Members of the Libyan Tribal Council meeting in Tripoli
On 30 July, the day before this 97.5 percent muslim country began the holy month of Ramadan, Nato spokesperson Roland Lavoie has been lamely attempting to explain to the press at the Rixos Hotel and internationally why Nato was forced to bomb three Tripoli TV towers at the Libyan Broadcasting Authority, killing three journalists/technicians and wounding 15 others.
Like most people currently in central Tripoli, this observer was awakened at 1:50am by the first of a series of nine blasts, three of which I watched from my balcony as they happened, and which seemed to be about 800 yards away as I saw one TV tower being blown apart. On the four lanes’ divided highway, adjacent to my hotel and below my balcony, that runs along the sea front, I could see two cars frantically swerving left and right as they sped along, presumably trying to avoid a Nato rocket, and fearing they themselves might be targeted.
According to Nato spokesperson Lavoie, allowing Libya’s population to watch government TV, and, by implication, to hear ‘terrorist’ public-service announcements concerning subjects such as gasoline availability, food distribution for Ramadan, updates on areas to be avoided due to recent Nato bombing, prayers and lectures by sheiks on moral and religious subjects during Ramadan or see the prayer times chart posted on government TV, during this month of fasting, plus children’s programmes and normal programming, had to stop immediately.
The reason for bombing Libyan government TV, according to Nato, is that Libyan leader Gaddafi has been giving interviews and speeches following repeated Nato bombings that recently have targeted hospitals, Ramadan food storage warehouses, the nation’s main water distribution infrastructure, private homes, and more than 1,600 other civilian sites.
Nato asserts that preventing Gaddafi’s use of Libya’s public airwaves by bombing transmission towers is within UN resolutions 1970 and 1973, the scope of which are being expanded beyond all recognition from their original intent. Nato spokesperson Lavoie claims that Libya’s leadership is using TV broadcast facilities to thwart Nato’s “humanitarian mission” and, yet again are, “putting civilian lives at risk”.
Government officials admit using the media for communication with the population, including to urge tribal unity, to dialogue with those based in Benghazi referred to here as “Nato rebels”, to argue for an immediate ceasefire and yes, even to call for all Libyans to resist what many here, including Colonel Gaddafi, call “the Nato crusader aggressors”.
In western Libya, and even among many in the east, according to recent rebel defectors who daily arrive on the western side, Nato has lost the respect of this country, Africa, the Middle East and, increasingly, the international community. The reasons are well known here and include the serial false premises and descriptions of what happened in February in the Benghazi and Misrata areas.
In addition, Nato daily bombing strikes have increased approximately 20 percent since 25 July, and will continue to increase according to French defence minister Gerard Longuet, who, along with UK defence minister Liam Fox, while publicly saying Nato must continue the bombing, is privately expressing his frustration with the killing of rebel military commander Abdul Fatah Younnis.
This assassination, according to Libyan officials, was very likely carried out by Younnis’ rebel leaders or Al-Qaeda. Both are said to feel that the rebel leadership in Benghazi is collapsing. So do many Nato leaders and the Obama Administration.
A former senior member of Britain’s Liberal Democratic Party, Sir Menzies Campbell, has just urged the UK government to rethink its involvement in the war on Libya. Campbell said Britain must undertake a “wholesale re-examination and review” of its involvement in the Nato conflict in Libya after the murder of the opposition figure, and Britain “must think about the end-game of the conflict in Libya”.
One Libyan government supporter, who just arrived here in Tripoli, claims he spent the past two months on the ground in Benghazi “undercover” as a liaison between the rebels and Nato. He told his rapt audience at a Tripoli hotel this week many details of what he claims is Nato’s frustration with the deterioration, the corruption and incompetence of their ‘team’ in the east, and the CIA view that “Al Qaeda will eat Mahmoud Jibril and the entire rebel leadership for Iftar during one of the Ramadan feasts during August. They are just waiting for the right opportunity to make a dramatic move and take control.”
Only the zealots of ‘humanitarian intervention’ could seriously have contemplated the kind of protracted, bloody land war in Libya that would have been necessary to win. So the bet on an alliance with Nato now appears to have been doomed from the start, even on its own terms.
The force that is rapidly entering into this conflict is the leadership of Libya’s more than 2,000 tribes. In a series of meetings in Libya, Tunisia and elsewhere, the Tribal Council is speaking out forcefully and forging a political block that is demanding an end to Libyans killing Libyans.
Generally considered Libya’s largest tribe are the Obeidis, to which the Younnis family belongs. Some of the tribal leaders and members have vowed revenge against rebel leaders, and as they carried the coffins of Abdul Fatah and his two companions they chanted, under the gaze of security forces, “the blood of martyrs will not go in vain”.
Libya’s Tribal Council has issued a manifesto which makes clear that it intends to end this conflict, help expel “the Nato crusaders”, and achieve reforms while supporting the Gaddafi, Tripoli-based government. Before Ramadan is over, it intends to end Libya’s crisis, even if it needs to rally its hundreds of thousands of active members to march on Benghazi.
