THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
March 8, 2011
The Wisdom Fund

Libya Oil Grab Disguised As Humanitarian Assistance

While others clamor for a no-fly zone over Libya, the Libyan rebels' themselves need to be heard

by Enver Masud

Yesterday, a CBS News headline read "Libya rebels beg for no-fly as bombings persist". What is remarkable is that the article gives virtually no information on who are those Libyans that are begging for a no-fly zone.

The only information CBS provides as to the identity of the beggars is in the following paragraph:

In a firsthand look at why Libya's rebels are begging for a no-fly zone, CBS News was first on the scene after a bombing. People ignored the danger and raced to show the damage.
But there's no shortage of others begging for a no-fly zone.

According to the Agence France Presse (March 7), "The Gulf Cooperation Council demands that the UN Security Council take all necessary measures to protect civilians, including enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya".

The Guardian (March 4) reported that the British prime minister, David Cameron,

caused some surprise on both sides of the Atlantic when he called for Britain and its allies to draw up plans for a no-fly zone over Libya, was offered important support by Barack Obama on Thursday night. American military planners had been instructed to draw up a full range of options, including a no-fly zone, Obama said at the White House during a press conference with his Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderon.
And one has only to turn on CNN to see that most of the debate is about a no-fly zone over Libya. Essentially missing are the voices of the Libyan rebels themselves.

"Hafiz Ghoga, a spokesman for the protesters' new National Libyan Council, insisted that calls for foreign intervention were entirely unwelcome, adding that the protesters have taken most of the nation and "the rest of Libya will be liberated by the people", according to Jason Ditz, at Antiwar.com.

Yesterday's editorial in the Guardian offers sound advice:

Some Libyan rebels have called for a no-fly zone, but until now - and this may change - the mood of the Libyan uprising is that this is their fight and their fight alone. Quite apart from the unwarranted legitimacy a bombing campaign would (once again) confer on the Libyan leader among his rump support in Tripoli and the damage it would do to attempts to split his camp, a major western military intervention could have unforeseen political consequences for the very forces it would be designed to support. A no-fly zone saved lives in Kurdish northern Iraq, but failed to protect the Shias in the south under Saddam Hussein. The moral strength of the Libyan rebels and their political claim to represent the true voice of the people both rest partly on the fact that, like the Egyptians and the Tunisians, they have come this far alone. The revolt is theirs, they are no one else's proxy, and the struggle is about ending tyranny rather than searching for new masters. Even if Gaddafi's forces succeed in checking the advance of rebel forces, and the civil war becomes protracted, it is the home-grown nature of this revolt that contains the ultimate seeds of the destruction of Gaddafi's regime. Thus far, it is Gaddafi and his sons who have had to import hired guns from abroad.

Jeremiah (Jerry) Haber (his nom de plume) -- an orthodox Jewish studies and philosophy professor, who divides his time between Israel and the US -- is more specific:

President Obama has already said that Muammar Gaddafi has lost his legitimacy as Libya's leader, so an important and necessary precursor to the whole debate about providing military or non-military assistance to Libya's revolutionaries, is formal recognition of their leadership: the Interim National Transitional Council in Benghazi.

The Council has formed an executive team headed by Dr Mahmoud Jebril Ibrahim El-Werfali and Dr Ali Aziz Al-Eisawi who will represent Libya's foreign affairs and have been delegated the authority to negotiate and communicate with all members of the international community and to seek international recognition.

The Transitional Council's third decree dated March 5, ends: "we request from the international community to fulfil its obligations to protect the Libyan people from any further genocide and crimes against humanity without any direct military intervention on Libyan soil."

That seems to leave open the question about whether a no-fly zone is being sought.

Libya has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

All that oil, writes Pepe Escobar, a columnist for Asia Times, and "the allure, close by, of the US $10 billion, 4,128 kilometer long Trans-Saharan gas pipeline from Nigeria to Algeria, expected to be online in 2015" has many U.S. elites salivating at the prospect of U.S.-European intervention in Libya.

