Archive for the Morocco Category

“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/

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“Why Regime Change in Libya?” by Ismael Hossein-zadeh [Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in Africa, Algeria, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Cameron, Chile, China, Cuba, DPR Korea, Ecuador, Egypt, Evo Morales, Fidel Castro, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hugo Chavez, IMF - International Monetary Fund, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kim Jong Il, Libya, Morocco, NATO, Nicaragua, Nigeria, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Russia, Sarkozy, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Syria, Tunisia, U.K., US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Venezuela, WTO, Zionism on September 19, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

June 20, 2011

In light of the brutal death and destruction wrought on Libya by the relentless US/NATO bombardment, the professed claims of “humanitarian concerns” as grounds for intervention can readily be dismissed as a blatantly specious imperialist ploy in pursuit of “regime change” in that country.

There is undeniable evidence that contrary to the spontaneous, unarmed and peaceful protest demonstrations in Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain, the rebellion in Libya has been nurtured, armed and orchestrated largely from abroad, in collaboration with expat opposition groups and their local allies at home. Indeed, evidence shows that plans of “regime change” in Libya were drawn long before the insurgency actually started in Benghazi; it has all the hallmarks of a well-orchestrated civil war [1].

It is very tempting to seek the answer to the question “why regime change in Libya?” in oil/energy. While oil is undoubtedly a concern, it falls short of a satisfactory explanation because major Western oil companies were already extensively involved in the Libyan oil industry. Indeed, since Gaddafi relented to the US-UK pressure in 1993 and established “normal” economic and diplomatic relations with these and other Western countries, major US and European oil companies struck quite lucrative deals with the National Oil Corporation of Libya.

So, the answer to the question “why the imperialist powers want to do away with Gaddafi” has to go beyond oil, or the laughable “humanitarian concerns.” Perhaps the question can be answered best in the light of the following questions: why do these imperialist powers also want to overthrow Hugo Cavez of Venezuela, Fidel Castro (and/or his successors) of Cuba, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, Rafael Correa Delgado of Ecuador,Kim Jong-il of North Korea, Bashar Al-assad of Syria and Evo Morales of Bolivia? Or, why did they overthrow Mohammad Mossadeq of Iran, Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala, Kusno Sukarno of Indonesia, Salvador Allende of Chile, Sandinistas in Nicaragua, Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti and Manuel Zelaya in Honduras?

What does Gaddafi have in common with these nationalist/populist leaders? The question is of course rhetorical and the answer is obvious: like them Gaddafi is guilty of insubordination to the proverbial godfather of the world: US imperialism, and its allies. Like them, he has committed the cardinal sin of challenging the unbridled reign of global capital, of not following the economic “guidelines” of the captains of global finance, that is, of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and World Trade Organization; as well as of refusing to join US military alliances in the region. Also like other nationalist/populist leaders, he advocates social safety net (or welfare state) programs—not for giant corporations, as is the case in imperialist countries, but for the people in need.

This means that the criminal agenda of Messrs Obama, Cameron, Sarkozy, and their complicit allies to overthrow or kill Mr. Gaddafi and other “insubordinate” proponents of welfare state programs abroad is essentially part of the same evil agenda of dismantling such programs at home. While the form, the context and the means of destruction maybe different, the thrust of the relentless attacks on the living standards of the Libyan, Iranian, Venezuelan or Cuban peoples are essentially the same as the equally brutal attacks on the living conditions of the poor and working people in the US, UK, France and other degenerate capitalist countries. In a subtle (but unmistakable) way they are all part of an ongoing unilateral class warfare on a global scale — whether they are carried out by military means and bombardments, or through the apparently “non-violent” processes of judicial or legislative means does not make a substantial difference as far as the nature or the thrust of the attack on people’s lives orlivelihoods are concerned.

