Tuesday, February 27, 2018

One Person’s Terrorist? Reflections on Zohra Drif’s Memoir of the Algerian Revolution

Originally published in The Nation on 2 February 2018. Republished with the author's permission. My reflections follow Bill's article.

One Person’s Terrorist? Reflections on Zohra Drif’s Memoir of the Algerian Revolution

Is the civilian population of a colonial-settler regime ever a legitimate military target?
By Bill Fletcher Jr.

I have seldom felt compelled to write a review or an essay after reading a book. I am often inspired, saddened, or reflective after finishing a book, but normally I don’t feel compelled to publicly think through issues that emerged for me in the course of reading someone’s work.

Zohra Drif’s Inside the Battle of Algiers: Memoir of a Woman Freedom Fighter left me in a very different place. I grew up inspired by the Algerian national liberation war against France and had, along with thousands of other activists of my political generation, seen the famous Gillo Pontecorvo film The Battle of Algiers—and Drif played a key role in some wrenching scenes depicted in it. What I failed to grasp was how close the film had actually been to the facts, at least as described by Drif.

Yet Drif’s book is striking less because of its connection with the Pontecorvo film than because it is the story of a woman who, in the very conservative climate of colonial Algeria, became a revolutionary in the cause of Algeria’s freedom. Drif had to overcome the reluctance that existed within her own family, in addition to the repression carried out by the French authorities.

These issues, in and of themselves, would be enough to lead one to appreciate Drif’s story. But it is her discussion of the armed activities in which she was involved, including the bombing of civilian targets, that sent chills up my spine and caused me to stop and reflect.

Anyone who has seen The Battle of Algiers will remember that the urban guerrillas of the FLN (Front de Libération Nationale) carried out bombings of civilian targets in retaliation for the torturing and killing of Algerians by French troops and terror attacks against Algerian civilians by French colonists. Every time I have watched those scenes—and I have seen the film multiple times—I have been deeply unsettled at the sight of settler civilians killed and wounded. I wondered how Drif would handle this question in her book. To some extent I was surprised by her direct and unapologetic approach.

Drif’s description of the Algerian Revolution can be more fully appreciated when one looks at the entirety of the situation and, especially, the treatment to which the Algerian people were subjected. Algeria was among those colonies of Europe that could be defined as “settler states” or “settler colonies.” These were colonies where the Europeans not only controlled the territory and seized its resources but where there had been a conscious decision to settle Europeans. Other such settler states included Ireland, Kenya, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, South Africa, Palestine/Israel, Canada, the USA, Australia, and New Zealand.

There are many noteworthy things about settler states. One is how often God is referenced, as having allegedly given those territories to the European settler population. That was particularly true in Ireland, South Africa, Israel, and the United States.

A second is the manner in which the settlers psychologically and physically displace the native population and redefine themselves as the legitimate population of that territory. In the United States we are familiar with this, and the ramifications for the American Indians. In Algeria the French encouraged poor southern Europeans to migrate to Algeria and settle. As far as the settlers were concerned, they were now the Algerians, or, more specifically, the French Algerians. The indigenous Algerians were the equivalent of chopped liver.

The poor southern Europeans who settled came to be known as the pieds-noirs (black feet). They arrived after the French military had defeated the indigenous forces and seized the best land—a conquest that began in 1830. The settlers proliferated, and the indigenous Algerians became their servants. Whenever the Algerians rose in revolt, they were brutally suppressed.

The French government felt a special bond with the territory of Algeria, ultimately declaring it to be a part of France. This distinguished Algeria from many other territories occupied by France, as well as territories colonized by other European powers. It was along the lines of the way the United States claims Puerto Rico, after having seized it from the Spanish in 1898.

The indigenous Algerians—a population made up of a broad mixture of African peoples including Arabs and Berbers—had a different point of view, of course. They engaged in various forms of both violent and nonviolent resistance to colonial oppression over the many decades of French colonization. The forms of resistance mattered little to the French government and the pied-noir administrations. Resistance was forbidden.

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, a war during which France was occupied by Nazi Germany, the Algerian people rose in protest. On May 8, 1945, French authorities carried out massacres in the Algerian cities of Sétif, Guelma, and Kherrata, targeting thousands of unarmed Algerians. By 1954, a wing of the Algerian independence movement—the FLN—chose to move toward armed struggle as the only means of achieving total liberation from France and the elimination of the settler-colonial regime.

When the oppressed are jailed, tortured, and murdered in settler-colonial systems, the oppressor force treats this in one of several ways. There may be outright denial, e.g., “No, we would never have….” The incidents may be explained away, e.g., “We had to take these steps because the natives were out of control.” The actions of the oppressor state may be treated as an accident or as collateral damage, e.g., “We didn’t mean to shoot those children on the beach; we thought they were terrorists.” The incidents may also be ignored, with no explanation ever given.

