Sunday, December 30, 2018

Joan Coxsedge's `Some Facts About Libya'"--Part 1

Italian imperialist troops occupying Libya in 1911
In  Part 1 of her 2018 book, Some Facts About Libya: How the West destroyed this once prosperous nation, long-time Australian antiwar and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge--who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--summarizes some of the 20th-century history of Libya in the following way: 

History of Libya in the 20th century.

For most of their history the peoples of Libya have been subjected to varying degrees of foreign control from Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals and Byzantines, right up to their last 20th century oppressor, the Italians, who occupied the country in 1911.

Italy attacked Tripoli, claiming it was a war of liberation against Ottoman rule when it was really an attempt to re-establish a Roman Empire in Africa. Despite a major revolt by the Arabs, the Ottoman Sultan ceded Libya to the Italians, leaving Tripoli largely under Italian control.

In 1920 the Italian government recognized Sheikh Sidi Idris as the hereditary head of a nomadic tribe. Idris was then given the title of "Emir" by the British, eventually becoming King of the Free Libyan State.

But after dictator Benito Mussolini came to power, fighting intensified. His appointee, General Badoglio, waged a ferocious pacification war and in 1922 Idris fled to Egypt. His [General Badoglio's] successor, General Graziani, was even worse, being given carte blanche by Mussolini to crush Libyan resistance. Unencumbered by either Italian or international law, Graziani enclosed a large slab of the desert with barbed wire, incarcerating the entire population in a huge concentration camp. More than 300,000 perished in the most appalling conditions.

Allied forces kicked out the Italians in 1943 and in 1944 Idris returned from exile. Under the terms of the 1947 peace treaty, Italy relinquished all claims to Libya, and in November 1949 the UN General Assembly passed a resolution that Libya should become an independent state with King Idris, a close ally of Britain, representing Libya in all subsequent UN negotiations. On 24 December 1951 Libya declared its independence and became a constitutional and hereditary monarchy under Idris, the first country to achieve independence through the United Nations. 

Oil was discovered in 1959 and Libya--one of the world's poorest--became extremely rich, except the wealth was concentrated in the hands of the few. In typical colonial fashion, Idris wasted no time in handing over Libya's natural resources to his new European masters.

Discontent grew throughout the Arab world, with increasing calls for a more unified Arab entity. In 1969, inspired by the example of Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt, Colonel Qaddafi and a small group of army officers staged a coup d'etat and kicked out the ailing Idris, who returned to Egypt. The new regime, headed by the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), abolished the monarchy and proclaimed the new Libyan Arab Republic with the slogan "freedom, socialism and unity," with Qaddafi as its leader.

The new rulers pledged to remedy backwardness, take an active role in the Palestinian and Arab cause and encourage domestic policies based on social justice, non-exploitation and an equitable distribution of wealth. One of their first acts was to close down British and US military bases, nationalize the oil and provide free healthcare and free education for the Libyan people, giving them the highest standard of living in Africa.

In the 1970s Libya claimed leadership of Arab and African revolutionary forces and sought an active role in the international scene.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

`Twenty Thirty-Four' protest folk song lyrics

A dystopian protest folk song from early 21st-century about how U.S. and Western European society might look in the "Era of Permanent War" in the year 2034.

It was 2034
In the Era of Permanent War
He lived in a room alone
Where a camera taped his every move
His emails were monitored
Along with smartphone conversations
All worked until 75
But few at that age were alive.

All the money he earned went for rent
All the food they gave him was just junk
One firm controlled all markets
And no unions limited profits
Six days a week all did work
Without benefits for the sick
Ten hours a day were required
And those caught talking were soon fired.

If you were sacked from your job
You were forced to move from the men's dorms
And locked in a prison all day
And beaten at night viciously
Then marched into the poison showers
To save the cost of caring for elders
No homeless men roamed the streets
'Cause cops shot them down secretly. (refrain)

Every month on the TV screen
Showed a new foreign war battle scene
Every year a building collapsed
And thousands would die at the office
Foreign agents would be blamed
And in revenge the space weapons would rain
On cities outside the USA
And the earth was destroyed day-by-day.

