Remember Bani Walid
by Stephen Lendman
For courageous Jamahiriya fighters, it’s their finest hour. Despite overwhelming force, use of chemical and other illegal weapons, and US-sponsored mass murder, they hang on valiantly.
Western major scoundrels shamelessly ignore the slaughter or misreport it. More on that below.
A previous article called what’s happening one of history’s great crimes. It’s a Nuremberg level one writ large. Libyans and people of conscience won’t ever let it be forgotten. Mass killing and destruction continues. An entire city is being destroyed.
Western-sponsored death squads are murdering civilians in cold blood. NATO-supplied rockets, shells, chemical, and other illegal weapons target them. Inside the city, door-to-door murder threatens anyone remaining.
Last year, Sirte was terror bombed to rubble. US-led NATO forces terrorized a city of 100,000. Unknown numbers perished. Civilians suffered most.
In all US direct and proxy wars, Washington targets them. Mass casualties and punishment follow. It’s done to break morale, cause panic, and weaken an enemy’s will to resist.
International law strictly forbids it. Article 25 of the 1907 Hague Convention states:
“The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited.”
Article 26 says:
“The officer in command of an attacking force must, before commencing a bombardment, except in cases of assault, do all in his power to warn the authorities.”
Article 27 states:
“In sieges and bombardments, all necessary steps must be taken to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not being used at the time for military purposes.”
Fourth Geneva protects civilians in time of war. Collective punishment is forbidden. So is violence of any type. Sick and wounded victims must be treated.
In September 1938, the League of Nations prohibited the
“bombardment of cities, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings not in the immediate neighborhood of the operations of land forces”
“In cases where (legitimate targets) are so situated, (aircraft) must abstain from bombardment” if doing so disproportionately harms civilians.
The 1945 Nuremberg Principles prohibit “crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
These include “inhumane acts committed against any civilian populations, before or during the war.”
Indiscriminate killing and “wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity” is strictly forbidden.
In 1968, a General Assembly Resolution on Human Rights prohibits attacks on civilian populations. Washington, key NATO partners, and Israel do it repeatedly. State terror is policy. Strategy prioritizes murdering defenseless people.
Lest we forget, remember Guernica 1937, the 1940-41 London blitz, Dresdan 1945, fire-bombing Toyko 1945, Hiroshima and Nagasaki 1945, North Korea 1950-53, Southeast Asia 1964-75, Iraq 1991 and 2003, Serbia/Kosovo 1999, Afghanistan 2001, decades of Israeli wars on Palestinians and other Arabs, Libya 2011, many other US-led Western crimes, and now Bani Walid.
Progressive News Hour regular James Petras said on air that most NGOs skim 90% of donations for themselves. They’re predators, not humanitarians. They serve political agendas for profit.
ICRC is no exception. It profits handsomely from wars, disasters and human misery. “Non-profiteering” is big business.
ICRC’s claimed humanitarian mission is cover. What’s involved is money, special privileges gotten, and connections to people in high places.
Benefitting this way is loathsome and contemptible. Operations profiting from human misery have no place in civil society. With hundreds of millions of dollars in funding annually, ICRC benefits like for-profit businesses.
In return, services in kind are provided. ICRC is on the wrong side of the Syrian conflict. It’s much the same for Libya.
On October 26, its press release belied the gravity of Bani Walid conditions. It explained nothing about willful slaughter. It merely said:
“The humanitarian situation remains difficult for the people of Bani Walid in Libya.”
“Many people have had to get out of Bani Walid since fighting resumed in the city almost a month ago.”
“The ICRC continues to monitor the humanitarian situation in and around Bani Walid as the fighting continues….”
Help provided is modest at best. Included is much less than adequate amounts of food, water and medical supplies. Residents able to reach nearby areas receive what isn’t enough to sustain them. Others trapped inside Bani Walid are largely on their own.
On October 28, Russia Today (rt.com) headlined “Siege of Bani Walid: Foreign fighters, phosphorous bombs and nerve gas – RT sources,” saying:
Bloodbath conditions affect city residents. Western-sponsored death squads attack them with “banned weapons like white phosphorous.”
Resistance fighters hold out valiantly. Bani Walid didn’t fall. RT sources “denied reports of the last few days that (it) was retaken by the Libyan government.”
