libyan Islamist Fighting Group. But, Shayler said, they had bungled the operation and detonated a bomb under the wrong car, killing six innocent people.
Both MI6 and the Labour Government denied it. But Shayler agreed to appear on a special Panorama programme that examined his allegations. The presenter – Mark Urban – concludes that Shayler’s claims might be true.
Although Shayler’s story about the strange things that were going on inside MI6 might be true, Shayler then rather undermined his credibility by some of his subsequent behaviour. He decided to believe some of the conspiracy theories about Sept 11th – and then started dressing as a woman, giving himself the name Dolores Kane and declaring that the world was going to end in 2012.
Rex Features
But it also made no difference because by now everyone was believing in this vision of a world of hidden threats. And the biggest threat of all were WMDS.
Journalists also tried to turn themselves into World Detectives, trying to expose these new terrifying threats – the Weapons of Mass Destruction that the crazy but infernally cunning dictators were hiding. Their sources in the intelligence agencies told them the WMDs were there. Somewhere.
Here are some sections from a documentary made in 1998 about a search for Colonel Gaddafi’s WMDs that both illustrates this perfectly – and then at the end shows the empty fatuity of this quest.
It is made by the journalist John Sweeney. He gets into Libya to make a film about Gaddafi’s giant water project, but he has an additional aim which is to see if the Libyan’s are hiding WMDs in the giant underground reservoirs
There are fantastic, beautiful shots of this extraordinary project as Sweeney tramps around looking for the hidden threats. He finds nothing yet keeps talking about how the CIA say there is the biggest chemical weapons plant in the world hidden somewhere.
But Sweeney is a very good and honest journalist – he has an ability that is very rare in TV reporting to emotionally judge the truth of a situation – and towards the end he confronts his minder about the WMDs. He does it on audio, but to do this he has to keep the video camera running.
What results is not only a piece of avant-garde film making. But the minder is also very sharp. In just a few sentences off-camera he makes you reflect on how ridiculous and paranoid this western mindset has become. And Sweeney gives him the space to do it.
But Colonel Gaddafi was by now in deep trouble, and he was desperate to get rid of the UN sanctions.
In 1999 – pushed by Nelson Mandela who Gaddafi trusted – he agreed that the two men named by America and Britain as suspects could be put on trial in a special Scottish court in the Netherlands. Gaddafi believed that the lack of any substantial evidence would set them free.
But it didn’t. One was acquitted, but Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in a Scottish prison. Gaddafi protested as did lots of Libyans. But is important to realise so did lots of people in Britain. The Professor of Law at Edinburgh University, Robert Black has said bluntly that:
It is the most disgraceful miscarriage of justice in Scotland for 100 years.
Every lawyer who has read the judgement says ‘this is nonsense’. It is nonsense. It really distresses me.”
And Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died on the plane, doesn’t believe that the court got anywhere near the truth about Lockerbie. When the verdict was read out in court Swire fainted.
It would seem that possibly Colonel Gaddafi’s distrust of Britain and America might not have been just another of his fantasies.
But even then the Americans refused to lift the sanctions until Libya admitted their guilt. And in 2003 Gaddafi agreed to do that. Or so it appeared.
Gaddafi had decided – as had happened throughout this story – that the only way to get what he wanted was to pretend.
Here are some sections from the rushes of an interview with Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam. Again and again Saif insists that Libya’s admission of guilt was a simply a necessary pretence. A lie that was “the only way to exit from the nightmare of the sanctions”. They were being forced “to play by the rules of a game invented by Britain and America”.
The interviewer is the BBC producer Guy Smith. He is brilliant at insistently pushing Saif about the terrible cynicism and hypocrisy that underlies such a decision. But Saif is also rather impressive in the way he responds. Not only was there no alternative, he says, but everyone involved – even the families of the victims – have become corrupted by the situation. The families are greedy, he says, constantly asking for more money.
If Saif is right – then the picture he gives is a very dark one, where the lies and exaggerations that started back in 1981 have stretched out to corrupt everyone involved.
But then he might be lying.
It is a really good interview.
But Gaddafi understood this fake world better than anyone else – and he was about to play with it, twisting the deceptions even further. His aim was to find a way of getting back to the centre of the world stage, and finally be accepted by those in power in Britain and America.
He was going to do it by doing what he had always done. He would pretend to be more terrifying and dangerous than he really was.
The key, Gaddafi knew, were weapons of mass destruction. America and Britain had invaded Iraq in the spring of 2003 – and they had justified this by claiming that Saddam Hussein had WMDs. But it turned out that he didn’t and it was a disaster, especially for Tony Blair.
So Gaddafi decided to help Blair. He admitted that Libya had indeed been hiding chemical weapons and nuclear research facilities, and he offered to give them up.
For Tony Blair this was a godsend because it allowed him to say that the Iraq invasion was having the desired effect of persuading other “rogue states” to transform themselves. And the BBC allowed Blair to break live into the 10 pm news to announce that Colonel Gaddafi had made an historic decision.
The only thing that no-one mentioned was that Gaddafi didn’t really have any dangerous weapons of mass destruction.
He had tried to develop nuclear research in Libya, and had bought lots of centrifuges and other equipment. But it had never got off the ground. The CIA would later be quoted as saying that it was way beyond the ability of Gaddafi’s scientists even to assemble the equipment.
And one of the leading WMD experts – Jonathan Tucker from the Monterey Institute -said that the chemical weapons were “quite limited”. Libya had made mustard gas but it remained in leaking barrels and hadn’t been turned into weapon form. As for the more powerful nerve agents Tucker said Libya had tried to make them but turned out not to have the capabilites or the know-how.
Here are some bit of Tucker’s 2009 report – The Rollback of Libya’s Chemical Weapons Programme:
The nuclear program was embryonic….while the biological weapons program was little more than a plan that had made minimal progress.
The Libyan Chemical Weapons program…had involved fewer than a dozen chemists and chemical engineers.
The size of the Libyan Chemical Weapons stockpile turned out to be far smaller than the 100 metric tons that the US intelligence community had estimated. Although the Chemical Weapons research program was still active, the production line had been shut down for more than a decade.
The large-scale production of nerve agents was beyond Libya’s technological reach.”
As the presenters wait for Blair to appear, Andrew Marr sums up what is happening brilliantly. The story that is central to Blair’s “world picture” he says is that the modern global threat is “rogue states” coming together with “WMDs”. And Gaddafi has just made that story real.
Although of course Gaddafi was – as usual – happily exaggerating how dangerous he was.
There then followed a tidal wave of creepiness with ministers and commentators lining up to say how “courageous and statesmanlike” Gaddafi had been, and how he had “taken a step towards world peace”. Culminating in Blair going to visit Gaddafi in his tent.
Blair, along with many commentators, also predicted that this would result in a new openness in Libyan society. Here is Blair’s visit, but I have added an interview from 2009 with an internal dissident in Libya to show that even five years later Libya had not changed.
And in return for this, many western institutions and eminent individuals now happily set out to create a new, alternative, and equally fictional image of Libya. It was no longer the dark realm of international terrorism. It was a “reforming” country joining the modern world. Led by an inspired “modern thinker” – Colonel Gaddafi.
Behind a lot of this was an American PR company called The Monitor Group. They were paid $3 million to conduct a cleansing campaign for Libya’s image. The aim, according to an internal memo was to:
enhance international understanding and appreciation of Libya and the contribution it has made and may continue to make to its region and to the world.”
They did this by getting eminent liberal intellectuals and leading academics to come out to Libya and have economic forums where they all agreed that the country could develop into a “unique form of popular capitalism”.
One of these intellectuals was the famous prophet of The Third Way who had inspired Tony Blair – Professor Anthony Giddens from the LSE. Giddens was flown out and met Colonel Gaddafi. He wrote proudly of how he discovered that his version of the Third Way was similar to Gaddafi’s Third International Theory:
You usually get about half an hour with a political leader. My conversation lasts for more than three. Gaddafi is relaxed and clearly enjoys intellectual conversation. He likes the term “third way” because his own political philosophy is a version of this idea. He makes many intelligent and perceptive points. I leave enlivened and encouraged.”
 Very NBF.
Giddens was so encouraged that he went out again and took part in a panel of intellectuals chaired by Sir David Frost – and everyone talked about how “authentic” Colonel Gaddafi’s conversion was.
Here they are sitting round a modern table – while Colonel Gaddafi reminds himself of his theories.
With this new image Gaddafi then set off to tour the world as a new leader-cum- philosopher. And everywhere he went the westerners who had once laughed at him and tried to kill him now bowed down before him.
Here are the reports of him visiting the European Commission who were so kind as to have recreated and exact model of the Colonel’s tent for him to stay in. Then Gaddafi was invited to the UN. By this time the “conversion” seems to be slipping a bit because he goes and makes a speech where he tears up the UN charter and tells them that swine-flu is man made.
Here are the reports of the visits.
The Gaddafi family now become international D-list celebrities.
His son Saadi went to play professionally for Perugia FC in Italy. It was rumoured that the Libyans had paid Perugia to take Saadi on.
Another son – Hannibal – travelled the European party circuit staying in swank hotels. In 2008 he was arrested in Switzerland for allegedly assaulting two of his servants. Although the charges were dropped two days later, the Libyans threatened to stop trade with Switzerland, cancelled air flights, and Hannibal’s father withdrew £3.2 billion from his Swiss account. It has been reported that the Swiss then apologised and paid Hannibal compensation.
His extremely glamorous daughter Ayesha was a lawyer. But the “conversion” didn’t seem to work very well in her case. She went to Iraq to be one of the defence team in Saddam Hussein’s trial.
Here is the fantastic sofa Ayesha relaxed on at her Libyan villa. The photo was taken after the revolution.
But the most sought after was Gaddafi’s second son, Saif al Islam, because he was rumoured to be his father’s successor.
He too wanted to become a “modern thinker’ like his father, so he applied to the London School of Economics. One of the Professors discovered that he was helped in his application by British Aerospace.
Some of his teachers were a bit baffled by their new student. One professor later said – “I could never get clear exactly what he was arguing.”  But another LSE professor had no such doubts. He was called David Held, and he was a great enthusiast for the idea of “globalisation”. And Saif’s thesis was very much on message – it was called:
When someone at the LSE explained Giddens’ Third Way theory to Saif, apparently his immediate reaction was “my father invented that thirty years ago.”
There was only one problem with Saif’s thesis though. It appeared that he might not have written all of it himself. An investigation carried out after the Libyan revolution discovered that Saif had quite a lot of help from the Research Department of the Monitor Group. The same PR company that was flying all the global intellectuals out to meet Saif’s father.
Saif probably needed this help because he was busy in other areas. At the same time he was becoming an international artist. He had a travelling exhibition of his own paintings. It was called “The Desert Is Not Silent”.
Here are some of the paintings.
At the end of 2008 Saif was awarded his PhD. A few weeks later Professor David Held suggested to him that he might help fund the LSE’s Centre For Global Governance. Held says that there was no connection between the two.
Saif said that he would give the Centre £1.5 million, and it would come, he said from his own Foundation in Libya.
What then happened was laid out last year in the investigation written by Lord Woolf. It is a brilliant piece of journalism – and it is a savage expose of what really went at the heart of one of the most eminent academic institutions in the world.The report is really worth reading and it is beautifully written.
A group in the LSE led by David Held were happy to accept the money. But then a Professor called Fred Halliday who had spent his life studying the Middle East rather than worrying about Global Governance pointed something very awkward out. He said that the money that was being offered was dirty money. It was actually bribes paid by western companies in order to secure contracts in Libya.
The LSE investigated and found out that this was probably true – and what were called “due diligence” documents laid this out. But then a strange thing happened. At an LSE council meeting these documents were not presented. Instead David Held described how he had monitored the blogosphere for reactions to the proposal and that there had been no negative comment about the relationship.
Lord Woolf is scathing in a very English way about this:
I am unable to establish why the due diligence documents did not reach Council. It would have been much more valuable for the Council to have had documents relating to the source of the money rather than media clippings showing perceptions of the LSE’s engagement with Libya.”
It would seem that the practice of “Perception Management” might now have reached the mild liberal academics.
The loan was agreed, David Held joined the board of Saif’s Foundation – and then Saif was asked to give a lecture in the big auditorium at the heart of the LSE.
Here is David Held introducing Saif al Islam Gaddafi’s speech. Saif still tries to defend his father’s idea that Libya is a better form of democracy than the democracies of the west. He points out how the increasingly low turnout of voters in America has allowed politics to be co-opted by special interests. But then he can’t help collapsing into laughter when he says that this means that Libya is a truer form of democracy.
And even Colonel Gaddafi’s oldest enemies now became his new best friends.
Twenty years before officers in MI6 had allegedly tried to assassinate Gaddafi by paying a group of Islamist rebels called The Libyan Islamist Fighting Group.
Now MI6 wanted to do everything they could to please their new best friend, Colonel Gaddafi. So when Libyan intelligence asked MI6 help them capture one of the leaders of the Libyan Islamist Fighting Group it seems that they were only too happy to oblige.
One of the leaders of the Fighting Group, Abdel Hakim Belhaj, has alleged that in 2004 Libyan Intelligence asked MI6 to help kidnap him. MI6 and the CIA then traced him and his wife to Thailand where the CIA kidnapped both of them and he was tortured. They were then flown to a Libyan jail and mistreated he says.
Belhaj says that in doing this the British Intelligence agencies effectively were colluding in kidnapping and torture. The evidence of their involvement in his case is strongly backed up by a series of secret memos found by Human Rights Watch in Libyan Intelligence after the revolution.
Here is a very good news report by Peter Taylor about what Belhaj alleges – and how the secret documents back him up.
The British elites now got everywhere in Libya. Here is an odd moment from a documentary made by Simon Reeve that uncovers a telling detail.
When he gets to the city of Sabha Reeve goes to visit the hut that Colonel Gaddafi lived in when he was a schoolboy. It is now preserved in the middle of a roundabout. Reeve leafs through the visitors book and finds an effusive entry from a British General called Robin Searby.
General Searby was Tony Blair’s Defence Co-ordinator for Libya. Documents later revealed that General Searby had helped negotiate a deal that would lead to the SAS training Libyan soldiers in “counter-terrorism”.
Searby defended the programme by saying that the Libyans were woefully behind in counter-terrorism tactics:
It was better to have them inside the tent rather than outside
He added though that the programme had to be abandoned – because “the Libyans were not up to it”.
But this dream world of global acceptance wasn’t going to last. Gaddafi had managed to redeem himself by manipulating a simplified vision of the world that was divided into goodies and baddies in such a way that he became a goodie. But that simple universe had a remorseless logic to it – and Gaddafi was about to be brought down and destroyed by that logic.
Western elites by now saw much of the world through that goodies and baddies prism, so when the Arab Spring began in 2011 it was simply understood as the uprising of the good people against the bad rulers. Two months later the Libyan people rose up against Gaddafi, and that mindset automatically saw the Libyan people as Goodies.
Which meant that Colonel Gaddafi must be a baddie. So everyone switched sides yet again, just like that. And the last dance began.
Here is a short film about that last dance – along with some of Colonel Gaddafi’s friends.
The question at the heart of this whole story is – Who was the ventriloquist? And who was the dummy?
Maybe we were the dummy? By allowing perception management with its simplifications, falsehoods and exaggerations to create a simplified vision of the world – we fell into a fake universe of certainty when really we were just watching a pantomime.
And now as the Arab Spring unfolds and reveals the true chaos and messiness of the real world – above all the horror of what is happening in Syria – we find ourselves completely unable to understand it or even know what to do. So those stories get ignored while we follow others with clearer and more simplified dramas which have what seem to be obvious goodies and baddies – thank god for Iran, North Korea and Jimmy Savile.

