By Bas Spliet, Newsbud, Tue, 30 May 2017. Original post here:

This article is part of a three-part series called “The ‘humanitarian’ destruction of Libya” that analyses the 2011 war in Libya and the motives behind it. The first article contrasts the invented war crime allegations against the Libyan government to the very real underreported war crimes by the insurgents; the second exposes a history of deceptive terrorist attacks on European soil wrongly attributed to Gaddafi and the role of NATO in the war; and the third discusses Gaddafi’s plan at creating a pan-African currency as one of the central motives lurking behind the mainstream explanation of the intervention as a just one that sought to “protect civilians” from a ruthless dictator.

Part 1: Real and invented war crimes

On 21 February 2011, a week into the Libyan uprising, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Libyan League for Human Rights (LLHR), two main sources for the claim that Gaddafi was killing his own people, called for the immediate suspension of Libya from the UN Human Rights Council and urged the UN Security Council to “review the situation and consider its referral to the ICC [International Criminal Court].” According to the two NGOs, “the crackdown has killed at least 300 to 400 people since February 15” and “the Libyan regime is apparently using mercenaries from Chad, Niger [and] Zimbabwe.”[1] Later that day, UN Watch, a pro-Israel NGO, initiated a letter signed by 70 other NGOs in collaboration with the LLHR and the National Endowment for Democracy, infamous for its involvement in manipulating elections and instigating “color revolutions” around the world, in which it too echoed the need to suspend Libya from the Human Rights Council, in addition to urging the Security Council to invoke the “responsibility to protect” principle to protect the Libyan people.[2] On 25 February, the Human Rights Council followed the recommendation, thereby preventing the Libyan government from countering the undocumented allegations, let alone demanding that proof be submitted. Three weeks later, the Security Council adopted resolutions 1970 and 1973, authorizing a no-fly zone on Libyan military aviation. Although article 2 of resolution 1973 stressed the need to use diplomacy to find a peaceful solution,[3] the bombing began two days later.

The public was told that NATO went into Libya because the American, British and French officials felt the dire need to protect civilians from a brutal dictator. They sought legitimization for their modern version of the “just war” theory in the “responsibility to protect” doctrine. Philosophers and political thinkers had been debating if and when war is morally justifiable for centuries, but it was only in recent times that the idea gained a modern legal dimension above that of the sovereign nation-state. A commission set up under the auspices of the Canadian government in 2001 postulated that if a state is unable to halt or avert serious harm to its population, the international community has a “responsibility to protect.” Just like the “just war” theoreticians, the commission argued that military intervention is justified if a strict set of criteria – having the right intention, military measures being the last resort and the principle of proportionality, among others – are applicable, adding that “there is no better or more appropriate body than the United Nations Security Council to authorize military intervention for human protection purposes.”[4] In 2004, a panel set up by then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan confirmed that there is a collective international responsibility to protect “exercisable by the Security Council authorizing military intervention as a last resort, in the event of genocide and other large-scale killing, ethnic cleansing and other serious violations of humanitarian law which sovereign governments have proved powerless or unwilling to prevent.”[5] From 2005 onwards, the “responsibility to protect” doctrine was up and running, as it was endorsed by all member states of the General Assembly at that year’s UN World Summit.[6]

Made-Up War Crimes

Luis Moreno-Ocampo

During Israel’s onslaught on Gaza in 2008, in which hundreds of civilians were killed, or any of the subsequent attacks on the coastal enclave, the Security Council did not even think about the “responsibility to protect.” But when allegations that Gaddafi was killing his own people were floating in early 2011, the world body did not hesitate to invoke it. Although the necessity of seeking adequate verification of facts before authorizing military intervention resonated through all the above-mentioned documents, the UK, France and the US bombed Libya on the basis of undocumented allegations provided by NGOs in the first three months of NATO’s intervention, using only the Security Council resolutions as legal justification. It was only in late June that the ICC issued a warrant for the arrest of Gaddafi, proclaiming the Libyan leader to be guilty of crimes against humanity. At the ICC’s press conference following the verdict, a reporter asked Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo for concrete evidence proving Gaddafi’s guilt, after which Moreno-Ocampo referred her to a document, “most of which is public.”[7] The document is indeed public; the whole section in which the “proof” is enumerated, comprising about two thirds of the document, however, is not.[8]

As Prof. Maximilian Forte concluded in his book Slouching towards Sirte, the justification for intervention was based on three main interlinked myths:

  1. that “African mercenaries” were employed by Gaddafi;
  2. that these “mercenaries” were flown in from other African countries by Gaddafi, which increased the cry for a no-fly zone; and
  3. that only intervention could stop an imminent genocide.[9]

Although these myths were invented by the rebels, it were the major Western news outlets, NGOs and politicians who spread them worldwide in their attempt to legitimize their “just war.” Amnesty International, for instance, played a leading role in propagating the “black mercenary” narrative. The president of the French branch of the organization, Geneviève Garrigos, spoke to France 24 on 22 February 2011, saying that Amnesty had received information that the Libyan government had sent in “foreign mercenaries” to fight against the protestors in order to “accelerate the oppressive process.” Later, however, she admitted that “we have no evidence Gaddafi employed mercenary forces. […] We have no sign nor evidence to corroborate these rumors.” She repeated that Amnesty investigators never found any “mercenaries,” agreeing with her interviewer’s characterization of their existence as a legend spread by the mass media.[10] The British House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee in a 2016 report, too, found that the UK government “failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element:”[11]

“Despite his rhetoric, the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence. The Gaddafi regime had retaken towns from the rebels without attacking civilians in early February 2011. […] The disparity between male and female casualties [known to UN investigators in late February] suggested that Gaddafi regime forces targeted male combatants in a civil war and did not indiscriminately attack civilians. [Moreover,] an Amnesty International investigation in June 2011 could not corroborate allegations of mass human rights violations by Gaddafi regime troops. However, it uncovered evidence that rebels in Benghazi made false claims and manufactured evidence. […] While Muammar Gaddafi certainly threatened violence against those who took up arms against his rule, this did not necessarily translate into a threat to everyone in Benghazi. In short, the scale of the threat to civilians was presented with unjustified certainty. […] We have seen no evidence that the UK Government carried out a proper analysis of the nature of the rebellion in Libya. […] It could not verify the actual threat to civilians posed by the Gaddafi regime; it selectively took elements of Muammar Gaddafi’s rhetoric at face value; and it failed to identify the militant Islamist extremist element in the rebellion. UK strategy was founded on erroneous assumptions and an incomplete understanding of evidence.[12]

There you have it from the horse’s mouth: Libya, just like Iraq in 2003, was invaded on false pretexts. This included the allegation that Gaddafi was bombing his own people, a myth that further stressed the need to implement a no-fly zone on Libyan military aircraft. On 21 February, the BBC claimed that “witnesses say warplanes have fired on protesters in the city [of Tripoli],”[13] echoing statements made by opposition activists and defected Libyan diplomats. Other mass media media outlets such as al-Jazeeraal-Arabiya, CNN and the Telegraph made similar accusations.[14] At a Department of Defense press conference on 1 March, however, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Admiral Mullen were asked if they had independent confirmation that Gaddafi “actually has fired on his own people from the air?”, to which they both replied they had none.[15] An Amnesty International investigation from June 2011 corroborated that there is no evidence that Gaddafi used helicopters, aircraft or anti-aircraft machine guns against civilian protesters.[16]

