Archive for the Jordan Category

UN report condemns US government’s “international criminal program of torture” [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Canada, CIA, Egypt, George W. Bush, Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Libya, Obama, Pakistan, Pentagon, Poland, Romania, Syria, Thailand, Torture, U.K., UAE - United Arab Emirates, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, War crimes, Yemen on November 1, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Thomas Gaist
1 November 2014

A recent report to the UN Committee Against Torture concludes that the US presidential administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama are responsible for far-reaching violations of international law for directing and covering up a global torture program developed by the US Central Intelligence Agency in the years following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The report, prepared by the “Advocates for US Torture Prosecutions,” Dr. Trudy Bond, Prof. Benjamin Davis, Dr. Curtis F. J. Doebbler, and The International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School, states unequivocally that entire sections of the state apparatus are responsible for “breathtaking” crimes against international law.

“Civilian and military officials at the highest level created, designed, authorized and implemented a sophisticated, international criminal program of torture,” the report states.

The report details the vast scale of the torture system, noting that detainees were tortured not just at the US Guantanamo Bay Military Base in Cuba, but in numerous secret black sites worldwide, including in “Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Libya, Lithuania, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Syria, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom (Diego Garcia), and Yemen.”

Having been “conceived and authorized at the highest levels” of the US government, responsibility for the crimes committed is shared by numerous top officials, the report concludes, including “President George W. Bush, then Vice President Dick Cheney, then Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) George Tenet, then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, then Secretary of State Colin Powell, and then Attorney General John Ashcroft.”

The torture techniques were devised by the CIA in collaboration with intelligence officers from the Egyptian and Saudi regimes, according to the report.

“The techniques in question, sometimes styled as interrogation techniques and sometimes as detention procedures, included near-drowning (‘waterboarding’), sleep deprivation for days, and forced nudity,” the report notes.

“They have caused many people intense suffering, including severe mental harm and, in some cases, death,” the report notes.

“Retroactive legal approval” was then contrived by US government lawyers at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).

In order to justify the new methods of “enhanced interrogation,” the torture lawyers of the Bush administration drew up an “absurdly narrow” definition of torture to justify the administration’s policies.

As a CIA lawyer commented to personnel at Guantanamo Bay when summarizing the content of the Bush administration torture memos, “…it is basically subject to perception. If the detainee dies you’re doing it wrong.”

“The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees,” notes a report by the US Senate Armed Services Committee, cited in the new report to the UN…

…Far from being limited to the Bush administration, the report makes clear that the Obama administration, the Justice Department and multiple federal courts have upheld the conception that those involved in “waterboarding, dietary manipulation, walling, long-time standing, sleep deprivation and water dousing” should receive immunity, and that these techniques do not constitute torture.

The Obama administration has sought to safeguard all the senior Bush administration officials most directly responsible for torture from prosecution or any form of legal or punitive action for their involvement in torture.

As the report notes, all senior US government officials have received blanket immunity for their involvement in orchestrating a worldwide torture network, and “courts-martial and administrative proceedings for acts of torture have been almost exclusively limited to low-level private contractors or soldiers.”

The authors conclude that the “enhanced interrogation” methods violated the UN Convention Against Torture or Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment, which builds on the ban on torture contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The report maintains that “the prohibition against torture is absolute,” rejecting the legal concepts of the Bush administration and calling for the prosecution of top Bush administration lawyers, including the drafter of the three main “Torture Memos,” Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo,

The failure of the US government to hold accountable any of the leadership elements that organized the torture is undermining the “preemptory norm against torture,” according to the report. Torture is becoming more widespread and viewed as more acceptable by states everywhere in response to the unabashed repudiation of international law by the US.

In its concluding recommendation to the UN Committee Against Torture, the legal scholars demand that the US government adopt a legal and policy course that is 180 degrees opposed to that followed by the Obama administration since taking office.

“The United States should promptly and impartially prosecute senior military civilian officials responsible for authorizing, acquiescing or consenting in any way to acts of torture committed by their subordinates,” the rapporteurs write.

Were the demands of the report to be implemented, the result would be legal-political prosecutions directed against command elements and numerous individuals within the upper layers of the most powerful agencies of the American government, including the CIA, the military and the Department of Justice, together with numerous high-ranking members of the Bush and Obama administrations.

Countless figures, many now ensconced in lavish sinecures in academia and the corporate establishment, would have to face long jail sentences.

No such accountability will be forthcoming from any section of the political establishment, however, given that the torturers and their defenders are the preeminent political servants and military-intelligence specialists of the capitalist class.

The torture program was developed and implemented as part of an explosion of American militarism, as the ruling class has sought to maintain its global position through war and violence in every corner of the globe. At the same time, it is part of a wholesale assault on democratic rights, directed fundamentally at any opposition to the policies of the corporate and financial elite.

Far from prosecuting those responsible, the Obama administration is currently engaged in a coordinated campaign to prevent the release of a Senate Intelligence Committee summary on CIA torture, working closely with the spy agency itself to cover up the crimes for which it is guilty.

