Reflections by Comrade Fidel
NATO, WAR, LIES AND BUSINESS
As some may be aware, in September of 1969, Muammar al-Gaddafi, an Arab Bedouin soldier of a peculiar character and inspired by the ideas of the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, promoted in the heart of the armed forces a movement overthrowing King Idris I of Libya, a country almost completely covered by desert and having very little population, located in northern Africa between Tunisia and Egypt.
Libya’s important valuable energy resources were progressively being discovered.
Born to a tribal Bedouin family of nomadic desert shepherds in the region of Tripoli, Gaddafi was profoundly anti-colonialist. It is affirmed that his paternal grandfather died fighting against the Italian invaders when Libya was invaded by them in 1911. The colonial regime and fascism changed everyone’s lives. It is also said that his father was imprisoned rather than make his living as an industrial worker.
Even Gaddafi’s adversaries assure us that he stood out for his intelligence as a student; he was expelled from high-school for his anti-monarchic activities. He managed to enrol in another high-school and later graduated in law at the University of Benghazi at the age of 21. Then he enrolled in the Benghazi Military College where he created what was called the Secret Unionist Movement of Free Officers, concluding his education later on in a British military academy.
This background explains the notable influence he wielded afterwards in Libya and on other political leaders, whether today they are pro-Gaddafi or not.
He had begun his political life with events that were without question, revolutionary.
In March of 1970, after massive nationalist demonstrations, he managed to have British soldiers evacuated from the country and in June, the United States vacated the great air base near Tripoli, handing it over to military instructors from Egypt, a Libyan ally.
In 1970, several western oil companies and banking companies having the participation of foreign capital were affected by the Revolution. At the end of 1971, the famous British Petroleum had the same fate. In the agricultural sector, all Italian properties were confiscated, and the colonists and their descendents were expelled from Libya.
State intervention was directed to the control of the great companies. Production in that country came to enjoy one of the highest levels in the Arab world. Gambling and the drinking of alcohol were prohibited. The traditionally limited legal status of women was improved.
The Libyan leader got involved in extremist theories that were opposed both to communism and capitalism. It was a stage when Gaddafi dedicated himself to theorizing, something that doesn’t have any place in this analysis, other than to point out that the first article of the Constitutional Proclamation of 1969 established the “Socialist” nature of the Great Socialist People’s Libya Arab Jamahiriya.
What I wish to emphasize is that the United States and its allies were never interested in human rights.
The hornet’s nest taking place in the Security Council, at the meeting of the Human Rights Council at the Geneva headquarters and in the UN General Assembly in New York was pure theatre.
I completely understand the reactions of the political leaders involved in so many contradictions and sterile debate, given the tangled web of interests and problems they must look after.
We all know very well that the character of permanent member, the power of veto, the possession of nuclear weapons and quite a few institutions are sources of privileges and interests imposed by force onto humankind. One can agree or not with many of them, but one can never accept them as fair or ethical measures.
The empire now wants to see events revolve around what Gaddafi may or may not have done, because it needs to intervene militarily in Libya and strike a blow at the revolutionary wave unleashed in the Arab world. Up to now, not one word was said; they kept their mouths shut and carried on with business.
With the latent Libyan rebellion being promoted by Yankee intelligence, or by Gaddafi’s own errors, it is important that the people don’t let themselves be deceived, since very soon world opinion shall have enough elements to know what to expect.
In my opinion, and that’s what I said from the very first instant, we must denounce NATO’s war-mongering plans.
Like many Third World countries, Libya is a member of NAM, the Group of 77 and other international organizations, through which relations are established separately from its economic and social system.
As an outline: the Revolution in Cuba, inspired by Marxist-Leninist principles and those of Marti, had triumphed in 1959, 90 miles away from the United States which imposed on us the Platt Amendment and owned the economy of our country.
Almost immediately, the empire promoted the dirty war against our people, counter-revolutionary gangs, the criminal economic blockade, the mercenary invasion of the Bay of Pigs, watched over by an aircraft carrier and their Marines ready to land if the mercenaries were to gain determinate objectives.
Just a year and a half later, they threatened us with their nuclear arsenal. A nuclear war was on the point of breaking out.
All the Latin American countries, with the exception of Mexico, took part in the criminal blockade which is still in place today, with our country never surrendering. It is important to be reminded of this, for those lacking historical memory.
