In response to the torture and summary execution of an injured, bload-soaked, helpless human being, the front page of one British newspaper read:
'Mad Dog Put Down.'
The title of an article in the Sun declared: ‘Dead dog.’ (October 24, 2011)
The Daily Star reported that Gaddafi's son Mutassim had been filmed smoking a cigarette and drinking water shortly after being captured. The paper took up the story:
‘But in graphic images that have baffled UN investigators, he is then shown dead, lying next to Mad Dog, with bullet holes in his neck and stomach.’
In his report, ‘Mad Dog’ was the name journalist Gary Nicks used to refer to the executed Libyan leader. Nicks continued: ‘New footage emerged yesterday of Mad Dog’s dying words to a baying mob.’
Gaddafi and his son were not the only victims of the mob. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that between six and ten people appeared to have been executed at the scene of the Libyan leader’s capture. Around 95 bodies were found in the immediate vicinity, many of them victims of Nato airstrikes. In fact, it is clear that Nato, with the assistance of special forces (although ground troops were strictly forbidden by UN resolution 1973), had maintained a no-drive zone around Sirte: a crucial factor facilitating the murder of Gaddafi.
CBS reported 572 bodies ‘and counting’ in Sirte, including 300, ‘many of them with their hands tied behind their backs and shot in the head’, collected and buried in a mass grave.
HRW reported the massacre of 53 people by anti-Gaddafi fighters at the Mahara hotel in Sirte. Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at HRW, commented on the atrocity:
‘This latest massacre seems part of a trend of killings, looting, and other abuses committed by armed anti-Gaddafi fighters who consider themselves above the law.’
The BBC covered the massacre on its News at Ten (October 24). Wyre Davies reported:
'Some say Gaddafi's home town is where transitional government forces took their revenge; collective punishment for Gaddafi's own crimes. A vivid and graphic example of that in Sirte today. The bodies of 53 Gaddafi supporters, discovered shot with their hands tied.'
The segment lasted 20 seconds, with commentary on the massacre and footage of the bodies lasting 10 seconds. As one surviving resident of Sirte asked:
‘What would people in Europe and America say if Gaddafi was doing this?’
The answer is hardly in doubt - wall-to-wall coverage and volcanic outrage. Gaddafi was certainly a vicious tyrant responsible for gross human rights abuses. But callous indifference to human suffering was supposed to be the reason he was so beyond the pale, so unlike ‘us’.
Channel 4 anchor Matt Frei responded to the massacre in a style familiar from his years as the BBC’s Washington correspondent:
‘You could say even about this regime, this government, that they don’t have a second chance to make a first impression. So just how worried are they?’
When ‘our side’ is responsible, even a massacre becomes, first and foremost, a PR problem.
The response from Ian Black, the liberal Guardian’s Middle East correspondent, to the torture and extrajudicial killing of Gaddafi was a stark: ‘good riddance’.
Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, giggled with CBS journalists as she joked about Gaddafi’s murder:
British prime minister David Cameron also found mirth amid the gore in a speech celebrating the Hindu festival of Diwali:
‘Obviously, Diwali being the festival of a triumph of good over evil, and also celebrating the death of a devil [audience laughter], perhaps there’s a little resonance in what I’m saying tonight.’ (BBC News at Ten, October 20, 2011)
One of our regular message board posters, Chris Shaw, expressed his ‘despair and horror at the footage of a 69 year old man being beaten, tortured and murdered by a mob’ (Media Lens message board, October 24, 2011). The natural response of a feeling human being, one might think. By contrast, Andrew Gilligan wrote in the Telegraph: ‘the one thing Gaddafi retained to the very end was his ability to put on a show… [His] demise was as box-office as his 42-year rule’.
We suspect that most journalists are not actually unfeeling brutes. They are conformists wary of the high price they can be made to pay for even the suspicion that they might be 'apologists' for an official enemy. A risk that has increased markedly in our age of 'political convergence', deprived as it is of any established mainstream political dissent.
