Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Open Letter to Cynthia McKinney
Cynthia McKinney – Tripoli Transcript – May 25, 2011
Former Congresswomen Cynthia McKinney recently appeared on Tripoli government television condemning the US support for NATO bombing of Gadhafi forces in Libya and denouncing US policy. She implied that the allegations that Gadhafi forces are mercenaries is propaganda. She has previously praised Gadhafi and his Green Book as proponents of democracy, and claimed that the economic wage system was a form of slavery and that Libya is in Africa and Africans were enslaved by the West.
I will post a complete transcript of what she had to say as soon as I have a copy. In the meantime, I want to respond to what she said in order to set the historical record straight. - Bill Kelly
SLAVE MARKET AT TRIPOLI
“And so when we initially heard the assertion or the allegation that the Libyan government had employed black mercenaries, it sounded exactly like the kind of propaganda that we blacks in the United States are so well accustomed to. Because the fact of the matter is, Libya is in Africa, and so therefore it is not unusual for there to be people who look like me. And the ….be seen, particularly by black people in the United States, was almost insulting in the highest order…”
“Actually I have seen more since I have been here, that was available, therefore I think it important for people to understand what is happening here, and it is important that people all over the world….”
“I come here with a heavy heart…the government of the United States fails to represent the interests of the American people now. The government is here, and the people of the United States are here. And what we are searching for, and I have joined Senator Gravel in this effort...”
AN OPEN LETTER TO CYNTHIA MCKINNEY
Dear Cynthia, Your implication that reports of the Gadhafi regime hiring mercenaries to kill Libyans is propaganda is untrue, and in fact, it has been documented extensively that foreign troops have been brought in to fight for Gadhafi.
In addition, your statement that Libya is in Africa and Africa is black like you and blacks were enslaved, fails to take into consideration that in 1800 the black and Muslim states of North Africa pirated American ships and enslaved their crews, demanding payment of tribute to stop the practice and ransom for the enslaved prisoners. These attacks led to the creation of the US Navy and the first American war against the Barbary pirates.
While you denounce the NATO bombing of Gadhafi forces, you remained silent when Gadhafi’s army laid siege to Misratah, shelled the city unmercifully and raped its women in systematic fashion, as captured soldiers have testified and the videos from their cell phones have documented.
You have implied in the past that Gadhafi’s Green Book promotes democracy, and you are against the economic enslavement of wages, but Gadhafi’s chance at bringing democracy to Libya has come and gone, and Mohamid Bouazizi inspired the new Arab revolution because he couldn’t get a job and opened a fruit cart stand that was taken away from him by the government, a government that was toppled in 18 days by the subsequent revolt he inspired by setting himself on fire.
We don’t fight in Libya for oil, military bases, to break old alliances or make new ones, we do it for the same reasons revolutionary Americans fought for, and the same reasons the young Arab men and women are fighting for today – liberty, economic freedom, democracy and true self-determination, and not the autocratic rule of tyrannical dictators like Gadhafi.
As someone who has always been a rebel at home, it is hard to believe that you would reject the hopes, beliefs and determination of the young Arab men and women who are leading the revolt against tyranny in their homelands, and instead take the side of the dictatorial tyrant who has hired mercenaries to rape and slaughter his own people and refuses to step aside and let a free Libya develop its open economy and democracy.
William Kelly firstname.lastname@example.org
(William Kelly met Cythia McKinney in Dallas and assisted her in the organization and presentation of a Congressional Briefing on 9/11 after the 9/11 Commission issued its report.)
Mercenaries in Libya: Gadhafi’s hired terrorists
By Edward M. Gabriel - 05/16/11 02:21 PM ET
Two weeks have passed since U.S. military forces tracked down Osama bin Laden and finally brought him to justice, a decade after 9/11. But while bin Laden is dead, the hate and violence he preached clearly isn’t. The deadly bombing in Morocco — which killed 17 and has been linked to an al Qaeda loyalist — is the most recent evidence of this.
