ISIS, Libya and the New York Times

This video from the USA 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, Ben Mankiewicz and Wesley Clark Jr. break down the story.

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

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

New York Times covers up US responsibility for ISIS surge in Libya

2 December 2015

In a lengthy article entitled “ISIS’ Grip on Libyan City Gives It a Fallback Option,” the New York Times last weekend provided a chilling account of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s rule over the city of Sirte (also known as Surt) on Libya’s Mediterranean coast.

Thousands of foreign fighters have flooded into the area, with the Islamist militia having established control over 150 miles of the Mediterranean coastline and moving to seize “strategic crossroads, vital oil terminals and oil fields south of the city.”

“The group carried out four crucifixions in August,” the Times reports. It adds, “Last month the group held its first two public beheadings, killing two men accused of sorcery…”

The article further explains that ISIS has been “receiving weapons and other support from the accumulated oil wealth that should belong to the Libyan state,” thanks to backing from within “the tangle of factions that have taken over whatever remains of the Libyan government.”

The growth of ISIS in Libya first came to broad public attention last February with the hideous videotaped mass beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christian migrant workers.

While long on detail about ISIS methods of rule within Sirte, the article provides strikingly little in terms of explanation of how the Iraqi and Syrian-based militia managed to conquer an entire region over 1,300 miles to the west of its base of operations.

The Times states that ISIS was able to take advantage of fighting between rival factions within Libya and fill a political “vacuum.”

The article declares: “In Libya, where a NATO bombing campaign helped overthrow Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi four years ago, there is no functional government. Warring factions are far more focused on fighting one another than on taking on the Islamic State, and Libya’s neighbors are all too weak or unstable to lead or even host a military intervention.”

This tortured paragraph serves to expose the entire Times article as a deliberate cover-up of the roots of the present hellish conditions prevailing not only in Sirte, but throughout Libya. The first sentence is carefully constructed so as to obscure the causal relationship between the US-NATO war that overthrew the Gaddafi government and the ISIS surge into Libya.

The US and its NATO allies waged a war of aggression against Libya in 2011 on the false pretext of preventing a supposedly imminent “massacre” of antigovernment protesters in the eastern city of Benghazi. Even US officials were compelled to acknowledge after the fact that there was no such imminent danger.

Pitched to the public as a war to save human lives and bring “democracy” to the Libyan people, its real aims was regime change, i.e., the toppling of Gaddafi and the installation of a more pliant Western puppet in a country possessing the largest oil reserves on the African continent.

Its net effect was the killing of between 30,000 and 50,000 Libyans, the wholesale destruction of the country’s social and physical infrastructure and the unleashing of Islamist militias upon the population, which has lived under a state of perpetual civil war since the US-NATO intervention began.

Sirte itself, it should be noted, was Gaddafi’s birthplace and a government stronghold. Consequently, it was subjected to intense bombing and then devastation by US-backed ground forces that reduced the entire city to rubble.

Missing from the Times report is any explanation of how it was Islamists of the ISIS stripe that became the force to fill the “vacuum” created by the US-NATO war.

This was hardly a coincidence. The armed elements that Washington and its allies relied upon as their proxy ground forces were drawn precisely from the elements that went on to found ISIS.

In the absence of any popular revolution from below, US imperialism made use of the Islamist groups, arming and funding them to fight the Gaddafi government. Many of those who played the most prominent role in the fighting were organized in militias that had their origins in the Al Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), whose leaders had previously been hunted down by the CIA in the so-called global war on terrorism.

Among the most prominent of their leaders was Abdelhakim Belhadj, reportedly the LIFG’s founder, who began his career as an Islamist fighter alongside Osama bin Laden during the Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s, then returned to Libya to lead an abortive armed uprising against Gaddafi. He subsequently escaped from a Libyan jail and returned to Afghanistan to help run Al Qaeda training camps in the run-up to the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York City and Washington.

Belhadj was captured by the CIA in Malaysia in 2003 and “rendered” to a secret CIA prison in Thailand. Washington then turned him over to Libya in 2004, where he remained in prison until 2010, when Gaddafi released a group of former LIGF militants who formally renounced armed struggle.

A year later, Belhadj was picked up by the US and its allies to lead Islamist militias in an offensive backed by massive US-NATO airstrikes. He emerged as head of the Tripoli Military Council after Tripoli fell to NATO-backed forces in August 2011, and was hailed by US officials as a hero.

