CPGB-ML » Posts in 'France' category

Charlie Hebdo, the free press and racism

We reproduce this excellent article from Workers World with thanks.

Hollande: 'This is an act of exceptional barbarity.' Assad: &That's not what you say when you send them my way.'

Hollande: 'This is an act of exceptional barbarity.'
Assad: 'That's not what you say when you send them my way.'

By Sarah Flounders

How do we put in perspective the international media focus on the massacre of 12 journalists in Paris on 7 January at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, notorious for its racist anti-muslim caricatures and lack of response to the routine, daily, racist police murders of black youth in the US? Why were any protests banned in France of 15 journalists who were killed among the 2,000 deaths in the Israeli assault of Gaza this past summer? Don’t those lives matter?

The Charlie Hebdo assassinations strengthen the hand of the state, which is using them in an ideological offensive — even if the state had a role in arming and training the killers.

Why are other murders not mourned, not respected, not even reported — even the murders of other journalists? A crucial role of the corporate media is to try to shape the perception of which lives matter.

Consider the mass outpourings following several different, very public killings in the US. Hundreds of thousands of youths have been in the streets again and again in the US confronting the refusal of the state to prosecute killer cops — even when their murderous crimes have been seen on video by millions.

Hundreds of thousands of people were in the streets of Paris on 11 January. French, other European, US and Israeli politicians led the march honoring the slain journalists.

Twice, on 27 December and 4 January, thousands of police in uniform from all over the US converged on New York City for separate funerals of two police officers shot in their patrol car on 20 December. Jet Blue offered free flights to all police traveling nationally to the funeral. The US vice president, New York state’s governor and the city’s mayor attended the funerals. Roads in the areas were closed; giant outdoor TV screens were erected.

Not a free speech issue

The French government’s protection of the racist journal Charlie Hebdo had nothing to do with protecting freedom of speech. This is a deception that must be confronted. In 2012, the same government that protected this vile publication banned any demonstrations or protests or even public prayers opposing the racist publication.

French law allows for the prosecution of ‘public insults’ based on religion, race, ethnicity or national origin. But the racist, sexist, bigoted, grossly insulting cartoons in Charlie Hebdo magazine were never once a source of any successful legal action.

However, France did ban anyone from even protesting the cartoons that insulted muslims or the prophet Muhammed.

In 2012, as protests swept the muslim world in response to an anti-muslim film made in the US, French interior minister Manuel Valls said prefects had orders to prohibit any protest and to crack down if the ban was challenged. “There will be strictly no exceptions. Demonstrations will be banned and broken up.” (Daily Mail, 21 September 2012)

Even prayer meetings and street prayers were banned. (CNN, 19 September 2012)

In the same week, Charlie Hebdo put out an extra run of cartoons featuring a grossly obscene caricature of a naked prophet Mohammed. The magazine was given extra police protection.

Freedom of speech and of the press is hardly sacred in France. It was punishable by a year in prison to even post on the internet a notice of a demonstration opposing the Israeli onslaught on Palestine during the Israeli 2014 summer offensive on Gaza.

France was the only country in the world to bar all demonstrations and protests in any form supporting Palestine during that time. The penalty was one year in jail and 15,000 euro fine.

It is worth noting the double standard: There is no similar crackdown against the current right-wing, fascist demonstrations against immigrants.

Role of Nazi caricature

Charlie Hebdo serves a very important purpose for French imperialism, and that is why its virulent racism has been protected at the very time that protests against it are prohibited.

Charlie Hebdo may have run cartoons to ridicule the powerful 40 years ago, when it claimed to be left wing, irreverent and nonconformist. But there is a big difference between satire ridiculing the powerful — a French tradition going back to Voltaire — and the current imagery promoting fear and loathing of the oppressed and powerless. The latter is right-wing and fascist in character.

In this period, when muslims are facing increasing, extreme right-wing attacks, and fascist mobilisations are growing in Europe, Charlie Hebdo functions as did the Nazi publication Der Sturmer, with its vehemently anti-semitic caricatures. Jewish people in Der Sturmer, as muslims in Charlie Hebdo, were depicted with exaggerated facial features and misshapen bodies. Both publications use obscene, sexually explicit caricatures.

