Libya Worse Off After NATO Takeover

by The North Star on June 26, 2012

A Response to Clay Claiborne’s “On the Left, Ghadafi’s Lies Live On” by Diana Barahona

There is so much to rebut in Clay Claiborne’s prolific writings in favor of NATO/U.S. military intervention that it’s hard to know where to begin. Claiborne, who has no academic credentials making him a Middle East expert, has published 95 opinion pieces supporting the overthrow of the Libyan government. This wouldn’t matter now except that he has moved on to supporting the NATO/U.S./Gulf Cooperation Council efforts to do the same thing to Syria.

First to address is his assessment of the human cost of the war. He throws around the figure of 30,000 dead without citing reliable sources. This figure is problematic since it comes from the new government, which has an interest in both emphasizing casualties suffered by government troops (half of the 30,000) and attributing the rest to civilians who allegedly died at the hands of the Ghadafi government.

None of this can be taken on face value.

Yes, thousands of people were killed in this war, and I consider government soldiers and police doing their job in repelling a foreign-backed overthrow to be victims as well. How many civilians did government forces intentionally kill? We don’t know, because many of these kinds of claims made by the opposition turned out to be complete fabrications after human rights organizations went in and investigated. We do know for a fact that NATO bombing deliberately targeted the families of government officials, which is a war crime, and that the opposition militias also murdered many civilians (approximately 300 in Sirte alone), either because they were seen as pro-government or because they were black-skinned foreign workers.

Yet, in spite of the claims of the new government that half of the dead were government troops, Claiborne claims that “Most of those 30,000 souls were Libyan civilians killed by Ghadafi with artillery, tanks, snipers and cluster bombs.” Making things up in order to justify one’s political position has no place in journalism, much less in left journalism.

In fact, the NATO war was not only more violent than Claiborne wants to admit, but the scope of foreign intervention was much more intensive. According to Manlio Dinucci, a geographer and geopolitical scientist and frequent contributor to Global Research:

“Over seven months, U.S. and NATO air forces carried out 30,000 missions of which 10,000 were offensive air strikes, using more than 40,000 bombs and missiles. Additionally, Special Forces were infiltrated into Libya, among them thousands of easily concealed Qatari commandos. They also financed and armed tribal groups hostile to the Tripoli government and supported Islamic groups what only months earlier were watchlisted as terrorists. The operation in its entirety was directed by Washington, according to the U.S. Ambassador to NATO, first under the rubric of AFRICOM and then of NATO, but always under direct U.S. command.”

The fact that anti-Ghadafi militias murdered many civilians, including the killing, torture and forced expulsion of up to 250,000 of African workers living in the country with their families, is not mentioned by Claiborne, even though these things are well documented. According to Al Jazeera:

“As fighting slows down in parts of the country, black Libyans and African labourers face chronic accusations of being Gaddafi’s hired mercenaries. NTC fighters have reportedly been rounding up and detaining accused mercenaries even if they are found unarmed.

“By some estimates, more than 5,000 black migrants have been detained in makeshift jails around the country, and others have faced beatings, revenge killings, and even mass execution. Mercenary fighters found armed have been summarily executed, according to reports.

“Most detainees maintain that they were not involved in fighting and are simply migrant workers detained without evidence.

“Black women in refugee camps reported night-time kidnappings and rapes by fighters though to be associated with the NTC. Officials with the National Transitional Council deny such reports.

“Partially in response to reports of race-based violence and detention in Libya, the African Union has refused to recognize the legitimacy of Libya’s interim government. It alleges that the persecution of blacks in the country amounts to human rights violations that fully delegitimise the post-Gaddafi leadership. …

“Before the Libyan uprising broke out earlier this year, the country hosted about a million black African workers, many of them employed in domestic work, construction, trash collection, and other low-wage jobs. Even before the fighting began, these workers faced widespread racism and discrimination.”

Second to address is Claiborne’s rosy picture of the outcome of the violent change of regime, since the outcome is what matters the most. Claiborne wrote:

“The post war violence in Libya is nothing like it was in Iraq, and for that matter still is eight years latter. The electricity is still on in Libya. Schools are back in session, mail is being delivered, oil production is back up, Internet is back up, and people are getting back to work.”

