Qaddafi was a CIA Asset

Human Rights Watch found documents in Libya after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi that it passed on to the Wall Street Journal, which is analyzing them. The WSJ reported today that the documents show that Qaddafi developed so warm a relationship with George W. Bush that Bush sent people he had kidnapped (“rendition”) to Libya to be “questioned” by Libya’s goons, and almost certainly to be tortured. The formal paperwork asked Libya to observe human rights, but Bush’s office also sent over a list of specific questions it wanted the Libyan interrogators to ask. Qaddafi also gave permission to the CIA from 2004 to establish a formal presence in the country.

Qaddafi had been on the outs with the West for decades, but was rehabilitated once he gave up his ‘weapons of mass destruction’ programs (Qaddafi had no unconventional weapons, and no obvious ability to develop them, so his turning over to Bush of a few rotting diagrams that had been buried was hardly a big deal.

I have been going blue in the face pointing out that Muammar Qaddafi is not a progressive person, and that in fact his regime was in its last decades a helpmeet to the international status quo powers.

Now it turns out that Qaddafi was hand in glove with Bush regarding “interrogation” of the prisoners sent him from Washington.

Alexander Cockburn’s outfit has been trying to smear me by suggesting that I had some sort of relationship with the CIA, when all I ever did was give talks in Washington at think tanks to which analysts came to listen; when you speak to the public you speak to all kinds of people. I never was a direct consultant and never had a contract or employment with the agency itself. I spoke to a wide range of USG personnel in those talks in Washington in the Bush years, including the State Department, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and even local police officers, and the intelligence analysts were just part of the audience.

In fact, we now know that the Bush administration was upset that I was given a hearing in Washington and was influential with the analysts, and asked the CIA to spy on me and attempt to destroy my reputation.

So how delicious is it that those who supported Qaddafi, or opposed practical steps to keep him from slaughtering the protest movement (such as A. Cockburn and his hatchet man John Walsh), were de facto allies of the CIA themselves– and not just allies of the analysts, who try to understand the intelligence, but allies of the guys doing “rendition,” i.e. kidnapping suspects off the street and having them “interrogated.”

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    • Why, it’s almost as if the Libyan people themselves, and not the CIA, were the driving force behind this year’s uprising.

      • er, and NOT the CIA, that is.

        Yes, events happened very differently than in a CIA-sponsored coup.

        Hmmmmmm…what could we possibly conclude from this?

  1. I hope you are not putting everyone who objected to the means by which Qaddafi’s regime was opposed into the the category of those who “opposed practical steps to keep him from slaughtering the protest movement.”

    I certainly did not consider Qaddafi a progressive revolutionary. I simply believe that there were more limited measures which could have limited the violence and eventually led to the Libyan people’s freedom. Moreover, NATO military intervention does not address the root of the problem, namely the continued support of the developed world to regimes which allow it to extract as much profit as possible (KSA, Bahrain) or fulfill some anti-labor, security agenda (Yemen, Colombia).

    • more limited measures which could have limited the violence and eventually led to the Libyan people’s freedom

      Name one. The armored column is driving towards Benghazi. Gadhafi promised to go to door to get the rats.

      It would great to hear some practical steps that would have stopped him. Let’s hear ’em.

  2. Why is that a bad thing? Shouldn’t a President’s first priority be safeguarding his country? Seem like a shrewd move if true.

  3. The anti-interventionists-on-principle take that principle seriously and without exception other than in the case of actual ongoing genocide. So called humanitarian interventions – advocating for them – is to advocate for something whose end result cannot be known and which history has shown can be an unmitigated disaster for countless tens of thousands of people. The very people that the purported intervention was aiming to protect. So, remaining consistently against western backed military interventions is prudent. Advocating for such is imprudent.

    The nastiness is on all sides. Qaddifi’s regime, NATO and the rebels. Qaddifi’s regime’s heinous actions are a matter of record. Now we await the unfolding of history to learn exactly how NATO and the rebels have and will behave. One can hope for the best but that is still only a hope that could not have been assured before promoting an intervention.

