Lies about NATO’s ‘humanitarian’ Libya war exposed


This video says about itself:

Mystery Over Who Just Bombed Libya — Solved!

25 August 2014

“Twice in the last seven days, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have secretly launched airstrikes against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli, Libya, four senior American officials said, in a major escalation of a regional power struggle set off by Arab Spring revolts.

“The United States, the officials said, was caught by surprise: Egypt and the Emirates, both close allies and military partners, acted without informing Washington, leaving the Obama administration on the sidelines. Egyptian officials explicitly denied to American diplomats that their military played any role in the operation, the officials said, in what appeared a new blow to already strained relations between Washington and Cairo.

“The strikes in Tripoli are another destabilizing salvo in a power struggle defined by old-style Arab autocrats battling Islamist movements seeking to overturn the old order. Since the military ouster of the Islamist president in Egypt last year, the new government and its backers in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have launched a campaign across the region — in the news media, in politics and diplomacy, and by arming local proxies — to roll back what they see as an existential threat to their authority posed by Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood.”*

The Young Turks’ hosts John Iadarola (http://twitter.com/jiadarola), Ben Mankiewicz (http://twitter.com/benmank77) and Wesley Clark Jr. break down the story.

* For more, read the full New York Times story here.

By Ian Sinclair in Britain:

Another nail in the coffin of the case for Libyan ‘intervention’

Monday 23rd February 2015

More untruths surrounding the invasion are coming to light, says IAN SINCLAIR

THOUGH the British press have chosen to ignore it, a recent report in the Washington Times newspaper is the latest nail in the coffin that is the mainstream narrative of the 2011 Nato intervention in Libya.

An intervention, perhaps not coincidentally, which received the support of the vast majority of the British newspapers and 557 wise MPs, with just 13 opposed.

The mainstream narrative runs something like this. After the Tunisian-inspired protests erupted in February 2011, Libyan government forces responded with overwhelming, deadly violence, beating the rebels back to the eastern city of Benghazi. At this point Nato, authorised by the United Nations, set up a no-fly zone, supposedly to protect civilians in Benghazi.

Justifying the intervention, then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton referred to Kosovo and the Rwandan genocide in an interview with ABC News.

“Imagine we were sitting here and Benghazi had been overrun, a city of 700,000 people, and tens of thousands of people had been slaughtered, hundreds of thousands had fled,” she said. “The cries would be: ‘Why did the United States not do anything?’”

Likewise, speaking to Parliament a couple of days after the operation had begun, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Nato had helped to avoid a “bloody massacre” in Benghazi “in the nick of time.”

However, citing secret audio recordings between an intermediary working for the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Libyan government, the Washington Times suggested genocide was not imminent: “Defense intelligence officials could not corroborate those concerns and in fact assessed that Muammar Gadaffi was unlikely to risk world outrage by inflicting mass casualties.”

The report goes onto quote Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and north Africa division: “At that point, we did not see the imminence of massacres that would rise to genocide-like levels.”

This conclusion is supported by Alan J Kuperman, associate professor of public affairs in the Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas.

“Gadaffi did not perpetrate a ‘bloodbath’ in any of the cities that his forces recaptured from rebels prior to Nato intervention … so there was virtually no risk of such an outcome if he had been permitted to recapture the last rebel stronghold of Benghazi,” Kuperman argued in a 2013 policy brief prepared for the world-renowned Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School.

At the time there were shocking stories about Libyan government forces using mass rape as a weapon of war and Libyan aircraft bombing peaceful demonstrators. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch found no evidence for the former. Hugh Roberts, a former director of the International Crisis Group’s north Africa project, found the latter claim to be false too.

“The story was untrue, just as the story that went round the world in August 1990 that Iraqi troops were slaughtering Kuwaiti babies by turning off their incubators was untrue and the claims in the sexed-up dossier on Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction were untrue,” he said.

The Washington Times also highlighted the various attempts made by the Libyan government to push for a negotiated settlement. Early in the conflict the head of the US African Command attempted to negotiate a truce but was ordered to stand down by Clinton’s State Department.

Again, this account chimes with many other reports that show Nato repeatedly ignored ceasefire proposals coming from Libya and the African Union. According to Roberts: “London, Paris and Washington could not allow a ceasefire because it would have involved negotiations… and all this would have subverted the possibility of the kind of regime change that interested the Western powers.”