Veteran Indian diplomat M K Bhadrakumar writes:

Clearly, the "intervention option" is propelling the Anglo-American juggernaut. A little behind, France tags along not to miss out on the "peace dividends" that follow the intervention - Libyan oil. The parallel with the Iraq war is striking, except that things are on a fast-forward mode.

Let's wait until the Interim National Transitional Council in Benghazi asks for a no-fly zone or other assistance. In the meantime, check out reports that may lead one to conclude that the Interim National Transitional Council is itself a creation of the the U.S.



Smedley Darlington Butler, "'War Is A Racket'," The Wisdom Fund, September 11, 2001 (speech delivered in 1933)

Enver Masud, "Pan Am 103: Lockerbie Verdict 'Astonishing'," The Wisdom Fund, February 6, 2001

Andrew I. Killgore, "Libya's Great Man-Made River Project," wrmea.com, March 2001

Nigel Morris and Andrew Buncombe, "Libya Gives Up Nuclear and Chemical Weapons," Independent, December 20, 2003

[The NED (National Endowment for Democracy) was established by the Reagan Administration in 1983, to do overtly, what the CIA had done covertly, in the words of one its legislative drafters, Allen Weinstein.--Jonathan Mowat "Washington's New World Order 'Democratization' Template," Centre for Research on Globalisation, February 9, 2005]

"Libyan Opposition Spurns Calls for Foreign 'Help': US, Europe Salivate Over Libyan Oil," The Wisdom Fund, February 26, 2011

Akhtar Jamal, "US UK, French forces land in Libya," pakobserver.net, March 1, 2011

Antonio E. Paris, "No To An Imperialist Attack On Libya," voltairenet.org, March 6, 2011

[The group's capture is a major embarrassment to the British government and could potentially undermine the rebels' claims that the revolution has had solely domestic roots.--Martin Chulov, "SAS and MI6 officers released by Libya's rebel commanders," Guardian, March 7, 2011]

Michel Chossudovsky, "Insurrection and Military Intervention: The US-NATO Attempted Coup d'Etat in Libya?," globalresearch.ca, March 7, 2011

Robert Fisk, "America's secret plan to arm Libya's rebels: Obama asks Saudis to airlift weapons into Benghazi," Independent, March 7, 2011

Patrick J. Buchanan, "It's Their War, Not Ours," antiwar.com, March 8, 2011

Richard Falk, "Will We Ever Learn? Kicking the Intervention Habit," veteranstoday.com, March 8, 2011

[But hardly any mention is made in the US of the 65 Afghan civilians recently killed by a US air strike, or the nine Afghan boys collecting wood on a hillside massacred by US helicopter gunships last week

Nor about repeated US air strikes on Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen that have killed large numbers of civilians. When we do it, it's "collateral damage" and "stuff happens." . . .

The oldest trick in the imperial playbook is to foment an uprising, then call for outside help.

This writer has reported for weeks that Britain's elite Special Air Service (SAS) has been rallying anti-Gadaffi forces in and around Benghazi, seizing desert oil installations, and helping attack pro-Gadaffi forces. Britain has stoutly denied this.--Eric Margolis, "Morally Indignant Sharks Circle Libya While Osama Smiles," lewrockwell.com, March 8, 2011]

Stephen Kinzer, "Why the US must not intervene in Libya," Guardian, March 9, 2011

[All indications are that the US and its allies who are assisting the Libyan rebels politically, militarily and financially have been hoping to extract a "request" from the Libyan people within a day or two at the most as a fig-leaf to approach the United Nations Security Council for a mandate to impose sanctions under the auspices of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Libyan rebels are a divided house: nationalist elements staunchly oppose outside intervention and the Islamists among them are against any form of Western intervention. . . .

