Encircling Empire: Report #17—Consequences

Posted on September 25, 2012 by


ENCIRCLING EMPIRE REPORT

Encircling Empire: Report #17—Consequences

Encircling Empire Reports is a selection of essays, blog posts, and news reports covering a given time period, providing links and representative extracts or key passages from each resource, usually focusing on certain countries/continents and/or processes in each report. The focus of the reports ranges from imperialism discussed in broad strokes, to specific facets of imperialism: militarization and militarism; militainment; “humanitarian intervention” and the “responsibility to protect”; regime-change; nation-building; counterinsurgency; state terrorism; the economics of empire; soft power, psychological operations, and strategic information operations; and, the ideologies and moral constructions of contemporary imperialist thought. In keeping with the dualistic theme–the empire that encircles us, and the encircling of empire by resistance and collapse–we also attempt to provide coverage of anti-imperialism, anti-war struggles, and the direct resistance against imperialist intervention, as well as covering the decline of U.S. and European geopolitical hegemony.

(When links expire–and they certainly will in many cases–either use the full title of each item, inside quotation marks, and use that as a search term, or use the expired URL and use http://web.archive.org to do a search in its Wayback Machine.)

This report covers the period from September 5 to September 23, 2012.

This and previous issues have been archived on a dedicated site—please see: ENCIRCLING EMPIRE.

For frequent updates, please “like” our Facebook page.

Topics covered in this report:

  • Top Recommended Articles

  • Afghanistan: Adventurism and its Consequences

  • Australia: Channel 7′s Racism, Officially Censured

  • France: A Little Problem with “Freedom”

  • Libya, NATO, and Empire: More New Book Announcements

  • Libya: Green Sites

  • Killing the U.S. Ambassador to Libya: Pieces of a Puzzle

  • Syria: Foreign Intervention’s Killing Fields

  • Venezuela: The Best Electoral System in the World

Top Recommended Articles

CARRE ROUGE“In Quebec It’s Official: Mass Movement Leads to Victory for Students,” Common Dreams, September 21, 2012–after hundreds of daytime marches and very innovative and clever protest actions, after all the great theatre, after dozens of nighttime pots-and-pans banging sessions that sparked popular protest, a protest movement of hundreds of thousands in a “province” with a total population that is still less than three-quarters that of New York City, this was North America’s biggest protest movement of 2012. It was largely sidelined by Occupy Wall Street, and yet unlike OWS, it won. The experience also shows that the state still matters, as do top-down political organizations such as political parties, trade unions, and some student organizations. No wandering “consensus” here that produces no effective demands.

Also an interesting note about American anthropologists: when they came to Montreal, some chose to go to the local “Occupy” camp to show solidarity, a camp inspired by the movement in the U.S., and that locally in Quebec was almost completely ignored. On the other hand, some of the visible roots of the student revolt to come, which took the time to visit at the doors of the AAA meeting, was itself largely ignored by the foreign anthropologists. It was surprising to see this from anthropologists, something akin to American tourists I remember in Polynesia in the 1970s whose first question on their first morning in splendor was: “Where’s the Sanka?

Aside from the above, nothing beats being a professor in the Nation of Quebec at these times, when the university is itself the frontline and focus of action, and the general student population is probably North America’s most politically conscious, astute, and critical. Is it a surprise then that ZA itself was created in Quebec?

“On the arrogance of western coffee-shop socialists” by Carlos Martinez, Agent of Change, September 2012(or, “Know your enemy and don’t patronise those on the frontlines against imperialism”):

If, like me, you live in relative comfort in a rich country, and your attempts to change the world are limited to ‘safe’ (and generally pretty ineffectual) activities such as writing, demonstrating, ‘online activism’, making music, making films, etc, then you should probably think twice before branding people or movements as ‘sellouts’.

Afghanistan: Adventurism and its Consequences

Afghanistan? No…”Skateistan”

Take that, Abu Whatever! We’re now teaching your girls how to skateboard, and right in the face of the Buddha statues you destroyed. Yeeeah, now we’re even!

In this ridiculous story of–believe it or not–an actual NGO called “Skateistan,” we find wandering, bored, idle American skateboarders who joined the bandwagon of those who cash in on U.S. imperial war. There is actually not much more to say about “Skateboarding in Kabul: Half-pipes and headscarves in the Hindu Kush” (Foreign Policy, September 7, 2012), except that it’s no wonder that “foreign civilian aid workers” periodically come under direct attack by the resistance. I would want them out of my country too, or at least off of its sidewalks.

