When Qaddafi Was Our Friend

Posted in: International Law

With Muammar Qaddafi’s ignominious disappearance to who knows where, fast on the heels of President Obama’s proclamation that “Qaddafi’s rule is over,” it is easy to think of the United States as the dictator’s stubborn, persistent, and ultimately triumphant foe.

One remembers Reagan’s efforts to confront Qaddafi decades ago: the 1986 missile strikes, the skirmishes in the Gulf of Sidra, the labeling of Libya’s leader as the “mad dog of the Middle East,” and of Libya as a rogue state.

But the line that one is tempted to draw between U.S./Libyan relations then and U.S./Libyan relations now isn’t straight.  While Qaddafi is now despised as an enemy, for much of the past decade he was treated as a friend.

In 2006, announcing that the U.S. was restoring full diplomatic relations with Libya, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held up Libya’s leadership as “a model” for others to follow. Qaddafi’s glaring violations of human rights—which, in 2011, gave the U.S. cause for military intervention—were not simply overlooked during the Bush years; they were exploited.

The CIA’s Libyan Helpers

Video footage of the fall of Libya’s Abu Salim prison brings this recent history to mind. Notorious as the site of a 1996 prison massacre, Abu Salim was the dungeon in which Qaddafi held his political opponents.  It was known for beatings, torture, solitary confinement, and death.  It was also the place that held prisoners who had been handed over by the CIA.

For it was counterterrorism cooperation, together with Qaddafi’s abandonment of his nuclear ambitions, that cemented U.S./Libyan ties.  Qaddafi’s intelligence services opened their files to the CIA, were given CIA training, and took in the CIA’s prisoners.

Between 2004 and 2006, the CIA rendered at least six prisoners to Libya, all men who had been held in secret detention, interrogated coercively, and transferred to Libyan custody without the benefit of any legal procedures.

Badly abused in U.S. custody, the men feared even worse treatment in Libya.  “I told the Americans that I did not want to go to Libya,” one of the prisoners told a Human Rights Watch researcher who gained access to interview him a few years later.  “I lost all sanity.  I wanted to die.  I banged my head against the wall.”  He was handed over to Libyan custody in August 2004.

Others handed over to Libyan custody secretly and without legal process include Abdullah Sadeq, who was picked up in Thailand; Abu Munder Saadi, captured in Hong Kong; and Al Mahdi Mostafa Al Mahdi Gouda, seized in Pakistan.  Both Sadeq and Saadi were handed over to the Libyans in 2004, not long after their arrest, whereas Gouda was picked up in 2004, held for more than a year in secret custody, and sent to Libya in April 2005.

The most famous of the rendered detainees is one who is no longer alive to tell his story.  Ibn Al Sheikh Al Libi—born Ali Mohamed al Fakheri—was captured in November 2001 as he fled Afghanistan following the collapse of the Taliban government.  The former head of a jihadist training camp in Afghanistan, he was thought to have information about al-Qaeda’s international links.

Though his trajectory through the CIA’s chain of black sites and proxy prisons is still not known with certainty, Al Libi seems to have been moved from place to place, including to Egypt, Morocco and Afghanistan.  Statements that he made under torture about a relationship between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda were used by the Bush administration to justify the invasion of Iraq.  He died, a supposed suicide, in Libyan custody in 2009, having been returned to Libya by the CIA a few years earlier.

“Excellent Cooperation”

Commenting on U.S. relations with Libya at roughly the moment that Al Libi was handed over, Secretary of State Rice praised the country’s “excellent cooperation in response to common global threats faced by the civilized world since September 11, 2001.”  It was a public pat on the back for Qaddafi, a way of welcoming his regime back into the fold.

President Obama, in a statement to the press last week, emphasized a different side of this story.  For over four decades, he said, the Libyan people had lived “under the rule of a tyrant who denied them their most basic human rights.”  What he failed to acknowledge was that this denial of human rights had not always been viewed as a problem.

Posted in: International Law

7 responses to “When Qaddafi Was Our Friend”

  1. Ted Harvatin says:

    FDR was friendly with Uncle Joe Stalin, one of the great butchers of the 20th Century. Write a column on that.

  2. Anonymous says:

    A wake-up call to the international community.

  3. Jmcachia says:


    Subject:  AREN’T WE



    (for publication)

    compliments and regards,


    Malta Freelance Journalist


    NOW ??


    “I have
    known a vast quantity of nonsense talked about bad men not looking you in the
    face. Don’t trust that conventional idea. Dishonesty will stare honesty out of
    countenance any day in the week, if there is anything to be got by it.”