Obama and Cameron

Another pretext that triggered NATO operations was the alleged massacre Gaddafi forces were about to inflict on the people of Benghazi. The city had fallen to opposition fighters in February, but when the Security council was set to vote on establishing a no-fly zone in mid-March, Gaddafi warned that an attack on the rebel stronghold was imminent. As acknowledged by the New York Times, he promised amnesty to those “who throw their weapons away” but “no mercy or compassion” for those who fight.[17] Obama, however, claimed later that month that “Qaddafi declared he would show ‘no mercy’ to his own people,” and that “if we waited one more day, Benghazi […] could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.”[18] He repeated this rhetoric in a joint letter with British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy in April published in the New York Times, which proclaimed that “the bloodbath that he [Gaddafi] had promised to inflict on the citizens of the besieged city of Benghazi has been prevented [because our countries] responded immediately. Tens of thousands of lives have been protected.”[19] To date, these heads of state are yet to provide evidence that would support the claim that Benghazi would have witnessed the loss of “tens of thousands of lives.” In fact, prior to the operation to retake Benghazi, Gaddafi recaptured a number of other cities either fully or partially without perpetrating genocide. In the case of Misrata, for instance, only three percent of the 257 deaths that were counted by April were women, which strongly suggests that most of the deceased were fighters, and that the killing was not of indiscriminate nature.[20] Even the Washington Post Company-owned Foreign Policy magazine, along with other mainstream analysts, scrutinized the notion that there was going to be a Benghazi massacre.[21]

In a conversation between radio hosts James Corbett of the Corbett Report and Lionel of Lionel Nation, the idea was put forward that regarding false media stories, the greater the horror, the easier to fake, because the public is reluctant to question horrific stories.[22] Such is the case for the most heinous allegation made against Libyan government troops. On 28 March, al-Jazeera launched the story that Gaddafi used rape “as a weapon of war” as he distributed Viagra to his soldiers.[23] The story was then picked up by the usual war hawks, from US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo. The latter went even as far as to say that “we have information that there was a policy to rape in Libya those who were against the government”[24] and that “Viagra is a tool of massive rape.”[25] Eventually however, the same Amnesty International report that is quoted above did not find any victim of rape or doctor who knew about somebody being raped, let alone of a policy of mass rape.[26] Similarly, the Human Rights Council inquiry into war crimes in Libya, released in 2012, concluded that although sexual violence occurred in Libya, “the commission did not find evidence to substantiate claims of a widespread or a systematic attack, or any overall policy of sexual violence against a civilian population.”[27]

Actual War Crimes

While Obama & co were crying crocodile tears about alleged atrocities by Gaddafi forces, they failed to notice the very real war crimes perpetrated by the insurgents. The true nature of the rebels became especially clear after the Battle of Sirte, in which they killed Gaddafi and captured the last stronghold of the Libyan government. Not only did Reuters and Associated Press reporters witness looting and ransacking of houses[28] and did an Amnesty International report detail the widespread torture of (especially dark-skinned) ex-officials, soldiers and civilians, at least 12 of whom died in the process,[29] but in the aftermath of the “liberation” of Sirte it was also revealed that the insurgents had gone on a killing spree. Human Rights Watch investigators on the ground found 53 decomposing bodies, presumed to be Gaddafi supporters, at an abandoned hotel on 23 October. “The bloodstains on the grass directly below the bodies, bullet holes visible in the ground, […] the spent cartridges of AK-47 and FN-1 rifles scattered around the site [and the fact that] some of the bodies had their hands tied behind their backs with plastic ties […] strongly suggest that some, if not all of the people, were shot and killed in the location where they were discovered,” the report read. At another site, the investigators saw the badly decomposed bodies of 10 people who, too, had been executed and were dumped in a water reservoir. At a third site, the investigators found the remains of at least 95 people. Although the vast majority of them probably died in combat, at least six appeared to have been executed at the site with gunshot wounds to the head and body.[30] Two days later, CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey reported that:

“nearly 300 bodies, many of them with their hands tied behind their backs and shot in the head, have been collected from across Sirte and buried in a mass grave. […] There are no names in one graveyard, only numbers: 572 so far and counting. That’s because the graves hold the bodies of alleged mercenaries. Most were killed in the fighting, but local officials freely admit that some were summarily executed.”[31]

The insurgents’ brutal executions, however, were already documented by their own admissions from the very onset of the Libyan crisis. On 18 February, three days into the uprising, the Guardian quoted an al-Jazeera interview with “political activist” Amer Saad, who said:

“The protesters in al-Bayda have been able to seize control of the military airbase in the city and have executed 50 African mercenaries and two Libyan conspirators. Even in Derna today, a number of conspirators were executed. They were locked up in the holding cells of a police station because they resisted, and some died burning inside the building.”[32]

Africans arrested in Libya

There has never been found any credible evidence of foreign African fighters employed by the Libyan government. These “African mercenaries” were thus killed merely for being sub-Saharan migrants or black Libyans who may or may not have served in the Libyan army. Compare this one event in which the “revolutionaries” by their own admission extrajudicially slaughtered more than 50 people to Human Rights Watch’s estimate of 84 people killed by government forces across the whole country from the day the protests erupted on 15 February until that same day of 18 February. While this latter number appears credible since it was based on telephone interviews with local hospital staff, the contention that they were all “peaceful protesters” killed “simply because they’re demanding change and accountability” relied solely on the claims made by unnamed protesters and eyewitnesses.[33] With the ruthlessness of the armed insurgency in mind, it is much more likely that at least some died in combat with government troops.


Although a number of unsubstantiated war crime allegations targeting the Libyan government turned out to be completely made-up, they were nonetheless reported upon without much scrutiny and taken serious for several months by the Western and Gulf mass media. Mounting evidence of very real war crimes by the NATO-backed insurgents, on the other hand, did not receive saturation coverage and were downplayed and covered-up to the extent possible, only to receive proper investigation after the regime change mission was concluded. This ultra-biased reporting influenced both public opinion and international policy makers in favor of NATO’s “humanitarian” intervention, not only in the days surrounding the implementation of the no-fly zone but also during the subsequent crucial months of bombardments. Reminiscent of the mainstream coverage in the critical months leading up to the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003, in addition to the blatant propaganda against the Syrian government today, this again shows how the mass media have become mouthpieces for the continuous cycle of war.

Since NATO declared Libya “liberated” after Gaddafi’s murder in October 2011, the country has plunged into chaos. Libya today is a hotbed for Islamist brigades including ISIS, rival governments and tribes are competing for power and migrants on their way to Europe are being sold at open slave markets.[34] As Libyan intelligence reports from 2011 obtained by the Washington Times found that NATO weapons being funneled to Libya ended up with al-Qaeda-linked rebels,[35] a Libyan rebel commander in March 2011 admitted that his fighters had ties to al-Qaeda and the White House was well aware (though “concerned”) that Qatar was sending weapons to jihadis inside Libya from the beginning of the war onwards, Washington once again, just like in Syria today or Afghanistan in the 1980s, has clearly teamed up with the very same Islamist terrorist organizations against whom it is supposedly fighting a “war on terror.” Taking this into account, as well as the fact that there were significant rallies in favor of Gaddafi[36] and several reports revealed that civilians volunteered to take up arms to defend Sirte against the joint NATO-rebel operation against the city,[37] the question remains: was this a peaceful uprising for the ideals of democracy and human rights as the “humanitarian” interventionists would have us believe, or were the Arab Spring protests, just like in Syria, used as a pretext to enhance NATO imperialism?