Cameron's First Military Victory
As ever, the broadcast media rushed to vindicate their warrior-leaders. Indeed, on August 22, the BBC’s deputy political editor, James Landale, was a month early in describing Downing Street’s satisfaction ‘that all David Cameron's critics, who said that this couldn't be done - that aerial bombardment would not work - have been proved wrong’. (Landale, BBC News at Six, August 22, 2011)
Last week, Landale’s senior colleague, Nick Robinson, brought viewers up to date, assuring them that Downing Street 'will see this, I'm sure, as a triumphant end'. (News at Six, October 20, 2011) Robinson added:
‘Libya was David Cameron’s first war. Colonel Gaddafi his first foe. Today, his first real taste of military victory.’
We are living in strange times when a senior BBC journalist can portray the fighting of endless wars as the normal way of things, as though Cameron had taken some kind of prime ministerial rite of initiation.
In an interview with new UK defence secretary, Philip Hammond, BBC ‘rottweiler’ John Humphrys asked:
'What apart from a sort of moral glow – and there’s nothing wrong with that – have we got out of it?' (Humphrys to Hammond, BBC Radio 4 Today, October 21, 2011; go to 3:13)
The BBC’s chief political correspondent, Norman Smith, commented:
‘I imagine, privately, David Cameron must surely feel vindicated because the Libyan enterprise was a big political risk.’ (BBC News online, 16:34, October 21, 2011)
As ever, an ostensibly neutral BBC reporter endorsed what he was supposed only to be reporting: Cameron ‘must surely feel vindicated’. How could he possibly feel otherwise?
In Washington, the BBC’s Ian Pannell thought hard and joined the mainstream herd:
‘I think President Obama is feeling that his foreign policy strategy has been vindicated - that his critics have been proven wrong.’ (BBC News online, 16:44, October 21, 2011)
'His death vindicates the swift action of David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy in halting the attack on Benghazi and supporting the rebellion.'
A Tweet from someone called Micah Zenko made more sense to us:
'Qaddafi summarily executed is apt conclusion to false narrative of Libya intervention. No arms embargo, selective NFZ, boots on the ground.'
Zenco might also have mentioned the unnoticed irony that UN resolution 1973, which authorised the misnamed ‘no-fly zone’, was among other things: ‘Condemning... torture and summary executions.’
As though concluding a bed-time story, the Guardian’s Simon Tisdallcommented:
‘The Arab spring had claimed another infamous scalp. The risky western intervention had worked. And Libya was liberated at last.’
Andrew Grice, political editor of the Independent, applauded:
‘Mr Cameron took risks on Libya – but they paid off… Mr Cameron proved the doubters wrong… By calling Libya right, Mr Cameron invites a neat contrast with Tony Blair.’
Murdoch’s Times observed that only the ‘political courage’ of Sarkozy and Cameron had prevented disaster at ‘the beginning of another genocide’. (Leading article, ‘Death of a Dictator,' The Times, October 21, 2011)
In Murdoch’s grim fantasy world, any nation obstructing Western corporate control is, by happy coincidence, either perpetrating or planning ‘genocide’.
Jesus And Buddha - Hang Your Heads In Shame!
The comparative mythologist, Joseph Campbell, once commented on a striking feature of modern propaganda:
‘It's been largely based on denigrating somebody over there and saying we've got to go in and knock them out. The main awakening of the human spirit is in compassion and the main function of propaganda is to suppress compassion, knock it out. Well, it's in public journalism all the time now, too.’ (Campbell, The Hero's Journey, HarperSanFrancisco, 1991, p.220)
Compassion is a threat because it is politically incorrect, resistant to robotic demonising by the cheerleaders of hate. Compassion is a spontaneous trembling of the heart based on an awareness of shared humanity, shared suffering, shared Being. And yet, even the normally insightful Glenn Greenwald, clearly appalled by the murders in Libya, reminded readers of something he had previously written:
‘No decent human being would possibly harbor any sympathy for Gadaffi, just as none harbored any for Saddam.’
