It's The Media Stupid!
The average person in the street seems to find it difficult to grasp the idea that the 'national interests' of democratic governments often run counter to democratic ideals and that, in pursuing such interests, governments will attempt to maintain the appearance of remaining faithful to democratic ideals. Another way to say this is that governments will lie about their undemocratic activities in order to maintain a facade of democracy and thereby avoid disturbing the population. (For those who may have, understandably, forgotten the core democratic principles, check this link for a short refresher course.)
The maintenance of a democratic faÃ§ade while pursuing undemocratic 'interests' is today only possible with the committed and almost unanimous connivance of the mainstream media, which unfailingly disseminates government propaganda to the people, and which the people in turn accept as gospel truth in the belief that the press is free and independent of government control. But virtually all Western mainstream media outlets today are owned by a handful of powerful corporations and mega-wealthy individuals who count high level members of Western governments among their close friends and confidants. The truth of this can easily be verified by anyone with a computer and a little time to do some research of their own. The extent of the actual freedom of the 'free press' can also be ascertained by revisiting the way in which the Western media blindly accepted and reported as truth government lies prior to and after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It is reasonable then to conclude that the Western media, by and large, acts as a 'Ministry of Propaganda' for Western governments, especially in situations where government(s) are pursuing policies that are at variance with democratic ideals.
So, in light of all that, let's consider the question: "was Gaddafi really a 'brutal dictator'?"
Gaddafi's Real Crimes
threatened to kick Western oil companies out of Libya altogether by nationalising its oil and natural gas. What is beyond dispute is that Gaddafi used his nation's oil wealth to turn Libya into the most progressive and modern of all African nations. In a 2007 African executive magazine it was noted that Libya, "unlike other oil producing countries such as Nigeria [where major Western oil companies have a stranglehold on the government], utilised the revenue from its oil to develop its country."
Throughout most of Gaddafi's rule, Libyan citizens enjoyed free health care, free education and free electricity and water. Car purchases for every citizen were 50% subsidized by the government. Gas in Gaddafi's Libya was $0.14 per liter. Under this 'brutal dictator', the mother of every newborn child received $5,000. All these, and many other social benefits under Gaddafi, make the supposedly socialist systems of France and other European nations look like predatory capitalist regimes. Today, with Gaddafi gone, Libya's generous social benefits and the formerly high standard of living of its citizens are under serious threat from the new pro-Western puppet regime.
Gaddafi was also instrumental in establishing the African Union. He invested heavily and generously, to the tune of $6 billion, in many other African nations. Throughout Africa, hospitals, schools, hotels and roads bear Gaddafi's name as a sign of gratitude to the 'brutal dictator'. Libyan investments have helped to connect most of Africa by telephone, television, radio broadcasting, etc. Many major African companies, in which Gaddafi had invested via the 'Libya Arab Africa Investment Portfolio', now face financial ruin as Libyan oil money is diverted to the West under Libya's new rulers.
But undoubtedly the greatest threat posed by Gaddafi to NATO warmongers was his efforts to fast-track the creation of an African Monetary Fund and an African Central Bank and to establish the gold dinar as a pan-African currency (Libya has 144 tons of gold with a population of jut 6 million, no external debt and $150 billion in cash reserves). Gaddafi's idea was that African and Muslim nations would join together to create this new currency and use it to purchase oil and other resources to the exclusion of the dollar and other currencies. While a Russia Today report called it "an idea that would shift the economic balance of the world", Gaddafi's plans for a radical financial overhaul of African economies would undoubtedly have sounded the death knell for IMF looting of African economies, not to mention the 'CFA Franc', a colonial currency tied to the Euro and the French central bank and used in twelve formerly French-ruled African countries (hence the unbridled enthusiasm with which the French government joined the fray).
Writing in April 2011 for the London Evening Post, writer Jean-Paul Pougala had this to say about Gaddafi:
"For most Africans, Gaddafi is a generous man, a humanist, known for his unselfish support for the struggle against the racist regime in South Africa. If he had been an egotist, he wouldn't have risked the wrath of the West to help the ANC both militarily and financially in the fight against apartheid. This was why Mandela, soon after his release from 27 years in jail, decided to break the UN embargo and travel to Libya on 23 October 1997. Mandela didn't mince his words when the former US president Bill Clinton said the visit was an 'unwelcome' one: "No country can claim to be the policeman of the world and no state can dictate to another what it should do." He added, "Those that yesterday were friends of our enemies have the gall today to tell me not to visit my brother Gaddafi, they are advising us to be ungrateful and forget our friends of the past."A "generous humanist"? Dare we say a genuine socialist? The late African freedom fighter, Kwame Ture, further characterised Gaddafi as 'a diamond in a cesspool of African misleaders'. "African misleaders" installed and financed by Western governments.
Writing in September this year in the Guardian, Julian Borger and Terry Macalister pointed out that Western oil companies had planned to carve up Libyan oil before the so-called 'revolution'. Are we surprised? Is it mere coincidence that the NATO bombing campaign began on the 8th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq? The Egyptian uprising was more or less legitimate based on the psychopathic policies of a real 'brutal dictator' - Hosni Mubarak - who had brought millions of Egyptians to the brink of starvation. And take note how Mubarak was dealt with in comparison to Gaddafi. But no such conditions existed in socialist Libya.
The plain truth is that there was no widespread popular revolution against Gaddafi; there were only ever hired mercenaries, a well-orchestrated Western media campaign, which played out a script dictated to it from start to finish, heavy infiltration by military intelligence agents of the US and European countries, and NATO bombs. Lots of NATO bombs.