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Amnesty International was a long standing critic of the Qaddafi regimes' human rights record and last April they wrote about his siege of Misrata:

"The scale of the relentless attacks that we have seen by al-Gaddafi forces to intimidate the residents of Misrata for more than two months is truly horrifying," said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International's senior adviser in Libya.

"It shows a total disregard for the lives of ordinary people and is in clear breach of international humanitarian law."

In a report, Amnesty accused Libyan government forces of launching "relentless indiscriminate attacks" on residential areas of the city, including the use of 122 mm Grad rockets fired from tens of kilometres away, and by mortars and 155 mm artillery shells.

"Under international humanitarian law, none of these weapons should ever be used in populated residential areas," it said.

It said it had found evidence of the use of cluster bombs, which spread 'bomblets' over a wide area, killing and wounding indiscriminately.

The report cited the deaths of a dozen residents of Misrata when several rocket salvos fell on the Qasr Ahmad neighbourhood. Many of the victims were queuing outside a bakery, it said.

Amnesty said pro-Gaddafi snipers were targeting residents in areas under the control of rebels, preventing them from moving around freely.

The Siege of Misrata

Misrata was the Stalingrad of the Libyan Revolution. It is Libya's third largest city, and like the second largest, Benghazi, it went over to the side of the revolution early but unlike Benghazi, it didn't have the natural protection and advantage of a 400 mile line of communication from Qaddafi's base, Misrata is in Tripolitania. Both Qaddafi and the Thuwar knew that the fate of the whole revolution could be decided by the battle for Misrata.

Misrata had to suffer a third month of the type of bombardment described by Donatella Rovera before the encirclement was finally broken in mid-May. Much of this three month siege was staged from the nearby town of Tawergha and men from Tawergha would often volunteer to go on incursions into Misrata because they were given free license to rape and plunder in the rebellious city. Then they would put videos up on YouTube bragging about their exploits. It was not pretty. The number of civilians and defenders killed was 1,083 with another 900 missing or captured and over 4,000 wounded. Cluster munitions, like the one's Qaddafi used on Misrata, are designed to mane more than kill. And about those captured by Qaddafi's forces, Wikipedia adds this note:

**Of the missing and captured, 150 civilians were found dead in a mass grave in Tawargha in mid-August[34]
A lot of bad blood was created between Misrata and Taqwergha in those months.  

Payback`s a Bitch

We've all heard this saying and we all know what it means. It's not saying revenge is sweet. It's not even saying that payback is justice. It is saying that payback is a part of the human response to attacks and suppression and in that there may be some rough justice. It should surprise no one that after living for 40 years in a brutal police state which acted so meanly and with so little regard for non-combatants and children, and which had to be put down with such a great loss of life, that all is not yet sweetness and light in Libya today. Transitions take time.

The truth is that there has been a certain amount of retribution. Far too much, really. So on the eve of the anniversary of the February 17th uprising, Amnesty International, respected for exposing human rights abuses, without fear or favor no matter who is responsible, came out with another report on such abuses in Libya and this time it is the revolutionaries that are being taken to task. The Washington Post describe the report:

NEW YORK - Armed militias now rule much of Libya, Amnesty International said Wednesday, accusing them of torturing detainees deemed loyal to the ousted regime of Moammar Gadhafi and driving entire neighborhoods and towns into exile.

Amnesty International quoted detainees as saying They had been suspended in contorted positions; beaten for hours with whips, cables, plastic hoses, metal chains and bars, and wooden sticks and given electric shocks with live wires and taser-like electroshock weapons.

At least 12 detainees had died since September after torture, Amnesty said. Their bodies were covered in bruises, wounds and cuts and some had had nails pulled off, the group said.
...
Nobody is holding these militias responsible, Donatella Rovera, senior crisis response adviser at Amnesty International, told The Associated Press by telephone from Jordan on Wednesday, a day after she left Libya.

While even a single death as a result of torture is deplorable, a dozen, after a revolutionary war that cost an estimated 30,000 Libyan lives and was as bloody and meanly fought as this one was, is, frankly, less than one might expect. As the Amnesty report points out:
Thousands of people lost their lives fighting to overthrow the government, some slaughtered in groups after they had been rounded up by soldiers. Many of those in today militias suffered under the old regime and saw their friends and relatives die in the conflict; some of them want revenge or to exact vigilante-style justice.
There probably are more deaths to be found out and certainly there has been far too much abuse and torture, this is most certainly a problem and a feature of every revolutionary war in its aftermath. I wouldn't want to be a Tory after the American revolution or a French Nazi after the SS was run out of Paris. But this sort of thing is another barrier to liberation the revolutionary people must overcome.

