Petroleum and Empire in North Africa. NATO Invasion of Libya Underway - by keith harmon snow (Updated)
Are events unfolding in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt more about
Are there double standards at work?
An original photograph; backside text reads: Al Haji Amin (centre) is introducing military senior officers to his brother Col. Gaddafi, Chairman of the Revolutionary Command of Arab republic of Libya, shortly on arrival at Gulu Airfield [norther Uganda] to perform the official handing over of aircrafts to Uganda Airforce, March 3, 1974.
On September 1, 1969 the pro-western regime that had ruled in Libya was overthrown by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and his officers. At the time, Libya was home to the largest US Air Base (Wheelus Air Base) in North Africa. Agreements between the USA and Libya signed in 1951 and 1954 granted the USAF the use of Wheelus Air Base and its El Watia gunnery range for gunnery and bombing training and for transport and bombing stopovers until 1971. During the Cold War the base was pivotal to expanding US military power under the Strategic Air Command, and an essential base for fighter and reconnaissance missions. The Pentagon also used the base -- and the remote Libyan desert -- for missile launch testing: the launch area was located 15 miles east of Tripoli. Considered a 'little America on the shores of the Mediteranean', the base housed some 4600 US military personnel until its evacuation in 1970.
With the discovery of oil in Libya in 1959, a very poor desert country became a very rich little western protectorate. US and European companies had huge stakes in the extremely lucrative petroleum and banking sectors, but these were soon nationalized by Gaddafi. Thus Libya overnight joined the list of US 'enemy' or 'rogue' states that sought autonomy and self-determination outside the expanding sphere of western Empire. Further cementing western hatred of the new regime, Libya played a leading role of the 1973 oil embargo against the US and maintained cooperative relations with the Soviet Union. Gaddafi also reportedly channeled early oil wealth into national free health care and education.
At one time Gaddafi played around with Idi Amin, but his ties to other despots -- such as Tony Blair and George H. W. Bush -- are far more notable, though far less advertised. Of course, just as Gaddafi is heavily slammed and maligned -- in disproportion to his actual actions -- we find that Idi Amin is not the premier African terrorist he is always billed to be: Amin's crimes pale in comparison to the current despot in power in Uganda, President-for-Life Yoweri Museveni. Remember that Gaddafi has served the prerogatives of imperialism for years, even while being presented as the world's premier terrorist.
Like previous revolutionary figures of the 20th century such as Mao and his Little Red Book, Gaddafi followed the example of other revolutionary figures like Mao Zedong in authoring his own unique and highly idealistic political philosophy. Gaddafi's Green Book was published in three volumes between 1975 and 1979 and, as you might expect, it is almost unknown by the western enlightened [sic] world.
Over the past four decades the US and its closest allies, including Israel and Japan, have maintained a mostly hostile relationship with Muammar Gaddafi and Libya. This relationship has included economic sanctions, covert attacks, open warfare and other actions of aggression committed by the United States. The 'international community' repeatedly enforced or renewed sanctions against Libya in the 1980s and 1990s.
After September 11, 2001, the US issued extensive threats and warnings against Libya to pressure it to accept US demands and collaborate in the US "War on Terror." Since Libya was considered one of the premier 'rogue states' involved in 'terrorism' and Gaddafi was forced to concede some of his country's independence and autonomy. After diplomatic wrangling, sanctions against Libya were dropped in 2004 in exchange for Gaddafi's (limited) collaboration.
In 2004, during heightened western media propaganda about Libyan terrorism and gaddafi's supporting Al Queda -- all kinds of disingenuous reports and outright lies -- the G. W. Bush administration dropped sanctions against the regime -- -- and paved the way for a new era in US-Libyan bilateral trade.
US officials were reportedly under pressure from multinational corporations, including big petrol companies BP, ExxonMobil, Halliburton, Chevron, Conoco and Marathon Oil, and defense giants like Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, and other corporations like Dow Chemical and Fluor. These corporations and lobbyists then formed a "trade" association, US-Libya Business Association (USLBA) in 2005 with $US 20,000 membership dues.
USLBA members lobbied the US government to protect and advance their interests in Libya, through the US government, and business executives flocked to Libya and negotiated for million or billion dollar deals. Bilateral trade with Libya totaled $2.7 billion in 2010, up from virtually nothing when sanctions were in place prior to 2004. The USLBA also lobbied on behalf of the former outlaw state of Libya and has sponsored policy conferences, briefing sessions and events featuring senior U.S. and Libyan officials.