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US Justice Likely Coming Soon to Benghazi with Extrajudicial Executions

If the Obama administration identifies suspects in the consulate attack, should they simply be killed without a trial?
By Glenn Greenwald 
October 20, 2012 “The Guardian” — Ever since the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Obama officials, including the President himself, have been vowing that the perpetrators will be “brought to justice”. That, of course, is typical American-speak for: “without any evidence presented or due process afforded, we will execute suspects by bombing them from the air, along with anyone who may have the misfortune of being in close proximity to them.”
The Associated Press this week reported on the Obama administration’s current plans for Benghazi, plans that were “provided by three current and one former administration official, as well as an analyst who was approached by the White House for help”. The report described how the US “is readying strike forces and drones but first has to find a target”; in other words, the gun is metaphorically cocked and simply in search of someone to shoot [my emphasis]:
“U.S. investigators have only loosely linked ‘one or two names’ to the attack, and they lack proof that it was planned ahead of time or that the local fighters had any help from the larger al-Qaida affiliate, officials say.
“If that proof is found, the White House must decide whether to ask Libyan security forces to arrest the suspects with an eye to extraditing them to the U.S. for trial or to simply target the suspects with U.S. covert action.
“U.S. officials say covert action is more likely. The FBI couldn’t gain access to the consulate until weeks after the attack, so it is unlikely it will be able to build a strong criminal case. The U.S. is also leery of trusting the arrest and questioning of the suspects to the fledgling Libyan security forces and legal system still building after the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
“The burden of proof for U.S. covert action is far lower, but action by the CIA or special operations forces still requires a body of evidence that shows the suspect either took part in the violence or presents a ‘continuing and persistent, imminent threat’ to U.S. targets, current and former officials said.”
That is a pure expression of the modern incarnation of US justice: it would be difficult to prove anyone’s guilt if we had to provide due process, so we likely won’t bother with that; instead, we’ll just decide ourselves, in secret, who is guilty and then execute them at will.
This is precisely the mentality which the Obama administration used to justify the assassination of US citizen Anwar Awlaki in Yemen, and defenders of that due-process-free execution typically invoke exactly this same formulation. That’s because US citizens have now largely and successfully been trained to view this type of “justice” as normal.
“Due process” is viewed as a quaint and obsolete relic of the pre-9/11 era. The US president simply kills whomever he wants – anywhere in the world, far away from a war zone or battlefield – without the slightest obligation to present evident of guilt, to afford the accused any opportunity to contest the accusations, or to have his execution-decrees reviewed by anyone or even known to the public. That is the normalized model of US justice, which is why these unveiled plans are hardly controversial and why Obama officials feel no compunction about announcing them: if anything, they’re eager to boast of their hunger to mete out this due-process-free “justice”.
Just how dubious is this whole process is highlighted by a New York Times profile this morning of Ahmed Abu Khattala, whom, says the Times, “witnesses and the authorities have called one of the ringleaders of the” consulate attack. The Times conveys that unnamed “witnesses have said they saw him directing other fighters that night” and that “Libyan officials have singled him out.”
Abu Khattala, however, maintains that he is not a member of al-Qaida and “insisted that he had not been part of the aggression at the American compound.” He acknowledges that he was present at the consulate that night but “had arrived just as the gunfire was beginning to crackle and had sought to break up a traffic jam around the demonstration.” He also claims “that guards inside the compound – Libyan or American, he was not sure – had shot first at the demonstrators, provoking them,” and that “the attackers had found weapons, including explosives and guns mounted with silencers, inside the American compound.” As the Times put it, his “exact role remains unclear”.
For nations adhering to the most basic precepts of justice, these are the types of conflicting claims which are routinely resolved in a judicial tribunal, with all the evidence subject to examination and the accused given a fair opportunity to contest the accusations. But that is not how the US government functions. Rather, it convenes in secret, unilaterally decrees guilt and then – to use the AP’s euphemism – will “simply target the suspects with U.S. covert action”: i.e., execute them without any due process.
The Times, apparently intended as a counter-balance to Abu Khattala’s denials, noted that “he expressed a notable absence of remorse over the assault”, and then added:
“And he said that the United States had its own foreign policy to blame for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. ‘Why is the United States always trying to impose its ideology on everyone else?’ he asked. ‘Why is it always trying to use force to implement its agendas?'”
Time and again, this is what one finds at the crux of these episodes. Professed animosity toward the US – and especially the belief that violence against the US is the result of its own decades-long aggression – is viewed as evidence of guilt, proof of one’s status as a “militant”, justification for imprisoning or killing (Obama placed Awlaki on his hit list when Awlaki’s anti-US sermons began powerfully resonating among English-speaking Muslim youths; the still-unproven claim that the preacher had an “operational role” in terror plots was publicly made only long after Obama’s assassination order was publicly revealed). The apparent premise of US policy in the region seems to be that the occupations, invasions, bombings and killings must continue until there is nobody left who harbors hatred of the US: as self-contradictory and self-destructive an approach as can be conceived.
The claimed power of the president to kill whomever he wants, anywhere in the world far from any war zone or battlefield, without a whiff of due process, oversight or transparency should be vehemently opposed first and foremost because it is the supreme expression of tyrannical power. If one is willing to grant that power to the president, then it is hard to see what powers one would find objectionable.
But on pragmatic grounds as well, it is difficult to imagine a more menacing policy: if the US president continues simply to execute anyone he decides should die with drones and bombs, then the only certain outcome is that there will be more and more people who view the US as a justifiable target for retaliation and vengeance. That the White House is eager to have it known that they are rejecting the option of arrest and due process in favor of secret assassination is a potent reflection of how degraded American political culture is regarding such matters, of how normalized the most extremist theories of power have become.
At the farce currently taking place at Guantanamo known as the “military commission” of the accused 9/11 defendants – a process designed exclusively (1) to ensure a guilty verdict and (2) to suppress any public evidence of the detainees’ torture– alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had this to say in response to American horror over the attack:
“The alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks told the Guantanamo courtroom on Wednesday that the U.S. government had killed many more people in the name of national security than he is accused of killing. . . .
“‘When the government feels sad for the death or the killing of 3,000 people who were killed on September 11, we also should feel sorry that the American government that was represented by (the chief prosecutor) and others have killed thousands of people, millions,’ said Mohammed, who wore a military-style camouflage vest to the courtroom.
“He accused the United States of using an elastic definition of national security, comparable to the way dictators bend the law to justify their acts.
“‘Many can kill people under the name of national security, and to torture people under the name of national security, and to detain children under the name of national security, underage children,’ he said in Arabic through an English interpreter.
“‘The president can take someone and throw him into the sea under the name of national security and so he can also legislate the assassinations under the name of national security for the American citizens,’ he said in an apparent reference to the U.S. killing and burial at sea of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the U.S. use of drone strikes against U.S. citizens accused of conspiring with al Qaeda.
“He advised the court against ‘getting affected by the crocodile tears’ and said, ‘Your blood is not made out of gold and ours is made out of water. We are all human beings.'”
This is what virtually every Muslim accused of engaging in violence against the US says whenever some US judge or official expresses bewilderment at how they could do such a thing: namely, why do you not express similar shock and outrage at the violence against civilians and other forms of repression continuously committed by your own government, and why are you not similarly affected by your government’s killing and other abuse of innocent Muslims, including children? This highlights still another grave harm from conducting oneself in this manner: the inability to insist upon adherence to moral and ethical standards with any degree of credibility or consistency (at least outside of the US).
On a different note, MSNBC prime-time host Lawrence O’Donnell was asked this week in an impromptu interview why he does not cover Obama’s war on whistleblowers and related civil liberties abuses; his answer becomes rather thoughtful as it progresses and is worth listening to:

Earlier this week, the British government announced that it was refusing the US’s request to extradite Gary McKinnon, whom the US government accuses of seriously jeopardizing national security by hacking the Pentagon’s computer networks. The US justice department insists that this was “the biggest military computer hack of all time”. The British cited the fact that he suffers from Asperger syndrome and clinical depression and claims there is a high risk of suicide if he is extradited. The US pronounced itself “disappointed” by the British decision.
Given Britain’s decision to harbor this accused felon, one the US insists seriously damaged American national security, would the US be entitled to send an armed drone over London to kill him? Those who defend such extrajudicial assassinations in Yemen, Pakistan, Libya and other predominantly Muslim countries do so by claiming that there is an American entitlement to drone-kill people when those governments are unable or unwilling to turn over those alleged to have harmed US national security. Given that this is the case for McKinnon, what ground is there for arguing that the US would be barred from killing McKinnon by drone (aside from the fact that the type of people at risk from a drone attack in London are different than the type of people typically at risk from US drone attacks)?
© 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited
The Remarkable, Unfathomable Ignorance of Debbie Wasserman Schultz
The Chair of the Democratic National Committee is completely unaware of one of the biggest stories of the Obama years
By Glenn Greenwald
October 20, 2012 “The Guardian” – – — On 29 May 2012, the New York Times published a remarkable 6,000-word story on its front page about what it termed President Obama’s “kill list”. It detailed the president’s personal role in deciding which individuals will end up being targeted for assassination by the CIA based on Obama’s secret, unchecked decree that they are “terrorists” and deserve to die.
Based on interviews with “three dozen of his current and former advisers”, the Times’ Jo Becker and Scott Shane provided extraordinary detail about Obama’s actions, including how he “por[es] over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre ‘baseball cards'” and how he “insist[s] on approving every new name on an expanding ‘kill list'”. At a weekly White House meeting dubbed “Terror Tuesdays”, Obama then decides who will die without a whiff of due process, transparency or oversight. It was this process that resulted in the death of US citizen Anwar Awlaki in Yemen, and then two weeks later, the killing of his 16-year-old American son, Abdulrahman, by drone.
The Times “kill list” story made a huge impact and was widely discussed and condemned by media figures, politicians,analysts, and commentators. Among other outlets, the New York Times itself harshly editorialized against Obama’s program in an editorial entitled “Too Much Power For a President”, denouncing the revelations as “very troubling” and argued: “No one in that position should be able to unilaterally order the killing of American citizens or foreigners located far from a battlefield – depriving Americans of their due-process rights – without the consent of someone outside his political inner circle.”
That Obama has a “kill list” has been known since January, 2010, and has been widely reported and discussed in every major American newspaper since April 2010. A major controversy over chronic White House leaks often featured complaints about this article (New York Times, 5 June 2012: “Senators to Open Inquiry Into ‘Kill List’ and Iran Security Leaks”). The Attorney General, Eric Holder, gave a major speech defending it.
But Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic Congresswoman from Florida and the Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, does not know about any of this. She has never heard of any of it. She has managed to remain completely ignorant about the fact that President Obama has asserted and exercised the power to secretly place human beings, including US citizens, on his “kill list” and then order the CIA to extinguish their lives.
Just marvel at this stunning, completely inexcusable two-minute display of wholesale ignorance by this elected official and DNC chair. Here she is after the second presidential debate being asked by Luke Rudkowski of We Are Change about the “kill list” and whether Romney should be trusted with this power. She doesn’t defend the “kill list”. She doesn’t criticize it. She makes clear that she has never heard of it and then contemptuously treats Rudkowski like he is some sort of frivolous joke for thinking that it is real:
Anyone who observes politics closely has a very low bar of expectations. It’s almost inevitable to become cynical – even jaded – about just how inept and inane top Washington officials are. Still, even processing this through those lowly standards, I just find this staggering. Staggering and repellent. This is an elected official in Congress, the body that the Constitution designed to impose checks on the president’s abuses of power, and she does not have the foggiest idea what is happening in the White House, and obviously does not care in the slightest, because the person doing it is part of the party she leads.
One expects corrupt partisan loyalty from people like Wasserman Schultz, eager to excuse anything and everything a Democratic president does. That’s a total abdication of her duty as a member of Congress, but that’s par for the course. But one does not expect this level of ignorance, the ability to stay entirely unaware of one of the most extremist powers a president has claimed in US history, trumpeted on the front-page of the New York Times and virtually everywhere else.

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Evidence Of War Crimes: Bloody Vengeance in Sirte

New Proof of Mass Murder at Gaddafi Death Site – A Year On, No Progress on Inquiry Into Deaths
By Human Rights Watch

Report contains disturbing images and video

October 17, 2012 “Information Clearing House” –   (Beirut, October 17, 2012) – New evidence collected by Human Rights Watch implicates Misrata-based militias in the apparent execution of dozens of detainees following the capture and death of Muammar Gaddafi one year ago, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Libyan authorities have failed to carry out their pledge to investigate the death of Gaddafi, Libya’s former dictator, his son Mutassim, and dozens of others in rebel custody, Human Rights Watch said.
The 50-page report, “Death of a Dictator: Bloody Vengeance in Sirte,” details the final hours of Muammar Gaddafi’s life and the circumstances under which he was killed. It presents evidence that Misrata-based militias captured and disarmed members of the Gaddafi convoy and, after bringing them under their total control, subjected them to brutal beatings. They then executed at least 66 captured members of the convoy at the nearby Mahari Hotel. The evidence indicates that opposition militias took Gaddafi’s wounded son Mutassim from Sirte to Misrata and killed him there.
“The evidence suggests that opposition militias summarily executed at least 66 captured members of Gaddafi’s convoy in Sirte,” said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch. “It also looks as if they took Mutassim Gaddafi, who had been wounded, to Misrata and killed him there. Our findings call into question the assertion by Libyan authorities that Muammar Gaddafi was killed in crossfire, and not after his capture.”
Among the most powerful new evidence is a mobile phone video clip filmed by opposition militia members that shows a large group of captured convoy members in detention, being cursed at and abused. Human Rights Watch used hospital morgue photos to establish that at least 17 of the detainees visible in the phone video were later executed at the Mahari Hotel.
Under the laws of war, the killing of captured combatants is a war crime, and Libyan civilian and military authorities have an obligation to investigate war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law.
A Human Rights Watch research team was nearby when Gaddafi’s convoy engaged in its final battle with opposition forces, on October 20, 2011. Following the battle, the research team visited the site and found more than 100 bodies, most killed in combat. Two days later, the Human Rights Watch research team found the decomposing remains of at least 53 people at the nearby Mahari Hotel, some with their hands still bound behind their backs. Volunteer workers at the scene told Human Rights Watch that relatives of some additional dead had recovered their bodies prior to the Human Rights Watch visit.
To document fully what had occurred on October 20, Human Rights Watch interviewed officers in opposition militias who were at the scene, as well as surviving members of the Gaddafi convoy at the hospital, in custody, and in private homes. Human Rights Watch also reviewed a large number of video recordings made by opposition forces on their cell phones, some of which show captured detainees at the site of the final battle. Using Sirte hospital morgue records, Human Rights Watch researchers were able to establish the identities of 17 people last seen alive in custody whose bodies were recovered at the Mahari hotel.

Bodies of apparent execution victims found at the Mahari Hotel in Sirte on October 22, 2011, the day after the final battle with the Gaddafi convoy. An estimated 66 captured members of the Gaddafi convoy were apparently executed at the site by opposition fighters

Among those executed was Ahmed Ali Yusuf al-Ghariyani, 29, a Navy recruit originally from Tawergha. In a phone video that is believed to show him in captivity after the battle, militia forces beat, kick and throw shoes at him, and taunt him about being from Tawergha, a town seen as being loyal to Gaddafi. Al-Ghariyani’s body was later found at the Mahari hotel, and was photographed by hospital staff and buried as unidentified body number 86. He was later identified by family members from the photographs taken by the hospital staff.

Ahmed Al-Ghariyani’s body as photographed by Sirte hospital volunteers, between October 21 and 22, 2011. Al-Ghariyani, a navy soldier from Tawergha, was recorded in custody of opposition fighters in Sirte on October 20, 2011.

These killings constitute the largest documented execution of detainees by anti-Gaddafi forces during the eight-month conflict in Libya, Human Rights Watch said.
A review of the available evidence regarding the deaths of Muammar and Mutassim Gaddafi calls into question the official account by the Libyan authorities, who claim that the two, as well as all others who perished at the scene, died during fierce crossfire. Video footage shows that Muammar Gaddafi was captured alive but bleeding heavily from a head wound, believed to have been caused by shrapnel from a grenade thrown by his own guards that exploded in their midst, killing his defense minister, Abu Bakr Younis.
In the footage, Muammar Gaddafi is severely beaten by opposition forces and stabbed with a bayonet in his buttocks, causing more injuries and bleeding. By the time he is filmed being loaded into an ambulance half-naked, he appears lifeless.

Video above embedded in this report by ICH, did not appear in the original item.

According to the evidence collected by Human Rights Watch, Mutassim Gaddafi was also captured alive at the scene of the battle, trying to break out of the siege by opposition forces. He was wounded and then filmed being transported by members of a Misrata-based opposition militia to the city of Misrata, where he was again filmed in a room, smoking cigarettes and drinking water while engaged in a hostile conversation with his capturers. By the evening, his dead body, with a new wound on his throat that was not visible in the prior video footage, was being publicly displayed in Misrata.
“In case after case we investigated, the individuals had been videotaped alive by the opposition fighters who held them, and then found dead hours later,” Bouckaert said. “Our strongest evidence for these executions comes from the footage filmed by the opposition forces, and the physical evidence at the Mahari Hotel, where the 66 bodies were found.”

Map detailing locations along the path of Muammar Gaddafi’s convoy’s attempted escape from Sirte.(Image from HRW report)

Human Rights Watch met with Libyan transitional officials immediately after the killings to inform them of the findings, and has repeatedly met and written to Libyan officials to urge a full investigation and accountability for these crimes. Despite initial pledges by top Libyan officials that the events would be investigated, Human Rights Watch has not seen any evidence that any actual inquiry is under way or has been carried out.
The International Criminal Court was given jurisdiction by the United Nations Security Council to investigate and prosecute war crimes committed by all sides in Libya after February 15, 2011, if the Libyan authorities are not able or willing to investigate or prosecute.
“One of Libya’s greatest challenges is to bring its well-armed militias under control and end their abuses,” Bouckaert said. “A good first step would be to investigate the mass executions of October 20, 2011, the most serious abuse by opposition forces documented so far.”
For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Libya, please visit:
To download raw footage, maps, and photos:

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French government accused of ordering Libyan leader Gaddafi’s assassination

