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Lies, damn lies, and humanitarian intervention

Stephen Lendman | 23.03.2011 02:54 | Analysis | Anti-militarism | Anti-racism | Sheffield | World

Masquerading as "humanitarian intervention," Washington launched full-force barbarism on six million Libyans, all endangered by America's latest intervention.

Beginning March 19, it was visible. However, months of planning preceded it, including US and UK special forces and intelligence operatives on the ground enlisting, inciting, funding, arming and supporting violent insurrection to oust Gaddafi and replace him with a Washington-controlled puppet like in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The Independent, 10 March 2011
The Independent, 10 March 2011

The Guardian, 11 March 2011
The Guardian, 11 March 2011

Masquerading as "humanitarian intervention," Washington launched full-force barbarism on six million Libyans, all endangered by America's latest intervention. More on how below.

Beginning March 19, it was visible. However, months of planning preceded it, including US and UK special forces and intelligence operatives on the ground enlisting, inciting, funding, arming and supporting violent insurrection to oust Gaddafi and replace him with a Washington-controlled puppet like in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The scrip is familiar, playing out now in Libya - full-scale "imperial barbarism," a term James Petras used in a September 2010 article titled, "Imperialism and Imperial Barbarism," saying:

"The organizing principle of imperial barbarism is the idea of total war," including:

-- use of mass destruction weapons, unleashed on Libya as explained below;

-- targeting the entire country and society; and

-- dismantling "the entire civil and military apparatus of the state," replacing it with "colonial officials, paid mercenaries and unscrupulous and corrupt satraps" - puppets, figures As'ad AbuKhalil calls "useful idiots."

Moreover, as Petras explains:

"The entire modern professional class is targeted (and) replaced by retrograde religious-ethnic clans and gangs, susceptible to bribes and booty-shares. All existing modern civil society organizations are pulverized and replaced by crony-plunderers linked to the colonial regime. The entire economy is" disrupted by "shock and awe" bombings and ground attacks, affecting essential civilian infrastructure on the pretext of destroying military and "dual use" targets.

As a result, mass casualties follow, many post-conflict from disease, homelessness, starvation, depravation, and environmental contamination. All wars are ugly, especially modern ones Washington wages, unleashing full force human and overall destruction, mostly affecting noncombatant men, women and children - imperialism's hidden victims.

Already, unknown hundreds of Libyans have been killed, wounded, or disabled, besides countless numbers affected overall. Expect much worse ahead, including violent, US-backed proxy insurgence, perhaps later joined by Pentagon troops if current air and ground attacks don't accomplish "Operation Odyssey Dawn's" objectives.

UN Resolution 1973

Claiming authority under the UN Charter's Article VII, it, in fact, violates Article 51, stating:

"Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security."

Effectively, UN Resolution 1973 authorized war, not peace. Moreover, it denied a sitting government, despotic or otherwise, the right of self-defense. A Western-backed insurgency initiated attacks, permitting a head of state to respond.

Further, the UN Charter explains under what conditions intervention, violence and coercion are justified. None exist in Libya.

In addition, Article 2(3) and Article 33(1) require peaceful settlement of international disputes, not "shock and awe" attacks. Article 2(4), in fact, prohibits force or its threatened use, including no-fly zones that are acts of war.

Further, Articles 2(3), 2(4), and 33 absolutely prohibit any unilateral or other external threat or use of force not specifically allowed under Article 51 or otherwise authorized by the Security Council - that may not violate its own Charter. In fact, Washington bullied enough members to do so, planning naked aggression in response.

Ostensibly to protect civilians, Resolution 1973's paragraph 4 authorized Member States "to take all necessary measures...." As a result, a giant interventionist loophole was created they knew Washington would exploit.

Under paragraph 6, moreover, "establish(ing) a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians," in fact, harms them by US "shock and awe" attacks.

Further, paragraph 7's authorization for "flights whose sole purpose is humanitarian" denies them because Pentagon-controlled airspace will destroy any encountered Libyan aircraft, claiming it hostile, not delivering food, medical or other essential supplies or personnel.