Officials traveled to Libya for meetings with Libyan government officials, private business leaders and representatives of American companies working in the country -- leading to some of the unbridled development that was evident in Tripoli (2009).
Through the secretive Libyan Investment Authority, billions of Libya's petrodollars were reportedly invested in US Equity and Big Banks, including JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and others, and into other private equity like the Carlyle Group, one of America's most seedy arms dealers. The Carlyle Group was founded by Frank Carlucci, former US Secretary of War at the time of the Reagan bombings of Libya in 1986 and current affiliate of theNational Endowment for Democracy (described below).
ALGERIA & TUNISIA OIL SECTOR MAPS
(Note the HUNT OIL Concession in the lower right in NIGER: HUNT OIL is out of Texas.)
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The CIA has long wanted to eliminate and replace Muammar Gaddafi. President Reagan bombed Tripoli, killing Gaddafi's infant daughter: the United States bombing of Libya (code-named Operation El Dorado Canyon) comprised the joint USAF, Navy, and Marines air-strikes against Libya on April 15, 1986. The US CIA brought down the Lockerbie Pan Am 103 flight over Scotland in 1988 and blamed this on Gaddafi.
Many of the top-level security documents from the Reagan Administration pertaining to Libya remain classified. These include National Security Decision Directives 16 (Economic and Security Decisions for Libya), NSDD 205a (Annex: Acting Against Libyan Support of International Terrorism), NSDD 224 (Counter-Terrorist Operations Against Libya), and NSDD 234 (Libya Policy), while even those that have been declassified are partially redacted. The George H.W. Bush NSDD 19 (US Policy Toward Libya) also remains classified.
In recent years Gaddafi has played along with the western fiction of Al-Queda, though it seems likely that some of the true mercenaries in Libya today are 'Al-Queda' terrorists trained by the United States to serve US interests in places like Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and now Libya. However, the CIA has always had their sights trained on Gaddafi.
National front for the Salvation of Libya
In almost all western media accounts, the so-called "opposition" in Libya includes the unspecified, unnamed, unidentified "rebels" of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL). These are not innocent 'pro-democracy' protestors who began with a 'peaceful sit-in' as reported by the New York Times and uncritically repeated everywhere else.
Reportage of atrocities in Darfur, Sudan (2003-20011) and Rwanda (1990-1994) was always blamed on the governments (Omar Bashir in Khartoum and Juvenal Habyarimana in Kigali) with no context to the foreign backed insurgency and intervention occurring, which in both cases involved the US, UK and Israel. Similarly, in Libya today, there is no context or history to the FNSL 'rebels': they are categorically presented as the good guys, no matter that they seem to have appeared out of thin air. No one explains who these people are who are cited by the New York Times or CNN or Democracy Now as sources.
The FNSL was part of the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition held in London in 2005, and British resources are being used to support the FNSL and other 'opposition' in Libya. The FNSL was actually formed in October 1981 in Sudan under Colonel Jaafar Nimieri-- the US puppet dictator who was openly known to be a Central Intelligence Agency operative, and who ruled Sudan ruthlessly from 1977 to 1985. The FNSL held its national congress in the USA in July 2007. Reports of 'atrocities' and civilian deaths are being channeled into the western press from operations in Washington DC, and the opposition FNSL is reportedly organizing resistance and military attacks from both inside and outside Libya.
Italy and France are also said to be backing these opposition groups, as the Italian and French oil companies Total, AGIP and ELF seek to control, protect, and expand their penetration into the extractive industries sector in Libya. Many of the petroleum concessions in Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt appear (the map is 15 years old) to be held by state-owned oil companies -- but foreign interests have been deeply involved in joint ventures with NOC for many years.
European, Korean and Japanese penetration of the Libyan oil market had already occurred before the US sanctions were lifted in 2004: US multinationals were losing out. AGIP has been involved in Libya's oil sector for decades in LIbya's Elephant Field (and other sites) through its joint ventures between Italian Eni Corporation and Libyans National Oil Company (NOC); these operations also involved a consortium of Korean and British (LASMO) corporations. Eni is Italy's largest multinational oil and gas corporation, involved in 70 countries, and Eni has worked in Libya since 1959. Belgian giant Petrofina also has sizable operations in Libya.
In late February, British Special Forces evacuated hundreds of British nationals from the Libyan desert. The companies they worked for, and their reasons for being in Libya, were not reported (as usual). The operations were coordinated with Germany, Italy, Turkey -- and certainly with the US. British Petroleum last year was embroiled in a scandal for influence-peddling used to secure a contract for petroleum exploration in Libya. Royal/Dutch Shell alsoheld some 26 high-level meetings in Libya and won [sic] contracts against US rivals like Texas oil corporation Occidental Petroleum (OXY), ejected when Libya's oil fields were nationalized in 1970.