Refugees who fled the city are prevented from returning. A man with trapped relatives in Bani Walid told RT:
“There is no food. There is nothing to support the life of people. And the militia does not allow anyone to come back to their homes.”
ICRC claimed it entered the city twice during fighting and supplied aid. Residents, in fact, got little or nothing.
Mercenaries “are demolishing homes with machinery and tanks. There is no communication or internet so people are not able to connect with each other.”
Western sources want information on what’s ongoing suppressed.
RT’s source said foreign fighters are involved. He’s unidentified to protect himself and family members. Washington’s dirty hands control everything. Puppet Libyan officials do what they’re told. Qatar and other regional states are involved.
RT’s source said:
“We ask the envoy (Special Representative) of the Secretary-General of the United Nations (for Libya), Mr. Tarik Mitri – where is he now?”
“Where is the United Nations? Where is the EU? Where is Human Rights Watch? We ask for an intervention now as soon as possible – please!”
Washington blocked Russia’s draft statement. It called on Libyan authorities “to take urgent steps to resolve the conflict by peaceful means and to preserve the rights of all Libyan citizens.”
It expressed grave concern for conditions in Bani Walid. RT said “witnesses claim” foreign fighters are using “internationally prohibited weapons.” They include “phosphorous bombs and nerve gas.”
Bani Walid activist/lawyer Afaf Yusef told RT:
“We have documented all this in videos. We recorded the missiles they used and the white phosphorus raining down from these missiles.”
“Many people died without being wounded or shot. They died as a result of gases. The whole world needs to see who they are targeting. Are they really Gaddafi’s men? Are the children, women and old men killed – Gaddafi’s men?”
RT said foreign fighters were told to use “all means necessary” to control the city. Libyan activist Ali Altakasih told RT that Bani Walid residents say that “chemical weapons and airplanes” attack them.
He urged Russia, China, and other countries to intervene to help. Civilians are isolated on their own and dying.
“Any house that looks of great importance to the militias is either burnt or robbed,” he added. “There are people who are trapped inside the city who cannot leave the city, either for fear of the militia or fear of leaving their belongings inside the city.”
Obama bears full responsibility. Libya’s war is his. So is ongoing Bani Walid slaughter and destruction. Major media scoundrels support what they should condemn.
What’s happening in Bani Walid is suppressed. On October 24, The New York Times headlined “Libyan Forces Now Control Restive Town, Officials Say.”
What city residents say is ignored. Fighting continues. Unnamed “officials” lied. Times writer Kareem Fahim regurgitated false information instead of reporting accurately.
BBC was no better. On October 24, it headlined “Libyan forces ‘capture ex-Gaddadi bastion Bani Walid,’ ” saying:
“Libyan authorities say they have seized control of” the city. “The government alleges that Bani Walid harbors a number of Gaddafi loyalists….Authorities say all military operations have been halted.”
They claim “troops will provide security and aid in the town.”
“Dozens of people are believed to have been killed, and some 200 injured in recent violence.”
“Civilians escaping the clashes have found refuge in surrounding towns, where they are staying with families or in schools.”
All of the above is false or distorted. BBC viewers and listeners were willfully lied to. What else could they expect from a government owned, operated and controlled propaganda service.
Al Jazeera functions the same way. Qatar’s monarchy runs it. It long ago abandoned professionalism, objectivity, truth and full disclosure. Credibility isn’t its long suit. Key members of its staff resigned in disgust. They’re journalists, not propagandists.
On October 26, Al Jazeera headlined “Libya ‘captures’ former Gaddafi stronghold,” saying:
“Celebratory gunfire” followed. Fighters called it “a triumph for the government that replaced Gaddafi’s regime.”
“Youssef al-Mankoush, the Libyan army chief of staff, said military operations in the city were terminated but that some forces were still chasing a few pockets of Gaddafi loyalists.”
This type rubbish substitutes for hard truths. Other reports are no better. Similar information is discussed. What’s most important is suppressed. Readers are willfully lied to. They’re not told what they most need to know.
Bani Walid is an ongoing human catastrophe. It’s also one of history’s great crimes. Washington bears full responsibility. Its dirty hands are all over conflicts throughout the region. That’s how fascist states operate.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
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.
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