Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Galloway On Libya
Monday, March 28, 2011
Waste Into Profit
- How Humanitarian -
By David Wilson of the Stop the War Coalition, 25 Mar 2011
"[Depleted uranium tipped missiles] fit the description of a dirty bomb in every way... I would say that it is the perfect weapon for killing lots of people." ~ Marion Falk, chemical physicist (retd), Lawrence Livermore Lab, California, USA
In the first 24 hours of the Libyan attack, US B-2s dropped forty-five 2,000-pound bombs. These massive bombs, along with the Cruise missiles launched from British and French planes and ships, all contained depleted uranium (DU) warheads.
DU is the waste product from the process of enriching uranium ore. It is used in nuclear weapons and reactors. Because it is a very heavy substance, 1.7 times denser than lead, it is highly valued by the military for its ability to punch through armored vehicles and buildings. When a weapon made with a DU tip strikes a solid object like the side of a tank, it goes straight through it, then erupts in a burning cloud of vapor. The vapor settles as dust, which is not only poisonous, but also radioactive.
An impacting DU missile burns at 10,000 degrees C. When it strikes a target, 30% fragments into shrapnel. The remaining 70% vaporises into three highly-toxic oxides, including uranium oxide. This black dust remains suspended in the air and, according to wind and weather, can travel over great distances. If you think Iraq and Libya are far away, remember that radiation from Chernobyl reached Wales.
Particles less than 5 microns in diameter are easily inhaled and may remain in the lungs or other organs for years. Internalized DU can cause kidney damage, cancers of the lung and bone, skin disorders, neurocognitive disorders, chromosome damage, immune deficiency syndromes and rare kidney and bowel diseases. Pregnant women exposed to DU may give birth to infants with genetic defects. Once the dust has vaporised, don't expect the problem to go away soon. As an alpha particle emitter, DU has a half life of 4.5 billion years.
In the 'shock and awe' attack on Iraq, more than 1,500 bombs and missiles were dropped on Baghdad alone. Seymour Hersh has claimed that the US Third Marine Aircraft Wing alone dropped more than "five hundred thousand tons of ordnance". All of it DU-tipped.
Al Jazeera reported that invading US forces fired two hundred tons of radioactive material into buildings, homes, streets and gardens of Baghdad. A reporter from the Christian Science Monitor took a Geiger counter to parts of the city that had been subjected to heavy shelling by US troops. He found radiation levels 1,000 to 1,900 times higher than normal in residential areas. With its population of 26 million, the US dropped a one-ton bomb for every 52 Iraqi citizens or 40 pounds of explosives per person.
William Hague has said that we are in Libya " to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas".You don't have to look far for who and what are being 'protected'.
In that first 24 hours the 'Allies' 'expended' £100 million on DU-tipped ordnance. The European Union's arms control report said member states issued licences in 2009 for the sale of £293.2 million worth of weapons and weapons systems to Libya. Britain issued arms firms licences for the sale of £21.7 million worth of weaponry to Libya and were also paid by Colonel Gadaffi to send the SAS to train his 32nd Brigade.
For the next 4.5 billion years, I'll bet that William Hague will not be holidaying in North Africa.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
A Different View Than
What You May Have Been Fed
Friday, March 25, 2011
Would US target Libya If They Had Broccoli Instead Of Oil?
The Top 7 Terms that Distort Israel/Palestine
Especially since words create representations of what we hold to be “real.” For writing on Palestine this is particularly important.
Unless we are present in and around events in Palestine our only connection to them is through representation of those events in writing in newspapers, newscast, blogs or magazines. The following is a list of some of the often-occurring words or phrases in mainstream English-language media which distort our understanding of the situation in Palestine. We’ve become so accustomed to hearing these words, we often fail to question their meaning, validity and appropriateness. In a world of “wall-to-wall text,” these words/phrases are most responsible for a distorted representation of the situation in Palestine.
1. The “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”
Recent Example: “If there was a moment when the world did not want to be reminded of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in such violent terms, then it is now.” -BBC
Why it’s problematic: How often do we see this? Is there conflict between Israelis and Palestinians? Sure. But to describe the situation between them as the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” creates an impression of symmetry where one does not exist. This is not like the Russo-Japanese war or the Spanish-American war. But because many English language readers are conditioned to understand this structure as indicative of two states at war, hearing “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” creates the impression that both sides are states and somehow equal in capacity and power. Of course this is not the case. The relationship between Israel and Palestine is occupation. One, Israel, occupies the other, Palestine. It’s not the other way around. One, Israel, is an advanced state with a significant army and nuclear weapons. The other is a group of stateless people and refugees, with improvised weapons and small arms, at best.
Suggested substitute term: The Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.
Recent Example: “Last year he attempted to kick-start negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and picked a fight with Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, over Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.” – The Economist
Why it’s problematic: For Palestinians, few things are more unsettling than Israeli settlements, but you wouldn’t really know it from this term. It’s so peaceful and passive. The West Bank is not the American Wild West as depicted in some John Wayne movie. The native inhabitants of the land were already settled in the territory long before the occupation (more like the actual Native Americans). When a foreign country occupies someone’s land and begins transferring its civilian population into that land, we call it colonialism and we call the population centers they establish colonies. Israeli settlements, or colonies as they should be called, are an extension of a system of violence called occupation. Their presence usurps the native population’s land, dominates its natural resources, and the security infrastructure around them debilitates the native population’s movement. Calling them settlements obscures the violent reality they support and are mutually supported by, and it fits into an Israeli narrative that seeks to persuade Americans that the expansion of these “settlements” is the natural growth of peaceful neighborhoods like in any American city.
Suggested substitute term: Colonies/Colonists.
3. “East Jerusalem”
Recent Example: “President Obama and top aides have repeatedly called for a full freeze on new construction in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians claim as their future capital.” – The National Journal
Why it’s Problematic: I’ve discussed this in detail here and a proper grasp of the geography is necessary to understand why this term is so problematic. In short, Israel unilaterally and illegally expanded the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem into occupied territory after 1967. So what the Israelis call “East Jerusalem,” the rest of the world calls occupied territory — except most of the English language media, which is not supposed to take sides. However, by adopting the term “East Jerusalem” to talk about occupied parts of the West Bank, our supposedly unbiased media is uncritically repeating the Israeli narrative about one of the most intensely sensitive issues between Israel and the Palestinians. This term creates the impression that East Jerusalem, like North Chicago or Boston’s Southie, is just another part of a city and no different than other parts except for its geographic location. But the difference between the parts of Jerusalem on either side of the green line is their legal status under international law and that is a big deal. By using this term, the space is created for Israeli officials to talk about settlement expansion in that area as a “zoning issue,” like building in any American city, when building there is in fact no different under international law than anywhere else in occupied territory. It’s all illegal.