By Antoine Lerougetel 
10 October 2012
Former leaders of the Libyan National Transitional Council (NCT), which fought as a NATO proxy in last year’s war against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya, have accused then French President Nicolas Sarkozy of ordering the assassination of the Libyan leader on October 20, 2011.
In an interview on French news site Médiapart October 2, Rami El Obeidi, former coordinator of the NTC’s foreign intelligence services, asserted that “French foreign agents directly assassinated Gaddafi.” He said this was because of Gaddafi’s threats, shortly before France launched the war on Libya with NATO backing, to reveal secret donations he had made to Sarkozy in 2007 to finance Sarkozy’s presidential election campaign.
Obeidi added, “The threat of a revelation of the funding of Sarkozy in 2006-2007 was taken seriously enough for anyone in the Elysée to want Gaddafi dead very quickly.”
Shortly after the story broke, on October 1, Le Monde journalist Barbouch Rachid noted on a blog that the spokesman for France’s Foreign Ministry under the new Socialist Party (PS) government had refused to confirm or deny Obeidi’s allegations and related reports. Nonetheless, French officials and media have largely buried the story. On October 2, Le Parisien noted: “This weekend the French authorities have abstained from any comments on these revelations.”
On September 29 the Italian daily Corriere della Sera confirmed Obeidi’s assertions, writing: “Mahmoud Jibril, the former premier of the transitional government has…re-launched the story of a plot ordered by a foreign secret service. ‘It was a foreign agent infiltrated into the revolutionary brigade who killed Gadafi,’” he had told an Egyptian TV channel on September 27.
The paper quoted Western diplomats in Tripoli as saying that if a foreign agent was involved, “he was almost certainly French.”
On October 1 the British Daily Mail spoke of a foreign agent: “He is said to have infiltrated a violent mob mutilating the captured Libyan dictator last year and shot him in the head.”
It added, “In another sinister twist to the story, a 22-year-old who was among the group which attacked Gaddafi and who frequently brandished the gun said to have killed him, died in Paris last Monday.” Press reports identified the man as Omran ben Chaaban, a former 22-year-old rebel fighter who died on the evening of October 1. He was in several photos and videos of Gaddafi’s killing.
Available information suggests that he had connections to the French state and might have been the agent referred to by Obeidi. French officials took in Ben Chaaban after he was captured and tortured by Gaddafi supporters and shot twice in an attempt to escape. He was then transferred to a French hospital in September, where he died.
Obeidi said it was Syrian President Bashar el-Assad who gave Gaddafi’s satellite phone number to the French secret service and military in the first week of October, allowing them to pinpoint his location and monitor his movement. Then, “The French Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure[General Directorate of Exterior Security, DGSE, French foreign intelligence] carried out the execution.”
According to the British Daily Telegraph, Obeidi added: “In exchange for this information, Assad had obtained a promise of a grace period from the French and less political pressure on the regime, which is what happened.”
Obeidi added that a report by his intelligence service on France’s role in Gaddafi’s death was censured, “because Mr. Sarkozy controlled the policies of the NTC along with the Emir of Qatar.”
This is not the first time that allegations have emerged of French intelligence involvement in Gaddafi’s murder. On October 26, 2011, five days after Gaddafi’s assassination, the satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné, reported that “on Wednesday October 19 in the late afternoon, a Pentagon colonel telephoned one of his contacts in the French secret service…The American announced that the Libyan leader, tracked by US predator drones, was trapped in a Sirte neighbourhood and could not now be ‘missed.’”
In Le Canard Enchaîné’s account, the American official added that if Gaddafi got away, he would become a “real atom bomb.”
The Canard wrote that the White House had said, “We must avoid giving Gaddafi the international platform that a possible trial would give him.” It added, “At the Elysée, they knew that since the middle of October, Gaddafi and one of his sons had been holed up in Sirte. … And Sarkozy had charged General Benoît Puga, his special military chief of staff with supervising the hunt for the former dictator. … At the DGSE and the DRM [military intelligence], they were not bashful about speaking of ‘the physical elimination’ of the Libyan leader.”
The Sarkozy government at the time, refused to comment and the political elite and media in France kept quiet. The Hollande government is continuing the cover-up.
Nonetheless, these revelations underscore the criminal character of the extrajudicial murder of Gaddafi—who had had close relations with the heads of state of all the major NATO powers before the Libyan war—and, more broadly, of the war itself. Waged cynically in the name of “democracy,” it was fought by NATO Special Forces and air power that carpet-bombed Tripoli and Sirte, put a collection of right-wing militias in power, and culminated in Gaddafi’s assassination.
Media coverage and comments from the bourgeois and ex-radical “left” have been minimal. These forces themselves are politically implicated by their political support for the war. The PS endorsed Sarkozy’s neo-colonial war in Libya in 2011, as did the New Anti-capitalist Party, the Left Front of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the Greens.
Only Sarkozy’s former Defense Minister Gérard Longuet has currently provided the defensive bluster in Le Parisien: “Gaddafi killed by a French spy? It’s totally far-fetched! Absolutely not credible. It was never an issue.”
In fact, these allegations are entirely credible, especially given the deafening silence on the issue from the French government. Not only was it widely publicized that French Special Forces had extensive presence and contacts inside Libya during the war, who could have carried out the killing, but Gaddafi also had extensive financial holdings in Western banks. At the beginning of the war, these banks froze $100 to $160 billion that Gaddafi had invested there.
There would have been every opportunity for Libyan officials to send some of this money to fund French presidential elections. There have been repeated revelations of how French conservative and bourgeois “left” parties were funded by payments from African dictators in former French colonies, such as Gabon, as part of “Françafrique” neo-colonialism.
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[5 September 2009]

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The Howling: Embassy Riots Pale Next to State Terror Tempest

By Chris Floyd 
September 17, 2012 “Information Clearing House” – Sparked by a deliberate provocation put together by Christian extremists, riots by groups of Islamic extremists are spreading across the world — a convenient symbiosis for both groups, as they use each other’s actions to “justify” their hysterically constricted worldviews.
There is an added layer to the reaction in the Muslim countries, as the extremists there can draw on the seething resentments built up by the depredations and atrocities inflicted indiscriminately on Muslims by the Western powers in recent decades, particularly since the launch of Terror War.
But of course these depredations and atrocities are the work of yet another group of sectarian extremists gripped by a hysterically constricted worldview: the Western power elites, who are maniacal adherents to the Dominationist cult. This bizarre but very powerful sect holds that American domination of the world, militarily and economically, is part of the divinely ordained structure of the universe. Those who adhere to Dominationist dogma and obey the dictates of the sect’s high priests in Washington are rewarded; but unbelievers, heretics and apostates are to be cast out, cursed, attacked and, when possible, destroyed.
In the last 11 years alone, state-backed Dominationist terrorists have killed far more innocent people than their counterparts among the scattered clumps of Islamic extremists around the world. More than a million people have been killed as a result of the Dominationist terrorist attack on Iraq, for example. Hundreds of innocent people in Pakistan have been murdered by the drones fired by Dominationist terrorists. Dozens are dying monthly in violent Dominationist attacks in Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines and elsewhere.
The senseless violence of the Dominationist sect is well-attested. The sect’s leaders brag openly about their use of violence; indeed, in the constant factional jockeying for power within the sect (a characteristic of all religious and ideological cults, of course), would-be leaders vie to paint themselves as the one most willing to inflict massive death and destruction on all those who dare challenge the Dominationist faith. All would-be leaders trumpet their willingness — their eagerness — to eschew mere man-made laws as they do “whatever it takes” to defend the faith and advance Dominationist supremacy over the earth. Torture, kidnapping, assassination and mass destruction are all considered divinely justified by the Dominationist extremists — and by the millions of people who actively support the factions within the sect.
In fact, the Dominationist extremists have far more support in their native lands than the riot-provoking Islamic extremists have in theirs. Muslims overwhelmingly reject violence, even in response to the relentless, murderous provocations of the Dominationists — as anyone who actually lives among large numbers of Muslims (as I do) knows perfectly well. Nor are the vast majority of Muslims taken by cheap tricks like the video posted by extremist Christians. As Ghaith Abdul-Ahad notes in an excellent analysis in the Guardian, “only a few thousand” Muslims — out of 1.6 billion — have taken part in the protests, which, he points out, are being exploited by fundamentalist Salafi sects that have been marginalized by the Arab Spring revolutions and are now trying to claw into positions of power. 
We might also note that the Dominationists have made common cause with violent Salafis time and time again over years — e.g., in Afghanistan during the Soviet period, in Iraq during the “surge,” and today in Syria. The symbiosis of violent extremists — Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Dominationist and others — is also a well-attested fact of history — and of human nature. Because at bottom, all of them share one fundamental, overriding principle, the common core of their faith (whatever its outward flourishes might be): the holiness of violence, the enforced assertion and/or imposition of their worldview by the repression or destruction of others. 
As I said, it is very rare to find a Muslim who actually holds such a view, or who supports any group that does. But you will find millions and millions of people in the West who believe that the Dominationist extremists are completely justified — even divinely justified — in their terrorist actions. In fact, we will soon see more than 100 million Americans go to the polls to vote for one of these state-terrorist factions who openly support torture, war and murder in the name of their primitive faith … and have history’s biggest war machine to back them up.
That’s a bit more scary to me than a few thousand marginalized, powerless people taking the bait of foreign provocateurs and local manipulators in a spate of riots. These outbursts are reprehensible, of course — another deadly ratcheting up in the endless, symbiotic cycle of Terror War violence that will do no one any good (except for the extremist elites, on all sides, who feast on blood and ruin). But set against the massively supported, millions-killing terrorism of the Dominationists, the riots are like a whisper in the howling of a storm.
Chris Floyd blog, Empire Burlesque, can be found at .

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Libya: ‘Death to America’

By Paul Craig Roberts
September 17, 2012 “Information Clearing House” – September Try to imagine more deluded reporting than this by America’s Presstitute “free press.” For 11 years Washington in pursuit of its rightful hegemony has been sending troops, bombers, jet fighters, helicopter gunships, drones, and assassination teams into seven Muslim countries. Two of the Muslim countries, Iraq and Libya, and perhaps more depending on how you see it, have been overthrown by Washington and left in chaos.
Washington’s assaults on seven countries have blown up weddings, funerals, kids’ soccer games, farm houses, hospitals, aid workers, schools, people walking along the streets, village elders, but the Muslims don’t mind! They understand that the well-meaning Americans who love them and are committed to their human rights, are bringing them democracy and women’s rights. The million or more dead, maimed, and displaced Muslims are a low price to be paid for liberation by Washington.
The Muslims understand that liberation has costs and were content with Washington’s liberating violence until some idiot in California produced an anti-Islamic film. This film, and not Washington’s predations, set the Muslim world alive with “hate America.”
On the symbolic date of September 11, the US ambassador to Libya and some other Washington representatives were assassinated in Libya. According to the Presstitute media, the assassins did not kill the Americans because Washington destroyed their country and left them in chaos. The assassins killed the Americans because of an anti-Islamic film for which the murdered American representatives were not responsible.
This is the way Washington works and thinks. It is not Washington’s slaughter of Muslims and control over their societies and political life that produces blowback. It is independent film-makers in California!
Deluded politicians in Washington, both Republicans and Democrats and, of course, the bought-and-paid-for “experts,” brought these forceful rejections of America upon us all. Washington has not only attacked Muslim countries on the basis of concocted lies – weapons of mass destruction, al Qaeda connections, brutal dictators – but also destroyed the secular governments who held the Islamists in check, and prevented their attacks on US representatives and institutions.
In Egypt, long an American puppet states, the US Embassy was stormed and the US flag was torn apart. If only this was all. Washington could again purchase the Egyptian government, as it has since Anwar Sadat’s assassination. But the ongoing news is that Anti-American protests are not only spreading across the Middle East but erupting throughout the world: Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Gaza, Bangladesh, Lebanon, London, and even into Israel.
The Obama administration is blaming al Qaeda, an Islamist group that the administration is currently supporting in its efforts to overthrow the secular Assad government in Syria and the group that the Obama administration used to overthrow the Libyan government, thus leaving a power vacuum in its place. Having destroyed the protection from Islamist attacks that secular Arab rulers provided Washington, Obama, in a show of force, has sent drones, aircraft carriers, Marines, and Tomahawk missile ships to Libya, raising the prospect that more schools and children’s soccer games will be mistaken for jihadi encampments and blown up.
Attempting to politicize the turmoil, Presidential candidate Mitt Romney declared that the US needed him in the White House and as president he would provide “…the leadership that America respects and will keep us admired throughout the world.”
What admiration is Romney talking about? Who are the admirers? In Egypt Muslims marching to the beat of “death to America,” have not been deterred by police after three days of protests. CBS reports that “Police continue to fire tear gas in hopes it will deplete the strength of the demonstrators but they [the demonstrators] are proving relentless.”
Kings Good, Dictators Bad! Unlike the Washington-supported Saudi royal family that absorbs most of their nation’s oil income, Qaddafi allocated the oil money to Libyans. In Cynthia McKinney’s excellent book, The Illegal War On Libya, Stephen Lendman writes that Qaddafi “wanted Libyans to share in the country’s oil wealth, a notion foreign to America and other Western societies. Under his 1999 Decision No. 111, all Libyans received free healthcare, education, electricity, water, training, rehabilitation, housing assistance, disability, old-age benefits, interest-free state loans, as well as generous subsidies to study abroad, buy a new car, help when they marry, practically free gasoline, and more.”
Why did such a relatively wealthy and egalitarian country need to be “liberated” by Washington and its NATO war criminal puppet state?
What was achieved by overthrowing a government that provided for its people in better ways than do Western governments for the people they govern?
The US is the new Rome, and Europe, the UK, Canada, Japan, and Australia are its tributary dominions along with the oil kingdoms.
In his book, Rubicon, Tom Holland describes what it is like to be a dominion of a powerful and ruthless military state:
“Prior to the cataclysms of B.C. 146, there had been some confusion as to the precise definition of ‘freedom.’ When the Romans claimed to be guaranteeing it, what did this mean? … Roman and Greek interpretations of ‘freedom’ diverged. To the Romans … freedom meant an opportunity for the city states to follow rules laid down by Roman commissioners.”
This is the “freedom” that Washington imposes on the world. Washington is the übermensch. The rest of the world is Washington’s playground. Ruling as Rome did, Washington installs puppets and relies on their obeisance.
In the end, empire destroys itself. Washington’s hubris and arrogance is turning the world against America. Thanks to The Clintons, the Bushes, Cheney, Obama and the neoconservatives, America, instead of being loved or even respected, is hated with a rising passion. The widespread attacks on the imperial power’s embassies are only the beginning.
As Gerald Celente had forecast, “The 1st Great War of the 21st Century” has begun.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.
This article was originally posted at Trends Journal

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Libya: The Questions We Should Be Asking

By Barry Lando
September 15, 2012 “Information Clearing House” – – Apart from Mitt Romney’s ridiculous slur against President Obama after the slaying of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, Americans should focus on the state of affairs suggested by the following questions: When was the last time a Chinese diplomat was killed or even roughed up by an angry mob? When did you last hear about a Chinese embassy being burned down or pillaged?
From Morocco and Tunisia to Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Iraq, anti-American crowds have taken to the streets. The outpouring of hatred is symptomatic of the fact that across much of North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, American policy is in tatters—probably more than ever before. The region is strewn with the wreckage of failed U.S. ambitions and disastrous American plans.
Incredibly, even as the U.S. surveys the shambles that Libya has become, there are still American officials pushing for the United States to intervene in Syria’s bloody civil war. (In fact, for months now, the U.S. and some of its Arab allies have been clandestinely doing just that.) Even the prime minister of Israel, supposedly America’s most valuable ally in the region, makes political points by sticking his finger in President Obama’s eye.
We’ve heard for years that America is obsessed with this part of the world because its trade routes and resources are critical to U.S. interests. That may once have been true, but as things stand now, those trade routes and resources are more crucial to China than to America. China gets a greater percentage of its oil through the vital Strait of Hormuz—which the U.S. spends billions of dollars to patrol—than does the United States.
And although the U.S. has been lavishing hundreds of billions of dollars on military bases, the Chinese have been spending their considerable financial resources across Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, buying up mineral deposits, land, forests and petroleum, inking construction contracts for huge infrastructure projects as well as opening up vast new markets. 
Where are the Chinese troops to protect all this? Where are the sprawling Chinese naval and air bases, their drones, killer teams and special forces? Not needed, thanks. The U.S. is handling security.
This makes for some sad ironies. For instance, the fact that Stevens spent months aiding the Libyan rebels during their uprising against Moammar Gadhafi while China was one of the last major allies to continue supporting the dictator. Yet the Chinese are back in Libya wheeling and dealing for construction contracts and oil.
Meanwhile, next door in Egypt, newly elected President Mohamed Morsi, whose country continues to receive more than $1 billion in aid from the United States, judged he had more to gain by joining in attacks against the U.S. than by cooling popular passions. And where was his first trip abroad after winning election? To China.
Yet China would seem a very appropriate target for Muslim anger. The U.S. may have invaded Muslim countries, but for decades China has been brutally persecuting and repressing millions of its own Muslim minorities, such as the Uighars in northwest China.
But how many furious crowds have taken to the streets in Muslim lands to protest the plight of the Uighars? How many people have even heard of them? How many of the Muslim leaders who are lambasting the United States because of an off-the-wall film that the U.S. government had absolutely nothing to do with have ever uttered a single word of protest against China in public?
That’s not to say the Chinese are beloved in the region. There have been violent, sometimes bloody, protests against their labor and trade practices but nothing that compares in scale and depth to the hatred and suspicion of the United States throughout the region.
The current outcry over a film insulting the Prophet Muhammad is just the tip of an emotional iceberg. Underneath it all are more than half a century of Western and American interventions in the region, as well as the U.S.’ continued support of Israel.
While the U.S. has spent huge sums trying to overthrow regimes, punish perceived enemies, prevent nuclear proliferation (except in Israel) and shape the impacts of the new political dynamics that are roiling the area, the Chinese have had their eyes fixed on one set of objectives only: getting hold of vital natural resources to fuel their ravenous economy and finding new markets for their products and mammoth projects for their construction companies.
Why can’t the U.S. do the same? That’s the kind of basic question Americans should ask in the wake of the killing of a U.S. ambassador, as they go about electing a new president. But don’t count on it.
This article was originally posted at TruthDig

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Pepe Escobar: ’US could drone Libya to death’

Washington’s hopes of dealing with the situation caused by a controversial film that’s sparked outrage in Muslim world are paralyzed by the looming presidential election, Pepe Escobar, Asia Times correspondent, told RT.
Escobar says that for now, the Obama administration – who is partly responsible for the demonstrations in the Arab World – will resort to using drones to find the extremists responsible for the deaths of four Foreign Service employees, including the American ambassador to Libya.
RT: US Secretary of State has condemned the controversial film that has sparked the protests, saying Washington’s got nothing to do with it. What impact do you think her words will have on the angered Muslim world?
Pepe Escobar: Well the problem is that Hillary did not tell the world that Washington had everything to do with it from the beginning. Don’t forget that the native rebels were approved by the West, while the Obama administration was leading from behind, according to our new George Orwell terminology.
So this is basically blowback. We have been warning about this for over a year now. Blowback will happen in Libya as it happened in Egypt, in Yemen… anywhere in the Muslim world, and it will extend to other parts of the Muslim world. What happened based on this absolutely disgusting, cruel, raw production – the 2011 anti-Muslim and anti-prophet Mohammad production – it may be a catalyst, but the most important thing, it’s something that I wrote about in one of my latest stories – I know that al-Zawahiri wants to commemorate the al-Qaeda-style-9/11. He issued a video admitting the killing by a drone three months ago in Waziristan of Abu Yaya al-Libi who was al-Qaeda’s number two for the past few months. So it is by no accident that what happened in Libya coincides with the al-Zawahiri video and the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11.
So this is bound to expand because the NATO rebels – there are a lot Salafi jihadis implanted in them – the rebels in the Turkish-Syrian border are also infested with Salafi jihadis. The same is happening in Yemen, and the West has been in bed with them since the beginning, just like the Afghani jihadis in the 1980s. It took years for the blowback to apply, it only happened in the late 90s and 2000s.
RT: These latest attacks, on the US diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya, were they planned? And if so, who planned those particular attacks?
PE: There is an acronym a gang infested al-Qaeda, Salafi Jihadist style acronym jungle, let’s put it this way. Al-Qaeda in Maghreb, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. And of course reminisce of the so called the reformed Libyan Islamic fighting group (LIFG) Abdelhakim Belhadj he is a commander. He is one of many militias, the most powerful.
He also has a political proposition in Libya. But the most important thing is that these Salafi jihadists are not part of the power structure in Tripoli. Their agenda is a Caliphate in Eastern Libya. It is not by accident that the attack was in Benghazi. And the same is happening to the Salafi jihadis in Egypt, who got 25 percent of the votes in the Presidential election in Egypt; and the Salafi jihadis in Yemen as well. So the craziest thing is the Obama’s administration’s Middle East policy is now basically, ’ let’s align ourselves with the Muslim Brotherhood.’
Okay, they may be moderate in Egypt, but they’re not moderates in Syria. And in Libya, the Muslim Brotherhood is part of the government, but at the same time they have to contend with the Salafi jihadis from outside. So what is going to be the response from the Obama administration? I predict it will be like droning them to death, and where are they these Salafi jihadis? They are basically in Dera, south of Benghazi, scattered around in the desert. So I expect a lot of droning in the area in the next few days and weeks.
RT: What can America do as a PR offensive? Or is it too late?
PE: It’s a bit too late. There are two months before the election. Every calculated move by the Obama administration from now on needs to secure the election. They don’t want a discussion about their Middle Eastern policy. They do not want the people in the US discussing if the Muslim Brotherhood is an ally of America or not.
In fact Obama himself already said that Egypt is our ally, it’s not our enemy, but it’s not exactly one of our top allies like Israel, South Korea or Japan. So they do not want to get embroiled in a discussion. And it helps that the Republicans also don’t have a Middle East policy, so if you look at the comments that Romney made yesterday accusing the Obama administration of the whole thing – no, the Obama administration was caught in the crossfire because they do not even know who they’re allied with in the Middle East anymore.