OXY was the first US petroleum corporation to resume operations in Libya when sanctions were lifted in 2004. In 2008, Oxy reached new 30 year agreements with Libya to redevelop and explore in its "most prolific producing area" -- the Sirte Basin. US major ExxonMobil reported "milestone achievements" in the Libyan oil sector in 2009.
A 'soft' intervention CIA front, the National Endowment for Democracy has been deeply involved in Libya along with the CIA fronted Freedom House (under their Blue Umbrella program and others). These entities have backed 'opposition', supported propaganda campaigns and so-called 'pro-democracy' movements, and are known to be involved with backing armed insurgents and interventions.
NED works its overt intelligence sector magic through four organizations under its (own) umbrella: National democratic Institute; International Republican Institute, Center for Private Enterprise, and the AFL-CIO's American Center for International Labor Solidarity. NED is closely aligned with US foreign policy interests and achieves its mission through the revolving doors between US Government and the NED Board of Directors.
Some of these NED directors include: former US Secretaries of State, Henry Kissinger (Nixon) and Madeleine Albright (Clinton), former US Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci (Reagan), former National Security Council ChairZbigniew Brzezinski (Carter), former NATO Supreme Allied Command in Europe, General Wesley K. Clark (Clinton), and the current head of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz (George W. Bush).
Freedom House is supportive of NED programs but has been around since its creation by Elanor Roosevelt and they have been very active against Libya. Freedom House is funded by, amongst others, UNILEVER Corporation, USAID, and the US Information Agency (USIA). Freedom House, in alliance with USIA, has provided covert and overt "Radio Free' disinformation programs all over the world since at least 1952: e.g. Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia. The USIA is directly involved with US Army's 4th Psychological Operations Group in planning and coordinating major military operations (e.g. the Gulf War and the UNITAF intervention in Somalia).
Past and present Freedom House trustees include: former CIA director R. James Woosley; former national security adviser (at the time of the 1996 US invasion of Congo-Zaire) Anthony Lake; Harvard professor Samuel Huntington; UNILEVER executive Ned Bandler; CIA insider Andrew Young; former Joseph Mobutu confidant and national security insider Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick; former NED director and International Crisis Group trustee Zbigniew Brzezinski; USAID intelligence operative J. Brian Atwood (USAID administrator who oversaw the US-backed genocide against millions of Hutu refugees in Congo-Zaire, 1996-1998) and many more.
Freedom House is also very likely affiliated with the phantom US Office of Strategic Information (OSI), formed after September 11, 2001. OSI is said to have been reorganized, with all its original functions reassigned to the Office of Global Communications, Information Awareness Office (IAO), and the newly reactivated Counter-Disinformation/Misinformation Team (Counter-Information Team). However, then-Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld issued statements affirming that the OSI's operations would continue.
Rogue State Painted with Blatant Propaganda
In the ABC LITELINE report FNSL Leader Speaks from Washington we find the Washington monument in the background for an interview with an Arab agent being used by the western propaganda system as a credible source -- but with zero explanations of who he is or why his claims might be false.
FNSL operative Irahim Sahad speaks freely, making any claim he likes, and nothing he says is challenged or counter-balanced. Sahad suggests that the UN Security Council MUST be convened to stop the 'war crimes and 'mass murder' and 'genocide' being committed by Gaddafi against his own people. Ibrahim Sahad's bias is unveiled by such statements as "The UN Security Council was convened when just one man was killed in Lebabon -- so it should be convened to address the most brutal use of live ammunition, heavy arms and mercenaries." The claim employs a double-standard, saying in short that Lebanese lives are worth more than Libyan, which is not at all the case, and that the United Nations takes serious one man's life in Lebanon, so they should take far more serious the monumental loss of life [claimed] in Libya.
Here are some of the media's rallying cries making headlines everywhere the English language is used:
* Gaddafi: Stop Killing Your Own People
* Gaddafi has Chemical Weapons and he is Ready to Use them
* SAS Ready to seize Col Gaddafi's stores of mustard gas
* EU Prepares for the worst after Gaddafi's genocide threats
* Heavy arms used in Libya crackdown
* Gaddafi in crimes against humanity probe
The death tolls in Iraq, Afghanistan and Congo-Zaire -- by US/NATO/ISRAELI forces -- far surpass anything that might have occurred in Libya. Meanwhile, most 'news' on Libya is based on false accusations and false assertions -- such as the THREAT of nerve gas being used.