After the overthrow of Gaddafi, Belhadj became involved in a CIA-orchestrated operation that funneled both Libyan fighters and weapons drawn from the Libyan government’s stockpiles to Islamist militias such as ISIS and the Al Nusra Front that have served as the main fighting force in the Western-backed war for regime change in Syria. The rise of ISIS in Sirte and the arrival of large numbers of foreign fighters demonstrate that, whatever the US intended, this transmission belt operated in both directions.

Last March, it was widely reported that Belhadj had aligned himself with ISIS.

The catastrophe in Libya as well as ISIS itself both bear the stamp, “Made in the USA.”

The Times’ reticence in explaining this background to the ISIS takeover of Sirte is a continuation of the newspaper’s own filthy role in promoting and justifying the Libyan war.

As the US political establishment’s “newspaper of record,” the Times waged a campaign for US war on Libya based on the pretext of “humanitarian intervention.” It was joined in this reactionary and dishonest effort by a host of pseudo-lefts, ranging from cynical academics like Juan Cole at the University of Michigan to political groups like the New Anti-Capitalist Party in France and the International Socialist Organization in the US, whose politics reflect the interests of privileged, pro-imperialist sections of the upper-middle class.

After the war succeeded in toppling Gaddafi in October 2011, ending in his savage torture and murder, the Times’ chief foreign affairs columnist Roger Cohen wrote a triumphalist piece entitled “Score one for Interventionism,” while fellow columnist Nicholas Kristof penned a wretched column entitled “Thank you America!” asserting that Americans were now seen as “heroes in the Arab world.”

On its front news page, the Times published an article in August 2011, after the fall of Tripoli to the US-backed Islamist militias, entitled “US Tactics in Libya May Be a Model for Other Efforts,” speculating on when the same methods could be employed in Syria.

The Libyan war, it stated, had given the White House “a chance to claim a victory for an Obama doctrine in the Middle East.” The fruits of this “victory” are now on display in Sirte.

If the editorial board of the New York Times is anxious to conceal the real roots of the Libyan crisis, it is because it also wants to bury its own record of journalistic complicity in war crimes in Libya—not to mention its even more incriminating collusion in promoting the war based on lies in Iraq.

The Times editors are not troubled by their past journalistic crimes. They merely want to prevent any lessons from being drawn so that their newspaper can continue serving as a key propaganda arm of the US government, retailing and embellishing upon lies from the White House, Pentagon and CIA to justify the even more devastating wars that are to come.

The US and NATO are preparing to carry out new military operations on Libyan territory, a Guardian report made clear on Sunday: here.

The German government is planning a new military mission in Libya, Defence Minister Ursula Von der Leyen (Christian Democrats, CDU) announced in an interview published by the tabloid Bild on Monday: here.

A little less than five years after launching a war against Libya on the “humanitarian” pretext of preventing a supposedly imminent massacre, the United States and its European allies are preparing a new military assault against the oil-rich North African country under the bloodstained banner of the “war on terrorism”: here.

The Obama White House has given the green light to demands by the US military for an escalation of the ongoing intervention in Iraq and Syria, as well as the opening up of a new theater of war in the oil-rich North African nation of Libya, according to published reports: here.

European Union bigwigs’ cruel plan to deport refugees to Africa

This video from the USA says about itself:

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange on Europe’s Secret Plan for Military Force on Refugee Boats from Libya

27 May 2015

WikiLeaks has just revealed secret details of a European Union plan to use military force to curb the influx of migrants from Libya. “The documents lay out a military operation against cross-Mediterranean refugee transport networks and infrastructure,” WikiLeaks says. “It details plans to conduct military operations to destroy boats used for transporting migrants and refugees in Libyan territory, thereby preventing them from reaching Europe.” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange discusses the EU’s plan from his place of refuge inside Ecuador’s London embassy.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Plan to send refugees back to Africa considered by EU

Thursday 12th November 2015

EUROPEAN Union leaders cooked up a “desperate” plot yesterday to slash the number of refugees in the bloc by giving them EU travel papers and shipping them off to Africa.

An appalled African Union official said the idea was “unheard of” and migration experts were dismayed at its callousness.