One focus of the report is the persecution of people from Tawergha. They document many such abuses:

Another challenge is to tackle the widespread discrimination and xenophobia against sub-Saharan Africans and dark-skinned Libyans from Tawargha and other parts of Libya where support for al-Gaddafi forces during the conflict was reportedly high. The 30,000 residents of the town of Tawargha, who were forcibly displaced during the conflict, are still barred from returning to their town, where their homes have been looted and burned down. They remain in poorly resourced camps in Benghazi, Tripoli and elsewhere in Libya and face an uncertain future. So far the NTC has been unwilling to take on the militias and local authorities in Misratah who are determined not to allow the residents of Tawargha to return home.
Because most people from Tawargha are black, much has been made of these revenge attacks by some in the pro-Qaddafi and anti-interventionists camps. They see them as racists attacks, pure and simple, and display them as proof that the revolution is "not progressive in anyway."

While racism by Arabs against black Africans in Libya is a problem of long standing which I have examined elsewhere, most notably in Racism in Libya, there is reason to believe that the suppression of Tawargha and its people has much less to do with racism than these people think and more to do with simple revenge. Certainly, there is enough reason in the realities of the war immediately past to understand the animosity between these two groups without falling back on any color difference. The descriptions of the abuses in the Amnesty document don't look like racism, in fact many can be read the other way entirely. For example, they describe the abuse a 45-year-old army officer from Tripoli of Tawargha origin while he was being held at a militia's detention facility in Tripoli:

[He said] "They also subjected me to electric shocks through live wires while I was lying on the floor. They put the electricity to different parts of my body including my wrists and toes. At one point I fainted and they threw water at me to wake me up.

He said that he believes that the only reason he was detained was that a colleague reported him to the militia for being of Tawargha origin.
Another way to say that is to say that he wasn't detained because he was black, they already knew he was black, he was detained and tortured after they found out that he was from Tawargha.

I am in no way trying to justify the mistreatment of Libyans from Tawargha. That has to end and that town eventually has to be restored. I only point this out because so many people on the left are only too happy to brand this treatment racist and use it to condemn the whole revolution.

The "out of control" militias

The headline to be taken from the Amnesty report is its title: Militias Threaten Hopes for New Libya and that is certainly the focus of the report. The headline used by Reuters on the day before the anniversary was similar to that in hundreds of other news outlets; Libya must rein in "out of control" militias:Amnesty

While the Amnesty report focuses on detention and torture it shares a common refrain coming from almost all sides in the international community, in this case, including Russia and China, and it is this: the Libyan militias that won the revolution should be disbanded or absorbed into a national army controlled by the state ASAP before chaos envelopes the country.

Most stories along these lines focus on fights between rival militias, and since there have been few of these that have resulted in fatalities, the fear of fights between rival militias that could breakout at any time. I saw one like that on France24 for the February 17th anniversary. The anchor kept going on and on about violence between militias but without any specifics. I kept listening for deaths or injuries and especially some total killed by inter-militia fighting since the fall of Qaddafi without hearing any. I, myself, am aware of 13 people killed in 3 such incidents. Finally the France24 reporter on the ground felt obligated to correct the false impression the anchor had, telling him "No, this is nothing like Iraq after the war" and he sounded like he knew from experience what that difference was.

The Amnesty report has that same flavor:

Lawlessness still pervades Libya a year after the outbreak of the uprising which ended 42 year of Colonel Muâammar al-Gaddafiâs repressive regime. Hundreds of armed militias, widely hailed in Libya as heroes for their role in toppling the former regime, are largely out of control. Their actions, and the refusal of many to disarm or join regular forces, are threatening to destabilize Libya, hinder the much-needed building of accountable state institutions based on the rule of law, and jeopardize the hopes of millions of people who took to the streets a year ago to demand freedom, justice and respect for human rights and dignity.
So just who are these militias and why are they so "out of control?"

