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The Top Ten Myths in the War Against Libya


Steven Gaal
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link http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/08/31/the-top-ten-myths-in-the-war-against-libya/

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August 31, 2011

A Victory for the Libyan People?

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The Top Ten Myths in the War Against Libya

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by MAXIMILIAN C. FORTE

Since Colonel Gaddafi has lost his military hold in the war against NATO and the insurgents/rebels/new regime, numerous talking heads have taken to celebrating this war as a “success”. They believe this is a “victory of the Libyan people” and that we should all be celebrating. Others proclaim victory for the “responsibility to protect,” for “humanitarian interventionism,” and condemn the “anti-imperialist left”. Some of those who claim to be “revolutionaries,” or believe they support the “Arab revolution,” somehow find it possible to sideline NATO’s role in the war, instead extolling the democratic virtues of the insurgents, glorifying their martyrdom, and magnifying their role until everything else is pushed from view. I wish to dissent from this circle of acclamation, and remind readers of the role of ideologically-motivated fabrications of “truth” that were used to justify, enable, enhance, and motivate the war against Libya—and to emphasize how damaging the practical effects of those myths have been to Libyans, and to all those who favoured peaceful, non-militarist solutions.

These top ten myths are some of the most repeated claims, by the insurgents, and/or by NATO, European leaders, the Obama administration, the mainstream media, and even the so-called “International Criminal Court”—the main actors speaking in the war against Libya. In turn, we look at some of the reasons why these claims are better seen as imperial folklore, as the myths that supported the broadest of all myths—that this war is a “humanitarian intervention,” one designed to “protect civilians”. Again, the importance of these myths lies in their wide reproduction, with little question, and to deadly effect. In addition, they threaten to severely distort the ideals of human rights and their future invocation, as well aiding in the continued militarization of Western culture and society.

1. Genocide.

Just a few days after the street protests began, on February 21 the very quick to defect Libyan deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi, stated: “We are expecting a real genocide in Tripoli. The airplanes are still bringing mercenaries to the airports”. This is excellent: a myth that is composed of myths. With that statement he linked three key myths together—the role of airports (hence the need for that gateway drug of military intervention: the no-fly zone), the role of “mercenaries” (meaning, simply, black people), and the threat of “genocide” (geared toward the language of the UN’s doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect). As ham-fisted and wholly unsubstantiated as the assertion was, he was clever in cobbling together three ugly myths, one of them grounded in racist discourse and practice that endures to the present, with newer atrocities reported against black Libyan and African migrants on a daily basis. He was not alone in making these assertions. Among others like him, Soliman Bouchuiguir, president of the Libyan League for Human Rights, told Reuters on March 14 that if Gaddafi’s forces reached Benghazi, “there will be a real bloodbath, a massacre like we saw in Rwanda”. That’s not the only time we would be deliberately reminded of Rwanda. Here was Lt. Gen Roméo Dallaire, the much worshipped Canadian force commander of the U.N. peacekeeping mission for Rwanda in 1994, currently an appointed senator in the Canadian Parliament and co-director of the Will to Intervene project at Concordia University. Dallaire, in a precipitous sprint to judgment, not only made repeated references to Rwanda when trying to explain Libya, he spoke of Gaddafi as “employing genocidal threats to ‘cleanse Libya house by house’”. This is one instance where selective attention to Gaddafi’s rhetorical excess was taken all too seriously, when on other occasions the powers that be are instead quick to dismiss it: U.S. State Department spokesman, Mark Toner waved away Gaddafi’s alleged threats against Europe by saying that Gaddafi is “someone who’s given to overblown rhetoric”. How very calm, by contrast, and how very convenient—because on February 23, President Obama declared that he had instructed his administration to come up with a “full range of options” to take against Gaddafi.

But “genocide” has a well established international legal definition, as seen repeatedly in the UN’s 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, where genocide involves the persecution of a “a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”. Not all violence is “genocidal”. Internecine violence is not genocide. Genocide is neither just “lots of violence” nor violence against undifferentiated civilians. What both Dabbashi, Dallaire, and others failed to do was to identify the persecuted national, ethnic, racial or religious group, and how it differed in those terms from those allegedly committing the genocide. They really ought to know better (and they do), one as a UN ambassador and the other as a much exalted expert and lecturer on genocide. This suggests that myth-making was either deliberate, or founded on prejudice.

What foreign military intervention did do, however, was to enable the actual genocidal violence that has been routinely sidelined until only very recently: the horrific violence against African migrants and black Libyans, singled out solely on the basis of their skin colour. That has proceeded without impediment, without apology, and until recently, without much notice. Indeed, the media even collaborates, rapid to assert without evidence that any captured or dead black man must be a “mercenary”. This is the genocide that the white, Western world, and those who dominate the “conversation” about Libya, have missed (and not by accident).

2. Gaddafi is “bombing his own people”.

We must remember that one of the initial reasons in rushing to impose a no-fly zone was to prevent Gaddafi from using his air force to bomb “his own people”—a distinct phrasing that echoes what was tried and tested in the demonization of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. On February 21, when the first alarmist “warnings” about “genocide” were being made by the Libyan opposition, both Al Jazeera and the BBC claimed that Gaddafi had deployed his air force against protesters—as the BBC “reported”: “Witnesses say warplanes have fired on protesters in the city”. Yet, on March 1, in a Pentagon press conference, when asked: “Do you see any evidence that he [Gaddafi] actually has fired on his own people from the air? There were reports of it, but do you have independent confirmation? If so, to what extent?” U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates replied, “We’ve seen the press reports, but we have no confirmation of that”. Backing him up was Admiral Mullen: “That’s correct. We’ve seen no confirmation whatsoever”.

In fact, claims that Gaddafi also used helicopters against unarmed protesters are totally unfounded, a pure fabrication based on fake claims. This is important since it was Gaddafi’s domination of Libyan air space that foreign interventionists wanted to nullify, and therefore myths of atrocities perpetrated from the air took on added value as providing an entry point for foreign military intervention that went far beyond any mandate to “protect civilians”.

David Kirpatrick of The New York Times, as early as March 21 confirmed that, “the rebels feel no loyalty to the truth in shaping their propaganda, claiming nonexistent battlefield victories, asserting they were still fighting in a key city days after it fell to Qaddafi forces, and making vastly inflated claims of his barbaric behavior”. The “vastly inflated claims” are what became part of the imperial folklore surrounding events in Libya, that suited Western intervention. Rarely did the Benghazi-based journalistic crowd question or contradict their hosts.

3. Save Benghazi.

This article is being written as the Libyan opposition forces march on Sirte and Sabha, the two last remaining strongholds of the Gaddafi government, with ominous warnings to the population that they must surrender, or else. Apparently, Benghazi became somewhat of a “holy city” in the international discourse dominated by leaders of the European Union and NATO. Benghazi was the one city on earth that could not be touched. It was like sacred ground. Tripoli? Sirte? Sabha? Those can be sacrificed, as we all look on, without a hint of protest from any of the powers that be—this, even as we get the first reports of how the opposition has slaughtered people in Tripoli. Let’s turn to the Benghazi myth.

“If we waited one more day,” Barack Obama said in his March 28 address, “Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world”. In a joint letter, Obama with UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy asserted: “By responding immediately, our countries halted the advance of Gaddafi’s forces. The bloodbath that he had promised to inflict on the citizens of the besieged city of Benghazi has been prevented. Tens of thousands of lives have been protected”. Not only did French jets bomb a retreating column, what we saw was a very short column that included trucks and ambulances, and that clearly could have neither destroyed nor occupied Benghazi.

Other than Gaddafi’s “overblown rhetoric,” which the U.S. was quick to dismiss when it suited its purposes, there is to date still no evidence furnished that shows Benghazi would have witnessed the loss of “tens of thousands” of lives as proclaimed by Obama, Cameron, and Sarkozy. This was best explained by Professor Alan J. Kuperman in “False pretense for war in Libya?”:

“The best evidence that Khadafy did not plan genocide in Benghazi is that he did not perpetrate it in the other cities he had recaptured either fully or partially—including Zawiya, Misurata, and Ajdabiya, which together have a population greater than Benghazi….Khadafy’s acts were a far cry from Rwanda, Darfur, Congo, Bosnia, and other killing fields….Despite ubiquitous cellphones equipped with cameras and video, there is no graphic evidence of deliberate massacre….Nor did Khadafy ever threaten civilian massacre in Benghazi, as Obama alleged. The ‘no mercy’ warning, of March 17, targeted rebels only, as reported by The New York Times, which noted that Libya’s leader promised amnesty for those ‘who throw their weapons away’. Khadafy even offered the rebels an escape route and open border to Egypt, to avoid a fight ‘to the bitter end’”.

In a bitter irony, what evidence there is of massacres, committed by both sides, is now to be found in Tripoli in recent days, months after NATO imposed its “life-saving” military measures. Revenge killings are daily being reported with greater frequency, including the wholesale slaughter of black Libyans and African migrants by rebel forces. Another sad irony: in Benghazi, which the insurgents have held for months now, well after Gaddafi forces were repulsed, not even that has prevented violence: revenge killings have been reported there too—more under #6 below.

4. African Mercenaries.

Patrick Cockburn summarized the functional utility of the myth of the “African mercenary” and the context in which it arose: “Since February, the insurgents, often supported by foreign powers, claimed that the battle was between Gaddafi and his family on the one side and the Libyan people on the other. Their explanation for the large pro-Gaddafi forces was that they were all mercenaries, mostly from black Africa, whose only motive was money”. As he notes, black prisoners were put on display for the media (which is a violation of the Geneva Convention), but Amnesty International later found that all the prisoners had supposedly been released since none of them were fighters, but rather were undocumented workers from Mali, Chad, and west Africa. The myth was useful for the opposition to insist that this was a war between “Gaddafi and the Libyan people,” as if he had no domestic support at all—an absolute and colossal fabrication such that one would think only little children could believe a story so fantastic. The myth is also useful for cementing the intended rupture between “the new Libya” and Pan-Africanism, realigning Libya with Europe and the “modern world” which some of the opposition so explicitly crave.