Part 2: Gaddafi and NATO – History of Deception

nasser gaddafi

Muammar Gaddafi was born in a Bedouin tent near Sirte around 1942 to a poor family. Living through the last years of Italian colonial rule and Libya’s somewhat reluctant monarchy following its independence at the behest of the Great Powers in 1952, Gaddafi grew up in a time that the country’s political unity was still subversive to regional competition between Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan. Being a rural Bedouin himself, he abhorred regionalism and developed an ideology embroiled with nationalism and anti-imperialism. Amid a bloodless coup on 1 September 1969 that overthrew King Idris, the 27-year-old Gaddafi and his fellow Free Officers rose to power.[1] Unlike many Western-backed Middle Eastern rulers that have large amounts of natural resources at their disposal, the Revolutionary Command Council was willing to put the huge oil revenues, which skyrocketed after OPEC’s 1973 boycott, to the country’s internal development. As a result, Libya grew from one of the poorest nations in the world during the 1950s to the country with the highest living standard in Africa.[2] National expenditures on literacy, health care and education expanded rapidly under Gaddafi, while the government raised minimum wages and provided interest-free loans and subsidies for farming and the construction of houses.[3] By 2009, all in stark contrast to many African nations that are stuck in the Western orbit, life expectancy at birth had risen to 72.3 years, youth literacy to 99.9% and infant mortality had dropped to 14 per 1000 births.[4] A most indicative example of the employment of oil income to national development was the Great Man-made River (GMR) project, an impressive irrigation system that solved the problem of water supply through the construction of a huge network of pipelines that transports water from the country’s southern desert ground reserves to the coastal cities, where most Libyans live. According to a BBC 2006 article, “it is impossible not to be impressed with the scale of the project,” and “Libyans like to call it ‘the eighth wonder of the world’.”[5] Indicative of NATO’s war crimes in Libya, the “humanitarian” interventionists deliberately bombed critical GMR water installations, thereby disrupting the nation’s water infrastructure and leaving millions of Libyans without potable water to this day. According to investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed, this amounts to a potential genocidal strategy.[6]

More relevant to the story, however, is the fact that Gaddafi was willing to commit his country’s resources to the international cause of pan-Arabism. The new Libyan leader had an unlimited admiration for Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and he spoke about combining their strength to deter the imperial powers: “Tell President Nasser we made this revolution for him. He can take everything of ours and add it to the rest of the Arab world’s resources to be used for the battle [against Israel, and for Arab unity].”[7] Regarding the fact that Egypt and Syria had already foregone a short-lived political union from 1958 to 1961, this potential should not be underestimated. His hero died within a year after the coup, however, and Egypt’s next president, Anwar Sadat, was less concerned with Arab unity. Consequently, Gaddafi became the self-appointed guardian of Nasser’s legacy, nurturing the notion of pan-Arabism as one of the cornerstones of the Libyan revolution.[8] This made him an obvious target of the oligarchs seeking Western hegemony over the Third World, and therefore, he had to be demonised.

Enraging Europe: Yvonne Fletcher and the La Belle discotheque bombing

Despite the nationalisation of some American and British oil interests in 1973, the Libyan government showed no inclination towards an open confrontation with the West in the first years after the coup.[9] Gradually, however, as Gaddafi openly voiced his support for Palestinian resistance against Zionism, the Irish Republican Army’s struggle against British rule and the African National Congress’ battle against apartheid, the US started accusing Libya of supporting terrorism. It was only after Libya was accused of being directly involved in a series of terrorist attacks in Europe in the 1980s, though, that the US successfully managed to isolate the Libyan government from the international community.

While the Carter administration put the Libyan government on its list of state sponsors of terrorism, it was under Reagan that the situation escalated towards confrontation. In August 1981, the US’s Sixth Fleet shot down two Libyan jet fighters over the Gulf of Sirte, a territory regarded by Libya as its territorial waters but which Washington viewed as an international waterway. Although Reagan’s anti-Gaddafi rhetoric intensified, all Libyan crude oil exports to the US were embargoed, and American citizens were prohibited from traveling to Libya; the US remained unsuccessful in aggravating its NATO allies in Europe to jump on the bandwagon. That changed when Yvonne Fletcher, a London policewoman, was killed during a small anti-Gaddafi protest in St James Square on 17 April 1984. Although nobody was ever convicted, the British government and mass media outlets were quick to ascribe the murder to personnel at the Libyan embassy, located on the first floor at 5 St James. Ironically, it was a British two-part documentary aired on Channel 4 in 1996, which cites key witnesses, pathologists, gun specialists, audio experts, ex-intelligence officers and plot insiders, that eventually destroyed the official narrative.[10] The documentary revealed that an anti-Gaddafi terrorist organisation named al-Burkan, which was planning a coup against the Libyan leader, had infiltrated the embassy and that there were indeed 11 shots fired from there, but that the 12th bullet that killed Fletcher came from somewhere else on the square and was fired with a different kind of gun. Because the bullet entree angle was 60 degrees from the horizontal – not 15 degrees, what it should have been if the bullet originated from the embassy – the shot must have come from a far higher building. Drawing on two years of extensive research, the documentary makers unravel “a sinister plot” involving al-Burkan and German gun traffickers but also the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies, all of whom conspired to discredit Gaddafi and pave the way for regime change in Libya. Indeed, a month after the incident, al-Burkan and others tried to overthrow the Gaddafi government, but the coup attempt was beaten back by the Libyan army.

In early 1986, Reagan warned that the US would take additional steps to confront the Libyan government if needed. Not long after that, on 4 April, a bomb explosion at La Belle discotheque in West Berlin frequented by American servicemen killed three people and injured 200. Two weeks later, the US bombed Tripoli and Benghazi claiming that it had irrefutable evidence that Libya was responsible for the discotheque bombing, leaving at least 15 Libyan citizens dead. The main target was the Libyan leader’s headquarters. Gaddafi made it out alive, but his 15-month-old adopted daughter was killed in the attack on his residence, and two of his young sons were injured. The man charged with having masterminded the discotheque bombing was Yasser Chraidi, a driver at the Libyan embassy in East Berlin at the time. 10 years after the bombing, Chraidi – who in the meantime had moved to Lebanon – was extradited to German authorities, but a Berlin judge found the evidence presented by the prosecution so weak that he threatened to release Chraidi within three weeks unless more proof was presented. Exactly on the last day of these three weeks, Musbah Eter, one of the perpetrators that provided the operating instructions for the bomb used in the attack, confessed after having made a deal with the German prosecutors: in exchange for immunity, he incriminated Chraidi. A 1998 documentary aired on German television channel ZDF, however, discovered that although Eter indeed worked for the Libyan embassy in East Berlin in 1986, he paid regular visits to the US embassy and was most likely a CIA agent. Furthermore, ZDF asserted that members of a professional group of terrorists led by a certain Mahmoud Abu Jaber were involved in the attack, too, but had barely been bothered by the prosecution and had lived safely in other countries since the discotheque bombing. ZDF interviewed Abu Jaber’s right-hand man Muhammed Amairi and his lawyer in Norway as part of the preparation for the documentary. Amairi stopped the interview when he was asked what secret service he had been working for, but his lawyer continued the conversation. “Was Amairi a Mossad agent?”, ZDF asked. “He was a Mossad man,” the lawyer answered.[11]

Mission Accomplished: Lockerbie & Sanctions

Despite the alleged involvement of the Libyan government in state sponsored terrorist attacks on European soil, Washington’s European allies remained reluctant to imposing economic sanctions. On 21 December 1988, however, Pan Am flight 103 flying from Frankfurt to New York via London exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie shortly after it took off at London Heathrow. In late 1991, The US and UK formally accused two Libyan security officials of masterminding the attack in which all 259 passengers, most of them American and British, were killed. What followed was a series of UN Security Council resolutions demanding the extradition of the suspects. When Libya rejected these demands as a violation of its national sovereignty, the Security Council and the US congress both imposed severe sanctions on Libya. After many countries worldwide started to oppose the sanctions and the Organisation of African Unity in 1998 announced that its members would no longer enforce the UN sanctions unless America and Britain agreed to hold the trial of the Lockerbie suspects in a neutral country, the US, UK and Libya came to the agreement to hold a trial in The Hague in the Netherlands. The verdict acquitted one of the two suspects but found the other, Abdel Basset Ali Muhammad al-Megrahi, guilty.[12]