    Charles Dickens

    getting really sick and tired of the biased news reports on the current
    situation in Libya.  Of course, you will see a lot of media opera­tives  persuading you to think this is a good and
    justif­ied war aimed at helping Libyans, but the facts and ev­ents just don’t
    add up to that.

    To say that “Gaddafi’s security forces cracked down ferociousl­y when
    thousands of Libyans rebelled against his rule.” is just a repetition of
    the western party line, which has no basis in fact.


    The Libya War
    was sold to the public as a humanitarian intervention, but very quickly evolved
    into an effort to overthrow a government, using drones that bomb civilians, and
    ignoring pleas for peace.  The so called
    “rebellion against his rule” was a covert CIA operation. Both CIA
    agents and MI6 agents from the UK
    were already on the ground at the start of this so-called spontaneou­s
    rebellion. This I find too coincident­al, given both agencies precedents­, and
    given the strategic importance of Libyan oil, to accept at face value. Both
    agencies, as well as the compliant western media, used the ruse that what had
    happened in Tunisia and Egypt was what was happening in Libya.
    However, they knew full well that they could sell it because of the basic
    ignorance of most Americans and West Europeans concerning world affairs, not to
    mention the fact that those who control this media also want Gaddafi removed
    because he’s been a thorn in their side for decades, As an example of this you
    will recall that not long after the start up of what in actual fact became a
    civil war, the Italian Foreign Minister stated categorica­lly that over 10,000
    civilians had lost their lives. In actual fact, all internatio­nal agencies who
    normally track this sort of phenomenon had a body count of less than 3,000 and
    the majority of them were either rebel combatants or Libyan army troops.


    if anyone really wants to know why the west decided to finally attack Libya, go
    to this website (www.algathafi.org/html-english/index.htm) and download the speech
    Ghaddafi made at the UN on 23rd Sept 2009.


    Ghaddafi knows
    well enough, as we all need to admit, that NATO’s interventi­on was not about
    the protection of civilians. The main objective, ab-initio, was to get him out
    of power.


    1973 was just a ploy to strip Libya
    of its sovereignt­y to enable those that have, through the years, been looking
    for his head on a platter to have their ways. 
    This is the chance of a life time to be rid of him and none of the
    countries involved is willing to let this golden opportunit­y slip by.

    He should therefore save his breath, they have him and no offer or observance
    of ceasefire will sway NATO and the Coalition. 
    They are so happy blasting away a people who have no means of
    retaliation, including the Ghaddafi family compound.  Does bombing his family compound, knowing
    that his small grandchild­ren were living there, make NATO any better?   And, of course, under the UN pretext of
    ‘humanitarian aid’. That’s NATO courage!  Just shooting sitting ducks!  SHAMEFUL!!  Perhaps it would have been better had Ghaddafi
    purchased a few anti-warship missiles and hit a French aircraft carrier.  Crusaders need to pay for their actions!


    Who can
    explain how the dropping of over 3000 $400,000 missiles on Western
    Libya is about saving lives? 
    There is no free lunch.  Libya,
    after Ghaddafi, must re-reimbur­se, with profit!  Forget about the loss of innocent human
    lives!!   What counts is that the more
    NATO blasts up and destroys the better, as finally the West will be
    restructuring, at a high price, of course!

    Until Ghaddafi
    is out, NATO will continue bombing civilians to protect civilians.  What cheek!


    Concern for
    the Libyan people?  Empathy for the poor
    people being bombed and murdered on both sides? 
    Concern about what will happen to the Libyan people in the future?  No, nothing of that sort.  Just smiling and hugging each other and
    thinking how it would serve our own selfish benefits.  That’s all it’s about.  What a phony and conceited attitude!


    Pay close
    attention to the details, and you will see Western powers moving towards a
    resolution only when they’ve figured out how to privatize the Libyan oil.


    The simple
    fact of the matter is that the oil industry was controlled by the Libyan state
    oil company National Oil, which renegotiat­e profit sharing terms with globalist
    oil companies.  Gaddafi was threatenin­g
    to go even further and dismantle National Oil and distribute oil revenue
    directly to the people.

    I’ll take a wild guess and say that once the rebels are in power, the oil
    industry of Libya
    will be privatized and end the 40 years of nationaliz­ation.  But what am I saying; the Libyan rebels well
    NEVER be in power!  They will be minions
    serving the interests of the foreign
    multinational corporations.  They have
    served their purpose! Now, we should stop calling them rebels; they are just
    armed insurgents­ who may one day even turn against their new occupiers.  The Afghan example would fit in perfectly.