He also makes a big deal about people registering to vote, as if being allowed to choose only among candidates acceptable to the global capitalist elites meant anything.

However, Libya today remains fragmented, with tribal militias unwilling to put down their arms and accept the authority of the technocratic central government. This was entirely forseeable–in fact, the tribal structure of Libyan society was one factor that made it easy to overthrow the government, which had been in the sights of the U.S. global capitalist bloc for years. The article by Dinucci cited above concludes that, “The Jamahiriya of Gadhafi’s time, a strange hybrid of Proudhonian anarchy and autocracy, has given way to a liberal chaos where torture and murder have become the norm while the multinationals are on a permanent binge.”

The giveaway of Libya’s oil, the principal objective of the NATO powers, is no small matter. Libya’s oil was privatized in short order, with contracts allotted according to the number of bombing runs each country had made—France on behalf of Total, Spain on behalf of Repsol, Italy on behalf of Eni, England on behalf of BP and the U.S. on behalf on Marathon, Hess and ConocoPhillips. This will have the effect of reducing revenues to the new government, which will have to fill the funding gap by cutting social spending to the bone and taking out loans from the international financial institutions, like every other neoliberal state.

Finally, Claiborne’s “analysis” has absolutely no basis in sociology, Marxism, or even recent history. The United States is the leader of a global capitalist bloc of its own creation . It operates according to a game plan by which all countries are targeted for incorporation into this bloc, and if they don’t restructure through internal means, through the election of neoliberal governments that do the bidding of transnational corporations, they are incorporated by violence. High on the list of countries to assimilate are those with valuable natural resources.

This is not to say that sectors of the Libyan population (or the Syrian or Iranian population for that matter) don’t have legitimate grievances against their nationalist dictatorships. However, when their countries are targeted for regime change by foreign transnational capital and their own emerging domestic transnational capitalist class, any military alliance that government opponents make with these globalizing interests is an act of treason against their own people. This is a global class war and the United States and other NATO powers represent the interests of the transnational capitalist class, not the Libyan working class. Following is a quote from one aspiring transnational capitalist:

“So Saddam wanted to prove to the whole world he was strong? Well, we’re stronger- he’s out! He’s finished. And Iran’s going to be finished and every single Arab regime that’s like this will be finished. Because there is no room for us capitalists and multinationalists in the world to operate with regimes like this. It’s all about money. And power. And wealth… and democracy has to be spread around the world. Those who want to espouse globalization are going to make a lot of money, be happy, their families will be happy. And those who aren’t going to play this game are going to be crushed, whether they like it or not!”

When Cynthia McKinney came to Los Angeles after witnessing the destruction of the NATO bombing campaign in Libya, it fell to a group of us to form a cordon outside to prevent Libyans from entering the event and disrupting it. One University of Southern California  student, who claimed to be a socialist, repeatedly told me that “they” had been forced to “make a deal with the devil” (invite NATO to bomb) because Gaddafi was threatening a massacre in her parents’ native city of Benghazi. When I asked her how they were going to renationalize the oil once it had been privatized by the rebels, all she could say was that they would deal with that later. That is, the Libyan people were going to have to worry about getting rid of a foreign-backed, well-armed neoliberal government after the country’s only source of revenues had been given away to foreign oil companies.

This is the infantile thinking of those who claim to be on the left yet join in with the transnational capitalist class when it comes to “humanitarian intervention.”

Diana Barahona has a B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in sociology from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Louis Proyect June 26, 2012 at 10:22 am

This was entirely forseeable–in fact, the tribal structure of Libyan society was one factor that made it easy to overthrow the government, which had been in the sights of the U.S. global capitalist bloc for years.

Whenever I read something like this, I wonder if the author had been reading newspapers prior to the Arab Spring.

NY Times September 3, 2011
CIA had close ties to Qaddafi
Files Note Close C.I.A. Ties to Qaddafi Spy Unit

TRIPOLI, Libya — Documents found at the abandoned office of Libya’s former spymaster appear to provide new details of the close relations the Central Intelligence Agency shared with the Libyan intelligence service — most notably suggesting that the Americans sent terrorism suspects at least eight times for questioning in Libya despite that country’s reputation for torture.

