Libya Conflict analysis Oct 30 2011 - news of the world

Libya Conflict analysis Oct 30 2011 - news of the world

Libya is the greatest propaganda lie told in modern times. As PT Barnum said "No one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American Public"

How many parallels

Noam Chomsky wrote long ago a book I read when I was 15, "The Washington Connection & Third World Sub fascism". In this two volume set, he patiently showed how the media would attribute atrocities commited by the side their countries power structures supported to the resistance, and vice versa. The case of East Timor was the one that stuck out in my mind.

How many titles could one conceive of:

Are We Stupid Or are we just plain evil:

Libya Post Mortem: After Action Report

by General Alexander Hagen

...Let's start the Libya part with a quotation from Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar":

The evil that men do lives after them,

The good is oft interred with their bones;

So let it be with Caesar.

So let it be with Gadhafi.

I should footnote this by mentioning that I knew the late Moammar Gadhafi slightly as a student when I taught at the Libyan Army Military College in Benghazi in 1964-65. I never saw him again.

But fairly soon after he came to power in 1969 as a young, idealistic military officer leading the overthrow of a corrupt monarchy, Gadhafi fell into the very bad habits of leaders whom power corrupts, and whom absolute power corrupts absolutely.

One can easily do the list. First, he got rid of most of the fellow officers who helped him carry out the coup d'etat that overthrew King Idris. Then began his own glorification, the gaudy uniforms, the medals, the various affectations that he came to be known by. Then came the expensive schemes, few if any of them to the advantage of the people of his basically poor country. When I first went there in 1964, women drew water from wells with donkeys.

But let us not forget what Gadhafi did that was good for his country, in my view. The king had been installed in power by the British, who were looking for a figurehead to energize the Libyans to fight the Italians and Germans in World War II. The king was reportedly a nice, pious man, but he was also a creature of the British. Gadhafi made Libyan independence real by putting rule of the country clearly in the hands of Libyans, even though he fell prey to hogging it himself.

In establishing Libyan independence, Gadhafi got rid of the British and U.S. military bases in the country. These included the Wheelus U.S. Air Force Base near Tripoli, the capital, a British infantry and armored car base in Benghazi, British naval forces in Tripoli and a British air force base at El Adem, left over from World War II, which had ended 24 years before.

Gadhafi also put the revenues from Libya's substantial oil resources into the hands of Libyans and took it out of the hands of foreign oil companies -- American, British, Italian and other -- improving Libyan employment opportunities in the oil industry. Of course, once he got his hands on the oil money he began to use it for increasingly bizarre purposes, buying favor with African and other countries, supporting organizations that had nothing to do with Libya, such as the Irish Republican Army, and otherwise betraying his pledges to raise the standard of living of his own people. But at least the decisions on oil were being made in Libya, no longer in London or Texas.

Finally, Gadhafi reoriented Libya's foreign policy into a more independent line. King Idris's governments from 1952 to 1969 had been accused by other Arabs as being slavishly pro-Israel, a position taken to please the British and Americans. Gadhafi never became militant on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, but he did steer Libya into a position that was more in accord with that of the Arab League, of which Libya was a member.

That is what he did that future historical consideration of the evolution of Libya may come to consider as useful. It's probably better that he was killed at capture, rather than having the Libyans and the world spin around on a trial for months or years. Wherever they've buried him, one day they may well dig him up and put up a statue.

Dan Simpson, a former U.S. ambassador, is a Post-Gazette associate editor (, 412 263-1976). More articles by this author

First published on October 26, 2011 at 12:00 am

Read more:

Unintended Consequences: Gaddafi's Death and the Arab Spring

"So how does the Arab Spring and, specifically, Gaddafi's death play into all of this? President Obama recently stated that the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and killing of Gaddafi signify a resurgence of American leadership. At least for many Arabs, President Obama is mistaken. If anything, Gaddafi's death reinforces long-held inclinations among Middle Eastern leaders that Washington cannot be trusted. The old regimes have become wary of Washington, while the new governments want to start on their own two feet, free from foreign intervention. For leaders in the Middle East, the death of Gaddafi stands as a cogent reminder that cooperation with the West does not guarantee anything. Such a reality opens the door to increased Iranian influence in the region, and does little to diffuse the increasing tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The result may well be that the Arab Spring will take back seat to the Saudi-Iranian dispute with Iraq — much to the fear of the US — being the principal pawn."