Camp What? Camp “BASTION”? Not any more.

“Philip Hammond: it’s difficult to defend Camp Bastion from Taliban,” The Telegraph, September 17, 2012: Despite its extensive garrison, numerous fences and remote location, Mr Hammond admitted that defending the base is highly challenging. “It is difficult to defend a site of this size, particularly when faced with a suicidal attack,” he said.

“U.S. lost eight jets in Afghan Camp Bastion attack,” Ken Hanly, September 17, 2012: “The recent Taliban attack on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan destroyed eight Harrier jets. This is the worst one day loss of aircraft the U.S. has suffered since the Vietnam War.”

“Taliban fighters wore US Army uniforms in attack on Prince Harry’s base,” The Telegraph, September 16, 2012.

Surging Out: Failure in Motion

“Defense Secretary Panetta says 33,000 US surge troops now out of Afghanistan, leaving 68,000,” Associated Press, September 21, 2012:

Panetta’s success mantra, however, is called into question by the decision earlier this week that, at least temporarily, NATO operations with small-sized Afghan units are no longer routine, and will require the approval of the regional commander. Until now, coalition troops routinely conducted operations such as patrolling or manning outposts with small units of their Afghan counterparts. But a growing wave of in so-called insider attacks in which Afghan Army and police troops, or insurgents dressed in their uniforms, have been turning their guns on U.S. and NATO forces, has shaken the trust between the allied troops and the Afghans they are there to train.

And it’s called into question the core strategy that relies on NATO troops working shoulder to shoulder with Afghans, training them to take over the security of their own country so the U.S. and its allies can leave at the end of 2014 as planned. As of this week 51 coalition troops have been killed in such attacks this year. Australian Brig. Gen. Roger Noble, deputy to the alliance’s operations chief, acknowledged earlier this week that the attacks are rattling the troops. “It strikes right at the heart of our resolve,” he said. “It’s one thing to be killed in action by the insurgents. It’s quite another to be shot in the back of the head at night by your friends.”

Missing the obvious: Afghan forces are precisely taking the lead for their own security, and defending their country from dangerous, armed elements, when they turn their guns on U.S. troops.

“Six British and US troops killed in latest ‘green on blue’ attacks,” The Telegraph, September 16, 2012.

Repeat Until You Believe: “They Hate Us for Our Amateur Films”

“Suicide attacks kill 13 in Afghanistan,” CNN, September 18, 2012. 3 NATO soldiers killed

“NATO Airstrike Kills Eight Women Civilians in Afghanistan” by Eltaf Najafizada, Bloomberg, September 16, 2012. How U.S. forces “protect civilians” and “win hearts and minds”:

At least eight Afghan women were killed today by a NATO airstrike as they gathered firewood in the mountains of Afghanistan’s eastern Laghman province, NATO and government officials said. President Hamid Karzai condemned the killing of eight civilians and wounding of seven others and ordered an investigation team to probe the incident, his press office said in an e-mailed statement….Some of the dead were brought today to the provincial governor’s office by family members. “They asked for justice from the governor while shouting ‘death to America’,” Sarhadi Zewak, the provincial governor’s spokesman, said in a phone interview.

Australia: Channel 7′s Racism, Officially Censured

In a great report by Survival International, “Guilty: Australia’s Channel 7 censured over ‘racist’ infanticide report” (September 24, 2012), we learn of Survival International’s formal complaint to to Australia’s regulator ACMA, after Channel 7 refused Survival’s request to issue a correction to its televised program which labelled Brazil’s Suruwaha tribe as a suicide cult; child murderers; “Stone Age” relics; and “one of the worst human rights violators in the world”. Survival’s director, Stephen Corry, made the following comment in an initial report on the show:

“It’s freakshow TV at its very worst. The Indians are made out to be cruel and inhuman monsters, in the spirit of 19th century colonialist scorn for ‘primitive savages’. It’s clearly designed to have the same effect – to suggest that they don’t deserve any rights. The idea that such nonsense is supposed to help tribal children is breathtaking.”