The “African mercenary” myth, as put into deadly, racist practice, is a fact that paradoxically has been both documented and ignored. Months ago I provided an extensive review of the role of the mainstream media, led by Al Jazeera, as well as the seeding of social media, in creating the African mercenary myth. Among the departures from the norm of vilifying Sub-Saharan Africans and black Libyans that instead documented the abuse of these civilians, were the Los Angeles Times, Human Rights Watch which found no evidence of any mercenaries at all in eastern Libya (totally contradicting the claims presented as truth by Al Arabiya and The Telegraph, among others such as TIME and The Guardian). In an extremely rare departure from the propaganda about the black mercenary threat which Al Jazeera and its journalists helped to actively disseminate, Al Jazeera produced a single report focusing on the robbing, killing, and abduction of black residents in eastern Libya (now that CBS, Channel 4, and others are noting the racism, Al Jazeera is trying to ambiguously show some interest). Finally, there is some increased recognition of these facts of media collaboration in the racist vilification of the insurgents’ civilian victims—see FAIR: “NYT Points Out ‘Racist Overtones’ in Libyan Disinformation It Helped Spread”.

The racist targeting and killing of black Libyans and Sub-Saharan Africans continues to the present. Patrick Cockburn and Kim Sengupta speak of the recently discovered mass of “rotting bodies of 30 men, almost all black and many handcuffed, slaughtered as they lay on stretchers and even in an ambulance in central Tripoli”. Even while showing us video of hundreds of bodies in the Abu Salim hospital, the BBC dares not remark on the fact that most of those are clearly black people, and even wonders about who might have killed them. This is not a question for the anti-Gaddafi forces interviewed by Sengupta: “‘Come and see. These are blacks, Africans, hired by Gaddafi, mercenaries,’ shouted Ahmed Bin Sabri, lifting the tent flap to show the body of one dead patient, his grey T-shirt stained dark red with blood, the saline pipe running into his arm black with flies. Why had an injured man receiving treatment been executed?” Recent reports reveal the insurgents engaging in ethnic cleansing against black Libyans in Tawergha, the insurgents calling themselves “the brigade for purging slaves, black skin,” vowing that in the “new Libya” black people from Tawergha would be barred from health care and schooling in nearby Misrata, from which black Libyans had already been expelled by the insurgents. Currently, Human Rights Watch has reported: “Dark-skinned Libyans and sub-Saharan Africans face particular risks because rebel forces and other armed groups have often considered them pro-Gadhafi mercenaries from other African countries. We’ve seen violent attacks and killings of these people in areas where the National Transitional Council took control”. Amnesty International has also just reported on the disproportionate detention of black Africans in rebel-controlled Az-Zawiya, as well as the targeting of unarmed, migrant farm workers. Reports continue to mount as this is being written, with other human rights groups finding evidence of the insurgents targeting Sub-Saharan African migrant workers. As the chair of the African Union, Jean Ping, recently stated: “NTC seems to confuse black people with mercenaries. All blacks are mercenaries. If you do that, it means (that the) one-third of the population of Libya, which is black, is also mercenaries. They are killing people, normal workers, mistreating them”. (To read more, please consult the list of recent reports that I have compiled.)

The “African mercenary” myth continues to be one of the most vicious of all the myths, and the most racist. Even in recent days, newspapers such as the Boston Globe uncritically and unquestioningly show photographs of black victims or black detainees with the immediate assertion that they must be mercenaries, despite the absence of any evidence. Instead we are usually provided with casual assertions that Gaddafi is “known to have” recruited Africans from other nations in the past, without even bothering to find out if those shown in the photos are black Libyans. The lynching of both black Libyans and Sub-Saharan African migrant workers has been continuous, and has neither received any expression of even nominal concern by the U.S. and NATO members, nor has it aroused the interest of the so-called “International Criminal Court”. There is as little chance of there being any justice for the victims as there is of anyone putting a stop to these heinous crimes that clearly constitute a case of ethnic cleansing. The media, only now, is becoming more conscious of the need to cover these crimes, having glossed them over for months.

5. Viagra-fueled Mass Rape.

The reported crimes and human rights violations of the Gaddafi regime are awful enough as they are that one has to wonder why anyone would need to invent stories, such as that of Gaddafi’s troops, with erections powered by Viagra, going on a rape spree. Perhaps it was peddled because it’s the kind of story that “captures the imagination of traumatized publics”. This story was taken so seriously that some people started writing to Pfizer to get it to stop selling Viagra to Libya, since its product was allegedly being used as a weapon of war. People who otherwise should know better, set out to deliberately misinform the international public.

The Viagra story was first disseminated by Al Jazeera, in collaboration with its rebel partners, favoured by the Qatari regime that funds Al Jazeera. It was then redistributed by almost all other major Western news media.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, appeared before the world media to say that there was “evidence” that Gaddafi distributed Viagra to his troops in order “to enhance the possibility to rape” and that Gaddafi ordered the rape of hundreds of women. Moreno-Ocampo insisted: “We are getting information that Qaddafi himself decided to rape” and that “we have information that there was a policy to rape in Libya those who were against the government”. He also exclaimed that Viagra is “like a machete,” and that “Viagra is a tool of massive rape”.

In a startling declaration to the UN Security Council, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice also asserted that Gaddafi was supplying his troops with Viagra to encourage mass rape. She offered no evidence whatsoever to back up her claim. Indeed, U.S. military and intelligence sources flatly contradicted Rice, telling NBC News that “there is no evidence that Libyan military forces are being given Viagra and engaging in systematic rape against women in rebel areas”. Rice is a liberal interventionist who was one of those to persuade Obama to intervene in Libya. She utilized this myth because it helped her make the case at the UN that there was no “moral equivalence” between Gaddafi’s human rights abuses and those of the insurgents.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also declared that “Gadhafi’s security forces and other groups in the region are trying to divide the people by using violence against women and rape as tools of war, and the United States condemns this in the strongest possible terms”. She added that she was “deeply concerned” by these reports of “wide-scale rape”. (She has, thus far, said nothing at all about the rebels’ racist lynchings.)

By June 10, Cherif Bassiouni, who is leading a UN rights inquiry into the situation in Libya, suggested that the Viagra and mass rape claim was part of a “massive hysteria”. Indeed, both sides in the war have made the same allegations against each other. Bassiouni also told the press of a case of “a woman who claimed to have sent out 70,000 questionnaires and received 60,000 responses, of which 259 reported sexual abuse”. However, his teams asked for those questionnaires, they never received them—“But she’s going around the world telling everybody about it…so now she got that information to Ocampo and Ocampo is convinced that here we have a potential 259 women who have responded to the fact that they have been sexually abused,” Bassiouni said. He also pointed out that it “did not appear to be credible that the woman was able to send out 70,000 questionnaires in March when the postal service was not functioning”. In fact, Bassiouni’s team “uncovered only four alleged cases” of rape and sexual abuse: “Can we draw a conclusion that there is a systematic policy of rape? In my opinion we can’t”. In addition to the UN, Amnesty International’s Donatella Rovera said in an interview with the French daily Libération, that Amnesty had “not found cases of rape….Not only have we not met any victims, but we have not even met any persons who have met victims. As for the boxes of Viagra that Gaddafi is supposed to have had distributed, they were found intact near tanks that were completely burnt out”.

However, this did not stop some news manufacturers from trying to maintain the rape claims, in modified form. The BBC went on to add another layer just a few days after Bassiouni humiliated the ICC and the media: the BBC now claimed that rape victims in Libya faced “honour killings”. This is news to the few Libyans I know, who never heard of honour killings in their country. The scholarly literature on Libya turns up little or nothing on this phenomenon in Libya. The honour killings myth serves a useful purpose for keeping the mass rape claim on life support: it suggests that women would not come forward and give evidence, out of shame. Also just a few days after Bassiouni spoke, Libyan insurgents, in collaboration with CNN, made a last-ditch effort to save the rape allegations: they presented a cell phone with a rape video on it, claiming it belonged to a government soldier. The men shown in the video are in civilian clothes. There is no evidence of Viagra. There is no date on the video and we have no idea who recorded it or where. Those presenting the cell phone claimed that many other videos existed, but they were conveniently being destroyed to preserve the “honour” of the victims.

6. Responsibility to Protect (R2P).

Having asserted, wrongly as we saw, that Libya faced impending “genocide” at the hands of Gaddafi’s forces, it became easier for Western powers to invoke the UN’s 2005 doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect. Meanwhile, it is not at all clear that by the time the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973 that the violence in Libya had even reached the levels seen in Egypt, Syria, and Yemen. The most common refrain used against critics of the selectivity of this supposed “humanitarian interventionism” is that just because the West cannot intervene everywhere does not mean it should not intervene in Libya. Maybe…but that still does not explain why Libya was the chosen target. This is a critical point because some of the earliest critiques of R2P voiced at the UN raised the issue of selectivity, of who gets to decide, and why some crises where civilians are targeted (say, Gaza) are essentially ignored, while others receive maximum concern, and whether R2P served as the new fig leaf for hegemonic geopolitics.