Suggested Substitute: Occupied Jerusalem
4. “Tit-for-tat violence”
Recent Example: “In Gaza, militants and the Israeli Defense Forces have exchanged in tit-for-tat violence, with militant groups firing more than 60 rockets into Israel over the past week.” – The Miami Herald
Why it’s Problematic: Like other terms on this list, the main problem with this is that it takes violence out of context and creates the illusion that somehow the violence is even. If an adult punches an infant in the face and the infant strikes back we call that child abuse, not tit-for-tat violence. There is no equivalence in force between Israeli power and attacks and Palestinian violence. Israelis dominate Palestinians militarily in every category, and even when there are Palestinian reprisals for Israelis violence, they take place in the context of a 44-year system of violence called occupation. The Israeli strike which led to the most recent escalation in Gaza took place on March 16th when Israel launched an aerial strike with fighter jets and bombs, killing two Palestinians and injuring another, in response to 1 homemade rocket that the IDF stated caused “no damages or injuries.”
Suggested Substitute: Stop using this one all together
5. The “cycle of violence”
Recent Example: “Ten people have been killed in the cycle of violence, and some on both sides fear a new war could erupt unless it is contained.” – Reuters
Why it’s Problematic: There goes that cycle of violence, spiraling out of control again. This term, like its cousin “tit-for-tat violence” features many of the same flaws. It creates an illusion of parity between the sides when one doesn’t exist. But this has a different quality that is also problematic. While “tit-for-tat violence” seems to be dyadic in nature, the “cycle of violence” is circular in nature. It’s a never-ending roundabout that has no beginning or end like something Gene Wilder would’ve sang about in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the original). Where it stops, no one knows. What it is, is lazy journalism, unable to grapple with the context and complexity, and afraid to offend any sensitivities. If we were to graph Israel/Palestine violence over time, it would most certainly be linear not circular. Remember, the occupation is a system of violence that has been ongoing for 44 years. Reprisal violence or “flare ups” (another inappropriate term) merely exist in the context of that system of violence. Just because the media ignores the vast majority of violence that is systematic in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory doesn’t make reprisal violence exist in a vacuum.
Suggested Substitute: Stop using this one all together
6. “Relative calm”
Recent Example: “The relative calm in the south of the past several years ended on Saturday when Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, fired dozens of mortar shells at Israel, violating an informal cease-fire.” New York Times
Why it’s Problematic: I went into detail about the problems with this term here, it’s simply inaccurate. But the main question we need to ask when we read the term “relative calm” describing a period were numerous Palestinians, but no Israelis, were killed is: relative to what exactly? When using language like “relative calm” this should be in comparison to something. So what is it in comparison to? Since no context is ever given when using this term, one can only assume that the calm was relative to the norm. So if that is the case, it simply means our media has accepted the regular violence of the Israeli occupation against Palestinians to be the norm, and has completely abandoned questioning it because the only thing that seems to pique a journalist’s interest is Israeli casualties, not Palestinian ones.
Suggested Substitute: A detailed enumeration of casualties to create context.
7. Gaza “Rockets”, “Missiles” & “Mortars”
Recent Example: “Police said Gaza militants fired 10 rockets and mortars toward Israel Thursday, including two rockets that landed north of the city of Ashdod — a first since Israel Why it’s Problematic:and Gaza’s Hamas rulers reached an unofficial truce following a three-week war that ended in January 2009.” – AP
Why it’s Problematic: Set aside for a moment the fact that rockets and missiles may not be the best term to use to describe largely homemade projectiles. Does it ever seem to anyone else that we get detailed descriptions of the entire Palestinian arsenal, from our media, including number, type, range, and origin, but rarely ever hear anything of the same sort about the much larger and much more destructive Israeli arsenal? When was the last time you read about the range of missiles fired from American-made, Israeli-piloted Apache helicopters? How about the fact that Israel has fired, at minimum, 8 projectiles into Gaza for each one that comes into Israel? I have no objection to the media covering hostilities or projectiles coming from Gaza, but to be accurate and fair, there must be a candid discussion, in the same nature, of the projectiles coming from the other direction, and include their number, origin, their frequency and the number of casualties they create. Doing otherwise, as the media routinely does, creates the impression that Palestinians have this vast and powerful arsenal to an audience that is largely ignorant of the context and geography where this violence is taking place.
Suggested Substitute: A candid discussion of the Israeli arsenal used on Gaza each time Palestinian weapons are mentioned coming out of Gaza
Five Norwegian PR Firms
Reject Lucrative Offers to Improve Israel’s Global Image
Five of Norway’s largest PR firms have said ‘no’ to offers to improve Israel’s global public relations campaign, reported the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naæringsliv.
Israel is attempting to widen its global public relations campaign by hiring foreign PR firm to improve its reputation abroad. With the increasing threat being posed by the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and the publicity surrounding Israelis human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian Territory, Israel has contacted public relations specialists in Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Norway for help.
The project, for which each firm would be paid around 3.5 million USD annually, is to help Israel promote its vision in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as prevent the international boycott, amongst other things.
“Israel is an highly controversial project,” Sigurd Grytten, the PR firm Burson-Marsteller’s Managing Director, told the paper.
Statements by heads of the public relations agencies Geelmuyden.Keise, Gambit H&K, Apeland Informasjon, and First House range from “difficult”, to “no comment”. Only one agency, Kreab, has said it might consider the assignment.
In response, Aviad Ivri, Counselor at the Israeli embassy in Oslo, said, “It’s no secret that Israel has a reputation problem.”
Norway has a growing boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement. The country’s Government Pension Fund Global recently divested from two Israeli companies, Africa Israel Investments and Danya Cebus, due to their involvement in the construction of illegal settlements in the West Bank.
“Several United Nations Security Council resolutions and an International Court of Justice advisory opinion have concluded that the construction of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory is prohibited under the [Geneva] Convention,” said Norway’s Minister of Finance Sigbjørn Johnsen at the time of the much-publicized divestment.
What’s more late 2010, Israel accused the Norwegian government of funding and encouraging blatant anti-Israel incitement. The accusations were based on reports that a local Norwegian municipality is funding a trip for students to New York in order to take part in the “Gaza Monologues” play, and view an exhibition by Norwegian artists.
The play, which "deals with the suffering of children in Gaza as a result of the Israeli occupation,” was written by a Palestinian playwright from Gaza, and was presented at the United Nations headquarters. The Norwegian government responded to the Israeli accusation, saying saying that the Norwegian government supports freedom of expression and will not be intervening in the arts.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Empire Or Humanity?
