Thursday, March 10, 2011

Where were the calls for a no-fly zone when Israel attacked Gaza, asks George Galloway


As Western powers look for an excuse to intervene in Libya, George Galloway, interviewed by the BBC, asks where were the calls for a no-fly zone when Israel attacked Gaza. Would the West call for a no-fly zone to support the rebels if there was a revolution in Saudi Arabia?

Posted March 09, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

US Intervention in Libya: A Truly Bad Idea

Top 14 Justifications For An Invasion Of Libya

By End Of The American Dream

March 07, 2011 "EOTAD" -- Over the past couple of days, top government officials from both the United States and the EU have been openly discussing the possibility of military intervention in Libya. In fact, it has seemed like there has been a full court press in the mainstream media to sway public opinion toward supporting a potential invasion. We are being told that we simply cannot stand by as Libyan civilians die. We are being told that this would be a "humanitarian" mission. We are being told that this would not be like Iraq or Afghanistan. Even now, the U.S. military is moving the USS Enterprise and other warships closer to Libya in case they are "needed". Other nations are also sending warships into the Mediterranean and are preparing for military action. It really does appear that authorities in the United States and Europe really are serious about potentially going into Libya. But is there really any way that the United States can really justify getting involved in another war in the Middle East? Will the American people ever be convinced that an invasion of Libya by the U.S. military is a good idea?

Fortunately, so far it appears that the mainstream media propaganda is not working. A recent Rasmussen poll found that a whopping 67 percent of Americans do not want the U.S. to get more involved in the unrest going on in Arab countries and only 17 percent of Americans do want the U.S. to get more directly involved.

But that doesn't mean that top politicians in the U.S. and in Europe are not going to continue to try to change our minds.

British Prime Minister David Cameron sure sounds like he is ready to go to war....

"If Col Gaddafi uses military force against his own people, the world cannot stand by."

On Monday, Hillary Clinton made it clear that the U.S. government considers military action to be very much "on the table"....

"Nothing is off the table so long as the Libyan Government continues to threaten and kill Libyans."

It is almost as if they want us to believe that their hands are being forced.

Of course nobody in the mainstream media seems to be bringing up the fact that the United States has stood idly by and watched millions and millions of Africans be slaughtered in bloody civil wars and genocides over the past couple of decades.

For decades the U.S. has looked upon the suffering of millions of Africans with indifference but now they are trying to convince us that it is a "moral imperative" that we intervene in the civil war in Libya.

It is funny how things can change when oil is at stake. Libya is the biggest producer of oil in Africa and that makes it a very important nation to the global elite.

Fortunately, it appears that the American people are starting to get sick and tired of sending our young men and women off to the Middle East to fight these endless wars.

American blood should never be spent cheaply. Each American life is precious, and our military men and women should never be sacrificed unless there is a darn good reason for it.

Well, right now the global elite are working overtime to try to create some "good reasons" for going into Libya.

The following are 14 potential justifications for an invasion of Libya by the U.S. military that are currently being floated in the mainstream media....

#1 "We Can't Stand Aside And Watch Gaddafi Kill His Own People"
#2 "It Would Just Be A Humanitarian Mission"
#3 "Libya Is Torturing Prisoners"
#4 "The Libyan Rebels Will Not Be Able To Take Down Gaddhafi With Our Help"
#5 "U.S. Interests Are Being Threatened"
#6 "Gaddafi Is Crazy"
#7 "Gaddafi Has Weapons Of Mass Destruction"
#8 "Gaddafi Will Use Chemical Weapons If We Don't Stop Him"
#9 "Gaddafi Has "1,000 Metric Tons Of Uranium Yellowcake"
#10 "European Energy Companies Are Deeply Invested In Libyan Oil And Gas Fields"
#11 "Millions of Dollars Worth Of Infrastructure Will Be Destroyed If We Don't Intervene"
#12 "The Crisis In Libya Is Bad For The Global Economy"
#13 "Someone Has To Protect The Oil"
#14 "We Have Got To Go Into Libya To Keep Al-Qaeda From Getting A Foothold"

Al-Qaeda?  Really?

Yes, they are being trotted out once again as a reason for us to invade someone.

A recent article in Time Magazine made the following claim....

"U.S. counterterrorism officials have noted the disproportionate number of Libyans turning up in the ranks of al-Qaeda both in northern Africa and in Iraq."

You can always count on Time Magazine for some good government propaganda.

Hopefully the American people will not fall for this nonsense.

But it looks like it is not just going to be the U.S. military that is going to be involved. This is already being framed as a "NATO operation", and we are being told that a direct invasion will probably not happen immediately.

Rather, we are told that a "no fly zone" would likely be set up first and special forces troops may be sent in to help "advise" the rebel forces.