Today, Libya is a chaotic mess. In November 2014 Amnesty International warned that “lawless militias and armed groups on all sides of the conflict in western Libya are carrying out rampant human rights abuses, including war crimes.” The same month the UN refugee agency reported that nearly 400,000 Libyans had been displaced by the ongoing violence, while the Associated Press noted the Libyan city of Darna had become the first city outside of Syria and Iraq to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State group.

Misinformation and propaganda used as a pretext for war. A war that plays a significant role in destroying an oil-rich nation in the Middle East. Sound familiar? Like Iraq, we should demand a public inquiry into Britain’s involvement in this duplicitous aggression. At the very least all those journalists who backed the intervention need to start asking the searching questions they should have asked back in 2011.

Ian Sinclair is the author of The March That Shook Blair: An Oral History of 15 February 2003, published on Peace News Press.

Wildlife news, not war news, from Iraq


This video is about a chuckar partridge (the national bird of Kurdistan; and of Pakistan).

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Sunday 22 February 2015

How butterflies are harbingers of hope in war-torn Iraq

A conservation group dedicated to preserving biodiversity offers a hope of fledgling renewal for this war-shattered land

Nature Iraq: not an oxymoron, but the name of the country’s leading conservation group.

Since it was founded in 2004, it has set up a series of projects to understand and protect the wildlife of Iraq. Now it is able to reflect on three years of effective work which has brought great benefits, both to humans and to wildlife.

You might think that compared with other problems being faced by people in Iraq, those that concern the distribution of butterflies are pretty insignificant. But you’d be wrong. Butterflies matter to the world: and perhaps they matter more to Iraq than to any other nation on earth.

That’s because conservation is one of the arts of peace. Preserving wildlife is important at all times and in all places; but when it comes to the healing of a shattered and broken country, a butterfly has a significance that towers above the trivialities. So here are a few examples of what Nature Iraq has been getting up to.

For a start, it has been running a study and education programme in Iraqi Kurdistan, in the north-east of the country. The group is supported by the Darwin Initiative, funded by the UK government; by the Centre for Middle Eastern Plants, based in Edinburgh; and by Birdlife International, with headquarters in Cambridge. So it’s a business that rises above local troubles. It has a global input and a global significance: wildlife conservation in one place is possible only through the efforts of people in many other places.

Nature Iraq has established an on-line course on biodiversity and conservation, in partnership with the University of Sulaimani in the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah. It’s been running for three years and 60 students have now completed the course. Another 60 have just signed up.

Then there’s a nationwide citizen science project on the distribution of butterflies and dragonflies. Thanks to the widespread use of smartphones, photographs of these insects are now flooding in to Nature Iraq, which has already identified four species new to the country. The organisation has set up a team of experts across the world, so that every species can be properly identified and mapped. …

The mountain of Peramagroon, which covers an area of 100 sq km, is a spectacular spot that’s home to Egyptian vultures and a flycatcher called the Kurdistan wheatear. It has a species of wild goat and a good population of spur-thighed tortoises. A survey of the area’s plants revealed 650 species, more than twice the number previously known from the area; among them were several species new to science.

A study of land use on Peramagroon will enable Nature Iraq to establish a proper conservation action plan. A series of school visits have been made to the area, and children have been setting up nest boxes as a result. Nature Iraq is also field-testing a phone app that will help to identify birds in Peramagroon; it contains details of 130 species. The long-term aim is to develop this and similar apps for use across the Middle East.

When it is more important to identify a saker falcon than a Black Hawk helicopter, you know that an important step towards peace has been taken. Bwar Khalid of Nature Iraq said: “I hope we can do more projects and activities in the future, especially in our country where there has been nothing except war and destruction.”

Butterflies and dragonflies matter. People looking for butterflies and dragonflies matter. Unknown species of mountain plants matter. Children setting up nest boxes matter. The fact that a Kurdistan wheatear is different from an eastern black-eared wheatear matters. All these things matter if you wish to turn a country deeply harmed by war into a place where life is worth living. …

Such projects have the vividness of a New Year’s resolution: a new start, one in which better things will surely be possible. Hope comes in a butterfly; in an eastern rock nuthatch; in the flora of a mountain; in people dedicated to looking after them all.