The Guardian (UK): “If the Libyan War Was About Saving Lives, It Was a Catastrophic Failure”

[Those who were encouraged by the Arab Spring extending from country to country early this year–including into Libya, against the corrupt and brutal Gaddafi regime–have been sobered by the apparent suppression of the most democratic and revolutionary currents among the rebels, and the growing power of former Gaddafi officials, gangs, and neo-compradors in leading ranks of the rebel military fighters.  We can hope the revolutionary forces driven underground will surface again, and soon, and struggle to put Libya on course for truly revolutionary transformations.  But today, our hearts go out to the vast numbers who have suffered untold tragedies at the hands of vindictive, non-democratic, and non-revolutionary forces. — Frontlines ed.]

Oct 27 2011

by Seumas Milne

As the most hopeful offshoot of the “Arab spring” so far flowered this week in successful elections in Tunisia, its ugliest underside has been laid bare in Libya. That’s not only, or even mainly, about the YouTube lynching of Qaddafi, courtesy of a NATO attack on his convoy.

The grisly killing of the Libyan despot after his captors had sodomised him with a knife, was certainly a war crime. But many inside and outside Libya doubtless also felt it was an understandable act of revenge after years of regime violence. Perhaps that was Hillary Clinton’s reaction, when she joked about it on camera, until global revulsion pushed the US to call for an investigation.

As the reality of what western media have hailed as Libya’s “liberation” becomes clearer, however, the butchering of Qaddafi has been revealed as only a reflection of a much bigger picture. On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch reported the discovery of 53 bodies, military and civilian, in Qaddafi’s last stronghold of Sirte, apparently executed – with their hands tied – by former rebel militia.

Its investigator in Libya, Peter Bouckaert, told me yesterday that more bodies are continuing to be discovered in Sirte, where evidence suggests about 500 people, civilians and fighters, have been killed in the last 10 days alone by shooting, shelling and Nato bombing. Continue reading

Twisting the News: the New York Times says US’ torture policy and practice is accidental

NYT’s Misleading Rendition of the Reason for Rendition

09/06/2011 by Peter Hart, FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting)

Documents discovered in Libya suggest a close relationship between the Libyan government and the CIA. The New York Times described it this way on September 3:

TRIPOLI, Libya — Documents found at the abandoned office of Libya’s former spymaster appear to provide new details of the close relations the Central Intelligence Agency shared with the Libyan intelligence service — most notably suggesting that the Americans sent terrorism suspects at least eight times for questioning in Libya despite that country’s reputation for torture.

And then today (9/6/11) the Times put it this way:

The cooperation appeared to be far greater with the American intelligence agency, which sent terrorism suspects to Libya for questioning at least eight times, despite the country’s reputation for torture. Britain sent at least one suspect, according to the documents.

As  Glenn Greenwald pointed out on Twitter (in fewer characters), the whole point of rendition was to send prisoners to countries the United States knew would treat them a certain way. It wasn’t a series of accidents. In other words, the CIA used Libya not despite its reputation for torture, but because of it.

CIA, MI6 under scrutiny after secret files reveal Gadhafi rendition deals

The CIA struck rendition deals with Libya as early as 2002
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15365413,00.html

 

With the Gadhafi regime in tatters and the Libyan leader on the run, secret files in Tripoli have come to light which detail the depth of cooperation between the US and UK with Libya on the rendition of terror suspects.

The United States and Britain face embarrassing questions after reams of confidential documents discovered in Libya’s External Security agency headquarters exposed the depth of cooperation between the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the UK’s foreign intelligence service MI6 and fugitive dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s secret service.

The documents, uncovered by officials from the Libyan transitional authority and researchers from Human Rights Watch during a sweep of government buildings, show that both the US and British intelligence services developed very close relations with Gadhafi. This cooperation took place even before the former Libyan leader was rehabillitated in the wake of his pledge to help in the war on terror and his renouncing of nuclear-weapons in 2004. Continue reading

When Gaddafi was a cash cow for the US and EU

[A description, written in February 2011, of US-Gaddafi relations during the period 2003-February 2011, when the people’s rebellion destabilized Gaddafi’s reliability as an ally and partner–and the US began searching for new, more reliable brokers for Libyan oil. — Frontlines ed.}

Libya: How Gaddafi became a Western-backed dictator

Italy’ President Silvio Berlusconi and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

By Peter Boyle

Updated February 25, 2011 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly — On February 22, Muammar Gaddafi was boasting on state TV that the Libyan people were with him and that he was the Libyan revolution, even while his dwindling army of special guards and hired mercenaries attempted to drown a popular revolution in blood.