Obama's calculation is that if only a Libyan "people's request" could be generated, that would in historical terms absolve him and the West of the blame of invading a sovereign member country of the United Nations - from a moral and political angle, at least - as well as push the Arab League and African Union into the enterprise.--M K Bhadrakumar, "Arab revolt reworks the world order," atimes.com, March 10, 2011

[France has become the first country to recognise the Libyan rebel leadership, the National Libyan Council (NLC), as the country's legitimate government.--"France recognises Libyan rebels," BBC News, March 10, 2011]

[Editorial: Almost all the western options talked about, or under consideration, involve illegal military intervention of some kind.

. . . Arming the rebels would bolster Mr. Qadhafi's claim that a colonialist plot is being hatched. . . . India, along with other developing countries, has done well to express its opposition to the use of force as well as to a no-fly zone to resolve the Libyan crisis.--"Oppose military intervention," The Hindu, March 10, 2011]

Chris McGreal, "Libya rebels appeal for air strikes against Gaddafi," Guardian, March 11, 2011 -- If Obama responds, does that consitute de facto recognition of the Transitional National Council as Libya's legitimate government?

[The White House announced that it would send a government aid team into rebel-held parts of Libya, . . . the administration stopped far short of recognizing the rebels' Transitional National Council as Libya's legitimate government.--Karen DeYoung, Edward Cody and William Branigin, "Obama concerned about Gaddafi's gains but says noose is tightening on Libyan leader," washingtonpost.com, March 11, 2011 -- What's the legal basis for this intervention?]

"AU rejects use of force on Libya," vanguardngr.com, March 11, 2011

[ . . . it is odd that a specific rebel request not to put "boots on the ground" was so wilfully disregarded. We must assume that at SIS headquarters the James Bond urge simply overwhelms any consideration of counter-productivity. . . .

Barack Obama says he "needs" Gaddafi to go, and David Cameron's position is much the same. Why this need is so pressing when, just months ago, Gaddafi was a dear ally and patron of western scholarship is a mystery. . . .

To this is added the bizarre claim that a "responsibility to protect" the underdog in a civil war "devolves on to the security council" and, if not, on to any Tom, Dick or Harry. In other words, military aggression is anything you can pay a lawyer to justify. It is the Bush-Cheney theory of zero national sovereignty, and could be used to justify every aggressive war by Washington or Moscow over the last 50 years.--Simon Jenkins, "'No-fly zone' is a euphemism for war. We'd be mad to try it," Guardian, March 11, 2011]

Wesley K. Clark, "Gen. Wesley Clark says Libya doesn't meet the test for U.S. military action," washingtonpost.com, March 11, 2011

March 11, 2011

[But if anyone needs to know the truth about American and EU lies, one has but to look at Pravda and Xinhua news that make clear that, according to their satellites, Qaddafi's air force did not attack the Libyan people.--Sam Hamod, "AFRICAN UNION, DESTROY IT: THE SECRET AGENDA OF AMERICA AND THE EU," wadhaf.com, March 13, 2011]

[He (Amr Moussa) hopes to succeed Mubarak as Egypt's next president. . . .

Two major Arab countries opposed the AL statement - Syria and Algeria - but Moussa rammed it through, thanks to the AL heavyweights clamoring for democracy to succeed and autocracy to end - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan. . . .

The Western powers had earlier mentioned the AL and African Union (AU) in the same breath as representing "regional opinion". Now it seems the AU isn't so important - it has become an embarrassment. African leaders are proving to be tough nuts to crack compared to Arab playboy-rulers.--M K Bhadrakumar, "African dissent on no-fly zone counts," atimes.com, March 15, 2011]

"'Scholars' urge Obama to impose no-fly zone over Libya," csidonline.org, March 16, 2011 -- According to Guidestar, CSID appears to be funded entirely by the U.S. government. One of its officers or employees, Radwan Ziadeh, lists his address at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, DC.

Andrew Murray, "TEN REASONS TO OPPOSE MILITARY INTERVENTION IN LIBYA," socialistunity.com, March 16, 2011

[The resolution establishes "a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians." It also authorizes U.N. member states to take "all necessary measures ... to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory."