In January of 1986, using the idea that Libya was behind the so-called revolutionary terrorism, Reagan ordered economic and commercial relations with that country to be broken.
In March, a force of aircraft carriers in the Gulf of Sidra, inside what is considered to be Libyan national waters, launched attacks that caused the destruction of several naval units armed with missile launchers and coastal radar systems that that country had acquired in the USSR.
On April 5th, a Berlin disco that US soldiers went to was the victim of plastic explosives; three persons died, two of them American soldiers, and many were wounded.
Reagan accused Gaddafi and ordered the Air Force to retaliate. Three squadrons took off from the Sixth Fleet aircraft carriers and bases in the United Kingdom, attacking seven military targets in Tripoli and Benghazi with missiles and bombs. Around 40 people died, 15 of them civilians. Warned of the bombers’ advance, Gaddafi assembled his family and was abandoning his residence located at the Bab Al Aziziya military complex to the south of the capital. The evacuation was in progress when a missile made a direct hit on his residence; his daughter Hanna died and two other children were wounded. The occurrence was broadly condemned: the UN General Assembly passed a resolution condemning violation of the UN Charter and International law. So did NAM, the Arab League and the OAU, in energetic terms.
On December 21, 1988, a Pan Am Boeing 747 flying from London to New York disintegrated in mid-air after a bomb exploded; the remains of the plane fell over Lockerbie and the tragedy tolled 270 lives, of 21 nationalities.
At first the US government suspected Iran acting in retaliation for the death of 200 persons in the downing of an airbus from its state airline. According to the Yankees, investigations implicated two Libyan intelligence agents. Similar imputations against Libya were made for a French airliner on the Brazzaville-N’Djamena-Paris route, implicating Libyan officials that Gaddafi refused to extradite, for facts he categorically denied.
A sinister legend was fabricated against him with the participation of Reagan and Bush Sr.
From 1975 up to the final stage of the Reagan government, Cuba had devoted itself to its internationalist duties in Angola and other African countries. We were aware of the conflicts developing in Libya, or around it, because of reading material or eye-witness accounts written by people who were closely connected to that country and the Arab world, as well as because of the impressions we had about various personalities from different countries with whom we had been in touch during those years.
Many well-known African leaders with whom Gaddafi had close ties tried to seek solutions for the tense relations between Libya and the United Kingdom.
The Security Council had imposed sanctions on Libya that were starting to be overcome when Gaddafi accepted to put the two people accused for the plane downed over Scotland on trial, with certain conditions.
Libyan delegations began to be invited to inter-European meetings. In July of 1999, London initiated the re-establishing of full diplomatic relations with Libya, after some additional concessions.
In September of that year, the European Union ministers accepted withdrawing the restrictive measures on commerce that had been taken in 1992.
On December 2nd, Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema of Italy made the first visit of a European head of government to Libya.
With the USSR and the European Socialist bloc gone, Gaddafi decided to accept the demands of the United States and NATO.
When I visited Libya in May of 2001, he showed me the ruins caused by the traitorous attack with which Reagan had killed his daughter and had been on the point of exterminating his entire family.
At the beginning of 2002, the State Department informed that diplomatic talks were going on between the US and Libya.
In May, Libya had been included again on the list of states sponsoring terrorism even though, in January, President George W. Bush had not mentioned the African country in his famous speech on the members of the “axis of evil”.
As 2003 began, because of the economic agreement on the compensations reached between Libya and the suing countries, the United Kingdom and France, the UN Security Council lifted the 1992 sanctions against Libya.
Before 2003 drew to a close, Bush and Tony Blair informed about an agreement with Libya, a country that had handed over to United Kingdom and Washington intelligence experts documentation on the non-conventional weapons programs such as ballistic missiles with a range of more than 300 kilometres. Officials from both countries had already visited various installations. It was the result of many months of talks between Tripoli and Washington as Bush himself revealed.
Gaddafi fulfilled his promises of disarmament. In a few months Libya handed over five units of Scud-C missiles with a range of 800 kilometres and the hundreds of Scud-Bs whose range surpassed the 300 kilometres for short-range defensive missiles.
From October of 2002, the marathon of visits to Tripoli began: Berlusconi in October of 2002; José María Aznar in September of 2003; Berlusconi again in February, August and October of 2004; Blair in March of 2004; Germany’s Schröeder in October of that year; Jacques Chirac in November of 2004. Everybody was happy. Mr. Money is a powerful gentleman.