    • Finally a comment I can agree with. I highly reccommend Bricmont’s “Humanitarian Imperialism”, read through it this summer and was stunned by how well just about every aspect of humanitarian interventions he tackles fitted the Libya situation.

    • something whose end result cannot be known and which history has shown can be an unmitigated disaster for countless tens of thousands of people

      The end result of not intervening in this case, on the other hand, is known quite well: rivers of blood in the street of Benghazi. Like the rebels themselves, I’ll take the chance of a good outcome over the certainty of a great massacre.

      One can hope for the best…

      One can hope for the best now, because the UN intervened. There was no hope for anything but the worst on March 15.

      • Joe from Lowell, you make a good point on the ‘river of blood’ prospects and US-NATO action. It appeared that the rebels would lose and the argument was advanced that Gaddafi would seek a violent revenge. That was a main concern of mine at the time.

        As I observed events unfold, I was taken by the ‘river of blood’ that the air strikes created directly and through the NATO intervention that allowed the rebels to survive.

        It seems that every major action overseas by the rulers (from both parties) involves violence. What else are we known for in our actions in other countries?

        This is a complex issue and I respect people with a different take on actions and policies. IMHO, the United States should help avoid bloodshed and suffering but avoid any further further military intervention (in Libya and elsewhere) unless it involves an imminent threat to the United States.

  4. The issue is not whether Q was some kind of lefty hero, but whether the liberal or “humanitarian” interventionism you favor is any wiser or more virtuous than the neocon variety. I contend that it is not, and military force should be limited to the protection of American lives and the prevention of attacks on the United States. In short, what Washington and Quincy Adams favored–trade with all, ally with none, mind our own business, keep our powder dry. Liberal internationalism is just a self-congratulatory wing of the imperialist party.

    • Yes, and if someone has broken into your home and is strangling you with your typewriter ribbon, heaven forbid the police should come and try to save you, because sometimes police have done bad things. Yours is the consistency of your hobgoblin little must-be-correct-at-all-costs mind.

      • “Yes, and if someone has broken into your home and is strangling you with your typewriter ribbon, heaven forbid the police should come and try to save you, because sometimes police have done bad things.”

        This comment says it all, really. I don’t know if this is a Freudian slip or if you really think the United States/NATO is to be considered world police. In either case sovereignty and international law makes for great anarchy.

        Oh, and about the domestic police comparison… I would be pretty pissed if the police arbitrarily chose who to “rescue” and who not to. For instance: If the strangler happened to be allied to the police (as in the Saudi pressure on Bahrain), and the police force not only chose not to come to my rescue, but went ahead with a gigantic arms deal with the perpetrator, I’d say this police force should think twice about it’s own application of power before continuing it’s corrupt practice.

      • Bad analogy. NATO ain’t the police, Libya ain’t “our” home, and I no longer have a typewriter ribbon. If a killer came into my home, I hope I’d have the wit to garrot, shoot, or disembowel the invader.

        I’m all for a strong defense. I just want to restrict the mission.

    • It’s utter nonsense to say Washington was against alliances. He led the cheer when the French alliance was announced in 1778. As I recall his exact word(s) were, “Huzza!” It’s no exaggeration to say that US independence at the time it occurred would have been impossible without the French alliance.

      Alliances can be operationally defined as a tool or an instrument. Tools are good when used properly, say a hammer driving a nail. Setting a screw with a hammer doesn’t work as well. An ‘alliance’ Washington refused to make as President was to take either side in the French Revolution. Same nation. Different time. Different Context. Different policy.

      For a number of reasons, I believe that using the Libyan intervention as a template for Syria would be a disaster. The context is different.

      Washington didn’t want American policy to be shaped by rigid ideology or fixed ideas or categories. Neither should we.

    • but whether the liberal or “humanitarian” interventionism you favor is any wiser or more virtuous than the neocon variety

      You’re really having trouble with figuring out if a limited air campaign to support an indigenous liberation movement and prevent massacres is any wiser than invading countries with tens or hundreds of thousands of ground troops, occupying them, installing puppet governments without local support, and sticking around indefinitely to fight the inevitable uprising?