However, just prior to the dropping of sanctions in 2004 it was established that Washington and London were grossly exaggerating claims of Gaddafi's development of nuclear and chemical weapons. The western propaganda about Weapons of Mass Destruction in Libya had the same empty ring as the lies about Weapons of Mass Destruction used to justify the war against Iraq.
In Afghanistan the US is using weapons of mass destruction and has been since the invasion of 2001: these include phosgene and uranium weapons. A deeper issue might be the loss of certain nuclear weapons, by the west, as claimed by sources in London, which reportedly went missing from US/NATO stocks. Claims are that these weapons made their way into the hands of British arms dealer John Bredenkamp, a long time crony of the Robert Mugabe gang in Zimbabwe and war lord involved in Congo-Zaire, and that they may have been sold to Libya, Yemen or North Korea.
Similarly, western reportage on the alleged [sic] use of Libyan government air forces to attack 'rebel' forces is extremely biased, extremely duplicitous, and extremely hypocritical. First of all, Libya is under attack -- acts of aggression in contravention of international law -- and has every right to defend its government and interests. Of course, the "international community" will justify all aggression using the new doctrine of "responsibility to protect" -- an imperial faux doctrine meant to serve the most powerful and ostensibly innocent -- even in contravention of international law. In 2009 the air attacks by Israel against Sudan were treated as justice by the western media. Worse still were the massive Israeli air strikes on Gaza -- also in contravention of international law and international humanitarian law: these are war crimes, crimes against humanity and, in the Palestinian case, they are part of a greater genocidal war against the Palestinians.
When Muammar Gaddafi met with ABC News correspondent Christiane Amanpour for an interview in Tripoli February 28, 2011, someone should have warned Gaddafi that Amanpour is more a US State Department agent: Amanpour was directly linked to pro-Kagame propagandist Philip Gourevitch and Madeleine Albright's undersecretary Jamie Rubin, and together they produced some of the most blatant propaganda on 'genocide in Rwanda' -- covering up the Pentagon's role in supporting the Rwandan Patriotic Front & Uganda People's Defense Forces invasion of Rwanda (1990-1994). Amanpour later married Gourevitch, and she followed Gourevitch's lead in reporting blatant and racist propaganda about a "home grown rebellion in Zaire" for CNN from the Congo-Zaire border in 1996. Meanwhile, C-130's were shipping in troops and millions of innocent Hutu people were being targeted and hundreds of thousands killed in the Kagame/RPF war crimes and genocide against Hutus which ensued: Amanpour helped cover it all up.
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Inset Map SIRTE BASIN
"[T]he fundamental problem and issue before the people in the region is that the US rulers seek imperial control and imposition of semi-colonial country-selling regimes," reports Ralph Schoenman, in 'US Imperialism Against Democratic ME'. "The more autocratic and brutal, the better from the point of the US imperialism that is unrelenting history. Every time the population is given the opportunity to shape its own destiny, to seek its national independence, to seek its own control over its own resources, to seeks its own sovereignty and determination of its own future, that is incompatible with the US imperialism."
When Barack Obama was accepted by the US people as the new president, Gaddafi praised Obama and described Obama's White House house-sitting gig as "a victory against racism" and he urged the first Black U.S. president "to lead his country boldly and with integrity."
"The Black people's struggle has made tremendous advances against racism in America," Gaddafi said. "It was God who created color. Today President Obama, son of a Kenyan father, a true son of Africa, has made it in the United States of America."
At a speech he gave in his private tent in Tripoli in September 2008, Gaddafi rambled and muddled and zipped his all-over-the-place speech up as quick as he began it. Is he a desert mystic? Did he write the infamous "Green Book" or was it ghost-written? Are his sometimes rambling speeches emblematic of his propensity to try to please, to do what he likes, to be careful not to say the wrong thing, while being unable to remain silent when the hypocrisies of the west are (or were) thrown up in his face?
The Green Book says that workers should be involved and self-employed, and that the land must be of those who work it and those who live in the house. And power shall be exercised by the people directly, without intermediaries, without politicians, through popular congresses and committees, where the whole population decides the fundamental issues of the district, city and country. These are fighting words to predatory international capitalism.
When Gaddafi bowed to Western demands in 2004 it was most likely in part due to the incredible alignment of forces against Libya. Gaddafi and the Libyan government, and governments of other countries, will agree to a lot of imperialist dictates to avoid having a war launched against their country and to allow the people to still enjoy some decent standard of living and peaceful lives. Gaddafi played along with the West's moral righteousness for "The War on Terror" knowing that he didn't have much choice. His opening to western interests made no difference in the end, as too many forces have desired his destruction for far too long. Now that time has come. This is no 'popular revolution' sweeping Libya, though there is a significant popular element to the revolts we are seeing in Libya.
