The execution of Gaddafi and the attempted humiliation of Africa
2011-10-27, Issue <http://www.pambazuka.org/en/issue/554
Horace Campbell reconstructs ‘the decision at the highest levels’ to execute
Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi and considers ‘the urgency for organising to oppose
the remilitarisation of Africa.’
The inability of the Western media and other ‘information’ sources to manage
the news of the execution of Colonel Gaddafi was compounded by the news,
according to the New York based Human Rights Watch, that 53 supporters of
the ousted regime were executed at a hotel in Sirte with their hands tied
behind their backs (
6.html> Huffington Post October 26, 2011). Wall-to-wall news bulletins of
the demise of Colonel Gaddafi, which should have been a moment of victory
for the imperial forces, have now turned into a public relations disaster
and nightmare for those military planners who want to distance themselves
from the gruesome details of the executions. These immoral and illegal
actions by the military forces and private contractors in Libya backed by
NATO were furthered with disrespect for religious and cultural traditions
where the mortal remains of Gaddafi and his son, Muatassim, were kept in a
meat freezer until the bodies started to decompose.
Finally a supposedly secret burial failed to resolve the tussle between
those who had hijacked the body in the on-going struggle inside the National
Transitional Council (NTC) between the three centers of power, Tripoli,
Benghazi and Misrata. The factions fear each other and they have lost the
one factor that united them, hatred for Gaddafi. With fear of other factions
in the NTC, the Benghazi section is calling for the United Nations Security
Council to extend the mandate of the no fly zone until 31 December 2011.
There are members of the UNSC such as Russia who oppose this extension. The
African Union must call for the immediate end to the mandate of the United
Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.
It is now becoming clear that the Western leaders (especially those from
Britain, France, Italy and the United States) used the cover of protection
of civilian lives to go to Libya to carry out regime change. Gaddafi had
vowed to fight to the end and he did. The destruction of Libya by NATO jets
was totally unnecessary. Can the people of the West and their leaders say
that Libya is now better off in October 2011 than it was in March 2011?
In a moment of revolutionary upheavals all over the world, the leaders of
France, Britain and the United States intervened in Libya to divert
attention from their problems and to derail the wave of revolutionary change
that is now underway internationally. Italy, which is in the throes of a
profound crisis, tagged along to protect its colonial heritage and oil
contracts in Libya.
On Tuesday 25 October 2011 the
,5740812.story> Los Angeles Times reported that Libya had more than US$200
billion in reserves. As outlined in my article, ‘
> Global NATO and the
Recolonisation of Africa’, it is no secret that leaders such as France’s
Nicolas Sarkozy deeply want to get their hands on this money to save the
banks in Europe and to save the Euro. But the crisis in the Eurozone area is
too far gone and the depth of the structural and systemic crisis is too
extreme to save the politicians who oversaw this military campaign inside
The NATO forces (meaning the countries of this Libya campaign) that were
using international morality and international law to justify the
recolonisation and destruction of Africa are now exposed. The attempt to
humiliate Gaddafi was a failed effort to humiliate oppressed peoples and
decent elements within the armed forces of these societies who are seeking
another world. In this article, I seek to reconstruct the decision at the
highest levels to execute Colonel Gaddafi and to analyse the urgency for
organising to oppose the remilitarisation of Africa.
PLANNING FOR THE EXECUTION OF GADDAFI
When on Sunday 23 October 2011, US secretary of state Hilary Clinton said on
the US television Channel NBC's ‘Meet the Press’ that she backed a proposal
that the United Nations investigate Gaddafi’s death and requested that
Libya's TNC also look into the circumstances, it was clear that the
execution had backfired. This was the height of hypocrisy, or what would be
called a pre-emptive strike on her own reputation. Under international law
and the Geneva Conventions, Hillary Clinton could be held to account for her
statements in Tripoli on 18 October when she called for Gaddafi’s capture or
Security planners and military strategists of the Obama Whitehouse are now
cowering in shame on the fallout from the failure of the Libyan quagmire and
the exposure of the bankruptcy of the US military and imperial logic.
Back in March
ted-his-future.html?_r=1> The New York Times reported that the National
Security Council of the White House had debated the execution of Colonel
Gaddafi. The article, ‘Before Qaddafi’s Death, U.S. Debated His Future’,
stated that the White House considered ‘The killing of Colonel Qaddafi …
[as] one of the three scenarios considered last Wednesday.’ The article in
the Times also said, ‘Putting the colonel on trial, either in Libya or The
Hague, was one of a host of situations for which the administration
The next day Colonel Gaddafi was killed. What is being asked all over the
world is why kill him? Why not put him on trial, what is it that the western
leaders do not want to come out in a trial?
