GADHAFI, A teacher/father exhorts to his fellow countrymen
Gadhafi has no official government function and is known as the “Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution.” The system of rule created by Gadhafi — the “Jamahiriya,” or “rule by masses” — is highly decentralized, run by “popular committees” in a complicated hierarchy that is outlined in Muammar al-Gadhafi’s “Green Book”.
FROM SANDRO MAGISTER: Professor Khaled Fouad Allam who explains it, in a commentary in “Il Sole 24 Ore,” the most widely circulated financial daily in Italy and Europe, on 23 February 2011.
Libya has never been a homogeneous nation. It is a tangle of Arab, Berber, and African tribes, for each of which group loyalty matters more than anything else. At the outbreak of the revolt, entire cities and regions were quickly made autonomous.
In Libya there are no real and proper state institutions, no parliament, no army that could assume power, as happened in Egypt.
For Gaddafi, the “revolution” is the Muslem society purified of the man-corrupted and interpreted traditions. The Sunna, Safi and Shi-ite consider him foreign. He is distasteful to the bulk of the Sunni Muslim world itself.
In 1976 Gadafi changed the country’s name to the Great Socialist Popular Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah (State of the Masses)and on the 2nd of MARCH 1977, gave all powers over to the Popular Congresses and the People’s Committees, so that the people rule themselves. http://www.greencharter.com/files/gb1.htm
The Green Book
18 MARCH 2011: (CISA NEWS AFRICA)
LIBYA: Islamic Body of Muammar al-Qathafi invites Vatican to help Find Peace
TRIPOLI, 18 March 2011 (CISA) –The World Islamic Call Society (WICS), founded and sposored by Muammar al-Qathafi,
is calling on the Holy See to contribute to finding a peaceful solution to the crisis in Libya, says the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli.
“Yesterday I had a fruitful meeting with the Secretary General of the World Islamic Call Society, an institution funded by Libya, which is involved in inter-religious dialogue and the promotion of Islam throughout the world,”
the bishop told Fides.
Bishop Martinelli said,
“The Secretary General of the WICS was grateful for the presence of the Catholic Church in Libya and particularly for the service by religious sisters in various hospitals.”
The Secretary General of WICS believes that the media have not always provided accurate information of the Libyan situation and this is not helpful in finding a solution to the problem, because the prejudices contribute to finding solutions that are not appropriate, Bishop Martinelli said.
“I reiterated to the Secretary General of WICS my opinion that we must find mediators to resolve the crisis. He replied that they are trying, even though it is not easy. Incidentally, hearts are wounded and to heal these type of wounds is not easy,’
Bishop Martinelli added.
According to the bishop, this week a mission from the African Union is expected in Libya.
Gadhafi : the Corsican connection
Does Muammar Gadhafi, the venerable Guide of the Libyan Revolution, have Corsican ancestry ? According to a tenacious rumor on the Isle of Beauty, he is the son of a Corsican fighter pilot, a Free French hero on a mission in Libya during World War II. Although there’s no irrefutable proof, there is a not-insignificant trail of evidence, which Air Force officers have been looking into in recent years. « Bakchich » investigated.
Did you know you’re in Gadhafi’s father’s hometown ?” The rare mainlanders stopping off in Vezzani, a charming little village on a mountainside in Upper Corsica, are informed right away. Quite proudly, the townspeople offer up the information unprompted : if village lore is to be believed, Colonel Muammar Gadhafi, the Libyan head of state, is the son of a Corsican air force pilot by the name of Albert Preziosi.
Ah, Albert ! His shadow still falls over Vezzani. As soon as you enter the village, a marble plaque on the Post Office building honors the memory of the Captain, who was born in 1915 and died in 1943, in the sky over Russia, in the cockpit of a fighter plane in the Normandy-Niemen squadron. A few turns in the road later, and you come across the village monument to its war dead, which commemorates this officer, “who died a hero’s death during an airborne battle North-East of Karachev,” and whose body was never found. Even in Town Hall, a framed photo of young Albert in uniform takes up more room on the wall than the official portrait of omni-president Sarkozy…
Like the citizens of his town, Jean-Pierre Pagni, the Mayor of Vezzani, isn’t the least bit surprised when you ask him about the “legend” of Gaddafi’s Corsican ancestry. Au contraire. He’s “always heard tell of it”. But, like the rest of them, he has never had in his possession any “documents that would prove it… or disprove it either.” Gesturing towards the airman’s portrait (see here some pictures), he can’t help pointing out that, “The resemblance between Albert Preziosi and the young Muammar Gaddafi is uncanny though, don’t you think ? That doesn’t prove anything, of course, but it’s a nice story.” If the “legend” were ever proven, it would be fine with him, “The town is prepared to provide Mr. Gaddafi with land where he could install a tent, or build a house !” !
An encounter in Niger
Like the locals in Vezzani, influential islanders are fascinated with the “legend” too. And they all want a piece of the action. In the opinion of Alexandre Alessandrini, Member of the General Council for the Canton of Vezzani and of the Corsican Assembly, certain political events could confirm good old Gaddafi’s Corsican ancestry : specifically Libyan support for Corsican nationalists, at the start of their violent period in the 70s. Looking you right in the eye, he states that, “Some nationalists were invited to Libyan weapons and explosives training camp.” Proof positive, as far as the Council member is concerned, that the Colonel had a soft spot for his revolutionary cousins.
But times have changed. Gaddafi is now persona non grata on the Continent. Which makes it all the more a shame that the “local boy” didn’t “take advantage of his official visit to France to spend some time in Corsica : he would have received a warm welcome.” Warmer than on the mainland in any case… The same sentiment is expressed by François Quilichini, a dashing retiree from the Security Branch of the French Police Force in Ajaccio (the capital of Corsica) and one-time “colonial officer,” from 1967 to 1977. At the time he was the security-intelligence bureau chief for the president of Niger.
He remembers in great detail the young Libyan head of state’s first official visit to his Nigerian counterpart, Hamani Diori. “In January 1974, President Diori met with Colonel Gaddafi in Zinder (a Saharan city in Niger that is close to the Libyan border). I attended the meeting. In the evening, President Diori informed me that I had shaken a compatriot’s hand ! That’s how I learned that Gaddafi’s father was Corsican.” At the time, “I didn’t look into it, and now I regret it. But you have to admit that the hypothesis makes sense, considering Albert Preziosi’s presence in Libya in the 40s. And in the colonial army, Corsicans were the ones who got involved with the natives the most…”
Seen from Vezzani, the legend of Gaddafi’s Corsican ancestry is so tenacious that it has made it into the “Isle of Beauty’s” collective imagination. Yet despite all the whispering, there is no paper trail. Not yet, anyway. No biography of Albert Preziosi mentions the birth of a Libyan love child. Nor do any contradict it either. For that matter, there isn’t much documentation to be had about the pilot’s life.
If you get in touch with the Air Force’s history department, located in Vincennes (near Paris), which centralizes documents and is a reference for biographers and war historians, the fact is that the “Preziosi” file is pretty slim : a few biographical elements from the specialized press, plus his Air Force records. They don’t even have the article published in 1977 by the far-right weekly Minute, whose headline read “Could Gaddafi be the son of a Corsican captain ?”, despite the article’s impact on the island.
The Air Force official’s opinion
Although Albert Preziosi’s file, consulted in the Air Force archives, is slim, Bakchich did manage to dig up one gem : a hitherto unpublished exchange of letters between upper-echeleon French officers referring, in no uncertain terms, to Gaddafi’s Corsican ancestry. Proof positive that Bakchich isn’t the only one following this trail, because, as the document, dated March 15, 1999, attests, high-ranking officers in the French Air Force are taking it seriously.
This letter was written by the head of the department, General Silvestre de Sacy, on Air Force Historical Service letterhead, in response to a Colonel’s query about the veracity of the Preziosi/Gaddafi connection. In a pompous style, the General admits from the get-go, “I have myself heard [this issue] mentioned frequently” but “I have never consulted the archives to see if there could be a grain of truth to the rumors concerning Captain Preziosi.
Your letter was an excuse for me to delve into this business more closely.”All the more so in that the Colonel had clearly done the groundwork himself. “If we accept that Gaddafi was born in early 1943, as you have written,” the General goes on, “he would have been conceived in the second quarter of 1942. That period does indeed correspond to one in which the “Alsace” squadron, to which Captain Preziosi belonged before he joined “ Normandy”, was stationed in Fuka, in the northern part of the Libyan desert (…) The squadron left Fuka in late June.” So the time and place, confirmed by Air Force archives, would seem to support the Colonel’s theory, wouldn’t they ? Not at all ! The General begs to differ, and he has his reasons.
First of all, there’s the question of distance, carefully calculated. “Fuka is in Egyptian territory, at approximately 280 km. (175 miles) from the Libyan border, more than 600 km. (400 mi.) from the desert of Sirte, more than 1,000 km. (600 mi.) from the Sebha oasis [Fezzan zone] and more than 1,500 km (900 miles) from the Ghadames one.” Conclusion : “It would have been absolutely impossible for Preziosi to have been in those different places.” If the General says so…
In addition, “contact” would have had to have taken place in order for a child to have been conceived, and “Fuka is totally cut off.” Besides, war is serious business, and “Squadron personnel would not have been distracted by the presence of women” (sic). And finally, “a statement received from an [unnamed] comrade-in-arms of Preziosi’s, who shared his tent (re-sic)” definitively settles the question, because it “allows us to believe that these rumors are totally unfounded.” The conclusion to this brilliant demonstration reads like an order “Therefore, for my part, I am absolutely convinced that these rumors must be firmly denied.” Is that perfectly clear ?
Exit the Air Force archives, at least for the moment. The only hope at this stage of the investigation : retrace Albert Preziosi’s steps in Libya ourselves. Purpose : check if the dates really do coincide with those of Muammar Gaddafi’s conception. According to his official biography, the Guide of the Revolution was born on June 19, 1942 in Sirte, into a Bedouin family of the Senussi tribe, which originated in the Fezzan region, near the Niger-Chad border. Therefore, he must have been conceived in September or October 1941.
So where was handsome Albert just then ? Alas ! Although the few written accounts referring to Pilot Preziosi (historical accounts of the Normandy-Niemen squadron, aviation encyclopedias, history textbooks, etc.) do agree that the airman was stationed in Libya at some point, they diverge when it comes to precise dates and places. Nevertheless, among Preziosi’s many hypothetical Libyan itineraries, one trail stands out : that the pilot would have followed General Leclerc’s division in its famous Fezzan campaign. The French did in fact set up camp in this region in the 40s, before they began running it administratively, from 1943 to 1951. There is abundant historical data to back this up. General Leclerc left Africa to cut off the Italian and German army’s rear guard.
The first contingent of his division left England for Africa on August 30, 1940. As luck would have it, two of Preziosi’s fellow travelers – Jacques Soufflet and Yves Ezanno – left France in June, 1940. Like them, Preziosi probably hooked up with Leclerc’s division in northern Chad, then crossed southern Libya heading first for Egypt, then Rayak (Syria), where he is known to have arrived in late 1941. Taking those dates into account, the pilot could have met a Libyan woman from near Fezzan right around the time that Muammar Gaddafi was conceived. Preziosi might well be one of those airmen who dons mufti in wartime in order to increase their mission’s chances of success.
Comrades in arms tell all
In this context, whatever Albert Preziosi’s few surviving comrades-in-arms have to say should be very useful indeed. After all, they’re the only ones left who can still connect the dots. Captain Georges Masurel is one of the last Free French members around to tell their epic tale. A mechanic turned gunner turned pilot, he ran into Albert Preziosi for the first time in Libya, in 1942, as part of the Alsace squadron. Later, he was Preziosi’s mechanic in “Neu-Neu”, the Normandy-Niemen squad’s nickname.
Confirming the thesis of Muammar Gaddafi Corsican sire, he declares that “Preziosi was bound to have been with the Leclerc division guys” prior to late 1941, when he made his way to the base in Rayak to help train pilots. “The Alsace squadron had a lot of men who had “done Africa” and therefore had been through Libya.” So had Georges Masurel heard about a liaison between his traveling companion and a Libyan woman ? “Oui,” he declares unequivocally, but because of a different incident.
A surprising one, which may have started everything… During the summer of 1942, while the French forces were fighting the Italians and the Germans at Bir Hakeim, in north-eastern Libya, Masurel and his fellow squadron members found out that the plane piloted by Preziosi, who is supposed to be heading for Tobruk, never arrived. “For us, he was MIA. And then, over a month later, he made it back to the base.” Surprise ! Shot down in mid-air, young Albert explains that he had been taken in by a Libyan family, who rescued him, tended his wounds, hiding him from the Germans all the while. “So he lived with them for at least three weeks.
That’s when a rumor started going around that he had had an affair with a Libyan woman while he was in the desert.”And what did the subject of the rumors have to say about them ? Discreet reply from Georges Masurel, “There was a war on, you know. We had other things to worry about. And Albert didn’t stay for long after he got back. I lost track of him for a while, because he was very sick and was sent to the hospital in Cairo. We didn’t hook up again until the Normandy-Niemen in late 1942.”
If you take Muammar Gaddafi’s official date of birth – 07 June 1942 –Albert Preziosi’s spell with a Libyan tribe would have allowed the proud father to attend the birth of his offspring. But not to have sired him. Unless the Guide’s official biographers mixed up the Georgian calendar and the Muslim one… And just to keep everyone on their toes, in November 1978, on the occasion of the Muslim New Year, Gaddafi led a calendar revolution.
He decreed that the Muslim calendar shouldn’t start in the year 622 B.C. (the date when the Prophet emigrated to Medina, a reference for calendars throughout the Muslim world), but in 632, when he died… Which, according to some complicated (and somewhat chancy) calculations, could mean that little Gaddafi might have been born later. In 1943 for instance, just nine months after Preziosi was taken in by the Libyans. But handsome Albert’s fellow squadron members don’t sweat the details. For good reason ! To hear them tell it, the whole squadron was in on the secret.
When Commander Pierre Lorillon was assigned to Normandy-Niemen, in late 1943, Albert Preziosi had already died a hero’s death five months earlier. He remembers the discussions he had with the squad’s other pilots back then very well. For him, the Preziosi/Gaddafi connection is gospel. “We all knew that Albert had had a “Big Tent” Libyan girlfriend… (i.e. a noble young woman from the bourgeoisie). But we didn’t know much about it. The only thing we knew for sure was that he’d had a kid with her, and that the young woman’s uncle took care of things. He sent the kid to school overseas to calm things down, and for the sake of the tribe’s reputation. It was all kind of hush-hush. A European man having a kid with a Libyan woman could stir up trouble, including for Albert. And the English didn’t really approve of that sort of thing.” A valid reason that is also a good excuse for the French military hierarchy to follow its inclination to keep its mouth shut.
For the sake of the Guide of the Great Revolution’s legend, Muammar Gaddafi (also) has a Libyan father. Officially, Gadhafi’s father is Abou Meniar Al-Gaddafi, a Bedouin goat-herder from the Sirte region. Moammar Gaddafi always honored Abou Meniar as his father, and cared deeply about him until his death.Abu Meniar Gadhafi was married to Aisha, believed to be Muammar’s mother. But Aischa could really be the sister of Moammar’s real mother who might have died in childbirth. Record-keeping in Libya during the Italian colonial period having been a somewhat haphazard business, the confusion surrounding Gaddafi’s origins is all the greater. Take, for instance, the number of Gaddafi’s siblings, which varies depending on the biographies. According to some, he was an only son. For others, he had as many as 12 brothers and sisters, he being the last. And according to the American journalist John Cooley, whose Libyan Sandstorm, a well-researched book about Gaddafi, was published in 1982, he has just one brother, Sayed Kaddam… Still, Moammar Gaddafi loved and recognised Abou Meniar as his only father, taking good care of him under the auspices of a Catholic doctor and nuns, up to his death.
We still needed to know what the Preziosi family thinks about their prodigal pilot’s comrades in arms’ beliefs. A touchy task, when you realize that most of the Preziosi men go into the service or are very close to the military. Sired by a policeman originally from Fontana, in Castagniccia, and married to a girl from Paoli, in Nocario, just a few sharp turns in the road away, Albert had a brother, four years older than he. Jean chose to follow in his father’s footsteps, and reached the rank of General of the Gendarmerie. On July 28, 1997, his widow stood in for him at the first ceremony commemorating Albert’s disappearance 54 years prior.
The commemoration took place in the village of Vezzani, thanks to the efforts of the Commander of Air Force Base 126, in Ventiseri-Solenzara, which, as it happens, bears the name of Captain Albert Preziosi. Members of the local chapter of the National Association of Air Force Reserve Officers (ANORAA) were particularly active in preparing the event. One of them in particular : a certain François… Preziosi.
As it turns out, François is the son of a cousin of Albert’s. A reserve officer, he helped collect elements from his great-uncle’s biography for the Association, which he is a member of, simply by methodically researching all the files available and open to the public. “I’ve been hearing about the Gaddafi connection for as long as I can remember, and I’ve tried to find out more,” he acknowledges. “I even asked an acquaintance to question some people he knew who had been working for the “Native Affairs” office in Fezzan 50 years ago.”
Even for him, the reply was curt and definitive : “professional secret”. As though a dark veil still shrouded the whole affair. But like his sister Laetitia, a Parisian lawyer, François Preziosi remembers the scene one evening in the 70s when Albert’s mother, seated right in front of the TV, suddenly shouted, “Look, it’s Albert !” It was a report showing images of the young Libyan leader.
An industrial baron and a high-ranking officer leap into the fray
“The whole idea is based on the physical resemblance between the two men,” according to Jacques-Antoine Preziosi, one of Albert’s nephews. A lawyer in Marseille, he tends to think the whole thing I much ado about nothing. “There is absolutely no physical evidence of any kind establishing family ties. We don’t have any documents mentioning it, and Albert didn’t leave any letters. So as far as we, the direct descendants, are concerned, there’s nothing to the story.” Fair enough, but did they ever try to get in touch with Gaddafi or his entourage ?
From Alsace to Russia
Created on March 15, 1941, in Ismailia (Egypt), the first air squadron (EFC1) was composed of airmen who had joined the Free French in June, 1940. In April, 1941, the squadron was engaged in defending Tobruk, which was under siege from the Afrikakorps (a German army corps sent to Libya to support the Italians against the British). After the allied withdrawal, the squadron became involved in ground attacks and protecting Navy convoys at sea.
In late 1941, it headed for Syria, where it was disbanded, in order to make way for the Alsace Squadron (GC1). Placed first under the orders of Commander Jean-Louis Tulasne, then underCommander Joseph Pouliquen, the new squad was originally responsible for convoying new planes. After having served in the defense of Bir Hakeim (June 1942), it participated in the defense of Alexandria. In September, 1942, Commander Pouliquen was put in charge of building a new airborne squadron to fight on the Eastern front in support of Soviet troops ; this was the group that would become the “Normandy” Squadron” (GC3). Composed, on a voluntary basis, of French pilots and mechanics, many of whom came from the Alsace squadron, it left the Rayak air force base in November, 1942, to head for Russia.