The US will use any propaganda necessary to whip up American fervor over Gaddafi and justify Pentagon or MI6 or NATO operations. US and British warships sit off the coast of Libya -- and they don't sit there idly. The imposition of a 'no-fly' zone means that US/NATO plannes can do as they like, with the understanding that what we are really talking about are possible bombing and fighter sorties against Libya.
US troops have already moved ashore in Libya, joining the 'opposition ' and 'rebel' forces in 'rebel' controlled territories. The US, France and Britain have already set up Bases in Libya.
The recent report noted that British and US special forces entered Libyan port cities of Benghazi and Toburk on February 23 and 24.
US covert operatives have been on the ground for weeks, and probably much longer than that, whether they have entered by sea (SEALS) or by way of Niger, where the US has openly published information about its covert operations. (See, for example, the travelology reports by former U.S. Special Forces now 'journalist' Robert Kaplan inAmerica's African Rifles a Pentagon massaged and approved propaganda feature in the pro-war Atlantic Monthly). Any opportunity to attack, destabilize, invade will be exploited by the Pentagon.
Of course, as this is written the US media is preparing the ground for the English-news consuming masses to see the Pentagon invasion as a "humanitarian" mission in Libya. There is nothing humanitarian about the Pentagon, and there has never been.
Another strategic geopolitical concern of the western powers is the protection and control of the massive nuclear (uranium) resources both inside Libya and nearby. France and Canada had already signed memorandums (circa 2007-2008) with Libya to explore and exploit uranium in Libya.
France's entire nuclear weapons complex (and massive nuclear power industry) revolves around uranium extracted from Agadez and Arlit in northern Niger and it was built, over the past 50 years, out of the blood, seat and tears of the Nigerienne people. Japanese companies have been extracting uranium out of Niger through the Overseas Uranium Resources Development Corporation (OURD), in cooperation with U.S., Israeli, German and French corporations. In 2008, France and former colony Algeria signed defense and civil nuclear power accords, including cooperation in research, training, technology transfer and the exploration and production of uranium, all of interest to French nuclear giant Areva. Canadian and Australian corporations are also mining in Libya's other southern neighbor, Burkina Faso. And yet, unlike Libya, where the people have seen some benefits from the extraction of wealth from their land, Niger remains the second poorest country in the world and Burkina Faso is close behind.
Russia and Ukraine had also signed memorandums with Libya regarding uranium exploration and development. However, China intends to quadruple its uranium consumption and China's largest nuclear power corporation China National Nuclear Corp, has signed an agreement with China-Africa Development Fund to jointly develop uranium resources in Africa. Western nuclear corporations aim to monopolize Libya's uranium sector and exclude China and Russia from the exploration and development -- so they can build the nuke plants themselves and sell uranium to their Asian competitors.
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It is completely hypocritical of citizens of the United States to speak of the outrage of 'poverty' aborad when that poverty is so often the result of US militarization, unjust trade, and plundering entities like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Further, some of the worst poverty in the world can be found in US cities like Gary, Indiana and on Native American reservations like Pine Ridge. Hillary Clinton complaints about Muammar Gaddafi are really just a projection of her shadow -- a long, dark shadow steeped in bloodshed and deception -- and another example of the hypocrisy on Libya.
Gaddafi's "Green Book" and the 'Third Universal Theory' it propounds are worth reading. Had it been written by most anyone else who is opposed to the expansion of western empire with all its horrors, it would be more widely appreciated. The book addresses the falsification of democracy and the proliferation of organized criminal gangs -- like the Republicans and Democrats that call themselves parties of and for the US people.
Gaddafi has funded Pan-African organizations and individuals, some of whom have very noble missions and serve to challenge the downtrodden, while he has also funded some armed factions involved in unjust wars or destabilizations. Gaddafi also supports one state in Palestine with equal rights for everyone, and he has spoken forcefully about the unjust war against the Palestinians by Israel. Gaddafi has funded Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam (this is avalue neutral comment by this white author).
Gaddafi also funded Jean Pieerre Bemba and the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), the 'rebellion' [sic] that was also backed by Yoweri Museveni and allied with Rwandan 'rebel' forces (Congolese Rally for Democracy) backed by Paul Kagame, and these forces were responsible for a very definite genocide in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Zaire). Bemba is on trial at the ICC for war crimes committed in the Central African Republic.