The Nazi newspaper’s caricatures were part of a policy to make jews an object of hatred, fear, ridicule and disdain. At the end of World War II, Julius Streicher, the editor of Der Sturmer — though he didn’t run death camps but used the press to incite hatred — was put on trial, convicted of crimes against humanity and executed.

Charlie Hebdo is protected because it hardens the population against muslim people in order to divide the population. The French government has announced a grant to Charlie Hebdo of 1 million euros, and Google donated 250,000 euros.

Charlie Hebdo is not freedom of expression and freedom of press. It is an instrument of war mobilisation. It ran cartoons demonising Serbs during the Nato campaign against Yugoslavia, and it supported Nato’s attack on Libya.

No free press

Although ‘free speech’ and ‘free press’ are being lauded and glorified in the murder of the French journalists, no such thing exists in any capitalist state. The press in France or in the US is not free, open or accessible.

The media are owned by and serve the interests of the ruling class. What can be said and who can say it is tightly controlled. The corporate media in capitalist society are owned to serve class rule. What is covered depends entirely on who can pay for publication or airtime.

A handful of multibillion-dollar media conglomerates control almost all information, culture and entertainment in the western capitalist countries — though in the past decade social media and the internet have opened a few tiny cracks in this overwhelming corporate control [just as small-scale people's printing presses did formerly].

The media industry has an enormous impact in shaping which lives have value and which deaths go unreported, unmarked or consciously covered up.

The hundreds of thousands of deaths in wars initiated by US imperialism, and with the full support of French and British imperialism, are unmarked, unmourned and callously labeled ‘collateral damage’. The media ignore or barely mention the enormous toll in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan. No mass sympathy is created when a US drone wipes out a wedding party in Pakistan or a whole village with a hellfire missile.

The assassinations of journalists in these wars are hardly noted. There were no state funerals for the 166 journalists killed in Iraq under US occupation. Chelsea Manning is in prison for releasing videos of US helicopters gunning down two Reuter’s camera operators in Iraq and then circling back to kill the family who stopped their van to try to help them.

According to the Palestinian Centre for Development and Media Freedoms, 15 journalists were killed in the 2014 Israeli bombing of Gaza. They “were killed in civilian sites that are supposed to be safe for civilians”. Eight media centres were targeted and bombed.

US bombers targeted and destroyed the RTS, Radio TV Serbia, in the 1999 US/Nato war on Yugoslavia, killing 17 journalists.

The most dangerous country in the world for journalists is Honduras. Since the US-backed coup, 46 media and information workers have been assassinated.

The International Federation of Journalists sharply criticised Nato’s 2011 air strikes against Libyan television, which killed three people and injured 15. The IFJ stated that the strikes violated international law and UN resolutions.

If a free press existed, then Chelsea Manning would not be in prison or Edward Snowden and Julian Assange on the run, living in exile.

What media are even allowed coverage in imperialist countries demonstrates how little freedom of the press is respected. For example, Press TV, an Iranian news channel broadcasting in English, is banned from broadcasting via satellite throughout Europe, Canada and the US. Al-Manar, a Lebanese satellite station affiliated with Hezbollah, has also been banned by France, Germany and the US.

Both Press TV and Al-Manar have protested, to no avail, that this is a grave breach of freedom of speech. While both news channels are available via the internet in limited form, Apple and Google have removed Al-Manar mobile apps.

National oppression

National oppression and racism in France cannot be ignored. There are 5.5 million residents of African origin, many of them born in France and most of them citizens. A large number are from muslim backgrounds [usually from former French colonies], although not all are practicing. They are isolated by poverty in suburbs that have high unemployment, inferior schools and substandard housing.

Just as prisons in the US, overwhelmingly imprison black and brown youth, so too do French prisons. About 60 to 70 percent of all inmates in the country’s prison system are muslim, according to muslim leaders, sociologists and researchers, though muslims make up only about 12 percent of the country’s population. (Washington Post Foreign Service, 29 April 2008)

Imperialism needs hatred of targeted peoples. Western politicians have cynically used islamophobia to advance right-wing political agendas and curtail freedoms.

Who benefits?

Regardless of whether a police conspiracy is ever exposed, we do know that the French ruling class and the corporate media are always primed to take full advantage of such acts to reinforce the repressive state apparatus and sow division among the working class.

There should not be an iota of confidence in the news stories of this massacre at Charlie Hebdo. We know only what we are being told in the corporate media by French military police and state intelligence agencies.

