Yesterdays NewsOctober 23, 2011
Curtailing computer use as much as possible and limiting internet sessions to three times a week benefits my mental and physical health but makes it impossible to react instantly to significant and noteworthy events. We live in fast moving times and yesterdays news are soon forgotten and swept away by a constant flood of newer (latest) news.
Who has time to think about and consider thoroughly yesterdays news? Who has time to discover complex interconnections between distant and at first glance unrelated news events?
I have read now for three hours about the violent end of Muammar Gaddafi, his son Mutassim, and his former defense minister, Abu Baker Yunis. Western media celebrated and the leaders of the “free world” indulged in triumphalism, causing the Russian envoy at NATO to tweet: “The faces of the leaders of ‘world democracies’ are so happy, as if they remembered how they hanged stray cats in basements in their childhoods.”
Between 40 and 60 thousand Libyans died until now in this murderous US/NATO campaign, Gaddafi is just one victim more. Though every single one of the butchered Libyans deserve our sorrow and commiseration, his life had some significance. He stood up against the neocolonialist powers, he tried to spare his people the fate of so many other nations in Africa and Asia, who are controlled and exploited by the Western imperialists.
I wrote in a former blogpost, that Gaddafi will not join Che Guevara, Patrice Lumumba, and Salvador Allende in my shrine of fallen heroes. I think I’ve changed my mind.
Gaddafi was not the typical military dictator and not comparable with other autocratic Arab leaders like Hamid Bin Isa Al Khalifa, Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Saudi royal family, and King Mohammed VI. He refused any title and retired to private life, his influence was as a respected former leader. He was ruthless with Islamic extremists and he made the mistake to try to accommodate the USA by accepting the rendition of terror suspects sent by the CIA to Libya. He should have known that one cannot deal with monsters!
It is more than ironic that the extremists, which Gaddafi drove out, were recycled and rebranded as “rebels” and brought back into power by NATO.
Muammar Gaddafi was 69 years old and not fit enough to actively fight against the rebels, but he stayed with his loyal followers in his hometown Sirte till the end. He refused to go into exile or surrender, despite the merciless bombardment of Sirte by NATO warplanes.
The rebels are a ragtag army of, criminals, rascals, hooligans, led by islamic jihadists, backed up by disgruntled unemployed young men, armed and hastily trained by the CIA as well as French and British commandos. They would not have had the slightest chance against Gaddafi’s well motivated and committed followers, but the rebels didn’t have to put up a real fight, they just had to wait till Sirte was destroyed by NATO and then to drive in for a photo op to provide pictures for the corporate mass media.
The news media outlets need such pictures to create the illusion, that this was a Libyan uprising and Gaddafi was ousted by his fellow Libyans. Nobody mentions, that initial reports about Gaddafi’s atrocities, dutifully disseminated by mainstream mass media at the start of the CIA-organized “uprising” were swiftly exposed as a bunch of lies.
A fabrication is a fabrication only until you have told it 99 times. After the hundredth repetition it has been transformed into a fact and can be used as if it would be a part of “common knowledge.”
Nobody mentions, that UN Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973 only imposed a no-fly zone and an arms embargo. The devastating bombardments, the arms shipments by NATO, and the deployment of troops on the ground are all in bridge of international law. In fact, most of NATOs actions are warcrimes. But who cares, the USA imperial power and NATO are above the law.
It needed eight month and the help of tens of thousands of bombs and missiles, shiploads of weapons, CIA and NATO instructors, cruise missiles, drone attacks, helicopter gunships, heavy bombardment by naval artillery and missiles launched from US and British ships and submarines, to overthrow Gaddafi. The war propagandists still want to make us believe, that this was a “popular uprising,” sweeping away a hated dictator? How pathetic!
Just considering these facts:
In 1951 Libya was officially the poorest country in the world, but the life of ordinary Libyans improved dramatically under Gaddafi’s rule and Libyans achieved the highest living standard of any African nation. The Libyan population had one of the lowest poverty rates in the world (6 percent), a 82 percent literacy rate, and a life expectancy of 77 years (10 percent above the world average).