In their efforts to consolidate the reign of big capital worldwide, captains of global finance use a variety of methods. The preferred method is usually non-military, that is, the neoliberal strategies of Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs), carried out by representatives of big business disguised as elected officials, or by the multilateral institutions such as the IMF and the WTO. This is what is currently happening in the debt- and deficit-ridden economies of the United States and Europe. But if a country like Libya (or Venezuela or Iran or Cuba) does not go along with the neoliberal agenda of “structural adjustments,” of outsourcing and privatization,and of allowing their financial system to be tied to the network of global banking cartel, then the military option is embarked upon to carry out the neoliberal agenda.

The powerful interests of global capitalism do not seem to feel comfortable to dismantle New Deal economics, Social Democratic reforms and welfare state programs in the core capitalist countries while people in smaller, less-developed countries such as Libya, Venezuela or Cuba enjoy strong, state-sponsored social safety net programs such as free or heavily-subsidized education and health care benefits. Indeed, guardians ofthe worldwide market mechanism have always been intolerant of any “undue” government intervention in the economic affairs of any country in the world. “Regimented economies,” declared President Harry Truman in a speech at Baylor University (1947), were the enemy of free enterprise, and “unless we act, and act decisively,” he claimed, those regimented economies would become “the pattern of the next century.” To fend off that danger, Truman urged that “the whole world should adopt the American system.” The system of free enterprise, he went on, “can survive in America only if it becomes a world system” [2].

Before it was devastated by the imperialist-orchestrated civil war and destruction, Libya had the highest living standard in Africa. Using the United Nations statistics, Jean-Paul Pougala of Dissident Voice reports,

“The country now ranks 53rd on the HDI [Human Development Index] index, better than all other African countries and also better than the richer and Western-backed Saudi Arabia. . . . Although the media often refers to youth unemployment of 15 to 30 percent, it does not mention that in Libya, in contrast to other countries, all have their subsistence guaranteed. . . . The government provides all citizens with free health care and [has] achieved high coverage in the most basic health areas. . . . The life expectancy rose to 74.5 years and is now the highest in Africa. . . . The infant mortality rate declined to 17 deaths per 1,000 births and is not nearly as high as in Algeria (41) and also lower than in Saudi Arabia (21).

“The UNDP [United Nations Development Program] certified that Libya has also made ‘a significant progress in gender equality,’ particularly in the fields of education and health, while there is still much to do regarding representation in politics and the economy. With a relative low ‘index of gender inequality’ the UNDP places the country in the Human Development Report 2010 concerning gender equality at rank 52 and thus also well ahead of Egypt (ranked 108), Algeria (70), Tunisia (56), Saudi Arabia (ranked 128) and Qatar (94)” [3].

It is true that after resisting the self-centered demands and onerous pressures from Western powers for more than thirty years, Gaddafi relented in 1993 and opened the Libyan economy to Western capital, carried out a number of neoliberal economic reforms, and granted lucrative business/investment deals to major oil companies of the West.

But, again, like the proverbial godfather, US/European imperialism requires total, unconditional subordination; half-hearted, grudging compliance with the global agenda of imperialism is not enough. To be considered a real “ally,” or a true “client state,” a country has to grant the US the right to “guide” its economic, geopolitical and foreign policies, that is, to essentiallyforgo its national sovereignty. Despite some economic concessions since the early 1990s, Gaddafi failed this critical test of “full compliance” with the imperialist designs in the region.

For example, he resisted joining a US/NATO-sponsored military alliance in the region. Libya (along with Syria) are the only two Mediterranean nations and the sole remaining Arab states that are not subordinated to U.S. and NATO designs for control of the Mediterranean Sea Basin and the Middle East. Nor has Libya (or Syria) participated in NATO’s almost ten-year-old Operation Active Endeavor naval patrols and exercises in the Mediterranean Sea and neither is a member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue military partnership which includes most regional countries: Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania [4].

