Mounting evidence of CIA ties to Libyan rebels

Patrick Martin

Numerous press reports over the weekend add to the evidence that the Libyan rebels fighting the regime of Muammar Gaddafi are under the direction of American intelligence agencies. Despite the repeated claims by Obama administration officials that the rebels are a largely unknown quantity, it is becoming increasingly clear that key military leaders of the anti-Gaddafi campaign are well known to the US government and have longstanding relations with the CIA.

For better than two weeks there had been a virtual ban in the US media on reporting the name of Khalifa Haftar, the long-time CIA collaborator who was appointed chief rebel commander March 17, on the eve of the US-NATO bombing campaign against Libya. Only the regional McClatchy Newspapers chain reported Haftar’s appointment, and ABC News ran a brief interview with him on March 27. Otherwise, silence prevailed.

This de facto censorship abruptly ended April 1, when a right-wing US think tank, the Jamestown Foundation, published a lengthy study of Haftar’s background and record, which was cited extensively by Reuters news service, and then more widely in the US and British media.

The Jamestown Foundation report declared: “Today as Colonel Haftar finally returns to the battlefields of North Africa with the objective of toppling Gaddafi, his former co-conspirator from Libya’s 1969 coup, he may stand as the best liaison for the United States and allied NATO forces in dealing with Libya’s unruly rebels.”

The Jamestown study noted Haftar’s role in organizing the Libyan National Army (LNA), which he founded “on June 21, 1988 with strong backing from the Central Intelligence Agency,” and cites a 1991 interview with him “conducted in an LNA camp in rural Virginia.” Not only did the CIA sponsor and fund the LNA, it engineered the entry of LNA officers and men into the United States where they established a training camp.

Reuters added, using a variant spelling of the name, that it has “repeatedly asked for an interview with Hefta but he could not immediately be contacted.” The news service added, “The CIA declined to comment” on its relationship to the former Libyan military leader.

Other references to Haftar’s role appeared in the online blog of the New Yorker magazine, in Africa Confidential, on National Public Radio, the British daily Guardian, and in the Independent on Sunday, another British newspaper.

Lynne Stewart's Appeal Brief

Stephen Lendman

Numerous previous articles discussed her case, character, honor, and dedication to justice as the law demands, what it didn't afford her. Two of them covered her imprisonment and re-sentencing, accessed through the following links, here and here.

A brief timeline of her case was as follows:

indicted on April 9, 2002;
on February 10, 2005, convicted on all counts;
on October, 17, 2006, sentenced to 28 months;
on November 17, 2009, a US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit three-judge panel upheld the conviction, shamelessly accusing Lynne of "knowingly and willfully making false statements," re-directing her case to District Court Judge John Koeltl for re-sentencing, instructing him to consider enhancements for terrorism, perjury, and abuse of her position as a lawyer - an outrageous mandate intimidating Koeltl to comply.
on November 19, 2009, Stewart jailed at MCC-NY, 150 Park Row, New York, NY; and
on July 15, 2010, Stewart re-sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for doing her job honorably, ethically, and admirably with distinction for 30 years.

Disgracefully, Judge Koeltl explained it, saying:

"(C)omments by Stewart in 2006, including a statement in a television interview that she would do 'it' again and would not 'do anything differently' influenced (the) decision....indicat(ing) the original sentence 'was not sufficient' to reflect the goals of sentencing guidelines."

Forgotten were his October 2006 comments, calling Lynne's character

"extraordinary," saying she was "a credit to her profession," and that a long imprisonment would be "an unreasonable result," citing "the somewhat atypical nature of her case (and) lack of evidence that any victim was harmed...."

He also considered her age (70), health (at times poor), distinguished career representing society's disadvantaged and unwanted, and the unlikelihood she'd commit another "crime." However, the Second Circuit Appeals Court intimidated him to comply, his own career perhaps on the line otherwise.

Goldstone Flip-flops After Talk With Racist Zionists

Celine Hagbard
International Middle East Center (IMEMC)

Richard Goldstone and I attended the same event last week – he as an honored guest, and I as an ordinary audience member. It was a debate on the Goldstone Report at Stanford University between two lawyers who had visited Gaza as part of a National Lawyers' Guild Delegation, and two Zionist academics.

In the course of the event, Peter Berkowitz and Abraham Bell, the Zionist academics, both put forward arguments based on logical fallacies (red herring, straw man, ad hominem attacks), contradicted themselves on numerous points, and were forced to make retractions of false statements. Although no one was keeping score, having been on my high school debate team, I think it was pretty clear that the Zionists, who argued against the Goldstone Report, lost that debate hands down.

Apparently Richard Goldstone didn't take high school debate, or didn't really care who based their arguments on lucid and verifiable facts, and who merely floated theories and generalizations followed by personal attacks, because it seems he let himself be convinced by Berkowitz and Bell's spurious arguments. Just a few days after that debate, Goldstone published an op-ed in the Washington Post second-guessing the conclusions of his own investigation and his commission's report!

In his letter, Goldstone criticizes Hamas for failing to investigate and prosecute war crimes, while lauding Israel for doing so. In doing so, he falls prey to the 'moral equivalence' argument challenged by the debate moderator at last week's event. Are Hamas and Israel morally equivalent?

Well, let's see, a democratically-elected Hamas government that had managed to maintain a nearly year-long ceasefire (in 2008) in which cross-border shelling by Palestinian resistance groups dropped to virtually none, while Israeli violations continued. The ceasefire was broken by Israel in December with an extrajudicial assassination of six alleged members of Hamas' armed wing.