Nato, according to various academics at Al Nasser and Al Fatah University, and Libya’s tribal leadership, appears surprisingly ignorant and even contemptuous of this country’s tribes and their historic roles during times of crises and foreign aggression and occupation. One tribal leader well known to Italy was Omar Muktar.
As Nato and its backers contemplate their end game they may want to consider some excerpts from the Libyan Tribal Council’s manifesto, issued on 26 July. Speaking for Libya’s 2,000 tribes, the council issued a proclamation signed by scores of tribal leaders from eastern Libya.
“What is called the Transitional Council in Benghazi was imposed by Nato on us and we completely reject it. Is it democracy to impose people with armed power on the people of Benghazi, many of whose leaders are not even Libyan or from Libyan tribes but come from Tunisia and other countries ..?
“The Trial Council assures its continuing cooperation with the African Union in its suggestions aimed at helping to prevent the aggression on the Libyan people …
“The Tribal Council condemns the crusader aggression on the Great Jamahiriya executed by the Nato and the Arabic regressive forces, which is a grave threat to Libyan civilians as it continues to kill them as Nato bombs civilian targets …
“We do not and will not accept any authority other than the authority that we chose with our free will, which is the People’s Congress and Peoples Committees, and the popular social leadership, and will oppose with all available means the Nato rebels and their slaughter, violence and maiming of cadavers. We intend to oppose with all the means available to us the Nato crusader aggressors and their appointed lackeys.”
According to one representative of the Libyan Supreme Tribal Council, “The tribes of Libya have until today not fully joined in repelling the Nato aggressors. As we do, we serve notice to Nato that we shall not desist until they have left our country and we will ensure that they never return.”
Franklin Lamb is in Libya and is reachable at email@example.com
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.
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
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
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.
A letter from Bristol comrades, 9 May 2011
The sickest joke to come out of Stop the War’s reactionary stance on Libya has been the accusation that members of StW who stand in solidarity with the Gaddafi-led Libyan revolution are a divisive influence within the anti-war movement and should pipe down at public meetings, reserving their distasteful minority opinions for under-the-counter retail (or preferably shut up all together).
Yet what has truly divided and weakened the anti-war movement, indexed by the dwindling of national anti-war demonstrations from millions to hundreds, has been the perennial reluctance of the leadership to consistently call for victory to the Afghan and Iraqi resistance, a stance that has finally degenerated into John Rees’s open support for the imperialist-backed Benghazi rebellion.
Rees and co have since scrambled back to a stance that they hope will rescue their ‘progressive’ reputations (basically ’stop bombing Libya, you’ll only make it harder to get rid of Gaddafi’), a clumsy and hypocritical manoeuvre which will fool few and inspire none.
It is this misleadership, and StW’s resulting failure to give an anti-imperialist lead as capitalist crisis breeds fresh wars, which undermines and weakens the movement.
We are constantly told that our anti-imperialist stance risks alienating some supporters of StW’s (somewhat narrow) broad front. It is not impossible that some overly sensitive petty-bourgeois liberals might find the atmosphere uncongenial in an anti-war movement which had learned to outgrow its social-democratic prejudices, however many times it was spelt out to such individuals that their presence within the broad movement remained welcome.
But right now, we need to understand why the ‘broad’ front in reality remains so very narrow; how it is that the mass of working people do not actively embrace the cause of peace and withdraw their cooperation with imperialism’s wars. What is it about StW’s approach that so severely limits its scope?
The fact is that, so long as those leading the anti-war movement refuse to give solidarity to the forces that are resisting imperialist aggression on the ground, they will be keeping British workers divided from their real allies in the fight against monopoly capitalism and its wars, hindering them in the indivisible struggle for socialism and peace.
As Karl Marx wrote, no nation that enslaves another can itself be free. The failure to give consistent and wholehearted support to those defending Libya’s sovereignty with arms in hand can only weaken and divide the anti-war movement.
It is not the CPGB-ML and fellow internationalists who pose a threat to the unity and progress of the anti-war movement, but the rotten Trotskyite and revisionist politics that infect the upper echelons of StW and wash back into its branches, rendering the movement vulnerable to being shoved off course by every new wave of imperialist propaganda.
Whilst we have never taken a sectarian approach in our work with StW, cultivating good personal relations with fellow coalitionists from all backgrounds, we cannot shirk the responsibility of identifying the destructive and divisive influence of those political agendas behind which some remain trapped.
Particularly damaging is the Trotskyite combination of deep historical pessimism (’the Soviet Union was a disaster; the working class has nowhere taken and held power and gone on to build socialism’) with the most light-minded optimism over the probability of finding some ‘progressive’ needle in the stinking reactionary Benghazi haystack, some (as yet undocumented) perfect Trotskyite strand within the (very well-documented) hotch-potch of monarchists, veteran opponents of the revolution, paid assassins and mercenaries.
Whilst one might think that their own historical pessimism should instil in them a degree of caution, the reverse is the case. In fact, the phony optimism is about as healthy as the hectic flush on the face of a fever patient, and serves one purpose alone: to make it easier to abdicate political responsibility.
