West’s 1% salivates over spoils of the Libyan 99%

Israel/Palestine
on 54 Comments

Q: Who is set to financially benefit from the sacrifices of the 99% (okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that many, but you know what I mean) of Libyans who risked their lives in the revolution? A: The 1% of American and European CEOs, especially the fossil fuel industry:

The guns in Libya have barely quieted, and NATO’s military assistance to the rebellion that toppled Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi will not end officially until Monday. But a new invasion force is already plotting its own landing on the shores of Tripoli. Western security, construction and infrastructure companies that see profit-making opportunities receding in Iraq and Afghanistan have turned their sights on Libya…

Libya has Africa’s largest oil reserves, which eventually should mean a steady supply of cash.

Remember the “no blood for oil” anti-Iraq War slogan from nine years ago? Seems like the U.S., U.K., France, and their allies paid heed. No Western blood was spilled – only Libyan! – for The West (under cover of NATO bombing) to gain access to this impoverished country’s fossil fuel reserves.

Whatever one thinks of The West’s role in this revolution, it should not have a free pass to engage in more oil imperialism. Soon enough, the “99%” of Libyans may well be marching in the streets, demanding an eviction of the American and European oil-garchies. #OCCUPYLIBYA, coming soon?

54 Responses

  1. Antidote
    October 30, 2011, 10:34 am

    It seems to me the plan was to first send in the Wall Street banksters, then the US army, and take cover behind the Arab league and the other Nato gangsters to finish off Gadafi and make it look like all this being done in support of a national liberation movement to the gullible masses at home and abroad:

    link to independent.co.uk

    It’s always the same story

    The highly decorated US Navy General Butler blew the whistle in the 1930s, with the publication of his anti-war classic “War is a Racket” (1935), and lecture tours in the futile hope to prevent Americans from being sucked into another world war by FDR. WW II was the same old deal and got the US out of the Depression. Excerpts from Butler’s book and lectures:

    “A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

    In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.”

    “Until 1898 we didn’t own a bit of territory outside the mainland of North America. At that time our national debt was a little more than $1,000,000,000. Then we became “internationally minded.” We forgot, or shunted aside, the advice of the Father of our country. We forgot George Washington’s warning about “entangling alliances.” We went to war. We acquired outside territory. At the end of the World War period, as a direct result of our fiddling in international affairs, our national debt had jumped to over $25,000,000,000. Our total favorable trade balance during the twenty-five-year period was about $24,000,000,000. Therefore, on a purely bookkeeping basis, we ran a little behind year for year, and that foreign trade might well have been ours without the wars.”

    “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    link to ratical.org

    link to democracynow.org

    another classic:

    link to books.google.ca

    • kapok
      October 30, 2011, 4:06 pm

      and from this it’s easy to draw the lesson that the High Class Mob is not likely to go broke; it they run out of anything, animal, vegetable, mineral they’ll just take it at gun point. The best we can hope for is that they’re consumed by their own corruption. Or give up hoping and take up pushing.

  2. seafoid
    October 30, 2011, 10:46 am

    Samantha Power is the policy wonk on the Obama team who uses what happened in Bosnia in the early 90s to jerk the US into acting “to prevent genocide.”

    This was the trigger for US intervention in Libya in March after Gadaffi threatened Benghazi.

    This is what the West did to Sirte

    link to globalresearch.ca

    Over 50,000 people were killed since the drones went in.

    US foreign policy is a sick joke .

    And BTW it is illegal under US law to take part in the killing of a foreign head of state.

    link to guardian.co.uk

    There is no point in Philip Hammond blaming the Libyans for the death of Gaddafi (Report, 24 October). The Gaddafi convoy was hit by a US drone. But for the drone, the Gaddafi convoy would have left Sirte unscathed. The convoy was leaving the scene and was not engaged in hostilities, so the attack was contrary to the Geneva convention. It is little surprise that the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has called for a UN inquiry. It is illegal under US law for the US to be involved in the killing of a foreign head of state. Obama should be held responsible.

    Terri Jackson
    Bangor, County Down

    • Antidote
      October 30, 2011, 12:16 pm

      “Samantha Power is the policy wonk on the Obama team who uses what happened in Bosnia in the early 90s to jerk the US into acting “to prevent genocide.” —

      German FM Joschka Fischer used the same argument, and Germany’s special responsibility to prevent “another Auschwitz” to get the Bundestag to commit the Bundeswehr, a national army confined to purely defensive and peace-keeping activities, to join Clinton in bombing Serbia. Fischer has also been a fierce critic of current FM Westerwelle and the CDU/CSU/FDP coalition for opposing German participation against Libya in the UNSC. His criticism of Germany no longer pulling her weight in the fight for democracy and human rights has also been the American position

      link to spiegel.de

  3. teta mother me
    October 30, 2011, 10:57 am

    a few amendments to your fine article, Matthew Taylor:

    Libya WAS NOT an “impoverished country.” Libya was a “resource cursed” country, defined as (from the West’s pov), too abundant a resource, badly managed.
    More technically described (and 100% applicable to why Libyan workers, who were actually pretty comfortable, had subsidized education & health care, were young, intelligent, and educated, had to be reduced to serfs in the Western system) Libya had “Dutch disease:”

    Let’s take the example of a country that discovers oil. A jump in the country’s oil exports initially raises incomes, as more foreign exchange flows in. If the foreign exchange were spent entirely on imports, it would have no direct impact on the country’s money supply or demand for domestically produced goods. But suppose the foreign currency is converted into local currency and spent on domestic nontraded goods. What happens next depends on whether the country’s (nominal) exchange rate—that is, the price of the domestic currency in terms of a key foreign currency—is fixed by the central bank or is flexible.

    If the exchange rate is fixed, the conversion of the foreign currency into local currency would increase the country’s money supply, and pressure from domestic demand would push up domestic prices. This would amount to an appreciation of the “real” exchange rate—that is, a unit of foreign currency now buys fewer “real” goods and services in the domestic economy than it did before. If the exchange rate is flexible, the increased supply of foreign currency would drive up the value of the domestic currency, which also implies an appreciation in the real exchange rate, in this case through a rise in the nominal exchange rate rather than in domestic prices. In both cases, real exchange rate appreciation weakens the competitiveness of the country’s exports and, hence, causes its traditional export sector to shrink. This entire process is called the “spending effect.”

    At the same time, resources (capital and labor) would shift into the production of domestic nontraded goods to meet the increase in domestic demand and into the booming oil sector. Both of these transfers would shrink production in the now lagging traditional export sector. This is known as the “resource movement effect.”

    Follow the money-oil-currency exchange loop, which inexorably and to the overall huge benefit of United States and Wall Street, passes through a dollar-conversion factory somewhere in the bowels of Wall Street banks, and you will discover that the NATO intervention in Libya and the disgraceful sodomizing and snuffing of Qaddafi was more closely connected to the banksters that OWS is protesting than to a faux “freedom” and “democracy” movement.

