Canagaratna and trvnstar offer Alternative Perspectives on Gaddafi and the West

ONE: “The West’s hidden agende reaches fruition,”  by Selvan Canagaratna, in The Island, 29 October  2011

It’s easy to overlook what’s very important about the man President Ronald Reagan labeled ‘This mad dog of the Middle East’: that Muammar Qaddafi, since the late 1990s, had openly renounced his revolutionary heritage and, especially after 9/11, gave himself wholeheartedly to the terrorism preached by George W. Bush calling itself, funnily enough, the War on Terror. The proof of Qaddafi’s significant qualitative ‘conversion’ from ‘despotic’ terrorism to the ultra-modern ‘democratic’ version was that he readily allowed his not inconsiderably brutal prison-network in Libya to become an integral part of the archipelago of GWB’s secret torture sites used regularly by the CIA, by European intelligence and the recently-deposed Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.

 “What stories Qaddafi might have told if he were allowed to speak in open court?” mused Professor Vijay Prashad, the George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian History and Director of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, CT, in his piece on Qaddafi’s murder in CounterPunch magazine, then answering his own rhetorical query with Naeem Mohaiemen’s response: “Dead men tell no tales. They cannot stand trial. They cannot name the people who helped them stay in power. All secrets die with them.”‘Protecting civilians’ was the ill-disguised mask for regime-change that the United Nations conveniently offered that unholy triumvirate – NATO, the European Union, and America [the last-named modestly, if uncharacteristically, bringing up the rear, so to speak] – to secure its collective imperial end-game when the ‘Arab Spring’ spread to Qaddafi’s turf earlier this year, presenting the trio with that long-awaited ‘window of opportunity’.

 In his article titled Qaddafi, From Beginning to End, Prashad dramatically sets the scene: “On the dusty reaches out of Sirte, a convoy flees a battlefield. A NATO aircraft fires and strikes the cars. The wounded struggle to escape. Armed trucks, with armed fighters, rush to the scene. They find the injured, and among them is the most significant prize: a bloodied Muammar Qaddafi stumbles, is captured, and then is thrown amongst the fighters. One can imagine their exhilaration. A cell-phone traces the events of the next few minutes [emphasis added]. A badly injured Qaddafi is pushed around, thrown on a car, and then the video gets blurry. The next images are of a dead Qaddafi. He has a bullet hole on the side of his head.”

Alexander Cockburn, co-Editor of CounterPunch, seemingly picks up Prashad’s reference to ‘a cell-phone’ thus: “Did the terminal command, Finish Him Off, come via cell phone from the US State Department whose Secretary, Hillary Clinton, had earlier called for his death, or by dint of local initiative? At all events, since Qaddafi was a prisoner at the time of his execution, it was a war crime and I trust that in the years of her retirement Mrs Clinton will be detained amid some foreign vacation and handed a subpoena.”

 With Qaddafi dead, Prashad felt it important to recall that the world had been dealing with at least two Qaddafis. “The first Qaddafi overthrew a lazy and corrupt monarchy in 1969, and proceeded to transformLibyaalong a fairly straightforward national development path. There were idiosyncrasies, such as Qaddafi’s ideas about democracy that never really produced institutions of any value. Qaddafi had the unique ability to centralize power in the name of de-centralization.” [That sounds familiar; maybe other political leaders have taken their cue from Q.]

 Nevertheless, it is beyond argument that Qaddafi certainly used large amounts of the national surplus to improve the well-being of the Libyan people. “It is because of two decades of such policies that the Libyan people entered the 21st century with high human development indicators. Oil helped, but there are oil nations (such asNigeria) where the people languish in terms of their access to social goods and to social development.”

 By 1988, Prashad notes, the first Qaddafi morphed into the second Qaddafi, who set aside his anti-imperialism for collaboration with imperialism, and who dismissed the national development path for neo-liberal privatization “This second Qaddafi squandered the pursuit of well-being, and so took away the one aspect of his governance that the people supported. From the 1990s onward, Qaddafi’s regime offered the masses the illusion of social wealth and the illusion of democracy.”

 Needless to say, the masses wanted more, which was the reason for the long process of unrest that began in the early 1990s (alongside the Algerian Civil War), came to a head in 1995-96 and then again in 2006. In Prashad’s view, it has been a long slog for the various rebellious elements to find themselves. Wrote Cockburn: “My friend and neighbor in Petrolia, Joe Paff, wrote a response to a dreadful story about Qaddafi’s killing on Yahoo’s site, commenting “This kind of gloating is bound to come back and bite your butt. Imagine how many people in the world would like to see Netanyahu or Obama dragged from their hiding holes and tortured. It will take about six months for everyone to regret the ‘new’ Libyan ‘democrats’.”