To the chagrin of US imperialism, Libya’s Gaddafi also refused to join the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), designed to control valuable resources in Africa, safeguard trade and investment markets in the region, and contain or evict China from North Africa. “When the US formed AFRICOM in 2007, some 49 countries signed on to the US military charter for Africa but one country refused: Libya. Such a treacherous act by Libya’s leader Moummar Qaddafi would only sow the seeds for a future conflict down the road in 2011” [5].

Furthermore, by promoting trade, development and industrialization projects on a local, national, regional or African level, Gaddafi was viewed as an obstacle to the Western powers’ strategies of unhinderedtrade and development projects on a global level. For example, Gaddafi’s Libya played a leading role in “connecting the entire [African] continent by telephone, television, radio broadcasting and several other technological applications such as telemedicine and distance teaching. And thanks to the WMAX radio bridge, a low cost connection was made available across the continent, including in rural areas” [3].

The idea of launching a pan-African system of technologically advanced network of telecommunication began in the early 1990s, “when 45 African nations established RASCOM (Regional African Satellite Communication Organization) so that Africa would have its own satellite and slash communication costs in the continent. This was a time when phone calls to and from Africa were the most expensive in the world because of the annual$500 million fee pocketed by Europe for the use of its satellites like Intelsat for phone conversations, including those within the same country. . . . An African satellite only cost a onetime payment of $400 million and the continent no longer had to pay a $500 million annual lease” [3].

In pursuit of financing this project, the African nations frequently pleaded with the IMF and the World Bank for assistance. As the empty promises of these financial giants dragged on for 14 years,

“Gaddafi put an end to [the] futile pleas to the western ‘benefactors’ with their exorbitant interest rates. The Libyan guide put $300 million on the table; the African Development Bank added$50 million more and the West African Development Bank a further $27 million – and that’s how Africa got its first communications satellite on 26 December 2007.

“China and Russia followed suit and shared their technology and helped launch satellites for South Africa, Nigeria, Angola, Algeria and a second African satellite was launched in July 2010. The first totally indigenously built satellite and manufactured on African soil, in Algeria, is set for 2020. This satellite is aimed at competing with the best in the world, but at ten times less the cost, a real challenge.

“This is how a symbolic gesture of a mere $300 million changed the life of an entire continent. Gaddafi’s Libya cost the West, not just depriving it of $500 million per year but the billions of dollars in debt and interest that the initial loan would generate for years to come and in an exponential manner, thereby helping maintain an occult system in order to plunder the continent”[3].

Architects of global finance, represented by the imperialist governments of the West, also viewed Gaddafi as a spoiler in the area of international or global money and banking. The forces of global capital tend to prefer a uniform, contiguous, or borderless global market to multiple sovereign markets at the local, national, regional or continental levels.Not only Gaddafi’s Libya maintained public ownership of its own central bank, and the authority to create its own national money, but it also worked assiduously to establish an African Monetary Fund, an African Central Bank, and an African Investment Bank.

The $30 billion of the Libyan money frozen by the Obama administration belong to the Central Bank of Libya, which

“had been earmarked as the Libyan contribution to three key projects which would add the finishing touches to the African Federation – the African Investment Bank in Syrte(Libya), the establishment in 2011 of the African Monetary Fund to be based in Yaoundé (Cameroon) . . ., and the Abuja-based African Central Bank in Nigeria, which when it starts printing African money will ring the death knell for the CFA franc [the French currency] through which Paris has been able to maintain its hold on some African countries for the last fifty years. It is easy to understand the French wrath against Gaddafi.

“The African Monetary Fund is expected to totally supplant the African activities of the International Monetary Fund which, with only $25 billion, was able to bring an entire continent to its knees and make it swallow questionable privatization like forcing African countries to move from public to private monopolies. No surprise then that on 16-17 December 2010, the Africans unanimously rejected attempts by Western countries to join the African Monetary Fund, saying it was open only to African nations” [3].