GADDAFI’S ESCAPE FROM TRIPOLI
‘Mansour Dhao Ibrahim, one of the military leaders who survived the murder
and execution of the Gaddafi entourage has revealed that Colonel Gaddafi had
escaped from Tripoli to Sirte on 21 August. Reports in the international
media are that the decision for Gaddafi to stay in Sirte was based on
Muatassim, the colonel’s son. The report continued that Gaddafi’s son and
the military entourage had ‘reasoned that the city, long known as an
important pro-Qaddafi stronghold and under frequent bombardment by NATO
airstrikes, was the last place anyone would look.’
In August 2011, after the capture of Tripoli by the Qatari Army, the British
Special Air Service and private military contractors to Tripoli, there was
euphoria at NATO headquarters. Having declared that Tripoli had been
‘liberated’, the NATO headquarters had been issuing communiqués since August
that all Libya was about to be liberated. There was anxiety when there was
stiff resistance in Sirte and every other day, NATO was declaring that Sirte
was about to fall.
NATO, which had started the war under the pretext of responsibility ‘to
protect’, had destroyed the most of Libya . From the nature of the
resistance, NATO and their satellite intercepts had found out that Gaddafi
was in Sirte, hence the NSC meetings and deliberations.
The New York Times’ report on the ‘Last Days of Gaddafi’ has revealed for
‘The colonel traveled with about 10 people, including close aides and
guards. Muatassim, who commanded the loyalist forces, traveled separately
from his father, fearing that his own satellite phone was being tracked.
Apart from a phone, which the colonel used to make frequent statements to a
Syrian television station that became his official outlet, Colonel Qaddafi
was largely “cut off from the world”.’
It was this satellite phone that was tracked so that when Sirte was bombed
to smithereens, there was only one option left for Gaddafi, and that was to
make a run to escape.
British news reports from both the Telegraph and The Independent UK since 21
August 2001 had been reporting that SAS and US Special forces were hunting
for Gaddafi. British SAS forces and U.S. Special Forces had been scouring
the Sirte area for Gaddafi, unable to find him.
According to these reports, when the resistance continued for two months,
the British and US Special Forces on the ground disguised as Libyan NTC
fighters had been coordinating the bombing campaign of Sitre. These SAS
forces synchronised the bombing and one or two weeks before the execution,
‘NATO had pinpointed Gaddafi’s position after an intelligence breakthrough.’
Once the SAS and the coordinating forces confirmed Gaddafi’s position, ‘an
American drone and an array of NATO eavesdropping aircraft had been trained
on his Sirte stronghold to ensure he could not escape.’
This was when the debates on execution intensified and the drones were
deployed to ensure that Gaddafi did not escape from Sirte.
US DRONES VS. FRENCH JETS
‘About two weeks ago, as the former rebels stormed the city center, the
colonel and his sons were trapped shuttling between two houses in a
residential area called District No. 2. They were surrounded by hundreds of
former rebels, firing at the area with heavy machine guns, rockets and
mortars. “The only decision was whether to live or to die,” Mr. Dhao said.
Colonel Qaddafi decided it was time to leave, and planned to flee to one of
his houses nearby, where he had been born. On Thursday, a convoy of more
than 40 cars was supposed to leave at about around 3 a.m.’
With the voice recognition technology picking up any call made by Gaddafi,
the drones were called in when the convoy carrying Gaddafi was pinpointed by
According to The Daily Telegraph (as reported by
uammar-gaddafi> Empire Strikes Black):
’They built up a normal pattern of life picture so that when something
unusual happened this morning such as a large group of vehicles gathering
together, that came across as highly unusual activity and the decision was
taken to follow them and prosecute an attack.
‘Electronic warfare aircraft, either an American Rivet Joint or a French
C160 Gabriel, also picked up Gaddafi’s movements as he attempted to escape.’
Hilary Clinton had flown to Tripoli on Tuesday 18 October and from The New
York Times report on the debate on Gaddafi’s future, Clinton made her
position clear as reported in the international media when she declared that
she wanted Gaddafi killed or captured.
Was this a clear message to the Special Forces on the ground that the NATO
forces wanted Gaddafi killed? The Geneva conditions explicitly stated that
prisoners of war should be humanely treated. In normal situations of the
rule of international law this question of the manner of the execution would
be taken up under the Geneva Conventions.