We do know that three men, who are now dead, were tools of imperialism in their wars of conquest in Syria and Libya. More than 1,000 French citizens of Arab and North African descent have been recruited, trained, armed and used as weapons conduits, saboteurs and terrorists in the efforts of US, France, Britain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to overthrow the government of Syria.

This leads to the fundamental question of whose policies are responsible for the massacre and who gains from the massacre?

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, US imperialism, aided by the old colonial powers of Europe, has been engaged in a whole series of wars to reconquer countries that had achieved a high level of development based on sovereignty and control of their resources.

In their frantic efforts to recolonise Iraq, Syria and Libya, they have cynically whipped up sectarian divisions, organised deadly militias and promoted fanaticism and anarchy. That has aroused deep-seated rage against the US, France and Britain.

It is also highly unpopular that French imperialism is widely involved in Africa — primarily in the majority-muslim countries of Mali, Central African Republic, Chad, Ivory Coast and Djibouti, and in Abu Dhabi on the Arabian peninsula.

The French ruling class wants to divert mass attention from its expanding wars and increasingly militarised society. The mobilisations claiming to defend a free press by defending racism must be opposed and countered.

Support Libya’s green resistance fighters

This motion was passed unanimously at the recent CPGB-ML party congress

This congress recognises that the imperialist beasts of the USA, Britain and France planned, financed and played the major role, assisted by their various middle-eastern puppets, in the overthrow of the popular Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi.

This congress notes that they, through the trickery of a UN resolution to impose a ‘no-fly zone’, supposedly to ‘protect’ the Libyan people, used the combined air power of Nato member states to carpet-bomb and destroy Libyan airports, military bases, media stations, hospitals, schools, electricity and water supplies, general infrastructure and residential areas alike.

Congress further notes that, even with the great military advantage that this onslaught from outside gave the rats of the Transitional National Council (TNC), they were so numerically weak and lacking in any support within Libya that they could not make decisive use of this advantage. So it was that Libya was flooded with military ‘advisors’ from the imperialist regimes and elite troops from all the neighbouring states that were under the sway of imperialism.

This congress applauds the heroic struggle that the Libyan people and their army waged against Nato’s proxy forces on the ground, despite the horrendous effects of the imperialists’ all-out air war, noting that they held out for more than six months until the capture, torture and public murder of the leader of Libya’s green revolution, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Congress also sends a red salute to the brave green fighters in Libya, who are continuing to put up resistance to imperialism and its puppets today.

Closer to home, this congress condemns the disgusting role played during the war on Libya by the ‘left’ supporters of imperialism – the social democrats, revisionists and Trotskyists. In Britain, the worst of these enemies of the international proletariat once more proved themselves to be the Labour party, the SWP, Counterfire, the CPB, and the ‘anti-war’ umbrella group in which many of those parties’ spokespeople play a leading role: the Stop the War Coalition (StW). StW held a single nationally-organised demonstration over the issue of the overthrow of the sovereign state of Libya by imperialism – but they held it outside the Libyan embassy supporting the imperialist-backed TNC and opposing the anti-imperialist leadership of Colonel Gaddafi!

This congress affirms that imperialism is the main enemy of the international working class, and that US imperialism, as the biggest and most powerful imperialist state, is the biggest enemy to world peace.

Congress further affirms that in an imperialist war the duty of the working class in an imperialist country is to work for the defeat of its own government. And an essential part of that process must be exposing and leading workers away from the misleadership of social democracy and its revisionist and Trotskyist hand-maidens, who will try with all their guile to keep workers tied to the imperialist war machine through revolutionary-sounding phrases and lies.

This congress resolves to continue working to show our class that we do have the power to stop the imperialist war machine by starving it of all the necessary supplies for its wars of brigandage, whether those supplies be weapons, transport or soldiers!

Congress further resolves to use all means at the party’s disposal to disseminate information about the ongoing battle in Libya, in order that British workers should understand that there is a popular resistance movement fighting to rid the country of imperialist forces. Our party will continue to expose the vile and rapacious doings of the TNC rats who now hope to rule Libya (with imperialist troops stood at their shoulders). These villains have murdered, kidnapped, raped, looted and evicted from their homes those supporting or suspected of supporting the green resistance. From the earliest days, even before coming to power, it was well known that the TNC rats were lynching black Libyans, as well as other black Africans working in the country, and our party will continue to remind the world of this fact.