Although it has been known that Western intelligence services began cooperating with Libya after it abandoned its program to build unconventional weapons in 2004, the files left behind as Tripoli fell to rebels show that the cooperation was much more extensive than generally known with both the C.I.A. and its British equivalent, MI-6.




Diana Barahona June 26, 2012 at 12:55 pm

So what would prevent the CIA (or M16) from seeking close ties with the intelligence services of a government targeted for overthrow? In the voluminous CIA cables published by Wikileaks, there are many references to “engaging” people in targeted governments, which means establishing secret contacts with them and feeling them out to see if they are willing to do the bidding of the U.S. Infiltrating and buying off senior intelligence officials and police and military officers makes regime change much easier. Lumumba was betrayed by his own assistant, and others in his government who had been bought by the CIA. President Correa was almost assassinated by a domestic police force that was receiving weapons, training and cash from the U.S. government.


Diana Barahona June 26, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Leftists who support U.S./NATO military intervention frequently make the argument that the Libyan and Syrian governments had adopted some neoliberal policies over the years. I think the logic of this is that the governments that are overthrown are neoliberal, and therefore there is no point in opposing their overthrow by imperialist forces. This shows little understanding of the development and spread of global capitalism since the 1980s.

The objective of the United States and other globalizing leaders has been the creation of a kind of a transnational state. Nation-states are but components of this state, and they are governed by local fractions of a transnational capitalist class. These domestic elites are externally-oriented, and they manage their respective states on behalf of transnational corporations.

Neoliberal policies are the tools used to restructure states and incorporate them into the global economic system, and they are pretty identical across the board. They are also treated as non-negotiable by the IFIs and other globalizing institutions. Government leaders are expected to institute them across-the-board, not just some measures and not just partially. All leaders, nationalist or not, are under pressure to liberalize their economies and there is both an economic price to pay for noncompliance, and there is an ever present threat of being removed from power by the U.S.

Especially after the fall of the Soviet Union, many countries were forced to make concessions to the global capitalist empire led by the U.S., and sent their children, etc., to European universities to study economics. However, the Libyan and Syrian governments resisted full compliance, not only in economic policy, but in their strategic alliances. Because the U.S.-led bloc also demands political and military subjugation. A key word is whether a country agrees to be a “strategic partner” of the United States. Qatar recently became one, and the U.S. is moving in with ships and weapons.

To conclude, the United States never stops trying to turn a nationalist government so that it voluntarily restructures itself and becomes a component of its transnational “state” (politically a bloc but economically a global economic system). The target governments can accede, like Qatar did, they can openly resist, like Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba have, or they can pretend to play along in an attempt to survive politically and economically. But even if they make this or that concession to imperialism, if they don’t go all the way and incorporate their nation-states into the U.S.-led global state, then the U.S. and its allies just continue preparing the ground and waiting for the right moment to strike.


Louis Proyect June 26, 2012 at 3:44 pm

So what would prevent the CIA (or M16) from seeking close ties with the intelligence services of a government targeted for overthrow?

I have no idea what you are trying to say. The CIA’s ties to Libya were about the extraordinary rendition program. Libya and Syria, your other anti-imperialist paradigm, were dumping grounds for Muslims dragooned without charges who would be tortured for years at a time.


Louis Proyect June 26, 2012 at 3:53 pm

However, the Libyan and Syrian governments resisted full compliance, not only in economic policy, but in their strategic alliances.