In fact, one of the lead reporters, Paul Raffaele had also worked previously as a writer for the Smithsonian Magazine in the U.S., and the website for the report openly advocates on behalf of a NGO that has lobbied the Brazilian Congress to pass a law that would permit the genocidal act of removing children from tribes such as the Suruwaha, and the filmmakers have also allied themselves with an evangelical missionary organization called JOCUM or “Youth with a Mission”. Humanitarian abduction, with children as objects…remember that?

Writing directly to Channel 7, and in response to the grotesque commentary that serves as the narrative of the report, Stephen Corry rightly pointed out in this report worth reading in full:

Stone Age people

The report and accompanying text and blog repeatedly claim that the Suruwaha are a Stone Age people, and that to visit them is “literally to time-travel back 10,000 years.” The Suruwaha are, apparently, “some of the last survivors of a time way beyond historical memory, thousands of years ago.” They live “caught in some kind of bubble of thousands of years ago.” Language of this sort perpetuates deeply engrained notions that isolated tribes are primitive, that they somehow lag behind the rest of us in their evolutionary development, and that they are our inferiors. We help tribal peoples defend their lives, protect their lands and determine their own futures.This may be good for audience ratings but is dangerous nonsense. It stokes the fires of prejudice that still pose a major threat – perhaps the major threat – to the welfare of forest dwelling Indians across South America.

Lost tribe

In a similar vein, the programme makers have gone to great lengths to persuade the viewer that the Suruwaha are a “lost tribe” living in a “lost world”. This is no doubt why, for example, they are supposedly intrigued by the “books, boots and modern technology” that the crew have brought with them. ….

The true position is that the Suruwaha have had regular contact with both governmental and nongovernmental organizations since the early 1980s. They have had axes, machetes, torches and other equipment for years. Aguniu, who features prominently in the film, has flown in aeroplanes, as have many others. About half of all living Suruwaha have at one time or another visited cities like Lábrea, Manaus, Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro.

These misrepresentations give a wholly distorted notion of the Suruwaha’s current situation. They allow Mr Raffaele to pose what he describes as “one of the most profound questions facing the world today.” This, apparently, is “What do we do with these stone age tribes? To let them live as they have for thousands of years protected from outside or to let them come out into our modern world?”

Actually, this is one of one of the world’s most profound no brainers. The Suruwaha already live in the modern world. The only “profound” question for them, as for all of us, is how best they can survive in it….

Corry also takes issue with the allegations of infanticide, and of a tribe that is lawless.

Survival reports on the result of its official complaint:

“In a landmark judgment, ACMA has now ruled that the Channel was guilty of breaking its racism clause – ‘provoking intense dislike, serious contempt or severe ridicule against a person or group’ – believed to be the first time it has found a broadcaster guilty of this serious offence under the 2010 TV Code. It has also ruled that the Channel was guilty of broadcasting inaccurate material.”

Among NGOs, Survival International is one of the very few to have distinguished itself for practice that follows an unspoken motto: “leave them the f*** alone!” We need more of that, and less “anthropology” practiced as an art form of colonial adventurism and humanitarian interventionism.

What is also significant about this case is that it makes us revisit the Amazon as one of the original, colonial laboratories of “humanitarian interventionism” aka the “responsibility to protect,” before such labels even existed.

France: A Little Problem with “Freedom”

In France, according to the government, “freedom of expression” extends only to making bigoted, ethnocentric statements–it’s the response that gets banned. It’s not just the government, as it turns out, that fears protest as itself being a valid form of expression usually protected as a human right. How interesting then that while France condemned Syria for banning peaceful protests (aimed at regime change), France itself bans protests. Interesting thing, this white imperialist attempt at logic. See: “France bans protests over Prophet Mohammad cartoons,” Reuters, September 21, 2012.

Libya, NATO, and Empire: More New Book Announcements

THE GLOBALIZATION OF NATO by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Clarity Press, 2012: “The world is enveloped in a blanket of perpetual conflict. Invasions, occupation, illicit sanctions, and regime change have become currencies and orders of the day. One organization – North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – is repeatedly, and very controversially, involved in some form or another in many of these conflicts led by the US and its allies. NATO spawned from the Cold War. Its existence was justified by Washington and Western Bloc politicians as a guarantor against any Soviet and Eastern Bloc invasion of Western Europe, but all along the Alliance served to cement Washington’s influence in Europe and continue what was actually the America’s post-World War II occupation of the European continent. In 1991 the raison d’être of the Soviet threat ended with the collapse of the USSR and the end of the Cold War. Nevertheless NATO remains and continues to alarmingly expand eastward, antagonizing Russia and its ex-Soviet allies. China and Iran are also increasingly monitoring NATO’s moves as it comes into more frequent contact with them. Yugoslavia was a turning point for the Atlantic Alliance and its mandate. The organization moved from the guise of a defensive posture into an offensive pose under the pretexts of humanitarianism….”

