Hillary’s Hate Crime

Killing Africa’s Best Hope for Independence

Recently the New York Times produced another propaganda gem. This article, entitled “A New Libya, With Very Little Time Left,” led with the “grisly” description of the death of “dictator” Muammar Gaddafi. Interesting that there was no condemnation of the grisly anal rape and gangland execution of the former president. I suppose this is the vaunted objectivity of the Times rearing its own “pock-marked head.” The article also noted Hillary Clinton’s vulgar moment of levity after receiving word of Gaddafi’s death on her mobile (“We came, we saw, he died.”) But in the spirit of journalistic impartiality the paper of record declined to record disgust—or would it have been delight—at the former Secretary of State’s effusive taunt.

Of course, to imply that the brutal assassination of the leader of a sovereign state by foreign-backed terrorists was a criminal act would be to implicate Hillary Clinton in a war crime. And that, we all know, is off the table. But that is the first point to make in an honest discussion of Clinton’s involvement in Libya. It was a war crime, violating the U.N. Charter and the Nuremburg principals. Wars of aggression, as Nuremberg judge Robert Jackson limned, “are the supreme international crime, because they contain within them the evil of the whole.” Precisely the story of Libya, a country with the highest standard of living in Africa, destroyed by Western NATO aerial forces backing terrorist jihadists on the ground. The once proud nation is now a festering swamp of extremism and an escape valve for ISIS fighters being routed in Syria.

That’s the first point—that the whole war was illegal and its prosecutors ought to themselves be prosecuted for war crimes. Hillary leads that list, along with the ever-malleable Barack Obama, Nicholas Sarkozy of France, and various NATO generals. Of course, this will never happen.

Rather than be condemned and imprisoned for her crime, it tops Hillary’s resume. It is a preview of what’s to come if she outpaces Donald Trump in the general election. Make no mistake; there will be war under Hillary Clinton. Bush attacked Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama attacked Libya and Syria. Who will Clinton target? Will she be the first president to use “tactical nukes”? The odds aren’t long.

None of this is addressed in the Times series on Libya. Completely ignored. Instead, Clinton’s campaign to crush Gaddafi is presented as a perfectly natural foreign policy initiative–the toppling of a dictator. No suggestion is made that this is a deeply criminal act. International law is, by definition, what you apply to rivals, not to oneself. The Times sounds just a single note of concern: was Clinton’s policy sound? The ethical implications of the decision are ignored. So too is the fact that much of the world, including the African Union, were single-minded in their desire to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict. Of course, diplomacy during a proxy war is not Washington’s preferred path to regime change. It tends to still the momentum Western terrorists have built on the backs of their Saudi supplied American armaments and NATO air cover. Unless, of course, your terrorist army is being routed as it is presently in Syria. Then a “cessation of hostilities” may be advisable, the better to reconstitute one’s forces and open new ratlines to fortify them with arms and fresh recruits. (See Ukraine for the instructive case study in this regard.)

In any event, American officials may only be judged on the success of their policies, never the morality of them. It is the unquestioned assumption of corporate media that our foreign policy leaders are ever only trying to defend the republic. The article even drops the phrase “well-intentioned” to characterize the power-hungry Libyan exiles that were egging Clinton on.

Vilify and Justify

Instead of any real journalism, such as questioning whether Clinton ought to be handcuffed at her next campaign stop and shipped to The Hague, the paper resorts to its exhausted lexicon of mischaracterizations used to demonize any Washington rival. According to the Times, Gaddafi “terrified his people” for four decades. It then cites Hillary in a pull quote where she claims Gaddafi was a man that “destroyed institutions.”

The article is part of a larger series called, “The Libya Gamble.” The first article was called “Hillary Clinton, ‘Smart Power’ and a Dictator’s Fall.” A third article in the group is called, “In Their Own Words: the Libya Tragedy.”

The entire series is an exercise in obfuscation. Chris Hedges was right when he called the media the “courtiers” of power because they tell power what it wants to hear. Exactly so. There was no “gamble” made on Libya. The outcome was entirely predictable. With enough effort, Gaddafi could be removed, but the consequence would be chaotic violence and an increase in terrorism. There was no ‘smart power’ employed unless by smart one means hiring terrorists to do your killing for you rather than risk the lives of corn-fed American boys and girls. And the war was certainly a tragedy for Libyan citizens, but not to Washington since, again, the outcome was known in advance.