    Another amendment to your article: Libyans did not really start a major “revolution” for their “freedom;” check out this gutsy journalist and her reports on what really went on and is going on in Libya:

    Well well well — I was going to link to youtubes of Lizzy Phelan, which I watched two or three days ago, but guess what, “Harry Fear” claims a “copyright violation.” link to youtube.com

    me suspects Harry is aFEARed of too much truthiness.

    • Dan Crowther
      October 30, 2011, 11:21 am

      an important post theta.

    • Walid
      October 30, 2011, 11:36 am

      teta, the youtube of Lizzy Phelan’s testimony is now on Harry Fear’s at:

      link to youtube.com

      her testimony starts atthe 16:48 and the one I wish for most to see this are Phil and those others here that are still clinging to the “Arab Spring” slogan.

      Libya was one huge media con job that got Jazeera a license to broadcast from NYC.

    • Walid
      October 30, 2011, 12:01 pm

      Teta, another thing, it wasn’t only the oil, the future of the US dollar and the Libyan sovereign fund cash reserves, it was to slam the African door in the face of China and keep it away from this continent; Libya was China’s gateway into Africa. When the phony civil war started, China had 20,000 of its nationals in Libya. This explains a bit what the combined Sino-Russian UN veto in favour of Syria was about. the other bit involves the giant naval base the Russians are building at Tarsus, Syria which is their one and only base on the Med.

      • annie
        October 30, 2011, 12:08 pm

        i thought it was 30,000 at least. didn’t they evacuate them the first day of the strike or the day before or something?

      • Walid
        October 30, 2011, 12:27 pm

        From the ChinaDaily Feb 27th:

        BEIJING – More than 20,000 Chinese nationals had been evacuated from unrest-wracked Libya as of Sunday, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.

        … Tens of thousands of Chinese nationals were working or living in Libya when the unrest took hold earlier this month. Most of them are employees of Chinese companies doing business in Libya.

        Annie, back then, I smelled something from the way Jazeera had been reporting on Libya and at the time I said that it appeared more like it was part of a campaign rather than simply reporting the news. It’s been doing the same for a couple of months over Syria and Lizzie Phelan said it too. It’s too bad because I really liked Jazeera, watched it all the time and it had done a great job reporting on the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings very professionally.

  4. James
    October 30, 2011, 12:51 pm

    i suppose this explains why we aren’t seeing a similar adventure into syria…

  5. eGuard
    October 30, 2011, 1:58 pm

    Oh, this website is full of veiled anti-Blairites and anti-Britishism! The poison you spread by maskerading, with facts and logic, a true peaceful endeavour over multiple years. Disgusting!

    Just read The Times (London) issue of October 25, 2011, which printed the letters by “Charles” (June 7, 2007. He is UKs prince to the throne) and “Tony” (June 20, 2007. Then UK PM Blair). Read he glory of the First Blairian Libyan Revolution they brought about years ago.

    Even The Times in London says, emphasis added:

    There are many diplomatic euphemisms for how Britain should have behaved [back then]: holding one’s nose, [etc. ...]. Unfortunately, that was not the Blair way. Jumping in with both feet might be a better description of his style of diplomacy [sic]. Hence the embarrassing stream of letters [from Tripoli now published] [...] British foreign policy, which ultimately helped to bring down a monster it had kept in power.

    See? Thanks Tony.

  6. ToivoS
    October 30, 2011, 3:57 pm

    It is really amazing how many otherwise good progressives fell for the “humanitarian” war line used to justify this imperial venture against Libya. Phil and Juan Cole are two who come to mind.

    Glen Ford at Blackagendareport (link to blackagendareport.com) has been covering the true cost of this war. Remember all of those atrocity stories about Ghadaffi’s “mercenaries”. That was just propaganda to cover the massacres and ethnic cleansing of Libya’s black population.

  7. kursato
    October 30, 2011, 6:42 pm

    U.K. independent oil and gas explorer Heritage Oil PLC Tuesday became the first new foreign firm to strike a deal to enter the Libyan oil sector following the war through its acquisition of a Benghazi-based oil services company.

    Heritage said its 51% controlling stake in Sahara Oil Services Holdings Ltd., which it is buying for $19.5 million in cash, means the firm will be “well placed to play a significant role in the future oil and gas industry in Libya.

    link to online.wsj.com

  8. Jeffrey Blankfort
    October 30, 2011, 10:31 pm

    Doesn’t anybody do any research? Libya’s oil was already fully contracted for well before the uprising and Heritage already had one of the smaller contracts, the major ones being held by BP, all of Libya’s offshore supply, France’s Total, Italy’s Eni, Germany’s RWF, and Spain’s Repsol although, curiously this Financial Times article doesn’t list BP.

    A map, published on the Stratfor website early in the war, shows the sectors of Libyan oil production that were controlled by each foreign oil company at the time of the uprising: BP, Eni, Total, Repsol, Waha (a joint venture of Conoco-Phillips, Marathon and Hess with Libyan’s National Oil Co, Exxon, Russia’s Gazprom, Royal Dutch Schell, and Norway’s Statoil. As the FT article said, all of these contracts will be honored.

    So much for this being a war to plunder Libya’s oil reserves. They had already contracted with Gaddafi to do that, providing enough money so Saif al Islam Gaddafi could buy a $16 million mansion in London and pay Mariah Carey $1 million to perform at one of his famous parties.

    For me, one of the most troubling phenomenon of the Libyan situation has been the inability of anti-imperialists to both oppose what plainly is a dictatorship AND US/NATO intervention at the same time. This problem also occurred to Abdul Ilah Albayaty, Hana Al Bayaty and Ian Douglas, all of whom are on the Executive Board of the Brussels Tribunal who wrote an article about it in reference to Arab intellectuals which was published on Oct. 27 in Al Ahram.

    To get more of their perspective, I interviewed Hana Al Bayaty in Cairo last Wedndesday and some of you may wish to listen to it: link to english.ahram.org.eg

    A little earlier today I had an off-topic exchange on another thread [Reform Jews]with Keith about my position on Libya which is clearly a minority position on the Left and here on Mondoweiss and I thought it appropriate to repeat it on this thread where the topic is Libya:

    I have read just about everything that has been written about this [US/NATO's long held plan to depose Gaddafi], invariably by individuals who believe Gaddafi was something other than a dictator and who, following human nature, have looked for evidence that justifies their position while ignoring facts that don’t and, of course, I may be accused of doing the same. What is amusing is that many, who were either quiet about Al Quaeda or believed it was a fictitious organization created by the CIA, have, since the Libyan uprising made comments about it that could have been uttered by Bush or Cheney.