“We’ve never asked them anything whatsoever. It would be highly inappropriate. Totally out of line. Can you see yourself asking Gaddafi about it ? Casting aspersions on his mother ? If I were him, I would be very offended. It’s probably enough to get yourself locked up.” Yet Jacques-Antoine admits that over the years, several people have been in touch with him to ask if his uncle was Colonel Gaddafi’s father. A few years ago, their numbers included the representatives of an industrial baron whose name he won’t divulge. The whole thing made Jacques-Antoine see red. “What was that industrialist thinking ? That he was going to use our so-called connections to do business with Libya”
Clearly, the businessman wasn’t the only “influential person” to enquire about Muammar’s sire. In 1999, a high-ranking French officer wrote to the head of the Air Force historical service, General Silvestre de Sacy, to try to find out if the Corsican connection was legit. The service shelved the query (see box). Motif : during the Libyan campaign, French officers had no contact with the locals, and certainly not the local women. But surviving members of Normandy-Niemen stick to a different version of events. So the case for Gadhafi’s Corsican ancestry isn’t closed. Far from it. Even if the only irrefutable proof would be a DNA test. And as for asking the Colonel for a sample…
Translated from the French by : Regan Kramer
Sunday, 17 February, 2008
TO SEE THE MAP OF GADDAFI’S PUTATIVE FATHER’S PATH, THAT’S HERE
TO READ THE FRENCH VERSION, THAT’S HERE
TO SEE THE VIDEO, THAT’S HERE
|The Leader’s Analysis of the current Crisis of Terrorism in the World|
|The matter has two aspects:|
The attack on the US. The political capital, Washington D.C. and the economic nerve center, New York were both attacked in a pre-meditated, deliberate and thoroughly-planned spectacle of frightful violence. This aspect falls within US jurisdiction. It was an act of aggression against it. The US, like all other countries, has the right to self defense under Article 51 of the currently paralyzed UN Charter. It also has the right under other instruments. Self-defense is a legitimate right. The US is strong enough to exercise that right. It needs no help from anybody to defend itself or to pursue its enemies. It is also perfectly capable of justifying its actions by itself. To offer to help the US, in a matter that it can handle by itself, is tantamount to hypocritical boot-licking.
The phenomenon of terrorism is not a matter of concern to the US alone. It is the concern of the whole world. The US cannot combat it alone. It is not logical, reasonable or productive to entrust this task to the US alone. It requires international cooperation and joint action on the world level.
Most regrettably, there has been wide-spread confusion and a profound misunderstanding of this matter. Cooperation to combat terrorism is not a service for the US. It is an act of self-defense for each and every one of us. It is a threat to us all whether or not the US was attacked on 9/11.
The US must not reward those who join the war on terrorism because fighting that evil is not a service for the US. It is an act that serves one’s own interests. Who of us likes terrorism? Who of us would wish to live, or see his children and his country live, in a world where terrorism has free reign? Terrorism is a horrendous scourge.
Regrettably again, there has been a great deal of duplicity, that has led to an equal measure of confusion on the world level. What is the purpose of our action? Is it aimed at helping the US defend itself, take revenge and punish those who attacked in on 9/11? Or is it aimed at the adoption of an international program to combat terrorism and, ultimately, eliminate it?
There is a clear difference between the two situations.
Hypocrisy, fear and greed are the causes of this confusion. Some have stubbornly refused to join the battle against terrorism because that battle was confused with defending the US or made synonymous to joining it in its war on Afghanistan. Some others have hastened to participate in the strike against Afghanistan. They did not do so because they are against terrorism. Rather, they are joining because they are against the Taliban for their own reasons. They might have joined for reasons of greed, fear or hypocrisy.
At this stage, we must be genuinely transparent. Those who wish to cooperate with, or ally themselves to the US in striking back at its enemies, must say it clearly.
This is not the first time, nor is going to be the last time when countries create an alliance to help each other. Every state has the right to make a sovereign decision to take the side of the US against Afghanistan or Bin-Laden despite the fact that the US does not need anybody’s help to defend, or to avenge itself as I said before. However, when it comes to terrorism, the matter is completely different.
To combat it, we need each other. To defeat it, we need international cooperation and a new, long-term international policy.
However, the question of terrorism is of such vastness and complexity that I think we would be deluding ourselves to think that we can come to terms with all its aspects.
Let us first take the question: what is terrorism? I am certain that we will disagree on its definition.
If it happens that we manage to reach freely a transparent definition of terrorism, we would thus lay the foundations of a new world free from it. That would be a veritable miracle!!
However, I am certain that we will not be able to agree on a definition of terrorism. The reason is clear.
What I might consider as an act of terrorism, could be viewed as a desirable on by my adversary. Proofs of this are plentiful. For instance; a young man was trained in Peshawar. Then, he became active in Afghanistan. Subsequently, the British Intelligence assigned him the task of assassinating Al-Gathafi in the belief that the liquidation of the Revolution would lead to Libya’s surrender.
It would then hand over the suspects in the Lockerbie case. He attempted to carry out his task, in full view of the whole world. However, the Almighty intervened and caused the bomb to freeze and fail to detonate. That was truly an act of God. Had the bomb detonated, a large group of people, including whole families, would have met their death on the reviewing stand.
The terrorist made a full confession of what I have just said. The British Intelligence officer also confessed to it. It was an act of terrorism planned against me by the British Intelligence, in cooperation with the returnees from Afghanistan.
Those who consider me their adversary would not consider it as a terrorist act. On the contrary, it is a desirable act that should be encouraged. I do not consider myself an adversary of Britain’s or that Afghani-Libyan young man. I see myself as a wronged victim of terrorism. The other party has its own justifications. So, we are in complete disagreement on the definition of terrorism.
I speak in all transparency because I have nothing to fear. I covet nothing and I am not a hypocrite. I am the voice of a genuine, internationalist conscience. I know that the world situation may shift but the world has not changed. It is our duty to change it into a good world.
Therefore, we must distinguish clearly between the preparations being made against Afghanistan, seemingly as a direct result of the horrendous act of 9/11 on the one hand, and combating terrorism on the global level, on the other.
The first question is the responsibility of the US. The second is the responsibility of the whole world. There is no excuse for any lack of cooperation, or even alliance, to combat terrorism once we agree on its definition and root causes. Failure, or even delay, to do so means putting the future of humanity at stake.
It also means a letdown of succeeding generations.
Terrorism is a fact. It is a justifiable act for those who commit it. This is the source of danger. If a satisfactory solution is found to the question of Northern Ireland, that will be the end of what Britain calls Irish violence and terrorism, and what the IRA calls legitimate struggle.
If a similar solution is found for the Question of Palestine, there will be an end of what the Israelis call Palestinian terrorism and what the Palestinians see as legitimate armed struggle. The enmity between the US and the Arabs will also disappear. But are these all the causes of terrorism? The answer is: “far from it”. There are many other causes. There are many other groups that resort to terrorism, not just in Palestine and Northern Ireland.
For example, there are groups with grievances in the Philippines, Chechnya, Kashmir, Tibet, the Basque Country, Corsica and the Tamils. This is not an exhaustive list.
How could Russia, America and Saudi Arabia agree on a definition of the situation in Chechnya?
Russia considers it terrorism and a plot against its unity. America sees it as a suppression of the right to self-determination and human rights. Mosques in Saudi Arabia describe it as holy Jihad and pray for its victory. I consider it a conspiracy against Muslims in Russia to isolate them, diminish their status and deprive them of the right to be citizens of a nuclear power. As Russian citizens who are entitled to occupying the highest posts in their country, Russian Muslims could one day rule that nuclear power. Separating them from Russia would mean depriving them of that possibility. The same happened to the Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They became a minority in their republic.
They used to be Yugoslav citizens. One of them, Jamal El-Din Padic, was the prime minister of Yugoslavia; the second man after Tito, by virtue of simply being a Yugoslav citizen. Now, Muslims cannot reach this high post, not even in Bosnia itself. Therefore, the separation of Bosnia was a conspiracy and a catastrophe for its Muslims. The same applies to Chechnya.
Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that those problems were solved. There would still be the groups that resort to violence and terrorism in North America, South America, Europe and Japan. Suppose we manage to eliminate those groups as well, the Mafia and drug gangs will still exist.
If somehow we succeed in overcoming them, there will be other evil groups. There are those to counterfeit money (more than $500 billion counterfeit are in circulation), those who do money laundering, and those that traffic in women and children. Then, how about the disgruntled ones like the Seattle protesters, the unemployed, those who were laid-off their work, and the poor?
There are also other causes such as the mushrooming populations, migration, minorities, the clash of religions and cultures, the rebellious scientists, the hackers and the electronic and biological virus warfare. The list is long.
Let us deal with Britain first. Some believe that the youth who were trained in Peshawar, went to Afghanistan, joined Bin-Laden then went to all corners of the Earth are the members of the so-called Al-Qaeda organization.
If that is true, we must state that Britain shelters the largest number of them. We have proof of that if the world wishes to cooperate. Are we really going to attack the bases of terrorism and the countries that harbor terrorists? I do not think so, unless we are going to say that we will attack all the countries that shelter terrorists with the exception of Britain.
Thus, we go back to double standards and disrupt the international consensus against terrorism. This is a sure way to lose the war on terrorism. Tony Ben, the elder statesman of the British Labor Party and its chairman, has said: “If the US supports Israel out of fear of the American Jews, we in Britain might take the side of the terrorists. Because we fear the more than seven million British Muslims”.
The Chief of British Intelligence said more than what Tony Ben said. This is what made Arab countries wonder if they could be closer allies of the US than Britain is. What is the difference between Britain and Afghanistan? Let us see what the US would do with Britain first.
The confusion of the right of the US to retaliate against a terrorist attack on it, and our collective right to combat terrorism will abort international action. So will the confusion of Bin-Laden, the Taliban, terrorism and Islam.
The haste to take steps against terrorism in an atmosphere overshadowed by the US’s right to defend itself, will render the international action meaningless and will abort the chance to adopt a global program to deal with the causes of terrorism and the way to combat it internationally. Terrorism is our common enemy. It is not the enemy of the US alone.
It is not in the interest of the US to confuse an international task and responsibility with its own national responsibility to its people. I believe the error lies in the attempt to clone the Second Gulf War. It cannot be cloned. What happened then is not applicable to the current situation. It is the result of the instigation of the long line of hypocrites who have encouraged the US government to confuse things. They have also encouraged it to be hasty in matters that should be postponed, and to postpone what should be dealt with promptly.
Any attempt to replicate what happened in the so-called Second Gulf War would be a mistake. What happened then was the occupation of one state by another. That action was not directed against the US. The US was not the occupied country. However, Kuwait beseeched the US and the world for help. Therefore, there was a need to involve the whole world morally and politically. There was also a need to involve the UN for reasons of the international law.
The premise was that the matter was of concern to the whole world. It was not the responsibility of the US alone. Now, the situation is different. The 9/11 attack was directed against the US alone. It has a right to retaliate and it is capable of retaliation. It is inconceivable for the US to beseech the world for help against Afghanistan or Bin-Laden. The war against terrorism is a global responsibility.
I cannot imagine a responsible state failing to join the war on terrorism. But today we hear about states that agree to join, and others that have declined. The reason is the confusion of supporting a single country against its enemies with the global fight against terrorism; our common enemy.
Are we against Islam? Are we, Arabs and Muslims, anti-Islam? Are all those who oppose Bin-Laden against Islam? Are all those who oppose Taliban against Islam? This erroneous view is the result of the confusion of the US’s right to self-defense, and the world’s duty to combat terrorism.
Not all those who oppose Bin-Laden or the so-called Al-Qaeda are against Islam. Not all those who oppose Taliban are against Islam. I do not even think that we are against Bin-Laden personally. Nor are we against his men who were trained by the foes of the former Soviet Union. Nor are we against Taliban as one of the Afghan factions. What we oppose is the heresy that was born in that region.
A heresy that is similar to the one that emerged in the time of the Guided Caliphs and caused three of them to be murdered; Omar, Othman and Ali.
We are the victims of the attacks, assassinations and terror perpetrated by those groups that sneaked out of our countries to go to Afghanistan as mercenaries. They went there to fight the Soviet Army on behalf of others. They did so, despite the fact that the Soviet Army went into Afghanistan upon the request of its pro-Moscow government. This is exactly what is happening now. Foreign armies are going into the region upon the request of its governments. That was the excuse invoked by Bin-Laden in his television interview.
Those groups came back to wreak havoc in our countries. They went on a rampage of killing all those who crossed their path. Even women and children were not spared. They wanted to advocate a call that subverts the Muslim faith, and spreads a wave of destructive behavior.
They brand all who do not share their beliefs as apostate. This, despite their indulgence in all manner of cardinal sins. All they want is to go inexorably towards the unknown. They have no doctrine and no well-defined objective. All they know is the insane torture and murder. All they can do is to parrot meaningless words that they do not understand such as the word “Taghoot”.
It is a vague word that means worshipping an entity other than God. They use it to describe persons while it cannot be used in this way in Arabic. They also use the words “Islamic Sharia”. It is yet another vague word. It is a signifier without a signified.
We are against those groups. We will fight them like they fight us.
We are stronger than them, because we are defending the civilized society and because we are defending the religion against the wave heresy and destruction they have unleashed. This is a necessary and legitimate act of self-defense.
We fight them also because we will not accept a new Caliphate.
We will not submit to the will of a caliph who will rule us by divine command. God has not ordered him to do that. He has no contact with God. We are no longer so naïve as to believe that the Caliphate is ordained by God.
The Caliphate is a deviation from the Faith. Every deviation is an aberration. Aberrations, and those who advocate them, are doomed to Hell. The Caliphate is an aberration, and so is heresy. The Prophet never designated a deputy or a successor. We never heard of a “deputy prophet”, Except for Aaron who was designated by God to help Moses. We oppose heresy and the aberrations of the Caliphate and terrorism. Where do Bin Laden and the Taliban stand on that?
God only knows. But that was a door that opened before the naïve, the ignorant and even the well-intentioned. Through it, they went to fight as mercenaries, believing they were Mujahideen. Now, the chickens have come home to roost. Now, a similar door may open before the same lost and easily-exploited groups. They may become disillusioned with it.
Then, they will return to their countries, and go to the US itself to perpetrate acts of terrorism and insanity, just like their predecessors. At that time, we will reap what we have sown, exactly like the previous time. I have done my duty and sounded the alarm.
We are faced with new, complex and all-encompassing challenges. Wisdom dictates that we view them from a civilized, human and objective perspective, free from religious, ethnic, linguistic and geographical bias. Chauvinist tendencies, outdated patterns, missiles and bombs are useless in combating those challenges.
We must review everything. We must not bet on anything. Because all we have at our disposal is nothing.
31 OCTOBER 2004
Speech Against Capital Punishment
|The Brother the Leader of the Revolution addresses the heads and members of judiciary organs in the People’s General Committee of Justice, academicians, graduate and advanced degree students in the School of Law of al-Fateh University, The Seventh of April University, Al-Marqab, Academy for Graduate Studies, and the Green Auditorium|
I wish you well in Ramadan. How are you? I greet you in this Holy Month, and thank you for being here. I know you are fasting. Forgive me for the inconvenience.
I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to share with you my thoughts on some legal questions. You are Professors and students of law. I believe we are about to submit a draft penal code to the People’s Conferences. This new draft contains new amendments. We only make suggestions because the final decision has to be taken by the People’s Conferences.
The People are above the principles and above the law, because they lay down principles and make the law.
One may say principles take precedence; another says no, the law rules. We say the people rule. The people are above principles, and above the law. They make the laws; they lay down the principles of their choice that suit their circumstances and their lives.
The conferences of the people adopt the laws, and authority is the prerogative of the people’s conferences, which adopt the laws; the laws could be amended and rescinded. The People rescind and amend the law. Nothing that we say here is final because the People’s Conferences have the final word. However, as long as we have an opportunity to make our contributions to clarify these issues, we must do what we can.
The world calls for an abolition of capital punishment, but practically goes in the opposite direction.
The world, as you may be aware, declares that it will abolish capital punishment.
This is only a lip service. In reality, the world takes the opposite direction.
It expands capital punishment but declares that it is moving in the direction of the abolition of capital punishment. We must prove this to the world. We must not let any governmental or non-governmental organization insult our intelligence. If they fooled other people, they cannot fool us. We know that the world declares that it will abolish capital punishment or wishes to abolish capital punishment, but in practice it is expanding capital punishment. What is more dangerous is that the death sentence is carried out extra-judicially and collectively. This is dangerous.
The death sentence is carried out collectively and extra-judicially!!
Therefore, the call to abolish capital punishment in courts is naïve, and has no moral force particularly when it is seen in the context of cases of capital punishment carried out collectively and extra-judicially.
Furthermore, the countries that abolished capital punishment or that call for its abolition are the same countries that enforce the death sentence on a wide scale.
The states that are calling for the abolition of a death sentence handed down by courts are the same states that resort to collective wide scale extra-judicial capital punishment.
Therefore, arguments by international organizations or states against another state that did not abolish capital punishment in courts hold no ground. Those who declared that they abolished capital punishment and other major powers are still enforcing capital punishment collectively and extra-judicially. They call upon states that have not yet abolished capital punishment to do so; in return, those same states call upon them to stop imposing the death sentence extra-judicially. Under these circumstances, a death sentence handed down by courts is more legal, legitimate and humane than a summary execution that lacks due process and legal guarantees.
The Israelis have abolished capital punishment. Who believes them? If they themselves say that capital punishment is abolished, how then do they commit mass killings? It is easier if the Palestinians were to be apprehended and tried in Israeli courts and if they had access to counsel.
America sentenced me to death. It carried out the sentence, execution by bombs style, but my life was spared for reasons beyond America’s control.
America opposes the death sentence. It may have abolished capital punishment in some but not all states. Nevertheless, it still carries out a collective form of death sentencing. America handed down a death sentence against me; I was condemned to execution by bombs, but for reasons beyond its control, my life was spared. Which is better? Is it better to be tried, have access to council, and the right to appeal, or to face a death sentence without guarantees?
We need to make our position clear and reflect that position in our school curricula, and in the arguments we advance in international fora. Libya is in the lime light. There are those who fear Libya, who want to establish a relationship with Libya, who will invest in Libya, who come as tourists to Libya , who will work in the oil or gas field, or who will have something to do with Libya. There is Barcelona, the European Mediterranean [partnership]; Libya is in the spotlight, and Libya must therefore publicize its opinions, and chart the course it intends to follow in international fora. We do not want to become another Turkey, a county that has ambitions for admission to the European Union. The political, legislative and social particularities in Turkey would not qualify Turkey for membership in the European Union according to European standards. Therefore, Turkey’s behavior is random and is not compatible with its reality. The result is ludicrous, even humiliating. In the Turkish context, there are crimes that are serious, and unacceptable. Impunity is not an option.
They Europeans do not give weight to these considerations. They say, “The penalty for these acts must be abolished”. This approach however is untenable because if pursued, it will destroy the Turkish society. That society is organized around a given set of values. When those social, political and legislative values are eroded, the society will collapse. We must not be another Turkey. As we take center stage in this era, we cannot afford to be like Turkey. We must be backed by solid arguments to silence our detractors. For this reason, I requested to meet with law professors, students, and judges. It is important that we shed light on the issue.
The world today is divided into two camps: formal and informal. We fear the aggression of the mighty.
The world today is divided into two camps: formal and informal. The formal camp is comprised of governments and major powers. International organizations are part of the formal camp. The formal stakeholders could manipulate these organizations, so could the major powers that have veto rights and permanent seats in the Security Council as well as military and economic prowess.
The other camp is called the “informal” camp, which is made of non-governmental organizations established by groups and individuals. They are unrelated to states.
On the world map today, there are two camps: one formal the other informal. Both camps could call for an abolition of capital punishment. Nevertheless, their purposes are different. The formal camp has an agenda. The informal camp is the humanitarian establishment that may call for the abolition of this form of punishment for purely humanitarian reasons, unless they themselves fall victim to manipulation, or are controlled or exploited.
Major Powers like the United States, Britain or the Israelis may infiltrate one of the institutions of civil society and manipulate it. We correctly assume that these groups, the civil non-governmental organizations are informal organizations. When they appeal for the abolition of capital punishment in the world, we assume that their appeal is launched for purely humanitarian considerations. They do not have an agenda. They do not have political or economic interests that they want to advance; they are good Samaritans, decent and kind ordinary people who want to save themselves, their offspring, and humanity at large from capital punishment. For that reason, they established organizations that call for the abolition of this penalty and tried to pressure some states to abolish it too.