What The Classroom Didn't Teach Me
About The American Empire
By Howard Zinn as narrated by Viggo Mortenson
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
The A-Word in Hebron
This article by Letty Cottin Pogrebin appeared 23 March 2011 in The Jewish Daily Forward, an 'ethnic' directed New York, USA, newspaper. The author is a founding editor of Ms. Magazine, the author of nine books, and a past president of Americans for Peace Now. It signals one more eyelid lifting. May its reading in The Forward wake some others. That might make easier for them to understand Handala is not going over the cliff.
You’ve probably read about the situation in the West Bank city of Hebron, where some 800 Jewish settlers live in the midst of 170,000 Palestinians. But being there is something else. Being there can make you sick to your stomach; being there you can’t help thinking of the “A-word.”
A few weeks ago, I spent an afternoon in places you won’t find on most synagogue tours, and there is no other word to describe what I saw. In the settlement of Kiryat Arba, Hagit Ofran, director of Peace Now’s Settlement Watch project, told our delegation from Americans for Peace Now, “From here, only Israelis can enter Hebron by car; Palestinians have to go on foot.” I thought she was joking. She wasn’t.
Since the 1970s, radical settlers have been reclaiming properties in Hebron that were owned by Jews prior to the establishment of the state in 1948. Today, there are signs everywhere proclaiming the settlers’ God-given right to the city, citing the words of the Torah (“The children have returned to their own border.” Jeremiah 31:17) and recalling the 1929 massacre of 66 Jews by their Arab neighbors.
I saw no mention of the 1994 massacre that took place at the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Tomb of the Patriarchs, where Baruch Goldstein, an American-born Israeli doctor, opened fire on Muslim worshippers, killing 29 and wounding 125. When the streets of Hebron erupted with rage, the Israel Defense Forces imposed a curfew on the Palestinians, confining them to their homes for all but a few hours a day to buy food.
First we’re massacred, then we’re punished, was the incensed Palestinian response. Why not put the Jewish extremists under curfew? Why does the burden of Jewish security always fall on us?
With each new outburst of violence, the Israeli army imposed more restrictions on the Palestinians. The Hebron Protocol of 1997, a diplomatic accord reached by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization with the help of the Clinton administration, formally divided the city. Palestinians were given responsibility for the lion’s share of greater Hebron, called Area H-1, while Area H-2 — the 18% of the city in which the settlers had inserted themselves — remained under Israeli military control.
The vast market that had served the city and surrounding villages fell in H-2. It was shut down by the Israeli army, and separation measures were imposed to protect the settlers against attack and further reduce friction between Arabs and Jews. Palestinians’ access to the center of town was severely restricted, their shops closed, a few stores taken over by settlers, most boarded up.
Now, after 14 years, the main street looks like a ghost town, its crumbling buildings scarred with Hebrew graffiti: “Jews Only Buy From Jews.” “No Arabs, No Mice.” “Death to the Arabs!” and worse. My stomach heaved at the hate-filled words but even more so at the sight of the street split by a physical divider, one side for Palestinians, the other for Jews — the larger side for Jews — with Israeli soldiers on guard over the scene. Ofran said some Palestinians, because they cannot use the streets, must reach their homes via their neighbors’ rooftops.
In 10 breathless minutes, Issa Amro, a Palestinian human rights activist we met, drew a chilling portrait of Israeli occupation of H-2 and its 18 checkpoints. Though born in Hebron, he is not allowed on some of the streets. Though he practices nonviolence, he is subject to military law, while even the most violent and radical settlers live under civil law. He told us of how Palestinians can be detained without trial for days, Israelis for only 24 hours. Palestinians have to fence their windows to ward off settlers’ rocks; the army fails to protect their homes. He recounted how two years ago a woman gave birth at a checkpoint because Palestinian ambulances need special authorization to cross between the two sectors. Dozens of roads have been blocked with cement barriers to prevent Palestinians from moving freely.
If one opens one’s eyes to the truth, the unmentionable becomes unavoidable — “A” for arrogance, and yes, for apartheid. It hurts me just to write that word.
As a life-long, Israel-loving, peace-seeking Zionist, I disdained the hyperbolic label and the facile, incendiary parallels to pre-Mandela South Africa that, for years, have been propagated by Jimmy Carter and some pundits on the left. I’ve made at least two dozen trips to Israel since 1976 and, though strongly critical of its government’s policies toward Palestinians within and outside the Green Line — whether under Labor, Likud or Kadima leadership — I never felt that extreme indictment was warranted by the facts on the ground. Then again, until last month, I had never been to Hebron.
Justice-loving Jews cannot keep denying what is happening under Israeli auspices in Hebron; we can never say we didn’t know.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
In this Chicago, Illinois, USA station WVON radio broadast, Farrakhan describes Gaddafi Achievements in Africa and Libya and exposes Imperialist United States, France and England fake humanitarian concerns. Farrakhan explains how the Western Imperialists are selective in what countries they decide to intervene in and exposes the gross Hypocrisy in American foreign policy.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Yes, We Can
" I have two words for you. Predator drones!" laughter. "You will never see it coming."more laughter.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
War Is A Racket
With Special Thanks to Mom
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Who Is Responsible
For The Nuclear Catastrophe In Japan?
by Patrick Martin, WS
The 9.0 earthquake near Sendai, the worst ever to hit Japan, was a product of nature, and the tidal wave that struck the coast was its immediate and unavoidable consequence. But the ensuing nuclear events are the results of social forces, not the collision of tectonic plates. Once again, the capitalist system has brought the world to the brink of disaster, and in the process the corporate ruling elite has demonstrated its complete recklessness and irresponsibility.
The Japanese ruling elite made a heavy bet on nuclear power to offset the country’s dependence on imported oil, despite the obvious dangers in locating more than 50 nuclear reactors near the most active earthquake fault line in the world.
This is not merely a Japanese phenomenon. Over the past 40 years there have been repeated warnings of the danger of nuclear technology, as well as a series of incidents—Windscale, Fermi I, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl—that demonstrated the real-life consequences for millions of people. But nothing could stop the drive by the capitalist ruling elites of one country after another from investing billions in nuclear power generation.
In the United States, there are more than a dozen nuclear reactors that have a similar potential for catastrophe. Two nuclear power complexes in California, Diablo Canyon and San Onofre, are located near the San Andreas Fault. An Ohio plant was knocked out of service in 1986 by an earthquake along a spur of the New Madrid fault, and another in that state was damaged by a tornado.
There are numerous reactors in coastal parts of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, all areas that have been struck by major hurricanes.
The Waterford nuclear power plant in Louisiana was forced to declare an “unusual event” and close down during Hurricane Katrina, although it was nearly 100 miles from where the storm made landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Hurricane Gustav struck the nearby River Bend plant in St. Francisville, Louisiana.
