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31 October, 2011
The killing of Muammar Gaddafi at the hands of NATO-backed, Al Qaeda-linked forces marks the end of a campaign expressly aimed at the assassination of a head of state and overthrow of a sovereign country in direct violation of international standards that have held sway since the Nuremberg trials at the end of World War II and the establishment of the Geneva Conventions.
The NATO campaign, known as “Operation Unified Protector,” was a continuation of the US-led Operation Odyssey Dawn. It formally began on March 23rd, 2011 and was ostensibly an operation to enforce United Nations Security Council resolution 1973. From the outset, the NATO coalition partners insisted that the aim of the mission was not to assist a rebel insurgency in overthrowing the Gaddafi government, but to “protect civilians” in accordance with UN resolutions.
The real intention of the operation was revealed shortly thereafter, however, in a joint op-ed in the pages of the International Herald Tribune penned by Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy:
“Our duty and our mandate under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 is to protect civilians, and we are doing that. It is not to remove Qaddafi by force,” they wrote in their editorial. “But it is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Qaddafi in power.[…]It is unthinkable that someone who has tried to massacre his own people can play a part in their future government.”
Within a month, the true aim of the intervention to assassinate Gaddafi was confirmed when NATO forces bombed the personal residence of Saif Al-Arab Gaddafi, Muammar’s youngest son in an admitted attempt to kill the Libyan leader himself. While Gaddafi himself was not caught in the strike, his son and three of his grandchildren were killed in the bombing.
Now it is confirmed that the strike that resulted in the death of Gaddafi was initiated, organized, coordinated and led by NATO and SAS forces. The attack began when Gaddafi was fleeing Sirte in a convoy of 75 vehicles. Drone pilots at Creech Air Force base in Nevada launched a round of Hellfire missiles from a Predator drone aircraft, destroying the lead vehicle and prompting a French bomber to release two laser-guided 500 pound bombs into the centre of the convoy. British SAS troops, meanwhile, coordinated the ground forces that eventually captured Gaddafi.
The news of Gaddafi’s death was greeted with elation by NATO leaders around the world and echoed by pundits and talking heads of every political persuasion. The ostensible justification for the entire campaign, however, the charge that Gaddafi was engaged in a “massacre” of his own people, has since been shown to be based on falsehoods, misrepresentations, and undocumented allegations.
The process that launched the intervention was begun by a coalition of 70 non-governmental organizations, which issue a joint letter urging the UN to suspend Libya from the Human Rights Council and for the Security Council to invoke the so-called “responsibility to protect” principle in protecting the Libyan people from alleged atrocities being committed by the Libyan government.
In a special session on the issue on February 25th, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution affirming the NGOs recommendations. The resolution was adopted without a vote.
The Security Council immediately passed resolutions 1970 and 1973, authorizing the establishment of a “no-fly zone on Libyan military aviation” for the “protection of civilians” and the “delivery of humnanitarian assistance” in Libya. Three days later, using the resolution as its justification, the US, UK and France began bombing the population of Libya.
Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court’s Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, began working on the legal basis for the invasion. He drafted the request for the Court’s judges to issue an arrest warrant for Gaddafi for crimes against humanity. Although NATO forces were already engaged in an invasion of the country on the basis of undocumented allegations by a group of NGOs, Moreno-Ocampo’s request was not issued until May 16th.
On June 28th, the day after the judges agreed to issue the warrant, Moreno-Ocampo participated in a press conference in which one reporter asked about the evidence that Gaddafi had ever engaged in the atrocities he was accused of.
Although the document that Moreno-Ocampo urges the public to read to understand the evidence of Gaddafi’s crimes is indeed public, and is 77 pages long, the version available has been heavily redacted. In fact, of the 77 pages, 53 of them have been redacted, comprising the entire section of the document dealing with the evidence for the charges for themselves.
As French analyst Thierry Meyssan points out in a recent article for the Voltaire Network republished on Global Research, this is not the first time Gaddafi has been villified on the international stage only to be exhonerated later.
As Meyssan notes, a German trial which pinned the 1986 bombing of a discotheque in Berlin which on Gaddafi and led to a US strike on his palace that resulted in the death of his daughter and 49 other civilians later turned out to have been a false conviction set up by a CIA agent, and the bomber himself turned out to be a Mossad agent.
In the case of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, the chief Scottish investigator later admitted that the main piece of evidence in the case, the bomb timer, had actually been planted at the scene by a CIA agent, the “expert” who examined the timer admitted to manufacturing it himself, and the star witness who connected the bomb to the suitcase later admitted having received $2 million to lie on the stand.
Now, as Michel Chossudovsky of the Centre for Research on Globalization has pointed out, the NATO forces that have been bombing Libya relentlessly for the last seven months in the name of protecting the civilian population there are going to extract Libya’s wealth as the spoils of war by urging the new Libyan government to pay for the reconstruction of the country’s shattered infrastructure through debt, issued at the Libyan people’s expense, owed to the very NATO powers who destroyed that infrastructure in the first place.
The tragedy of the situation is revealed in a 2009 World Health Organization report which noted that Libya under Gaddafi had enjoyed some of the highest living standards in Africa. As the report noted, in 2009 Libyans enjoyed a life expectancy of over 72 years, a decline in child mortality from 70 per thousand live births to as low as 19 per thousand, universal access for primary education and the highest literacy and educational enrollment rates in North Africa.
Now, as Libya lies shattered and as old tribal tensions and rivalries seem destined to once again plunge Libya into strife and internal warring, the NATO-backed, UN-sanctioned National Transitional Council is claiming that they will investigate their own alleged slaughter of pro-Gaddafi forces in Sirte, where Human Rights Watch is noting that as many as 53 Gaddafi supporters were executed in cold blood at the Mahari Hotel in recent weeks, their hands tied behind their backs as they were shot with AK-47s and FN-1s.
This even as US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton calls for an investigation into the death of Gaddafi, a brutal assassination of a prisoner of war in direct contradiction to the Geneva Conventions in which her own forces played a key role.
Although Gaddafi’s family is said to be willing to take the death of Colonel Gaddafi to the Hague, it is a foregone conclusion that the gears of international “justice” that were so quick to turn in the face of unsupported, undocumented assertions of Gaddafi’s war crimes will be gound to a halt in the face of this open and shut case of a documented, verifiable war crime. And it is beyond certain that, absent some fundamental change in international political relations, the court will never try the architects of this war–a brutal campaign of bombing against the very population that they were allegedly “protecting”–for their own part in international war crimes.