We Tweeted him: ‘Jesus and Buddha hang your heads in shame!’
Greenwald replied: ‘I had this debate when I first wrote that - it doesn't mean you don't object to what's done to them: they're just not sympathetic.’
How easily we forget that compassion - even for a vicious, hated enemy - has long been recognised as one of the highest, most precious achievements of human civilisation. As the Buddhist sage Je Gampopa commented:
'Those who are hurt by others in return for the goodness they show them, yet, despite this, still act beneficially towards them, are the finest humans in the world: people who can return good for bad.' (Gampopa, Gems of Dharma, Jewels of Freedom, Altea, 1994, p.155)
Does anyone doubt that a Jesus or a Buddha would not merely have harboured sympathy for Gaddafi but would have intervened to save his life? And who would dare claim that doing so would make them ‘apologists’ for tyranny?
Philosopher A.C. Grayling sounded a rare note of dissent:
‘In accepting the pragmatic case for shooting malefactors, just as we shoot mad dogs, we state that we do not wish to pay the high cost of living according to law and civil liberties. We champion our Western principles about the rule of law and the rights of individuals, we thus say, only until they become a burden and an inconvenience; and, when they do, we summarily shoot people in the head instead.’
The ‘inconvenience’ requires explanation. In truth, if they are to survive, ‘Third World’ leaders are most often obliged to prioritise Western corporate interests over the needs of local people (see our discussion of John Perkins’ book ‘Confessions of an Economic Hit Man’ ). This rankles with the victims of course, and so Western clients typically have numerous skeletons in their human rights cupboard – hidden with Western military, financial and diplomatic help. These skeletons can be brought to light in a moment, if the client strays. A compliant media is always on hand to declare the crimes 'Hitlerian', ‘genocidal’, 'exceptional', and surely justifying whatever violent measures Western governments deem fit for the preservation of civilisation: in reality, the preservation of their control of the target nation.
In the rush to celebrate Cameron’s ‘first taste of military victory,’ the UK media ignored or downplayed a whole host of problems with the war, including:
- The fact that even establishment think tanks like the International Crisis Group reported that Nato and the ‘rebel’ Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC), rather than the Gaddafi regime, had rejected all peace initiatives out of hand:
'UNSC resolution 1973 emphatically called for a ceasefire, yet every proposal for a ceasefire put forward by the Qaddafi regime or by third parties so far has been rejected by the TNC as well as by the Western governments most closely associated with the NATO military campaign... neither the TNC nor NATO has made a ceasefire proposal of its own and there has yet to be a meaningful attempt to test Qaddafi's seriousness or pose conditions on acceptance that would subject a putative ceasefire to effective independent supervision'. (ICG, Popular Protest In North Africa and the Middle East, (V): Making Sense of Libya, Middle East/North Africa Report N°107 – 6 June 2011, pp.28-29)
- The fact that there was no UN mandate for regime change, even though this was very obviously Nato’s illegal aim.
- The striking lack of evidence - not least from other towns recaptured by pro-government forces - that Gaddafi planned to commit a massacre in Benghazi.
- ‘Rebel’ estimates of 50,000 dead as a result of the war as far back as the end of August. The Guardian's Seumas Milne is a rare, honest voice in noting that 'while the death toll in Libya when Nato intervened was perhaps around 1,000-2,000 (judging by UN estimates), eight months later it is probably more than ten times that figure'. Milne added: 'if the purpose of western intervention in Libya's civil war was to "protect civilians" and save lives, it has been a catastrophic failure'.
- The reduction of Sirte, previously a city of 100,000 people, to a smoking ruin as a result of several weeks of siege. The assault included daily indiscriminate bombing, the cutting off of water, food, medicine and electricity supplies, the shelling of a hospital, widespread looting and massacres. Aid agencies described how the attack had created a humanitarian crisis.
