Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Qaddafi, Libya... Some Other Sides Of The Story


Everybody's happy, happy, happy that the Qaddafi's have been overthrown, right? I mean, once it became public, however that happened, that he was personally behind the Lockerbie bombing-- like someone didn't already know that?-- he had to be deposed. And deposed he was, primarily by the CIA, the U.S. military and the NATO allies. Over the past couple weeks I've been trying to draw comparisons-- imperfect as they are-- between the U.S. overthrowing Qaddafi and the CIA activities that toppled legitimate governments "we" (meaning corporate America) disagreed with in Iran, Guatemala, Chile and Ecuador. I left out how the CIA toppled governments in Australia, Italy, Greece and even England. And now I see there are other people thinking along the same lines... like the fine folks at the Revolutionary Communist Party of the USA. Don't laugh.
Qaddafi's overthrow and the victory of the "rebel" forces is being presented by the U.S. rulers, their European imperialist allies-- including Britain, France, and Italy-- and their media mouthpieces as a big victory for the people, a triumph of "democracy" over tyranny, and a vindication of their "humanitarian" military intervention in Libya.  

As the anti-Qaddafi forces took over Tripoli, President Barack Obama stated, "The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator... The future of Libya is now in the hands of the Libyan people."

It is nothing of the sort. The unfolding events in Libya are primarily the result of a U.S.-NATO military, political, and economic assault on Qaddafi’s forces, stretching over months.  

The day the Tripoli fell to the anti-Qaddafi forces, the New York Times reported:

"Through Saturday, NATO and its allies had flown 7,459 strike missions, or sorties, attacking thousands of targets, from individual rocket launchers to major military headquarters. The cumulative effect not only destroyed Libya's military infrastructure but also greatly diminished the ability of Colonel Qaddafi's commanders to control forces, leaving even committed fighting units unable to move, resupply or coordinate operations." ("Sharper Surveillance and NATO Coordination Helped Rebels Race to Capital," August 22)

This assault has had not been about liberating Libya or ensuring self-determination for the nation of Libya. Instead, it has been aimed at strengthening imperialism's grip on Libya... [T]he day after Tripoli fell, the New York Times carried an article headlined, "Scramble Begins for Access to Libya's Oil."

It wasn't that big a war. I saw a CNN news crawl yesterday that said it's estimated that 50,000 Libyans died. And I guess that doesn't count the African workers who are all over the country who seem to be meeting a bad fate at the hands of "our" pals. Even a reporter who is totally buying into the "magnificence" (his word) of the battle to free themselves from the tyrant, observed that the whole enterprise has been marred by racism.
"This is a bad time to be a black man in Libya," reported Alex Thomson on Channel 4 News on Sunday. Elsewhere, Kim Sengupta reported for the Independent on the 30 bodies lying decomposing in Tripoli. The majority of them, allegedly mercenaries for Muammar Gaddafi, were black. They had been killed at a makeshift hospital, some on stretchers, some in an ambulance. "Libyan people don't like people with dark skins," a militiaman explained in reference to the arrests of black men.

The basis of this is rumours, disseminated early in the rebellion, of African mercenaries being unleashed on the opposition. Amnesty International's Donatella Rivera was among researchers who examined this allegation and found no evidence for it. Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch similarly had not "identified one mercenary" among the scores of men being arrested and falsely labelled by journalists as such.

Lurking behind this is racism. Libya is an African nation-- however, the term "Africans" is used in Libya to reference the country's black minority. The Amnesty International researcher Diana Eltahawy says that the rebels taking control of Libya have tapped into "existing xenophobia." The New York Times refers to "racist overtones," but sometimes the racism is explicit. A rebel slogan painted in Misrata during the fighting salutes "the brigade for purging slaves, black skin." A consequence of this racism has been mass arrests of black men, and gruesome killings – just some of the various atrocities that human rights organisations blame rebels for. The racialisation of this conflict does not end with hatred of "Africans." Graffiti by rebels frequently depicted Gaddafi as a demonic Jew.

...The dominance of relatively conservative elites and the absence of countervailing pressures skewed the politics of the rebellion. We hear of "the masses," and "solidarity." But masses can be addressed on many grounds-- some reactionary. There are also many bases for solidarity-- some exclusionary. The scapegoating of black workers makes sense from the perspective of elites. For them, Libya was not a society divided on class lines from which many of them had profited. It was united against a usurper inhabiting an alien compound and surviving through foreign power. Instead, the more success Gaddafi had in stabilising his regime, the more the explanation for this relied on the claim that "Gaddafi is killing us with his Africans."