It turns out that one of the key prosecution witnesses at al-Megrahi’s trial, a Maltese shopkeeper who identified al-Megrahi as buying clothes from him that were found in the suitcase which allegedly carried the bomb, was paid $2 million by the US Department of Justice.[13] The shopkeeper also failed several times to identify al-Megrahi, only “recognising” him after having seen his photo in a magazine and being shown the same photo in court.[14] In addition, a chief Scottish investigator declared in 2005 that the main piece of evidence, the bomb timer, had been planted at the crime scene by a CIA agent.[15] In 2007, the expert who had analysed the bomb timer for the court admitted that he had lied at the trial, had manufactured the timer himself and had given it to a Lockerbie investigator. Moreover, the fragment he identified was never tested for residue of explosives, although it was the only evidence of possible Libyan involvement.[16] Finally, a London Heathrow airport security guard revealed that Pan Am’s luggage area had been broken into 17 hours before the flight, which suggests that the bomb was planted at Heathrow, not by al-Megrahi in Malta from where it would have had to bypass the security systems of two additional airports and in total would have travelled on three different planes before exploding.[17]

There are several theories about who exactly was responsible for the terrible crime. Some put forward circumstantial evidence that the bombing was a retaliatory attack by Iran and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command in reaction to the shooting down of an equally large Iranian plane over the Persian Gulf by a US warship a couple months earlier;[18] others suspect CIA and/or Mossad involvement.[19] But many are certain of one thing: al-Megrahi was innocent, and Libya was not responsible. This includes Hans Köchler, an Austrian professor who was appointed by the UN as international observer at the trial in The Hague, who called the trial “a spectacular miscarriage of justice.”[20]

Reconciliation and Betrayal

From the 1990s onwards, reconciliation gradually gained the upperhand over animosity. Libya suffered badly under the Washington-led isolation and was therefore willing to make concessions. After the Libyan government in 1999 agreed to hand over the two Lockerbie suspects and concurred with paying compensation to the relatives of Yvonne Fletcher and the victims or UTA flight 722 – a French airliner downed in a similar manner as Pan Am flight 103 in 1989 of which Libya was also (in all likelihood falsely)[21] accused – the US acquiesced to the suspension of the UN sanctions. In exchange for Libya paying compensation to the Lockerbie victims as well – but not accepting responsibility – and agreeing to give up its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program, the UN sanctions were officially lifted in 2003, and the US promised to suspend its own sanctions, most of which were lifted in 2004. Finally, during a 2006 trip to the country, Congressman Tom Lantos met with Gaddafi and announced that Libya had been removed from the US list of sponsors of terrorism.

Mutual distrust lingered on, however. Although the isolation was over in official terms, bilateral relations remained cumbersome. Clear from a statement he made in 1999, Gaddafi remained hostile to the dominant American worldview:

“America unfortunately treats us as if the world was the way it used to be [before the fall of the Soviet Union]. Some analysts call this a new colonialism. But colonialism is colonialism, and it is always unjust. It is how we were treated by the Italians, Algeria by the French, India by the British. This is imperialism, and we seem to be entering a new imperialist era. The cause of our conflict with America is not that we attacked them. We have never attacked an American target. America started the aggression against us right here in the Gulf of Sirte. When we defended ourselves, they attacked us in these very tents. We were bombed by missiles in our own territorial waters. In 1986 our own children were killed. No one can bring my daughter back to me. Then Lockerbie came along. Now we would like this chain of events to be over. But America does not want to turn the page. We shall, however, show courage and be patient, and America will be the loser.”[22] (emphasis added)

Gaddafi’s reservations about reconciliation – he often appeared to show regret for some of the compromises he made for which Libya received very little in return, especially giving up his WMD program as a deterrent to Western aggression – were likely not unfounded. In a 2007 interview, retired four-star US General Wesley Clark revealed that several Middle Eastern countries, including Libya, were already on the Pentagon’s imperialist drawing board in the immediate wake of 9/11:

“I [General Clark] came back to see him [a general of the Joint Chiefs of Staff], and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said: ‘Are we still going to war with Iraq?’ And he said: ‘Oh it is worse than that.’ He reached over on his desk and picked up a piece of paper. He said: ‘I just got this down from upstairs [meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office] today. This is a memo that describes how we are going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.'”[23]

Flash forward to 2011. With the adoption of UN Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973 in March, NATO embarked on a seven months-long military adventure under the guise of “protecting civilians,” leaving behind a trail of destruction with Sirte bombed back to the stone ages. After Operation Unified Protector had officially come to an end on 31 October 2011, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen concluded that “we have carried out this operation very carefully, without confirmed civilian casualties,”[24] and NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu claimed that “no target was approved or attacked if we had any evidence or reason to believe that civilians were at risk.”[25] UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, too, rejected claims that NATO had exceeded its mandate, asserting that “Security Council resolution 1973, I believe, was strictly enforced within the limit, within the mandate.”[26] That this is categorically false is substantiated even by the most pro-interventionist institutions that investigated NATO’s military campaign in retrospect. Human Rights Watch,[27] Amnesty International[28] and the New York Times[29] have all amply documented NATO airstrikes in which, if not deliberately at least knowing full well the likelihood of “collateral damage,” numerous civilians were killed. A report published by Middle Eastern human rights groups after a fact-finding mission to Libya even implicated NATO in war crimes, referring to “a NATO attack on 15 September which resulted in the death of 57-59 individuals, of whom approximately 47 were civilians.” The report described how two jeeps carrying combatants were destroyed by NATO air fire in Sirte, after which a large crowd of civilians flocked to the scene in an attempt to rescue survivors and retrieve the dead. Five minutes later, a third missile targeted the exclusively civilian crowd, killing 47 of them.[30] NATO’s operational media update for 15 September noted the destruction of the two armed vehicles but made no mention of the large swathes of civilians it had just slaughtered.[31]

Gaddafi’s Death: “We came, we saw, he died.”

The above-mentioned 15 September attack does not only illustrate the ruthlessness of NATO’s military campaign, it also signals its importance as a necessary accessory to the advances of the rebel fighters, especially in the final battle of the war in Sirte. Whereas the insurgents were allowed to freely move tanks into place to surround and enter the last Gaddafi stronghold, any attempt by government forces to move as much as a jeep was met with NATO air fire. So when a convoy of 75 vehicles leaving the scene of the battle was intercepted and attacked by a US predator drone and French jets on the morning of 20 October, NATO did not elaborate on how the convoy was posing a threat to the local population. Although “an intelligence breakthrough” allowed NATO forces to pinpoint Gaddafi’s location a week prior to the attack according to the Telegraph,[32] the military alliance supposedly did not know the Libyan leader was in one of the convoy trucks fleeing Sirte.

The Telegraph had previously already reported that SAS commandos (British special forces) “dressed in Arab civilian clothing and wearing the same weapons as the rebels […] were spearheading the hunt for Col Muammar Gaddafi.”[33] As NATO had repeatedly bombed Gaddafi compounds during the war (and as we have seen above, before the war, too), and as the US government internally discussed covert action to assassinate Gaddafi as early as 1969 according to the memoirs of Henry Kissinger,[34] this means that Western involvement in Gaddafi’s brutal murder in the streets of Sirte is at least plausible. Indeed, according to Mahmoud Jibril, then interim prime minister of the rebel-led National Transition Council, “it was a foreign agent who mixed with the revolutionary brigades to kill Gaddafi.”[35] Either way, the Western war hawks probably did not mourn the death of the Libyan leader, judging from then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s first reaction to the death of Gaddafi. Followed by an arrogant laugh, she concluded: “We came, we saw, he died.”[36]

