Posts Tagged ‘Qaddafi’

‘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.
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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.

LIBYA FOLLY MAY COST OBAMA THE BLACK VOTE IN 2012

June 28, 2011

Editor’s NoteWithout question, Barack Obama came out of the political gate faster than any man in history, sporting a flashy rainbow stripe and pumped up with that political steroid we now as “Hope and Change”. But even 21st century messiahs can run into the realities of political physics. A hard and fast fall back down to earth, for a marketing phenomenon who- we must not forget, ran (and won) on the most unashamed, in-your-face antiwar ticket in modern history. After Obama took office there was no change in imperial war policy, it was if Bush Jr had somehow fallen asleep, drunk under the White House’s Presidential Tanning Bed (sincere apologies for the crude turn of phrase here, but these are very cruel wars, no hope, no change). More wars, more and more bombings and countless body bags.

BARACK O'BOMER: When the Neo-Con War angle was spent, the elite tried their Socialist Bomber, who is already crashing and burning.

We all thought Bin Laden would save him. He thought he could bomb his way into re-election. So here we are 20,000 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles,  and 15,000 sorties and smart bombs later, and Barack finds himself further in free-fall, down those all-important Presidential approval polls. Perhaps African-Americans are finally waking up after the come-down from the Barack-Buzz, the Studio 54 soiree is finally over. As their first ever African US Chief Exec continues to put more Africans (Libyans) into body bags, his faithful are rapidly fleeing for what’s left of the country’s  moral high ground. He was meant to be Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger’s six million dollar Manchurian machine. Americans truly  believed they had found their mythological Superman, only to be duped and sold another golf club-swinging teleprompter reading bullet pusher.
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More likely, a true hero for Americans will come in the form of some one with a genuine track record of community service, a woman named Cynthia McKinney. It’s possible that America has not seen such a politician with this much character who is willing to put it all on the line for the people she works for- the American people.

As we warned him earlier this year… Barack, the penny will eventually drop and your fans will demand substance, not more clever sales spin. We didn’t find it in you Barack, but thank God we found it in Cynthia McKinney.
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The irony… a man who accepted a Nobel Peace Prize before he started working. Anyone who would accept such a dodgy award could never really be worth his salt.

PICKET: Anti-war left steps up against Obama

By Kerry Picket
Washington Times June 28, 2011

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An important 2008 campaign coalition for the president is not happy with his actions in Libya and it could very well cost him politically in 2012.
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Former Georgia Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney blasted President Barack Obama on Saturday at an ANSWER coalition meeting in Washington, D.C. for engaging the United States in a war against Libya. After returning from Libya with a group of U.S. journalists, Ms. McKinney launched a U.S. speaking tour to talk about her trip. “I took a rash step because I was so outraged that our president would launch yet another illegal, unconstitutional, immoral, war and so I also knew that my government was lying,” she said to a group of 60 -70 anti-war Left attendees sitting in a Columbia Heights meeting room. Ms. Mckinney told the gathering:

“Black America has been extremely supportive of our president, but not in this case. A line has been drawn in the sand with respect to our president bombing Africa and Libya in particular because of the history of support when the United States was supporting apartheid in the African continent, it was the people of Libya and the people of Muammar Qaddafi who were fighting to eradicate apartheid. And for those blacks and people of color inside this country who were fighting to eradicate American style apartheid, the people of Libya and Muammar Qaddafi were supportive as well.” “Now I don’t know that history, but brother Akbar knows that history very well and that is part of the reason why black America has drawn this line in the sand because this is something that is a historical relationship that has context that brother Obama …that President Obama…stepped across. He has crossed over the threshold.”

Listen here
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The war in Libya continues to lose support and despite liberals on a site like The Dally Kos who tout reasons to support the war, leftists in the anti-war ANSWER coalition are dead set against it. Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Ohio Democrat, was part of a bi-partisan group of members on Capitol Hill who filed a lawsuit against the president two weeks ago for executing an illegal war. Before the House voted to deny authorization to the Libyan war but fund the operation, Rep.Kucinich told reporters last week, “It’s a tradition that the president’s party on the congressional level tries to offer him support, but I think that we need to give better advice to the president that this mission is not possible. That it’s misguided. That he had advice from the Pentagon and from his Attorney General that would suggest.
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” Mr. Kucinich added, “He should not pursue this without going to Congress and that we serve the president best when we tell him what we really think not just to endorse the policies that he has indicated that he wants.” Rep. Kucinich later told me that we was asked to participate in an anti-war event in October, when I asked him why the anti-war groups like ANSWER have not been as visible on the streets now as they were during the Bush administration. Ms. McKinney further attacked President Obama:

“I have been blessed to be able to travel all over the world. And as I have traveled, at one point I was extremely proud of the fact that black people in the United States and all over the world have a moral authority because everyone all over the world understands the plight that we have struggled against that we continue to have to struggle against, but unfortunately now, the policies of the Bush administration have been enunciated and implemented by black faces from Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice and now we have a continuation of those polices through the office of President Obama.” “So I’m directly impacted negatively by the actions of these black people who have decided that they would cast their lot with warmongers, war criminals, and people who peddle in death and destruction. So I decided as a responsible and conscious black person that I wanted my voice heard against what these other people were enunciating and at the same time I also am just sick and tired of war. I want better for my country.”

Listen here  Full audio of McKinney here

Randy Short of Black Agenda Report was also on Saturday’s ANSWER speakers’ panel and went after President Obama for “funding” what Mr. Short called “n****r hunting” in Africa.

“There was the other thing I was to look at and that was how these terrorist people who are killing, support the troops over in Iraq from Derna, from Benghazi…these same al Qaeda people that we’re being taxed to fight are the ones we’re funding who are raping with Viagara black and brown women–cutting their breasts off and letting them bleed to death–taking their body parts and spelling the word ‘whore.’ That’s a humanitarian intervention people? They are going on African hunts or we would say, ‘n****r hunting.’ Our president is funding this. I have friends who are Somali who fled Libya and are now in Italy give me stories about how they have been robbed, how the have been beaten, and how people are being killed.”

Listen here  Full audio of Short here

It is unlikely ANSWER will get the huge numbers of anti-war participants it saw during the Bush years. Without a Republican in office, the left has little in common to unite and hate over. However, an anti-war march is planned in Washington on July 9, nonetheless. It seems that the left-wing is currently divided among three factions. One side is protecting the president from negative fallout during a campaign year from his own foreign policy actions. Another more pure pacifist crowd wants to retreat immediately from all foreign intervention regardless of consequences.
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The third albeit smaller camp senses impending election doom and is looking for a face-saving way out of the intra-party dispute in the hopes of salvaging some endangered seats in Congress. Is it no wonder President Obama called to draw down troops from Afghanistan so he could focus on domestic policy?

This story is from 21st Century Wire

House Deals Obama Symbolic Blow With Libya Votes

June 24, 2011

By JENNIFER STEINHAUER
NYT
June 24, 2011

The House of Representatives dealt a symbolic blow to President Obama on Friday by resoundingly failing to approve a bill authorizing the contentious military operations in Libya. But the House stopped short of a total desertion of a war-time president by also rejecting a measure to limit financing to support the military operations there.

The resolution to support the mission, which was based on a Senate measure introduced Tuesday by Senators John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, and John McCain, Republican of Arizona, failed 295 to 123, with 70 Democrats joining Republicans on an issue that has divided Democrats and became a major Constitutional flash point between Congress and The White House. (See how all the members voted.) The Senate has yet to take up their measure.

WAR MAKER: Congress block Obama's latest war, throwing further irony on his Nobel Peace Prize in 2008.

A second measure, which would have prohibited money for military operations outside of support activities like search and rescue, aerial refueling, operational planning, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance — essentially ending direct American combat activity like missile strikes — failed 180 to 238, with 89 Republicans deserting their party on the measure, and only 36 Democrats voting in favor of it. The measure, which had the support of Republican leadership, was intended to severely limit America’s role while not completely leaving NATO allies in the lurch.

The message – a bipartisan muddle – reflected both a nation weary of wars across party and geographic lines, and a Congress that dislikes having its powers usurped by the executive branch.

Over the last few months, there has been increasing hostility toward the Obama administration in the House among both Democrats who oppose the war and many Republicans who cite Constitutional issues over the president’s refusal to seek authorization from Congress for the operations in Libya. They say such authorization is required by the 1973 War Powers Resolution.

