By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Published Mar 9, 2011 3:53 PM
As of March 7, Libyan military forces have stepped up their counteroffensive against rebel units backed by the U.S. and European Union countries. Government soldiers have retaken the town of Bin Jawad and are mounting assaults on rebels near the oil port of Ras Lanuf as well as Az Zawiyah, Tobruk and Misurata.
Meanwhile, Western and allied media sources have escalated their disinformation campaign against Moammar Gadhafi and the Libyan government in an effort to create the conditions for the overthrow of this oil-rich, North African state.
Gadhafi and the Libyan government are portrayed as the worst form of dictatorship in the world. Leading foreign policy operatives of the U.S. government like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice have openly called for Gadhafi’s removal.
The biased news coverage of developments in Libya has created the atmosphere for widespread vilification of Gadhafi and his government.
ICC threatens Libya from Europe
On March 3 the International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, Netherlands, announced that Gadhafi, his sons and other leading figures in the Libyan government are under investigation for alleged war crimes. This institution has been dubbed by many people around the world as the “African Criminal Court,” since it has focused almost exclusively on leaders within the continent.
The ICC has issued warrants against Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, for alleged crimes committed during that government’s efforts to restore order in the face of attacks by rebels operating in the western Darfur region of this central African state. The warrants against Bashir have been drawn up over the objections of both the African Union and the Arab League.
ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the international press on March 3, “I would like to use this opportunity to put [Libya] on notice. I want to be clear: If their troops commit crimes, they could be made criminally responsible.” (CNN, March 3)
Moreno-Ocampo acknowledged to questions, “This is the beginning of the investigation. I can give no details. We cannot confirm these allegations that these civilians were bombed by planes.”
Libya’s human rights standing
The United Nations Human Rights Council based in Geneva has suspended Libya from participating in its activities and the country’s representative to Geneva has defected. Prior to the new round of attacks against this North African state, however, this same council had prepared a report praising Libya’s record on human rights. (Reuters, March 3)
In relationship to the status of women in Libya, the report said: “The delegation indicated that women were highly regarded in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, and their rights were guaranteed by all laws and legislation. Discriminatory laws had been revoked.” (Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Human Rights Council, Jan. 4)
The report goes on to note that “Libyan women occupied prominent positions in the public sector, the judicial system, the public prosecutor’s office, the police and the military. Libyan legislation also guaranteed children their rights, and provided for special care for children with special needs, the elderly and persons with disabilities.”
Venezuelan proposal rejected by imperialists
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has submitted a proposal to mediate the current conflict inside Libya by establishing a negotiating team to be dispatched to the country and the region. This effort was outright rejected by the imperialist states of the U.S. and France.
Venezuela and Libya, two large-scale, oil-producing states, have good diplomatic and economic relations. When Libya was chair of the African Union in 2009 and president of the United Nations General Assembly, Gadhafi led a delegation of African representatives to Venezuela to participate in a high-level meeting with Latin American states.
The Arab League said that it was interested in the Venezuelan peace proposal. However, the U.S. and France apparently felt that such an effort would lend too much credibility to both Venezuela and the Arab League.
The African Union, a 53-member organization of independent African states, has issued two statements on the situation in Libya, which have largely been ignored by the U.S., the U.N. and the international corporate-oriented media.
The AU Peace and Security Council supported “the aspirations of the people of Libya for democracy, political reform, justice and socio-economic development” but stressed “the need to preserve the territorial integrity and unity of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.”
The biased reporting of the corporate media and the threats leveled by the International Criminal Court, the United States, NATO and the European Union indicate clearly that the Western governments are seeking to institute regime change in this North African country.
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