Part 3: The War on Africa


Although 40 years in power, Muammar Gaddafi first addressed the UN General Assembly in September 2009. Reminiscent of Fidel Castro’s speech to the body in 1960, he went over the allotted time of 15 minutes and talked for over an hour and a half. He advocated for radical change in the inner workings of the UN and said that the General Assembly should adopt a binding resolution that would put it above the authority of the Security Council. The latter, according to Gaddafi, had failed to prevent 65 wars since its inception and is unjust and undemocratic because the five permanent members have all the actual power. If the General Assembly were to be the most powerful body, however, all nations would be on equal footing, he proclaimed, which would prevent future conflict. He ascribed similar bias to the International Criminal Court and the International Atomic Energy Agency, as they, just like the Security Council, are used to demonise enemies of the global powers while their own crimes and those of their allies go largely unnoticed. He went on to dismiss Washington’s war against Iraq, advocated for a one state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and urged the General Assembly to launch investigations into the murder of Patrice Lumumba, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and the massacres of the Israeli army and their allies committed against the Palestinians in the Lebanese refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in 1982 and in Gaza in 2008.[1]

The picture of Colonel Gaddafi that emerges seems to be somewhat in conflict with that put forward by the mass media. Rather than just another brutal power-hungry dictator who seems to be interested only in killing his own people, it looks like he had some interesting ideas, to say the least. Perhaps it might be useful to step away from the simplified and rhetoric-laden label of dictator for a moment and take a deeper look into Gaddafi’s ideas and why they posed such a great danger to the global power elite.

In his Green Book, published in 1975, Gaddafi laid out his idea of a stateless society, which he called Jamahiriyya – a country directly governed by its citizens without intervention from representative bodies. According to the Green Book, states that rely on representation are inherently repressive because individuals must surrender their personal sovereignty to the advantage of others. With emphasis on consultation and equality, Gaddafi therefore called into life a different political model for Libya based on “direct democracy.” Through the establishment of Popular Congresses and Popular Committees, representing the legislative and executive branches respectively, Gaddafi’s political system was constructed from the bottom up rather than from the top down. Prof. Dirk Vandewalle scrutinised Gaddafi’s notion of popular rule in his book A history of Modern Libya, however.[2] The fact that political parties outside the system designed by Gaddafi were practically forbidden and Libyan opposition movements were often persecuted (p. 103, 134 and 143-50); the Popular Committees had zero power in several areas, including foreign policy, intelligence, the army, the police, the country’s budget and the petroleum sector (p. 104); as well as the fact that the government abolished or took over numerous private businesses (p. 104-8) and gradually implemented a virtually unsupervised revolutionary court system (p. 120-1) all point to the actual authoritarian nature of the central government. Vandewalle concludes that

“The bifurcation between the Jamahiriyya’s formal and informal mechanisms of control and political power accentuate […] the limited institutional control Libyan citizens have had over their country’s ruler and his actions. In effect, unless the country’s leadership clearly approves, there is no public control or accountability provided. […] Within the non-formal institutions of the country’s security organizations, the Revolutionary Leadership makes all decisions and has no accountability to anyone.”[3] (emphasis added)

Although Vandewalle is very critical of Gaddafi’s rule throughout his book, he acknowledged that NATO’s Operation Unified Protector “became a sine qua non for the rebels just to be able to maintain their positions” and that it was clear that “greater and more decisive NATO intervention would be needed to defeat the loyalist side.”[4] This means that rather than a civil war between Libyans, this was a war between Gaddafi on the one hand, who exercised all the actual power on the international domain, and NATO on the other, which was a necessary component in Gaddafi’s toppling. The question is: what was it about?

War on African independence and prosperity

From the moment he rose to power, Gaddafi’s anti-imperialism did not only go hand in glove with an urge for national unity but a need to form a multilateral regional bloc as well. After Nasser died in 1970, Gaddafi became one of the leading voices for unity under the banner or pan-Arabism, as only then could the Arab world form a front against Israel and the West. After a range of failed agreements of political union with Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Morocco and Algeria during the 1970s and 1980s, however, Gaddafi grew increasingly frustrated over the impotence of the Arab world to make the Arab League into a viable organisation. As a result, Gaddafi reoriented to Africa, declaring in March 1999 that “I have no time to lose talking with Arabs, I now talk pan-Africanism and African unity.”[5] A couple of months later, he reverberated the words of his new idol, Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, often considered one of the chief ideologues of modern pan-Africanism, calling for “the historic solution for the [African] continent […]: a United States of Africa.”[6]

africa cartoon

Africa is kept in a structural state of underdevelopment. Recent studies have shown that for every $1 of aid that developing countries receive, they lose $24 in net outflows. In other words, rich countries are not developing poor countries; poor countries are developing rich ones.[7] Hence, it would be an understatement to posit that the current situation maintains the status quo. Rather, the global inequality gap has significantly worsened in postcolonial times under the regimes of the IMF, World Bank and UN. Indeed, the distance between the richest and poorest country was already about 35 to 1 in 1950, but further rose to a staggering 80 to 1 in 1999.[8] Gaddafi understood the potential of an Africa free of the neo-colonial grip of Western powers. In 2005, he stated that:

“There is an attempt to promote proposals aimed at extending aid for Africa. But when aid is linked to humiliating conditions, we don’t want humiliation. […] If aid is conditional and leads to compromises, we don’t need it. […] They are the ones who need Africa. They need its wealth. 50% of the world’s gold reserves are in Africa, a quarter of the world’s uranium resources are in Africa, and 95% of the world’s diamonds are in Africa. […] Africa is rich in unexploited natural resources, but we were [and still are] forced to sell these resources cheaply to get hard currency. And this must stop.”[9]

Gaddafi was not the first one to understand this. In the second half of the 20th century, out of the dialectical relationship between the centuries-old philosophical idea of pan-Africanism and the emerging trend of regional economic integration worldwide, there grew the idea that Africa, too, could only thrive through cooperation, unity and integration. The search for unity began with the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, but over the years, the OAU only proved to be moderately successful in its objectives.[10] Nevertheless, around the change of the millennium there was an emerging pattern of independence and collaboration in Africa that might have been able to facilitate increased African self-determination, thereby putting the continent on a path in which it could have gradually thrown off the chains of structural underdevelopment.[11] Although not in totality, these developments were in large part thanks to Libya, and specifically Gaddafi. The elimination of one man, therefore, was sufficient to disrupt the path towards African independence, at least in the short run.

A “United States of Africa” and the roadmap to a pan-African currency

In the first two decades after the 1969 coup, while still being more concerned with Arab rather than African unity, Libya sought to undermine African governments it found objectionable and provide support to countries of its liking. In contrast, the 1990s saw a gradual shift towards rapprochement with neighbouring countries and the rest of Africa, as the country’s foreign policy shifted towards promoting regional cohesion via more constructive participation in multilateral arrangements and mediation in African conflicts. In addition, to further bolster its image on the continent, just like it dedicated large swaths of its oil revenues to pan-Arabism, the Libyan government started to pump tens of billions of dollars in aid and investments in Africa. As a successful vanguard of Gaddafi’s reorientation to Africa, he in 1998 convened a meeting of Sahel and Saharan states in Tripoli, as a result of which a new regional organisation was born, the Community of Sahel and Saharan States (CEN-SAD). Most notably, aside from promoting regional development initiatives, the organisation opposed foreign interference in African judicial issues and condemned outside forces seeking pretexts for establishing a lasting establishment on the continent. In 2007, CEN-SAD issued a statement from its Tripoli headquarters categorically rejecting the US’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) and any other foreign military presence in its member states. This was very troubling for the US’s image in Africa, as CEN-SAD membership by then comprised roughly half of Africa’s territory and population.[12] It should be noted, finally, that the 2011 war in Libya was AFRICOM’s first official war, and with its fiercest adversary out of the way, its military exercises and overall influence on the continent since 2012 have skyrocketed.[13] The presence of US commandos in Africa jumped from 3% of all American troops deployed overseas in 2010 to 17 percent in 2016, and by 2017, the US military was carrying out nearly 100 missions at any given time on the continent.[14] In other words, Africa has become an open playing field for the US.