There is an additional response from the oppressor group that overlaps each, which can be summed up as, “So what? Things happen.” In other words, the lives of the so-called natives, be they racially, nationally, or colonially oppressed, are in no way comparable to the lives and experiences of the oppressor population. The suffering that befalls the oppressor is always treated as of qualitatively greater significance than anything that happens to the oppressed, at least according to the settler/colonial framework.

That settler/colonial framework was of course at stake in the Algerian Revolution, as it is in every national liberation movement. In the debased morality of such a framework, to what extent can the oppressed be understood as human beings, as opposed to an unidentifiable black, brown, or yellow mass? To what extent should their pleas for freedom be understood as eloquent demands for emancipation rather than the inarticulate moans of suffering?

The Algerian Revolution encountered this challenge on multiple levels. After numerous acts of brutality on the part of the pieds-noirs and/or the French authorities, including but not limited to a particularly ignominious terrorist attack against Algerian civilians by a pied-noir group known as the Ultras, the FLN decided to retaliate. Their view was that such attacks on Algerians would continue and the world would hear nothing and do nothing until and unless the settlers suffered in like manner. As a result, Drif and others made the fateful decision to place bombs where pied-noir civilians congregated.

It was at that moment in the book that I paused. I had to think about the implications. I have always been someone who has felt very strongly that civilians should never be the target of military operations. Yet, here was one of the greatest national liberation movements of the 20th century, and they made a very different decision.

I found myself reflecting upon Native Americans/American Indians who, in their battles with the expanding white settler populations of North America, engaged in warfare that sometimes included kidnapping and/or killing white settlers. With their backs to the wall, was there another option? When white settlers, either formal military or militia, carried out massacres against the Native population, which they would later claim as military victories—massacres that were commonly celebrated by the white civilians—did the indigenous have any options?

The FLN bombings shook the settler population of Algeria in ways that they had never expected to be shaken. The national liberation war was now a reality that hit very close to home. The settlers were no longer safe. And they certainly no longer had the luxury—if they ever did—of remaining neutral, since, by their very presence, they were asserting their right to the land, and control over the people, of Algeria.

Military actions by the FLN throughout Algeria contributed to the ultimate victory but, as the film The Battle of Algiers illustrated at the end, it was mass actions by native Algerians throughout the country that made colonial Algeria ungovernable. Finally, in 1962, to the pleasure of most of the world, Algeria achieved independence.

Yet the moral/political conflict inherent in the decision to hit civilian targets was not resolved, though the FLN members seemed comfortable that they had made the correct decision. Drif certainly believes that the decision was correct and not to be confused with jihadist violence that we have seen in the more recent past around the world.

How does an emancipatory struggle gain world attention? How does it point out to the oppressor group, whether settlers or simply occupiers, that there can be no normality? And, most controversial, when does a so-called civilian population become not merely an instrument of an oppressive regime but an intrinsic and crucial weapon of control?

The FLN saw their actions as retaliatory violence, and the settler population as part of the enemy. This conclusion seems neither illogical nor irrational.

The FLN saw their actions as retaliatory violence. But they also saw the settler population as part of the enemy. This conclusion seems neither illogical nor irrational. The overwhelming majority of the pieds-noirs believed in what they called “Algérie Française.” On more than one occasion the settlers came close to creating a civil war within France, including through the establishment of a notorious crypto-fascist organization, the OAS (in English, the Secret Army Organization), in order to permanently secure Algeria to France.

Yet in striking at civilians, the challenges for the FLN included not only the intrinsic ethical dilemmas posed by such attacks but also the response of world opinion and the legacy they would have for future generations. Though the mass base of the FLN may have supported hitting civilian targets as a form of retaliation for state torture and pied-noir terrorism, the reality is that much of the rest of the world either did not agree or did not understand. As far as much of the rest of the world was concerned, these were civilian establishments that were not engaged in the war and, therefore, should have been considered off limits.

The battle against settler regimes is a unique fight because the settlers are, in most cases, an unofficial component of the army of occupation. In this sense, the pieds-noirs were never a neutral civilian population that had to make a choice between two sides (as every population ultimately does during war). Certainly individual settlers made choices, including the minority of settlers who chose to enlist with the FLN. (Frantz Fanon, originally from Martinique but a hero of the Algerian Revolution, devoted a chapter in his book A Dying Colonialism to the European minority and made the point that they were not a monolithic bloc.) That said, the mass of settlers’ presence in a colonized land represents an act of aggression, an invasion.

