Gaddafi is dead


and this is all you need to know about that

A Libyan, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, was found guilty of the bombing [of Pan Am flight 103] by a Scottish court in the Hague, his co-defendant, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, being acquitted. At long last there was going to be some kind of closure for the families.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

What’s wrong is that the evidence against Megrahi was stretched thin to the point of transparency. Indeed, the court verdict might be dubbed Supreme Court II [a reference to the Bush v. Gore decision that put George W. Bush in the White House], another instance of non-judicial factors clouding judicial reasoning.

The key charge against Megrahi — the sine qua non — is that he caused a suitcase with explosives to be loaded at Malta airport and tagged it so it would pass through Malta, Frankfurt and London airports without an accompanying passenger and without being detected.

That by itself would have been a major feat and so unlikely to happen that any terrorist with any common sense would have found a better way. But aside from anything else, we have this — as to the first step, loading the suitcase at Malta: there is no witness, no video, no document, no fingerprints, no forensic evidence of any kind linking Megrahi — or anyone else — to such an act.

And the court admits it: “The absence of any explanation of the method by which the primary suitcase might have been placed on board KM180 [Air Malta] is a major difficulty for the Crown case.”

in other words because of the political winds of the time, not evidence, Libya had to be implicated in an act of terror that they most likely had nothing to do with.  It’s important to keep in mind, as Robert Parry says,

As Americans turn to their news media to make sense of the upheavals in the Middle East, it’s worth remembering that the bias of the mainstream U.S. press corps is most powerful when covering a Washington-designated villain, especially if he happens to be Muslim.

The other thing you need to know about Gaddafi’s death is this tidbit from South Carolina US senator Lindsey Graham who said

Let’s get in on the ground. There is a lot of money to be made in the future in Libya. Lot of oil to be produced. Let’s get on the ground and help the Libyan people establish a democracy and a functioning economy based on free market principles.

I hope the Libyans see this guy coming before he gets there and hoodwinks them much like he has their counterparts here in America.

Glen Greenwald’s definition of terrorism is right on the money, really


He nails it and has nailed it for some time.  This is what he says

I’ve often written that Terrorism is the most meaningless, and thus most manipulated, term in American political discourse.  But while it lacks any objective meaning, it does have a functional one.  It means:  anyone — especially of the Muslim religion and/or Arab nationality — who fights against the United States and its allies or tries to impede their will.  That’s what “Terrorism” is; that’s all it means.  And it’s just extraordinary how we’ve created what we call ”law” that is intended to do nothing other than justify all acts of American violence while delegitimizing, criminalizing, and converting into Terrorism any acts of resistance to that violence….

it’s not remotely criminal that the U.S. attacked Iraq, spent 7 years destroying the country, and left at least 100,000 people dead.  To even suggest that American officials responsible for that attack should be held criminally liable is to marginalize oneself as a fringe and unSerious radical.  It’s not an idea that’s even heard, let alone accepted…..

The U.S. repeatedly tried to kill Saddam at the start of the Iraq War, and — contrary to Obama’s early pledges — has done the same to Gadaffi in Libya. NATO has explicitly declared Gadaffi to be a “legitimate target.”  But just imagine if an Iraqi had come to the U.S. and attempted to bomb the White House or kill George Bush, or if a Libyan (or Afghan, Pakistani, or Yemeni) did the same to Obama.  Would anyone in American political circles be allowed to suggest that this was a legitimate act of war?  Of course not:  screaming “Terrorism!” would be the only acceptable reaction.

I applaud Greenwald’s courage in taking a stand against the very obvious racist application of the terrorist term.  It’s use is meant to conjure up images of a ‘clash of civilizations’ where no such clash exists.  When one hears the term it can only mean one thing, the destruction of the values that we hold so dearly by Muslims who want to impose Sharia law on an unwitting population.  Quite frankly it is demagogic, designed to elicit a fear and loathing response that it’s hoped will drive America to systemically oppress a group of people based on their race and religion.  I renew my call for all good people of conscience to reject such grandstanding and bigoted behavior and to call it what it is, just like Greenwald, whenever the opportunity presents itself.

 

Black is white and up is down


Cover of January, 1915 National Geographic Mag...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve just seen the Nic Robertson interview with Imam al-Obeidi, the Libyan woman who says she was gang raped by Qaddafi‘s thugs and I’ve got all these swirling emotions going on in my head that I have to put down on paper.First of all, I was more than a little put off by Robertson’s calm assertion that Obeidi seems to be healing physically rather well from her assault. Let’s remember she was held for several days and repeatedly raped and brutalized by several men only three short weeks ago, during the week of the 21st of March. If you believe as I that rape is a crime of violence, then platitudes about how well she’s doing are too paternalistic for my stomach. Yes, it’s amazing she’s gone on and done an interview with him, and she was very calm throughout it, but her ordeal is far from over as she stated, and her wounds are much deeper than Robertson could know.