Western powers also viewed Gaddafi as an obstacle to their imperial strategies for yet another reason: standing in the way of their age-old policies of “divide and rule.” To counter Gaddafi’s relentless efforts to establish a United States of Africa, the European Union tried to create the Union for the Mediterranean (UPM) region. “North Africa somehow had to be cut off from the rest of Africa, using the old tired racist clichés of the 18th and 19th centuries, which claimed that Africans of Arab origin were more evolved and civilized than the rest of the continent. This failed because Gaddafi refused to buy into it. He soon understood what game was being played when only a handful of African countries were invited to join the Mediterranean grouping without informing the African Union but inviting all 27 members of the European Union.” Gaddafi also refused to buy into other imperialist-inspired/driven groupings in Africa such as ECOWAS, COMESA, UDEAC, SADC and the Great Maghreb, “which never saw the light of day thanks to Gaddafi who understood what was happening” [3].

Gaddafi further earned the wrath of Western powers for striking extensive trade and investment deals with BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), especially with China. According to Beijing’s Ministry of Commerce, China’s contracts in Libya (prior to imperialism’s controlled demolition of that country) numbered no less than 50 large projects, involving contracts in excess of $18 billion. Even a cursory reading of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) strategic briefings shows that a major thrust of its mission is containment of China. “In effect, what we are witnessing here,” points out Patrick Henningsten, “is the dawn of a New Cold War between the US-EURO powers and China. This new cold war will feature many of the same elements of the long and protracted US-USSR face-off we saw in the second half of the 20th century. It will take place off shore, in places like Africa, South America, Central Asia and through old flashpoints like Korea and the Middle East” [5].

It is obvious (from this brief discussion) that Gaddafi’s sin for being placed on imperialism’s death row consists largely of the challenges he posed to the free reign of Western capital in the region, of his refusal to relinquish Libya’s national sovereignty to become another unconditional “client state” of Western powers. His removal from power is therefore designed to eliminate all “barriers” to the unhindered mobility of the US/European capital in the region by installing a more pliant regime in Libya.

Gaddafi’s removal from power would serve yet another objective of US/European powers: to shorten or spoil the Arab Spring by derailing their peaceful protests, containing their non-violent revolutions and sabotaging their aspirations for self-determination.Soon after being caught by surprise by the glorious uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, the imperialist powers (including the mini Zionist imperialism in Palestine) embarked on “damage control.” In pursuit of this objective, they adopted three simultaneous strategies. The first strategy was to half-heartedly “support” theuprisings in Egypt and Tunisia (of course, once they became unstoppable) in order to control them — hence, the military rule in those countries following the departure of Mubarak from Cairo and Ben Ali from Tunis. The second strategy of containment has been support and encouragement for the brutal crackdown of other spontaneous and peaceful uprisings in countries ruled by “client regimes,” for example, in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. And the third policy of sabotaging the Arab Spring has been to promote civil war and orchestrate chaos in countries such as Libya, Syria and Iran.

In its early stages of development, capitalism promoted nation-state and/or national sovereignty in order to free itself from the constraints of the church and feudalism. Now that the imperatives of the highly advanced but degenerate global finance capital require unhindered mobility in a uniform or borderless world, national sovereignty is considered problematic — especially in places like Libya, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Bolivia and other countries that are not ruled by imperialism’s “client states.” Why? Because unhindered global mobility of capital requiresdoing away with social safety net or welfare state programs; it means doing away with public domain properties or public sector enterprises and bringing them under the private ownership of the footloose-and-fancy-free global capital.

This explains why the corporate media, political pundits and other mouthpieces of imperialism are increasing talking about Western powers’ “responsibility to protect,” by which they mean that these powers have a responsibility to protect the Libyan (or Iranian or Venezuelan or Syrian or Cuban or …) citizens from their “dictatorial” rulers by instigating regime change and promoting “democracy” there. It further means that, in pursuit of this objective,the imperialist powers should not be bound by “constraints” of national sovereignty because, they argue, “universal democratic rights take primacy over national sovereignty considerations.” In a notoriously selective fashion, this utilitarian use of the “responsibility to protect” does not apply to nations or peoples ruled by imperialism’s client states such as Saudi Arabia or Bahrain. [6].

