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Libya and hypocrisy of the 'Left'Sami Jadallah Special to Salem-News.com
Those defending Gaddafi must remember the dictator's litany of crimes against his own people...
(WASHINGTON D.C.) - The winds of change are sweeping the Arab world. Thanks to the people of Tunisia and Egypt the Arabs are experiencing a momentous claim for new history, a new renaissance.
We have all watched their calls for democracy, freedom, rights of citizenship, accountability, transparency and limitations on tenures, where governments are servants of the people, not their masters. The winds of freedom will, sooner than later, come to Palestine. Neither Israel nor the US will be able to stop the cries for freedom and liberation. Time for the Jewish occupation to end.
Gaddafi’s naives brigade
The American or for that matter the Arab “left” must not be fooled by killers and murderers, such as Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar Assad, just like they were fooled by the likes of Saddam Hussein before.
The claims of being anti-imperialists, anti-colonialist, anti-Americans, anti-Western, anti-Israeli and anti-Zionists and pro-liberation and resistance to the Israeli occupation must not be an excuse for these dictators to kill, murder, oppress, run police states and squander hundreds of billions of the people’s wealth.
Also, it must not be an excuse for those on the “left” who have stood up for liberation to side with the dictators. That liberation must also apply to the people and citizens of Libya, Syria, Sudan and Yemen to be free to choose their own leaders and to have their own liberations from these oppressive dictatorial regimes.
Reading through Veterans Today and other media, I had to take to the typewriter and address the likes of former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and my colleague Franklin Lamb, a man who I much admire and respect for his many years of advocacy of Palestinian rights in Lebanon. (see: Libya's Neighborhoods Prepare for NATO's BootsCountdown to Invasion - Dr. Franklin Lamb Salem-News.com)
They are, I am sad to say, taking up the cause of Gaddafi in his fight against his own people. It is worth remembering that the first thing Gaddafi did was enlist Israel to recruit African mercenaries to shoot and kill his own people.
Stealing the people’s wealth
Gaddafi has been in power in Libya for over 41 years, running the country and its people as if it were his own privately owned estate for his benefits and that of his family, associates and those within his own intelligence services.
With a population of just some six million people, Libya should be one of the wealthiest countries in Africa. Libya should be no different from Dubai, or for that matter Brunei, with a standard of living unmatched anywhere in the Middle East, let alone in the world. But Gaddafi and his family squandered hundreds of billions in Africa and on corrupt African dictators and, of course, in support of not liberation but terrorist organizations throughout the world.
The issue here is not what happened to the hundreds of billions of the Libyan people’s money (recently, it was announced that the Zionist-run banking house Goldman Sachs lost a mere 1.3 billion dollars of the Libyan people’s money on currency speculations). The issue, rather, is Gaddafi and the criminal enterprise he ran under the name of “the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya”.
Gaddafi ran a police state no different to Saddam Hussein’s or Bashar Assad’s Ba’athist regimes, or for that matter Kim Jong-Il’s North Korea.
A police state that murders students and prisoners
Gaddafi aped the East German secret police state. Under his rule, 10-20 per cent of the Libyan population worked as spies and informers, “dissent” is prohibited and punishable according to law 73 of 1973, and “political” conversations with foreigners are illegal and punishable by three years’ imprisonment.
...they had gone to the prison for over a year and half on a regular basis [after he was killed], thinking he was alive and waiting two or three days to see him. “They told us he was there, but we weren’t allowed to see him”.
Gaddafi was especially ruthless in dealing with student dissent. Muhammad al-Abdallah, the deputy secretary-general of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, is quoted by Al-Jazeera as saying:
In the 1970s he [Gaddafi] publicly hung students who were marching, demonstrating, demanding rights in Benghazi and in Tripoli and other places. These stories among others are coming out now because the wall of fear and silence in the Arab world has been broken and breached forever.
Supporting Bosnian Serb war criminals, neo-Nazis
Gaddafi is not the “revolutionary man” he is portrayed to be. He supported the likes of war criminal Slobodan Milosevic as he engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia and he supported die-hard Orthodox Serbs in their war against Bosnian Muslims. Gaddafi was also a close friend of right-wing Nazi sympathizer and Islamophobe Austrian politician Joerg Haider.
Gaddafi not only snuffed out local dissent, but took his fight against Libyan dissidents all over the world where Libyan “diplomats” engaged in assassinations and cold-blooded murder. For example, in April 1984, while I was in London, a Libyan “diplomat” fired at peaceful Libyan demonstrators outside the Libyan embassy, killing British police officer Yvonne Fletcher , who was guarding the demonstration, and wounding 11 demonstrators.
It is also well known that Gaddafi funded and sponsored some anarchists groups such as the Red Brigades, who were responsible for bombing attacks in Rome and Vienna airports killing 19 and wounding 140. The bombing of the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie and the French UTA over Niger will always remain the largest mass murder committed by Gaddafi and his regime outside Libya.