      I’m sorry, but this is the easiest question in the world.

      military force should be limited to the protection of American lives and the prevention of attacks on the United States

      Because American lives are so much more important than other people’s lives?

  5. Hatchetman John V. Walsh (in the CounterPunch hit piece of August 30th) even urged Democracy Now to purge you as a fellow “travel”-er. Hegel has gotta be laughing at that particular piece of dialectically recycled McCarthyism.

  6. Yes Juan, everyone against what NATO is doing in Libya is a Qaddafi supporter and ally of the CIA. Just like your opposition to the Iraq war made you a Saddam supporter and ally of the CIA.

    Your blog used to be one of my favourites, now I hardly bother. Not because your stance on Libya is different to mine, but because you have been smearing opponents of the Libyan intervention as being pro Qaddafi time after time. You block comments that highlight inconsistencies in your argument but then are happy to allow posts gleeful that the Lockerbie bomber is going to die the most painful way possible (what value is a comment that celebrates death and adds nothing more to the argument?).

    • You misinterpret, or misrepresent, what Prof. Cole says, twisting his meaning. Your Stalinism is showing.

    • Perhaps if you had “hardly bothered” a little bit more, you would have noticed that Juan’s comment threads are regularly filled with actual, honest-to-God defenses of Gadhafi as some sort of great leftist hero, helping his people and resisting the terrible imperialists.

      These claims were never made by any of the opponents of the Iraq War.

  7. So from this we can conclude that Qaddafi believed that he had a sweetheart deal with the MI5 and CIA. After all, he is a graduate of Sandhurst, don’t you know, old boy? But then again, I suppose there is no honor among thieves. (Except for W. Look at the way he has always walked hand in hand with the Salafist Saudis funding Al Qaeda. Look also at the way the funding for the 911 conspirators by the Saudi royalty has been covered up time and again. MI5 has closed the books on the spurious and risible grounds of national security on the BAE/al Yamamah arms deal that provided the dough for Prince Bandar who is part and parcel of the same funding apparatus…)

  8. So we, as represented by our elected government, liked Qaddafi enough to trust him to torture our renditionees, and helped him go after some of his own troublemakers. The fact that he was a very mean dictator could hardly trump his “torture on demand” relationship with our palace goons. Whatever he did to his subjects was really an internal affair.

    That relationship did a 180 in March 2011 when the armed rebellion started. The fact that we kinda liked this nasty despot before we hated him was smothered with the mass media and governmental refrain that he was a non-stop ruthless dictator for 42 years.

    The rebellion has succeeded, and hopefully will provide better governance than Qaddafi provided. But, in my view, the greatest concern for Americans, is that we come to realize that, as a nation, we have supported despots and ignored their ruthless treatment of the subjects as long as we (the CIA is part of we) got some useful payback, no matter how narrow in scope. If that’s what we prefer, then the global war on any mosquito in our radar will never end.

    • Actually, Obama called for Gadhafi to step down a whole month before the armed rebellion started (in response to Gadhafi’s military attacks on the protesters), back in mid-February.

  9. News that Qaddafi was actively cooperating with the Bush/Cheney torture regime is hardly surprising, I’m sure that the Libyan regime had been doing a little “intensive interrogation” of its own on Chadian rebels, etc., etc., it didn’t like, probably since the 1970’s.

    It is sad that people considering themselves “leftists” in America have developed some dogmas of their own over the years. I noticed it back in the 1990’s, when I may have shared some of the reflexive hatred of anything that seemed to be part of a government/corporate power structure. Yet even as I shared the delight of the Cockburn crowd in finding the most “radical” analyses of the problems, they made it clear that any attempt at patient activism to build something better was also, in their eyes, to be scorned. All they wanted was ever-more radical denunciations of the situation — and only from themselves, no new writers were welcome — and to find some sort of radical purity in refusing to help Americans organize for anything better. Not that they were building anything, apparently subscriptions to their publications was the only goal.

