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By Russ Baker
As I write this, a new day is dawning in Libya. The “people’s revolt” against yet another tyrant is unquestionably exciting, and the demise (political and/or otherwise) of Muammar Qaddafi will, of course, be widely hailed. But barely below the surface something else is going on, and it concerns not the Libyan “people”, but an elite. In reality, a narrowly-based Libyan elite is being supplanted by a much older, more enduring one of an international variety.
The media, as is so often the case, has botched its job. Thus virtually all of its resources over the past six months have gone into providing us with an entertainment, a horse race, a battle, with almost no insight into the deeper situation..
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.
We’ve been expressing doubts about these claims, for a number of reasons—including logic—for some time now. (For more on that, see this and this and this.) But it’s tough to counterpoise hot-button issues with rationality. If you questioned the mass rape story, you were a “rape-enabler.” If you pointed out that Qaddafi was being bombed for anything other than humanitarian reasons, you were a “Qaddafi-lover.”
The media was so gullible that the professional disinformation guys went onto auto-pilot, recycling tired old tropes that nobody ought to be buying anymore. For example, most news outlets reported recently thatLibyahad fired a SCUD missile at the rebels.
“That it didn’t hit anything or kill anyone is not the point. It’s a weapon of mass destruction that Col. Qaddafi is willing to train on his own people,” said one Western official.
If the effort to rally public opinion against Qaddafi centered on any one factor, it was fury over Libya’s purported role in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. As we noted in a previous article, in the years since the conviction of a Libyan intelligence officer in the tragedy, a chorus of doubts has grown steadily. The doubt is based on new forensic evidence and research, plus subsequent claims by prosecution witnesses that their testimony was the result of threats, bribes, or other forms of coercion. It is an ugly and disturbing story, not well known to the larger news audience.
Yet Lockerbie has continued to touch nerves. In February, when Qaddafi’s Justice Minister turned against him and became a rebel leader, he brought with him dynamite. Mustafa Mohamed Abud Al Jeleil made the dramatic claim that his ex-boss was the culprit behind the bombing of Pan Am 103. He asserted that he had proof of Qaddafi giving the direct order for the crime. This got considerable media attention, though almost no news organizations followed up or reported that Jeleil never did supply that proof. The Libyan convicted of the crime has consistently denied any involvement. Nonetheless, his conviction in the case has had Qaddafi on the defensive for years—and working hard to prove to the West that he can be a “good citizen.” Part of this has entailed his paying out huge sums in reparations.
From the beginning of the Libya saga in February until now, the NATO coalition has never wavered from its initial declaration of humanitarian motives. And, to be sure, we may still learn of horrible, previously-unknown atrocities by Qaddafi. Still, theUnited States and its allies have little history of using their might strictly to protect civilians. If so, millions of South Sudanese, Rwandans and others might not be in their graves.
Besides, with all the talk about Qaddafi harming his citizens, what about the effect of more than 7000—yes, seven thousand—NATO bombing runs? We heard constant reports about how Qaddafi was facing charges of “war crimes,” with never a word about NATO. To learn the impact of this massive unleashing, you had to be visiting little-known sources such as the Canadian website, Global Research, which often probes beyond official Western accounts of global interventions.
Some Western military officials couldn’t even be bothered to participate in the “humanitarianism” charade. For example, the top British general explicitly stated that the objective was really to remove Qaddafi. Nobody—including the media—paid much attention to this admission, perhaps because it’s already assumed to be the case.
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.
NATO's Genocidal Rape of Libya - by Stephen Lendman
Continuing NATO atrocities on Libyan civilians gave naked aggression a new name.
Call it what it is: Lawless, Willful, Malevolent Genocidal Gang Rape, the new supreme international crime against peace ongoing at this time.
NATO Style Liberation - by Stephen Lendman
Wherever it goes, NATO slaughters, ravages, lays waste, incinerates, contaminates, devastates, conquers, colonizes, plunders, exploits, impoverishes and immiserates.
Libya is its latest victim.
NATO's Ugly Face - by Stephen Lendman
View it yourself!
Images don't lie, except NATO's fake ones produced in Doha, Qatar and perhaps elsewhere on Hollywood sound stages.
by Ron Ridenour
Leading black-skinned representatives of the “hegemon”, as Cynthia McKinney calls President Barack Obama and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, could hardly expect to win any votes from the standing-room-only crowd at her anti-war tour Friday night at Calvary Church in Philadelphia.
Speaking before nearly 300 people--two-thirds of them black, the remainder white and hispanic--in her T-shirt proclaiming that “war kills”, the former U.S. congresswoman said:
“We need someone in the White House who thinks like us and not just one who looks like us. We have to act like we’re free if we want to be free. We have to liberate ourselves from war-mongering political parties.”
Detroit's young singer and band, Sister Ziyah and Black Rain were phenomenal and their music set the tone for the event: first song, Kickstart the Revolution; second song, Good Morning, America; third song, Today, I'm a Better Me.