Gaddafi triumphantly toured Europe. He was received in Brussels in April of 2004 by Romano Prodi, president of the European Commission; in August of that year the Libyan leader invited Bush to visit his country; Exxon Mobil, Chevron Texaco and Conoco Philips finalized the re-establishing of extracting crude by means of joint ventures.
In May of 2006, the United States announced the withdrawal of Libya from the list of terrorist countries and the establishment of full diplomatic relations.
In 2006 and 2007, France and the US signed agreements for nuclear cooperation for peaceful purposes; in May of 2007, Blair once again visited Gaddafi at Sidra. BP signed an “enormously important” agreement according to statements, in order to explore for gas fields.
In December of 2007, Gaddafi made two visits to France and signed contracts for military and civilian equipment for the total of 10 billion Euros; and a visit to Spain where he met with President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. Million-dollar contracts were signed with important NATO countries.
What is it that has now caused the precipitated withdrawal from the embassies of the United States and the other NATO members?
It’s all extremely odd.
George W. Bush, father of the stupid anti-terrorism war, stated on September 20 of 2001 to the West point cadets that:
Our security will require [...] transforming the military you will lead, a military that must be ready to strike at a moment of notice in any dark corner of the world. And our security will require all Americans to be forward-looking and resolute, to be ready for preemptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and [...] our lives.
We must uncover terror cells in 60 or more countries[...] Along with our friends and allies, we must oppose proliferation and confront regimes that sponsor terror, as each case requires.
What will Obama think about that speech?
What sanctions will the Security Council impose on those who killed more than a million civilians in Iraq and on those who every day are killing men, women and children in Afghanistan, where in recent days the enflamed population thronged into the streets to protest the massacre of innocent children?
An AFP dispatch from Kabul, dated today on March 9th, reveals that: “Last year was the most deadly for civilians in nine years of war between the Taliban and international forces in Afghanistan, with almost 2,800 dead, 15% more than in 2009, a UN report indicated on Wednesday, underlining the human cost of the conflict for the population.”
“…the Taliban insurrection intensified and gained ground these last few years, with guerrilla actions further from its traditions bastions to the south and east.”
“With exactly 2,777 the number of civilian deaths in 2010 increased 15% as compared to 2009, indicates the annual joint report by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan...”
“President Barack Obama stated on the 3rd of March his "profound condolences" to the Afghan people for the nine dead children; US General David Petraeus, commander in chief of the ISAF and Secretary of the Defence Robert Gates made similar statements.”
“…the UNAMA report emphasizes that the number of civilian dead in 2010 is four times greater than the number of international forces soldiers killed in combat in that same year.
“The year 2010 has been by far the most deadly year for foreign soldiers in nine years of war, with 711 dead, confirming that the Taliban guerrilla has intensified despite the sending of 30,000 US reinforcements last year.”
For 10 days, in Geneva and in the UN more than 150 speeches were made about violations on human rights that were repeated millions of times by TV, radio, Internet and the printed press.
Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodríguez, in his speech on March 1st before the Foreign Ministers meeting in Geneva, stated:
“Human conscience rejects the deaths of innocent people in any circumstance and in any place. Cuba fully shares world concern for the losses in civilian lives in Libya and wishes that their people attain a peaceful and sovereign solution to the civil war happening over there, without any foreign interference, and ensuring the integrity of that nation.”
Some of the final paragraphs of his speech were noteworthy:
“If essential human rights are a right of life, is the Council ready to suspend the membership of states that unleash war?”
“Will it suspend states that finance and supply military aid used by the receiving state in massive, flagrant and systematic violations on human rights and in attacks on civilian populations, such as what is happening in Palestine?”
“Will it apply that measure against powerful countries that carry out extra-judicial executions on the territory of other states, using high technology such as smart bombs and unmanned planes?
“What would happen with states that accept on their territory illegal secret prisons, facilitate secret flights carrying kidnapped persons or participate in acts of torture?”
We fully share the courageous position of the Bolivarian leader Hugo Chávez and ALBA.
We are against the internal war in Libya, in favour of immediate peace and full respect for life and the rights of all citizens, with no foreign intervention that would only serve to prolong the conflict and NATO interests.
Fidel Castro Ruz
March 9, 2011