Under that law, presidents must terminate unauthorized deployments 60 days after notifying Congress that they have begun. If what the United States military is doing in Libya constitutes “hostilities” — the administration argues that it does not — then that deadline passed on May 20.

Speaker John A. Boehner has repeatedly warned President Obama that the House considers the situation untenable and would seek to intervene through resolutions and its power of the purse.

On Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with scores of House Democrats and urged them to vote against the defunding resolution, insisting the collective effort in Libya was close to ousting the nation’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. In emphatic language, Mrs. Clinton warned them that a resolution to bar money for Libya would be disastrous to American interests in that war-torn nation, said some of the 60 or so Democrats who attended.

“The secretary was there to make the case on behalf of the administration on why they want to continue the war,” said Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, Democrat of Ohio, one of the attendees. He added: “It would appear inside the caucus that there is a split on this, and I think the fact that the secretary came over tells you a couple things. One, that the White House is very concerned about the vote, and second, that there is a sudden awareness that the fact that the administration has ignored Congress may carry with it a price.”

Representative Lynn Woolsey, Democrat of California, said that while Mrs. Clinton “did a really good job of making the administration’s case,” Ms. Woolsey was ultimately not swayed to support the activities in Libya. “She did what the White House should have been doing all along, which is come to us, talk about the situation, tell us what their perspective is, and have a conversation,” Ms. Woolsey said.

A bipartisan group of representatives will also offer an amendment to a Pentagon appropriations bill, which may be voted on as early as Friday, which would further cut funding for intelligence and operational support in Libya, and end all activities by October. It is not clear how much support that measure would have if the more limited resolution offered by Mr. Rooney passes.

TruNews June 21 2011 – Interview with Patrick Henningsen on NATO’s Bombing in Libya

June 22, 2011

21st Century Wire
June 22, 2011

Listen to 21st Century Wire’s Editor Patrick Henningsen on global shortwave radio network TruNews show with host Rick Wiles.

      Patrick’s interview begins 26 minutes and 30 seconds.
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NATO FREE-FOR-ALL: The UN sanctioned bombing campaigns in Libya have already killed thousands.

LIBYA BOMBSHELL: Obama Overruled Two Top Lawyers, Who Told Him War Must Be Terminated

June 18, 2011

By Joe Weisenthal
Business Insider
June 18, 2011

This week several members of Congress challenged Obama on the legality of the Libya war, given that actions have exceeded the 90 day period during which The White House doesn’t need Congressional authority for military action under the War Powers Act.

The White House response: We don’t need Congressional approval because this is not technically a hostile action (because we don’t have ground troops in Libya).

Tonight the NYT has a major bombshell: Two top lawyers — Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon general counsel, and Caroline D. Krass, acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel — told The White House otherwise.

ORDERS FROM ABOVE: Obama is faithfully executing a globalist agenda in Libya

Even Attorney General Eric Holder sided with Krass.

But Rather than heed their advice, he instead went with two lawyers with views more favorable to him: Bob Bauer (who is internal at The White House), and State Department advisor Harold Koh.

This is striking:

Presidents have the legal authority to override the legal conclusions of the Office of Legal Counsel and to act in a manner that is contrary to its advice, but it is extraordinarily rare for that to happen. Under normal circumstances, the office’s interpretation of the law is legally binding on the executive branch.

No doubt this will only embolden the bi-partisan group of Congressmen who think the war at this point is illegal.

And of course one can only imagine how news like this would have gone down under the Bush administration.

All that being said, Obama does have the support of serious lawyers, and he himself was a constitutional lawyer, so the idea that just because Johnson and Krass opposed this decision doesn’t in itself end it.

But this is still tough.

For some context, see this American Conservative story (from last June) on the war philosophy of Harold Koh, a renowned liberal legal scholar who also has a history of justifying hostile activity.

At the end of March, Harold Koh, top lawyer at the State Department, used his keynote address at the annual confab of the American Society for International Law to make an announcement: the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to kill suspected terrorists is legal. The drone strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan are lawful because, Koh delineated, they are done only in national self-defense, their proportionality is always precisely calibrated, and they carefully discriminate civilians from combatants.

