Don DeBar is an independent journalist who has recently travelled to Libya before the NATO invasion. BSNews emailed him some questions regarding the conflict.
1/ We know that the intervention in Libya was not humanitarian – some suggest oil while others, including Ellen Brown, have suggested it was more to do with money and central banking. Do you have a theory on the real reasons for the invasion?
There is first and foremost the geopolitical consideration – that the US and EU are determined to take direct control of Africa’s resources. Libya was – and, thus far, remains – the single largest impediment to this effort, with Gadhaffi personally being the single human being who is the largest obstacle.
Begin with the fact that one of Gadhaffi’s first acts after deposing the western puppet King Idris was to evict the US from its only military base on the continent. This act, taken four decades ago, left the US in the position of having to base its AFRICOM force, established in October, 2008, in Stuttgart, Germany, laying bare the nature of this “alliance.”
More immediately, in terms of geopolitical irritations, Libya has heavily invested in African infrastructure, such as telecom system construction, an African satellite, and other communications projects. The revenue which now stays in Africa – hundreds of millions of dollars a month – comes directly out of the pockets of US, EU and other global telecom companies, a trend that is in exactly the opposite direction sought by US/EU power elites.
Even more to the point is that Gadhaffi has been pushing for – and funding the enabling of – an independent and united African economic entity that could rival the EU and other global economic powers. Among the tasks underway at the time of the invasion was the creation of an African sovereign bank and an African currency printed in Africa under African control. This would wrest control over African resources from the French and others whose power to print African currency translates into economic and, ultimately, political control.
One more extremely important point: Libya since 1969 has offered an economic and political model to Africans and others suffering colonial control that stands in stark contrast to the models of such as Nigeria and South Africa. The country’s natural wealth has been directly applied to the economic needs of the population, with the result that every Libyan owns their home – without mortgage encumbrance or rent or property tax burdens; a first-rate health care system was built and operated that is free and available to all; a first-rate education system was built and operated through the post-graduate level that is free and available to all; the oil revenues are distributed to the people in the form of a monthly stipend in the thousands of dollars; and public infrastructure – such as roads, water systems, electricity, etc., were constructed and operated efficiently and made available to all.
So the threat is a.) a plan to democratize control of Africa’s wealth and b.) a successful example of doing this in Libya, demonstrating that it is possible and offering a “how-to” model to the people of the continent. A serious threat to colonial ambition that is perhaps unmatched in the world at present.
2/ On March 19th the rebels met to discuss the setting up of a new central bank. Have you ever known an uprising, especially one as unpopular as this, setting up a central bank before power had even been taken?
No. And nor have I seen the wholesale appropriation of a nation’s sovereign wealth, with a portion of it used to fund such an enterprise.
3/ We’re seeing reports that Doha, Qatar was used to build film sets of Tripoli (replicas of Green Square, Bab al-Azizya compound and several streets) so that news feeds could show the rebels entering the capital. Have you heard this and can you confirm?
I have heard this. Although I cannot confirm from direct evidence, it is such a widely held belief that even CNN is now saying we cannot believe the pronouncements from or about the rebels on such matters. Meanwhile, every person I have spoken to who has visited either Green Square or Bab al-Azizya and saw these feeds has said the same thing – close, but no cigar: the videos are faked.
4/ From what we’ve been reading, Libya has a much better welfare state than most western nations. Can you confirm our research into this?
- Free health care – if an operation is not available within the country, the patient is flown abroad for treatment and Libyan govt picks up the entire bill. True. And also funds travel and board for the patient’s family.
- Free education – Libyan students choosing to study abroad get their university fees and and living expense paid for (not a student loan). True. All that is required is that the student is accepted for admission by the university.
- Income tax = 15% (apart from farm labourers and agricultural workers who pay no income tax) Correct.
- VAT = 0% Correct.
- Fuel, food and even car purchases are all subsidised. AND Promoted.
- Most people own their own home free of mortgage. ALL people own their homes free of mortgages, rent or taxes.
- All infrastructure projects are funded using the Libyan Sovereign Wealth Fund. Some foreign investment – WITHOUT EQUITY – was allowed for a part of the past decade.
- Most importantly, Libya has no national debt (apart from annual current account) and so is not indebted to the IMF / World Bank and BIS. Correct. Although these have stolen billion of Libyan assets in the past months.
- Gaddafi was planning to introduce a new currency – the gold dinar – which would be used to free the continent from colonial / imperial enslavement. The plan was for all African oil producing countries to sell oil and possibly other resources in this new currency. Obviously this would be a huge threat not only to the petro dollar hegemony but to the euro as well. Correct. See detail above.
5/ We’re seeing reports that Erick Prince (Blackwater / Xe) setup a mercenary army known as Reflex Responses (R2) – do you know if these are being used to help the rebels and if so, when did they engage?