Civilians were strafed and bombed from helicopters and planes. Snipers with high-powered rifles fired into unarmed crowds. Two pilots flew their fighter jets to Malta rather than bomb their own people and another two are reported to have crashed their jets rather than attack civilians. Sections of the armed forces, several diplomats and a couple of ministers have abandoned the regime and, at the time of the writing, the east of Libya was in the hands of popular revolutionary committees.

And as more sections of his armed forces stared to go over to the people, Gaddafi ordered troops who refused to shoot their own people to be executed.

Gruesome footage of the carnage was revealed to the world despite the Gaddafi regime’s desperate attempts to seal the country by blocking the internet and locking out journalists. Continue reading

When the US was out-sourcing torture jobs to Qaddafi

“When Qaddafi Was Our Friend

With Muammar Qaddafi’s ignominious disappearance to who knows where, fast on the heels of President Obama’s proclamation that “Qaddafi’s rule is over,” it is easy to think of the United States as the dictator’s stubborn, persistent, and ultimately triumphant foe.

One remembers Reagan’s efforts to confront Qaddafi decades ago: the 1986 missile strikes, the skirmishes in the Gulf of Sidra, the labeling of Libya’s leader as the “mad dog of the Middle East,” and of Libya as a rogue state.

But the line that one is tempted to draw between U.S./Libyan relations then and U.S./Libyan relations now isn’t straight.  While Qaddafi is now despised as an enemy, for much of the past decade he was treated as a friend. Continue reading

Libya: In desperation, the people cry for relief from vultures who have stolen the struggle against the oppressive Gaddafi

[It will be a long, difficult uphill climb for the people of Libya.  As they rose in rebellion against the dictator Gaddafi, there were few and paltry democratic and revolutionary instruments to organize, unite, and lead their struggle.  Now, the Gaddafi family is on the run, but opportunist and oppressive vultures–both domestic and imperialist– are unleashing their own reign of terror on the very people who have challenged Gaddafi with such high hopes, and on African migrants subjected to racist stereotypes.  The people have the challenge to seize back the struggle that has been taken from them, and to begin the remaking of a society in great pain.  In this, the struggle is complex and difficult, but similar in some important ways to the challenge in the other countries of the Arab Spring. — Frontlines ed.]

Evidence of Libya massacres?

Channel4News
Alex Thomson witnesses the terror of black Africans accused by rebels of being

mercenaries and evidence of alleged massacres by Gaddafi forces.

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Mass graves of people opposed to Gaddafi

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Now fears of disease rise as bodies pile up on the streets

Taking away dead is a priority as Tripoli struggles with a shortage of medicine, water, fuel and food

The Wall of Martyrs in Benghazi yesterday

The Wall of Martyrs in Benghazi yesterday

By Kim Sengupta in Tripoli

Sunday, 28 August 2011

The shots came from two of the high-rise buildings, long bursts of Kalashnikov fire which made the rebel fighters on the ground scatter in alarm. The stubborn resistance at Abu Salim hospital, the last redoubt of the Gaddafi loyalists in Tripoli, was not yet over.

The scale of the fighting is now much reduced, but the bodies keep piling up – civilians caught up in the crossfire during the fierce violence of the past few days; fighters from both sides killed in action; those summarily executed, black men by the rebels for being alleged mercenaries, and political prisoners by the regime.

Outside Bab al-Aziziyah, Muammar Gaddafi’s fortress stormed last week, the dead, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa, many with their hands tied behind their back, some gagged, have been left on display on the roadside by the revolutionaries. Inside Abu Salim, the dead from the mortuary, some with marks of manacles on their wrists, spill into other rooms at the hospital. Continue reading

Gaddafi crosses Libya-Algeria border: Report

Cairo, Aug 27, (IANS):

Six armoured vehicles, thought to be carrying Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his sons, have crossed the Libya-Algeria border, Egypt’s official news agency MENA reported Saturday

Libyan military sources said the Mercedes bullet-proof cars left Libya for Algeria through the border, without any pursuit from the rebels.

The vehicles may have also carried other important Libyan officials.

An uprising against Gaddafi’s 42-year rule began in February. An international military operation “to protect civilians” began March 19 following a UN resolution.

Rebel forces have got control over large swathes of the country and most of the capital, Tripoli.

The Sun earlier reported Gaddafi may have fled on a golf buggy through a network of tunnels under his palatial building in Tripoli.