Empire Burlesque 
Monday, August 29, 2011
I was going to write about the NATO bombing of Sirte , where in order “protect civilians” from the now non-existent regime of Moamar Gadafy, the humanitarian lords of the West are now killing civilians at the behest of the new, non-elected regime of the murky and murderous “Transitional National Council.”
But as I sat down to the keyboard, I saw that Craig Murray was already on the case . Murray, you’ll recall, was the courageous UK ambassador to Uzbekistan who dared expose the horrific tortures being practiced by the “friendly” regime there, which was acting as one of the many foreign proxies for the Anglo-American “war on terror.” For his pains, he was dismissed, demonized, marginalized. (And accused at one point of being “psychologically disturbed;” why else would anyone oppose the benevolent policies of our humanitarian honchos?)
Here is his quick take on the attack on Sirte:
The disconnect between the UN mandate to protect civilians while facilitating negotiation, and NATO’s actual actions as the anti-Gadaffi forces’ air force and special forces, is startling.
There is something so shocking in the Orwellian doublespeak of NATO on this point that I am severely dismayed. … I had hoped that the general population in Europe is so educated now that obvious outright lies would be rejected. I even hoped some journalists would seek to expose lies. I was wrong, wrong, wrong.
The “rebels” are actively hitting Sirte with heavy artillery … they are transporting tanks openly to attack Sirte. Yet any movement of tanks or artillery by the population of Sirte brings immediate death from NATO air strike.
What exactly is the reason that Sirte’s defenders are threatening civilians, but the artillery of their attackers – and the bombings themselves – are not? Plainly this is a nonsense. People in foreign ministries, NATO, the BBC and other media are well aware that it is the starkest lie and propaganda, to say the assault on Sirte is protecting civilians. But does knowledge of the truth prevent them from peddling a lie? No.
It is worth reminding everyone something never mentioned, that UNSCR 1973 which established the no fly zone and mandate to protect civilians had
“the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary to find a peaceful and sustainable solution;”
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
… Plainly the people of Sirte hold a different view to the “rebels” as to who should run the country. NATO have in effect declared being in Gadaffi’s political camp a capital offence. There is no way the massive assault on Sirte is “facilitating dialogue”. it is rather killing those who do not hold the NATO-approved opinion. That is the actual truth. It is extremely plain.
I have no time for Gadaffi. I have actually met him, and he really is nuts, and dangerous. There were aspects of his rule in terms of social development which were good, but much more that was bad and tyrannical. But if NATO is attacking him because he is a dictator, why is it not attacking Dubai, Bahrain, Syria, Burma, Zimbabwe, or Uzbekistan, to name a random selection of badly governed countries?
“Liberal intervention” does not exist. What we have is the opposite; highly selective neo-imperial wars aimed at ensuring politically client control of key physical resources.
Wars kill people. Women and children are dying now in Libya, whatever the sanitised media tells you. The BBC have reported it will take a decade to repair Libya’s infrastructure from the damage of war. That in an underestimate. Iraq is still decades away from returning its utilities to their condition in 2000.
I strongly support the revolutions of the Arab Spring. But NATO intervention does not bring freedom, it brings destruction, degradation and permanent enslavement to the neo-colonial yoke. From now on, Libyans — like us — will be toiling to enrich western bankers. That, apparently, is worth to NATO the reduction of Sirte to rubble.
All too true. The only slight demurral I might make is with this is Murray’s surprise at the disconnect between the noble-sounding natterings of NATO’s nabobs and the murderous reality of their actions. (Of course, Murray himself notes that “I suffer from that old springing eternal of hope, and am therefore always in a state of disappointment..”) There isn’t anything startling about the way the Libyan adventurism has played out. It has followed the old Kosovo template nearly to the letter, with most of the same outright lies by the leaders and self-blinding justifications by the “serious” commentariat.
Murray is quite right to point to the “sanitized” version of the war that we have gotten. No doubt in the months and years to come, the true death toll notched up by the humanitarians will come out … in dribs and drabs, in obscure corners, or even — why not? — in a “major” feature in a respectable publication, whose years-late revelations will be swiftly brushed aside and forgotten. (Like the LA Times’ award-winning, multi-part expose  in the 1990s of the corrupt and criminal machinations that led up to the first Gulf War.) After all, we live in a militarist-corporatist-police state, but not a totalitarian one; information is out there, facts can be obtained, trenchant criticism can be found — you can go and see Noam Chomsky speaking in public any time you like. Our masters learned long ago that manipulating and massaging information (and misinformation) is much more effective, and longer-lasting, than attempts at total suppression and control.
Thus Craig Murray was not jumped in an alleyway, or killed in an obscure and ambiguous “accident” of some sort, as might have happened in imperiums of old. He was simply shunted to the sidelines and rendered “unserious” by official disapproval.
But however they twist and torment the facts, the truth remains what it is. And the truth is that we are seeing, yet again, in Libya is the murder, in our name, of innocent people by the preening, lying, self-righteous, silk-suited thugs of NATO.