Florida Power & Light operates the Turkey Point nuclear reactor on Biscayne Bay, just south of Miami, a site that, according to one study, “experiences tropical storms about every two years and hurricane-force winds once every seven years.” In 1992, the eye of Hurricane Andrew passed directly over the plant, causing extensive damage and cutting off outside power supplies for five days. If the storm surge had disabled the emergency power, Turkey Point would have been in the same condition as Fukushima today.
None of this diminishes the Obama administration’s enthusiasm for nuclear power. With no way of knowing the eventual scale of the worsening disaster in Japan, Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Tuesday reaffirmed to a congressional subcommittee the US commitment to provide $39 billion in loan guarantees to underwrite the construction of new nuclear power plants. This follows three decades—since Three Mile Island—in which such construction had come to a halt.
Recklessness in locating nuclear power plants is a global phenomenon. Turkey has built its Akkuyu Bay reactor near the active Ecemis fault line. China, soon to be the fourth-largest nuclear power generator, with 27 plants under construction, is one of the most seismically active countries in the world.
The densely populated countries of Western Europe are heavily reliant on nuclear power, led by France, with 58 plants. Britain has 19, Germany 17, Sweden 10, tiny Belgium 7, Switzerland 5. Canada has 18 nuclear power plants, 16 of them in southern Ontario, where a disaster would result in the radioactive contamination of the Great Lakes, the world’s largest supply of fresh water.
Both the potential for natural disaster and the dangerous proximity to large population centers have been brushed aside. Such concerns mean nothing to powerful corporate and financial interests pursuing the profits from power generation or imperialist governments seeking to ensure energy supplies in an increasingly competitive global environment.
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the US and other imperialist powers have warned incessantly of the danger of nuclear terrorism. Bush National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice famously invoked the specter of a “mushroom cloud” if the US did not immediately invade Iraq and deprive Saddam Hussein of “weapons of mass destruction.”
The events in Japan show that the main danger of nuclear devastation comes from the workings of the capitalist economic system, not terrorism. It is Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), Toshiba and General Electric whose operations are today threatening to lay waste to Japan.
TEPCO is notorious in Japan for its record of covering up safety problems at its nuclear reactors. Toshiba built the Fukushima complex from a design by General Electric that, according to the New York Times, was marketed as “cheaper and easier to build—in part because they used a comparatively smaller and less expensive containment structure.”
The last decade has seen disaster after disaster produced by the capitalist system: colonialist wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; the destruction of New Orleans when the levees failed during Hurricane Katrina; the greatest financial collapse in world history, plunging the world into economic slump; the poisoning of the Gulf of Mexico by BP. No corporate CEO or capitalist politician has been held responsible for any of these calamities.
These events reveal the intrinsic anarchy of the capitalist system and criminal irresponsibility of the capitalist class: failure to plan, failure to build or maintain necessary social infrastructure, failure to enforce safety regulations. The labor of the international working class has produced greater wealth than at any time in history, but these resources are not available to meet social needs because all of economic life is subordinated to the get-rich mania of the ruling elite.
Working people must draw the necessary conclusions from the catastrophes which the world capitalist system is producing। The vast economic resources of modern society must be taken out of the hands of the financial aristocracy and put at the disposal of the entire population. Rational planning must replace the anarchy of the market. The harmonious development of the world economy must replace the struggle of rival nation-states. This means the struggle for international socialism.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Iraq-Nation of Tears
This video is a recent one, March 2011.
This video is a 17 minutes sample of your Democracy at work in the Iraq al Jadeed, in the new Iraq.
This video shows you the daily life for Baghdadis, through the eyes of a few.
I have no strength to write more words, I leave you to watch the fruits of your labor, of your indifference, your apathy and your deafening silence.
Unity Day 15 March
Monday, March 14, 2011
All Over Again
As Libya's civil war peaks, the US is weighing the role it could play in the chaos. But, many Americans think another intervention would be the worst option for both the US and Libya.
Civil war blurs the outline of Libya's future, while the US weighs its options on the role it should play in the chaos. Some war-loving politicians have been pushing for establishing "a no-fly zone". This means bombing Libyan air defense systems, runways and shooting down Libyan aircraft -- an aerial invasion -- something most Americans don't realize, and most Libyans don't want.
"People in the entire region remember what happened with the no-fly zone in Iraq. Hundreds of civilians were killed by the enforcement of that no-fly zone. That hasn't changed," said Phyllis Bennis, Director of the New Internationalism Project at IPS in Washington, DC.
Some high-ranking officials have taken it so far as to joke about an attack on the African country. But is Libya any of America's business? And why not let the Arab world fend for itself?
"There is absolutely no possible justification for the U.S. or even the EU to get involved in Libya. There is nothing in their charters, nothing that would justify. It's a civil war, in a different country, in which the details are very murky," said journalist and historian Nebojsa Malic.
But could America be a hop, skip and a jump away from another war? The White House is now saying it will wait for the UN to lead the way in dealing with Libya. But with a habit of getting knee-deep into other nations' affairs, will America be able to resist the temptation?
"This could be a re-run of Iraq. This could be a re-run of humanitarian imperialism, and very, very dangerous. There is nothing for the West to do in Libya," said Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar.
Despite warning signs flashing, some experts believe history is about to repeat itself. Iraq and Afghanistan, they warn, sucked the U.S. much further into war than first anticipated.
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting different results. In the case of the U.S. it would be doing the same thing dozens and dozens of times and trying to get different results. The U.S. has not won a war decisively since the end of World War II", said editorial columnist Ted Rall.
Upholding human rights and establishing democracy have often been pretenses for America's invasions.
Officially, these are also the main concerns for Libya, but the underlying reality is said to be very different.
"This is about oil. And if the U.S. could go in militarily, and claim to be going only for humanitarian purposes, the American people will buy it," explained media critic Danny Schechter.
Information provided by rt.com
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Govern by Obeying
- Bolivia's Politics of the Street
by Benjamin Dangl
From across North Africa to Wisconsin, activists are navigating a new terrain of global protest and relationships with their governments. Whether in ousting old tyrants or dealing with new allies in office, the example of Bolivia holds many lessons for social movements. An illustrative dynamic is now unfolding in this Andean country where the movements hold sway over the government palace, and the leftist President Evo Morales says he "governs by obeying the people." But sometimes the people don't give him any other choice.
The day after Christmas last year, while Morales was away in Venezuela, Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera announced that, as a way to cut government spending, subsidies on gas would be slashed, resulting in a roughly 73% price increase for Bolivians. In cash-strapped Bolivia, where much of the population lives below the poverty line, this austerity measure was to be born largely on the backs of the poor.