    Since 2003, Gaddafi had been a key player in the US “war on terror,” taking part in its rendition program, which was reported in some detail in the NY Times, which may have accounted for the initial reluctance on the part of the US to intervene. This may have been due to the fact that it was Britain’s BP, France’s Total, and Italy’s ENI that had received the major oil concessions from Gaddafi and had both the most to lose and to win. In fact, all of Libya’s oil had been contracted out to foreign oil companies, although the primarily US owned ones had smaller stakes. I have seen barely a trace of either of these facts in the numerous articles that have appeared on web defending Gaddafi and describing the Libyans who were putting their lives on the line fighting him as NATO stooges. Pretty easy to say from Western armchairs in which, sadly, most of my friends in Europe and the US happen to be sitting.

    While it is clear that Gaddafi would not have been overthrown without the help of the US and NATO and that many of the rebels for reasons of their own have turn out to be pretty nasty as well as racist, but that in no way delegitimized their struggle to overthrow a 42 year dictatorship in which political dissent was met with imprisonment, torture, and death. If you have seen the photographs of the Abu Salim prison that were published in the NYT, where Gaddafi had 1200 political prisoners murdered in 1996 when they struck for better conditions, it makes Guantanamo seem like a strict Sunday school. That happened without, as I remember, a single word of criticism from those who have rallied to his side since February.

    The anti-black pogroms that the rebels have carried our against either black Libyans or immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa can certainly be traced in part to Gaddafi having publicly favored them and sub Saharan Africa in reaction to his being snubbed in his attempts to become the Arab world’s second Nasser. Indeed, this megalomaniac who had has many costume changes as the spellings of his name, proudly demanded that he be called the “King of Kings” of Africa and he showered money there right and left to buy people’s support as he did to a lesser degree with certain American activists.

    Political activists in the US and Europe pay little attention to sub Saharan Africa with the exception of South Africa (and that, too, has been largely ignored since the end of apartheid). Hence, they have been unaware that Gaddafi was a key backer of Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh who were responsible for some of the worst crimes of the century in Sierra Leone and who are under indictment by the ICC. Perhaps, the reason for its quick move against Gaddafi before he had committed any crimes against the rebels warranting such a charge was because, apparently due to pressure from the UK and France, he was spared being indicted for crimes against humanity in Sierra Leone.

    According to Aroun Rashid Deen, “Gaddafi instituted a program of guerilla warfare in Libya for a group of disgruntled West Africans, including a group of Sierra Leoneans he had invited to Tripoli to undergo training. The men who led the war on Sierra Leone — former Liberian leader and warlord, Charles Taylor and Sierra Leone’s rebel leader, Foday Sankoh, and The Gambian Fugitive, Kukoi Samba Sanyang — were among those who trained in Libya.link to shout-africa.com

    I know that people who have sided with Gaddafi really don’t know what and who they are talking about when they (1) cite all the wonderful benefits that Gaddafi reportedly bestowed on the Libyan people and (2) when they want us to believe that Gaddafi had actually turned power over to “the Libyan people,” in 1977. I am old enough to remember when apologists for Stalin and the Soviets’ East Bloc police state satellites came up with stuff like that and it doesn’t sound or smell any better in this case.

    Sure, the US and the UK and France had contingency plans for taking Gaddafi out as they have for other situations, but how does one explain the gushing over the King of Kings by Tony Blair, both of the Clintons, John McCain, Joe Lieberman and the promise of trade deals that were widely reported and photographed in the international media, or his hiring of the Monitor Group in Washington and the likes of Richard Perle to burnish his image in the US?

    Here’s an interesting piece, “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” by David Rieff in Foreign Policy which explains why the US and NATO wanted Gaddafi dead and nowhere near the Hague. Curiously, he didn’t mention Perle, but the information presented speaks for itself.www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/…/the_man_who_knew_too_much

    • ToivoS
      October 31, 2011, 1:10 am

      Dear Jeffrey, I must ask : WTF are you babbling about? At the most Ghadaffi was a clown, he stood for nothing that I could support. That does not mean I support a Nato backed insurrection that re-integrates Libya into an American-European financial system. Is that what you support Jeffrey? Have you become a humanitarian warrior on behalf of Western imperialism? Maybe not consciously, but perhaps a simple willing idiot as Lenin would describe it.

    • kapok
      October 31, 2011, 1:55 am

      So why was he overthrown? To shut him up, or, because NATO cares?

    • Walid
      October 31, 2011, 5:32 am

      Jeffrey, one could have been against what NATO did without necessarily approving of Gaddafi. The guy was a somewhere between a dangerous nutcase and a clown but this did not preclude him from bestowing all those good things on his country and on Africa or from having his opponents butchered; there was nothing saintly about the guy and I haven’t read anyone here claiming he was, but it’s evident that the 8 months it took to get rid of him showed that he was appreciated by his people to a certain degree so you have to assume that the good he did was still substantial. I was against the bogus stories coming out of Libya from B-H Lévy’s Zionist involvement to the Arab-sided campaign endorsed by Jazeera. It was NATO that destroyed Sirte, not Gaddafi. I didn’t like Saddam either, but I couldn’t agree with what the US did to Iraq. Same with Assad today; I don’t like the guy but I dislike even more how the West, Turkey and some Arab states are setting him up with false stories to ultimately destroy Syria. The link to your FP Rieff article is at:

      link to foreignpolicy.com

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        October 31, 2011, 1:41 pm

        Walid,

        One of the problems with dictatorships is that they are just that: dictatorships, and when they collapse it is going to be ugly when the dictator will not only not give up power but insists he would rather see the country destroyed than surrender. That is the case with Gaddafi.

        I do not for a single moment offer an excuse for the criminal actions of the US and NATO. The US, Britain and France were simply acting from the colonial mindset that made the three countries rich over the centuries and Britain and France seem especially overjoyed to be able to do so.

        But I do not absolve Gaddafi from his responsibility for continuing the war and urging the fighters of his favored Sirte to do so even if it meant that the town would be destroyed.

        It did not help when he was offered encouragement by Chavez and Castro and by his supporters in the West, none of whom had their lives or futures on the line although there are those who will argue that Chavez is next. He isn’t.

        If instead of rallying around Gaddafi as did much of the US Left, there had been efforts to build a mass movement against US intervention in Libya as there was against the war on Iraq which later, sadly, dissipated, it might not have changed anything but at least the majority of the people in Libya would not see the Left as their enemies as did the peoples of Eastern Europe did when the Western Left, with but a handful of exceptions, sided with the aparachiks of those police states and, unfortunately but understandably, accepted the hands of the likes of Reagn and Thatcher.

        When one lives in an oppressive society ideology takes a back seat to the desire for freedom.