    Obama has been a huge disappointment on the torture front, as well as on many other situations, his failure to prosecute or even “truth commission” the torturers will allow any future conservative administrations to revive torture. Nevertheless, the tens of millions of Americans who want something better are going to have to learn to organize patiently, to work together, to have a time focus beyond the next headline and/or the next election, and to figure out how to push the corporate-owned Democratic elected officials to actually serve positive ends. If well-meaning Americans allow themselves to become so disgusted with Obama that they permit Republicans to achieve any kind of victories in 2012, it’s just about “game over” for any hope of future for our children and grandchildren. The temptation to sit back and curse Obama is very great, yet it would be a supreme world-historical mistake on our part. Please, Get Organized Now to get real Democrats in office in 2014 and 2016 !!

    • “If well-meaning Americans allow themselves to become so disgusted with Obama that they permit Republicans to achieve any kind of victories in 2012, it’s just about “game over” for any hope of future for our children and grandchildren. The temptation to sit back and curse Obama is very great, yet it would be a supreme world-historical mistake on our part. Please, Get Organized Now to get real Democrats in office in 2014 and 2016 !!”


      Great points, by the way. I’m over Cockburn and his nonsense, as well as those on the Left who somehow think that Qaddafi was some hero and who are blasting the NATO intervention. History repeating itself, I suppose….saw the same thing in the 1990s with the Bosnian and Kosovo conflicts. It’s also something that Nick Cohen discussed in his book “What’s Left?”

      If the Left in America feels that an Obama loss in 2012 is going to be a great thing and lead to some progressive revolution, they’ve got another thought coming.

  10. Move along folks, nothing to see here, well except WTF is with Human Rights watch turning the docs to the WSJ of all papers in the world.

  11. Wikipedia says you endorsed the war in Iraq and then turned against it. Can you please reassure us that you will not reverse your current stand on Libya if things go sour? I think this is a legitimate concern you need to address.

        • You don’t know how to read a set of texts in context and so are a mere propagandist, not an intellectual. It doesn’t do you any good to read me if you’re not going to learn how to think.

  12. Admittedly, the article on Counterpunch asserting that you, Professor Cole, are a CIA collaborator, is far fetched. Giving a talk to the CIA/FBI/Congress/any particular group isn’t the same as working for them.

    However, you, yourself go way overboard in asserting the notion that critics of NATO operations in Libya are pro-Qaddhafi. Yes, there are some voices on the left that hold the colonel up as some paragon hero of Third World progress, a leader for African peoples, etc. But, the majority are far more thoughtful. Qaddhafi is bad, he should go. But not the way it’s being done. NATO/GCC has no altruistic interest in Libya and it is naive to believe that their motives in Libya are anything more than dishonorable. They saw Qaddhafi as unpredictable and saw the opportunity to take him out under the guise of a legitimate internal revolt (and, yes, it is legitimate). In the end, they hope to assert some sort of control, whether military bases, oil deals that cut the Chinese and Russians out (again, part of Qaddhafi’s unpredictability. European companies had no problem securing Libyan oil, but what about if the colonel goes into some rage and decides to cut them out?), political alliances, control over where Libya’s vast financial assets are directed, – it wouldn’t be surprising if Qaddhafi’s vital support for the African Development Bank goes by the wayside, or in other ways.

    The reasons NATO became involved were largely fabrications or exaggerations: the mass rape, the supposed use of Libyan aircraft to attack civilians, the threats to wipe out everyone in Benghazi. This isn’t to say that there weren’t plenty of other reasons to get rid of Qaddhafi. There were plenty, and, good riddance. But, anyone who believes that NATO and company are there for the welfare of the Libyan people is naive.

    Of course, things might not go as NATO powers plan. While the seductions of power might encourage the transitional leadership to play along, people on the ground might not be so malleable. Iraq is the perfect example.

    All to say, the assertion that critics of the NATO adventure in Libya are all naive Qaddhafi supporters is unjustified. Some no doubt are, including Cynthia McKinney, Ramsey Clark, and others who went on those Qaddhafi-sponsored fact-finding missions. But, Dr. Cole, most critics aren’t so compromised.