Why endure the unpopularity of standing by the Gaddafi revolution when you can have your cake and eat it, standing shoulder to shoulder with the BBC cheering on the rebels, whilst simultaneously posturing as ‘anti-imperialists’?
With the same glad heart, the same gentry lined up with Thatcher to cheer on Solidarnosc (or ‘progressive elements’ supposedly lurking within that anti-communist lynch mob) against the Polish workers’ state, helping prepare the ground for the subsequent liquidation of socialism.
‘Neither Washington nor Moscow’ was their mantra then, ‘Neither Gaddafi nor Nato’ is their mantra now. Will we wake next week or next month to ‘Neither Damascus nor Nato’, ‘Neither Teheran nor Nato’ or ‘Neither Pyongyang nor Nato’? What about ‘Neither Beijing nor Nato’?
The anti-war movement faces stormy times ahead, where the warmongering scenarios will be getting ever messier and more complex and the choices to be made ever more knotty. (By comparison, Libya should have been a no brainer.) The movement’s ability to weather these storms will increasingly depend upon its ability to grow up politically and develop a consistent anti-imperialist perspective.
We in the CPGB-ML stand ready to assist in this endeavour.
By Manlio Dinucci, via GlobalResearch.ca
The objective of the war against Libya is not just its oil reserves (now estimated at 60bn barrels), which are the greatest in Africa and whose extraction costs are among the lowest in the world, nor the natural gas reserves, of which there are estimated to be about 1,500bn cubic meters. In the crosshairs of the ‘willing’ of operation ‘Unified Protector’ there are also sovereign wealth funds, capital that the Libyan state has invested abroad.
The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) manages sovereign wealth funds estimated at about $70bn, rising to more than $150bn if you include foreign investments of the Central Bank and other bodies. But it might be more. Even if they are lower than those of Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, Libyan sovereign wealth funds have been characterised by their rapid growth.
When the LIA was established in 2006, it had $40bn at its disposal. In just five years, the LIA has invested over one hundred companies in North Africa, Asia, Europe, the US and South America: holding, banking, real estate, industries, oil companies and others.
In Italy, the main Libyan investments are those in UniCredit Bank (of which the LIA and the Libyan Central Bank hold 7.5 percent), Finmeccanica (2 percent) and ENI (1 percent), these and other investments (including 7.5 percent of the Juventus Football Club) have a significance not as much economically (they amount to some $5.4bn) as politically.
Libya, after Washington removed it from the blacklist of ‘rogue states’, has sought to carve out a space at the international level focusing on “diplomacy of sovereign wealth funds”. Once the US and the EU lifted the embargo in 2004 and the big oil companies returned to the country, Tripoli was able to maintain a trade surplus of about $30bn per year, which was used largely to make foreign investments.
The management of sovereign funds has, however, created a new mechanism of power and corruption in the hands of ministers and senior officials, which probably in part escaped the control of Gaddafi himself: This is confirmed by the fact that, in 2009, he proposed that the $30bn in oil revenues go “directly to the Libyan people”. This aggravated the fractures within the Libyan government.
US and European ruling circles focused on these funds, so that before carrying out a military attack on Libya to get their hands on its energy wealth, they took over the Libyan sovereign wealth funds. Facilitating this operation is the representative of the Libyan Investment Authority, Mohamed Layas himself: as revealed in a cable published by WikiLeaks.
On 20 January Layas informed the US ambassador in Tripoli that the LIA had deposited $32bn in US banks. Five weeks later, on 28 February, the US Treasury ‘froze’ these accounts. According to official statements, this is “the largest sum ever blocked in the United States”, which Washington held “in trust for the future of Libya”.
It will in fact serve as an injection of capital into the US economy, which is more and more in debt. A few days later, the EU ‘froze’ around €45bn of Libyan funds.
The assault on the Libyan sovereign wealth funds will have a particularly strong impact in Africa. There, the Libyan Arab African Investment Company had invested in over 25 countries, 22 of them in sub-Saharan Africa, and was planning to increase the investments over the next five years, especially in mining, manufacturing, tourism and telecommunications.
The Libyan investments have been crucial in the implementation of the first telecommunications satellite Rascom (Regional African Satellite Communications Organization), which entered into orbit in August 2010, allowing African countries to begin to become independent from the US and European satellite networks, with annual savings of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Even more important were the Libyan investment in the implementation of three financial institutions launched by the African Union: the African Investment Bank, based in Tripoli, the African Monetary Fund, based in Yaoundé (Cameroon), and the African Central Bank, based in Abuja (Nigeria).
The development of these bodies would enable African countries to escape the control of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, tools of neo-colonial domination, and would mark the end of the CFA franc, the currency that 14 former French colonies are forced to use. Freezing Libyan funds deals a strong blow to the entire project. The weapons used by ‘the willing’ are not only those in the military action called ‘Unified Protector’.
Il Manifesto, 22 April 2011
Translated from the Italian by John Catalinotto
Muammar al Gaddafi
Via Information Clearing House. Translated by Professor Sam Hamod.