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/11/01/tort-n01.html

Also see: “Report to U.N. Calls Bullshit on Obama’s ‘Look Forward, Not Backwards’ Approach to Torture” – https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/10/30/un-report-slams-obama-protecting-u-s-officials-torture-charges/

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’Syria Becomes the 7th Predominantly Muslim Country Bombed by 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate‘ by Glenn Greenwald [The Intercept]

Posted in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Nobel Peace Prize, Obama, Pakistan, Pentagon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, UAE - United Arab Emirates, US imperialism, USA on September 24, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

23 Sept 2014

The U.S. today began bombing targets inside Syria, in concert with its lovely and inspiring group of five allied regimes: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Jordan.

That means that Syria becomes the 7th predominantly Muslim country bombed by 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama — after Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Iraq…

Excerpted; full article link: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/09/23/nobel-peace-prize-fact-day-syria-7th-country-bombed-obama/

The U.S. & Syria: Facts you should know [Workers World]

Posted in CIA, Corporate Media Critique, Egypt, El Salvador, EU, European Union, France, Haiti, Hillary Clinton, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Libya, Media cover-up, Media smear campaign, NATO, Obama, Pentagon, Qatar, Sanctions as weapon of war, Saudi Arabia, State Department, Syria, Turkey, U.K., US imperialism, USA on June 29, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Published Jun 27, 2012

The following timeline reviews the progression of U.S.-NATO intervention in Syria and counteracts the Big Lie in the corporate media aimed at preparing open imperialist military aggression against the Syrian people.

* Sanctions follow establishing opposition *

• Washington has funneled money to a right-wing Syrian opposition group since at least 2005. (Washington Post, April 16, 2011)

• The U.S. reopened its embassy in Damascus in January 2011 after six years . This was no thaw in relations. The new ambassador, Robert S. Ford, who served until October 2011, is a protégé of John Negroponte, who organized death squads in El Salvador in the 1970s and in Iraq while ambassador there in 2004-05. There terror squads killed tens of thousands. Ford served directly under Negroponte at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

• Ford “played a central role in laying the groundwork within Syria as well as establishing contacts with opposition groups.” Two months after he arrived in Damascus, the armed insurgency began. (Global Research, May 28)

• Armed opposition to Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011 in Daraa, a small town on the Jordanian border. Mass protest movements usually start in large population centers. Later, Saudi Arabia admitted sending weapons to the opposition via Jordan. (RT, March 13)

• The U. S. and its NATO allies used grassroots protests in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere as a cover to build support for right-wing insurgencies whose goal was not to help the Syrian people but to bring Syria into the pro-imperialist camp. Any excesses or mistakes by the Assad government were not the real issue.

• The Arab League, European Union and U.S. begin imposing economic sanctions, a form of warfare, against Syria in November 2011 on the pretext of stopping state-sanctioned violence against protesters. Stepped-up sanctions and freezing of Syrian assets caused the value of the Syrian pound to drop by 50 percent against the dollar, with the cost of necessities often tripling.

• Exiles who received U.S. funding became part of the Syrian National Council. SNC’s Burhan Ghalioun said he would open up Syria to the West, end Syria’s strategic relationship with Iran (and with the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance), and realign Syria with the reactionary Arab regimes in the Gulf. (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 2, 2011)

– U.S. & NATO escalate involvement –

• Ex-CIA agent Philip Giraldi admitted that the U.S. was involved in Syria and laid out the U.S. plan: “NATO is already clandestinely engaged in the Syrian conflict, with Turkey taking the lead as U.S. proxy. Ankara’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davitoglu, has openly admitted that his country is prepared to invade as soon as there is agreement among the Western allies to do so. The intervention would be based on humanitarian principles, to defend the civilian population based on the ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine that was invoked to justify Libya.” (theamericanconservative.com, Dec. 19, 2011)

• Giraldi continued: “Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to … the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council who are experienced in pitting local volunteers against trained soldiers. … French and British special forces trainers are on the ground, assisting the Syrian rebels while the CIA and U.S. Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence. …

• “The frequently cited United Nations report that more than 3,500 civilians have been killed by Assad’s soldiers is based largely on rebel sources and is uncorroborated. Likewise, accounts of mass defections from the Syrian Army and pitched battles between deserters and loyal soldiers appear to be a fabrication, with few defections being confirmed independently. Syrian government claims that it is being assaulted by rebels who are armed, trained, and financed by foreign governments are more true than false.”

• The “Free Syrian Army” has rear bases in Turkey, is funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and is made up of defecting Syrian soldiers. Spiegel Online sites a source in Beirut who reports seeing “‘hundreds of foreign fighters’ who have attached themselves to the FSA.” (Feb. 15)

• The U.N.-mandated commission of inquiry, in its February 2012 report, documented torture, taking of hostages, and executions by armed opposition members.

• The first heavy fighting in Syria’s capital, Damascus, started in March. Pipelines were blown up, and huge explosions ripped through intelligence and security buildings in Christian areas on March 16, killing at least 27 people. The Syrian government charged then that terrorist attacks supported from abroad have been responsible for eight car bomb attacks since December, killing 328 and wounding 657. This got little Western media attention.