In Libya, terrorism has a different, yet disturbing face, where hired mercenaries are terrorizing the Libyan opposition. Senior NATO officials have received information that Moammar Gadhafi is spending millions to hire mercenaries from the Polisario Front in Algeria and elsewhere to help fight the U.N.-backed coalition and quash Libyans who oppose his dictatorial regime. Credible sources report that hundreds of Polisario mercenaries are being paid $10,000 each by Gadhafi to cross Algeria into Libya to fight NATO-led forces and kill Libyan protesters and rebels.
In other words, the Polisario Front, which touts itself as a human rights champion and gets millions in humanitarian aid from the U.S. and Europe through the United Nations, is letting its members take up arms against U.S.-allied NATO forces, in defiance of the U.N. Security Council mandate, and join Gadhafi’s military campaign against the people of Libya.
As a former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco and someone who has followed the Middle East and North Africa closely for more than three decades, I find it outrageous that the Polisario Front continues to enjoy a civil reception in the official corridors of the U.S. administration and Congress, even while many of its members are engaged in a deadly shooting war against NATO forces in Libya.
And Algeria, which was one of only two Arab League nations to vote against a U.N. no-fly zone in Libya, is duplicitous in opposing U.N.-sanctioned military action against Libya while providing materiel to support Gadhafi’s forces. After capturing 15 Algerian mercenaries last month, Libyan rebel leaders charged Algeria with backing Gadhafi and “turning a blind eye” to mercenaries crossing into Libya. More recently, Libyan opposition leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil — who met with senior Obama administration officials in the White House Friday — charged that Algerian planes have been used to fly mercenaries to fight Libyan rebels. And the Africa News Agency in London now reports that 500 combat-equipped light trucks have been sent to Libya from Algeria.
If the details about mercenaries received by NATO officials are accurate, both the leadership of the Polisario and Algerian authorities stand complicit in Gadhafi’s efforts to reinforce his mercenary army. It is inconceivable that hundreds of Polisario mercenaries could be hired in the first place, or travel more than 1,000 miles from the isolated, Polisario-run camps in southwestern Algeria, without the tacit, if not explicit, support of Polisario and Algerian leaders.
Recent reports from press and policy experts have linked Polisario members to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Latin American drug cartels, and other criminal groups operating in the Sahel region in Africa. Terrorist bands in these lawless expanses have kidnapped and killed foreign nationals, and engaged in illegal trafficking of drugs, arms, people and humanitarian relief supplies.
This is unacceptable. These charges of mercenary and criminal activity in Libya must be fully examined and investigated, and the U.S. government must hold the Polisario Front and Algeria accountable for their actions and complicity.
Rather than welcome them into the halls of Congress and the U.S. administration, and let them exploit our generous aid dollars, those who dare to take up arms against the U.S. and its NATO allies should face very serious consequences.
Edward M. Gabriel served as U.S. Ambassador to Morocco from 1997 to 2001, and currently advises the government of Morocco.
Gaddafi paying Polisario mercenaries $10,000 each to fight for him
WASHINGTON — A former U.S. diplomat, Edward Gabriel, has said that the Polisario Front has been deployed in Libya to join the Gaddafi regime in its war against the rebels. Gabriel has said Gaddafi has paid Polisario fighters to fight the rebels and its NATO allies.
""Credible sources report that hundreds of Polisario mercenaries are being paid $10,000 each by Gaddafi to fight NATO-led forces and kill Libyan protesters and rebels,"" Gabriel said.
In a column on May 16 in the congressional daily The Hill, Gabriel did not say how many Polisario fighters were working for Gaddafi. The Polisario mercenaries flew into Tripoli in April.
""If the details about mercenaries received by NATO officials are accurate the leadership of the Polisario stand complicit in Gaddafi's efforts to reinforce his mercenary army,"" Gabriel said.
""Senior NATO officials have received information that Moammar Gaddafi is spending millions to hire mercenaries from the Polisario Front elsewhere to help fight the UN-backed coalition and quash Libyans who oppose his dictatorial regime,"" Gabriel said.
Gabriel, a former ambassador to Morocco and now a consultant to the North African kingdom, also cited reports that 500 combat sent light trucks to the Gaddafi regime. No further details were given.
