The Empire Hits Back

EDITORIAL, 4 Apr 2011

#158 | Johan Galtung - TRANSCEND Media Service

From Washington

The Libya attack was planned months ago, and Alfred Ross summarizes the history in five points:

[1] Since 1969, when Gadhafi forced the US military out of Libya the US has been planning to return and overthrow him.

[2] In 1981 the CIA created the NFSL, the National front for the Liberation of Libya, which launched a series of well-armed attacks in the 1980s, and its own Libyan National army, LNA.  It was the CIA armed NFSL, and its spokes-person Ibrahim Sahad (a Nobel Peace Prize candidate?), who launched the demonstrations in February that led to the humanitarian crisis. Unlike in Tunisia and Egypt the demonstrations were quickly militarized.

[3] The British and French signed a military agreement November 2 2010 and began planning the attack on Libya no later than January 30, 2011.  There is a series of military web-sites documenting this.

[4]  The military plan, then, was to attack a “Southern Dictatorship”, “Southland” March 21-25 2011; indicating that the dictator’s son might take over from his father.  There is no question that the premeditate target was Libya (Gadhafi’s son loved Chicago).

[5] The US-Britain and France assured the CIA-created opposition that if they attacked the army of Libya, they on their side had a well developed plan to attack (a number of military web-sites specify the fighter planes to be used).

This is, of course, what we would expect, for instance on the basis of what happened in Tibet a little over 50 years ago:

“In 2002 The CIA’s Secret War in Tibet was published by the University Press of Kansas where the two authors‑‑Kenneth Conboy of the Heritage Foundation and James Morrison, an Army veteran trainer for the CIA‑‑describe how the CIA set up and ran Tibet’s so-called resistance movement.  The Dalai Lama himself was on the CIA payroll, and approved the CIA’s plans for the armed uprising” (TMS editorial Tibet, 14 April 2008).

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), twice presidential candidate, sent a letter March 29, 2011 to colleagues in the US Congress based on this information, pointing out that Obama had taken time for all the consultations with 28 NATO members, 22 Arab League members, 15 UNSC members, and for extensive coordination with France and Great Britain, but “no time to come to the United States Congress”, “following the Constitutional requirements in Article 1-Section 8”, asking them to cut off funds for Libyan war.      But there is more: From past planning, to present action.

Pepe Escobar in Asia Times ( East/MD020Ak01.html) outlines the essence of “The US-Saudi Libya Deal: You invade Bahrain and we take out Gadhafi”, struck between the Obama administration and House of Saud. [Escobar’s article is posted on In Focus here]

“Two diplomatic sources at the UN–a European and a member of the BRIC group–independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor–the opposition wants constitutional monarchy, a legitimate parliament, fair elections, no corruption–in exchange for a “yes” vote by the Arab League for a non-fly zone over Libya.  The diplomats said that this was the reason for not voting for UNSC 1973; they argued that Libya-Bahrain-Yemen were similar.

Of the Arab League 22 members only 11 were present at the meeting.  Six of them were Gulf Cooperation Council members–the US-supported club of oil rich kingdoms/sheikhdoms.  Syria and Algeria were against.  Saudi Arabia only had to “seduce” three other members to get the vote.  There was the great 2011 Arab revolt.  Then, inexorably, came the US-Saudi counter-revolution.

NATO’s first African war, US-NATO AFRICOM bases in Libya, access to oil in East Libya, a neo-liberal economy.  And so on.

Nothing new.  US-Western foreign policy is based on interests + pretexts, the latter for the naive.  And they have added to the lie about 9/11 being prepared in Afghanistan and Iraq weapons of mass destruction the humanitarian crisis in Libya of their own making, well knowing they could count on a madman like Gadhafi at least to the rhetorical job.  What next?

First scenario: Opposition + NATO win the military game they are now playing: see above.  But, not that easy: This is a tribal country, the rebels are, like King Idris whose flag they use, with the Senoussi clan, against Gadhafi’s.  Bedouin logic puts a prize on courage and honor even if they lose militarily.  A beaten Gadhafi may be very dangerous in the longer run, given how his predictions about the Empire (and Fidel Castro’s of 21 February 2011: NATO occupation!) have been fulfilled.  Iraq+10 years?

Second scenario: A: a stalemate, dividing the country in an oil-rich East and a Gadhafi West.  Much better, B: mediation, Gadhafi steps down as dictator but with honor; democracy; Libya for Libyans, not for the Empire.  A deal that Turkey, if given a chance, supported by BRIC+Germany, might be able to bring about.

