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On NATO, Libya and Holbrooke

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NATO

Apparently Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, dressed down NATO members for not pulling their full share for the sake of US-led imperialism.

This provocative statement from Marti Hiken:

While Gates says, “Part of this predicament stems from a lack of will, much of it from a lack of resources in an era of austerity,” he doesn’t acknowledge that these countries still have to answer to the concerns of their people who have not been willing to have their youth sacrificed and die at the rate that Americans are willing. It appears that the people of Europe don’t want to turn their economies into an expensive military support system for the rich. “National Security” and military hardware don’t hold as much sway overseas as they do here. Unlike American policy makers, many Europeans demand (and receive) universal medical care, a safety net, and workers’ rights and jobs.

Let me just repeat my favorite sentence from that paragraph: It appears that the people of Europe don’t want to turn their economies into an expensive military support system for the rich.

Marti Hiken also points out that while U.S. American taxpayers fund 75% of all NATO’s military spending, the coalition “enables the US to spread its hegemonic designs upon the rest of the world by relying on its European allies under he guise of 'defense' of the North Atlantic nations." Even now, Obama is denying accountability for US participation a/k/a war with Libya on the technicality that we are not directly (bull shit!) involved.

Libya

Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report is disgusted with the super-slander against Libya and Gaddafi:

The vilification campaign waged by the West against Moammar Gaddfi is just the latest chapter in a “massive U.S. psychological assault, a vast disinformation operation in which the corporate media act as megaphones for government liars.” In reality, there is no evidence for allegations that Gaddafi ordered his soldiers to rape hundreds of women, but “that does not seem to matter to a corporate media that are bent on glorifying the Benghazi-based rebels.”

[snip]

Amnesty International, an organization that is decidedly hostile to Gaddafi’s government, admits that it cannot find evidence of mass rapes by the Libyan armed forces. And the man in charge of the United Nations’ human rights investigation in Libya told journalists that “massive hysteria” was behind the rape charge. Nevertheless, the western media repeat the baseless allegations ad nauseam, like young boys telling dirty stories.

[snip]

The U.S. government, with plenty of help from the media, is telling Americans that those who oppose U.S. policies in the world are savages. That's what the white settlers said about the Indians, and we know how that ended.

The recipe for hegemony, DEMONIZE AND DESTROY. Look at Iraq with Saddam. Look at Libya now with Gaddafi.

Adam Morrow and Khalde Moussa al-Omranni assert that Libya is being attacked to pre-emptively sabotage African state coalition-building during this Arab spring.

"Libya could be split in two, with Gaddafi staying on in the west of the country and a revolutionary government loyal to the western powers in control of the east," Mohamed al-Sakhawi, leading member of Egypt's as-yet-unlicensed Arabic Unity Party, told IPS.

"For three months, Libya has suffered internationally sanctioned air-strikes by the western NATO alliance, launched with the stated aim of supporting the ongoing popular uprising against the Gaddafi regime. Revolutionary forces based in Ben Ghazi now hold most of the country's eastern half, while forces loyal to Gaddafi continue to control the country's western half from the capital Tripoli.

[snip]

"The western campaign against Libya wasn't undertaken to protect human rights or foster democracy," said al-Sakhawi. "It was launched with the aim of breaking Libya up politically so as to prevent the unification of three revolutionary Arab states - Egypt, Libya and Tunisia - which together might pose a threat to Israeli regional dominance."

Walid Hassan, international law professor at Alexandria's Pharos University, agreed for the most part, saying that NATO - with Israeli encouragement - "hopes to replace Gaddafi with rulers loyal to the west in advance of breaking the country into small statelets, as they are doing in Iraq.

"The primary objective is to weaken the Arab states of North Africa, which, if they ever united, would represent a potential threat to Israeli and western interests," Hassan told IPS. "Libya's significant oil wealth, of course, constitutes a secondary reason for the intervention."

Al-Sakhawi pointed to the region's century-old legacy of balkanisation at the hands of foreign powers.

Michel Chossudovsky reminds us of the revelations from Wesley Clark about the 5 year plan of US, NATO and Israel to destabilize the Middle East. Libya is one of the dominoes. Syria another. Turkey cooperating with the US and Israel could enable this to happen.

Chossudovsky:

Action against Syria is part of a "military roadmap", a sequencing of military operations. According to former NATO Commander General Wesley Clark--the Pentagon had clearly identified Iraq, Libya, Syria and Lebanon as target countries of a US-NATO intervention:

"[The] Five-year campaign plan [included]... a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan" (Pentagon official quoted by General Wesley Clark)

In "Winning Modern Wars" (page 130) General Wesley Clark states the following:

"As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.
...He said it with reproach--with disbelief, almost--at the breadth of the vision. I moved the conversation away, for this was not something I wanted to hear. And it was not something I wanted to see moving forward, either. ...I left the Pentagon that afternoon deeply concerned."