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Outrage: Why is the US surprised?

Outrage: Why is the US surprised?

Outrage: Why is the US surprised?. 47988.jpeg
Let the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi be the diplomatic legacy of Hillary R. Clinton and let her surprise and bewilderment be a telling insight into her utter incompetence to do the job. To be a diplomat, you need emotional intelligence and that, unfortunately, Hillary Clinton does not have.
Just what exactly did the United States of America expect from their darling terrorists in Benghazi, the ones they “saved” after they armed them, trained them and prepared them to remove the Jamahiriya in Libya and replace it with the farcical “government” we see there today?
Just what exactly did the United States of America and their poodles in the FUKUS Axis expect from the bearded wonders of Benghazi, infamous for their terrorist exploits against NATO in Iraq and Afghanistan, after what they did in Libya, slicing the breasts off women, raping girls, torching homes, torturing people, murdering, looting and committing ethnic cleansing?
What are the human development indicators of Libya today? Compare them to the Libya under Gaddafi and see the result. The balance is the political legacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the death of Ambassador Stevens is her diplomatic legacy – a failure in both departments.
Furthermore, expressing surprise and stating that the USA helped “save” Benghazi shows how puerile and ill-prepared Hillary Clinton is. Did the Mujaheddin thank the USA for helping them destroy Afghanistan’s only socially progressive government, the only one that upheld women’s rights? Sure they did. 9/11 was the thank-you note.
And after the behaviour of the bearded wonders of Benghazi and their bloodthirsty acts against NATO soldiers, there went the USA and its FUKUS Axis poodles France and the UK supporting terrorists again and yet again they are appalled when the dog bites the hand that feeds it.
But then again, what to expect from someone like Hillary Rodham Clinton, who described her reception on a red carpet and with a band in Bosnia as getting out of an aircraft in a war zone? Does she have no idea that the terrorists the USA supports would do or say anything to get weapons and be placed in positions of power, then the latent hatred they have of the United States will come shining through.
Suffice it to say that in Benghazi, groups of youths were running through the US compound looking for “Americans” to kill. And after what Washington has done, after supporting Israel blindly as it bulldozes Arab homes and displaces Palestinian farmers by stealing their lands, as it treats the Bedouin as second class citizens, as it strafes schools in Gaza with phosphorous, only someone naïve, ill-prepared and totally incompetent would express surprise, especially when we see what we are dealing with in Benghazi.
A terrorist is a terrorist. Congratulations to Washington for yet again being bitten by the cockroaches it breeds.
That having been said, the death of every human being is a tragedy. The death of Ambassador Stevens, the other three Americans and the Libyans who lost their lives in this horrific incident must be condemned most vehemently, together with the deaths of the thousands of Libyan people the US-backed terrorists murdered, while Hillary Clinton was going on and on about “freedom”. Freedom to be tortured?
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

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Perfect storm over Libya

By Victor Kotsev 

The outrage that broke in Libya on September 11, 2012, with the killing of the United States ambassador and three other diplomatic staffers at the consulate in Benghazi, appears to be an example of the perfect storm. Diverse but powerful agendas, local and international, converged unexpectedly to make it happen, and the tragic consequences were most likely amplified by sheer luck. Since the entire Middle East is red hot with tension, its repercussions may also be disproportionate and unpredictable. 
A Washington Post report indicates that Ambassador Christopher Stevens was not meant to be in the consulate when the attack took place, and was only there, in the words of United States Senator John Kerry, by “happenstance”. A piece of history may have repeated itself – or at least, as Mark Twain once quipped, it may have rhymed. Exactly 11 years after it reportedly surpassed its own expectations and brought down the Twin Towers in New York, al-Qaeda (or a group inspired by it) may have lucked out again. 
Some caution is due: Reuters, for example, reports that the militants had surprisingly precise intelligence about the whereabouts of a safe house where the ambassador was rushed after the clashes started. While luck clearly played a role – Stevens died of asphyxiation – it is hard to say how large exactly that role was based on the often contradictory early reports. 
Although the attack started under the cover of a protest against a distasteful anti-Islamic movie created by a previously unknown man who describes himself as an Israeli-American real estate developer – a similar though smaller riot broke out in the Egyptian capital Cairo – it was clearly professionally executed. 
“This was a well-armed, well-coordinated event,” the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee of the US Congress, Mike Rogers, told MSNBC. “It had both indirect and direct fire, and it had military maneuvers that were all part of this very organized attack.” 
The British think-tank Quilliam reports that the assault consisted of two waves and was carried out by around 20 militants seeking to avenge the death of al-Qaeda’s second in command, Abu Yahya al-Libi, who was assassinated in June. 
“24 hours before this attack, none other than the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, released a video on Jihadist forums to mark the anniversary of 9/11,” writes Quilliam. “In this video, Zawahiri acknowledged the death of his second in command Abu Yahya and urged Libyans to avenge his killing.” 
Libyan officials offered a different version: Deputy Interior Minister Wanis a-Sharif told reporters that supporters of the former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, of whom there are still pockets throughout the country, were behind the attack. The irony is hard to avoid – Stevens died in a similar way to Gaddafi, whom he helped oust and who was lynched by the rebels last year. 
These two accounts are not necessarily mutually exclusive: there is much speculation that remnants of the Gaddafi regime have sought to ally themselves with al-Qaeda – the dictator’s second-oldest son Saif al-Islam had issued calls for jihad shortly before his capture. 
Yet there are other possible domestic Libyan plots that may have contributed to the incident. On Wednesday night, the Libyan national assembly elected Mustafa Abu Shagur, a professor of electrical engineering and a politician with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the first democratically chosen prime minister of Libya. It was a close contest and a dramatic reversal against Mahmoud Jibril, whose centrist coalition had come out first in the parliamentary election in July. Some analysts speculated that the attack may have been intended in part to influence the vote. 
Whoever was behind the assault, it could hardly have come at a more explosive moment in Middle Eastern politics. US President Barack Obama, who is running for re-election in less than two months, is engaged in a diplomatic and political battle on several fronts. He seeks, among other things, to “lead from behind” in the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – a situation that broadly resembles that in Libya last year – to force the Iranians to halt their nuclear program, to reassure disgruntled allies such as Israel and to parry domestic attacks on his foreign policy record by the camp of his main opponent, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. 
The attack came as a slap in the face for Obama, who ominously vowed “justice”. His Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not hide her shock in interviews with the press: “Many Americans are asking – indeed, 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?” 
Ian Black, the British daily Guardian’s Middle East editor, put it even more bluntly. “If Muammar Gaddafi were still alive, he might give a bitter laugh at the news that the US ambassador to Libya has been killed in Benghazi,” Black wrote. “[Former Egyptian President] Hosni Mubarak [who was also reportedly ousted with American acquiescence last year], in his prison hospital, would growl a wry ‘I told you so’ after the attack on the fortress-like American embassy in Cairo.” 
Romney jumped on the opportunity to criticize the president, even as his comments stirred controversy. 
The incident demonstrated, among other things, the dangers of Obama’s policy of direct engagement with the Arab masses – and also with the Muslim Brotherhood, which represents the proverbial Arab street in many parts of the region. Indirectly, it strengthened the hand of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose war of words with Obama had intensified in the last days, and who has also attacked Washington’s Middle East policy. (Although the latest disagreement was over Iran, the Israelis have reportedly voiced concerns about Obama’s handling of Egypt and Libya in the past, and the two arguments are widely seen as related.) 
The latter observation, added to the self-identification of the producer of the controversial movie “Innocence of Muslims” as an “Israeli Jew”, raises another speculative point. Some on the Israeli right – or on the evangelical Christian right in the US, which is supports Israel and opposes Obama for its own reasons and which was also reportedly involved in the production – may have intended to create a provocation in order to expose the weaknesses of Obama’s foreign policy. If so, they too succeeded beyond their expectations. 
In his perspicacious article titled Terry Jones, asymmetrical warrior (Asia Times Online, September 13, 2010) my colleague David Goldman explained how “a madman carrying a match and a copy of the Koran can do more damage to the Muslim world than a busload of suicide bombers.” The “madman” can clearly do similar damage to those who seek to ally themselves with the Arab street. 
However, caution is once again due. Subsequent reports suggest that Sam Bacile, the said Israeli Jew-cum-California real estate entrepreneur, is at best a pseudonym and at worst a fiction. This could easily be a kind of a false-flag operation, intended to embarrass the Israeli government as well. 
Which brings us to a final point: perhaps the single greatest beneficiary of the affair was the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 
What better illustration of Assad’s argument that he is fighting “terrorists” than this dramatic reverse in Libya, which many foreigners analysts had seen as a success story to be repeated in his country? While no evidence currently links the Syrian government to either the movie or the embassy attack, the motive is certainly in place. The argument for an international intervention against Assad just suffered a body blow. 
Whatever American officials say, the embassy attack is likely to have serious repercussions on US policy in Libya and the Middle East. It will certainly shift in subtle – and maybe not so subtle – ways the debates inside the Obama administration. 
The movie affair, meanwhile, may not be over. It could be, in fact, that the attack will serve to bring the movie to the attention of Muslims worldwide, and to spark further violence. There is a precedent for this in the incident with the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published by Danish newspapers in 2005, which caused a delayed wave of protests in 2006. Over 200 died in that episode. 
In all, there are more question marks than answers currently related to the embassy attack in Libya and the movie that sparked protests there and elsewhere in the Middle East. The first assassination of an American diplomat since 1979 is unlikely to go without repercussions. In the highly charged Middle East, the crisis could easily spiral out of control, beyond the imagination even of those who concocted it. 

1. US officials: Attack on consulate in Libya may have been planned, Washington Post, September 12, 2012. 
2. US ambassador to Libya killed in Benghazi attack, , Reuters, September 12, 2012. 
4. Romney under friendly fire for his response to embassy attack in Libya, – election.html, Yahoo! News, September 13, 2012. 
5. What We Know About ‘Sam Bacile,’ The Man Behind The Muhammad Movie, NPR, September 12, 2012. 

Victor Kotsev is a journalist and political analyst. 

(Copyright 2012 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

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Mr Blowback rising in Benghazi

By Pepe Escobar 

“Daddy, what is blowback?” 
Here’s a fable to tell our children, by the fire, in a not so-distant post-apocalyptic, dystopian future. 
Once upon a time, during George “Dubya” Bush’s “war on terra”, the Forces of Good in Afghanistan captured – and duly tortured – one evil terrorist, Abu Yahya al-Libi. 
Abu Yahya al-Libi was, of course, Libyan. He slaved three years in the bowels of Bagram prison near Kabul, but somehow managed to escape that supposedly impregnable fortress in July 2005. 
At the time, the Forces of Good were merrily in bed with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in Libya – whose intelligence services, to the delight of the Bush administration, were doing their nastiest to exterminate or at least isolate al-Qaeda-style Salafi-jihadis of the al-Libi kind. 
But, then, in 2011, the Forces of Good, under new administration, decided it was time to bury the oh so passe “war on terra” and dance to a new, more popular groove; humanitarian intervention, also characterized as “kinetic military action”. 
So al-Libi was back from the dead – now fighting side by side with the Forces of Good to topple (and eventually snuff out) “evil” Col Gaddafi. Al-Libi had become a “freedom fighter” – even though he was openly calling for Libya to become an Islamic Emirate. 
The honeymoon didn’t last long. 
In September 2012, for the first time in three months, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, aka The Surgeon, released a 42-minute video special to “celebrate” the 11th anniversary of 9/11, finally admitting the snuffing out of his number two. 
His number two was none other than Abu Yahya al-Libi – targeted by one of US President Barack Obama’s cherished drones in Waziristan on June 4. 
An immediate effect of al-Zawahiri’s video was that an angry armed mob, led by Islamist outfit Ansar al Sharia, set fire to the US consulate in Benghazi. The US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed. It didn’t matter that Stevens happened to be a hero of the “NATO rebels” who had “liberated” Libya – notoriously sprinkled with Salafi-jihadis of the al-Libi kind. 
Stevens was rewarded by Washington with the ambassadorial post only after “evil” Gaddafi was finally sodomized, lynched and killed by, what else, an angry mob. 
So finally the blowback serpent was able to bite its own tail. 
Terra, terra, terra
What happened in Benghazi may have been just an out-of-control protest against a crude, amateur, made-in-California movie produced and directed by an Israeli-American real estate developer and certified Islamophobe (an identity now being reported as a guise), financed with US$5 million from unidentified Jewish donors, depicting Islam “as a cancer” and Prophet Muhammad as a womanizer, a pedophile and most of all, a fraud. The movie was duly promoted by wacko Florida pastor and Koran-burning freak Terry Jones. 
Yet the killing of the US ambassador in Libya is just an hors d’oeuvre to what may happen in Syria – where scores of “freedom fighters” supported by the CIA, the Turks and the House of Saud are al-Qaeda-linked, either via the supposedly reformist Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) or acronym-infested subcontracting gangs such as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) or al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM). 
So how will Washington “bring the perpetrators to justice” in Libya? After all this is the same gang that was hailed as “heroes” when they sodomized, lynched and snuffed out “evil” Gaddafi. 
Asia Times Online has been warning for over a year about blowback in Libya – and potentially in Syria, where medieval Saudi sheikhs frantically issue fatwas legitimating a widespread massacre of “infidel” Alawites. This is all a rerun of the same old 1980s’ Afghan jihad movie; first you call them “freedom fighters”, but when they attack us they revert to being “terrorists”. 
Now we have NATO-armed Salafi-jihadis in Libya, and House of Saud-financed and Turkey-based Salafi-jihadis in Syria – deploying “terra” antics such as suicide bombers to bring down the Assad regime – all wired up and ready to roll. It certainly adds a new meaning to Obama’s “kinetic action” gig. 
Blowback – as in Afghanistan – might have taken years. This time Mr Blowback reared its ugly head in only a few months. And that’s just the beginning. 
So what now? Who’re you gonna bomb? Who’re you gonna drone to death? What about bombing Benghazi a year after condemning Gaddafi to death because he might have threatened to … bomb Benghazi? 
Ask US Secretary of State Hillary “We came, he saw, he died” Clinton, who claims to talk on behalf of the “Libyan people”. Maybe she will come up with a policy of retroactively aligning the US with Gaddafi. 
And since this is an electoral year, why not ask invisible former president Bush himself? After all, he proclaimed on September 20, 2001 that “either you are with us, or you are with the terra-rists.” 
Well, Mr Blowback would say, beware of what you get when you are in bed with the terra-rists. 
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). 
He may be reached at 
(Copyright 2012 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

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Blowback of the Ugliest Kind: The lessons no one will learn from Benghazi

The religious oppression, hatred and violence is “a toxic brew that… inevitably begets more of the same”