The EU-Africa migration summit in Valletta, Malta, began yesterday and ends today.

The shocking scheme would see EU officials decide whether refugees who lack travel papers and whose asylum claims have been rejected have come from Africa.

Where the decision is that they have, the migrants will then be given EU papers just so that they can be quickly booted out of Europe.

Amnesty International acting EU director Iverna McGowan said it was yet more corner-cutting by the EU.

“People returned to countries of transit risk being faced with arbitrary detention and having their rights to asylum and to work violated,” she warned.

EU states are pressing African leaders to take in thousands of refugees whose asylum applications they have rejected.

Particularly under pressure are countries near Libya, which was torn apart with the help of a bombing campaign by Nato — made up mostly of EU states.

Many refugees, fleeing conflicts stirred up by or directly involving the West, set off on their perilous Mediterranean journey to Europe from the wrecked country’s coast.

Meanwhile, Slovenia has copied nearby states by building its own 400-mile razor-wire border fence, which it claims is only intended to funnel refugees, not close off the country entirely.

• Turkish coastguards said yesterday that 14 refugees, including seven children, had drowned when their boat sank off the country’s coast. Sailors rescued 27.

It looks like European Union bigwigs kowtow to racists like Katie Hopkins in the British Murdoch media. Or to Portuguese racists. Or to British 1980s nazi band Skrewdriver with their song When The Boat Comes In, advocating forced deportation of people of African ancestry. Or to 1960s United States nazi fuehrer George Lincoln Rockwell, whose Hatenanny record label included a song called Ship those n…ers back, by Odis Cochran and the three bigots.

EU Summit in Malta strikes dirty deal to keep refugees out of Europe: here.

The Australian government is reportedly considering the poor Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan as a dumping ground for the some of the 1,500 refugees imprisoned in its “off-shore” detention facilities: here.

David Cameron’s Libya, Syria, pig scandals, fellow Conservative reveals

This video from Britain says about itself:

Twitter reacts to Lord Ashcroft’s Cameron biography excerpts

21 September 2015

Lord Ashcroft‘s biography on PM David Cameron have caused a stir after portions were printed in the Daily Mail today. One particular allegation has caught the imagination of Twitter users, causing a small meltdown overnight.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

David Cameron accused of ‘doing an Iraq‘ in Libya as general and White House official condemn ‘incompetent’ PM’s actions

A source at the White House claims they were ‘f****ed over’ on Libya and Syria

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith

Tuesday 22 September 2015

David Cameron’s actions over Libya have been condemned by a former Tory chairman as “doing an Iraq” while his decisions on both Syria and Libya left the White House feeling “f****ed over”, according to revelations made in a new book.

Former Tory chairman Michael Ancram made the comparison between Mr Cameron’s actions in Libya and Tony Blair’s in Iraq, in a new unofficial biography of the Prime Minister entitled Call Me Dave and written by former Tory donor Lord Ashcroft. The book is being serialised in the Daily Mail, where the claims have been published.

Mr Ancram tells the authors – Lord Ashcroft and journalist Isabel Oakeshott – that Mr Cameron’s decisions over Libya have left the country “ungovernable… with vast amounts of weapons from Gaddafi’s arsenal moved south of the border, arming Boko Haram.”

A senior American government insider allegedly said the White House felt “f****ed over” by Mr Cameron on both Libya and Syria, while General Sir David Richards allegedly told the Prime Minister that being in the Combined Cadet Force at Eton did not make him qualified enough to make decisions over complex military operations and the tactics employed in them.

One White House insider is quoted as saying: “It was one of those astonishing displays of incompetence that sort of leaves you wondering about how, you know, have we all got this far?”

The revelation of Mr Cameron’s apparently poor handling of Syria and Libya follows Lord Ashcroft’s extraordinary allegations that the Prime Minister reportedly “inserted a private part of his anatomy” into the mouth of a dead pig and that he smoked cannabis while studying at Oxford University.

In an unauthorised biography of the Prime Minister entitled ‘Call Me Dave’ and serialised in the Daily Mail it is alleged that an anonymous MP knew of a photograph of the incident with the pig’s head, which is claimed to have taken place during a notorious Piers Gaveston Society event although the anonymous MP adds that it could have been a case of mistaken identity and that he had not seen any evidence himself.