The same neoliberal pro-dictator narrative was established in Libya, for example, in the IMF’s October 2010 pronouncements in which Muammar Gaddafi’s mass firing of 340 000 civil servants was celebrated: “About a quarter have reportedly found other sources of income and are no longer receiving transfers from the state budget. The mission recommends that the retrenchment program be accelerated.”11

The IMF’s last full Article IV Consultation for Libya was published on February 15, 2011, just before civil war broke out. Implying that Gaddafi was safe from the Arab Spring, the IMF noted that “Recent developments in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia have had limited economic impact on Libya so far,” and flattered Tripoli on a variety of fronts: An ambitious program to privatize banks and develop the nascent financial sector is underway… Structural reforms in other areas have progressed. The passing in early 2010 of a number of far-reaching laws bodes well for fostering private sector development and attracting foreign direct investment… Executive Directors agreed with the thrust of the staff appraisal. They welcomed Libya’s strong macroeconomic performance and the progress on enhancing the role of the private sector and supporting growth in the non-oil economy. The fiscal and external balances remain in substantial surplus and are expected to strengthen further over the medium term, and the outlook for Libya’s economy remains favorable (emphasis added).12

This optimistic report and others like it annoyed two New York Times reporters:

Less than two weeks ago, the IMF’s executive board, its highest authority, assessed a North African country’s economy and commended its government for its “ambitious reform agenda.”

The IMF also welcomed its “strong macroeconomic performance and the progress on enhancing the role of the private sector,” and “encouraged” the authorities to continue on that promising path. By unfortunate timing, that country was Libya. The fund’s mission to Tripoli had somehow omitted to check whether the “ambitious” reform agenda was based on any kind of popular support. Libya is not an isolated case. And the IMF doesn’t look good after it gave glowing reviews to many of the countries shaken by popular revolts in recent weeks.

Back in 2006 the New Yorker Magazine ran a long article on Libya by Andrew Solomon titled Circle of Fire that really gives you a flavor of the changes taking place.

[Prime Minister Ghanem] Dr. Shukri, as he is called by those close to him and by those who pretend to be close to him–he has a Ph.D. in international relations from the Fletcher School, at Tufts–has a certain portly grandeur. With a neat mustache and a well-tailored suit, he exuded an effortless cosmopolitanism that seemed more conducive to facilitating Libya’s reentry into the world than to winning over the hard-line elements at home. When I arrived, he was sitting on a gilded sofa in a room furnished with Arabic reimaginings of Louis XVI furniture, before many trays of pastries and glasses of the inevitable mint tea. In the Libyan empire of obliquity, his clarity was refreshing, and his teasing irony seemed to acknowledge the absurdity of Libyan doubletalk.

I mentioned that many of his colleagues saw no need to hasten the pace of reform. This was clearly not his view. “Sometimes you have to be hard on those you love,” he said. “You wake your sleeping child so that he can get to school. Being a little harsh, not seeking too much popularity, is a better way.” He spoke of the need for pro-business measures that would reduce bureaucratic impediments and rampant corruption. “The corruption is tied to shortages, inefficiency, and unemployment,” the Prime Minister said. “Cutting red tape–there is resistance to it. There is some resistance in good faith and some in bad faith.”

Nor was he inclined to defer to the regime’s egalitarian rhetoric. “Those who can excel should get more–having a few rich people can build a whole country,” he said. Qaddafi’s “Green Book” decreed that people should be “partners, not wage workers,” but it is not easy to make everyone a partner, the Prime Minister observed. “People don’t want to find jobs. They want the government to find them jobs. It’s not viable.”


Diana Barahona June 26, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Regarding the information that Gaddafi was a dictator who’s government imprisoned and tortured people, including people rendered by U.S. imperialism, I don’t see that this is an argument in favor of a U.S.-NATO overthrow of the government. The new regime continues to imprison, torture and murder people.

Regarding the fact that Libya was taking strong neoliberal measures, this may be true, but if you read my article on Libya’s oil, its most important export, the government resisted giving away the oilfields and charged more in royalties than the foreign companies wanted to pay. And Libya never became a geopolitical strategic partner of the United States. There were no U.S. military bases in Libya, no military or police training schools, no DEA agents, etc.


Diana Barahona June 27, 2012 at 1:43 am

“Libya has become a major training center” for al-Qaeda, says British intelligence, confirmed by a peace activist who was in Libya for 4 months.


tony July 3, 2012 at 2:06 am

It is to the credit of North Star, that it does not apply the same censorship to Louis Proyect that he applies on his own list. I have lost track of how many comrades this unrepentant Stalinist creep has kicked off at marxism list through the years, but there have been many many many.


