Global Research & World Socialist Web Site & Agence France-Presse & UPI & RT News – 2013-10-09 22:23:22
Mass Anger Builds in Libya After US Special Forces Raid
Thomas Gaist / Global Research & World Socialist Web Site
(October 9, 2013) — The Libyan government demanded an audience with the US Ambassador Deborah Jones this week in response to Saturday’s raid, led by US Special Forces, to capture alleged Al Qaeda planner Anas al-Liby. At least ten attackers surrounded al-Liby outside his Tripoli residence, where they disarmed him and forced him into a vehicle.
Al-Liby is currently being held in the brig of a US naval vessel in the Mediterranean, where he has reportedly been denied his Miranda rights and is likely being subjected to torture. He previously resided in the UK and had been living in Tripoli since 2011, without making an effort to conceal his identity or whereabouts.
Speaking on behalf of the US National Security Council, Caitlin Hayden touted the operation to capture al-Liby as the product of “months of operational planning.”
In response, the Libyan government has sought to balance between appeasing popular outrage against the kidnapping and maintaining good relations with US imperialism, which installed it during the 2011 NATO war to topple Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Speaking at a press conference in Rabat, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan mildly protested the snatch-and-grab operation, while affirming that good relations will continue between the US and the Libyan “revolution.”
“We emphasize that Libyan citizens should be judged in Libya, and Libya does not surrender its sons,” Zeidan said. “The US was very helpful to Libya during the revolution and the relations should not be affected by an incident, even if it is a serious one.”
There is anxiety in establishment circles that the kidnapping of al-Liby will provoke an explosion of outrage against the neo-colonial Libyan regime. The US-backed government is in a state of desperate crisis, facing threats of armed Islamist militias, demands from workers for better pay and more employment, and cities requiring reconstruction as a result of the devastation caused by the 2011 war.
The New York Times wrote that the raid to seize al-Liby “tests the ability of the fledgling Libyan government to weather the furor. Indeed, American officials said the Libyan authorities, in a shift, were willing to support the raid as long as they could protest in public. But it may have also represented a recognition that the interim government was already losing control over the country.”
While the posturing of the Libyan regime against the seizure of al-Liby is cynical, the growing anger of masses of people in Libya and throughout the Middle East against neo-colonial war is deeply felt.
In anticipation of mass protests which could potentially threaten the US embassy, 200 US Marines are preparing to fly to the US embassy in Tripoli.
During the war dubbed “Operation Freedom Falcon,” initiated in March of 2011, the US and its European allies launched over 26,000 sorties against targets inside Libya, including the savage carpet bombing of Tripoli and Sirte. The US-led war — fraudulently presented by the US government and various pseudo-left parties as a continuation of mass working class struggles against dictatorship in Egypt and Tunisia — relied on Islamist and Al Qaeda elements as proxies to help conquer Libya.
After the war, the US and NATO oversaw the installation of a weak Libyan government run by Islamist militias and US intelligence assets that has done nothing to resolve the ever more desperate situation facing the population as a result of the US bombing. Claims that the 2011 war was fought to support a democratic revolution to overthrow Gaddafi — advanced by US officials and pseudo-left forces like the International Socialist Organization — now lie in tatters.
The US-NATO war against Libya has produced a social catastrophe in the country which is worsening with each passing day. The streets of Tripoli are patrolled by Islamist thugs, and the US-backed government is chronically unable to provide basic services to the population, including water and electricity.
The reactionary militias employed by US imperialism during the war systematically terrorize the population and, in September of last year, even mounted an assault on the US consulate in Benghazi, killing US Ambassador Christopher Stevens. A UN report last month showed that thousands of individuals are being held in Libyan prisons and other secret sites controlled by armed gangs and militias. Many of these have been detained arbitrarily and subjected to torture.
Protests and strikes have broken out across the country during the past few months, especially in the oil sector, with workers demanding unpaid wages, jobs, and reconstruction of social infrastructure destroyed during the US-NATO bombing campaign. Islamist militias now command many oil fields and export facilities. Oil exports, the mainstay of Libya’s economy, have been slashed.
According to Libya’s Al-Nabaa, scores of government soldiers staged an unarmed occupation of Ali Zidan’s office beginning on Monday, demanding their salaries, which they said have not been paid for months.
The “democratic” legislative body established after the war — the General National Congress (GNC) — is little more than a consortium of Islamist forces, ex-Gaddafi regime elements, and criminal gangs, penetrated by the US and its military and intelligence agencies. Only candidates selected by the NATO-installed National Transitional Council (NTC) were eligible for election to the GNC.
The current conditions in Libya refute the empty proclamations made by the political and media establishments in 2012, when the Libyan government was formed. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the time, “Last year, thousands of Libyans sacrificed their lives or suffered lasting injury in order to win the right of the Libyan people to build a new state founded on human dignity and the rule of law.”
As in the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, the imperialist war in Libya has produced an outcome which can be described as sociocide. A society which had been capable of providing modern conditions of life for broad sections of the population has been turned into a cauldron of violence and oppression, evoking deepening opposition from the workers and oppressed masses against the US-backed regime.