""It is inconceivable that hundreds of Polisario mercenaries could be hired in the first place, or travel more than 1,000 miles from the isolated, Polisario-run camps,"" Gabriel said.
More evidence has emerged in Libya of troops systematically raping women and girls linked to the uprising against Moamar Gaddafi.
Two soldiers have admitted taking part in mass rapes in the town of Misrata.
Dr Ahmed Sewehli, a British-Libyan psychiatrist who has family living in Libya, has also spoken out about what he knows of the rapes.
"There are Gaddafi men who are abducting girls from houses and are taking them to a certain hotel and they are systematically raping a woman there," he said.
"To be honest, what is happening to Libya as a whole is unbelievable and I think that is one of Gaddafi's weapons that he's using.
"I mean, this man has no problem in making sure that Libyans do not forget him."
Dr Sewehli set up the Libyan Doctors Relief fund with the help of fellow psychiatrists and psychologists to try to help the "hundreds, if not thousands" of rape victims among his compatriots.
"The [Transitional National Council's] health coordinator Dr Najib Barakat ... has said that there are over 230 reported cases in Eshtebah alone," he said.
"We are hearing of this everyday. So I think when I do go back to Libya, when this is all over, and to work there permanently as a psychiatrist, I'm going to be dealing with mostly post-traumatic stress and I'll be seeing a lot of rape victims. I hope that they do come forward."
Dr Sewehli says this abuse will be extremely damaging for the women and their families for "years and years to come" and they will need counselling, psychotherapy and in some cases medication in order to cope.
"Rape for anybody is very, very difficult. I would have to say in the Arab and Muslim world even more so because of the shame factor," he said.
"I think we're going to have to be very proactive in actually going to them, rather than them coming to us, because I think many will be reluctant to come forward.
"What I would be worried about is that many of them may be driven to even suicide, because of what has happened to them."
"When girls get married in the Middle East, it is expected that they are virgins. That is going to be another thing added on top of the assault, both the emotional and the physical assault, that's happened to these girls."
Dr Sewehli says he cannot believe what is happening in Libya.
"I never thought it would come this; that Libyans, and I have to say it is Libyans and not just mercenaries, are actually raping their own people," he said.
"And I think, to be honest, that is the worst bit of it. It's not the killing, it's not the injuring, it's not the imprisoning, it's not the torture: it's what is happening to our sisters.
"I'm just so shocked ... sometimes I've not been able to sleep just thinking about that kind of thing."
We were just told to kill, says Libyan teen soldier
Marie Colvin From:The Times, May 25
THE young Libyan soldier showed almost no emotion as he described how his unit had raped four sisters, the youngest about 16, after breaking into a home in the besieged port of Misratah.
"My officer sent three of us up to the roof to guard the house while they tied up the father and mother and took the girls to two rooms, two each to a room," said Walid Abu Bakr, 17.
"My two officers and the others raped the girls first," he recalled in a monotone, still dressed in the camouflage uniform he was wearing when he surrendered 12 days ago. They were playing music. They called me down and ordered me to rape one of the girls."
Abu Bakr, from Traghen, a poor southern town, claimed he had been given hashish and was not responsible.
"She did not move much when I raped her," he said, admitting the girl had already been gang-raped. "She said in a low voice, 'There is Allah. He is watching you.' I said, 'Yes, Allah is watching me.’
Abu Bakr seemed to regard himself as a victim, however. He said he had become his family's breadwinner after his father left his sick mother and his siblings.
He joined the army when he was offered 200,000 dinars ($155,000), payable on victory for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, he said. But he had received only a week's training at Yarmouk camp in Tripoli before being sent to Misratah as part of a militia attached to the elite Khamis brigade, named after Gaddafi's youngest son. Their mission was simple. "We were just told to kill," Abu Bakr said. The teenager said he did not keep track of how many times the four girls in the house had been raped. The soldiers in his unit had stolen 12,000 dinars and jewellery from the family, but he had not received a penny, he said.
When rebel forces began closing in on the airport road, the officers sent the family to Zliten, the next town controlled by Gaddafi's troops, and left, ordering Abu Bakr and eight others to guard the house. They never returned.