- The widespread racist persecution of black Libyans and sub-Saharan Africans by anti-Gaddafi forces. Amnesty International reported that 'black Libyans and sub-Saharan Africans are at high risk of abuse by anti-Gaddafi forces'. (Many thanks to Peter, for providing much of this list on the Media Lens message board. A longer list is archived here)
Any horrors to come are likely to be reported in brief as the media eye swivels inexorably towards the next target of 'humanitarian intervention'.
The goal of Media Lens is to promote rationality, compassion and respect for others. If you do write to journalists, we strongly urge you to maintain a polite, non-aggressive and non-abusive tone.
A Pakistani family is under brutal assault for refusing to murder their daughter for being a victim of rape. The case serves to underscore Pakistan’s malevolent role as the world epicenter of “honor killings.”
A Pakistani family is under brutal assault for refusing to murder their daughter for being a victim of rape. The case serves to underscore Pakistan’s malevolent role as the world epicenter of “honor killings.”
Kainat Soomro was 13-years old when she was kidnapped in 2007 near the Pakistan town of Dadu and viciously gang raped for three days by four Muslim men. While fortunate enough to finally escape her captors, Kainat’s ordeal was tragically just beginning.
Despite being the victim of rape, Kainat was instead declared to be a kari, or “black female,” by tribal elders in her town for having the temerity to have sex outside of marriage. As a consequence of that decree, Kainat’s family was expected to subject her to an honor killing.
However, despite the pressure to murder Kainat, her family refused. As Kainat later pointed out, “It is the tradition, but if the family doesn’t permit it, then it won’t happen. My father, my brothers, my mom didn’t allow it.”
Instead, her family opted for a saner and less barbaric route by seeking to have Kainat’s rapists prosecuted for their heinous acts. Unhappily for the Soomro family, that decision would subject the family to years of sustained attacks and beatings by fanatical fellow Muslims, assaults that eventually drove the Soomros into a grim state of poverty.
Unfortunately, despite the Soomro family’s heroic efforts to spare their daughter’s life, Kainat’s rapists were acquitted in May 2010 after a local judge declared her sole testimony as an “alleged rape survivor” to be insufficient. Regrettably, the anguish of that court decision only deepened a month later when Kainat’s brother was murdered by unknown assailants, ostensibly for the sin of having the audacity to defend his sister during her trial.
Now, 17-years-old, Kainat and her family remain undeterred. To that end, they are petitioning higher Pakistani courts to appeal the ruling in her case. However, beset by severe pressure to withdraw her appeal, the Soomros remain under attack by men affiliated with her rapists, men who recently vandalized their apartment, beat the father and brother with iron rods and threatened to kill Kainat.
Sadly, the decision by the Soomros to resist community efforts and not kill their daughter remains the exception to the rule in Pakistan. The sad reality is that more often than not, Pakistani families stand eagerly ready to murder their wives and daughters for any “damage” they may have done to the perceived “honor” of the family.
That “damage” can occur when a woman has the misfortune of being raped; marries a man of her own choosing; has any contact with an unrelated male; dates a Christian; openly flirts; or adopts Western ways of dress and behavior.
While in most cases husbands, fathers or brothers of the offending women in question commit the murders, in some cases, tribal councils decide that the woman should be killed and, as such, send men to execute her.
According to the United Nations, about 5,000 honor killings take place each year, most of which take place in Muslim countries in the Middle East and South Asia. For its part, Pakistan accounts for nearly 20 percent of those killings, nearly 1,000 a year, the most of any nation. Honor killing incidents in Pakistan reported in 2011 have included one girl burned alive, five girls dying from acid attacks, and four girls tortured to death.
"Before NATO intrusion, Libya was African Switzerland’
Published time: 25 Aug, 2011
NATO’s presence in Libya little resembles a humanitarian mission with houses, hospitals and schools being hit. But Libya prospered prior to NATO’s intrusion, Yvonne Di Vito, an activist from Libyanfriends.com told RT.