Public Health Care in Libya prior to NATO’s “Humanitarian Intervention” was the best in Africa. Public Health Care was available to all citizens free of charge (they hate us for our freedom, we hate them for their health care).
The pupil to teacher ratio in Libya’s primary schools was 1 to 17, 74 percent of school children graduating from primary school were enrolled in secondary school.
Libyans also were entitled to free electricity and subsidized housing, Libya was a totally debt-free economy.
The fertility rate was 2,88 (comparatively modest for Africa). Women in Libya enjoyed a reasonably high status. They had been able to vote since decades and Libya had signed the “UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women” (Cedaw). In 2004 Libya was the first Arab country to adopt an optional protocol allowing women to petition a UN committee about violations of their rights. As part of Gaddafi’s bid to alter society after his takeover in 1969, he promoted a greater role for women, specifically calling on them to join the workforce. In the past decade, girls enrollment increased by 12 percent in all levels of education. In secondary and tertiary education, girls outnumbered boys by 10 percent.
Libya had also, contrary to US propaganda, a tolerable human rights record and stood at 61 on the International Incarceration Index, comparable with countries in central Europe (the USA by the way occupies the number one spot).
Gaddafi planned to fund three ambitious financial projects: the creation of an African investment bank, an African monetary fund and an African central bank. These Africa-centered institutions would have diminished the continents dependence on the IMF and the World Bank — institutions who pressure African nations to privatize natural resources and to allow unlimited access to Western companies. His plan was to unite Africa with a common currency called the Gold Dinar, which would have been backed by gold. This would have meant instead of trading oil and oil shares in US$, oil would have been traded in gold (something the industrialized countries literally could not afford.)
I am not in the position to make an unconditional judgment about Gaddafi — I didn’t know him. I was intrigued when I read his Green Book, which includes many socialist ideas. I don’t know, if he followed the ideals that were explained in the Green Book — words and deeds are often different. For the Western propaganda machine it would not have mattered much, if Gaddafi would have been a saint, a brilliant thinker, and an integer and responsible leader. Maybe he was, maybe he was not, The fact is, that he stood up against the evil empire and tried to spare his people a neocolonial enslavement — for that alone he will be remembered kindly!
Many sub-Saharan Africans are mourning his death and tributes from political and cultural leaders are coming in. Gaddafi used his own money, as well as state-owned investment firms, to build mosques, hotels and telecommunications companies.
In Kampala, Uganda more than 30,000 people packed a mosque to pay tribute to him. Sheikh Amir Mutyaba, a former ambassador to Libya, wept as he told followers that Colonel Qaddafi had “died as a hero.”
“I am touched by how he died,” said Manny Ansar, the director of a popular annual music festival in Mali. “Love him or not, we must recognize that this is one of the greatest African leaders who influenced several generations, including mine, and found in the constancy and courage of his positions what we search in a hero: pride.”
I still try to come to terms with the fact, that Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now didn’t take a clear stance and in a strange way seemed to be sympathetic to the NATO campaign. Her reporting was “fair and balanced” in best FOX tradition and her interviews about the topic of Libya presented often a completely distorted and one sided picture.
I once considered Amy Goodman as one of my favorite US journalists and I am deeply disappointed. What a disgrace!
What did I learn from this event?
One cannot deal with monsters, one cannot expect mercy from the meanest of the mean, one cannot fight openly against the evil empire.
The OWS movement will learn this lesson one day….
On a personal level I try to stay calm and keep a clear head and I try not to be overwhelmed by disgust and revulsion. I have to be more careful and mint my words and encrypt my messages even more. I’m not the material for a martyr, I don’t need to make waves, I’m glad when I reach some of my friends with this blog and can give useful hints. Other than that: I joined the “expanded” BDS movement long time ago, I don’t buy any Israeli and US-American goods and I’m very strict following this policy. I don’t wan’t to contribute to the US economy which is in essence a war economy, based on weapons production and warfare.
A few facts:
The aerospace and weapons industry directly employs 844,000 Americans, located in every state — and supports more than two million jobs in related fields. More than 240,000 are working in weapons manufacturing, all together some three million Americans live from arms production, counting family members and associated businesses.