By Mark LeVine

September 13, 2012 “Al Jazeera” — “Does Mideast Democracy Complicate Diplomacy?”
This was the headline of the NY Times’ “Room for Debate” section in the wake of the attack that killed the US Ambassador to Libya in Benghazi. Not “Is Arming an Insurgency that Includes Anti-American Jihadis Who Will Unquestionably Wind Up Attacking You a Good Idea?” Not “Does Continuing to Support Undemocratic Monarchs and Dictators in a Region Where People Already Are Angry at US for Decades of Doing So Complicate Diplomacy?”
And certainly not “Did Tens of Billions of Dollars in US Aid to Mubarak While His Government Engaged in and Supported Systematic Violence Against Egyptian Copts Just Come Back to Haunt US in Libya?” Readers wondering “Why Do Religions that Preach Love, Peace, Justice and Forgiveness Seem to Propagate So Much Hatred, War, Injustice and Revenge?” were left to search newspapers of lesser renown to find the beginnings of an answer to this most pertinent question.
Of course, there is absolutely no justification for the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and several of his entourage as well as Libyan security personnel. And yes, the attacks, and the larger anti-American protests in which they took place, remind us about the powerful strain of unchecked and often unthinking – certainly uncritical – anger and revenge that defines Islam for millions of its adherents.
The unrestrained anger against a YouTube clip has even led to outrage among some Syrian activists, with one tweeting that “the only thing that seems to mobilise the Arab street is a movie, a cartoon or an insult, but not the pool of blood in Syria”.
But if the world’s paper of record is going to ask questions in the wake of an attack like this week’s in Libya, surely it could have done better than this.
A history of violence
Among the many lessons to be learned from the strange, sordid tale of Sam Bacile – aka Nakoula Basseley Nakoula; and who knows what other names – and the “film” (if one can call it that) he apparently made, teaches us, is one that the religious oppression, hatred and violence is a toxic brew that, as Martin Luther King, Jr., so eloquently reminded us, inevitably begets more of the same.
In this particular case, decades of oppression and abuse of Egypt’s Coptic minority has led some members of the community living in exile to join forces with some of the most chauvinist, hate-filled and Islamophobic groups in the American evangelical community and (posing as an Israeli Jew, no less), to produce a work that according to his associates was expected, and likely designed, to provoke precisely the kind of anger and even bloodshed it succeeded in producing.
Unless you know Egyptian Copts personally have listened to their stories of abuse and violence at the hands of their Muslim Egyptian neighbours, it’s hard to understand why an expatriate community member would waste time and money in producing such a cheap polemic guaranteed to lead to even more violence against his community back home, not to mention the global blowback that was equally inevitable. 
The reality is that Egypt’s Copts are one of the more systematically abused and discriminated against minorities anywhere. And aside from half-hearted paeans to inter-religious fraternity and peaceful resolutions of communal disputes, Muslim leaders in Egypt and across the Muslim majority world – in Pakistan, Palestine, Indonesia in particular – have done far too little not merely forcefully to condemn such violence, but to educate and demand their adherents to treat Christians as equal citizens.
But the violence against Christians is part of a much larger story that only gets more complicated the deeper you dig. In Egypt, it turns out that the Mubarak government, which pretended to be a last line of defence for Copts, in fact incited and even directed violence against Copts by Salafis in order to strengthen its argument that without a secular authoritarian state the situation would be far worse.
More broadly, it’s very hard to expect Copts to be treated with respect and dignity when under the Mubarak dictatorship (and long before) men, women, Muslims, Christians, the poor, labour activists – pretty much everyone was treated without respect for their basic human, political, civil and other basic rights.
As in any family or community defined by abuse, the violence just circulates downwards and spreads outwards, with each person abused by someone with power over them passing on the anger and abuse to those below. As many women’s rights activists have pointed out over the years across the region, it’s hard to press for greater freedom for women as women when at the most basic level, no one is free.
Sadly, a similar question could be asked about Copts; the problem is that such an attitude only means that women, religious and other minorities merely face added layers of discrimination and violence on top of the more generalised political oppression.
Unrealised possibilities
One of the highlights of the 18-day uprising that launched the still unfinished Egyptian revolution was, we might remember, how Copts and Muslims protected each other during each other’s prayers. Coupled with the relatively harassment-free environment for women inside Tahrir, the freedom, fraternity and equality between ordinary Egyptians inside that utopic space offered a model for a truly free Egypt. 
But of course, the model was shattered almost the moment Mubarak was pushed from office, as Salafis attempted to hijack the celebrations the very next day and the toxic energy of decades of dictatorship led to sexual assaults of foreigners and Egyptians as well, in Tahrir and across Cairo and other cities in the ensuing months.
Copts fared no better, as the Maspero massacre of October 2011 put into stark relief. But Maspero was not the work of religious fanatics; it was the work of a secular military dictatorship that receives billions of dollars in aid from the United States, Europe and international financial organisations such as the WTO and World Bank, none of which was jeopardised despite that massacre of the arrests, torture and killings of thousands more Egyptians since Mubarak’s ouster. 
If you want to understand what’s behind the embassy attack in Cairo, and the (as I write) just reported embassy attack in Sana’a, Yemen, decades of US support for the former (and in many ways still existing) regimes in these two countries most certainly equals – and most likely outweighs – religious anger at the “film”.
Acknowledging legitimate anger does not excuse government responses, particularly in Egypt. Unfortunately, the new, democratically elected Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, hails from an organisation that has little experience fighting for the rights of all Egyptians, regardless of their creed, political beliefs, sexual orientations or other markers of identity.
The Brotherhood may have learned the democratic game, but it’s a very circumscribed and corporatist view of democracy that has traditionally shown little tolerance for diverse views and life choices that might challenge normative views (although the most recent Satanic metal episode might signal the beginnings of a shift, as I pointed out in my last column). Such a view is of course not much different to that of the Republican Party today, not to mention the religious right in Israel, India and numerous other countries.
But that only means that politics and religion continue to generate chauvinism, hatred, violence and discrimination wherever they combine, even as the chances of keeping them separate seems to diminish with each passing year.
Blowback of the ugliest kind
Americans and Europeans are no doubt looking at the protests over the “film”, recalling the even more violent protests during the Danish cartoon affair, and shaking their heads one more at the seeming irrationality and backwardness of Muslims, who would let a work of “art”, particularly one as trivial as this, drive them to mass protests and violence.
Yet Muslims in Egypt, Libya and around the world equally look at American actions, from sanctions against and then an invasion of Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and sent the country back to the Stone Age, to unflinching support for Israel and all the Arab authoritarian regimes (secular and royal alike) and drone strikes that always seem to kill unintended civilians “by mistake”, and wonder with equal bewilderment how “we” can be so barbaric and uncivilised.
Russia receives little better grades on this card, whether for its brutality in Afghanistan during the Soviet era, in Chechnya today, or its open support of Assad’s murderous regime.
Meanwhile, the most jingoistic and hate-filled representatives of each society grow stronger with each attack, with little end in sight.
Let us assume that the attack was in fact not directly related to the protests in Benghazi but rather was the work of an al-Qaeda affiliated cell that either planned it in advance or took advantage of the opportunity to attack. If correct, we are forced to confront the very hard questions raised by the support for the violent insurgency against Gaddafi instead of following the much more difficult route of pressing for continued non-violent resistance against his murderous regime. 
Such a choice was extremely hard to make while Gaddafi was massacring Libyans by the thousands. But it’s one the needs to be examined in great detail if the most recent deaths are to have any lasting meaning. As long as the jihadis were rampaging Mali or destroying Sufi shrines, Americans didn’t have to think about the costs of supporting the violent removal of Gaddafi.
Now that the violence has been turned against their representatives, will Americans respond as expected, with prejudice and ignorance? Or, during this crucial election season, will they ask hard questions of their leaders about the wisdom of violent interventions in the context of a larger regional system which the United States administers that remains largely driven by violence? 
As I flew home yesterday from Europe, unaware of what had transpired in Libya, I read through the 2008 report by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, titled “From Exporting Terrorism to Exporting Oppression: Human Rights in the Arab Region”.
The report described the often unbearable levels of abuse suffered by citizens across the region is one of the most depressing reads imaginable. Every single government, from Morocco to Iraq, was defined by the systematic abuse of its citizens, denial of their most basic rights, and rampant corruption and violence. And in every case, such abuses and violence have been enabled by Western, Russian and other foreign interests.
Simply put, each and all the policies and actions described in the report – and 2008 was no better or worse than the years that proceeded or followed it – are as much forms of terror as the destruction of the World Trade Centre, invasion of Iraq, or attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi.
In fact, the Middle East and North Africa have for over half a century constituted one of the largest and most pernicious terror systems of the modern era. And the US, Europe, Russia, and now increasingly China have been accessories, co-conspirators, and often initiators of this terror throughout the period, working hand-in-hand with local governments to repress their peoples and ensure that wealth and power remain arrogated by a trusted few.
Who can lead?
If the combination of the report and the news of the Benghazi attack weren’t enough, within 20 minutes of arriving home, and while I was getting up to speed on the Benghazi attacks to respond to the inevitable media queries that were coming my way (Why do Muslims react like this just to a stupid movie? was what everyone wanted to know), I received the following alert from some Moroccan activists:
“A young Moroccan, in his twenties, who was employed and active in Communications, PR and Event Planning, has just been sentenced to 10 months in prison following a peaceful protest in Casablanca to free political detainees in Morocco last month. Samir Bradley was tortured by the Moroccan security apparatus during his initial interrogation. Sexual abuse, plucking of the eyelashes and attempts to pull of his nails were part of the techniques used by Moroccan authorities to humiliate him into submission.
After a ridiculously unfair trial and ruling, Proud and Strong, Samir has now started a hunger strike and is refusing water. Samir is an innocent active patriotic young man. A peaceful activist who only used peaceful means to push for positive change in Morocco. He will die in three days. The next time anyone reads the Articles 20 to 29 of the new Moroccan Constitution, please refer to reality to understand Morocco is not an ‘exception’. The regime is repressing peaceful protests and Morocco is far… FAR from reaching out for Rule of Law.”
This abuse was perpetrated by a “moderate”, “modern” regime whom Secretary of State Clinton recently praised as not merely a leader for peace in the region, but a “very good model for others who are also seeking to have their own democratic reforms”. 
What do Americans really expect to be the result of such bald-faced lies and support for brutality by our leaders?
The Arab uprisings of the last two years have at least given the world hope that a rising generation, in the region and – with their inspiration – globally, is finally trying to challenge the international terror system that ensures that hundreds of millions (indeed, billions) of people live mired in poverty and hopelessness, with almost no chance to create a better future, all so that a global elite can enjoy unimaginable wealth and power.
As global warming increases with its attendant environmental crises, food and fuel become more scarce and expensive, and global inequality rends social fabrics everywhere, we all have a choice.
We can succumb to the hatred and anger and each do our own part to speed the trip to our collective Hell, or we can follow the lead of the heroes of Bourguiba Boulevard, Midan Tahrir, Madrid’s Puerta del Sol, Wall Street and numerous other places where during the last two years, at least for a moment, ordinary people have come together to knock down the system that has oppressed them for as long as they can remember.
Choice number one is far easier, as it will happen merely by continuing to think and act, as we always have and letting inertia carry us over the cliff. Choice number two demands that people everywhere engage in serious soul searching, make profound changes in their most basic attitudes, beliefs, actions and policies, and then force our leaders to do the same.
Whichever choice we collectively make, events like the Benghazi attacks and all they signify remind us that at least we’ve been warned.
Mark LeVine is professor of Middle Eastern history at UC Irvine and distinguished visiting professor at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University in Sweden and the author of the forthcoming book about the revolutions in the Arab world, The Five Year Old Who Toppled a Pharaoh. His book, Heavy Metal Islam, which focused on ‘rock and resistance and the struggle for soul’ in the evolving music scene of the Middle East and North Africa, was published in 2008.

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Schett: Libya’s Destabilization Serves Western Political Agenda

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Libyan protesters kill American ambassador

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New Gaddafi Video? Footage Purportedly Shows Late Libyan Leader After His Death

Warning – Graphic Video
A YouTube upload purporting to show new footage from after Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi’s violent death last October has surfaced, allegedly providing a clearer view of the late dictator’s bloodied body.
Activist Sami al-Hamwi (@HamaEcho) tweeted a link to the video, remarking that someone should show the footage to Syrian president Bashar Assad as a reminder of what befell another Middle East dictator.
Previous footage posted shortly after Gaddafi’s death last year showed him on his knees, seemingly alive. In the clearer footage below, Gaddafi’s shirtless body appears to be transported by a group of men in the back of a van.
WARNING: Video below contains extremely graphic content.
Posted July 17, 2012

Source – Huffington Post

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Human Rights Now Worse In Libya

By Mel Frykberg

TRIPOLI, Jul 14 2012 (IPS) – “The human rights situation in Libya now is far worse than under the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi,” Nasser al-Hawary, researcher with the Libyan Observatory for Human Rights tells IPS.

Hawary showed IPS testimonies from families whose loved ones have been beaten to death in the custody of the many militias that continue to control vast swathes of Libya.
“At least 20 people have been beaten to death in militia custody since the revolution, and this is a conservative figure. The real figure is probably far higher,” says Hawary, pointing to photos of bloodied bodies accompanying the testimonies.
Hawary is no fan of the Gaddafi regime. The former Salafist and political oponent of Gaddafi was imprisoned numerous times as a poitical dissident by Gaddafi’s secret police.
Hawary emerged from his periods of incarceration beaten and bloodied, but not broken. Far worse happened to his Islamist friends under the Gaddafi regime which was fiercely opposed to Islamic fundamentalism.
Hawary eventually escaped to Egypt where he remained until Libya’s February 17 revolution in 2011 made it safe for him and other Islamists to return.
Revenge attacks, killings and abductions against former Gaddafi supporters and against black men, who the rebels perceive as having worked as mercenaries for Gaddafi during the war, continue well after the “liberation” of the country.
Several months ago Muhammad Dossah, 28, was abducted by armed militia men at a checkpoint in the northern city Misrata as he was driving his employer Forrestor Oil Company’s car from the city Ras al Amoud to capital Tripoli.
“I don’t know if he is dead or alive. We haven’t heard from him since he disappeared from the militia checkpoint and the police investigating his disappearance say the trail has gone cold,” his brother Hussam Dossah, 25, tells IPS.
The police managed to trace the car through several cities down the eastern side of Libya but there the trail ended. There has been no sighting of Muhammad since then, and his family have no idea what has happened to him.
“He could have been abducted because he is black or because the gunmen wanted the car he was driving. We are Libyan but my father is from Chad,” says Hussam.
Hussam’s story is one of many of abductions, random killings, torture and robbery as militia men continue to take the law into their hands.
Despite the interim National Transitional Council’s (NTC) pledge to bring the more than 6,000 detainees currently in detention to trial or to release them, only some have been freed while the atrocities committed by pro-revolutionary rebels have been overlooked.
Armed militias controlling the streets and enforcing their version of law and order is a problem even in the major cities where the NTC has supposedly retaken control.
Gunfire punctuates the night regularly in Tripoli, and sometimes the day. “All the young men here have guns,” former rebel fighter Suheil al Lagi tells IPS. “They are accustomed to sorting out political differences and petty squabbles this way, or they rob people using weapons. The high unemployment and financial hardship is aggravating the situation.”
While security is an issue in Tripoli, the situation in the provinces is worse. Unshaven, ragtag militia men dressed in mismatching military fatigues often extort money from people travelling through their checkpoints, particularly if they are foreign or black.
Travelling from the Salloum border crossing with Egypt to Tripoli involves crossing dozens of checkpoints manned by numerous militias, comprising local clans with divided loyalties.
At a Misrata checkpoint that this IPS correspondent passed, a bearded militia man decided that foreigners would have to undergo Aids tests before they could have their travel documents returned. Only intervention by others prevented this.
At a number of checkpoints in the Tobruk area, migrant Egyptian labourers were forced to pay bribes of up to 30 dollars each by militiamen before their passports were returned.
“We are aware of the problems facing our country and are trying to resolve the issues,” says Hassan Issa, member of the NTC from Ajdabia city. “It is not easy for us to bring all the groups under control at this point in time,” NTC member Abdel Karim Subeihi tells IPS.
“This is not the new Libya we fought for and we may have to take up arms again if the corruption and greed continue. This time against the new government,” warns al Lagi.

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Why didn’t Russia use veto right on Libya?

Why didn't Russia use veto right on Libya?. 47527.jpeg
Why did Russia not use the veto on Libya? Where is the money that was lent to Sarkozy by Gaddafi? What are the chances of a repetition of the “Libyan scenario” in Syria? Who set the West against Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad? Said Gafurov, scientific director of the Institute of Oriental and African studies, answered these and other questions for “Pravda.Ru.”
It is believed that Russia “washed its hands” in terms of the Libyan issue.
“Russia, as you know, abstained in the UN on the adoption of resolution 1973. The then President Medvedev later said in an interview with the Financial Times that Russia made a tragic mistake. Had we known that “resolution 1973” would be interpreted this way we would have voted against it. In fact, Medvedev has publicly stated that the West simply deceived Russia.
And I repeat, what is going on in Libya has nothing to do with democracy. All this can only be called a military coup and subsequent intervention. I do not have any other words.” 
What is the story with the money that Gaddafi has lent to Sarkozy?
“I do not think that Sarkozy kept the money lent by Libya in the central French bank. Some Libyan fund that must have been registered in Europe, most likely in violation of electoral laws of France, transferred the money for the election campaign of Sarkozy. There are documents from the French prosecutor’s office in this regard, and we, I think, will get to see the end of this criminal case.
I think the Persian Gulf sheiks promised to buy the French government bonds to fill the gap in the budget of France, because the war is an expensive business. While it brought big profits to French companies, it is not a given that it was enough to plug the gaps in the budget, and now the West in many ways is holding back the repetition of the events in Syria in Libya because they simply cannot afford it.”
Can the West repeat this war?
“The West would have calmed down if it were not for the East – Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The West should solve the problem with the budget deficit and the collapse of its economy, and the possible collapse of the euro area, and a war needs to be funded, but there are no funds. Huge amounts of money are coming from the Persian Gulf. Now each of Syria’s enemies wants to destroy it with the hands of their allies. Even in Russia the Embassy of Qatar is paying large sums of money to Russian journalists, leaders of medium news agencies and the media.
Would you like to ask me what they are paying for? A representative of the Syrian rebels in Moscow, Mahmoud Hamza, regularly receives money at the box office of the Qatari embassy. Other Syrians, even oppositional, refuse to give their good name to the business fueled by Qatari money of the terrorists. Only those people who have fully compromised themselves receive money from Doha.”
Will the “Libyan scenario” be repeated in Syria?
“The agreement, the plan of Kofi Annan that the Syrians need to solve their problems themselves, without outside interference, has to be executed. This is the position of Russia, and I fully agree with it. Syria must follow the path of democracy and freedom, and foreign aggression on the territory of Syria has to be prevented. The Syrian army and the government do not want to fight! Why would Syria’s army shoot its own people? If they are able to, I repeat, prevent foreign interference, it would be a way out.”
What are the ways of the West to unleash a war against Syria?
“There are many of them. From the formation of foreign legions, invasion of Syria from Turkey to the Libyan scenario with the bombing option. But I think none of the NATO countries would do it. After all, it’s not just about the fact that the Syrians know how to fight. The fact is that they know, paradoxically, how to lose. The entire history of Syria is a chain of losses, after which they retreated and regrouped, continued to fight and eventually won in this way.
The Syrians have held free parliamentary elections. During the next presidential election, I am convinced that the opposition will not be able to have a candidate who would win over Bashar, and I doubt that the opposition will have time to grow a candidate in their ranks if it blows up bombs in the streets instead of campaigning. In the meantime, Bashar beats any candidate with the advantage of at least six to four. The situation in Syria is now much safer than it appears from the Western media and “Al-Jazeera,” there is a normal life, children go to school, people work, earn money, but Bashar is the guarantor of the economic stability in their country.”
Whose side will have the advantage?
“NATO is stronger than Syria. However, I cannot imagine the countries of the bloc deciding to use direct aggression. Even political statements by the heads of this block suggest that the countries belonging to NATO want the Syrians to solve their problems, and we should talk about a national dialogue. In Western countries, there is opposition fueled by Middle Eastern money who wants to destabilize Syria.
And you will notice that most of the world is opposed to NATO. Here’s an example. There was a meeting of the Russian and U.S. Presidents Putin and Obama, but that same day, there was a meeting of the leaders of the BRICS. Nobody knows what they were talking about, there was no communique published, but it is known that four topics were discussed, including Syria, Iran, the IMF and the European crisis, and one of the most important four topics was Syria. The BRICS countries coordinate their efforts, nearly all of Latin America and all the moderate Arab countries are against neo-colonialism of the West. In Egypt, for example, the government is allegedly on the side of the rebels, but journalists in major newspapers are in favor of the Syrian government.”
Igor Latunsky