This also means that the imperialist war against peoples and states such as Libya and Venezuela is essentially part of the same class war against peoples and states in the belly of the beast, that is, in the United States and Europe. In every instance or place, whether at home or abroad, whether in Libya or California or Wisconsin or Greece, the thrust of the relentless global class war is the same: to do away with subsistence-level guarantees, or social safety net programs, and redistribute the national or global resources in favor of the rich and powerful, especially the powerful interests vested in the finance capital and the military capital.

There is no question that global capitalism has thus woven together the fates and fortunes of the overwhelming majority of the world population in an increasingly intensifying struggle for subsistence and survival. No one can tell when this majority of world population (the middle, lower-middle, poor and working classes) would come to the realization that their seemingly separate struggles for economic survival are essentially part and parcel of the same struggle against the same class enemies, the guardians of world capitalism. One thing is clear, however: only when they come to such a liberating realization, join forces together in a cross-border, global uprising against the forces of world capitalism, and seek to manage their economies independent of profitability imperatives of capitalist production — only then can they break free from the shackles of capitalism and control their future in a coordinated, people-centered mode of production, distribution and consumption.

Ismael Hossein-zadeh, author of The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave-Macmillan 2007), teaches economics at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.

[Footnotes can be accessed at article’s webpage]

Article link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25317

Secret interrogation policy confirms UK government’s complicity in war crimes [World Socialist Web Site]

Posted in Afghanistan, CIA, Egypt, Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, Iraq, ISI, MI6, Morocco, Pakistan, Syria, Tony Blair, Torture, U.K., U.K. War Crimes, US imperialism on September 6, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Stephen Alexander
12 August 2011

A secret interrogation policy document obtained by the Guardian is the latest in a growing body of evidence attesting to the war crimes of the previous Labour government.

Published on the newspaper’s web site last week, the document is entitled, “Agency policy on liaison with overseas security and intelligence services in relation to detainees who may be subject to mistreatment”.

It reveals that the Labour government permitted the UK’s security and intelligence agencies, MI5 and MI6, to interrogate detainees that they knew had been tortured at the hands of allied overseas intelligence services.

The document chillingly instructs UK agents to “balance the risk of mistreatment and the risk that the officer’s actions could be judged to be unlawful against the need” to extract information from prisoners.

Most damningly, it confirms that such actions were directly authorised by government ministers: “In particularly difficult cases … it may be necessary to consult Ministers … to ensure that appropriate visibility and consideration of the risk of unlawful actions takes place.”

The UK government is known to cooperate with regimes notorious for torture—including the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence. But the guidelines allow UK officers to proceed with interrogation on basis of verbal “caveats” or “assurances” that their intelligence agencies will “eliminate or minimise the risk of mistreatment”.

The policy contravenes the United Nations Convention against Torture, which requires signatory states to make torture a criminal offence, including instances of attempted torture and “an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.”

The interrogation policy revealed last week is the original drawn up by the Blair Labour government in 2002 to allow British intelligence to question prisoners in Afghanistan that they knew had been submitted to torture and abuse by the CIA. Following the invasion of Iraq, the policy was rewritten in 2004 and again in 2006, establishing it as a “formal” and “comprehensive” policy for the interrogation of overseas detainees, “including comprehensive legal advice to all officers”.

The criminality of the Labour government is further compounded by repeated lies and evasions with regard to the details and implications of the policy.