      • teta mother me
        October 31, 2011, 9:59 pm

        Lizzy Phelan was on the ground in Libya and prepared several videos that contradicted the facts about who did what to whom in Libya, as Americans (at least) had been told them by government & media.

        unfortunately, Lizzy Phelan’s videos have been banished from youtube. link to youtube.com

        apparently voltairenet had also been taken down. It’s owner, an independent journalist, also posted some inconvenient truths about Libya and NATO.

        Disappointing that the Italians did not do more to oppose Sarkozy, US/Hillary Clinton, and NATO wet dreams to take over Libya.

        The thought of Blankfort’s with which it’s impossible to disagree is that the West/NATO destroyed Libya in order to rebuild it in the image and likeness of predatory capitalism — of, for, and by the 1%.

    • Jeffrey Blankfort
      October 31, 2011, 11:30 am

      Toivo, you might have noted what I wrote above:
      “For me, one of the most troubling phenomenon of the Libyan situation has been the inability of anti-imperialists to both oppose what plainly is a dictatorship AND US/NATO intervention at the same time.”

      I did not support the US/NATO intervention in Libya and won’t anywhere else because I have no illusion about the goals of both. At the same time I didn’t see the conflict in Libya as a fight between the “good guys” and the “bad guys.” World conflicts rarely are. It was more like the Mafia cracking down on a smaller gang boss when the opportunity presented itself.

      What those who have defended Gaddafi consistently failed to mention is that Gaddafi all but issued an engraved invitation for intervention when he made wild, public threats to eliminate those challenging his regime by going “house to house, door to door, room to room, to do it.”

      Would that convoy that he sent to Benghazi which was stopped by the French have massacred a large number of Benghazis? No one can say but in the murder of 1200 prisoners in the Abu Salim prison Tripoli in 1996 he certainlly demonstrated that killing on a large scale was not a problem for him.

      I have been following Gaddafi’s career with some skepticism since 1971 when I read a long detailed article in the London Observer that described how the US had prevented a coup against him by the Brits.

      I was later puzzled when he hired former CIA agents to train his guards with the CIA’s approval. In 1983, when I was in Lebanon, I learned how he had “disappeared” Imam Musa Sadr, the progressive Shia cleric who had established strong ties with the country’s other religious confessions and whose image still appears on walls throughout Lebanon.

      None of this seemed to draw any concern from the traditional Left, nor did his assistance to the killers of Sierra Leone. That great crime humanity was, sadly, never on the Left’s computer screens.

      • ToivoS
        October 31, 2011, 6:22 pm

        I don’t know why the left should be required to denounce every tyrannical dictator on the planet. Ghadaffi was an obvious buffoon at least since the early 80’s and no one I respect really gave him any support. He was bush league compared to Saddam in the bloodthirsty department.

        What set me off, is your taking us to task for not discussing how bad he was when the subject on the table is the current re-integration of Libya into the international capitalist economy. That is the line that the ultra right uses against any antiwar movement — you should be sensitive to that.

        You also seem to trivialize what is currently going on in Libya. This also involves severing China’s ties with Libya and replacing them Europeans. This is looking more and more like good old fashioned colonialism, remember the good old days when different national capitalist regimes competed for markets and resources through war.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        October 31, 2011, 10:34 pm

        Toivo, Gaddafi already did the job of reintegrating Libya into the international capitalist economy when he opened Libya’s oil resources to all of the world’s major oil companies and further privatization of the economy was well underway.

        It is not that the Left is required to denounce every tyrannical dictator but then it should not make excuses for them when they fuck up as I have witnessed in endless fashion since the uprising started and pretend we know better what is good for them than they do as we have seen with those who have categorized the Libyan rebels as nothing more than NATO stooges.

    • Keith
      October 31, 2011, 9:19 pm

      JEFFREY BLANKFORT- With all due respect, brevity is not your forte. It is somewhat difficult to discern a coherent line of thought in your meandering comments, which seem as much concerned with self-promotion of your efforts over these many years, and of the perceived failure of others to do likewise, as with commenting on the specific issues at hand. For example, you seem obsessed with Gaddafi and the Abu Salim prison massacre. I don’t know what happened there, however, since you indicate that this prison massacre occurred in 1996, and since we did nothing at the time, I think it is safe to assume that US/NATO’s intervention had nothing to do with this. Also, Saif al Islam Gaddafi’s London mansion seems less than germane, unless you are claiming that extravagances such as this impoverished Libyans, fuelling resentment, etc, an unlikely assertion in view of Libya’s relatively high standard of living. As for oil, I believe that Gaddafi was threatening to renegotiate concessions to pay for the Lockerbie bombing penalty, and had talked about nationalizing the oil. And don’t forget about China, now no longer in position to enter into any future oil deals with a Gaddafi run Libya. There were a lot of different reasons for this US/NATO intervention, however, “humanitarianism” was not one of them.

      “But I do not absolve Gaddafi from his responsibility for continuing the war and urging the fighters of his favored Sirte to do so even if it meant that the town would be destroyed.” Beautiful! Now all of US/NATO’s destruction of Libya is Gaddafi’s fault because he didn’t surrender when US/NATO bombed! This is your advice to countries that are assaulted by outside forces? To surrender to neocolonialism? And don’t tell me that the “rebels” represented “the people.” If they did, with all of the US/NATO firepower and logistical support brought to bear, Gaddafi wouldn’t have lasted a week. Since our discussion on the Reform Jews thread began in a disagreement over the extent of US/NATO’s initial involvement, and since you reposted your comment here, I will conclude by doing the same for my response to the comment you reposted.

      JEFFREY BLANKFORT- A rather long post which in no way contradicts my original contention that the uprising was instigated/encouraged by US/NATO. No doubt many of the people involved had, or thought they had, legitimate grievances. An ideal situation for CIA assets and agent provocateurs to stir things up. Regardless of one’s opinion of Gaddafi, there is way too much evidence of prior intent and prior planning to believe that this was the fortuitous implementation of some dormant contingency plan. The events in Tunisia and Egypt created a huge impetus to implement current plans for reshaping the Middle East, as well as respond to the challenge of the uprisings. Timing is critical, hence, I seriously doubt the covert operations guys sat around twiddling their thumbs waiting for something to happen on its own. Too much occurred way too fast not to have been orchestrated.

      As for Gaddafi’s record, I don’t see anything in your laundry list that indicates that he was worse than Uncle Sam or Israel, both of whom engage in low intensity conflict and outright wars of aggression all of the time. You might at least acknowledge that one of the “terrorists” that he supported was Nelson Mandela, that Libya under Gaddafi had a relatively high standard of living for Africa, free education, etc, all of which are likely gone as a consequence of this US/NATO intervention. Or that he resisted empire’s designs on Africa, seeking African unity and independence. To reference Libya’s development index, the highest in Africa, indicates that we don’t know what we are talking about? This even as you criticize others for one-sided analyses. Two of the quotes I provided were from John Pilger and Bill Blum, two sources that I have confidence in.