Pham Binh of Occupy Wall Street July 3, 2012 at 9:53 am

For me, this is the key argument in this article:

“This is not to say that sectors of the Libyan population (or the Syrian or Iranian population for that matter) don’t have legitimate grievances against their nationalist dictatorships. However, when their countries are targeted for regime change by foreign transnational capital and their own emerging domestic transnational capitalist class, any military alliance that government opponents make with these globalizing interests is an act of treason against their own people.”

Now, the problem is that this is extremely ahistorical. America once targeted Nazi Germany and Hirohito’s Japan for “regime change” — does that mean socialists or revolutionaries in those countries should have dropped their organizing since it would play into the hands of the greater enemy, U.S. capitalism?

When Germany invaded Russia after the 1917 revolution, Lenin said “I request you to add my vote in favour of taking potatoes and ammunition from the Anglo-French imperialist robbers” to fight German imperialism despite the fact that the British and French governments were extremely hostile to the new Soviet government.

Why shouldn’t the Libyans or the Syrians do the same today? What other choice do they have?


Aaron Aarons July 4, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Pham Binh: “When Germany invaded Russia after the 1917 revolution, Lenin said “I request you to add my vote in favour of taking potatoes and ammunition from the Anglo-French imperialist robbers” to fight German imperialism despite the fact that the British and French governments were extremely hostile to the new Soviet government.

“Why shouldn’t the Libyans or the Syrians do the same today?”

1) You are giving an example of how revolutionaries acted in a world with two rival imperialist blocs at war with each other. When both of those blocs are against you, which is likely to be the case if you are anti-capitalist revolutionaries, of course you can accept aid from one to defend against the other, as long as you don’t become part of one of the blocs at war. (In other words, being objectively and transitorily aligned with one imperialist block against the other is OK, but being in a military alliance isn’t.)

2) What you are advocating that “the Libyans or the Syrians do the same today” is more akin to what enemies of the Bolshevik revolution did when THEY accepted imperialist aid to fight AGAINST the new Soviet government. It’s certainly not a perfect analogy, since the Syrian state is not in any sense a workers’ state, but it’s a far better analogy than the one you, Pham Binh, make.


Diana Barahona July 4, 2012 at 4:44 pm

The first thing a MARXIST does is to analyze what is going on HERE AND NOW. You are changing the subject, making spurious comparisons to the international situation 100 years ago. We are not even in the same capitalist era–1917 was a time when competitive capitalism was giving way to corporate, or monopoly capitalism. But since the 1980s, we are in a period of global capitalism, with the United States as the global hegemon. It uses NATO as an extension of the U.S. military to impose neoliberalism on every country in the world. According to William Robinson:
” [W]e face an empire of global capital headquartered, for evident historical reasons, in Washington. There is little disagreement among global elites, regardless of their formal nationality, that U.S. power must be rigorously applied … in order to sustain and defend global capitalism…. The question for global elites (and the point of contention among them) is, in what ways, under what particular conditions, arrangements, and strategies should U.S. state power be wielded?” (A Theory of Global Capitalsim: 12)
So, again, I ask you to apply Marxism to your analysis. If you have no idea what I am talking about, then you should stop pretending to be a leftist and and read a few books.


Pham Binh of Occupy Wall Street July 4, 2012 at 10:21 pm

There has been no move to privatize Libya’s oil, so where’s the neoliberalism at gunpoint you keep referencing? There are now STRIKES in Libya (against U.S. oil companies in some cases), something that were not allowed under the Ghadafi regime:

So, what do you say about that as a Marxist? I hope you support them as I do.


tony July 4, 2012 at 11:40 pm

The above is just total bs. It wasn’t half a week after the overthrow of Gaddafi that the new crew in charge alongside the US government wasn’t already discussing how they were going to need Western investment in the Libyan petroleum industry, Pham. Where were you when all the glee about opening up the oil fields to the multi-national oil companies began? Asleep? Deep, deep, sleep?

