Libya: A sheep in wolf’s clothing? By William Bowles

28 March 2011

“The world is suffering, at the same time, the consequences of climatic changes; shortages and prices of foods, military spending and the squandering of natural and human resources are increasing. War was the timeliest event that could happen at this time.” — ‘Partnership of Equals‘ By Fidel Castro Ruz

I’m glad someone is on the ball.

Now I know some of my readers are going to be somewhat pissed off with what I have to say but I don’t write to make friends, rather I try to make sense of events from a left perspective, even if such views are somewhat thin on the ground these days. Nor do I take any pleasure from the act of criticizing what passes for a left in the Western world, yet the reality is unfortunately that the Western left is so corrupted by racism and indoctrinated with the idea of ‘reforming’ capitalism, that I venture to say that it wouldn’t recognize a socialist revolution if it ran right over them. For the most part it definitely didn’t recognize the true nature of the Libyan ‘revolution’.

And surely the events of the past few weeks have finally revealed the fact that what we choose to call progressive here in the ‘developed’ world, has to be amended to ‘liberal-possibly progressive’, infected as the left is with the disease called Empire. Frankly until the generation raised in the tradition of 20th century Western marxism has died off (the ‘leaders’ that is), I don’t hold out much hope of any real, progressive change taking place where it really counts: here.

Caught up in the euphoria of multiple insurrections (something we haven’t seen since the 1960s as a result of the post-war anti-colonial struggles reaching fruition), with notable exceptions the ‘left’ appears to have tossed analysis out the window and instead joined the phony and hypocritical call by the Empire to protect the human rights of the Libyan people- by bombing them.

I am not saying that the ‘left’ directly advocated bombing Libya but supporting a ‘no-fly zone’ is tantamount to exactly that, guilty by abstension, the very thing that enabled this piratical grab for Libyan resources and to further the strategic ambitions of the Empire. At last Africom has established itself as a military force on the continent (and I wouldn’t mind betting that this was one component of the Libyan strategy).

But what led to such a depressing situation? How is it that a left that has such a proud tradition of revolutionary struggle should end up this way, a shadow of its former self, reduced to mouthing empty phrases about revolutions and humanitarian bombing?

I think those who have led the left in the post-WWII period are just too damn comfortable, small fish in even smaller ponds who have traded in their revolutionary inheritance for a monopoly on thought. Thus it continually fragments as they seek the ‘true path to enlightenment’, with the competing ‘isms’ endlessly fighting it out and it’s been this way for as long as I can remember.

Meanwhile, the Empire gets on with the business of business

The BBC has gone to extreme lengths to try and prove that firstly, every last one of the Empire’s missiles, dozens of them raining down in Libya, have unlike all the other wars the Empire has going, actually found their intended targets. It’s bent over backward to please the empire endlessly churning out the message: ‘these are humanitarian bombs falling on Libyans’, whether civilian or armed. What a contradiction! Truly Orwellian in scale.

‘Civilians spared’ by Libya raids The US chief of staff for the mission in Libya insists there have been no reports of civilian casualties caused by allied action’, BBC, 24 March 2011

And second, that Gaddafi is lying when he claims that civilians have died. After all, the central mantra that the Empire has been broadcasting has been ‘humanitarian intervention’, thus dead Libyans, killed with USNATO missiles kinda shatters the illusion.

So John Simpson, veteran BBC journalist, who has made a career out of reporting other peoples’ death and misery as he trailed the Empire on its journey of destruction around the planet, took us to Tripoli to a (civilian) site that the Gaddafi regime claimed had been hit by a USNATO missile.

Something had definitely hit the location, there was shrapnel on the ground and bits of missile. But Simpson took us to a wall pockmarked mostly with bullet holes and maybe some shrapnel scars and told the audience, ‘these are bullet holes definitely made by an AK-47, so Gaddafi is lying’ when he says Libyans have been killed by USNATO missiles (in a later version broadcast this allegation was left out).

The following story reveals the gross lie the BBC is fobbing off on the reader:

Allies join fight for Libya city – International forces launch air strikes near Libya’s rebel-held city of Misrata, witnesses say, but Col Gaddafi’s forces continue their attacks’, BBC 23 March 2011

How quickly the ‘humanitarian mission’ morphed into giving air support to the rebel army, without which it wouldn’t stand a chance against the superior Gaddafi forces and how quickly the BBC morphed its own coverage. As usual, in lockstep with the Empire’s objectives, the goalposts have been moved. It’s no longer about ‘humanitarian intervention’ but the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime.

It’s like a carefully constructed jigsaw with each piece of the propaganda war dependent on all the other pieces fitting together correctly. The starting point that led to the Empire’s illegal act of war hinged on one simple assertion: That Gaddafi’s forces, on the verge of taking Benghazi, would if they succeeded, slaughter the inhabitants. ‘We had to intercede, it’s a humanitarian intervention’.

The BBC and the corporate press have gone to great lengths to create the illusion that Gaddafi is a liar, a ‘weirdo’ and possibly a genocidal maniac, this too becomes part of the raison d’etre for intervention, a mad man with guns and jet planes! Send in the Marines (with guns and jet planes).

