On the Left, Ghadafi’s Lies Live On

by Clay Claiborne on June 11, 2012

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While no one deserves to die in a war, of the estimated 30,000 Libyans to die in the struggle to overthrow Mummar Ghadafi, no one else can be said to have had it coming more than Mummar Ghadafi. Not only did he rule for more than 40 years by using terror (he had tens of thousands murdered), he conducted his 10-month campaign to stay in power with the utmost brutality. Most of those 30,000 souls were Libyan civilians killed by Ghadafi with artillery, tanks, snipers and cluster bombs. He targeted civilians to the end and so made the U.N. mission to protect them synonymous with ending his rule. So I find it odd that many on the left single out the killing of Mummar Ghadafi to demand investigation and justice for.

"If you're not ready to die for it, put the word 'freedom' out of your vocabulary." – Malcolm X

During the 10-month revolutionary struggle the goal of the vast majority of Libyans was to overthrow Ghadafi but the cynical left developed its own narrative for what they referred to as “regime change,” a regime change they opposed.

They had no opinion on the struggle in Libya until NATO got involved, then “as they saw it” it was just another “War for Oil”, just another Iraq. As spectators to history, they declared “we’ve been through this movie before.” Usually that meant the rebels and the National Transitional Council (NTC) were seen as agents of imperialism, and the depth and breath of the Libyan opposition was denied.

This was all done in the name of “opposing our own bourgeois” but its central foundation has been a cynical appreciation of the revolutionary movement of the Libyan people.

A year ago, this whole crowd was sure that NATO intervention would lead to a NATO occupation of Libya a la Iraq or Afghanistan. Clearly that hasn’t happened. Those that predicted such NATO “boots on the ground” – and that’s what they meant at the time – were wrong. That did not happen.

That is just one thing, on top of many, many things they got wrong about the Libyan revolution, but rather that admit they were wrong about that and maybe some other things and being so bold as to make a reappraisal of their views on Libya, they cling to those views.

They welcome any bad news from Libya and use it to support their view that the revolution in Libya is a bad thing and shouldn’t have happened. They find themselves quoting favorably from the mainstream media that has it’s own reasons for pouring cold water on post-Ghadafi Libya. They take every outbreak of violence and every injustice still happening in revolutionary Libya, blow it all out of proportion, and talk of “chaos” in Libya.

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. But these anti-interventionists-turned-counter-revolutionaries only look for signs of “chaos.”

Over 2.7 million people have registered all over Libya for national elections on June 19th or early July [there is talk of a short delay as I write this].  Misrata and Benghazi already had local elections. Libyans all over the world are registering at their still functioning embassies and all these people can talk about is “no functioning government” in Libya.

They still promote the view that the Libyan Revolution is a fake one ginned up by western imperialism and the NTC NATO puppets. I have some questions for these folks. If the Libyan revolution was orchestrated by U.S. imperialism and the NTC, a NATO “puppet regime”:

1.) Why are there no NATO bases in Libya?

2.) Why are there no NATO troops in Libya?

3.) Why did they refuse to turn over the so-called Lockerbie Bomber as demanded by the West?

4.) Why did they stop and expose the CIA’s special rendition program in Libya?

5.) Why is the revolutionary commander of Tripoli Head of the Military Council of Tripoli, Abdel Hakim Belhaj suing former British foreign minister Jack Straw?

During the Libyan Revolution, the pro-Ghadafi forces, with help from Russia and Iran, developed this fantastic network of Internet websites and blogs that spread Ghadafi’s war stories far and wide so that they would be replicated so many times that they would be the first thing found by the search engines.

Now that the real facts of the situation in Libya last year are coming to light, we are in a position to compare the Ghadafi lies, and those of his parrots with the reality on the ground. Let’s take just one example – the March 19 NATO bombing of Libya. From the AJE tapes released last month of phone calls between Qaddafi and his cronies we have this.

A crowd of hundreds, many wearing green to show their support for Muammar Gaddafi, gathered in Tripoli on March 20 for a mass funeral. They were burying dozens of civilians – some of them children – killed overnight in NATO airstrikes.

Or so they were told. Among the thousands of wiretapped conversations obtained by Al Jazeera are several which show this “funeral” was actually a bit of stage-managed propaganda, organized by Tayeb El Safi, one of Gaddafi’s most trusted henchmen.

The day before the funeral, El Safi and an unknown caller can be heard joking about a NATO airstrike which destroyed an office used by Gaddafi’s aides.

El Safi: They hit our location [laughter].

Caller: The office?

El Safi: Yes, the office. The office where we used to meet, the High Commission for Children.

Caller: No! [laughter] When?

El Safi: We need to put children there and take the media there in the evening. Tomorrow, let’s organize a huge funeral in Green Square [Martyrs’ Square]. We need to get some coffins. From here and there, you know what I mean. We need revolutionary youth with green flags and pictures of the leader.

El Safi and his aides moved ahead with the plan, but they encountered a problem: The cemetery they planned to use couldn’t accommodate the huge number of “martyrs” the government planned to bury.