In addition, supplying insurgents with weapons and munitions violates paragraph 13, "Call(ing) upon Member States, in particular States of the region, acting nationally or through regional organisations or arrangements, in order to ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo established by paragraphs 9 and 10 of resolution 1970 (2011), to inspect in their territory, including seaports and airports, and on the high seas, vessels and aircraft bound to or from" Libya.

In fact, besides covertly supplying its own weapons, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and perhaps other regional and/or NATO countries are arming insurgents, at the behest of Washington - violating Resolution 1973.

As a result, Libyans are at the mercy of US imperial aggression, disdaining all international laws, principles and standards. At war, Washington causes mass casualties and destruction. Now begun, expect much more ahead.

In addition, "coalition" participation is fig leaf cover for US aggression. AFRICOM's General Carter Ham has full command authority, directing UK, French and other belligerent partners, besides America's full air, sea and ground might.

Expect protracted conflict, perhaps "boots on the ground," putting a lie to Obama's promise for "humanitarian intervention" to end in "a matter of days, not weeks." Already, insurgency has been ongoing for weeks, perhaps months covertly, the worst yet to come, but already conditions are bad. They always are when Washington arrives.

Weapons of Mass Destruction Used

Since the 1991 Gulf War, Washington used nuclear weapons covertly - in depleted uranium (DU) form. Contaminating exposure is deadly. All US missiles, bombs, and shells have solid DU projectiles or warheads in them. Even bullets because in all forms, DU-tipped munitions easily penetrate armor, irradiating air, ground and water when used. DU, in fact, painfully kills from later contracted illnesses and diseases, including cancer and many others.

When weaponized DU strikes, it penetrates deeply, aerosolizing into a fine spray which then contaminates wide areas. Moreover, its residue is permanent. Its microscopic/submicroscopic particles remain suspended in air or swept into it from contaminated soil.

Atmospheric winds then carry it far distances as a radioactive component of atmospheric dust, falling indiscriminately to earth and water. Virtually every known illness and disease may result from severe headaches, muscle pain and general fatigue, to major birth defects, infection, depression, cardiovascular disease, many types of cancer and brain tumors. As a result, permanent disability or death may follow.

Moreover, DU use is illegal under international law. Although no specific convention or treaty bans radioactive weapons, including DU, they're, in fact, illegal de facto and de jure under the Hague Convention of 1907, prohibiting use of any "poison or poisoned weapons."

In all forms, DU is radioactive and chemically toxic, thus fitting the definition of poisonous weapons Hague banned. America is a signatory. As a result, DU weapons use for any purpose violates international law. Moreover, all DU weapons meet the U.S. federal code WMD definition in 2 out of 3 categories:

The US CODE, TITLE 50, CHAPTER 40, SECTION 2302 defines a Weapon of Mass Destruction as follows:

"The term 'weapon of mass destruction' means any weapon or device that is intended, or has the capability, to cause death or serious bodily injury to a significant number of people through the release, dissemination, or impact of (A) toxic or poisonous chemicals or their precursors, (B) a disease organism, or (C) radiation or radioactivity."

As a result, commanders up the chain of command, including civilian ones to the highest level, authorizing DU weapons use for any purpose are war criminals.

Moreover, under various UN Conventions and Covenants, weapons causing post-battle environmental or human harm are banned. Nonetheless, Washington uses them indiscriminately, including DU. As a result, millions of Iraqi, Serbian/Kosovar, and Afghan nationals, as well as belligerent US troops have been gravely harmed, yet Pentagon and administration authorities deny all responsibility.

Libyans will now be victimized by DU poisoning. Wherever it strikes and spreads, it's unforgiving, disabling and deadly. If enough is used, a future cancer epidemic will follow, too late to help those harmed.

Helen Caldicott calls radiation a "Destroyer of Worlds," doing it by killing people silently, painfully, illegally, and at times genocidally.

In 2005, before his death, no wonder Nobel laureate Harold Pinter condemned US aggression saying:

"(T)he United States no longer bothers about low intensity conflict. It no longer sees any point in being reticent or even devious......It quite simply doesn't give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant."