• Human Rights Watch on March 20 accused armed Syrian opposition members of “Kidnappings, the use of torture and executions … of security force members, individuals identified as members of government-supported militias, and individuals identified as government allies and supporters.”

• In the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, the armed opposition has formed its own laws, courts and death squads, according to Spiegel Online. Abu Rami, an opposition commander in Baba Amir, interviewed by Spiegel, said in the city of Homs his group has executed between 200 and 250 people. (March 29)

– U.N. steps in –

• Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan went to Syria in March at the behest of the U.N. and Arab League to put together a peace proposal. But Annan and the U.N. are not impartial. Annan is an architect of the “responsibility to protect” doctrine, cited by former CIA agent Giraldi as the planned pretext for intervention in Syria. The U.N. endorsed this doctrine under Annan’s tenure.

• In 2004, Annan gave U.N. approval to the U.S., French and Canadian intervention that deposed Haiti’s President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Annan’s stated reasons were the same then as now in Syria: an alleged impending “humanitarian catastrophe.” Annan provided a similar U.N. cover for France to tighten its colonial grasp on the Ivory Coast in 2006. In Syria, Annan’s calls for a Syrian government ceasefire and for outside “humanitarian” aid are really calls for foreign intervention.

• Syria agreed to an Annan-brokered ceasefire March 27. The opposition refused. While the Western heads of state and the corporate media heaped blame on Assad for “not honoring” the ceasefire, the West kept arming the opposition.

• What the U.S. government really thought of the ceasefire was revealed by Robert Grenier, former director of the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Center, who called upon those who would “help” Syria “to climb metaphorically into the ring and dirty themselves,” adding, “what the situation needs is not high-minded sentiments, but effective, lethal aid.” (Al Jazeera, March 29)

• As the imperialists “climbed into the ring,” they continued to blame Assad. Speaking at an anti-Assad “Friends of Syria” meeting in Istanbul on April 1, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Assad had “defiled” the ceasefire. She called for Damascus to unilaterally stop fighting and withdraw from areas of heavy right-wing infiltration. She said the U.S had pledged at least $25 million in “nonlethal” aid to the Syrian opposition, which included satellite communication equipment.

• By May, the reactionaries “have begun receiving significantly more and better weapons … paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated … by the U.S.” (Washington Post, May 15) “The Syrian rebels have received their first ‘third generation’ anti-tank weapons . They are supplied by Saudi and Qatari intelligence agencies following a secret message from President Barack Obama.” (debkafile.com, May 22)

– The Houla massacre –

• Right before a scheduled visit to Syria by Annan, news broke of a horrible massacre of 108 people in Houla on May 25, which included whole families and as many as 48 children. Headlines worldwide blamed the Syrian government, and all Western capitals called for increased sanctions and more international pressure on Assad.

• By May 27, the imperialists had coordinated their “international outrage” and expelled Syrian diplomats from the U.S., the Netherlands, Australia, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and Canada.

• The U.N. Security Council reacted to the massacre — with no investigation as to who was responsible — by unanimously condemning Syria for allegedly using tanks and artillery after agreeing to a ceasefire. Ignored were statements from the Assad government that it was not responsible. A closer look showed this was the case.

• Marat Musin, reporting for Russia’s ANNA News, was in Houla and interviewed witnesses right after the massacre. Musin determined that the massacre was committed by the so-called Free Syrian Army, not the Assad forces. His report concluded: “The attack was carried out by a unit of armed fighters from Rastan, in which more than 700 gunmen were involved. They brought the city under their control and began with a cleansing action against loyalist [pro-Assad] families, including elderly people, women and also children. The dead were presented to … the U.N. and the ‘international community’ as victims of the Syrian army.” (May 31) The conservative German newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, corroborated the ANNA report on June 7.

• Residents knew many of the killers by name and identified them as local criminal elements now working for the FSA. (Syria News, May 31) Anti-Assad forces then posed as villagers and invited the U.N. observers in. Some put on uniforms of the Syrian soldiers they had killed and said they were defectors.

• A widely shown photo of dozens of shrouded bodies, which the BBC first presented as the aftermath of Houla, was really taken by photographer Marco di Lauro in Iraq in March 2003.

• BBC world news editor Jon Williams admitted in his blog June 7 that there was no evidence whatsoever to identify either the Syrian Army or Alawite militias as the perpetrators of the May 25 massacre. United Kingdom’s Channel 4 senior reporter Alex Thomson said June 7 that the opposition led him into a line of fire and tried to get him killed by Syrian military forces so it would “look bad” for Assad.

• There has been no independent investigation of Houla to date, yet at a June 7 meeting, Annan and current U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki-moon again made statements putting the responsibility for the Houla massacre on Assad.

• Major General Robert Mood, head of the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria, suspended patrols of the 300-member team on June 16, citing “spiraling violence in restive areas.” The suspension was right before the G-20 Summit in Mexico, providing another opportunity for imperialism to criticize Assad.