Russ Baker maintains that though Gaddafi is no “good guy” he is being unjustly set up BIG TIME. Being set up by some of our favorite familiar players including Goldman Sachs and BP. They do get around, don’t they? And the corporate media is quite protectively secretive of their involvement. Enabled always, of course, by the US government and military who seem to take their marching orders from corporate agendas.

Part of Baker’s fascinating history of Libya and the US and NATO countries follows. There are a lot of quoted passages here, but I think they are worth a read since they deal with the same rat bastard vampire squid corporation that has contributed so much to the desecration of the quality of life of America's citizenry and seems joined at the hip with Obama:

In 2009, the same year Megrahi was released, Qaddafi, faced with stiff ongoing Lockerbie payments, began pressing oil companies to pay more to help cover his debt.

We learned of the pressure on the oil companies during the recent propaganda effort to build support for military action against Qaddafi. In a New York Times article headlined “Shady Dealings Helped Qaddafi Build Fortune and Regime”—the crux of which was Qaddafi’s shadiness (though not necessarily that of the oil companies)—was this gem of an item. It was easily missed and as easily misconstrued:

In 2009, top aides to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi called together 15 executives from global energy companies operating in Libya’s oil fields and issued an extraordinary demand: Shell out the money for his country’s $1.5 billion bill for its role in the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 and other terrorist attacks.
If the companies did not comply, the Libyan officials warned, there would be “serious consequences” for their oil leases, according to a State Department summary of the meeting.

Now why would Qaddafi be desperate for cash? The article didn’t say. But if I’m connecting dots correctly, I’d say that you have to read another paper, then link the two.

Here’s the Wall Street Journal with an exclusive from May 31 that is hugely important but has thus far been seen in isolation, unconnected to the oil demand above. I recommend reading the lengthy excerpt that follows:

In early 2008, Libya’s sovereign-wealth fund controlled by Col. Moammar Gadhafi gave $1.3 billion to Goldman Sachs Group to sink into a currency bet and other complicated trades. The investments lost 98% of their value, internal Goldman documents show.
…In 2004, the U.S. government had lifted an earlier set of sanctions…That opened the door for dozens of U.S. and European banks, hedge funds and other investment firms to pile into the North African nation.
The Libyan Investment Authority set up shop on the 22nd floor of what was then Tripoli’s tallest building and launched in June 2007 with about $40 billion in assets. Libya approached 25 financial institutions, offering each of them a chance to manage at least $150 million, recalls a person familiar with the fund’s plans.
Soon it was spreading chunks of the money to firms around the world. In addition to Goldman, those institutions included Société Générale SA, HSBC Holdings PLC, Carlyle Group, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Och-Ziff Capital Management Group and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., according to internal fund records reviewed by the Journal.
… “The country made a conscious decision to join the major leagues,” says Edwin Truman, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and former assistant Treasury secretary. Until then, the investment fund’s money was held in Libya’s central bank, earning ho-hum returns on high-quality bonds.
Goldman seized the opportunity. In May 2007, several Goldman partners met with the Libyans at Goldman’s London office. Mustafa Zarti, then the fund’s deputy chairman, and Hatem el-Gheriani, its chief investment officer, invited the Goldman partners to see the fund’s Libyan headquarters for themselves. Mr. Zarti was a close associate of one of Col. Gadhafi’s sons, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, and reported to a longtime friend of the Libyan ruler.
…Goldman soon carved out a new business with the Libyans, in options—investments that give buyers the right to purchase stocks, currencies or other assets on a future date at stipulated prices. Between January and June 2008, the Libyan fund paid $1.3 billion for options on a basket of currencies and on six stocks: Citigroup Inc., Italian bank UniCredit SpA, Spanish bank Banco Santander, German insurance giant Allianz, French energy company Électricité de France and Italian energy company Eni SpA. The fund stood to reap gains if prices of the underlying stocks or currencies rose above the stipulated levels.
But that fall, the credit crisis hit with a vengeance as Lehman Brothers failed and banks all over the world faced financial crises. The $1.3 billion of option investments were hit especially hard. The underlying securities plunged in value and all of the trades lost money, according to an internal Goldman memo reviewed by the Journal. The memo said the investments were worth just $25.1 million as of February 2010—a decline of 98%.
Officials at the sovereign-wealth fund accused Goldman of misrepresenting the investment deals and making trades without proper authorization, according to people familiar with the situation. In July 2008, Mr. Zarti, the fund’s deputy chairman, summoned Mr. Kabbaj, Goldman’s North Africa chief, to a meeting with the fund’s legal and compliance staff, according to Libyan Investment Authority emails reviewed by the Journal.
One person who attended the meeting says Mr. Zarti was “like a raging bull,” cursing and threatening Mr. Kabbaj and another Goldman employee. Goldman arranged for security to protect the employees until they left Libya the next day, according to people familiar with the matter.
…Following the showdown in Tripoli, the fund demanded restitution and issued vague threats of legal action.

