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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/12/16

What Hillary Knew about Libya

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The "R2P" advocates also turned a blind eye to evidence that black Africans working for Gaddafi's government were being systematically rounded up and murdered. As Blumenthal reported to Clinton, "Speaking in strict confidence, one rebel commander stated that his troops continue to summarily execute all foreign mercenaries captured in the fighting."

These so-called "mercenaries" were contractors from black Africa where many people viewed Gaddafi as a champion of the continent's development, independent of the former Western imperial powers and the harsh demands of the International Monetary Fund. While some of these blacks were part of Gaddafi's security structure, others were involved in construction projects.

Whatever their assignments, executing prisoners of war is a war crime -- and the image of U.S.-backed rebels singling out black Africans for execution turns the pretense of an "R2P" mission on its head -- or perhaps all those noble humanitarian arguments were just phony from the start.

As Brad Hoff of the Levant Report wrote, "historians of the 2011 NATO war in Libya will be sure to notice a few of the truly explosive confirmations contained in the new emails: admissions of rebel war crimes, special ops trainers inside Libya from nearly the start of protests, Al Qaeda embedded in the U.S. backed opposition, Western nations jockeying for access to Libyan oil, the nefarious origins of the absurd Viagra mass rape claim, and concern over Gaddafi's gold and silver reserves threatening European currency."

Reality's Hard Sell

But it probably would have been a hard sell to the American people if the U.S. government explained the dark side of the "R2P" mission -- that it involved systematic executions of blacks and rapacious Western officials grasping for oil and gold -- as well as creating a vacuum for jihadists. Instead, it worked much better to promote wild rumors about Gaddafi's perfidy.

It is in this way that U.S. citizens, the "We the People" who were supposed to be the nation's sovereigns, are treated more like cattle herded to the slaughterhouse.

Some of us did try to warn the public about these risks. For instance, on March 25, 2011, days before Blumenthal's emails, I described the hazard from the neocon "regime change" strategies in Libya and Syria, writing:

"In rallying U.S. support for these rebellions, the neocons risked repeating the mistake they made by pushing the U.S. invasion of Iraq. They succeeded in ousting Saddam Hussein, who had long been near the top of Israel's enemies list, but the war also removed him as a bulwark against both Islamic extremists and Iranian influence in the Persian Gulf. ...

"By embracing these uprisings, the neocons invited unintended consequences, including further Islamic radicalization of the region and deepening anti-Americanism. Indeed, a rebel victory over Gaddafi risked putting extremists from an al-Qaeda affiliate in a powerful position inside Libya.

"The major U.S. news media aided the neocon cause by focusing on Gaddafi's historic ties to terrorism, including the dubious charge that he was behind the Pan Am 103 bombing in 1988. There was little attention paid to his more recent role in combating the surge in al-Qaeda activity, especially in eastern Libya, the base of the revolt against him." [See Consortiumnews.com's "Neocons Regroup on Libyan War."]

Though the 2011 concerns about Al Qaeda have since morphed into worries about its spinoff, the Islamic State, the larger point remains valid regarding Libya, which descended into the status of failed state after Gaddafi's ouster and his brutal torture-murder on Oct. 20, 2011. Secretary Clinton greeted the news of Gaddafi's demise with glee, exulting, "we came, we saw, he died" and then laughed. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Hillary Clinton's Failed Libya Doctrine."]

More than four years later, the Obama administration still struggles to piece together some order from the chaos in Libya, where Western governments have even abandoned their Tripoli embassies. Meanwhile, the Islamic State and other jihadist groups continue to expand their control of Libyan territory.

In Syria, President Bashar al-Assad has hung on despite continued efforts by the Obama administration and its regional Sunni allies to remove him. The four years of war -- waged mostly by jihadists armed and financed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Western powers -- have killed a quarter million people and made millions homeless, now spreading the Mideast's disorders into Europe where the refugee crisis is dividing the European Union.

Of course, in the U.S. mainstream media, the Syrian deaths and destruction are blamed almost entirely on Assad, much as the conflict in Libya was blamed on Gaddafi and the U.S. invasion of Iraq was blamed on Saddam Hussein. In the world created by U.S. propaganda, it is always some other guy's fault.

In the Syrian case, the major decaying propaganda theme that continues to contaminate public understanding of the crisis has been the accusation that Assad "gassed his own people" with sarin on Aug. 21, 2013. Although independent evidence has long been pointing in the direction of a rebel provocation, perhaps aided by Turkey, the old rotting propaganda is routinely dug up by neocons and their liberal interventionist sidekicks to justify why "Assad must go!" [See Consortiumnews.com's "The Collapsing Syria-Sarin Case."]

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Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at
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