The liquidation of the bravest, and the leaders of the Libyan State so violently by NATO and the Islamists and Jihadists, reminds me of Hitlers policy in Poland,We decapitate Libya, and in so doing get a "twofer" as the mindless chattering heads call it - we also decapitate African Unity and Independence.

In business - if the forecast is defectives - the wrong products will be sub optimal (too little or too much resources to development) - if the products are defective - the whole operation will be threatened and the customers will be damaged - in some cases bankrupting the customers.

In Communications - deploying a whole new service - that does not work can destroy companies.

So in the case of a major policy decision like overthrowing a government how does information flow and finally become improved as people get a chance to examine it through debate and seeing what actually occurs, in other words a feedback loop. In the case of Iraq and Vietnam, a great deal of information contrary to the government position eventually changed the public view to oppose their governments. In the case of Afghanistan and Pakistan the quality of information still seems poor. The public is uncertain whether to press or to pull back, whether to shake hands or to strike.

So - a major event occurs, it is reported, the spotlight goes to the event, leaders call in their advisors, the media sends out its investigators, and pulls files from thier research departments and convenes meetings of journalists and editors. At least these are the things that should be happening.

A framework is established, boundaries are established, and this all relies on competent accurate information. If the information is poor quality errors carry through the system, and as this process of shaping public perception is a top down one - the errors are magnified enormously, so nothing could be more important than accurate information coming in at the start - and then second getting updated as more research done.

In business this is called due diligence, and the failure to conduct due diligence - can even lead to criminal fraud prosecution. This occurs when a company is valued incorrectly due to sloppy work and investors are wiped out. Or a few are enriched due to false information.

So let us say - in Rwanda - the media and the governments - decide it is not in the Wests national interest to intervene, due to lack of full information at the outset that would show that the human toll potential - and the destabilization of the region - actually would harm the world economy and political and commercial systems.

At the end - when millions are killed, and armed gangs roam about the neighbor countries, seizing mines, stopping production wiping out entire species and ecosystems, people shake their heads and rue their inaction. Never again they might cry!

So where did the failures occur?

Was it in the researchers preparing the reports overlooking facts, was it in those who summarized these reports to submit to decision makers - was it the decision makers simply lacking competence to interpret the reports - or through some prejudice - effectively deleting portions of the reports - was it the implementers of the decision makers directives?

Once the views were adopted by the governments and the key experts in the media, for example the NYT, the CIA, the State Dept, the Exec, the BBC and CNN - a subset of data, attitudes and opinions started to percolate down to a second tier. Other departments would make decisions based on this summarized view. Other media outlets would make their policies from these two datasets - the most powerful and or respected media institutions in the problem domain and the Governments.

This second tier, the regional papers, the main news outlets without specialists in the area, would reprint with minor tweaks what they considered in their interests to print, whether for a political agenda, profit or the sincere desire to inform and call to action or call to make the issue a byline.

Then a third tier would engage, the talk shows, the pundits, would take what they read and heard from these primary and secondary sources. Like the old game of telephone, many would confuse the tail and the head, thinking a pundit had information - when in reality the pundit misunderstood the information.

And finally the public hearing all this information would start to absorb it, the lower quality of the information the more deluded they would become, the better the quality the more pressure they would put on their governments and institutions to act competently. In other words with bad information the public would demand bad policies.

Their is one additional class the academicians and experts are interviewed in some policy areas this would add new important information - but at other times it could further degrade the info quality - such as interviewing people on the payroll of parties with interests -who would not disclose those interests - or people covering their rear ends - their own careers on the line if the truth gets out.

So now we turn to Libya.

At the time of the Protests in Tunisia and Egypt a set of protests occurred in Libya. Although Libya had voluntarily given up its weapons of mass destruction and allied to some extent with Washington during the Bush Administration - the old attitudes about Gadaffi made it extremely difficult to not assume that this was a mass uprising, because Libya was a society that few Westerners visited.

There were 3 important pieces of information that did not get to the public, or were deliberately distorted.

1) John Stewart, The NYT and many others charecterized Libya as a poverty stricken hell hole. On Wikipedia, someone altered the poverty statistic of Libya from 7% to saying 1/3 of alll Libyans lived in poverty. This figure was repeated five months later in the LA Times a verbatim of quote doctored information from wikipedia. In fact the LA Times used secondary sources for all the articles that I saw not exclusively but to the extent that they would have gotten a D or F in a college journalism class. So the information corruption was in describing libya as a country that starved and robbed its citizens, which whether true not, was certainly not born out by any credible statistical institution.