Settlers actually know this, if only subconsciously, which is why they try so hard to claim or mythologize that there was allegedly no one on the land before they arrived, as in the settler’s tales in South Africa, Israel (“a land without a people for a people without a land”), and the United States. The admission that there was a population in existence, even if the justification is that the population was “primitive,” raises myriad questions about how and why the land was expropriated. The fact that settler-colonial states generally go further and ensure that the settlers are armed, have military training, and can frequently be enlisted in military operations by the settler-colonial state is only the icing on an already toxic cake.

In settler states the settlers have access to weapons, while for the natives it is generally prohibited. Settlers have a racial or national privilege that separates their existence from that of the natives, whether in the form of housing, access to water, utilities, freedom of movement, or education. The settler is living a completely different life from that of the native, and attempts by natives to assert their humanity and demand even a modicum of equality are perceived as threats to settler privilege. The settlers, as a group, never see themselves as aligned with the interests of the natives but rather fight to assert their settler privilege, even going so far as to proclaim themselves “nationalists,” insofar as they want the settler state to remain a settler-dominated formation, no matter how that state might change in formal terms.

To those not directly involved in a conflict with a settler regime, the civilian settler is perceived not as an extension of the repressive apparatus of the occupying regime but as a simple civilian and, as such, a non-combatant. The conflict is perceived as being a formal one between the apparatus of the occupier, on the one hand, and the organization(s) of the native, on the other. In such a scenario, the civilian settler is frequently perceived as being a neutral party who only wishes to live well and be left alone.

While such a scenario is false on its face, it is what is often believed and, in the Western media, what is frequently portrayed. The oppressed are not given any “permission” to retaliate against atrocities—often not even against the occupier’s military forces—while any attack by the armed forces of the oppressor are viewed as legitimate acts of self-defense.

The acts on the part of the FLN were historically understandable but politically problematic, a point that must be reflected upon in similar such struggles and which goes toward the legacy of the Algerian Revolution. Liberation struggles never take place in isolation, and they never involve only two sides. Surrounding any conflict are “invisible” forces that interact with and influence the parties directly engaged in the struggle. In some cases, such forces are very active, for example US establishment support for the ongoing Israeli colonization of Palestine. In other cases, they may initially be neutral but then come to be engaged, for example, the USSR in the Algerian Revolution (initially neutral but later supportive of the national liberation struggle). The activities of the other parties can be influenced by various factors, including but not limited to the nature of the actual fight itself.

Though an anti-settler movement can legitimately argue that the settlers are complicit in oppression, in each case the movement must determine the consequences of identifying targets. What, for instance, will be the impact on potential allies—including not only other governments but solidarity movements abroad—if civilians are targeted? Will potential allies recognize a legitimate right of retaliation, or will they look at such acts as terrorism?

During the so-called Troubles in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s through the mid-1990s, the Irish Republican Army generally took great pains to distinguish hard targets (military or government targets) from soft targets (civilians). This did not mean that civilians were not killed—there were some horrendous exceptions to this policy—but rather that they were generally not the targets of military activity. This, in fact, distinguished the IRA from the loyalist paramilitary organizations, which disregarded the soft target/hard target distinction and were quite comfortable attacking nationalist/Catholic civilians. Such an approach made it difficult for the British to successfully portray the IRA as terrorists, though the British media worked overtime in support of the London government on this issue.

The example of Ireland also illustrates an additional complication. During the Troubles, the British would establish military installations in or near civilian establishments, which I witnessed first-hand in 1988, during a visit to Northern Ireland. This meant that if the IRA were to carry out a military attack on a British installation, there was a good chance that civilians would be killed or injured, and the British could describe the attack as an act of “terrorism.” The fact that the British created this situation was generally missed by the media.

During the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, the African National Congress took a similar approach toward military actions. The basic policy was that civilians were not to be targeted, though there was always a recognition that civilians might be killed or injured as a result of an attack on a military or government target.

The fundamental challenge in decolonization struggles and national liberation movements against settler-colonial regimes is that the dilemmas of the oppressed are almost never given contemporary equality with those of the oppressor. On the other hand, when viewed retrospectively, actions by an oppressed or “righteous” group, including against civilians, often receive some degree of legitimation.

Thus, the question of the FLN’s campaign in Algiers must be viewed in the context of the 1950s. What were the ethical considerations, and to what extent would targeting settler civilians hurt the cause of Algerian liberation? To what extent would it stop the French and/or pieds-noirs from further atrocities against the Algerians? And, what would be the lingering impact on the Algerian Revolution itself of authorizing attacks on civilian targets?

At the same historical moment, the Vietnamese left made a very different decision. In both the war against the French and, later, the war against the US puppet regimes, the Vietminh, and later the National Liberation Front and the Vietnamese People’s Army—in comparison with the apparatus of the respective regimes they fought—worked to distinguish between hard targets and soft targets, not always successfully. Their behavior had a major impact on the manner in which the Vietnamese national liberation struggle was perceived internationally.