Third scenario, that which would have happened without NATO: Gadhafi wins. Completely unacceptable for the Empire.  Bad enough not to win when they have intervened in favor of a party in a civil war, but even to be beaten by an outcaste: NEVER.  Then rather treat Gadhafi the way they handled Milosevic: if you do not give in to our demands Beograd–read Tripoli–will be flattened by carpet bombing.  The Finn who conveyed that message got a Nobel Peace Prize, maybe he could be called upon again?

One rational outcome and three irrational ones.  In their wake the beautiful Arab revolt against autocracy, cleptocray, empire; for youth and women, is sucked down, drowning.  Till next time.

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 4 Apr 2011.

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7 Responses to “The Empire Hits Back”

  1. kobejin says:

    has galtung gone mad? or maybe the CIA is putting LSD in his whine? his dislike of most things american has made him an eager conspiracy hound.

    johan, your first drafts are usually a mixture of brilliance and idiocy. this missive is no exception. toss the wacky ‘time table’, tighten up the rest and resubmit.

    • In my opinion, this article is more of a call to do your own research. The author has provided sources to consult and weigh. Kobejin: Sapere Aude! The claims made in the article are strong but they are not resting on imagined utterances unechoed by others. Substance for initial and further probing is mentioned in the article. The question isn’t whether Galtung has gone mad, but whether you are simply too lazy to think for yourself. Galtung has but provided food for thought and provided threads to verify the validity of the points informing his article. I respect his academic expertise enough to at least look into the claims using my own critical judgement before resorting to ad hominems. Simply a matter of good form and tact, but you rather hide behind the anonymity of the internet and insult others with impunity. Shame on you. Troll.

      • kobejin says:

        johan knows kobejin very well. i am one of his former editors. maybe you don’t know how badly he needs editors. this editorial is no exception. the ‘time table’ at the beginning is paranoid drivel. it makes johan look like a nut and undermines his analysis.

  2. vithal rajan says:

    Galtung was not alone in seeing a Western oil driven intent to encircle middle-eastern oil. Very many Third World people were equally convinced on Western imperial interests. Do read what Fidel Castro had to say:
    NATO’s plan is to occupy Libya

    (Taken from CubaDebate)
    OIL became the principal wealth in the hands of the large yankee transnationals; with that source of energy, they had at their disposal an instrument that considerably increased their political power in the world. It was their principal weapon when they decided to simply liquidate the Cuban Revolution as soon as the first, just and sovereign laws were enacted in our homeland: by depriving it of oil.
    Current civilization was developed on the basis of this source of energy. Of the nations in this hemisphere it was Venezuela which paid the highest price. The United States made itself the owner of the vast oilfields which nature endowed upon that sister nation.
    At the end of the last World War it began to extract large volumes from oilfields in Iran, as well as those of Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the Arab countries located around them. These came to be the principal suppliers. World consumption rose progressively to the fabulous figure of approximately 80 million barrels per day, including those pumped in U.S. territory, to which gas, hydro-electric and nuclear energy were subsequently added. Up until the beginning of the 20th century coal was the fundamental source of energy that made possible industrial development, before billions of automobiles and engines consuming combustible liquid were produced.
    The squandering of oil and gas is associated with one of the greatest tragedies, totally unresolved, being endured by humanity: climate change.
    When our Revolution arose, Algeria, Libya and Egypt were not as yet oil producers and a large part of the substantial reserves of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and the United Arab Emirates were still to be discovered.
    In December of 1951, Libya became the first African country to attain its independence after World War II, during which its territory was the scene of significant battles between German and British troops, bringing fame to Generals Erwin Rommel and Bernard. L. Montgomery.
    Total desert covers 95% of its territory. Technology made it possible to find significant fields of excellent quality light oil, currently providing 800 billion barrels per day, and abundant natural gas deposits. Such wealth allowed it to achieve a life expectancy rate of close to 75 years and the highest per capita income in Africa. Its harsh desert is located above an enormous lake of fossil water, equivalent to more than three times the land surface of Cuba, which has made it possible to construct a broad network of fresh water pipes which extends throughout the country.
    Libya, which had one million inhabitants upon attaining its independence, now has a population of more than six million.
    The Libyan Revolution took place in September 1969. Its principal leader was Muammar al-Gaddafi, a soldier of Bedouin origin who was inspired in his early youth by the ideas of the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser. Without any doubt, many of his decisions are associated with the changes that came about when, as in Egypt, a weak and corrupt monarchy was overthrown in Libya.
    The inhabitants of that country have age-old warrior traditions. It is said that the ancient Libyans formed part of Hannibal’s army when he was at the point of liquidating Ancient Rome with the force that crossed the Alps.
    One can be in agreement with Gaddafi or not. The world has been invaded with all kind of news, especially through the mass media. We shall have to wait the time needed to discover precisely how much is truth or lies, or a mix of the events, of all kinds, which, in the midst of chaos, have been taking place in Libya. What is absolutely evident to me is that the government of the United States is totally unconcerned about peace in Libya and will not hesitate to give NATO the order to invade that rich country, possibly in a matter of hours or a few days.
    Those who, with perfidious intentions, invented the lie that Gaddafi was headed for Venezuela, as they did yesterday afternoon Sunday, February 20, today received a worthy response from Nicolás Maduro, Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs, when he stated textually that he was “voting for the Libyan people, in the exercise of their sovereignty, to find a peaceful solution to their difficulties which will preserve the integrity of the Libyan people and nation, without the interference of imperialism…”
    For my part, I cannot imagine the Libyan leader abandoning the country, eluding the responsibilities attributed to him, whether or not this news is partly or totally false.
    An honest person will always be against any injustice committed against any nation of the world, and the worst injustice, at this moment, would be to remain silent in the face of the crime that NATO is preparing to commit against the Libyan people.
    The chief of that military organization is being urged to do so. This must be condemned!