      “…describing the Libyans who were putting their lives on the line fighting him as NATO stooges.” Fighting him? Who the hell was fighting him? How many US/NATO sorties were there? How many bombs dropped and missiles fired? How many US/NATO special operations forces on the ground despite denials? Qatar mercenaries? Cruise missile fired? Drones, etc? Any sane person looking at the imbalance in firepower quickly realizes that the Libyan defensive militias were hopelessly outgunned. Yet, they fought on for 8 months against the US/NATO aggression. Have you seen pictures of Sirte? Of all of the bodies being put into mass graves? This is “saving lives?” Funny, for a tyrant, there were a lot of people that preferred living in a Gaddafi ruled Libya than a US/NATO imposed neoliberal colony of empire. Libya has been destroyed. If you choose to interpret this as a glorious victory for the rebel forces and for liberty, have at it. I continue to view this as an imperial abomination.

      A final comment in regards to US/NATO’s plans and intentions. I offer a quote referencing US plans after Iraq. Of course, Iraq didn’t go as smoothly as planned, putting the whole timetable back, however, look at the countries mentioned. Do you see any correlation with what is going on now?

      “…in the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan…. (Wesley Clark, Winning Modern Wars, p. 130).
      link to globalresearch.ca

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        October 31, 2011, 10:52 pm

        Keith, you’re right. I do tend to go on. Will try to be briefer here. The Wesley Clark quote has made its rounds and then again. Not surprising that the US had eyes on these prizes, but there is no evidence that there was any planning beyond discussion.

        That was also before Libya made its deal re the Lockerbie bombing (which was probably committed by Iran through Syria.) But seriously, do you think the US had or has plans to make war on either Lebanon or Syria?

        I haven’t gone back to check the date of that quote but I would guess it was made during the heady days after Iraq had fallen and Bush declared “mission accomplished” and the generals were getting their high on the supposed victory.

        I do believe that once the Tunisian uprising had begun that plans, quite likely dormant, were activated in order to co-opt the protests that were sure to take place in Libya. The significance of the prison massacre of 1996 was that it was the families of those who were murdered there who began the street protests in Benghazi. I suppose they should have known better.

        Not to go on I will end by quoting this statement of yours which I have seen in a number of forms and which may explain my criticism of those who have denied the legitimacy of the Libyan rebellion. “No doubt,” you write, “many of the people involved had, or thought they had, legitimate grievances.” You can’t get much more paternalistic than that.

      • Keith
        November 1, 2011, 2:34 pm

        JEFFREY BLANKFORT- “Not to go on I will end by quoting this statement of yours which I have seen in a number of forms and which may explain my criticism of those who have denied the legitimacy of the Libyan rebellion. “No doubt,” you write, “many of the people involved had, or thought they had, legitimate grievances.” You can’t get much more paternalistic than that.”

        Jeffrey, it is an elementary principal of morality that we should be much more concerned with immoral acts for which bear some responsibility than of those acts of others which we lack the power to change. US/NATO has engaged in a massive imperial intervention which has virtually destroyed the Libyan infrastructure, and has resulted in deaths estimated between 30,000 to 50,000 Libyans, most as a consequence of the US/NATO bombing campaign, with more yet to come. In my opinion, US/NATO is guilty of massive war crimes for which they will never be held to account. Libya has been effectively destroyed. As US citizens, Jeffrey, you and I bear some responsibility for empire’s actions. Gaddafi’s actions from 16 years ago do not lighten our current responsibility, and being overly solicitous of rebels who lynch blacks and execute prisoners is not meeting that responsibility. This imperial intervention is the single worse thing that has happened to Libya since Gaddafi took power. This is what we should be opposing without equivocation.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        November 1, 2011, 9:53 pm

        Keith, I agree with you that we are primarily responsible for what we do and what is done in our name and it is a principle I have operated on my entire adult life and my opposition to the US/NATO intervention was unconditional. But that has nothing to do with suggesting that people who have lived under something other than benevolent dictatorship for 42 years might not have had legitimate means to overthrow that dictatorship.

        One may certainly question their choice of allies from any number of standpoints and, in the case of Libya, should have, but that is a totally separate issue from whether they had the right to rebel which is not our business.

        I don’t know and no one does yet of the extent of Libyan casualties but it is likely there were more casualties at the hands of US/NATO in Sirte than in Tripoli since there the US/NATO were trying to destroy Gaddafi’s military infrastructure while “winning the hearts and minds” of the people. Yes, there were universities and civilian structures hit but had there been massive bombings of civilian areas with attendant casualties in Tripoli, the majority of the city’s population would not have welcomed Gaddafi’s downfall and the damage would have been hard to hide.

        With regard to Sirte, US/NATO clearly had a different agenda and no compunction about causing civilian deaths because the whole town had been painted as a Gaddafi stronghold.

        NATO and the US are certainly guilty of war crimes but the notion that “Libya has been effectively destroyed,” is the kind of exaggeration that we have heard on both sides of this conflict. And like the others, there is not a shred of evidence that it is true.

  9. Jeffrey Blankfort
    October 31, 2011, 1:06 am

    P.S. Before I checked with my Libyan oil map, I thought Heritage was one of those with a small contract. Second, I am not one to challenge all the benefits that Gaddafi’s defenders tell us he bestowed on the Libyan people. I would rather hear it from them rather than from outsiders who speak no Arabic and have never been there or who have but on tightly controlled trips which are characteristic of dictatorships and police states.

    In any event, it is clear that the majority of the Libyan people did not, in the end, believe whatever benefits that they had received from the Gaddafi government were worth giving up their rights to speak their minds without fear of disappearing into a jail cell or disappearing completely. What would you have done under the circumstances?

    • ToivoS
      October 31, 2011, 4:51 am

      We get it Jeffrey. You support Nato led national liberation movements. You have discovered a new progressive force that will lead the people of the world to freedom. It is called bombs for freedom. Revolutionaries of the world unite behind those great movements in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yeman, Uganda and Somalia led by the great US of A (Palestine,Bhairan, etc need not apply).

      BTW, please do not assume that we supported the Ghadaffi regime. I suppose 10 years back you were accusing those of us who opposed the war in Iraq of being supporters of Saddam Hussein. You really do sound like those jingoistic prowar idiots that denounced us for trying to stop that insanity (I have no idea what you did back then, were you part of the Thomas Friedman and Andrew Sullivan brigades that were accusing us of treason?).

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        October 31, 2011, 2:29 pm

        Toivo, I have been protesting every US war going back to Korea in 1953 when there were but 14 of us doing so at UCLA and I was active in opposition to the war in Vietnam and to both wars on Iraq without qualification and nothing I have written contrdicts that.