There’s both more and less to it than that, but the legal argument itself is of minor importance. What matters is that Koh said it. Harold Hongju Koh: renowned human rights advocate; leading theorist of international law (which, the ASIL conventioneers would happily have told you, is much more civilized than mere national law); until last year dean of Yale Law School and therefore unofficial pope of the American legal system, and former director of the school’s Orville H. Schell Jr. Center for International Human Rights; Obama appointee accused by Glenn Beck and likeminded screamers of wanting to smuggle Sharia law into U.S. courts. All of which is to say, if a liberal lion like Harold Koh says drone strikes are lawful, what more do you need to know?

Read the full report at The Business Insider

The “Rape in Libya” Story – Our Military’s Latest Fairytale

June 17, 2011

By Peter Dale Scott
June 17, 2011 

It is a troubled time for NATO’s campaign against Libya.

President Obama has seen a near-revolt in Congress against the costly war, while Defense Secretary Gates in Brussels has warned his European allies that their tepid response “is putting the Libya mission and the alliance’s very future at risk.” Back home, according to the London Daily Mail, “Mr Gates has requested extra funds for Libya operations, but has been rebuffed by the White House.”

PR WARS: US pr hacks are likely to have invented the latest tabloid talking point of rape in Libya in order to sway audiences in the UK and US.

The past history of American wars tells us that, when the war-going begins to get tough, the professional p.r. campaigns get going, often with wholly invented stories. For example, when in 1990 Defense Secretary Colin Powell was expressing doubts that the United States should attack Kuwait, stories appeared that, as revealed by classified satellite photos, Saddam had amassed 265,000 troops and 1500 tanks at the edge of the Saudi Arabian border. Powell then changed his mind, and the attack proceeded. But after the invasion a reporter from the St. Petersburg Times viewed satellite photos from a commercial satellite, and “she saw no sign of a quarter of a million troops or their tanks.”

Hawks in Congress, notably Tom Lantos and Stephen Solarz, secured support for the attack on Iraq with a story from a 15-year-old girl, that she had seen Kuwaiti infants snatched from their incubators by Iraqi soldiers. The story was discredited when it was learned that the girl, the daughter of the Saudi ambassador in Washington, might not have visited the hospital at all. She had been prepped on her story by the p.r. firm Hill & Knowlton, which had a contract for $11.5 million from the Kuwaiti government.

The history of American foreign interventions is littered with such false stories, from the “Remember the Maine” campaign of the Hearst press in 1898, to the false stories of a North Vietnamese attack on U.S. destroyers in the so-called Second Tonkin Gulf incident of August 4, 1964. We know furthermore that in their Operation Northwoods documents, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1962 proposed a series of ways, some of them lethal, to deceive the American people in order to engineer a war against Cuba.

Since the fiasco of the false Iraqi stories in 1990-91, these stories have tended to be floated by foreign sources, usually European. This was conspicuously the case with the forged yellowcake documents from Italy underlying Bush’s misleading reference to Iraq in his 2003 State of the Union address. But it was true also of the false stories linking Saddam Hussein to the celebrated anthrax letters of 2001. (Their anthrax was later determined to have come from a U.S. biowarfare laboratory.)

This recurring history of falsified stories to justify interventions should be on our minds as we now face the allegations, as yet neither proven nor disproven, that Gaddafi has been using rape as a method to fight insurrection, and may have been guilty of raping victims himself. These charges were made on June 8 by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), who claimed (according to Time Magazine):

“… there were indications that Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi had ordered the rape of hundreds of women during his violent crackdown on the rebels and that he had even provided his soldiers with Viagra to stimulate the potential for attacks.”

According to Time, the rape stories are being circulated by doctors who claim to have met and treated patients but do not have patients’ permission to reveal their identities. Earlier, according to a Libyan doctor interviewed in an Al Jazeera video, “many doctors have found Viagra and condoms in the pockets of dead pro-Gaddafi fighters, as well as treated female rape survivors. The doctor insists this clearly indicates the Gaddafi regime is using rape as a weapon of war.”

But what of Moreno’s charge that “Now we are getting some information that Gaddafi himself decided to rape, and this is new.” This is a sensational charge: until we learn there is a reliable source for it, one can suspect it was made to grab headlines.

One problem in investigating these charges is that Libyan culture is so unkind to rape victims that they are reluctant to come forward. Researchers for Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International were unable to find one woman who said she had been raped. A U.N. human rights investigator, Cherif Bassiouni, told Agence France-Presse that the rape and Viagra stories were being circulated by the Benghazi authorities as “part of a “massive hysteria.'” In fact he had discovered only three cases.