The Algerian FLN won and Algeria became free. An outstanding question, besides one of morality, is again, one of legacy and, specifically, the conclusions arrived at by other movements for national freedom. Were there specific challenges in the Algerian Revolution—in comparison with other anti-colonial and anti-settler movements—that necessitated a turn toward the killing of settler civilians?

Other movements in similar circumstances made very different choices. This is not a matter of passing judgement, but an assessment. Did the killing of civilians in Algeria’s anti-colonial war legitimize, in the minds of those who became jihadists years later, the blurring of the lines between hard targets and soft targets? Did it lead some to conclude that through terror against a population one could force that population to make certain choices?

These are the issues that Zohra Drif opens for consideration in her critically important memoir. In her actions as a militant, Drif casts aside the romanization of revolution. One need not agree with her conclusions in order to appreciate her courage and that of her other comrades in the FLN, who fought what many people assumed at the beginning of the struggle to be an unwinnable war of national liberation.

Bill Fletcher Jr. is a former president of TransAfrica Forum, writer, and trade unionist. He can be followed on Twitter, Facebook, and at www.billfletcherjr.com.

I have always thought that one of the great Catch-22 in the modern world is that while almost everyone recognizes civilians' right to self-defense, the minute they pick up weapons, they are no longer considered civilians. This was the predicament that those that rose up against tyranny in Libya and Syria found themselves faced with. While the whole world was appalled when Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and Bashar al-Assad in Syria, ordered the army to open fire on unarmed protesters, as soon as they armed themselves to take on the fascist regimes on their own terms, many where quick to brand them as the terrorists.

For the revolutionaries, the decision to take up armed struggle comes with its own set of compromises and contradictions. I am presenting this essay by Bill Fletcher Jr. as an important contribution to that discussion. I have much more to say on this question but I have already held up this republish long enough trying to put the words together.

Friday, February 2, 2018

After a week of Hype the Trump-Nunes Memo turns out to be a Nothing Burger

Finally, The MEMO that the White House, Fox News, and Russian bots have been shouting about for a week, has been released and it turns out to be a big Nothing Burger. 
Although the long hyped and just released Trump-Nunes Memo is only 4 pages long, they make it very easy to focus in on its most important point because it is the only phrase rendered in bold type. It reads:
For example, in September 2016, Steele admitted to Ohr his feelings against then-candidate Trump when Steele said he "was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president."
Steele was hired by Fusion GPS in investigate Trump's Russian connections in June 2016. September 2016 was after Christopher Steele had conducted his investigation. That in no way shows that Steele entered his investigation of Donald Trump with a bias, although he might well have in as much as he didn't need to be a seasoned British spy to be aware of Trump's long history of racism and misogyny. It only shows that he "was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president," after he had spent months investigating Trump, his sexual perversions, and his ties to the Putin gang in Russia. What would you expect? BREAKING NEWS would have been if Steele still thought Donald Trump would make a suitable president while knowing even just the parts of his dossier that have been verified.

I'll bet Elliot Ness was passionate about sending Al Capone to prison after learning of his many, then unproven, crimes, but you didn't hear any Republicans screaming that he should be denied warrants and pulled off the case.

Another item:
The initial FISA application notes Steele was working for a named U.S. person, but does not name Fusion GPS and principal Glenn Simpson, who was paid by a U.S. law firm (Perkins Coie) representing the DNS... 
As if the Judge couldn't have asked for more details on the "named U.S. person" if he thought it relevant to the warrant application. Maybe he considered Steele a trusted source. Judges regularly hear from private investigators who are paid by someone with a vested interest in the case, that isn't exactly breaking news either. What is important are the facts presented, and nothing in this Trump-Nunes Memo impeaches those facts, the backlash may be that this Memo does help to impeach the president.

More updates to come as this news develops.....

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Trump's gift to MS-13 the day after bashing them in #SOTU

The development of Artificial Intelligence Technology under capitalism means that competition among workers worldwide for a dwindling supply of jobs will be fierce. Self driving cars are expected to replace 7 million professional driving jobs in the next decade in the United States alone. Uber knows what's up. They are building an infrastructure and market position on the backs of its current drivers. Within the decade, they will be handing them pink slips and sending self-driving cars to take you to the airport. And this is but one example. We can already see the jobs lost to automation at the checkout lines of our local stores. What is harder to see is the automation taking place in the huge Amazonian warehouses that are replacing the local stores and their entire workforce, and while they now employ a host of delivery people, they, quite rightly, envision a future of delivery drones and bots.