    But really,
    who are the so-called ‘rebels’? Who are they promoting to put in power?  The ‘rebels’ broke the first cease-fire by
    attacking Libyan troops. Why are they so dead set against any cease fire?  Instead of asking these questions we just go
    ahead and believe everything that NATO and the Coalition tell us like the blind
    sheep that we are.


    To most
    informed people with a sense of history, the Libyan story is no different to
    the colonial wars of the eighteenth and nineteenth century.
    None can deny that fact.  Notwithstanding
    it being so blatantly obvious, I am convinced that there is little hope for America
    with this level of blissful ignorance among its citizens to realize the
    conspiracy worked out over their heads.


    Wake up, this
    is a war, Obama and Company War. He started it by firing 200 Tomahawk missiles
    into Libya
    at a cost of $1.5 million each. The U.S. is the backbone of NATO which
    was set up to defend a country that might be attacked.  Take away US participat­ion, and NATO would
    fold its tent and go home today.  As bad
    as Ghaddafi could be depicted, he was not a threat to any country. He had given
    up his nuclear ambitions.  Despite all,
    NATO and its Coalition are still bombing; it is a war for regime change.


    The U.S. military intervention in Libya was never authorized by the U.S. Congress,
    and thus violates U.S.
    law and the U.S. Constitution.  When the
    60 day limit expired, Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard law professor who led the
    Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2003 and 2004, said: “This appears to be the first time that any
    president has violated the War Powers Resolution’s requirement either to
    terminate the use of armed forces within 60 days after the initiation of
    hostilities or get Congress’s support”. 
    President Obama has become the new puppet of imperialis­m.


    consented to a ceasefire and to democratic elections in the African Union
    negotiatio­ns.  Obama, the ‘Nobel Peace
    Prize’ winner, has utterly ignored that deal, and will no doubt refuse to seek
    a peaceful solution. Obama, NATO, and the ‘Coalition­’ flagrantly refused to
    show up at the talks. 

    There’s something very rotten about all of this!  Aren’t elections the goal? Why would the West
    reject elections in an agreement establishe­d through the African Union?   The goal, as stated by Robert Gates, the
    U.S. Secretary of Defence, is to ‘kill Ghaddafi and the Libyan military’.

    Marc Ginsberg, former U.S.
    Jewish-American ambassador and ex-Presidential advisor gave it all away.  He asserted that “the U.S. should not stand in Sarkozy’s way in Libya”.  “After all, isn’t it in America’s strategic interest to accommodate
    French designs in Libya?  Messr. Sarkozy is actually using France’s aggressive role in Libya to resurrect his long cherished goal of
    creating a French dominated “Union of the Mediterranean”.


    What else is
    there to say than this overt account? 
    All the hidden motives for this aggression are laid bare for those who
    want to see. And I sorrowfully note the lack of any mention of and concern for
    the Libyan people! 

    Real protesters of any
    cause have disappeare­d from the streets in this country, and are only to be
    found on the Web (where their effect is zero or possibly less).


    “We have to live today by what truth we can get today and be ready
    tomorrow to call it falsehood.”

     William James



    Joseph M.


    31, St.
    Lawrence Street

    Vittoriosa – Malta

    ID. No. 
    698736 (M)

    21807566 – 99866151






    LIBYA – Behind the phony ICC ‘rape’ charges: ARE NATO FORCES PREPARING A

    Sara Flounders

    International Action Center

    presenting a shred of reliable evidence, NATO and International Criminal Court conspirators
    are charging the Libyan government with conspiracy to rape — not only rape as
    the “collateral damage” of war, but rape as a political weapon.

    charge of an orchestrated future campaign of rapes was made at a major press
    conference called by the lead prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on
    June 8, 2011. The even wilder unsubstantiated ICC charge that Libya plans to mass distribute
    Viagra to its troops confirms this as the most tawdry and threadbare form of
    war propaganda.

    It is important
    to understand that NATO countries with the full complicity of the corporate
    media and the ICC are spreading this Big Lie in order to win support for and
    close down all opposition to a ground assault of Libya,
    something that would otherwise be unpopular both in Europe and the United States.
    This wild charge adds to the evidence of a massive escalation in bombing urban
    targets in Libya, the use of
    British and French helicopters that give close support to ground troops and the
    positioning in the Mediterranean off Libya of
    U.S. warships that can quickly land troops. The NATO alliance is desperate to
    put Libya
    beyond all discussion or defense and raise the NATO war to the level of a Holy
    Crusade to defend women.

    charge of rape as a political weapon was spread — without evidence — against
    Serb forces to justify U.S.
    plans for the first NATO bombing campaign in the history of the military
    alliance in 1994 in Bosnia
    and was used again in 1999 in Serbia
    in the first NATO occupation. The rape charge was used to soften up the U.S. and European population for the criminal
    war against Yugoslavia.
    Now a similar plan is in the works for Libya.