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The real significance of Libya’s elections

11 July 2012
The elections for a new General National Congress in Libya are an attempt to provide a “democratic” facade for an authoritarian and undemocratic government, subservient to the interests of the major Western powers, corporations and banks.
The NATO-installed National Transitional Council (NTC) ensured that candidacy was restricted to a relatively small layer approved by the Electoral Commission.
Indications are that Mahmoud Jibril’s Alliance of National Forces has won the largest number of votes for the new 200-seat Congress on a turnout of just over 60 percent of the 80 percent of Libyans registered to vote. How this will be reflected in the actual number of seats will only become clear when the results are officially announced. He will attempt to form a coalition to replace the NTC that was installed through a bloody imperialist NATO-led military offensive to depose the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. But success is by no means assured given the deep political divisions wracking the country.
A chorus of official hypocrisy has greeted the election, with particular satisfaction expressed over the victory of the supposed “liberal” Jibril. US President Barack Obama called it “another milestone in the country’s transition to democracy.” The European Union hailed “Libya’s first free elections” as the “dawn of a new era.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared, “Last year, thousands of Libyans sacrificed their lives or suffered lasting injury in order to win the right of the Libyan people to build a new state founded on human dignity and the rule of law,” as if this were now a reality.
A pliant media has enthused over the outcome and concealed its real import. “Democratic transitions are invariably long and messy,” wrote the New York Times. Nevertheless, “The election is a huge step away from the Qaddafi nightmare.”
After stating without irony that overcoming “the grievances of that time” “will take enlightened political leaders committed to tolerance, rule of law, accountability and fair representation of all Libyans,” the Times asserted that Jibril’s offer to form a grand coalition is “a potentially encouraging sign of inclusiveness.”
All such reportage and commentary, invariably wrapped up in references to the “Arab Spring,” is meant to conceal the fact that regime change in Libya was the political/military response of the US and European powers to the revolutionary uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, both of which border Libya.
Far from seeking liberation and democracy, the NATO powers set out to install a regime more directly answerable to their demands. Their aim was to either bring under their control or to actively suppress all oppositional movements directed against the region’s innumerable corrupt regimes and to safeguard access to Libya’s oil reserves—the largest in Africa—and those of the rest of the Middle East and North Africa.
The Mediterranean would be turned into a NATO-controlled lake, after securing regime change in Syria and Lebanon, while Libya would provide a beachhead for future interventions in Africa.
Jibril is the living embodiment of this policy. US-trained, he was a protégé of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the Libyan leader. He recommended himself to the Western powers because of his role as the former head of the National Economic Development Board responsible for the privatisation of state-owned enterprises and his readiness to abandon his former allies. With unrestrained cynicism, Britain’s Guardian even said of Jibril that he “has the advantage of experience.”
When the NTC formed an interim government in March at the beginning of the NATO war on Libya, Jibril was appointed as its head. He was installed as prime minister in August after a war that killed at least 50,000 and wounded another 50,000. The NTC’s constituent parts—ex-Gaddafi regime figures, Islamists, CIA assets and tribal leaders—will still make up a significant portion of any new regime.
Libya is being torn apart by ethnic conflicts, tribal clashes and fighting between militias that has seen hundreds if not thousands of people killed since the end of the NATO intervention. There is a distinct possibility that the country may even break apart.
Benghazi, the centre of Libya’s oil production and the so-called cradle of the revolution, has demanded autonomy for Cyrenaica and greater control over oil wealth. The elections were marked by violence, with the interim government deploying 30,000 to 40,000 security forces. Benghazi witnessed a 48-hour oil production stoppage and numerous attacks on election officials in protest at the distribution of seats in the new Congress, which is seen as ceding too much power to Tripoli.
An array of pseudo-left parties, intellectuals and academics such as Professor Juan Cole fully endorsed the human rights pretexts of the major powers for intervening in Libya and thus gave support to a war of colonial conquest.
This was not a matter of political naiveté, but a decisive and conscious lining up behind imperialism. They backed NATO because of a shared aim of averting the development of a genuinely proletarian revolutionary movement in the Middle East—a possibility they portrayed with undisguised scorn as an impossible dream. In the face of irrefutable evidence that the Benghazi movement had been co-opted by US imperialism from an early stage, these petty bourgeois elements came out in favour of a pro-capitalist and bourgeois movement, the NTC, whose victory—on the back of a NATO blitzkrieg—would inevitably subordinate the region more fully to the dictates of the major powers and global corporations.
Cole surpassed himself in his post-election apologias, saying that news reporting was “colored by what is in my view a combination of extreme pessimism and sensationalism.” The “election went very, very well,” he insisted, because “Among this generation of Libyans, democracy is really, really popular.”
Today, these layers employ the same political justifications in regard to the Syrian opposition to support an ongoing campaign for regime change designed to isolate Iran, push Russia and China out of the region and establish the hegemony of Washington.
The crucial lesson that must be drawn from Libya is the impermissibility of ceding the task of democratic and social renewal to any faction of the region’s bourgeoisie. To do so only disarms the working class and oppressed masses and allows the imperialists to dictate events through forces that invariably act as their local proxies.
It is the task of the working class itself to overthrow the region’s corrupt regimes and replace them with socialist, anti-imperialist and genuinely democratic governments—ruled by the working class itself in a United Socialist States of the Middle East.
Workers in America, Europe and the rest of the world must see in Libya a bloody portent of the disastrous consequences of the imperialist powers’ renewed drive to seize control of the world and its strategic resources and markets. A new antiwar movement is needed—rooted firmly in the working class and the young generation and freed from the political influence of the petty-bourgeois advocates of humanitarian war—to challenge and oppose the predatory designs of their ruling elites on the Middle East and Africa.
Jean Shaoul and Chris Marsden

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Libya: Elections by Goebbels


Libya: Elections by Goebbels. 47523.jpeg
We ask everybody to remember WWII history and try to imagine what could have happened if Germany was stronger and UK with US had created an alliance with it. Germany would have called all its wars humanitarian and Europe’s occupation could have been called “European spring”. So here is an alternative history: the first elections in France after “people´s revolution” victory:
On July 7, 1942 the new transitional government, under the leadership of the Marshal Petain, held the new parliamentary election.
These were the first free elections in new France after the French people in the spring of 1940 had discarded the regime of Edouard Deladier and chose the path of the development of democracy under the leadership of the 3rd Reich.
International organisations and funds such as Straferlass Internationaler ( Amnesty International), Uberwachung der Menschenrechte (Human Rights Watch), Durchschaubarkeit Internationale (Transparency International), Haus der Freiheit (Freedom House) which were created with the aim to provide democracy worldwide, have considered the elections as free and fair. Of course, as in every young democracy during the elections in France there were minor drawbacks. However they had not significantly influenced the high quality of the elections as a whole.
The British Minister of Foreign affairs Anthony Eden had previously said that the French people made a historic step towards freedom and democracy.
Special envoy of the League of Nations for France Ian Martin called the first democratic elections a «great success». According to him, the elections in France were «free and transparent».
The French people can rely on support from Germany. This was stated by Adolf Hitler in connection with the elections to the Parliament of France. The German Leader acknowledged that the French are still facing “serious challenges” and that “voting is to be completed in some areas.»
On the 8th of July parliamentary elections in France will continue. Voting was held on the eve, but because of the tense situation in the country several hundred election ‘offices had not been opened. 2500 candidates are fighting for 577 seats in Parliament.
Tension remains in the cities of Bordeaux and Montour in the west of France on the day of the Parliamentary Deputies Election. According to the “Neue Rheinische Zeitung” and “La France”, several polling stations in the cities of Bordeaux and Montour were attacked by the gunmen who took with them voting equipment.
In the capital of France – Vichy, the situation remains calm. Meanwhile, the head of the Transitional Government, Marshal Petain declared that “the French will surprise the world” with this election. According to him, the country remains under stable security situation, which is controlled by the authorities.
Vichi, July 8th, 1942. BBC (with reference on French CEC) says that about 60% of French citizens with voting rights have voted at their first free elections in France.
La France tells that the National Forces Union is leading in the elections. This is a union of liberals and independent politicians with Head of Transitional Government as their leader. The Party of Justice and Building (National-Socialists) is opposing NFU. This party is considered as a branch of International National-Socialists Association.
Official voting results will be known at the end of the week.
Fast-forward, Libya 2012
At this moment an occupational regime in Libya is proceeding its semblance of the creation of democracy with NATO’s support.
The Global Media are keeping silent about concentration camps for the non-loyal to the new regime, where Green Resistance members and those who try to bring the truth via the Internet are held. Those camps were created with NATO support too.
Global organizations and funds are spreading disinformation where they are decreasing the number of executed and deaths from torture in these camps, as they decreased the number of civilians who died from NATO bombs (by a thousand times).
They are representing Green Resistance military operations (Libyan partisan movement) as tribal wars or firefights between armed gangs.
They will continue to lie to us about Libya. They are lying about these elections. And here is the truth:
Laws that were released by the Libyan occupation regime bind the voting right by political, tribal and religious signs.
Libyan occupation regime declared:
“Anyone who will not vote on elections will be accused as pro Gaddafi (one can be jailed and tortured) and is being a traitor of 17th February Revolution”.

Rats threaten to block salaries if people will not vote.
Rats have forced students in universities to vote or they will be banned to study in university.
People were forced to vote under threat of force.
People are afraid to be jailed and tortured so they are voting.
Anyway, Libya is an occupied country and any elections can’t change this fact. Libyan Resistance is still fighting with occupants and local traitors.
Konstantyn Shcheglikov
Worldwide movement in support Libyan Jamahyria

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NATO’s Libya: A fine mess

NATO's Libya: A fine mess. 47422.jpeg
The map is from June 25, 2012. The green flags show Jamahiriya-held areas, the flames show combats with the NATO-backed NTC terrorists, the rats show terrorist-controlled areas and the bombs denote NATO terrorist attacks against Libyan patriot forces defending their country from this scourge. Let us take a look at NATO’s Libya.
At the beginning of 2011, Libya had the highest human development indices in Africa, one of its highest literacy rates, education was available to all for free, housing was provided to all for free, transportation was subsidised, food was distributed for free. Communities regulated themselves through the Jamahiriya system, self-governance through People’s Congresses. These Congresses basically met and decided what they needed and the Government provided it.
Enter the FUKUS-Axis (France, UK, US) coveting Libya’s vast sovereign fund, Libya’s vast energy resources and standing against Colonel Gaddafi’s vast humanitarian projects in Africa, for which he was to receive a special humanitarian prize from the UNO and which also denied the FUKUS Axis’ banking, arms, telecoms and other business lobbies billions of dollars in revenue from loans made to corrupted officials across Africa.
Look at this second picture and you will see a young girl, allegedly beaten, tortured and raped by the FUKUS-backed terrorists. This is the scourge they have been backing. There are countless tales of torture, of decapitation, slicing breasts off women in the streets, murder, arson, looting, vandalism, theft, rape. This is what the FUKUS Axis and its leaders have done to Libya – they have turned a peace-loving and peaceful society, a fun-loving society into a land of terrified communities trying their best to fight off the terrorist scourge, trying to block it entering their towns and villages and cities to perpetrate the most shocking acts of butchery Africa has seen in a long time.
This is the legacy of Obama, Sarkozy, Cameron, Clinton, Juppé and Hague. Should they pay for it? Then why don’t they?
Libya is a country in total chaos. This week: Four explosions rocked Tripoli, as the Libyan Resistance (patriots loyal to the Jamahiriya and against the NATO-backed Al-Qaeda terrorist rats) staged attacks against terrorist installations; Al-Qaeda terrorists in Benghazi cut oil supplies to western Libya (exacerbating the East-West divide).
There is news that Al-Qaeda elements are concentrated in the offshore Brak Shatty in a large agricultural project, southern Libya. The brother of Abo Yahia Alibi is with them. So where is the drone attack?
Al-Qaeda terrorists in Zintan have used mustard gas to murder people in Al Shqeqa, western Libya. So where is the drone attack?
Kufra: An ambush was launched by the Libyan Resistance against the NTC/Al-Qaeda/NATO terrorists by the Rijale Darf Hali Battallion. Many of these terrorist elements were liquidated in this operation.
Misratah: NTC/Al-Qaeda/NATO terrorist convoy has left the city heading to exterminate the Mchachiya tribe. Where are the drones?
Zawiyah: the NTC/Al-Qaeda/NATO terrorists murdered the lawyer Sadek Abderahmane. The terrorist group is called Haythem Khadraoui. Where are the drones?
Tobruk: Movement to divide Libya into Cyrenaica (Barqa), Fezzan and Tripolitania. Congratulations, Al-Qaeda/NTC/NATO…
NATO used chemical weapons in Libya: confirmed. Also, the quantity of bombs and missiles used by NATO in Libya is equal to 50 atomic bombs. Research: British Institute, study, Libya. In the following years Libyans will be born with disorders due to the radiation contained in these missiles and bombs.Environmental reports will be studied in the near future as to the future effects of these munitions on the subsoil and the environment, in which case under certain conditions, there is legislation to indict NATO and its leaders for war crimes under the Geneva Conventions.
Note: Is anyone with any sense of international justice interested in these reports? Where are those men and women who support the notion that international law exists to be upheld and not broken?
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

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Libya prospers every day, thanks to new regime


In the last few days Libya has been making the world rejoice over its new developments in the field of law, democracy and tolerance. In confirmation of allegiance to the selected course for the bright future a branch of the Red Cross was blown up, and two Russians were sentenced – one for life, the other – for a very long time; employees of the ICC were taken hostage, and the British ambassador was fired at.
On the path of democratic development of the country the Libyan authorities and their sympathizers have spared no effort or time. It is very interesting to watch how the country that was recently groaning under the yoke of a tyrant is moving to the civilized rails. Who said that it looks like the train that had gone downhill? The filthy liar’s tongue will be cut off.
Let’s take a cursory look at the main achievements. A little over a week ago, the Libyan military court sentenced two Russians for allegedly repairing military equipment for al-Gaddafi, while NATO was struggling to bomb it. Of course, decided the tribunal, such resistance to civilized peace-keeping forces should be punished with all severity.
The trial was swift and fair in the new Libyan way. Why bother with details? Alexander Shadrov was given a life sentence, and Vladimir Dolgov was sentenced to ten years in prison. In addition to Dolgov, another nineteen Ukrainians and three Belarusians were sentenced to the same period.
The Russian Foreign Ministry until recently fervently believed that they would be able to agree with the tri-color authorities amicably, and expressed their outraged indignation to Tripoli. “We expressed bewilderment and indignation of the Russian side to the Libyan diplomat about the unreasonably harsh and unfair judgment against our citizens. We highlighted the need to consider in subsequent proceedings under the procedures in this case the fact that these citizens did not participate in combat on the side of the troops of the former regime and have been detained for a long time,” said the press service of the Foreign Ministry.
The problem actually lies in the fact that there is no one to listen to these words. The authorities, who have entrenched themselves in the Libyan capital, can be called a government with a huge stretch of imagination: they are bandit gangs. Negotiations with them are vaguely reminiscent of the negotiations with Shamil Basayev who invaded a maternity ward.
The sentence given to the Russians looks like the oriental revenge carried out with refined cruelty. Russia was simply deceived: in the course of the investigation the Libyan authorities have promised that it is unlikely to come to trial, and if it does, the sentence will be soft.
“But the verdict, even allowing for the peculiarity of the region, was unexpected and cruel,” said the offended envoy of the Russian President Mikhail Margelov. What a surprise! How tricky and unpredictable the Libyan authorities are. Poor Margelov with his trusting Slavic soul!
“This decision is not the most suitable for building a rational foreign policy because it damages the relations with Russia, Ukraine and Belarus,” said Margelov. It is sad to point out the obvious to the Presidential envoy, but the new Libyan authorities do not care about Moscow, Kiev and Minsk. The never hid it, as well as their bitter resentment of the fact that the three states did not rush to renounce Gaddafi.
However, as subsequent events have shown, they do not care about the entire world, including the recent zealous assistants.
A few days ago in Libya the representatives of the International Criminal Court were detained (read: suddenly seized and held hostage) – an organization that over the last year was badly concerned over the war crimes of Gaddafi and his family. This is how it unveiled: four representatives, of which two women and one Russian, came to Zintan to see the imprisoned Saif al-Islam. After the interview took place, the ICC staff were captured and charged with espionage and transfer of some secret papers to Saif.
“The Libyan authorities have not informed us of any of the charges, or whereabouts and condition of our colleagues. We do not have the slightest information on this matter, we have lost contact with them. I can say that our staff visited Saif al-Islam on the order of the judges in The Hague and in agreement with the Libyan authorities. This was the official mission, our envoys had immunity, and their detention is not lawful,” helplessly stated ICC.
The commander of the bandit gang that detained the envoys has a different opinion about the mission of the detainees and the documents they allegedly gave to Saif. “Among these papers were letters from people who are wanted in Libya. There was an appeal to the International Court of Justice that al-Islam had to sign. The prisoner was also advised to tell everyone who visited him about him being mistreated in prison and that there is no law in Libya.” Of course, there is law in Libya. Anyone who doubts this should be immediately decapitated.
The Europeans probably do not understand. Only sophisticated oriental brain could think of this: ICC is assisting Saif al Islam al-Gaddafi. The person who can definitely expect no good in The Hague.
Although it is not clear what he may expect in Libya: no matter how hard local authorities are trying, they were able to charge Saif only on the absence of a license for camels and the non-compliances in fish farming. 
The Libyan authorities have become a bit careless. The West may start suspecting that something is wrong in the country it benefited. The ICC representatives were detained, British ambassador was shot in the “cradle of revolution”, Benghazi but not killed (the bandits still have not learned how to shoot), but the situation is still disturbing.
The incident with the ambassador is understandable. But recently in Benghazi, a beauty salon was attacked. The attackers did not do it for powder, lipstick and lotions. The owner of salon who for many years worked quietly under the cursed Gaddafi regime, said that she was repeatedly threatened with an attack and demanded to close her salon as it was an expression of feminism and “sexualization” of women.
In Misurata a branch of the Red Cross was blown up to definitively ascertain the international community that the new Libyan government is full of peace and goodwill. Well, the explosions can be understood – how would you accept the fact that the damned staff, bearing the illegal symbols of Islam, now and then find the mass graves of the supporters of the ousted regime? They ruin all the good picture. 
In short, Libya is alive and well, every day getting better under the new regime. Apparently, the Libyan authorities scratched their heads and realized that the people will not be able to stand that much happiness at once. Libya abolished the law forbidding under threat of imprisonment (three years to life) to praise the regime of Gaddafi and speak warmly about the colonel and his children. The remnants of “green” power can now safely have nostalgic conversations: from now on they will not be imprisoned, maybe just shot on the street, but not jailed. Indeed, there is law in Libya.
Daria Sivashenkova

