Why Libya Was Attacked – by Stephen Lendman
Obama’s March 28, 2011 address at the National Defense University was true to form. It reeked of duplicity, hypocrisy, and ball-faced lies, saying:
“For generations, the United States of America has played a unique role as an anchor of global security and as an advocate for human freedom.”
“….(W)e are reluctant to use force to solve the world’s many challenges.”
“But when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act. That’s what happened in Libya….”
For decades, Libya was “ruled by a tyrant….He has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized people around the world – including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents.”
Substitute Washington for Libya and he got it right. America is a rogue terror state, a menacing plague on humanity.
Democratic values, human and civil rights, and rule of law principles are non-starters.
Only corporate and imperial interests matter, not equity, justice, peace on earth, and government of, by and for the people while respecting the sovereign rights of other nations.
NATO’s war on Libya was planned many months in advance like all wars. Why is most important, or put another way – cui bono?
Official accounts and media scoundrels never explain. Dozens of previous articles discussed relevant issues and answers, including one summarizing what’s most important. More on that below.
Historical Facts About Libya
Like most parts of Africa for centuries, European colonial powers ravaged Libya. During the 1911 Turko/Italian war, Libya was invaded and attacked. Twenty years of resistance challenged Italian colonizers.
From 1911 – 1943, Italy’s occupation was brutal. Libyans never forgot. After WW II, America, Britain and France dominated the region. In 1951, they combined three distinct regions into Libya – Cyrenaica in the east, Tripolitania in the west, and Fezzan in the south.
Britain enthroned King Idriss. He let America, Britain and France retain military bases and pursue corporate interests. America’s Wheelus Air Base near Tripoli dominated the Mediterranean Basin. Washington wants one or more super-bases built on Libyan land as launching pads against the region.
In 1955, Libyan oil was discovered. Three colonial powers controlled it until Gaddafi’s bloodless September 1, 1969 coup, ousting King Idris. It was an anti-imperial socialist revolution. Foreign domination ended.
Gaddafi supported pan-Africanism – a United States of Africa, free from imperial domination. It was a vision shared by Marcus Garvey, Kwame Kkrumah, Sekou Toure, Julius Nyerere, Jomo Kenyatta, William Tubman, Gamal Abd Nasser, and others. More on that below.
He also wanted Libyans to share in the country’s oil wealth, a notion foreign to America and other Western societies.
Under his 1999 Decision No. 111, all Libyans got free healthcare, education, electricity, water, training, rehabilitation, housing assistance, disability and old-age benefits, interest-free state loans, as well as generous subsidies to study abroad, buy a new car, help couples when they marry, practically free gasoline, and more.
Literacy under Gaddafi rose from 20 – 80%. Libya’s hospitals and private clinics were some of the region’s best. Now they’re in shambles. Some, in fact, were bombed or damaged in other fighting. NATO lied saying only military targets were attacked.
NATO’s imperial strategy involves targeting civilians and vital infrastructure, including power, communications, medical care facilities, and other essential to life sites.
Before war began, Libyans had Africa’s highest standard of living. According to David Blundy and Andrew Lycett’s book titled, “Qaddafi and the Libyan Revolution.www.amazon.com/Qaddafi-Libyan-Revolution-David-Blundy/dp/0316100420”
“The young people are well dressed, well fed and well educated….Every Libyan gets free, and often excellent, education, medical and health services. New colleges and hospitals are impressive by any international standard.”
“All Libyans have a house or a flat, a car, and most have televisions” and other conveniences. “Compared with most citizens of Third World countries, and with many (others), Libyans have it very good indeed,” including decent housing or a rent-free apartment.
Gaddafi’s Green Book, in fact, states, “The house is a basic need of both the individual and the family, therefore it should not be owned by others.” It also covers other beneficial social policies, saying:
Green Book ideology rejects Western-style democracy and predatory capitalism, especially neoliberal exploitation. It’s one of many reasons why Gaddafi was ousted.
He provided impressive social benefits, including free land, equipment, livestock and seeds for agriculture to foster self-sufficient food production. Moreover, all basic food items were subsidized and sold through a network of “people’s shops.”
Moreover, since the 1960s, women had the right to vote and participate politically. They can also own and sell property independently of their husbands. Under the December 1969 Constitutional Proclamation Clause 5, they have equal status with men, including for education and employment, even though men play leading roles in society.