Targeting Palestinians in Libya
The Palestinians were not immune from Gaddafi’s erratic behaviour, notwithstanding his claims of being a supporter of the Palestinian quest for liberation.
The Journal of Palestine Studies (No. 29, Winter 1997) carried a full account of the cruel abuse and suffering of Palestinians living and working in Libya. In retaliation for Yasser Arafat’s signing of the Oslo accords, Gaddafi announced in his 1 September 1994 speech his plans to “expel” more than 30,000 Palestinians, mostly skilled and professional workers (unlike most Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan).
Gaddafi ordered the Ministry of Labour not to renew any work permits for Palestinians, or issue new permits, or allow any Palestinians with families to return to Libya. Thousands of Palestinians were forced to march towards the Egyptian borders where Hosni Mubarak would not allow them passage. Thousands were stranded in camps in the hot and cold Libyan desert.
Gaddafi is quoted as saying: “All I do is in their best interests, no matter how they suffer, even if they remain in the camps for years to come”.
A friend and admirer of Israel
Israel was never too far in the minds and actions of Gaddafi where he engaged in the cultivation of relations with “Libyan” Jews as a way of opening the gate to Washington for Gaddafi and his family.
According to the Israeli magazine Israel Today (4 March 2011), as far back as 2007 the Gaddafi regime initiated a relationship with Libyan Jews, offering large sums of money for the formalization of a “Libyan political party” to run in the 1997 Israeli national elections.
According to the magazine, Meir Kahlon, head of the World Organizations of Libyan Jews, told the Jerusalem Post that between 2005 and 2007 he (Kahlon) travelled to Jordan on a number of occasions to meet with Libyan officials. However, these repeated meetings stopped later on.
Gaddafi used his connections with Israel and with world Zionist groups to seek a foothold for him in official Washington, and in 2003 he announced that he would abandon his programme of “weapons of mass destruction”. This, of course, gave great relief to Israel and its allies in Washington (not that Gaddafi was a serious threat to Israel), and George Bush formally ended the US trade embargo against Libya.
A murderer feted by Western leaders
Tony Blair, was the first Western leader to visit Gaddafi in 2004 when many of Blair’s Western counterparts all of sudden discovered Gaddafi the statesman. He was soon invited to Italy, France and Spain, among other nations, as well as the UN. And he was feted as if he were a conquering general, forgetting that he was in fact a criminal who killed Italian, French, Americans, British and, most of all, his own people.
All were too keen in getting piece of the cake – tens of billions of dollars’ worth of contracts for weapons and industrial projects. Nicolas Sarkosy, Silvio Berlusconi, Tony Blair, George Bush, even Barack Obama all forgot the tens of thousands of Libyan executed over 41 years of Gaddafi’s reign and forgot the tens of thousands of people killed in his many wars in Africa and the hundreds killed in Northern Ireland.
Hillary Clinton feted Gaddafi’s son, Al-Mu’tasim Billah, at the State Department as recently as 21 December 2009. Of course, millions of dollars to both neocon Republican and Democratic public relations firms did the trick in polishing the picture of Gaddafi’s regime, just like Gaddafi is doing now with activist journalists on the “left” and the right. When it comes to money and recognition, principles always go out of the window.
Let no one be fooled, Gaddafi was a megamaniac who loved money – much of it – and deposited billions of dollars in Austria, Switzerland, France, England and the US. The fact that he always appeared in public receiving officials in his modest “tents” should not hide the fact that Gaddafi and members of his family looted the country.
Gaddafi’s children are well known to live the high and wild life style of the rich and famous, throwing wild parties in the Caribbean, Rome, Vienna and Marrakech, and spending millions of dollars on artists such as Maria Carey and pop star Beyonce. The behaviour of Gaddafi’s children was no different from the behavior of the children of Saddam Hussein’s Uday and Qusay.
Gaddafi’s contempt for his people is well know. It goes back some 41 years and includes his so-called Green Book, his “Green Revolution” and his “Jamahiriya”, or rule by people’s committees where no one is ever held accountable for, or is in charge of, anything. While Gaddafi is keen on saying that he holds no public position and is only a “leader”, the fact is that he, his family and his intelligence services run everything.
Faced with peaceful public protest in mid-February, Gaddafi and his family members, rather than opening a dialogue with the protestors, decided to send in the army against their own people. Misrata and other towns are a testament to the crimes he has committed against his own people. According to Kelly Moore, former UN spokesperson in Bosnia, is quoted in the Christian Science Monitor as saying that Misrata is “no different from Sarajevo”.
Public relations campaigns, no matter how expensive or polished, should never cover up crimes committed by any leader anywhere in the world.
A Palestinian-born American, Sami Jadallah is an international legal and business consultant and founder and director of the Palestine Agency and Palestine Documentation Centre.
A version of this article was originally published in Veterans Today.
Special thanks to: Redres Information & Analysis
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