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West 'getting away with murder' in Libya

By Askia Muhammad -Senior Correspondent- | Last updated: Apr 27, 2011 - 1:01:03 PM

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A Libyan fireman walks near a damaged building at Col. Muammar Gadhafi’s compound in Tripoli, Libya, April 25. NATO forces flattened a building inside the compound in what a press official from Col. Gadhafi’s government said was an attempt on the Libyan leader’s life. Photo: European Press Agency
'NATO motives are dressed up in humanitarian rhetoric but humanitarian military intervention usually causes more inhumanity than it prevents. Also, the execution always follows the geo-strategic goals, in this case pretty clearly a desperate attempt to control the course of the Arab revolutions and the oil.'
—Michael Mandel, Professor of International Law at York University in Canada

WASHINGTON ( - The American-led NATO campaign against the government of Libya is lunging more and more towards becoming a quagmire like the U.S. campaign in Vietnam 40 years ago.

Observers complain of “mission creep,” the expansion of the original mission authorized by the UN Security Council, which was ostensibly to protect civilians from government forces fighting to suppress an armed rebellion.

It is now an all-out West European military campaign on the side of those rebels in a civil war. The rebels are intent on overthrowing Col. Muammar Gadhafi, the country's leader, and possibly even restoring the monarchist family of King Idris-al Mahdi al-Senussi who was deposed in a bloodless coup led by Col. Gadhafi Sept. 1, 1969.

Britain, France and Italy announced on April 20 that they would each deploy troops, labeled “advisers,” while the U.S. acknowledged that CIA personnel have been operating for months, even before the “uprising” against the Gadhafi government began.

In addition, the Obama administration announced on April 21 it will send $25 million in “non-lethal” military aid—uniforms, boots, tents, radios, personal protective gear, and medical supplies—and at the same time introduced the deployment of unmanned predator drones that have begun attacking government forces.

Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and defeated 2008 GOP presidential nominee, visited the rebel stronghold in Benghazi April 22 where he praised rebel fighters, and called for more Western military assistance for the opposition forces, this just hours before Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff publicly warned that the war was approaching a stalemate.

“We need to urgently step up the NATO air campaign to protect Libyan civilians, especially in Misrata,” said Sen. McCain according to published reports. “We desperately need more close air-support and precision strike assets such as A-10s and AC-130s. And I applaud Secretary Gates's decision to use Predator aircraft to help in this effort. We can better identify and destroy Gadhafi's forces as they seek to conceal themselves in civilian areas,” he continued.

Despite the insistence of many observers that the conflict is clearly an immoral military intervention which has already cost the U.S. close to $1 billion, the NATO campaign is technically “legal,” according to one authority on international law.

“Morally speaking, this is an imperialist adventure, I'm quite convinced of that,” Michael Mandel, professor of International Law at York University in Canada told The Final Call. “My field is international law. I'm just telling you that it's an authorized war by the (UN) Security Council.

“The Americans and the Europeans obviously got the Security Council to authorize an imperialist adventure. There can be bad wars that are legal wars, in the sense of not violating international law,” said Prof. Mandel, who is author of “How America Gets Away With Murder, Illegal Wars, Collateral Damage, and Crimes Against Humanity.” Of course, the U.S. is getting away with murder in Libya he continued, “but it's in a different sense than in the Iraq war, and the Afghanistan war, and the Kosovo war, which were not authorized.

“In this case they're getting away with murder, what in fact is murder, but legally speaking is not. It's like saying an execution that takes place in Texas is murder. It's legally authorized, but it's morally murder. I think that what they're doing is morally murder, but what they're doing is not legally murder.”

But U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, like those now being introduced in Libya have for a long time, been murdering civilians, according to Kathy Kelly and Joshua Brollier, with Voices for Creative Nonviolence (VCRN).

At an April 22 demonstration outside a drone command base in New York, VCRN issued a statement condemning “the hypocrisy and immorality of the United States in approving the use of missile-armed Predator drones and other aerial weaponry in Libya for supposedly humanitarian purpose, while at the same time the U.S. is carrying out continued drone and aerial attacks (in) Pakistan and Afghanistan (killing) civilians.