The vote was 10-0 with five countries abstaining including Russia and China, which have veto power in the council, along with India, Germany and Brazil. The United States, France and Britain pushed for speedy approval.--Edith M. Lederer, "UN approves no-fly zone over Libya," Associated Press, March 17, 2011]

[It is the calculation of a man who, contrary to popular opinion is not mad, but behaving quite rationally. . . .

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said he opposed foreign intervention and called for an immediate ceasefire. Turkey's voice matters. It is Nato's only Muslim member and any Nato operation would need to be approved by 28 member states.--David Hearst, "Gaddafi's ceasefire may split the coalition - and Libya," Guardian, March 18, 2011]

Seumas Milne, "There's nothing moral about Nato's intervention in Libya," Guardian, March 23, 2011

Ian Black, "Libya's biggest tribe joins march of reconciliation to Benghazi," Guardian, March 23, 2011

David Wilson, "Depleted Uranium: A Strange Way To Protect Libyan Civilians," sott.net, March 25, 2011

Norah Owaraga, in 2007, wrote in the African Executive Magazine: "[U]nlike other oil producing countries such as Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, [Libya] utilized the revenue from its oil to develop its [economy]. The standard of living . . . is one of the highest in Africa, falling in the category of countries with a GNP per capita of between US$2,200 and $6,000."--Satur C. Ocampo, "Desert storm 2," Philippine Star, March 26, 2011

[They are entitled to free treatment, and their hospitals provide the best in the world of medical equipment.

Education in Libya is free, capable young people have the opportunity to study abroad at government expense. When marrying, young couples receive 60,000 Libyan dinars (about 50,000 U.S. dollars) of financial assistance.

Non-interest state loans, and as practice shows, undated. Due to government subsidies the price of cars is much lower than in Europe, and they are affordable for every family. Gasoline and bread cost a penny, no taxes for those who are engaged in agriculture.--"Testimony of Russia Doctors in Libya: The Destruction of a Country. The Bombing of Civilian Targets," Global Research, March 28, 2011]

[The Libyan government did not have a representative present at the meeting after its nominated ambassador, former President of the General Assembly Ali Abdel-Salam Treki was denied admission to the United States. Nevertheless, although officially relieved of his duties more than a week ago for defecting to the opposition, former deputy permanent representative Ibrahim Dabbashi was on hand at the Security Council media stakeout Wednesday to make a statement and take questions.--Curtis Doebbler, "Why the Attack on Libya is Illegal," counterpunch.org, March 28, 2011]

[Having spent the past 10 years pretending to be anti-war - describing the attack on Iraq as 'criminal' and the war in Afghanistan as 'a trifle ill-judged' - the liberal and left-wing set that originally invented the idea of 'humanitarian warfare' in the 1990s are once more at the forefront of public debate. They've cast off the anti-imperialist garb that they temporarily donned to make their disappointment with Blair and their snobbish disdain for Bush appear principled, to reveal that, underneath, there lurk the same old laptop bombardiers keen to visit their moralistic fury upon some wayward nation.--Brendan O'Neill, "Yes, this is a humanitarian war - that is what makes it so deadly," spiked-online.com, March 31, 2011]

[Did Gadhafi attack us? Did he attack a NATO country, thereby triggering Article 5 of the treaty requiring us to go to war? Have his forces carried out massacres of such magnitude in recaptured towns and cities as to morally mandate our humanitarian intervention?