‘In a Toyota Land Cruiser, Colonel Qaddafi traveled with his chief of
security, a relative, the driver and Mr. Dhao. The colonel did not say much
during the drive. NATO warplanes and former rebel fighters found them half
an hour after they left. When a missile struck near the car, the airbags
deployed, said Mr. Dhao, who was hit by shrapnel in the strike. He said he
tried to escape with Colonel Qaddafi and other men, walking first to a farm,
then to the main road, toward some drainage pipes. “The shelling was
constant,” Mr. Dhao said, adding that he was struck by shrapnel again and
fell unconscious. When he woke up, he was in the hospital.’
Sensitive to the repercussions of this attack on the convoy, the British
media declared early that the RAF had not been involved in the aerial
attack. With great bravado, the French took credit for firing missile that
stopped the car carrying Colonel Gaddafi.
French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet revealed that a French Mirage-2000
fired a warning shot at a column of several dozen vehicles fleeing Sirte.
MANAGING THE NEWS OF THE EXECUTION OF GADDAFI
It is now known that Gaddafi was alive after the airstrike by the French
jets. With the clear mandate emanating from the discussions at the highest
levels, the ‘NTC forces’ were on the ground to find the wounded Gaddafi.
These newspapers would have the world believe that it was by chance that
these ‘NTC’ fighters happened to find the wounded Gaddafi. Thanks to cell
phone technology and alternative news sources, we know that when these ‘NTC
forces’ captured Gaddafi, he was alive.
There are also visual images of the humiliation of the wounded Gaddafi and
then later the dead body.
Once Gaddafi was executed with a bullet to the head, the great challenge for
the NATO forces was how to manage the news of the execution, with the full
knowledge that there were visual images of Gadddafi alive and then dead.
This was when the disinformation planners came up with the theory that
Gaddafi was killed in crossfire. But the inconsistencies from the western
news sources were so blatant that it was embarrassing for the psychological
warfare experts of NATO. Was it crossfire, was it stray bullet, was it an
assassination? There were too many cell phone images of what transpired for
the western intelligence agencies to attempt to cover the clear violation of
In this disinformation effort to convince the world that Gaddafi was killed
in a crossfire or by a stray bullet, events were moving too fast so NATO
could not control the disinformation and lies. Throughout the war,
disinformation had been central to the operations.
As Lizzie Phelan had reported for Pambazuka News and other media, NATO had
been willing and able ‘to not just fabricate events but to create.’ The
fabrications now failed and it was clear that the manner of the killing of
Gaddafi was meant to humiliate him. One does not have to support Gaddafi to
realise that this kind of killing will not lay any basis for a society free
from revenge killings. The disinformation backfired – even those who opposed
the antics of Gaddafi in Africa were now opposed to the wanton disregard for
From all corners of the world, NATO and the US Africa Command were being
condemned. Despite efforts by western news agencies to place a microphone
before those who would parrot the western line, the disregard for law and
the hypocrisy of those who had used the mandate of the ‘responsibility to
protect’ to carry out executions were too blatant. The Russians called for
an end to the NATO mission and called for the UN Security Council to end the
mandate of the no fly zone. At the United Nations, Russian Ambassador Vitaly
Churkin, who has repeatedly accused NATO of exceeding its UN mandate in
Libya, has called for ending the mandate of the no-fly zone on October 31.
Churkin said extending the UN authorisation beyond Monday October would be
In Africa, even those who had been opposed to Gaddafi, especially when he
called his people rats, were now seeing the real criminal actions being
carried out by NATO. Former Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu condemned the
killing of Gaddafi, saying mob justice and violence should always be
‘The manner of the killing of Muammar Gaddafi on Thursday totally detracts
from the noble enterprise of instilling a culture of human rights and
democracy in Libya... the people of Libya should have demonstrated better
values than those of their erstwhile oppressor.’
The same managers of disinformation realised that this manner of the
execution revealed the true nature of the NATO/AFRICOM operations so the New
York Times editorialised on October 20 that:
‘But a gruesome video broadcast on Al Jazeera – apparently showing him being
dragged, beaten and then, perhaps, shot to death by armed men – is deeply
troubling, if it is real.
‘Libyans must resist further reprisals and channel their passion into
building a united, free and productive country. If not, they risk even more
chaos and suffering.’
