UPDATE 2 – “This is a bad time to be a black man in Libya” (the French get 35% – it’s NOT about oil; & spot Dick Cheney in Gadaffi Days)


  • EUobserver.comFrench paper exposes secret oil-for-recognition deal with Libya rebels: “attribute 35% of the total crude oil production to France in return for total and permanent support for our Council.” REPEAT AS NECESSARY: “It’s not about oil
  • Angry Arab News ServiceNATO rebels: “This is a bad time to be a black man in Libya,” reported Alex Thomson on Channel 4 News on Sunday. Elsewhere, Kim Sengupta reported for the Independent on the 30 bodies lying decomposing in Tripoli. The majority of them, allegedly mercenaries for Muammar Gaddafi, were black. They had been killed at a makeshift hospital, some on stretchers, some in an ambulance. “Libyan people don’t like people with dark skins,” a militiaman explained in reference to the arrests of black men.  The basis of this is rumours, disseminated early in the rebellion, of African mercenaries being unleashed on the opposition. Amnesty International’s Donatella Rivera was among researchers who examined this allegation and found no evidence for it. Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch similarly had not “identified one mercenary” among the scores of men being arrested and falsely labelled by journalists as such.
  • Mondoweiss / Paul Mutter – Colonel Qaddafi’s Tech Support:Reporting from Tripoli, The Wall Street Journal’s Paul Sonne and Margaret Coker reveal the depths of collusion between Colonel Qaddafi’s spooks and their foreign tech support:

    The recently abandoned room is lined with posters and English-language training manuals stamped with the name Amesys, a unit of French technology firm Bull SA, which installed the monitoring center. A warning by the door bears the Amesys logo. The sign reads: “Help keep our classified business secret. Don’t discuss classified information out of the HQ.”

    French-owned Amesys was just one of those whose wares were on display. Narus, a subsidiary of Boeing, the ZTE Corporation of China and a small (but apparently important) South African firm called VASTech SA (Pty) were all represented. Other names will likely follow. So far, they are all following the hush-hush urgings of the Amesys sign, offering limp responses to the WSJ’s inquiries, or just declining to comment.

  • McClatchy NewspapersWith source of water still in Gadhafi hands, Tripoli goes thirsty: Tripoli and most of Libya’s coastal cities draw their water from what’s known as the Great Man-made River, a massive system of pumps and pipelines that Gadhafi began constructing in 1984 to tap massive stores of fresh water that oil exploration had discovered beneath the Sahara Desert.The connection to Tripoli was completed in 1996 — there are still phases being built in what is often billed as the world’s largest engineering project. Until recently what Libyans call the “underground river” was delivering 264 million gallons of water a day to the capital.Gadhafi called it the eighth wonder of the world. An American company, Brown and Root, now KBR, did the initial design and construction.But with the wells that tap the aquifer outside of rebel control, the water is no longer flowing north.And it was uncertain when gasoline would once again be flowing from the Zawiyah refinery, which in ordinary times was the primary source for Tripoli residents. The Sharara oilfield that supplies the refinery also lies outside rebel control.
  • Beppe Grillo [Google Translation] – Libya; Oil of blood – Interview with Massimo Fini, journalist and anti-modernist writer: “It seems to me quite clearly that some Western democracies have wanted to eliminate Qaddafi to hand over oil to Libya and that now there’s this new sport of Western democracies, that is to destroy the country and then participate in the business of reconstruction.
    That’s what happened in Serbia, Iraq and even Afghanistan, although there are more difficulties because the Taliban would destroy what they need to rebuild.” 
  • Pepe EscobarHow al-Qaeda got to rule in Tripoli: His name is Abdelhakim Belhaj. Some in the Middle East might have, but few in the West and across the world would have heard of him.Time to catch up. Because the story of how an al-Qaeda asset turned out to be the top Libyan military commander in still war-torn Tripoli is bound to shatter – once again – that wilderness of mirrors that is the “war on terror”, as well as deeply compromising the carefully constructed propaganda of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO’s) “humanitarian” intervention in Libya.Muammar Gaddafi’s fortress of Bab-al-Aziziyah was essentially invaded and conquered last week by Belhaj’s men – who were at the forefront of a militia of Berbers from the mountains southwest of Tripoli. The militia is the so-called Tripoli Brigade, trained in secret for two months by US Special Forces. This turned out to be the rebels’ most effective militia in six months of tribal/civil war...Abdelhakim Belhaj, aka Abu Abdallah al-Sadek, is a Libyan jihadi. Born in May 1966, he honed his skills with the mujahideen in the 1980s anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan.He’s the founder of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and its de facto emir – with Khaled Chrif and Sami Saadi as his deputies. After the Taliban took power in Kabul in 1996, the LIFG kept two training camps in Afghanistan; one of them, 30 kilometers north of Kabul – run by Abu Yahya – was strictly for al-Qaeda-linked jihadis.
  • The eXileDWar Nerd Alert: This Guy Look Libyan to You?: Is this guy a fellow Libyan, entitled to wear an “I Survived Big Q” t-shirt? Or is he what us Americans like to call an “advisor,” as in advising people to lie down and die when he puts one in their heads with that fancy gun of his?You tell me.
    Dude on the right look local?

