Posts Tagged ‘arms drop’

‘Millions in Harlem March’ Aims to Stop US, NATO War-making in Libya

August 4, 2011

By Saeed Shabazz
FINAL CALL
August 4, 2011

NEW YORK (FinalCall.com) – Activists representing a broad coalition of anti-war organizations, the Nation of Islam, the political left, Islamic organizations and a plethora of grassroots community organizations recently stood together on the stage of the Assembly Hall at the Riverside Church, proclaiming that “all roads lead to Harlem” for the Aug. 13 “Millions in Harlem March” to stop the bombing of Libya.

There is a huge gap between Western Media reports in Libya and what is actually going on there.

“Where are we going to be on Aug. 13?” asked Sara Flounders, co-director of the International Action Center, the main sponsors of the Riverside Church event. “In Harlem!” the standing room only crowd shouted back.

“President Barack Obama never believed that his actions against Libya could galvanize the movement that will be in the streets of Harlem on Aug. 13”, said Abdul Akbar Muhammad, the international representative of the Nation of Islam, in response to a question from The Final Call. Marching alongside of the Nation of Islam the second Saturday in August will be members of the “White Left and other progressives, Pan Africanists, Black grassroots organizations and national Islamic organizations,” he added.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan will be the keynote speaker at the Harlem march. “Min. Farrakhan will deliver a dynamic speech from 110th Street to 125th Street,” said Mr. Muhammad. The march will start at 110th Street.

The United Nations Security Council March 17 passed resolution 1973 by a vote of 10 in favor with five abstentions, authorizing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to begin a “no-fly zone” over Libyan air space, alleging President Muammar Gadhafi was targeting civilians in the North African nation.

Some Libyans had begun anti-Gadhafi demonstrations in February in the city of Benghazi, which turned into armed rebellion. The UN offered no proof Libya’s leader was killing unarmed civilians, though he vowed to fight those who had taken up arms against the government.

INNOCENT? There is still no evidence that Gaddafi had "gunned down innocent protestors" back in Feb 2011.

The U.S. and France March 18 started bombing so-called military targets, but the damage done by a “peace effort,” according to some observers, was more costly than what the Libyan leader had been accused of. Then came attacks on personal compounds that killed Libyan officials as well as a son of Col. Gadhafi and his grandchildren. NATO bombs hit the home of Libya’s leader at least twice as Western nations declared he had to go, pushing a policy of regime change.

Cynthia McKinney, a six-term former congresswoman from Georgia, was the keynote speaker for the Riverside Church rally. She told The Final Call she agreed with Mr. Muhammad’s assessment. “This will galvanize public opinion, as people see this as being important to them. Obama certainly stumbled this time,” referring to the president’s continued support for the NATO bombing of Libya. According to news outlets, the Obama administration is sending $10 million a day to NATO for the bombing of Libya.

Ms. McKinney had been on an 11-city tour telling packed audiences about her experiences in Tripoli in the early days of the NATO/UN aggression.

“There is definitely a buzz in the streets around Aug. 13,” said Larry Holmes of the Newark-based Bail Out the People Not the Banks movement. “Expect people to be in the streets of Harlem in numbers,” he said.

Information about the street mobilization for the march may be found at www.millionmarchinharlem.com. There are organizing teams in all five New York boroughs that have saturated neighborhoods with green posters announcing the march.

“The people are very excited about the march, and Min. Louis Farrakhan as the keynote speaker is great. We are going to fill up Malcolm X Boulevard,” said one volunteer.

During a June 15 press conference at a hotel across the street from the United Nations, Min. Farrakhan told the media the “United Nations, U.S.-sponsored, NATO-led bombing of the North African country of Libya” was the work of “a coalition of demons,” governments who have joined together to assassinate Col. Gadhafi.

But even some who voted for the initial resolutions and allowed the resolutions to pass have expressed reservation, if not outright regret. The African Union, in particular, has been calling for and working for a negotiated settlement only to be disregarded by Western nations intent on putting a new Libyan government in place.

The South African ambassador to the UN, Baso Sangqu, told the 15-member Security Council July 28 that his country’s delegation “echoes the African Union demand for an immediate pause in the fighting and in the NATO bombing.”

“We have noted the calls that ‘Gaddafi must go.’ We maintain that such statements do not bring us closer to a political solution,” the South African ambassador said. South Africa is occupying a rotating seat on the Security Council and supported the initial resolutions.

In a speech that was not widely covered by the media, Ambassador Sangqu said, “South Africa remains concerned about the implementation of resolutions 1970 and 1973. Taking sides in an internal conflict situation to institute regime change in Libya sets a dangerous precedent that will surely damage the credibility of the Security Council.”

“Clearly action focused on a military solution has not had its intended purpose, instead it has worked to destabilize the country even further,” he added.

Gabon and Nigeria also initially voted yes on resolutions 1970 and 1973, but the African Union has strongly condemned the bombing of any African nation.

The UN Secretary General’s special envoy to Libya announced July 26 through a press office that the “two sides remain far apart on reaching agreement on a political solution.” The two sides are the Gadhafi government and the rebel Transnational Council, which the U.S., France, Italy, Britain have recognized as the legitimate government of Libya.

The two sides, however, “have reaffirmed their desire to continue to engage with the UN in the search for a solution,” said special envoy Abdel-Elah Al-Khatib, a member of Jordan’s parliament. Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi Al-Mahmoud reiterated his government’s previous positions against the NATO air strikes and against the removal of Libya’s president.