Under Bush, Obama or anyone else, it does what it pleases - the law, human welfare, and environmental considerations be damned.

A Final Comment

On March 21, Reuters said missile and air attacks on Libya continue. The New York Times headlined, "Allies Target Qaddafi's Ground Forces, but Resistance Continues (unconfirmed) Reports Say." The Washington Post said, "Libyan rebels launch offensive; coalition pounds Gaddafi forces," that may be observing a ceasefire. Al Jazeera reported "Rejoicing in Libya's Benghazi," continuing its biased war reporting, siding with anti-Gaddafi forces.

In contrast, independent web sites, analysts, and on-air programming offer detailed, truthful information, including the Progressive Radio News Hour this writer hosts on the Progressive Radio, featuring distinguished guests, dominant media sources spurn.

Middle East/Central Asian analyst Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is one of many reliable sources. On March 20, his Global article headlined, "BREAKING NEWS: Libyan Sources Report Italian POWs Captured. Additional Coalition Jets Downed. Qatar has joined the War," saying:

-- unconfirmed "(i)nternal Libyan sources reported....the capture of an Italian vessel and military personnel, who were detained;"

-- Gaddafi's government "started supplying (Libyans) with food rations, medicine, and weapons to defend themselves;"

-- unconfirmed "Libyan sources reported" downing two more "coalition" jets, "identified as Qatari military planes;" and

-- unconfirmed Libyan sources claim five "coalition" jets downed, three attacking Tripoli, two others over Sirt.

March 22 marks day four of a protracted conflict. It's certain to cause widespread deaths, injuries, disabilities and destruction. It's assured when America arrives - on cruise missiles, bombs and shells, not white horses promoting peace and democratic values, what all US administrations disdain.

* Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Stephen Lendman
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Hide the following 5 comments

The Planning,& doing of aggressive war is the supreme global crime on earth.

23.03.2011 06:09

NUREMBURG TRIALS: (1945-46) chaired by U.S. Judge Jackson wrote into international world law that the planning and doing of aggressive war is the supreme international crime on earth as it actuates all other crimes high, low, big, and small. He furthers says that it is the supreme international crime whether Germany does it or the U.S.A. does it.

The U.S. Constitution is signed on to this anti-fascist covenant, which goes to show that the U.S. Imperialist government has been violating national and international law 70 + times in aggressive wars, occupations since 1945, and toppling of democratic governments elected by the popular masses while implanting puppet regimes of puppet dictators such as Saddam Huessein an assasin in the employ of the C.I.A. who on this third attempt finally killed the elected popular Iragi president 1963, also Dr. mossadgh in Iran 1953 a C.I.A. coup. and lately in Bahrain, Yeman, Pakistan, Eygpt Palestine--Gaza with U.S. supplied weapons, sold throughout the region by the Pentagon in their annual bazzars. etc. and the totally illegal aggression wars against Indo-China by refusing to sign the Geneva Agreements in 1954 to which five million Indo-Chinese people were murdered, and five million chronically and acutely poisoned from poison chemical drops on the crops, and forests of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
All these terrible war crimes have been recorded in various courts and tribunals globally but as of yet the U.S.A. has not felt or known the Justice that the anti-fascist side can and will deliver on Asian time and not on American Imperialist time. Yes, this article quite correctly points out the government of Libyan soldiers were observing a ceasfire ordered by the AU-- African Unity, which members is all African countries except Morocco. Libya is a member and was observing this ceasefire when the Imprialist Camp started operation Odessy which is code named for the German War criminals of the second world war. The Imperialist Camp of Euro centircity, and under the thumb of U.S. Imperialism ignored and poo-pood this ceasefire saying it was an lie and an excuse etc. etc. but truth be known it was the worlds majority in support of all the countries and peoples of Africa which was speaking truth to power, and seeking a just and peaceful settlement. Futher more the AU is on record condemning the Imperialist Invasion and Military destruction of the Libyan peoples infastructure and killing of its citizens as (Collateral damage Pentagon Jargon)

Stephen Lendman's article is full of knowledge and gives a very grave warning to the world of the unjust wars, and illegal violence of the Imperialist Camp under the hegemony of the U.S. Empire.
End pollution wars, not endless wars for and of fossil fuels, for more and more pollution. Re-tool the entire industrial revolution to wind, tidal, and solar power. Viva socialist liberation.