Human Rights Watch has reported that international arms dealer Victor Bout illegally shipped weapons into Congo-Zaire, picking them up in Libya and delivering them to Rwandan Hutu forces. However, Human Rights Watch is deeply compromised when it comes to reporting and not reporting the facts -- or selectively reporting them -- on Central Africa. If Gaddafi did supply or facilitate the provision of arms to Rwandan Hutu insurgents in Congo-Zaire, it may be one of the more reasonable actions he took: e.g. the Forces for the Democratic Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) are forever misaligned by the Pentagon and its propaganda minions precisely because they fought against the illegal invasion of Rwanda by Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni. Meanwhile, it is Rwanda, Uganda and their foreign multinational corporate allies that are responsible for the preponderance of killing in Central Africa, not the FDLR.
According to Amnesty International, another selective human rights organ serving western interests, Gaddafi also reportedly armed Sudanese in Darfur -- long before the current conflict began in 2003 -- to fight against western backed interventions in Chad and Sudan.
Gaddafi reportedly owns land in Zimbabwe and may flee there or to other countries where repressive control is maintained in service to western interests.
Muammar Gaddafi is/was the most recent chairman of the African Union, another elite organization designed to serve western exploitation -- or run by a cabal of thieves, at the very least, who all have the goods on each other, and so none will ever challenge the way things are -- while the people, the masses of Africa, everywhere suffer.
The African Union (AU) signed on with Washington for the devastating neo-liberal trade and tarifs agreement known euphemistically as the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The AU special report on genocide in Rwanda was a complete whitewash serving US/UK interests and protecting dictators Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni. The AU has also been slammed by African leaders for inaction and silence in various developments on the continent.
Former AU chairman have included some of Africa's most criminal dictators, such as Dennis Sassou Nguesso, who has reigned with absolute military brutality in the Republic of Congo for some 20 years (with a gap from 1992-1997). Gabon's present ruler Albert-Bernard Bongo is the son-in-law of Dennis Sassou-Nguesso, and both have been sustained with millions of Elf petrol dollars (see, e.g., keith harmon snow: The Crimes of Bongo). Sassou-Nguesso's elite Cobra militia were also trained by French advisers and, like Colonel Joseph Mobutu, Sassou-Nguesso relied on Israeli security and intelligence for protection.
The AU's alliance with NATO began long ago, and it saw expanded joint military operations in Sudan, where the AU served as NATO's "African face" for US/UK and Israeli military interventions in the war for Darfur. For example, forces fighting for the NATO interests, commanded and commandeered under an AU banner, came from Paul Kagame's Rwanda Defense Forces (formerly called Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army) responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Uganda, Rwanda, Congo-Zaire and, then, Darfur. Rather than condemning western military expansion and different forms of AFRICOM or CIA-backed terrorism, for example, the AU backs the western war of annihilation in Somalia, involving Ugandan troops trained by US Special forces, and the Pentagon's expansion in Ethiopia, and support for dictator Meles Zenawi there. Ethiopia is the site of an ongoing genocide against the Annuak, Omo and Orono people -- and no one has reported the atrocities in the blood drenched oil-rich Ogaden basin there. What say the AU?
In AFRICA: Global NATO Seeks to Recruit 50 New Military Partners, journalist Rick Rozoff reports: "A recent article in Kenya's Africa Review cited sources in the African Union (AU) disclosing that the 28-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO] is preparing to sign a military partnership treaty with the 53-nation AU." Rozoff explains that this is a likely maneuver against the spread of Chinese interests in the continent.According to Black Agenda Report editor Glen Ford, who also traveled to Tripoli in 2008, Gaddafi is on the outs: the man who ruled this not-so-little North African dictatorship is about finished. Whatever the truth about Muammar Gaddafi, at least one thing is certain: he was not the big bad bogeyman now under attack by the West.
(Darfur is the giant block 12 concession on the left side.)
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On February 22, 2011, the Libyan deputy ambassador to the United Nations called on Muammar Gaddafi to step down and face trial over "war crimes and genocide".
The charge has now been widely repeated in other news venues. "European diplomats are meeting around the clock to minimise risks for their nationals after a speech by Libya's Muammar Gaddafi yesterday (22 February) was interpreted as "code to start genocide."
"Gaddafi's Genocide!" declared one CNN news pundit. A Stop Gaddafi Genocide! page was created on Facebook.
Such claims made by Libyan 'opposition' and reported in the western press that Gaddafi is committing genocide or about to commence genocide against his own people represent the height of western arrogance and hypocrisy.