When the Guardian first became aware of the policy over two years ago, a spokesman for then Prime Minister Tony Blair denied precisely those criminal activities permitted by the secret policy, stating: “Tony Blair does not condone torture, has never authorised it nor colluded in it at any time.” Blair, along with the former home secretary, David Blunkett, and former foreign secretary Jack Straw have repeatedly refused to reveal whether they had knowledge of detainees being tortured as a result of the policy.

On June 16, 2009, speaking before the House of Commons foreign affairs select committee, David Miliband fraudulently proclaimed, “We would never procure intelligence … through torture. We would never say to another intelligence agency ‘Please get us information about X’ and … abandon our legal and ethical commitments in respect of how you find that.”

It is exactly such heinous criminality that Miliband worked systematically to conceal from the public as foreign secretary between 2007 and 2010. Miliband refused to release either the pre-2004 documents or later versions, arguing that to do so would “give succour to our enemies”.

In the case of Binyam Mohamed, a victim of extraordinary rendition who sued the UK government for complicity in his torture at the hands of the CIA and other overseas agencies, Miliband unsuccessfully mounted legal proceedings in an effort to suppress incriminating sections of the judge’s findings. When he was released from Guantánamo Bay in February 2009, without charge, Mohamed alleged that MI5 had provided questions and information to his American torturers.

Similarly, in the case of Shaker Aamer, the last remaining British resident held in Guantánamo Bay, the foreign secretary disregarded the ruling of the British High Court and refused to request the release of documents pertaining to his mistreatment, held by the US authorities. Aamer alleges that he was tortured in the presence of an MI5 officer.

On September 21, 2010, the Guardian revealed that MI5 and MI6 officers had consulted Miliband in line with the secret policy. According to British intelligence sources, “Officers from MI5 are understood to have sought similar permission from a series of home secretaries in recent years.”

A number of other former Guantánamo detainees had begun civil proceedings against the UK government over alleged complicity in torture at the hands of a variety of allied intelligence agencies, including those of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Syria, Morocco and Dubai. In order to limit exposure of its war crimes, Labour pursued an out-of-court settlement, paying out a total of around £12 million in compensation over the past five years. It is thought that when all 16 former detainees are compensated the total will reach £14 million.

The publication of the secret interrogation policy comes on the back of a series of exposures revealing that the British Armed Forces have routinely carried out officially sanctioned torture.

In July 2010, on the basis of evidence presented on behalf of over 100 Iraqis, a preliminary high court ruling found, “There is an arguable case that the alleged ill-treatment was systemic, and not just at the whim of individual soldiers”. Last October, the Guardian leaked interrogation technique training manuals for use by British military personnel in Iraq. They detail “threats, sensory deprivation and enforced nakedness” and sleep deprivation. They recommend that prisoners be “conditioned prior” to interrogation to instil “anxiety/fear”, “insecurity”, “disorientation” and “humiliation.”

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat claims to have amended the formerly secret interrogation policy to give “greater clarity about what is and what is not acceptable in the future”. The changes, however, are only cosmetic.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has said that the new guidelines are still in breach of international law, in that they do not prohibit intelligence officers from “aiding and assisting” allied agencies engaged in inhuman or degrading treatment. The policy still “allows intelligence officers to rely on assurances from foreign states” that a prisoner will not be mistreated, while giving them the “erroneous expectation that they will be protected from personal criminal liability”.

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition is now seeking to conceal the war crimes of the Labour government, as it is fully determined to advance the predatory militarist and colonialist strategy begun by its predecessor in Afghanistan and Iraq, and for which it has now opened up another front in Libya. Antidemocratic methods such as torture, abduction, extraordinary rendition, extra-judicial assassination, and the denial of due process flow from these illegal wars.

Along the same lines as the Chilcot inquiry—set up by the Labour government to whitewash its role in launching, in alliance with Washington, a premeditated and illegal war of aggression against Iraq in 2003—the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government has launched another toothless inquiry headed by none other than Sir Peter Gibson, the Intelligence Services Commissioner since 2006.