RT: You have been saying that here in Italy the news reports abut what is happening in Libya were very confusing, a lot of conflicting information there. Can you tell us what you saw and what you found?
Yvonne Di Vito: We went to Libya on the 28th July and we came back on the 7th August and we found a totally different situation because NATO was bombarding civilians.
The bombings were not only carried out on military targets, but they also hit houses, hospitals, schools, television centers, and this was totally against the humanitarian reasons they said they were there for.
I believe they were doing this to bring panic in the city. That’s why they were bombing the things that people use daily, like places with food and essential utilities like hospitals.
This was also a difficult period for Muslims because of Ramadan and that is why in the daytime they’re in their houses. We went to Tripoli and to Zitan and we saw huge protests with thousands of pro-Gaddafi supporters turning out against NATO and all these demonstrations were not shown in Italy.
We also visited Tanjur and Sansur and found a lot of women that were screaming at us, asking ‘Why you Italians are bombing us? What did we do to you? Why are you killing our children?’ That was their main question. When we went to Zitan, the same day they bombed a house and in this house two children were killed. We tried to show the pictures of these children that were dead. But apart from us, no one else did the same.
Except the things that we saw with our own eyes visiting these places that were bombed, we have so much material that press officers and journalists from Libya gave to us as testimony to all the dead from the NATO bombings.
After all the things that we saw we have one question: is this a humanitarian war? Are they really helping the civilians, because I believe that all this is because of economic reasons, or at least there are other reasons that this war happened, petroleum or other things.
We also visited Libya before and what we found was a normal situation where people were fine. Differently from other countries that went through a revolution – Libya is considered to be the Switzerland of the African continent and is very rich and schools are free for the people. Hospitals are free for the people. And the conditions for women are much better than in other Arab countries.
RT: You’ve met Gaddafi personally on a number of occasions. What do you think post war and post Gaddafi Libya is going to look like?
YDV: Even if all the television stations are showing people fighting and demonstrating against Gaddafi, I personally saw many people demonstrating for Gaddafi. I don’t know why so many journalists are not showing this, because they are manipulating the situation. Independent media show these videos on the internet because there is more freedom. From what we saw personally from when we were in Libya and from the documents we got we saw the rebels as disorganized groups.
RT: Are there fears among the people that the rebels coming to power will prove an ongoing continuation of the volatile situation?
YDV: I believe that the rebels will not be able to do a good job after Gaddafi. Among them there are many extremist groups, Islamists, Tunisian people, I don’t know why they are there. Al-Qaeda, rebels from Libya that just wanted a change, but there is too much disorganization to make a good job.
The people we interviewed were very afraid to imagine that the rebels could take power, because they think that they are not able to govern the country or take control in a proper way. The chiefs of these groups of rebels are ex-politicians, former politicians that before were with Gaddafi and then they completely changed their face. They went with the wind, as they say in Italy.
RT: Are there concerns that amongst the rebels now there are many ex-politicians that are simply taking off their uniforms joining the rebels and leaving to fight? YDV: I think they are corrupt politicians. And this was also demonstrated as the chief of the rebels was killed at the order of the leader of the rebels.
We’ve seen many times that these rebels are making criminal acts, for example they’ve taken Libyan soldiers and killed them by cutting their heads off and they take their hearts out and show [sic] them to the people. So our question is, are we making allies of these people who are committing criminal acts and can these people really govern a country.
RT: NATO as a humanitarian mission – does this stand up to scrutiny now?
YDV: I believe it’s not a valid justification because most of the targets were civilian and many people say the people were targets on purpose to create panic on the ground.
RT: How much of a discrepancy did you see on the ground between what NATO was saying and what was happening?
YDV: We saw many discrepancies every day. The first day that NATO bombed a civilian target, I apologized to people saying that it was a mistake.
But the day after, they kept bombing the civilian targets and when the Libyan government was asking why they are bombing civilians, NATO were denying it saying it was Gaddafi propaganda. That wasn’t true. We saw it.