The first thing you should know is that these militias are kinda like the Viet Cong. I'm not talking here about ideology or organization, I'm talking about the origins of the name. You see, the revolutionary fighters in South Vietnam never called themselves the Viet Cong, that was a term created by a US psyops officer in 1958 and widely adopted by the media. Similarly the revolutionary brigades in Libya don't call themselves militias, they call themselves revolutionary brigades, and that is also what the revolutionary Libyan government calls them.  

The Amnesty report goes on to describe these militias and their origin:

Hundreds of armed militia groups, established at local levels during the fighting, continue to operate largely independently of the central authorities, often effectively controlling specific areas or neighborhoods. Some militia members have a military background but most were civilians. Militias have established sometimes fluid networks of co-operation.
In other words, these revolutionary brigades are the armed organizations created by the Libya people to take up the armed struggle against the Qaddafi regime and his imperialist supporters. [See my Arming Gaddafi and many other works.] These remain the principal armed organizations of this democratic people's revolution.

They may be "out of control" but nevertheless they "have established sometimes fluid networks of co-operation" which should sound familiar to anyone in the occupy movement, like it might be horizontal, non-hierarchal, which is not how a national army functions. All of this begs the question, just whose control are they out of?

The brigades, for their part, say they aren't interested in disbanding until they know that they are getting the national government they have been fighting for and so far the TNC ain't it.

It may also be argued that a certain amount of wanton armed conflict is the price of freedom. The founders of the United States evidently thought so because they enshrined in the constitution the right of the people to form armed militias specifically to protect those freedoms and they had to realize that such an armed population, human nature being what it is, would necessarily result in needless deaths by gun fire.

Although there really has been very little violence resulting from hundreds of separate revolutionary brigades, almost everyone in the media, and the diplomats of all the major powers agree, these revolutionary brigades must be broken up ASAP and a proper Libyan national army should be formed. You know, a regular army that can be ordered to invade a foreign country or suppress its own people the way hundreds of "out of control" revolutionary brigades can't.

And now Amnesty International agrees, and while they are absolutely correct in investigating human rights abuses by the brigades and demanding their correction, their whole perspective is so tied to a static conception of the "rule of law" that they completely ignore the practical requirements of a revolutionary period. Once you come to the conclusion that just such revolutions will be required to create the very conditions of peace and humanity for which AI longs, you realize the basic flaw in their approach.

For example, in this report, the main statue on which they hang the revolutionary brigades is cited as follows:

"No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law."

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 9.1)

So how does this work immediately after a revolutionary people have succeed in sweeping the old regime from power? Because, make no mistake about it, the key elements of the old regime cannot be left at liberty to continue their struggle by any means still available to them. There would be hell to pay. They would make counter revolution and many more lives would be lost. Without a doubt, the victorious revolution must, for a while, exercise a dictatorship over the old regime. If they fail to do this they will likely fail all together, because even when the old regime has been defeated militarily, they are in many ways still stronger than the revolution.

They still may have superior organization, they have financial resources and international ties that can come to the rescue, they have the forces of custom and habit, an intimate working knowledge of how to run the country and literally a million other advantages over the temporarily victorious revolutionary people. For the people to be able to consolidate their victory, it is absolutely essential that these elements of the defeated regime not be at liberty to defeat the revolution.

In the case of a victorious revolutionary war this must be done immediately and throughly even if there are no warrants and nothing we might recognize as due process and even if many innocent people are swept up in it. In the case of revolution, just what "law" would Article 9.1 be referring to, the laws of the overthrown regime, or the laws to be established by the new regime? Because, as a practical matter, if they delay arresting members of the old regime until they've got their legal house in order, they will never get to that point.

It is important, however that people not be mistreated while in custody and that their cases are investigated quickly and that they are released when charges against them can't be supported. By most accounts, the Libyans have been making some fair progress at that and thousand of detainees have been released. In Libya, the number of people in custody is going down, one could only wish that were true in the United States.