The US Department of Defense provides 3.2 million jobs, an estimated 6 million Americans get their paycheck by courtesy of Pentagon spending. In 2010, the Pentagon employed 250,335 mercenaries, 52,421 were US citizens. The US Department of Veterans Affairs employs 300,000.
The US Department of Homeland Security employs 200,000, the NSA about 30,000. 1,300 government organizations and 2,000 private companies work on programs related to homeland security and surveillance in more than 10,000 locations across the USA. At least 860,000 people hold top-secret security clearances, 36,000 people work for the FBI, the number of CIA jobs is estimated to be 20,000 to 30,000, not including private contractors.
The US Justice Department provides 120,000 jobs. The number of employed police and sheriff’s patrol officers is 670,000, 560,000 people work in the prison system. More than two million private security officers and guards work for 12,000 security companies or directly for US corporations.
Is there anybody in the USA who has still a job and is not directly employed in the areas of or critically dependent on weapons production, warfare, spying, and law enforcement?
Thank you to Alexander Cockburn, who wrote in his CounterPunch Diary in October 21:
Qaddafi, even in his latterday accomodationist phase, was always a bitter affront to Empire – a “devil” figure in a tradition stretching back to the Mahdi, whose men killed General Gordon in the Sudan in 1885. I remember fondly the leftists and Republicans who trekked to Tripoli in the 1960s to appeal to Qaddafi for funds for their causes, some of them returning amply supplied with money and detailed counsel.
Dollar for dollar I doubt Qaddafi has a rival in any assessment of the amount of oil revenues in his domain actually distributed for benign social purposes. Derision is heaped on his Green Book, but in intention it can surely stand favorable comparison with kindred Western texts. Anyone labeled by Ronald Reagan “This mad dog of the Middle East” has an honored place in my personal pantheon.
Thank you to Cindy Sheehan, who wrote in her “Soapbox”:
After the assassination of Qaddafi, at least two interesting things came to my awareness—the first one was the Rogue Libyan ambassador to the US telling our own Rogue news commentator, Wolf Blitzer, that the “rebels” were so happy that the US paid at least two billion dollars for the overthrow of Qaddafi. The second one was a tweet from the OWS movement the day Qaddafi was assassinated that said, “Congrats Libya! Your struggles against the #Gadhafi regime is (sic) over. Let’s hope for a bright future #solidarity.”
Okay, let’s deconstruct and connect these two events.
First of all, Ambassador Ali Aujali was absolutely gloating and so ecstatic that Qaddafi was executed because it was “better” for Aujali that he not be captured and brought to trial—those were unexpected true words from the Robber Class–since dead men can tell no tales. In all his bloodthirsty glory Wolf, who has at last, dropped all pretenses at being a journalist, was also beaming with glee that Qaddafi was slaughtered (also without due process).
During that interview, Wolf did ask Aujali about the chances of the “rebels” paying the US back for the literal blood money taxpayers paid for this criminal regime change. Aujali demurred.
Then the tweet from the OWS movement came to my attention, showing a profound shallowness of comprehension on its part.
The “people” of Libya did not, I repeat, did not, rise up against Qaddafi. While I am sure that there were some well-meaning individuals who wanted to see the end of the Qaddafi regime, it was more like the two billion from the US funny money mint and over 26,000 US/NATO bombing raids that killed unknown thousands of innocent Libyans that actually accomplished that feat.
How can the “struggle” of the people be over if the new government is flying the flag of the deposed and oppressive former monarchy and dividing up the spoils of blood-soaked victory between various foreign oil companies? I really wish the Occupy Wall Street movement would think harder before it parrots the propaganda of the establishment. Even though I am a member of the 99%, that kind of language does not speak for me.
Remember, way back in March when I denounced the UN “no-fly zone,” because I said that was code for, “bombing civilians?” Many people accused me of “not caring about the people of Libya,” but it appears that I was tragically correct.
Yes, Wall Street is a big problem and Obama is, once again, raking in all the ill-gotten gains from donors from there as he can. But does anyone reading this have any better ideas for ways that the US can spend two billion dollars rather than killing civilians, deposing leaders, and propping up puppet governments that will be friendly to big oil? If the war issues are not addressed in a more meaningful and comprehensive way, then I am afraid the movement has every chance of being neutralized.