    • I’m not sure that Juan Cole has ever asserted that NATO was doing this for purely humanitarian reasons, or at least, that NATO didn’t have its own goals and interests in mind for those states that got involved. Interests aside, however, it’s clear that there was an immediate threat, which the international community recognized. And it’s clear that those being threatened by a madman asked for help. Juan has meanwhile maintained this narrative that the rebels started the whole thing with, of no ground troops, no bases, and so on. In that vein it’s misplaced to criticize Juan on something he hasn’t actually done, and to criticize the rebels despite that they took the full workload and refused ground troops (I think NATO would’ve happily brought in ground troops if the rebels didn’t threaten to attack NATO as vehemently as they would Gaddafi). I think that overall Gaddafi had enough assets to divide the country and maintain a protracted civil war for at least a few years yet, with significant migration problems for Tunisia and Egypt. As far as NATO is concerned they did alleviate a long term destabilization in North Africa, but NATO shouldn’t get credit for that because the Libyan people did the ground work themselves. Ideally the Arab League should’ve been the one helping them, and indeed, if not African states. In that vein it is unfortunate that NATO had to get involved (other interests include Libyan expats in Canada and UK; which btw explains Canada’s unusual involvement here). It didn’t work out the way you’d want it to “ideally” work out, but that’s how reality tends to work anyway. As Gilbert Achcar (who was ardently anti-intervention) pointed out on Democracy Now!, “But between this and believing that NATO is now in control of Libya, there is, you know, a very far cry … So how do you want NATO or the West to control Libya by remote control, without any troops on the ground?” (Title: “The One Billion Dollar Question: Who Are the Libyan Rebels?”) Even someone who was so anti-intervention recognized that, ultimately, the Libyan revolutionaries control their destiny. No one can say how it will wind up, but I have hopes for these people, something I could never have said about the Iraq quagmire.

    • @jar So the mass graves, the burned bodies, the raped women and the eye witness accounts of the atrocities committed by Qaddafi’s secret police and armed forces are myths, or made up stories? What did the rebels do? Exhume the dead then burn the bodies inside a warehouse so they could claim they just discovered the atrocity? Did they hire thousands of actors, then stage a fake release from several prisons where Qaddafi held political prisoners?

      Listen, the man is a murderous, ruthless thug who because he had established a tenuous relationship with the West in general and with Washington in particular became more delusional than he already was. He never once dreamed that President Obama would force his hand when he openly talked about slaughtering thousands of his own citizens!

      Every event is not a conspiracy, nor is there some puppet master pulling the strings behind the scenes. What you see is what you get.

  13. “when you speak to the public you speak to all kinds of people.”

    How dare you try to make a living telling people what you think. In Washington, that’s tantamount to being a welfare queen. You’re supposed to use your talents, education, and abilities to steal money from people, not educate and inform them.

  14. Holy shiite.

    I can’t denounce anyone for trying to make peace with an enemy. Accepting Gadhafi’s olive branch and wooing him back into the international community was a fine thing for the Bush administration to do. It’s through contact and trade that closed states open up – this is a perfectly valid stance to take. I certainly liked it better than dividing the world into “American allies” and “enemies.”

    But this is extraordinary. Even during the thaw between Reagan and Gorbachev, the US wasn’t getting into bed with the KGB.

    On a personal note: I’ll bet this is a pretty sweet comeuppance, Prof. Cole. Do a little endzone dance for me.

  15. Bush’s White House was asking the CIA to destroy your reputation because they didn’t like what you wre saying about the Iraq War. So, John Walsh’s claim that you had a relationship with the CIA does not make sense, and his evidence is nothing. But you can’t say that opposing the Libyan War was allying with the CIA. The White House and the CIA work together. When Obama decided that Qaddafi was finished, all relations between the CIA and Qaddafi ended. Besides, opposing US involvment in Libya was not supporting Qaddafi. There are many dictators who kill protesters. Are we supporting all of them because we don’t force them out? Some anti-war people may just have different ideas about what is practicle.