        I oppose dictatorships, unequivocally. I oppose any and every system that punishes those who exercise the rights that we in the West are ready to fight for: free speech, free press, freedom of association and I side with those people who are willing to risk their lives in order to change it, and I have little patience for those who operate by double standards.

        NATO didn’t lead this insurgency. Thanks to opportunists within Gaddafi’s own ruling clique who quickly deserted him and Libyan exiles with their own agendas, the legimate protests of the families of the prisoners that Gaddafi had murdered in Tripoli were co-opted, faciltated by his public threats to wipe them out.

        Have you protested or at least objected to the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, or even the existence of a prison let alone a US base there? Is that not okay but Gadaffi treating prisoners worse in far worse conditions okay? The state of NY killed 41 prisoners at Attica in 1971 as they demanded better conditions in the prisons. Gaddafi had 1200 killed for the same reason, 30 times more, and many of the families weren’t allowed to collect or even see their dead bodies.

        I will not apologize for a single moment for my opposition to Gaddafi. I did not support the NATO intervention and wish it had been left to the Libyan people to take down his regime and his flag and no doubt that would have been as bloody and quite likely, not as successful. It might have been like Hama in 1982 when Hafez al Assad had at least 10,000 Syrians killed. That was no big deal for the Western Left either.

        In 1970, when Jordan’s King Hussein attacked the Palestinian refugee camps in Amman which became Black September, while Syrian president Attasi inititally sent tanks across the border to assist the Palestinians, the head of his airforce, the same Hafez al Assad refused to provide air cover and the tabks had to retreat. Within a few months Al-Assad had overthrown Attasi, put more than 200 pro-Palestinian activists in prison, and disbanded al-Saika, a Syrian sponsored militia that had some of the most politically aware fighters than I encountered on my trip there.
        In 1970, I spent nine days in the Palestinian refugee camp of Tal al Zaatar on the Christian side of Beirut and six years later I watched on television as Christain Falange and Syrian forces massacred the camp’s inhabitants, leaving as many dead as in Sabra and Shatila.

        In 1983, a year after the Israeli invasion and with Israel still occupying half of the country, I was in Lebanon again. This time Daddy al-Assad had his own gang of Palestinians under Abu Musa attack the refugee camps of Bedwai and Nahr-al Bahrad where I ran with camp residents for shelter under their falling rockets. Later, in the Tripoli hospital the floor was so slippery with the blood of Palestinians caused by al-Assad’s intervention that it was almost impossible to walk without slipping.

        So now, today, we are told that Assad, the son, another dictator, needs to be defended from being overthrown by his assorted enemies who just happen to be a significant percentage of the citizens of Syria. Like the father, the son seems to have had no problem in having his critics killed. Some of you, safe and comfy in your chairs facing the computer screen may support him but not me.

        Because Syria is more critically placed than Libya and because after NATO overstepped the limits of the UN resolution in conducting an air war on Libya, it is unlikely that there will be another such UN authorized intervention or that Assad will fall, at least in the immediate furture and that, as it was with his father, there will be an accomodation that will allow him to remain in power.

      • ToivoS
        October 31, 2011, 6:55 pm

        So now, today, we are told that Assad, the son, another dictator, needs to be defended from being overthrown by his assorted enemies who just happen to be a significant percentage of the citizens of Syria. Like the father, the son seems to have had no problem in having his critics killed. Some of you, safe and comfy in your chairs facing the computer screen may support him but not me.

        You are getting close to unhinged — who in his right mind is supporting Assad right now? Should he be deposed tomorrow I could care less, except, of course, it is the US that does it. I certainly won’t cheer his downfall for the simple reason he will likely be replaced by a Sunni fundamentalist government that will immediately be taking revenge against Alawites, Druze, Kurds or other minorities.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        October 31, 2011, 11:07 pm

        Toivo, you ask “who in his right mind is supporting Assad right now?” I can’t speak for their sanity any more than you can speak for mine but the answer is, a lot of folks who not surprisingly are the same who rallied to the side of Gaddafi, accusing those trying overthrow that family dynasty of being outside agitators, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc.

        What troubles me about the situation is that Syria has provided critical support to Hezbollah which, perforce, has been obliged to take his side, a move that understandably has enraged those in the streets calling of Assad’s ouster and having been arrested or shot for doing so.

        That has clearly worked in Israel’s favor and put Hez in a perilous position should Assad fall and be replaced by a hard-line Sunni regime, but had Assad not elected to confront what, in the beginning, were peaceful protests with violence we may not be seeing the situation that is taking place now.

  10. Theo
    October 31, 2011, 8:30 am

    First of all, we all know that without the NATO airstrikes the rebells would have been wiped out in Bengasi and Libya would have had a bloodbath unparalleled in its history.
    Gaddafi´s troops were near Bengasi and nothing could have stopped them, at least not the ragged untrained groups who were fighting for their freedom from the tyran.
    Originally the NATO airstrikes were to stop the heavy armor of Gaddafi and to destroy his communications, however, after the rebells could not take Tripoli and other important cities, those airstrikes were extended to other targets, eventually to civilian ones.

    We could have watched and allowed Gaddafi to butcher a great part of his own people, after all, we had nothing to lose. Oil contracts were already signed and after the war Gaddafi would need more expensive weapons, a gain/gain situation for us.
    Or we could do what we did, and stop an even greater bloodbath.

    I love those armchair generals, who never did anything important in their lives, but love to critizes anything done by responsible people.
    War is terrible and people die in it! Did you forget how many soldiers had to die to get read of Hitler and to liberate those concentration camps?
    America could have just watched until the nazis finished their bloody work.

    • Chaos4700
      October 31, 2011, 9:08 am

      I think ultimately what matters is what NATO does now, that the rebels have control. Germany and Japan were given back to the Germans and the Japanese, ultimately. I’m not confident that the same will happen in Libya, now. I think it may become another Iraq.

    • Dan Crowther
      October 31, 2011, 9:26 am

      Theo, my brother,

      there is so much factually wrong with your post, its hard to know where to begin…….

      I would say watch Lizzy Phelan’s video on Harry Fear, or read her journalism, she was actually there…for now, this will do:

      link to counterpunch.org

      • Theo
        October 31, 2011, 10:46 am

        Dan

        Who is Max Forte, the source of all and only truth?
        I was in Tunisia!

        Let me tell you a little story: about 30 years ago I was in Casablanca, in the bar I met a journalist from a major US newspaper who was sent to investigate certain events in the Rif mountains. After spending three days in Casblanca, mostly in the hotel bar, and talking to many other journalists and local people, he wrote his story and flew back to the states. This is typical for those on scene reports you read in the MSM or certain blogs, I am sure his story was great appreciated.