    Fidel Castro Ruz
    February 21, 2011
    10:14 p.m.
    NATO’s inevitable war (Part II)
    (Taken from CubaDebate)
    WHEN Gaddafi, aged just 28 and a colonel in the Libyan army, inspired by his Egyptian colleague Abdel Nasser, overthrew King Idris I in 1969, he implemented important revolutionary measures such as agrarian reform and the nationalization of oil. The growing income was dedicated to economic and social development, particularly educational and health services for the small Libyan population located in a vast desert territory with very little arable land.
    An extensive and deep sea of “fossil water” existed beneath that desert. When I heard about an experimental cultivation area I had the impression that, in the future, those aquifers would be more valuable than oil.
    Religious faith, preached with the fervor that characterizes Muslim nations, in part helped to compensate for the strong tribal tendency which still survives in that Arab country.
    Libyan revolutionaries devised and implemented their own ideas in relation to legal and political institutions, which Cuba, as a principle, respected.
    We totally abstained from expressing any opinions concerning the concepts of the Libyan leadership.
    We can clearly see that the fundamental concern of the United States and NATO is not Libya, but the revolutionary wave unleashed in the Arab world, which they wish to prevent at all costs.
    It is an irrefutable fact that relations between the United States and its NATO allies in recent years were excellent until the rebellion in Egypt and in Tunisia arose.
    In high-level meetings between Libya and NATO leaders, none of the latter had any problems with Gaddafi. The country was a secure source of high-quality oil, gas and even potassium supplies. The problems which arose between them in the early decades had been overcome.
    Strategic sectors such as oil extraction and transportation were opened up to foreign investment.
    Privatizations were extended to many public enterprises. The International Monetary Fund exercised its beatific role in the implementation of those operations.
    Logically, Aznar was fulsome in his praise of Gaddafi and after him, Blair, Berlusconi, Sarkozy, Zapatero and even my friend the King of Spain, paraded past the sardonic regard of the Libyan leader. They were happy.
    Although it might seem that I am mocking that is not the case; I am simply asking myself why they now want to take Gaddafi before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
    They are accusing him 24 hours a day of firing on unarmed citizens who were protesting. Why did they not explain to the world that the weapons and, above all, the sophisticated machinery of repression possessed by Libya, was supplied by the United States, Britain and other illustrious hosts of Gaddafi?
    I strongly oppose the cynicism and lies currently being used to justify the invasion and occupation of Libya.
    The last time that I visited Gaddafi was in May 2001, 15 years after Reagan attacked his very modest residence, where he took me to see what was left of it. It received a direct hit from the aircraft and was considerably destroyed; his little daughter three years of age died in the attack: she was murdered by Ronald Reagan. There was no prior agreement on the part of NATO, the Human Rights Committee, or the Security Council.
    My previous visit had taken place in 1977, eight years after the beginning of the revolutionary process in Libya. I visited Tripoli; I took part in the General People’s Congress in Sebha; I toured the first agricultural experiments with water pumped from the vast sea of fossil waters; I visited Benghazi, I was the object of a warm reception. It was a legendary country which had been the scenario of historic battles in World War II. It did not as yet have six million inhabitants, nor were its enormous volumes of oil and fossil waters known. The former Portuguese colonies in Africa had already been liberated.
    We had fought for 15 years in Angola against mercenary armies organized along tribal lines by the United States, the Mobutu government, and the well-equipped and trained racist apartheid army. This army, following U.S. instructions, as is now known, invaded Angola in 1975 in order to prevent its independence, reaching the outskirts of Luanda with its motorized forces. A number of Cuban instructors died in that brutal invasion. Resources were sent immediately.
    Expelled from that country by Cuban internationalists and Angolan troops to the border of South African occupied Namibia, the racists were given the mission of eliminating the revolutionary process in Angola.
    With the support of the United States and Israel they developed nuclear weapons. They already possessed them when the Cuban and Angolan troops defeated their land and air forces in Cuito Cuanavale and, defying the risk – using conventional tactics and means – advanced toward the border with Namibia, where the apartheid troops were attempting to resist. Twice in their history our forces have been at risk of attack by those kinds of weapons: in October of 1962 and in southern Angola, but on that second occasion, not even deploying those nuclear weapons that South Africa possessed could they have prevented the defeat which marked the end of the odious system. Those events took place under the government of Ronald Reagan in the United States and Piet Botha in South Africa.
    There is no talk of that and the hundreds of thousands of lives which the imperialist adventure cost.
    I regret having to recall those events when another great risk is hovering over the Arab peoples, because they are not resigned to continue being the victims of plunder and oppression.
    The Revolution in the Arab world so much feared by the United States and NATO is that of those who lack all rights in the face of those who flaunt all privileges, and thus is destined to be more profound than the one unleashed in Europe in 1789 with the storming of the Bastille.
    Not even Louis XIV, when he proclaimed that he was the state, possessed the privileges of King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia and far less the vast wealth that lies below the surface of that almost desert country, where yankee transnationals determine the extraction and thus the price of oil in the world.
    When the Libyan crisis began, extraction in Saudi Arabia rose to one million barrels a day at minimum cost and, in consequence, by those means alone, the income of that country and those who control it has risen to one billon dollars a day.
    No one should imagine that the Saudi people are swimming in money. There are moving accounts of the living conditions of many construction workers and those in other sectors obliged to work 13 to 14 hours a day for paltry wages.
    Shocked by the revolutionary wave which is shaking the prevalent system of plunder, in the wake of what took place with workers in Egypt and Tunisia, but also unemployed youth in Jordan, the occupied territories of Palestine, Yemen and even Bahrain and the Arab Emirates with higher per capita income, the upper echelons of the Saudi hierarchy has been impacted by the events.
    As opposed to other times, today the Arab peoples receive almost instantaneous information on events, albeit exceptionally manipulated.
    The worst thing for the status quo of the privileged sectors is that these persistent events are coinciding with a considerable increase in food prices and the devastating impact of climate change, while the United States, the largest producer of corn in the world, is wasting 40% of that product and a significant part of soy production on biofuels to feed automobiles. Lester Brown, the best informed American ecologist in the world on agricultural products, can surely give us an idea of the current food situation.
    The Bolivarian president, Hugo Chávez, is making a valiant effort to find a solution without NATO intervention in Libya. The chances of his attaining that objective would improve if he can achieve the feat of creating a broad movement of opinion before and not after the intervention takes place, and the peoples do not have to see the atrocious experience of Iraq repeated in other countries.
    End of Reflection.