The myth at work here is that foreign military intervention was guided by humanitarian concerns. To make the myth work, one has to willfully ignore at least three key realities. One thus has to ignore the new scramble for Africa, where Chinese interests are seen as competing with the West for access to resources and political influence, something that AFRICOM is meant to challenge. Gaddafi challenged AFRICOM’s intent to establish military bases in Africa. AFRICOM has since become directly involved in the Libya intervention and specifically “Operation Odyssey Dawn”. Horace Campbell argued that “U.S. involvement in the Libyan bombing is being turned into a public relations ploy for AFRICOM” and an “opportunity to give AFRICOM credibility under the facade of the Libyan intervention”. In addition, Gaddafi’s power and influence on the continent had also been increasing, through aid, investment, and a range of projects designed to lessen African dependency on the West and to challenge Western multilateral institutions by building African unity—rendering him a rival to U.S. interests. Secondly, one has to ignore not just the anxiety of Western oil interests over Gaddafi’s “resource nationalism” (threatening to take back what oil companies had gained), an anxiety now clearly manifest in the European corporate rush into Libya to scoop up the spoils of victory—but one has to also ignore the apprehension over what Gaddafi was doing with those oil revenues in supporting greater African economic independence, and for historically backing national liberation movements that challenged Western hegemony. Thirdly, one has to also ignore the fear in Washington that the U.S. was losing a grip on the course of the so-called “Arab revolution”. How one can stack up these realities, and match them against ambiguous and partial “humanitarian” concerns, and then conclude that, yes, human rights is what mattered most, seems entirely implausible and unconvincing—especially with the atrocious track record of NATO and U.S. human rights violations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and before that Kosovo and Serbia. The humanitarian angle is simply neither credible nor even minimally logical.

If R2P is seen as founded on moral hypocrisy and contradiction—now definitively revealed—it will become much harder in the future to cry wolf again and expect to get a respectful hearing. This is especially the case since little in the way of diplomacy and peaceful negotiation preceded the military intervention—while Obama is accused by some of having been slow to react, this was if anything a rush to war, on a pace that by very far surpassed Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Not only do we know from the African Union about how its efforts to establish a peaceful transition were impeded, but Dennis Kucinich also reveals that he received reports that a peaceful settlement was at hand, only to be “scuttled by State Department officials”. These are absolutely critical violations of the R2P doctrine, showing how those ideals could instead be used for a practice that involved a hasty march to war, and war aimed at regime change (which is itself a violation of international law).

That R2P served as a justifying myth that often achieved the opposite of its stated aims, is no longer a surprise. I am not even speaking here of the role of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in bombing Libya and aiding the insurgents—even as they backed Saudi military intervention to crush the pro-democracy protests in Bahrain, nor of the ugly pall cast on an intervention led by the likes of unchallenged abusers of human rights who have committed war crimes with impunity in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I am taking a narrower approach—such as the documented cases where NATO not only willfully failed to protect civilians in Libya, but it even deliberately and knowingly targeted them in a manner that constitutes terrorism by most official definitions used by Western governments.

NATO admitted to deliberately targeting Libya’s state television, killing three civilian reporters, in a move condemned by international journalist federations as a direct violation of a 2006 Security Council resolution banning attacks on journalists. A U.S. Apache helicopter—in a repeat of the infamous killings shown in the Collateral Murder video—gunned down civilians in the central square of Zawiya, killing the brother of the information minister among others. Taking a fairly liberal notion of what constitutes “command and control facilities,” NATO targeted a civilian residential space resulting in the deaths of some of Gaddafi’s family members, including three grandchildren. As if to protect the myth of “protecting civilians” and the unconscionable contradiction of a “war for human rights,” the major news media often kept silent about civilian deaths caused by NATO bombardments. R2P has been invisible when it comes to civilians targeted by NATO.

In terms of the failure to protect civilians, in a manner that is actually an international criminal offense, we have the numerous reports of NATO ships ignoring the distress calls of refugee boats in the Mediterranean that were fleeing Libya. In May, 61 African refugees died on a single vessel, despite making contact with vessels belonging to NATO member states. In a repeat of the situation, dozens died in early August on another vessel. In fact, on NATO’s watch, at least 1,500 refugees fleeing Libya have died at sea since the war began. They were mostly Sub-Saharan Africans, and they died in multiples of the death toll suffered by Benghazi during the protests. R2P was utterly absent for these people.

NATO has developed a peculiar terminological twist for Libya, designed to absolve the rebels of any role in perpetrating crimes against civilians, and abdicating its so-called responsibility to protect. Throughout the war, spokespersons for NATO and for the U.S. and European governments consistently portrayed all of the actions of Gaddafi’s forces as “threatening civilians,” even when engaged in either defensive actions, or combat against armed opponents. For example, this week the NATO spokesperson, Roland Lavoie, “appeared to struggle to explain how NATO strikes were protecting civilians at this stage in the conflict. Asked about NATO’s assertion that it hit 22 armed vehicles near Sirte on Monday, he was unable to say how the vehicles were threatening civilians, or whether they were in motion or parked”.

By protecting the rebels, in the same breath as they spoke of protecting civilians, it is clear that NATO intended for us to see Gaddafi’s armed opponents as mere civilians. Interestingly, in Afghanistan, where NATO and the U.S. fund, train, and arm the Karzai regime in attacking “his own people” (like they do in Pakistan), the armed opponents are consistently labeled “terrorists” or “insurgents”—even if the majority of them are civilians who have never served in any official standing army. They are insurgents in Afghanistan, and their deaths at the hands of NATO are listed separately from the tallies for civilian casualties. By some magic, in Libya, they are all “civilians”. In response to the announcement of the UN Security Council voting for military intervention, a volunteer translator for Western reporters in Tripoli made this key observation: “Civilians holding guns, and you want to protect them? It’s a joke. We are the civilians. What about us?”

NATO has provided a shield for the insurgents in Libya to victimize unarmed civilians in areas they came to occupy. There was no hint of any “responsibility to protect” in these cases. NATO assisted the rebels in starving Tripoli of supplies, subjecting its civilian population to a siege that deprived them of water, food, medicine, and fuel. When Gaddafi was accused of doing this to Misrata, the international media were quick to cite this as a war crime. Save Misrata, kill Tripoli—whatever you want to label such “logic,” humanitarian is not an acceptable option. Leaving aside the documented crimes by the insurgents against black Libyans and African migrant workers, the insurgents were also found by Human Rights Watch to have engaged in “looting, arson, and abuse of civilians in [four] recently captured towns in western Libya”. In Benghazi, which the insurgents have held for months now, revenge killings have been reported by The New York Times as late as this May, and by Amnesty International in late June and faulted the insurgents’ National Transitional Council. The responsibility to protect? It now sounds like something deserving wild mockery.

7. Gaddafi—the Demon.

Depending on your perspective, either Gaddafi is a heroic revolutionary, and thus the demonization by the West is extreme, or Gaddafi is a really bad man, in which case the demonization is unnecessary and absurd. The myth here is that the history of Gaddafi’s power was marked only by atrocity—he is thoroughly evil, without any redeeming qualities, and anyone accused of being a “Gaddafi supporter” should somehow feel more ashamed than those who openly support NATO. This is binary absolutism at its worst—virtually no one made allowance for the possibility that some might neither support Gaddafi, the insurgents, nor NATO. Everyone was to be forced into one of those camps, no exceptions allowed. What resulted was a phony debate, dominated by fanatics of one side or another. Missed in the discussion, recognition of the obvious: however much Gaddafi had been “in bed” with the West over the past decade, his forces were now fighting against a NATO-driven take over of his country.

The other result was the impoverishment of historical consciousness, and the degradation of more complex appreciations of the full breadth of the Gaddafi record. This would help explain why some would not rush to condemn and disown the man (without having to resort to crude and infantile caricaturing of their motivations). While even Glenn Greenwald feels the need to dutifully insert, “No decent human being would possibly harbor any sympathy for Gadaffi,” I have known decent human beings in Nicaragua, Trinidad, Dominica, and among the Mohawks in Montreal who very much appreciate Gaddafi’s support—not to mention his support for various national liberation movements, including the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Gaddafi’s regime has many faces: some are seen by his domestic opponents, others are seen by recipients of his aid, and others were smiled at by the likes of Silvio Berlusconi, Nicolas Sarkozy, Condoleeza Rice, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. There are many faces, and they are all simultaneously real. Some refuse to “disown” Gaddafi, to “apologize” for his friendship towards them, no matter how distasteful, indecent, and embarrassing other “progressives” may find him. That needs to be respected, instead of this now fashionable bullying and gang banging that reduces a range of positions to one juvenile accusation: “you support a dictator”. Ironically, we support many dictators, with our very own tax dollars, and we routinely offer no apologies for this fact.

Speaking of the breadth of Gaddafi’s record, that ought to resist simplistic, revisionist reduction, some might care to note that even now, the U.S. State Department’s webpage on Libya still points to a Library of Congress Country Study on Libya that features some of the Gaddafi government’s many social welfare achievements over the years in the areas of medical care, public housing, and education. In addition, Libyans have the highest literacy rate in Africa (see UNDP, p. 171) and Libya is the only continental African nation to rank “high” in the UNDP’s Human Development Index. Even the BBC recognized these achievements:

“Women in Libya are free to work and to dress as they like, subject to family constraints. Life expectancy is in the seventies. And per capita income—while not as high as could be expected given Libya’s oil wealth and relatively small population of 6.5m—is estimated at $12,000 (£9,000), according to the World Bank. Illiteracy has been almost wiped out, as has homelessness—a chronic problem in the pre-Gaddafi era, where corrugated iron shacks dotted many urban centres around the country”.

So if one supports health care, does that mean one supports dictatorship? And if “the dictator” funds public housing and subsidizes incomes, do we simply erase those facts from our memory?

8. Freedom Fighters—the Angels.

The complement to the demonization of Gaddafi was the angelization of the “rebels”. My aim here is not to counter the myth by way of inversion, and demonizing all of Gaddafi’s opponents, who have many serious and legitimate grievances, and in large numbers have clearly had more than they can bear. I am instead interested in how “we,” in the North Atlantic part of the equation, construct them in ways that suit our intervention. One standard way, repeated in different ways across a range of media and by U.S. government spokespersons, can be seen in this New York Times’ depiction of the rebels as “secular-minded professionals—lawyers, academics, businesspeople—who talk about democracy, transparency, human rights and the rule of law”. The listing of professions familiar to the American middle class which respects them, is meant to inspire a shared sense of identification between readers and the Libyan opposition, especially when we recall that it is on the Gaddafi side where the forces of darkness dwell: the main “professions” we find are torturer, terrorist, and African mercenary.