And just 4th of July today from Reuters…. Read below a brief excerpt-

* Foreign investors watching outcome of Saturday’s vote
* Many projects on hold since last year’s war
* Opportunities in construction, healthcare, telecoms, oil
By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

TRIPOLI, July 4 (Reuters) – For Tripoli businessman Salem Mohammed, Libya’s first elections in a generation on Saturday will pave the way for what he believes the North African country should become – a new Dubai.

“We have oil, we have money, Libya can easily be just like Dubai,” the 47 year old, who works in manufacturing, said.

from Reuters FEATURE-Elections to mark new start for Libya economy

Pham, Marxism as dated doctrine can dangerously put people like yourself into a deep sleep-like trance, where you no longer read or can see the news from places like Reuters, but simply dream of ‘revolution’ against baddies named Assad and Gaddafi. Meanwhiole Mobil Exxon moves in and you will then all act surprised some day just like good Rip Van Winkle doctrinaire marxists do when they begin to wake up…. if they ever do????? Doctrine is a strong opioid for people like yourself and Supreme Leader Proyect.


tony July 3, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Pham, I’m not sure why you seem to be so obsessed about what Syrians and Libyans should be doing or not doing? I mean the real problem here is what WE should be doing or not doing here in the heart of The Empire, isn’t it?

For you to go off screaming FULL TIME NON STOP about the horrors of Gaddafi in Libya and Assad in Syria here in the USA or any of the other imperialist countries because the corporate media of your imperialist country is also doing the same, seems seriously off track. Oh shit! Let’s be real clear here for you. It’s completely reactionary, Pham.

Just because the enemies of our imperialists are not a group of perfect saints, simply is no reason to join alongside the likes of Hillary and Barack, Pham, in promoting regime change. Why would we want to do that, Pham? To support what? ‘Self determination’ when we are supporting no such thing?

Do you really think that when we support the US government in its search for regime change in places like Sudan, Libya, Syria, or Iran that we are somehow supporting the self determination of those peoples? Do you think that by pretending that the US military forces are not manipulating behind the scenes in the populations of those countries is somehow educational to our own US people? It is not though. It is the antithesis of what we should be doing, which is organizing to stop our own military’s plans to extend US capitalist control over other areas of the globe.


Pham Binh of Occupy Wall Street July 4, 2012 at 10:22 pm

Obsessed? I’ve written a grand total of three articles in two years on the subject.

There are people who are “screaming FULL TIME NONE STOP” in these comment threads, but I am not one of them.


tony July 4, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Certainly the US doctrinaire, stuck in the mud marxists who share your views on this issue are obsessed with showing Syrians and Libyans that American marxists are on their side. It reminds me of how many US White Anglo liberals are also so obsessed that Blacks and Chicanos know and learn that they are not racists (at least in their own heads they think that they aren’t!).

Pham, you are 2 obsessed, besides. Don’t try to tell us that it aint’t so! Here is how you self describe yourself… ‘ PhamBinh of Occupy Wall Street, Class War Camp’. WTF! The ‘Class War Camp’ no less?

That sounds pretty damn doctrinaire marxie tuff, to me, Pham. Sounds like you are friends with the Denver Occupy marxie tuff guys out my way, also, Pham…. Here’s what they say they’re up to here in Colorado ////

Denver March Against Neo-Feudalism, Revenge of the Wage Slave, July 6, STORM the EMPIRE!

Sounds like they might just get their little marxie tuff heads kikked in by the cops,too. But I have strayed from the topic at hand here… which is Libya and how we relate to the place as US based Marxists.


Pham Binh of Occupy Wall Street July 5, 2012 at 9:23 am

Your comment betrays your ignorance of Occupy Wall Street. Class War Camp is a formation that came out of Zuccotti Park. CWC is actually pretty open-minded and flexible, unlike the so-called anti-imperialists commenting here.

I also see you (again) didn’t actually post a link to support your point Western investment in Libya’s oil industry (by the way, Libya’s oil fields were opened to the West by Ghadafi not the current government).

Why can’t you accept the fact that Libyans today have the right to strike? Far from being “total bs,” that is actually very important.


tony July 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm

‘Why can’t you accept the fact that Libyans today have the right to strike? Far from being “total bs,” that is actually very important.’