World intelligence services are pushing for an end to capital punishment to protect their agents.
The formal camp is advocating the same. It calls for an abolition of capital punishment and exploits the non-governmental organizations to divert the attention that could otherwise be focused on them. Their objective is different. The formal world headed by Major Powers wants to abolish capital punishment, but it has an agenda. Unlike humanitarian organizations, it is not seeking the abolition of capital punishment because it is a good deed, and as such, is its own reward. They are serving their own interests. Some states have agents in Libya, Egypt, Iran or India, who could be Libyan, Egyptian, Iranian or Indian nationals or could be nationals of other countries. Those states want to protect their agents from execution. They want to station their agents in countries where the death penalty has been abolished. This may encourage agents to work for intelligence circles. All those intelligence services have a stake in abolishing the death penalty in countries in which their agents are stationed because they fear for their safety. The agents themselves will be afraid to work in a country that still enforces the death penalty. The situation of the agent in that country will be different from his situation in a country that does not enforce capital punishment. The spy and the traitor will know that they will face death if their cover is blown. Therefore, the countries that seek the abolition of capital punishment are not concerned about the welfare of the people of this state, or the nation. They are doing this for the sake of their agents.
The abolition of capital punishment may be pursued to protect foreign agents.
This was the scenario at the security and intelligence level. Then we have smaller scale levels. Some states install puppets in other countries to govern on their behalf. Therefore, they want to abolish the death penalty that may be enforced against puppets and traitors. They want to keep them out of harm’s way, so that they continue working for them.
How could the call for the abolition of the death penalty through legal avenues be deceptive?
Governments, official circles, intelligence services, and foreign services are calling for the abolition of capital punishment that is still in force in Third World countries in defense of their agents. They want to guarantee that these agents would continue to work in these countries but not face the death sentence. The abolition of the death sentence encourages them. They will work knowing that beheading is not permissible; any other sentence, like a jail sentence, is fine. Therefore, the call for the abolition of capital punishment will not fool us. We are not naïve and we are not children. They cannot make a mockery of us.
What is the difference between handing down a death sentence through a legal system, or handing down a collective death sentence by firing rockets, bombing, starving or terrorizing people?
We call for the abolition of the death sentence that is carried out extra-judicially.
We wish to abolish capital punishment, but want to define what capital punishment we are referring to. First, we want the indiscriminate death sentences handed down to people extra-judicially by bombs, rockets and starvation abolished. We have ten numbers, from one to ten, we cannot chose one only and say number seven or number eight or three for that matter. The ten counts are all death sentences, so why chose only number seven and abolish the rest. All the sentences are death sentences, and they must be all abolished. They are death sentences executed by bombing, firing rockets, by planes even by starvation, terror, or disease. In the final analysis, a sentence handed down by courts is better. It is not a surprise attack like an air raid carried out while we are fast asleep, or like an inter-continental missile. A death sentence handed down by courts is ultimately better. States, which indiscriminately carry out death-sentences extra-judicially, will be found guilty, while those, which enforce capital punishment in courts, will be acquitted. This is what we have to say at the United Nations and the United Nations system, at human rights organizations or at Amnesty International. We can advance this logic. We are against executions and against the death sentence. A death sentence is a death sentence whether carried out by a laser bomb, a cruise missile, a firing squad, a rope, an electric chair, poison gas, or by lethal injection. These are all executions. Is it not better to bring the accused to court, guarded from any possible harm, with a defense lawyer, an opportunity to hear charges against him, to defend himself, appeal the sentence or have the sentence commuted even after it is handed down? A governor, when this post exists, usually hands down the sentence or signs of the death sentence. This is the case in the Supreme Judicial Council in Libya. The Council can commute the death sentence into a jail sentence. It is possible to file new evidence and the convicted could be found innocent. Given these circumstances, which do you think is better: this scenario or that in which you could be suddenly executed by an air raid, by tank fire, a cross continental missile or by other means that deprive you from your right to a defense lawyer? Who could be your defense lawyer against a Cruise Missile? Against a Cruise Missile, you may have a Patriot. However, you may not have a Patriot. It is impossible for every state, household, street and family to have a Patriot or an anti-missile defense device. As long as you do not have that, you do not have the means to defend yourself. As long as you do not have an anti missile defense device, you do not have a defense lawyer. You are in a big court that hands down indiscriminate death sentences. The victim does not have a lawyer and cannot defend himself against a nuclear bomb, an intercontinental missile, cluster bombs, or incendiary devices (Napalm). Neither does the victim have anti chemical and bacteriological devices, no masks or protective gear, no shelters. They went high-tech in executing the death sentence. They developed bombs and missiles that can penetrate protective barriers and hunt down the target. Therefore, someone can come to an ordinary court accompanied by a lawyer, a competent famous lawyer while another is unable to get this lawyer. You enter the shelter but they develop an anti-shelter bomb. They deprive you from the means for self-defense. These are the worst courts, courts where people get the death sentence but lack the means to defend themselves, protection, the opportunity to appeal the sentence, or the hope to be exonerated. They will be executed, extra-judicially. The shrill voices of the mighty began to resonate around the world about the death penalty, which continues to be carried out by courts around the world. Half of the countries of the world enforce the death penalty; the other half or even less abolished it. The campaign against capital punishment suffered a setback after the attacks against New York. It suffered a major setback. Torture, violence and brutality are tolerated. America declared that it will hand down death sentences against its adversaries and will, for that purpose, use all available means, including covert ones. These means could remain secret until kingdom come. The American President himself said that. What is a death sentence? What is the purpose of the death sentence? Society hands down a death sentence against a criminal because it wants to get rid of this criminal. The criminal is the enemy of society. A criminal disrupts and threatens society. Therefore, society hands down a death sentence against this individual in a court. Let us take the example of Bin Laden. He is the enemy of America. The U.S. states that if it finds Bin Laden it will kill him. It will also kill Al-Zarqawi if it finds him. Is this not what they say? Why does America say that? It does because America considers him an enemy. You kill your enemy. Why do they say society should not kill its enemy if the enemy endangers the welfare of society? What shall we do? We should agree at the United Nations or at other international fora that killing a human being is inadmissible, that we cannot spill blood neither in courts nor by jets, ships, cruise missiles, starvation, covert assassination or any other means.
The Israelis abolished the death penalty in courts. They, however, continue to execute Palestinians extra-judicially, on a daily basis and on a massive scale. What then is the value of the abolition of the death penalty in Israeli courts? This is a charade, but no one seems to notice. Are the Palestinians not killed on a daily, deliberate and premeditated basis? They track a Palestinian, plant a homing device in his car or house that emits signals to the Apache helicopter which hunts him down. Is that not a deliberate death sentence by a firing squad executed extra-judicially outside the courts?
The world watches the execution of the Iraqi and Palestinian peoples carried out outside the courts and without due process.
Human beings must be respected wherever they are.
We will not give in to this travesty. Human beings must be respected wherever they are; human life is precious and must not be wasted. They must put an end to wars, invasions, and colonialism. We, on our part, must do likewise. This does not only apply to the abolition of the death penalty in courts but to executions in general, executing individuals and peoples. In a court of law one person in executed. Outside the courts, an entire people are executed. A death sentence has been issued against the Iraqi people and against the Palestinian people in an extra-judicial context, without trial or due process.
Being serious about abolishing the death penalty means putting an end to blood letting anywhere, by ending invasions, aggression and wars.
I think that the abolition of the death penalty that is collectively enforced is more significant that the abolition of the death penalty handed down against individuals. The abolition of the death penalty outside the courts is more important than the abolition of the death penalty inside the courts. It does not mean that we support the death penalty. On the contrary, we insist on the abolition of the death penalty on a wide and not limited scale only. Opting for the latter will render the purpose meaningless. They abolished the death penalty in courts, but continued to strike at us outside the courts, killing us indiscriminately. You should stop executing us in public squares and streets. We are sincere in our desire to abolish the death penalty in the true sense of the word, in the judicial and extra-judicial contexts. Let us, however, begin with what is more significant. Let us put an end to executions outside the courts, indiscriminate massive scale executions, and death squads, otherwise called armies, which must stop executing people. Seriously, the abolition of the death penalty is civilized act. It should not be the result of pressure. Turkey is a case in point. Pressures are mounting on Turkey prior to its admission to the European Union; they can mount pressures against us in the process leading to the Mediterranean Partnership. The Third World could be pressured to enter into partnerships with Western societies.
The call to abolish the death penalty has become a bargaining chip in international relations.
Being civilized and enlightened does not necessarily entail abolishing the death penalty.
A backward country decides to abolish the death penalty to satisfy some, or reap certain benefits. Shockingly though, it continues to exact this punishment and liquidate its opponents through unconventional means – outside the courts and without legal counsel. The result is worse. This country did not abolish the death penalty due to enlightenment, sophistication, or culture. It did not do it because its society is so civilized it cannot fathom killing human beings. Not at all. They did not get there yet. They are extremely backward. People kill each other, and that is quiet normal! To enter the European Common Market, the European Union, the Mediterranean Partnership, Barcelona, the United Nations, this or that organization, to get assistance, to prevent them from staging a coup against you, out of courtesy you for example say, “I abolished the death penalty”. This act is not a proof of sophistication. The country that abolishes the death penalty is a country where no man stabs or shoots another man to death. How do you abolish the death penalty in courts then allow people to shoot, stab or club each other to death or run each other over by cars? When you speed in a car, you may be about to kill some one. If you are civilized, you will not speed because speeding up may be a prelude to killing passengers in another vehicle or pedestrians strolling down the street. You could be one of them. If you die, you would have committed suicide.
How could you abolish execution in courts but allow it to remain in force outside the courts?
When man is sophisticated and careful enough he controls the speed of his car because he knows the consequences of speeding. He knows better than to own a knife that he would use to kill a fellow man, or a shotgun that he may even use in self-defense. Why? Because the other party is sophisticated and civilized, and would not use a knife or a shotgun. Only then will the abolition of the death penalty be the result of a higher calling, a quid-pro-quo and not an act of intimidation, greed, fraud and hypocrisy.
I have always called for the abolition of the death penalty. Bahrain has abolished the death penalty. It was the only Arab country to abolish the death penalty. Are we to believe that Bahrain has already attained this high degree of sophistication and progress that it no longer needs the death penalty? This is not possible. Bahrain is like Libya and Morocco. We have the same mentality. When did they get there? Libya may be abolishing the death penalty tomorrow. More than once, I personally called on the People’s Conferences to abolish the death penalty. The Conferences did not endorse this proposal. The reason is that they are still not convinced. How could they be convinced if one may end up being stabbed on the street? If someone knows that stabbing me to death means the death penalty for him then he may not do it. This will deter others. In a way, my position and that of the People’s Conferences are the same. The Libyan people were prudent, and refused to abolish the death penalty. Moammar says the death penalty should be abolished. May be he wants to believe that we are a civilized nation. He wants to brag about us in Europe, the United States, the United Nations, Asia and Africa among others. Libya is a civilized nation. It abolished the death penalty.
Moammar thinks this way; we on the other hand think in a practical way, we will not abolish the death penalty. I heard them say that in the People’s Conferences. They debated the issue in seminars. I was satisfied that the people said no. They said, do you think the death penalty was easily instated? Our society did not yet reach the stage at which it can abolish the death penalty. Other parties should abolish the death penalty that they enforce extra-judicially and indiscriminately. The call to abolish the death sentence means ceasing manufacturing and exporting weapons. This is what the Libyan people said. We frequently called for the abolition of the death penalty but the Libyan people refused. They believed that we did not reach the stage that would justify this step. The world is largely barbaric; it continues to manufacture atomic bombs, aircraft carriers, chemical agents, artillery, tanks, anthrax and other germs in addition to other instruments of death. It manufactures all of the above then calls on you to abolish the death penalty. Everyday you sharpen a knife and everyday you manufacture a knife you do so to slaughter people. How could you ask them to abolish the death penalty? You must abolish knives, stop manufacturing knives, and destroy all weapon stocks. We will have a measure of confidence that Libya would not attack America, and America would not attack Libya. Iraq would not attack Kuwait and Kuwait would not attack Iraq. Pakistan would not attack India and India would not attack Pakistan, India would not attack China and so on and so forth. When we get to this stage, and when there is confidence, the world and we would have reached an advanced level of progress then we will be fully convinced.
Human life must be spared, and must be equally precious.
When we say we should have one African army in Africa, which is a proposal we submitted to the African Union, and we should disband individual African armies some may come and say, “how could you disband my army? Is it not possible that my African neighbor will mount an attack against me?” In response we say, “Your neighbor does not have an army. We simultaneously requested that it too disband its army. Be assured, so long as your neighbors do not have armies to commit an act of aggression against you there is no army that could attack you. Your situations are identical. Moreover, should you be victim of an external attack, an African army will defend you.” The day you decide not to execute me, to abolish the death penalty that could be imposed on me and I do likewise, when we have faith in each other, things will fall into place. This will be the end, and capital punishment could then be abolished. In other words, we should include in the curricula of the schools of law in the Jamahiriya, and we must say in our statements that we cannot be selective in exacting the death penalty. Wasting human life and bloodshed is the same everywhere. Life is equally precious, and must therefore be equally spared. A Libyan is not different from an American or an Iranian, Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, British or German. A human being is to be respected, and his life must be spared. He must not be executed by bombs or missiles, by hanging or bullets, by electric shock or poison gas. These are different methods of execution. We must agree on abolishing the death penalty and the means of carrying it out. This approach pursues a secular, civic and social approach that has no theological or religious dimension. If we were to introduce theology into this equation, we will end up in another controversy.
How was the issue of capital punishment, or the law of retaliation in killing addressed in religion, jurisprudence, and philosophy?
A Muslim would respond, religion ordered me to kill the killer. God mandated retaliation, ordered me to cut off the hand of the thief, and ordered me to flog. How can I disobey? Who is going to defend me to god on the Day of Judgment? Who would say, “God do not judge him for failing to apply your law [Sharia], it was me who ordered him to do so”. If they guarantee us that God will not find us at fault on the Day of Judgment because they were the ones who told to follow this or that path, and we carried out the orders and obstructed God’s laws, that is another thing. However, it is impossible. They cannot do that, nor are they sure it can happen this way. What would you say when you see manifest signs as God addresses you as “O ye who believe?” We should be attentive. It means that God addresses us, saying, “You, people” or “You, Citizens”, then we are the addressees “O you who have attained to faith, Just retribution is ordained from you in cases of killing” we listen to God. What do you want from us? “O you who have attained to faith”, he said. We are listening, Lord. We shall obey. He says, “Just retribution is ordained from you”, “the free for the free, and the slave for the slave and the woman for the woman”. What do we say then? This is ordained. There is nothing more to say. This is our fate. It is sealed. “Fasting is prescribed to you”. That is it. We therefore fast “as it was prescribed to those before you”. So we still fast, fasting is prescribed to us. Do we interpret that? Do we say, “No, we will not fast”? “Prayers are enjoined on believers at stated times”. This is it. Prayers have to be performed at stated times. So we turned our backs to the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Organizations, the thoughts of philosophers and intellectuals, then we came to turn a new page. Why did we turn to religion? We sought God’s advice and found that God expects us to submit to other demands. In retribution, it is “the free for the free”, for, “in [the law of] just retribution, O you who are endowed with insight, there is life for you”. “And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have empowered his heir with authority (to demand retribution or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law). Therefore, man may demand retribution in killing, but must not exceed bounds in taking life. Therefore, if someone is wrongfully slain, those who are authorized to defend him can demand death for his slayer. His counsel cannot exceed bounds, so his maternal and paternal cousins may not be killed in retribution. “Nor take life – which Allah has made sacred – except for just cause.” This means that god proscribed taking life, which He has made sacred. We then go back to our earlier proposal. We said life is precious and sacred. God made it sacred, and it must not be wasted. No one says the God you worship sanctions killing. We are involved in bloodshed. “Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? The angels said, Lord, you create Adam, a human being to make mischief.
“[God] answered: “Verily, I know that which you do not know.”” God knows better. He had a reason for creating us although we are involved in bloodshed. God proscribed taking life. They may answer, “The God you worship likes bloodshed in addition to the death penalty.” Absolutely not. Do not “take life – which Allah has made sacred, except for a just cause”. Therefore, the only exception to the prohibition of taking life is when life is taken for a just cause. When there is a just cause, one can take life. There are other verses in the Quran, stressing the sanctity of human life, followed by the word “except”. He sets the conditions for taking life, not through injustice, aggression, colonization, dictatorships, oppression and mutilation. This is dictatorship.
You are about to present a draft penal code to the People’s Conferences. In my opinion, you must take your time to study it carefully. Then you can submit it to the People’s Conferences. You should not hasten to adopt it; it must be thoroughly and extensively debated.
In this law, there is the crime against society, otherwise called haraba. Under this crime, the death penalty is permitted. Haraba is identical to terrorism. It applies to terrorism. The word Haraba is not God’s word. Jurists coined this word. They may have coined it from the verse: “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land”. This is what you can use as a basis for the Terrorism Act. The counter-terrorism act is what you call haraba. It should not be called Haraba, because haraba is not a word used by God. God said, “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah”. They coined the word from the Arabic “yuhariboun”, i.e., wage war, against god and his prophet. What are the acts punishable under this concept? The include banditry, terrorizing people by threatening their security on the roads, at home, or just anywhere among other things. This is terrorism. They annihilate people under the pretext of combating terrorism. The result is that when we counter terrorism inside the courts and hand down death sentences some say, “Do not sentence a terrorist to death”.