• In initial remarks, Annan called the Houla massacre the “tipping point.” The deaths at Houla have been used by the U.S. and NATO to more aggressively and openly organize for Assad’s overthrow. U.S. officials and Arab intelligence officers admit that the CIA is in southern Turkey funneling weapons to the FSA. It is also there to “make new sources and recruit people.” (New York Times, June 21)

• As a result, “The onetime ragtag militias of the Syrian opposition are developing into a more effective fighting force with the help of an increasingly sophisticated network of activists here in southern Turkey that is smuggling crucial supplies across the border including weapons, communication gear, field hospitals and even salaries for soldiers who defect. The network reflects an effort to forge an opposition movement … that together can not only defeat … Assad but also replace his government.” (New York Times, June 26)

Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/2012/world/syria_facts_0705/

“WikiLeaks cables claim al-Jazeera changed coverage to suit Qatari foreign policy” – al-Jazeera exposed as ‘useful tool’ of Qatari monarchy; covering up Qatar’s lack of media freedom [Guardian / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Al Jazeera bias, distortion and lies, Egypt, Jordan, Obama, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, Syria, US imperialism, USA, Wikileaks on June 17, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

[FYI – This exposure happened before al-Jazeera emerged as blatant imperialist propagandists for terrorist death squads and US-NATO interventionism in Libya and now Syria, while Qatar distributed massive arms flows to the ‘oppositionists’. Also, enjoy this quote from the US embassy, when regarding al-Jazeera’s hypocritical stance on their reporter Melissa Chan getting expelled from China: “The Qatari government claims to champion press freedom elsewhere, but generally does not tolerate it at home…” – Zuo Shou]

* US embassy memos contradict Arabic satellite channel’s insistence that it is editorially independent despite being heavily subsidised by Gulf state *

by Robert Booth

6 Dec 2010

Qatar is using the Arabic news channel al-Jazeera as a bargaining chip in foreign policy negotiations by adapting its coverage to suit other foreign leaders and offering to cease critical transmissions in exchange for major concessions, US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks claim.

The memos flatly contradict al-Jazeera’s insistence that it is editorially independent despite being heavily subsidised by the Gulf state.

They will also be intensely embarrassing to Qatar, which…controversially won the right to host the 2022 World Cup after presenting itself as the most open and modern Middle Eastern state.

In the past, the emir of Qatar has publicly refused US requests to use his influence to temper al-Jazeera’s reporting.

But a cable written in November 2009 predicted that the station could be used “as a bargaining tool to repair relationships with other countries, particularly those soured by al-Jazeera’s broadcasts, including the United States” over the next three years.

Doha-based al-Jazeera was launched in 1996 and has become the most watched satellite television station in the Middle East. It has been seen by many as relatively free and open in its coverage of the region, but government control over its reporting appears to US diplomats to be so direct that they said the channel’s output had become “part of our bilateral discussions – as it has been to favourable effect between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria [!] and other countries”.

In February, the US embassy reported to Washington how “relations [between Qatar and Saudi Arabia] are generally improving after Qatar toned down criticism of the Saudi royal family on al-Jazeera”. In July 2009, the US embassy said the channel “has proved itself a useful tool for the station’s political masters”.

In one dispatch, the US ambassador, Joseph LeBaron, reported that the Qatari prime minister, Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, had joked in an interview that al-Jazeera had caused the Gulf state such headaches that it might be better to sell it. But the ambassador remarked: “Such statements must not be taken at face value.” He went on: “Al-Jazeera’s ability to influence public opinion throughout the region is a substantial source of leverage for Qatar, one which it is unlikely to relinquish. Moreover, the network can also be used as a chip to improve relations. For example, al-Jazeera’s more favourable coverage of Saudi Arabia’s royal family has facilitated Qatari-Saudi reconciliation over the past year.”

Although LeBaron noted that the station’s coverage of the Middle East was “relatively free and open”, he added: “Despite GOQ protestations to the contrary, al-Jazeera remains one of Qatar’s most valuable political and diplomatic tools.”

US allegations of manipulation of al-Jazeera’s content for political ends also contradict Qatar’s claim to support a free press. “The Qatari government claims to champion press freedom elsewhere, but generally does not tolerate it at home,” the US embassy said after the French director of the Doha Centre for Media Freedom resigned in June 2009, citing restrictions on the centre’s freedom to operate.

In a clear example of the regional news channel being exploited for political ends, the Doha embassy claimed Sheikh Hamad (HBJ) told the US senator John Kerry that he had proposed a bargain with the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, which involved stopping broadcasts in Egypt in exchange for a change in Cairo’s position on Israel-Palestinian negotiations.

“HBJ had told Mubarak ‘we would stop al-Jazeera for a year’ if he agreed in that span of time to deliver a lasting settlement for the Palestinians,” according to a confidential cable from the US embassy in Doha in February. “Mubarak said nothing in response, according to HBJ.”

