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Libyan rebels backed by American progressive democrats lynch a black man in Benghazi

No one should be surprised that many on the American right support military action against the regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Attacking countries that pose no threat to the U.S. is typically cheered by many American republicans, especially those of the neocon variety.

What’s surprising is that many on the American left support the current aggression against Libya as well—surprising because American democrats typically like to portray themselves as anti-war and anti-imperialist.

What makes the situation in Libya especially ironic is that American “progressives” of the left may, without knowing it, be supporting Libyan rebels who have committed—and may still be committing—atrocities against soldiers and civilians suspected of being aligned with the Gaddafi regime. These atrocities, by many reliable accounts, have included the lynching of black Africans.

Yes, American liberals are throwing their support behind mobs that have lynched black people.

Make no mistake: Muammar Gaddafi is a vicious tyrant who appears willing to do anything to cling to power, and his military forces have committed some atrocious acts of their own. What’s at issue here is the way in which a fairly typical civil war was been recast as a story of valiant civilians taking on a modern military force—and the way in which this contrived narrative has been used to get American liberals to go along with the war, if not enthusiastically support it.

The official story of the war in Libya is being woven in order to bring the left in Europe and the U.S. on board to support a NATO military venture. Who stands to profit from this venture? Why, the usual institutions, of course: military contractors, big banks, and multinational corporations that are in the business of extracting mineral and fossil resources from nations whose leaders have defied the western corporate empire in one way or another.

The reason the Libyan venture enjoys the support of the American left is that the left has been deceived into believing NATO’s aggression against Libya is a humanitarian mission. This belief is based on flimsy propaganda that many appear to have accepted without asking the most fundamental questions or exercising the most basic skepticism.

Think back to the accounts from the early days of the war about Libyan jet fighters strafing civilians. It turns out that the strafing probably never happened. And yet many still believe it occurred.

The Russian military was monitoring Libyan airspace at the time of the supposed strafing attacks and says the attacks never took place. Russia Today reports:

The reports of Libya mobilizing its air force against its own people spread quickly around the world. However, Russia’s military chiefs say they have been monitoring from space—and the pictures tell a different story. According to Al Jazeera and BBC, on February 22 Libyan government inflicted airstrikes on Benghazi—the country’s largest city—and on the capital Tripoli. However, the Russian military, monitoring the unrest via satellite from the very beginning, says nothing of the sort was going on on the ground. At this point, the Russian military is saying that, as far as they are concerned, the attacks some media were reporting have never occurred.

And who can forget the preposterous tales of Gaddafi loyalists being issued Viagra so they could go out and rape civilian women? Last April 29, Reuters reported, with a straight face:

(Reuters) – The U.S. envoy to the United Nations told the Security Council on Thursday that troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi were increasingly engaging in sexual violence and some had been issued the impotency drug Viagra, diplomats said.

Several U.N. diplomats who attended a closed-door Security Council meeting on Libya told Reuters that U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice raised the Viagra issue in the context of increasing reports of sexual violence by Gaddafi’s troops.

“Rice raised that in the meeting but no one responded,” a diplomat said on condition of anonymity. The allegation was first reported by a British newspaper.

Reuters did not identify this “British newspaper.”

Two days after the Reuters report was published, MSNBC reported that “There is no evidence that Libyan military forces are being given Viagra and engaging in systematic rape against women in rebel areas, US military and intelligence officials told NBC News on Friday.”

The MSNBC report went on to say that “several diplomats said Rice provided no evidence for the Viagra allegation, which they said was made in an attempt to persuade doubters the conflict in Libya was not just a standard civil war but a much nastier fight in which Gaddafi is not afraid to order his troops to commit heinous acts.”

An attempt to persuade doubters the conflict in Libya was not just a standard civil war. In other words, the Viagra story was propaganda, pure and simple, and rather preposterous propaganda at that. Likewise, the story of jets strafing civilians appears now to have been invented in order to “persuade doubters” that the Libyan civil war was a war worth intervening in.

The American left would probably never support intervening in a “standard civil war.” But how about a war in which a cartoonish bad man is doing mean things to women and children? Now there’s a war “progressive” liberals can get behind and cheer for. Never mind if the narrative used to justify it is fiction.

As stories like the ones about the strafing jets and the Viagra were finding prominent play in the western corporate press, there were other stories, less prominently reported if reported at all, about atrocities being committed by the anti-Gaddafi rebels. Even today, such reports are murky, difficult to trace back to their sources, and rarely reported by the U.S. and European press.