The moment we discuss things from a theological point of view of, someone like Dr. Rajab Aboudabous may present a very different perspective. We do not know where it could take us, it may be right, and it could be wrong. I am confident that like Dr. Aboudabous, you may respond that the verse “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land” was revealed on a specific occasion. Therefore, he will refer us to the historical context of revelation of the surahs. “DOOMED are the hands of the Father of Flame! And doomed is he. What will his wealth avail him, and all that he has gained?” They are verses we recite with owe and respect. They however concern Abou Lahab, the father of the flame and his spouse. They burnt firewood on a road that Mohammad used to travel. God told them that they would both be burnt in a fire of blazing flame on the Day of Judgment. The story ends there with Abou Lahab and his spouse. God responded to an incident. “Allah has indeed heard the story of the woman who pleads with thee concerning her husband and carries her complaint to Allah”. This is the story of a woman who had a problem with her husband, and God revealed the solution in this Quranic verse. Aisha was accused. God exonerated her. God revealed this verse, said that she is innocent, and her accusers in Medina were liars. So one person was wrongfully charged, and god exonerated her. This applies to the spouse of the Prophet. Some went to the prophet and complained because they were poor. The Prophet gave them some camels and a shepherd and directed them to where they should go. This is one version of the story. The other version is that they went to the prophet, converted to Islam and fell sick in Medina, because there were many swamps in Medina. They complained to the prophet .The prophet told them “we have camels in the desert, stay in the desert, use the urine and milk of camels as treatment and you will get better.” Apparently, they did, but ended up killing the shepherd, stealing the camels and turning back from Islam. According to the narrative, the prophet asked that they be apprehended and brought back, which they were. Their hands and feet were cut off from opposite sides, they were crucified, and their bodies were mutilated. There were other stories. Some said their eyes were gorged out and were never given a second chance, God forgive us. The punishment was exacted. The question is did the prophet issue his orders after the revelation? Did he wonder what punishment he could inflict on people he treated well but who betrayed him in return? They were sick. They converted to Islam. He sent them to the camel shepherd. They slaughtered the shepherd and took the camels. Either God instructed the prophet to exact this punishment, or the prophet improvised and God seconded. When Dr. Abou Dabbous argues the case, he will tell you this is an incident that happened to a group of people in the past, and it has no relevance today. Dr. Abou Dabbous will refer you to the context of its revelation. Dr. Abou Dabbous who teaches philosophy will look at this story from that perspective. He will say, this verse was revealed because of a group of people who committed a heinous act, and were punished. This does not mean that every time a heinous act is committed peoples’ hands and feet should be chopped of. This argument applies across the board. A thief stole something. At that time, the punishment was that the thief, Male or female, should have their hands cut off. The question is shall we continue to cut off the hands of thieves? Should this punishment rather apply only to those people, at the time the crime was committed, and under the specific circumstances that prevailed? People steal all the time. Shall they remain without arms? Jesus said he who has not sinned should cast the stone. Is it possible that no one stole anything ever in his life? It is possible that everybody stole something one way or another. Does this mean we cut off the hands of everybody? God says we cut off the hands of thieves, males or females. If we start arguing about this, and we arrive at solutions, it will no longer be a religion but will become positive law. This is the case with Islamic Sharia (jurisprudence). Islamic jurisprudence is a positive set of laws with the seal of Islam. Islamic Sharia is a positive law, not different from Roman law, Napoleon’s Law and all other laws. They call these laws “Islamic Sharia” to give force to these laws so that the Caliphs and leaders would secure obedience from their people. Caliphs, governors and sultans are consistent; they want to control. How can they control the world and its people without holiness? Their laws are God’s laws. Therefore, they call the set of laws “Islamic Sharia”. Any breach of the laws would be a breach of Islamic Sharia. You will be running up against Islamic Sharia. This is a serious crime. What is Sharia law? It is interpretations. Malek said, Abu Hanifa said, they interpreted the law. Even Abou Dabbous said, and all what they said became Islamic Sharia. A Muslim interpreted the law and said something today. What he said is not different from what was said before. The only difference is the temporal dimension.
What crimes deserve to be punishable by the death penalty?
We come to the last or penultimate page. I asked for the record of crimes perpetrated in Libya, whose perpetrators deserved the death penalty. I found death penalty cases endorsed by the Supreme Council for Judicial Bodies. I found some of these cases to be questionable. I found it difficult to understand how they were endorsed. We shall refrain from naming the defendants, but will only cite the judgment. The defendant (sentenced to death) and the victim drank wine, may God preserve us, with others. God says “Satan seeketh only to cast among you enmity and hatred by drinking wine and gambling”. Sure, it is the drinking and the gambling that led to the crime. That is what happened. Animosity ensued when they were intoxicated, and a misunderstanding between the victim and the perpetrator led to the latter stabbing the former to death.
The motive for the crime was simply a misunderstanding between two intoxicated individuals. The judgment handed down was the death sentence. How could you pass down a death sentence in this case? Who among you could explain the sentence? The crime was not of the first degree. It was not premeditated. They were all intoxicated. Criminal intent is absent in this case. They could be friends. Is there a judge who can explain this to us?
Interventions and Exchanges of views:
[Intervention] in this instance, the victim was harassed.
[Leader] I have one comment to make. Distinguished Judges, should any one of you decide to take the floor, please do not disclose whether you were sitting on the Bench in this case. You may comment on the judgment, even if you were the sitting judge or the Chief Judge, please indicate your opinion only without further explanations.
[Intervention] I was not one of the judges sitting on the Bench in this case, but I read the case as a member of the Judicial Council that endorsed the sentence. The defendant and the victim were not Libyan nationals. They were partying. The victim sexually harassed the defendant. He persisted. The victim sexually abused the defendant. When he did not relent, the defendant stabbed the victim to death. The court found him guilty of murder of the first degree.
[Leader] The person was harassed. He acted in self-defense. How could he be sentenced to death?
[Intervention] He could have defended himself differently, even through passive resistance.
[Leader] What else could he have done?
[Intervention] I do not believe he was in a state of self-defense because the other person did not hate him.
[Leader] This is exactly why I had a question mark in the first place. How could a person like him be sentenced to death? They could have handed down a different sentence. He came with his friend and they were drinking together. They were friends and he did not intend to kill him. The other person sexually attacked him, and he defended his honor with the tool available to him. This act of self-defense led to the death of the victim. How could some one act in self-defense and end up facing a death sentence? Does that mean you must not defend yourself if you want to avoid the death sentence?
[Intervention] The perpetrator intended to kill.
[Leader] Yes, he did. He intended to escape harm, he deliberately sought defense.
[Intervention] He expressed a desire, and deliberately pursued fulfillment. In the documents that were available to the Court, he did not hold or coerce him. The comment that I wanted to make is that when the Judiciary Council is seized with these sentences, it does not debate the substance. It only considers the admissibility or inadmissibility of amnesty. The Council does not assess the crime or the evidence.
[Leader] What are the Council’s terms of reference?
[Intervention] From the Legislative point of view, the Judiciary Council must not have this authority. Pardoning a crime is a discretionary authority usually vested in society and its guardians. The mandate of the Judiciary Council is confined to supervising the judiciary in all matters that are of concern. These are discretionary matters intended to assess whether society is right in granting or withholding amnesty. The Judiciary Council must not decide on these matters.
[Leader] Who should decide then?
[Intervention] Any other authority must do that. The functions of the Judiciary Council are supervisory in nature.
[Leader] We do not have a president, a governor or guardian. We are a self-governing people. We chose the Supreme Judiciary Council because it is in charge of endorsing sentences.
[Intervention] The General Conference of the People must be able to do that. Any organ that can assess the social and political ramifications is in a position to do that.
[Leader] It is difficult for the General Conference of the People to do this. It is difficult for one thousand people to discuss this issue. They meet annually. Fine. On what basis does the Supreme Judiciary Council discharge its functions?
[Intervention] The Council’s mandate is legislative. This function was not in force. It was delegated to the Revolution Command Council. Later on, that function was assigned to the General People’s Committee. No one exercised this function, until it was later on transferred to the Supreme Judiciary Council. I personally believe that the Supreme Council does not think that this is one of its functions. The Council cannot decide whether clemency is or is not due. It administratively supervises the judiciary bodies, and has oversight functions with regard to promotions, mobility, and appointments. Is it better for society if the Council withholds or endorses the penalty? This is the question that needs to be addressed.
[Leader] Excuse me for asking, but let us take as an example a country that is traditionally governed by a president or a king, a person who is the Supreme Guardian of the people. This Guardian endorses decisions and signs off on death sentences. On what basis does he do that? Does he review the decision according to his whims? Someone on death row today may be pardoned today, but if I was in a bad mood tomorrow so be it, the other death row prisoner may die.
[Intervention] In fulfilling this function, we usually seek the assistance of local authorities.
[Leader] You strayed away from the answer. Fine, it does not matter. You did not answer me. Please continue.
[Intervention] I specifically stated that the Judiciary Council must not have this authority because it is in fact exercising it. Others must be brought in to assist.
[Leader] Excuse me, in any event, what is the Judiciary Council to do when death sentences are brought before it?
[Intervention] If the killing was retribution, the Judiciary Council would not accept the petition in the first place because the party that is eligible to grant amnesty is the family of the victim. If the killing was criminal, the Judiciary Council has the authority to grant amnesty if this amnesty would better serve society.
[Leader] This means that the council reviews the case.
[Intervention] No, it does not review the case. The case is only presented to the Council after the Supreme Court issues a ruling on it. The council can only issue an order of amnesty or execution.
[Intervention] It is the higher judicial level that reviews the case from a technical legal perspective. The sentence becomes final when the Supreme Court endorses it. The Higher Judiciary Council is concerned with verifying it according to observed laws and its jurisdiction. As the speaker before me said, there are issues of punishment decreed by religious law. The Council’s endorsement is no more than a formality because sentences issued in cases of religious penalty cases cannot be ruled on by law. The Council has the authority to lighten the sentence from a death sentence to imprisonment in the cases of other penal sentences if the death sentence was handed down in a case other than one of religious punishment. This practice is currently observed.
[Leader] How? Does it review the case?
[Intervention] The Council does not review the case from a judicial perspective. It is not a court of law.
[Intervention] It means that the Judiciary Council has no role to play in reviewing the factual aspects of the case. The Council’s role is a strictly technical one. It just makes sure that due process was observed in the preliminary stage and before the Supreme Court. This is the role it was accorded by law; namely, to consider the technical aspects of a case and make sure that due process was observed, including appeals. It is only concerned with these issues and its role is very simple and limited.
[Leader] I understand.
[Intervention] Authority over these issues was given to the Council by virtue of a special order as Professor Husayn said. The preliminary or secondary stages were ultimately placed in the Council’s scope because it is the closest thing to knowing the sentences and estimating them. This is why the privileges were taken from the People’s Assembly and General Popular Committee and given to this esteemed council.
[Leader] It is a better guarantee than a governor who may or not believe the argument, because this governor that you speak of — who might be a head of any state in the world or anyone tasked with reviewing death sentences — may or may not endorse these sentences. He does not review the court proceedings to verify that due process was observed as the Judiciary Council does. This person ultimately does not know all the details and endorses these sentences according to his mood. For example, if it is the birthday of the king’s wife today, he would issue an amnesty, and if he is having a bad day tomorrow, he will endorse the death sentence. The Higher Judiciary Council, however, is a guarantee as the professor explained. It guarantees that due process was observed. As long as procedures were followed soundly, the Council has nothing to do with the sentence. This sentence was issued by a court and it is the business of the appeals process and Supreme Court.
[Intervention] This is not an amnesty.
[Intervention] An amnesty is a discretionary authority left to the discretion of the highest ruler in the country, who may issue amnesties as he pleases. That is an amnesty. But this is about a review of the case when the need arises.
[Leader] We are on the right path. I guarantee it. There is a Higher Judiciary Council that reviews all the stages of the trial process, starting with the criminal court and including the court of appeals and the Supreme Court in order to verify that the process was sound. The council has nothing to do with the case or whether the suspect receives an amnesty or not, because that is up to the courts. This is very reasonable.
[Intervention] It reviews the cases when necessary.
[Leader] In any event, I was upset by the death sentence handed down in this case. Ever since I saw that sentence, I no longer feel confident about death sentences. You saw, from what the professor explained, that there could be two persons who are drunk, and who may be friends, and one person assaults the other, who defends himself and kills his aggressor. For the man who defended himself to be sentenced to death is disconcerting.
[Intervention] I have not viewed this particular case, but I have experience with similar cases, there was no attempted assault and despite that the person was sentenced to death. My colleagues the counselors and I see that entering a state of alcoholic intoxication is voluntary. With regard to the perpetrators, no one forced them to drink alcohol but they did and are responsible for their actions regardless of their claims that they were drunk and committed the crime unintentionally. This means that people will go unpunished. That person intentionally drank alcohol and intentionally committed a crime. A second point is the motive for the crime, which has no legal considerations. Let us take stealing for example. If someone says: “I am going to steal regardless of the consequences because I am in need,” then he might think he is justified. He will be treated the same way a person who steals to get rich or buy something will be treated because the motive does not have any considerations on the crime. When an intoxicated person kills, he is handed the death sentence because he drank alcohol of his own free will and was not forced.
[Leader] It is as if by drinking, he already took the first step toward the murder.
There is another case that is worthy of mention. The victim let his sheep graze in the farm of the perpetrator (who was sentenced to death). The perpetrator struck the victim on the head with a club. The victim later died of his injuries. The motive behind this crime is a misunderstanding that broke out because the victim let his sheep graze in the perpetrators’ farm. Now, who is the wrongdoer? Is it the man who grazed his livestock in the perpetrator’s farm? I wanted a judge to explain it to us. It might be the same judge that presided over the trial, but it is not necessary for him to say that he is the one who issued the sentence; we just want his opinion. I said from the start that it is not important for him to say that he is the one who issued the sentence and simply give us his opinion.
[Intervention] If the court found that the killing was intentional even if he only intended to beat him with the club and that led to his death, then the crime would be viewed as premeditated murder. The matter is up to the court to decide.
[Leader] This person has been the victim of injustice and had no intention to kill the other person, who came and grazed his sheep in the accused person’s farm. The latter wanted to defend himself or his property or wanted to take revenge on the person who trespassed into his farm and thus hit him with a club. The beating led to death but it was not intended to kill. Are you — the speakers — judges?
[Intervention] We beg your pardon, brother leader; this is a legal issue or one of strict jurisprudence called “criminal intent”. Criminal intent, under the law can be present even for a moment, so that the assault resulting from this intent is an intentional desire to kill, making it a premeditated murder. This is confirmed by the investigations conducted by the prosecutor’s office and the court and by the evidence and witness testimony. The matter is one of facts, documents, and investigations. Therefore, it would be difficult to answer your question. We must first return to the documents and facts in order to verify whether or not there was criminal intent that led to the assault. The evidence can be indicative. The murder weapon and location could have a role in formulating criminal intent and deciding that the incident was one of intentional murder and not one of manslaughter. It is a complex and sensitive case that are difficult to prove except by the prosecutor general, the defense, or another such body.
[Leader] But if the case is the subject of doubt and involves this much complexity, then the sentence must always be in favor of the suspect.
[Intervention] If investigations prove that the perpetrator’s intent was criminal and resulted in the assault that led to death, then we have before us is a case of premeditated murder.
[Leader] What drew my attention in this case is that I saw someone letting his sheep graze in someone else’s farm. The owner of the farm grabbed a stick and beat the shepherd with it. The victim died at a later time and not at the time of the assault. It is very clear that the assailant had no ulterior motives to kill the victim and that the events were dictated by unexpected developments. This man brought his sheep into another man’s land without his knowledge. In addition, he did not use a pistol or rifle, which can be viewed as a clear intention to kill; rather, a stick is an available tool with very simple uses, and is not meant for murder.
[Intervention] It is a series of events that lead us to conclude that the suspect intended to kill the victim, which entails criminal intent. The judge will consider the crime from every aspect and the surrounding conditions that led to the death.
[Leader] His intention was not to kill. His intention was revenge or to punish this trespasser who was grazing his sheep in his farm. It is clear that he is an ordinary person and that the assault led to death but that the intention was not primarily to kill.
[Intervention] Death is not the same as intentional murder or the intention to kill. We might have a fight with someone but not intend to kill him, but might throw a punch that could be said to have killed him.
[Leader] The first and second cases that we have viewed would cause people not to defend themselves anymore. The first one was defending a transgression against his honor and you sentenced him to death, which means that no one can defend his honor. The second man was defending his property and you sentenced him to death, which means that no one can defend his property…etc. We would arrive at a situation where no one can defend themselves.
[Intervention] A premeditated intent must exist. Issues deserving religious punishment in particular — be they thefts or feuds — are referred to the Supreme Court even without an appeal. The Supreme Court must review all aspects of the case. Procedures must be followed to prove the existence of intent, and the argument must hold. The court’s formation must also be sound and the process followed flawless. We have statistics that the Supreme Court has viewed half the appeal cases and overturned them for reasons. Out of 413 cases of theft, 300 were overturned and returned to the court in question. Approximately half the capital punishment cases were returned to the court in question. Arriving at a sentence in accordance with the law, the details of the case you mentioned must be examined. The court trying the case must prove that the suspect intended to kill the victim before actually killing him.
[Leader] You are the president of the Supreme Court, what do you say?
[Intervention] It is a matter of legitimate defense, which has its conditions, the most important of which is that something must be wrong. This wrongful situation must be immediate. In order for the person not to be sentenced to death, there must be wrongdoing and it must be immediate. In this case, if the person had directly assaulted the animal, then it would have been a case of self defense, but when he assaulted the owner of the sheep, the self-defense claim does not apply because the immediate threat no longer existed. It is necessary for there to be a continued and immediate threat, or else he would not be acting in self defense but as an attacker. In my opinion, the sentence is sound because if he was in a position of legitimate self defense, then he should have attacked the source of the threat; namely, the sheep. Had he done that, he would not have been prosecuted, but once he attacked the shepherd, the conditions needed for self defense were removed. The most important condition is for the threat to be present.
[Leader] Are you, the speaker, and a student?
[Intervention] I am a third-year student at the school of law at Al-Fatih University.
[Leader] You are very interested in and serious about your studies. Here is another case that caught my attention. Here are the facts: The suspect smuggled some drugs by hiding them in small spaces in the vehicles they were riding in with the purpose of selling them. The drugs were caught in their possession, examined by a court body and found to be hashish weighing thousands of grams. Investigations found that the suspects had smuggled other shipments of drugs and managed to traffic them throughout the Jamahiriya. The criminal court sentenced the suspects to death after finding them guilty of the charges rendered against them. What do we gain from executing these people? Their crime had no motives; they were simply people selling hashish.
[Intervention] We have a narcotics law and in reaffirmation of the efforts exerted to combat the growing phenomenon of drugs, it was amended to endorse the death sentence in narcotics cases. This, of course, is a punitive measure and in this case, the Higher Judiciary Council can lessen the sentence. It has the authority to do so because the sentence is not a religious ruling and does not have the circumstances of such a ruling.
[Leader] Why do you say it is punitive?
[Intervention] Because it did not break any religious laws.
[Leader] You put narcotics in the realm of religious cases.
[Intervention] No. The narcotics law is an individual law and the death sentence was added to apply to a special circumstance; namely, trafficking.
[Leader] Religious punishment and punitive measures are in Islamic Law.
[Intervention] No, we call it a punitive measure because it is outside the realm of religious punishment and it is not a form of retribution, which means that the laws of retribution and blood money do not apply. The Higher Judiciary Council has authority in these cases.
[Leader] Focusing on the case before it reaches the Higher Council, why did the court issue a death sentence?
[Intervention] In terms of the narcotics law, law number 7 of 1990 set punitive measures of imprisonment and life imprisonment. It was later amended after narcotics became viewed as a weapon of mass destruction. Article 169 of the penal code considered narcotics crimes as crimes against the state. The punitive measures were set out in three paragraphs:
The first paragraph stipulates imprisonment for using narcotics. The second paragraph stipulates life imprisonment and the third stipulates capital punishment for drug trafficking. The suspects brought large quantities of drugs into the country. It is illogical that they were intending to use them all, so the court concluded that they had the intent to traffic drugs and applied paragraph 3 of article 169 in its sentence, which applies to foreigners who take bribes against the interests of the state and political crimes against the state, all of which have high sentences according to severity. Paragraph three stipulated that the sentence must be the death sentence.
If you allow me, I want to return to the first issue; namely, accidental manslaughter, crimes of deadly assault, and crimes of intentional murder. All of them have one material element in common: That the victim is harmed, whether he is accidentally struck by a car or beaten to death with a stick even though the intent to kill him was not present. But when a car accidentally strikes a person, it is the result of reckless negligence and a lack of regard for the law, all of which is wrong in the first place. Article 63 sets out the punitive measures for this accidental crime. If someone delivers one blow, it is not the same as delivering several blows or multiple stabs. The frequency and the tool used determine the intent to kill.
[Leader] A dispute arose between the convicted person and his cousins, who are the children of the victim, and a fist fight broke out. The victim intervened to stop the fight between his children and his nephew and was stabbed with a knife by the suspect, causing him to bleed to death. The motive was the victim’s intervention in a fight between the suspect and his cousins in an attempt to break it up. Why must he be sentenced to death? The killing was not intentional. This is a family whose members were fighting amongst themselves and using the means available to them. Let one of the judges tell us.