Photo taken February 17, 2012 near Benghazi. Photo credit goes to Esam Al-Fetori/Reuters


For more background on the Libyan Revolution and links to lots of information see my other writings at the DailyKos and WikiLeaks Central:
The Current Situation in Libya
Why is Chris Hedges calling for "boots on the ground" in Libya?
The Worm Has Turned: Good Film on Libyan Revolution from PressTV
Why NATO's mission in Libya isn't over yet
Libya's Freedom Fighters: How They Won
Racism in Libya
Abdul Rahman Gave his Eyes to See the End of Qaddafi
BREAKING: Secret files reveal Dennis Kucinich talks with Qaddafi Regime
BREAKING: Libyan TNC won't extradite Lockerbie bomber
Who really beat Qaddafi?
#Feb17: @NATO Please help MEDEVAC wounded from #Libya
What should those that opposed NATO's intervention in Libya demand now?
BREAKING: Qaddafi's Tripoli Compound Falls!
Does PDA Support Qaddafi?
BREAKING: Operation Mermaid Dawn, the Battle to Liberate Tripoli is Joined
Helter Skelter: Qaddafi's African Adventure
Qaddafi's Long Arm
SCOOP: My Lai or Qaddafi Lie? More on the 85 Civilians presumed killed by NATO
Did NATO kill 85 Libyan Villagers As Qaddafi Regime Contends?
CCDS Statement on Libya - a Critique
The Assassination of General Abdul Fattah Younis
NATO over Tripoli - Air Strikes in the Age of Twitter
How Many Libyans has NATO Killed?
Qaddafi Terror Files Start to Trickle Out!
Have Libyan Rebels Committed Human Rights Abuses?
Tripoli Green Square Reality Check
Behind the Green Curtain: Libya Today
Gilbert Achcar on the Libyan situation and the Left
NATO slammed for Libya civilian deaths NOT!
2011-07-01 Qaddafi's Million Man March
NATO's Game Plan in Libya
February 21st - Tripoli's Long Night
Did Qaddafi Bomb Peaceful Protesters?
Tripoli Burn Notice
Libyans, Palestinians & Israelis
'Brother' Qaddafi Indicted plus Libya & Syria: Dueling Rally Photofinishs
An Open Letter to ANSWER
ANSWER answers me
2011-06-22 No Libyans allowed at ANSWER Libya Forum
Are they throwing babies out of incubators yet?
Continuing Discussion with a Gaddafi Supporter
Boston Globe oped supports Gaddafi with fraudulent journalism
2011-04-13 Doha summit supports Libyan rebels
Current Events in Libya
Amonpour Plays Softball with Gaddafi
Arming Gaddfi
North African Revolution Continues
Is Libya Next? Anonymous Debates New Operation
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, mimi, Radical def, pico, wasatch

    Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

    by Clay Claiborne on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 08:16:42 AM PST

  •  Want to lose a revolution? Turn in your guns nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe wobblie
  •  It's like it's 2004 and I'm (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigAlinWashSt, ehrenfeucht games

    reading a Red State response to AI criticism of the Northern Alliance's torture and mass murder.

    All that needs to change are are a few nouns.

    Fear is your only God.

    by JesseCW on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 08:55:22 AM PST

    •  You can call 12 killings across an even greater (0+ / 0-)

      number of detention facilities mass murder if it helps you condemn a genuine people's revolution if you want, after all that is what the MSM and all the other imperialist followers are doing with it. Why should you be any different?

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 04:45:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Now you messed up my reading schedule ... :-) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radical def

    thanks for ALL your links posted in ONE diary. I intend to read them.

  •  Agree with premise: "payback's a bitch", but... (0+ / 0-)

    ...I think there is also substantial cause for concern about the nature of the the Libyan "revolution" (and the situ in Syria) which, unlike Tunisia and Egypt seem to have had much more direct CIA and other imperialist foreign power involvement.

    For all the purported abuses of the Quadafi regime, which I am not knowledgeable enough to confirm or deny, I think a lot of that was also "payback" for endless attempts by everyone from foreign powers to monarchists, to various strata of anti-democratic domestic bourgeois business interests, to subvert and sabotage the initial Libyan revolution and independence, whose main "offense" was to nationalize Libyan resources rather than to sell the the nations' ass to US oil companies, in "exchange" for a few well-placed bribes to local comprador capitalists.

    Such pressures, forcing the government into a defensive martial law posture, to prevent being completely overrun by constant attack and threats of attack by enemy forces and infiltration, vicious Faux "News" style propaganda, sedition and sabotage by their agents and domestic traitors, clearly do not foster conditions for optimal social, economic and political development.

    Which is not an apology for any and all errors of Quadafi, or other such regimes, per se, but a recognition that there's more to it than just proclaiming "proof" that "socialism" has "failed".  

    Just saying, without such huge pressures being brought to bear, forcing the most ruthless and authoritarian elements to rise to the top to defend the revolution, the outcome would probably have been a lot different, in Libya, as well as in Russia, et al.