The inquiry will investigate the allegations of 12 former Guantánamo Bay detainees that the UK government colluded in their torture. It will have no legal powers to initiate the prosecution of the accused. The victims and their lawyers will not be able to identify the accused intelligence officers or cross-examine their accounts, meaning they will essentially be taken at their word. The great majority of evidence will be heard behind closed doors while the government will maintain authority over what is published in the final report.

Ten leading human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, Reprieve, and Human Rights Watch, along with the lawyers representing the 12 former detainees, have boycotted the inquiry. A letter, jointly addressed to the inquiry by a coalition of human rights groups, makes clear that the investigation does not comply with international law. It states that “European Court of Human Rights case law” requires that an investigation “into allegations of torture be independent, impartial, subject to public scrutiny, and include effective access for victims to the process.”

The Gibson inquiry fulfils none of these stipulations.

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/aug2011/tort-a12.shtml

Charges mount of NATO war crimes in Libya [World Socialist Web Site]

Posted in France, Italy, Libya, Morocco, NATO, Nigeria, U.K., U.K. War Crimes, UNSC, USA, War crimes on August 23, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Patrick Martin
6 August 2011

The Italian government has demanded an investigation into whether a NATO warship engaged in the war against Libya ignored the plight of a boatload of refugees, contributing to the deaths of as many as 100 people from hunger and thirst.

The vessel arrived at Lampedusa, an Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea between Sicily and Libya, with 270 survivors crammed onto a 65-foot-long boat. The boat had issued an SOS after its engine broke down, but an unidentified NATO warship ignored the appeal.

The survivors said the bodies of the dead had been thrown into the sea during the harrowing journey. They said they had first encountered a Cypriot tugboat, which gave them life rafts and notified Italian authorities.

Italy informed NATO, which had a warship 27 miles away, but the warship’s assistance was denied. The refugee boat was finally reached by Italian coastguard vessels and a helicopter when it was 90 miles south of Lampedusa.

The International Organization for Migration said the vessel had left the Libyan coast near Tripoli on Saturday, jammed with African migrants from Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Sudan, Chad and Morocco, and lacking water and food.

Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini requested a formal investigation of the incident and instructed his country’s ambassador to NATO to raise the issue of rescue of civilian refugees as part of the NATO mission in the war.

NATO officials denied they had received an appeal to save the refugee vessel…

A right-wing Italian MP, Roberto Castelli, denounced NATO claims that its fleet did not know the refugee boat was in the maritime war zone. “The idea that NATO, with all its surveillance technology, was not aware of a boat of this size is a story that not even Little Red Riding Hood would believe,” he said.

The war was launched by the United States, France and Britain on the pretext of defending civilians from the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, but NATO warplanes have routinely bombed civilians, both in Gaddafi-held territory and even in the areas held by the NATO-backed “rebels.”

At the same time, in the Mediterranean, thousands of refugees fleeing the war zone are persecuted by the NATO powers, just as they were before the war.

In another atrocity case, the International News Safety Institute asked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to investigate the NATO bombing of the headquarters of Libyan state television, in which three people were reported killed and 15 injured. The INSI asked the UN leader to determine whether the attack was a breach of a 2006 Security Council resolution that bans attacks on journalists.

The International Federation of Journalists has also condemned the July 30 bombing raid, which destroyed three satellite transmission dishes.

NATO officials claimed the destruction of the television center fell under the purview of its UN authorization to “protect civilians,” the all-purpose justification for every crime committed by the imperialist powers since the war began in March…

…INSI director Rodent Pincer [actual name! – ZS] said the bombing of a television broadcast center could not be excused “on the basis that you disagree with the point of view of the news organizations.”