RT: This has been described by you as a war of disinformation. How much of that did you see on the ground?
YDV: We can see still how much the media are manipulating this situation – they say that Gaddafi’s sons have been arrested, whilst this turns out to be untrue. They report that all of Tripoli has been taken over by the rebels and this also proves untrue.
A friend of ours who is a businesswoman who lives in Tripoli and also created a commission to make an investigation into the facts of what happened in Libya, told me she found some journalists who were making false reports, saying that the rebels were behind them when in fact the city behind them was empty. We saw pictures of Green Square that is completely full of rebels. But if you compare those pictures to other pictures of Green Square it’s completely different, it seems like a set was created on purpose to make the public think that all of Tripoli was taken by the rebels, and all the Gaddafi family was dead.
We think this is a NATO tactic because they want people to think that rebels have taken power and I believe they are doing this because NATO is in a hurry to show this before the 30th August, because they do not want to have to provide further financing for the war.
RT:Are there fears among the people that the rebels coming to power will prove an ongoing continuation of the volatile situation?
YDV: This was not a popular demonstration, but a huge military action against Gaddafi. I think after Gaddafi it will be very difficult and NATO won’t leave the National Transitional Council to govern as they have put a lot of money into this war, so probably they will want some of that power and to be in charge.
So it is just an excuse or justification that they want to help the people – they will continue to take control on the city.
RT: You were talking about the tribes in Libya. Do you think that Western countries understand exactly what it is going to take to unite and bring democracy to Libya?
YDV: Before it was difficult to maintain the government in Libya because it is made of many tribes, it’s a tribal democracy, a society made of tribes that have conflicts with each other.
So it was difficult before and I imagine now it’ll be even more so.
RT: What do you think will going to happen in Libya now?
YDV: Me and many other people that are watching Libya are afraid that it may become another Afghanistan – a country that is devastated by wars that last for years and years.
It is a society completely different from us and our idea of democracy, they don’t approve it. Their idea of government is based on groups and tribes that have their own chief, then those chiefs together form a national counsel.
They believe that this is the only way to represent all the social groups. For example they don’t like our form of democracy because if 60 per cent of a country votes for one president, then the remaining 40 per cent don’t agree with the president, they believe this is not a form of democracy.
This is the first time that a country was attacked even though they asked for a commission to go into the country and to investigate and find facts. That didn’t happen. They just attacked. This was started with false pictures sent by Al Jazeera though the media. Other media took these pictures and confirmed them as true and the war was on.
The most important thing is that the government said it was open to negotiations, but NATO didn't want that.
Some believe it is about protecting civilians, others say it is about oil, but some are convinced intervention in Libya is all about Gaddafi's plan to introduce the gold dinar, a single African currency made from gold, a true sharing of the wealth.
"It's one of these things that you have to plan almost in secret, because as soon as you say you're going to change over from the dollar to something else, you're going to be targeted," says Ministry of Peace founder Dr James Thring.
For those of you who believe in the lies told by the media, here is the truth: The so-called Arab Spring has brought the Muslim Brotherhood to the position of power and influence in the Middle East. An Islamist party has won the elections in Tunisia; and we were told by the head of the ferals that the new Libyan constitution will be based on Islamic Sharia Law. I thought NATO was helping those ferals because they were thirsty for freedom and democracy... Since when a governance based on religion and especially Sharia has become the symbol of freedom and democracy? The West doesn't give a shit, does it? - as long as they can control the oil...f*'in fabolous!
The death of Muammar Gadhafi may have signaled the official end to his regime but the sad reality is that President Obama’s Libyan intervention has simply traded one problem for a far more dangerous one. That danger was underscored by the recent announcement by Libya’s de facto leader that the new Libya would be an Islamist state.
In a ceremony in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi marking the death of Gadhafi, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, chairman of Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council (NTC), put to rest any doubts the direction of the new Libya by declaring, “We take the Islamic religion as the core of our new government. The constitution will be based on our Islamic religion.”
