Somali woman athlete, drowned off Libya

This video is called Samia Yusuf Omar @ 2008 Beijing Olympics.

By Michal Boncza in Britain:

Dream graphically denied

Tuesday 8th March 2016

An Olympic Dream: The Story of Samia Yusuf Omar
by Reinhard Kleist
(SelfMadeHero, £14.99)

IN APRIL 2012 news broke that Somali Olympian Samia Yusuf Omar, who had made history four years earlier at the Beijing games, had drowned while attempting to cross the Mediterranean from Libya to Europe.

In Beijing she came last in the first round heat in the 200 metres but won a rousing standing ovation. Attired in casual leggings and a baggy T-shirt, her slight body and long stride became a symbol of extraordinary determination and courage in the face of overwhelming odds.

But, most importantly, they were also a dismal reflection on the haves and have-nots of international athletics and, by implication, its entire governance.

Back in Somalia, with scant official support and facing harassment and intimidation by al-Shabaab fundamentalist thugs, she took the futile advice of looking to train in Ethiopia and later Djibouti. That set her on a migratory path to Libya with the hope of making it to Europe in time to train for the London Olympics.

Travelling overland with similarly desperate souls, all victims of ruthless, money-grubbing and abusive people-traffickers, she was thrust with them into unseaworthy vessels at gun-point. They were pushed out to sea to fend for themselves.

Reinhard Kleist, author of the memorable graphic biography Castro reviewed glowingly in the Morning Star, is — as this book shows — at the peak of his creative endeavour. This visual narrative that immortalises Omar is rendered with breathtaking vigour and passion. The draughtsmanship is masterly, with every brush stroke eloquently descriptive and invoking admiration, pity and often revulsion.

Kleist knows better than most how pictures are worth thousands of words and the story of the runner has the urgency of her dash to make it in time for the dream of a second Olympics.

But his words are equally weighted and to the point when evoking human aspiration and solidarity or even the vilest inhumanity.

At a time when the French authorities have decided to investigate the shenanigans within the Olympics movement and thousands will be forced into rickety boats off Libyan and Turkish coasts, Kleist holds an uncompromising and unsentimental mirror to the West’s ugly face.

Compulsory reading for every secondary-school pupil, anywhere.

The story of Samia Omar, the Olympic runner who drowned in the Med. As the Somali team prepares for Rio, the memory of this 21-year-old – who died trying to find safety and coaching in Europe – looms large: here.

Western powers prepare military operations in Libya: here.

Libya, ISIS, the USA and its allies

This video from the USA says about itself:

US Bombs ISIS in Libya, Allies Support ISIS in Libya

24 February 2016

Pan-African News Wire Editor Abayomi Azikiwe says the U.S. is acting like the chief policeman of the region after it participated in the destruction of the Libyan state in 2011.

The Libya intervention is a case study in the perils of regime change. What began as a limited air campaign designed to keep Qaddafi’s forces from carrying out threats of a bloodbath in Benghazi soon morphed into a successful effort to overthrow him: here.

United States air force kills terrorists … oops, Serbian diplomats in Libya

This 10 November 2015 video is called Serbia intends to close its embassy [in Libya] after abduction of diplomatic mission employees.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

In a US airstrike in Libya two Serbian diplomats were killed, said Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic. The two were kidnapped in November by ISIS fighters.

The bodies have not been identified yet, but the minister said that it is certain that they are these two.

… More than forty people were killed in that air raid.

How many more of these over forty dead people killed in that air raid will turn out to be not ISIS terrorists, but what military speech cynically calls ‘collateral damage‘, civilians? Or will we never get to know that?

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.

Five years after the NATO war in Libya, a new war is being prepared against the North African country behind the backs of the world population. Like Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, East Ukraine and Syria, Libya will once again become the arena for war and destruction if the Western powers get their way: here.

On the fifth anniversary of Libya’s uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, there isn’t much to celebrate for the residents of Bin Jawad. Once at the heart of the 2011 rebellion, they have either fled for their lives or find themselves under the brutal rule of so-called Islamic State: 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.