Where? What has Gadhafi done in any rebel city that has fallen to him to compare with what Syria's Hafez al-Assad did in Hama, when he rolled up his artillery in 1982 and slaughtered between 10,000 and 20,000 to teach the Muslim Brotherhood a lesson in loyalty?--Patrick J. Buchanan, "A Community Organizer Goes to War," antiwar.com, April 1, 2011]

[Needs Verification: By retaining Libya's oil wealth for the benefit of all its people, Gadaffi had created a socialist paradise. There is no unemployment, Libya has the highest GDP in Africa, less than 5% of the population is classified as poor and it has fewer people living below the poverty datum line than for example in Holland. Life expectancy is 75 years and is the highest in Africa and I0% above the world average.--Stephen Goodson, "The Truth About Libya," rense.com, April 1, 2011]

Enver Masud, "LIBYA TALKING POINTS," The Wisdom Fund, April 1, 2011

"UN Praised Libya's Human Rights Record. Washington Attempted to Block Release of UNHRC Report," Global Research, April 5, 2011

Seumas Milne, "Ignoring its imperial history licenses the west to repeat it: The former colonial powers who now fly the flag of protection and rights as they go to war will not deliver either," Guardian, April 6, 2011

[One might think the application of the Serbian model to Libya would raise red flags in the U.S. news media since it suggests that NATO may end up killing large numbers of civilians under a United Nations mandate to protect civilians.--Robert Parry, "Trying 'Shock and Awe' in Libya," consortiumnews.info, April 27, 2011]

[A boat carrying 72 passengers, including several women, young children and political refugees, ran into trouble in late March after leaving Tripoli for the Italian island of Lampedusa. Despite alarms being raised with the Italian coastguard and the boat making contact with a military helicopter and a Nato warship, no rescue effort was attempted.--Jack Shenker, "Nato units left 61 African migrants to die of hunger and thirst," Guardian, May 8, 2011]

[The UN said it had no information regarding the nationality of those on the vessel, but said that many of those waiting in Italy were Somali. The agency added that it was unclear if anyone had mounted a rescue mission, but said that Nato was not involved in any search.--Catrina Stewart, "Ship 'with 600 people aboard' sinks as refugees flee from Libya," Independent, May 10, 2011]

[ . . . virtually every resort to force, by whoever it is, is accompanied by the most noble rhetoric. It's all completely humanitarian. That includes Hitler taking over Czechoslovakia, the Japanese fascists rampaging in northeast China. In fact, it's Mussolini in Ethiopia.--"Noam Chomsky: 'The U.S. and Its Allies Will Do Anything to Prevent Democracy in the Arab World'," democracynow.org, May 11, 2011]

[Specifically at issue was an Eni deal that would have given Gazprom access to Libyan oil and would have had Eni help Gazprom build a pipeline across the Black Sea. This project would have competed with a similar project backed by the U.S. government that would have connected gas fields in the Caspian region directly to Europe, bypassing Russia and Gazprom.--Kevin G. Hall, "WikiLeaks cables show that it was all about the oil," mcclatchydc.com, May 16, 2011]

[The NATO attack on Libya, with the UN Security Council assigned to mandate a bogus "no fly zone" to "protect civilians", is strikingly similar to the final destruction of Yugoslavia in 1999. . . .

The assault on Libya, a crime under the Nuremberg standard, is Britain's 46th military "intervention" in the Middle East since 1945. Like its imperial partners, Britain's goal is to control Africa's oil.--John Pilger, "Welcome to the Violent World of Mr. Hopey Changey," antiwar.com, May 28, 2011]

[The National Transitional Council puts the losses at 30,000 dead and 50,000 wounded.--Seumas Milne, "If the Libyan war was about saving lives, it was a catastrophic failure," Guardian, October 26, 2011]

[A young French film-maker, Julien Teil, has filmed a remarkable interview in which the secretary general of the Libyan League for Human Rights, Slimane Bouchuiguir, candidly admits that he had "no proof" of the allegations he made before the U.N. Human Rights Commission which led to immediate expulsion of the official Libyan representative and from there to U.N. Resolutions authorizing what turned into the NATO war of regime change. Indeed, no proof has ever been produced of the "bombing of Libyan civilians" denounced by Al Jazeera, the television channel financed by the Emir of Qatar, who has emerged with a large share of Libyan oil business from the "liberation war" in which Qatar participated.--Diana Johnstone, "As the 'Humanitarian Warriors' Gloat... Here's the Key Question in the Libyan War," Guardian, October 26, 2011]

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