Libya: Keep the Freedom Flame Alive

by Stephen Lendman


Trapped for days in Tripoli’s Rixos Hotel, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) arranged for the release of over 30 foreign journalists yesterday.

They’re now at the Corinthia Hotel, awaiting a boat for transport to Malta, then home via Europe that can’t arrive until fighting subsides. Given the chaos and violence, it could be a while.

Among them are heroic independent journalists, unable to report vital truths on the ground. For now, only their safe passage home matters, but what they witnessed firsthand will be sorely missed.

As a result, it’ll be much harder to know what’s ongoing. Rest assured, this writer and others will report what’s known as fully and accurately as possible to keep the freedom flame for all Libyans alive.

They deserve no less in light of what NATO has in mind, including carving up the Libya corpse for profit.

In fact, scrambling for its oil began began last April when Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said energy giant ENI CEO Paolo Scaroni had talks with Transitional National Council (TNC) officials “to restart cooperation in the energy sector and get going again the collaboration with Italy in the oil sector.”

In June, the Washington Post said ConocoPhillips, other US oil giants, and related companies also held talks with TNC officials. Engineering firm Quantum Reservoir Impact CEO Nansen Saleri said:

“Now you can figure out who’s going to win, and the name is not Gaddafi. Certain things about the mosaic are taking shape. The Western companies are positioning themselves. Five years from now, Libyan production is going to be higher than right now and investments are going to come in.” Or so he hopes.

Though accounting for only 2% of world production, Libya is Africa’s most oil rich state. Moreover, its high quality is especially valued, and reports suggest vast reserves yet to be explored.

On August 22, New York Times writer Clifford Krauss headlined, “The Scramble for Access to Libya’s Oil Wealth Begins,” saying:

The fighting hasn’t ended, “but the scramble to secure access to Libya’s oil wealth has already begun.”

In fact, vultures began circling months earlier, believing Libya’s corpse was only a matter of time. Perhaps so. Perhaps not. Despite all the hoopla, the jury is very much out.

Nonetheless, besides ENI and ConocoPhillips, other companies wanting back in include Britain’s BP, France’s Total, Spain’s Repsol YPF, Austria’s OMV, America’s Hess, Marathon, perhaps ExxonMobil, and others.

Excluded will be Russia, Brazil, and especially China on orders from Washington, calling the shots absent Gaddafi, at least for now.

Moreover, the Obama administration and NATO partners prepared a detailed plan for Libya without him, including a United Arab Emirates-supported occupation force, supplemented perhaps by UN Blue Helmets.

In other words, lost Libyan sovereignty will be replaced by paramilitary occupiers under a puppet government serving Western interests, not Libyans. The very notion should inspire continued resistance as in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

The Mossad-connected DEBKAfile’s information can be right or wrong. That said, on August 23, it claimed “(t)housands of fighters from tribes loyal to Qaddafi are reported (to be) streaming to Sabha” in southwestern Libya where some believe Gaddafi may have fled.

“Prominent among them (are) members of his own Gaddadfa tribe,” numbering about 100,000, based in Sirte on the coast between Tripoli and Benghazi.

DEBKA said UK, French, Jordanian and Qatari Special Forces “spearheaded the rebel ‘killer strike’ ” on Tripoli and Gaddafi’s Bab al-Azaziya compound. It’s the first time Western and Arab troops “fought together on the same battlefield in any of the (2011) Arab revolts, and the first ever that Arab forces took part in a NATO operation.”

Western elements involved included UK SAS commandos, and France’s 2REP (similar to US DELTA force units) along with Jordanian Royal Special forces, “specialists in urban combat and capturing fortified installations….” Qatari special forces are also participating.

Despite other conflicting reports, DEBKA claimed Tripoli is largely under rebel control, adding “there is quite a way to go before the war is over.” Based on continuing Afghanistan and Iraq hostilities, maybe longer than DEBKA or others imagine.

On the Progressive Radio News Hour (taped Thursday for Saturday airing), Law Professor Francis Boyle told listeners to expect continued conflict, as well as the danger of greater general war regionally, and perhaps beyond. He’s not alone believing it, including Webster Tarpley who sees protracted civil war.

He and others also reject reports that Tripoli is largely in rebel control, saying unresolved street fighting continues.

The Big Lie Vying with Truth and Accuracy

Throughout months of conflict, an information war falsified pro-NATO/insurgent victories.