    The bottom line, to me, is that the US and other imperialist powers wanted that oil, on their own terms, and when Libya refused to go along with that, there was hell to pay, for which the Libyan peoples suffered greatly, for many generations, as have other countries so bold as to resist and refuse the imperialist will.

    What will happen now, in Libya?  Clearly, that remains to be seen, but prospects for a genuinely viable democracy seem perilous, to say the very least.  

    All of the most right wing reactionary conservative fascist capitalist and throwback monarchist and fundamentalist domestic elements, and their imperialist monopoly corporate fascist sponsors, previously suppressed by Gadafi, have now been unleashed to wreak havoc, which probably does not portend well for the Libyan peoples, I think.

    Could this have happened differently?

    Only with a more genuine and viable democracy in the US, and other imperialist nations, I think, to reign in and suppress our own traitorous, anti-democratic, profit-mad propensities for abuse, world-wide...

    Which, btw, as they are increasingly rebuffed internationally, and forced to compete on a more level playing field with rising independent nations, are forced to extract the cash flow required for their ponzi schemes, to pay for their mansions and yachts etc., out of the hides of our own citizens, far moar.

    Death to Capitalism as we now know it, and to it's moribund form, Fascism!

    Seize the Power!

    Bring the Better Democrats!

    All Out for the Primaries and November!

    Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

    by Radical def on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:11:40 AM PST

    •  Libya isn't a real country (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe wobblie

      It was slapped together from three historically distinct areas after WWII.  The three main fronts in the civil war may reflect that (the Benghazi-Ras Lanuf front, the siege of Misrata, and the Berber Blitz into Tripoli that ended the war).  I think once you recognize that the present situation there will make a lot more sense.

      •  Not presently disposed to look that deep... (0+ / 0-)

        ...at the moment, into the murky past.  

        But would welcome any further elucidation you care to bring.

        The entire region was similarly "slapped together", it would seem, but that was then, and this is now.

        The relevant point, I think, is that the most reactionary elements from the past will now surge forward, seeking to improve their fortunes, and the same forces that "slapped them together" after WW2 are now back at the same machiavellian games, manipulating the chaotic situ to their own advantage as much as they can.

        Which makes the prospect for real justice and peace, or democracy, pretty tenuous.

        Perhaps your point is that it's impossible?  

        Do you suggest that "balkanization" into separate ...entities, it the most likely prospect?

        Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

        by Radical def on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 04:38:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That might be best (0+ / 0-)

          As an Anarchist I find it difficult to talk about what "size" of territory predatory governments should have; frankly, the current situation in Libya is probably the best, especially if the militias can stay coordinated.  But if the governments of the rest of the world demand governments, either Balkanization or a weak Federal structure would also almost certainly be better than a Western Europe-style central government.

      •  The US was slapped together (0+ / 0-)

        So was England.

        The struggle that took place in Libya broke down on national lines, the Libyan people against a brutal regime with almost no popular support once the terror apparatus was dismantled.

        Those that tried to frame the Libyan revolution as a regional dispute between east and west had egg on their face when Zintan and the western mountains came in so strongly on the side of the revolution.

        They had more egg on their faces when Tripoli rose up so powerfully in revolt.

        And now amidst all the talk about militia torture and militia in fighting, it is forgotten that we are talking about this because there is no, or virtually no, armed resistance and guerrilla counter-revolution by Qaddafi supporters. The fightback Qaddafi promised from his supporter evaporated along with his supporters the minute he was no longer around to crack the whip.

        What is being missed by those so dedicated to looking backwards is that through this struggle, Libya is being forged into a nation, much like ours finally was by the Civil War.

        Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

        by Clay Claiborne on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 05:17:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Do you have any specifics about CIA involvement (0+ / 0-)

      in Libya today? I know there was a Tripoli station under Qaddafi and of course he was co-operating on special renditions and anti-terrorist programs. But you have any facts with regards to current CIA or MI6 involvement?

      You say that you don't know enough about Libya's recent history to know whether what Amnesty says about him above is true, and apparently you are ready to justify his slaughter of 1206 prisoners (demanding better conditions) at one time in Abu Salim in 1996 as some sort of "payback" for endless attempts by everyone from foreign powers to monarchists...

      So that your can hang on to you fantasies about the progressive, anti-imperialist nature of the Qaddafi regime.