All this would be fine and good under socialism, where the work reduction would be shared among all workers. Under socialism, it could mean the standard work week could be reduced from 40 to 20 and eventually even 10 hours a week, with wages raised such that those hours support a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. But we are still under capitalism where every technological advance is twisted to make the rich richer at the expense of the poor.

Trump's tax plan already lays much of the economic groundwork for this AI transition. In the past, the capitalist tended to put their plants where the cheap labor was, and they industrialized the world in the process. In the coming era, that is less of a consideration. Daimler, the maker of Mercedes Benz, is spending over a billion dollars to build a new car factory in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and it will only create 600 new jobs.  Whenever did an auto plant employ less than a thousand workers? Ford's great River Rouge plant employed a hundred thousand workers at its peak. Today, its Kansas City plant employs 7,320, and its Louisville plant employs 4,610. Plants like this Daimler one are extremely capital intensive, the owners want to place these new ones where they will be safe. Trump's tax plan is designed to give them the capital to do that. His military expansion and increased police powers are designed to protect their investment.

The capitalists and their politician are no dummies. They know workers are not likely to take this lying down. They can expect much civil unrest, even revolution. The lessons of the Arab Spring and Occupy are not lost on them. What to do? One answer: Boil them like frogs. Bring on the changes slowly. Another: Bring back racism, big time.

White supremacy, even the very concept of a "white race" or "white people" was an invention of emerging American capitalism in the 17th century. Unwilling or unable to attract enough European workers to the new world, they took to kidnapping laborers from Africa. When the African and European bonded laborers made common cause and revolted together, as they did in Jamestown in 1676, the bourgeoise decided on a strategy of "white privilege," the "privilege" of not being reduced to lifetime bondage, as the Africans were. [They did try that first. Read the history.] Since then, it has always been one of the main tools they have used to divide and conquer the working class.

In the post-World War II civil rights era, the US bourgeoisie, or atleast the leading portion of it, saw that the domestic struggle against racism could jeopardize their power, so they allowed, even led, certain changes in the direction of social justice [while they externalized racial aggression to Korea, Vietnam and Central America.] They even forced these changes on the most backwards of white workers, and so they remained in the driver's seat of these changes. To a certain extent, they retained the ability to roll them back. If the term "neoliberalism" has any meaning, it is this. So in the face of this coming conflict with labor, it should surprise no one that they are bringing back white supremacy bigtime, and the Trump cabal is their instrument for doing this. This is what the white Left refused to see, and even aided, with its infamous "don't vote for the lesser of two evils" campaign.

While these neo-racists are initially focussing on illegal immigrants because they can call them criminals by definition, and then legal immigrants or would be immigrants, because they aren't Americans, it is easy to see that sooner or later they will be targeting all people of color, especially the 39 million African-Americans, for expulsion or extermination. To prepare the way, they are getting the public use to a government that routinely, and by its own laws, treats people of color with heartless cruelty.

On Tuesday President Donald Trump gave his first State of the Union address, and while it contained a number of racist slights against African Americans and other people of color, a real focus was to brand all illegal immigrants from Central and South America as criminals by retelling vivid tales of MS-13, the El Salvadorian criminal gang that first developed in Los  Angeles, and then was spread to El Salvador and from there to the rest of the world, because the US chose to deal with what was essentially a domestic problem, home grown criminals, by making use of a legal technicality to send those criminals to El Salvador. [Remember when they accused Fidel Castro of "dumping" Cuba's criminals on the US after they invited any Cuban that could catch a boat to come here legally? Immigration policy can change fast if it's thought a socialist economy can be hurt in the bargain. Remember the outrage that Castro would send his criminals here when they should have been locked up in Cuban jails! Remember the uncontrolled violence that brought even to an advanced country like the US? Remember Scarface?] Nevertheless, with no sense of history, and in a speech that was suppose to set the agenda for the whole country for the next year, Trump found a way to call out "the savage gang MS-13" by name no less than four times. He did this to stoke racism as a capitalist buffer in the coming crisis.