A further, unavoidable twist is the alliance with Nato. The February revolt involved hundreds of thousands of people across Libya. By early March the movement was in retreat, overseas special forces were entering Libya, and senior figures in the rebellion called for external intervention. Initially isolated, they gained credibility as Gaddafi gained ground. As a result, the initiative passed from a very large popular base to a relatively small number of armed fighters under the direction of the NTC and Nato. It was the rebel army that subsequently took the lead in persecuting black workers.

Under different conditions, perhaps, unity between the oppressed was possible. But this would probably have required a more radical alliance, one as potentially perilous for those now grooming themselves for office as for Gaddafi. As it is, the success of the rebels contains a tragic defeat. The original emancipatory impulse of February 17 lies, for now, among the corpses of "Africans" in Tripoli.

At least they didn't infect them with syphilis. I mean who would ever do something like that? (The Washington Post story gets all the facts out there except that this was done by a gang of Nazis brought here by domestic fascists in the OSS straight from experimenting on Jews and other captives in the concentration camps. They did lots of experiments in the U.S. and for the U.S.) Off topic... let's get back to Libya. Actually we're going to turn to Africa News for a completely different perspective than the one we're hearing from corporate media cheerleaders for the Military Industrial Complex. I'm not claiming it's a more valid perspective; it's just another perspective to the one we all know-- or should know by now-- is completely compromised and devoid of anything beyond slick propaganda.
Libya's destruction, a victory for the west; a defeat for ordinary Libyans. The suffering of Libyans has just begun. For there can never be true liberation when your oppressor is the one who defines what your freedom should be. The ousting of Colonel Gaddafi, Libyan leader for 42 years, by the rebels backed western forces especially NATO is indeed a victory for the west whose fixation on Gaddafi's Libya has become worrisome.

It’s definitely not a victory for ordinary Libyans who would continue to suffer a lot of nervous strain and shock after the destruction. Neither is it a victory for the rebels who have been in excess jubilation since capturing Gaddafi’s official residence. “We are free,” they proclaimed in wild happiness.

But they have forgotten one important thing: that they are now slaves to all the countries that helped them kick out Gaddafi.

Apparently the rebels are not ordinary Libyan but a group of people who want the share of the oil with the help of foreign forces. Gaddafi’s main crime may be the fact that he refused to let the west control Libya’s resources, hence he must be eliminated by all possible means.

In their euphoria and in their haste to get rid of him, they forgot that none of the countries that backed them has the interest of Libyans at heart. Let them for once re-visit Iraq.

...Gaddafi should have known that neither America nor its allies forget and forgive. He should have known that the oil in his background is enough to eliminate him by all means. He should have learnt a lesson from Iraq, a nation destroyed by Obama's predecessor on the pretense that the late Iraqi leader possessed Weapon of Mass Destruction which turned out to be a ruse.

It was simply a ploy by Mr. Bush to invade the oil rich nation. There is always an excuse to invade certain countries especially when the rulers of such countries refused to be a stooge.

Earlier this morning author and investigative journalist Russ Baker was asking for some transparency about U.S. intervention in Libya. He's already written about the growing doubts about Libya's complicity in Lockerbie and looking at the American role in the "liberation" of the country... well, like many of us, he smells a rat.
It’s true that Qaddafi, like many-- perhaps a majority of-- rulers in his region, was a thug and a brute, if at times a comical figure. But one doesn’t need to be an apologist for him-- nor deny the satisfaction of seeing the citizenry joyously celebrating his ouster-- to demand some honesty about the motives behind his removal. Especially when it comes to our own government’s role in funding it, and thus every American’s unwitting participation in that action.

Let’s start with the official justification for NATO’s launch of its bombing campaign-- for without that campaign, it’s highly improbable the rebels could ever have toppled Qaddafi. We were told from the beginning that the major purpose of what was to be very limited bombing-- indeed, its sole purpose-- was to protect those Libyan civilians rebelling against an oppressive regime from massive retaliation by Qaddafi. Perhaps because of NATO’s initial intervention, the feared Qaddafi-sponsored, genocidal bloodletting never did occur. (At least, not beyond the military actions one would expect a government to take when facing a civil war:  after all, remember General Sherman’s “scorched earth” policy in the US Civil War?). However, protecting civilians apparently didn’t generate sufficient public support for intervention, so we started to hear about other purported reasons for it.  Qaddafi was encouraging his soldiers to…commit mass rape! And giving them Viagra! And condoms!