There have been exceptions. The Austrian newspaper Der Standard published an interview July 6 with Donatella Rovera, a crisis researcher for Amnesty International who was in rebel-held areas of Libya during the early weeks of the war. In the interview, Rovera alluded to the absurdity of the Viagra story and mentioned that black African migrant workers were being lynched on suspicion of being Gaddafi mercenaries. (The Google Translate page of this interview is here.)

“We have carefully examined and found no evidence [that Gaddafi uses African mercenaries]. The opposition has spread everywhere these rumors, which had dire consequences for African migrant workers: it was held a regular hunt on immigrants, some were even lynched, arrested many. Meanwhile, there is even the opposition, that the mercenaries were not, almost all were released and have returned to their home countries. . . .”

As for the Viagra story, Rovera expressed surprise that anyone could actually have believed it:

“That has not really taken seriously someone, right? On 21 March, prior to the first air attacks of the French troops at Benghazi-Qaddafi, presented us with a young man who worked in the media center, several boxes of the impotence remedy. He claimed to have found in destroyed tanks. The vehicles were completely burnt out, but the packaging looked like new. I cannot imagine that anyone has believed him.”

In March, the Los Angeles Times published a series of photographs by staff photographer Luis Sinco showing detainees accused by anti-Gaddafi rebels of being mercenaries. Sinco described his unsettling suspicion that the men he was viewing had already been condemned and would soon die:

I moved on to other prisoners who had also been trotted out for photographs and questions. The whole scene had an unsettling feel, as if these men had already been tried and convicted—and all that was left were their executions. In a strange twist, I learned that internal security officers of the Kadafi regime formerly used the facility to detain, torture and kill political dissidents.

A representative from Human Rights Watch looked on silently, taking notes but declining to comment on the proceedings.

All I know is that the Geneva Convention explicitly prohibits prisoners of war from being paraded and questioned before cameras of any kind. But that’s exactly what happened today. The whole incident just gave me a really bad vibe, and thank God it finally ended.

Times reporter David Zucchino, our interpreter and I skipped the bus ride back and instead got a lift from a passing motorist. In the car, our interpreter, a Libyan national, asked Zucchino: “So what do you think? Should we just go ahead and kill them?”

Just when I thought this war couldn’t get any weirder, it did.

Reports that anti-Gaddafi rebels have systematically rounded up and murdered black Africans have come through official channels as well, but none of these reports has seen wide dissemination through the U.S. or Europe. These reports, after all, don’t fit the official narrative—the heavily promoted view that the rebels are the good guys.

As Reuters reported in April, the nation of Chad formally demanded that NATO protect its citizens in rebel-occupied areas of Libya—not from Gaddafi’s troops but from rebels on the prowl for suspected mercenaries:

N’DJAMENA, April 3 (Reuters) – Chad on Sunday called on coalition forces to protect its citizens in rebel-held areas in Libya, saying dozens had been accused and executed for allegedly being mercenaries in the pay Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

When protests against Gaddafi’s government led to violence in February, rebels said Gaddafi had brought in African mercenaries from countries such as Chad and Zimbabwe to help in the crackdown after Libyan troops proved unreliable.

“Since the beginning of the Libyan crisis, Chadians in Libya, especially those in areas controlled by the transitional national council, have been singled out,” a statement from Chad’s government spokesman Kalzeubet Pahimi Deubet said.

“Dozens of Chadians have known this sad fate,” he said.

The statement said several Chadian nationals had been arrested, some were “paraded on television as mercenaries and sometimes executed” despite denials that Libya had recruited any mercenaries from its southern neighbour.

The government of Chad had said about 300,000 of its citizens resided in Libya before the crisis.

“The Chadian government is calling on international coalition forces involved in Libya and international human rights organisation to stop these abuses against Chadians and other migrant Africa workers,” the statement said.

As reports like these have trickled out, so have videos like this one, posted June 26, which purports to show Libyan civilians—the supposed good guys, remember, the ones backed by the U.S. and NATO—lynching a black man. (Warning: This video is disturbing.)

[Note: Videos of lynchings in Libya are being removed from Youtube nearly as quickly as they can be uploaded. If the above video is missing, that is why.]