Caller: The cemetery of Al Hani only has three available places.

El Safi: Okay, move them to Al Hansheer [cemetery]. Get ready, I’ll tell you now.

Caller: How many?

El Safi: 48 martyrs.

Witnesses would recall later that the funeral did seem a bit odd – that no family members showed up to mourn their dead relatives. “We didn’t know who they were. There were no death certificates. There were no relatives who later came for them,” Faraj Al Ghyriani, a Tripoli resident who attended the funeral, told Al Jazeera. “I know that inside the coffins were just people who died of old age, or mercenaries. They were so stupid that they had the same name on two different coffins.”

Global Research was one website that was quick to promote Qaddafi’s BS on this attack. Here is what Global Research had to say about this:

The Bombing of Civilian Targets

The objective is not to come to the rescue of civilians.

Quite the opposite. Both military as well as civilian targets have been pre-selected.

Civilian casualties are intentional. They are not the result of “collateral damage”.

Early reports confirm that hospitals, civilian airports and government buildings have been bombed.

Within hours of the air attacks, a Libyan government health official “said the death toll from the Western air strikes had risen to 64 on Sunday after some of the wounded died.” The number of wounded was of the order of 150. (Montreal Gazette, Gadhafi hurls defiance as allied forces strike Libya, March 19, 2011).

These deaths resulting from US-NATO missiles and aerial bombings are either denied or casually dismissed as “collateral damage.”

Workers World Party organized protests against this attack, completely buying the Ghadhafi story and so did the ANSWER Coalition:

On March 20, thousands demonstrated in Los Angeles to say no to war and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan. The demonstration was called by the Answer Coalition. Libya was clearly on the minds of everyone there and news of the criminal attack electrified the demonstration. The announcement of yet another imperialist war was booed and jeered as the words crawled across an electronic sign on CNN’s L.A. office.

The International Action Center distributed a statement denouncing the attack on Libya. The next day the IAC held an emergency demonstration at the Westwood Federal Building to demand an end to U.S., French and British bombing of Libya. Members of BAYAN-USA, the All African Peoples Revolutionary Party — GC, Unión del Barrio and Anti-Racist Action also participated. The action was covered by ABC, Fox, Telemundo and Univisión.

The Western left abandoned the revolution and embraced Ghadafi.

Now they are organizing protests against U.S. intervention in Syria. I received a call just yesterday from the International Action Center calling on me to support Assad at their upcoming pro-Assad Rally – No US/NATO War Against the Syrian People! Apparently the war that the Assad regime is currently waging against the Syrian people is not to be protested, only an extremely unlikely one by the U.S. and NATO.

Assad is current slaughtering thousands of Syrians, so naturally they are opposed to “regime change” just as they were when Ghadafi was killing Libyans. They wish he was still at it.

Some Ghadafi supporters insist things really are the way they saw them and there is a U.S. occupation of Libya. Cynthia McKinney claims that U.S. troops are about to land in Libya any minute, if they aren’t already there. She posted this explosive story on her blog on January 13, 2012:

Why is President Obama sending 12, 000 U.S. troops to Libya?

Hello fellow activists for peace,

It is with great disappointment that I receive the news from foreign media publications and Libyan sources that our President now has 12,000 U.S. troops stationed in Malta and they are about to make their descent into Libya.

This claim was immediately disputed by both Malta and the US embassy:

The US Embassy in a single line statement this morning reiterated the Maltese government’s statement categorically denying claims that there are US troops in Malta.

The government’s statement was issued two days ago after former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney said in a blog that “12,000 U.S. troops (are) stationed in Malta and they are about to make their descent into Libya”.

And ridiculed by a local Maltese blogger:

As a resident of Malta, I can guarantee her – and you – that this is untrue. There are no 12,000 US soldiers stationed on Malta. And trust me, this island is so small, I would have seen them. There isn’t enough space for 12,000 troops to hide, especially not if they have the typical soldiers’ equipment of tanks, artillery, helicopters et cetera with them. – To put things into perspective: the whole military of Malta is 2,140 troops strong. Even at the height of World War II, when Malta was hotly fought over as the central location in the Mediterranean, no more than 26,000 troops stationed on Malta.

Granted, I did see the USS Whidbey Island in port in Valletta last Friday, but this ship only has a crew of about 400 sailors.

Also, I can’t see why U.S. forces would go to Libya now. Gaddafi is dead, Libya is liberated, the job is done.

Ms. McKinney either has no idea about international politics and the state of the world, or she is one of these conspiracy gurus, or she doesn’t know where Malta is and confused it with something else. Either way, it’s very embarrassing for a former U.S. Congresswoman to make these ridiculous statements.

Its been six months since Cynthia McKinney made her prediction and we are still waiting for those US troops to make themselves known.