For many weeks it was almost impossible to get reporters embedded with the rebel National Transitional Council in Benghazi to even begin to provide a description of who constituted the anti-Gaddafi movement, if it was one organization or many groups, what their agendas were, and so forth. The subtle leitmotif in the reports was one that cast the rebellion as entirely spontaneous and indigenous—which may be true, in part, and it may also be an oversimplification. Among the reports that significantly complicated the picture were those that discussed the CIA ties to the insurgents (for more, see this, this, this, and that); others highlighted the role of the National Endowment for Democracy, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and USAID, which have been active in Libya since 2005; those that detailed the role of various expatriate groups; and, reports of the active role of “radical Islamist” militias embedded within the overall insurgency, with some pointing to Al Qaeda connections.

Some feel a definite need for being on the side of “the good guys,” especially as neither Iraq nor Afghanistan offer any such sense of righteous vindication. Americans want the world to see them as doing good, as being not only indispensable, but also irreproachable. They could wish for nothing better than being seen as atoning for their sins in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a special moment, where the bad guy can safely be the other once again. A world that is safe for America is a world that is unsafe for evil. Marching band, baton twirlers, Anderson Cooper, confetti—we get it.

9. Victory for the Libyan People.

To say that the current turn in Libya represents a victory by the Libyan people in charting their own destiny is, at best, an oversimplification that masks the range of interests involved since the beginning in shaping and determining the course of events on the ground, and that ignores the fact that for much of the war Gaddafi was able to rely on a solid base of popular support. As early as February 25, a mere week after the start of the first street protests, Nicolas Sarkozy had already determined that Gaddafi “must go”. By February 28, David Cameron began working on a proposal for a no-fly zone—these statements and decisions were made without any attempt at dialogue and diplomacy. By March 30, The New York Times reported that for “several weeks” CIA operatives had been working inside Libya, which would mean they were there from mid-February, that is, when the protests began—they were then joined inside Libya by “dozens of British special forces and MI6 intelligence officers”. The NYT also reported in the same article that “several weeks” before (again, around mid-February), President Obama Several “signed a secret finding authorizing the CIA to provide arms and other support to Libyan rebels,” with that “other support” entailing a range of possible “covert actions”. USAID had already deployed a team to Libya by early March. At the end of March, Obama publicly stated that the objective was to depose Gaddafi. In terribly suspicious wording, “a senior U.S. official said the administration had hoped that the Libyan uprising would evolve ‘organically,’ like those in Tunisia and Egypt, without need for foreign intervention”—which sounds like exactly the kind of statement one makes when something begins in a fashion that is not “organic” and when comparing events in Libya as marked by a potential legitimacy deficit when compared to those of Tunisia and Egypt. Yet on March 14 the NTC’s Abdel Hafeez Goga asserted, “We are capable of controlling all of Libya, but only after the no-fly zone is imposed”—which is still not the case even six months later.

In recent days it has also been revealed that what the rebel leadership swore it would oppose—“foreign boots on the ground”—is in fact a reality confirmed by NATO: “Special forces troops from Britain, France, Jordan and Qatar on the ground in Libya have stepped up operations in Tripoli and other cities in recent days to help rebel forces as they conducted their final advance on the Gadhafi regime”. This, and other summaries, are only scratching the surface of the range of external support provided to the rebels. The myth here is that of the nationalist, self-sufficient rebel, fueled entirely by popular support.

At the moment, war supporters are proclaiming the intervention a “success”. It should be noted that there was another case where an air campaign, deployed to support local armed militia on the ground, aided by U.S. covert military operatives, also succeeded in deposing another regime, and even much more quickly. That case was Afghanistan. Success.

10. Defeat for “the Left”.

As if reenacting the pattern of articles condemning “the left” that came out in the wake of the Iran election protests in 2009 (see as examples Hamid Dabashi and Slavoj Žižek), the war in Libya once again seemed to have presented an opportunity to target the left, as if this was topmost on the agenda—as if “the left” was the problem to be addressed. Here we see articles, in various states of intellectual and political disrepair, by Juan Cole (see some of the rebuttals: “The case of Professor Juan Cole,” “An open letter to Professor Juan Cole: A reply to a slander,” “Professor Cole ‘answers’ WSWS on Libya: An admission of intellectual and political bankruptcy”), Gilbert Achcar (and this especially), Immanuel Wallerstein, and Helena Sheehan who seemingly arrived at some of her most critical conclusions at the airport at the end of her very first visit to Tripoli.

There seems to be some confusion over roles and identities. There is no homogeneous left, nor ideological agreement among anti-imperialists (which includes conservatives and libertarians, among anarchists and Marxists). Nor was the “anti-imperialist left” in any position to either do real harm on the ground, as is the case of the actual protagonists. There was little chance of the anti-interventionists in influencing foreign policy, which took shape in Washington before any of the serious critiques against intervention were published. These points suggest that at least some of the critiques are moved by concerns that go beyond Libya, and that even have very little to do with Libya ultimately. The most common accusation is that the anti-imperialist left is somehow coddling a dictator. The argument is that this is based on a flawed analysis—in criticizing the position of Hugo Chávez, Wallerstein says Chávez’s analysis is deeply flawed, and offers this among the criticisms: “The second point missed by Hugo Chavez’s analysis is that there is not going to be any significant military involvement of the western world in Libya” (yes, read it again). Indeed, many of the counterarguments deployed against the anti-interventionist left echo or wholly reproduce the top myths that were dismantled above, that get their geopolitical analysis almost entirely wrong, and that pursue politics focused in part on personality and events of the day. This also shows us the deep poverty of politics premised primarily on simplistic and one-sided ideas of “human rights” and “protection” (see Richard Falk’s critique), and the success of the new military humanism in siphoning off the energies of the left. And a question persists: if those opposed to intervention were faulted for providing a moral shield for “dictatorship” (as if imperialism was not itself a global dictatorship), what about those humanitarians who have backed the rise of xenophobic and racist militants who by so many accounts engage in ethnic cleansing? Does it mean that the pro-interventionist crowd is racist? Do they even object to the racism? So far, I have heard only silence from those quarters.

The agenda in brow-beating the anti-imperialist straw man masks an effort to curb dissent against an unnecessary war that has prolonged and widened human suffering; advanced the cause of war corporatists, transnational firms, and neoliberals; destroyed the legitimacy of multilateral institutions that were once openly committed to peace in international relations; violated international law and human rights; witnessed the rise of racist violence; empowered the imperial state to justify its continued expansion; violated domestic laws; and reduced the discourse of humanitarianism to a clutch of simplistic slogans, reactionary impulses, and formulaic policies that privilege war as a first option. Really, the left is the problem here?

Maximilian Forte is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. His website can be found at http://openanthropology.org/ as can his previous articles on Libya and other facets of imperialism.

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As Maximilian Forte is in Montreal, and not in Libya, I would like to know what the Canadian general who successfully led the NATO forces, has to say about all that crap, if you can read thorugh it. I tried and doubt few people actually could read the crap Maxy Forte has to say about what he doesn't know anything about. Rather than respond to his BS point by point I put together my own Top Ten List of Myths of the Libyan Revolution. Did Forte mention Oil? I don't think so. That's probably the biggest myth of the revolution, as it isn't the reason those Libyans fought and died for. If you would have asked them what they fought for, I'm sure they wouldn't say oil.

Ten Myths of the Libyan Revolution

1) Itis a myth that the revolution is inspired by or compromised by al Qaeda and/or the CIA, when in fact it has been well established that the revolution was sparked by the self-immolation of Mohammid Bourazizi in Tunisia in Dec. 2010, an event that neither al Qaeda nor the CIA predicted or even knew about until weeks later.

2) Itis a myth that the situation is like Iraq - a foreign invasion and will include a decade long foreign occupation, obviously untrue though often repeated assertion.

3) Itis a myth that the revolution is a religious fueled Jahaid that will result in a strict Islamic state, when in fact everyone involved in the Libyan revolution maintains they are determined to establish a constitutional democracy, the one basic hallmark of the revolution.

4) It is a myth that Gadhafi is a benevolent dictator whose people benefited from his leadership, when in fact he was a brutal dictator who ran a police state that killed anyone who opposed his regime, including one protester who was hung in a Benghazi school gymnasium in front of students and over a thousand political prisoners executed at one time in a Tripoli prison, the one event that triggered the revolt.

5) It is a myth that there is no evidence Gadhafi hired mercenaries and the rebels are racists for targeting and torturing black Libyans and blacks are being randomly lynched in Libya. In fact, many of the rebels are black and many – one third of all captured loyalist forces were foreign mercenaries who are being targeted, and not just random black people. Foreign journalists in Libya would report any such lynchings as they are all over Libya at the moment and are not hindered by Gadhafi "minders."

6) Itis a myth that NATO targeted civilians when in fact they have limited their targets to military positions, all with extreme accuracy, unlike the random rockets and artillery fire Gadhafi foreces bombarded Misratha and other liberated cities.

7) Itis a myth that NATO and rebel forces are committing genocide, when in fact the genocide was committed by the Gadhafi regime against the two thousand year old Jewish community in Tripoli and against the Berber people of the Nafusa mountains. While the Jews were completely eradicated and removed from Triopli altogether, the Nafusa mountain Berber rebels were the ones who succeeded in defeating Gadhafi's army, with the help of the French and NATO.

8) They say the viaga fueled rapes is a myth – when in fact it is a documented fact in Misratha, dozens if not hundreds of women were raped by Gadhafi forces, some incidents captured on their cell phone cameras later taken from dead loyalist soldiers and reluctantly reported to health agencies.

9) They say that the USA, UK, France and NATO support dictators and Gadhafi should be no exception, and therefore it is an hypocrisy, but it is the other dictators who have now been put on notice of the new change in policy.