Others have objected that the purchase of Viagra-type drugs falls far short of indicating a war crime. Former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, in Tripoli on an investigative mission, has pointed out in her emails that to date the one army known to have distributed Viagra as part of its war operations is the U.S. Army — as a bribe to entice information from aging tribal leaders in Afghanistan.

Military conflict of course is normally accompanied by rape. What might constitute a war crime would be whether (to quote Time) Gaddafi “had provided his soldiers with Viagra.” Moreno actually said, according to the Associated Press, that “some witnesses confirmed that the [Libyan] government was buying containers of Viagra-type drugs “to enhance the possibility to rape.'”

Time‘s subtle enhancement of Moreno’s claim — from purchasing Viagra to providing it to soldiers, reminds us of the sorry record of the U.S. mainstream media in circulating past false stories to justify war. It is painful to say this, but virtually every major U.S. military intervention since Korea has been accompanied by false stories. Mr. Moreno-Ocampo should be pressed to come forward quickly with the supporting evidence for his charges, which should be based on more than the testimony of doctors working for the Benghazi regime.

This story first appeared at Global Research.


Libya says NATO raids killed 718 civilians so far

June 1, 2011

By Imed Lamloum
AFP
June 1, 2011 

Libya has accused NATO of killing 718 civilians and wounding 4,067 in 10 weeks of air strikes, as African efforts for a truce stalled and Italy said Muammar Gaddafi’s regime is “finished.”

The toll of dead and injured was given at a news conference on Tuesday in Tripoli by government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim, who also warned the departure of Gaddafi would be a “worst case scenario” for Libya.

“Since March 19, and up to May 26, there have been 718 martyrs among civilians and 4,067 wounded – 433 of them seriously,” Ibrahim said, citing health ministry figures which cannot be independently verified. He said these figures do not include Libyan military casualties, a toll the defense ministry refuses to divulge.

“If Gaddafi goes, the security valve will disappear,” Ibrahim said, ruling out that the embattled strongman will step down from power.

“Gaddafi’s departure would be the worst case scenario for Libya,” he told reporters, and warned of “civil war.”

DEAD LIBYANS: Nato attack has left hundreds of innocent Libyans in the body count column..

Ibrahim also denied that South African President Jacob Zuma, who met Gaddafi in Tripoli on Monday, had discussed an “exit strategy” with him.

Zuma “never discussed any exit strategies as they have been described in the media,” the spokesman said.

Earlier, a statement from the South African presidency in Pretoria said Gaddafi would not leave Libya despite growing international pressure and intensified NATO strikes on his regime.

“Colonel Gaddafi called for an end to the bombings to enable a Libyan dialogue. He emphasised that he was not prepared to leave his country, despite the difficulties,” Zuma’s office said in a statement.

NATO pounded Tripoli earlier on Tuesday, only hours after Zuma left Libya’s capital having failed to close the gap between Gaddafi and rebels fighting to oust him since February.

In its latest operational update, NATO said on Tuesday it struck four military sites in the vicinity of Tripoli, including missile launchers, a vehicle storage facility and a radar.

Elsewhere it took out a command and control node and several tanks, truck-mounted guns and other military vehicles in and around Misrata, the main rebel-held city in western Libya.

Zuma said raids by NATO, which is enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya and protecting civilians from a government crackdown under a UN mandate, were undermining African mediation efforts.

South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane called for an immediate ceasefire after Zuma said Gaddafi was “ready” to implement an African Union peace plan already rejected by NATO and the rebels.

In the rebel capital Benghazi, in eastern Libya, Italy’s foreign minister said on Tuesday Gaddafi’s regime was already staring at defeat.

“The Gaddafi regime is finished, he must leave office, he must leave the country,” Franco Frattini told a joint news conference with Ali al-Essawi, the rebels’ foreign affairs chief.

“His aides have left, he has no international support, the G8 leaders reject him, he must go.”

Frattini was speaking ahead of a ceremony to inaugurate a new Italian consulate in the eastern city, in another major blow to Gaddafi after NATO insisted his “reign of terror” is nearing an end.

Italy, the former colonial ruler of Libya and strategic economic partner with Gaddafi’s regime, has joined international calls led by Britain, France and the United States for the Libyan leader to go.