The new Libyan constitution, according to Jalil, will also include the establishment of Islamic banks and the lifting of restrictions on the number of women Libyan men can marry.
While no one mourns the death of Muammar Gadhafi, the triumphant notes emanating from the Obama administration ignore the fact, as evidenced by Jalil’s comments, that toppling a tyrant remains the easiest part of the regime change equation. One need only look at US forces taking 60 days to topple the Afghan Taliban in 2001 and 30 days to oust Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in 2003.
It was only in the aftermath of those early successes in which sectarian civil unrest reared its head and engulfed both countries. For Libya, Gadhafi’s removal from the scene has now given rise to competing Islamist, secularist and tribal factions that threatens to throw Libya into a similar morass of sectarian violence.
Of course, such an outcome should produce little surprise given that the Obama administration threw its support behind a Libyan rebel force that included a collection of al-Qaeda insurgents, Islamist militants, criminals and former Gadhafi loyalists.
Not surprisingly, rifts within the ranks of the rebels’ ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) have only deepened since the fall of Tripoli in August 2011, with secularists and radical Islamists accusing each other of hijacking the Libyan revolution.
The Islamists have vehemently objected to efforts by secularist leaders within the NTC, led by current interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, to install a secular, pro-Western government staffed with holdovers of the Gadhafi regime.
Yet, despite the efforts to marginalize them, the early signs appear to indicate that the Islamists, including members of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood, and al-Qaeda terrorists, have emerged as the frontrunners to fill the vacuum left from the death of Gadhafi and the fall of his regime.
The Islamists are led by Abdel Hakim Belhaj, commander of the Tripoli Military Council and former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an Islamist movement with close ties to al-Qaeda.
Belhaj, who first left Libya in the 1980s to wage jihad against Soviet forces in Afghanistan and then later US coalition forces, has subsequently called for the NTC to purge itself of former Gadhafi loyalists and base the new Libyan government squarely on Sharia law.
Belhaj’s call for an Islamic state has been echoed by Ali al-Sallabi, a prominent Libyan Islamist cleric recently returned from exile in Qatar. While al-Sallabi has no formal political role, he enjoys great influence due to his close association with Belhaj.
In addition to the return of Islamists like al-Sallabi come exiled members of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood, banned by Gadhafi and now returning back to Libya to flex its newfound political muscle. According to one Libyan Brotherhood member, the group still has thousands of members scattered across Libya, with chapters in almost every single town, adding, “We’ve been working secretly till this moment.”
So, fully cognizant of the dangers these militant Islamic groups pose, Prime Minister Jibril has said any scheduling of constitutional and presidential elections can’t possibly be held until all the various armed rebel militias and brigades voluntarily disarm themselves.
Yet no group seems willing to heed Jibril’s call, among them most of Libya’s approximately 140 disparate tribes. Many of the tribes in Libya’s central and western regions chafed at the dominant role the eastern-based Benghazi tribes played in the NTC and either stayed out of the conflict or took the side of pro-Gadhafi forces.
One of these tribes included the Warfallah, the largest Libyan tribe, with more than one million people, who were counted as among the strongest of the Gadhafi regime’s loyalists during the conflict. So while Gadhafi and his regime may be gone, left behind are hosts of these loyalists, many of whom profited mightily from his years in power and who may be reluctant to lay down their arms and face retribution from Libyan rebels bent on settling scores.
Ironically, the fear of retribution from Libyan rebels has served to undermine the entire Responsibility to Protect premise upon which Obama used to justify intervention in Libya, namely to provide humanitarian assistance to Libyan civilians purportedly under assault by pro-Gadhafi forces.
Instead, Libyan rebels have engaged in their own, and some say even more brutal, atrocities. These human rights abuses include, according to a report by Amnesty International, massacres of Libyan civilians in pro-Gadhafi neighborhoods as well as a pogrom launched against dark-skinned Libyan civilians and African migrant workers.