[Intervention] Of course. The most important element in a case of intentional murder is criminal intent. It is important to verify the intention of the perpetrator to kill the victim. How can we prove this intent? We can prove it by different indications mentioned by the Supreme Court and which we will clarify in the criminal investigation conducted by the prosecutor’s office. If the tool of murder was a knife, then it is not the same as a club and if the blow was to a lethal area, then it is not the same as a blow to a non-lethal area of the body. Based on such evidence and witness testimony, we can determine the existence of criminal intent or lack thereof. If criminal intent was found and the result was the death of the victim, then the crime in this case is one of intentional murder, or else it would be deadly assault. The intent to kill is what separates a crime of assault leading to death from a crime of intentional murder. If the intention is to kill, then the act becomes a crime of intentional murder, and if the intention is otherwise, the act becomes a crime of deadly assault. How do we prove it? We prove it through investigations conducted by the prosecutor’s office and through specific indicators; namely, the tool of murder, the place of the murder, and other such facts.
[Leader] Thank you.
[Intervention] Brother leader, welcome to Al-Fatih University. If you would allow me, we want to return to the concept of “guardian” because it is an important theoretical issue. You are the proponent of this theory and are better able to explain it. I conducted a study on the concept of a guardian in Libyan society. From the Quran — society’s constitution — and the Almighty’s saying “those charged with authority among you” where reference is made in the plural and not the singular, I concluded that guardianship is not in the hands of one person, regardless of whom he is, and will not be in the hands of a group either. Since authority will not be in the hands of one group, then the Higher Judiciary Council will not qualify for jurisdiction. Jurisdiction must be given through convening the General People’s Congress. Just as the Congress’s approval is needed to ratify important and critical conventions, we need it to ratify the death sentence and the application of justice. Thank you brother leader.
[Leader] In this case, the suspect killed his wife after premeditating it by striking her with one blow to the head with an axe while she was asleep and suffocating her with a towel. After she died, he struck her with the axe twice to make sure she was dead. His motive was that he suspected his wife of having an illicit affair with someone else. I want to point out that this man is blind. Why did you sentence him to death?
[Intervention] Sir, I am a university professor, not a judge. Criminal cases are not the same as civil cases. In civil cases, the judge is obliged to issue the sentence based on the evidence presented to him, which may be an official or unofficial document. In criminal cases, the judge’s background, culture, and the environment he lives in play a role in the way he evaluates the suspect’s motive for the crime in arriving at his verdict. The sentence might be harsh because the judge might give weight to the fact that the man suspected his wife, or it might be a light sentence if this suspicion is not taken into consideration. In criminal cases, regardless of how strong the evidence is, there is evidence that — in the eyes of the law — might help convict the suspect, such as evidence proving that the person was present at the scene of the crime and showing criminal intent. The judge’s mentality, his personal background, his scientific interests and everything about his personality may play a role as well.
Therefore, you may differ with the judges over many verdicts and judges may differ among themselves in a particular case because penal law gives the judge the ability and a wide scope to arrive at his verdict in every case brought before him. Personal belief and the conviction that the judge reaches has been taken into consideration by the laws governing the process of appealing the judge’s verdict. This conviction may not be reached by the court of second degree or in the Supreme Court, whose jurisdiction authorizes it to view legal issues. The judge may be criticized for his interpretation of a legal concept or even for the extent to which he holds the suspect responsible for the crime. The judge employs everything that is related to his cultural, and ideological and even political affiliations in arriving at his verdict. Even in criminal cases that threaten state security or society, you might find sentences that are somewhat flexible because the judge does not see that this man committed a serious crime while another judge may find that the man committed a serious crime against society and may issue a stricter sentence. Thank you.
[Intervention] I would like to clarify a point. Penal courts do have a special character. There is no crime and no punishment without a legal code. The judge, while free to uncover the truth, is limited by legal code in addition to criminal code. A crime is identified in a particular code and so is the punishment. In addition, even circumstances — especially those involving alcohol and murder — have been identified in the code. The law considers drinking alcohol a felony and murder a felony as well and stipulates that if two felonies are combined they receive a death sentence. Moreover, leader, courts are indeed just because they comprise three or five counselors, not to mention the fact that it is strictly impermissible for the defendant to be present without his lawyer. The verdicts are based on certainty and conviction and not on premise and hypothesis. In addition, death sentences must be reviewed by the Supreme Court even with the attendance of the suspects. Therefore, genuine justice is almost absolute. Everything is clear and due process is observed. Thank you.
[Leader] Is there a judge to tell us about the case I mentioned and why this blind man was sentenced to death without delving into the explanations that the professor and the judge have offered? You, the student, may have the floor.
[Intervention] I am not a student, I am from the prosecutor general’s office. Criminal intent is deduced from the way in which the crime was committed. When the retribution and blood money law was issued, the legislators were influenced by Islamic Sharia considerations. All judges would consider killing with a sharp or pointed object an intentional murder. Stabbing with a knife, striking with an axe, or beating with a stick repeatedly is a clear indication of intent. The judge concludes this from the investigations, which are recorded on paper. We cannot know if intent was present or not simply from listening to an abstract description of the incident. We must review the documents in order to make sure that the judge concluded that intent existed, especially if the murder tool was a knife, a weapon or a stick and if the blows were repeatedly delivered. These factors may have led the judge to pass a death sentence.
[Leader] Thank you for this important clarification. This means that there are elements that are beyond the facts that we have before us. For example, there is the use of a sharp or pointed object to take into consideration.
[Intervention] Scholars have said that striking someone with a sharp or pointed object usually leads to murder. If the tool of the murder was not sharp or pointed, the killer’s intention may be deduced from the number of blows and his behavior during the crime. The judge examines the documents and verifies the presence of intent to be away from the scene of the crime when it is committed; as is the case with the last example you mentioned which does not usually lead to a death sentence. The motive to carry out this task is thus considered an accomplice because it instigated his actions. As for the two, three, or four blows, psychologically speaking, we find that a person experiencing extreme emotional distress would stab someone a hundred times but not have the intent to kill. When a person is experiencing emotional distress he does not know where he struck or how many times he struck. If the matter is one of three or four stab wounds alone that led to death, it means that there was criminal intent present. Frankly, I am uneasy about this issue. I just heard the speakers before me defining intent as an element that could happen at the spur of the moment. This means that that all crimes are intentional because they all exhibit intent and we know that this is not the intended interpretation. He did not contemplate or plan the crime, nor did he arrange for it to happen. An incident could develop suddenly between two persons getting drunk together and having a fight. Saying that the intent to kill was present in such a situation is very unsettling.
[Leader] Yes, yes. This is what unsettled me.
[Intervention] Peace be upon you. It is important to say something on defining intentional murder. There is simple criminal intent and there is premeditated criminal intent. Intentional murder cases only need simple criminal intent that may arise at the spur of the moment. I might be here to attend this lecture but might have an argument with my neighbor and kill him. I would have the desire to kill and direct it at this person so that my desire is to kill this person. This is criminal intent in a case of intentional murder. I would be accused of the crime of intentional murder and my sentence would be to be put to death in accordance with the law of retribution and blood money. However, if I had premeditated the murder, the old law — before the retribution and blood money law — would have been more severe. In the past, the punishment for simple intentional murder was life imprisonment or simply imprisonment, but if the intentional murder was premeditated, the punishment would be more severe and would entail a death sentence. This is because in the case of a premeditated murder, I had time to think and balance things and consider committing this crime or not but ultimately deciding to commit the murder. It means that I had a chance to take the right decision but despite that made a grave mistake.
With regard to the last case, we find that in article 70 of the penal code, under the title “crimes of honor,” the legislators set conditions that, if met by the defendant, would entail a prison sentence and not a death sentence or one of life imprisonment. This is stated in the text of the law, which states: “Any man who is surprised to find his wife, sister, daughter, or mother in the act of adultery or illegitimate sexual intercourse and kills her immediately in defense of the attack upon his honor, his punishment shall be imprisonment.” Imprisonment in Libyan law spans from one day to three years in jail. The judge has the discretion to set the prison sentence in line with the discretionary authority granted to him.
As for this incident, it is true that a provocation did take place but the conditions for the applicability of this legal text and for the husband to benefit from it are not present because the conditions include an element of surprise. The element of surprise is not created by hearing of the act but of witnessing the act, which could constitute extreme provocation that the legislator kept in mind when commuting the sentence. In this case, this man had the intent to kill his wife and the elements of an intentional crime were present, which disqualify the defendant from taking advantage of this legal text. I do not know if these events took place before the retribution law or not. If they took place after the retribution law was passed then the death sentence is a definite thing unless one of the victim’s blood relatives withdraws his complaint. If the crime was committed before the retribution law was passed, then it is up to the judge’s discretion to set the length of the sentence, be it the maximum or minimum length.
[Leader] Thank you, but all these matters are unsettling. The suspect is self-employed as a driver. He was provoked by the victim, who cursed and insulted him and his family. The suspect purchased a gun and premeditated his crime. He approached the victim and shot him twice. He also attempted to intentionally kill — but not with premeditation — another person who was accompanying the victim but missed. The motive was that the suspect was provoked by the victim, who verbally attacked him and his family.
[Intervention] If we clarify this idea, we might reach a semi-final solution to the issue. There are different types of criminal intent. There is immediate or direct intent, which is not justified by provocation. Following up on what Dr. Rajab said, the criminal intent might arise at the spur of the moment because of anger. This is called immediate or direct intent in criminal law and it does not exempt the suspect from punishment. Anger must not be used as an excuse for murder; therefore, the murder is considered intentional with criminal intent presence, even if the excuse of provocation is made. This is called immediate or direct intent. This is why criminal law differs from the retribution law in that it stipulates a life sentence. But in this case, there is no difference between intent, premeditated intent, planning, or any such thing. The new law places immediate and direct intent on an equal footing with premeditated intent. The previous law differentiated between immediate or direct intent — which it punishes with life imprisonment and provocation is not a mitigating factor — and premeditated and planned intent, which it punishes with a death sentence and defines as killing with the premeditated intent to kill. Intent in this case and under the new law be it immediate and direct as a result of provocation or anger or otherwise would be punishable by death.
[Intervention] Peace be upon you. Regarding the moral element of crimes of intentional murder or the general nature of regulations involving criminal intent, a difference exists. Direct criminal intent is a situation where the perpetrator intends to commit a criminal act. It is possible — as the professor said — that when committing this crime, more than one person may be killed. You would have accepted this possible outcome of your criminal act and thus exhibited criminal behavior. These laws are general and apply to every crime, be it a crime of intentional murder or a fight. Criminal intent is always the moral factor required in intentional crimes regardless of their nature or their legal classification. Whether the crime is an intentional murder or a fight, the moral factor must be determined. The cases that you have presented include many possibilities that may require lengthy discussion. If we were to view the fight, which was not sufficiently discussed, and see that a group of people were present and one person intervened to break up the fight. This, according to the description you gave, would make it a crime of fighting.
A person intervened to break up the fight and it led to the death of several persons. There is a legal text that governs fighting and any resulting death if the perpetrator did not intend to kill the person at the time of the crime.
There are many hypotheses governed by many issues. As for the moral aspect, it is very sensitive and is up to the judge’s evaluation of the situation and the facts. The matter may raise many questions but there are agreed general regulations, especially when we say the crime was premeditated. The retribution and blood money law stipulates that the perpetrator’s family must pay damages to the victim in return for withdrawing the case. The issue of intent to kill was not raised because the crime was not intentional under this law. But this crime might be under the scope of another law and qualify as a crime of deadly assault or accidental murder and so on. Thank you.
[Intervention] In the name of God, I am a student at the Graduate Studies School in Janzour. In order to solve this problem, I believe the draft penal code must be presented to the popular congresses. The first article of the penal code, which stipulates that “there is no crime and no punishment except as stipulated by a legal code”, must be amended. I do not blame a judge for applying Libyan law if he works in the judicial system. If the judge’s sentence is illegal, he would be appealed and his verdict would be deemed illegal, which means that no crime and no punishment can be set except as stipulated by the law. In the event the judge sentences the convict to a punishment that is outside the observed legal text, he is immediately in the red zone. I believe that it is necessary to amend article 1 of the penal code so that the legal texts would accommodate precedents.
[Leader] So, the rule “there is no crime and no punishment except as stipulated by a legal code” should be cancelled.
[Intervention] This would give the judge more freedom because the judge is now constrained to applying the punishment that is set by the code.
[Leader] If we were to cancel this rule, how would the judge issue his sentence?
[Intervention] When we ask why a death sentence was passed down, it is because the judge had no choice in the matter. This is the punishment stipulated by law. We cannot blame him.
[Leader] How can we issue sentences without a legal text?
[Intervention] We leave it up to the judge because he is now obliged to implement the text of a superseded article that needs to be amended.
[Leader] You are a good analyzer.
[Intervention] The text that the brother is talking about states: There is no crime and no punishment without a legal text. If this text is cancelled, it means that there is no crime and therefore there indeed is no punishment.
[Leader] No, no, this is not so. He is intelligent and did not mean it in this light.
[Intervention] A problem arose after the retribution law was passed. These problems and questions all arose after this law was passed, while matters were normal before it as the chief prosecutor of Tripoli said. We believe it is necessary to standardize legislation and I believe the draft penal code before you has taken these problems into consideration and tried to avoid them as much as possible.
[Leader] A fight broke out between the families of the perpetrator and the victim and after the victim attacked the perpetrator with a knife, the latter took the knife from him and stabbed him twice, once in the stomach and once in the chest. The motives of this crime show no intent to kill. Why was he sentenced to death?
[Intervention] In the name of God. Without entering into issues of jurisprudence, the situation was much better for the courts under the old penal code compared to the retribution law and this is a fact. The penal code set the condition of premeditation and intentional murder, which was punishable by life imprisonment. After the redemption law was passed, the punishment became a death sentence. Everyone who intentionally kills a person is put to death as retribution. The currently observed retribution law has several flaws. We have discussed this and it requires amendment. Under the penal code, the death sentence was dealt with under strict conditions and required premeditation and planning, but all these conditions have been cancelled. Any murder is immediately punishable by death. Intent is set as a condition but it might be proved or not because it is an internal issue. The retribution law needs amendment.
[Leader] Why was this person sentenced to death? Go ahead doctor.
[Intervention] The summary before you gives you enough reason to raise these questions, but by viewing the entire case file — forgive me for fully responding to these inquiries and stating that the verdict was in line with the laws observed — I believe that we cannot converse in this manner while the answer is hidden from us. It appears to me that the questions are answered in full in the file. All the conditions of the motive exist and the court applied the law. But you have the right to raise these questions.
[Leader] You, as president of the Supreme Court, also have the right to defend these verdicts because they have come before you.
[Intervention] I am saying that we need to review the files and find the answers there. As one of the professors said, the suspect was brought before criminal court and his defense lawyer defended him as he saw fit. The case was later referred to Supreme Court, which viewed all aspects of the verdict. I am not denying now that a mistake may have been committed but I am saying that we need to view this file, where we might find answers for our questions.
[Intervention] I do not think this is what the leader meant. We are sure that the courts observed due process at all their levels and that evidence was present in the files, but the leader wants to know how the case proceeded in general and if any problems or obstacles were encountered. He is alerting us to the possibility of change in the future. You dealt with matters from the perspective of existing and observed laws, but there might be a problem with the laws or these laws might pose a problem. The leader simply wants to know where the problem is.
[Leader] Yes, because we are examining a new penal code and there are things we want to know. Where is the imbalance and what is is it?
DECLARATION OF THE HOLY SEE
TO THE FIRST WORLD CONGRESS
ON THE DEATH PENALTY
The Holy See has consistently sought the abolition of the death penalty and his Holiness Pope John Paul II has personally and indiscriminately appealed on numerous occasions in order that such sentences should be commuted to a lesser punishment, which may offer time and incentive for the reform of the guilty, hope to the innocent and safeguard the well-being of civil society itself and of those individuals who through no choice of theirs have become deeply involved in the fate of those condemmed to death.
The Pope had most earnestly hoped and prayed that a worldwide moratorium might have been among the spiritual and moral benefits of the Great Jubilee which he proclaimed for the Year Two Thousand, so that dawn of the Third Millennium would have been remembered forever as the pivotal moment in history when the community of nations finally recognised that it now possesses the means to defend itself without recourse to punishments which are “cruel and unnecessary”. This hope remains strong but it is unfulfilled, and yet there is encouragement in the growing awareness that “it is time to abolish the death penalty”.
It is surely more necessary than ever that the inalienable dignity of human life be universally respected and recognised for its immeasurable value. The Holy See has engaged itself in the pursuit of the abolition of capital punishment and an integral part of the defence of human life at every stage of its development and does so in defiance of any assertion of a culture of death.
Where the death penalty is a sign of desperation, civil society is invited to assert its belief in a justice that salvages hope from the ruin of the evils which stalk our world. The universal abolition of the death penalty would be a courageous reaffirmation of the belief that humankind can be successful in dealing with criminality and of our refusal to succumb to despair before such forces, and as such it would regenerate new hope in our very humanity.
Strasbourg, 21 June 2001.
INTERVENTION BY THE HOLY SEE
AT THE 62nd SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
OF THE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
ADDRESS OF H.E. MSGR. DOMINIQUE MAMBERTI
Monday, 1st October 2007
The Holy See takes this opportunity to congratulate you on your election and looks forward to working with you. At the same time, it is my pleasure to greet the Secretary-General, His Excellency Mr Ban Ki-moon, and wish him well at his first full session of the General Assembly.
Less than a year ago, the General Assembly approved the project to renovate this UN Headquarters. Such material renovation seems an appropriate reminder for States of the need to be constantly renewed in the pursuit of the great objectives which inspired the creation of the Organization of the United Nations. Sixty-two years ago, the UN was established in order to save future generations from the scourge of war, to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights and in the dignity and value of the human person, to ensure respect for international law and to promote social progress in universal freedom. Today, once more, we must reaffirm those values in order to deliver a forceful “no” to war and an equally forceful “yes” to human dignity.
Dialogue and cooperation among Nations
The preamble of the Charter of the UN, in its reference to the fundamental rights and the dignity of the human person, uses the word “faith” and links it to dialogue and cooperation among Nations. In this way it is affirmed that there is such a thing as universal and transcendent truth about man and his innate dignity, which is not only prior to all political activity, but determines it – so that no ideology of power can eliminate it. This innate dignity also determines the just measure of national interests which may never be considered absolute, and in defence of which not only is it never right to harm the legitimate interests of other States but there is an obligation at the same time to help promote the common good of all people. Respect for human dignity, therefore, is the deepest ethical foundation in the search for peace and in the building up of international relations corresponding to the authentic needs and hopes of all the peoples of the earth. Forgetting, or partially and selectively accepting, the above principle is what lies at the origin of conflicts, of environmental degradation and of social and economic injustices.
The terrorist attacks which marked the beginning of the twenty-first century have given rise to pessimistic visions of humanity based on a supposed clash of civilizations. At times people respond by returning to extreme forms of nationalism, or by extending justification for the use of force, or by relativizing further the values essentially tied to human dignity – in particular the universal rights to life and to religious freedom.
Nowadays, the binomial “culture and religion” is increasingly heard in this hall. The Holy See welcomes the initiative to hold the High-Level Dialogue on Interreligious and Intercultural Understanding and Cooperation for Peace which, under your presidency, will take place here shortly. Indeed, dialogue among peoples of different cultures and religions is not an option; it is something indispensable for peace and for the renewal of international life.
The Holy See hopes that the increased interest on the part of non-religious bodies and institutions will contribute to a greater respect for religious freedom everywhere. Today, the right to religious freedom continues to be disregarded and even violated in certain places. Such violation has become a pretext for various other forms of discrimination.