Finally, this congress resolves to continue pointing out that this bloody war was brought upon the Libyan people in order to grab the country’s oil, to remove its anti-imperialist leadership, and to kick open the door to the re-conquest of Africa. The freedom and protection of the Libyan people was never a real reason for waging the war – except, perhaps, in the minds of a few simple souls who simply cannot, or will not, see the jackboot an inch from their face, even when it is pointed out to them.

This congress remains confident that the Libyan masses will rise again to rid their land of the imperialist puppets and bring the imperialists’ dreams of world domination to nought.

Long live the memory of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, hero of the Libyan and African peoples!
Victory to the anti-imperialist peoples!
Death to imperialism!

France brings forward Afghanistan withdrawal

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 4 February

France has announced that it will be withdrawing its 3,900 troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year, a year earlier than planned; and this year it will be pulling out 1,000 troops rather than the 600 originally planned.

The announcement to that effect was made by Sarkozy as part of his presidential re-election campaign, in response to the killing of four French soldiers and the severe wounding of eight others by a member of the Afghan puppet forces. These deaths aggravated public anger at a war in which most French people believe the country should never have become involved.

Euro on the verge of collapse

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 3 December

There is a real threat that the euro is going to collapse as a currency. This is because everybody is trying to get rid of their euro holdings. The reason this is happening is that it has become clear that Greece is not going to avoid defaulting on its debt, with the general consensus being that its lenders are going to have to take a 50 percent ‘haircut’.

At the same time, Portugal’s debt has been reduced to junk status by credit rating agencies, and borrowing costs for Italy and Spain have soared above the affordability mark, with even German bonds suffering increased borrowing costs. Now France is under threat as it is likely to need to bail out its banks as a result of their losses on their Greek debts, etc.

Attempts to put together a firewall that will enable European countries to continue to borrow at affordable rates of interest are floundering, and the Germans are resisting attempts to have the European Central Bank step in to perform this service, because they make the largest contribution to this bank and don’t want to throw good money after bad and then find themselves in financial trouble.

There is some suggestion that Germany would be willing to be more accommodating if the European countries would agree to greater fiscal integration, which of course implies a surrender of sovereignty to the EU which in turn is very much dominated by Germany and France. They of course can be expected to use that control for their national benefit at the expense of other EU countries.

In the meantime, the elected leaders of Greece and Italy have both been forced to resign, to be replaced by unelected ‘technocrats’ with close links to Goldman Sachs (which in turn was intimately involved with the repackaging of subprime debts as high quality by camouflaging them in complex ‘derivatives’). The new head of the ECB is also a former Goldman Sachs man.

The UK and the US are said to be making contingency plans for the chaos that will certainly ensue if the euro does in fact collapse. More detail in this month’s issue of Proletarian.

Appeal from Russian and Ukrainian medics working in Libya to stop war against Libya

Via Pravda, 28 May 2011

“We plead with all honest, good will people in the West and East to support our appeal to STOP WAR AGAINST LIBYA.” Please share this eye-witness account and appeal, signed by more than 100 foreign medics in Libya, as far and wide as you can. It may save many lives and a World War III.

Friends,

We plead with all honest, good will people in the West and East to support our appeal to STOP WAR AGAINST LIBYA.

We have not had internet connection in Libya for about two months. It took us a week to find a possibility to email our appeal, but we do not know when we get access to the internet again. That is why we ask people themselves to spread this letter everywhere possible - to internet sites, news agencies, human rights and other international and national organisations, even to one’s own friends.

Only if the truth about situation in Libya is widely known, it will be possible to force American, British and Nato war hawks to stop aggression against the people of Libya and save innocent people from being killed by US and Nato bombs and missiles.

Thank you for your help!

We wish all of us success in the anti-war struggle - especially in the Victory Day over the fascists of the 20th century. Let us stop the fascists of the 21st century!