    Fidel Castro Ruz
    March 3, 2011
    10:32 p.m.

  3. Games of War are not one-sided. Of course USA planned the attack on Lybia long ago, but so did France,UK,Italy and MANY others, including Lybia itself. As we all know, Italy’s “contribution” to this game is its land, its territory. Foreign war-planes can land there and, when not flying, destroying and killing, pilots are able to enjoy the company of “hostesses” provided and paid for but Silvio Berlusconi’s Government.

    We couldn’t play the same bloody Game in Egypt, because Mubarak didn’t want to, as his predecessors 90 years ago did, when the British Government “advised” their counterparts in Cairo that the best solution to their internal problems was a Civil War. The British Government of those days sold the weapons (in this Game, one shouldn’t say “sold”, but “provided”) to both the official Egyptian Army and the rebel Army. They “provided” (for a lot of cash and oil) training to both armies. Documents now available (some have been discussed by Tariq Ali) reveal how the size, the length of the conflict was discussed. Basically, the British offered “for this much £££££ you can have a 3-day war; for this much ££££, a 2 week war, etc, etc.

    Good business all round, for for all the Merchants of Death (weapon scientists, manufacturers, traders, Banks, manufacturers of soldiers uniforms, funeral services, etc) None of these sectors ever complains about wars.

    Politicians, colaterally, also benefit, so they become the willing partners in the Game. If the country itself goes Bankrupt because of these very costly games call “War” it doesn’t matter to politicians who play the Game, as they know they’ll soon retire and another generation of politicians will need to deal with the financial mess.


  4. I agree with this opinion.!