For more background on the Libyan Revolution and links to lots of information see my other writings at the DailyKos and WikiLeaks Central:
Another “Houla style” massacre in Syria
Libya’s Qaddafi helped US & Israel against Iran in Olympic GamesWhy is Russia demanding NATO boots on the ground in Libya?
#LyElect Libyans register to vote 1st time in 60 years
Libya’s Revolution: How We Won – The Internationale in the 21st Century
Good News from Libya
On Libya & Glenn Greenwald: Are the anti-interventionists becoming counter-revolutionaries?
UN: NATO killed 60 civilians in Libya
Libya in the news today
Amnesty International on Libya again
The Current Situation in Libya
Democracy Now & Amy Goodman gets it wrong again.
Why is Chris Hedges calling for “boots on the ground” in Libya?
The Worm Has Turned: Good Film on Libyan Revolution from PressTV
Why NATO’s mission in Libya isn’t over yet
Libya’s Freedom Fighters: How They Won
Racism in Libya
Abdul Rahman Gave his Eyes to See the End of Qaddafi
BREAKING: Secret files reveal Dennis Kucinich talks with Qaddafi Regime
BREAKING: Libyan TNC won’t extradite Lockerbie bomber
Who really beat Qaddafi?
#Feb17: @NATO Please help MEDEVAC wounded from #Libya
What should those that opposed NATO’s intervention in Libya demand now?
BREAKING: Qaddafi’s Tripoli Compound Falls!
Does PDA Support Qaddafi?
BREAKING: Operation Mermaid Dawn, the Battle to Liberate Tripoli is Joined
Helter Skelter: Qaddafi’s African Adventure
Qaddafi’s Long Arm
SCOOP: My Lai or Qaddafi Lie? More on the 85 Civilians presumed killed by NATO
Did NATO kill 85 Libyan Villagers As Qaddafi Regime Contends?
CCDS Statement on Libya – a Critique
The Assassination of General Abdul Fattah Younis
NATO over Tripoli – Air Strikes in the Age of Twitter
How Many Libyans has NATO Killed?
Qaddafi Terror Files Start to Trickle Out!
Have Libyan Rebels Committed Human Rights Abuses?
Tripoli Green Square Reality Check
Behind the Green Curtain: Libya Today
Gilbert Achcar on the Libyan situation and the Left
NATO slammed for Libya civilian deaths NOT!
2011-07-01 Qaddafi’s Million Man March
NATO’s Game Plan in Libya
February 21st – Tripoli’s Long Night
Did Qaddafi Bomb Peaceful Protesters?
Tripoli Burn Notice
Libyans, Palestinians & Israelis
‘Brother’ Qaddafi Indicted plus Libya & Syria: Dueling Rally Photofinishs
An Open Letter to ANSWER
ANSWER answers me
2011-06-22 No Libyans allowed at ANSWER Libya Forum
Are they throwing babies out of incubators yet?
Continuing Discussion with a Gaddafi Supporter
Boston Globe oped supports Gaddafi with fraudulent journalism
2011-04-13 Doha summit supports Libyan rebels
Current Events in Libya
Amonpour Plays Softball with Gaddafi
Arming Gaddfi
North African Revolution Continues
Is Libya Next? Anonymous Debates New Operation

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Bob June 26, 2012 at 1:46 pm

It’s really amazing how completely reactionary your writing has become. Write another article excusing the lynching of hundreds of African migrants by the rebels! That would be cool!

Reply

Pham Binh of Occupy Wall Street June 26, 2012 at 3:15 pm

You seem to prefer Ghadafi lynch the rebels. Now that’s reactionary.

Reply

tony July 4, 2012 at 2:17 am

‘So I find it odd that many on the left single out the killing of Mummar Ghadafi to demand investigation and justice for.’

Well, Comrade Clay (good name for you, too!). Us backward commies who are not humanitarian imperialist commies like your own learned self don’t seem to understand as you do, that the torture party held for Gaddafi by your Libyan counterrevolutionary friends is nothing to see as being necessarily bad. After all, the US government itself tortures captured POWs all the time, too, don’t they? Sodomizing Gaddafi to death with a pole (often called impalement by other Empires of the past) is a sure sign of a revolution in progress, I’m sure you will agree, Clay.

And that little thing of you posting a pic of Hugo Chavez showing support to Gaddafi while you call him the ‘Western Left’ is great! But why don’t you just call yourself the ‘Western Left’ instead? After all, Chavez and Venezuela are not actually know as being ‘The West’ as much as your very own US society is, Clay. I think of you and Louis Proyect as being the “Western Left’ much more than I do that Chavez guy. Aren’t you?

And while we are at it! Let’s us together, you and I, Clay, praise all the Iraqi revolutionaries who overthrew Saddam without the support of anybody much other than a slight assist from the Pentagon. That Saddam guy killed so many people and gosh, just because I am anti-impeiralist doesn’t mean that I think it a bad thing that the Pentagon might have slightly helped the Iraqi revolutionaries pull it off. Do you, Clay? You a trip, Man!

Clay? I think that you have fallen behind on your CONSTANT marxist leninist duties of proclaiming Saddam and his circle of thugs to be bad guys. You must be falling under the influence of the PSL or WWP? I’m worried about you…

Reply

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