Unknown. My reports are that the main invasion forces were Qatari regulars dressed as irregulars, except for their commanders, who were in national uniform. I also was told there are many dead Qataris in Tripoli.
6/ UNSC resolutions never authorised a ground invasion and yet we’re now hearing, even in the mainstream media, that SAS troops are on the ground and helping the rebels hunt Gaddafi. Surely this breaks international law?
Obviously, although the Obama administration still denies there are even hostilities underway.
7/ The Gaddafi government has begun petitioning the UN and ICC accusing NATO of war crimes. Do you see this having any success bearing in mind the ICC have issued a warrant for the arrest of Gaddafi and his sons?
No. These are each – and both – instruments of colonial power.
8/ Having armed at least 1 million families in Tripoli and possibly many more through the country, do you envisage a protracted civil war with more western ground forces deployed?
The people have been armed. They will fight and, ultimately, prevail. It is a matter of at what cost.
9/ Bearing in mind the western media’s complicity in the waging of this war – the endless propaganda should be considered a crime against peace – how important are independent journalists like Lizzie Phelan et al and how does NATO counter the threat they pose to the prefabricated narrative so readily swallowed and repeated by the likes of BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera?
A complete answer would be too long to do justice to here – suffice to say that truth is invaluable, as are truth-tellers. IN PARTICULAR – Cynthia McKinney, whose heroic visits under fire to Tripoli and national hand-to-mouth tour reporting to the American public have made the truth available to millions and, IMHO, helped shape the national consensus in opposition to this endeavour by putting the facts out. BTW, a BIG shout-out on this to Joshalyn Lawrence, whose video from Libya provided direct, first-hand evidence of NATO’s civilian casualties and, consequently, war crimes.
10/ We have seen again, as with Iraq, the mainstream western media unquestioningly reporting their govt’s and military’s statements as fact – how do you think we can best challenge this uncritical approach which, in a very real sense, costs innocent lives?
By developing our own media to higher and higher levels of penetration.
11/ Other countries like Venezuela and Cuba are refusing to recognise the TNC as the legitimate government of Libya; Serbian citizens have written to their leaders urging them to do the same. Here in the UK, we’ve already expelled the legitimate diplomats from the Libyan embassy. How, if at all, can this be reversed?
On the ground in Libya by its people evicting the invaders. Either there will be an on-going fiction – a la “Taiwan is the legitimate government of China” which lasted from the 1940s to the 1970s – or an acceptance of reality and an bunch of cockeyed explanations for the vector between prior reports and the reality in the ground.
12/ What do you say to the people (or ‘sheeple’ as Ali and I refer to those who believe the TV news) who are believing in this type of intervention (some media pundits are already calling it preclusive intervention) and how does this bode for future conflicts such as Syria, Lebanon and Palestine?
You left off Iran from the list, which is likely next. I can only say that people need to understand they are being lied to. I suspect that the degrading economic situation in the west will drive that point home eventually.
13/ In terms of deep geopolitics, do you think the so called Arab spring (Tunisia and Egypt in particular) was timed deliberately to divide the anti-war movement so that people would not be marching in their millions demanding that western nations do not invade a sovereign state? The one million people who marched before the Iraq war were nowhere to be seen before the RAF began bombing Libya.
No. It is more complex than that. The media and Democratic Party allegiance, as well as the mythology around Obama are in large part responsible for this, but even so, before the war started, Americans polled at 65% against war on Libya. The simple answer is that the people do not yet understand their power to force the government to be accountable. Consider that the opposition to the Iraq war has not ended it – instead, it elected a Democratic Congress in 2006 and a Democratic President in 2008 to end it, and they haven’t. To the contrary, they have sustained and expanded the war efforts.
14/ Have you heard about ‘Operation Mistral’, a joint UK/France air force exercise which took place towards the end of last year? An exercise in attacking by air a ‘fictional north African nation with a fictional dictator’?
15/ According to Susan Lindauer, one of Gaddafi’s final provocations was demanding additional ‘under the table’ payments from western oil companies with contracts in Libya to cover Libya’s expenses in having to pay $1m per Lockerbie victim (totalling approximately $3 billion). Gaddafi knew Libyan nationals had nothing to do with Lockerbie, in fact, Susan suggests (with some credible evidence) that the CIA blew PanAm 103 out of the sky above Scotland as there was an FBI team on board returning to the US with evidence of CIA drug running out of Lebanon. Do you have any comment on this?
No. It’s conjecture for me, lacking first hand knowledge.
16/ How do you feel we can best hold the mainstream print and broadcast media to account for the lies and omissions they’ve been guilty of during the past 6 months?
By building our own media.
17/ And finally – what is your outlook for Libya (short, medium and long term)?
Pain, suffering and death, followed by either colonialism or freedom.