Young women now faced the draft
And were forced to be in combat
Eight years of war service
Were required if you failed to enlist
Soldiers occupied campus bases
And gyms replaced library spaces
Music still had a Rock beat
And selfish people ripped-off the weak. (refrain)

In 2034 they proclaimed:
"We live in a new Golden Age
Our robots now keep us all free
And reveal what your brains are thinking
Only the jealous complain
Because they're losers and untrained
The able can all become rich
In a society that we've made perfect." (refrain)

Saturday, December 22, 2018

How `Democracy Now! Funder Bill Moyers Helped Elect LBJ In 1964 Election

Democracy Now! Funder/ex-LBJ  Special Assistant Bill Moyers With LBJ
In his 1995 book, Barry Goldwater, University of Utah Professor of History Robert Alan Goldberg recalled that on June 18, 1964 the right-wing 1964 Republican Party presidential nominee, Barry Goldwater, "was one of 27 senators" in the U.S. Senate "to vote no" on the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and, during the last weeks of the 1964 U.S. presidential election campaign, "Goldwater...reiterated, in Cleveland, his opposition to the Civil Rights Act" and "in Columbia, South Carolina, he appeared with recent GOP convert Senator Strom Thurmond, and in a speech carried on television throughout the South he reminded listeners: `We are being asked to destroy the rights of some under the false banner of promoting the civil rights of others." So, not surprisingly, according to the same book, "...African-Americans read Goldwater and rallied enmasse against him..;" and "the 94 percent of black men and women who voted against Goldwater are credited with delivering Virginia, Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas and North Carolina to LBJ" in the November 1964 U.S. presidential election.

Yet prior to the November 1964 presidential election, according to University of Utah Professor of History Goldberg's 1995 book, the Democratic President and 1964 Democratic Party presidential candidate Lyndon B. Johnson "had authorized covert military action against North Vietnamese targets." As the same book recalled:

"Begun in February 1964, the American-conceived Operation Plan 34A deployed South Vietnamese forces in sabotage activities, commando raids, and the shelling of northern coastal facilities...U.S. Navy destroyers, while not officially part of these actions, patrolled in close proximity, monitored North Vietnamese responses, and gathered military information. By spring [1964], staffers had designated targets in North Vietnam for a future air war...To effect this, they drew plans for the deployment of U.S. air strike forces to Southeast Asia...Publicly, Johnson...gave no hint of Operation Plan 34A and did not reveal administration scenarios to increase America's military commitment...

"During the first week of August 1964, President Johnson announced that Navy destroyers Maddox and C.TurnerJoy had been subjected to `unprovoked' attack in the Tonkin Gulf off the North Vietnamese coast. On Aug. 7, (1964), Congress took Johnson at his word and approved the Tonkin Gulf Resolution...American warplanes bomb naval and storage facilities along the northern coast..."

Democracy Now! Funder/Schumann Media Center Inc. foundation Prez Bill Moyers
The 1995 book Barry Goldwater also recalled how the former Johnson White House Chief of Staff/Press Secretary whose Schumann Media Center Inc. foundation has funded the parallel left Democracy Now! Productions media firm in a big way during the 21st-century, Bill Moyers, historically helped LBJ win the November 1964 presidential election, prior to the Johnson White House's escalation of U.S. aerial attacks on people in Vietnam in early 1965:

"...Johnson loyalists Bill Moyers, Abe Fortas, and Clark Clifford, among others, planned a negative campaign that caricatured Goldwater as...dangerous...Goldwater as president would unleash nuclear war...The Johnson White House established the Five O'Clock Club, which planted spies like E. Howard Hunt (on leave from the Central Intelligence Agency) in the Goldwater camp. Reporters were encouraged to feed Goldwater's off-the record remarks to the White House staffers and to provide advance copies of the Republican's speeches for simultaneous rebuttal. The `Anti-Goldwater Program' also led to collusion between the press and the government to manipulate the news (according to `Anti-Goldwater Program' memo to Bill Moyers of Sept. 10, 1964 that can be found in Box 117, `Republican Party' Subject File of White House Central Files in Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library)...

"The Department of Defense supplied facts and figures to seemingly neutral journalists to bolster Democratic claims and refute the Republicans. White House aide Walter Heller furnished `ammunition' to syndicated columnists Walter Lippmann and Sylvia Porter...Advertising was LBJ's most prized weapon...Among Bill Moyers' suggestions to the advertising firm Doyle Dane Bernback was a television spot in which `he [Goldwater] could have his finger--or that of some field commander--on the nuclear trigger.' [Bill Moyers to Lloyd Wright, Sept. 14, 1964, Box 481, Frederick Panze Papers, Johnson Presidential Library]. Agency executives accepted the theme and developed it further. The images of Goldwater they eventually pitched to the American people remain case studies in the art of negative campaigning..."

Ironically, after the 1964 GOP presidential candidate apparently pledged on Sept. 3, 1964 to abolish the U.S. military draft if elected and before the Democratic Johnson administration's pre-September 1964 covert military actions against North Vietnamese targets became more overt and escalated in South Vietnam in 1965, LBJ said on Sept. 28, 1964 that "We are not going north and drop bombs at this stage of the game;" and, according to Professor of History Goldberg's 1995 book:

"In the last weeks of the campaign Johnson hammered Goldwater...on the issue of war and peace...In Akron, Ohio, Johnson observed: `...We are not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to do for themselves.'"

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's November 25, 2018 Letter

The following letter from Australian anti-war and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge--who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--originally appeared in an Australian-Cuban solidarity group's newsletter. 