Likewise, It is debatable whether the most accurate description of Gaddafi’s tenure is that he terrified citizens for four decades, or even that he was a dictator. Of course, debating Gaddafi’s sins sidesteps the issue altogether. He was overthrown for supposedly threatening genocide against his own people. Stories of Viagra rapes circulated through the media, creating the typical Western hysteria that led to the UN resolution 1973 and the imposition of the no-fly zone with its ulterior motives. Those rumors have been thoroughly discredited. (Authors like Diana Johnstone, Dan Glazebrook, and Vijay Prashad have diligently chronicled the fabrications that facilitated the attack. Here is a particularly eloquent talk by an eyewitness to the NATO crime.) Hence there was no justification for the invasion. Gaddafi’s past crimes, if and when they happened, are the business of Libyans, not Western energy concerns with an eye on Libyan oil, defense contractors with an eye on their stock price, and Washington imperialists with a nervous eye on African integration (at which we will soon arrive).

The Missing Narrative

Over the course of his career, Gaddafi implemented a huge raft of social and economic programs that were highly popular with the people. It seems hard to reconcile the notion of a populace living in perpetual fear with one that receives free education, healthcare, housing, and a novel system of direct democracy—born in an Islamic state.

Basically an admirer of Gamal Nasser’s theories of economic nationalism as a path between Cold War polarities, Gaddafi was an independent-minded, anti-imperialist Muslim radical. He dramatically altered the shape of the state several times, lastly by creating something called the Jamahiriya, which was a radical form of direct democracy, or at least an attempt at it. In short, small communities would meet, debate issues, and send off representatives to a people’s congress to shape laws based on community decisions. Then this legislation would be sent to revolutionary committees for implementation. Observers have noted instances in which Gaddafi, in a nominal role of avuncular overseer, was rebuffed by the Jamahiriya system and times where he rejected its demands. As head of the armed forces, he never really relinquished the power that would have made the Jamahiriya all the more empowering to the population. But this is not to say it does not include elements that American democracy could not profit by, notably the Jeffersonian and anarchic notion of delegating decision-making to the most grassroots level.

Among the numerous transformative changes that benefited large swathes of society were the nationalization of the oil industry and the reduction of imperial influence in the country. The standard of living improved dramatically, surpassing every other African nation by the time of Gaddafi’s demise. Education and healthcare were freely provided. Housing was freely provided. Portions of oil proceeds were deposited directly into citizen bank accounts. Electricity was free. New mothers received a state grant. Illiteracy was dramatically reduced. Gaddafi even demanded that foreign oil companies pay for the losses inflicted on the country by the West’s illegal sanctions in connection to the Lockerbie scandal from the 1980s. But that is only part of the story.

It was Gaddafi who supported the African National Congress (ANC) at a time when Washington considered it a brutal terrorist organization, and Nelson Mandela as its sinister cohort. It was Gaddafi who put $300 million dollars up to start a fund that created Africa’s first satellite communications system called RASCOM (Regional African Satellite Communication Organization). (It would no longer have to rent American satellites at exorbitant rates.) In that regard, Gaddafi was a driving force in building pan-African institutions. The goal was his long-stated aim to reduce the influence of imperial power on Libya and the continent at large. Doing his best Hugo Chavez impersonation, he used oil wealth to lessen dependency on the exploitative International Monetary Fund and to attempt to de-dollarize the African continent. At the time of his assassination, he was busily creating an African Investment Bank that would provide interest-free development loans to other African nations. He proposed an African Central Bank to be based in Nigeria. He was working on a Cameroon-based African Monetary Fund. He was sketching a blueprint for a gold-backed African currency. He also played a role in the continental rejection of AFRICOM, the imperial headquarters Washington wanted to install to better exploit and police the continent.