    • To be fair Juan did say “de facto,” which changes the sentence. They are “practically” allies though not really. Juan didn’t really have to respond to Walsh’s screed, and maybe he’d be better for it had he not, but that hit piece was some kind of work. AboveTopSecret / PrisonPlanet / “Ministry of Truth” level stuff, so I don’t blame him for defending himself with a quip. Walsh’s hit piece goes on to talk about Gaddafi’s supposed “progress,” which veers his piece from “opposing US involvement” to intellectually aiding a tyrant. We know that, for instance, Gaddafi pulled back on the oil wealth redistribution plans (Search for “Libya Postpones General People’S Congress, Walks Back From Wealth Distribution And Privatization Plans” a Wikileaks cable which outlines Gaddafi’s postponement of these plants, which incidentally some argue is part of the reason why the unrest began to begin with). Carle absolutely never insinuated that Juan was a CIA agent, asset, consultant, or anything of the like. How often have Chomsky’s talks been attended by the CIA or think tanks related to the CIA?

      • It was not Gaddafi who backed From Wealth Distribution plan, rather people’s commettes and by the way, most of those who opposed this plan vehemently, are now part of the opposition, the TNC such as the former Justice and the foreign ministers, Mustafa Mohamed Abud Al Jeleil, Mahmoud Jibril

        • The technocrats in the TNC envisioned the plan and the draft constitution mandates that all resources be distributed to the people (Article 8). I personally don’t like technocrats for various reasons, but the Vision 2030 plan for Libya was thought up by most of the defectors in the early time frame. Do you have a source for your claim that Jalal or Jibril were against the wealth redistribution and privatization plans? (I can’t remember if Jalal or Jibril were part of the technocrats but I know that technocrats are in the TNC and they were behind the wealth redistribution plan.) Saif Gaddafi tried to jump on the bandwagon and get the plan moved forward since it would’ve actually redistributed the wealth in Libya as opposed to concentrate it in corporations and in investments overseas.

          The failure to redistribute falls on Gaddafi, and it wasn’t his plan, it was a plan by people in the opposition, that much I know for sure.

  16. Well, Qaddafi is/was a C.I.A. asset? Then the N.A.T.O. group, brings in the Al Queda squads after the fall of Qaddafi, at least that’s the story. Truth be known, they were already there, but of course, no one will believe so.

  17. Now we know why Qaddafi had that adoring photo album of Condoleeza Rice’s pictures.

    The Brits MI5 was just as venal. They reported to Qaddafi on Libyan dissidents in Britain, allowing Quadaffi’s agents to “disappear” them. Some were tried in the UK as “terrorists” and received jail sentences in Britain. No doubt there will be many more revelations. Moussa Koussa left a lot of files behind, but apparently he took some with him, no doubt to blackmail selected Western governments should they start looking towards some international tribunal.

    Re Cockburn et al. I live in an Eastern European country. I remember the same aghast commentary from those circles when the USSR and Gorbachov started to crumble. Is it nostalgia for George III or what?

  18. The Bush regime always insisted on knowing as little as possible about the people we make war upon. Call it a quirk.

  19. I saw John Walsh’s hit piece, and I’m glad you’ve addressed the blatant slanders by supposed “progressives.” Yes, it’s bittersweet that it’s now clear that Gaddafi was a CIA lackey, an imperialist lackey, if you will, this whole damn time. The idea that MI6 and CIA were actually helping the regime in exchange for rendition is just mind bogglingly hilarious. I have been watching your blog throughout the entire Libyan Revolution (a true revolution via ousting of all top corrupt regime elements), and just wanted to say, good work. I personally have had a sort of a heartbreak with how “progressives” have thrown themselves under the bus with their contemptuous rejection of the Libyan Revolutionaries. I’m glad you weren’t one of them and that there are progressives (even libertarian socialists) who support them, otherwise I’d be quite alone on this matter, and definitely couldn’t take it.

  20. I wasn’t very enthusiastic about the Libyan revolution when it started. It was mostly because Meteor Blades at Daily Kos kept posting diaries about an in-law who was Libyan and involved in the revolution that I started to worry about the consequences of Gadafy successfully rolling over Benghazi and ending the entire tide of Arab Spring.