Libya Demands US Return Alleged Al-Qaeda Operative
TRIPOLI (October 8, 2013) — Libya’s top political authority, the General National Congress, demanded on Tuesday that the United States hand back an alleged Al-Qaeda operative its forces seized from Tripoli in a weekend raid.â€¨â€¨
A GNC statement read out by spokesman Omar Hmidan stressed “the need for the immediate surrender” of Abu Anas al-Libi and described the US operation as a “flagrant violation of (Libya’s) national sovereignty.”â€¨â€¨
The text, which was passed by the GNC, also calls for the “need to allow the Libyan authorities and their families to get in touch with him (Libi) and guarantee them access to a lawyer.”â€¨â€¨
It is the first official statement from Libya that clearly condemns the operation in which Libi was snatched from his car by US forces in broad daylight in a Tripoli street on Saturday.
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan insisted earlier on Tuesday that all Libyans should be tried on home soil. The GNC declaration comes after Libya’s justice minister summoned US Ambassador Deborah Jones to answer questions about the surprise raid.â€¨â€¨Libi — whose real name is Nazih Abdul Hamed al-Raghie — was on the FBI’s most wanted list with a $5 million (3.7 million euro) bounty on his head for his alleged role in the 1998 twin bombings of two US embassies in East Africa. He is reportedly being held aboard a US naval ship in the Mediterranean.
US Justification for al-Liby Arrest Questioned
United Press International
WASHINGTON, DC (October 8, 2013) — Amnesty International said it was concerned about the US reliance on laws enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks for the detention of a terrorist in Libya.
Libyan national Abu Anas al-Liby was detained by special operations troops and FBI agents in a weekend raid in Libya. He faces charges stemming from the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
The US government said his arrest was covered under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force measure passed roughly one week after the Sept. 11 attacks. It gives the US president power to use force against anyone suspected of assisting al-Qaida.
Amnesty International said the US government used the “flawed” measure to justify the arrest.
“Abductions of this nature, followed by interrogations during incommunicado detention, undermine the presumption of innocence,” the organization said Monday. “[al-Liby’s arrest] also undermines Libya’s efforts to establish the rule of law at a time when the country is in need of international support to rebuild its institutions significantly weakened by the 2011 armed conflict.”
US State Department spokesman Marie Harf noted al-Liby was indicted in a New York court for his ties to al-Qaida. She said Monday the Libyan government was a valuable partner “in fighting shared challenges like the terrorist threat that men like this represent.”
(c) 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
US Moves Marines to Italy as Situation in Libya becomes Tense
(October 9, 2013) — Two hundred United States Marines are being mobilized from a base in Spain to an Italian site neighboring Libya where an Army raid over the weekend resulted in the capture of suspected Al-Qaeda terrorist, Abu Anas al-Libi.
CNN reported early Tuesday that a US military official confirmed the repositioning of 200 heavily armed Marines to the naval base at Sigonella, Italy, a Sicilian fort south of Catania that sits on the opposite side of the Mediterranean from Libya. â€¨â€¨
According to the military source, the US Department of State aided in the troop movement and considers the maneuver “a prudent measure” following Saturday’s raid in Tripoli.
There is now the potential for a security crisis to arise at the US Embassy in Libya, CNN reported, should tensions worsen as a result of the capture. â€¨â€¨
Al-Libi, 49, was picked up from his Tripoli home on Saturday and is currently being held on the USS San Antonio in international waters. He was charged previously with the 1998 bombings that targeted US embassies in Tanzania in Kenya, which resulted in the deaths of 224 people, including a dozen Americans. â€¨â€¨
US Secretary of State John Kerry responded this week to the capture, by calling al-Libi a “legal and appropriate target” for the US, and senior officials have linked him with high-ranking members of the al-Qaeda organization formerly led by Osama bin Laden. â€¨â€¨
“I hope the perception is in the world that people who commit acts of terror and who have been appropriately indicted by courts of law, by the legal process, will know that the United States of America is going to do anything in its power that is legal and appropriate in order to enforce the law and to protect our security,” added Kerry. â€¨â€¨
But LANA, the official news agency of Libya, reported that government officials are referring to Saturday’s incident as an abduction, and the US ambassador has been summoned to speak with authorities regarding the raid. â€¨â€¨
“Our relationship with the USA is important, and we care about that, but we care too about our citizens, which is our duty,” Libya Prime Minister Ali Zeidan told reporters on Tuesday. â€¨â€¨Libyan groups are now protesting the raid and the subsequent capture of al-Libi, and are reportedly seeking to avenge the event.
According to Reuters, a Facebook page called “Benghazi is Protected by its People” has instructed Libyans to kidnap US citizens if possible and close off the entrances and exits to Tripoli.
Russia, which was recently forced to evacuate the staff of its embassy in Tripoli due to security concerns, criticized the American raid.
“We believe that this is not the way you handle international relations, it’s not the way you fight criminals, even before you prove that they are criminals, before they can testify to any court of law,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with RT.
Last September, the storming of a US consulate building in Benghazi, Libya ended in the death of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. A State Department travel warning last updated in June warns US citizens against traveling to Libya, citing a still unpredictable security situation. â€¨â€¨
While a surge of Marines has been deployed across the Mediterranean from Libya in the event of another incident targeting American facilities, military, intelligence and Department of Justice officials have reportedly been sent to the USS San Antonio to interrogate al-Libi while he remains detained in international waters. â€¨â€¨
“As a general rule, the government will always seek to elicit all the actionable intelligence and information we can from terrorist suspects taken into our custody,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told the Associated Press.
“Determining when and where to prosecute individuals is a traditional and important executive branch authority that has long been exercised on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all relevant factors — such decisions are not made arbitrarily.”
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