edits March 22
Note: I only come across as so totaly pro-Gaddafi in the sense of shouting what others won't even whisper. I mean to excuse no atrocity or abuse by Gaddafi's regime that is real and unwarranted in the circumstances. I only seek to add just this, below, to the global discussion on the Libya conflict.
Paul Hudson, father of a Lockerbie victim and co-president of the Families of Pan Am 103/Lockerbie – a separate group from Victims of Pan Am 103 Inc. - posted a press release about a week ago, on the eve of the UN vote about a no-fly zone over Libya. It’s a pretty militant dispatch filled with minor inaccuracies (Libya was not on Bush's “axis of evil,” for one) and the usual annoying spin the U.S. family members of 103 victims are so well-known for. Something about believing that their children were killed by Gaddafi’s regime might have something to do with that.
As others have been doing, he seems to believe every report from the rebel side and hears none from the other, and falls back on alarmist tactics to urge sterner measures against the Gaddafi regime. He called for immediate military strikes and recognition of the new government in Benghazi, to prevent a “genocide” against the “peaceful protesters.” Out inaction in this war has the danger of "starting a war," he cautioned.
Hudson’s advice and the thousands who share the same view has apparently made it happen. The United States, UK, and France pushed through a 10-0 vote at the United Nations security council on the imposition of an enforced no-fly zone. And it has just-now-noticed additions specifying Gaddafi’s forces can also not drive tanks, or do anything ground based that threatens “civilian targets.” The meaning of civilian is unclear; it seems by the news reports of actions taken so far to include protesters, and also the half of Libya now under rebel control, and also their advancing forces. Witness the famously photographed rebel fighter jet shot down over Benghazi. Officially (by rebel accounts) this was shot down by Gaddafi's forces, who were close enough to both shoot it and to be threatened by it. They were guilty of breaking the cease-fire, an unprecedented one-sided one, with an open-ended military license to back it up, in the middle of a rather sudden mass defection and war that is not clearly understood by most people (myself included).
Clearly what’s needed is to rush into this fray before we can figure out what the hell’s going on there. Make no mistake, supporting the protesters is an urgent and a humanitarian impulse, we’re told by the US ambassador to the UN: "the violence must stop, the killing must stop, and the people of Libya must be protected and have the opportunity to express themselves freely." And as a French government spokesman clarified, the “free expression” referred to is "go(ing) all the way in their drive for freedom, which means bringing down the Kadhafi regime." [source]
What a novel concept, sure to be introduced here or there, in the heartlands of revolutionary enlightenment freedom themselves. Following this overseas trial run, of course. Or perhaps not.
It's not an entirely savory bunch we are going in to protect, either. There are the deep-east-Libyan Arab racists among them, identifying African “mercenaries” often just by skin color, venting their dislike of Gaddafi’s pan-African ideas by cutting down immigrant workers and lifetime citizens alike in the dozens, according to a number of reports. [see here and here] Many others escaped such harm only by fleeing quickly enough.
But then there’s Daffy Qadhafi’s loony charge that al Qaeda, its north African branch at least, is behind the revolt. He said this from the beginning, to a general response in the west of hysterical laughter. As impassioned commentator David Rothscum aptly put it “ we consider him to be a schizophrenic autistic nutcase of course.” It doesn't help that he added that they were tripping on hallucinogens, of course, in a surreal and contradictory twist.
Again on the eve of serious bombardment, Gaddafi tried to explain to the world: "If you come here to carry out air strikes, you are not coming to protect the human rights of civilians, you are... going to be opening the door to al Qaeda." Strangely, as President Obama orders missiles, his anti-terrorism Czar John Brennan, for one, concedes there is cause for just that concern, as with any Muslim nation being destabilized. Or perhaps more so. Early on in the Libyan uprising, it was reported on CNN and elsewhere that Al Qaeda's North African wing offered through a website to "do whatever we can to help" the rebels. This tends to go against Gaddafi's idea they had initiated the revolt. But just now, they've issued a "warning against America" to the rebels of their stripe.