    But after I supported the NATO bailout, which is what it was, a stupid, clumsy, poorly planned bailout, not an invasion, I was aghast at all the people coming out of the woodwork cheering for Gadafy. (I spell his name that way because it’s the fewest letters.) I’m still not sure what the Hell that’s about. Some only talked in very vague ways about his Socialist credentials. None of them actually seemed to remember the ’70s and ’80s when Gadafy was (a) really involved in financing armed movements and (b) really on the US hit list. So what was this all about?

    But then my real horror began when the supposedly anti-war voices began to ape the Fox News/ Ziocon dogma that any Arab who would stand up against his government must be an al-Qaeda monster, that Arabs are such haters that even one Islamist in their midst would turn them into a zombie mob, that NATO was really behind a bin Laden takeover of Libya as though it were still Afghanistan in 1981 and nothing had changed since.

    If there was one thing that the peace movement was to be proud of was that it stood up to the hateful anti-Arab, anti-Islam bigotry streaming from most American institutions across 3/4 of the political spectrum after 2001.

    Yet after NATO bombed Libya, I read plenty of hatred for the actual rebels of Libya, and nothing but praise for the mythical horde of rank & file Gadafy supporters. Does this mean that an Arab only has human dignity as a registered member of the “anti-imperialist” brigade, with all credentials cleared by Alexander Cockburn to assure that no single action said Arab will ever take will ever benefit a single Westerner or (gasp!) Jew? It seems little different than the Bushites heaping praises on their Iraqi pets or whatever Palestinian faction Israel tells us is less bad this week while most actual Iraqis and Palestinians suffered under their rulers. A right-winger thinks an Arab only has the right to exist to provide us oil; a left-winger, I guess, only thinks an Arab has a right to exist to give oil money to terrorists fighting capitalism and Zionism.

    That can’t be the peace movement, can it? Surely the microphone has simply been grabbed by the Alex Jones/Ron Paul gang, or any of the millions of Bush dead-enders who wanted this war to be Obama’s Iraq out of pure spite, like the pure spite that put Bush in the White House in the first place in revenge for 1992. No one in the peace movement really believes that the only way to keep the evil Arabs from their dark Islamist instincts is for left-wing tyrants to point bayonets at them.

    And yet, now that I think back, where was most of the peace movement on Egypt and Tunisia? They just seemed to be confused like the rest of us. The handful who really embraced popular organization for non-violent change in Cairo just went nuts when their Libyan counterparts dared to shoot back. I guess they will never forgive that apostasy. These were the ones who kept talking about the rebels having to be hung out to dry until they negotiated with the man who was ranting on TV that they were all al-Qaeda and must be exterminated.

    And that’s where the vultures flew in, with a far nastier message unopposed by those we expect to oppose such racism. Do we always depend on the former group to vet the “anti-war” position so we don’t get fooled by Astroturfers? No wonder the supporters of peace come off as so pathetic to everyone else.

    • I agree with your post wholeheartedly, and when Juan Cole gets thrown under the bus, it becomes clear it’s not “just a peace movement,” but something more sinister or at least, something more ignorant or stupid (never attribute to malice that which can be most easily explained by ignorance or stupidity, etc). I’ve been opposing this Islamaphobia for over 6 months now, and it never ceases to amaze me. One of the popular pro-Gaddafi YouTubers even posted a racist screed I’m told, that he promptly removed. His anti-gay video is still up there (and I archived it for prosperity). These are the people presupposed progressives are flocking to, and it’s just mind boggling for me.

      My favorite argument from these supposed ‘anti-war’ activists? That NATO should’ve put troops on the ground to end the conflict sooner! An anti-war argument calling for hard occupation! There is of course the Islamaphobic argument that Jalal is an islamist because he has a bump on his forehead from daily prayers, etc. They go on and on and on, and they never actually try to think critically about the revolution as a whole, it’s not just some simple black and white, evil racist, islamist, propaganda.

  21. After 9/11 incident, entire world was conned into helping USA, believing US lies about 9/11. USA also sent people to Syria & elsewhere for interrogation. Iran helped USA in providing targets to bomb in Iraq. To single out Libya cooperating with CIA is spin & distraction from what USA-NATO are doing. USA will use all countries & when no longer needed, will eliminate them. Gaddafi gave in because he did not want Libya invaded like Iraq & wanted decades long sanctions, threats & blackmails stopped.