On the other side, an Israeli army whose arsenal is the fourth-largest in the world, deciding to launch a massive invasion of a 15-mile wide strip of land that it had already laid siege to for three straight years, thereby weakening the population of 1.4 million and depriving them of their basic human needs. In that invasion, Israeli forces killed 1400 Palestinians, an estimated 80% of whom were civilians (although resistance against an invading military force is permissible under the internationally-recognized laws of warfare). And a jaw-dropping FOUR HUNDRED of these victims were children.

Obama's Terror War on Libya

Stephen Lendman

"All governments lie, and nothing they say should be believed" ~ IF Stone

Since WW II, America's gone to war as much to wage as win them because so many profiteers benefit. The prospect of peace, in fact, terrifies government, military officials, and corporate predators, so new enemies are invented when old ones are vanquished, are no longer of interest, or conflicts end for other reasons.

Wars are solely for wealth and power, never humanitarian intervention to liberate oppressed people or promote democracy. They're notions, in fact, US leaders won't tolerate, notably Obama, doubling down on Bush, waging his Iraq and Afghan wars, fighting two others in Pakistan and Libya, another allied with Israel against Palestine, as well as proxy wars in Somalia, Central Africa, Yemen, Bahrain, Haiti, Honduras, Colombia, and at home against Muslims, Latino immigrants, and working Americans.

Perhaps now more than ever, at home and abroad, America always spurned honor, high-mindedness, justice, and rule of law principles, as well as respect for democratic values, human rights and civil liberties.

Notably, candidate Obama pledged:

democratic values;
closing Guantanamo in one year;
ending torture, illegal spying, and detention without trial;
"a new era of openness;"
"sunlight before signing" new legislation to let Americans review and comment;
doubling the Peace Corp.;
equitable immigration reform in one year;
keeping the Internet free and open;
delivering real healthcare and financial reform;
support for organized labor, including walking picket lines whenever worker organizing rights are threatened;
willingness to meet individually with Iranian, Syrian, Venezuelan, Cuban, and North Korean leaders;
eliminating income taxes for seniors earning under $50,000;
the Patriot Employer Act to end tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas as well as incentives to create new ones at home;
renegotiating NAFTA to ensure equitable labor and environmental standards are enforced;
supporting Israeli and Palestinian efforts to "fulfill their national goals: two states living side by side in peace and security;" and
on Afghanistan saying (October 27, 2007): "I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this (and the Iraq) war(s). You can take that to the bank," and by implication not begin new ones.

As President, Obama broke all the above pledges and others, including every major one, delivering betrayal, not populist change. Make no mistake. His imperial ambitions are reckless, duplicitous, unscrupulous, and lawless - mindless of vital homeland needs and priorities, notably for America's growing millions in poverty or heading there, denied help to wage global wars, bail out Wall Street, and benefit other corporate favorites.

Skype with Gaza: A Story of Ahmed Qwaider

Ayman Qwaider
Voice From Gaza

After recent bombings in my home state of Gaza Strip, I finally had an opportunity to speak with my brother Ahmed, 23 years old on skype. The focus of our conversation was my brother's job search after "recent" graduation from his university in Gaza—The Islamic University. Below are excerpts from our chat.

Ayman Qwaider: Brother, what are you doing now?

Ahmed Qwaider: I am waiting the exam from Government in order to get a job and I am fed up with the situation in Gaza.

Ayman: Which government are you applying for and what is the nature of the job you might get?

Ahmed: I have applied for the government in Gaza because you know our unfortunate situation: we are two governments under occupation. (I applied just) in case I will get accepted, though I am not hopeful. Because I will end up in some office and not be able to practice any of the skills I learned at University because Israel’s government still prevent all construction material to get to Gaza which makes it quite complicated to find a job in the field and to practice what I have leaned at University.

I was proud that my brother was striving to be employed, and wondered how he passes his time.

Ayman: What are you doing nowadays, then?
Ahmed: I spend most of my time taking training and receiving courses; this how the Gaza graduated engineers end up in Gaza.

After a while, the conversation turned to the issues of violence that Gaza experiences daily. Having left Gaza a year ago myself, I rely heavily on information from family members such as my brother, to give me details of my home. Media sources are often inaccurate. Ahmed relayed his experience during an [Israeli] bombing raid and how it affected him personally.

Revisiting Israel's Terror War on Gaza

Stephen Lendman

Despite no legitimate provocation, Israel began terror bombing Gaza on December 27, 2008. Invasion followed, attacking innocent civilian men, women and children for over three weeks, using missiles, bombs, shells, and illegal weapons against defenseless people. Mass slaughter and destruction ensued.

Brazen crimes of war and against humanity were committed. No culpable officials were held responsible. Security Council no-fly zone protection wasn't ordered. International community leaders approved or were silent. Washington was complicit by supplying Israel with weapons, munitions, and encouragement. Obama acts the same as Bush, waging a quartet of lawless wars and using proxies in others.

Operation Cast Lead remains one of history's greatest crimes. Yet Israel was green-lighted to wage it with impunity, what it's done numerous times in its history, besides terrorizing Palestinians by:

illegal military occupation;
collective punishment and intimidation;
air and ground attacks;
isolating Gaza illegally under siege;
intermittently bombing and shooting its residents, including noncombatant farmers, fishermen and children;
regular residential neighborhood incursions;
bulldozing homes;
dispossessing residents;
land seizures;
arbitrary arrests;
torture as official policy, including against women and children;
targeted assassinations;
denying refugees their right of return;
movement and free expression restrictions;
violence, not peaceful coexistence;
confrontation, not diplomacy;
war, not peace; and
denying Palestinian sovereignty, as well as equal justice, human rights and civil liberty protections.

Israel is a rogue terror state, a democracy in name only affording rights solely to Jews. Remember Cast Lead, one of history's greatest crimes. Justice Richard Goldstone documented them convincingly in his 575 page report titled, "Human Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories: Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict."

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