At the same time reports and videos like these were trickling out, members of the U.S. Congress were arguing over President Obama’s decision to commit U.S. forces to the NATO venture without congressional approval. The president’s lawyers argued that the U.S.’s role in the NATO invention didn’t rise to the level of full military engagement. Thus, the argument went, the president wasn’t constitutionally obligated to seek approval from Congress.

Several resolutions came to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in late spring seeking either to support or to block the president’s commitment of U.S. airpower to NATO’s invention in Libya. Curiously, the majority of republicans opposed intervention, while the majority of democrats supported it. This reversal of standard roles may be attributed to two factors: the portrayal of the Libyan civil war as a story of intrepid civilians fighting a comic-book villain, and the impulse among democrats to go along with anything the president proposes—along with the equivalent impulse among republicans to defy the president at every turn.

Typical of the “progressive” democrats who have sided with the president every step of the way in his decision to use military force against Libya is Rep. Janice Schakowsky of Illinois. In an interview on Chicago’s WLS-AM radio several months ago, Schakowsky justified her support of military aggression against Libya by comparing the Libyan civil war with the tribal mayhem that swept Rwanda in 1994:

“Although the president does want to see Muammar Gaddafi gone, that the mission, the use of force is to protect civilians and I understand not wanting another Rwanda on our hands. If you ask Bill Clinton, one of the regrets [was not getting involved in Rwanda],” Schakowsky said.

Never mind that the “civilians” in Libya being protected by NATO constitute a well-organized and armed militia that’s committing war crimes. And never mind that Rwanda was a different situation altogether—one in which mass murder was committed not by a strong-armed dictator but by masses of civilians settling old tribal scores. In fact, if anything, destabilizing and removing Muammar Gaddafi, bad as he is, could have the unintended consequence of unleashing the very sort of lethal tribal animosities that Schakowsky and others like her say they want the U.S. and NATO to prevent.

In the same interview, Schakowsky also said that she’d like to see how the U.S.’s military’s intervention “turns out.” A wait-and-see approach is perfectly understandable for one who enjoys the security and trappings of congressional office and has reelection to think about. The same sentiment, however, could hardly be expected to be shared by someone in Libya facing the imminent threat of a lynch mob. In such a situation, waiting to see how things “turn out” probably wouldn’t be an attractive option.

Several questions remain unanswered. Why has the American left failed to ask difficult questions about Libya?  Is it possible that American liberals are loath to question a president in whom they have so much invested emotionally? Is it possible that they are so thoroughly compromised by political contributions that they must remain silent? Are they simply not well informed?

Perhaps more to the point: If they are aware that the rebels they’re backing have lynched black people, how do the supporters of the Libyan intervention—particularly “progressive” democrats, who claim to be motivated by a passion to defend the little guy—look themselves in the mirror?

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Consider Google’s motto: “Don’t be evil.” Have you ever stopped to think about that motto? Isn’t it a little bit like Richard Nixon saying “I am not a crook”? Does it not sound like a reassurance intended to refute that which is true? “Give the lady what she wants”—now there’s a motto that confirms that a company’s priority is the customer. But why would a truly good corporation need to urge its employees not to be evil? And what about the choice of the word evil? Why choose the extreme? No, “Don’t be evil” is something a serial killer my say to himself when his killing is out of control. Good people don’t need to tell themselves not to be evil.

Google has admitted complying with requests from US intelligence agencies for data stored in its European data centers, most likely in violation of European Union data protection laws.

Gordon Frazer, Microsoft UK’s managing director, made news headlines some weeks ago when he admitted that Microsoft can be compelled to share data with the US government regardless of where it is hosted in the world.

At the center of this problem is the USA PATRIOT ACT, which states that companies incorporated in the United States must hand over data administered by their foreign subsidiaries if requested.

Not only that, but they can be forced to keep quiet about it in order to avoid exposing active investigations and alert those targeted by the probes.

This situation poses a serious problem for companies like Microsoft, Google or Amazon, which offer cloud services around the world, because their subsidiaries must also respect local laws.

Read the rest at Softpedia.

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Catherine Austin Fitts was Assistant Secretary of Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner at the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development during the administration of George H.W. Bush. She is now the president of Solari, Inc., and managing member of Solari Investment Advisory Services, LLC. Here she explains how a financial coup d’etat was undertaken two years ago in order to bring the developed world under corporate ownership.

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When the rights of the people may be suspended for special occasions, do the people truly have any rights at all?