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Libya Immunizes ‘Revolutionaries’ From War Crimes Prosecution

Authorities grant immunity to former rebels who fought to oust Gathafi’s regime, criminalise any glorification of former leader. 
By Middle East Online
May 03, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — TRIPOLI – Libyan authorities granted immunity to former rebels who fought to oust Moamer Gathafi’s regime and has criminalised any glorification of the former leader, in laws passed on Thursday.
“There is no punishment for acts made necessary by the February 17 revolution,” read the law published on the National Transitional Council’s website.
The immunity covers “military, security or civilian acts undertaken by revolutionaries with the aim of ensuring the revolution’s success and its goal,” the NTC added.
February 17 marks the start of a popular uprising which led to the collapse of Gathafi’s regime last year.
It was unclear if the law includes acts committed after October 23, when the NTC declared Libya’s liberation following the capture and killing of strongman Gathafi.
Rights groups say war crimes were committed by both sides during the 2011 conflict and warn of torture in detention centres run by militias made up of former rebels.
In further legislation to govern the country’s transition, the NTC criminalised the glorification of Gathafi or his regime.
“Praising or glorifying Moamer Gathafi, his regime, his ideas or his sons… is punishable by a prison sentence,” said the text of the law read out to reporters by a judicial official after a high-level meeting.
“If those news reports, rumours or propaganda cause any damage to the state, the penalty will be life in prison,” the official quoted the text as saying.
“In conditions of war, there is a prison sentence for any person who spreads information and rumours which disrupt military preparations for the defence of the country, spread terror or weaken the citizens’ morale,” he added.
According to the law, Libya is still in a state of war following the 2011 bloody conflict that pitted Gathafi loyalists against NATO-backed rebel forces.
A third law for the transition stipulates prison sentences for anyone who “attacks the February 17 revolution, denigrates Islam, the authority of the state or its institutions.”
And another law confiscates all property and funds belonging to figures of the former regime, including Gathafi’s relatives, placing them under the care of the judiciary.
The tough legislation comes just weeks before elections for a constituent assembly which the NTC has pledged to hold in June.
This article was first published at the Middle East Online
Libya’s ruling council issues new laws against loyalists of deposed leader Gadhafi
By Associated Press,
May 03, 2012 — TRIPOLI, Libya — Libya’s rulers have passed new laws aimed at punishing the loyalists of the country’s deposed ruler, Moammar Gadhafi.
One law imposes a life sentence on anyone convicted of talking part in Gadhafi’s propaganda machine.
Another allows for confiscation of property and possessions of 200 of Gadhafi’s supporters, relatives, Cabinet ministers and military commanders.
Anger still boils against Gadhafi’s four-decade dictatorship, seen responsible for current problems like squabbling tribes and lack of government institutions.
Libya’s interim government, the National Transitional Council, enacted the laws Wednesday, ahead of elections set for June. Libyans will vote for an assembly to form a permanent government and write a constitution.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Libya: Why the silence?


Libya: Why the silence?. 47008.jpeg
Just before the FUKUS-Axis countries set up camp in Benghazi on the eve of the love affair with the NTC terrorists which they unleashed on Libyan society, raping, murdering, torturing and pillaging, destroying the country in a wanton demonstration of demonic and sheer evil, the media was full of stories about Libya. Today, why the silence?
I spent a great deal of time and energy in this column showing up the media nonsense about Libya for what it was: hype, nonsense and lies, once again trying to whitewash another of the FUKUS-Axis’ (France-US-UK) campaigns, to justify yet another of its imperialistic sprees as the energy, banking, arms and Telecoms lobbies this time persuaded the governments they control to come up with a good cover story to stop Muammar Gaddafi implementing too many humanitarian projects in Africa, which damaged their greedy interests.
What happened next, everyone knows: despite the UN Resolutions forbidding it, the FUKUS-Axis indeed had boots on the ground, special forces directing the terrorists and mercenaries they controlled, sending them into action to behead Negroes, to decapitate people, to rape girls, to slice the breasts off women, to commit arson, destruction of property, torture and murder. Liable for these acts the FUKUS-Axis is, and indictments have been sent to the ICC at The Hague and the ECHR, neither of which have even received the courtesy of a reply, but then again, who expected one?
And then? Remember the promises of elections? A nice, democratic western-style democracy, where, you know, politicians basically do what they want behind closed doors and pander to the whims of their true masters, the lobbies who pull their strings…
So where is this election? Let us have a look inside Libya and see what is happening. Maybe we shall find the reasons explaining the silence of those responsible.
The United Nations declares it is horrified at acts of torture in Libyan jails by the freedom fighters the FUKUS-Axis backed. Nothing particularly new there. After all there are countries which, apart from torture, actually execute people in jail, the USA being one of them, there are countries which perpetrate the most shocking and barbaric acts of torture in concentration camps they rule overseas. Heard of Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay anyone?
That can’t be it.
Neither could it be the secret detention centre where the FUKUS-backed “freedom fighters” are apparently gang-raping women and girls and perpetrating Medieval-style practices of torture against men and boys. After all, this would never happen under NATO’s nose, now, would it?
Could it be the next story, the increasing fights ongoing between loyal Jamahiriya forces and terrorists? Interesting, why don’t we read about these stories in the western press, isn’t everything supposed to be hunky-dory in Libya?
Well, well now let us see…
Increasing fighting in north-west Libya has come to the attention of the UNO, which now calls on all parties to “resolve their differences without resort to the use of force”. Just a moment, that is exactly what the Jamahiriya was saying before the FUKUS-Axis started using terrorists on its own proscribed lists (Ask William Hague of the UK’s Commonwealth and Foreign Office), about the same time it was proposing a free and fair democratic election which the FUKUS-Axis refused to allow.
And why the north-west? For a good reason. Basically because the south of the country is out of control of the so-called “authorities” (how can terrorists be “authorities” and who has elected them?).
And another question, up which part of its anatomy does the UN keep its head? “The fighting comes on the heels of four decades of autocratic rule”. The fighting comes on the heels of a terrorist attack launched by the FUKUS-Axis, the fighting is because Libyan Patriots are fighting for their country and their institutions against treacherous terrorists controlled by foreign forces which want to get their hands on Libya’s resources.
Indeed, this is the reason for the silence: Libya has collapsed in utter chaos, just as I predicted it would a year ago. Fighting is not confined to the south and north-west as the UNO states. Recently, terrorist forces from Souq Jumaa and Misurata were confronted inside Tripoli and liquidated by loyalist Green Resistance forces. Last week a further 7 terrorists were destroyed in Zliten and another 22 were injured.
In fact, a look at the real map of Libya will show there is fighting in all cities right along Libya’s huge coastline, it will show that if you draw a line from east to west from As Sarir half-way down Libya on the Egyptian side to Ghadamis one-third of the way down on the Tunisian frontier, the vast majority of the territory is Green.
North of this line, there is fighting in practically every city, many of which are mainly held by loyalist Green Resistance Forces.
The reason, ladies and gentlemen, why the western media is not speaking about Libya is perfectly simple. Their terrorists are getting whipped.
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey


by James Corbett

“War is a racket. It always has been.” These words are as true now as they were when Major General Smedley Butler first delivered them in a series of speeches in the 1930s. And he should have known. As one of the most decorated and celebrated marines in the history of the Corps, Butler drew on his own experiences around the globe to rail against the business interests that use the U.S. military as muscle men to protect their racket from perceived threats. From National City Bank interests in Haiti to United Fruit plantations in Honduras, from Standard Oil access to China to Brown Brothers operations in Nicaragua, Butler pointed out how intervention after intervention served the business interests of the well-connected even as American taxpayer money went to foot the bill for these adventures. The names and places may have changed, but the old adage holds: the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The National Transitional Council that is nominally in charge of what is left of Libya announced this week that they’re beginning a probe of foreign oil contracts brokered during Gaddafi’s reign by his son, Saif al-Islam. Libya is sitting on the largest oil reserves in Africa, and it is no coincidence that within weeks of the start of the NATO campaign last year the rebels had already secured the country’s oil ports and refineries on the Gulf of Sidra and established their own national oil company for negotiating contracts with the invading forces. Although the oil contract probes are supposedly meant to show the transparency of the new “government” and their willingness to root out the graft and kickbacks inherent in the old regime, it’s quietly acknowledged that the process will be used to reward the nations that most visibly supported last year’s invasions and punish those who were more reticent.
Surprising, then, that the first companies on the block are Italy’s Eni and France’s Total. Both countries fostered close ties with the NTC last year and France was the first country to officially recognize them as the government of Libya. But now Libya’s general prosecutor is reviewing documents related to these companies for possible financial irregularities. The SEC is getting in on the act, too, requesting documents relating to both companies’ Libyan operations to check for suspected violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The potential blow to the European giants’ share in the Libyan market is especially painful in light of the upcoming Iranian oil embargo that threatens to squeeze the crude imports of Greece, Italy and Spain. Now, as Libya ramps up oil production to pre-war levels the obvious potential winners in the probe are the American and British majors, who could end up eating up some of Eni and Total’s share in Libya’s oil production should the investigation lead to charges.
China may also have reason to be wary of their standing with the new government. Chinese-Libyan ties were increasingly close in the years leading up to Gaddafi’s ouster, with trade volume having reached $6.6 billion in 2010. In 2007, as the US was beginning to put AFRICOM together and the competitive scramble for African resources was heating up, Gaddafi delivered an address to the students of Oxford University where he praised China’s hands-off approach to investment in Africa. At the time, Gaddafi suggested that Beijing was winning the hearts and minds of Africans with its reluctance to interfere in local politics, while Washington was alienating the population with their heavy-handed interventions. In the wake of the NATO bombing the would-be government of Libya is singing a different tune and relations with China have cooled down. Last August a senior NTC official suggested that China would be punished when it came time to award reconstruction contracts in Libya because of their initial reluctance to support the rebels. Although the statement was downplayed, it was revealed earlier this month that Chinese companies are still waiting to begin negotiations on losses to frozen and outstanding contracts worth $18.8 billion. Relations are still cordial, though, and the Libyan government is assuring China that the contracting companies will be in a better position to resume negotiations after national elections in June.
These latest moves from Tripoli may be as much about projecting the idea that the NTC is actually functioning as a government than anything else, though. Armed militias are still waging violent turf wars throughout the country, with 26 people dying in fighting between rivals in the western town of Zwara earlier this month and 150 dying in skirmishes last month in the southern city of Sabha. One militia stormed a hotel in Tripoli and opened fire, then beat and kidnapped the manager after he told a militia member to pay an outstanding room bill. Last week hundreds marched in Benghazi to call for an end to the violence between the armed gangs. The country is deeply divided along tribal lines and armed militias still occupy government buildings and openly flaunt the pronouncements of the erstwhile government. The idea that the NTC is actually functioning as a government is a pipe dream at this point, but as long as they keep the oil pumping and the victors of last year’s humanitarian love bombing get their spoils, there’s hardly a peep out of Washington, Paris, or London. Smedley Butler wouldn’t be surprised.
Meanwhile in Syria, the racketeers’ plans for a Libyan repeat are proceeding apace. Last week we reported on the so-called “Friends of Syria” and their agreement to begin openly funding the rebels to the tune of millions of dollars. This week we have been watching the inevitable, pre-scripted “break down” in Annan’s UN-brokered ceasefire. Exactly on cue, unverified reports from unnamed activists have begun rolling in to the usual media mouthpieces via foreign-based NGOs proclaiming so many people have died in continued fighting. The unacknowledged elephant in the room, however, is that, exactly as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has been attempting to point out all month, it’s impossible to expect a cessation in fighting when you are openly arming, training and funding an insurgent proxy army that is hell-bent on toppling the government. However, Lavrov is banging his head against a brick wall. The ceasefire was never meant to be a ceasefire and it’s all political theater at this point anyway. Any and every unverified rumor of fighting or violence in the country will now be taken as a sign that Assad has broken the agreement and the pressure to get Beijing and Moscow to acquiesce to the toppling of the Syrian government will intensify.
In the end, this will not be a carbon copy of Libya. There will be no NATO-led bombardment or large-scale military intervention, because Russia couldn’t allow that to happen. Besides, Syria has Russian supplied surface-to-air missiles and no compunction about using them. Instead, political pressure will increase for Assad to step down and the funds and arms to the rent-a-rebel force will continue increasing until the government is toppled. The dangerous factor in this equation is that neither the west nor China/Russia have blinked yet and there is a significant amount of face to lose for one side or the other in this proxy struggle. The one with the most to lose is clearly Iran, which all things being equal would be a dominant power player in regional politics. All things, however, are not equal. With their oil increasingly embargoed, the sanctions getting progressively tighter, and one of their key allies in the region threatening to topple in favor of a hostile Sunni insurgency, Iran has to know that when and if the Syrian domino falls, it falls on them.
At the same time, attention is turning once again to another of the war racketeers’ key interests: Pakistan. There has been newfound congressional interest in the so-called “Free Baluchistan” movement seeking independence for Pakistan’s Baluchi nationals. Citing human rights violations, Rep. Rohrbacher (R-California) has introduced a resolution calling on Pakistan to recognize Balochi self-determination. He has even written an op-ed in the Washington Post where he begins his argument with recourse to human rights and switches seamlessly in the fourth paragraph into noting with evident glee the region’s natural gas, gold, uranium, and copper reserves. 
Interestingly, Russia agreed last week to pony up $1.5 billion in financing and technical assistance for a proposed Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline. The projected course of the pipeline? It would start in Iran’s southern Assalouyeh Energy Zone and enter Pakistan from the west, crossing straight through Baluchistan. Coincidence, surely. The IP pipeline has had a tumultuous history, complete with plans to run the pipeline all the way to India (an idea from which India has distanced itself but never completely abandoned) and the potential involvement of China, which has flirted with the idea of incorporating the pipeline into a planned logistical network running from the port of Gwadar in Pakistan’s southwest all the way to Xinjiang province. Now, with a proposal for Russian funding on the table the pipeline looks closer than ever to becoming a reality.
From the outset, the US has used every bit of leverage it has to get the parties involved to scrap the idea. Diplomatic pressure has been brought to bear on China, Pakistan, and India, with Beijing and New Delhi both appearing to buckle under the pressure and pull out of the project. The US has backed its own alternative pipeline, a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India route, but that idea is looking less feasible by the day. Iran has nearly completed its share of the proposed IP pipeline, but Pakistan has been hesitant. Now along come the racketeers to fund yet another rebel movement in another geostrategically vital corridor, and before you know it “Free Baluchistan” might derail the project altogether. Look for US pressure on the Pakistani government regarding Baluchistan to increase as the pipeline comes closer to completion.
Butler was right. War is a racket, after all. These days the muscle men are rent-a-mobs and insurgents more so than the U.S. military, but the idea is the same: fund, arm and train the fighters to secure the resources and control the strategic areas. In Libya the NATO-backed rebels wrested the oil spigot from the unpredictable Gaddafi. In Syria the “Friends of Syria” are overthrowing a key Iranian ally and taking over an important square on the geopolitical chessboard. In Pakistan, American-backed rebels may succeed in driving a wedge through a key Iran-Pakistan pipeline. And the racket continues. One would do well to remember the grand finale of Butler’s speech: “To hell with war!” 
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James Corbett is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by James Corbett

A Year Later, Libya is Still a Mess

After the West’s much-ballyhood intervention, Libya is dominated by a complex tangle of violent militias — and the chaos is spilling into neighboring countries
By Daniel Larison
March 22, 2012 “The Week‘ – – One year after the U.S., Britain, and France began their war in Libya, the harmful consequences of Western intervention are readily apparent. The internal disorder and regional instability that the West’s assault created were foreseen by many critics. And yet, Western governments made no meaningful efforts to prepare for them. No one planned to stabilize Libya once Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown, and the National Transitional Council (NTC) rejected the idea of an outside stabilization force, which has left Libya at serious risk of fragmentation and renewed conflict. Intervention “on the cheap” may be more politically palatable in the West because of the low cost to Western nations, but it can still be quite destructive for the countries affected by it. 
Libya is now effectively ruled by the militias that ousted Gadhafi, and some militias run parts of the country as their own fiefdoms independent of any national authority. The most powerful militias in the western cities of Zintan and Misrata have refused the government’s calls to disarm. These militias believe that remaining armed allows them to retain political influence in the new order that they fought to create.
Amnesty International has documented numerous cases of abuse and torture of detainees by local militias, and there have been many reports of reprisals against civilians living in perceived pro-Gadhafi areas. Militia rule is made possible by the weakness of the NTC, which never had real control over armed rebel forces during the war, and still does not. Plus, the council’s opacity and corruption have been rapidly de-legitimizing it in the eyes of Libyans. 
While elections are scheduled for June, the NTC’s electoral law creates a significant obstacle to disarming militias by barring members of the Libyan military from participating in the political process. This is intended to keep the military out of politics, but its effect will be to discourage militias from giving up their weapons and integrating themselves into the military. As Geoff Porter asked in The New York Times: “Why would militias, whose members can vote and thus express themselves as a powerful bloc, disband so their members can join the military, which is explicitly excluded from elections?” The continued role of militias in Libyan political life represents a serious threat to Libya’s political transition. There is also significant risk of renewed fighting in Libya: A survey of Libyan political attitudes found that 16 percent said they would resort to violence for political ends. 
But the Libyan war’s worst impact may have occurred outside of Libya. The neighboring country of Mali, which also happens to support U.S. counter-terrorist efforts in western Africa, has been roiled by a new Tuareg insurgency fueled by the influx of men and weapons after Gadhafi’s defeat, providing the Tuareg rebels with much more sophisticated weaponry than they had before. This new upheaval benefits al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM), and the Tuareg uprising threatens the territorial integrity of Mali. The rebellion has also displaced nearly 200,000 civilians in a region that is already at risk of famine, and refugees from Mali are beginning to strain local resources in Niger, where most of them have fled. “Success” in Libya is creating a political and humanitarian disaster in Mali and Niger. 
Paradoxically, the Libyan war and its aftermath have had the unintended consequence of undermining the doctrine of “responsibility to protect” (R2P) that was originally used to justify the intervention. Many advocates of intervention believed Western involvement would strengthen the norm that sovereignty may be limited to protect a civilian population from large-scale loss of life. Instead, the Libyan intervention helped discredit that idea.
A key requirement of the “responsibility to protect” is that intervening governments assume the “responsibility to rebuild” in the wake of military action, but this was a responsibility that the intervening governments never wanted and haven’t accepted. All of this has proven to skeptical governments, including emerging democratic powers such as Brazil and India, that the doctrine can and will be abused to legitimize military intervention while ignoring its other requirements. The Libyan experience has soured many major governments around the world on R2P, and without their support in the future, it will become little more than a façade for the preferred policies of Western governments. 
Daniel Larison has a Ph.D. in history and is a contributing editor at The American Conservative. He also writes on the blog Eunomia.