The book has been written by ex-Conservative party treasurer Lord Ashcroft, who has donated millions to the party in the past.

It is also alleged that Mr Cameron knew in 2009 of Lord Ashcroft’s “non dom” status – a year earlier than the Prime Minister had previously said to have known. The revelation that Lord Ashcroft did not pay UK tax on his overseas earnings was made in March 2010. At the time the Prime Minister said he had only known of the situation for a month.

The Prime Minister and the Tory peer fell out after the general election when Lord Ashcroft failed to be given a top position in the Coalition government in 2010, though he claims the work is “not about settling scores”.

The book has been co-written by journalist Isabel Oakeshott, who also denied the book was written out of revenge. She told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One: “If this was just a revenge job, Lord Ashcroft and I could have published it ahead of the election.”

British politicians are obsessed with bombing the Middle East, says Afghanistan veteran MP. Clive Lewis says launching airstrikes in Syria is a ‘knee-jerk reaction’: here.

“Today, nearly 2.4 million Libyans need humanitarian aid”: here.

Wars, refugees and xenophobia

This video says about itself:

Libyan refugees rejected by Italy set up camp in Hamburg – FOCUS – 06/12/2013

When the Libyan war broke out two years ago, thousands fled the country in search of security and employment. Many made their way to the island of Lampedusa in Italy, but the Italian authorities closed reception facilities, and gave the migrants a few hundred euros to leave. Now hundreds of Africans from Togo, Ghana and the Ivory Coast have set up camp in Hamburg. Our correspondents spoke to some who have taken up quarters in a church.

By Robert Stevens:

Capitalism and the global refugee crisis

21 August 2015

According to the United Nations, there are more refugees in the world today than at any point in recorded human history.

At the end of 2014, almost 60 million people were forcibly displaced. This is nearly three times the number recorded just a decade earlier. On a global scale, one out of every 122 people is now either a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum. A majority (51 percent) of the planet’s refugees are below the age of 18.

Millions have been made homeless and thrown into grinding poverty as a result of imperialist-backed wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya. The world’s largest refugee crisis is centred on Syria, where the number of those fleeing to other countries has now exceeded four million. Those who are able to do so seek refuge in Europe. That often involves a perilous trip across the Mediterranean, a journey that has taken the lives of thousands of men, women and children.

Only this week, the bodies of 49 migrants were discovered inside the hold of a fishing boat, having died of fume inhalation. This adds to the total of more than 2,300 who have perished at sea so far this year.

Frontex, the European Union’s border agency, has reported that 107,500 migrants were detected at its frontiers last month. This is three times as many as in July 2014.

Thousands of refugees and asylum seekers, the vast majority fleeing the war zones of Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, attempt to reach Europe via its southern states of Greece, Italy and Spain. Since January, a total of 160,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in the various Greek islands, with more than 20,000 arriving in the last week alone. More than 100,000 have been rescued and brought to Italy this year.

This is only a small portion of those attempting to escape horrific conditions at home. Millions of refugees from Syria, for example, survive in massive city-sized refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey. The refugees who attempt the trip to Europe are those who have managed to scrape together enough money to pay one of the people traffickers operating the boats.

This relatively small percentage of the world’s refugees is treated as an existential threat by Europe’s ruling elite. Refugees and migrants are routinely denounced and cast as criminals, responsible for all of society’s ills, by governments and political parties of all stripes.

Speaking of just 5,000 migrants who live in appalling conditions at the port of Calais, UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said, “Europe can’t protect itself and preserve its standard of living and social infrastructure, if it has to absorb millions of migrants from Africa.”

This week German Chancellor Angel Merkel warned in a TV interview that the arrival of thousands of refugees to the shores of the continent would “preoccupy Europe much, much more than the issue of Greece and the stability of the euro.”

The right-wing bile emanating from official circles is echoed and magnified in an outpouring of increasingly overt xenophobic hatred hurled at refugees and asylum seekers by a hysterical media. Right-wing and fascist bands, encouraged by this putrid atmosphere, have stepped up attacks on refugees and asylum seekers. In Germany, for example, more than 200 incidents, including arson attacks on migrants’ homes, have been reported this year.

Muslims in particular face the full force of this venom. This week the government of Slovakia, which is to receive just 200 Syrian refugees as part of an EU relocation scheme, said it would only accept Christians.