2) The second error which was made largely possible by the first was the assumption that most Libyans wanted the government overthrown - which based on scientific or scholarly research is not at all a slam dunk, and in fact can be evidentiarily deduced by a very small country resisting militaries with 500 times the defense budget of their own for a half a year with terrain that is very difficult to hide in compared to Afganistan or Vietnam.

3) the 3rd was to not examine the connection between Islamic extremism and the protests.

4) The allegations of atrocities were not verified. And in fact were taken verbatim from the very people who wanted to obtain foreign military intervention. In other words the expert reported was prepared by one of the adversaries - obviously extremely prejudicial. Claims of thousands of rapes, tens of thousands of murder were entered into the public record at the ICC with no evidence, and by late June Doctors without Borders and one other credible - that is establishment human rights group - determined that the claims had no basis. Actual casualties at the beginning of the uprising were in the hundreds. No mercenaries, No Rapes. Ironically the US and its allies employ large contractor armies - which is in fact the definition of mercenaries, and as has been noted the USAF has one of the worst rape records of any military.

So as absolute power corrupts absolutely, faulty information corrupts decision making and public perception.

Then things got really out of control:

1) Libyas investments in Africa were demonized

2) No mention was ever made that Libya actually took care of its population bettter than even the West

3) The potential for civilian loss of life at the hands of the Libyan Army - was entirely hypothetical and real research would have shown at most 1,000 civilians would have lost their lives. The intervention has led to 30,000 to 50,000 fatalities.

4) By not mentioning Libya's education and medical and industrial achievements, the public had no interest in preserving them - thinking Libya like Afghanistan - and NATO's destruction of many elements of infrastructure struck no chord in western sentiment.

My conclusion is by withholding the fact that Libya was the most advanced country in Africa, even when balancing data by looking at the other oil producers exlusively, all of these prejudices were made possible.

The fact that this data was suppressed is extremely serious. The same was true for Iraq, however in Iraq's case they initiated a long and bloody war with Iran. In Iraq's case I cannot speak to the level of support or the validity of their right to not be invaded, I too am prejudiced against Hussein, because I was not permitted to know the other side, I was not permitted to make up my mind. I simply dont know. Because I was probably given faulty information. That is disinformation, that is propaganda.

In the second half of the conflict: As NATO saw they were in danger of losing, they began to step up their attacks and more and more collateral damage was done - until at the end NATO leveled an entire City that was inhabited a serious and massive crime against humanity on the scale of Srebernica. I would very much like to have serious scientific credible data about how many buildings were bombed by NATO.

My first tip off that all was not as i was being told other than Libya's high level of development was the fact that the TNC claimed they had 8,000 fighers near Benghazi as well as 3 brigades that defected with Younnes while i roooted for the rebels. In fact I could not find more than 1500 fighters. Indicating very tepid support.

Now why is this important: Because in any system or enterprise we need to quality control - so that we can stop mistakes at the earliest point. If the basic underlying data is flawed, that flaw will carry on through to the public.

So let us examine the way that information went through the governments and presses in the case of Libya, for me a network research engineer, it is like a software decision tree.

Routine information is now secret. Our founders and most of our competent presidents would have recoiled from the lack of transparency in our Government.

In the US and the West generally, less and less information is available about the activities of our governments, secret classifications are now given 1000 times more frequently than in the 1960's when the Cold War was raging, in other words when there was greater justification.

My own observation is that media outlets tend to criticize their countries rivals, and often gloss over any defects in the power structures in their own societies.

Most agree the media colors and shapes stories to fit their own bias. Conservatives feel the media is to liberal, and progressives (since the word liberal itself has been colored to the point where it sounds wimpy - so liberals now call themselves progressives) feel it is corporate and pro business.

Most Everyone who is not a monarchist or aristocrat or totalitarian agrees that an educated and vigilant citizenry prevents corruption - and bad policy generally.

Regardless of whether you support or oppose the Libya Intervention and its outcome, it is a very interesting study of how we get our information and how it shapes public perception.


A DIS-Informed Citizenry: Media Censorship to Control Public Policy: We are not trusted to make up our own minds. We are told what to believe.

Ghoulishly fascinating levels of disinformation



My warnings have been so numerous, and so detailed, and so thoroughly ignored, that I do believe I should take some action to lead my people out of the wilderness.