10) It is a myth that the Libyan rebels are really Islamic terrorists or an unknown entity who will turn against the USA and western interests, when in fact it is well known that the majority of the rebel fighters are not soldiers at all but tradesmen, truck drivers, students and teachers who have taken up arms to fight for what they believe – freedom, liberty, democracy and justice. And they will be required to uphold those pronouncements, regardless of the myths and disinformation perpetrated against them.

Bill Kelly

Revolutionaryprogram.blogspot.com

Edited by William Kelly
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One does have to ask, are you the only member of COPA that thinks Gaddafi did Lockerbie ?

I just ask the question. Why dont we take a poll in Dallas and see ?? NOW IN PART TWO THE DUDES LAWYER ADMITS THE DISCO HELPER WAS MOSSAD,ADMITS,ADMITS,WOW !!!!! ;) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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PART ONE

August 31, 2011 Lockerbie and the Belgian Nurses

Gaddafi’s Libya as Demon

by DIANA JOHNSTONE

The current ideology to justify aggressive war is based on a dogmatic dichotomy between Democracy and Dictators. The pro-war party in the West has been shifting the center of international law and order from the United Nations to a more exclusive club of “democracies” which alone have “legitimacy”. The core of this club is the English-speaking world, plus Israel, the European Union, and Japan. This “International Community” of democracies is understood to possess the unique moral right to decide when the leader of any country outside their charmed circle may be denounced as a “dictator” and overthrown with the help of a NATO bombing campaign.

This ideology assumes that Democracies respect human rights, whereas dictators by definition are criminals who systematically violate human rights and may be contemplating “genocide against their own people”. Certain details, such as the fact that the United States has the largest prison population in the world in both absolute and relative terms, and uses convicts for cheap labor in the arms industry, are not allowed to interfere with this dualistic world view.

The mainstream media maintain this dichotomy by sustained bias in their coverage of countries labeled “dictatorships” – which may include some countries whose leaders are in fact elected, such as Venezuela, Russia, Serbia under Milosevic, Belarus, but who attempt to follow policies contrary to the dictates of the self-designated “International Community”. Not all such countries may actually by attacked militarily, but the image created will make military attack easily justifiable if and when the time comes.

Selective reporting reduces the country to its Dictator and a minority of “pro-democracy protesters”. The Dictator is portrayed as a criminal, with no virtues that could possibly justify any popular support within his own country.

The Case of Libya

The case of Libya illustrates the way this works. Decades of one-sided media coverage firmly established Libyan leader Moammer Gaddafi as an insane criminal. To the Western public whose only knowledge of Libya came from Western media reports, it would seem obvious that the Libyan people must unanimously want to get rid of such a leader.

It is obvious that there are people in Libya who hate Gaddafi and want to get rid of him. What is not obvious is exactly what they want to put in his place and just how representative they really are of the population as a whole.

In the West, the main reason to hate Gaddafi in recent years has been the Lockerbie bombing. For two decades, the allegation that the Libyan leader was responsible for the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, has been kept in the public eye by mainstream media.

Last February, leaders of the emerging rebellion in Libya gave interviews with Western media claiming to have documentary proof that Gaddafi ordered the terrorist attack that killed 270 people. Mustafa Abdel Jalil, former Libyan justice minister who heads the “National Transitional Council” in Benghazi told The Daily Telegraph that: “The orders were given by Gaddafi himself”.

Few in the West are likely to object that if the NTC leaders really possess such proof , they have been complicit in the crime for decades. Nor will Western media raise the question as to why the wily Gaddafi would leave “documentary proof” of orders to commit a terrorist act lying around for 23 years.

These claims serve to bond the NTC leaders with the Western powers, notably the United States and the United Kingdom, and to suggest a community of legality between them against “the criminal Gaddafi”. They help build the fiction of “legitimate, representative leaders of the Libyan people” whose views of human rights, democracy and the misdeeds of the evil dictator Gaddafi coincide with Western attitudes, as expressed by Western politicians and media.

By implication, the Libyan people have known all along that their leader is a mass murderer. This must be one reason the decent citizens want to get rid of him. But is this true?

Lockerbie in Libya

My visit to Libya in January 2007, to attend an international conference on the International Criminal Court, gave me the opportunity to hold private conversations with a number of well-educated Libyans who clearly knew a lot more about the West than the West knew about them. I was particularly interested in getting the take of unofficial Libyan citizens on two issues that at the time dominated Western perception of Libya: Lockerbie and the affair of the Bulgarian nurses. I should mention that I never got near Gaddafi, and the conference was sponsored by academics who held diverse opinions on important issues, often unlike those of the Leader, which didn’t seem to bother anyone. But on the issue of Lockerbie, I discovered two general widespread points of agreement.

On the one hand, nobody believed that Libya was responsible for the Lockerbie bombing. It was taken for granted that Libya had been unfairly accused for political reasons.

On the other hand, it was clear that the sanctions imposed by the West to punish Libya for its alleged guilt had caused hardship and discontent. The power of the West both to impose sanctions and to project its images amounts to serious interference in the domestic politics of targeted countries, since very many people, especially the young, want to live in a “normal” country and may resent leaders who cause them to be treated as pariahs by the West. Therefore, it was understood that Gaddafi had finally given in to Western pressure to accept responsibility – but not guilt – for Lockerbie merely in order to get the unpopular sanctions lifted. The fact that he agreed to turn over two Libyan citizens to a Western court to be tried for the crime and to pay over two billion dollars of compensation to the victims was explicitly not an admission of guilt, but rather a response to blackmail by Great Powers in order to normalize relations and improve daily life.

This did not surprise me, since over the years I had read a lot about the Lockerbie case. Indeed, a great deal has been written exposing the weakness of the prosecution’s case, based on a totally implausible scenario (a bomb to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight was allegedly sent via airports in Malta, Frankfurt and London), technical “evidence” that had been tampered with by CIA agents, and a witness who was richly rewarded for testimony which did not fit the facts. All this has been told many times, for instance Andrew Cockburn in the CounterPunch newsletter, or the London Review of Books, “The Framing of al-Megrahi” by British lawyer Gareth Peirce. But the fact that the case has been repeatedly exposed by careful analysis as a probable frame-up has not made the slightest impression on mainstream media and politicians who continue to blast Gaddafi as the monster who ordered the Lockerbie massacre.

One may add that at the time of the event in 1988, it was widely assumed that Iran had ordered the attack in retaliation for U.S. downing of an Iranian airliner over the Persian Gulf. When the United States, switching from its anti-Iran alliance with Iraq to war against Saddam Hussein, decided to accuse Libya instead, no motive was ever produced. But when a “dictator” has been stigmatized as a monster, no motive is needed. He just did it because that is the sort of thing evil dictators are supposed to do.

The two accused Libyan airline employees working in Malta had been put on trial in 2000 by three Scottish judges without a jury in a specially built court in the Netherlands. One of the Libyans was acquitted and the other, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, was convicted and sentenced to 27 years in prison. The United Nations observer at this peculiar trial, Hans Köchler, called the guilty verdict “incomprehensible”, “arbitrary, even irrational” and noted “an air of international power politics” surrounding the proceedings.

On November 12, 2006, the Glasgow Sunday Herald quoted top State Department legal advisor Michael Scharf, who was the counsel to the US counter-terrorism bureau when the two Libyans were indicted for the bombing, as calling the case “so full of holes it was like Swiss cheese” and said it should never have gone to trial. He claimed the CIA and FBI had assured State Department officials there was an “iron-clad” case against the two Libyans, but that in reality the intelligence agencies knew well in advance of the trial that their star witness was “a xxxx”. But Great Powers can’t back down. Their sacred “credibility” is at stake. In short, they must keep lying to preserve the illusion of infallibility.

At the time I was in Tripoli, the defense team of the convicted Libyan was trying to appeal the conviction to a higher court. I was able to call on one of the lawyers on Megrahi’s defense team. I spent a long time in her office, trying to overcome her reluctance to speak about the case. Finally, she agreed to talk to me when I promised to keep our conversation to myself, so as not to risk harming the appeal. By now, the circumstances have changed drastically.

Here, briefly, is what she told me.

The Scottish judges were under enormous pressure to convict the two Libyans. After all, for years their guilt had been trumpeted by the United States demanding that they be “brought to justice”. A special court had been set up with the obvious purpose of convicting them. Yet the evidence which would merit conviction in a proper Scottish court was simply not there. The best the judges dared to do was to acquit one of the defendants and pass along the responsibility for acquitting the other to a higher court. But to the dismay of the Libyan defense team, the designated court of appeals evaded the dangerous issue by disqualifying itself. So now an appeal was being prepared for another high court, complete with new evidence further discrediting the prosecution case.

And in fact, five months later, on June 28, 2007, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which had been investigating the case since 2003, recommended that Abdel Basset al-Megrahi be granted a second appeal against his conviction. The Commission said it had uncovered six separate grounds for considering that the conviction may have been an injustice. The announcement caused a sensation in the small circles following the affair. It seemed that Scottish justice was courageous enough to assert itself and allow hearings that would expose the CIA frame-up.

That sort of thing may happen in movies, but the real world is something else.

A sordid bargain

What happened after that helped set the stage for the NATO attack on Libya this year.

Time passed. It was two years later, in April 2009, that the appeal finally was due to get underway. But meanwhile, behind the scenes, secret bargaining was going on, amid leaks and rumors.

On August 21, 2009, on grounds that he was suffering from terminal cancer, Abdel Basset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was released from prison in Scotland by the Scottish justice minister Kenny MacAskill and allowed to “go home to die”.

Now, it so happens that in 2007, Tony Blair went to Libya to negotiate a British-Libyan agreement with Gaddafi covering law, extradition and prisoner transfer. Under this Prisoner Transfer Agreement, Libyan authorities asked for Megrahi to be sent home due to his illness.

The catch was that the Prisoner Transfer Agreement could be applied only when no legal proceedings were outstanding. So in order to benefit from it, Megrahi had to drop his appeal.