 “Dollar for dollar I doubt Qaddafi has a rival in any assessment of the amount of oil revenues in his domain actually distributed for benign social purposes,” claimed Cockburn. 

John Pilger, writing in the New Statesman, London, noted: “Africa is China’s success story. Where the Americans bring drones and destabilisation, the Chinese bring roads, bridges and dams. What they want is resources, especially fossil fuels. With Africa’s greatest oil reserves, Libya under Muammar Gaddafi was one of China’s most important sources of fuel. When the civil war broke out and NATO backed the ‘rebels’ with a fabricated story about Gaddafi planning ‘genocide’ in Benghazi, China evacuated its 30,000 workers in Libya. The subsequent UN Security Council resolution that allowed the West’s ‘humanitarian intervention’ was explained succinctly in a proposal to the French government by the ‘rebel’ National Transitional Council (NTC), disclosed last month in the newspaper Liberation, in which France was offered 35 per cent of Libya’s gross national oil production ‘in exchange’ (the term used) for ‘total and permanent’ French support for the NTC. Running up the Stars and Stripes in ‘liberated’Tripoli last month,US Ambassador Gene Cretz blurted out: “We know that oil is the jewel in the crown of Libyan natural resources!”

 The de facto conquest of Libya by the US and its imperial partners, in Pilger’s view, heralds a modern version of the ‘scramble forAfrica’ at the end of the 19th century. Hence an American invasion ofAfricawas under way.

Satirist Andy Borowitz, in his ‘Fake News’ blog noted the announcement that the US would withdraw all its troops by year-end, but had Obama promising the Iraqi people, “We will continue to follow you on Twitter.” In summing up the United States’ eight-year military mission inIraq, Mr. Obama said, “We have done everything we set out to do in this mission, except figure out what the mission was.”  Then turning toLibya, Mr. Obama expressed pride in the successful NATO effort to topple dictator Muammar Qaddafi: “It is my hope that Libya will soon have a functioning democracy, and that someday theUnited Stateswill, too.” Borowitz had former Vice-President Dick Cheney also congratulating the Libyan people, releasing the following official statement: “With Gaddafi gone,Libya’s right to determine its future is now safely in the hands of multinational oil companies.”

 [The truth happens to surface in the darndest places, doesn’t it?]


TWO:  “List of Good Things Gaddafi has done for the People of Libya,” by tnvrstar, 225 Octobr 2011 — see

The media has successfully painted Gaddafi as a hard-core dictator, tyrant whatever you want to call him. However, the media as usual has also failed to show the kind, giving Gaddafi we never heard of. Gaddafi unlike most dictators I will refrain from naming them has managed to show his humane side, the very side we dream of seeing in other dictators who just talk and talk. 
 I consider Libyans lucky to a certain extent and one wonders with the new democratic rule they cry for will it improve or worsen life for them. Yes, Gaddafi has spent millions of Libya`s money on personal ventures but is the average Libyan poor? We know others who take a country and destroy it until you feel like there is no hope of restoring this country… looting some prefer to call it. Did Gaddafi loot Libya in any way?
Now let us get to the unknown facts about the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi:
. There is no electricity bill in Libya ; electricity is free for all its citizens.
2. There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at 0% interest by law.
3. Home considered a human right in Libya – Gaddafi vowed that his parents would not get a house until everyone in Libya had a home. Gaddafi’s father has died while him, his wife and his mother are still living in a tent.
4. All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 Dinar (US$50,000) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start up the family.
5. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya . Before Gaddafi only 25% of Libyans are literate. Today the figure is 83%.
6. Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming land, a farming house, equipments, seeds and livestock to kick-start their farms – all for free.
7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need in Libya, the government funds them to go abroad for it – not only free but they get US$2,300/mth accommodation and car allowance.
8. In Libyan, if a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidized 50% of the price.
9. The price of petrol in Libya is $0.14 per liter.
10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion – now frozen globally.
11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would pay the average salary of the profession as if he or she is employed until employment is found.
12. A portion of Libyan oil sale is, credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.
13. A mother who gave birth to a child receive US$5,000
14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $ 0.15
15. 25% of Libyans have a university degree
16. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Man-Made River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country. 


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