5 April 2011
For 40 years, or was it longer, I can’t remember, I did all I could to give people houses, hospitals, schools, and when they were hungry, I gave them food. I even made Benghazi into farmland from the desert.
I stood up to attacks from that cowboy Reagan. When he killed my adopted orphaned daughter, he was trying to kill me; instead he killed that poor innocent child.
Then I helped my brothers and sisters from Africa with money for the African Union, did all I could to help people understand the concept of real democracy, where people’s committees ran our country.
But that was never enough, as some told me. Even people who had 10-room homes, new suits and furniture, were never satisfied. As selfish as they were they wanted more, and they told Americans and other visitors, they needed ‘democracy’, and ‘freedom’, never realising it was a cut-throat system, where the biggest dog eats the rest.
They were enchanted with those words, never realising that in America, there was no free medicine, no free hospitals, no free housing, no free education and no free food, except when people had to beg or go to long lines to get soup.
No, no matter what I did, it was never enough for some. But for others, they knew I was the son of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the only true Arab and muslim leader we’ve had since Salah ad-Din. When Nasser claimed the Suez Canal for his people, as I claimed Libya for my people, it was in his footsteps I tried to follow, to keep my people free from colonial domination - from thieves who would steal from us …
Now, I am under attack by the biggest force in military history. My little African son Obama wants to kill me, to take away the freedom of our country: to take away our free housing, our free medicine, our free education, our free food, and replace it with American-style thievery, called ‘capitalism’.
But all of us in the Third World know what that means. It means corporations run the countries, run the world, and the people suffer.
So there is no alternative for me; I must make my stand, and if Allah wishes, I shall die by following his path - the path that has made our country rich with farmland, with food and health, and even allowed us to help our African and Arab brothers and sisters to work here with us, in the Libyan Jamahiriya.
I do not wish to die, but if it comes to that, to save this land, my people, all the thousands who are all my children, then so be it.
Let this testament be my voice to the world: that I stood up to crusader attacks of Nato, stood up to cruelty, stood up to betrayal, stood up the West and its colonialist ambitions. And that I stood with my African brothers, my true Arab and muslim brothers, as a beacon of light.
When others were building castles, I lived in a modest house, and in a tent. I never forgot my youth in Sirte. I did not spend our national treasury foolishly, and like Salah ad-Din, our great muslim leader, who rescued Jerusalem for Islam, I took little for myself …
In the West, some have called me ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’. They know the truth but continue to lie. They know that our land is independent and free, not in the colonial grip; that my vision, my path, is and has been clear and for my people, and that I will fight to my last breath to keep us free. May Allah almighty help us to remain faithful and free.
By Felicity Arbuthnot, via Global Research
5 April 2011
“America is not - and never will be - at war with Islam.” (President Barack Hussein Obama, Al-Azar University, Cairo, 4 June 2009)
George W Bush embarked on the casual snuffing out of uncounted, unique, human lives in majority muslim populations, chillingly called it a “crusade”. President Barack Hussein Nobel Obama did not go that far, he left that to the French Minister of the Interior, Claude Gueant who, on 21 March, praised President Nicholas Sarkozy for having: “headed the crusade”.
For the “change we can believe in” president, reducing another ancient land of eye-watering archeological gems, massive oil and water resources and a population of six million - little more than Scotland - it is, reportedly, a “turd sandwich”.
Humanity is not “at the crossroads”. It is on the Cross, scourged, nailed (in all senses) and utterly inconsequential, in face of murdering, marauding, looting Empire.
When President Obama “updated the American people on the international effort we have led in Libya” on 29 March, he stated that: “we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world’s many challenges” and referred to “our interests” being “at stake”. Reluctance would be a first. America’s bombing for “interests” would be an encylopaedia.
Colonel Gaddafi, had, of course, stated the president: “denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorised innocent people around the world”. Busy man. Heaven forbid ‘Nato’s’ blitzkrieg should send the occasional shiver down a spine.
However, interestingly, at the end of March, a report was due to be presented by the UN Human Rights Council leading to a resolution commending Libya’s progress in a wide aspect of human rights. Numerous quotes from UN diplomatic delegations of many countries commented. Citations included: “achieving a high school enrolment rate and improvements in the education of women“, Libya’s: “serious commitment to, and interaction with, the Human Rights Council … enhanced development of human rights … while respecting cultural and religious traditions“.
Also mentioned was: “ … establishment of the national independent institution entrusted with promoting human rights, which had many of the competencies set out in the Paris Principles“. The country had: “become party to many human rights conventions and had equipped itself with a number of institutions, national, governmental and non governmental tasked with promoting human rights …”
The country was commended: “for the progress made in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, namely universal primary education [and] firm commitment [to] health care“. There was praise for “cooperation with international organisations in combating human trafficking and corruption” and for cooperation with the International Organization for Migration.
“Progress in enjoyment of economic and social rights, including in the areas of education, health care, poverty reduction and social welfare” with “measures taken to promote transparency“, were also cited. Malaysia “Commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for being party to a significant number of international and regional human rights instruments.” Promotion “of the rights of persons with disabilities” and praise for “measures taken with regard to low income families” were cited.