“There comes a time when people have no alternative but resistance,” Viola Plummer, co-founder of the December 12th Movement one of the sponsoring organizations for the Harlem march, said July 30.

“This march will revitalize the Pan African movement. It will broaden our people’s world view and demonstrate the need for Africans to unite in our own political and economic interests internationally,” she added.

“We must expose the UN Security Council machinations, Western imperialism; the attack on Black people in the U.S. and all collaborations at every turn,” Ms. Plummer said.

March organizers say the Harlem event has garnered worldwide attention. One dignitary supporting the march is Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockman, a former Nicaraguan foreign minister and the 63rd president of the UN General Assembly.

During his speech at the press conference announcing the march, Father Brockman said the event was important in light of how the media “systemically deceived” the American people.

Meanwhile the killing of a major rebel commander by compatriots raised questions about how the group could stay together and raised again reports that elements of Al-Qaeda were heavily involved in the rebel effort. (See related story on page 12.)

The Chinese news service Xinhuanet reported July 31 NATO’s claim of bombing three satellite dishes in Tripoli to “stop” what was labeled “terror broadcasts” by President Gadhafi. However, there are Twitter messages, also July 31, that say Libya television is still on the air.

Just before the Aug. 1 start of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting and prayer, NATO bombs struck Tripoli, and officials in Brussels would not rule other more strikes—though they were worried about a possible backlash in the Muslim world about strikes during the sacred month. “Tripoli shook with the sound of several explosions as NATO warplanes roared overhead doing what they have been doing since March, striking at what are supposedly Al Qathafi strategic infrastructure, particularly in the Libyan capital, Tripoli,” the Tripoli Post reported. “In normal times, much of the economy in Muslim countries world-wide shuts down as everyone enters a 30-day period of all-day fasting, prayer and the strict avoidance of conflict. But for Libyans this year it is an altogether different proposition. Libyans worry about sanctions and NATO strikes during this month.”

“There is an ongoing armed internal conflict as the rebels from the eastern part of the country battle on in order to reach their aim, of toppling or forcing Libyan leader Muammar Al Qathafi to step down from his high chair. They are involved in a battle that is barely making progress at the best of times, and with NATO forces, attempting to bomb Al Qathafi out of office,” the English language publication said.

“The NATO alliance thought it could finish it off before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in time for a new government to take shape. They failed and this month could become a perilous black hole threatening to undermine their whole campaign,” the Tripoli Post observed Aug. 1. “Muslims are not allowed to fight amongst themselves during Ramadan; they are also not allowed to attack another nation. However, they will fight back if they are attacked first, they are allowed to do that.”

     EDUCATIONAL FILM: The Process of “De-Demonizing” Gaddafi

REVEALED: French Military Air-dropped Arms to Libya Rebels

June 30, 2011

The French military confirmed rumours Wednesday that it had dropped “light weapons” to Libyan rebels earlier this month. The story was reported in French newspaper Le Figaro in early June.

By Alex PARRY / Carlotta Ranieri (video)
AFP
June 30, 2011
The French military confirmed Wednesday that it had air dropped “light weapons” earlier this month to Libyan rebels fighting Moamer Kadhafi’s forces in the highlands south of Tripoli.
– 
SEE VIDEO REPORT HERE

Earlier, the Le Figaro newspaper and a well-placed non-government source had said that France had dropped several tonnes of arms including Milan anti-tank rockets and light armoured vehicles to the revolt.

But Colonel Thierry Burkhard, spokesman for the French general staff, told AFP that the shipments were essentially light arms such as assault rifles to help civilian communities protect themselves from regime troops.

SARKO: French boss Sarkozy tried to sell Gaddafi a nuclear reactor from Areva, now he's bombing Libya.

Burkhard said France had become aware in early June that rebel-held Berber villages in the Djebel Nafusa highland region south of the capital had come under pressure from the Libyan strongman’s loyalist forces.

“We began by dropping humanitarian aid: food, water and medical supplies,” he said. “During the operation, the situation for the civilians on the ground worsened. We dropped arms and means of self-defence, mainly ammunition.”

Burkhard described the arms as “light infantry weapons of the rifle type” and said the drops were carried out over several days “so that civilians would not be massacred”.

According to Le Figaro, which said it had seen a secret intelligence memo and talked to well-placed officials, the drops were designed to help rebel fighters encircle Tripoli and encourage a popular revolt in the city itself.

“If the rebels can get to the outskirts of Tripoli, the capital will take the chance to rise against Kadhafi,” said an official quoted in the report.

“The regime’s mercenaries are no longer getting paid and are scarcely getting fed. There’s a severe fuel shortage, the population has had enough.”

A well-placed non-government source told AFP that 40 tonnes of weapons including “light armoured cars” had been delivered to rebels in western Libya.

According to Le Figaro the French arms shipments are dropped from planes across the Djebel Nafusa region, where Berber tribes have risen to join the revolt against Kadhafi’s rule and seized several provincial towns.

The crates hold assault rifles, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, it said, and also European-made Milan anti-tank missiles, a powerful addition to the rebel arsenal that can destroy a tank or a bunker.

France has taken a leading role in organising international support for the uprising against Kadhafi’s four-decade old rule, and French and British jets are spearheading a NATO-led air campaign targeting his forces.

Rebel forces are based in Benghazi in the east of the country, and hold a besieged enclave supplied by sea in the western coastal town of Misrata, but have been unable to mount a convincing advance on the capital.