Until Washington and NATO blocked its approval, the UN Human Rights Council Libyan praised Gaddafi in its January 2011 “Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Libya Arab Jamahiriya.”
It said his government protected “not only political rights, but also economic, educational, social and cultural rights.” It also lauded his treatment of religious minorities, and “human rights training” of its security forces.
In eight months, NATO’s killing machine destroyed 42 years of achievements, benefitting all Libyans. Why else would overwhelming numbers support him?
After NATO attacked, hundreds of thousands rallied openly for him. On July 1, 95% of Tripoli’s population (over a million strong) expressed support in Green Square.
Before the war, he felt safe enough to drive unprotected through Tripoli streets. Residents lined up to cheer him. Some despot!
America and other Western societies should have ones like him. Imperial wars would end. So would homelessness, hunger and human depravation. Instead, “new world order” imperialists want super-wealth and power shared only by their privileged few.
Libya is one of many targets. Others will follow to extinguish freedom everywhere if they succeed. Universal opposition needs to stop them. Failure can’t be tolerated. The alternative is too grim to imagine.
Why Gaddafi Was Targeted
Information below was discussed earlier. It bears repeating now. Gaddafi’s vision marked him for removal. It was just a matter of when, even though he cooperated with Western powers post-9/11 on matters of intelligence and terrorism.
Until vilified and targeted, he was welcomed in Western capitals. In 2003, he came in from the cold, became a valued Western ally, and had meetings and discussions with top officials like UK Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, and others.
He also participated in the 2009 G-8 Summit in L-Aquila, Italy as Chairman of the African Union. At the time, he met and shook hands with Obama.
Moreover, ABC News interviewed him live, and on January 21, 2009, The New York Times published his op-ed headlined, “The One-State Solution” to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. He called “living under one roof….the only option for a lasting peace.”
On May 16, 2006, Washington restored full diplomatic relations, removing Libya from its state sponsors of terrorism list. At the time, Rice called the move:
“tangible results that flow from the historic decisions taken by Libya’s leadership in 2003 to renounce terrorism and to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programs….Libya is an important model as nations around the world press for changes in behavior by the Iranian and North Korean regimes.”
She also praised Gaddafi’s “excellent cooperation” in fighting terrorism. Moreover, he opened Libya’s markets to Western interests by arranging deals with Big Oil giants BP, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Occidental, France’s Total, Italy’s Eni Gas and others. By all appearances, he joined the club, so why turn on him?
Though on board in some ways, he very much wasn’t on others. He supported Palestinian rights, opposed Israel’s occupation and Gaza’s siege.
Earlier he backed anti-apartheid struggles in South Africa, as well as others in Northern Ireland, Spain, and elsewhere.
He had nothing to do with downing Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. Neither did Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi. Scottish judges knew he was innocent but were pressured to convict.
Gaddafi never admitted fault. He took responsibility solely to have international sanctions removed. To this day, he and al-Megrahi stand falsely accused. Likely CIA /MI6/and/or Mossad involvement is never mentioned.
America tried and failed numerous times to assassinate him, including Ronald Reagan’s 1986 attempt. CIA covert efforts financed opposition groups. In 1981, they helped establish the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL) and its militant wing called the Libyan National Army based in Egypt near Libya’s border.
Along with US and UK Special Forces, it was directly involved in instigating insurrection last February. It wasn’t homegrown. As in Syria, it was externally generated.
Gaddafi opted out of AFRICOM. It’s one of nine global Pentagon commands to control Africa and the Mediterranean Basin, including its strategic energy transit routes and choke points, crucial to keep open for world economies.
All African countries participate except Sudan, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, and Libya until now. He also backed an initiative to create a United States of Africa, whereas Washington wants easily exploitable divisions. More on that below.
Besides ranked ninth in the world with 42 billion proved barrels of oil reserves (and large amounts of gas), its untapped potential is believed much greater. Moreover, being nearly sulfur-free, it’s even more valued for its extremely high quality. At issue isn’t access, it’s control over who develops, produces and receives it in what amounts.
In January 2009, Gaddafi wanted to nationalize Libyan oil, but his timetable faced internal resistance. According to Pravda.ru’s March 25, 2011 article titled, “Reason for war? Gaddafi wanted to nationalise oil,” he considered the option because of low oil prices at the time, saying:
“The oil-exporting countries should opt for nationalisation because of the rapid fall in oil prices. We must put the issue on the table and discuss it seriously. Oil should be owned by the State at this time, so we could better control prices by the increase or decrease in production.”