In May 2010, Libya had also been voted on to the UN Human Rights Council by a veritable landslide, 155 of 192 UN General Assembly votes. As noted previously (i), Libya comes top in Africa on the Human Development Index, which measures longevity (the longest) infant mortality (the lowest) education, health services, well being. (ii)
All that said, before this publication is flooded with complaints about the writer’s naivety, ‘propagandist flights of fancy’ (an orchestrated old favourite) or whatever, some of the countries making positive recommendations regarding Libya did not have the most shining human rights records. But then the US, UK and Nato member countries pontificate from the high moral molehills of the mass graves of the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, overtly, and Yemen, Somalia and other countries, covertly. And of course there are Guantanamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib, rendition flights and secret torture programmes and prisons across the globe for US/UK convenience. (iii)
Further, in a train wreck of factual inaccuracies in President Obama’s speech, a (possibly) Freudian slip crept in. “Benghazi”, he said, was “a city nearly the size of Charlotte” in danger of suffering “a massacre (staining) the conscience of the world”.
A quick check shows that Charlotte, North Carolina “has a major base of energy orientated organisations and has become known as ‘Charlotte, USA - The New Energy Capital’. In the region there are 240+ companies directly tied to the energy sector … Major players are AREVA, Babcock and Wilcox, Duke Energy, Electric Power Research Institute, Fluor, Metso Power, Piedemont Natural Gas, Siemens Energy, Shaw Group, Toshiba, URS Corp and Westinghouse.The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has a reputation in energy education and research and its ‘Energy Production and Infrastructure Center’ trains energy engineers and conducts research.” (Wikipedia)
Whilst many respected oil experts have argued that since so many western energy companies operate in Libya, this is not about oil, there are some points worth pondering. All companies operating in Libya must have Libyan partners, entitled to 35 percent of profits. (iv) Trading is via the Libyan Central Bank, in the Libyan Dinar, not US$. The Libyan Central Bank is also independently outside the IMF and the World Bank.
There are only five nations without a Rothschild model central bank: North Korea, Iran, Sudan, Cuba and Libya.
There were two others: Afghanistan and Iraq, but they were gobbled up by the international banking system within a heartbeat of the invasions.
“It has always been about gaining control of the central banking system in Libya. Oil is just a profitable side issue like every other state asset that is waiting in Libya to be privatised and sold off to multinational corporations like Bechtel, GE, and Goldman Sachs. Oil is important and it is certainly a target but it isn’t the driving force behind these global wars for profit. Banking is.” (v)
That said, as President Obama was busy being inaugurated, Colonel Gaddafi (January 2009) was mooting nationalising “US oil companies, as well of those of UK, Germany, Spain, Norway Canada and Italy”. “Oil should be owned by the state at this time, so we could better control prices by the increase or decrease in production”, stated the Colonel. (vi)
So how does the all tie together? Libya, in March, being praised by the majority of the UN for human rights progress across the board, to today being the latest, bombarded international pariah? A nation’s destruction enshrined in a UN resolution?
The answer lies in part with the Geneva based UN Watch. (vii) UN Watch is “a non-governmental organisation whose mandate is to monitor the performance of the United Nations“. With consultative status to the UN Economic and Social Council, with ties to the UN Department of Public Information, “UN Watch is affiliated with the American Jewish Committee” (AJC).
Among those involved in UN Watch are Co-Chair, AJC’s David A Harris. Core values: “AJC has long believed that the development of a comprehensive US energy programme is essential to the economic and social well-being of our country.” AJC’s website is an exceptionally instructive listen and read. (viii)
Ambassador Alfred Moses, former US Ambassador to Romania, heads UN Watch. His company, Secure Energy’s mission: “Improving US energy security“, “Securing America’s energy future“. (ix)
Board Member Ruth Wedgwood is “an international law expert … at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) a former member of Donald Rumsfeld’s Defence Policy Board (formerly headed by Richard Perle.)“, closely associated with “a number of neo-conservative and rightist pro-Israeli groups - including Freedom House, UN Watch and Benador Associates - a neo-con dominated public relations firm“. She “has been a vocal advocate of the war on terror … strong defender of the Patriot Act and decision to invade Iraq“. (x)
Executive Director Hillel Neuer has served as law clerk to the Supreme Court of Israel, is a Graduate Fellow at the Shalem Center think tank and holds a host of law degrees. In addition to extensive human rights legal advocacies and testimonies, as associate in the international law firm of Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison llp (New York), “He was associate in the legal team that successfully represented Raytheon Company in various claims against Hughes Electronics Corporation.” Neuer was also instrumental in achieving victory for the California Public Utilitites Commission in: “various disputes with Pacific Gas and Electric Company“. (xi)
Speakers at events hosted by the company have included Hillary “I met the rebel leader in Paris” Clinton (xii) and Vernon Jordan, former political advisor to Bill “I would be inclined to arm the rebels” Clinton. (xiii)
UN Watch’s relentless campaign “to remove Libya from the Human Rights Council” began in May 2010, “working closely with Libyan dissident Mohamed Eljahmi“. (vii) Mr Eljahmi is “a Libyan/American human rights activist. He is a co-founder and former Communication Officer of American Libyan Freedom Alliance. ALFA was founded 2003 to help educate and inform US government and media about Libya. Mr Eljahmi actively educates and informs US government, national and international media and NGOs about Libyan affairs.” (xiv)
An aspect of especial ire for UN Watch has been Libya’s place on the five-member investigation by the Human Rights Council into the use of mercenaries. Given their woeful excesses from Blackwater’s (now Xe) shoot-ups to CACI’s man-management at Abu Ghraib (then there’s Paravant, an Xe subsiduary at Bagram; Guantanamo and KBR), it is a supreme irony that UN Watch’s cry of “foul” over Libya has won out, while the US’s place on the council is unsullied. (Libya was suspended from the Human Rights Council on 25 February this year.) And did Libya employ ‘black African mercenaries’, to fight the rebels? In the fog of disinformation, certainties are scarce, but it is a story which would seem to be unravelling.