- Russian, Ukrainian, CIS and Bulgarian medics working in Libya

OPEN LETTER to: 

* the Secretary-General of UN
* Members of Security Council of UN
* UN Member States Representatives & Personnel
* International Criminal Court & future Hague Tribunal on War Crimes against Libya
* And all people of good will

 
from medics from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and other CIS and East European countries, working and living in Libya

1 May 2011, Tripoli, Libya

 

Mr Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General

Mr Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly,

Mr Li Baodong, Permanent Representative and Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the UN

Dr Peter Wittig, Permanent Representative of Germany to the UN and Chairman of the UN Peacebuilding Commission

Permanent Representatives of the Member States of the Security Council

Mr Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court

 

Sirs

We would like to address the UN Secretary-General personally, as the head of the most important international organisation of UN, and other members of this organisation first of all; members of the Security Council, especially the most righteous and sober China, as well as current members of the Security Council. We also address the people of USA, UK, France and Italy, deceived by their governments in respect of the situation in Libya.

We are pleading with all of you to join your efforts to SAVE THE PEOPLE OF LIBYA FROM GENOCIDE currently committed by USA and Nato armies and to stop the criminal war against sovereign Libya!!!

A month ago we sent an appeal to the leaders of Russia, but we see now, after six weeks of continuing war against Libya, that the efforts of Russia alone are still insufficient to stop this criminal war waged to control Libyan oil. Only the joint efforts of the UN, and especially the Secretary-General and reasonable members of the Security Council, together with all people of good will all around the world, can stop this terrible US and Nato aggression against Libya.

At the end of March, after our letter to the Russian leaders had been published, and the Papal vicar in Libya, Catholic bishop of Tripoli Giovanni Martinelli, had raised his voice against bombing and killing civilian population in Tripoli, US and Nato troops stopped bombing the city of Tripoli. They realised that not all foreigners had left Libya, so it would be impossible for them to hide their atrocities from the international public opinion. (Several hundreds of eye witnesses are working in hospitals all around the country - this is something that no propaganda machine could possibly eliminate.)

However, by the end of April, after US-Nato commanders had realised the futility of their attempts to dismiss Gaddafi and make Libya capitulate by shelling Libyan troops and regional centers, they RESUMED THEIR BOMBING OF TRIPOLI - first of all, Gaddafi’s residential compound of Bab al-Aziziya, and the TV Centre of Tripoli - thus killing and wounding more civilian people.

As medics working in hospitals we can testify that, in one day of such air strikes, the bombs and missiles of the anti-Libyan coalition are killing and wounding more people in Tripoli than in course of all unrests in the west of Libya in February and March, which USA and France used as a pretext for their intervention.

The US-Nato officials are telling us lies about military objects being the target of their bombing. Was the TV station such a ‘military object’, when it was heavily bombarded at the night of 26 April in a new unsuccessful attempt to kill the Libyan leader in time of his speech on TV? Are the people working on TV station ‘military’? Besides, Tripoli TV station is located in the very centre of the city, in a heavily populated residential area.

Next door to the TV station, just few meters away, four secondary schools are located; and finally, it is only 250m from the Children’s Hospital of al-Jala and an obstetric hospital some 50m further to the west. Fortunately, this time American humanitarian missiles did not hit these hospitals immediately, but the tomahawk missiles and bomb explosions in the TV station area were so strong that the walls of the hospitals and nearby buildings, where our medics are living, were shaken and windows glass was clinking, some even cracked.

Everybody woke up in horror (we have already got used to ordinary bombardments, and most of us have even learned to sleep in the course of them). Suckling babies and children in the hospital woke up too and cried with fear. Are the children of Libya the main ‘military target’ for the coalition?

In any case, if the Libyan people do not want to sell their freedom and keep defending their land against foreign US-Nato intervention - does it mean they all, including children and women, are bound to die now?

Today US-Nato military efforts ’successfully’ culminated in destroying Gaddafi’s family compound in the residential area of Tripoli and killing three babies: six-month-old Mastura, the daughter of Gaddafi’s daughter Aisha; two-year-old Carthage, son of Gaddafi’s son Hannibal; and two-year-old Seif Mohammed, son of Gaddafi’s elder son Mohammed; and an adult - 29-year-old Gaddafi’s younger son Seif al-Arab, a civilian student of Munich University in Germany, with no relation to military neither power matters in Libya.

This ‘victory’ was joyfully celebrated by USA and Nato rebel allies in Missurata and Benghazi, which speaks volumes about the personality and moral niveau of those people.

In fact, even the very idea of killing an independent state’s leader as a way of solving political problems is an arguable goal in international politics, but trying to accomplish such a thing by air strikes is far beyond any human reason.

