Comment : Eamonn McCann - Imperialism's legacy in Libya

Eamonn McCann - Belfast Telegraph.

Eamonn McCann explains how proclamations about "humanitarian" intervention have been used as a cover for imperial domination in Libya.

A HUNDRED years ago, for the first time in human history, bombs were dropped from the air. On November 1, 1911, a young fellow with a big moustache, Giulio Gavotti, leaned out from his Taube monoplane, yanked out the pins from four grenades with his teeth and tossed them onto a group of Turkish troops on the ground just outside Tripoli.

The grenades exploded, but caused little damage. The soldiers below, however, were seen to scatter in chaotic panic.

Giulio was already known as a sportsman and a daredevil pilot back in his home city of Genoa, where he once landed in a square to impress a girl he had his eye on. The headline on the wire service report of the innovative bombing caught the note: "Aviator Lt. Gavotti Throws Bomb on Enemy Camp. Terrorized Turks Scatter upon Unexpected Celestial Assault."

A few years later, the Italian military's main strategist, Giulio Douhet, published what was to become the bombers' bible, Command of the Air.

He argued that the wars of the future would be won not through ground battles, but through aerial assault; the specific thesis being that civilian populations would be plunged into such terror by explosives plummeting from the sky that they would cry out for peace at any price.

Why Blair should also face the wrath of liberated Libya

Why Blair should also face the wrath of liberated Libya

By Eamonn McCann
Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Watching the foot-age of Gaddafi's last moments, a friend with no particular interest in politics turned to me and said: "You'd have to feel a pity for any human being treated like that."

But not necessarily. The most disturbing images of the past week were not of Gaddafi wounded and helpless being kicked to pulp and flung across the bonnet of a truck for the small mercy of the coup de grace, but the broad smiles of a number of television journalists as they reported the news.

The display of Gaddafi's body on a slab in a freezer in a Misrata vegetable market for the cameras to linger on was the calculated crowning indignity.

Beside him lay the body of his son Mutassim, filmed shortly before he was killed smoking a cigarette in a cell, apparently uninjured.

Gaddafi inflicted worse on his enemies, it might be argued, and Mutassim must have been complicit. Does that make it okay, then?

It may be a mitigating circumstance that the maiming and killing wasn't done in cold blood, but by fighters who had come through a welter of danger and may have been seized by frenzy at having Gaddafi in their clutches at last - unlike the controlled circumstances of the torture perpetrated by Gaddafi's goons on prisoners in bunkers far out of sight of television cameras. But not everybody is entitled to make this comparison.

On September 4, researchers for Human Rights Watch (HRW) gained access to the Tripoli headquarters of the Libyan foreign ministry and discovered documents which threw light on the real attitude of powerful interests in the West towards torture under Gaddafi.

Leaked cable: John McCain pushed to arm Qadhafi

Leaked cable: John McCain pushed to arm Qadhafi

In a meeting, McCain said the U.S. wanted to provide Libya with weapons for 'security.' | AP Photo Close
By TIM MAK | 8/26/11 6:19 AM EDT Updated: 8/26/11 12:35 PM EDT

A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable shows that Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain promised to help Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi obtain U.S. military hardware in 2009.

The cable, released by the open information group WikiLeaks, reveals the pledge came at meeting that was attended by other prominent members of Congress, including Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

In the meeting, Muatassim Qadhafi, the Libyan leader’s fifth son and national security adviser, requested U.S. assistance in obtaining military supplies, both lethal and non-lethal.

The cable indicates that McCain was the dominant voice among the congressional delegation in a push for military hardware for Qadhafi.

“Sen. McCain assured Muatassim that the United States wanted to provide Libya with the equipment it needs for its … security,” according to the cable.

McCain said that he understood the need for Libya to upgrade its existing ranks of C-130 Hercules aircraft. Libya had bought eight of the military cargo aircraft in the 1970s, but as bilateral relationships with the United States deteriorated, a ban of arms sales prevented the aircraft from being moved to North Africa. McCain pledged to do what he could to move the issue forward in Congress.

McCain stressed that Libya needed to fulfill its commitments of giving up its weapons of mass destruction in order for bilateral engagement to go forward.

With Libya secured an American invasion of Africa is under way

With Libya secured an American invasion of Africa is under way
20 October 2011     John Pilger     USA and the War on Terror

US troops are on their way to Uganda. More go soon to South Sudan, Congo and Central African Republic. John Pilger tells the real story behind Obama's latest extension of the 'war on terror'.

On 14 October, President Barack Obama announced he was sending United States special forces troops to Uganda to join the civil war there.

In the next few months, US combat troops will be sent to South Sudan, Congo and Central African Republic. They will only "engage" for "self-defence", says Obama, satirically.

With Libya secured, an American invasion of the African continent is under way.

Obama's decision is described in the press as "highly unusual" and "surprising", even "weird". It is none of these things. It is the logic of American foreign policy since 1945.

Take Vietnam. The priority was to halt the influence of China, an imperial rival, and "protect" Indonesia, which President Nixon called "the region's richest hoard of natural resources... the greatest prize".
Vietnam merely got in the way; and the slaughter of more than three million Vietnamese and the devastation and poisoning of their land was the price of America achieving its goal. 

Libya's spectacular revolution has been disgraced by racism

Libya's spectacular revolution has been disgraced by racism

The murder of black men in the aftermath of the rebellion speaks of a society deeply divided for decades by Muammar Gaddafi

Libya's imperial hijacking is a threat to the Arab revolution- Seumas Milne

Only when those who fought Gaddafi force Nato to leave will Libyans be able to take control of their country

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