Will no american leader speak out against this patria-cide of Libya?

The demise of Libya’s Moamar Qathafi who was summarily executed by Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) rebel fighters after being wounded in a NATO air strike on his convoy just outside his hometown of Sirte may have indeed marked the end of an era in the history of that country. But events surrounding his execution have also left a legacy of hatred. The Libyan sandy dust is now settling down after NATO bombs have stopped falling. The NTC is coming to terms with the daunting task at hand, and have asked NATO to stick around. But NATO forces are missionaries who should be returning to base once a mission is accomplished. And in the case of Libya, the ‘‘humanitarian intervention’’ mandate of ‘‘protecting civilians’’ has already been accomplished through regime change. NATO member countries along with Qatar trained, armed and provided intelligence and air support for rebel activities which culminated into the ouster of the Qathafi Regime.

This adds credence to claims that, the rebellion which had been nurtured, armed and orchestrated largely from abroad, in collaboration with expatriate opposition groups and their local allies at home had nothing to do with “humanitarian concerns”. The slain leader had long being placed on Western Powers’ death row and plans of regime change were drawn long before the Benghazi insurgency which provided perfect cover with all the hallmarks of a well-orchestrated civil war. But with the entire country now under their control, the in ability of the Council to take command of national security is testing the leadership’s resolve in meeting the challenges.


Libya is a country built on tribal ties. And the decision of the Council to delay the formation of a new government after the country has been without a functioning central government since Qathafi was ousted more than nine weeks ago has left a power vacuum now filled by tribal leaders. Thanks to the proliferation of weapons, the country has been carved up into loose city-states. Misrata, for example, and Zintan in the Western Mountains have their own militias and regional governments acting almost independently. There is little cohesion or coordination among the various groups, and no one to reign in their excesses. The NTC which declared itself to be the “only legitimate body representing the people of Libya and the Libyan State” is weak and divided over what its Interim Leader, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil described as “differences in views” among NTC members.


Under the late Qathafi’s brand of communal socialism, Islamic worship was state-regulated and any apparent manifestation of political or militant Islam drew harsh security crackdowns. A fact the now defunct Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a militant jihadist organization knew too well. Co-founded by Abdelhakim Belhaj, a man who had fought the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 80’s alongside Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the LIFG waged a bloody insurgency against the late Colonel in the 90’s until it was defeated by the regime in 1998. On the run until 2004 when he was captured in a CIA operation in Malaysia, Belhaj was handed over to Colonel Qathafi’s regime after being interrogated in Thailand and Hong Kong. He was later freed on a “de-radicalization program” for imprisoned Libyan militants. Belhaj was among the first to take up the fight against the Colonel’s regime during the outbreak of the Libya Uprising. Trained and armed by Qatari special forces in the Western Mountains, his troops marched triumphantly into Tripoli. With his troops now numbering around 8,000 the man known in the jihad world as Abu Abdullah al-Sadiq is the city’s most visible military commander as head of Tripoli’s Supreme Council.

The NTC and their western supporters are now raising concerns to the Qataris whose aid seem to be empowering primarily Islamist leaders at the possible expense of the embryonic rebel government. In trying to present the rebels as “liberators”, the west had ignored the central role of Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists within rebel ranks until now. But Belhaj and other Islamist militia leaders say they seek only their fair share of power. Was the NTC’s announcement that Libya’s new constitutional laws would be based on Islamic Sharia principles an attempt to appease the Islamist militia groups who have become a force to reckon with in a post-Qathafi Libya?

"Reversing the Gains

In an attempt to replace a “dictatorial regime” with a “ pro-democracy” rebel government, the NATO invasion into Libya has destroyed that country’s economic and social achievements over the last 40 years. Achievements that most countries under western-style “multi-party democracy” and “good governance” can only dream of Public Health Care in Libya, for instance, was free. The best in Africa. According to FAO’s Country Profile on Libya, the country has had a high standard of living and a robust per capita daily caloric intake of 3144. Since 1980, child mortality rates have dropped from 70 per thousand live births to 19 in 2009. Life expectancy has risen from 61 to 74 years of age during the same span of years. On education, World Bank’s Country Brief on Libya reports that ‘in a relative short period of time, Libya achieved universal access for primary education, with 98% gross enrolment for secondary, and 46% for tertiary education. In the past decade, girls’ enrolment increased by 12% in all levels of education. In secondary and tertiary education, girls outnumbered boys by 10%.’

