Amy Goodman, Bernie Sanders, Democracy Now!, Democratic Party, Global Research, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Human Rights Watch, International Business Times, Jo Becker, Margaret Thatcher, Martha Raddatz, Muammar Gaddafi, Nermeen Shaikh, Peter Bouckaert, Scott Shane, The Libya Gamble, The New York Times, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, US/NATO Imperialism
LUMPENPROLETARIAT—The New York Times has decided to take us all on a trip down memory lane by revisiting the imperialist resumé of Democrat Party presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton with the publication of a major two-part exposé entitled “The Libya Gamble” on Hillary Clinton’s role in the overthrow of the Libyan government in 2011, as Obama’s Secretary of State. We can imagine the nightmarish wrath a President Hillary would unleash on the world.
One thing we can be wary of is the hawkish lengths an aspiring first female president, such as Hillary Clinton, would go within the realm of patriarchy to prove she’s as tough as her male counterparts. Think Margaret Thatcher on steroids.
By this metric, the American ruling class, particularly oil profiteers, must be pleased with Hillary Clinton’s record as Secretary of State when she provided President Obama the excuse he needed to destabalise Libya and create further pretext for endless US/NATO military predation everywhere, except inside the territories of its corrupt allies, such as Israel and Saudi Arabia.
As The New York Times‘ Pulitzer Prize-winning Jo Becker explained, “when Colonel Gaddafi threatened to crush the Arab Spring protests in Libya, she helped persuade President Obama to join other countries in bombing his forces to prevent a feared massacre.” Of course, the hypocrisy in this reasoning is blatant, for we recall that the Obama administration literally cracked skulls in the USA, as it crushed the Occupy Movement across the nation, even as it purported to defend the right to assemble and to petition one’s government for a redress of grievances abroad.
During the Democrat Party’s presidential debate in New Hampshire last year, moderator, and ABC News host, Martha Raddatz questioned Hillary Clinton about the vicious conquest of Libya. Clinton’s main competitor for the Democratic presidential nomination and self-described socialist, Bernie Sanders, added this somewhat qualified stance on regime change, or US/NATO imperialism:
“The truth is, it is relatively easy for a powerful nation like America to overthrow a dictator, but it is very hard to predict the unintended consequences and the turmoil and the instability that follows after you overthrow that dictator. So, I think Secretary Clinton and I have a fundamental disagreement: I’m not quite the fan of regime change that I believe she is.”
DEMOCRACY NOW!—[3 MAR 2016] The New York Times has published a major two-part exposé titled “The Libya Gamble” on how then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed President Obama to begin bombing Libya five years ago this month. Today, Libya is a failed state and a haven for terrorists. How much should Hillary Clinton be blamed for the crisis? We speak to journalist Scott Shane of The New York Times.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Five years ago this month, the United States and allied nations began bombing Libya, striking forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The Obama administration said the strikes were needed to enforce a no-fly zone and to protect Libyan protesters who took to the streets as part of the Arab Spring. Inside the Obama administration, there was a deep division over whether the U.S. should intervene militarily. One of the most hawkish members of Obama’s Cabinet was Hillary Clinton, then the secretary of state.
The New York Times has just published two major pieces [part one, part two] looking at Clinton’s role pushing for the bombing of Libya. The special report is titled “The Libya Gamble.” In a moment, we’ll be joined by Scott Shane, one of the report’s co-authors, but first a video package produced by The New York Times.
JO BECKER: Hillary Clinton’s role in the military intervention that ousted Muammar Gaddafi in Libya is getting new scrutiny as she runs for president. The U.S. relationship with Libya has long been complicated. Colonel Gaddafi, who ruled from 1969 until 2011, was an eccentric dictator linked to terrorism. Still, when he gave up his nuclear program a decade ago and provided information about al-Qaeda, he became an ally of sorts. In 2009, when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, she welcomed one of Colonel Gaddafi’s sons to Washington.
SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: We deeply value the relationship between the United States and Libya.
JO BECKER: But two years later, when Colonel Gaddafi threatened to crush the Arab Spring protests in Libya, she helped persuade President Obama to join other countries in bombing his forces to prevent a feared massacre.
SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: This operation has already saved many lives, but the danger is far from over.
JO BECKER: The military campaign ended up ousting Colonel Gaddafi, and Secretary Clinton was welcomed to Libya on a victory tour. A few days later, Colonel Gaddafi was killed by opposition fighters.
SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: We came, we saw, he died.