The neoliberal aspects of the policy shocked and outraged much of the country. Bolivian political commentator Rafael Bautista wrote that the gas price hikes followed the same neoliberal logic as Morales' rightwing predecessors, embracing the concept that "to have more money we must sacrifice those who never have anything..." Bautista continued, "but who establishes these prices? It's not the poor, it's the market." In this case the government was listening to the market over the people, and the price was to be paid with the "hunger of the poor."
The move also betrayed the decades-old social struggle to use natural resources for the benefit of the country. Bolivia has the largest natural gas reserves in South America, and Morales himself was ushered into office on a wave of protests demanding nationalization of gas and popular access to natural resources. He followed through with partial nationalization in 2006, and has met other campaign promises such as rewriting the constitution, expanding land reform and social services, and empowering indigenous communities.
Bolivia's social movements responded to the gas price hike announcement immediately, organizing protests, strikes and road blockades across the country to demand that the government back down. Even coca growers, Morales' staunch allies, set up road blockades on a major highway. Bus drivers went on strike, and community organizations in El Alto marched, attacking government buildings. It was a historically-broad rejection of the policy, with more than just the usual organizations and sectors heading into the streets.
In an effort to offset the increase in gas and food prices, the Morales government raised the wages of public employees by 20%. Yet the salary increase would not help workers in the private and massive informal sector. The government also offered assistance to farmers of rice, wheat and corn. Yet the gas prices and subsequent cost of food, basic goods and transportation continued to rise.
Finally, on December 31st, as the protests showed no sign of stopping, Morales relented, saying he would reverse the price increase. In a televised speech, he said he would "continue to govern by obeying the people.” (He was drawing from the phrase Mandar Obedeciendo, Lead by Obeying, a slogan used by the Zapatistas.)
Was he obeying the people, or was he simply forced to respond to their pressure? In either case, his move was significant; while politicians around the world have recently been responding to protests against austerity measures with tanks and bullets, Morales responded by (eventually) agreeing with protesters and backing down. This illustrates the autonomy of the Bolivian social movements and the power they have over the government.
For the last decade, social movements in Bolivia have been the protagonists of the country's history. This is because many of them understood that the fight for a better world didn't end with the ousting of former right wing President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada in 2003, or even with the election of Evo Morales in 2006. Their struggle required constant mobilization and social transformation that didn't fit into a government decree or a ballot box.
"I think we are reconsidering not just a new way of doing politics, but above all a new way of managing our economy," Bolivian activist leader Oscar Olivera said in a Latin American Solidarity Center interview on the recent gas conflict. "In this, it is the people who are making it possible."
Saturday, March 12, 2011
This article by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey appeared in Pravda 3 March 2011
Let one thing be perfectly clear: those who manufactured those Libyan flags from the time of King Idris, those who are arming, aiding and abetting the "rebels" (terrorists according to the western media referring to the same types of actions in other countries) are responsible for what is going on. Suppose the western media is misleading us?
"He's gotta go," says David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom about Muammar Al-Qathafi. The thing is, who has done more for his people? From President Obama, surprisingly, the same call. Yet the Libyan is not a protagonist who is dying for his own war to become a hero, because his disastrous policies at home are making him unpopular.
Unlike David Cameron, Muammar Al-Qathafi has invested in his people; he has not slashed education funding, he has increased literacy rates from 10 to around 85%; maybe those who support the flags from the pre-Qathafi era would like to have a reminder of the statistics from those times, because for sure those who fabricated these flags and transported them across the Tunisian and Egyptian borders will send Libya and the Libyans back into the dark ages from which Muammar Al-Qathafi freed them.
Let another thing be perfectly clear: the western media is misleading us and is trying to hide the interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign member of the UNO.
1. Why did the Libyan "revolution" not start in the capital, Tripoli, but rather in the separatist region of Cyrenaica?
2. Is it important that Cyrenaica is the oil-rich region?
3. How come the terrorists in Libya are referred to as "rebels" yet in other countries in the region they are "terrorists"?
4. How come the authorities of any sovereign nation have the right to impose law and order after armed insurrection, but Muammar Al-Qathafi apparently does not (according to Western media)? What does any civilised nation do when rebels burn buildings, kill women and children (oh didn't the western media publicise this?) and slaughter and torture unarmed civilians? In most countries the authorities have the right to react.
In the case of Libya, it is facing an armed insurrection fuelled by interfering foreign powers, marauding gangs of terrorists aiming to settle tribal scores, all for the right price.
5. How is it possible that the poorly equipped "rebels" "now have access to more sophisticated equipment" (SKY News). Where did it come from?
6. How to explain the fact that Dutch and British special forces have been detained operating inside Libya?
7. Why does SKY News concentrate on the same screaming child in a Libyan hospital, every single day, a child who seems to be screaming because he is more afraid of a syringe than due to any injury? Is it correct to manipulate public opinion using images of children?
8. Why does the same news channel show a man with a flesh wound from "heavy weaponry" while the bullet is visible on the surface of his skin? Why is Dominic Waghorn reporting the "truth" when last Summer he came to Portugal to hide it?
9. Why did the western media report that civilians had been bombed, and then Saif Al-Islam Qathafi entered a Sky News vehicle, saying for them to take him where they wanted, and the SKY crew was unable to find the areas they had said his "regime" forces had bombed?
10. Why did the BBC lie about an air strike that never existed?
11. Why did the BBC admit that the Libyan Air Force had been purposefully not hitting human targets? Then say Muammar Al-Qathafi is a "dictator" "slaughtering his own people"?
12. Why has the western media been saying that Muammar Al-Qathafi has been throwing the full force of his military options against "unarmed civilians" when it is obvious the civilians are heavily armed and he has not yet even started to use all the weaponry at his disposal?
13. Allaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahu Akhbar!! Allaaaaaaaaaahu Akhbar! God is great! Where have we heard this before? And now from the er...rebels.
14. Why is the unrest always worse after Friday prayer service? Are we seeing another CIA-Mujaheddin type alliance? The type that saw the launch of the Taleban in Afghanistan?
15. Why is it that whenever there is a western camera present, someone unfolds one of those idiotic flags from the time when the people of Libya were illiterate and oppressed?
16. How come Muammar Al-Qathafi turns up wherever and whenever he wants in Tripoli?
17. Has Muammar Al-Qathafi disrespected the UNO by using lies to attack sovereign nations outside the auspices of the UN? No.
18. Libya is a "carbon copy" of brutal, bloody aggression of NATO on Yugoslavia
and Serbia. Looking at those people running away from Libya to Tunisia in their thousands and western media again doing same thing, telling us that they are running away from "Gadhafi's regime" not from a threat of NATO intervention and their bombs but just like what happened with the Albanians from Kosovo, the aggressor is intervening on "humanitarian grounds".