In February 2009, he asked for public support to distribute Libya’s oil wealth directly to the people. However, senior officials feared losing their jobs “due to a parallel plan by Gaddafi to rid the state of corruption.” Possible capital flight was also an issue.
As a result, Libya’s Popular Committee voted 468 – 64 to delay nationalization plans, even though a 251 majority viewed doing so as positive.
Note: Gaddafi didn’t consider how powerful insiders manipulate all markets up or down for profit, including oil, irrespective of demand. It’s brazen fraud but goes on all the time, especially on Wall Street in collusion with Washington.
Libya’s Great Man-Made River (GMMR) was developing an ocean-sized aquifer beneath the desert for irrigation, human consumption, and other uses. At 2007 consumption rates, it could last 1,000 years. No wonder Gaddafi calls his Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System (NSAS) the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”
At issue, of course, is privatizing it, making water unaffordable for many, including most Libyans. In other words, Western predators want it exploited for maximum profits, not equitable use as a public resource.
Ellen Brown’s April 13 article titled, “Libya: All About Oil, or All About Banking?” raised another, easily overlooked, issue. Who controls Libya’s money, the lifeblood of every economy? In 1970, Henry Kissinger said, “Control oil and you control nations. Control food and you control people.” He left out money, the supreme power to control everything because without it economies collapse.
At issue is public or private control like most nations, including America under Wall Street’s owned and operated Federal Reserve.
Under Gaddafi, the Central Bank of Libya was state owned. In other words, it created its own money, the Libyan Dinar, interest free to be used productively for economic growth, not speculation, profits and bonuses for predatory bankers.
However, after Washington’s led NATO intervention, the privately controlled Central Bank of Benghazi was established to let Western bankers, not Libyans, run things. Money control indeed appears an important reason for intervening, perhaps most important of all.
On April 24, Manlio Dinucci’s Global Research article headlined, “Financial Heist of the Century: Confiscating Libya’s Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF),” saying:
Besides money, oil, gas, water, and other reasons, the “Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) manages” an estimated $70 billion, “rising to more than $150 billion (including) foreign investments of the Central Bank and other bodies. But it might be more.”
Confiscation gives US/NATO interests easy money for their own purposes. In fact, besides war, the business of America is grand theft in league with Western partners, Wall Street and other corporate interests.
Gaddafi promoted pan-African unity, a United States of Africa he hoped to lead against Western powers wanting balkanized easily-controlled states.
Libya was central to Africa’s independence, including freedom from predatory central banks and international lending agencies, acting as loan sharks of last resort.
He also funded Africa’s only communications satellite. In doing so, he saved hundreds of millions of dollars for low-cost incoming and outgoing calls.
In addition, he allocated two-thirds of the $42 billion needed to launch a public African Central Bank (HQ’d in Nigeria), an African Monetary Fund based in Cameroon, and an African Investment Bank HQ’d in Libya.
The Obama administration stole the money and prevented it. If established, it would have provided low-cost (or perhaps interest-free) loans for health, education, and other social projects, as well as vital infrastructure development in participating African states.
Washington and NATO partners destroyed his vision to rape Libya for profit and exploit its people. That imperialism’s core element. Gaddafi wanted none of it. As a result, he had to go.
He advocated a new “Gold Standard,” replacing dollars with gold dinars. African and Muslim states supported it to provide real monetary wealth and value, free from predatory lending agencies and depreciating fiat currencies.
Washington determined to prevent it to maintain petrodollar recycling and dollar hegemony as the world’s reserve currency.
Western plans for Libya’s oil excludes China and Russia. Gaddafi granted both countries concessions. What he gave, Washington wants revoked.
America, Britain, France, Italy, and other Western partners want North African resources for themselves. They also want control of sub-Saharan Africa, depriving rivals they want excluded.
In 1977, Gaddafi transformed the Libyan Republic into the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya – a “state of the masses.” In 1979, he established direct participatory democracy, devolving power to tribal leaders. In 1986, Libya became the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
A revolutionary leader, Gaddafi was a visionary. He wanted Libya’s society based on equity, justice and fair distribution of wealth. Nasser said he represented Arab nationalism and unity.
His faults aside, Libyans supported him overwhelmingly. They still do. His spirit drives their revolutionary struggle for freedom. They won’t quit until it’s achieved.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.