The disinformation frenzy and hysteria knows no bounds. A web site dedicated to English language reporting on human rights in Cuba had this headline: Human Rights in Cuba: Is Casto Supporting Gaddafi's Genocide? "Are Cuban pilots flying Gaddafi's military jets, which are being deployed to attack peaceful Libyan protesters?" the article begins. Interestingly, Fidel Castro was the first international leader to publicly assert that Washington was about to invade Libya: Castro was right.
At this very moment the wars being prosecuted by the USA and its allies, including Japan, Europe, Israel, South Africa, Canada and Australia, far dwarf the 'atrocities' committed in Libya. While we have no credible reporting about who is killing, who is opposition, how many dead, etc., out of Libya, we have credible report after credible report establishing that the US and its allies have perpetrated massacres, tortures, and other atrocities, including genocide, in the millions of people, in Congo-Zaire, Rwanda, Uganda, Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan - for a short list.
The claim of genocide here, akin to the one-sided charges against former Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana, or against Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, are one more clear example of the Politics of Genocide delineated in great detail by this writer and others. Reports in western media -- provided, again, by the FNSL and other western intelligence, covert operations or psychological operations flak organizations -- are filled with harsh language and characterizations not seen in reporting on or by western military campaigns. For example, in many western reports we can find, such as Gruesome Footage Proves Libya Using Heavy Arms makes claims that "newspapers obtained shocking footage of corpses with bodies blasted off and several torsos in Libyan hospitals."
So there are several torsos. That is not quite genocide. Where are the images? If such images of death and destruction do appear it will be in sharp contrast to the complete whiteout on dead bodies in the Pentagon's other theaters of war, in the eastern Congo-Zaire or Somalia, or in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, some videos purporting to be 'violence in Libya' have disappeared from the web.
Images of dead bodies can be produced and published but these are easily stripped of context. How do western audiences and propaganda consumers know that these are authentic and not recycled images of protests from Yemen or Bahrain dumped into the western press (with their willing acknowledgment) by Britain's MI-6, as has been alleged? Al-Jezeera shows its true western colors by not reporting much of anything, and that certainly not critical of western manipulation or involvement.
Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni greets the entourage of foreign mercenaries Tony Buckinham and others as part of the Heritage Oil & Gas / Sandline International meetings to secure oil concessions in the bloody Semliki basin bordering eastern Congo-Zaire & northern Uganda: both sites of actual genocides.
We saw the tactic of collecting dead bodies and skeletons used in Rwanda by the Pentagon's agents of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, and in Darfur and South Sudan, where journalist Nicholas Kristof produced some dead shriveled bodies from some desert somewhere and claimed these were from the New York Times' Secret Genocide Archives. The atrocities were committed, we are told, by President Omar al-Bashir and the government of Sudan.
However, there is never any mention of US military involvement, mercenaries (Pacific Architects and Engineers, Dyncorp, others) on the ground in Sudan. Dead men tell no tales, or dead women: these dead bodies are as likely dead from US or Israeli backed 'rebels' -- the Justice and Equality Movement or Sudan Liberation Army backed by the US, NATO, Israel and our puppet dictator in Uganda.
The double-standards and outright lies can be seen quickly, if one knows there are deeper truths, by examining propaganda produced by the International Crisis Group, or such propaganda tracts as Smith College English teacher Eric Reeves' A Long Day's Dying: Critical Moments in the Darfur Genocide -- where there is not one reference to Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni and his backing of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) in South Sudan -- a US military covert operation -- and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) in Darfur, in all of the 386 pages.
Western mercenaries that have been deeply involved, and remain so, in some of the world's bloodiest conflicts, incoup d'etats, in massacres and other atrocities, include British mercenary Tony Buckingham -- whose mercenary past is legendary -- founder of Heritage Oil & Gas, a petroleum company linked by Buckingham to mercenary firms Branch Energy and Sandline International. Buckingham was also a partner in the infamous Executive Outcomes, with former British Special Air Services (SAS) soldier-of-misfortune Tim Spicer -- the recipient of massive Pentagon contracts in Iraq. Heritage director General Sir Michael Wilkes retired from the British Army in 1995 and is a former Middle East adviser to the British government and a member of the Army Board. Wilkes commanded Britain's SAS regiment and was director of Special Forces. Heritage Oil has exploited opportunities in Mali, Uganda, Republic of Congo, Oman and Iraq.
Heritage Oil & Gas map of operations in Iraq.