JO BECKER: But the new Western-backed government proved incapable of uniting Libya. And in the end, the strongman’s death led to chaos. When four Americans were killed by terrorists in Benghazi in 2012, it revealed just how bad things had gotten. Colonel Gaddafi’s huge arsenal of weapons has shown up in the hands of terrorists in places like Gaza, Syria, Nigeria and Mali. Hundreds of thousands of migrants have fled through Libya on boats. Many have drowned. And the power vacuum has allowed ISIS to build its most dangerous outpost on the Libyan coast. Today, just 300 miles from Europe, Libya is a failed state. Meanwhile, back at home, Mrs. Clinton has struggled to defend the decision to intervene.
HILLARY CLINTON: But I’m not giving up on Libya, and I don’t think anybody should. We’ve been at this a couple of years.
MARTHA RADDATZ: But were mistakes made?
HILLARY CLINTON: Well, there’s always a retrospective to say what mistakes were made. But I know that we offered a lot of help, and I know it was difficult for the Libyans to accept help.
AMY GOODMAN: That video by The New York Times accompanies a major two-part series [part one, part two] on Hillary Clinton titled “The Libya Gamble,” written by Jo Becker and Scott Shane. Scott Shane is joining us now from Baltimore. He’s also author of a new book called Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the Drone, about the first American deliberately killed in a drone strike, Anwar al-Awlaki. The book just won the 2016 Lionel Gelber Prize.
Scott Shane, welcome to Democracy Now! Let’s start with this two-part series, “Clinton, ‘Smart Power’ and a Dictator’s Fall.” Talk about Hillary Clinton as secretary of state and how she led the charge, or what she advised President Obama in Libya.
SCOTT SHANE: Well, five years ago, there were—there was a question about what to do as Gaddafi’s forces approached Benghazi. The Europeans and the Arab League were calling for action. No one really knew what the outcome would be, but there was certainly a very serious threat to a large number of civilians in Benghazi. But, you know, the U.S. was still involved in two big wars, and the sort of heavyweights in the Obama administration were against getting involved—Robert Gates, the defensive secretary; Joe Biden, the vice president; Tom Donilon, the national security adviser.
And Secretary Clinton had been meeting with representatives of Britain, France and the Arab countries. And she sort of essentially called in from Paris and then from Cairo, and she ended up tipping the balance and essentially convincing President Obama, who later described this as a 51-49 decision, to join the other countries in the coalition to bomb Gaddafi’s forces.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Hillary Clinton has argued, in her defense, that it’s still too early to tell what the effects of the intervention have been, and that perhaps accounts for why she’s pushing for more military involvement in Syria. But Obama, on the other hand, as you point out in your piece, says the Libya experience has made him question each military intervention by asking, “Should we intervene militarily? Do we have an answer for the day after?” So, Scott Shane, can you lay out what you explain happened in Libya the day after, as it were?
SCOTT SHANE: Well, you know, for a few months, it looked like things might go reasonably well. There was some attention to restoring Libya’s oil industry. And the optimism was based in part on the idea that this is a relatively small country population-wise, about 6 million people. It did not have the Sunni-Shia split that you see in many Muslim countries, and it had plenty of money from oil to rebuild. So, briefly, there was this sort of moment of optimism. And Secretary Clinton made her visit. And they were—you know, her people were actually thinking this would be perhaps a centerpiece of her record as secretary of state.
But what happened was the militias that had participated in the fight against Gaddafi, you know, essentially aligned with different tribes in different cities, and it proved impossible for these mostly Western-educated—in some cases, somewhat detached—opposition leaders to pull the country together, and eventually it sort of dissolved into civil war.
AMY GOODMAN: You say—in that piece we just heard, the tape that caught Hillary Clinton saying, “We came, we saw, he died.” Explain.
SCOTT SHANE: Well, you know, in some ways, I think she would see that as unfair. She was giving a series of TV interviews, and that was in a break between interviews. The reporter for the next take was just sitting down in the chair, and an aide handed her a Blackberry with the news that Gaddafi—you know, first reports that Gaddafi might be dead. And that was her sort of, I think she would say, you know, exaggerated, humorous reaction. But, you know—but it did capture, I think, the fact that she had become very involved in this effort that first—that sort of began as protecting civilians and sort of evolved into overthrowing Gaddafi. And she was eager to see an end to what had become a surprisingly drawn-out affair, given the fact that this very large alliance of NATO and Arab countries were on the rebels’ side. So I think she was relieved and pleased that Gaddafi’s rule was over and that he was no longer around to make trouble.