Hans B.

"If the Nuremberg laws were applied..."

23.03.2011 08:20

I think the case of Guantanamo illustrates how readily the State can circumvent international law. After a little rebranding, 'prisoner of war' becomes 'enemy combatant' and thus, the Geneva Conventions fly out of the window along with all other moral and legal obligations.
It's a sad indictment of western culture, that so few people are even aware of the existence of the Nuremberg Principles or the Kellog-Briand Pact and indeed the many other international laws that we are signed up to and yet treat with such utter contempt. Chomsky was quite right when he said; 'If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.' Every Prime Minister too. Maybe it's about time we marched on our governments with some lengths of rope!

I thought Stephen Lendmen's article was excellent.



Two points

23.03.2011 10:57

"The entire modern professional class is targeted (and) replaced by retrograde religious-ethnic clans and gangs, susceptible to bribes and booty-shares. All existing modern civil society organizations are pulverized and replaced by crony-plunderers linked to the colonial regime. The entire economy is" disrupted by "shock and awe" bombings and ground attacks, affecting essential civilian infrastructure on the pretext of destroying military and "dual use" targets."

Is this analysis completely relevant to Libya? Don't know a great deal, but my impression is that the West has been working with crony-plunderers in the Gaddafi hierarchy for the past few years to secure its oil interests, though I don't disagree that it wants to replace the Gaddafi set of crony-plunderers with a set who are indebted to the West from the start.

And "existing modern civil society organizations" - again don't know that much but would like examples of these organizations in Libya and their credentials as civil society organizations. I don't think there has been much (any?) opportunity for political opposition or civil society engagement in Benghazi under Gaddafi's rule.

B.P. Contract

enough rhetoric

24.03.2011 10:39

The level of this analysis is pitiful.

I opposed Iraq, Afghanistan, and have campaigned against the arms trade in the past. I count myself as someone who is against militarism, capitalism, inequality.

That said, it seems that there are times when the gun is much mightier than the pen (or the facebook/twitter/blogging account). And there are times when people rise up against a tyrant (like Gaddafi - who is often feted by fascists across Europe as a great example) and lose. The pacifist tendencies in the left are great, but like any tendency there are times when they hit a wall and look irrelevant: resist peacefully and get your head kicked in (like at many demos)? Go about your daily life under oppression or rise up using guns to try and force a change? Sit idly by while your neighbour gets dragged off to the gas chambers, or form a terrorist response to counter and prevent this from happening?

I'm still waiting to see some decent analysis, coming from someone who actually KNOWS about the region and the demands of different people (rather than this ideological rhetoric, which I find frankly distastful rather than helpful in formlating an opinion).

Is it REALLY all about oil? Are politicians ALWAYS really ONLY motivated by greed? This would imply that humans ONLY make rational (self-interested) decisons... something which social science discredited many years ago. And something which people on the left should instinctively know is incorrect. I'm actually open to the idea that this military intervention is about oil.... but since Gaddafi was already selling oil, and was likely to continue to do so, I think you have to factor in some other variables when explaining this story. And why is it that voices that usually decry military intervention are this time doing the opposite?

I'm finding Inymedia close to irrelevant when it comes to issues of this kind of importance. And I don't want my only information to come from the newspapers and news sources quite rightly questioned in this article. If someone can point me in the direction of some truly enlightening analysis please feel free.


To faulty

25.03.2011 23:32

I've always found that Indy discussion is fine for UK issues. When it gets to (say) the upheavals in North Africa you just get silly stuff about the CIA running everything. A bit
like Lisa Simpson's view of the history of Ireland. (probably on Youtube). Best to skip over those bits.


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