- Le Monde Diplomatique – Who are the libyan rebels? This is the $1 billion dollar question: Democracy Now! speaks with Gilbert Achcar, a professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
- An Phoblacht – Thatcher mastermind behind Libyan rebels’ PR offensive: THE LIBYAN REBELS’ propaganda war is being masterminded by Margaret Thatcher’s close friend and former top media adviser, Tim Bell.
Tim Bell guided Thatcher to three successive general election victories. In 1984, Bell was seconded to Britain’s National Coal Board to advise on media strategy at the start of the miners’ strike.
He has lobbied on behalf of the Saudi Arabian Government and performed public relations work for Chilean dictator General Pinochet, another dear friend of Margaret Thatcher.
Bell was knighted in 1990 by a very grateful Thatcher and made a life peer by Tony Blair as ‘Baron Bell of Belgravia’ in 1998.
In addition to working for the prospective rulers of oil-rich Libya, the National Transitional Council, Baron Bell’s Chime Communications plc has also kept its contract with the Bahrain Government, internationally criticised for human rights violations in suppressing its own ‘Arab Spring’ uprising. Bell has additionally advised the governments of Iraq and Yemen.
Now Chime is looking forward to profiting from more unrest in the Middle East and Africa. Bell told Bloomberg:
I see this as a significant area of growth but I don’t know when; it will take time. As countries rebuild, people will start to invest money.
- EUobserver.com – EU, Nato countries to free frozen cash for Libya: EU and Nato officials said Tuesday they have started talks on giving aid to rebels and unfreezing key Libyan assets in overseas banks. Leaders from the EU, UN and the Arab League will meet on Friday in New York, Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign-policy chief, told a news conference.
- Spiegel – Rebel Advances in Tripoli; Search Continues for Gadhafi’s Hideout: Next to Zaid is Mohammed Omran, born and raised in Leeds, England. His grandfather, he says, was the foreign minister of the king that Gadhafi toppled on his way to power. His family lost everything and fled to exile in England. He is in Libya for the first time. “In England, I saw all that is possible: freedom, democracy, security,” he says. “I never wanted to live in Libya. But now, that is changing.” He and his comrades just have to win one last battle.
- Irish Echo – The end of Quartermaster Qaddafi:
During those self-same Troubles, one of the most horrific incidents was not as a result of Libyan weapons in the hands of the IRA, but weapons from other sources in the hands of the UVF who, on the night of July 31st, 1975 opened fire on members of the Miami Showband after stopping their van on a country road and at a point between Newry and Dundalk...
A few years back, one of the band members who survived, Stephen Travers, came out with a book entitled “The Miami Showband Massacre, A survivor’s search for the truth.”
It’s still possible to pick up a copy of this absorbing book on Amazon and be reminded of a time when even the musicians, in a land so famous for its music, were not immune from weapons wielded by malevolent hands.
- RT – ‘Gaddafi switching to guerrilla mode’: “Two thousand tribes have pledged support to Gaddafi. We have not heard of them yet,” remarks Michael Maloof, who used to be an official at the Pentagon.
Maloof believes Gaddafi’s leaving Tripoli to the rebels “could be a strategic retreat on his part to begin waging guerilla warfare.” And the colonel still has the means to do that.
“Where are the Scuds? Where are all the chemical weapons he is said to have? I don’t think those have been discovered yet,” he continues.
On the other hand, the Libyan rebels look “undisciplined”, especially when they start firing in the air to mark military successes. And the rebels’ National Transitional Council does not seem to be doing anything to bring this under control, Maloof told RT.
Moreover, it is hard to account for rebels’ progress without acknowledging they get foreign assistance on the ground.
- Wired: Danger Room – U.S. Pledges No Ground Troops in Libya, But…:Through six months of war in the skies over Libya, the Obama administration has had one big, fat red line: it won’t put any troops on the ground. Except that red line turned out to be permeable, as CIA operatives made their way to the shores of Benghazi. And as the fall of Tripoli turns into a battle for the city, NATO isn’t closing the door on sending western peacekeeping forces to Libyan soil.