    All too
    often widely fabricated lies are spread to justify imperialist wars. In 1991
    the first war against Iraq
    was justified by outrageous charges that the Iraqi army had grabbed Kuwaiti
    babies from incubators and smashed the babies to the floor. This was presented
    as reliable “testimony” to in the U.S. Congress and in the UN. Months later it
    was confirmed as a total fabrication. But the lie had served its purpose. In
    2001 the corporate media and U.S.
    politicians claimed that they had to bomb and then massively occupy Afghanistan
    to win rights for women that the Taliban taken away. The situation for women in
    Afghanistan and for the
    entire population has deteriorated further under U.S. / NATO occupation.

    video and photo evidence that the entire world has seen through WikiLeaks, the
    International Criminal Court has never considered for a moment filing criminal
    charges against U.S. British, French or German troops.

    pictures, videos and reports in major newspapers of sexual torture and
    humiliation at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq
    by U.S. soldiers, the
    testimony by the U.S.
    soldiers involved in rapes, tortures, mutilations and executions in Iraq and Afghanistan
    confirms the brutal reality of U.S.
    wars. These wars have never been to ‘save’ women.

    As an
    African country, Libya
    can hardly expect a fair hearing or any form of justice from the ICC. The
    International Criminal Court created with high hopes of international justice
    in 2002 has been used against 7 countries – all in Africa.
    Meanwhile, the ICC has never examined U.S. drone attacks on defenseless
    civilians in at least 8 African, Arab and South Asian countries. Nor has it
    even touched U.S.
    invasions and occupations. Israeli bombing of the Palestinian people is “off

    This is
    an essential time to remind all people concerned about the rights of women that
    intervention or any imperialist intervention has never protected women. Even
    women serving within the U.S.
    military machine are not “safe”. According to a study published by the Journal
    of Military Medicine, 71 per cent of women soldiers have been sexually
    assaulted or raped while serving in the U.S. military. Women who have been
    assaulted consistently report poor medical treatment, lack of counseling,
    incomplete criminal investigations and threats of punishment for reporting the
    assaults. In 2009 the Pentagon admitted that approximately 80 per cent of rapes
    are never reported – making it the most under-documented crime in the military.
    In addition U.S.
    military bases are all too often surrounded by an entire sex industry of abused
    women forced by hunger, dislocation and lost families into work in bars and

    Rape in
    every society has little connection news.leader@northeast-press.co.ukto
    sexuality and desire. It has always been about imposing power and domination.

    “political rape” charge in this case makes no sense and has no basis
    beyond the U.S.-NATO desire to justify expanding the war against Libya.

    U.S.-NATO intervention in Libya.








    ‘US backs Bahrain
    due to military base’








    “Where facts are few, experts
    are many.”

    Donald R. Gannon


    For those who
    thought the Egyptian revolution is done and past, think again.  The Egyptians did not go home. They are out
    there again if things do not turn out the way they had hoped.


    There’s no
    question that the unrest in Egypt
    is of paramount world concern.  Opinions
    vary about how this situation will work out, but many analysts think, or rather
    hope, that this situation could actually have a positive outcome for Egypt.


    One must keep
    in mind that Egypt’s
    standing in the Arab and Islamic world is partly linked to its role as a patron
    of the Palestinian cause in the era of Nasser.


    There is talk
    about America’s worries that
    a government less friendly to the USA will be installed. That is
    secondary, as long as it is a government that cares for its own people. And
    maybe if the US
    doesn’t interfere, there is a chance of that happening.  Hopefully the Egyptians would not swallow the
    bait of falling in the same gutter that they managed to escape from, enticed by
    the hypocritical words of Obama; “We stand ready to
    provide assistance that is necessary to help the Egyptian people as they manage
    the aftermath of these protests.”  In her
    statement, U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton claimed that Washington’s concern in relation to Egypt was to bring about a “real democracy” and
    not a “so-called democracy that then leads to what we saw in Iran.” Sometimes the argument comes
    in the form of “I support democracy, but only if I agree with the
    results.”  In other words, her sole
    criterion for a democracy is not the will of the people, but subordination to
    US interests or perhaps an imperialist ‘pax americana’.  

    The fear
    really is an Egypt
    that no one can predict. Will it continue in its former alliances? What good
    are its former alliances if they have to be maintained by a brutal and corrupt
    police force in the streets of Cairo?


    The young
    activists who had organised the protests are still very optimistic but would
    not give up the pressure on the army to fulfil all its reform pledges,
    including the release of thousands of political prisoners. The leadership of
    the Coalition for change is still divided over the extent to which the army can
    be trusted.