The idea, of course, is controlling the message, confusing the enemy, and making Libyans as well as populations in NATO countries believe things are going as planned, heading for victory.

In fact, conditions in Tripoli and elsewhere are chaotic. Nothing is resolved, and at issue is whether larger NATO forces will get involved if insurgents can’t prevail.

So far, they’ve created mayhem, supplemented by heavy bombing and strafing. It’s also believed that rebel forces incurred heavy casualties. Without air support, they’d have been easily routed.

On August 24, Voice of Russia broadcasting said:

“Russian agencies quote Ukrainian medical workers in (Tripoli) speaking of chaotic shooting, barricad(ing) building(s), carjacking(s) and mass looting around. Residents try to stay indoors.”

“Eyewitnesses say armed gangs have ransacked the Embassy of Bulgaria and attacked the Embassy of South Korea and the residential compound of the Ambassador of Ukraine.”

Fighting in Tripoli continues. As a result, “(a)nalysts believe it is too early to say that the rebels are in full control….”

So early, in fact, that major media gloating, disinformation, and managed news distort reality on the ground. Moreover, their exposed lies show nothing they report is credible.

The closest thing to truth and accuracy from The New York Times were a few admissions in Anthony Shadid’s August 24 article headlined, “After Arab Revolts, Reigns of Uncertainty,” saying:

“….Libya’s unfinished revolution, as inspiring as it is unsettling, illustrates how perilous that change has become as it unfolds in this phase of the Arab Spring.”

Fact check

A Western-instigated insurgency continues, not a revolution. Extremely violent and “unsettling,” it’s hardly inspiring for millions of Libyans who’ve suffered hugely since NATO and insurgent killers arrived.

As for the “Arab Spring,” at best it hasn’t bloomed, not even close, in fact, despite how inspiring it is to people throughout the region to continue struggling for rights long denied them.

Shadid did include a few kernels of truth, calling the TNC leadership “fractured and opaque.” He added that enlisting “foreigners” as insurgents is “the kind of intervention that has long been toxic to the Arab world,” and transitioning “to a new order (anywhere) may prove….tumultuous.”

In Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia, and elsewhere in the region, it falls short of exhibiting democratic birth pangs nowhere in sight, what Shadid neglected to mention.

Also omitted was what government spokesman Dr. Moussa Ibrahim explained – that pro-Gaddafi forces control 20 cities and other areas across the country, adding:

“(W)e will continue fighting till Gaddafi comes back to power once again in Libya. The entire leadership is in Tripoli. The lawful armed forces (army and volunteers) control the city.”

That’s a far different picture from what NATO and Western media liars claim, as well as disreputable academics like Professor Juan Cole, saying in an August 22 article:

“The Libyan Revolution has largely succeeded, and this is a moment of celebration, not only for Libyans but for a youth generation in the Arab world that has pursued a political opening across the region.”

“The secret of the uprising’s final days of success lay in a popular revolt in the working-class districts of the capital….so (successful, in fact) that when revolutionary brigades entered the city from the west, many encountered little or no resistance, and they walked right into the center of the capital.”

The above and Cole’s entire article reeks of misinformation, distortions, and ball-faced lies. It represents a shameless display of intellectual dishonesty, combined perhaps with someone who knows better on the take.

Sadly, he’s not alone, highlighting Big Lie power and deep pockets backing it – major media regurgitated official discourse in place of truth and accuracy. When repeated enough, it convinces most people unwilling to check facts to believe it.

Most true perhaps is that conditions continue to be fast-moving, fluid, chaotic, violent, and far from resolved. Also true is Gaddafi remains overwhelmingly popular. In addition, Libyans revile NATO and insurgent killers they want no part of. As a result, they may wage a tougher, longer fight than expected.

Whether it’s enough to prevail over NATO remains to be seen. What’s clear is that most Libyans hope so.

So do others believing everyone has the right to live free from imperial domination.

Maybe the Arab Spring spirit will inspire Libyans and others in the region and elsewhere not to quit. It’s their only chance.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. Also visit his blog and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. He is also the author of “How Wall Street Fleeces America

The Progressive News Hour

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Guest: Gilad Atzmon
Atzmon is an Israeli-born musician/writer/activist critic of Israeli repression against Palestinians and its Arab citizens. He’s also the author of “The Wandering Who?” His new book and Middle East/North African issues will be discussed. Middle East issues will be discussed.

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on Aug 26 2011,


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