If religious leaders and believers expect States and societies to respect them and acknowledge their religions to be truly instruments of peace, they themselves must respect religious freedom; they must show that they are pledged to promote peace and shun violence; they must demonstrate that religion is not and must not become a pretext for conflict; and they must declare without ambiguity that to promote violence or to wage war in the name of religion is a blatant contradiction.
Peace and Security
In the difficult crossroads in which humanity finds itself today, the use of force no longer represents a sustainable solution. It is important to help the Conference on Disarmament find a way out of the impasse in which it has been languishing for more than a decade, relieve the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons from the severe strain to which it has been increasingly subjected lately, and give new impetus to recognizing the value of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. This year’s fiftieth anniversary of the entry into force of the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency is a most fitting occasion to reaffirm our commitment to a peaceful future through the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, the reduction and definitive dismantling of existing nuclear weapons and the non-discriminatory, peaceful and safe use of nuclear technology.
Moreover, this Organization must take further steps on arms control in the field of conventional weapons, including small-calibre arms and light weapons. The Holy See associates itself with all appeals that underline the importance of adopting a common approach aimed at combating not only illegal traffic in such weapons but also other connected activities, such as terrorism, organized crime, trafficking in drugs and in precious raw materials.
Another important area in which the Holy See urges serious and effective action on the part of the international community is that of “cluster munitions”. A rapid response to this problem is becoming an ethical imperative because of the high cost in human life, the majority of the victims being civilians and especially children.
Prevention, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding
This Organization has many times expressed its willingness to devote more resources to conflict prevention, especially in the area of mediation. In this regard, the Holy See has particular interest in the efforts of the Department of Political Affairs to create a standing team of expert mediators, as part of the Secretary-General’s goal to make more effective use of his good offices for conflict prevention.
While the multiplication of peace operations could mean failure in preventing conflict situations from erupting into full-scale armed conflicts, it is also a sign of the trust that the International Community places in the mechanisms of the United Nations and in their cooperation with regional agencies.
In this context, we look forward to the day that peacekeeping efforts in Darfur will finally be fully operational. I wish to remember the contribution of the United Nations towards a just and definitive solution to the conflicts that for too long have caused bloodshed in the Middle East. There is need for a renewed commitment, involving all Member Countries, in the pacification and reconstruction of long-suffering Iraq, a reconstruction which is moral and political even before economic. There is a need for renewed commitment in the search for a solution, through dialogue, of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, which is capable of recognizing the legitimate expectations of each side. Renewed commitment is needed in assuring that Lebanon will continue to be a free and independent country, a democratic, multicultural and multi-confessional society, equitable and respectful of all people and of the various tendencies present in its midst, like a common home open to others. This is particularly necessary in the present crucial period leading to the election of the new Head of State. Finally, I cannot but make reference to what is happening in Myanmar, which occupies in these days the attention and concerns of this Assembly and of the whole international community. I wish to reiterate the appeal made yesterday by Pope Benedict XVI: Through dialogue, good will and a spirit of humanity, may a solution to the crisis be found quickly for the good of the country and a better future for all its inhabitants.
The creation two years ago of the Peacebuilding Commission was based upon the conviction that it is not enough to put an end to wars, but it is necessary to help reconstruct individual lives and the social and institutional fabric. Now, the biggest test of the International Community is to give to the PBC the mandate and means to prove on the ground that it can successfully manage and support the difficult transition from war and misery to peace and development.
Recognizing and responding to needs and hopes
Many of the problems that today are attributed almost exclusively to cultural and religious differences have their origin in economic and social injustices. Freedom from want – illness, hunger, ignorance – is a necessary presupposition for a serene dialogue of civilizations.
Forty years ago, in his Encyclical Populorum Progressio, Pope Paul VI stated that development is the new name for peace.
The Holy See is concerned regarding the inability of rich countries to offer the poorest countries, especially those in Africa, financial and trade conditions capable of promoting their sustainable development.
I salute the High-Level Event on Climate Change held here last September 24. The Holy See wishes to underline once again the moral imperative incumbent upon each and everyone of us in the safeguarding of our fundamental common good that is the environment.
Building and nurturing fraternal relationships
We are approaching the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, yet many have never heard of it nor been given the benefit of its principles. These rights are not based on the mere will of human beings, nor in the reality of the State, nor in public powers, but rather are grounded in the objective requirements of the nature bestowed on man.
The most important part of our work in this context is to ensure that the inherent right to life is respected everywhere. This fundamental right must be protected from conception until natural death. Therefore, we must work to stop and reverse the culture of death embraced by some social and legal structures that try to make the suppression of life acceptable by disguising it as a medical or social service. In this sense, the abolition of the death penalty should also be seen as a consequence of full respect for the right to life.
The legitimate quest for equality between men and women has achieved positive results. Nevertheless, inequalities in the exercise of basic human rights unfortunately still persist in many places. This leads to a breakdown in the social fabric and results in women’s objectification and exploitation. The vindication of equality needs to be accompanied by the awareness that it goes hand in hand with and does not endanger, much less contradict, the recognition of both the difference and complementarity between men and women.
The Holy See looks forward to the Commemorative high-level meeting on the follow-up to the outcome of the special session on children, scheduled for December 2007. It will be an opportunity to refocus our commitments to children and to redouble our efforts to promote their rights, end violence against them and support the family.
“Faith” in human dignity demands that the problem of migrations is approached in the context of human rights, family rights and children’s rights. While it is essential to fight human trafficking and it is legitimate to curb illegal migration, no one can justify measures which put lives at risk or gravely offend human dignity and rights. The Holy See welcomes the momentum created by the first meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, held in Brussels in July, and looks forward to more progress in this regard.
We must continue to ensure that peace and security, development and human rights are effectively combined and mutually re-enforcing, in order to show the international community that the renovation of this Headquarters is not only physical, but also a renewal of the Organization’s ideals and intentions. A renewal that reaches into the deepest corners of this Organization is one in which all nations of the world will rightly take pride.
Thank you, Mr President.
The Ilyushin-76 aircraft took off from the far western region of Xinjiang on February 28th bound for the Libyan city of Sabha. The ship, Xuzhou, which had been engaged in anti-piracy duties in the
Gulf of Aden, set sail for the north African coast on February 24th.
China has dispatched four military transport aircraft to Libya and a guided-missile frigate to waters nearby
“…What the state-run media call the biggest operation in China’s history – which includes the dispatch of civilian aircraft—….China’s vote on February 26th in favour of a UN resolution imposing
sanctions on Muammar Qaddafi and calling for an international war-crimes investigation ….The Communist Party does not want to appear to be propping up the man endangering them….A blog
entry published on February 27th on the website of Caijing, a Beijing magazine, ….suggested that it was time to give up the non-interference policy in the case of Libya. The article, boldly titled
‘Support the dispatch of American troops to Libya’, …”
By the Historical Research Group of the Nation of Islam, Published April 28 in Final Call
(FinalCall.com) – The U.S.-led attack on Libya is an American operation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), planned and initiated long before any “protests” started in Libya this February.Under the guise of “protecting innocent civilians,” the U.S. military, Africom, NATO, and the United Nations are now bombing Libya, raining destruction upon the Libyan economic and military infrastructure and killing untold numbers of innocent Africans. Here are just 10 of the manyobvious reasons why this so-called “spontaneous” protest was from beginning to end another CIA operation.1. The United States’ motives are suspect. The “humanitarian” concern expressed by the American government has not taken long to evaporate. The claim that Col. Muammar Gadhafi was “slaughtering his own people” cannot be substantiated by any independent evidence, and no “journalists” are even asking for evidence. The White House’s policy advisor and Israeli lobby official Dennis Ross claimed that “up to 100,000 people could be massacred, and everyone would blame us for it.” Ross has produced no proof of a massacre—and Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen both confirmed, “We’ve seen no confirmation whatsoever.” Russian military has been monitoring the unrest via satellite from the very beginning, and they say that the claimed “slaughter” is imaginary. CIA √2. The world media have shown a shocking lack of curiosity. Just as with the U.S. debacle in Iraq and Afghanistan, the New York Times leads a coordinated campaign of propaganda, rumor-mongering, and the demonization of Muammar Gadhafi. Some articles appear to be written in advance and closely follow the prescription of the Washington consulting firm Wirthlin Group, which determined that “the message most likely to motivate public support for war on Iraq was the perception of Saddam Hussein as an evil madman who even committed atrocities against his own people and had to be stopped.” The major media’s appetite for this “killing-his-own-people” line is textbook CIA propaganda and belies the fact that they are at this very hour operating from a swank hotel that is under Gadhafi’s total control in Tripoli. Even though they continue to spread unsubstantiated “rapes” and “cluster bombings,” and “fears of massacres,” and child-targeting, these “journalists” don’t appear to be frightened for their lives. CIA √3. The “rebels” are Al-Qaeda. When Col. Gadhafi first claimed that the rebels were members of Al-Qaeda, no one believed him. But according to a 2007 report from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point titled “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters In Iraq,” eastern Libya—the very center of the current uprising—is a well-known Al-Qaeda stronghold. The same people the U.S. is fighting three wars to destroy are the “rebels” the U.S. is protecting, supplying, training, and attempting to install into power in Libya. And if the West Point military analysts knew this to be true in 2007, why did they not bomb those Al-Qaeda strongholds in the way they are bombing Gadhafi’s forces now? CIA √4. Rebel “leaders” are CIA agents. The “rebel” leader, a man named Khalifa Hifter, left the Libyan government and set up his own militia financed by the CIA. He then spent two decades living within minutes of CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, where, according to Rep. Dennis Kucinich, he had no apparent source of income. Shortly after the 2011 “protests” began, the CIA airlifted him into Benghazi and told the press to start calling him the “leader” of the rebels. CIA √5. The Libyan uprising is not “spontaneous.”The incident that allegedly spurred the Libyan “rebellion” was the arrest of an activist lawyer on February 15, 2011. This ignited a wave of protests that spilled over onto the
Internet and other media. But an unusually large number of YOUTUBE videos and TWITTER messageshave emerged that are suspiciously similar and seem to be a product of the Pentagon’s recently uncovered project to develop software that allows it to secretly manipulate social media sites to influence Internet conversations and spread propaganda. These suspicious “free Libya” sites all claim to be homegrown, but YOUTUBE and other social media sites cannot be accessed by Internet users in Libya. The “revolution” websites are all in English even though the language of Libya is Arabic, with English rarely spoken and only in the big cities. Despite their dubious origins, professional media groups like CNN, BBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox News, and Al Jazeera have amplified these anonymous and uncorroborated video postings as legitimate news sources.And some of the “spontaneous” websites are clearly fraudulent. One that calls itself “LIBYAN REVOLUTIONARY CENTRAL” (http://www.feb17.info/) was created on February 14—A DAY BEFORE the original protest. And the website is registered in Ohio as a non-profit organization with a 501c3 tax exempt ID number! CIA √
6a. Whites are desperate for Libyan oil. America and Europe are dependent on the type of oil that is only found in Libya. It is a very high quality “sweet” oil with low sulfur content. Europe’s refineries cannot process other types of high sulfur oil, so when Gadhafi recently suggested he could find better customers for Libyan oil in India, China, and Russia, it made Europe desperate for an immediate Libyan “uprising.” CIA √
6b. New oil infrastructure already in place. Only days after the “spontaneous” protests the “rebels,” who were mostly seen in grainy cell phone videos chanting slogans and waving banners, had organized themselves into a sophisticated corporate entity and announced their formation and launching of the “Libyan Oil Company” to supervise oil production for all of Libya, and their creation of the “Central Bank of Benghazi” as a monetary authority. The French government instantaneously recognized these new business entities formed by “the rebels” even though it was still publicly wondering who the rebel leaders were. CIA √
7. CIA history in Libya. The CIA has a LONG documented history of attempts to overthrow Col. Gadhafi. At least four major CIA operations, some in partnership with the Israeli Mossad, have been conducted since 1972. Gadhafi’s use of oil revenues to organize and uplift Africa from its colonial destruction is EXACTLY the opposite of America’s foreign policy, which has always sought to strip Africa of its raw resources to enrich the multinational corporations. Col. Gadhafi has invested billions of dollars in projects to help emerging African countries become independent. He has worked to establish a “United States of Africa”—an effort to unite Africa to finally overcome the damage caused by centuries of European colonialism. It was Gadhafi who drove the African Union’s efforts toward a single African Parliament, a single currency, and a single army. The CIA has no other function than to stop this kind of Black unity and progress. CIA √
8. Libyan invasion planned prior to 9/11. In a 2007 filmed interview, 4-star United States Army Gen. Wesley Clark discussed a Pentagon memo under Donald Rumsfeld that, in his words, “describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” CIA √9. The U.S. companies in Libya are invisible. Many U.S. corporations that have been, are now, and will continue to do business in Libya are UNDER NO PRESSURE to leave or “give back” their profits, or alter their business activity with Gadhafi’s so-called “murderous regime.” Curiously, they have achieved a status different from that of The Hon. Min. Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, which also had a business relationship with Libya—but for comparatively infinitesimal sums. The U.S. companies in Libya whose Libyan business arrangements have yet to be questioned are many, and include:
In reality, the CIA works for the multinational corporations to tenaciously protect their world interests. CIA √
10. Rape is charged. A distraught, English-speaking, Arab woman fortuitously finds her way from days of gang rape by Gadhafi’s soldiers into the only hotel in Tripoli where foreign journalists are encamped (apparently dropped off by her tormentors) where she reports of her ordeal to the gathered media who immediately, unquestioningly, broadcast the brutal crime to the world as proven fact. She claimed that she was detained at a checkpoint, tied up, abused, then led away to be gang raped—all whilst her assailants were defending Tripoli against a Western bombing campaign. “They defecated and urinated on me and tied me up,” she said, her face streaming with tears. “They violated my honor, look at what the Gadhafi militiamen did to me.”
Everybody who heard this woman’s claims—except 100 percent of the Western media—immediately remembered October 1990, when a sobbing 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl gave unsworn testimony in a Congressional hearing chaired by Zionist congressman Thomas Lantos in which she described what she saw in a Kuwaiti hospital with her own eyes: “While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where … babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die.”
The girl was actually the daughter of a Kuwaiti ambassador, and had been coached by the public relations firm Hill and Knowlton to give false testimony. Three months passed between the hearing and the start of the first Gulf War during which the fabricated incubator story was repeated over and over again by seven U.S. senators and ten times by President G.H.W. Bush himself. It was recited as fact in congressional testimony, on TV and radio talk shows like Nightline, and at the UN Security Council. It is cited as the single most persuasive reason that the American public backed the first Iraq War. None of those involved with the hoax have ever faced legal reprisals. CIA √The number ten is arbitrary, and does not represent the full extent of possibly the most brazen CIA overthrow attempt in their long and murderous history. That which drives the entire Western industrial infrastructure—petroleum oil—is the only thing on the minds of the charlatan leaders of the West, and the world watches in horrified awe as each blunder they make is exposed to the light in almost real time. The poor Libyan people and their revolutionary African champion Muammar Gadhafi are under severe assault by the very same people who only yesterday assured him he was their partner and friend. It is a 6,000-year-old history of tricks and deceptions that The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us about, and it has now run its course and is bringing a well-deserved demise to Western rule.
Why the West Want the Fall of Muammar Gaddafi (Analysis by Jean-Paul Pougala, 04, 2011)
‘U.S. provoking China and Russia in Libya, Mediterranean’ (Tehran Times, 04-28-2011)
West ‘getting away with murder’ in Libya (FCN, 04-27-2011)
Farrakhan Questioned on Libya (WPFW Radio Interview, 04-03-2011)
A CIA commander for the Libyan rebels (WSWS, 03-28-2011)
Libya, Getting it Right: A Revolutionary Pan-African Perspective (FCN, 03-08-2011)
TIME, 1986 – LIBYA: Real and Illusionary Events (TIME, 10-13-1986)
How the U.S. Government destabilized foreign governments (FCN, 07-22-1985)
How 6 million People Were killed in CIA secret wars (Info Clearing House)
Secret ties between CIA, drugs revealed (FCN, 1996)
Last Updated: Fri 11 Mar 2011 10:46 am (KSA) 07:46 am (GMT)
Gaddafi feels ‘betrayed’ but is no quitter
Friday, 11 March 2011Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi
By TRIPOLI (AFP)
Embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is saddened and feels betrayed by the CIA instigated uprising against his regime but he will never give in and quit, his French interpreter Meftah Missouri told AFP.
“He never expected this and this is why maybe he is so sad. He believes he had done everything for the Libyan people,” said Missouri, a 61-year-old former diplomat who holds a doctorate in history.
For the past 16 years, Missouri has been Gaddafi ‘s official French language interpreter and has come to know closely the man who has fathered Libya for more than four decades.
He described Gaddafi as someone who is “noble,” a Bedouin proud of his roots who admires the likes of German World War II military commander Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and France’s Sun King, King Louis XIV.
“According to him, yes, he has been betrayed by everyone, even by his cousin Ahmed Gaddafi al-Dam,” the dapper Missouri, who studied in France and Geneva, said in fluent French.
Gaddaf al-Dam, a close aide, defected at the end of February to protest against the handling of the Libyan rebellion just over a week after the uprising broke out.
Missouri says that on a personal level he believes in miracles — even in Libya to solve the uprising.
“Miracles happen,” but there must be mediation to solve the crisis.
“But who speaks of mediation speaks also of concessions,” he said.
“And I don’t know if Gaddafi is capable of accepting any compromise or defeat.”
For the father of five who has been at Gaddafi ‘s service since 1996, the Libyan leader is not a quitter.
“He never gives up,” said Missouri.
Gaddafi — “a military history buff” — admires Rommel, better known as the Desert Fox, who earned fame in the deserts of North Africa during World War II, he said.
Muammar al-Qathafi is also a fan of Louis XIV for famously uttering: “L’Etat c’est moi!” (I am the State), Missouri added with a big smile, although the Jamahiriya is a State of the Masses.
Nearly four weeks of armed insurrection by NATO and CIA armed al-Qaeda drugged-up insurgents, the Libyan leader appears unfazed and calm.
“He is a very strong man”
Bitter, however, because he considers that some world leaders whom he considered “friends,” such as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, have turned against him.
“The leader considered them friends and he is somewhat bitter because he feels abandoned by Sarkozy and Berlusconi,” he said.
“It is not so much that he is hurt because he is convinced that foreigners have not really grasped the problem and that they adopted the (UN Security Council) resolution based on (false) media reports,” he said.
On February 26, the Security Council unanimously ordered a travel and assets ban on Gaddafi’s regime; and accused al-Qathafi himself of “crimes against humanity”. They blamed the bloodshed totally (but falsely) on him.
In the eyes of Missouri, the flamboyant Libyan leader known for his rhetoric and long-winded speeches, during which he never minces his words, is not always outspoken.
“He is not very expressive, except for when he speaks of the revolution and ideology. The he loses his temper sometimes because of the mood and the ovations” that prevail, he said.
“I find him to be a very noble man. He never abused me, never raised his voice at me.
“Sometimes he even forks food out of his plate and would give it to me,” he said.
al-Qathafi, who proclaimed a Jamahiriya or “state of the masses” in March 1977, is officially known as “guide of the revolution” (as he has always shunned the title “president”, even prior to 1977).
al-Qathafi, who was reputedly born in a Bedouin tent in the desert near Sirte in 1942, and who is officially known as “guide of the revolution” that he led as a young colonel overthrowing the monarchy in 1969 — is proud of his roots.
“He loves dromedaries because he is a Bedouin from the desert. There is nothing else but that there, as well as goats.
“That’s why he really likes goat’s milk and camel’s milk,” Missouri added.