Detroit attendees were rapt in the August 26 Tripoli streetfight video that I showed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=rif7U5hRsNM#t=2s
Never Forgive, Never Forget - by Stephen Lendman
After covering Libya's rape since last winter in dozens of articles, no forgiving or forgetting is possible for one of history's great crimes.
Nor is ignoring those responsible, condemning them forthrightly, and explaining why all wars are waged.
By Robert Parry, Consortium News
The world has grown accustomed to the euphemism “collateral damage” to deaden human outrage over the killing of civilians. It is a phrase deployed when a big power or one of its friends gets a little trigger-happy while going after some “bad guy.”
Such civilian deaths are deemed regrettable, perhaps worthy of a half-hearted apology, but nothing that merits a special tribunal to prosecute the noble officials responsible for the “mistake.” Of course, the same international audience is supposed to get angry when some “rogue” state or group kills civilians in pursuit of its military goals. Then, a tribunal is called for.
But the war in Libya has brought into prominence a parallel euphemism that justifies not only accidental killings but the military conflicts that guarantee such deaths. The new rationale for war is “to protect civilians,” an Orwellian twist that NATO and the Obama administration adopted in March to justify an air-and-ground war to achieve regime change in Libya.
Naturally, the NATO powers repeatedly denied that “regime change” was their goal, although their war planes and intelligence agencies have coordinated military operations with Libyan rebels whose stated goal has been to eliminate longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, an objective that appears close to success.
NATO authorities have denied, too, that their missile strikes against Gaddafi’s compound were “assassination attempts,” although one attack did kill one of Gaddafi’s sons and three of his grandchildren. Yes, these victims were “collateral damage.”
But the key to the Libyan war was the United Nations Security Council’s passage of a resolution on March 17 authorizing a “no-fly zone” over Libya and permitting member states “to take all necessary measures … to protect civilians and civilian populated areas.”
Less noticed, the UN resolution also demanded “the immediate establishment of a ceasefire” and “the need to intensify efforts to find a solution to the crisis,” but those words of peace essentially became window-dressing for war.
Peace proposals from the African Union and offers from Gaddafi’s side for a ceasefire and even democratic elections were spurned out of hand by the NATO-backed rebels. AU officials were literally chased away when they arrived in Benghazi to seek negotiations.
In other words, NATO and its allied rebels never took seriously the parts of the UN mandate seeking “to protect civilians” by resolving the conflict through negotiations. Instead, the war was expanded westward toward Tripoli to achieve Gaddafi’s ouster, i.e. regime change.
The Security Council’s phrase “to protect civilians” was just the camel’s nose under the tent for war.
After the UN resolution was passed, NATO unleashed its planes to devastate Gaddafi’s defenses, incinerate his soldiers in the field and blast away parts of Libya’s capital city of Tripoli. NATO nations and Arab members of the coalition also dispatched military trainers to upgrade the rebels’ fighting capacity; supplied weapons to the insurgents; and provided crucial intelligence and command-and-control assistance.
By Craig Murray
There is no cause to doubt that, for whatever reason, the support of the people of Sirte for Gadaffi is genuine. That this means they deserve to be pounded into submission is less obvious to me. The disconnect between the UN mandate to protect civilians while facilitating negotiation, and NATO’s actual actions as the anti-Gadaffi forces’ air force and special forces, is startling.
There is something so shocking in the Orwellian doublespeak of NATO on this point that I am severely dismayed. I suffer from that old springing eternal of hope, and am therefore always in a state of disappointment. I had hoped that the general population in Europe is so educated now that obvious outright lies would be rejected. I even hoped some journalists would seek to expose lies.
Rebel Assassins Terrorizing Libyans - by Stephen Lendman
In his new article headlined, "9/11 After A Decade: Have We Learned Anything?" Paul Craig Roberts said:
"Today Americans are unsafe, not because of terrorists and domestic extremists, but because they have lost their civil liberties and no protection from unaccountable government power."
Libya: Keep the Freedom Flame Alive - by Stephen Lendman
Trapped for days in Tripoli's Rixos Hotel, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) arranged for the release of over 30 foreign journalists yesterday.
They're now at the Corinthia Hotel, awaiting a boat for transport to Malta, then home via Europe that can't arrive until fighting subsides. Given the chaos and violence, it could be a while.
NATO's Libya War: A Nuremberg Level Crime - Stephen Lendman
The US/UK/French-led war on Libya will be remembered as one of history's greatest crimes. It violates the letter and spirit of international law and America's Constitution.
The Nuremberg Tribunal's Chief Justice Robert Jackson (a US Supreme Court Justice) called Nazi war crimes "the supreme international crime against peace."
What do you call it when the full force of a US/NATO aerial bombardment is coupled with political support for a ragtag rebel group that, when victorious, promises to hand over its oil resources to its Western backers? A war for oil.