      I try at all times to deal in facts and if you have any that support your view that the CIA et al are running the show in Libya, I'd very much like to hear about them.

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 05:03:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You misinterpret my meaning... (0+ / 0-)

        I did not say CIA is "running the show", nor do I dispute AI reports, or seek to "justify" Gaddafi's practice, or impugn the uprising there.

        Just saying the role of imperialism has not been to instill viable popular democratic governments, but to destroy all prospects for that, as much as they can.

        They can't control everything that happens, but they do try to influence, tweak and manipulate as much as they can, often to considerable effect, with the very considerable resources at their disposal.

        I don't know what they're up to, with what "success", in Libya presently, but I would bet that it's not good, or helpful, in terms of establishing a genuine democracy.

        They generally tend to choose the worst available elements to fund, arm and support politically, and direct them to suppress any popular democratic impetus that might resist imperialist domination.

        This can run a full gamut, from mere dirty tricks to paramilitary operations, including right wing reactionary terrorism.  

        Surely you are aware of the tendencies of CIA practice.

        Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

        by Radical def on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:37:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I just don't see that the CIA has much input (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Radical def

          or influence on what is going on it Libya now. I agree with you about what they will try to do or would like to do but I also think one of the reasons NATO has no appetite for intervention in Syria is that things didn't work out so well for then in Syria. They never managed to get "boots on the ground" so once the no-fly zone was rendered obsolete they had nothing to do but fly home and there has been nowhere near the amount of in fighting on the ground to justify a UN "peace keeping" force, which even Russia and China were calling for right after Qaddafi fell.

          All the imperialist powers, including Russia and China, are very afraid that a country with all that oil may end up really being run by its people.

          Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

          by Clay Claiborne on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 09:23:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think you're probly correct... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Clay Claiborne

            ...that CIA, Brit and French inroads in Libya (and Syria) are likely substantially limited by popular attitudes there against such western intervention.

            But it doesn't take much, to get the top popular democratic leaders assassinated or marginalized by dirty tricks, to create openings for...preferred elements to seize or manipulate power and decisions, over, say, oil contracts.

            I also recognize that Russia and more recently, China (and Iran, et al) also have exercised their own substantial rival machiavellian imperialist interests and practices in the region.

            The revolutionary councils in all of these countries are treading a perilous path, fraught with intrigue and threatened by powerful, ruthless forces, external and internal.

            It would seem their prospects for success remain...tenuous.

            Here's hoping they will nevertheless prevail, and maintain sufficient integrity to forge truly independent, democratic nations.  

            It would seem that to the extent they can coordinate and network together, they may be able to improve those prospects.  

            I wish there was more we could do to help, but have little confidence in the present CIA/State Dept. regimes to do the right thing.

            Such as those "NGO" entities in Egypt, now being prosecuted by the Military there, for "interfering" in the democratic process.  

            I don't trust the Military regime any more than the revolutionaries do...but while those NGO's may have been helping some elements of the revolution, to some extent, something tells me that was much less about facilitating a genuine popular democratic process, and a lot more about weaseling whatever influence and manipulation they can for their traditional corporate clients.

            Would you happen to have any good links or analysis of that situ, with those NGO's?

            Ultimately, unless and until we seize the power in this country, to virtually reverse US foreign (and domestic) policy, on virtually all fronts, the whole world is pretty much screwed, I think.

            All power to the People!

            Bring the Better Democrats!

            All Out for the Primaries and November!

            Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

            by Radical def on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 10:43:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, and i think the real story of NATO's (0+ / 0-)

              involvement in the Libya War is yet to be told, but I don't think its the story many in the left believe of how NATO planes and missiles together with some Rambo types on the ground practically won the war for the Libyans, I think its a story of holding back, friendly fire, and giving support only in small measured  doses while angling to get boot on the ground ("if we had out own FAS on the gnd, this shit wouldn't happen) and extract concessions.

              A lot of people like to talk about the thousands of "strike missions" NATO flew over Libya. Nobody mentions that they only "dropped ordinance" on about 20% of those missions, and that is an extraordinarily low figure.

              Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

              by Clay Claiborne on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 09:59:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I've seen some indications... (0+ / 0-)

                ...that the Obama administration is trying to change, or influence, our foreign policy for the better, in many regards.

                The operations in Libya do seem to have been considerably restrained.