This air strikes method was already well known to the US leaders as a way to kill children and civilians only: the USA already attempted to assassinate Gaddafi in 1986 by bombing and shelling Tripoli, which led to the killing of a number of civilians - along with Gaddafi’s 18-month-old adopted daughter Hanna, and wounding some members of his family, including his youngest son Khamis (Seif al-Arab, his second youngest son, survived that day only to die today).

How could US-Nato commanders possibly expect other results now?! USA leaders’ obsession with killing the Libyan Leader, however good or bad he is, is not a sound reason to kill dozens and wound hundreds of INNOCENT people in Tripoli! What is their crime?!

The famous Russian writer, Fedor Dostoyevsky, taught us that no great and just goal, even creating happiness for the whole humankind, could justify a child’s teardrop! He could not even imagine then that somebody would dare to pave his way to some ‘humanitarian’ goals with children’s bodies.

But killing and terrifying children and innocent people in Libya is only one side of US and Nato activities in the area. The USA are also helping and encouraging Libyan rebels in Benghazi and Missurata to fight against government, thus bringing fuel to the fire of civil war, which would soon have withered away without western ‘help’.

The rebels receive arms and ammunition from Nato, they are being trained by western military instructors. Numerous mercenaries from Egypt and Tunis, well paid by ‘unknown’ donors, provide them with manpower, while US-Nato aircraft and fleet support them from air and sea, destroying Libyan troops by air strikes.

Thus, having the whole American and Nato military machine behind them, the rebels’ leaders refuse to negotiate with Libyan government, leading to more and more casualties from both sides.

On the eve of American attack in March, the Libyan army entered the western suburbs of Benghazi, and the rebels (their numbers are quite small in comparison to the ordinary people who want nothing but peace) were ready to surrender in exchange for a pardon, while a few of the most irreconcilable were packing their cars to flee - the road to Egypt was deliberately left open for them.

But what was the most important - this pacifying of the East had happened almost without casualties from both sides. Only a few wounded people were brought to the hospitals in the East during those days - while on the very day when US and Nato air strikes started, the number of wounded and killed people increased dozens of times. What a strange way of ‘protecting the civilian population’ - by killing them!

Thus, after American intervention, a REAL WAR STARTED in the east of Libya - not mock battles performed by ‘rebels’ for western cameramen as it used to be in February and earlier in March.

Then, almost pacified by then, Missurata revolted and turned into major center of military conflict, backed by troops, weaponry and ammunition brought there by sea from Benghazi - with the help of coalition fleets.

As a result, all hospitals in nearby cities (Zliten, Beni Walid, Tawarga) were filled up with wounded military - from both sides - as well as civilians, while our colleagues in Missurata had to work all day and night to cure people injured in the city.

We are medics, so for us there is no difference whom to treat; we do not care about our patients’ political affiliation. The Libyans from both sides are really nice people, their attitude to us is nothing but very good: all of them are thankful to those who are helping them in such a difficult situation.

As medics we have to heal people, but perhaps even more important is to STOP PEOPLE BEEN KILLED. We feel it our duty to make everything possible to HALT this WAR, provoked from abroad and involving, in the first place, naïve and easily deceived youngsters from the east of Libya and Missurata.

But peace is definitely impossible while foreign intervention continues. Let Libyans settle their home problems THEMSELVES! Many tribal leaders and elders have been desperately trying to interfere as mediators, but rebels’ leaders refused accept their efforts - being sure that ‘America’ will bring them to Tripoli and set them to rule over the whole country.

But this attitude means only one thing - more death and more patients in the hospitals. And also more danger for us, as our colleagues are being shelled and bombed in Missurata and Adjdabiya, while we are under constant US-Nato air strikes in Tripoli and other cities in the west of Libya.

On 20 April, our colleague Dr Anatoliy A Nagayko, a good and brave person, was killed by a shell in Missurata, while nurse Olga Kozina was heavily wounded in both legs. They, together with a number of other Ukrainian medics, had refused to evacuate from the city as they just could not leave their patients unattended; they knew that nobody would replace them now.

So they made their difficult decision to stay with Libyan people - not only in the happiness of the previous wonderful years, but also in trouble and sorrow (this is, in fact, the major reason why many of our colleagues have decided to stay in Libya).