I don’t accept that as fact, because it simply is not true, Pham. Here is much more like the real situation in Libya today than your vision through Red (oops, I meant rose actually) tinted glasses….

‘But while women like Shweigi are determined not to be window-dressing, that’s what they were at the July 3 launch of the elections media center at the Tripoli International Convention Center in the compound of the luxurious Rixos Hotel. The televised event attracted the diplomatic corps, U.N. staff, and the country’s transitional leaders. In the foyer there were a series of huge posters, a stirring one depicted women with the caption “Rebelling to be heard.” Alas, no women were heard from the rostrum–just five men, including Libya’s prime minister and the chief election commissioner. But then there are no women on the election commission, only one on a national transitional council numbering 102 and two women ministers.

U.N. envoy Ian Martin praised the election process, noting that for years only one face was displayed publicly but now with campaign posters thousands of faces are. That is indeed heartening, but he didn’t note that in recent days vandals have been defacing posters of female candidates by scratching out or inking over their faces.’ (from ‘Libyan Women Are More Visible in Post-Gaddafi Libya, but They May Have Lost Ground’ @

Pham, while you are busy praising the supposed workers rights in post Gaddafi Libya, you and I both know that the status of women is about to plummet in US controlled Libya, just like it has in US controlled Afghanistan post covert Pentagon-CIA interventions using Osama back in the ’70s and ”80s. Were you yet born back then?

And spare us the stuff about ‘workers rights’ in Libya today. It is ridiculous, that’s why? Post Gaddafi Libya is no more and much much less a workers paradise than it was ever before during Gaddafi’s time in power. The standard of living in Libya has plummeted in fact, though you seem blissfully unaware of such fact, Pham. Why is that? Aren’t you the workers leader… a marxist????? no less? You are supposed to be able to put 2 plus 2 together and arrive at the answer 4 for the workers, Comrade Leader.


Pham Binh of Occupy Wall Street, Class War Camp July 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm

You’re moving the goalposts. First you claim freedom of speech doesn’t exist because there are militias, now you’re claiming the right to strike doesn’t exist when workers are going on strike by talking about women’s rights. You also seem to have missed the fact that Brian S. posted about how a woman candidate came in with the most votes in a local election there.

If you want fact-free arguments and to play move-the-goalpost this is not the site you should be on.


tony July 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm

I am not really moving any goal posts at all for you, Pham. All the rights you claim to exist in today’s Libya currently simply don’t. Freedom of speech doesn’t exist. Women’s rights don’t exist. And workers rights are nonexistent, too. The reason that is so is that the US government backed counter revolution broke up all national unity that had been maintained somewhat definitely by Gaddafi for many many years was simply disintegrated by your heroes, the US promoted and militarily backed anti Gaddafi forces. The fighting continues, and because of that, there are no real RIGHTS for anybody yet in Libya.

It is very easy to break things up, as the US similarly has done in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, and now Syria, too. But it is often very hard to reintegrate them in some sort of real political gel, especially when that political gel is mainly being structured through US imperialist mandates. Look at Kosovo even, to understand how hard that can be to create functional ‘nations’ through US imperialistic interventionism. It just doesn’t happen very fast this re-gel of a society, when it follows an intentional splitting up of the nation before, done intentionally by outside forces. You, the humanitarian imperialist faux international socialist think it is easy, but you are simply just wrong about that.


Pham Binh of Occupy Wall Street, Class War Camp July 5, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Asserting the same thing over and over again without a shred of proof isn’t helping your case. I’ve provided evidence, and you’ve provided nothing to back up your claims. Libyans are protesting, striking, publishing newspapers, and voting in elections. Even the links you post prove that.


Diana Barahona July 5, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Yes, there were several Western transnationals in the country under Gadaffi and BP had a major investment in the works, but the big question is the TERMS of the contracts. The New York Times says the oil giants expect those terms to be “profitable.”
“As The New York Times reported (Nov. 15), ‘During his long rule, Colonel Gaddafi granted foreigners drilling rights on small patches of fields and made them sign agreements that gave the regime most of the profits and left them with most of the bills.’”
“Foreign oil giants, including the American companies Marathon and Hess, certainly want to be in Libya, and the jockeying has already begun for the chance to drill new fields on profitable terms.” Energy services companies Halliburton and Baker Hughes are also taking part in the reconstruction bonanza.