    "What really makes me think he’s a European is that turban. Something about these Euros, once they hit the desert they just can’t wait to get into local costume." (Gary Brecher, The War Nerd)

    UPDATE: Pete just informed me that the picture has been taken down from Al Jazeera’s blog.

  • The eXileDThe War Nerd: Libya, By da Yout’, For da Yout’…For Now:The most obvious question about Libya is: Why?The reason you have to ask that is a little secret you won’t hear much about: Libya under Qaddafi wasn’t that bad for most people. And that’s according to the CIA. Take a look at the CIA factbook on Libya under Qaddafi and you’re in for a shock… What’s going to happen in Libya is most likely to be a lot like what happens everywhere else that one of these old-school “regimes” gets booted by a multinational “alliance.” There’s a script, and it’s pretty familiar by now. First the cheering and the statue-demolition stage, then the foreign experts reorganizing the currency, then the corporations coming in.
  • Politico.ieCriticism of EU-Libya migration policy is too little, too late:
    Where is the accountability of the European executive branch? Yes, a few recommendations were made by the Parliament back in November 2010 suggesting that perhaps the EU should not be signing these agreements with Libya given its human rights record and the dictatorial regime of Gaddafi. But until the accountability structure of the EU is radically overhauled, a few ineffective recommendations which carry no legal weight is all we are likely to get. Once again this highlights the institutionally inbuilt ineffectiveness of the Parliament to hold the Commission to account.
  • Al AkhbarLibya’s New Generals: Conflicting Loyalties (II): The motives and goals of Libya’s emerging political actors following the ouster of Gaddafi remain unclear. The assassination of Libyan rebels top commander Abdel Fattah Younes last month has further fueled this uncertainty. In this series, al-Akhbar takes a closer look at Libya’s new military leadership divided among those with foreign loyalties like Khalifa Haftar, Salafi credentials like Abdel Hakim Belhaj, and tribal allegiances like Suleiman Obaydi.
  • Robert Dreyfuss / The NationObama’s NATO War for Oil in Libya: What do you call it when the full force of a US/NATO aerial bombardment is coupled with political support for a ragtag rebel group that, when victorious, promises to hand over its oil resources to its Western backers? A war for oil. Don’t believe for one moment that the US backing for Libya’s opposition was about freedom.Flouting international law and going far beyond the UN resolution that permitted a limited military effort to protect civilians in Benghazi, a decision that was promoted by human rights advocates inside the White House and by certain misguided liberals such as Juan Cole, the Obama administration is in the final stages of imposing forcible regime change against the Libyan leader, Muammar Qaddafi. It was an operation gleefully backed by the kleptocrats of the Persian Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, none of whom like freedom very much, but who engineered the Arab League endorsement of the attack on Libya.
  • The New York TimesThe Scramble for Access to Libya’s Oil Wealth Begins: HOUSTON — The fighting is not yet over in Tripoli, but the scramble to secure access to Libya’s oil wealth has already begun. Before the rebellion broke out in February, Libya exported 1.3 million barrels of oil a day. While that is less than 2 percent of world supplies, only a few other countries can supply equivalent grades of the sweet crude oil that many refineries around the world depend on. The resumption of Libyan production would help drive down oil prices in Europe, and indirectly, gasoline prices on the East Coast of the United States.Western nations — especially the NATO countries that provided crucial air support to the rebels — want to make sure their companies are in prime position to pump the Libyan crude.
  • Huffington Post / Doug Bandow – “Victory” in Libya: No Model for U.S. Foreign Policy: … the most important impact of the war is on domestic American institutions. The marginal cost of the military campaign was “only” about $1.2 billion, a rounding error for a government with more than $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities. But costs will escalate if the administration heeds the advice of analysts like Richard Haass and Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations, who suggest the necessity of a Western occupation force in the third Muslim nation in a decade…Washington’s proclivity to engage in needless wars of choice requires maintenance of an oversize military establishment and a military budget roughly equal to that of the rest of the world combined. It’s not just Libya. It’s Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan (counter-insurgency) and Iraq (again). So long as Washington insists on micro-managing events around the globe and engaging in international social engineering, irrespective of American interests and capabilities, Washington is going to have to spend money which it does not have on weapons and aid.The conflict also reinforced presidential lawlessness. Past presidents have routinely lied the U.S. into war and abused their authority afterwards. Candidate Obama promised to be different, telling the American people “No more ignoring the law when it’s inconvenient.”However, the president’s claim that Libya was a humanitarian venture was no more believable than George W. Bush’s assertion that Iraq had WMDs…Worse was President Obama’s violation of the Constitution and War Powers Resolution. The former mandates a congressional declaration of war; the second requires legislative assent for any military action after 60 days. Even President George W. Bush won congressional authorization for his two wars.But President Obama made the ludicrous claim that Libya didn’t count because it really wasn’t hostilities…
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