                For all the hubris over Afghanistan, which is a deplorable legacy for him to inherit and try to resolve, it seems he is trying hard to reduce civilian casualties, kick-start the infrastructure rebuilding, and other "small" tweaks, like, say, ordering our troops to deploy women in the field, to handle any Afghan women who need to be rousted, rather than having our men do it, adding insult to injury.

                Such things are complete reversals of the harsh, cowboy, racist, sexist, corrupt Bush policy, for which he gets little or no credit.

                But from reports that we get, it also seems he does not have substantial enough control over the troops or their officers, some of whom clearly include racist murderous pigs, determined to defy the rules of engagement, and commit atrocities.

                Despite his efforts, the corruption of the contractors, and proliferation of mercenaries seems to continue.

                Indeed, all facets of the government apparatus, in every agency, have been stacked with Republican appointees and hires, while many of the more progressive elements have been marginalized or ejected, over many years.

                I don't think he has full control, primarily due to right wing majorities in the House and Senate, since day one of his administration, with all those Blue Dog ilk in there, holding him hostage and severely curtailing his options.

                To see more significant, real changes in foreign (and domestic) policy, we clearly will need much more substantial progressive plurality.

                As long as the Chamber of Commerce retains any vestige of power, let alone right wing majorities, the whole world is pretty much screwed, more or less.

                Bring the Better Democrats!

                All Out for the Primaries and November!

                Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

                by Radical def on Sun Feb 19, 2012 at 10:34:13 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Mostly agree, with one caveat: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wasatch, Sky Net

    I don't think it's Amnesty's place to bend its charter for the exigencies of a revolution: they have a particular mission, and they need to fulfill that mission.  If they witness abuses against prisoners, they can't just chalk it up to revolution.  I support what they're doing there, even if the facts they're conveying aren't convenient ones.

    I agree with you on most of the rest, though.  This is by far the most important point:

    The brigades, for their part, say they aren't interested in disbanding until they know that they are getting the national government they have been fighting for and so far the TNC ain't it.
    There's no system of accountability until there's a government; there's no government until there's a constitution; there's no constitution until they elect their first legislators.  Everything depends on the NTC being able to maintain some level of stability until then, so it's going to be a difficult year for Libya.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:59:10 AM PST

    •  I don't think Amnesty should give (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pico

      revolutionaries a pass either. Actually in this case Amnesty's exposure is even more important because I don't think they ever had a real chance of influencing the Qaddafi regime for the better.

      Their reports in that case could only serve the agitation for the removal of the regime. Now we have a revolutionary regime that has many problems, but I think it can actually still be influenced by AI's critique and its important that it be heard and heeded less the new regime harden into something like the old regime.  

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 05:25:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Kudos for a Solid Analysis (0+ / 0-)

    Clay, I'm glad you have cut through all the fog of post-war hyper-criticism of and propaganda against the Libyan revolution. It became quickly obvious to me that, once it was clear that Gaddafi had lost the war after the fall of Tripoli, much of the totalitarian-supportive Left, vindictive and toxic-minded, was adopting a new strategy, which I simply call "Pissing on the Libyan Revolution." This continues to this day on the totally ideological websites, less so on media outlets like the Guardian and NY Times where many writers of Left ideological persuasion still damn the new Libya with faint praise, if even that. I cannot help but think that this smacks of Orientalist condescension.

    Meanwhile, the more vulgar propagandists, including the Russians, would have us believe that a hybrid caricature of King Leopold II and Pol Pot have taken over Libya, turning it into a racist House of Horrors on a scale similar to that of Buchenwald. Idiocy.

    And Amnesty itself has its own ideological and/or investigative failings which cannot be ignored when trying to be objective. Amnesty is not a sanctified font of divine revelation 24/7, so if you blindly accept all their pronouncements, you are making a mistake.

    Meanwhile, much of the Islamophobic Right still thinks Libya is overrun and controlled by al Qaeda, so, really, both Left and Right have had it in for Libya to varying degrees since day one. How darkly amusing. So what Libyans have to do is just stay the course and ignore those with malevolent intent on all sides. They will see their way through this difficult period ultimately.

    It took America, after our own revolution, years to achieve a measure of unity, cohesion and prosperity, while there was much retribution, injustice and chaos in the process. Thousands of royalists were expelled or forced to flee to Canada and elsewhere. Of course we also know what happened in China and Russia after their revolutions succeeded. The blood, vengeance and injustice flowed for decades, not merely emotionally, but institutionally.

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