AMY GOODMAN: During the Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire last year, ABC News host Martha Raddatz questioned Hillary Clinton about her support for the 2011 invasion of Libya, which toppled Muammar Gaddafi.
MARTHA RADDATZ: Secretary Clinton, I want to circle back to something that your opponents here have brought up. Libya is falling apart. The country is a haven for ISIS and jihadists, with an estimated 2,000 ISIS fighters there today. You advocated for that 2011 intervention and called it “smart power at its best.” And yet, even President Obama said the U.S. should have done more to fill the leadership vacuum left behind. How much responsibility do you bear for the chaos that followed elections?
HILLARY CLINTON: Well, first, let’s remember why we became part of a coalition to stop Gaddafi from committing massacres against his people. The United States was asked to support the Europeans and the Arab partners that we had. And we did a lot of due diligence about whether we should or not, and eventually, yes, I recommended, and the president decided, that we would support the action to protect civilians on the ground. And that led to the overthrow of Gaddafi.
I think that what Libya then did by having a full free election, which elected moderates, was an indication of their crying need and desire to get on the right path. Now, the whole region has been rendered unstable, in part because of the aftermath of the Arab Spring, in part because of the very effective outreach and propagandizing that ISIS and other terrorist groups do.
MARTHA RADDATZ: Senator Sanders?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: The truth is, it is relatively easy for a powerful nation like America to overthrow a dictator, but it is very hard to predict the unintended consequences and the turmoil and the instability that follows after you overthrow that dictator. So, I think Secretary Clinton and I have a fundamental disagreement: I’m not quite the fan of regime change that I believe she is.
AMY GOODMAN: “I’m not quite the fan of regime change that … she is,” says Bernie Sanders in that debate with Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire. Scott Shane, from Iraq and her vote for the war with Iraq, which of course did lead to regime change, to Libya, talk about the goal of Hillary Clinton and whether that was even different from the goal of President Obama, who she does wrap herself around now in all of her presidential campaigning.
SCOTT SHANE: I think what we found is that there is a subtle but distinct difference between President Obama and Secretary Clinton on the question of sort of activism and interventionism abroad. And, you know, in a situation like Libya, there are no good choices. It’s certainly conceivable that if she had tipped the other way, and the U.S. and the Europeans and others had not gotten involved, that perhaps Gaddafi would have slaughtered a whole lot of civilians, and we would be, you know, posing different questions to her today.
But, you know, what we found was that President Obama is, not surprisingly, very shaped by the Iraq experience, which he’s had to cope with the still ongoing aftermath of the decision to invade in 2003 all these years later. She, of course, has been in government longer, and I think she—you know, her aides say that she was also influenced by genocide in Rwanda, which taught her the cost of inaction in a situation like that, and by the experience in the Balkans, which sort of cut both ways. But, you know, I think she drew the lesson that intervention could prevent even larger massacres and do some good, as imperfect as the outcome was there. So they kind of look back to these different historical experiences and draw different conclusions.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, you report in your piece in the Times that shortly after the air campaign began in 2011, there was the possibility of a 72-hour ceasefire, potentially leading to a negotiated exit for Gaddafi. Why was that offer not taken seriously by the American military?
SCOTT SHANE: Well, you know, there were—there was a whole array of attempts to come up with some sort of soft exit for Gaddafi. Perhaps he would stay in Libya, perhaps he would go elsewhere. But I think the bottom line was that the Americans and the Europeans and the other Arab—and the Arab countries that were involved in this, all basically felt that Gaddafi, who was basically a megalomaniac, who had been in office for 40 years and sort of saw him as the savior of his country, just would not, when push came to shove, be willing to cede power. And they felt that any kind of ceasefire, he would use just to kind of regroup his forces and extend the fighting. Whether that was true or not, you know, history will judge.
AMY GOODMAN: And the issue of this being a failed state right now and Hillary Clinton’s responsibility here—of course, as is President Obama, but she was the secretary of state who was advising him, meeting with people on the ground, making her suggestions on pushing forward with war?
SCOTT SHANE: Yeah, I mean, you know, one reason we did that series is that it appears that intervention—when, how and whether to intervene in other countries, particularly Muslim countries—remains sort of a pressing question for American presidents. And since she’s running for the presidency, this is, you know, perhaps a revealing case study of how she comes out in these situations.