In Washington, State Department spokesman said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit the United Arab Emirates on June 9 for a meeting of the Libya contact group.

“This meeting will build on the last contact group meeting held in Rome,” and will allow the United States and its partners to discuss implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973, Mark Toner told reporters.

UN under secretary general B Lynn Pascoe told the UN Security Council meanwhile that at least 1,200 people have been killed or are missing after trying to flee Libya by boat since the start of the uprising against Gaddafi mid-February.

At the same time, the official TAP news agency reported from Tunis on Tuesday that five more officers have joined the flow of defectors from Gaddafi’s regime, arriving at the weekend in neighbouring Tunisia.

The colonel and four lieutenant colonels as well as four rank-and-file soldiers arrived by boat on Sunday, the report said.

In Rome on Monday, five generals, two colonels and a major announced they had defected from Gaddafi’s forces, calling on other officers to follow their example.

Abdel Rahman Shalgham, a former foreign minister who was Tripoli’s UN representative before switching sides, told a news conference that around 120 officers had defected in recent days.

© 2011 AFP

Welcome to the Violent World of Mr. Hopey Changey

June 1, 2011

By John Pilger
Information Clearing House

June 1, 2011


When Britain lost control of Egypt in 1956, Prime Minister Anthony Eden said he wanted the nationalist president Gamal Abdel Nasser “destroyed … murdered … I don’t give a damn if there’s anarchy and chaos in Egypt”. Those insolent Arabs, Winston Churchill had urged in 1951, should be driven “into the gutter from which they should never have emerged”. 

The language of colonialism may have been modified; the spirit and the hypocrisy are unchanged. A new imperial phase is unfolding in direct response to the Arab uprising that began in January and has shocked Washington and Europe, causing an Eden-style panic. The loss of the Egyptian tyrant Mubarak was grievous, though not irretrievable; an American-backed counter-revolution is under way as the military regime in Cairo is seduced with new bribes and power shifting from the street to political groups that did not initiate the revolution. The western aim, as ever, is to stop authentic democracy and reclaim control.

AN ELITE AGENDA: Obama is doing the job he was hired to do by his elite masters.

Libya is the immediate opportunity. The Nato attack on Libya, with the UN Security Council assigned to mandate a bogus “no fly zone” to “protect civilians”, is strikingly similar to the final destruction of Yugoslavia in 1999. There was no UN cover for the bombing of Serbia and the “rescue” of Kosovo, yet the propaganda echoes today. Like Slobodan Milosevic, Muammar Gaddafi is a “new Hitler”, plotting “genocide” against his people. There is no evidence of this, as there was no genocide in Kosovo. In Libya there is a tribal civil war; and the armed uprising against Gaddafi has long been appropriated by the Americans, French and British, their planes attacking residential Tripoli with uranium-tipped missiles and the submarine HMS Triumph firing Tomahawk missiles, a repeat of the “shock and awe” in Iraq that left thousands of civilians dead and maimed. As in Iraq, the victims, which include countless incinerated Libyan army conscripts, are media unpeople.

In the “rebel” east, the terrorising and killing of black African immigrants is not news. On 22 May, a rare piece in the Washington Post described the repression, lawlessness and death squads in the “liberated zones” just as visiting EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, declared she had found only “great aspirations” and “leadership qualities”. In demonstrating these qualities, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the “rebel leader” and Gaddafi’s justice minister until February, pledged, “Our friends … will have the best opportunity in future contracts with Libya.” The east holds most of Libya’s oil, the greatest reserves in Africa. In March the rebels, with expert foreign guidance, “transferred” to Benghazi the Libyan Central Bank, a wholly owned state institution. This is unprecedented. Meanwhile, the US and the EU “froze” almost US$100 billion in Libyan funds, “the largest sum ever blocked”, according to official statements. It is the biggest bank robbery in history.

The French elite are enthusiastic robbers and bombers. Nicholas Sarkozy’s imperial design is for a French-dominated Mediterranean Union (UM), which would allow France to “return” to its former colonies in North Africa and profit from privileged investment and cheap labour. Gaddafi described the Sarkozy plan as “an insult” that was “taking us for fools”. The Merkel government in Berlin agreed, fearing its old foe would diminish Germany in the EU, and abstained in the Security Council vote on Libya.