The US has benefitted, too. “Anecdotal evidence suggests, and former al-Jazeera board members have affirmed, that the United States has been portrayed more positively since the advent of the Obama administration,” a cable in November 2009 said. “We expect that trend to continue and to further develop as US-Qatari relations improve.” [At least a recent survey by Pew Research Center shows that al-Jazeera’s pro-Obama bent does not fool the typical Muslim, who like him less than Bush – ZS]

In 2001 the emir, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, refused a US request to stop al-Jazeera giving so much airtime to Osama bin Laden and other anti-American figures, saying: “Parliamentary life requires you to have a free and credible media, and that is what we are trying to do….

…Qatar maintains a working relationship with Iran, and the US embassy was concerned by the lack of al-Jazeera coverage of the civil unrest in Iran after the disputed presidential election in the summer of 2009.

“Al-Jazeera’s coverage of the Iranian election and its aftermath has been scanty by comparison to other hot topics in the region, such as Gaza,” reported the embassy at the time.

Al-Jazeera “has proved itself a useful tool for the station’s political masters”, the cables said.

Local media are also affected by government interference. “Over the past three [visits] we have assessed as steady the lack of overall media freedom in Qatar,” the November cable said.

“Although overt and official censorship is not present, self and discreet official censorship continue to render Qatari domestic media tame and ineffective…”

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/05/wikileaks-cables-al-jazeera-qatari-foreign-policy

“From Munich to Tripoli: Appeasement Aids Aggression” by Yoichi Shimatsu [4th Media]

Posted in Austria, China, Czech Republic / Czechoslovakia, Diplomat, Fascism, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Korean War, Morocco, NATO, Nazism, Nigeria, Qatar, Sarkozy, Spain, Turkey, U.K., UNSC, US imperialism, USA, USSR, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yugoslavia - former FRY on October 2, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Coco Chanel famously said: “My friends, there are no friends.” The French fashion designer, a Nazi collaborator during the wartime occupation, would have found a comfortable fit in with the “Friends of Libya” in New York. The meeting, a sequel to an earlier summit in Sarkozy’s Paris, is aimed at expanding international support for the NATO-installed National Transitional authority in Tripoli. The well-attired diplomats and cologne-drenched corporate executives at the New York conference, now as in Coco Chanel’s lifetime, are doing what they do best: appeasement of aggression.

The present generation of appeasers is following the textbook of surrender written by Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier, the “statesmen” who sanctioned Adolf Hitler’s takeover of Czechoslovakia in late September 1938. The prime ministers of Britain and France were latecomers in recognizing the Nazi re-division of the world and therefore had no claim to the war booty. Instead of sharing the fascist loot, they had to satisfy their constituents with scraps from the Fuhrer’s table – mainly face-saving photo opportunities to show that their diplomatic mission was a “success.” History surely repeats itself with the Libyan debacle.

* Peace on the Cheap *

“Peace in our time” was, of course, a fraud, which certainly did not fool Hitler, who came away from Munich convinced that the Western democracies were ready to yield all of the capitals of Eastern Europe along with Vienna and Prague. The appeasement epidemic soon infected Stalin’s Moscow with the signing of the Ribbentrop-Molotov agreement in 1939, a compromise that lulled the Soviet Union into a surprise attack.

Since the Munich dictat, the roles have changed. Today, it is Russia and China going hat in hand to the British-French-American victory celebration. Contemporary appeasement arises from the same source as the sell-out at Munich: amorality, the failure to adhere to higher principles. Individuals or countries lacking a coherent social ethos and personal code of conduct, tempered in real-world struggle, easily fall prey to the notion that “might makes right”. Instead of standing up to threats, they kneel to the powerful as if before a demigod.

* World Body in Shame *

Governments are prone to appeasement because their diplomats and bureaucrats are amoral, being mere functionaries who operate under rules and not principles. The United Nations, as a hierarchy of governments and a diplomat’s club, has a longer record of betraying the principle of self-determination than even its discredited predecessor, the League of Nations. Instead of defending sovereignty, the UN more often than not has been a violator, as it was in the Korean conflict, Vietnam War, partition of Yugoslavia and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

The two Security Council resolutions to “protect civilians” in Libya provided pseudo-legitimate cover for a foreign invasion by the special forces units from the French, British, Qatari and Jordanian armies bolstered by jihadist recruits from across the Middle East, Turkey and Afghanistan. The logic behind “protection of civilians” is similar to Hitler’s pretext for seizing Czechoslovakia, which was to “save” its German-speaking minority. The one big difference between then and now is that Chamberlain and Daladier did not have the power of veto.

The Libyan rebels, it should be recalled, rejected the UN offer to send a peacekeeping mission to Benghazi. Their objective from the start was to establish an Islamist Emirate in the Magreb under sharia law, arguably more repressive than Taliban rule. The jihadists have already slaughtered many more civilians, especially blacks, than the UN could have ever rescued.

