27 10 2011
* After 9 months of championing NATO and the ‘Rebels’, The Guardian decide now to reflect on the devastating humanitarian impact ‘intervention’ has had on Libya
As the reality of what western media have hailed as Libya’s “liberation” becomes clearer, the butchering of Gaddafi has been revealed as only a reflection of a much bigger picture. On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch reported the discovery of 53 bodies, military and civilian, in Gaddafi’s last stronghold of Sirte, apparently executed – with their hands tied – by former rebel militia.
Its investigator in Libya, Peter Bouckaert, told me yesterday that more bodies are continuing to be discovered in Sirte, where evidence suggests about 500 people, civilians and fighters, have been killed in the last 10 days alone by shooting, shelling and Nato bombing.
That has followed a two month-long siege and indiscriminate bombardment of a city of 100,000 which has been reduced to a Grozny-like state of destruction by newly triumphant rebel troops with Nato air and special-forces support.
And these massacre sites are only the latest of many such discoveries. Amnesty International has now produced compendious evidence of mass abduction and detention, beating and routine torture, killings and atrocities by the rebel militias Britain, France and the US have backed for the last eight months – supposedly to stop exactly those kind of crimes being committed by the Gaddafi regime.
Throughout that time African migrants and black Libyans have been subject to a relentless racist campaign of mass detention, lynchings and atrocities on the usually unfounded basis that they have been loyalist mercenaries. Such attacks continue, says Bouckaert, who witnessed militias from Misrata this week burning homes in Tawerga so that the town’s predominantly black population – accused of backing Gaddafi – will be unable to return.
All the while, Nato leaders and cheerleading media have turned a blind eye to such horrors as they boast of a triumph of freedom and murmur about the need for restraint. But it is now absolutely clear that, if the purpose of western intervention in Libya’s civil war was to “protect civilians” and save lives, it has been a catastrophic failure.
The brutal lynching of Moammar Gadhafi, the leader of Libya, is the latest criminal act in NATO’s seven-month war of regime change and conquest.
Gadhafi died resisting to the very end U.S.-NATO war, as he said he would. He refused to negotiate with NATO an ignominious departure for himself or to surrender. He chose a martyr’s death for Libya’s independence and sovereignty. Despite ridicule in the West, in Africa Gadhafi will be remembered as an anti-imperialist fighter.
The gross and disrespectful behavior of the National Transitional Council (TNC) in the display of Moammar Gadhafi’s body confirms to the world in the most graphic way that these elements, who the imperialist powers have given official recognition, are in fact crude, low-life gangsters.
Instead of burying Gadhafi within a day as required under Islamic law, they chose to display Gadhafi’s battered, half naked body — bloody, unwashed and uncovered — on a soiled mattress in a meat locker at a shopping center.
This affront to religious and national custom will further deepen outrage and resistance.
TNC militias did no real fighting. These divided, competing military bands operate as scavengers or vultures, calling in air strikes and lying in wait to pick over the death that NATO bombers have blasted in front of them. In seven months of NATO bombing they have shown themselves capable of firing endless weapons in front of cameras and brutalizing Black Libyans, yet incapable of conducting any independent military action.
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