THE ILLEGAL WAR ON LIBYA, edited by Cynthia McKinney, Clarity Press, 2012: “This volume offers both analysis and eyewitness accounts of the NATO assault on a helpless civilian population it had a UN mandate to protect, and the massive propaganda campaign that made it possible. It responds to the many questions left unanswered by a complicit mainstream media, such as: Why Libya, not Bahrain, Yemen or Egypt? What was life in Libya like under Gadhafi? What is the truth about the so-called “Black Mercenaries”? What about Africom’s Plans for Africa? Cynthia McKinney and other contributors to this volume were in Libya during the period of the NATO assault on Libyan cities, among the few independent voices to report on the tragedy.”

THE ARAB REVOLT and the IMPERIALIST COUNTERATTACK, Second Edition, by James Petras, Clarity Press, 2012: “When the popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia overthrew the public faces of the imperial-backed regimes in the region, it inspired supporters of popular democracy worldwide. However, as the Arab revolt spread from North Africa to the Gulf and deepened its demands, the Empire struck back. The ruling military junta in Egypt cracked down on the prodemocracy movement as its autocratic “partners” in the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula drowned the civil society movements in blood. While standing by the crumbling dictatorships elsewhere in the region, the United States, France and the United Kingdom seized the opportunity to intervene in Libya under cover of a new “responsibility to protect” doctrine authorizing humanitarian intervention. But instead, NATO took sides in the Libyan civil war, unleashing a savage bombing campaign against the very people it purported to protect, reducing the Libyan capital and surrounding cities to rubble, and opening itself to charges of war crimes. These essays chronicle the growing militarization of US policy in North Africa and the Gulf and the historic confrontation between the Arab democratic revolts and the imperial backed satraps. Bearing witness to the ragtag rebel victory enabled by NATO in Libya and ongoing chaos throughout the region, Petras disassembles America’s collapsing Middle East policy.”

Libya: Green Sites

For news and commentaries on Libya that often differ markedly from what is found on the mainstream media, featuring perspectives supportive of the Al-Fatah Revolution and the Green resistance against the new order imposed by NATO, the Gulf States, and their local collaborators, see the following sites (presented in particular order). These are just some of the sites that preserve the memory of a revolution that transformed Libya from a poor colonial backwater of tin shanties into an independent and defiant nation that promoted a vision of Africa as integrated, self-reliant, and anti-imperialist.

Libya 360º–”Even if there comes a time when you do not hear my voice, do not give up. Do not despair. Do not stop fighting for your freedom until you have victory!” ~ Muammar Al-Qadhafi–this site’s featured categories focus on Muammar Gaddafi, the Green resistance, official statements from the Libyan government under Gaddafi, entries on Africa and Imperialism, the “Arab Spring,” and phony “revolutionaries”.

Libya S.O.S: Another prolific site that is packed with articles, videos, photographs and documents, focusing in particular on NATO’s intervention and the crimes that were committed during and after that intervention.

Wrong Kind of Green: “Long live the Libyan Arab Jamahariya!”–the primary focus of this site, which it pursues with scathing commentary and in-depth analyses, is the role of western NGOs in promoting regime change, U.S. imperialism, and corporate dominance. Beyond Libya, one will find here articles on diverse cases, including Venezuela, Bolivia, and various current destabilization campaigns occurring around the world.

Mathaba News Network: Libya–The Mathaba News Network site is likely the oldest one that has brought news and communication from Libya to the wider world. MNN sources a wide variety of articles on Libya, while also benefiting from a network of sources on the ground in Libya. For many years, MNN has functioned as a semi-official international organ of the Al-Fatah Revolution. It promotes a wider network including the International Green Charter Movement, the International People’s Conference Organization, and various publication and communication initiatives.