“November 25, 2018

“Dear Comrades

“Matthew Guy’s been done like a dinner so it’s over to Labor to deliver. There’s lots of other things to write about, none of them particularly Christmassy I’m afraid, but that’s the way things are. Once a time of celebration, now a time of reflection and wondering what the devil 2019 will throw at us.

“I’d rather not talk about Trump, but he’s still mindlessly bunging off tweets full of exclamation marks and slogans about ‘America First’ and crap that Iran is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism when It’s Saudi Arabia and Israel and his very own US of A. A man bereft of either integrity or justice, although even he might have gone a bit beyond the pale for defending Saudi Arabia in face of their horrific act of violence in dismembering a journalist while he’s still alive, even if it was a typical Tuesday afternoon for Saudi’s rulers. Amid media outrage, a less publicized story didn’t seem to cut it in the same way. About 85,000 Yemeni children under the age of five died of starvation between April 2015 and October 2018 as a direct result of Saudi’s blockade and relentless violence.

“Who really matters in our world? 9/11 saw 2,996 human beings die in a blaze of publicity. Horrible. But is it worse than the deaths of more than a million Iraqis in a war based on lies? A war engineered by government secret agencies and Washington insiders and sold to the public and rammed through without any public accountability. No-one was tried for war crimes. No-one was sacked. No changes were made to prevent such horrors ever happening again. You don’t need a conspiracy to understand the nexus between plutocratic thugs and elements of the government.

“Julian Assange’s eight-year ordeal is another case in point. Incarcerated under British house arrest by a servile UK government and then holed up in the Ecuadoran Embassy under the protection of former president Correa, despite the absence of any charges filed against him. The current president of Ecuador, the brutal, ultra-right, pro-torture, thoroughly evil Lenin Moreno who wants to privatize everything, including the Amazon, is rescinding Assange’s asylum so that he will be handed over to Washington where a secret indictment and a Grand Jury stands at the ready and where a large number of Democrats and Republicans reckon he should be executed.

“His crime? Telling the truth like Daniel Ellsberg, whose Pentagon Papers were published in the New York Times and the Washington Post and helped bring about the end of the Vietnam War and who was treated like a hero by the rest of the world.

“As an Australian, Julian Assange is not subject to US law. Tell that to the grovellers in Canberra. If he was an Israeli citizen?

“We live in a rich country, except the wealth isn’t shared. Ross Gittins used statistics to highlight the inequalities regarding our education system, with Gonski jettisoned to avoid a row with private schools. And when Catholics put the frighteners on, governments buckle.

“Australia is now in the shameful position of being equal fourth with the most socially stratified education system among the OECD’s 35 nations. Only Mexico, Hungary and Chile have a more class-segregated set-up. 95%of our most disadvantaged are in the state sector. It matters because it shows what happens when schools are funded on the basis of religion and powerful lobby groups rather than need.

“But some articles really pull you up in your tracks and one that got to me was by George Monbiot who describes a press conference held by climate activists last week called Extinction Rebellion. Asked by journalists if aims to reduce UK carbon emissions to zero by 2025 were unrealistic, a young woman stepped forward full of fury and grief. ‘What is it you are asking me as a 20-year old to face and to accept about my future and my life?…This is an emergency. We are facing extinction…what is it you want me to feel?’ No-one responded.

“Tinkering at the edges got us into this mess and will not get us out. Public figures talk and act as if environmental change will be linear and gradual, but the earth’s systems are highly complex and complex systems do not respond in linear ways. Only one of the many life support systems on which we depend - soils, aquifers, rainfall, ice, winds and currents, biological abundance and diversity - needs fail for everything else to slide.

“It was pointed out that 50bn tonnes of resources used per year is about the limit the Earth’s systems can tolerate, but our world is already consuming 70bn tonnes and is on target to use 180bn tonnes by 2050 making ‘green growth’ physically impossible.

“The problem is political. The oligarchic control of wealth, politics, media and public discourse explains the comprehensive institutional failure now pushing us towards disaster. Think of Trump and his cabinet of multi-millionaires; the Murdoch empire and its massive contribution to climate science denial; the oil and motor companies whose lobbying prevents a faster shift to new technologies.

“And it’s not just governments failing us. Public broadcasters have shut down environmental coverage while allowing opaquely funded lobbyists masquerading as think tanks, to shape the debate and deny what we face. Academics, fearful of upsetting their funders and colleagues, bite their lips.

“But growing numbers of people understand that continued economic growth is incompatible with our precious Earth. And we must not allow the Earth’s despoilers to tell us what we can and cannot do. It’s our world, not theirs. And we’re running out of time.