The matter is confused by the fact that he was formally released on “compassionate” grounds. One way or another, the deal was clear: al-Megrahi could go home, but the appeal was dead. Hans Kochler, UN-appointed special observer to the Lockerbie trial, thought Megrahi may have been subjected to “morally outrageous” blackmail to abandon his appeal against his will.

The sordid aspect of this bargain is that it deprived Megrahi of the right to clear his name, while leaving the CIA frame-up officially unexposed. There was nothing to counter the chorus of protestations from Hillary Clinton on down denouncing Scotland for having “freed the Lockerbie bomber”. Two years later, news that Megrahi has failed to die has elicited further indignation from Western media, who see this as proof that the UK had “sold the Lockerbie bomber for Libyan oil”. Naturally, the impression must be conveyed that the sly Libyan dictator tricked the naïve but greedy Brits into selling out their principles for petroleum.

But it is just as likely that it was the naïve Libyan dictator who was tricked by the unscrupulous British into thinking he had made a “gentleman’s agreement”. Rather than pursue an appeal which risked causing acute embarrassment to Western authorities, Megrahi could be released and the matter forgotten. The popular rejoicing at Megrahi’s return home was muted in Libya, but Western media pretended to be scandalized that a convicted mass murderer received a hero’s welcome. In reality, he was welcomed home discreetly as an innocent man who had been unjustly convicted, not as a mass murderer. And whenever he has been able to make himself heard, he has reiterated his desire to clear his name.

The Bulgarian nurses

The other subject I asked about while I was in Tripoli in 2007 was the plight of the Bulgarian nurses. In 2004, five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor working in a Benghazi hospital were sentenced to death for allegedly having infected children with the HIV virus. Everyone in the West, myself included, assumed this was an outrageous injustice. When I raised the issue with highly Westernized, liberal Libyan intellectuals, I fully expected to hear strong criticism of the dictator for persecuting defenseless health workers. I was quite surprised when the reaction was somewhat different.

“Of course they are innocent”, I said.

The gentleman with whom I was talking, whom I could loosely describe as anti-Gaddafi, shook his head. “That’s not so clear”, he replied. And so I began to learn what was explained a few months later by Harriet Washington in a New York Times column, namely that:

“The evidence against the Bulgarian medical team, like H.I.V.-contaminated vials discovered in their apartments, has seemed to Westerners preposterous. But to dismiss the Libyan accusations of medical malfeasance out of hand means losing an opportunity to understand why a dangerous suspicion of medicine is so widespread in Africa.

“Africa has harbored a number of high-profile Western medical miscreants who have intentionally administered deadly agents under the guise of providing health care or conducting research.”

My conversations in Libya did not convince me that the Bulgarian health workers were guilty, but they did give me a new insight into the Libyan viewpoint. On the African continent, it was easy for even highly rational people to believe that foreign health workers might have been paid to infect children, either for experimental purposes or to “destabilize” the public health system. Secondly, it became clear that this was not a case of “the dictator Gaddafi” persecuting innocents. The arrest, alleged torture and conviction of the Bulgarian nurses were carried out by authorities in Benghazi. Indeed, last March 11, the day after France recognized the rebel National Transitional Council as the “sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people”, Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borisov complained to a European summit in Brussels that key members of that council in Benghazi “are the people who tortured the Bulgarian medics for eight years and that this cost us nearly $60 million” in reparations to the infected children and their families.

In January 2007, I was also assured by people in Tripoli that the death sentence against the nurses would never be carried out. This was true. In August of that same year, the medical workers were freed by the Gaddafi family and allowed to go home to Bulgaria after a much publicized trip to Libya by President Sarkozy’s wife at the time, Cecilia. This liberation was presented as a final reconciliation between Gaddafi’s Libya and Europe.

I abstained from writing about this for years, because I feel I do not know enough about Libya. But now I see others, who know even less, loudly advocating NATO support to rebels in a civil war whose real motives and consequences are obscure.

My first conclusion is to point out that just because a country is not a Western-style democracy does not mean that everything that happens there is “dictated” by a “dictator”. The term “dictator” serves to comfort the laziness of media and politicians who do not care to bother to investigate the complexities of an unfamiliar society.

My second and final conclusion is that we in the West have neither the right nor the ability to “fix” those unfamiliar societies such as Libya which we dismiss as “dictatorships”. As the financial crisis threatens to bring living standards in much of the West below what they were in Gaddafi’s Libya before NATO intervened there, our Western “democracy” is in danger of being gradually reduced to a mere ideological excuse to attack, ravage and pillage other people’s countries.

Diana Johnstone is author of Fools’ Crusade. She can be reached at diana.josto@yahoo.fr

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PART TWO

German TV exposes CIA, Mossad links to 1986 Berlin disco bombing

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http://www.wsws.org/news/1998/aug1998/bomb1-a27.shtml

By a German correspondent

27 August 1998

A documentary broadcast August 25 by German public television presents compelling evidence that some of the main suspects in the 1986 Berlin disco bombing, the event that provided the pretext for a US air assault on Libya, worked for American and Israeli intelligence.

The report, aired by Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF television), is of the greatest relevance to events of the past three weeks, in which attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania have become the justification for US missile strikes against Afghanistan and Sudan, and a shift in American foreign policy to an even more unbridled use of military force internationally.

With Washington declaring "war against terrorism" and arrogating to itself the right to use its military might unilaterally against any target anywhere in the world, the German TV report raises the most serious and disturbing questions. All the more so, since the US media and leading Republican politicians, within hours of the American embassy bombings, began citing Reagan's 1986 air attack on Libya as an exemplary response to terrorist attacks, and pressed Clinton to carry out similar military action.

The air strike on Libya

On April 15, 1986 US war planes bombed the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi. They destroyed the home of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and killed at least 30 civilians, including many children. Gaddafi himself, the main target of the air strike, was not hurt.

Two hours later President Ronald Reagan justified the unprecedented attack on a sovereign country and its head of state in a national television address. The US, Reagan claimed, had "direct, precise and irrefutable" proof that Libya was responsible for a bomb blast in a West Berlin discotheque. The explosion 10 days earlier at the disco La Belle, a favorite nightspot for US soldiers, had killed three people and injured 200.

Since November of 1997 five defendants have been on trial in a Berlin court for their alleged involvement in the La Belle attack. But in the course of more than half a year the case has proceeded very slowly. ZDF television, which carried out its own investigation into the case, explained why in the August 25 documentary produced by its political magazine Frontal.

What the German documentary reveals

The Frontal report arrives at the following conclusions:

1) The lead defendant presently on trial, Yasser Chraidi, is very possibly innocent, and is being used as a scapegoat by German and American intelligence services.

2) At least one of the defendants, Musbah Eter, has been working for the CIA over many years.

3) Some of the key suspects have not appeared in court, because they are being protected by Western intelligence services.

4) At least one of those, Mohammed Amairi, is an agent of Mossad, the Israeli secret service.

The man charged with being the mastermind of the La Belle attack, 38-year-old Yasser Chraidi, was a driver at the Libyan embassy in East Berlin in 1986. He later moved to Lebanon, from whence he was extradited to Germany in May 1996.

Frontal interviewed the two Lebanese responsible for the extradition of Chraidi: the former public prosecutor Mounif Oueidat and his deputy Mrad Azoury. Both confirm that the German authorities used deceit to have Chraidi extradited.

According to Azoury, he received no evidence that Chraidi was actually involved in the attack; there were only "hints." Oueidat states that the Germans showed tremendous interest in getting Chraidi. "The Americans were behind this demand," he says. "This was obvious. They spurred on the Germans to speed up the extradition."

Eventually Chraidi, declared to be a "top terrorist," was flown to Germany in a spectacular security operation. But a Berlin judge found the evidence presented by the prosecution so weak, he threatened to release Chraidi within three weeks unless more proof was presented.

At this point another man was brought into the case, who, according to Frontal, "was obviously supposed to be spared by the prosecution until then." On September 9, 1996, the very day the Berlin judge threatened to release Chraidi, Berlin public prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, Berlin police inspector Uwe Wilhelms and a Mr. Winterstein of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) met Musbah Eter in the Mediterranean island state of Malta.

CIA involvement

The meeting had been prepared by the BND, which maintains close connections to its American counterpart, the CIA. Musbah Eter was running an international business in Malta, which, according to Frontal, served as a cover for extensive intelligence operations on behalf of the CIA.

The German authorities wanted him on a murder charge. But during the Malta meeting a deal was struck: "Immunity for Eter, if he incriminates Chraidi for La Belle." The next day Eter went to the German embassy and testified. As a result, the warrant against him was scrapped and he was allowed to travel to Germany.

In the words of Frontal, Eter is "the key figure in the La Belle trial." At the time of the disco bomb attack he worked for the Libyan embassy in East Berlin. But he paid regular visits to the US embassy. According to Christian Ströbele, the lawyer for Chraidi, this highly unusual fact is proven by extensive notes of the East German secret police, who watched Eter very closely at the time.

There are many indications that Eter was actively involved in the La Belle bombing. According to interrogation transcripts studied by Frontal, he had the detailed knowledge of a participant. He even admitted that he brought the operating instructions for the bomb to the flat of a codefendant.

Frontal asserts that besides the defendants in the present trial, another group was involved in the La Belle bombing--a group of professional terrorists, working for anybody who paid them, led by a certain "Mahmoud" Abu Jaber. Members of this group, according to Frontal, "have barely been bothered by the prosecution and live securely in other countries."

In the months preceding the La Belle attack they lived in East Berlin and met, almost on a daily basis, with the present defendants. Hours before the attack they moved to West Berlin, where the bomb exploded. Their movements were monitored by the East German and Russian secret services, who concluded that they were working for Western intelligence.

The Russian KGB, in a document cited by Frontal, gave the opinion that American counterintelligence planned to use "Mahmoud" to concoct a case for the involvement of Libyan terrorists in the attack. According to the same KGB document, "Mahmoud" had warned West Berlin intelligence two days before the explosion.