Libya: Brigands-Revolutionaries and the UN

by Alexander Mezyaev

As NATO and the GCC persevere with their project of remodeling the Greater Middle East and North Africa, a constant flow of fighters have been crossing from Libya into Syria and vice versa. According to Alexander Mezyaev, far from pursuing peace as stipulated in its Charter, the United Nations has become an instrument of this policy.


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B. Lynn Pascoe (left), Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, speaks with Members of the Security Council, including (from right), Susan Rice of the United States; Gérard Araud of France; Peter Wittig of Germany; and Mark Lyall Grant of the United Kingdom; before the Council’s meeting on the situation in Libya. (29 February 2012)
For the first time the UN Security Council viewed the results of the Mission in Libya operation after it was established in September last year. The report of UN Secretary General was submitted for the Council’s consideration to convince its members that the prolongation of the Mission’s activities was necessary. That’s what was done. The UN Security Council took decision to extend the operation of the Mission for a further period of up to 12 months and specified a new mandate. As it states the Mission is to aid the Libyan authorities to define national requirements and priorities throughout the whole country; to promote the rule of law, to monitor and protect human rights, to restore public security, to fight illegal proliferation of all types of arms and related material (shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles known as man portable air defense systems are of particular concern).
No matter the UN Secretary General’s report tried to portray the Libyan authorities in the most positive light, a scrutiny of events in Libya couldn’t be avoided.
The new Ban Ki-moon’s report contains information on combat actions of the forces loyal to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, that continue resistance to NATO/UN occupants and local collaborators. The resistance takes place in the biggest cities: Tripoli, Bani-Walid, Corfu etc [1].
Trying to smooth the gravity of the situation the UN Secretary General calls the combat actions “skirmishes”, and it’s not the only absurdity in his report that doesn’t clarify the understanding of the situation but rather makes it more complicated. For instance, besides new Libyan authorities and “old regime supporters” all of a sudden a third actor appears – some “revolutionary brigades”. Who are they, what areas do they control, whose command are they under – the report doesn’t say a word about it. But the text makes it clear what the new actor is needed for: “the “revolutionary brigades” continue to carry out arrests of alleged former regime supporters, and interrogation, including at disclosed locations, as well as to control known detention centers”. There are “acts of severe torture and ill treatment perpetrated by the brigades including death in custody, particularly in Tripoli, Misrata, Zintan, Gheryan”. [2] Now everything becomes clear. The new Libyan authorities have nothing to do with it, it’s all the fault of some mythical “brigades”. Still another question crops up: if the brigades operate in Tripoli itself, what does the “government” control?
The UN special representative for Libya Ian Martin came from Libya to take part in the Security Council’s session and to shed light on what the situation is like on spot. His report was no less a sad sight. He also maintained there were some “armed brigades” but it is not clear who they were and under whose control they acted. [3]
Libya Permanent Representative to the UN Shalgam was more open. He told straight that there were areas where the government failed to establish control. No police presence and no courts make it impossible for the new authorities to be responsible for what was happening there. But somehow Shalgam didn’t make precise what parts of the country those areas out of “government” control were situated in. According to international law any authorities constitute a legal government if they control the territory. That’s de jure. It’s tacitly recognized de facto that a government should control at least the larger part of the country. It’s exactly what lacks in the case of the National Transitional Council. So, the representatives have to invent rather stupid reports.
The “new Libya” authorities know their heads could roll in the wink of an eye. That’s why the Libya UN representative raised alarm. He said it’s known that some former Gaddafi regime leaders were plotting a coup d’etat. “In the past few days a number of armed cells have been detained. They were plotting to sabotage and bomb Tripoli. Al-Qadhafi agents are sending funds to Libya for acts of sabotage”. [4] Shalgam said he had sent to the Security Council and the International Criminal Court copies of recorded phone conversation of former Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi (now living in Tunisia) personally giving instructions to launch sabotage acts. In a week Libyan present “prime minister” Abdel Rahim al-Kib addressed the Council imploring it to cancel the arms embargo against Libya.
Let the earth burn under the feet of the “government”. To save the present regime the UN Security Council abrogated the arms supplies embargo against Libya made effective by clause 14 of the Resolution N 1973, but the clauses 9 and 10 of the resolution 1970 (with amendments inserted by the 2009 resolution) remained in force. Still the people’s resistance to newly authorities continues. But the Libya’s entreaty to return its funds captured by the “Western democracies” somehow was left without response. The resolution only “instructed” the Sanctions Committee to permanently oversee the other steps introduced by the resolutions 1970, 1973 and 2009 concerning only the Libyan Investment Authority and Libyan African Investment Portfolio. It also envisaged a plausible abrogation of the sanctions by the Committee but only when appropriate. [5]
There is a special operation to transfer the Syrian “opposition” brigands into Libya conducted under the cover of the UN Mission and its head I. Martin.
Once the fact has become known [6] I. Martin tried to make it look like it was not militants but rather “refugees” fleeing from the Bashar Assad bloody regime. But for anyone who has ever seen a map it’s clear that one can “escape” from Syria into Libya only through Jordan and Israel and then crossing Egypt. And to overcome it all to be granted asylum in the most “problem free” country! Looks like these people are not refugees but rather marathon runners. As one can see it’s another silly story. But nobody cares about the authenticity of the explanations offered.
Since a long time the UN Security Council’s sessions have become examples of cynicism and hypocrisy, a world wide stage for spreading fabrications to promote public opinion support for the most bloody and base crimes.
On March 9 in Geneva the International Commission of Inquiry on Libya presented a formal report at the UN Human Rights Council’ session. Its Chairman Kirsch (former head of the International Criminal Court) said crimes against humanity and war crimes were committed in Libya. He said it was necessary to conduct an additional investigation of NATO’s activities in the country as well of circumstances of Muammar Gaddafi and his son Mutassim’s deaths.
The Russia’s UN Human Rights Council’s representative called the report “not balanced enough”. It’s a surprisingly diplomatic interpretation. It’s a well known and documented fact that the multiple crimes were committed as a result of NATO combat operations in Libya. One can recall the August 9 2011 bombings of Zlitan, that led to the death toll of 80, including 30 children. Or the strikes against Tripoli TV center in July 2011. Inexplicably these and many other (the most significant) events of human casualties under the NATO bombs are not even mentioned in the Commission’s report. No matter the report contains a special section devoted to the death of Muammar Gaddafi and his son Mutassim, the lawyers appear to make strange conclusions. The Commission insists no matter it has made many requests, it has received no autopsy report but only pictures of the body, that don’t allow to determine the cause of death. It made possible a conclusion that “the Commission has been unable to confirm the death of Muammar Gaddafi as an unlawful killing.”. [7] The Commission members, prominent lawyers, pretend to be novices in legal matters that have never seen video footages of Gaddafi’s being humiliated, nor the testimony of his murderers. The critically crucial fact that a prisoner was destitute of life happened to be of no legal significance for experienced lawyers.
The UN Security Council’s deliberations on the situation in Libya in March this year and the results of investigation conducted by the UN Commission’s of inquiry on Libya testify that a plan to convert Libya into a “twilight zone” of world political scene is underway. The attempts are undertaken to make it kind of a symbiosis of Iraq and Somalia, a place of uncontrolled “sprawling” of weapons, pumping free oil and training militants for new revolutions. But till the resistance of the Libyan Jamahiriya’s forces is not broken this plan may be frustrated.
Strategic Culture Foundation (Russia)

[1] Reference: Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, // UN doc: S/2012/129, March 1 2012, paragraph 9-12.
[2] Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, paragraph 24.
[3] Reference: I. Martin’s report at the 6728 session of the UN Security Council on February 29 2012,// U.N Document S/PV.6728, p.3
[4] Reference: Libya’s representative at the United Nations Security Council M. Shalkam’s report at the 6728 session of the UN Security Council, February 29 2012, //UN Document: S/PV.6728, p.9-10.
[5] Reference.: UN Security Council resolution N 2040 (2012), March 12 2012, paragraph 9.
[6] For instance, Mr. Vitaly I. Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, said at the Council’s session on March 7: ” We have expressed about the uncontrolled proliferation of Libyan arms in the region. However, it’s not only weapons that’s going abroad. There is information that there is a special training centre for the Syrian so-called revolutionaries in Libya supported by the authorities. Its cadets are being sent to Syria t attack the legitimate government. That is completely inacceptable on any legitimate grounds”. (Reference: UN Document S/PV.6731, p. 8)
[7] Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Libya, // UN Doc.: A/HRC/19/68. Para 33-34.

Libya: “Dawn” Turns Into Chaos

By Garibov Konstantin
Mar 19, 2012 -“VOR” – -Exactly a year ago, France, Britain and the US kicked off a military operation in Libya. The aim was declared in a UN Security Council resolution on March 17, 2011. The document authorized an embargo on arms supplies to the Gaddafi regime and a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians from air strikes.
During the vote, Russia, China and Germany abstained from adopting the resolution which Moscow said could be loosely interpreted by the West to start a military intervention against Libya. Russia, however, decided not to veto the resolution which Moscow hoped would help resolve the political standoff in Libya at the time. In the end, the Libyan variant of the Arab Spring resulted in an intervention and the ouster and the subsequent killing of Muammar Gaddafi. The West and its allies’ Operation Odyssey Dawn led to chaos in Libya, believes Yevgeny Satanovsky, head of the Middle East Institute in Moscow.
“The Arab Spring in Libya saw a separatist mutiny in Benghazi which was followed by Cyrenaica’s proclaiming its autonomous status,” Satanovsky says. “This explains why Saudi Arabia and Qatar were trying to topple Gaddafi. Right now, tribal discords advance to the level of genocide, with some African tribes being slaughtered. No modern-day democracy under the aegis of the Arab Spring has taken place in Libya which is currently on the edge of disintegration,” Satanovsky concludes.
When supporting Libyan rebels’ fight against Muammar Gaddafi, the West did not care a bit about democratic reforms in Libya. The goal was to take control of the countries’ resources – something that was not achieved, says Sergei Demidenko, expert of the Moscow-based Institute for Strategic Assessments and Analysis.
“Britain and France were trying to take control of the Libyan oil, but to no avail,” Demidenko says, referring to the political deadlock in Libya which prevented London and Paris from resolving the task. “The Libyan gridlock contributed greatly to the spread of Islamist radicalism in the region – something that the EU should grapple with,” Demidenko adds.
Right now, field commanders are seen as Libya’s new rulers, analysts say, citing more than 100,000 armed Libyans currently in place in this North African country. Also, there is a big question mark over the activities of the Libyan National Transitional Council, commentators say. Alexei Podtserob, of the Moscow-based Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, shared his thoughts on what countries benefited from Libya’s Arab Spring.
“Capitalizing on this were those countries which currently have Libyan assets that are yet to be finally unfrozen,” Podtserob says, citing Qatar which significantly expanded its regional clout thanks to Gaddafi’s ouster.
The Russian expert pointed to poor living standards in Libya, where unemployment is on the rise and GDP is on the decline. More than 10,000 people are still in prison in Libya, and the crackdown on Gaddafi supporters continues. Podtserob also mentioned unsuccessful attempts by the International Criminal Court to obtained unbiased information about what is going on in Libyan jailhouses.

Libya autonomy declaration poses threat of civil war

By Bill Van Auken 

8 March 2012
Following a declaration of autonomy by tribal and militia leaders in oil-rich eastern Libya, the head of the Tripoli-based National Transitional Council (NTC) has threatened the use of “force” to prevent the country’s partition along regional lines.
Nearly five months after the lynch-mob murder of Libya’s former leader, Col. Muammar Gaddafi, and NATO’s declaration of victory in its war for regime change, the confrontation between Tripoli and Benghazi, the eastern city where the autonomy decision was taken, raises the specter of civil war.
In a televised address Wednesday from the city of Misrata, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the chairman of the NTC, categorically rejected the autonomy bid.
“We are not prepared to divide Libya,” he said. “They should know that there are infiltrators and remnants of the Gaddafi regime trying to exploit them now and we are ready to deter them, even with force.”
At a press conference in Tripoli, Jalil charged unnamed Arab states with funding “sedition” in Libya. “Some sister Arab nations unfortunately are supporting and financing this sedition that is happening in the east,” he declared.
Jalil, a former minister of justice in the Gaddafi government, went on to declare the NTC “the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people” and Tripoli Libya’s “eternal capital.”
Earlier, the NTC’s interim prime minister, Abdel Rahim al-Kib, also rejected any move towards a federated state in Libya, declaring, “We don’t want to go back 50 years.”
The unstated reference was to the reactionary and corrupt regime of King Idris, which governed Libya until its overthrow by the Nasserite-inspired Free Officers Movement, led by Gaddafi. Idris served as a puppet of US and British imperialism, granting both military bases in Libya, including the giant Wheelus US Air Force base in western Libya.
After the discovery of oil, Idris served as the pliant tool of the big American oil companies, which wrote the country’s petroleum law and were granted virtually unrestricted rights of exploitation. After coming to power, Gaddafi closed down the US and British bases and nationalized a controlling interest in all of the foreign oil companies operating in the country.
The connection between Idris’s reign and the separatist movement in the east is very direct. The former king ruled a federated monarchy in which the imperialist powers and foreign corporations dominated. The states—Cyrenaica in the east, Tripolitana in the west and Fezzan in the south, territorial jurisdictions inherited from Italian fascist rule and before that the Ottoman Empire—had as much power as the central government. Idris himself resided in Benghazi and considered himself first and foremost the ruler of Cyrenaica.
Sheikh Ahmed Zubair al-Senussi emerged from the conference in Benghazi as the choice of the 3,000 assembled tribal, militia and political representatives for chief of a new interim council of Cyrenaica, or Barqa, as it is known in Arabic. The stated goal of the new council is to revive the constitution of 1951 imposed under Idris.
Al-Senussi, who is a member of the NTC, is also the grand-nephew of the deposed king. He insisted that the autonomy declaration was not a matter of “sedition” and that the Benghazi council had no interest in changing the country’s flag or national anthem and would leave foreign policy to the NTC in Tripoli.
However, in an interview with CNN from Benghazi, al-Senussi said that “social things” should be left in the hands of local governments, including health and education.
Under the Gaddafi regime, a significant portion of the country’s oil wealth was channeled into the provision of free health care and education for all Libyans. The proposal to turn these sectors over to regional authorities inside Libya represents a direct threat to the well-being of the majority of the population, particularly when couched in the program of an eastern Libya autonomy movement.
According to the Benghazi-based Arabian Gulf Oil Company (AGCO), the territory of Cyrenaica holds fully three-quarters of Libya’s oil reserves. Asked by Reuters whether the creation of the new council in Benghazi would change the way in which AGCO operates, a company spokesman answered equivocally, “Nothing until now.”
The autonomy declaration in Benghazi is widely seen as a step toward grabbing control over the region’s energy wealth, which would entail choking off resources for the rest of Libya.
The move to create an autonomous government based in Benghazi is part of a broader fracturing of Libya along regional lines. Over 100 separate tribal and city-based militias—the forces which NATO backed with arms, advisers and aerial bombardments in the war to overthrow Gaddafi—control much of the country. The NTC, while installed by the US and NATO as the official government, has proven incapable of exerting its control even over the capital, Tripoli, where the main airport and major government buildings remain under militia control.
While the NTC’s Jalil blames the threatened splintering of Libya alternatively on unnamed Arab regimes and pro-Gaddafi infiltrators, the more obvious culprits are the US, NATO and the Western European powers. Their seven-month war last year succeeded in destroying the Libyan state and much of the country’s infrastructure, while claiming tens of thousands of lives.
The aim of this imperialist intervention was to turn the clock back half a century to the conditions that existed under King Idris, imposing unfettered control over the country’s oil wealth and turning Libya once again into a base for imperialist interventions throughout the region.
The fracturing of Libya along regional lines would facilitate these neo-colonial aims. It also threatens a renewed eruption of civil war and yet another round of bloodletting resulting from a war of aggression waged under the pretext of protecting civilian lives.
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