Brennan was however all but sure of renewed terrorism if Gaddafi remains. Indeed, he might be more angry, for some reason, and so must go, opening the door for someone. And clearly Gaddafi’s death machine and bin Laden’s are in the same group to Americans and the French – Arabic speaking airliner-scale terrorist bad guys, and the worst two among them. As Mr. Hudson noted
"[Gaddafi is] the admitted No. 2 international terrorist, second only to Osama Bin Laden, having caused the murder of hundreds of Americans, French, UK and other innocent citizens in the bombings of U.S. bound Pan Am 103 killing 270, UTA flight 772 killing 170, the La Belle Disco bombing in Berlin, dozens of other terrorist attacks, and delivering large shipments of plastic explosives for IRA terrorist bombings, plus killing thousands of his own people who regularly disappear into his torture chambers or are assassinated abroad. (...)I’m confident some portion of that list is true, but at the very least the deadliest among them and the one that brought Mr. Hudson into such impartial and scholarly contact with this ring of terror, has been sadly misattributed. (see: the rest of this site).
The two Libyan agents accused of bombing Flight 103, Abdelbaset al Megrahi and Lamin Fhimah, were indicted in 1991 on flimsy and dubious evidence. Of three witnesses against the accused, at least two were paid $2 million each, and still managed to provide almost zero credible evidence between them. The trial judges themselves in 2000 dismissed one of them, the star witness Giaka, for likely mass-fabrication, and acquitted the accomplice, convicting Megrahi alone for a crime he couldn't do alone. This itself was decided on reasoning seriously questioned on official review in 2007. Gaddafi and Libya never did "admit" to this crime, this alleged Libyan plot on Malta. There’s also much better circumstantial evidence and a truckload of cover-up indicators pointing elsewhere.
Nonetheless, back in the early 1990s, the politically leveraged indictments led into demands for a trial Libya couldn’t agree to, leading to a UN air embargo and steep sanctions. These caused an unknown number – reportedly thousands - of preventable Libyan deaths, possibly included in Mr. Hudson’s numbers as Gaddafi’s fault. This only ended after the two accused surrendered for a compromise trial in 1999. Mr. Hudson noted an agreement to limit the trial’s fallout, unjustly he thinks.
Prior to turnover of the Pan Am 103 indicted terrorists for trial, a letter by former UN Secretary Kofi Annan stated that the U.S. and UK had agreed not to pursue the case so as to destabilize the Gaddafi regime.Yes, political assassination was a genuine concern, as that was likely the US and UK goal in framing and pursuing the two Libyan agents. And this wasn’t the only thing the Anglo-American alliance has used to destabilize or kill the colonel. Cruise missile accidentally hit his house in 1986, killing a a bay daughter of his. Another thisng once used, a decade later, was the no. 1 terrorist on Hudson’s list – Osama bin Laden and his once obscure al Qaeda network.
David Shayler is our troublesome source for this, a former MI5 officer, who is now certifiably nuts. But this 2002 article by Martin Bright in the UK Guardian makes quite clear that he had at least one dynamite conspiracy find earlier on: the UK MI6 (foreign intelligence) worked in the mid-1990s with al Qaeda's north African network, in Libya, on a plot to assassinate Gaddafi. The cell there, called the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), included one Anas al-Liby ("the Libyan"), a fairly senior member close to bin Laden in his days in Sudan. As Bright explained the LIFG's bold and British-sponsored move:
The assassination attempt on Gadaffi was planned for early 1996 in the Libyan coastal city of Sirte. It is thought that an operation by the Islamic Fighting Group in the city was foiled in March 1996 and in the gun battle that followed several militants were killed. In 1998, the Libyans released TV footage of a 1996 grenade attack on Gadaffi that they claimed had been carried out by a British agent.The west played that down, and the escaped British agent al-Liby took part in the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998. For this he was indicted in 2000 and fled, from asylum in the UK (Manchester). With a $25 million bounty on his head, he wound up in the Afghanistan area, joining the post-9/11 Jihad.