A G20 incident caught on video that shows a York Regional Police officer telling a protester he is no longer in Canada and has no civil rights is under investigation.

The video shows several activists standing outside of the G20 security perimeter at King St. W. and University Ave. on June 27 while their bags are searched by a group of police officers. The mood is pleasant until a young man in a black T-shirt and cap refuses to hand over his backpack.

Just outside the St. Andrew subway station, a male York Regional Police officer wraps one arm around the protester and tells him: “You don’t get a choice, get moving.”

“Why are you grabbing me, man?” says the unidentified protester, who in another G20 video gives a brief monologue about animal rights. “I didn’t do anything.”

The officer’s badge number, 815, is clearly visible in the video. The officer with that number, Sgt. Mark Charlebois, said in an email that he would love to speak but couldn’t because the matter was before the Ontario Independent Police Review Director.

“If I was sensitive, I would likely be crying all the time with the comments about me,” he said.

No one from the OIPRD was available to comment.

York police media officer Sgt. Gary Phillips said the incident was the subject of a citizen’s complaint.

In the video, a woman’s voice from behind the camera points out that the protesters are not within 5 metres of the cordoned-off zone — the area in which Torontonians were led to believe, erroneously, that they could legally be searched by police officers at whim.

The male protester insists that, as a Canadian, he has the right to refuse the search. But the officer disagrees.

“This ain’t Canada right now,” he says.

Read the rest at The Toronto Star.

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It’s business as usual as a British peer talks on the floor of the House of Lords about once conspiring with the Bank of England to launder money for the Irish Republican Army. He then explains how this sort of behavior continues to this day. This video is a little old, but news of the corporate takeover of the developed nations is unfolding so quickly that we can barely keep up with it all.

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The Irish musician Jim Corr speaks out about the corporate takeover of Ireland.

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Members of Ireland’s Sinn Féin and Ógra Shinn Féin are understandably irate that their own government has sold them into debt slavery.

Ireland is in the process of being IMF’d—stripped of its assets and sovereignty, its people impoverished and enslaved by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.  Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank, described the process Ireland is now undergoing to journalist Greg Palast in an interview published back in 2001. Excerpts from that interview:

“There’s an Assistance Strategy for every poorer nation, designed, says the World Bank, after careful in-country investigation. But according to insider Stiglitz, the Bank’s staff ‘investigation’ consists of close inspection of a nation’s 5-star hotels. It concludes with the Bank staff meeting some begging, busted finance minister who is handed a ‘restructuring agreement’ pre-drafted for his ‘voluntary’ signature (I have a selection of these).

“Each nation’s economy is individually analyzed, then, says Stiglitz, the Bank hands every minister the same exact four-step program.

“Step One is Privatization – which Stiglitz said could more accurately be called, ‘Briberization.’ Rather than object to the sell-offs of state industries, he said national leaders – using the World Bank’s demands to silence local critics – happily flogged their electricity and water companies. ‘You could see their eyes widen’ at the prospect of 10% commissions paid to Swiss bank accounts for simply shaving a few billion off the sale price of national assets. . . .

“After briberization, Step Two of the IMF/World Bank one-size-fits-all rescue-your-economy plan is ‘Capital Market Liberalization.’ In theory, capital market deregulation allows investment capital to flow in and out. Unfortunately, as in Indonesia and Brazil, the money simply flowed out and out. Stiglitz calls this the ‘Hot Money’ cycle. Cash comes in for speculation in real estate and currency, then flees at the first whiff of trouble. A nation’s reserves can drain in days, hours. And when that happens, to seduce speculators into returning a nation’s own capital funds, the IMF demands these nations raise interest rates to 30%, 50% and 80%. . . .

“At this point, the IMF drags the gasping nation to Step Three: Market-Based Pricing, a fancy term for raising prices on food, water and cooking gas. This leads, predictably, to Step-Three-and-a-Half: what Stiglitz calls, ‘The IMF riot.’

“The IMF riot is painfully predictable. When a nation is, ‘down and out, [the IMF] takes advantage and squeezes the last pound of blood out of them. They turn up the heat until, finally, the whole cauldron blows up,’ as when the IMF eliminated food and fuel subsidies for the poor in Indonesia in 1998. Indonesia exploded into riots, but there are other examples – the Bolivian riots over water prices last year and this February, the riots in Ecuador over the rise in cooking gas prices imposed by the World Bank. You’d almost get the impression that the riot is written into the plan.”

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