“NATO forces in Libya are acting under a Security Council mandate to protect civilians and journalists are civilians,” he said…

Edited by Zuo Shou

Full article: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/aug2011/liby-a06.shtml

“Washington Faces the Arab Revolts: Sacrificing Dictators to Save the State” by James Petras [The James Petras Website]

Posted in Algeria, Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Egypt, EU, European Union, Gaza, Honduras, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Palestine, Pinochet, Saudi Arabia, US imperialism, USA, Vietnam, Western nations' human rights distortions, Yemen on February 12, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Introduction:
To understand the Obama regime’s policy toward Egypt, the Mubarak dictatorship and the popular uprising it is essential to locate it in an historical context.

. 02.07.2011

The essential point is that Washington, after several decades of being deeply embedded in the state structures of the Arab dictatorships, from Tunisia through Morocco, Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority, is attempting to re-orient its policies to incorporate and/or graft liberal-electoral politicians onto the existing power configurations.

While most commentators and journalists spill tons of ink about the “dilemmas” of US power , the novelty of the Egyptian events and Washington’s day to day policy pronouncements, there are ample historical precedents which are essential to understand the strategic direction of Obama’s policies.

Historical Background

US foreign policy has a long history of installing, financing, arming and backing dictatorial regimes which back its imperial policies and interests as long as they retain control over their people.

In the past, Republican and Democratic presidents worked closely for over 30 years with the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic; installed the autocratic Diem regime in pre-revolutionary Vietnam in the 1950’s; collaborated with two generations of Somoza family terror regimes in Nicaragua; financed and promoted the military coup in Cuba 1952, Brazil 1964, Chile in 1973, and in Argentina in 1976 and the subsequent repressive regimes.  When popular upheavals challenged these US backed dictatorships, and a social as well as political revolution appeared likely to succeed, Washington responded with a three track policy: publically criticizing the human rights violations and advocating democratic reforms; privately signaling continued support to the ruler; and thirdly, seeking an elite alternative which could substitute for the incumbent and preserve the state apparatus, the economic system and support US strategic imperial interests.

For the US there are no strategic relationships only permanent imperial interests, name[ly] preservation of the client state.  The dictatorships assume that their relationships with Washington is strategic:  hence the shock and dismay when they are sacrificed to save the state apparatus.  Fearing revolution, Washington has had reluctant client despots, unwilling to move on, assassinated (Trujillo and Diem).  Some are provided sanctuaries abroad (Somoza, Batista), others are pressured into power-sharing (Pinochet) or appointed as visiting scholars to Harvard, Georgetown or some other “prestigious” academic posting.

The Washington calculus on when to reshuffle the regime is based on an estimate of the capacity of the dictator to weather the political uprising, the strength and loyalty of the armed forces and the availability of a pliable replacement.  The risk of waiting too long, of sticking with the dictator, is that the uprising radicalizes:  the ensuing change sweeps away both the regime and the state apparatus, turning a political uprising into a social revolution.  Just such a ‘miscalculation’ occurred in 1959 in the run-up to the Cuban revolution, when Washing stood by Batista and was not able to present a viable pro-US alternative coalition linked to the old state apparatus.  A similar miscalculation occurred in Nicaragua, when President Carter, while criticizing Somoza, stayed the course, and stood passively by as the regime was overthrown and the revolutionary forces destroyed the US and Israeli trained military, secret police and intelligence apparatus, and went on to nationalize US property and develop an independent foreign policy.

Washington moved with greater initiative, in Latin America in the 1980’s.  It promoted negotiated electoral transitions which replaced dictators with pliable neo-liberal electoral politicians, who pledged to preserve the existing state apparatus, defend the privileged foreign and domestic elites and back US regional and international policies.

Past Lessons and Present Policies:

Obama has been extremely hesitant to oust Mubarak for several reasons, even as the movement grows in number and anti-Washington sentiment deepens.  The White House has many clients around the world – including Honduras, Mexico, Indonesia, Jordan and Algeria – who believe they have a strategic relationship with Washington and would lose confidence in their future if Mubarak was dumped.

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