For us, who survived, it does not matter which bomb killed our colleague - American, British, or French; does it come from rebels, or from the Libyan army - as the responsibility for his death, as well as for deaths of other people in Missurata, lies fully on those who brought war to Libyan soil, ie, on the military leaders of the US-Nato coalition.

We understand perfectly well that most Americans and Europeans - including the grass-level military contingent of western aggressors - are deceived by American and European mass-media propaganda against Libya. (The so-called ‘Arabian’ TV channel of Al-Jazeera is only nominally Arabic; in fact, it was established by British staff of the former Arabic service of the BBC, while Qatar is the first USA ally in the Gulf States.)

But still, the military must learn the truth, as it has to be remembered that performing criminal orders makes one a criminal too, as the Nuremberg trial of the fascists’ war crimes proved.

At that time, fascist officers tried to whitewash themselves by blaming their leaders for war crimes, saying that they were merely “performing orders”. Nevertheless, most of them were sentenced by the Nuremberg Tribunal. The war crimes tribunal on Libya is to be established soon - thus the coalition military personnel will have to answer for their deeds, together with their military commanders and their states’ leaders!

On the other hand, however safe the coalition military may feel in the course of killing people from a secure height (no real Libyan air defense exists anymore as it was destroyed in the first days of the invasion), the situation could be reversed if a land invasion starts. Even many of the rebels would join efforts to defend their ancestors’ land from foreign invaders (in fact, during the last two weeks a number anti-war demonstrations have already been held even in Benghazi, though suppressed by rebel commanders there).

Thus our intention is to save not only Libyans (and ourselves too), but also the lives of American and European soldiers who could be in danger in the course of this unjust criminal war. Is it a good idea for free people of America and Europe to die for western monopolies desire to control Libyan oil?

Honest people of America, your ancestors were the first to become really free people, they threw off the yoke of the British empire, proclaimed their independence and freedom, and started living in accordance to the people’s will. So, why is it that now your leaders do not allow other peoples to have freedom and independence, and to choose their own way of life?

Before the war, Libya was a paradise for its people and for foreigners worked there; everyone felt himself safe and happy. Yes, this paradise was rather different from the American one, but is that a sound reason to destroy it? Please, try to understand this, and stop your leaders from killing innocent people, even if they have ventured to have some other idea about life than that of the USA!

People of Great Britain, how do you allow your leaders to mock openly at you all? On the day of the royal wedding the war hawks were planning to kill another country’s Leader. Did they think that such a murder would be the best wedding present to the offspring of their sovereign? Maybe your prime minister considers the royal couple akin to King Herod and Herodias so as to bring them the head of Gaddafi?

In fact, his plan failed, and thus the slaughter of innocents in Tripoli by these modern Herods turned out to be his main - and one would say rather insulting and arrogant - gift to the newly-married couple. How can so proud a people as the British bear such shameful behavior by their leaders?!

We plead with all honest, good will people in the West and East to support our appeal to STOP WAR AGAINST LIBYA. We ask people to spread this letter everywhere possible - to news agencies, human rights and other international and national organisations, even to one’s own friends - in order to force American, British and Nato war hawks and satan’s disciples to STOP AGGRESSION AGAINST PEOPLE OF LIBYA !

(More than one hundred signatures)

Prepared for publication by Lisa Karpova, Pravda.Ru

Welcome to the violent world of Mr Hopey Changey

Via JohnPilger.com, 26 May 2011

When Britain lost control of Egypt in 1956, Prime Minister Anthony Eden said he wanted the nationalist president Gamal Abdel Nasser “destroyed … murdered … I don’t give a damn if there’s anarchy and chaos in Egypt”. Those insolent Arabs, Winston Churchill had urged in 1951, should be driven “into the gutter from which they should never have emerged”.

The language of colonialism may have been modified; the spirit and the hypocrisy are unchanged. A new imperial phase is unfolding in direct response to the Arab uprising that began in January and has shocked Washington and Europe, causing an Eden-style panic.

The loss of the Egyptian tyrant Mubarak was grievous, though not irretrievable; an American-backed counter-revolution is under way as the military regime in Cairo is seduced with new bribes and power shifting from the street to political groups that did not initiate the revolution. The western aim, as ever, is to stop authentic democracy and reclaim control.