The current suggestion to impose a U.N. operation inside Libya is, on a practical level, nonsense. The Libyan state holds more than $160 billion in foreign assets has no foreign debt and can raise adequate funds for reconstruction from forward contracts on oil delivery. In contrast, the UN is a pauper agency with a $5 billion annual budget and a chronic debt. It is Libya that can afford to finance the United Nations, not vice versa. In addition, the risk potential for a UN presence in Tripoli is massive, considering the ominous parallels with its mission in Iraq and, more recently, Nigeria, were its personnel were mass-murdered by truck bombs. How many more human lives do the appeasers intend to throw away?

* Guernica, Again *

It is no wonder, then, that the ruling council treats reluctant recognition from Moscow and Beijing with unconcealed contempt. Pretoria and Caracas, in contrast, are shown the uneasy degree of respect accorded to adamant enemies. Global power relations are based on fear not friendship. Coco Chanel and Machiavelli were right about that.

Real men and women fight not for compromises but for their political beliefs and personal convictions. The spineless diplomacy demonstrated at Munich, and more recently in Paris and New York, achieves nothing. The only realistic choice is to fight aggression, even if it means certain defeat. The shining example for moral courage handed down to us from the 1930s came with the Spanish Civil War, when a brave population without the support of a prostrate League of Nations stood up to the combined military might of Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, Franco’s legions and his Moroccan auxiliaries. The fascist horde invaded Spain in defiance of a League arms embargo, which was enforced only against the republican side, as was the case in the one-sided U.N. sanctions against Libya.

Today, the NATO jets that pound Sirte are the equivalent of the Hilter’s Condor bombers, which leveled the beleaguered Spanish Basque town of Guernica. Then the League failed to challenge the fascist assault on Spain, while now the UN takes a step further into the moral quagmire by backing the NATO proxy regime. The fall of Madrid to the fascists had horrifying consequences for the republicans and the International Brigades. Yet the blood of innocents and fighters spilled on Spanish soil provided the moral rationale and inspiration for the crucial victories at Stalingrad and Midway.

* Struggle On *

The moral grounds for resisting the fascist offensive were not given by the Comintern commissars or church prelates; leadership of the spirit came the writers and commentators who conveyed the words of the Spanish people to the world. Millions were moved to action by the slogan “They shall not pass”, voiced over the radio by the female communist leader Dolores Ibarruri, better known as La Pasionaria. Her comrade-in-arms Louis Aragon, a French poet and intellectual, emerged from Surrealism, a cultural movement that advocated total resistance [sic] to bourgeois hypocrisy[.] Ernest Hemingway, the journalist and novelist whose his democratic instincts were based on the ideals tested by America’s own Civil War, helped to raise the Lincoln Brigade of valiant American volunteers.

Whenever the amoral embrace the immoral, it is then up to the intellectuals and artists to summon ordinary people to find in themselves the courage to fight on. What the diplomats and corporate chieftains in their bestial stupor can never understand is this paradox of history: [w]ith triumph, the aggressors seal their defeat; but for the people, from the ashes of defeat arises victory. The battle of Libya, by no means over yet, is just the beginning of the third world war. As far as morality goes, it is the acid test for each of us.

Yoichi Shimatsu is Editor at Large for April Media.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://en.m4.cn/2011/09/20/from-munich-to-tripoli-appeasement-aids-aggression/

“Libya and the world we live in” by William Blum [www.killinghope.org]

Posted in Afghanistan, Africa, Bahrain, Cameron, China, CIA, Corporate Media Critique, Egypt, EU, European Union, France, Germany, India, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Libya, Media smear campaign, NATO, Obama, Pentagon, Qatar, Russia, Sarkozy, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, U.K., US imperialism, USA, War crimes, Wikileaks, Yemen on September 30, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Sept. 1, 2011

“Why are you attacking us? Why are you killing our children? Why are you destroying our infrastructure?”
– Television address by Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi, April 30, 2011

A few hours later NATO hit a target in Tripoli, killing Gaddafi’s 29-year-old son Saif al-Arab, three of Gaddafi’s grandchildren, all under twelve years of age, and several friends and neighbors.

In his TV address, Gaddafi had appealed to the NATO nations for a cease-fire and negotiations after six weeks of bombings and cruise missile attacks against his country.

Well, let’s see if we can derive some understanding of the complex Libyan turmoil.

The Holy Triumvirate — The United States, NATO and the European Union — recognizes no higher power and believes, literally, that it can do whatever it wants in the world, to whomever it wants, for as long as it wants, and call it whatever it wants, like “humanitarian”.

If The Holy Triumvirate decides that it doesn’t want to overthrow the government in Syria or in Egypt or Tunisia or Bahrain or Saudi Arabia or Yemen or Jordan, no matter how cruel, oppressive, or religiously intolerant those governments are with their people, no matter how much they impoverish and torture their people, no matter how many protesters they shoot dead in their Freedom Square, the Triumvirate will simply not overthrow them.

If the Triumvirate decides that it wants to overthrow the government of Libya, though that government is secular and has used its oil wealth for the benefit of the people of Libya and Africa perhaps more than any government in all of Africa and the Middle East, but keeps insisting over the years on challenging the Triumvirate’s imperial ambitions in Africa and raising its demands on the Triumvirate’s oil companies, then the Triumvirate will simply overthrow the government of Libya.