You can’t make this sort of thing up. And yet that’s just what the NATO crew did-- made it up. The media, always glad to have a “sexy” story, especially a sick sexy story, even a sick sexy story with no evidence to back it up, covered this ad nauseum, but never bothered to find out if it was true.

...Qaddafi should never be seen as a victim-- indeed, he has always been sleazy and monstrous in various ways. But the US and its allies appear to have cared little about this, while being deeply  troubled by his role as a fly in the geopolitical ointment. A look at the long and complex historical relationship between Qaddafi and the West begins to explain the true reason he had to go. It also dovetails perfectly with a growing body of indications that Western elites encouraged and even provoked the uprising-- while tapping into deep discontent with the dictator.

Qaddafi has long been a thorn in the side of the West’s oil industry and their national security apparatus. In the early 1970s he worked closely with Occidental Petroleum chairman Armand Hammer in thwarting the ambitions of the oil majors. He was a leader in the boycott of Israel and often cozied up to the Soviet Union.

...What the media has so relentlessly characterized as the “spontaneous uprising” of February 2011 was hardly spontaneous. It began even before the Arab Spring itself commenced in Tunisia during December of last year—and it was orchestrated by the West.

...Khalifa Hifter, a former Libyan army officer, had spent the past two decades living just down the road from CIA headquarters, with no apparent source of income.  In 1996, while a resident of Vienna, Virginia, he organized a Benghazi-based revolt that failed. When the current uprising was sputtering in March, CIA sent Hifter in to take command.

When the rebels were being routed, the United Nations Security Council approved a no-fly order for Qaddafi. The NATO bombing began almost immediately, under the “humanitarian” label.
Before long, other European countries had covert elements in Libya. The British paper, The Guardian, has just reported the role of British special forces in coordinating the rebels on the ground. This was denied by the UK government . But then another British paper, The Telegraph, cited UK defense sources saying special forces had been in Libya already for weeks, i.e., since early August.)

Hopefully they won't attack Algeria next-- for it's oil... I mean for giving the Qaddafi family shelter. Interesting video below, although the filmmakers seem a little hung up with the Rothschilds.

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At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm as anti-imperialistic as the next leftie, or likely much moreso, while I enjoy my threatened but still privileged modest economic situation in the woodsy belly of Rick Perry's (and Willie Nelson's adopted) hiply imperialistic racially divided Auschtin with its still unchecked anti-person-of-color police force.

Regarding the video and "The Rothschilds" (meaning "The Jews"), this seems standard boilerplate though subtler Alex Jones-type politically displaced paranoiac white person's militia-brained scapegoat-mongering stuff. My impression? Even a broken clock and all that, though I'm from Austin, and up-close Alex Jones' white-privilege closet-Dominionist faux populist act has long since nauseated me.

My real comment and question is this? Is it ever okay on present-day Earth to violate the Star Trek prime directive in the way it's been done in Libya?

Frankly, I really hate and grieve the violent racism that manifested itself in the EuroAmerican-backed-sponsored Libyan uprising, as I hated and still grieve the unadulterated racism and suffering that thrived unchallenged for so long (still present, too, of course, though now adulterated) in my Mississippi hometown.

Yet I really got tired of Counterpunch's (for example) unbalanced kneejerk anti-imperialist series of essays about how awful the events in Libya were. Same thing with what I read in the beloved Black Agenda Report. The two publications' contributors are admirable in their instinct for the jugular, but for some reason the consistency quote, about hobgoblins of a little mind, comes to mind. I don't get the impression they'd be able to think very thoroughly outside of the admirable box they rightly build for themselves in cases like Libya. Not that they're wrong. They're not. I struggle with the dichotomy of seeing warmongers overthrow dictators, so I guess I need one of Albert Brooks' Big Brains to help me think this through (calling DWT & Ken).

Lastly, I like Hugo Chavez's honorable, hopefully, socialistic intentions in Venezuela, but still can't quite comprehend or condone his unqualified support of Qadaffi and the ultra-police state he ran. Sometimes the enemy of my enemy is still my enemy, and I think that is the opinion I am most trying to imbue my comment with.

At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard Falk, one of Albert Brooks' Big Brains, addresses the Libya situation.


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