Frontal followed the traces of Mohammed Amairi, the right-hand man of "Mahmoud" Abu Jaber, who, according to the documents it has studied, "was particularly involved in the preparation of the La Belle attack."

An agent of Mossad

Amairi left Germany for Norway in 1990, when a warrant was issued for his arrest. He now lives in the Norwegian town of Bergen, where Frontal found and interviewed him. He stopped the interview when he was asked what secret service he had been working for. His lawyer, Odd Drevland, finally told the story.

When Amairi moved to Norway he was arrested and branded "a danger to the country" on the front page of tabloids. But then the Israeli secret service Mossad took charge of him and "everything changed."

"Was Amairi a Mossad agent?" asked Frontal. "He was a Mossad man," answered Drevland.

In the meantime, Norway has granted asylum to Amairi and he will soon receive Norwegian citizenship. The Berlin prosecutor has lifted the warrant against him.

"These secret service intrigues present a task for the Berlin court that is almost insoluble," concludes the Frontal report. "But one thing is certain, the American legend of Libyan state terrorism can no longer be maintained."

There are striking parallels between the 1986 bombing of Libya and last week's missile strikes against targets in Sudan and Afghanistan. Once again Washington claims to have "proof" to justify its use of deadly force. But as the Frontal report shows, such claims cannot be trusted. Twelve years after the bombing of Libya, Reagan's proof turns out to be anything but irrefutable. Instead there is powerful evidence that the La Belle attack was a carefully prepared provocation.

It may come as a shock to many Americans, all the more so given the utterly venal and lying role of the US media, but US intelligence services are well versed in the most unscrupulous and bloody methods, not excluding those that result in injury or death to Americans. No serious consideration of the August 7 East African bombings can rule out the possibility of a provocation, organized either directly or indirectly by US agencies.

Certainly the US embassy bombings, with their terrible human toll--for the most part, African--provided a welcome pretext for forcing through a desired shift in policy and obtaining public support for unilateral military action. Indeed, within hours of the US embassy bombings, the International Herald Tribune had published a column declaring the attacks were "acts of war and the United States could take reprisals against the bombers under international law without the approval of the United Nations."

We wait with interest to see whether any of the American television networks--CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN--or any of the establishment newspapers will even take note of the German exposé of the events surrounding the bombing of Libya. We have no expectation that they will.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^******

Edited by Steven Gaal
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One does have to ask, are you the only member of COPA that thinks Gaddafi did Lockerbie ?

I don't know what the other members of COPA think, but Gaddafi himself acknowledged responsibility for Lockerbie

when he paid the 300 plus families of the victimes $2 million each, which he wouldn't have done if he didn't

feel guilty.

Edited by Evan Burton
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Gaal quote:One does have to ask, are you the only member of COPA that thinks Gaddafi did Lockerbie ?

+++++++++KELLY QUOTE:ooooooooooooooooooooo

I don't know what the other members of COPA think, but Gaddafi himself acknowledged responsibility for Lockerbie

when he paid the 300 plus families of the victimes $2 million each, which he wouldn't have done if he didn't

feel guilty.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooo

ANSWER TO KELLY

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXooooooooXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

================================+============================================

========ooooooo=========****

He acknowledged guilt to get $ 100 Billion in oil/development deals.

See below,why does BBC lie Bill ? ANSWER = the fix is in. The Anglo/Nato/Americans were thinking several

chess moves ahead of Gaddafi to PSYOPS Gaddafi and the lazy thinkers.

oooooo--------------------ooooo

TO QUOTE THE ARTICLE BELOW VIA Libya's guilt ++ "It's a reasonably reasonable conclusion to arrive at, but a lazy one based on reading the headlines and not the main text or the footnotes and sources. "

oooooooooo****************ooooooooooo

===============================================********

Libya's "Admissions of Guilt"

By Caustic Logic

completed February 15 2010

last update March 23 2011

But They Admitted It!"

For those who believe in Libya's guilt for the Flight 103 bombing, among the hardest points to get around is how Libya is perceived to have admitted their guilt. When whole governments act on it as fact, and the villain government finally confesses, well that would seem to confirm one's beliefs and show they had been on the right track all along.

It's a reasonably reasonable conclusion to arrive at, but a lazy one based on reading the headlines and not the main text or the footnotes and sources. Those who would like to maintain such assurances should read and be sure they can account for the following points, referring to the 2003 official admission of "responsibility" to the United Nations, an alleged 1993 confession from Colonel Gaddafi himself, and two other lesser examples sometimes cited.

Under Prolonged Duress

Following he indictment of Libyan agents al Megrahi and Fhimah in late 1991, the UN Security Council under Anglo-American leadership moved to enforce the official truth with sanctions. Resolution 748 of 31 March 1992 imposed an arms and air embargo on Libya, supported with diplomatic restrictions, and establishment of a sanctions committee. The committees work then led to Resolution 883 of 11 November 1993, toughening sanctions. This measure approved the freezing of Libyan funds and financial resources in other countries, reports globalpolicy.org, and banned the provision to Libya of equipment for oil refining and transportation. [1] Eventually all air traffic to and from the nation was barred, all U.S. and French trade with Libya was forbidden, and although a total oil exports embargo was considered too hard on others, their sales shrank as the industry suffered a lack of supplies.

An award of up to $4 million was offered by the US Justice Department in 1993 for help in bringing the suspects to justice (poster at left). It seems this reward stemmed from Bruce Smith, a Pan Am pilot and husband of a 103 victim, who first assembled a prize from airline pilot groups and other sources, including his own retirement account, eventually totaling $4 million. [2] The reward was renewed in 1995, and according to the Washington Post:

"[The FBI] also placed the pair, believed to be in Libya, on its 10 Most Wanted List. Seeking to rekindle international interest in the bombing, the FBI and State Department said they will work with the U.S. Information Agency to communicate with persons in Libya who might assist in bringing the suspects to court." [3]

Col. Gaddafi in fact showed great eagerness to help in that process, seeing a trial as their way out of sanctions, just as the (publicly announced) goal was suppossed to be. But as a 2001 book by Allan Gerson and Jerry Adler summed up the real thinking in Washington, "it was desirable to leave things just as they were," with Libya seeming intransigent and thus deserving of more squueezing. Rather than try thhe perpetrators with their amazing evidence, many felt "Libya would be their prison, and the United States would do its best to keep Kaddafi in there with them." Not to mention the Libyan people who also lived under these long-running punishments. And never mind the families of Flight 103's victims, who wanted to get what they percieved as justice. But this was never an open policy - the sanctions were an unfortunate effect of Tripoli's refusal to comply with terms the book says "appear to have been chosen to make it as difficult as possible for Kaddafi to comply." [4]

In October 1995, Libyan officials cited a "tragic toll" from sanctions, a $19 billion dollar wound damaging their agricultural sector significantly, and causing as many as 21,000 preventable deaths since their inception. [4.5] Such reports might be prone to exaggeration, but others started wondering if there were any deaths what the sanctions were about when the Libyans were ready to deal. Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela, even Tony Blair started suggesting a little flexibility. Perhaps a trial of the suspects really would be doable outside the United States.

By late August 1998 the framework of a trial was established, and used as the measure of Resolution 1192, agreeing to suspend sanctions once the suspects were handed over to the special Scottish court in the Nehterlands at Camp Zeist. Tripoli made it happen, with help from luminaries like Prince Sultan of Saudi Arabia and Nelson Mandela of Africa and the venue ideas of Robert Black QC, of Lockerbie. Megrahi and Fhimah were finally flown on a special flight to the Netherlands in early April, and on the 6th were official arrested at Camp Zeist and set to await their trial. Sanctions on Libya were immediately suspended, under threat of re-enforcement (that never did materialize). [5]

1993: Involved and Framed?

During this time of intense pressure to get the Libyans to publicly admit their guilt or at least help a court to prove it, a remarkable admission was reportedly taken in 1993, taken down by a prominent American journalist with suspected CIA links, Arnaud de Borchgrave. But it was not mentioned in public for over a decade, it would seem. In an article for NewsMax, from January 2004, de Borchgrave first revealed Gadhafis Secret Message:

"On July 6, after a lengthy interview, he went off the record and asked me to deliver a message to the director of Central Intelligence in Washington. He admitted Libya's guilt for the downing of Pan Am 103, but made clear that it was originally an Iranian retaliatory terrorist attack for the downing by the U.S. Navy of a peaceful Iran Air Airbus

[...]

So the Iranians subcontracted part of the job to a Syrian intelligence service, which, in turn, asked the Libyan Mukhabarat to handle part of the assignment," Col. Gadhafi explained. [6]

Mr. De Borchgrave says he did report this behind the scenes to the CIA immediately on returning home from the interview. Vincent Cannistraro, who had headed the CIA's Lockerbie probe in its earliest (shiftiest) phase, continued throughout the 1990s as a voice for Libyan guilt. He has alluded to Libya taking the Iran contract from the Syrians, following the Autumn Leaves operation, but did not give de Borchgrave as a source nor give col. Gaddafi any credit. [7]

Again on Megrahis release, in late August 2009, de Borchgrave wrote about the interview, explaining how he asked Gaddafi to explain, off the record, his precise involvement in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. The Colonel dismissed all the aides in his tent and went candid, in halting English without benefit of an interpreter. Mostly he decried terrorism and offered to assist the West fight bin Laden-type terror networks. Again, he explained the bombing as payback for the shoot-down of Iran Air 655, an act the Arab world could not accept as an accident:

"[R]etaliation, he said, was clearly called for. Iranian intelligence subcontracted retaliation to one of the Syrian intelligence services (there are 14 of them), which, in turn, subcontracted part of the retaliatory action to Libyan intelligence (at that time run by Abdullah Senoussi, Gaddafi's brother-in-law). "Did we know specifically what we were asked to do?" said Gaddafi. "We knew it would be comparable retaliation for the Iranian Airbus, but we were not told what the specific objective was," Gaddafi added." [8]

So why, when Libya is usually reported as "always insisting on their innocence," did de Borchgraves story and its propaganda power sit in the dark for the crucial years of pressure? Is it the prominent Iranian and Syrian elements? Were the Americans holding out for a Libya-only storyline? That is roughly how it turned out. Interestingly, the colonel reportedly used this admission to reiterate Libya did not lead the operation.