If the Triumvirate wants to punish Gaddafi and his sons it will arrange with the Triumvirate’s friends at the International Criminal Court to issue arrest warrants for them.

If the Triumvirate doesn’t want to punish the leaders of Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Jordan it will simply not ask the ICC to issue arrest warrants for them. Ever since the Court first formed in 1998, the United States has refused to ratify it and has done its best to denigrate it and throw barriers in its way because Washington is concerned that American officials might one day be indicted for their many war crimes and crimes against humanity. Bill Richardson, as US ambassador to the UN, said to the world in 1998 that the United States should be exempt from the court’s prosecution because it has “special global responsibilities”. But this doesn’t stop the United States from using the Court when it suits the purposes of American foreign policy.

If the Triumvirate wants to support a rebel military force to overthrow the government of Libya then it does not matter how fanatically religious, al-Qaeda-related,1 executing-beheading-torturing, monarchist, or factionally split various groups of that rebel force are at times, the Triumvirate will support it, as it did certain forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, and hope that after victory the Libyan force will not turn out as jihadist as it did in Afghanistan, or as fratricidal as in Iraq. One potential source of conflict within the rebels, and within the country if ruled by them, is that a constitutional declaration made by the rebel council states that, while guaranteeing democracy and the rights of non-Muslims, “Islam is the religion of the state and the principle source of legislation in Islamic Jurisprudence.”2

Adding to the list of the rebels’ charming qualities we have the Amnesty International report that the rebels have been conducting mass arrests of black people across the nation, terming all of them “foreign mercenaries” but with growing evidence that a large number were simply migrant workers. Reported Reuters (August 29): “On Saturday, reporters saw the putrefying bodies of 22 men of African origin on a Tripoli beach. Volunteers who had come to bury them said they were mercenaries whom rebels had shot dead.” To complete this portrait of the West’s newest darlings we have this report from The Independent of London (August 27): “The killings were pitiless. They had taken place at a makeshift hospital, in a tent marked clearly with the symbols of the Islamic crescent. Some of the dead were on stretchers, attached to intravenous drips. Some were on the back of an ambulance that had been shot at. A few were on the ground, seemingly attempting to crawl to safety when the bullets came.”

If the Triumvirate’s propaganda is clever enough and deceptive enough and paints a graphic picture of Gaddafi-initiated high tragedy in Libya, many American and European progressives will insist that though they never, ever support imperialism they’re making an exception this time because …

The Libyan people are being saved from a “massacre”, both actual and potential. This massacre, however, seems to have been grossly exaggerated by the Triumvirate, al Jazeera TV, and that station’s owner, the government of Qatar; and nothing approaching reputable evidence of a massacre has been offered, neither a mass grave or anything else; the massacre stories appear to be on a par with the Viagra-rape stories spread by al Jazeera (the Fox News of the Libyan uprising). Qatar, it should be noted, has played an active military role in the civil war on the side of NATO. It should be further noted that the main massacre in Libya has been six months of daily Triumvirate bombing, killing an unknown number of people and ruining much of the infrastructure. Michigan U. Prof. Juan Cole, the quintessential true-believer in the good intentions of American foreign policy who nevertheless manages to have a regular voice in progressive media, recently wrote that “Qaddafi was not a man to compromise … his military machine would mow down the revolutionaries if it were allowed to.” Is that clear, class? We all know of course that Sarkozy, Obama, and Cameron made compromises without end in their devastation of Libya; they didn’t, for example, use any nuclear weapons.
The United Nations gave its approval for military intervention; i.e., the leading members of the Triumvirate gave their approval, after Russia and China cowardly abstained instead of exercising their veto power; (perhaps hoping to receive the same courtesy from the US, UK and France when Russia or China is the aggressor nation).
The people of Libya are being “liberated”, whatever in the world that means, now or in the future. Gaddafi is a “dictator” they insist. That may indeed be the proper term to use for the man, but it must still be asked: Is he a relatively benevolent dictator or is he the other kind so favored by Washington? It must also be asked: Since the United States has habitually supported dictators for the entire past century, why not this one?

The Triumvirate, and its fawning media, would have the world believe that what’s happened in Libya is just another example of the Arab Spring, a popular uprising by non-violent protestors against a dictator for the proverbial freedom and democracy, spreading spontaneously from Tunisia and Egypt, which sandwich Libya. But there are several reasons to question this analysis in favor of seeing the Libyan rebels’ uprising as a planned and violent attempt to take power in behalf of their own political movement, however heterogeneous that movement might appear to be in its early stage. For example:

* They soon began flying the flag of the monarchy that Gaddafi had overthrown

* They were an armed and violent rebellion almost from the beginning; within a few days, we could read of “citizens armed with weapons seized from army bases”3 and of “the policemen who had participated in the clash were caught and hanged by protesters”4

* Their revolt took place not in the capital but in the heart of the country’s oil region; they then began oil production and declared that foreign countries would be rewarded oil-wise in relation to how much each country aided their cause
* They soon set up a Central Bank, a rather bizarre thing for a protest movement

* International support came quickly, even beforehand, from Qatar and al Jazeera to the CIA and French intelligence

The notion that a leader does not have the right to put down an armed rebellion against the state is too absurd to discuss.