Shayler was on trial for revealing some genuine secret or other (I'm unclear what), and his explanation of why, this Libya plot he had to expose, was called “pure fantasy” by the government. But during the trial amazing lengths were gone to to keep it all quiet. Public Interest Immunity certificates were issued, Mr. Shayler was barred from saying or entering anything about it, the media was gagged from reporting on it, and so on. The article explained:
Astonishingly, despite suspicions that he was a high-level al-Qaeda operative, al-Liby was given political asylum in Britain and lived in Manchester until May of 2000 when he eluded a police raid on his house and fled abroad. The raid discovered a 180-page al-Qaeda 'manual for jihad' containing instructions for terrorist attacks.The MI6 officer who ran this fiasco were named, but thought to be relocated and re-named by then. The operation is said to have hampered Libya's efforts to arrest Osama himself, or take a hard-line against his nascent network. Indeed, Muammar Gaddafi's terrorist regime was the first in the world, in May 1998, to declare bin Laden a wanted criminal. Shayler had insisted it, and supporting evidence came out in the 2002 book Forbidden Truth by Dasquie and Brisard. Thus, the West's obsession with Gaddafi could have had some role in allowing the attacks of September 11, 2001 and others, before and since.
Al-Liby remained in the fight until he was killed in Pakistan, in 2008. But some of his affiliates remained in Libya, mostly the heavily Islamist western half that now, it's proudly boasted, "has never accepted Gaddafi's rule." In fact, he's sometimes referred to there, perhaps literally, as the "anti-Christ." Many eastern citizens were crushed following the 1996 plot, in a harsh crackdown that saw record executions in excess of 1,000.
The government has taken a different tone on the LIFG today, a softer one, to respect international criticism of human rights abuses. Now they are "rehabilitating" the terrorists rather than executing as before. Nonetheless, as reported, "the LIFG in 2007 reaffirmed its determination to topple Kadhafi's regime and to replace it with an Islamic state, and also stated its affiliation to Al-Qaeda."
Under these peoples' influence, parts of neglected western Libya have spawned at least two things of note in the last decade. One is the highest rate of al Qaeda volunteers, per capita, in the Arab world, and now the mutiny against Gaddafi. A further 110 rehabilitated LIFG members were released, as scheduled, a day before the planned "day of rage" that started the revolt in February. And now, some of al-Liby's offspring are, or had better be, planning a coalition government over Africa’s largest oil deposits, if they are to replace a long-despised “terrorist” regime. Or just hold onto what the allies up north seem to think they have a right to.
Now of course, all the rebels are not al Qaeda fanatics, but just how many are is unclear. As David Wood reported for the Huffington Post:
U.S. officials declined to discuss the make-up of the anti-Gaddafi forces in eastern Libya, and U.S. intelligence agencies declined to comment publicly.It’s presumably hoped that the "undesirable elements" will be co-opted or weeded out one way or another after things have settled and freedom is realized.
And similarly, not all of the protesters we're protecting are war criminals. But some apparently are. An amateur video (view with discretion) shows rows of dead Libyan soldiers "who refused to obey orders to shoot their fellow Libyans and they were executed by the regime and its mercenaries.” it was the major incident you heard about, the one near al-Baida, where 130 of Gaddafi's soldiers were killed somehow, surely added to the figures against him, and claimed by the rebels as a platoon of martyrs for their freedom fight. Refusing orders to kill innocents, faces blown off. The world was moved.
But another video, shown on Libyan state TV from footage intercepted somehow, shows a number of the same soldiers (apparently, by clothing, build, etc.) and their captors before the killing. From that it seems the rebels themselves themselves blew the heads off of these helpless prisoners, and passed off the edited cut to an accepting world * as another predictable Gaddafi slaughter. Or we have to give the regime very high marks for rapid and convincing video fakery. (Please see the explanation of this at my favorite skeptics forum).
Well, now with some help from northerners, seizing the sky again from a murderous tyrant, the rebels might have the whole regime on its way to being just as bound and helpless as those claimed “martyrs” near al-Baida. Amid the pools of blood at slaughter's end, we’ll hear the explanation – as usual, it was all Gaddafi’s fault. The world will cheer for the freedom fighters. And then some other things will happen, who knows what.
* (Previously I’d noted here the alleged work of the extra-brutal Palestinian terror group PFLP-GC in Bosnia, fighting alongside proto-al Qaeda elements for Bosnian freedom from Serbian rule. Starting in May 1992, some of these terrorist elements reportedly killed civilians and conducted other false flag atrocities blamed on Serb forces and used to help win NATO air support to protect human rights. [source] It is my belief that the PFLP-GC also organized or at least equipped the murder of Mr. Hudson’s daughter in 1988, despite Libya taking the blame.)