Similarly, there was no public outcry about the use of mercenaries to shore up a dictator when Central African Republic dictator Ange Felix Patasse called in Libyan troops and commanders to protect his private diamond republic. When Ethiopian troops joined the Pentagon's efforts to overthrow Col. Joseph Mobutu and reorganize capitalist interests in Congo-Zaire (1996) -- no one said a word. What are UN troops from Pakistan, Guatemala, India or Bangledesh -- paid to carry a gun and use it if necessary in support of protecting capitalist interests? Mercenaries.
If there are acts of genocide being committed in Libya, they are not being committed by Gaddafi or those fighting for Gaddafi. Reports are emerging that indicate that black Africans are being targeted by ANTI-government forces -- these would be the western media's precious 'rebels' -- for their perceived support of Gaddafi. These include black Africans from Sudan, Chad, or Egypt, many of which are apparently laborers who have been working the service and lower menial jobs in Libya. However, this report seeks to remind people that there is a political economy of genocide, just as their is a political economy of human rights (and it is imperative that any sincere and comprehensive discussion or application of the term 'genocide' be informed by an agreement or understanding of what we do and don't mean by such terminology).
"The conflict in Libya is not a revolution, but a counter-revolution," writes long-time Libya resident Gerald Perreira inLibya, Getting it Right: A Revolutionary Pan-African Perspective. "The struggle is fundamentally a battle between Pan-African forces on the one hand, who are dedicated to the realization of Qaddafi's vision of a united Africa, and reactionary racist Libyan Arab forces who reject Qaddafi's vision of Libya as part of a United Africa."
"For those of us who have lived and worked in Libya," Perreira points out, "there are many complexities to the current situation that have been completely overlooked by the Western media and 'Westoxicated' analysts. who have nothing other than a Eurocentric perspective to draw on. Let us be clear -- there is no possibility of understanding what is happening in Libya within a Eurocentric framework. Westerners are incapable of understanding a system unless the system emanates from or is attached in some way to the West. Libya's system and the battle now taking place on its soil, stands completely outside of the Western imagination."
In short, almost everything in the western press on the crises in Libya is slanted by some faction, or interest, or it is tainted by western arrogance, or by anti-imperialist ideology (of 'solidarity'), even in the case of what is perceived to be the 'alternative' media. There is very little accurate reporting of any kind (but some good work linked or cited herein).
Muammar Gaddafi has been a champion for people of color -- providing funding, hope and solidarity where none existed, and this correspondent is aware that this [white] correspondent's writing herein is deficient in presenting all the positive aspects of his collaboration with people of color.
"The lies of the media cannot hide the fact that Gaddafi has supported the struggles of peoples for liberation in Nicaragua, Cuba, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa and many other countries, specifically concretely helping the people who fought for liberation," writes Antonio Cesar Oliviera, in Who Is Muammar Gaddafi? "In practice, Gaddafi has always been a benefactor of mankind," Oliviera continues, "but for the mercenary [western] media, a benefactor is one who creates wars in search of profits for the arms industry or to dominate the world, as were the wars created by the U.S. in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, El Salvador, Nicaragua and many other countries."
Gaddafi's alliance with Islam and his support for truly revolutionary movements must be understood for what the capitalist system sees them as: slaps in the face of power and threats to that power. This is one of the biggest reasons that Gaddafi, throughout his tenure as leader of the Libyan Revolution, has been considered the devil incarnate by Washington and London et al.
This report [herein] is just another incomplete picture of an incomplete puzzle -- but it seeks to penetrate through and expose the ongoing western media campaign for what it is: a psychological operation against the masses of earth's people who have not and do not benefit from the nasty policies and actions implemented to serve a very small and elite group of people.
Muammar Gaddafi is not my enemy, and I am not his, and so my criticisms are reserved for those involved in the unjust and illegitimate invasions and wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Congo-Zaire, Somalia and now Libya. Gaddafi has opposed the unjust International Criminal Court, and so do I.
People wishing to support the legitimate grievances and actions for freedom and truth in Libya should challenge the western terrorist apparatus out of Washington, DC, Tel Aviv, Brussels, London and Toronto.
Prayers for the true innocent civilians in Libya, and across the region.
* keith harmon snow traveled to Tripoli, Libya in 2009 and stayed about 3 days while attending the "2009 International Conference of the Green Book Supporters" as a member of the US Delegation invited by former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia Mckinney (D-GA).
** Maps are from a petroleum industry map of all Africa produced in 1996: much has changed since then, only for the worse, in terms of oil and gas expansions.
Posted March 1, 2011, updated by keith harmon snow on March 4, 2011
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