What is being cast as a “migrant problem” is in fact a problem of imperialist rule and of the capitalist system. There are two root causes of the massive refugee crisis.

The first is the growing number of predatory wars being conducted by the imperialist powers and their proxies. Indeed, the United States, backed by its allies, has now been involved in perpetual war since 1991 that has displaced entire populations and destroyed entire societies.

The second major factor is the control and economic destruction of the planet by the major capitalist states that has plunged billions of people into abject poverty.

The European powers seek to insulate themselves from the results of the carnage they have wrought through the creation of a “Fortress Europe”. At its June emergency summit on refugees, the EU washed its hands in the face of growing public revulsion at the deaths of thousands in the Mediterranean. They refused to set any quotas for countries to take in the increasing numbers of desperate refugees, agreeing to relocate just 40,000 refugees already in Italy and Greece.

Instead, all efforts are concentrated on strengthening border controls. Hungary’s southern border marks the edge of the EU’s Schengen Zone of passport-free travel. The right-wing government there is building a massive fence along its 109-mile border with Serbia. This week a prime ministerial spokesman said that the fence would be “defended” by thousands of police against “increasingly aggressive” migrants.

New metres-high fortified border fences, miles in length, have been built and strengthened by Greece, Bulgaria, Spain, the UK at the Channel Tunnel port of Calais, and by other countries.

Under conditions in which the global economy is more closely interconnected and more complex than ever before in history, the capitalist system, based on the outmoded division of the planet into antagonistic nation states and private ownership of the means of production, is creating hell on earth.

In the founding programme of the Fourth International, the great revolutionary Leon Trotsky wrote on the eve of the Second World War, “Before exhausting or drowning mankind in blood, capitalism befouls the world atmosphere with the poisonous vapours of national and race hatred.”

These words are as apt today as they were then.

As with all the great problems facing humanity, the only rational solution that can prevent tens and hundreds of millions more becoming refugees is the unification of working people internationally in the struggle for a socialist reorganization of economic life. Socialism, a society based on fulfilling human need, not profit, would rationally use and develop the earth’s abundant resources to provide a life worth living for everyone.

In pursuance of this goal and with all its collective strength, the working class must unswervingly defend the democratic rights of refugees and migrants to asylum and their right to live wherever they wish.

Refugees from ‘humanitarian’ wars dying

This video from the USA says about itself:

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange on Europe’s Secret Plan for Military Force on Refugee Boats from Libya

27 May 2015

WikiLeaks has just revealed secret details of a European Union plan to use military force to curb the influx of migrants from Libya. “The documents lay out a military operation against cross-Mediterranean refugee transport networks and infrastructure,” WikiLeaks says. “It details plans to conduct military operations to destroy boats used for transporting migrants and refugees in Libyan territory, thereby preventing them from reaching Europe.” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange discusses the EU’s plan from his place of refuge inside Ecuador’s London embassy.

By Robert Stevens:

Scores of refugees die brutally in the Mediterranean

18 August 2015

At least 49 refugees and asylum seekers died a gruesome death in the hold of an overcrowded fishing boat off the coast of Libya, Saturday. According to reports, an Italian navy helicopter spotted the boat at 7 a.m. local time, around 21 miles off the Libyan coast and south of the Italian island of Lampedusa, as it was starting to sink.

Some 320 others were saved. When 312 survivors had been taken on board, Admiral Pierpaolo Libuffo, head of Italy’s rescue operations, said these included 45 women and three children. But when the rescue team searched the boat’s hold they found at least 40 dead people.

Speaking from the ship, Commander Massimo Tozzi said rescuers found the dead, “immersed in water, fuel and human excrement.”

The victims are thought to have asphyxiated after inhaling fumes from fuels after the boat took on water in the hold. …

Even more have crossed from Syria and Turkey into Greece. Vincent Cochetel, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR’s) Director of the Bureau for Europe, said this week that 124,000 refugees fleeing war zones have arrived by sea, from Turkey, at the Greek islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos since January 2015. This represents a 750 percent increase in the number of refugees compared to 2014.

Upon arrival in these countries, these desperate refugees face the most appalling conditions.

At least 7,000 refugees and asylum seekers, most of whom are fleeing the Syria and Afghanistan conflicts, are already on Kos.

Refugees confront appalling conditions in the Balkans: here.