But, you know, there are—there is no good example of intervention or non-intervention in these countries since the Arab Spring and before that. I mean, you have Iraq, where we spent years occupying, a very tragic outcome. You have Libya, where we intervened but did not occupy and pretty much, you know, stayed out of it afterwards—not a good outcome. And you have Syria, where we have really not intervened, have not occupied, and you’ve had this terrible civil war with huge casualties. So, you know, some people in Washington are questioning whether there is any right answer in these extremely complicated countries in the Middle East.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, given the spread of ISIS in Libya, you report that some of Obama’s top national security aides are now pushing for a second American military intervention in Libya.
SCOTT SHANE: Yeah, I mean, one of the ironies here is that, you know, you’ve almost come full circle, but instead of targeting Gaddafi and Gaddafi’s forces, the U.S. is now targeting ISIS. And the—you know, in that debate, Martha Raddatz uses the number 2,000 ISIS fighters; now it’s up to 5,000 or 6,000. You know, on the coast of Libya, they have formed the most important outpost for the Islamic State outside Syria and Iraq, and the Europeans and the Americans are very worried about it. So, there was actually an airstrike on an ISIS camp in western Libya, where there were Tunisians responsible for some attacks in Tunisia, and now they’re looking at possible attacks on the major ISIS stronghold in Libya, which is in Sirte on the coast.
AMY GOODMAN: In your piece, you talk about the memo afterwards that highlights Hillary Rodham Clinton—HRC, as it’s put—role, talking about her leadership, ownership, stewardship of this country’s Libya policy from start to finish, with an eye to the presidential campaign. Can you talk about this, as you put it, this brag sheet?
SCOTT SHANE: Well, that memo was written in 2011, when Gaddafi had fallen. And, you know, it looked like—you know, they were holding this up as sort of an alternative to the George W. Bush invasion of Iraq, a coalition in which the U.S. was not even the leader and organizer, really, and it was a very broad coalition of nations that had intervened. They saw this as what she referred to as “smart power.” And they really thought this might be something they would hold up as a very successful part of her record as she ran for president. As we’ve seen, that did not happen, and, you know, you don’t hear them raise the subject of Libya on the campaign trail at all.
AMY GOODMAN: Scott Shane, we have to end the show, but we’re going to do Part 2 of our conversation after the show about your new book, Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the Drone. Scott Shane, national security reporter for The New York Times. And we’ll link to this major exposé [part one, part two] you did on Hillary Clinton’s role in “The Libya Gamble.”
That does it for the show. We have this late, breaking news: Honduras—the Honduran indigenous and environmental organizer Berta Cáceres has been assassinated. She was one of the leading organizers for indigenous land rights in Honduras, winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize.
GLOBAL RESEARCH—[12 MAR 2015] Libya, ISIS and the Unaffordable Luxury of Hindsight
Who are you?” the late Muammar Gaddafi once rhetorically asked in a famous speech of his towards the end of his reign; (rightly) questioning the legitimacy of those seeking to over-throw his government at the time, calling them extremists, foreign agents, rats and drug-addicts. He was laughed at, unfairly caricatured, ridiculed and incessantly demonized; a distasteful parody video poking fun at the late Libyan leader even went viral on social media; evidently the maker of the video, an Israeli, thought the Libyan colloquial Arabic word “Zenga” (which means an Alleyway) sounded funny enough that he extracted it from one of Gaddafi’s speeches, looped it on top of a hip-hop backing track and voila… he got himself a hit video which was widely (and shamefully) circulated with a “revolutionary” zeal in the Arab world. We shared, we laughed, he died.
But the bloody joke is on all of us; Gaddafi knew what he was talking about; right from the get-go, he accused the so-called Libyan rebels of being influenced by Al-Qaeda ideology and Ben Laden’s school of thought; no one had taken his word for it of course, not even a little bit. I mean why should we have? After all, wasn’t he a vile, sex-centric dictator hell-bent on massacring half of the Libyan population while subjecting the other half to manic raping sprees with the aid of his trusted army of Viagra-gobbling, sub-Saharan mercenaries? At least that’s what we got from the visual cancer that is Al Jazeera channel and its even more acrid Saudi counterpart Al-Arabiya in their heavily skewed coverage of NATO’s vicious conquest of Libya. Plus Gaddafi did dress funny; why would anyone trust a haggard, weird-looking despot dressed in colorful rags when you have well-groomed Zionists like Bernard Henry Levy, John McCain and Hillary Clinton at your side, smiling and flashing the victory sign in group photo-ops, right?