      • Theo
        October 31, 2011, 10:51 am

        I notice a certain arrogance with comments in this blogs, refuting other comments without knowing the source available to the other person. Or putting it straight, a lot of intelligent BS, brother Dan.

      • Dan Crowther
        October 31, 2011, 11:08 am

        Theo, my brother – and we are brothers!

        Your right, I was being condescending and very close minded.

        Was that Tom Friedman you met in Casablanca? haha. That sounds like a Friedman-style reporter ” I talked to my cab driver….”

        I do disagree with some – most- of your statements regarding Libya, especially in terms of the supposed imminent slaughter in Benghazi and the gaddaffi as hitler references. And I think there is alot of documentation to refute some/most of the claims by western governments regarding their impetus for intervention.

        This is a war for Africa, and it has only just begun.

      • Dan Crowther
        October 31, 2011, 11:26 am

        link to therealnews.com

        link to therealnews.com

        link to truthdig.com

        link to axisoflogic.com

        link to dissidentvoice.org

        link to chomsky.info

        Chomsky:

        Libya is a different case. Libya is rich in oil, and though the US and UK have often given quite remarkable support to its cruel dictator, right to the present, he is not reliable. They would much prefer a more obedient client. Furthermore, the vast territory of Libya is mostly unexplored, and oil specialists believe it may have rich untapped resources, which a more dependable government might open to Western exploitation.

        cont’d:

        There was no effort to institute a no-fly zone. The triumvirate at once interpreted the resolution as authorizing direct participation on the side of the rebels. A ceasefire was imposed by force on Qaddafi’s forces, but not on the rebels. On the contrary, they were given military support as they advanced to the West, soon securing the major sources of Libya’s oil production, and poised to move on.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        October 31, 2011, 1:20 pm

        Dan,

        In case you hadn’t looked, war has been consuming much of Africa for years, most of which has passed without comment or a sign of concern by the Western Left. When was the last time anyone on this thread has seen any of the alternative websites mention the Congo where estimates of the death toll from fighting, starvation and disease range between three and six million, or in Sierra Leone where an estimated 200,000 died and whose killers, as previously noted, had the support of Col. Gaddafi?

        What is significant about the US/NATO intervention is not that it represents the beginning of a reconquest of the African continent–it doesn’t–but that it is an indication that NATO is ready to act as an international “police force” anywhere in the world if it sees Western interests challenged or an opportunity presenting itself.

        What it will need to overcome, however, will be the unwillingness of the citizens of the NATO countries to finance such future military operations when their governments can scarcely afford to maintain the current level of public services. The good news is that it is not likely to do so.

        Just the other day, Leon “The Lion” Panetta, became the latest US official to hector the Europeans about their refusal to devote more of their budgets to military spending. Unlike the American public which has a history of putting up with anything, the Europeans take their politics a bit more seriously and each of their respective political systems are more susceptible to public pressure than is the faux democracy of the US.

        Consequently, all of the dark visions of the future envisioned as a result of the debacle in Libya are simply that, visions, not based in reality. The US empire is in a state of collapsing. The wars both in Afghanistan and Iraq will likely prove to have been the greatest series of mistakes it has ever made and despite its ongoing bluster, its fortunes will continue to head downhill.

      • Theo
        October 31, 2011, 1:39 pm

        Dan, my brother.

        You are quoting me blogs from people who were probably not in Libya, but got their info from other blogs with the same quality.
        Besides, blogs only reperesent the views of certain people who tell their stories accordingly. This is what I call armchair generals, fighting a war while sipping a martini.

        You should have listened to Aljazeera, the hero of the tunisian and egyptian uprising. Those reporters were present and told the truth.
        Or better, like me, fly to Tunisia and talk to a bunch of refugees. You can up it by going to Libya direct, however it is a bit too late, it is like arriving at the stadion after the end of a game.

      • annie
        October 31, 2011, 2:08 pm

        You should have listened to Aljazeera, the hero of the tunisian and egyptian uprising. Those reporters were present and told the truth.

        theo, are you talking about libya? have you listened to Lizzy Phelan’s testimony starting around 16 minutes?

      • Dan Crowther
        October 31, 2011, 2:11 pm

        You mean this Al Jazeera? The one who takes orders from the US government/CIA?

        link to manamapress.net

        link to rt.com

        link to blogs.alternet.org

        Not sure if you can access Wiki Leaks, but all this is there as well

      • Dan Crowther
        October 31, 2011, 2:28 pm

        Jeff,

        I meant ‘war’ as in, hostilities have reached their full stage – I do know about what has been going on in Africa for some time now; I was almost sent over there ( I am a former Marine).

        AFRICOM is a departure from the previous policies, though they have been building to this point for a while – what we have now is more or less open conflict between NATO and Sino-Russian parties.

        You can say dark visions are fantasies or that these recent NATO actions arent the beginning of a “reconquest” of Africa, but there is strong evidence to the contrary.

        And, what better fix to domestic economic problems in the West, than a new influx of Libyan sweet crude?

      • Theo
        October 31, 2011, 2:30 pm

        Funny, MW troops were salivating all over Aljazeera during those two uprisings, now it is declared useless. Just check what Weiss and others said about AZ just a few months ago.
        By the way, I watch Aljazeera, RT, France24, BBC, Skynews, DWI, CCTV and a few other stations every day, no need to send me links to them.
        What I don´t do is to watch CNN and listen to the lies of Wolf Blitzer.
        Or read blogs with opinionated writers.

      • Dan Crowther
        October 31, 2011, 3:12 pm

        This is a blog of opinionated writers.

        Congratulations on what you watch. And now you’ll be able to watch Al Jazeera in the states, now that they have done the governments bidding.

        And I do like alot of their reporting, I think in general they do a good job – but you cant escape the fact that the Qatari regime funds most of it, and they have confirmed connections to American intelligence.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        October 31, 2011, 5:28 pm

        Theo,

        Al-Jazeera took a qualitiative turn in the wrong direction when the uprisings hit Bahrain and Libya. While underplaying the former, it came to resemble a more slightly more literate version of Fox News when it came to Libya, throwing aside any attempt at “objective”journalism and becoming, literally, a propaganda arm for what its news announcer’s referred to as Libya’s “pro-democracy movement.” That was not only journalistically unacceptable, it wasn’t true.

        Whatever criticism I have or had of Gaddafi, which I have spelled out in detail here, I do not believe those rebelling can be categorized as “pro-democracy” and I shuddered when I started hearing that on Al-Jazeera which most definitely showied that the government of Qatar was now calling the shots.

        Moreover, it seems that every talking head from Washington belongs to some neocon think. It is no longer the Al Jazeera that bravely covered Cast Lead and the Egyptian uprising. It has, sad to say, been outFoxed.