Like the attack on Yugoslavia and the charade of Milosevic’s trial, the International Criminal Court is being used by the US, France and Britain to prosecute Gaddafi while his repeated offers of a ceasefire are ignored. Gaddafi is a Bad Arab. David Cameron’s government and its verbose top general want to eliminate this Bad Arab, like the Obama administration killed a famously Bad Arab in Pakistan recently. The crown prince of Bahrain, on the other hand, is a Good Arab. On 19 May, he was warmly welcomed to Britain by Cameron with a photo-call on the steps of 10 Downing Street. In March, the same crown prince slaughtered unarmed protestors and allowed Saudi forces to crush his country’s democracy movement. The Obama administration has rewarded Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes on earth, with a $US60 billion arms deal, the biggest in US history. The Saudis have the most oil. They are the Best Arabs.

The assault on Libya, a crime under the Nuremberg standard, is Britain’s 46th military “intervention” in the Middle East since 1945. Like its imperial partners, Britain’s goal is to control Africa’s oil. Cameron is not Anthony Eden, but almost. Same school. Same values. In the media-pack, the words colonialism and imperialism are no longer used, so that the cynical and the credulous can celebrate state violence in its more palatable form.

      Author John Pilger’s film “The War You Don’t See”.

And as “Mr. Hopey Changey” (the name that Ted Rall, the great American cartoonist, gives Barack Obama), is fawned upon by the British elite and launches another insufferable presidential campaign, the Anglo-American reign of terror proceeds in Afghanistan and elsewhere, with the murder of people by unmanned drones – a US/Israel innovation, embraced by Obama. For the record, on a scorecard of imposed misery, from secret trials and prisons and the hounding of whistleblowers and the criminalising of dissent to the incarceration and impoverishment of his own people, mostly black people, Obama is as bad as George W. Bush.

The Palestinians understand all this. As their young people courageously face the violence of Israel’s blood-racism, carrying the keys of their grandparents’ stolen homes, they are not even included in Mr. Hopey Changey’s list of peoples in the Middle East whose liberation is long overdue. What the oppressed need, he said on 19 May, is a dose of “America’s interests [that] are essential to them”.  He insults us all.

www.johnpilger.com


We Are Enabling A Future American Dictatorship

May 31, 2011

By Steve Watson
Infowars.com
May 31, 2011

2012 Presidential candidate Ron Paul has warned that a lack of oversight from Congress, the media and the American people is enabling the rise of a dictatorship in the US.

The Congressman issued the warning via his weekly Texas Straight Talk column, noting that in light of current attitudes within the executive and legislative branches, “it would be incredibly naive to think a dictator could not or would not wrest power in this country” at some point in the future.

“Americans who are not alarmed by all of this are either not paying close attention, or are too trusting of current government officials to be concerned.” Paul writes:

“Our Presidents can now, on their own: order assassinations, including American citizens; operate secret military tribunals; engage in torture; enforce indefinite imprisonment without due process; order searches and seizures without proper warrants, gutting the 4th Amendment; ignore the 60 day rule for reporting to the Congress the nature of any military operations as required by the War Power Resolution; continue the Patriot Act abuses without oversight; wage war at will; and treat all Americans as suspected terrorists at airports with TSA groping and nude x-rays. ” The Congressman urges.

The Congressman also specifically pointed to last weeks passage by Congress of a National Defense Authorization Act that contains an alarming worldwide war provision, noting that it “explicitly extends the president’s war powers to just about anybody.”

When it comes to running wars, Obama has been as effective as Bush was.

The ACLU declared that the provision: “has no expiration date and will allow this president — and any future president — to go to war anywhere in the world, at any time, without further congressional authorization. The new authorization wouldn’t even require the president to show any threat to the national security of the United States. The American military could become the world’s cop, and could be sent into harm’s way almost anywhere and everywhere around the globe.”

Section 1034 of the Defense Authorization bill that says were are at war with the “associated forces” of al Qaeda and the Taliban.

“Would it be so hard for someone in the government to target a political enemy and connect them to al Qaeda, however tenuously, and have them declared an associated force?” writes Congressman Paul.

Paul warned that future leaders will ” inherit all the additional powers we cede to the current position holders.”

Listen to the Congressman’s warning in full below:

 A Constitutional lesson for Obama from a genuine scholar on the subject.

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Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.net, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.