Not very long ago, Iraq and Libya were the two most modern and secular states in the Mideast/North Africa world with perhaps the highest standards of living in the region. Then the United States of America came along and saw fit to make a basket case of each one. The desire to get rid of Gaddafi had been building for years; the Libyan leader had never been a reliable pawn; then the Arab Spring provided the excellent opportunity and cover. As to Why? Take your pick of the following:

* Gaddafi’s plans to conduct Libya’s trading in Africa in raw materials and oil in a new currency — the gold African dinar, a change that could have delivered a serious blow to the US’s dominant position in the world economy. (In 2000, Saddam Hussein announced Iraqi oil would be traded in euros, not dollars; sanctions and an invasion followed.) For further discussion see here.

* A host-country site for Africom, the US Africa Command, one of six regional commands the Pentagon has divided the world into. Many African countries approached to be the host have declined, at times in relatively strong terms. Africom at present is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. According to a State Department official: “We’ve got a big image problem down there. … Public opinion is really against getting into bed with the US. They just don’t trust the US.”5

* An American military base to replace the one closed down by Gaddafi after he took power in 1969. There’s only one such base in Africa, in Djibouti. Watch for one in Libya sometime after the dust has settled. It’ll perhaps be situated close to the American oil wells. Or perhaps the people of Libya will be given a choice — an American base or a NATO base.

* Another example of NATO desperate to find a raison d’être for its existence since the end of the Cold War and the Warsaw Pact.

* Gaddafi’s role in creating the African Union. The corporate bosses never like it when their wage slaves set up a union. The Libyan leader has also supported a United States of Africa for he knows that an Africa of 54 independent states will continue to be picked off one by one and abused and exploited by the members of the Triumvirate. Gaddafi has moreover demanded greater power for smaller countries in the United Nations.

* The claim by Gaddafi’s son, Saif el Islam, that Libya had helped to fund Nicolas Sarkozy’s election campaign6 could have humiliated the French president and explain his obsessiveness and haste in wanting to be seen as playing the major role in implementing the “no fly zone” and other measures against Gaddafi. A contributing factor may have been the fact that France has been weakened in its former colonies and neo-colonies in Africa and the Middle East, due in part to Gaddafi’s influence.

* Gaddafi has been an outstanding supporter of the Palestinian cause and critic of Israeli policies; and on occasion has taken other African and Arab countries, as well as the West, to task for their not matching his policies or rhetoric; one more reason for his lack of popularity amongst world leaders of all stripes.

* In January, 2009, Gaddafi made known that he was considering nationalizing the foreign oil companies in Libya.7 He also has another bargaining chip: the prospect of utilizing Russian, Chinese and Indian oil companies. During the current period of hostilities, he invited these countries to make up for lost production. But such scenarios will now not take place. The Triumvirate will instead seek to privatize the National Oil Corporation, transferring Libya’s oil wealth into foreign hands.

* The American Empire is troubled by any threat to its hegemony. In the present historical period the empire is concerned mainly with Russia and China. China has extensive energy investments and construction investments in Libya and elsewhere in Africa. The average American neither knows nor cares about this. The average American imperialist cares greatly, if for no other reason than in this time of rising demands for cuts to the military budget it’s vital that powerful “enemies” be named and maintained.

For yet more reasons, see the article “Why Regime Change in Libya?” by Ismael Hossein-zadeh, and the US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks — Wikileaks reference 07TRIPOLI967 11-15-07 (includes a complaint about Libyan “resource nationalism”)

Article link, has footnote references: http://killinghope.org/bblum6/aer97.html

SAS troopers help co-ordinate rebel attacks in Libya [Guardian]

Posted in France, Jordan, Qatar, U.K., U.K. War Crimes on September 23, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Richard Norton-Taylor

23 August 2011

* Excerpted *

The Guardian has learned that a number of serving British special forces soldiers, as well as former SAS troopers, are advising and training rebel forces, although their presence is officially denied.

The Guardian has previously reported the presence of former British special forces troops, now employed by private security companies and funded by a number of sources, including Qatar. They have been joined by a number of serving SAS soldiers.

They have been acting as forward air controllers – directing pilots to targets – and communicating with Nato operational commanders. They have also been advising rebels on tactics, a task they have not found easy.

For the SAS it is a return to old stamping grounds. In one of their first successful missions in the second world war, they attacked airfields in Libya, destroying 60 aircraft. SAS battle[s]… include Tobruk in 1941 and a raid on Benghazi in 1942…

…France is understood to have deployed special forces in Libya and Qatari and Jordanian special forces are believed to have also played a role.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/23/sas-troopers-help-coordinate-rebels