Well, the truth is that the moment that we shoot down one Libyan plane or we insert one U.S. solider into the country we are at war.

In fact, the Pakistan Observer is reporting that hundreds of "defense advisers" from the United States, the U.K. and France have already landed in Libya and are helping to train rebel forces.

Let us hope that the Pakistan Observer report and other similar reports in the international media are not true.

The American people are sick and tired of using the U.S. military as the police of the world. The Libyan civil war belongs to the Libyan people and it should stay that way.

No mater how it is justified, if the U.S. military does go into Libya the Libyan people and most of the rest of the world are going to deeply resent it....

War Room The neocons are trying to talk us into war -- again

By Michael Lind
Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 07:01 ET

They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing," Voltaire said of the members of the Hapsburg dynasty of his day. The same might be said of the American hawks who are calling for U.S. military intervention in Libya's civil war.

Sens. John McCain and Joe Lieberman, along with others, have raised the possibility of establishing "no-fly zones" in Libya, along the lines of those in Iraq between the end of the Gulf War in 1991 and the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003, in order to prevent Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi from using his air force to bomb the rebels seeking to overthrow his regime.

Another suggestion is to help Libyan rebels establish secure enclaves, from which they can capture the rest of the country from forces loyal to Gadhafi.
The implication is that the enforcement of "no-fly zones," by the U.S. alone or with NATO allies, would be a moderate, reasonable measure short of war, like a trade embargo. In reality, declaring and enforcing a no-fly zone in Libya would be a radical act of war. It would require the U.S. not only to shoot down Libyan military aircraft but also to bomb Libya in order to destroy anti-aircraft defenses. Under any legal theory, bombing a foreign government's territory and blasting its air force out of the sky is war.

Could America's war in Libya remain limited? The hawks glibly promise that the U.S. could limit its participation in the Libyan civil war to airstrikes, leaving the fighting to Libyan rebels.

These assurances by the hawks are ominously familiar. Remember the phrase "lift-and-strike"? During the wars of the Yugoslav succession in the 1990s, Washington’s armchair generals claimed that Serbia could easily be defeated if the U.S. lifted the arms embargo on Serbia’s enemies and engaged in a few antiseptic airstrikes. Instead, the ultimate result was a full-scale war by NATO. Serbia capitulated only when it was faced with the possibility of a ground invasion by NATO troops.
Undeterred by the failure of lift-and-strike in the Balkans, neoconservatives proposed the same discredited strategy as a way to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Paul Wolfowitz and others proposed the creation of enclaves in Iraq, from which anti-Saddam forces under the protection of U.S. airpower could topple the tyrant. Critics who knew something about the military dismissed this as the "Bay of Goats" strategy, comparing it to the Kennedy administration's failed "Bay of Pigs" operation that was intended to overthrow Fidel Castro without direct U.S. military involvement by landing American-armed Cuban exiles in Cuba. In Iraq, as in the Balkans, the ultimate result was an all-out U.S. invasion followed by an occupation.

In Afghanistan, Afghan rebels played a key role in deposing the Taliban regime. But contrary to the promises of the Bush administration that the Afghan War would be short and decisive, the objective was redefined from removing the Taliban to "nation-building" and the conflict was then thoroughly Americanized. The result is today’s seemingly endless, expensive Afghan quagmire.

The lesson of these three wars is that the rhetoric of lift-and-strike is a gateway drug that leads to all-out American military invasion and occupation. Once the U.S. has committed itself to using limited military force to depose a foreign regime, the pressure to "stay the course" becomes irresistible. If lift-and-strike were to fail in Libya, the same neocon hawks who promised that it would succeed would not apologize for their mistake. Instead, they would up the ante. They would call for escalating American involvement further, because America’s prestige would now be on the line. They would denounce any alternative as a cowardly policy of "cut and run." And as soon as any American soldiers died in Libya, the hawks would claim that we would be betraying their memory, unless we conquered Libya and occupied it for years or decades until it became a functioning, pro-American democracy.

Those who are promoting an American war against Gadhafi must answer the question: "You and whose army?" The term "jingoism" comes from a Victorian British music-hall ditty: "We don’t want to fight but by Jingo if we do,/ We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money too." Unfortunately for 21st-century America's jingoes, we haven’t got the ships, the men or the money. The continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched U.S. military manpower to the limits. The U.S. has paid for these wars by borrowing rather than taxation. The long-term costs of these conflicts, including medical care for maimed American soldiers, will run into the trillions, according to the economists Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes.

If a lift-and-strike policy failed, and the result was a full-scale American war in Libya, how would Sen. McCain propose to pay for it? Republicans since Reagan have preferred to use deficit spending rather than taxes to pay for wars and military buildups. No doubt the Republican hawks would support paying for a Libyan war, like the Iraq and Afghan wars, by adding hundreds of billions or trillions to the deficit, even as they claim that non-military programs are bankrupting the country.