If we had initiated the plot, we would have made sure the accusing finger was pointed in the other direction and we would have picked Cyprus, not Malta, where some of the organization was done. The others picked Malta presumably to frame us.""

This isn't really a big help when your official storyline is that two Libyan JSO operatives, commanded by their JSO higher-ups, had specifically targetted PA103 via Malta airport, picked because Malta was their own "back door to the West." The JSO got the timers and the radio and the semtex, made the bomb, did up their own feasibility studies we were told, and had their two real movers buy the clothes, secure the suitcase, steal the luggage "taggs" to write that death sentence on, and personally shove it off from Malta on D-day. There is no "framed by the Syrians" in that scenario.

And all this when the real evidence Gaddafi may or may not have known about highly suggests the bomb went on PA103 way up in London, with nothing physically to do with Malta at all. Is this just another Libyan non-admission admission? Or worse - an attempt to hijack the West's fantasy narrative and steer it back away from himself?

99/01: Two Other Admission-ish things

Allan Gerson and Jerry Adlers 2001 book The Price of Terror failed to mention this account of de Borchgrave while citing the available hints that Gaddafi might have been suffering from a guilty conscience. In a private 1999 interview with another journalist, Milton Viorst, Gaddafi edged towards a kind of confession, the book notes. As Viorst reported it, the leader said"

Whether we were responsible for bringing down the French plane [uTA 772] will be decided by a French court. We dont say anything about it. The same is true of Lockerbie. I cant answer as to wether Libya was responsible. Lets let the court decide.

[9]

That's not a full denial, but nowhere near an admission. But it was ambiguous enough that an aide later told Viorst Gaddafi was not talking officially and referred him to the Foreign Minister for the government's official story (few realize that Gaddafi is not really the government of Libya). Not being published in the book, we can presume this was the same claim of innocence Libya has always maintained.

In spring 2001, the book continues, Gaddafi reportedly slipped again, and confessed to diplomat Michael Steiner that Libya had been behind the Lockerbie bombing as well as the LaBelle disco bombing in Germany, but had since stopped terrorism and wanted to make up. The source for this was a cable of a top-level meeting with German and American leaders, including President Bush and Chancellor Schroder. A New York Times article from May 23 cites the leaked cable thus:

"Steiner reported on his talks with Qaddafi in Libya. Qaddafi admitted that Libya took part in terrorist actions (La Belle, Lockerbie). He clarified that he had abandoned terrorism and seeks the opportunity to make Libya's new position known. Qaddafi, too, is worried about fundamentalist trends."

Americans were upset this was leaked to the public, and it caused quite a row between Steiner, a flamboyant attention-seeker, and others in the German government, but they confirmed that "La Belle" and "Lockerbie" were specifically mentioned by Mr. Steiner in this context. Whatever exactly that proves. [10]

Owning Up in '03?

Many suspect the Zeist trial was never supposed to happen, as the evidence behind the indictment was too weak to stand up at Trial. The Crown's prosecutors managed to swing it somehow, but it took nearly two years from the handover, and a display of mental gymnastics worthy of the Realpolitik Olympics in the scale and skill of it. On January 31 2001, the three-judge panel made it official Megrahi was legally guilty for the plot, and Fhimah was not guilty.

From there, many insisted sanctions should be lifted to reflect Libyas good faith through this process. But Bush and Blair balked, demanding an admission of guilt and contrition, plus compensation to victims families, before they went past suspension. It was a letter, dated 15 August 2003, from Libyas Permanent Representative to the President of the Council Ahmed A. Own, that paved the way. Own's letter explains the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, as Libya calls itself, has sought to cooperate in good faith throughout the past years on solving the problems made theirs resulting from the Lockerbie incident. It was in this spirit that they facilitated the bringing to justice of the two suspects charged with the bombing of Pan Am 103 and accepts responsibility for the actions of its officials. [11] Presumably they mean real actions, making this another dodge in some minds.

But the letter also pledged Libya to cooperate with any further investigations, and to settle all compensation claims with haste, and to join the international War on Terrorism. It was widely (and reservedly) hailed as a bold… statement. But still evasive. It doesnt clearly state anywhere the suspects or any Libyans were in any way actually guilty of the incident. Nonetheless, after a month of discussion in the Security Council, sanctions were lifted on Sept. 12 2003. France and the US insisted on abstaining, but it was otherwise a unanimous vote of 13. The United States own sanctions would remain in full force due to the general evilness of col. Gaddafy, US officials made clear. (Additional normalizations did happen in 2007).

Theres been much oxymoronic harping on this 2003 letter in the West as both an admission of guilt and an arrogant refusal to admit their guilt. The BBCs 2008 Conspiracy Files episode on Lockerbie is a brilliant example. For those that believe al Megrahi was framed, snarls the narrator, Carolyn Katz, one fact remains hard to explain away. Libya agreed to award substantial compensation for Lockerbie. Sanctions were then lifted. [12] Well, ignoring that they just answered their own stumper of a question, its a good question. Why would they agree on their responsibility and get sanctions lifted unless they knew they were guilty? Just to get sanctions lifted? The movie continues: Tripoli accepted responsibility for what it called the Lockerbie incident. But does it admit guilt? Of course not, and by pretending theres some disconnect, theyve primed the audience to see the darkest of cynicism at work.

No Other Solution

Despite his portrayals as a crazed prophet of death, Moammar Gadaffi proved a shrewd and patient pragmatist in all this. He can't have ever believed his nation actually did the crime, but against "guilty" as a legal truth, he accepted they had no choice but to do the time. Its a type of bind known to breed passive-aggressive tendencies. The Colonels son and likely successor Saif al Islam al Gaddafi (left) seems to understand the dilemma. When he was interviewed at home for the same Conspiracy Files program (latter minutes), he was respectably candid, but came across strangely anyway.

Q - Does Libya accept responsibility for the attack on Lockerbie?

A - Yes. We wrote a letter to the Security Council, saying that we are responsible for the acts of our employees, or people. But it doesnt mean that we did it, in fact.

Q - So to be very clear on this, what youre saying is that you accept responsibility, but youre not admitting that you did it.

A - Of course.

(edit)

Q - Thats… to many people will sound like a very cynical way to conduct your relationship with the outside world.

A - What can you do? Without writing that letter, you will not be able to get out of the sanction.

Q - So this statement was just word play. It wasnt an admission of guilt.

A - No. I admit that we play with the words. And we had to. We had to. There was no other… solution. [13]

The BBC are masters, among others, of careful editing, and it helped bolster their whole you dont admit youre guilty thing where people have to explain theres nothing to admit (or fail to explain that, as happened here). Thus he could, with a little imagination, appear to be saying we dont admit it, buuuuut of course we did it, you already know that. Note the cut that removed some of his words from the middle of the exchange, unlikely to have been irrelevant. Thus is clearly established a cynical payout ($2.7 billion) and bit of semantics to buy up and slough off their non-admitted guilt so they could resume trade. They got away with Lockerbie using money and words and are laughing at us and making more money!

Immediately after there was no other solution, the video cuts right to the interviewer asking so it was like blood money if you like, which seems to be referring to what was just shown. But really it refers to the American victims' families, whose money, money, money, money attitude (well-known and spearheaded by Victims of PA103 Inc.) was materialistic, greedy, and amounted to trading with the blood of their sons and daughters. It's tactless statement, but with the magic of editing, it can seem to mean so much more!

---

Sources:

[1] History of UN Sanctions on Libya. href="http://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/195-libya/42383.html

[2] Gerson, Allan and Jerry Adler. "The Price of Terror: Lessons of Lockerbie for a World on the Brink. Harper Collins, 2001.

[3] Thomas, Pierre and Thomas W. Lippman. $4 Million Reward Offered in Pan Am Case. Washington Post. March 24 1995. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/panam103/stories/reward032495.htm

[4] Gerson and Adler pp 101-102

[4.5] "Case Studies in Sanctions and Terrorism: Libya" The Peterson Institute. Date given as October 14 1996, Source given as International Herald Tribune, 14 October 1995, 13. http://www.petersoninstitute.org/research/topics/sanctions/libya.cfm

[5] http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/1/8/23958.shtml

[6] http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/1/8/23958.shtml

[7] Biewen, John and Ian Ferguson. "Mass Murder Over Scotland." Shadow over Lockerie series. American Radio Works, 2000. http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/lockerbie/story/printable_story.html

[8] http://www.acus.org/new_atlanticist/honor-among-terrorists

[9] Gerson and Adler, pp 290-291

[10] Cohen, Roger. "German cable on Qaddafi sets off dispute." The New York Times. May 23 2001. http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/23/world/german-cable-on-qaddafi-sets-off-dispute.html?pagewanted=all

[11] UN Security Council. Letter dated 15 August 2003... http://www.undemocracy.com/S-2003-818.pdf

[12] UN Security Council. 12 September 2003/ Press Release SC/7868: Security Council Lifts Sanctions Imposed on Libya. http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2003/sc7868.doc.htm

[13] The Conspiracy Files: Lockerbie." Prod/Dir Guy Smith, Ex Prod Sam Anstiss, Narr Caroline Catz. BBC Two. First Aired 31 August 2008. 52:49 mark. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-327765978162851498&hl=en#

[14] see 13, 53:40 mark

Edited by Steven Gaal
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  • 1 month later...

Libya's liberation: interim ruler unveils more radical than expected plans for Islamic law

Libya's interim leader outlined more radical plans to introduce Islamic law than expected as he declared the official liberation of the country.

VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVoVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV= :huh:

link http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8844819/Libyas-liberation-interim-ruler-unveils-more-radical-than-expected-plans-for-Islamic-law.html

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