Gaddafi called them drug-addicted, Islamic fundamentalists; we know them as ISIS… it doesn’t seem much of a joke now, does it? And ISIS is what had been in store for us all along; the “revolutionary” lynching and sodomization of Muammar Gaddafi amid manic chants of “Allahu Akbar”, lauded by many at the time as some sort of a warped triumph of the good of popular will (read: NATO-sponsored mob rule) over the evil of dictatorship (sovereign state), was nothing but a gory precursor for the future of the country and the region; mass lynching of entire populations in Libya, Syria and Iraq and the breakup of key Arab states into feuding mini-statelets. The gruesome video of Colonel Gaddafi’s murder, which puts to shame the majority of ISIS videos in terms of unhinged brutality and gore, did not invoke the merest of condemnations back then, on the contrary; everyone seemed perfectly fine with the grotesque end of the Libyan “tyrant”… except that it was only the beginning of a new and unprecedented reign of terror courtesy of NATO’s foot-soldiers and GCC-backed Islamic insurgents.
The rapid proliferation of trigger-happy terrorist groups and Jihadi factions drenched in petrodollars in Libya was not some sort of an intelligence failure on the part of western governments or a mere by-product of the power vacuum left by a slain Gaddafi; it was a deliberate, calculated policy sought after and implemented by NATO and its allies in the Gulf under the cringe-inducing moniker “Friends of Libya” (currently known as the International Coalition against ISIS) to turn the north-African country into the world’s largest ungovernable dumpster of weapons, al-Qaida militants and illegal oil trading.
So it is safe to say that UNSC resolution 1973, which practically gave free rein for NATO to bomb Libya into smithereens, has finally borne fruit… and it’s rotten to its nucleus, you can call the latest gruesome murder of 21 Egyptian fishermen and workers by the Libyan branch of the Islamic State exhibit “A”, not to mention of course the myriad of daily killings, bombings and mini-civil wars that are now dotting the entire country which, ever since the West engineered its coup-d’etat against the Gaddafi government, have become synonymous with the bleak landscape of lawlessness and death that is “Libya” today. And the gift of NATO liberation is sure to keep on giving for years of instability and chaos to come.
Learn more at GLOBAL RESEARCH.
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES—[17 OCT 2012] Colonel Gaddafi ‘killed by bayonet stab to the anus’
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi died after being stabbed with a bayonet in the anus and not in a firefight as originally claimed by Libyan authorities, according to a report on the dictator’s last hours.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said Gaddafi was already bleeding from head wounds caused by blast shrapnel as he tried to flee Sirte, his hometown. The charity obtained unedited mobile footage that showed militants abusing Gaddafi as they took him into custody in October 2011.
“As he was being led on to the main road, a militiaman stabbed him in his anus with what appears to have been a bayonet, causing another rapidly bleeding wound,” the report said.
Gaddafi’s naked and apparently lifeless body was shown on mobile footage being put into an ambulance and driven to Misrata in a convoy. Earlier, fighters from Benghazi had claimed to have shot Gaddafi dead during a row with fighters from Misrata.
Gaddafi, his son Mutassim, defence minister Abu-Bakr Younis and other followers were buried in a secret place in the desert to prevent his grave becoming a shrine. A total of 103 members of the convoy died in the firefight. Evidence collated by Human Rights Watch suggested that some of the men were summarily executed.
The son of Gaddafi’s defence minister, also called Younis, who was present at the scene of the dictator’s capture, told Human Rights Watch of the confrontation with the rebels while trying to escape from Sirte.
Two Nato missiles forced the group to leave the cars and escape on foot, seeking shelter in a drainage ditch. A bodyguard hurled grenades at approaching militants but one grenade “hit the concrete wall and bounced back to fall between Muammar Gaddafi and Abu Bakr Younis”, Younis junior said.
“The shrapnel hit my father and he fell down to the ground. Muammar Gaddafi was also injured by the grenade, on the left side of his head,” he said.
“Our findings call into question the assertion by Libyan authorities that Muammar Gaddafi was killed in crossfire, and not after his capture,” Peter Bouckaert, the emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, said.
Learn more at INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES.
Related Lumpenproletariat articles, regarding Hillary Clinton‘s 2015-2016 presidential campaign:
- “Activist Berta Cáceres Assassinated“, 3 MAR 2016
- “Historical Archive: Third Party Challenge to Unconstitutional Prop 14“, 2 MAR 2016
- “My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency (2015) by Doug Henwood“, 29 FEB 2016
- “Hillary Clinton for USA Presidency: Pros and Cons“, 13 APR 2015
[Last modified 21:59 PDT 6 MAR 2016]
[Image entitlted “Khaddafi In Bredda” by Flikr user FaceMePLS used via Creative Commons]