  22. The Gaddafi-Bush connection is very useful information. It does not come as a surprise. They are natural allies as members of the global financial elite. They steal power, cling desperately, and are almost uniform in their inability get anything positive done in a remotely civilized fashion. Libya is the latest example. We have a US ‘reformed; tyrant on the run and a rebel, now national army led by Gaddafi ‘reformed; LGIF members. The NATO command stands by while the victorious forces they created give two cities a stark choice – capitulate or we’ll attack your city.

    We have no reason to be in Libya anymore than we had reason to be in Iraq.

    It is entirely possible and appropriate to find real flaws in NATO and the TNC while at the same tie finding Gaddafi’s four decades simply deplorable. It is also reasonable to anticipate the same type of rake offs and graft by the new rulers as we saw from the Gaddafi crew.

    The real losers are the people who have hope that anything much will change due to the efforts of Obama et al. and the revolution they dragged across the finish line.

  23. How you twist words! Opposing yet another illegal military intervention by the US hardly means “supporting Qaddafi.” Opposing another war without stated objective or end-game does not mean “opposing practical steps to keep Qaddafi from slaughtering the protest movement.” You have tried to smear anyone who is not a cheerleader for this war, but your “liberal” interventionism is bankrupt. How many Libyans did NATO slaughter? How many more will be slaughtered during the next phase of your “humanitarian” war? You have lost all credibility with progressives.

    • So Donna, could you provide us with some examples of “practical steps to keep Qazaffi from slaughtering the protest movement”? Should we have sent him cookies and asked him to be nice? How about getting his wife to give him a stern talking to? Maybe threaten to take away his…BTW, there was NOTHING illegal about this war!!!
      You asked a good question, how many Libyans were “slaughtered” by NATO? I guess it was meant to be a rhetorical question, but I would be interested to know the answer, would YOU?? Perhaps you should be more concerned about your credibility?

    • Juan Cole is the one being smeared, he’s kept it clean for the most part and hasn’t picked on other “progressives” who have held contempt for the revolutionaries (an ongoing process since the UNSC got involved). Indeed, I find it contemptible that you should “help people” only if you know the “end game,” for example. As a far left progressive I would help anyone, even if they don’t necessarily have the same values that I do. The fact that Tripoli fell with relatively little bloodshed proves false every narrative that Gaddafi has perpetuated. The blood is all on Gaddafi’s hands.

      Meanwhile the very ‘soul’ of some progressives has been ripped from them, as they call people fighting against tyranny everything from “racists” to “Islamists” to “Al-Qaeda” to “CIA agents” to “imperialists,” while in the same breath stating false memes that Gaddafi was an anti-imperialist. Indeed, as the truth comes out we are finding that it is the exact opposite! Gaddafi was the one working with the CIA, Gaddafi was the terrorist (threatened ‘holy war’ if Megrahi wasn’t returned; and the UK actually negotiated! Talk about pathetic!), Gaddafi was the one who gave Total (France oil company) expanded oil exploration rights until the 2030s! And the rebels are the bad guys? Give me a fucking break!

      Finally, there’s one meme that is really beyond infuriating, the idea that the revolutionaries would not have fought Gaddafi if NATO didn’t give them “hope” and “fanned the protesters into civil war.” This is utterly false because Gaddafi’s oppressive laws (particularly Law 20 of 1991) mandated the death penalty for anyone “whose continued existence would lead to the disintegration of Libyan society.” The fighters had no choice but to fight. From their point of view they were dead either way! Meanwhile the siege of Misrata was perfectly legal under “Code of Honor of March 1997,” which instituted, legally within the confines of Libya’s corrupt system, collective punishment, “whereby families, towns and municipalities are held responsible for the actions of individuals in their midst.” (Search Google for “Country Theme: Civil Society: Libya”, first hit.) The people of Misrata, likewise, had no choice but to put up a fight (and it took 3 months for NATO to help end that siege by dropping concrete on the tanks within the city to alleviate collateral damage).

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