Prior to NATO’s ‘‘humanitarian intervention’’, Libya was at the implementation stage of an ambitious multi-billion dollar infrastructure development plan focused on the renovating and construction of airports, roads, housing, schools, hospitals, and water and sanitation projects nation-wide, as well as the Railway Project. An ambitious 4,800 km trans-Africa rail network planned to link Tunisia and Egypt and a southern network linking Sabha to Chad and Niger, the Railway Project was a talking point as a major infrastructural project of interest in the mold of the Great Man Made River Project, a similar mammoth undertaking by the ousted regime. In most developing countries, essential food prices have skyrocketed. Libya was one of the few countries in the developing world which maintained a system of price control over essential food staples. While rising food prices in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt spearheaded social unrest and political dissent, the system of food subsidies in Libya was fully maintained.


As western powers haggle with their Qatari counterparts over what type of government is best suited for the country, Libyans on the other hand are busy, at tribal levels, consulting on the formation of a power-sharing government, oblivious of what goes on among their ‘liberators’. To the west, it would be naïve to assume that Libya would be able to peacefully evolve into a western-style democracy after more than 40 years of socialist rule with no democratic foundations in place. And the Qataris need not be reminded that a government made up of Islamist leaders would not appease the west, no matter how democratic such a government turns out to be. But to the general masses, it is about the provision of free universal healthcare, education and even more basic necessities such as food. After all, what is the essence of democracy if such basic necessities of life cannot be accessed by all?

A Lesson for Africa?

If there is a lesson to be learnt in Africa on the Libya Uprising, it has to be Western Powers’ disregard for African States, institutions and opinions in dealing with the crisis of an African member state. One cannot help but ask, whose voice really counts when it comes to decision-making on African matters at the so-called United Nations Organization? Perhaps this is why Jean-Paul Pougala’s analysis ( ) in which he calls on ‘‘all 50 African nations’’ to ‘‘simply quit the United Nations because this organization, by its very structure and hierarchy, is at the service of the most powerful’’ has been well received across the continent. But Pougala’s argument is not entirely new because the facts on Africa’s relationship with the west have always been known. What may be new however is the level of western insult on Africa’s integrity, as the entire continent stood accused of supporting the late leader in exchange for material gains thereby undermining the AU’s credibility within the International Community regarding the Libya crisis. Little wonder then why the voice of the AU was quick to fade into the background while the rest of the International Community passed judgment over an AU member-state.

According to Pougala, Africa’s ‘‘only way to make a point is to use the Chinese method’’, drawing parallels with ‘‘Mao’s China’’ which waited for 26 years for ‘‘China’s dignity to be respected’’. But can Pougala’s Africa afford to bite the western finger that feeds the starving continent? We do not need to be reminded of the number of African governments who depend on annual western hand-outs (including those of UN specialized agencies) to run their countries, thanks to corrupt and inept politicians who continue to plunder and siphon their nation’s wealth off to western banks abroad. The Cameroonian writer could perhaps make his case stronger by first advocating a thorough house-cleansing crusade to purge the continent of corrupt politicians and then utilize its vast resources for the common good of its people. Only then will Africans boast of real freedom and true independence. The way to restore eroded integrity. And that was how China’s dignity became respected. Not just by quitting the United Nations. "


So the real conclusion is a question:

The entire set of decisions that destroyed Libya put in the hands of Al qaeda in my view was the failure to disclose that Libya was the most advanced country in Africa. What is astonishing is that this was done with such sweeping effectiveness and was easy to find out, that I do not see how it was not a conspiracy.

BBC, CNN, The Networks, The cable news outlets, even Democracy Now, seemed unaware or were not willing to tell us this simple fact. Who made this decision.

Second: Who made the decision not to tell the public how much damage NATO was doing, and how disproportionate their damage was - to the actual threat of civilian casualties by the government. These statements were clearly made knowingly, which is fraud, and when fraud involves 10s of thousands of deaths and billions perhaps even trillions in property and recuperation damages one would think these people could be prosecuted, as it is by far greater atrocity than the Yugoslav conflict, and involved persecution of a group.;

By failing to alert the public to these facts -

Let Libya Not Be In Vain:

Arouse the world to the evil of the corporate and military domination - reform the US to be a productive than a predatory system. Prosecute the war criminals. Publicly expose those who disinformed

Let us devote our energies to creating framework for the occupy movement.


Libya: ME