“The United States and ISAF forces are consistently murdering civilians through aerial attacks in Afghanistan,” the statement continued. “On April 20, 2011, NATO warplanes killed three civilians in the Dangam District of Afghanistan's Kunar Province. The United States confirmed the attack occurred and said it was ‘still investigating who exactly was killed,'” the statement continued.

“This follows a depressingly familiar pattern,” said Prof. Mandel. “Create a righteous furor over a tragic Third World conflict, blame it all on a local strong man who you have directly or indirectly supported in the past, demonize him as a war criminal by referring him to your trusty attack-dog tribunal, in this case ICC (International Criminal Court), which has been very selective about who it prosecutes, all to justify unleashing the war machine.

“NATO motives are dressed up in humanitarian rhetoric but humanitarian military intervention usually causes more inhumanity than it prevents. Also, the execution always follows the geo-strategic goals, in this case pretty clearly a desperate attempt to control the course of the Arab revolutions and the oil,” he continued.

Col. Gadhafi's acts are petty “compared to the monstrous criminality of what U.S. (and Canadian) leaders have done and continue to do in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. (On March 17) the U.S. military reportedly killed over 40 people in Pakistan.”

The motive underlying the U.S. efforts to get rid of Col. Gadhafi, may go beyond the simple notion of seizing the country's rich oil assets, to the heart of the unique economic system and governance structure in Libya, and the fear that like Egypt's Gamel Abdel Nasser, and Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah, Col. Gadhafi might inspire Pan-African and Pan-Arab unity, according to some observers.

The Libyan rebellion was stoked by the CIA, and unlike all the other North African and Arab “Jasmine Revolutions”—the “Arab Spring” as it's called—Libya's was the only movement in which protesters took up arms, according to Kalonji Olusegun, former president of the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Africa (PG-RNA).

The country was in the hands of the Libyan people, Mr. Olusegun said in an email sent to The Final Call, “and they governed it through Town Meetings at the Meeting Halls that were everywhere. They were an integral part of a people's participatory democracy where they were partners not wage earners.”

The Libyan model was “a dangerous novel economic system, where people were encouraged and supported in developing small businesses that could hire anybody, but workers had to owners, partners in the business. An economy in which capital was owned by the people not individuals.

“This is a threat to an exploitive corporate structure. Imagine using your oil wealth in creating the highest, mosteducated country, building homes for the families and supporting the struggle for human rights and freedom in our African and Diaspora countries through an organized World Mathaba, (a Summit of Heads of State governments, parties and organizations): Qaddafi was campaigning to become head of the African Union, too-—and he was too rich, he had to go!”

Indeed, Libya, the fourth largest land mass in Africa—nearly 700,000 square miles (approximately equal to the area of Alaska)—not only has huge proven oil reserves, but has the highest literacy rate on the African continent (higher even than Egypt or South Africa) and its $13,000 per capita income is double that of neighboring Egypt.

Related news:

Libya peace talks were doomed from beginning  (FCN, 04-21-2011)

Planning Plunder of Libya in Paris  (FCN, 04-15-2011)

Media misreporting and Libya’s support for Africa  (FCN, 04-14-2011)

World class 'hypocrisy' in Libyan attacks (FCN, 03-22-2011)

Video: Farrakhan warns, advises Obama on Libya (FCN, 03-18-2011)

Farrakhan advises,warns Obama on Libya policy(FCN, 03-16-2011)

Fidel Castro on Libya and Gadhafi: Nato, war, lies and business (03-09-2011)

Libya: North African nation, leader have withstood West's attacks (FCN, 03-08-2011)

Massive Disinformation War against Libya for US/West Military Intervention? [The 4th Media] (03-01-2011)

British intelligence paid al-Qaeda cell to assassinate Col. Gadhafi,blockedLibya's Interpolarrest warrantofBin Laden(11-10-2002)

Mandela's visit to Libya raises questions about U.S. policy(FCN, 11-04-1997)

TIME, 1986 - LIBYA: Real and Illusionary Events (TIME, 10-13-1986)