One of the things that makes racism work so well is that the racist power structure always works overtime to create in the oppressed population precisely those characteristics it claims most strongly to object to. Joel Kovel wrote about how this dynamic played out in the oppression of African Americans, which in turn became the prototype for all racial oppression, in White Racism: A Psychohistory:
Just as the dominative Southerner needed to keep "his" black body powerless, so does the aversive Northerner need a powerless object with which to play out the symbolic game. And not only must this object be powerless; it must be suitable to represent what has to be projected upon it. Thus for the black to fit into the aversive equations, he must be made into the affirmation of the excremental body. He must become the double negative of anality. the fantasy of a fantasy — not cold, pure, clean, efficient, industrious, frugal, rational (that is, not the pantheon of anal- negative ego traits which are the summum bonum of the bourgeois order) but rather warm, dirty, sloppy, feckless, lazy, improvident and irrational, all those traits that are associated with blackness, odor, and sensuality to make their bearer worthy of aversion. And so, throughout our history, whites have created the institutions by which black people are forced to live, and which force them to live in a certain way, almost invariably so as to foster just that constellation of unworthy traits. From slavery itself to modem welfare systems, this has been the enduring pattern, reinforced in popular culture and education by a panoply of stereotypes along the same lines. p. 195
Anal-negative is exactly right. Remember El Salvador is the one less than black country that Trump considers a "shithole," and here again he gives us an almost classic example of how the white supremist sets things up in the oppression community in such a way as to create the very problem he is complaining about. In this case, after tarring the whole immigrant community, as criminal, he has orders issued to strengthen the hand of criminals among the overwhelming law bidding illegal immigrant population. So it should surprise no one that the day after bashing MS-13 in his SOTU address, he had his immigration department give them this gift. From Newsweek:

by Graham Lanktree
1 February 2018
Immigration agents are being told it is official U.S. government policy to capture and detain undocumented immigrants in federal, state, and local courthouses.

The new guidelines were reportedly formalized Wednesday. The policy, however, runs counter to concerns raised by civil rights groups, California’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, and so-called sanctuary cities where local authorities do not, as a rule, turn over illegal immigrants to federal officials. More...
This is a real boon to gangs like MS-13 that operate largely among the undocumented in immigrant communities. In the past, if a witness needed intimidating, they had to do it themselves. With this change in policy, they are being helped bigtime by ICE. It assures there will be fewer witnesses willing to come forward from among that immigrate community to testify against the gang members, and fewer criminal complaints as well, knowing that a, now dangerous, visit to the courthouse will be necessary for their prosecution. So this measure can be expect to strengthen the influence of criminals in the immigrant communities, the very thing Trump was complaining about. And while it is possible that more MS-13 gang members will be deported as a result of this policy, through their networks, they are likely to find their way back much quicker than the illegal immigrants that were deported for coming to court to oppose them. [Imagine that: an American justice system in which the criminal and the witness/victim receive the same punishment - deportation!] Besides, history has already shown that deporting gang members, rather than imprisoning them, and rehabilitating them where they are, only leads to the further expansion of gang activity. For the racists, that is the desired effect. For Trump the enemy is not MS-13, the enemy is all people of color, and MS-13 is his ally.

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

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Friday, January 26, 2018

Linux Beach releases new film on false Hawaii ballistic missile alert

38 Minutes for the 38th Parallel 
What was behind the Hawaii Ballistic Missile Alert Terror?

Introducing an important new documentary from Linux Beach on the ballistic missile alert that led over a million people in Hawaii to believe that had only minutes to live for 38 minutes on the morning of Saturday, January 13, 2018. That was the time between when the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency sent this warning to a million cell phones in Hawaii and the time they retracted it over the same emergency messaging system.

This documentary takes an in depth look at the false ballistic missile alert that terrorize Hawaii on the morning of Saturday, January 13, 2018. It combines real time news network footage from the day of the event, together with documentary footage from the Korean War, and archival footage from many other source to question the official explanation(s) of this terror event and the 38 minute delay in sending out the retraction. Evidence presented indicates that this was a planned exercise, a provocation for thermonuclear war, and a provocative case of a government terrorizing its own people.

How it came to be made

A number of luck coincidences came together to make the production of this very important film possible. Because I am protected by CA labor laws while my mostly TX coworkers aren't, my vacation hours roll-over from year to year whereas their's don't. So, as usual, I didn't join the scramble to burn vacation hours in December. Instead, I scheduled the third week off week in January for a bit of time off to read and relax. I didn't know that I was going to be hit with a bad case of timeline fever at the time.

The Friday evening before my vacation, I was browsing YouTube, and I noticed a channel streaming CNN in real time, Saturday morning, I woke up with a question: Could the software I use to download videos from YouTube also be used to capture this livestream? It took updating to the latest version and learning some new options, but by about 9AM PST I had CNN streaming live to my hard disk. I also found similar realtime streams for Fox News and Al Jazeera and got them going as well. This is how I came to be recording these channels as the false ballistic missile alert scare hit Hawaii.

Some of the most informative news about an event like this comes from the first reports from people in the area and the early explanations, for example, initially the Governor's office and the Trump White House gave very different explanations, caught on tape! Once I saw what I had captured, I knew what I had to do. I spent my vacation week huddled over my computers. I combined this event news footage with other found footage, including of American war crimes footage from Korea, to product a film that shows that the false Hawaii ballistic alert was a preplanned exercise designed to drive a war fever against North Korea. It was also designed to test local government and media compliance with federal policy, and raise the profile of the military in American life. It was designed to move us closer to thermonuclear war and was a flagrate example of a government terrorizing its own people.