Napoleon and Hitler were brought down when they foolishly fought wars on two fronts. In hindsight they look like strategic geniuses compared to the American hawks who, not content that the U.S. is fighting two simultaneous wars in the Muslim world, are recklessly proposing a third.

Fortunately, the American people in 2008 chose not to entrust Sen. McCain with the office of commander in chief. While his domestic policy has been too timid and incremental, in his foreign policy Barack Obama has proven to be the cautious realist that America needed after the trigger-happy George W. Bush. His prudence is shared by his conservative secretary of defense, Robert Gates, who recently told an audience of West Point cadets:

"In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should 'have his head examined,' as General MacArthur so delicately put it."

Gates is right. Those who propose U.S. military intervention in Libya, even as the U.S. remains bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, should get their heads examined.

Michael Lind is Policy Director of the Economic Growth Program at the New America Foundation and is the author of "The Next American Nation: The New Nationalism and the Fourth American Revolution."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Insurrection and Military Intervention: The US-NATO Attempted Coup d'Etat in Libya?

by Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research
March 7, 2011

Part II. "Operation Libya" and the Battle for Oil

The US and NATO are supporting an armed insurrection in Eastern Libya, with a view to justifying a "humanitarian intervention".

This is not a non-violent protest movement as in Egypt and Tunisia. Conditions in Libya are fundamentally different. The armed insurgency in Eastern Libya is directly supported by foreign powers. The insurrection in Benghazi immediately hoisted the red, black and green banner with the crescent and star: the flag of the monarchy of King Idris, which symbolized the rule of the former colonial powers. See Manlio Dinucci, Libya-When historical memory is erased, Global Research, Febraury 28, 2011

US and NATO military advisers and special forces are already on the ground. The operation was planned to coincide with the protest movement in neighbouring Arab countries. Public opinion was led to believe that the protest movement had spread spontaneously from Tunisia and Egypt to Libya.

The Obama administration in consultation with its allies is assisting an armed rebellion, namely an attempted coup d'Etat:

"The Obama administration stands ready to offer "any type of assistance" to Libyans seeking to oust Moammar Gadhafi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [February 27] "we've been reaching out to many different Libyans who are attempting to organize in the east and as the revolution moves westward there as well," Clinton said. "I think it's way too soon to tell how this is going to play out, but we're going to be ready and prepared to offer any kind of assistance that anyone wishes to have from the United States." Efforts are under way to form a provisional government in the eastern part of the country where the rebellion began at midmonth.

The U.S., Clinton said, is threatening more measures against Gadhafi's government, but did not say what they were or when they might be announced.

The U.S. should "recognize some provisional government that they are trying to set already up..." [McCain]

Lieberman spoke in similar terms, urging "tangible support, (a) no-fly zone, recognition of the revolutionary government, the citizens' government and support for them with both humanitarian assistance and I would provide them with arms."

The Planned Invasion

A military intervention is now contemplated by US NATO forces under a "humanitarian mandate".

--"The United States is moving naval and air forces in the region" to "prepare the full range of options" in the confrontation with Libya: Pentagon spokesperson Col. Dave Lapan of the Marines made this announcement [March 1]. He then said that "It was President Obama who asked the military to prepare for these options," because the situation in Libya is getting worse." Manlio Dinucci, Preparing for "Operation Libya": The Pentagon is "Repositioning" its Naval and Air Forces..., Global Research, March 3, 2011, emphasis added

The real objective of "Operation Libya" is not to establish democracy but to take possession of Libya's oil reserves, destabilize the National Oil Corporation (NOC) and eventually privatize the country's oil industry, namely transfer the control and ownership of Libya's oil wealth into foreign hands.

The National Oil Corporation (NOC) is ranked 25 among the world’s Top 100 Oil Companies. The Energy Intelligence ranks NOC 25 among the world’s Top 100 companies. -

Libya is among the World's largest oil economies with approximately 3.5% of global oil reserves, more than twice those of the US. (for further details see Part II of this article, "Operation Libya" and the Battle for Oil)

The planned invasion of Libya, which is already underway is part of the broader "Battle for Oil". Close to 80 percent of Libya’s oil reserves are located in the Sirte Gulf basin of Eastern Libya. MORE...

Monday, March 7, 2011

End the Empire and Build America

By Peter G Cohen

March 07, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- -It is very unlikely that the United States will cut the military budget or end our wars in Central Asia until the concept of maintaining world influence by militarily presence is discredited and abandoned. The sudden eruption of the democracy movement in the Arab nations has made it obvious that we have little control over the real world in spite of our more than 900 military bases on foreign soil. It is also obvious that our government was surprised by these events, which is a noteworthy failure of our extensive and expensive intelligence establishment to understand the world in which we live.