    If the
    Egyptian masses were allowed to express their genuine aspirations at the ballot
    box it would spell an end to the country’s role as a servile client of Washington and Israel.  The issue that worries the US is that when people are free,
    they try to be independent. They will not accept living in the custody of the US.


    Many western
    leaders are worried that the failure of the Egyptian regime could see the
    Muslim Brotherhood, the most well-organised opposition party, take
    control.  The Mubarak regime has
    historically used the Muslim Brotherhood as a bogeyman to frighten the people
    and the Western countries.  However, it’s
    not radical Islam that worries the US – it’s the independence.  The nature of any regime it backs in the Arab
    world is secondary to control.  Subjects
    are ignored until they break their chains. 
    The US
    and its allies have regularly supported radical Islamists, sometimes to prevent
    the threat of secular nationalism.

    There was a sense among reformists in Cairo that the army has
    been true to its word so far.  Indeed, the
    Army has unequivocally stated that “it will not be an alternative to the
    legitimacy approved by the people”. But concerns have mounted in the last
    days.  Secular democratic parties are not
    involved in the dialogue the Army currently has with the Muslim Brotherhood.
    The process for reforming the constitution is far too quick and is not
    inclusive. Representatives of the old regime are there but there are no
    women.  The question here is this: ‘Is
    the army more representative of the people, or more representative of the old
    status quo?’  It boggles the mind to think
    that, after all the sacrifices the country made to unseat a
    dictatorship, a new one seems to lurk in the shadows of thispromising new era. 

    The pledge that elections would take place within six
    months was welcomed, but a faster timetable was then introduced, making it
    impossible for the impoverished liberal parties like Wafd (‘Delegation’) or El
    Ghad (‘Tomorrow) to organise.  The Muslim
    Brotherhood gets huge financial support from the Gulf States and is experienced in fighting
    elections.  While the Brotherhood will
    not put up a presidential candidate, it will fight across the country for
    parliamentary seats.  Alternatively, the
    hugely-popular Wael Ghoneim – a Google manager who was held and beaten up
    during the recent violence – has already been drawn into talks with the
    administration.  Political groups would
    be able to accept unlimited funding from individuals, corporations or even foreign powers interested in influencing the
    presidential elections.   This will
    leave the Egyptian political system ripe for corruption.

    The young demonstrators are determined that the future
    political make-up of Egypt
    should reflect their role in the revolution. 
    Nevertheless, getting rid of the dictators was only the first step of a
    process in which ordinary people will fight for their rights, notably better
    wages and public services,  In a country
    of 80 million with 40% that live below the World Bank poverty level of $2 a
    day, it’s doubtful that the ‘youth element’ would hold the voting majority.

    “All Egyptians now think they are Che Guevara,
    Castro or something,” says Essam el-Erian, a senior leader of the Muslim
    Brotherhood, bursting into laughter. “This is democracy.”

    Foreign governments, especially those in Europe and
    the US,
    have to make major reassessments as the Arab world makes up its own mind at


    “Peoples of Egypt,
    you will be told that I have come to destroy your religion. Do not believe it!
    Reply that I have come to restore your rights!”

    Bonaparte, 1798


    Joseph M.


    31, St. Lawrence Street

    Vittoriosa – Malta

    ID. No.  698736 (M)

    Tel:  21807566 – 99866151

  4. BritWales_UK says:

    G’s name is “GATHAFI” not Gadhafi, not Gaddafi and not Qadaffi lol. See their Passports in Arabic script and English language hand printed entries ok.  

  5. Warsameducaale says:

    Thank you for setting the record straight. Please go to http://www.obamaslibya.com to view crimes agaisnt humanity that are been committed by the so call rebels whom we are supporting now. All you have to do is google crimes by Libyan rebels against black Libyans and black Africans; and you will see what kind of people we are supporting. They are not the kind of people whom you should destroy a country for and hand over to them. They are the same guys who were fighting our military in Iraq and Afghanistan. They will have no problem of fighting us again when and if they come to power with our help ofcourse. My only question for Americans is when did we ever learn? We supported AlQaida, Hamaz, Hizbullah and now LFIG who are on the State Department terrorist list; then we call them terrorist and fight them. What is wrong with our policies and why is it we never ever learn from our past mistakes? We elected Obama things we will change the Bush era and what did we get another an necessary war?

  6. The Arab Spring and US Credibility in the Region « (Un)Conventional Analysis says:

    […] Mouammar Ghadhafi was once the friend of the United States. Human Rights Watch’s Johanne Mariner pointed out the obvious: […]