Killing the U.S. Ambassador to Libya: Pieces of a Puzzle

  • Advance Warnings: “State Dept to Americans: Don’t go to Libya” (Foreign Policy, August 27, 2012): “Carjackings, robberies, kidnappings, and militia violence all are on the rise in Libya, prompting the State Department to warn U.S. citizens to stay away from the North African country, nearly a year after Libyan rebels seized the capital Tripoli from Muammar al-Qaddafi’s forces. Ironically, the State Department resumed full consular services for travel to and inside Libya today, but simultaneously advised Americans the country was too dangerous to visit. Militias are rounding up foreigners with little regard to the actual law or due process and the State Department has little influence with them, the department is warning.

  • Suggestions that Libyan members of Al Qaeda, released from Guantanamo to Libya, were behind the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

  • Christopher Stevens knew he was being targeted by Al Qaeda: …CNN talk show host Anderson Cooper told Sen. John McCain on “Anderson Cooper 360,” that “a source familiar with Ambassador Stevens’s thinking told us that in the months before his death he talked about being worried about the never-ending security threats that he was facing in Benghazi and specifically about the rise in Islamic extremism and growing al Qaeda presence.” The source, Cooper said, “also mentioned (Stevens) being on an al Qaeda hit list.”

  • “A blast from the past”: “Bomb targets US embassy offices in Libya’s Benghazi,” Reuters, June 6, 2012–as reported by the U.S. Embassy: A bomb targeted the U.S. embassy offices in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi late on Tuesday, an embassy official said. He said the improvised explosive device hit outside the gate of the offices and no one was injured. “We have asked the Libyan government to increase its security around U.S. facilities,” the official told Reuters. The main U.S. embassy is in the capital Tripoli. The attack is the latest on international missions and institutions in Benghazi, the coastal city 1,000 km east of Tripoli where the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi began last year and where many overseas bodies station representatives. On May 22, a rocket-propelled grenade hit the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Benghazi, leaving a small hole in the side of the building but causing no casualties. A month earlier, a bomb was thrown at a convoy carrying the head of the U.N. mission to Libya. That attack was the first of its kind targeting a foreign mission since last year’s revolt overthrew Gaddafi….On Tuesday, a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan killed one of al Qaeda’s most powerful figures, a Libyan citizen called Abu Yahya al-Libi”.

  • Precedents: “Ambassador Murder Preceded by Monthly Attacks On Diplomatic Targets”

  • From the U.S. Embassy, August 6, 2012: “In the early morning of August 6, U.S. Embassy personnel were attacked by armed assailants in a possible carjacking. The personnel evaded the attack and arrived safely at their destination. This event underscores the uncertain security environment in Tripoli.”

  • Warned in advance, in precise terms: “American diplomats were warned of possible violent unrest in Benghazi three days before the killings of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three members of his team, Libyan security officials say. The claim came as the country’s interim President, Mohammed el-Megarif, said his government had information that the attack on the US consulate had been planned by an Islamist group with links to al-Qa’ida and with foreigners taking part. However, the American ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, insisted that the killings had resulted from a demonstration against a film about the Prophet Mohamed, replicating protests in Cairo, which had been ‘hijacked’ and got out of control.”

  • Warned in advance: “Libyan officials, US officials and intelligence assets on the ground say the Benghazi embassy attack was planned by Al Qaeda affiliated Islamic extremists. Libya officials also say that the U.S warned in advanced but failed to take necessary measures to prevent the attack that took the lives of 4 Americans including that of US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stephens.”

  • “Clinton denies any advance warning of Libya attack”

  • “White House sees no evidence Libya attack was premeditated; says causes under investigation”

  • “Too soon to call Libya attack ‘act of terror’: State Dept”

  • “UN ambassador: Libya attack was spontaneous”–Susan Rice once again caught spewing without having the facts, ignoring State Dept. mandate to stop talking.

  • Not about an amateur film in the U.S.: “The key to all of this is al-Qaeda’s second in command, Abu Yahya al-Libi, who was killed by a US drone attack in Waziristan on 4 June,” Bagley said. “The real catalyst for the attack in Libya and the unrest that has spread to Yemen, was a lengthy video released by al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, marking the anniversary of 9/11 and admitting to the death of al-Libi, who is Libyan.” “This was a very powerful call to avenge al-Libi’s death,” Bagley said, “and it came only 24 hours before the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.”