Then there is the water. Gaddafi’s project to make Libya’s vast desert bloom has been dubbed by some “The eighth wonder of the world.” A succinct overview cites: “the large quantities of water in Libya deep beneath the desert … Libya’s Great Man-Made River Project. A project worth 33 billion dollars. The value of the small reservoirs is about 70,000,000,000,000 dollars.” (xv) When the project was announced in September 1991, London and Washington were reported to be “ballistic“. At a ceremony attended by Arab and African heads of state, foreign diplomats and delegations, including President Mubarak of Egypt, King Hassan of Morocco, Gaddafi called it a gift to the Third World. He also said: “American threats against Libya will double.” (xvi)
Looking at the all, it is impossible not to think the truth of an attack of over thirty nations on a country of six million is buried deeper than Libya’s aquifers. ‘Operation Odyssey Dawn’ was well named. An odyssey indeed. Odysseus’s tortured journey lasted ten years.
Libyan rebels in Benghazi said they have created a new national oil company to replace the corporation controlled by leader Muammar Gaddafi, whose assets were frozen by the United Nations Security Council.
The Transitional National Council released a statement announcing the decision made at a 19 March meeting to establish the “Libyan Oil Company as supervisory authority on oil production and policies in the country, based temporarily in Benghazi, and the appointment of an interim director general” of the company.
The council also said it “designated the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and the appointment of a governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with a temporary headquarters in Benghazi“.
And of course, given Israel’s chronic water shortage, Libya’s abundant underground blessings, and the close geographical proximity of the two countries, there might be other regional advantages mooted in regime change.
vii. Full chronology of the Campaign against Libya: http://www.unwatch.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=bdKKISNqEmG&b=1316871&ct=9142899
See also: http://blog.unwatch.org/index.php/category/libya/
See also: http://www.paulweiss.com/
ALFA, about which not a lot can be found: http://www.alfa-online.net/
See also: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24096
The following statement was issued by Dave Roberts of the SLP.
As the West gears up for intervention into Libya, the left in Britain, with a few exceptions, are like rabbits in the proverbial headlights, transfixed by the brilliant glare of western propaganda. Many are either completely ignorant of Gaddafi’s anti-imperialist revolutionary history or prefer that their self-opinionated pseudo-left intellectualism should not be disturbed by the very notion that the people of one of the previously poorest and most backward countries in the world, through their own efforts, can have thrown off imperialism.
Not only that but, within four decades, they have gone on to built an economy and a society which, to the horror of western reactionary circles, is the envy of the revolutionary class-conscious, downtrodden and poor of Africa and the Arab world.
If any had bothered to read even a basic historical text on Libya’s Green Revolution they would be amazed at its achievements, benefits of which include universal suffrage, free lifelong education for all up to post-graduate level, free medical and health care, a guaranteed home for every Libyan and the highest per capita income in the Arab and African world - a per capita income which is a real average income rather than one based on the massive disparities in wealth to be found in western economies.
Unlike their Arab brothers and sisters in Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi or Jordan, at the age of 16 all Libyans are entitled to join and attend their weekly held local people’s committee and participate practically week in week out in the framing and delivery of policies and the allocation of resources that affect their daily lives. No wonder that participation rates in the political process exceed anything the ‘democratic’ west can offer.
A point lost on the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen when he insisted that protesters were “thirsting for democracy”. Gaddafi correctly told him that he clearly knew nothing of the policy and practice of the authority of the people in Libya .
In setting off on the journey to bring Libya into the modern world, Gaddafi has been conciliatory to those elements in society who, for reasons of the privilege or power they had held over the people through the mosques or through their previous patronage by western oil companies, have continued to resist the struggle for democratic and economic development.
He guaranteed participation of the imams in the people’s committees and ensured that the previous comprador class was no worse off as the wealth, education and health of all Libyans was raised to the remarkable levels they enjoy today. It is clearly these restorationist elements who are forming the backbone of the opposition, eyeing a chance for themselves of a ‘better’ future under the local patronage of western oil companies, or of bringing Libya under the pan-islamist resistance and ‘rescuing’ it from what they fear as the westernising modernism and growing secularism of the Green revolution.