Gaddafi’s gradual conversion to pan-Africanism culminated into his desire for a borderless “United States of Africa;” that is, a single continent ruled by a single government, a united defence force and one foreign and trade policy – which he proclaimed at an extraordinary summit of the OAU in Sirte on 9 September, 1999. The summit produced what is now known as the Sirte Declaration, the document that announced the birth of the African Union (AU) comprising all African nations, which eventually came into existence in 2002, thereby replacing the more inefficient OAU.[15] Gaddafi’s role in these developments are clear from article 7 of the Sirte Declaration, which states:

“In our deliberations, we have been inspired by the important proposals submitted by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Leader of the Great Al Fatah Libyan Revolution and particularly, by his vision for a strong and united Africa, capable of meeting global challenges and shouldering its responsibility to harness the human and natural resources of the continent in order to improve the living conditions of its people.”[16]

So far, the AU of course has fallen far short of becoming a “United States of Africa” as envisioned by Gaddafi. Centralisation in Europe, however, only started to be put in motion after a fierce debate in the 1940s and 1950s between intergovernmentalists and supranationalists, who respectively abhorred and welcomed the creation of a centralised body with its own sovereign powers, was won by the latter with the help of the CIA and trans-Atlanticist elite organisations such as the Bilderberg Group.[17] After the coming into existence of a single market in 1957, the European Union gradually began to take shape and step by step has become more and more like a “United States of Europe,” culminating in what is often regarded as the centrepiece of European integration: the creation of a European Central Bank and the euro as a common currency. As we have seen above, Africa under the leadership of Gaddafi was moving in a similar direction with the emergence of supranational organisations like the OAU, CEN-SAD and the AU. Furthermore, the continent was gradually moving towards monetary integration as well. The Abuja Treaty of 1991 established the African Economic Community and outlined six stages for achieving a single monetary zone for Africa by 2028. The final stage involved the creation of an African Central Bank, an African Economic and Monetary Union and an African common currency. The 1999 Sirte Declaration, spearheaded by Gaddafi, vowed to speed up this process.[18] In addition, plans were underway to create an African Monetary Fund that would only be open for African nations and would thus be able to directly challenge neo-colonial institutions like the IMF and World Bank.[19] Most importantly, however, since his reorientation to Africa, Gaddafi repeatedly urged for the establishment of a single African currency, lastly in February 2009 when he was elected chairman of the AU.[20]

To fully understand the significance of Gaddafi’s monetary endeavour, some background is needed. Under the Bretton Woods system, negotiated in the final days of the Second World War, the US dollar became the backbone of the world monetary system, convertible to gold at the fixed price of $35 per ounce with all other currencies pegged to it. As the dollar grew weaker in the ensuing decades, many nations including Germany and France started to demand gold for their dollars, however, causing the US’s gold reserves to plunge. President Nixon then abandoned the Bretton Woods system, and after the Western oiligarchs had engineered the 1973 OPEC oil crisis, the petrodollar came into existence as a replacement of the US gold standard. In this new system, Saudi Arabia, then the largest OPEC oil exporter, pledged to price all of its future oil sales in dollars and recycle its increased revenues through Atlanticist banking institutions. Most petroleum-exporting nations followed suit and started to trade their oil for dollars as well, thereby maintaining the dollar as the world reserve currency, but this time backed up by oil instead of gold.[21]

In 2000, Iraq, which holds the world’s second largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia, made the political decision to dump the petrodollar and consequently started to export almost all of its oil in euros.[22] Invasion and regime change quickly followed. In January 2017, Iran also announced that it would stop using the dollar as its currency of choice for its exports, the main commodity of which is oil.[23] As is blatantly obvious, plans of toppling the Iranian government are well underway. Gaddafi not only wanted to ditch the dollar for another currency as well, he wanted to create a new one, using Libya’s own 144 tons of gold, a relatively large amount regarding its fairly small population. Contrary to the dollar, which is for the most part made out of thin air by private banking cartels,[24] the gold dinar would be steady and reliable as it would be made from gold, a precious metal of which Africa has plenty in reserves. Moreover, if in a future situation oil-rich African and Middle Eastern countries would jump on the bandwagon and accept only gold in exchange for their oil as well as other resources, the petrodollar would be replaced by a petro-gold system.[25] The global economy, then, would be built on the backbone of two commodities of which rich Western countries possess less than the Global South. This would enable the latter to throw of the neo-colonial chains of structural enslavement and poverty and would in all likelihood cause the current global power structure to collapse.

It is obvious that the banksters who currently control the global money supply through their shares in central banks could not afford to let this unfold. Three events, all happening in the first two months of the conflict, signal the banksters’ role in the war. First, the Obama administration froze $30 billion dollar in Libyan government assets on 28 February. According to then Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen, this $30 billion dollar comprised the total of the assets of the Libyan government, the Libyan Investment Authority and its 100% state-owned Central Bank.[26] Interestingly, part of this money was reportedly earmarked for the Libyan contribution to the creation of the African Investment Bank, the African Monetary Fund and the African Central Bank.[27] Second, by the end of March, the rebels in Benghazi had created their own central bank while it was still all but clear if they would succeed in toppling Gaddafi. This left even mainstream analysts puzzled. “I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising,” noted Robert Wenzel in Economic Policy Journal, “this suggests we have a bit more than a rag tag bunch of rebels running around and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences.”[28] Finally, a leaked email from early April between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her confidential adviser, Sid Blumenthal, confirms the remaining threat of Gaddafi’s plan despite the freezing of Libyan assets. In the email, titled “Re: France’s client & Qaddafi’s gold,” Blumenthal states that

“Qaddafi’s government holds 143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver. During late March, 2011, these stocks were moved to SABHA (south west in the directs of the Libyan border with Niger and Chad); taken from the vaults of the Libyan Central Bank in Tripoli. This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African countries with an alternative to the French.franc (CFA).”[29]

The French aspect was of course only the tip of the iceberg.

According to prof. Maximilian Forte, NATO’s war on Libya sought to “disrupt an emerging pattern of independence and a network of collaboration within Africa that would facilitate increased African self-reliance.”[30] Gaddafi stood at the forefront of these developments since the turn of the millennium, and his plan to create a gold-backed African currency might have been a final catalyst to rendering these developments irreversible. With the fiercest advocate of pan-Africanism out of the way, it remains to be seen if internal divisions will be overcome or not, however. As of June 2015, the African Union renewed talks on the implementation of a pan-continental currency and an African Monetary Fund,[31] but it is still unclear whether foreign “help” is going to be kept out and whether newly formed pan-African institutions will be used to demand fair profits for Africa’s abundant natural resources like Gaddafi envisioned.