While we wait for the Arab peoples eruptions to settle into recognizable governments, there is little we can do to preserve our commercial and political arrangements in their world. Our first response to the demonstrations in Egypt was to send a battleship with 800 troops on board several days after most Americans had left. This ‘gunboat diplomacy’ is an indication of 19th Century thinking in response to 21st Century events.

The effort to establish worldwide influence (hegemony) by force is militarizing our society and limiting our future. For all who love peace, who want to build collective security through the United Nations, and to focus on laying the foundations for our nation’s future, the top priority must be to end our addiction to the failed promise of military domination. It should also be the top priority of those who want a reasonable national budget, a healthy economy and the funds available to deal with national and world problems.

In the National Interest

Over and over again we are told that our huge military and its worldwide distribution is in the ‘National Interest.’ This phrase is constantly used and never explained. Sometimes it means defense, sometimes it means profitable trade or access to markets and cheap labor, sometimes it means protecting energy sources, or outdated promises to defend a friendly nation. Its vagueness makes it the ideal garment to cloak any action. It should always be questioned; we must ask, what does national interest mean in this case?

Is it in our national interest to maintain over 900 foreign military bases? Why do we need them? “In fact, the purpose of our overseas bases is to maintain U.S. dominance in the world, and to reinforce what military analyst Charles Maier calls our ‘empire of consumption.’ The United States possesses less than five percent of global population but consumes about one quarter of all global resources, including petroleum. Our empire exists so we can exploit a much greater share of the world’s wealth than we are entitled to, and so we can prevent other nations from combining against us to take their rightful share.” --Chalmers Johnson in his valuable book, Dismantling the Empire.

In an effort to maintain hegemony (influence) or empire (dominance) we have been increasing the military budget, bases, technologies and plans for future wars. Meanwhile, 15 million American families suffer from being unemployed, millions more are homeless, one in five children are disadvantaged by poverty, our states are facing bankruptcy, etc. Our national infrastructure is failing and we are not making the investments necessary to maintain a decent future for our citizens.

On the Op-Ed page of the New York Times on 2-19-11 there is a chart comparing the best and worst of 33 advanced nations. The U.S. is among the “Worst of the worst” in income inequality, food insecurity, life expectancy, prison population, and math scale score. We are among the worst in unemployment. We are among the best only in level of democracy, wellbeing index and student science score.

The Results of Our Giant Military

Our huge national debt, primarily caused by our constantly rising military expenses, are now resulting in budget cuts of programs for working people, the sick and the poor. At the same time we are failing to invest in green energy systems that could replace fossil fuels and reduce the impact of damaging climate change.

Who is Served by Hegemony? Large international corporations, that are in search of energy and other resources, including minerals, cheap labor and open markets. For these giants, the presence of the U.S. Military makes it easier for them to operate. The public pays for the military and its wars, while the corporations are the major beneficiaries.

The total GDP of the European Union now exceeds that of the United States. In those nations the percentage of GDP spent on the military averages 1.6 %. Ours in 2010, counting only the Pentagon and DOE, was over 5.4% of GDP. Our total military expenditures are greater than the rest of the world taken together.

What do we Get for Our Money?

In spite of our overwhelming military presence and its many “Command” areas, the Chinese economy is growing much faster than ours. China is buying the resources it needs worldwide, from oil in the Sudan to food-growing land in Africa. We could have bought vast quantities of oil for the money spent on war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Furthermore, such purchases would not have inflamed Islamists and attracted more suicide bombers as our wars, bombings and drone attacks have done.

The fact is that our reliance upon a huge military to advance the “interests” of the United States has been a failure. It has drained our human and financial resources at home, and created new hostilities abroad. It is time to abandon the goal of world domination and to accept the fact that in a changing world there are new centers of power that can more effectively be approached as potential partners in building a more secure world and limiting the damages of climate change.

A New Peace Agenda

The American peace movement should work to discredit, criticize, expose and oppose the ineffective and unaffordable model of world hegemony, empire and domination. By attacking the root idea we can achieve greater cuts in military spending than by just opposing the wars and their weapons. We must eliminate most foreign bases and all super embassies. We must create new and more dramatic ways to reach out to all Americans with the truth that our world military presence and support of dictators encourages terrorism, while encouraging democracy and greater economic fairness will reduce the impulse to inflict terror.

Finally, the peace movement must project a vision of our lives and tax money invested in the welfare, education and opportunities of our children. We want to rebuild the national infrastructure for the future of the United States. We want our nation to lead the world in the production of alternative energy systems and, after replacing our own fossil fuels, export them (rather than deadly military equipment) to a world threatened by climate change.

If the Arab peoples living under dictatorships can change their societies, surely the American people can change their national priorities by peaceful action in the framework of our democracy.