Libya War: It Ain't Over Till It's Over - by Stephen Lendman
Mark Twain once called reports of his death greatly exaggerated. The same hold for Libyans, not ready to submit to NATO colonization, occupation, plunder and exploitation. Not at least without a fight.
The stakes are high - stay free or die socially, economically, politically, emotionally, and/or perhaps physically.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 23, 2011) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who has led the fight in the House challenging the Obama Administration’s actions in Libya, today released the following statement:
“Libyan rebels have entered Tripoli. As gun battles break out across the city, it is timely to enter into a discussion as to how the rebels arrived there. It is time to review the curious role of NATO and the future of U.S. interventionism.
NATO'S Planned Bloodbath In Tripoli - by Stephen Lendman
NATO intends to get the bloodbath it wants through intensified terror bombing and low-level strafing of civilians and nonmilitary sites.
No matter that it grossly violates international and constitutional law, what Washington-led member states long ago trashed.
STOP THE WAR COALITION 22 August 2011 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 020 7801 2768 Web: http://stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition The fall of the Gadaffi regime in Libya marks yet another turning point in what has been a truly remarkable year in the Middle East. The victory of the rebels, backed by Nato bombing in a six month campaign initiated by the British and French governments, also heralds the rehabilitation of a discredited doctrine -- that of 'humanitarian intervention' -- after the debacle of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Whether Gaddafi goes or not, this costly intervention has thwarted peace talks and betrayed its 'humanitarian' mission
By Dennis Kucinich at The Guardian
Were Dozens Killed in Majer NATO Airstrikes?
Allegations of Libyan civilian deaths as a result of NATO bombing have often been covered in the corporate media as an opportunity to scoff at the Gadhafi regime's unconvincing propaganda (FAIR Blog, 6/9/11).
But dramatic new allegations that dozens of civilians were killed in Majer after NATO airstrikes on August 8 have been met with near-total media silence.
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report
Western-backed rebels have made good their vow to “purge slaves, black skin,” with their reported capture of Tawurgha, a black Libyan city, after a long siege. Elsewhere, just 30 miles from the capital city of Tripoli, NATO bombed 85 civilians to oblivion. Facing a September 27 United Nations deadline on its “humanitarian” mission, “NATO has resorted to terror bombing to clear the way for the rebel advance.”
Falsified Major Media Reports on Libya - by Stephen Lendman
Major media specialize in what they do best: truth inversion (aka bad fiction), not doing what journalists are supposed to do - their job, especially covering imperial wars for dominance and rich spoils.
With Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) falling apart and rebel forces in disarray, today's headlines belie the truth, reported by independent "un-in-bed-with" journalists and other sources.
By Morning Star
Libyan forces have retaken Misrata from the Western-backed rebels, according to government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim.
If confirmed it would mean that the rebels have lost the only city they held in the Western Tripolitania region.
Mr Ibrahim claimed on Monday night that soldiers had fought their way into the centre of the town, which is the third largest in Libya after Tripoli and Benghazi, and were mopping up isolated pockets of insurgents.
He credited local tribal forces with playing a key role in recapturing the city.
A Nato spokesman said yesterday that the situation on the ground remained "very dynamic."
NATO bombing of the Faculty of Law, February 8 11 Zliten
NATO bombing in Al Ajilat 05 08 2011
NATO bombed the fishing port of Zliten May 8 2011
NATO bombing on the University of Nasser
CNN NATO Bombing Hospital, Food Storage Killing 11 Civilians In Zletin, July 25 11
NATO bombed and destroyed food stores in Zliten
NATO bombed mosque and other buildings in Zliten,
NATO bombed clinic in Zliten, Libya, at least 6 dead
NATO bombs a family home in Zliten killing two and wounding three April 8 11
NATO bombed schools and colleges in Libya August 4, 2011
NATO Industrial Safety Center bombing in Tripoli
NATO bombed Down Syndrome Center and the construction of kindergartens in Tripoli
NATO bombed the Libyan Television Three dead and fifteen wounded July 30,2011
NATO continues attacks on residential areas of Tripoli July 30, 2011
NATO again bombed civilian targets in Libya July 30, 2011
NATO bombed Libya center Alsaknah
Nato bombed water supply
NATO bombing in Zliten food stores July 21 11, War in Libya
NATO bombs destroy civilian homes and a church in Tripoli June 6, 2011
Scientists deteuct uranium contamination
NATO bombed hospital oxygen plant in Libya
Oil refinery fire in Brega in Libya for the NATO bombing
NATO does not rule out bombing archaeological Sabratha
NATO bombed hotel in Tripoli, radio and television
Bombarded Hospital in Libya
LIBYA NATO bombed civilian areas in Tajoura, eastern suburb of Tripoli 5 JUNE 2011
Ruins of Tripoli by the NATO bombing of August 9, 2011