For Africans, these were monumental undertakings and offered the hope of independence from Western militaries, multinationals, and creditors. For the West, Gaddafi’s actions were the ultimate crime. He was essentially trying to block the IMF from furthering shackling Africa in suffocating debt that, to be sure, would provide a steady flow of interest payments back to Western banks. He also effectively proposed a de-dollarized African economic block free of both the dollar reserve currency and Western lending institutions. He understood that both were tools of oppression and enslavement. He wanted to replace these extractive tools with continental development funds beneficial to Africans.

For all of this he was murdered and his country reduced to ruin.

As part of the run up to war, Barack Obama froze some $30 billion belonging to the Libyan Central Bank. This money was going to fund the above developments. How convenient that the money was frozen, which derailed the projects, and that a no-fly zone was implemented, which immediately led to the illegal war that overthrew the Gaddafi government.

Ulterior Motives 

It’s obvious that the United States sought to unseat Gaddafi because he threatened the global superstructure of U.S. power. As Noam Chomsky has pointed out, Washington isn’t afraid of Islam but independence. This tragic spectacle has played out ad nauseum across the history of the American empire. In North America itself, in Central and South America, in Africa, in Eastern Europe, and throughout Asia. Anywhere freethinkers rear their un-indoctrinated heads, they are swiftly cut down. Rulers like Gaddafi, Vladimir Putin, and Hugo Chavez are demonized not for their flaws as governors but for their virtues as nationalists. Independent domestic economics, independent foreign policies–these are the bête noir of Washington’s imperial plan.

Sadly, the rest of the world has been slow to learn the hard lesson that the United States can’t be trusted. This should have been obvious to the world during the Native American genocide. But each new generation of leaders forget their history and repeat the gullibility of their forbears. Yet it is also every new generation of American leaders that somehow ingest the vices of their antecedents.

As time was running out, Gaddafi fielded several peace proposals to the West, ignored by Hillary Clinton as she made an impassioned push for war. He tried vainly to deny the lies promoted incessantly by the Western media: that he was minutes away from committing genocide on his own population. He never had a chance. Media is the spearhead of American foreign policy. Controlling the narrative is the fight that must be won before the war is fought. There is no better practitioner of this shadowy art than Washington.

What’s Next?

Hillary Clinton will never be punished for her crimes. She will be amply rewarded and encouraged to commit others. Having nearly buried Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday, Hillary is a testament to the power of corporate fealty, of money, and—perhaps more than anything—of propaganda.

Clinton outspent all candidates in either party with a $4.1 million outlay for ads in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia. Her campaign gave Vermont, where she was almost sure to lose, a paltry $7,000. The most telling part of her wins on Tuesday was that she rode to victory on the backs of Hispanic and African American voters, who have suffered terribly under both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, whose policies Hillary Clinton embraces, except where they are not extremist enough. Glen Ford suggests blacks vote Democrat to keep Republicans out, another understandable but doomed lesser evil strategy that offers no resistance to the rightward drift of the Democratic Party.

The dynamic that will put Hillary in the Oval Office is the same one that put Gaddafi in the ground. But what can you expect? Mainstream news is puerile and sophomoric, and a dissembling charade when not that. The Washington Post, one of the supposed paragons of journalism in America, is now producing short-form political video content based on politically related Google searches. As one might expect, this hardly results in quality content. Instead you get “How tall is Jeb Bush?” and “What is Donald Trump’s net worth?”

As with the Gaddafi article, propaganda succeeds by what it leaves out. The corporate media leaves out American aggression, whether through the cynical manipulation of institutions like the UN and the IAEA, which provide nominal legitimacy for state violence, or through the clandestine use of proxy armies, which provide plausible deniability for Washington kingmakers. We are portrayed as an innocent bystander who simply responds, like a dutiful father saddened by the cruel playground behavior of a child. The ensuing discipline is therefore entirely justified, just another form of hard love from the patriarch that wants the best for everyone. This is the worldwide myth of American exceptionalism. It must be universally discredited before it is universally defeated. In a grim sort of consolation, Hillary Clinton will doubtless give us many new opportunities to make the case.

Jason Hirthler is a writer, political commentator, and veteran of the communications industry. He has written for many political communities. He is the recent author of Imperial Fictions, a collection of essays from between 2015-2017. He lives in New York City and can be reached at jasonhirthler@gmail.com. Read other articles by Jason.