Unlike the opposition in Egypt or Tunisia, the Libyan opposition have raised the royalist emblem of the western oil company-imposed puppet King Idris, whilst increasingly calling for western imperialist intervention to secure their counter-revolution. It should therefore be glaringly obvious to all but the politically blind that the struggle in Libya is the complete opposite to the unfolding struggle across the rest of the Arab world.
An understanding that might explain why Hague sent the SAS and MI6 on a secret mission to start discussions to begin arming the opposition in Libya, whilst two weeks earlier Cameron was in Egypt gun running to the military junta.
No calls for western intervention in Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan or Egypt then? No calls for the Bahraini or Saudi royals to be referred to the War Crimes Tribunal for having invaded sovereign countries and killed unarmed civilians? Unlike most of the British left, British imperialism has a consistent class line: support the junta in Egypt to hold back generalised intifada and destroy the Libyan revolution. Why? Because it has embodied, to date, the best organised and most resilient resistance in the Arab and African world.
Which is why Gaddafi was referred to by Nelson Mandela as one of the “greatest freedom fighters of the century”. Why the first country Mandela visited upon his release from 27 years in an apartheid gaol was Libya, in order to thank Gaddafi for his consistent support for the ANC. Why he is supported by and has supported Cuba, the Sandinistas, Chavez, the Palestinian cause, the Irish national struggle, etc, etc.
It would be a disaster for western oil companies and imperialism generally if any of the Libyan lessons learnt in 40 years of anti-imperialist struggle began to infect the generalised Arab revolt. Which might explain why a country with a population the size of Wales, albeit with better health and wealth indices, is now facing the combined political muscle and potential military threat of the European Union, the United States etc.
It is clearly a bigger ideological than military threat. Particularly at this time, against the background of the continued worldwide economic collapse of capitalism, its drive towards generalised warmongering, and its scramble to secure oil supplies and arms deals.
That any of these truths should get in the way of western warmongering propaganda has led to an unprecedented campaign to put the frighteners on western middle-class intellectuals. For example, the enforced resignation of Sir Howard Davies at the London School of Economics for accepting a donation from Saif Gaddafi’s foundation after the university had awarded him a PhD.
There is hardly a university in the UK that has not taken money from the ‘Gaddafi regime’, but, as the Daily Telegraph pointed out, the real sin was not taking the money but engaging in academic dialogue with the Libyans on the practice of direct democracy in Libya. Saif Gaddafi had been asked to deliver the Ralph Miliband Lecture (the father of the Miliband brothers, who, according to the Daily Telegraph, was, like Gaddafi, seeking his own ‘third way’, which was neither Soviet socialism nor western capitalism).
It should be as clear as crystal who are the reactionaries and who are the anti-reactionaries; who are the imperialists and who are the anti-imperialists in this pivotal struggle.
Of course, all class-conscious, anti-imperialist and progressive movements should stand shoulder to shoulder with the unfolding Arab revolt, but they should also stand for the victory of the Libyan revolution against western counter-revolution; it’s one and the same struggle. Although one doubts that much of the British left will understand that.
Dave Roberts has visited Libya numerous times over the last 15 years, leading European delegations, participating in international roundtable conferences in Tripoli and Benghazi, and facilitating British academics in studying the workings of Libyan direct democracy. He has toured the country extensively, meeting with students, academics, health workers, members of people’s committees and the Revolutionary Committees Movement.
Cuba categorically rejects any attempt whatsoever to take advantage of the tragic situation created in order to occupy Libya and control its oil
Statement by Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs to the UN Human Rights Council, Geneva, 1 March 2011, via Granma
Humanity’s conscience is repulsed by the deaths of innocent people under any circumstances, anyplace. Cuba fully shares the worldwide concern for the loss of civilian lives in Libya and hopes that its people are able to reach a peaceful and sovereign solution to the civil war occurring there, with no foreign interference, and can guarantee the integrity of that nation.
Most certainly the Libyan people oppose any foreign military intervention, which would delay an agreement even further and cause thousands of deaths, displacement and enormous injury to the population.
Cuba categorically rejects any attempt whatsoever to take advantage of the tragic situation created in order to occupy Libya and control its oil.
It is noteworthy that the voracity for oil, not peace or the protection of Libyan lives, is the motivation inciting the political forces, primarily conservative, which today, in the United States and some European countries, are calling for a Nato military intervention in Libyan territory. Nor does it appear that objectivity, accuracy or a commitment to the truth are prevailing in part of the press, where reports are being used by media giants to fan the flames.
Given the magnitude of what is taking place in Libya and the Arab world, in the context of a global economic crisis, responsibility and a long-term vision should prevail on the part of governments in the developed countries. Although the goodwill of some could be exploited, it is clear that a military intervention would lead to a war with serious consequences for human lives, especially the millions of poor who comprise four fifths of humanity.
Despite the paucity of some facts and information, the reality is that the origins of the situation in North Africa and the Middle East are to be found within the crisis of the rapacious policy imposed by the United States and its Nato allies in the region. The price of food has tripled, water is scarce, the desert is growing, poverty is on the rise and with it, repugnant social inequality and exclusion in the distribution of the opulent wealth garnered from oil in the region.