19. Gadhafi has to be put on trial for Genocide and violation of human rights but GW Bush, Tony Blair and Greschner should receive the "Nobel peace prize",
20. When the West waged its genocidal 1st war for the conquest of Kuwait and Iraq, the hundreds of thousands of third country nationals that fled from Iraq did so not because of having had to suffer any hardship due to Iraqi rule, but rather because of starvation and acholera epidemic resulting from an inhuman total blockade imposed by NATO (food items and chemicals--employed---in--water--treatment--plants were especially prohibited).
21. The WESTERN MAINSTREAM media has completely FORGOTTEN about the human right to life of all the Libyan civilians unopposed to Gaddafi who are being massacred or maimed by the foreign insurgents just to terrorise the remaining populace and make a point. Just as this very same media cared not a fig about the thousands of apolitical innocent civilians that were brutally executed (by stoning, electrocuting etc.) by the Bush & Hillarity-backed Taliban within days of having overran almost three-fourths of Afghanistan with NATO weaponry in the late 1990's.
22. Few other countries live in such a social comfort, as Libyans do. They have free health care system and treatment. Their hospitals are provided with the best medical equipment in the world. The education in Libya is free of charge. Talented youth have an opportunity to study abroad at the expense of Libya. After getting married, a couple can get more than 60 thousands dinar (50 thousand dollars) of financial help. State credits are non-interest-bearing, and often the principal is written off as well. Automobile's prices are considerably lower, than in Europe and affordable for everyone. Petrol costs 18 cent, and bread 4 cent. Libyans have been provided a very good environment as regards social and job-security, and their general educational level (both males and females can be seen pursuing all branches of university education) is better than that in so-called very affluent Arab countries like Saudi Arabia.
23. When a DUTCH helicopter carrying several mercenary Dutch soldiers including a jingoistic woman, (allegedly on a sabotage-cum-espionage mission to undermine Libyan national defence right in the hometown of the leader Col. Gaddafi ) were captured by Libyan defenders, the DUTCH government finally acknowledged that its warship:- the TROMP, has indeed been lurking in the high sea off SIRTE and the captured helicopter had lifted-off from there.
24. When will the world understand the US modus operandi. Befriend, Praise, Infiltrate, Subvert, Destroy. It has become cliché and yet people still fall for it. It is true there is an upper limit to intelligence but stupidity knows no bounds. Let it be a warning to all those who believe that the US/Israel and other Zionist minions can be trusted allies. The process, preparing the world for the invasion of Libya, is so reminiscent of the one prior to the Iraq war, that only those severely challenged can fail to see it.
25. Surely the Libyan armed forces have shown restraint, more than aggression. Let's face it, they could raze the cities and towns if they wanted. They have been going in, causing limited damage to the terrorists and have pulled back out again limiting the human and material damage.
26. But when price increases in major Libyan cities sparked a wave of discontent, imperialism seized the opportunity. They concluded that it was time to get rid of Gaddafi, an always uncomfortable leader.
The riots in Tunisia and Egypt, protests in Bahrain and Yemen have created very favorable conditions to instigate demonstrations in Libya. It was no accident that Benghazi emerged as the hub of the rebellion. Major transnational oil companies operate in Cyrenaica, the ends of pipelines and gas pipelines are located there.
The National Front for the Salvation of Libya, an organization financed by the CIA, was activated. It is instructive that it was the city to see the rapid emergence in the streets of the old monarchy flag and portraits of the late King Idris, the tribal chief Senussi crowned by England after the expulsion of the Italians. A "prince" Senussi suddenly appeared to give interviews.
27. In relationship to the status of women in Libya, "The delegation indicated that women were highly regarded in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, and their rights were guaranteed by all laws and legislation. Discriminatory laws had been revoked." (Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Human Rights Council, Jan. 4, 2011, p. 4)
Told To 'Cleanse' Gaza
From British Channel 4 News
Friday, March 11, 2011
Of Free Speech
by John Pilger, March 10, 2011
As the United States and Britain look for an excuse to invade another oil-rich Arab country, the hypocrisy is familiar. Colonel Gadhafi is "delusional" and "blood-drenched" while the authors of an invasion that killed a million Iraqis, who have kidnapped and tortured in our name, are entirely sane, never blood-drenched and once again the arbiters of "stability."
But something has changed. Reality is no longer what the powerful say it is. Of all the spectacular revolts across the world, the most exciting is the insurrection of knowledge sparked by WikiLeaks. This is not a new idea. In 1792, the revolutionary Tom Paine warned his readers in England that their government believed that "people must be hoodwinked and held in superstitious ignorance by some bugbear or other." Paine’s The Rights of Man was considered such a threat to elite control that a secret grand jury was ordered to charge him with "a dangerous and treasonable conspiracy." Wisely, he sought refuge in France.
The ordeal and courage of Tom Paine is cited by the Sydney Peace Foundation in its award of Australia’s human rights Gold Medal to Julian Assange. Like Paine, Assange is a maverick who serves no system and is threatened by a secret grand jury, a malicious device long abandoned in England but not in the United States. If extradited to the US, he is likely to disappear into the Kafkaesque world that produced the Guantanamo Bay nightmare and now accuses Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks’ alleged whistleblower, of a capital crime.
Should Assange’s current British appeal fail against his extradition to Sweden, he will probably, once charged, be denied bail and held incommunicado until his trial in secret. The case against him had already been dismissed by a senior prosecutor in Stockholm and given new life only when a right-wing politician, Claes Borgstrom, intervened and made public statements about Assange’s "guilt." Borgstrom, a lawyer, now represents the two women involved. His law partner is Thomas Bodstrom, who as Sweden’s minister for justice in 2001, was implicated in the handover of two innocent Egyptian refugees to a CIA kidnap squad at Stockholm airport. Sweden later awarded them damages for their torture.
These facts were documented in an Australian parliamentary briefing in Canberra on 2 March. Outlining an epic miscarriage of justice threatening Assange, the enquiry heard expert evidence that, under international standards of justice, the behavior of certain officials in Sweden would be considered "highly improper and reprehensible [and] preclude a fair trial." A former senior Australian diplomat, Tony Kevin, described the close ties between the Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, and the Republican right in the US. "Reinfeldt and [George W] Bush are friends," he said. Reinfeldt has attacked Assange publicly and hired Karl Rove, the former Bush crony, to advise him. The implications for Assange’s extradition to the US from Sweden are dire.