  • It can’t be Al Qaeda, not when Obama seeks re-election fueled by boasting of the execution of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda’s demise: “[Al Qaeda's senior leadership] ordered its followers to ‘gather weapons,’ ‘establish training camps,’ ‘build a network in secret,’ ‘establish an Islamic state,’ and ‘institute sharia’ law in Libya.”

  • Yet Al Qaeda claims it was their revenge: “Al-Qaeda says attack on U.S. consulate in Libya ‘revenge’ for death of its 2nd man,” Al Arabiya, September 15, 2012.

  • It was a terrorist attack: “They were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy,” Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said in response to a question at a Senate hearing.

  • Did we say it wasn’t a terrorist attack? Because now it is. (In other words, after more Orwellian linguistic torture, and a trial balloon that was shot down, we can admit the basics, maybe, sort of): “It is self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack,” the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday. “Our embassy was attacked violently and the result was four deaths of American officials.”Until now, White House officials have not used that language in describing the assault. But with the election less than two months away and President Obama’s record on national security a campaign issue, they have come under criticism from Republican lawmakers who say the administration is playing down a threat for which it was unprepared….In a highly charged political atmosphere, the mere use of the term “terrorist” is loaded, not least, as one administration official acknowledged privately, because the phrase conjures up an image of America under attack, something the White House wants to avoid….[but...the attack was totally spontaneous and had to do with the outrage over a YouTube video:] Mr. Carney maintained on Thursday that Obama administration officials still were not calling the attack preplanned.“According to the best information we have now, we believe it was an opportunistic attack on our mission in Benghazi,” he said. “It appears that some well-armed militants seized on that attack as the events unfolded that evening. We do not have any specific intelligence that there was significant advance planning or coordination for this attack.”Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said earlier in the week that there had been no intelligence warnings that an attack was imminent.

  • Except, there was never any “anti-American protest” outside the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi:

  • Again, no demonstration:  “They’re now saying that there was not a demonstration,” McKeon , R-Calif., said. “That story has been walked away from now. The first story was there was a demonstration and that grew into an attack. I think the story now is that there was not a demonstration. That this was a preplanned attack.”

  • …and Ansar al-Sharia denies any role in killing the U.S. Ambassador: “We are against the killing of the ambassador as he has not committed a crime to be killed for but if America uses this as an excuse, Libya will be an inferno for U.S. troops,” Jehani said, adding that his group was “highly” prepared.

  • Drones over Benghazi

  • More internal conflict generated, after months of militias attacking each other: “the military asked all armed groups using the army’s camps, outposts and barracks in Tripoli, and other cities to hand them over. It warned that it will resort to force if the groups refuse”.

  • A dead American, U.S. drones, turning them against themselves, with some familiar anti-protester language reappearing (supposedly that was Gaddafi’s monopoly): “Those you call protesters are looters and thieves,” said Nour Eddin al-Haddad, a young man with an automatic rifle slung on his back. “We fought for the revolution. We are the real revolutionaries.”…If the government doesn’t act, “there will be a second revolution and the spark will be Benghazi,” lawyer Ibrahim al-Aribi.

  • Who organized the supposedly spontaneous, popular anti-militia protests? The Libyan authorities responded to the death of Stevens by organising “Rescue Benghazi Day”, a mass demonstration against militia groups that culminated late on Friday with crowds storming through Ansar al-Sharia offices.

  • Libya’s central government exercises little authority outside capital

  • Libya, “a state in the making”…let’s not mention who “unmade” it.

  • Shadow play, as a weak state may be making itself weaker: Omar Humidan, assembly spokesman, acknowledged that militias “have wrong practices … serve their own agenda and have their own ideology.” But he warned that “striking these militias and demanding they disband immediately will have grave consequences.” “The state has a weak army and no way it can fill any vacuum resulting in eviction of these militias,” he said. “The state must be given time.”

  • Weaker and weaker: But in an indication of government fears of a sudden security vacuum without the militias it relies on to keep order, officials called on protesters to respect “legitimate” militias.