Contemplating another direction

I would like to finish with a normative remark, because we threaten to fall into a false dilemma here. Globalism as we know it today was set in motion in the West. Some 500 years ago, Europe rapidly expanded overseas and soon colonised the whole world. It then went on to plunder the Global South for several centuries by exploiting its natural resources as well as its human labour through slavery, thereby appropriating a huge advance in internal development. After decolonisation, however, structures that maintain global inequality remained in place through centralised regimes; politically through the UN and NATO but also through more obscure institutions like the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations, and economically through the dollar as the world reserve currency as well as the IMF and World Bank. These centralised regimes not only suppress the Global South, however, they limit everyone’s freedom, move sovereignty even further away from the individual and in essence, enslave humanity. Isn’t an alternative centralisation of power, i.e. a “United States of Africa” with a single government and monopolised currency, then, not an imitation of the same systems of repression that the Europeans and Americans imposed on Africa? If successful, would it not impose an equally tyrannical system but with a different face? As Frantz Fanon, a Martinique-born Caribbean revolutionary who, like Gaddafi, was concerned with constructive African independence, wrote in 1961 in the conclusion of his most famous work, Les damnés de la terre (The wretched of the earth):

“Comrades, the European game is definitely over. We must find something else. We can do everything today, provided that we won’t imitate Europe, provided that we won’t be obsessed with overtaking Europe. […] Let us decide not to imitate Europe and let us mobilise our muscles and brains in another direction. […] Two centuries ago a former European colony decided to overtake Europe. She succeeded so well in this that the United States of America has become a monster, in which the defects, the diseases and the inhumanity of Europe, have reached despicable dimensions. Comrades, don’t we have something else to do than to work on the creation of a third Europe?”[32]

As a citizen of Western Europe, where external imperialism is absent, I recognise that this is of course easier said than done. It is much easier to try and unthink the centralised regimes in the West because its population, in contrast to Africans, has not faced persistent attacks from power-hungry imperial powers over the last couple of centuries. With Western institutions of hegemony over the Global South still in place with the consent of its citizens, alternative centralised regimes that try to challenge Western dominance will remain tempting and might often appear as the only path towards real independence, when in fact they inevitably are not as absolute power will always be corrupted. A process of decentralisation, then, will have to unfold simultaneously in rich and poor countries. As modern technologies have opened up unprecedented capabilities in worldwide communication and have rendered ideas borderless, however, I’m confident that it will.

Bas Spliet, Newsbud Analyst, is a bachelor’s student History and Arabic at the University of Ghent, Belgium. He is interested in geopolitics, focusing most of his time in getting a better understanding of wars in the Middle East. His analyses can be found at He can be reached at

Part 1 Notes

  1. International Federation for Human Rights, “Massacres in Libya: the international community must respond urgently,” 21.02.2011,
  2. UN Watch, “Urgent appeal to end atrocities in Libya: sent by 70 NGOs to the US, EU, and the UN,” 21.02.2011,
  3. United Nations Security Council resolution 1973, article 2 (United Nations, 17.03.2011), 2.
  4. Gareth Evans and Mohamed Sahnoun, ed., The responsibility to protect: report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (Ottawa: International Development Research Center, 2001), XI-XIII,
  5. United Nations General Assembly, Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit, A/59/565, (United Nations, 02.12.2004),
  6. United Nations General Assembly resolution 60/1, (United Nations, 16.09.2005), 20-2.
  7. Press Conference International Criminal Court, 28.06.2011, available in Julien Tiel, “Libya: the humanitarian war. There is no evidence,”
  8. The International Criminal Court, Situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, public redacted version, ICC-01/11, 16.05.2011,
  9. Maximilian Forte, Slouching towards Sirte: NATO’s war on Libya and Africa (Montreal: Baraka Books, 2012), 238.
  10. Forte, Slouching towards Sirte, 250.
  11. House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Libya: examination of intervention and collapse and the UK’s future policy options (House of Commons, third report of session 2016-17, 14.09.2016), 3,
  12. House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Libya, 14-5.
  13. “Libya protests: Tripoli hit by renewed clashes,” BBC, 21.02.2011,
  14. “Libya protests spread and intensify,” Al-Jazeera, 22.02.2011,; “‘Massacre’ in Tripoli as jets strike civilians: witnesses,” Al-Arabiya, 21.02.2011,; “Report: helicopters fire on Libya protesters,” CNN, 19.02.2011,; Nick Meo, “Libya protests: 140 ‘massacred’ as Gaddafi sends in snipers to crush dissent, Telegraph, 20.02.2011,
  15. US Department of Defense, “DOD news briefing with Secretary Gates and Adm. Mullen from the Pentagon,” Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, 01.03.2011,
  16. Patrick Cockburn, “Amnesty questions claim that Gaddafi ordered rape as a weapon of war,” Independent, 24.06.2011,
  17. David Kirkpatrick and Kareem Fahim, “Qaddafi warns of assault on Benghazi as U.N. vote nears,” New York Times, 17.03.2011,
  18. Barack Obama, “Remarks by the president in address to the nation on Libya,” The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 28.03.2011,
  19. Barack Obama, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy, “Libya’s pathway to peace, New York Times, 14.04.2011,
  20. Forte, Slouching towards Sirte, 244.
  21. David Bosco, “Was there going to be a Benghazi massacre?”, Foreign Policy, 07.04.2011,
  22. James Corbett, “Interview 973 – Lionel on media fakery and historical distortion,” Corbett Report, 12.05.2014,
  23. “Rape used ‘as a weapon’ in Libya,” Al-Jazeera, 28.03.2011,
  24. Cockburn, “Amnesty questions claim that Gaddafi ordered rape as weapon of war.”
  25. “ICC to investigate reports of Viagra-fueled gang-rapes in Libya,” CNN, 18.03.2011,
  26. Cockburn, “Amnesty questions claim that Gaddafi ordered rape as weapon of war.”
  27. UN Human Rights Council, Report on the international commission of inquiry on Libya (United Nations, 02.03.2012), 14, article 70,
  28. “Libya fighters loot Qaddafi tribe, show divide,” Fox News, 05.10.2011,; “Bulldozers raze Gaddafi compound,” BBC, 16.10.2011,; Rania el Gamal, “In Gaddafi’s hometown, residents accuse NTC fighters of revenge,” Reuters, 16.10.2011,
  29. Amnesty International, Militias threaten hopes for new Libya (London: Amnesty International Publications, 2012), 14-25,
  30. Human Rights Watch, “Libya: apparent execution of 53 Gaddafi supporters,” 24.10.2011,
  31. Allen Pizzey, “Signs of ex-rebel atrocities in Libya grow,” CBS News, 25.10.2011,
  32. Ian Black and Owen Bowcott, “Libya protests: massacres reported as Gaddafi imposes news blackout,” Guardian, 18.02.2011,
  33. Human Rights Watch, “Libya: security forces kill 84 over three days,” 18.02.2011,
  34. Brandon Cole, “Migrants are being sold at open slave markets in Libya, International Business Times, 12.04.2017,
  35. Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, “Secret Benghazi report reveals Hillary’s Libya war push armed al Qaeda-tied terrorists,” Washington Times, 01.02.2015,
  36. “Thousands attend pro-Gaddafi rally,” BBC, 01.07.2011,; Mahdi Darius Nazmroaya, “Libya in pictures: what the mainstream media does not tell you,” Global Research, 16.07.2011,
  37. Ruth Sherlock, “Libya: exodus from Sirte as thousands flee rebel offensive,” Telegraph, 28.09.2011,; Hadeel al-Shalchi, “Fleeing Gadhafi bastion, bitter at the new Libya,”, 04.10.2011,; Rania El Gamal, “Sirte residents turn anger on Libya’s new rulers,” Reuters, 05.10.2011, reprinted on Eco Diario