Although I shot this out of the cannon in a week, I think it is my most important film ever, even compared to Vietnam: American Holocaust, because while that documentary was about remembering a holocaust, this is an urgent call to prevent one, a thermonuclear holocaust.

Please watch, download, and share widely.

In June of 2013 I wrote a guide to downloading YouTube videos with a program that is available for both Windows, Mac and Linux OS, Trust but Verify: How to Download YouTube Videos. The newest version even allows you to download livestreams, which is how I was able to capture much of the footage for this film.

In this era were freedom of information is being threatened as never before and important political and historical documentation is being removed daily from YouTube for a multitude of reasons, and especially because I have every reason to fear this film will be so threatened, I thought it would be a good time to dust off that blog, update it and make note of it again. The future existence of this and so many other important videos should not depend of the priorities of corporations, even Google. Please use youtube-dl to download this film and also to make a personal record of other YouTube videos that are important to you. Important records of people's struggles and suffering in Syria and Libya are possibly in the greatest danger. You might notice that many of the YouTube videos from those countries that have been featured in Linux Beach are no longer available, so get them while you can.

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Excusing Trump's racism: Tucker Carlson is not as stupid as he looks

A most hypocritical complaint:
"We've gotten to a place where nobody can be honest about anything."
                                                             -Tucker Carlson @ 03:19
Tucker Carlson began his Thursday evening Fox News show with a full-throated defense of President Donald Trump and his labeling of Haiti, El Salvador and unspecified African countries "shitholes."

He had Jose Parra, the "Latino communications director for Barack Obama's 2012 campaign," on as a guest. Carlson couldn't understand why anybody thought Trump's comment was racist. As usual, he acted as if it was just beyond the understanding of an intelligent white guy like himself and he called upon Parra to explain. He also called upon Parra to defend Haiti.

Carlson: President Trump said something that almost every single person in America actually agrees with. An awful lot of immigrants come to this country from other places that aren't very nice. Those places are dangerous. They're dirty. They're corrupt. They're poor, and that's the main reason those immigrants are trying to come here, and you would too if you lived there. President Trump asked why America doesn't receive more immigrants from places you might want to visit on vacation. Why aren't we getting more people from Norway, he said, which by almost any measure including the UN's measures is the most developed and richest country in the world. While saying this Trump used an expletive, and that's not surprising either since he uses them all the time and was speaking privately and yet for some reason virtually everyone in Washington, New York, and LA considered this a major major event. @00:11
Carlson's generalizations of various third world countries as dangerous, dirty, and corrupt is, of course, a racist stereotype that tells us more about the workings of his own mind than it does about Haiti, El Salvador or Africa. All around the world, you will find big cities that are "dirty" or have "dirty" parts depending on how you define "dirt" [see yesterday's blog], and dangerous and corrupt, make me think of Putin's Russia first, although there are a host of contenders. And while Norway may be a great place to vacation, it might not be for everyone. Business Insider ranked it the third most expensive place in Europe to vacation, at $183.76 per night, more expensive than Rome ($153.84), London ($151.40), or Paris ($145.89). Carlson probably also isn't a fan of Norway's 27% corporate income tax rate.