"The rebels surrounded us and we threw away our guns and surrendered," he said.
Abu Bakr, who is now held in a Misratah school with other former Gaddafi soldiers while the rebels decide what to do with them, said he had decided to speak about the rapes after talking to an Islamic cleric.
Misratah officials said the ruthless assaults by Abu Bakr and his unit had been repeated across the city. Gaddafi's soldiers, they said, had engaged in an orgy of rapes that mirrored their destruction of the city's homes and buildings.
Nothing would have prepared the women of Misratah or their families for the ferocity of the onslaught that occurred when they were trapped amid the fighting, mostly in districts that were controlled by Gaddafi's forces for two months.
The brutality emerged only when the rebels broke through loyalist lines and chased Gaddafi's troops beyond the city limits. In their wake, they found horror stories. Doctors at Hekma hospital found some of Gaddafi's soldiers had recorded video footage of rapes on their mobile phones. "They made the girls identify themselves to the camera and show their faces. Then they raped them," one doctor said. The phones were found on loyalists who had been wounded or killed.
"In one of the videos, there's a woman. She's moaning, 'Oh, no, no, the sixth one, God help me'," said one doctor.
Another video shows a group of Gaddafi's soldiers in camouflage uniform breaking down a door and confronting a frightened family - a man, a woman, five girls whose ages range from about five to early 20s, and a boy aged about 7. The soldiers, shouting and waving their guns, stripped the four older girls in front of the family and took them into the next room where they raped the young women. The girls screamed and cried for mercy, calling on Allah. A soldier at one point yells: "Gaddafi is our Allah."
The video was found on the phone of a loyalist soldier.
A Filipina nurse said her best friends had fled to Tunisia after their four daughters and 13-year-old son were raped repeatedly after the family was trapped in their flat on Tripoli Street, the scene of some of the heaviest fighting in Misratah.
"I spoke to their mother," the nurse said. "She said the boy was terrible. She said, 'Don't even ask about my girls'."
So horrified is Misratah by the rapes that young rebel soldiers have offered to marry the victims, who face ostracism in this deeply traditional society.
"The rebels feel guilty that they did not arrive in time to save these families from Gaddafi's men," said Ismael Fortia, an obstetrician who estimates that up to 1000 women may have been raped.
Hardly any of those attacked have come forward because a raped woman is regarded as virtually unmarriageable if she is single, or a shame to her family if she is married.
Doctors and psychologists in Misratah have banded together to help. They will check victims for sexually transmitted diseases and offer abortions. One of their concerns is that unless they are treated, the women will suffer from depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, and may commit suicide rather than live with their memories.
"The images of their rape will go around and around in their heads, like an endless nightmare, unless they receive counselling and help," said Mustafa Shigmani, a doctor.
The terrible revelation comes as Misratah's rebels fight on three fronts around the city, loyalists try almost daily to mine the port and explosions reverberate day and night.
The people of Misratah have suffered the greatest toll in the Libyan conflict, largely because their city has been so bitterly contested by Gaddafi. It is the only population centre in the west of the country that is under rebel control.
In districts liberated by the rebels, residents described a reign of terror under Gaddafi's soldiers.
"The soldiers ordered our family out of the house while they searched," said Fatima, 47, of the Zreig neighborhood.
"They said they were looking for weapons, but they took our money, our jewellery, everything they could carry while we waited for three hours."
Families were forced to fly the green flag of the regime. Foot patrols raided homes at all hours. "They would shoot up the television if you were watching anything other than the state channel," said Fawzi Damir, 21.
Men disappeared. "They caught my husband and two of my sons," said Fatima, explaining that the men would usually flee if they spotted loyalists on their street. Two weeks ago, however, they had been taken unawares early in the morning. One son escaped by hiding under her bed.
City officials have said more than 1000 men, women and children have disappeared.
Some residents took to the streets last week to celebrate an end to the shelling of the city centre. They waved flags and shouted with joy. They were the lucky ones. One unforgivable legacy of Gaddafi is that many women of Misratah will never again emerge from their homes and think only of the beautiful sunshine.
The Sunday Times