Sadly, the result of Obama’s Libyan regime change has served to unleash a Pandora’s Box of trouble that will have terrible and far-reaching consequences. Those consequences were best expressed by Mahmud Jibril who only a few days ago announced his imminent resignation as Libya’s interim Prime Minister.
Jabril confessed to a group of reporters, “The political struggle requires finances, organization, arms and ideologies, and I am afraid I don’t have any of this.” Instead, without any successor named to fill his role, Jabril simply warned, “We have moved into a political struggle with no boundaries.”
Unfortunately, the boundaries of that struggle extend far beyond Libya’s borders.
"Many people find it comforting to believe that someone else is looking out for them, watching over them, and guiding them gently through the path of life.
Indeed, life would be so much simpler if someone else were responsible for our destiny, for countering evil with good, and for ensuring that caring people enjoy a comfortable afterlife.
Many well-intentioned but misguided people will tell you prayer is the answer to the problems of the world. They'd have you believe that if only you pray often enough and hard enough, you can realize your most precious goals. Unfortunately, this is not reality.
The untold suffering throughout the world should be evidence enough that no benevolent creator is watching over us, helping justice and fairness to triumph. People start wars, people abuse children and animals, and there's no deity to prevent that. You are responsible for your own happiness, and you alone are responsible for your own successes and failures.
Be an honest person for its own value - not from fear of spending an eternity in hell. Success in life requires hard work and logical thinking, and these are the values you must strive for." - Ethan Winer
We have an obligation to every last victim of this illegal aggression because all of this carnage has been done in our name. Since World War II, 90% of the casualties of war are unarmed civilians. 1/3 of them children. Our victims have done nothing to us. From Palestine to Afghanistan to Iraq to Somalia to wherever our next target may be, their murders are not collateral damage, they are the nature of modern warfare. They don't hate us because of our freedoms. They hate us because every day we are funding and committing crimes against humanity. The so-called "war on terror" is a cover for our military aggression to gain control of the resources of western Asia.
This is sending the poor of this country to kill the poor of those Muslim countries. This is trading blood for oil. This is genocide, and to most of the world, we are the terrorists. In these times, remaining silent on our responsibility to the world and its future is criminal. And in light of our complicity in the supreme crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan, and ongoing violations of the U.N. Charter in International Law, how dare any American criticize the actions of legitimate resistance to illegal occupation.
Our so-called enemies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, our other colonies around the world, and our inner cities here at home, are struggling against the oppressive hand of empire, demanding respect for their humanity. They are labeled insurgents or terrorists for resisting rape and pillage by the white establishment, but they are our brothers and sisters in the struggle for justice. The civilians at the other end of our weapons don't have a choice, but American soldiers have choices, and while there may have been some doubt 5 years ago, today we know the truth. Our soldiers don't sacrifice for duty-honor-country, they sacrifice for Kellogg Brown & Root.
They don't fight for America, they fight for their lives and their buddies beside them, because we put them in a war zone. They're not defending our freedoms, they're laying the foundation for 14 permanent military bases to defend the freedoms of Exxon Mobil and British Petroleum.
They're not establishing democracy, they're establishing the basis for an economic occupation to continue after the military occupation has ended. Iraqi society today, thanks to American "help" is defined by house raids, death squads, check-points, detentions, curfews, blood in the streets, and constant violence. We must dare to speak out in support of the Iraqi people, who resist and endure the horrific existence we brought upon them through our bloodthirsty imperial crusade. We must dare to speak out in support of those American war-resisters, the real military heroes, who uphold their oath to defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, including those terrorist cells in Washington DC more commonly known as the Legislative, Executive & Judicial branches.
"If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress"
Frederick Douglass said
"Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are people who want crops without plowing the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both ... but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."
Every one of us, every one of us must keep demanding, keep fighting, keep thundering, keep plowing, keep speaking, keep struggling until justice is served. NO justice, NO peace.