      • Walid
        November 1, 2011, 12:53 pm

        “the fact that the Qatari regime funds most of it”

        Dan, the network’s annual operating budget of about $44MM is funded totally by the Emir. Initially started as an Arabic news network by the BBC, it failed and was picked up by the Saudis. It was about to be shut down by the Saudis because it was saying not nice things about life in Saudia and that’s when the Emir of Qatar stepped in and bought it. Until Libya, the network was totally independent and free from any political meddling by the owner to the point that its Kabul and Baghdad offices were deliberately bombed by the US because it had been exposing what the US had been doing. Jazeera did a fantastic job exposing what Israel was doing in Gaza and Lebanon in 2006 and 2008.

        It was granted a license to operate out of NYC about a month ago and now appears to have picked up its first major US advertiser, Exxon. Things always get better when you’re on the winning team.

        Its most popular Arabic program is Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s, a weekly fire and brimstone religion show with an audience of 40 million listeners. He’s an Egyptian exile living in Qatar and the spiritual guru of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. His program was stopped this spring to devote all the air time to the Arab uprisings.

      • Dan Crowther
        November 1, 2011, 1:46 pm

        Thanks Walid – I didnt know the Emir payed for the WHOLE thing…… sad that this has happened to Al Jazeera

      • Keith
        November 1, 2011, 3:32 pm

        JEFFREY BLANKFORT- “In case you hadn’t looked, war has been consuming much of Africa for years, most of which has passed without comment or a sign of concern by the Western Left.”

        Jeffrey, Africa is a war torn basket case primarily as a consequence of Western imperialism and subsequent neocolonialism. Most of these wars are facilitated by various Western powers supplying one side or the other with the guns to fight these brutal wars. Following WWII, Africa was a low priority for the US which left the former European colonial powers in charge to exploit the continent as part of restoring the prewar capitalist system. The lack of direct US involvement meant that US activists properly concentrated on areas of direct US involvement such as Viet Nam, Central America, etc. Your comment concerning lack of “comment or a sign of concern by the Western Left” lacks relevance.

        Dan’s comment that “This is a war for Africa, and it has only just begun.” is, in my view, valid. Times have changed. Africa has reentered US imperial planning as we enter what many analysts describe as an era of resource wars. AfriCom is a concrete manifestation of current imperial strategy targeting Africa. The Europeans will no longer be left to their own devices, but will partake of the spoils as members of NATO, a US imperial out of area strike force. In this regard, I think that Obama’s recent emphasis on drone warfare and special operations forces is particularly relevant.

        “Still, those 60 military and CIA bases worldwide, directly connected to the drone program, tell us much about America’s war-making future. From command and control and piloting to maintenance and arming, these facilities perform key functions that allow drone campaigns to continue expanding, as they have for more than a decade. Other bases are already under construction or in the planning stages.”
        link to counterpunch.org

        “The Obama Administration has been particularly enamored of SOFs, and, according to reporters Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post, is in the process of doubling the number of countries where such units are active from 60 to 120. U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman Col. Tim Nye told Nick Turse of Salon that SOF forces would soon be deployed in 60 percent of the world’s nations: “We do a lot of traveling.”

        Indeed they do. U.S. Special Operations Command (SOC) admits to having forces in virtually every country in the Middle East, Central Asia, as well as many in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. But true to its penchant for secrecy, SOC is reluctant to disclose every country to which its forces are deployed. “We’re obviously going to have some places where it’s not advantageous for us to list where were at,” Nye told Turse.
        SOF forces have almost doubled in the past two decades, from some 37,000 to close to 60,000, and major increases are planned in the future. Their budget has jumped from $2.3 billion to $9.8 billion over the last 10 years

        These Special Forces include the Navy’s SEALs, the Marines Special Operations teams, the Army’s Delta Force, the Air Force’s Blue Light and Air Commandos, plus Rangers and Green Berets. There is also the CIA, which runs the clandestine drone war in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.”
        link to counterpunch.org

      • Walid
        November 1, 2011, 4:49 pm

        Dan, despite what Jazeera is going through and hopefuly it will go back to its old ways soon, we can’t deny the generosity of the Emir and the smart way he manages his donations. Contrary to most Arab donors, he follows through and actually coughs up the promised cash. He pledged and disbursed the full 100MM to help Katrina victims and he did likewise with the 300MM to rebuild some of the southern villages in Lebanon, especially Bint Jbail that had been pulverized by Isreal in 2006. Other Arab donors either don’t honour their pledges or when they do, they simply send the cheque to the government and their participation ends there, but Qatar actually manages the individual disburements itself to ensure that the money reaches those for whom it was intended as it did in N-O and Lebanon. After the 2006 war on Lebanon, Saudia sent 2 billion to the government of Lebanon to rebuild the south but the money never reached the people or the south; it was used by the pro-US/Saudi governement on something else and it got away with a mild scolding by the Saudis for having diverted the money. Luckily for the people of the south, Iran came to their rescue with help of 400MM.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        November 1, 2011, 10:31 pm

        Keith, I am well aware of Africa’s history which, I insist, has rarely been a subject of discussion or concern by the Left whether or not you think otherwise. And yes, Africa has never been freed from the yoke of the colonial powers that divided and raped it in the 19th century who through proxies have been looting its resources and every attempt to achieve independence has ended either through assassination or co-optation.

        I have been following the story of AFRICOM since it came on the scene and its inability to get an Arab country to host its headquarters. I don’t expect that quest to get any easier because, as corrupt as they are, no sub-Saharan African country wants to become the newest war zone. I am not sure of the nature of the deal that Obamanation made with Uganda but if past is prologue it will soon backfire.

        In case you haven’t noticed, the US is not exactly in a strong position today. It has won nothing in Iraq to show for its destruction of that country and the hundreds of thousands dead and wounded and the millions made refugees. That shall be clear to everyone in the near future if it isn’t now, its Vatican size embassy not withstanding, and the government will have a hard time convincing the American people that the sacrifice of its soldiers was worth it.

        The US has also lost in Afghanistan and Pakistan which may explode if Hillary’s lips aren’t taped and Mike Mullen told to shut up.

        180 million people in a nuclear armed country is something that Washington is not capable of dealing with. In fact, it should be clear that it is politically, economically, and militarily not capable of handling much of anything at the moment and it won’t get any better if the maniacs in Israel choose to take advantage of Obama’s weakness and the upcoming US elections and try out some of those bunker busters on Iran.

        In the end, it seems that all the US has going for it are those drones but what goes around comes around. Drones are so cheap to make that almost every country with a factory is making them. You can follow them here” Drones, BTW, are being added to police forces and sheriffs departments across the country and will be the government’s latest toy designed to keep its eye on us.

  11. harryfear
    October 31, 2011, 1:18 pm

    Just embed it like this then, so it skips to Lizzie’s speech:

    link to pastebin.com

    This code will also turn on subtitles for French listeners. We are working on Spanish subtitles too.

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