The Problem with Viewing from Distant Villas

Response to Uri Avnery


You write (“A View from the Villa,” 29/10/11): “I was very much against the US wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, and very much in favor of the NATO campaigns in Kosovo and Libya. For me, the starting point of every analysis is what the people concerned want and need, and only after that do I wonder how the international schema applies to them.”

Setting the determination of whether your criteria apply to Libya aside, let’s look at a country about which your expertise is better. Since the people of the West Bank want the occupiers, your people, out, you would of course be very much in favor of NATO bombing all Israeli forces, armored vehicles, ammunition depots and command centers in the West Bank. And of course, you would be very much in favor of NATO bombing portions of the illegal settlements in the West Bank that are determined to be secret IOF centers and certainly would support strafing of illegal settlers who attack citizens in their olive groves and settlers who uproot or burn olive trees. And certainly you would support NATO F-16 attacks on bulldozers that Israel uses to demolish Palestine citizens’ homes as well.

“Maybe you in particular should do something to stop this homegrown madness, and if you are already doing something then maybe you should do more?” — Ken O’ Keefe

And since the people of the West Bank and Gaza oppose the Israeli Air Force’s control of their airspace, you would emphatically support complete destruction of the Israeli Air Force by NATO and the implementation of a no-fly zone over West Bank and Gaza. Then, of course, the Qataris and the French could fly ammunition into the West Bank and Gaza, and NATO special forces could provide training to the Palestinians for the eventual invasion of Ariel, Betar Illit, Maale Adumim, Modi’in Illit, the illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, and all the other 116 illegal settlements and 100 illegal outpost settlements in the West Bank–which of course would only be possible by NATO bombing clearing the way.

You write: “Also, I have never quite understood the dogma which seems to answer all questions: “it’s all about oil”. Gaddafi sold his oil on the world market, and so will his successors, on the same terms. International oil corporations are all the same to me. Is there much of a difference between the Russian Gazprom and the American Esso?”

More research would show:

1) The American oil companies left last year because Gaddafi was demanding extra payments to compensate for payments made to Lockerbie victim’s relatives and the damage done by the sanctions for the supposed bombing of Pan Am 103. With a Pro-American government put in power only because of NATO’s bombs, those companies will be back, and terms will be far more favorable for the European countries. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Marco Rubio explain it clearly in Murdoch’s WSJ.

2) “Gaddafi [had] progressively impeded the interests of U.S. and Western oil companies by demanding a greater share of profits and other concessions, to the point where some of those corporations were deciding that it may no longer be profitable or worthwhile to drill for oil there. But now, in a pure coincidence, there is hope on the horizon for these Western oil companies, thanks to the war profoundly humanitarian action being waged by the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner and his nation’s closest Western allies.”

3) The U.S. wanted to block Eni S.p.A., the Rome-based oil giant which is Italy’s largest corporation and one in which the Italian government holds a 30 percent stake, from acting as “stalking horse” for Gazprom. “Specifically at issue was an Eni deal that would have given Gazprom access to Libyan oil and would have had Eni help Gazprom build a pipeline across the Black Sea. This project would have competed with a similar project backed by the U.S. government that would have connected gas fields in the Caspian region directly to Europe, bypassing Russia and Gazprom…. Eni [is] the largest player in Libya’s oil sector, and Scaroni [Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni] publicly voiced concern that U.S.-led efforts to oust strongman Moammar Gadhafi weren’t in Italy’s interest.”

With all the work you do on Israel and Palestine, you missed this film. The Humanitarian War in Libya: There is no Evidence, directed by Julien Teil, shows how figures made up by the Libyan League for Human Rights whose members were in the National Transitional Council were not verified and then were used as justification for war. (Alternatively, watch it here: Part 1 and Part 2.)

French filmmaker Julien Teil’s film, lays out very clearly the truth behind the mountain of lies manipulated by NATO to justify its attack on Libya. In the film, the director of the Swiss-based Libyan League for Human Rights, Soliman Bouchuiguir, emerges as the key individual who initiated the UN action against Libya.

In February of this year, the Libyan League, along with the US Government-funded National Endowment for Democracy and 70 other NGOs, sent the initial petition to the UN for the suspension of Libya from the UN Human Rights Council. The petition was based on Bouchuiguir’s claims alone that some 6,000 had been killed by Gaddafi’s regime. Bouchuiguir provided the UN with lurid tales of Gaddafi’s “scorched earth policy” and his militia’s “massive attacks against civilians.” These acts are “crimes against humanity,” he testified to the UN.

On May 31, Bouchuiguir’s NGO reported a staggering 18,000 murdered, 46,000 wounded, 28,000 missing, 1,600 rapes, and 150,000 refugees at the hands of the Gaddafi regime. Asked in the film where he got his figures, he replied that he got them from the National Transitional Council — the rebels!

It was this petition and Bouchuiguir’s claims that were the basis for everything that was to come, culminating in the NATO destruction of Libya and today’s bloody murder of Gaddafi and his entourage. The United Nations did not investigate Bouchuiguir’s claims before they were used by the UN Security Council to bolster their efforts to pass UN Security Council Resolution 1973, opening the door to NATO bombs.

Looking further at your essay. You write: “My God, how much a people must hate its ruler if they treat him like that!”

Uri, if this President or that President was in the midst of a group of certain sectors of the population of their own particular country, he would receive the same end that Gaddafi did from the rebels.

  • This article previously appeared on My Catbird Seat.
  • Samuel Dowell is a writer based in the U.S. who works to share information about the Middle East not available in the U.S. media. Read other articles by Samuel.