This same newspaper did not bring out whether there was any the role of US
Special Forces and the British SAS on the ground, but from all corners of
the world, there were now Human Rights reports calling for an investigation
into the manner of the killing. Bloggers and articulate writers were
reminding the imperialists that the Third Geneva Convention clearly states
(article 13): ‘Prisoners of war must at all times be protected, particularly
against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public
The Fourth Geneva Convention (article 27): ‘Protected persons are entitled,
in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honor, their
family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners
and customs. They shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be
protected especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof and
against insults and public curiosity.’
i-loyalists-discovered-2375436.html> The discovery of the 53 corpses at the
Mahari hotel, and another ten dumped in a nearby reservoir reveal a glimpse
of the bloodletting and indiscriminate killings.
Africans from sub-saharan Africa were being particularly targeted and the
opposition to the NTC intensified all over the continent, if not over the
CAN NATO CONTROL LIBYA?
From the start of the war against the peoples of Libya in March 2011, it
became clear that the objective of the war was regime change. Those decent
humans who had been offended by the leadership of the Libyan society calling
their people rats and feared for a massacre were soon shown the reality that
it was the NATO bombing that was a greater threat. The NATO-led air campaign
was launched in March under a UN mandate to protect civilians from Gaddafi's
forces trying to crush popular protests. It was clear that the objective of
NATO was not to protect civilians and there was opposition to this NATO
The destruction of Libya was meant to ensure greater western control over
Throughout the war, the African Union spoke with one voice and called for a
roadmap that would establish an inclusive government. Experience from
Burundi and the work of the Nyerere and Mandela foundations point to the
truth that it is in Africa where there is expertise to bring reconciliation.
From the actions of the USA, France and Britain, they do not want peace and
reconstruction in Libya. France continues to ensnare China in the spoils of
war by promising reconstruction contracts. But if the BRICS societies
support the African Union, there will be no contracts to be given out by
France. National Transitional Council (NTC) Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil
would like the UNSC to extend the mandate of the no fly zone on the grounds
of controlling surplus weapons. However, Jalil has no means to exercise
The NTC is divided. Three months after Tripoli was ‘liberated’ the leaders
in Benghazi are still afraid to move to Tripoli. The Misrata elements of the
‘uprising’ hijacked the body of Gadddafi and kept the body in a meat freezer
in Misrata. Humiliation was piled upon total disrespect for religious and
traditional customs as the bodies were made a public spectacle. When the
bodies started to decompose, they could no longer keep the bodies and
Gadddafi and his son were buried in the desert.
AFRICAN UNITY CANNOT BE HALTED
Fifty years after Patrice Lumumba was assassinated in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo in 1961, we now have another gruesome execution of an
African leader with the objective of halting the liberation and independence
of Africa. In normal circumstances NATO commanders, United Nations
personnel, point persons for the Arab League, and other imperial actors
would be required to testify before an impartial enquiry in order to justify
their role if any in these atrocities. It required the tenacious work of
peace loving persons to ensure that Belgium and the USA were named as the
murderers of Patrice Lumumba.
Today, international law can only be enforced by a new international
alliance of societies that want to avoid total destructions.
In the midst of this crisis, the criminal actions carried out in Libya point
to the reality that we are not in normal circumstances. How can the United
Nations or NATO investigate crimes committed on their watch? Under the cover
of providing security from the air for the TNC, NATO, the UN, and the other
imperial actors in this campaign, granted themselves the alibi now being
espoused for cold blooded murder. It is unthinkable to believe that NATO and
the UN did not know what the NTC and other special forces were doing on the
ground. Given the turn of events in Libya, which erupted in the cold blooded
bloodletting, what seems to be emerging is some kind of sinister plot to
obliterate any remnants of the former regime. There is no justification for
such bloodletting. These people, including Gaddafi should have been captured
and brought to trial under international law. International law cannot be
exercised in a piecemeal manner to suit the whims and fancies of big powers.
International law must be applied equally in all circumstances and in all
areas of the world.
What has emerged in Libya is a double standard.
The same leaders who proclaim themselves as upholders of human rights
applauded the humiliation and execution of Gaddafi. Decent human beings all
over the world were outraged and it is now clearer that the decision to
execute Gaddafi was made to silence one voice for anti-imperialism.
The execution had the opposite effect and the work for expelling foreign
military forces from Africa will be now more intense.
------------[ Sent via the dehai-wn mailing list by dehai.org]--------------
Received on Mon Oct 31 2011 - 18:04:06 EDT