During a press conference on Tuesday in Brussels, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu assured that there will be “no NATO troops on the ground in the future.” Only Lungescu left herself some wiggle room. Should the United Nations or Libyan revolutionaries request it, NATO “is willing to help in a supporting role,” she said, without elaborating.
That’s consistent with NATO’s attitude from the start of the war. Adm. James Stavridis, NATO’s military chief, testified to Congress in March that the “possibility of a stabilization regime exists” after Moammar Gadhafi’s downfall.
- McClatchy Newspapers – Oil companies see quick return to Libya, once peace restored: Italy’s foreign minister, Franco Frattini, told Italian television Monday that workers from Eni, Italy’s government-controlled oil company, were now in eastern Libya looking to restart oil production and transport quickly. Italy’s presence in Libya dates to its brief colonial rule from 1911 to 1934, and Frattini told his countrymen that “Eni will play a No. 1 role in the future…”
Before the war, Libya provided about 1.1 million to 1.6 million barrels per day, roughly about 2 percent of the world’s daily oil demand. But while that production made Libya only the world’s 17th largest oil producer, it has the largest proven reserves in Africa and it played an outsized role in supplying Western Europe, where refineries easily process its lighter grade of crude.
Saudi Arabia stepped into produce more oil, but Saudi oil is more difficult for European refineries to process.
- McClatchy Newspapers – Saif Gadhafi’s freedom proves you can’t believe everything you’re told: What damage Saif Gadhafi’s appearance will have on the transitional council’s credibility has yet to be seen. Rebel leaders are eager to prove they’re able to secure Tripoli, restore order and work openly with international partners. If they bungled Saif Gadhafi’s arrest, allowing him to escape, it raises questions about their effectiveness. Another of Gadhafi’s sons, Mohammed, also escaped rebel custody in uncertain circumstances, according to news reports...
But many just chalked it up to an ongoing campaign to use the news media to maximum effect.
- ZeroHedge / Oilprice.com – Libya’s Post Gadhaffi Future – Who Gets The Oil?: While many analysts believe that Italy’s ENI and France’s Total could be successful in post-insurrection Libya because of their countries’ heavy support for the rebels, it may all devolve down to a question of funding, and given Beijing’s pockets, despite its caution in its foreign policy, that may well give China the edge.
Few promoting the prospects of Italian and French energy firms now remember that just a couple of months ago the Libyan dissidents were literally begging for financial assistance.
Furthermore, particularly in African endeavors, Chinese investment has extended far beyond mere resource acquisition to providing infrastructure essentials such as roads, schools and health clinics, all of which will be in short supply in post-Gadhaffi Libya.
Finally, certainly last but not least, China has no history of colonialism in North Africa…
- Kasama / RT – Journalist reports threats for defying NATO spin: It is hard to know how to evaluate this account, but it is certainly worth seeing and considering. He specifically describes CNN journalists operating as extension of the NATO military.
- The eXileD: War Nerd – Libya; The Berb-Burb Alliance: So I’m gonna say here: Just maybe, the whole thing ended pretty well. Not that expensive, money or lives; gotta be better for the Libyans if anybody actually cares about them; can’t see any risk for the big picture—only 6 million Libyans to start with, for God’s sake, and I don’t see the Berber going on a global jihad any time soon. Jeez, what a thought: What if it turned out good?
- Antiwar.com – Triumph in Libya? Not So Fast, NATO: Gadhafi was reported to have stockpiled 20,000 man-portable anti-aircraft weapons, which could be used by terrorists to shoot down commercial airliners. Many of these weapons have gone missing in Libya, with their wooden cases empty. Andrew J. Shapiro, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, has said that these unsecured missiles in Libya are “one of the things that keep me up at night.” The president of Chad and officials in Algeria, whose countries neighbor Libya, have said that some of those missiles have traveled over their borders to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which calls North Africa home.