“But we still need a break. Enjoy the company of family and friends and as always, take extra care on our roads…

“Joan Coxsedge”

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Joan Coxsedge's `Some Facts About Libya' Prologue

Former South African government head Nelson Mandela with Libya's Qaddafi 

In the Prologue to her 2018 book, Some Facts About Libya: How the West destroyed this once prosperous nation,  long-time Australian antiwar and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge--who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--indicates why and how the Democratic Obama-Clinton administration launched its war for regime change in Libya in 2011: 

In March 1992 the UN imposed an arms and air embargo on Libya after Qaddafi refused to hand over the two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing, sanctions that were tightened in 1993. But back then Libya had the highest standard of living in Africa that reduced their harsh impact. Libyans were provided with free education, healthcare, housing, electricity, subsidized food and interest-free loans, women wore Western clothes, went to work and attended university. If they wanted to farm, they were given a farmhouse, land, livestock and seeds, free of charge, and their state bank provided loans at 0% interest, as set out in law. And there were no terrorists. More than 60 countries had embassies in Tripoli, along with dozens of multinationals.

One of Qaddafi’s closest friends was Nelson Mandela. While the West was actively supporting the oppressive white regime, Mandela never forgot Libya’s support during the bitter anti-apartheid struggle, a friendship barely acknowledged in the West. Mandela became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 and rejected intense pressure from Western leaders to sever all ties with Qaddafi. He was accused of ‘supporting terrorism’ after refusing to cancel an official state visit to Libya. ‘A saint visiting a mad dog’, screamed the media. Mandela’s response: ‘No country can claim to be the policemen of the world and no state can dictate to another what it should do … those that yesterday were friends of our enemies have the gall to tell me not to visit my brother Qaddafi …’

And in March 1998, while visiting South Africa, President Bill Clinton was told at a news conference: ‘I have also invited Brother Leader Qaddafi to this country. I do so because our moral authority dictates that we should not abandon those who helped us in our darkest hour … and those who berated me for being loyal to our friends can literally go and jump in a pool.’ Clinton is said to have remained smiling throughout the event.

Today, Libya is a ‘failed state’, not because of Qaddafi but because of the treachery, greed and deceit of a number of Western countries and their allies in the Gulf. He was targeted for refusing to become a puppet after the 1969 coup, for closing down foreign military bases, and for swiftly nationalizing Libya’s vast oil industry that had largely benefited Western companies. He also hoped to free the entire African continent from Western financial dominance by introducing the ‘gold dinar’, a goldbacked African currency that threatened US dollar hegemony and the West’s central banking system. It probably sealed his fate, although in 2007, former NATO Supreme Military Commander General Wesley Clark  admitted that a ‘high ranking’ Pentagon official told him that Washington had been planning for some time ‘to take out seven countries in five years’, with Libya on its hit list.

After a decade of US sanctions, Qaddafi paid $1.5 billion to the Lockerbie families and abandoned his missile and nuclear program. Western leaders like Tony Blair and Condoleezza Rice paid him a visit and it was reported that he gave Sarkozy 50 million euros for his election campaign. Qaddafi probably thought that his rehabilitation was complete, but he was wrong. The West was only waiting for the right opportunity. It came in early 2011 when Cameron in Britain, Sarkozy in France and Obama in the US, with his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ‘leading from behind’, decided that Qaddafi had to go.

Secret agencies worked with Islamist groups to foment unrest around Benghazi using NATO for their criminal intervention. When Qaddafi sent his security forces to quell the unrest, it was claimed a civilian massacre was about to happen. It wasn’t, but a UN Security Council resolution forced a no fly zone over Libya without any evidence whatsoever. Germany, Russia, China and India declined to take part.

In March 2011, within 48 hours of the adoption of the resolution, Obama and Clinton ordered the US-NATO coalition to bomb Libya while the African Union was still desperately trying to find a solution to the impasse. More than 30,000 Libyans were killed, 50,000 injured, and the civilian infrastructure was severely damaged, including hospitals and schools – war crimes described as ‘humanitarian’ and a ‘historic success’ by the Pentagon. In October 2011, Qaddafi was hunted down by a mob and brutally murdered, with NATO warplanes playing a major role. His body was desecrated and put on public display before being buried in an unmarked grave in the Libyan Desert. Immediately after his death, NATO ended its bombing. Hillary Clinton, one of the main architects of the disgraceful operation, gloated on television: ‘We came, we saw, he died.’

Today, several terrorist groups, including ISIS and al-Qaida, have established a strong presence in the country and Libya is now a haven for human trafficking. Large quantities of weapons from Qaddafi’s arsenal have found their way to Mali, Niger and the Central African Republic, creating instability and mayhem, and Libyan arms and fighters have also found their way into Syria via Turkey.

Seven years after Qaddafi’s murder, this once-thriving country is fragmented and in a state of chaos. Despite its vast natural resources, its citizens face hunger, poverty and despair. So far no one has been held responsible for these crimes against humanity. It is highly unlikely they ever will be.