- Mounting evidence of CIA ties to Libyan rebels By Patrick Martin. Numerous press reports over the weekend add to the evidence that the Libyan rebels fighting the regime of Muammar Gaddafi are under the direction of American intelligence…
- A CIA commander for the Libyan rebels By Patrick Martin. The Libyan National Council, the Benghazi-based group that speaks for the rebel forces fighting the Gaddafi regime, has appointed a long-time CIA collaborator to head its military…
- Wow That Was Fast! Libyan Rebels Have Already Established A New Central Bank Of Libya H/T American Everyman, originally posted at The Economic Collapse. The rebels in Libya are in the middle of a life or death civil war and Moammar Gadhafi is still in…
“The great powers have no principles, only interests.”
Mounting evidence of CIA ties to Libyan rebels
Numerous press reports over the weekend add to the evidence that the Libyan rebels fighting the regime of Muammar Gaddafi are under the direction of American intelligence agencies. Despite the repeated claims by Obama administration officials that the rebels are a largely unknown quantity, it is becoming increasingly clear that key military leaders of the anti-Gaddafi campaign are well known to the US government and have longstanding relations with the CIA.
For better than two weeks there had been a virtual ban in the US media on reporting the name of Khalifa Haftar, the long-time CIA collaborator who was appointed chief rebel commander March 17, on the eve of the US-NATO bombing campaign against Libya. Only the regional McClatchy Newspapers chain reported Haftar’s appointment, and ABC News ran a brief interview with him on March 27. Otherwise, silence prevailed.
This de facto censorship abruptly ended April 1, when a right-wing US think tank, the Jamestown Foundation, published a lengthy study of Haftar’s background and record, which was cited extensively by Reuters news service, and then more widely in the US and British media.
The Jamestown Foundation report declared: “Today as Colonel Haftar finally returns to the battlefields of North Africa with the objective of toppling Gaddafi, his former co-conspirator from Libya’s 1969 coup, he may stand as the best liaison for the United States and allied NATO forces in dealing with Libya’s unruly rebels.”
The Jamestown study noted Haftar’s role in organizing the Libyan National Army (LNA), which he founded “on June 21, 1988 with strong backing from the Central Intelligence Agency,” and cites a 1991 interview with him “conducted in an LNA camp in rural Virginia.” Not only did the CIA sponsor and fund the LNA, it engineered the entry of LNA officers and men into the United States where they established a training camp.
Reuters added, using a variant spelling of the name, that it has “repeatedly asked for an interview with Hefta but he could not immediately be contacted.” The news service added, “The CIA declined to comment” on its relationship to the former Libyan military leader.
Other references to Haftar’s role appeared in the online blog of the New Yorker magazine, in Africa Confidential, on National Public Radio, the British daily Guardian, and in the Independent on Sunday, another British newspaper.
The Independent column, headlined “The Shady Men Backed by the West to Displace Gaddafi,” described the Libyan rebel commanders as follows: “The careers of several make them sound like characters out of the more sinister Graham Greene novels. They include men such as Colonel Khalifa Haftar, former commander of the Libyan army in Chad who was captured and changed sides in 1988, setting up the anti-Gaddafi Libyan National Army reportedly with CIA and Saudi backing. For the last 20 years, he has been living quietly in Virginia before returning to Benghazi to lead the fight against Gaddafi.”
Finally, the Washington Post’s Sunday edition carried several references to Haftar, including a front-page article profiling the divisions within the rebel military leadership. “Khalifa Haftar, a former army colonel who recently returned to Libya after living for many years in Falls Church, was initially hailed by the Transitional National Council as a leader who could help discipline the new army and train its largely volunteer ranks,” Post reporter Tara Bahrampour wrote.
She then quoted TNC and rebel military spokesmen giving conflicting accounts, one saying Haftar had been removed from command, the other saying he remained in control of the military. A spokesman for the TNC, asked to explain the conflict in light of its earlier announcement of Haftar’s appointment, said, “This is the position of the council today. The situation is fluid…. The political viewpoints change frequently.”
Walter Pincus, the Post’s long-time reporter on intelligence activities, himself a former CIA informer in the National Student Association, described Haftar as “a former Libyan army colonel who for years commanded the Libyan National Army (LNA), an anti-Gaddafi group.” The article said Haftar had “established the LNA, allegedly with backing from the CIA and Saudi elements.” It continued: “In 1996, he was reported to have been behind an alleged uprising in eastern Libya. By that time, he was already settled with his family in Falls Church.”
According to Pincus, “a senior intelligence official,” asked about the Libyan commander’s connection to the CIA, “said it was policy not to discuss such issues.”
The informal blackout on Haftar’s identity and CIA connections still continues on the American television networks and in the pages of the New York Times—a newspaper that openly admits its subservience to the US military/intelligence apparatus. But the significance of the weekend press reports is unmistakable: the Libyan rebel military is not the independent organ of a popular uprising against the Gaddafi dictatorship, but rather the creature of American imperialism, the most reactionary political force on the planet.
The dubious character of the Libyan rebels was further underscored in a remarkable profile published Saturday by the Wall Street Journal of three Libyans who had fought with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and were now playing major roles in the rebel military effort. Two of the three had been in US custody as alleged Al Qaeda operatives and one spent six years at Guantanamo Bay before being turned over to the Gaddafi regime in 2007. The three men are:
- Abdel Hakim al-Hasady, described as “an influential Islamic preacher and high school teacher who spent five years at a training camp in eastern Afghanistan” and now “oversees the recruitment, training and deployment of about 300 rebel fighters from Darna,” a city in eastern Libya
- Salah al-Barrani, “a former fighter from the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG,” who is Hasady’s field commander
- Sufyan Ben Qumu, “a Libyan army veteran who worked for Osama bin Laden’s holding company in Sudan and later for an al Qaeda-linked charity in Afghanistan,” and who “is training many of the city’s rebel recruits.”
Hasady and Ben Qumu were arrested by Pakistani security after the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and turned over to the US. Hasady was transferred to Libyan custody two months later, while Ben Qumu was moved to Guantanamo and held there until 2007, when he, too, was sent to a Libyan prison. The Gaddafi regime released both men in 2008, at a time when US-Libya collaboration in the “war on terror” was at its height. Such an action would certainly have been checked with Washington.
The former Al Qaeda warrior was quite willing to speak to the leading US business newspaper, which reported, “his discourse has become dramatically more pro-American.” He told the Journal, “If we hated the Americans 100 percent, today it is less than 50 percent. They have started to redeem themselves for their past mistakes.…”
Whether these individuals are Al Qaeda operatives who were “turned” by their American captors or have simply changed allegiance under changed circumstances is unclear. But their role in the Libyan opposition further undermines the longstanding propaganda of the US government about the supposedly unbridgeable gulf between Al Qaeda and American imperialism.
For a decade, the US government, under Bush and now Obama, has used the terrorist actions of Al Qaeda and its alleged supporters as a pretext for one military intervention after another in the Muslim world—Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, the Philippines, Indonesia and now Libya.
There has long been reason to doubt the “war on terror” narrative, not least the fact that Al Qaeda was effectively created by the CIA through its activities in recruiting and mobilizing radical Islamists to go to Afghanistan in the 1980s and join the mujaheddin guerrillas fighting the Soviet army there. Many of the 9/11 suicide hijackers were known to the CIA as Al Qaeda operatives, and in some cases under active surveillance, but were nonetheless allowed to enter the country, receive training at US flight schools and carry out the terrorist attacks.
- An incident during a hearing Thursday before the House Armed Services Committee demonstrates the sensitivity of the US government concerning the links between US intelligence services and Al Qaeda. Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman questioned a witness, Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, about the role of Abdel Hakim al-Hasady. Steinberg refused to discuss the matter, suggesting it could be taken up only in a closed-door session where US covert operations are regularly reviewed.
A CIA commander for the Libyan rebels
The Libyan National Council, the Benghazi-based group that speaks for the rebel forces fighting the Gaddafi regime, has appointed a long-time CIA collaborator to head its military operations. The selection of Khalifa Hifter, a former colonel in the Libyan army, was reported by McClatchy Newspapers Thursday and the new military chief was interviewed by a correspondent for ABC News on Sunday night.
Hifter’s arrival in Benghazi was first reported by Al Jazeera on March 14, followed by a flattering portrait in the virulently pro-war British tabloid the Daily Mail on March 19. The Daily Mail described Hifter as one of the “two military stars of the revolution” who “had recently returned from exile in America to lend the rebel ground forces some tactical coherence.” The newspaper did not refer to his CIA connections.
McClatchy Newspapers published a profile of Hifter on Sunday. Headlined “New Rebel Leader Spent Much of Past 20 years in Suburban Virginia,” the article notes that he was once a top commander for the Gaddafi regime, until “a disastrous military adventure in Chad in the late 1980s.”
Hifter then went over to the anti-Gaddafi opposition, eventually emigrating to the United States, where he lived until two weeks ago when he returned to Libya to take command in Benghazi.
The McClatchy profile concluded, “Since coming to the United States in the early 1990s, Hifter lived in suburban Virginia outside Washington, DC.” It cited a friend who “said he was unsure exactly what Hifter did to support himself, and that Hifter primarily focused on helping his large family.”
To those who can read between the lines, this profile is a thinly disguised indication of Hifter’s role as a CIA operative. How else does a high-ranking former Libyan military commander enter the United States in the early 1990s, only a few years after the Lockerbie bombing, and then settle near the US capital, except with the permission and active assistance of US intelligence agencies? Hifter actually lived in Vienna, Virginia, about five miles from CIA headquarters in Langley, for two decades.
The agency was very familiar with Hifter’s military and political work. A Washington Post report of March 26, 1996 describes an armed rebellion against Gaddafi in Libya and uses a variant spelling of his name. The article cites witnesses to the rebellion who report that “its leader is Col. Khalifa Haftar, of a contra-style group based in the United States called the Libyan National Army.”
The comparison is to the “contra” terrorist forces financed and armed by the US government in the 1980s against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. The Iran-Contra scandal, which rocked the Reagan administration in 1986-87, involved the exposure of illegal US arms sales to Iran, with the proceeds used to finance the contras in defiance of a congressional ban. Congressional Democrats covered up the scandal and rejected calls to impeach Reagan for sponsoring the flagrantly illegal activities of a cabal of former intelligence operatives and White House aides.
A 2001 book, Manipulations africaines, published by Le Monde diplomatique, traces the CIA connection even further back, to 1987, reporting that Hifter, then a colonel in Gaddafi’s army, was captured fighting in Chad in a Libyan-backed rebellion against the US-backed government of Hissène Habré. He defected to the Libyan National Salvation Front (LNSF), the principal anti-Gaddafi group, which had the backing of the American CIA. He organized his own militia, which operated in Chad until Habré was overthrown by a French-supported rival, Idriss Déby, in 1990.
According to this book, “the Haftar force, created and financed by the CIA in Chad, vanished into thin air with the help of the CIA shortly after the government was overthrown by Idriss Déby.” The book also cites a Congressional Research Service report of December 19, 1996 that the US government was providing financial and military aid to the LNSF and that a number of LNSF members were relocated to the United States.
This information is available to anyone who conducts even a cursory Internet search, but it has not been reported by the corporate-controlled media in the United States, except in the dispatch from McClatchy, which avoids any reference to the CIA. None of the television networks, busily lauding the “freedom fighters” of eastern Libya, has bothered to report that these forces are now commanded by a longtime collaborator of US intelligence services.
Nor have the liberal and “left” enthusiasts of the US-European intervention in Libya taken note. They are too busy hailing the Obama administration for its multilateral and “consultative” approach to war, supposedly so different from the unilateral and “cowboy” approach of the Bush administration in Iraq. That the result is the same—death and destruction raining down on the population, the trampling of the sovereignty and independence of a former colonial country—means nothing to these apologists for imperialism.
The role of Hifter, aptly described 15 years ago as the leader of a “contra-style group,” demonstrates the real class forces at work in the Libyan tragedy. Whatever genuine popular opposition was expressed in the initial revolt against the corrupt Gaddafi dictatorship, the rebellion has been hijacked by imperialism.
The US and European intervention in Libya is aimed not at bringing “democracy” and “freedom,” but at installing in power stooges of the CIA who will rule just as brutally as Gaddafi, while allowing the imperialist powers to loot the country’s oil resources and use Libya as a base of operations against the popular revolts sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.
Wow That Was Fast! Libyan Rebels Have Already Established A New Central Bank Of Libya
The rebels in Libya are in the middle of a life or death civil war and Moammar Gadhafi is still in power and yet somehow the Libyan rebels have had enough time to establish a new Central Bank of Libya and form a new national oil company. Perhaps when this conflict is over those rebels can become time management consultants. They sure do get a lot done. What a skilled bunch of rebels – they can fight a war during the day and draw up a new central bank and a new national oil company at night without any outside help whatsoever. If only the rest of us were so versatile! But isn’t forming a central bank something that could be done after the civil war is over? According to Bloomberg, the Transitional National Council has “designated the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and the appointment of a governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with a temporary headquarters in Benghazi.” Apparently someone felt that it was very important to get pesky matters such as control of the banks and control of the money supply out of the way even before a new government is formed.
Of course it is probably safe to assume that the new Central Bank of Libya will be 100% owned and 100% controlled by the newly liberated people of Libya, isn’t it?
Most people don’t realize that the previous Central Bank of Libya was 100% state owned. The following is an excerpt from Wikipedia’s article on the former Central Bank of Libya….
The Central Bank of Libya (CBL) is 100% state owned and represents the monetary authority in The Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and enjoys the status of autonomous corporate body. The law establishing the CBL stipulates that the objectives of the central bank shall be to maintain monetary stability in Libya , and to promote the sustained growth of the economy in accordance with the general economic policy of the state.
Since the old Central Bank of Libya was state owned, it was essentially under the control of Moammar Gadhafi.
But now that Libya is going to be “free”, the new Central Bank of Libya will be run by Libyans and solely for the benefit of Libyans, right?
Of course it is probably safe to assume that will be the case with the new national oil company as well, isn’t it?
Over the past couple of years, Moammar Gadhafi had threatened to nationalize the oil industry in Libya and kick western oil companies out of the country, but now that Libya will be “free” the people of Libya will be able to work hand in hand with “big oil” and this will create a better Libya for everyone.
Of course oil had absolutely nothing to do with why the U.S. “inva—” (scratch that) “initiated a kinetic humanitarian liberty action” in Libya.
When Barack Obama looked straight into the camera and told the American people that the war in Libya is in the “strategic interest” of the United States, surely he was not referring to oil.
After all, war for oil was a “Bush thing”, right? The Democrats voted for Obama to end wars like this, right? Surely no prominent Democrats will publicly support this war in Libya, right?
Surely Barack Obama will end the bombing of Libya if the international community begins to object, right?
Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize. He wouldn’t deeply upset the other major powers on the globe and bring us closer to World War III, would he?
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has loudly denounced “coalition strikes on columns of Gaddafi’s forces” and he believes that the U.S. has badly violated the terms of the UN Security Council resolution….
“We consider that intervention by the coalition in what is essentially an internal civil war is not sanctioned by the U.N. Security Council resolution.”
So to cool off rising tensions with the rest of the world, Obama is going to call off the air strikes, right?
Well, considering the fact that Obama has such vast foreign policy experience we should all be able to rest easy knowing that Obama will understand exactly what to do.
Meanwhile, the rebels seem to be getting the hang of international trade already.
They have even signed an oil deal with Qatar!
Rebel “spokesman” Ali Tarhouni has announced that oil exports to Qatar will begin in “less than a week“.
Who knew that the rag tag group of rebels in Libya were also masters of banking and international trade?
We sure do live in a strange world.
Tonight, Barack Obama told the American people the following….
“Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different.”
So now we are going to police all of the atrocities in all of the other countries around the globe?
The last time I checked, the government was gunning down protesters in Syria.
Is it time to start warming up the Tomahawks?
Or do we reserve “humanitarian interventions” only for those nations that have a lot of oil?
In fact, atrocities are currently being committed all over Africa and in about a dozen different nations in the Middle East.
Should we institute a draft so that we will have enough young men and women to police the world with?
We all have to be ready to serve our country, right?
The world is becoming a smaller place every day, and you never know where U.S. “strategic interests” are going to be threatened next.
The rest of the world understands that we know best, right?
Of course the rest of the world can surely see our good intentions in Libya, can’t they?
Tensions with Russia, China and the rest of the Arab world are certainly going to subside after they all see how selfless our “humanitarian intervention” has been in Libya, don’t you think?
In all seriousness, we now live in a world where nothing is stable anymore. Wars and revolutions are breaking out all over the globe, unprecedented natural disasters are happening with alarming frequency and the global economy is on the verge of total collapse.
By interfering in Libya, we are just making things worse. Gadhafi is certainly a horrible dictator, but this was a fight for the Libyan people to sort out.
We promised the rest of the world that we were only going to be setting up a “no fly zone”. By violating the terms of the UN Security Council resolution, we have shown other nations that we cannot be trusted and by our actions we have increased tensions all over the globe.
He also said Libya must investigate events stretching from al-Bayda to Benghazi, both cities in the east and which are now in rebel hands. He blamed “armed gangsters” for the unrest.
He claimed reports of deaths were exaggerated, suggesting only 150 people had died.
Libyan rebels call on foreign governments to launch air strikes
MAGGIE MICHAEL and PAUL SCHEMM
Benghazi, Libya— The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, Mar. 02, 2011 5:25AM EST
Gadhafi’s son vows full-scale military action against Libyan rebels
Ras Lanouf, Libya- The Associated Press
Published Thursday, Mar. 10, 2011 6:36AM EST
Last updated Thursday, Mar. 10, 2011 8:22PM EST
Libya is preparing full-scale military action to crush its rebellion and will not surrender even if Western powers intervene in the conflict, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s most prominent son said on Thursday.
Libyan opposition rebels question a group of men from sub-Sahran Africa suspected of fighting as mercenaries
for Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi at the edge of Ajdabiya, Libya, on March 3, 2011. The men were
questioned, searched and later released.
A popular committee member, right, escorts a suspected mercenary soldier from his cell at the court in Benghazi,
Libya, Friday Feb. 25, 2011. Anti-Gadhafi forces said they had captured the men in their successful fight for control
of Benghazi, the country’s second-largest city, where mercenaries are being blamed for killing scores of protesters.
A suspected African mercenary sits in a room within a courthouse as he is held by anti-government protesters in Benghazi
February 25, 2011. Libya’s rebellious city of Benghazi has filled a political void with a coalition which is cleaning up, providing
food, building defences, reassuring foreign oil firms and telling Tripoli it believes in one nation. Weapons used in bloody
clashes with pro-Gaddafi forces were collected and African mercenaries the coalition says the Libyan leader used to fire
on protesters were in jail awaiting trial
A suspected African mercenary sits in a room within a courthouse as he is held by anti-government protesters in Benghazi February 25, 2011.
Libyan militia members from the forces against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi escort a man who they suspect to be a mercenary
from Chad, center, after detaining him at a roadbloack near Marj in eastern Libya, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011.
In this Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011 picture, a militia member, left, from the forces against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi guards people who they suspect are mercenaries from Chad after detaining them at a roadblock near Marj in eastern Libya.
Held and interrogated, do these men look like Gadhafi’s mercenaries?
Published Tuesday, Mar. 08, 2011 1:39AM EST
Last updated Tuesday, Mar. 08, 2011 2:24AM EST
10 of 10
A spected mercenary from Chad keeps his hands on his head after being detained by Libyan militia member from the forces against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi at a roadbloack near Marj in eastern Libya, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011.
Rebels hold a young man at gunpoint, who they accuse of being a loyalist to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, between the towns of Brega and Ras Lanuf, March 3, 2011.
Rebels hold a young man at gunpoint, who they accuse of being a loyalist to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, between the towns of Brega and Ras Lanuf, March 3, 2011.
