Gaddafi’s Harem by Annick Cojean appears to pit the final nails into the coffin of Gaddafi’s reputation. I haven’t read the book but have looked at newspaper articles about it. The Mail Online has a pretty detailed review. However Linda Housman a contributor to Pravda Ru suggests that this is a character assassination. Housman presents a decent argument that the West’s media has used stories of sexual exploitation as propaganda before, as in the false stories that Gaddafi’s troops were being given Viagra and ordered to rape women. I have no idea where the truth lies in all this but on past form there is good reason to be suspicious of anything coming from mainstream journalists.
I’ve finally overcome my inertia and canceled the Â£5 monthly donation that I have been making to Amnesty International for the last 30 years or so. Twenty years ago I was an active AI supporter, more recently it has just been the donation. As Syrian Girl says, AI supports NATO’s wars; I do not.
The last two calls I’ve had from Amnesty asking for increased support highlighted abuses in Iran and China; I’ve never had a call about abuses in Saudi Arabia or Israel or any ally of the NATO countries.
My concern about Amnesty began with their support for military intervention in Libya and the disinformation that they spread about Gaddfi using black mercenaries against his own people. Amnesty later admitted that this information was false but it led to the murder of black civilians.
According to Wikipedia Amnesty has ‘form’ for spreading rumours like this, as in the lead up to the 1991 Gulf War:
Critics have also pointed out that AI had a role propagating disinformation in a press release before the 1991 Gulf War, in which it claimed that Iraqi soldiers were responsible for the deaths of “scores of civilians, including newborn babies, who died as a direct result of their forced removal from life-support machines.” It later transpired that this claim was a propaganda hoax, and AI’s press release was used in the opening salvo of this propaganda campaign â€“ U.S. President George H. W. Bush showed AI’s press release on a prime time interview. Prof. Francis Boyle, an AI USA director at the time, gives a detailed insider account of the way the AI press release was handled. The normal process of double-checking and consultation was short-circuited in a rush to issue the press release. In an April 1991 statement, AI said that although its team was shown alleged mass graves of babies, it was not established how they had died and the team found no reliable evidence that Iraqi forces had caused the deaths of babies by removing them or ordering their removal from incubators.
The same Wikipedia article indicates that AI continues to spread rumours relating to the Syrian conflict:
In September 2011, Amnesty International reported that anti-Assad protestor Zainab al-Hosni’s body, mutilated by pro-Assad forces, was “discovered by chance by her family in a morgue in Homs while there to identify her brother’s corpse.” In October 2011, Hosni allegedly appeared on Syrian TV stating that the accusations of her killing were false and fabricated by anti-Assad protestors to “serve foreign interests” and that she was “alive in contrast to what the lying satellite television stations had said.” According to a report in Reuters, anti-Assad activists say she is a look-alike.
This is not to say that AI does not do some good work, it must in order to maintain any credibility, but the evidence suggests that it is either allied to NATO and its aims or else it is irresponsible and incompetent in its pronouncements about abuses by states.
Reports coming out of Libya, even from the mainstream western media, show that the place is a mess. The result of the NATO intervention has been to set up an ineffectual government that has no democratic mandate and that competes with armed militias. The Channel 4 documentary describes a nation in continued conflict and rife with racist brutality against black Libyans and black migrant workers. It is interesting that although the documentary shows the truth of what is happening the commentary makes many references to the ‘barbarism’ of the Gaddafi regime, asserts that everyone is happy to see Gaddafi gone and repeats the lie that he was using mercenaries against his own people. Perhaps it would not have been possible to make the film without these caveats.
It is very clear that the NATO intervention in Libya was not humanitarian and was based on lies just as the decision to invade Iraq was based on lies. What does this say about David Cameron who with Sarkozy and Obama were central to pursuing the war and pushing for ‘regime change’? What does it say about the ‘loyal opposition’ that did not oppose this?
Dan Glazebrook argues that Gaddafi was a bulwark against US plans to recolonise Africa for the western powers and his elimination means that these plans can go ahead unhindered:
Libyaâ€™s destruction gave AFRICOM a renewed lease on life. The U.S. Africa Command â€œhas now announced an unprecedented fourteen major joint military exercises in African countries for 2012.â€ Meanwhile, the NATO-created â€œgovernmentâ€ of Libya passed Law 37, which imposes life in prison for â€œglorifying the former government or its leader,â€ and Law 38, which immunizes from prosecution all crimes â€“ including lynching and ethic cleansing â€“ committed while â€œpromoting or protecting the revolution.â€
With a threat of life imprisonment for â€œglorifying the former government or its leader,â€ it is hardly surprising if reporters find few people speaking well of the previous regime.
Glazebrook’s article, reprinted in Black Agenda Report provides a proper commentary to the Channel 4 Documentary:
â€œLibyan resources are now being jointly plundered by the oil multinationals and a handful of chosen families from amongst the countryâ€™s new elites.â€
The scale of the ongoing tragedy visited on Libya by NATO and its allies is becoming horribly clearer with each passing day. Estimates of those killed so far vary, but 50,000 seems like a low estimate; indeed the British Ministry of Defense was boasting that the onslaught had killed 35,000 as early as last May. But this number is constantly growing. The destruction of the stateâ€™s forces by British, French and American blitzkrieg has left the country in a state of total anarchy â€“ in the worst possible sense of the word. Having had nothing to unite them other than a temporary willingness to act as NATOâ€™s foot soldiers, the former â€œrebelsâ€ are now turning on each other. 147 were killed in in-fighting in Southern Libya in a single week earlier this year, and in recent weeks government buildings â€“ including the Prime Ministerial compound â€“ have come under fire by â€œrebelsâ€ demanding cash payment for their services. $1.4billion has been paid out already â€“ demonstrating once again that it was the forces of NATO colonialism, not Gaddafi, who were reliant on â€œmercenariesâ€ â€“ but payments were suspended last month due to widespread nepotism. Corruption is becoming endemic â€“ a further $2.5billion in oil revenues that was supposed to have been transferred to the national treasury remains unaccounted for. Libyan resources are now being jointly plundered by the oil multinationals and a handful of chosen families from amongst the countryâ€™s new elites; a classic neo-colonial stitch-up. The use of these resources for giant infrastructure projects such as the Great Manmade River, and the massive raising of living standards over the past four decades (Libyan life expectancy rose from 51 to 77 since Gaddafi came to power in 1969) sadly looks to have already become a thing of the past.
The rest of Glazebrook’s article describes how:
in the same month Gaddafi was murdered (October 2011) â€“ the US announced it was sending troops to no less than four more African countries â€“ the Central African Republic, Uganda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. AFRICOM has now announced an unprecedented fourteen major joint military exercises in African countries for 2012.
That the machinations in the Middle East and Africa are part of a plan to maintain the dominance of the West is so obvious that it takes wilful blindness not to see it. The question is, what can ordinary citizens of the UK do individually or collectively?