The fundamental human right is the right to life, which is not worth living without human dignity.
The way in which the right to life is being violated should arouse concern. According to various sources, more than 111 million people have perished in armed conflicts during modern wars. It cannot be forgotten in this room that, if in World War I civilian deaths amounted to 5 percent of total casualties, in the subsequent wars of conquest after 1990, basically in Iraq, with more than one million, and Afghanistan with more than 70,000, the deaths of innocents stand at 90 percent. The proportion of children in these figures is horrific and unprecedented.
The concept of ‘collateral damage’, an offense to human nature, has been accepted in the military doctrine of Nato and the very powerful nations.
In the last decade, humanitarian international law has been trampled, as is occurring on the US Guantánamo Naval Base, which usurps Cuban territory.
As a consequence of those wars, global refugee figures have increased by 34 percent, to more than 26 million people.
Military spending increased by 49 percent in the decade, to reach $1.5tr, more than half of that figure in the United States alone. The industrial-military complex continues producing wars.
Every year, 740,000 human beings die, not only on account of conflicts, but as victims of violent acts associated with organised crime.
In one European country, a woman dies every five days as a result of domestic violence. In the countries of the South, half a million mothers die in childbirth every year.
Every day, 29,000 children die of hunger and preventable diseases. In the minutes that I have been speaking, no less than 120 children have died. Four million perish in their first month of life. In total, 11 million children die every year.
There are 100,000 deaths a day from causes related to malnutrition, adding up to 35 million a year.
In Hurricane Katrina alone, in the most developed country in the world, 1,836 people died, almost all of them African Americans of few resources. In the last two years, 470,000 people died throughout the world as a result of natural disasters, 97 percent of them of low income.
In the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti alone, more than 250,000 people died, almost all of them resident in very poor homes. The same thing occurred with homes swept away by excessive rainfall in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil.
If the developing countries had infant and maternal mortality rates like those of Cuba, 8.4 million children and 500,000 mothers would be saved annually. In the cholera epidemic in Haiti, Cuban doctors are treating almost half of the patients, with a mortality rate five times lower than those being treated by physicians from other countries. Cuban international medical cooperation has made it possible to save more than 4.4 million lives in dozens of countries in four continents.
Human dignity is a human right. Today, 1.4 billion people are living in extreme poverty. There are 1.2 billion hungry people, and a further two billion are suffering from malnutrition. There are 759 million illiterate adults.
The Council has demonstrated its capacity for approaching human rights situations in the world, including those of an urgent nature which require attention and action on the part of the international community. The usefulness of the Universal Periodic Review, as a means of sustaining international cooperation, of evaluating the undertakings of all countries without distinction in this context has been confirmed.
The spirit which animated our actions during the review process of this body was to preserve, improve and strengthen this council in its function of effectively promoting and protecting all human rights for everyone.
The results of this exercise express a recognition of the Council’s important achievements in its short existence. While it is true that the agreements reached are insufficient in the light of the demands of developing countries, the body has been preserved from those whose aim was to reform it to their convenience in order to satisfy hegemonic appetites and to resuscitate the past of confrontation, double standards, selectivity and imposition.
It is to be hoped from the debates of the last few days that this human rights council will continue constructing and advancing its institutionalism toward the full exercise of its mandate.
It would be very negative if, on the pretext of reviewing the Council’s institutional construction and in abuse of the dramatic juncture which is being discussed, it should be manipulated and pressured in an opportunist way in order to establish precedents and modify agreements.
If the essential human right is the right to life, will the Council be ready to suspend the membership of states that unleash a war?
Is the Council proposing to make some substantial contribution to eliminating the principal threat to the life of the human species which is the existence of enormous arsenals of nuclear weapons, an infinitesimal part of which, or the explosion of 100 warheads, would provoke a nuclear winter, according to irrefutable scientific evidence?
Will it establish a thematic procedure on the impact of climate change in the exercise of human rights and proclaim the right to a healthy atmosphere?
Will it suspend states which finance and supply military aid utilised by recipient states for mass, flagrant and systematic violations of human rights and for attacks on the civilian population, like those taking place in Palestine?
Will it apply that measure against powerful countries which are perpetrating extra-judicial executions in the territory of other states with the use of high technology, such as smart bombs and drone aircraft?
What will happen to states which accept secret illegal prisons in their territories, facilitate the transit of secret flights with kidnapped persons aboard, or participate in acts of torture?
Can the Council adopt a declaration on the right of peoples to peace?
Will it adopt an action programme that includes concrete commitments guaranteeing the right to alimentation in a moment of food crisis, spiraling food prices and the utilisation of cereal crops to produce biofuels?
Distinguished ministers and delegates:
What measures will this Council adopt against a member state which is committing acts that are causing grave suffering and seriously endangering physical or mental integrity, such as the blockade of Cuba, typified as genocide in Article 2, Paragraphs B and C, of the 1948 Geneva Convention?
Thank you very much.
Translated by Granma International