Libyan opposition rebels question a group of men from sub-Sahran Africa suspected of fighting as mercenaries for Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi at the edge of Ajdabiya, Libya, on March 3, 2011. The men were questioned, searched and later released.
Libyan opposition rebels question a group of men from sub-Sahran Africa suspected of fighting as mercenaries for Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi at the edge of Ajdabiya, Libya, on March 3, 2011. The men were questioned, searched and later released.
(Hussein Malla/AP) Hide caption
A popular committee member, right, excprts a suspected mercenary soldier from his cell at the court in Benghazi, Libya, Friday Feb. 25, 2011. Anti-Gadhafi forces said they had captured the men in their successful fight for control of Benghazi, the country’s second-largest city, where mercenaries are being blamed for killing scores of protesters.
(Suhaib Sale/Reuters) Hide caption
A suspected African mercenary sits in a room within a courthouse as he is held by anti-government protesters in Benghazi February 25, 2011. Libya’s rebellious city of Benghazi has filled a political void with a coalition which is cleaning up, providing food, building defences, reassuring foreign oil firms and telling Tripoli it believes in one nation. Weapons used in bloody clashes with pro-Gaddafi forces were collected and African mercenaries the coalition says the Libyan leader used to fire on protesters were in jail awaiting trial.
(Suhaib Salem/Reuters) Hide caption
A suspected African mercenary sits in a room within a courthouse as he is held by anti-government protesters in Benghazi February 25, 2011.
Libyan militia members from the forces against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi escort a man who they suspect to be a mercenary from Chad, center, after detaining him at a roadbloack near Marj in eastern Libya, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011.
In this Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011 picture, a militia member, left, from the forces against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi guards people who they suspect are mercenaries from Chad after detaining them at a roadblock near Marj in eastern Libya.
A spected mercenary from Chad keeps his hands on his head after being detained by Libyan militia member from the forces against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi at a roadbloack near Marj in eastern Libya, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011.
A spected mercenary from Chad keeps his hands on his head after being detained by Libyan militia member from the forces against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi at a roadbloack near Marj in eastern Libya, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011.
“It’s time for liberation. It’s time for action. We are moving now,” Saif al-Islam Gadhafi said in an interview.
Asked if the government was preparing to step up its military campaign, he said: “Time is out now. It’s time for action … We gave them two weeks (for negotiations).”
Speaking in unusually tough language, the London-educated younger Gadhafi said Libya would defeat the rebels, even if Western powers intervened.
“We will never ever give up. We will never ever surrender. This is our country. We fight here in Libya,” said Saif al-Islam, who has been described as the Western-friendly face of Libya.
“The Libyan people, we will never ever welcome NATO, we will never ever welcome Americans here. Libya is not a piece of cake.”
Saif al-Islam described rebels determined to end Gadhafi’s 41-year rule as terrorists and armed gangsters and said thousands of Libyans had voluntered to fight them.
“Now it’s too late for them. We are so united, we are so strong. And Libya will be free and peaceful soon,” said Saif al-Islam at a Tripoli compound designed in the shape of a luxury tent, as Gadhafi supporters shouted defiant slogans in the background.
Libya’s opposition battled for military and diplomatic advantage against Col. Gadhafi’s regime on Thursday, winning official recognition from France but losing ground to government forces outside a strategically vital oil port.
Mr. Gadhafi’s forces advanced on the port of Ras Lanouf, hitting buildings with tank shells and driving lightly armed opposition fighters back into the city.
Shells fell near a hospital in the city and hit a series of residential buildings as Mr. Gadhafi’s tanks moved further along Libya’s main Mediterranean coastal road than they have been since the rebels seized most of the country’s east.
An opposition fighter with a Kalashnikov rifle said he had fled the frontline outside Ras Lanouf to move deeper into the rebel-controlled territory.
“We don’t have any heavy weapons,” he said. “There are people with heavier weapons.”
Another opposition fighter in civilian clothes stood at a checkpoint inside the city and called for those with heavy weapons to head to the front.
France became the first country to formally recognize the rebels’ newly created Interim Governing Council, saying it planned to exchange ambassadors after President Nicolas Sarkozy met with two representatives of the group based in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.
“It breaks the ice,” said Mustafa Gheriani, an opposition spokesman. “We expect Italy to do it, and we expect England to do it.”
Germany said it froze billions in assets of the Libyan Central Bank and other state-run agencies. The U.S., UK, Switzerland, Austria and other countries have also frozen Mr. Gadhafi’s assets.
“The brutal suppression of the Libyan freedom movement can now no longer be financed from funds that are in German banks,” Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle said.
Both sides in Libya are lobbying for support from Western countries as their leaders debate whether to protect the rebels from Mr. Gadhafi’s air force by putting a no-fly zone over some or all of the country. Britain and France have backed the rebels’ calls for a no-fly zone, but the Obama adminstration has expressed deep reservations about involvement in another conflict in the greater Middle East.
NATO said it had started round-the-clock surveillance of the air space over Libya, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague said a meeting of EU foreign ministers would discuss how to isolate the regime.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday any NATO military action in Libya would have to be based on there being a demonstrable need and a clear mandate and with support in the region.
“Any operation we undertake needs to respect three key principles: firstly there has to be demonstrable need for NATO action, secondly there has to be a clear legal basis, and thirdly there has to be firm regional support,” he said, as NATO defence ministers met.
The Libyan government tried to stave off tough action, sending envoys to Egypt, Portugal and Greece.
The international Red Cross said dozens of civilians have been wounded or killed in recent days in grueling battles between Mr. Gadhafi’s army and the opposition movement trying to oust him.
The fighting intensified on the main front line between the Mediterranean oil port of Ras Lanouf and the city of Bin Jawwad, where the rebels appeared to be have established better supply lines bringing heavy weapons like multiple-rocket launcher trucks and small tanks to the battle.
Fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi around Ras Lanouf set two oil installations ablaze Wednesday and inflicted yet more damage on Libya’s crippled energy industry.
A rebel source in eastern Libya said on Thursday that forces loyal Mr. Gadhafi were firing rockets from offshore oil tankers at rebel positions onshore at the oil port of Ras Lanuf.
“I see them with my own eyes. The oil tankers are rocketing the town,” Salem Magrebi told Reuters by telephone. “Planes are also bombing and rockets are being launched from the land.”
Mr. Magrebi said he was speaking from a residential section of the Libyan port, near a petroleum company building.
“I have seen several people lying dead in the street,” he said.
In the west, Mr. Gadhafi claimed victory in recapturing Zawiya, the city closest to the capital that had fallen into opposition hands. Western journalists based in Tripoli were taken late Wednesday to a stadium on the outskirts of Zawiya that was filled with Mr. Gadhafi loyalists waving green flags and launching fireworks. Libyan TV cameras filmed the celebrations as food, drinks and cooking oil were distributed.
Government escorts refused journalists’ requests to visit the city’s main square.; phone lines there have not been working during a deadly, six-day siege.
Red Cross President Jakob Kellenberger said local doctors over the past few days saw a sharp increase in casualties arriving at hospitals in Ajdabiya, in the rebel-held east, and Misrata, in government territory.
Both places saw heavy fighting and air strikes, he said.
Mr. Kellenberger said 40 patients were treated for serious injuries in Misrata and 22 dead were taken there.
He said the Red Cross surgical team in Ajdabiya operated on 55 wounded over the past week and “civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence.”
He said the aid organization is cut off from access in western areas including Tripoli but believes those are “even more severely affected by the fighting” than eastern rebel-held territories.
Two foreign correspondents have been missing since Sunday after travelling in the direction of Zawiya, their newspapers reported.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper said veteran correspondent Ghaith Abdul-Ahad was last in touch through a third party Sunday from the outskirts of the city. He was travelling with Paris correspondent Andrei Netto of Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, which said that until Sunday it had been receiving what it characterized as “indirect information” indicating Netto was safe.
The Brazilian newspaper said it received information suggesting Mr. Netto had been taken prisoner by Libyan government forces, and that a Libyan official said the information was “probably correct.”
Middle East Editor Ian Black said the Guardian has been in contact with Libyan government officials in Tripoli and London and asked them to urgently help in the search for Abdul-Ahad and to establish if he is in the custody of the authorities.
Mr. Netto entered Libya on Feb. 19 from the border with Tunisia and worked his way toward Zawiya, his newspaper said.
Brazil’s government, its embassy in Libya, the Red Cross and other groups are trying to find out more about Mr. Netto and to determine he is safe, the paper said.
The British Broadcasting Corp. staff said three of its staff were detained, beaten and subjected to mock executions by pro-regime soldiers in Libya while attempting to reach the western city of Zawiya.
The news organization said the crew, members of a BBC Arabic team, were detained on Monday by Moammar Gadhafi loyalists at a check point about 10 kilometres south of Zawiya.
Chris Cobb-Smith, a British journalist and part of the crew, said the group were moved between several locations, in some cases alongside civilian captives who had visible injuries from heavy beatings.
With files from Reuters
Held and interrogated, do these men look like Gadhafi’s mercenaries?
Published Tuesday, Mar. 08, 2011 1:39AM EST
Last updated Tuesday, Mar. 08, 2011 2:24AM EST
Rebels hold a young man at gunpoint, who they accuse of being a loyalist to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, between the towns of Brega and Ras Lanuf, March 3, 2011.
3 of 10 Western Libya 27 February 2011
Libyan opposition rebels question a group of men from sub-Sahran Africa suspected of fighting as mercenaries for Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi at the edge of Ajdabiya, Libya, on March 3, 2011. The men were questioned, searched and later released.Today 7:35 PM Putin Tells Those Responsible For Civilian Casualities To Pray
Reuters reports on Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s comments on Libya:
[Putin] said on Tuesday that all those responsible for civilian casualties in Libya should pray for the salvation of their own souls.
Putin urges all responsible for Libya deaths to pray
VOTKINSK, Russia | Mon 21 Mar 2011 8:24am EDT
VOTKINSK, Russia (Reuters) – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin Monday likened the U.N. Security Council resolution supporting
military action in Libya to medieval calls for crusades.
Putin, in the first major remarks from a Russian leader since a coalition of Western countries began air strikes in Libya, said that Muammar
Gaddafi’s government did not justify military intervention.
“The resolution is defective and flawed,” Putin told workers at a Russian ballistic missile factory. “It allows everything. It resembles medieval calls for
Putin said that interference in other countries’ internal affairs has become a trend in U.S. foreign policy and that the events in Libya indicated that Russia
should strengthen its own defense capabilities.
Russia, a veto-wielding permanent Security Council member, abstained from the vote Thursday in which the council authorized a no-fly zone over Libya
and “all necessary measures” against Gaddafi’s forces.
(Reporting by Gleb Bryanski; writing by Steve Gutterman; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)
BRDO PRI KRANJU, Slovenia | Tue 22 Mar 2011 2:36pm EDT
By Michael Georgy
TRIPOLI | Tue 22 Mar 2011 2:59pm EDT
TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Western forces are more interested in helping rebels advance than protecting civilians and they have made it clear they intend to assassinate
Muammar Gaddafi, Libya‘s deputy foreign minister said Tuesday.
“That’s the problem now we are seeing, the coalition forces they are part of the war against the legitimate government,” Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled
Kaim told Reuters in an interview, adding that coalition forces were even striking soldiers in their barracks.
It was “clear” from a strike that damaged a building in Gaddafi’s Tripoli headquarters that Western forces want to assassinate the Libyan leader, despite the officially stated
position that he was not a target, Kaim said.
Kaim said the Libyan army was not conducting any battle operations and was working to help bring life back to normal to cities hit by fighting.
He accused Western forces of siding with rebels.
“They are helping one party against the other which is illegal,” he said.
“They are using air strikes to attack our troops even the stationary ones, even ones staying in their military barracks … I know the strategy is to give them the upper hand but I am sure that will not happen.”
Kaim called on all sides to stop the fighting and repeated a plea for international observers to travel to Libya to see if the government was observing a ceasefire called last week.
Libya hopes powerful tribal leaders will help bring peace, said Kaim.
“This is the official policy of the government to encourage the dialogue and to have the dialogue start as soon as possible,” he said.(Reporting by Michael Georgy)
There just came in the report that young Khamis Gadhafi has been killed at the Gadhafi home residence/compound in Tripoli by an English ICBM. He died at the hospital where he was rushed to.
Shooting first – and hitting the people they came to protect
22 Tuesday March 2011
It was the sound of aircraft circling which brought the villagers out just after midnight. Then suddenly they saw a plane dropping from the sky.
“I saw it fall down by itself, and after hitting the ground it exploded,” said Mohammed Braik, the farmer in whose field the American F15 Strike Eagle came down. “It caught fire but
there was no shooting.”
By the time we arrived this morning, people were climbing all over the wreckage – there’s a perilous disregard for basic safety here, which means that rebel fighetrs constantly shoot
in the air, and no-one thinks twice about prodding and poking an unexploded rocket from a crashed warplane.
“After the plane crashed, we moved to the site. We searched for the pilots, and found the parachutes and ejection seats,” said Colonel Omar Sayid, of the Military Police. Then they
found one of the pilots.I wonder what that pilot thought was going on. A US pilot ejecting during such a mission would be prepared for anyone they encounter to be hostile. Yet I
suspect that a mob descended on him shouting: “Welcome, welcome Libya“, because
that’s always the first phrase you hear in the rebel-held east.
Pilot number one, who was scarcely injured, was taken to the military authorities in Benghazi from where he was quickly handed over to the Americans. But a rescue mission was
mounted for pilot number two, and this is where what could have been comic turned sour. Osprey aircraft came in, all guns blazing, assuming – as the American military tends to do –
that this was hostile territory.
“We are disturbed about the shooting because if they’d given us a chance we would have handed over both pilots,” said Colonel Sayid. “This shooting created panic.”
Worse than that, several bystanders were injured, amongst them 43-year-old Hamad Abdul Ati. We found him in Jala hospital in Benghazi, with multiple shrapnel and bullet wounds,
and a broken arm. He didn’t understand why the Americans had been so aggressive in their rescue mission.
“We consider that whoever is shot down or a prisoner of war, we should save him and hand him over,” he told me from his hospital bed. “But another plane shot at me and Hamdy
my son. I have shrapnel in my hand.”
Hospital staff told us that 20-year-old Hamdy’s injuries were far worse, and he was undergoing an operation to amputate part of one leg.
Yet Hamad told me he wasn’t angry, just puzzled.
“The whole eastern area is under the revolution, it’s well known. Why did this happen? My car is destroyed, my home is damaged,” he said, adding: “We would have just picked the
second pilot up and put him wherever he wanted in a safe place. Even the other one, we had a celebration for him.”
That’s what’s heart-breaking about the incident. The villagers did indeed shout: “Welcome, welcome Libya” and try to offer hospitality and gratitude to their American friends.
But because the American military works on the assumption that anyone around could be hostile, it may be why it all went horribly wrong. Which is how the US airforce ended up
injuring some of the Libyan civilians it’s supposedly here to save.
from FIVE YEARS AGO:
Russia: Putin’s Faith Raises Questions05 April 2007By Chloe Arnold
MOSCOW, April 6, 2007 (RFE/RL) — Recent television images of Russian President Vladimir Putin have shown him lighting candles at the Vatican and praying on the
edge of the Jordan River.
The president has never disguised his Russian Orthodox beliefs, but are they becoming more conspicuous?
Since coming to power, the Russian president has not tried to conceal his Orthodox faith. But, according to some, he was not always religious.
Father Igor Vyzhanov, a spokesman for the department of external church relations at the Moscow Patriarchate, says Putin’s views on religion have changed.
“I heard about a miracle with a small cross which he had experienced, and according to which he started believing,” Vyzhanov says.‘As for the fact that the president goes to church at Easter, I think this is his personal matter, too.’
Aleksandr Verkhovsky, the director of the Sova Information and Analysis Center, which monitors religious discrimination in Russia, says the president is undoubtedly
a fervent believer.
“Frankly speaking, I don’t see any dynamics [indicating his faith is becoming more intense]. On the contrary, I think it is less than during the first two years of his presidency.
Then, it was really noticeable,” Verkhovsky says.
“But at some point I think he was forced, or he took the decision, to distance himself a little from the church leadership. Because everyone had the impression that he
was a man interested in the church, and the church leadership hoped that this would mean they would have very close relations. But, in fact, no one intended to propose
close relationships, because that was not something the government needed.”
Separation Of Church And State
The Russian Constitution asserts that the church and the state must be entirely separate. Traditionally, Russia has had four official religions — Russian Orthodoxy,
Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism. But there are fears that Putin’s obvious Orthodox faith means he favors one religion over the others.
This week, the Russian government announced it would hand back land that was seized from the Russian Orthodox church after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.
Aleksei Malashenko, an expert in religious affairs at the Carnegie Moscow Center, says the Orthodox Church isn’t likely to become Russia’s only official religion.
“But at the same time, we have to recognize that the Russian Orthodox Church occupies a special position, and it has special relations with [the] state, and their
ambitions are mostly political ambitions. They want to participate in the elaboration of the Russian way of development,” Malashenko says.
A recent example of this was the decision made by schools in several regions of the country to introduce compulsory courses on Orthodox Christian culture.
In response, the Council of Muftis of Russia raised its concerns about the growing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, and announced it would pressure
the government to expand the instruction of Muslim culture beyond the Muslim republics in the North Caucasus to other regions with large Muslim communities.
Orthodox In Name
The Sova Center’s Verkhovsky says there are two reasons the Russian Orthodox Church seems to have priority over other faiths in Russia.
“Firstly, it’s connected to the traditions of the Russian statehood, which perceives itself, roughly speaking, as the heir to the Principality of Moscow
and the Russian Empire, and not as an amalgam of the multicultured citizens that make up Russia today,” Verkhovsky says.
“On the other hand, the Orthodox faith is, to some degree anyway, the religion of the majority of our citizens who called themselves Orthodox, even though they don’t entirely know
what this means. Some don’t even believe in God, but they call themselves Orthodox Christians, and so the church indirectly speaks for them.”
But Father Yakov Krotov, a religious commentator, is more skeptical. He believes the government and the president give preferentiality to the Orthodox Church over other faiths.
“Putin has shown he is a believer, an Orthodox Christian, but when it comes to politics, he is a politician. That’s to say that he doesn’t support the Orthodox Church as a whole, he
supports those Orthodox believers who were brought up by the Kremlin nomenclature over the past 60 years,” Krotov says.
“He doesn’t even support the Orthodox faith in particular, he supports those aspects that are part of the religious elite. That’s to say he suppresses one group of Muslims, and supports
another, he suppresses one group of Jews and supports another. It’s an old Soviet trick: selection. It’s a similar thing to what Hitler did.”
But Father Vyzhanov doesn’t see anything as sinister in Putin’s faith: “As for the fact that the president goes to church at Easter, I think this is his personal matter, too. For example,
when the president of the United States shows his religiosity, or points out to his church his confession, no one sees any problem in this. The presidents are human beings, too.”
There has been speculation that Putin’s recent trip to the Vatican, to meet Pope Benedict XVI, might pave the way for an unprecedented meeting between the leaders of the
Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic faiths — an indication, Vyzhanov says, that Putin welcomes and supports all denominations.
The president’s press service says it will not disclose Putin’s plans for Easter Sunday, but it is likely he will mark the occasion — as he has for many years — by attending the service at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in central Moscow.
Wed, 06/15/2011 – 00:48 — Glen Ford
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The vilification campaign waged by the West against Moammar Gaddfi is just the latest chapter in a “massive U.S. psychological assault, a vast disinformation operation in which the corporate media act as megaphones for government liars.” In reality, there is no evidence for allegations that Gaddafi ordered his soldiers to rape hundreds of women, but “that does not seem to matter to a corporate media that are bent on glorifying the Benghazi-based rebels.”