The Australian inquiry was ignored in the UK, where black farce is currently preferred. On 3 March, the Guardian announced that Stephen Spielberg’s Dream Works was to make "an investigative thriller in the mold of All the President’s Men" out of its book WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy. I asked David Leigh, who wrote the book with Luke Harding, how much Spielberg had paid the Guardian for the screen rights and what he expected to make personally. "No idea," was the puzzling reply of the Guardian’s "investigations editor." The Guardian paid WikiLeaks nothing for its treasure trove of leaks. Assange and WikiLeaks — not Leigh or Harding — are responsible for what the Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, calls "one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years."
The Guardian has made clear it has no further use for Assange. He is a loose cannon who did not fit Guardianworld, who proved a tough, unclubbable negotiator. And brave. In the Guardian’s self-regarding book, Assange’s extraordinary bravery is excised. He becomes a figure of petty bemusement, an "unusual Australian" with a "frizzy-haired" mother, gratuitously abused as "callous" and a "damaged personality" that was "on the autistic spectrum." How will Spielberg deal with this childish character assassination?
On the BBC’s Panorama, Leigh indulged hearsay about Assange not caring about the lives of those named in the leaks. As for the claim that Assange had complained of a "Jewish conspiracy", which follows a torrent of internet nonsense that he is an evil agent of Mossad, Assange rejected this as "completely false, in spirit and word."
It is difficult to describe, let alone imagine, the sense of isolation and state of siege of Julian Assange, who in one form or another is paying for tearing aside the façade of rapacious power. The canker here is not the far right but the paper-thin liberalism of those who guard the limits of free speech. The New York Times has distinguished itself by spinning and censoring the WikiLeaks material. "We are taking all [the] cables to the administration," said Bill Keller, the editor, "They’ve convinced us that redacting certain information would be wise." In an article by Keller, Assange is personally abused. At the Columbia School of Journalism on 3 February, Keller said, in effect, that the public could not be trusted with the release of further cables. This might cause a "cacophony." The gatekeeper has spoken.
The heroic Bradley Manning is kept naked under lights and cameras 24 hours a day. Greg Barns, director of the Australian Lawyers Alliance, says the fears that Julian Assange will "end up being tortured in a high security American prison" are justified. Who will share responsibility for such a crime?
Thursday, March 10, 2011
The Secret History
Of The American Empire
The End Of America
1.Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.
2.Create secret prisons where torture takes place.
3.Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens.
4.Set up an internal surveillance system.
5.Harass citizens' groups.
6.Engage in arbitrary detention and release.
7.Target key individuals.
8.Control the press.
9.Treat all political dissidents as traitors.
10.Suspend the rule of law.
The book details how this pattern was implemented in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and elsewhere, and analyzes and demonstrates its emergence and application in American political affairs since the September 11 events. She concentrates on the first four of those in this interview. Any aware person can easily fill in the last six.
Sunday, March 06, 2011
The New Rulers
Of The World
A Pilger documentary from 2006.
Saturday, March 05, 2011
Ists And Isms
- Socialism Vs Capitalism
The following three part video describes the essentials of socialism and capitalism. They are offered because halls of learning to which you may have been subjected probably did not get it right.
Many supporters of capitalism, all from the 1st world of course, point to the relatively high standard of living enjoyed in their rich countries. They are either too blind, stupid, or evil to realize that they can afford their luxuries either because the 3rd world suffers or they are living on borrowed money from successful socialistic nations (China comes to mind). A system that affords happiness to a few hundred million at the expense of billions is NOT a success. It is rape. And it must fall. A system that lives on a loan is not a success. There will be a payback time. And it must fall.
The WTO, the World Trade Organization, itself an engine of global capitalism, issued a report which can be found on its website, in which the disastrous effects of global 'free' trade on the majority of Humanity is described in detail. That is at http://www.gatt.org/trastat_e.html.
Friday, March 04, 2011
Isreal Interrogates And Tortures Children
Jeany Massad, International Middle East Media Center
The Palestinian Ministry of Detainee Affairs published a new report Wednesday documenting the torture of children as young as seven in Israeli prisons. Since the beginning of this year, Israeli soldiers have abducted 150 children and all of them were interrogated during the course of their imprisonment. Many were subjected to harm treatment such as hitting, psychological abuse, violence and the threat of violence without a parent or adult representative present.
One of the children mentioned in the report was Omar Tahsin Abu Saker, a seven-year old child from Tulkarem, who was taken to prison on 19th February from a street in his neighborhood; the Israeli government accused him of throwing stones near the Wall gate.
Amir Masalmeh, a seventeen year old from Nablus, was mentioned in a declaration under oath by a female lawyer who visited him in prison on 9th December 2009, who asserted that the boy was subjected to torture while under interrogation.
Muhamman Naeem Ibrahim Quazieh, a fifteen year old child from Bethlehem, was taken from his home on the 27th December last year. According to the report, Israeli Soldiers took him to an Army camp near Bethlehem and kept him there handcuffed and blindfolded for hours. After that, he was taken to Atsyon prison and left him alone in an extremely cold cell.
A seventeen year old detainee from Ramallah reported that he was taken from his home at three o'clock on the early morning. The soldiers blew off the door of the house, in order to take him from where he was sleeping in his room. They hit him multiple times in different parts of his body, then took him to an interrogation center in order to question him.
There are currently over 35 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prison camps who are under the age of sixteen, and 190 who are between sixteen and eighteen years old.
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
As Wave Of Rage Spreads
Hands Off Lybia
The United States and the European powers are moving towards direct military intervention in Libya. They are seeking to exploit a legitimate popular uprising against the 41-year rule of Muammar Gaddafi, preempt any possibility of a more radical regime emerging, and install a colonial-style puppet in place of the discredited dictatorship.
The pace of the shift in American policy, in particular, is extraordinary. Washington has moved from relative silence on the movement against Gaddafi to leading the charge for outside intervention.
As in every US operation in the region, the driving forces are twofold: a grab for the resources of one of the major oil-producing countries and the pursuit of the broader strategic interests of American imperialism in the Middle East and North Africa. Imperialist military forces on the ground in Libya would be in a position to influence the future course of events in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, all now in turmoil, as well as across the Sahara in Sudan, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.
No one—least of all the Libyan people themselves—should believe the claims of humanitarian concern put forward to justify the entry of American, British, French, German, Italian and other military forces. The same powers stood by when the Tunisian and Egyptian dictators, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak, massacred demonstrators seeking jobs, democratic rights and an end to the plundering carried out by a corrupt ruling elite. They offered political, diplomatic and in some cases direct security assistance in an effort to prop up these stooge regimes.
During the same two weeks that Gaddafi’s security forces have shot down opposition demonstrators, similar crimes have been committed by US allies in Oman and Bahrain and by the US client regime in Iraq without any public rebuke by Washington, let alone the organization of an international campaign for military intervention.