  • Shadow play, militias informed, withdraw with their weapons: The group [Ansar al-Sharia], which had vacated its offices in advance and put up no resistance, announced on Saturday that it had evacuated its premises in the city to preserve peace….Although Ansar al-Sharia seems no longer seems to have an overt presence in Benghazi, its departing fighters took their weapons with them. The group and its ideological allies have presences in other towns in eastern Libya, notably Derna, a city to the east that is known across the Middle East as a recruiting hotspot for Jihadists to fight in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

  • Militias melting away? The two main Islamist militias in Derna, a city in eastern Libya known as an Islamist stronghold, withdrew from their five bases on Saturday and announced they were disbanding, residents said, a day after a militia was driven out of Benghazi. The Abu Slim and Ansar al-Sharia militias’ announcements were apparently motivated by events in Benghazi, where Ansar al-Sharia, a group linked with last week’s deadly attack on the U.S. consulate, withdrew from all its bases in the city late on Friday amid mass demonstrations in support of the government.

  • Disbanded militia: “The commander of the battalion gave orders to members to evacuate their premises and hand them over to the people of Benghazi,” said spokesman Yousef al-Jehani. “

  • Disbanded? “Rather than join the military, the Ansar militia, viewed as the most disciplined and feared one in the east, said it disbanded on Sunday. ‘Now, we have only light personal weapons,’ said Youssef Jihani, a senior figure in the group.” What these moves have achieved, or tried to achieve, is to create greater difficulty for the U.S. to militarily attack such a moving target, especially one that supposedly dissolves into thin air.

  • Disbanded? No weapons were left behind in most of the seizures, protesters and officials said, suggesting the militias had been anticipating such an event because of a buildup of resentment against them.

  • Disbanded? Evacuated seems more accurate. In what may be a bit of theatre for foreign consumption, Ansar al-Shariah is not disbanding, but something potentially “worse” where U.S. interests are concerned: going underground–”The commander of the battalion gave orders to members to evacuate their premises and hand them over to the people of Benghazi,” said spokesman Yousef al-Jehani. “We respect the views of the people of Benghazi, and to preserve security in the city we evacuated the premises.”

  • The protesters are pro-U.S.: Some Republican lawmakers have moved to cut off aid to Libya as a result….But one powerful Republican, Senator John McCain, counseled against such a move, citing the pro-American sentiments of some of the demonstrators who confronted Ansar al-Sharia on Friday. “These brave people in Libya are friends of America,” he said. “They want our help and need our help. And we must continue to provide it to them, which is exactly what Chris Stevens would have wanted.”

  • Green Resistance, rarely featured in the mainstream media, at best buried in reports such as this one from the AP: “Backers of the ousted regime continue to hold sway in some parts of the country, particularly the western city of Bani Walid and parts of the deep south. Gadhafi loyalists near the southern town of Barek al-Shati clashed with a pro-government militia for several days, killing nearly 20, and abducted 30 militiamen working with the authorities from a bus this week, according to Essam al-Katous, a senior security official.”

Addenda:

The U.S. answer to Libya’s problems–or how globalization has run out of ideas and is at a dead end:

Wal-Mart for Libya: “Former President Bill Clinton on Sunday challenged Wal-Mart to open a store in Libya and help create jobs in the world’s most troubled areas. “If the new president of Libya asked you to open a store in Tripoli, would you consider it?” Clinton asked Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke at the opening session of the Clinton Global Initiative.

Who needs Gaddafi’s extensive social security state and distributed oil income, when you can have jobs at Wal-Mart. After all, it worked so well for the U.S.

Syria: Foreign Intervention’s Killing Fields

That’s my job! “Obama: Does Romney want ‘to start another war’ in Middle East?”–this rich bit of irony comes from the very same incumbent who has started two new wars in the Middle East (Yemen and Libya), with a third on the way (Syria). Indeed, had Russia and China not vetoed three UN draft resolutions, each of which opened the door to foreign direct military intervention, one wonders how much worse Obama would have succeeded in making the Middle East. But it’s election time in America, and that means any new lie can be told with a straight face, to paint over the established lies.

Venezuela: The Best Electoral System in the World

“Former US President Carter: Venezuelan Electoral System ‘Best in the World’,” by Ewan Robertson, Venezuelanalysis.com, September 21, 2012. Finally, some long overdue recognition of the party and the leader that has won the greater number of free and fair elections of any in the Americas, several in a decade, including popular assemblies for a new national constitution, a recall vote, presidential and parliamentary elections. What about the U.S.? “In the context of the Carter Centre’s work monitoring electoral processes around the globe, Carter also disclosed his opinion that in the US ‘we have one of the worst election processes in the world, and it’s almost entirely because of the excessive influx of money,’ he said referring to lack of controls over private campaign donations.