His attitude reminds me of the National Geographic types who have no problem showing pictures of naked female aborigines or Africans while claiming to be sterile and clinical in their approach to female nudity but would recoil at the prospect of doing something similar with women from Western society because it’s simply not appropriate. Obeidi’s motives have also been rather suspect in the eyes of some…..even I have cast a sideways glance at her when her story first appeared. We have been bamboozled by people who claim to have been victims, in an attempt to get what some consider the correct foreign policy response, as a result of a pleading victim…in most cases a woman. The Kuwaiti kid who went before Congress to lie about babies and incubators and the the female military service members captured by the Iraqi Army in the beginnings of the last Iraqi campaign all come to mind. Even the Libyan government called into question its victim’s motives, calling her a drunk, a whore and every conceivable name we usually toss at women who are the victims of sexual assault…….especially those women we don’t like and think somehow deserved what they got. But it’s altogether conceivable that this is what it seems, a woman who was brutalized by a brutal dictator who’s been around for a very long time who is completely indifferent to the everyday life of his people. As far as Qaddafi and his supporters are concerned, Obeidi merely was in the wrong place at the wrong time, like countless others in Libya and if she doesn’t look after herself no one else will either, certainly not the leaders of Libya.

While I watched the interview at the hands of a condescending Robertson, I couldn’t help but think if that were Lara Logan, would his tone be any different? You remember Logan, don’t you, the television reporter who said she was raped while covering the Egyptian uprising in February. We wrote about her previously. Since returning to America and her family, Logan has been neither seen nor heard from and I don’t know of any efforts to secure an interview with her to get her side of her story of Tahrir Square. Rather, it seems the “story” of Logan’s rape is the news about Nir Rosen’s tweet that looked sideways at what happened to her and the employment ramifications for him that Logan’s claim of rape has been. Rosen has been hounded or had to resign from two different jobs as a result of reminding people that Logan has been a water carrier for America’s wars of empire in the Middle East AND for quite frankly minimizing her rape as a groping, which others have asserted is really what happened in the first place. So what we have is the National Geographic type attitude towards rape….we can be clinical and far removed enough from the ugliness of rape to conduct an interview with a Libyan rape victim, still kept apart from her family and support structure by  an oppressive dictator, and ask all the right questions because it’s in the interest of journalistic integrity…..questions we might never ask someone who looked like Lara Logan nor even dare assert we have the right to ask. In the end however, both women, al-Obeidi and Logan, are asking us to do the same thing; take a look at the people behind the violence that was committed against them. Unfortunately the supporters of both women have perverted that message and made it a political rather than a criminal message they aim to convey. At least Obaidi has been more honest about it than Logan. Obeidi has come out squarely against the Qaddafi regime and pointed, indirectly, a finger at him for who is responsible. Logan’s supporters, particularly those among the press have made their points too, but it has been a finger of aspersion at Arabs, Muslims, Egyptians, men…the baby and the bath water. This is what has made what happened to Logan disingenuous and cheapens and diminishes her. So maybe Robertson, CNN indeed Logan’s own network ought to insist with as much vigor as they can muster that she be interviewed on television too to provide her side of the story and remove all doubt. No one will insist that, and some may even castigate me for saying that they should. Meanwhile I applaud the courage of all women who stand up to their attackers and demand justice!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

Farrakhan Warns, Advises Obama on Libya


 

I should have titled this ‘birds of a feather’ because Louis Farrakhan has joined the ranks of such notable Islamophobic bigots as Pamela Geller in support of Libyan president Ghadafi against the dissidents in his country who are seeking to oust him, but for entirely different reasons.  Geller seems to think that Ghadafi’s opposition is encouraged by the omnipotent Muslim Brotherhood or other similar “islamists” who want to devour the world by killing and or converting all one person at a time.  She’s cast her net therefore with the Libyan president who  she claims, ‘not that Libya has been good under Gaddafi – hardly. But there are degrees of evil. The situation can always be worse, and little matches the anti-human brutality of Islamic regimes in the twenty-first century.’

Farrakhan, equally vitriolic when it comes to racist tendencies, therefore seems to share a common interest with Geller and I find that mildly  amusing in an ironic and unexpected kind of way.  Both will adamantly disavow one another but one can see where there is divergence in goals there is usually divergence in means or opportunity.  Geller and Farrakhan, two peas in a pod, nurtured by the same soil, nationalism and racism.  They should both go center stage, join hands and bow; they deserve one another.