The Gaddafi story – The many faces of Libya’s unpredictable leader‘, BBC 26 March 2011

I haven’t seen the BBC spending any time investigating the endless slaughter of civilians in any one of the half dozen wars the Empire has going, yet Simpson spent several minutes exploring Gaddafi’s ‘lies’. He had to in order to preserve the illusion of ‘humanitarian intervention’. We’re good, Gaddafi is bad.

How can Gaddafi be the West’s ‘best friend’ one minute and the devil incarnate the next? Well we pulled the same trick with Saddam Hussein, arming him one minute and attacking him the next. The US even armed both sides in the Iraq-Iran war with ‘Dr. Strangelove’ (Kissinger) actually boasting about it.

‘Humanitarian intervention’ became the mantra out of the Empire’s media mouthpieces, repeated ad nauseum, yet it rested on the allegation made by the besieged rebels in Benghazi, who were on the verge of defeat. And as time has elapsed, it’s now evident that assorted Western intelligence agencies and military forces have been in Benghazi since before the uprising even began. What is their involvement in the ‘uprising’? We are not told but according to Voltaire.net, the uprising was planned in Paris in November 2010 by the British and French intelligence agencies and set to commence on 21 March. And given that the British SAS have been in Benghazi for weeks (aside from their buffoonish, botched ‘rescue mission’), I am convinced that the ‘revolution’ was Western-inspired (and it looks like a similar scenario is now being played out in Syria).

“Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) raised the possibility Sunday of U.S. military involvement in Syria if President Bashar Al-Assad massacres.” — ‘Lieberman: Syria Could Be Next

The West behind the Libyan ‘revolution’?

‘He [Nouri Massoud El-Mesmari, former Gaddafi aide who defected to France] is now under the protection of French secret services, and [he] proposed to the French to organize an uprising in Benghazi and to overthrow Gaddafi,’ Meyssan continued. ‘The French asked the British to co-create a military expeditionary force, and it was signed between [them] on November 2.’

‘And you can verify that because the French military was asked to perform a big exercise with the British called Southern Mistral. And this military exercise is in fact exactly what is happening now, with the same people and the same strategy’ — ‘Anti-Gaddafi plot conceived in Paris’, 24 March 2011, Voltaire.net

When you add in the initial allegations that did the rounds in the beginning (African mercenaries, Gaddafi bombing civilians) which then vanished, a clear pattern of manipulation emerges and one faithfully echoed by the media every step of the way. A sophisticated propaganda campaign, I hazard a guess planned well in advance.

Should the left support Gaddafi?

Gaddafi presented the Western ‘left’ with a real dilemma and one that in part explains why it got caught up in the rush to intervene on ‘humanitarian grounds’. See he’s not a ‘real’ socialist, far from it, he banned trade unions, renounced his allegedly anti-imperialist position and joined the ‘war on terror’. Had it been Chavez and Venezuela, things would have been entirely different, after all, he’s a real socialist and well worth defending. But what leftie worth his salt would be caught dead defending Gaddafi?

But Gaddafi is by no means the worst ruler around, especially when compared to other, Western-backed/installed regimes in the region (and elsewhere) and Libya has the highest standard of living on the African continent. But in fact this is all irrelevant. Let the Libyan people figure it out for themselves and for our part, we do everything we can to stop our governments from acting illegally and undemocratically and interfering in the affairs of sovereign states. Once we’ve done that (fat chance) then maybe, just maybe, we’ll be in some better position to offer some ‘comradely advice’ to those doing the struggling, essentially on our behalf.

And in any case, consider the issue of Gamal Nasser, the first of the modern Arab leaders, a man who banned the Communist Party and locked up its leaders. Should we not have supported him in his struggle against the West? Nasser was no socialist but a nationalist and I assume whatever weird ideas Gaddafi has about political economy, he too is a nationalist but no way is he any kind of socialist I would recognize. In many ways he belongs to an earlier age like many of his historical peers from the days of the anti-colonial struggles.

Whatever Gaddafi is, saint or sinner is neither here nor there, but then we live in a culture dominated by the cult of the individual, hence it’s very easy to separate the man from his past, simply omit it and make the focus the ‘mad man’ instead.

“Sarkozy was in big trouble with [the Libyan leader Muammar] Gaddafi because he [Gaddafi] cancelled a huge contract they signed together four years ago for Rafael fighters and a lot of nuclear [power] plants” (ibid)

Meanwhile in Bahrain the forgotten (at least by most of the Western left) insurrection continues in the face of brutal state suppression.

“The wave of kidnappings, assassinations and beatings unto death was but the first line of attack. Any who tended to the wounded was at risk for kidnapping and death. Police and army units invaded hospitals, attacking doctors and surgeons on the spot, kidnapping others and seizing the wounded from emergency rooms. They were ripped from operating tables and pulled from intensive care units in Salmaniya hospital, al Sitra hospital, the International Hospital of Bahrain and from makeshift trauma units set up randomly in shops.” — ‘In the face of unbridled attack, a nationwide renewal of resistance in Bahrain’ by Ralph Schoenman, 27 March 2011

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