Libya is the immediate opportunity. The Nato attack on Libya, with the UN Security Council assigned to mandate a bogus ‘no-fly zone’ to ‘protect civilians’, is strikingly similar to the final destruction of Yugoslavia in 1999. There was no UN cover for the bombing of Serbia and the ‘rescue’ of Kosovo, yet the propaganda echoes today.

Like Slobodan Milosevic, Muammar Gaddafi is a ‘new Hitler’, plotting ‘genocide’ against his people. There is no evidence of this, as there was no genocide in Kosovo. In Libya there is a tribal civil war; and the armed uprising against Gaddafi has long been appropriated by the Americans, French and British, their planes attacking residential Tripoli with uranium-tipped missiles and the submarine HMS Triumph firing Tomahawk missiles, a repeat of the ’shock and awe’ in Iraq that left thousands of civilians dead and maimed. As in Iraq, the victims, which include countless incinerated Libyan army conscripts, are media unpeople.

In the ‘rebel’ east, the terrorising and killing of black African immigrants is not news. On 22 May, a rare piece in the Washington Post described the repression, lawlessness and death squads in the ‘liberated zones’ just as visiting EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, declared she had found only “great aspirations” and “leadership qualities”.

In demonstrating these qualities, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the ‘rebel leader’ and Gaddafi’s justice minister until February, pledged, “Our friends … will have the best opportunity in future contracts with Libya.”

The east holds most of Libya’s oil, the greatest reserves in Africa. In March the rebels, with expert foreign guidance, “transferred” to Benghazi the Libyan Central Bank, a wholly owned state institution. This is unprecedented. Meanwhile, the US and the EU “froze” almost US$100 billion in Libyan funds, “the largest sum ever blocked”, according to official statements. It is the biggest bank robbery in history.

The French elite are enthusiastic robbers and bombers. Nicholas Sarkozy’s imperial design is for a French-dominated Mediterranean Union (UM), which would allow France to ‘return’ to its former colonies in North Africa and profit from privileged investment and cheap labour.

Gaddafi described the Sarkozy plan as “an insult” that was “taking us for fools”. The Merkel government in Berlin agreed, fearing its old foe would diminish Germany in the EU, and abstained in the Security Council vote on Libya.

Like the attack on Yugoslavia and the charade of Milosevic’s trial, the International Criminal Court is being used by the US, France and Britain to prosecute Gaddafi while his repeated offers of a ceasefire are ignored.

Gaddafi is a Bad Arab. David Cameron’s government and its verbose top general want to eliminate this Bad Arab, like the Obama administration killed a famously Bad Arab in Pakistan recently.

The crown prince of Bahrain, on the other hand, is a Good Arab. On 19 May, he was warmly welcomed to Britain by Cameron with a photo-call on the steps of 10 Downing Street. In March, the same crown prince slaughtered unarmed protestors and allowed Saudi forces to crush his country’s democracy movement.

The Obama administration has rewarded Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes on earth, with a $US60 billion arms deal, the biggest in US history. The Saudis have the most oil. They are the Best Arabs.

The assault on Libya, a crime under the Nuremberg standard, is Britain’s 46th military ‘intervention’ in the Middle East since 1945. Like its imperial partners, Britain’s goal is to control Africa’s oil.

Cameron is not Anthony Eden, but almost. Same school. Same values. In the media-pack, the words colonialism and imperialism are no longer used, so that the cynical and the credulous can celebrate state violence in its more palatable form.

And as ‘Mr Hopey Changey’ (the name that Ted Rall, the great American cartoonist, gives Barack Obama), is fawned upon by the British elite and launches another insufferable presidential campaign, the Anglo-American reign of terror proceeds in Afghanistan and elsewhere, with the murder of people by unmanned drones - a US/Israel innovation, embraced by Obama.

For the record, on a scorecard of imposed misery, from secret trials and prisons and the hounding of whistleblowers and the criminalising of dissent to the incarceration and impoverishment of his own people, mostly black people, Obama is as bad as George W Bush.

The Palestinians understand all this. As their young people courageously face the violence of Israel’s blood-racism, carrying the keys of their grandparents’ stolen homes, they are not even included in Mr Hopey Changey’s list of peoples in the Middle East whose liberation is long overdue.

What the oppressed need, he said on 19 May, is a dose of “America’s interests [that] are essential to them”. He insults us all.