According to African Economic Outlook: (
“OPEC has maintained Libya’s official oil production quota at 1.47 million barrels per day and foreign oil companies have begun to return to the country. These include France’s Total, Italy’s ENI, Spain’s Repsol and Occidental of the United States.

“The transitional government has recognised the importance of creating conditions that are more transparent and which support the integration of the economy into the global market.
“One of the important reforms that the NTC has taken includes the re-establishment of the oil ministry. The Gaddafi government abolished the oil ministry in 2006 and left the management of the industry to the National Oil Corporation (NOC). The new ministry will be responsible for national oil policy, while the NOC will retain its role in the commercial side of the industry. These efforts should make important strides in reducing the kinds of arbitrary decisions, sudden reversals of policy and lack of transparency that troubled the industry under the former government. Both the new Oil Minister, Abdulrahman Ben Yezza, and the head of the National Oil Corporation, Nouri Berouin, have indicated their intention to facilitate greater openness.”

And so people don’t forget that it is the globalizing institutions that are shaping Libyan socioeconomic policies, check this out: “International financial and technical assistance will contribute to building institutions…”

“In spite of foreign investment and foreign aid, Libya’s reconstruction efforts face one important obstacle that is likely to affect growth in the coming years, namely the ability of the interim and future governments to create functional institutions. Libya’s former political system, the Jamahiriya, encouraged a supposedly more participatory governing structure that favoured a multiplicity of profoundly inefficient self-governing local structures, the ‘Basic People’s Congresses.’ Now, the NTC is tasked with building a modern bureaucratic system for the first time since Libya’s independence. International financial and technical assistance will contribute to building institutions but it is up to the interim government to take advantage of these opportunities which will be crucial to the country’s long term ability to surmount its many economic challenges.


Aaron Aarons July 4, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Tony: “I mean the real problem here is what WE should be doing or not doing here in the heart of The Empire, isn’t it?”

I would amend that to ‘the real problem here is what the revolutionary left globally, especially those in the imperialist heartland, should be doing’.

But if there are any substantial number of genuine leftists in Syria, they should, inter alia, be

1) trying to survive and to ensure the survival of their comrades;

2) fighting ethno-religious sectarianism and its instigators, particularly the Gulf monarchies;

3) working to prevent the imperialists from getting a foothold in Syria to be used against Hezbollah and Iran.


tony July 5, 2012 at 12:04 am

Agreed, Aaron. Unfortunately many Syrians are being totally manipulated into a Sunni-Shia killing field battleground fight that US imperialism (and its allies) has stirred up for common folk all over the region, and not simply just in Syria alone. Unfortunately, we have so many know nothing US ‘Commies’ and Liberals who simply see the conflicts being as nothing more than just a native uprising against a baddie dictator, free of all other nuance or perspective… especially any geopolitical one.


Tony July 29, 2012 at 3:43 am

Turkey, a member of NATO, is now training the new police force in LIbya for the new counter revolutionary government the US and NATO have established there. ‘A total of 817 Libyan police academy students arrived in Istanbul last week to train at the Adile Sadullah Mermerci Police Centre, where they will spend seven and a half months before returning to home to take up police duties.’

See ‘Turkey Boosts Role in Libya by Training Police’ @ for full commentary

This hardly is a moment that can make any socialist actually believe that the government is part of some sort of revolutionary process. It simply is not. We have seen the US and its European allies seize the country with the largest known oil reserves on the continent of Africa for themselves. Hardly an advance of any revolution.


Pham Binh of Occupy Wall Street, Class War Camp July 29, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I suppose if they sent their cops to North Korea that would prove to you a revolution had taken place?

Talk about grasping at straws.


Tony July 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Pham, what on earth does North Korea have anything to do with NATO training cops in Turkey for what you want to represent to us as being a ‘revolutionary Libya’? Yes, talking about grasping at straws? You red baiting me with ‘North Korea’ on a site dedicated supposedly to regroupment of Reds does take the cake, Comrade Binh.


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