A full-scale propaganda blitz is under way, modeled on the campaigns that paved the way for US and NATO intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s, highlighting atrocities committed by the Gaddafi regime as an argument that a joint intervention by the imperialist powers is needed to "save" the Libyan people. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton set the tone Monday, denouncing Gaddafi’s use of "thugs" and "mercenaries" and declaring, "Nothing is off the table so long as the Libyan government continues to threaten and kill Libyans." British Prime Minister David Cameron chimed in, telling the House of Commons, "We do not in any way rule out the use of military assets" in Libya.
Taking its cue from Washington, London and other imperialist capitals, the international media has focused enormous attention on the alleged use of air power by Gaddafi’s forces against rebels in eastern Libya and around Tripoli, the capital city. The attacks actually documented have been limited to a handful, since many of Gaddafi’s pilots have defected.
Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd emerged from a meeting with Clinton to declare that a no-fly zone should be imposed immediately. "Guernica is known throughout the world for the bombing of the civilian population," he declared, referring to the massacre carried out by Nazi warplanes during the Spanish Civil War. "We have seen evidence of that in Libya. Let us not simply stand idly by while similar atrocities are committed again." Far from standing idly by, Australia has been a full partner in American wars of aggression in both Iraq and Afghanistan, which have produced far greater atrocities.
The US-European posture of humanitarian outrage has no credibility. Until two weeks ago, these powers were paying court to Gaddafi to obtain lucrative contracts for the exploitation of the oil and gas resources of Libya. A parade of Western suitors—Condoleezza Rice, Britain’s Tony Blair, Chirac of France, Berlusconi of Italy, Zapatero of Spain—followed the smell of oil to Tripoli. They paid no heed then to Gaddafi’s police state and the screams emanating from his torture chambers.
The United States made a major political and financial investment in the cultivation of friendly relations with Gaddafi, regarding his sudden rapprochement with Washington and US foreign policy after 2003 as a major strategic gain. Hillary Clinton recently feted one of Gaddafi’s sons in Washington and appointed the founding chairman of the US-Libya Business Association to be the State Department’s coordinator for international energy affairs.Gaddafi’s son visited the United States in 2009. Secretary of State Clinton ensured he was made suitably welcome.
If these powers are now lining up to return to Libya as the supposed patrons of the opposition forces that have seized control of much of the country, they are being driven by the very same appetites for profit and plunder. And despite their professions of support for Gaddafi’s overthrow, the entry of military forces of the United States and the former European colonial powers is no favor to those genuinely fighting to overthrow the dictatorship.
Foreign intervention will inflame popular hostility. Many of those engaged in the uprising in Benghazi have already declared their vehement opposition to the entry of US and European troops. It is the only thing that could allow Gaddafi to resume his bogus posture as an anti-imperialist and give his regime a new lease on life.
Equally cynical are the claims of concern over the fate of the hundreds of thousands who have been fleeing Libya since fighting broke out February 17 in Benghazi. The official spokesmen for the various imperialist powers claim that their own nationals, many of them technicians and other oil company functionaries, are in danger and must be rescued. At the same time, those countries with a Mediterranean coastline—Italy, France and Spain—have warned of a flood of refugees from the escalating civil war. Both problems, of course, have the same "solution"—military intervention, both within Libya and along its coastline.
The anti-Libya campaign is in the literal sense of the word an exercise in plunder. The first major action has been the effective seizure of $30 billion in Libyan assets held in US financial institutions, and billions more in European accounts, after the passage of a sanctions resolution by the UN Security Council. While dubbed an asset "freeze," it is in reality the confiscation of resources that belong to the people of Libya.
So flagrant is the theft that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking at a business conference in Germany, felt compelled to object. "Mistakes made by governments should not be paid by people," he said. "We think discussions about an intervention in Libya or sanctions are worrisome considering the people of Libya and foreigners in this country." He said that the outside powers should act on Libya "from a humanitarian perspective and not out of considerations for their oil interests."
The momentum toward military intervention is accelerating. The Berlusconi government in Italy—the former colonial power in Libya and the biggest customer for its oil—officially repudiated its non-aggression pact with the Gaddafi regime Sunday. This is the necessary legal preparation both for Italian military action inside Libya and the unleashing of US warplanes at Aviano and other NATO air bases in Italy.
The Obama administration confirmed Monday that it has begun to redeploy naval assets into the Mediterranean Sea, bringing them within range of Libya. The Pentagon was caught off guard by the rapid spread of unrest into Libya, having dispatched the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea on February 15 in a show of force four days after the overthrow of Egyptian President Mubarak. The carrier battle group continued into the Arabian Sea, "showing the flag" in support of beleaguered pro-US dictator Saleh in Yemen and the Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms.
A Pentagon spokesman announced Monday, "We have planners working and various contingency plans and... as part of that we’re repositioning forces to be able to provide for that flexibility once decisions are made." The Enterprise and a smaller helicopter carrier, the USS Kearsage, have now moved back into the Red Sea, in position either to re-transit the Suez Canal or launch air strikes against Libyan targets. The operations under discussion range from "rescue" efforts like those already mounted by British and German commandos, to a no-fly zone, to the outright landing of the Marines.
An additional US concern is the role of China, which is mounting its first-ever military operation in the Mediterranean Sea. Beijing has dispatched the naval frigate Xuzhou from anti-piracy patrol off Somalia through the Suez Canal to the Libyan coast to assist in the evacuation of the 30,000 Chinese citizens, mostly construction workers, trapped by the fighting.
There is an element of desperation and extreme recklessness in the anti-Libyan campaign. It has erupted only a few days after US Defense Secretary Robert Gates in a speech to a military audience declared, "In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should 'have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it."
Gates was voicing the pessimism produced by the intractable opposition of the Afghan population to long-term US military occupation, as well as the concerns of the military brass over the deteriorating condition of an all-volunteer force after ten years of constant overseas deployments.
Despite such trepidations, however, there is a logic to imperialism and the Obama administration is driven by it. The ultimate goal of US and European intervention would be to fill the "political vacuum" in Libya, as the New York Times termed it Sunday, by turning the country into a protectorate of the imperialist powers.
A US expert on Libya, writing in Newsweek magazine Sunday, directly compared an intervention in Libya to the long-term US role in the Balkans. The political situation in Libya, he wrote, "suggests the Balkans rather than neighboring Egypt or Tunisia as likely precursors for state building in Libya. And as with the Balkans, the international community could have a large and positive role to play by providing expertise and, temporarily, security forces."
In other words, Libya is to be turned into a semi-colony, ruled by the United States and its fellow predators from Western Europe, who will seize control of the oil reserves and transform the country’s territory into a strategic base of operations against the mass uprisings now sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.