The Journal goes on to describe Goldman’s response—which “audacious” doesn’t begin to describe. Goldman offered to make it all up to Libya by selling it a huge stake…in Goldman itself. That Journal piece is well worth reading, as is this essay from Rolling Stone, but a bit off our topic beyond the notion that Western companies loved rubbing this rube’s nose in it.

The point, at least to me, is that Libya had taken the advice of an American firm and invested, and lost, a huge amount of the funds that are supposed to generate profits used in governing Libya. Including providing the kinds of services that kept Libyans loyal to Qaddafi in the first place.

Is it any surprise that just as this banking disaster unfolded, Qaddafi in 2009 turned desperately to the Western oil companies, which were doing well by Libya, and wanted them to pay more royalties to fund the Lockerbie settlements? Settlements he perhaps should not have had to pay in the first place?

So Goldman and BP both had exploited Libya and suckered Gaddafi already and set in motion the ruthless machinations of regime change. Un-friggen-believable. Except it is.

Baker maintains that the propaganda machine with the rape story about Gaddafi to put the war-weary and reluctant (but not enuf) American citizenry back on track “tells us how far we have not come since the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.”

Holbrooke

Finally, an article in redstateupdate.net with some revelations about the late Richard Holbrooke:

Holbrooke further distinguished himself early on as part of the happy-face side of the Phoenix assassination program in Viet Nam; working under the head of the Phoenix program of extra judicial killings, Robert W. Komer. Noam Chomsky described Komer as a facilitator of US supported fascists in Viet Nam who was a “cold warrior” of a “particularly vicious stripe.” The Phoenix death squads boasted of facilitating nearly 30,000 assassinations, “neutralizing” over 80,000 peasants in South Viet Nam and assisting in the institution of forced resettlement (read concentration) camps in South Viet Nam. The program that Holbrooke worked for, called Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support was the proverbial velvet glove that the Phoenix fist used to help “pacify” South Vietnamese villagers and to garner support for the Diem leadership and its military funders, the United States.

Holbrooke apparently saw the value of providing “friendly face” diplomatic cover while corporate interests pillage and military strong men subdue. Throughout the remainder of his career, whether fronting for a genocidal army in the Philippines during the Carter administration or making “get out of jail free” deals with war criminals in Bosnia, Holbrooke ingratiated himself to those in power by never questioning the motives of the imperialists he worked for as a minion and never apologizing to the victims his masters have left in shallow graves scattered around the planet.

Holbrooke’s finesse in this strategic component of the American Imperial Project is demonstrated in high relief in his 1977 journey to the Philippines as the American puppet and authoritarian leader of the Philippines, Suharto was engaged in the East Timorese Genocide during its 24 year occupation of East Timor. Holbrooke led a dog-and-pony-show of congress members to visit East Timor with Suharto to participate in staged welcoming ceremonies for Indonesian military troops who would go on to kill hundreds of thousands of East Timorese using US provided weapons.

Many people knew of at least some of the military horrors behind Holbrooke’s always ingratiating commentary and rationalizations. But this is what I did not know and I think is very significant:

As Holbrooke’s career moved forward he slid effortlessly between diplomatic, corporate, media and foreign service think tank appointments. For a large part of the 1980s Holbrooke worked for some of the world’s largest finance speculators, including a stint as a senior advisor for Lehman Brothers and as a vice chairman at Credit Suisse First Boston.

[snip]

For almost eight years beginning in 2001, Holbrooke was a board member of the now infamous American International Group (AIG). It was during Holbrooke’s tenure at AIG that the company engaged in criminally speculative credit default insurance schemes that have cost the American taxpayer hundreds of billions of dollars to prevent the bad business practices of the company from imploding the world’s entire financial system.

Holbrooke and his son were also members of the group of highly placed and powerful individuals known as “friends of Angelo (Mozillo)”. Mozillo, the CEO of the now defunct Countrywide Financial, approved below interest rate mortgage loan deals that were available only to the high flying grafting grifters inside the American system of political power and privilege. Other well known “friends of Angelo” include Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and President Barack Obama.

Holbrooke has been referred to since his passing as a giant of American foreign policy, and it is beyond dispute that he ran with the most powerful directors of American political, financial and military policy over the past forty-five years.

America’s grotesquely over-militarized foreign policy was and is corporate run. When are we average Americans going to get that we are not a part of their political-corporate-military cronyism family? That there is no paternal protection of us coming from the patriarchy.

Profits over people. To our political leaders “thou shalt not kill,” “thou shalt not steal” do not apply when servicing their psychopathic corporation overlords.

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