Part 2 Notes

  1. Maximilian Forte, Slouching towards Sirte: NATO’s war on Libya and Africa (Montreal: Baraka Books, 2012), 35-41.
  2. “The standard of living in Libya – compilation of data, studies, articles and videos,” Global Civilians for Peace in Libya, 09.11.2011,
  3. Dirk Vandewalle, A history of modern Libya, 2nd ed. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 87-95.
  4. “The standard of living in Libya.”
  5. John Watkins, “Libya’s thirst for ‘fossil water’,” BBC, 18.03.2016,
  6. Nafeez Ahmed, “War crime: NATO deliberately destroyed Libya’s water infrastructure,” Truth Out, 30.05.2015,
  7. Mohammed Heikal, The road to Ramadan (New York: Quadrangle / New York Times Company, 1975), 70.
  8. Vandewalle, A history of modern Libya, 79.
  9. Vandewalle, A history of modern Libya, 128-30.
  10. Murder in St James’s, produced and directed by Richard Belfield (Channel 4: Dispatches, 1996), available in full at
  11. “German TV exposed CIA, Mossad links to 1986 Berlin disco bombing,” Word Socialist Web Site, 27.08.1998,
  12. Vandewalle, A history of modern Libya, 167-9.
  13. Gordon Rayner, “Lockerbie bombing: are these the men who really brought down Pan Am 103?”, Telegraph, 10.03.2014,
  14. Robert McFadden, “Megrahi, convicted in 1988 Lockerbie bombing, dies at 60,” New York Times, 20.05.2012,
  15. “Police chief – Lockerbie evidence was faked,” Scotsman, 28.08.2005,
  16. McFadden, “Megrahi.”
  17. McFadden, “Megrahi.”
  18. Rayner, “Lockerbie bombing;” Alexander Zaitchik, “The truth about the Lockerbie bombing – and the censored film that dared to reveal it,” Alternet, 15.12.2014,; John Ashton and Ian Ferguson, “Flight from the truth,” Guardian, 27.06.2001,
  19. “What if they are innocent?”, Guardian, 27.04.1999,; Maidhc Ó’Cathail, “Deception over Lockerbie,” Global Research, 27.12.2009,; Cem Ertür, “Propaganda alert: the Lockerbie bombing. Who was behind it? Libya, Iran … or the CIA?”, Global Research, 12.10.2014,
  20. “UN Observer: Lockerbie trial a US/UK CIA fake “a spectacular miscarriage of justice,” William Bowles, 14.10.2005,
  21. Pierre Péan, “Les preuves trafiquées du terrorisme Libyen,” Monde Diplomatique, March 2001, Translated to English: Pierre Péan, “Tainted evidence of Libyan terrorism,” UNA Bombers
  22. Quoted in Forte, Slouching towards Sirte, 79.
  23. Amy Goodman, interview with Wesley Clark, Daily Show, Democracy Now, 02.03.2007, available online: “Gen. Wesley Clark weighs presidential bid: ‘I think about it every day’,” Democracy Now, 02.03.2007,
  24. Rachel Shabi, “NATO accused of war crimes in Libya,” Independent, 19.1.2012,
  25. Human Rights Watch, Unacknowledged deaths: civilian casualties in NATO’s air campaign in Libya, 13.05.2012,
  26. Shabi, “NATO accused of war crimes in Libya.”
  27. Human Rights Watch, Unacknowledged deaths.
  28. Amnesty International, Libya: the forgotten victims of NATO airstrikes, March 2012,
  29. C.J. Chivers and Eric Smith, “In strikes on Libya by NATO, an unspoken civilian toll,” New York Times, 17.12.2011,
  30. Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Arab Organization for Human Rights and International Legal Assistance Consortium, Report of the Independent Civil Society Fact-Finding Mission to Libya, 44-6, January 2012,
  31. NATO, NATO and Libya: operational media update for 15 September
  32. Thomas Harding, “Col Gaddafi killed: convoy bombed by drone flown by pilot in Las Vegas,” Telegraph, 20.10.2011,
  33. Thomas Harding, Gordon Rayner and Damien McElroy, “Libya: SAS leads hunt for Gaddafi,” Telegraph, 24.08.2011,
  34. Bill van Auken, “The murderer calls for an investigation into the crime,” SWAPO, 24.10.2011,
  35. Peter Allen, “Gaddafi was killed by French secret serviceman on orders of Nicolas Sarkozy, sources claim,” Daily Mail, 30.09.2012,
  36. “Hillary Clinton on Gaddafi: We came, we saw, he died,” Youtube channel of FederalJacktube6, 20.10.2011, consulted on 14.02.2017,

Part 3 Notes

  1. Al-Gaddafi, Muammar, address at UN General Assembly, New York, 23.09.2009.
  2. Dirk Vandewalle, A history of modern Libya, 2nd ed. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012).
  3. Vandewalle, A history of Modern Libya, 150.
  4. Vandewalle, A history of Modern Libya, 205.
  5. Muammar Gaddafi, as cited in Hussein Solomon and Gerrie Swart, “Libya’s foreign policy in flux,” African Affairs 104, no. 416 (2005), 479.
  6. Muammar Gaddafi, as cited in Vandewalle, A history of Modern Libya, 196.
  7. Jason Hickel, “Aid in reverse: how poor countries develop rich countries,” Guardian, 14.01.2017,
  8. “Inequality video fact sheet,” The Rules, consulted on 20.05.2017,; UN Development Programme, Human development report (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 38,
  9. Muammar Gaddafi, speech at African Union Summit, 4-6.07.2005, as cited in Maximilian Forte, Slouching towards Sirte: NATO’s war on Libya and Africa (Montreal: Baraka Books, 2012), 150.
  10. Stephen Okhonmina, “The African Union: pan-Africanist aspirations and the challenge of African unity,” Journal of Pan African Studies 3, no. 4 (2009), 88-96.
  11. Forte, Slouching towards Sirte, 137.
  12. Solomon and Swart, “Libya’s foreign policy in flux,” 471-8; Forte, Slouching towards Sirte, 156-66 and 171-2.
  13. Dan Glazebrook, “The imperial agenda of the US’s ‘Africa Command’ marches on,” Guardian, 14.06.2012,
  14. Nick Turse, “The war you’re never heard of,” Vice News, 18.05.2017,
  15. Solomon and Swart, “Libya’s foreign policy in flux,” 478-82.
  16. African Union, Fourth extraordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government (Sirte, 8-9.09.1999),
  17. Bas Spliet, “Soft Power Centralization: the CIA, Bilderberg & the first steps towards European integration,” Newsbud, 30.03.2017,
  18. Paul Masson and Heather Milkiewicz, Africa’s economic morass – will a common currency help? (Brookings institute: Policy brief #121, July 2003), 2,
  19. Jean-Paul Pougala, “Why the West wants the fall of Gaddafi,” Dissident Voice, 21.04.2011,
  20. Lydia Polgreen, “Qaddafi, as new African Union head, will seek single state,” New York Times, 02.02.2009,
  21. James Corbett, “How Big Oil engineered the Petrodollar,” International Forecaster, 05.01.2016,; William F. Enghdahl, Myths, lies and oil wars (Wiesbaden: edition.engdahl, 2012), 51-70; Pye Ian, “Oil on gold: the demise of the ponzi petrodollar via a sustainable multi-commodity eastern alternative,” Newsbud, 11.05.2017,
  22. Faisal Islam, “Iraq nets handsome profit by dumping dollar for euro,” Guardian, 16.02.2003,
  23. Tyler Durden, “Iran just officially ditched the dollar,” Zero Hedge, 02.02.2017,
  24. Joe Wiesenthal, “Everybody should read this explanation of where money really comes from,” Business Insider, 27.04.2014,
  25. Anthony Wile, “Gaddafi planned gold dinar, now under attack,” Daily Bell, 05.05.2011,; Ellen Brown, “Why Qaddafi had to go: African gold, oil and the challenge to monetary imperialism,” The Ecologist, 14.03.2016,; William F. Engdahl, “Hillary emails, gold dinars and Arab springs,” New Eastern Outlook, 17.03.2016,
  26. Jessica Hopper, “U.S. freezes $30 billion in Libyan assets; Gadhafi called ‘delusional’,” ABC News, 28.02.2011,
  27. Pougala, “Why the West wants the fall of Gaddafi.”
  28. Robert Wenzel, “Libyan rebels form central bank,” Economic Policy Journal, 28.03.2011,
  29. Wikileaks, H: France’s client & Q’s gold. Sid (Hillary Clinton Email Archive, 01.04.2011),
  30. Forte, Slouching towards Sirte, 137.
  31. “African Union renews talks on common currency, African monetary fund,” BRICS Post, 12.06.2015,
  32. Original quote in French; translated by the author to English. Frantz Fanon, Les damnés de la terre (1961; reprint, Montréal: Université de Montréal, 2002), 300-1,
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