- Foreign Policy in Focus – Gaddafi’s Whereabouts Unknown — But Is It Too Soon to Declare Victory in Libya?: But the legitimacy of the TNC remains contested. It is a widely diverse, self-selected group already facing significant and sometimes lethal division within its ranks. It remains unclear how much popular support there was for the TNC’s decision to ask for foreign military intervention. Even now, as Patrick Cockburn wrote in The Independent, the “Transitional National Council (TNC) in Benghazi is now recognized by more than 30 foreign governments, including the U.S. and Britain, as the government of Libya. But it is by no means clear that it is recognized as such by the rebel militiamen who are in the process of seizing the capital. The rebel fighters in Misrata, who fought so long to defend their city, say privately that they have no intention of obeying orders from the TNC.”
- Monthly Review blog – New York Times Points Out “Racist Overtones” in Libyan Rebel Disinformation It Helped Spread:Today’s New York Times has a story by David Kirkpatrick and Rod Norland running down the exaggerations and misinformation that have been spread throughout the Libya War. There’s been “spin from all sides,” they report. Gadhafi’s exaggerations are well known, but this passage is rather striking:
Still, the rebels have offered their own far-fetched claims, like mass rapes by loyalist troops issued tablets of Viagra. Although the rebels have not offered credible proof, that claim is nonetheless the basis of an investigation by the International Criminal Court.
And there is the mantra, with racist overtones, that the Gadhafi government is using African mercenaries, which rebels repeat as fact over and over. There have been no confirmed cases of that; supposedly there are many African prisoners of war being held in Benghazi, but conveniently journalists are not allowed to see them. There are, however, African guest workers, poorly paid migrant labor, many of whom, unarmed, have been labeled mercenaries.
So stories about African mercenaries are a racist mantra? If that’s the case, then point a finger at media outlets like the New York Times. While the warnings about mass rapes and mercenaries fueled the supporters of the NATO bombing, few reporters have detailed — mostly notably Patrick Cockburn in the Independent – that there was never solid evidence to support them. They were nonetheless a regular part of the media coverage of the war, as I pointed out in a recent piece in Extra!…
- Al Akhbar – Libya; NATO’s Gateway to the Arab Revolts: NATO’s successful role in overthrowing Colonel Gaddafi’s regime opens the door for replicating the Libyan model in other countries of the region. The alliance’s new strategy is aimed at redefining its image and strategy while expanding its traditional area of operation towards the Middle East and the Gulf Region.
Current events in Libya will have consequences and repercussions well beyond the country’s borders and across the Arab World. This is the second most vitally important event in this decade after the occupation of Iraq. Arab and international reactions to NATO’s involvement in Libya suggests that what happened in Libya could happen in most Arab countries, particularly those experiencing massive protest movements amid growing rifts between ruler and ruled.
- Kasama – NATO invasion as instrument of Libyan austerity?: “The defeat’s broader context, and the context of the Libyan civil war itself, is the world capitalist recession. At the time Tripoli reached its accommodation with imperialism and began implementing IMF-style austerity measures, the progressive social safety net that had buoyed the lives of millions of Libyans, proletarian, peasant, and bourgeois, began to erode. This was the material basis for the rise of the TNC and the support it initially received in commencing the civil war.“
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- The Smithwick Inquiry Report December 5, 2013Eight years after it was established the report of the Smithwick Tribunal was finally published on Tuesday evening. I want to commend Justice Smithwick for his hard work of many years. I am very mindful that at the heart of the Smithwick Inquiry there are two bereaved families and I hope the report helps bring some measure of closure for them. I also want […]
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- Sean Heuston Society – Lecture on December 7th on the ICA at the National History Museum, Collins Barracks December 5, 2013
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- Surviving Oligarchy November 29, 2013
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- Korea’s Domestic Cold War December 4, 2013
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