Carlson is sidetracking the discussion to avoid the main issue, which is that Trump didn't just swear, he used a word that raises very potent primeval images because it speaks darkly to the unconscious mind of the racist. The main tactic he uses to sidetrack the discussion is to set up a straw comparison so he can complain about "dishonesty," as through he honestly can't see why people say Donald Trump is a racist:
Carlson: I think we're kind of having that debate but what bothers me about the explosion this afternoon is the dishonesty in it, and I'll just give you one example: Joan Walsh over at MSNBC, an analyst over there, was asked just a minute ago would you rather live in Haiti or Norway, and she said with a straight face "I can't say." Now that's lying! If we've gotten to a point where we all have to pretend that every country is exactly as nice as every other country then we're being dishonest.
Even a billionaire like Haiti's Gregory Brandt above can't do this on most days in Norway.
While Carlson is clearly striving to equate Norway with "good" and Haiti with "bad," the question of which place an individual might prefer to live in is not as clear cut as Tucker would like us to believe. It really is a question of personal preference, and Carlson is forgetting at least two important facts: 1) The rich live well everywhere, and 2) Norway is cold no matter how rich you are. Also 8 hours of sunlight is the longest day, 18°C (64°F) is about the hottest, and cold is a whole nother story, so it certainly won't be everyone's cup of tea.
Carlson: We know he said these countries are crummy places, okay? They're holes or whatever profanity, but the people who left those countries, some of them rode trains all way through Mexico or hid in a wheel well of a plane to leave, they would agree with that. So why the outrage? Is it you have to lie, and pretend as Joan Walsh does "I don't know if I'd live in Norway or Haiti." Like we've gotten to a place where nobody can be honest about anything.
Carlson most conveniently forgets that Haiti was wrecked by an earthquake exactly eight years ago today,  3 million people were affected and as many as 316,000 lost their lives, and El Salvador was been ravished by civil war that led to 40,000 political murders and other manmade problems, and with regards to those, the United States has a lot to answer for:
Carlson: I mean one is the richest country in the world [ed note: Qatar ($124,930) > Norway ($70,590) per capita] , the other is one of the poorest countries in the world. You think it's immoral to point that out? It's a statement of values? I'm asking you a very simple question: If Haiti isn't such a bad place why don't we say to the people who are here temporarily in refuge from Haiti go back? It's great! We don't say that because it's not great actually. It's everything the president said. It was not an attack on Haitians. It's an acknowledgement that their country is not as nice as other countries, and if you can't even say that out loud without being called a racist by people like you, and the morons over on MSNBC...I'm saying anybody who says that's a racist statement should explain how it is.
The whole point of the segment was to defend Trump's "shithole countries" statement by claiming that it wasn't a racist slur. The denigration of Haiti and Joan Walsh was just fill, and Tucker Carlson managed to talk his way through the segment without mentioning "shit" by that or one of its many other names. He acted as though he was ignorant of what it was about Trump's comment that made it so incendiary, and thoroughly racist to the core. I would point him to yesterday's blog, How Trump's "shithole" comment reveals the psychology of his racism for an education, but he has already made it clear in at least one past show that he clearly understands even his own infantile obsession with feces and how it is intertwined with the mythology of racism.

Tucker Carlson used the feces fantasy to condemn Roma people, which he called "gypsies" moving to Pennsylvania. Anna Merlan wrote about it in Jezebel, 18 July 2017:
[O]n Monday, he invited a Roma filmmaker named George Eli on his program and demanded to know why his people can’t use toilets:

Eli gently suggested that both the townspeople and the new arrivals “are suffering from a little bit of culture shock.” But Carlson had poop on his mind, and could not be swayed.

“I have heard a lot of people mention, I hate to say it, public defecation,” Carlson told Eli. “There are a lot of news stories about this going back a long time in the UK and here.” He mentioned pooping on “playgrounds and sidewalks and front steps... That seems to me to be a hostile act.”

Eli chuckled but kept it together, telling Tucker that while he didn’t know exactly what was going on in Pennsylvania, “I’ve been Roma all my life and my family’s been Roma all my life and we use bathrooms... I can’t respond to something I’ve never seen as a Roma person.”

Tucker could not be swayed. He wanted to talk about the poop. “What’s that about?” he inquired. “It’s not something you need to do. So you have to assume it’s a statement.”

Eli did his best here, pointing out that some Roma people are from rural areas without great sanitation, while also clearly thinking to himself, “Why does this guy want to talk about poop so bad?”
Tucker Carlson wanted to associate the Roma people with poop for the same reason Donald Trump has taken to calling poor countries populated by people of color "shithole countries."  This infantile association is one of the strongest fortifications white supremacy has built into western culture and in times when white hegemony is being threatened, they feel the need to rev it up.

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How racist Trump's "shithole" comment reveals the psychology of his racism

As we come to grips with the fact that an overt racist controls the greatest nuclear arsenal on the planet, and is leading the United States into nuclear confrontations with an Asian nation, it would be useful to take a deeper look at the psychology of the racist.

Donald Trump's recent remarks that called Haiti, El Salvador and African states "shithole countries," as compared to Norway, gets more to the root of how his childlike mind really thinks about race than just about anything he has ever said. As an aside, I would say that is just one more sign of his quickly deteriorating mental condition. But more to my main point Joel Kovel's White Racism - A Psychohistory, Columbia University Press, 1984, goes into great detail in its 301 pages about how infantile fantasies of feces underline the psychology of aversive racists like President Donald Trump. We know he is an aversive racist because he hates to be around black people. He would even have black employees removed from the floor before visiting his casinos. Here are a few brief excerpts that speak to the aversive racist's obsession with "shit":
We observe here some of the basic aspects of aversive racism. There is the sense of conflict, both against better knowledge and against moral judgment: "It won't rub off." . . . 'I shouldn't be that way." And there is the sense of something so urgent and immediate and existentially valid that it overrides these scruples and forces the white person away. This something is the fantasy of dirt.

Recall that dirt is at symbolic root anything that can pass out of the body, and that hence should not pass back into the body, nor even touch it. Thus the common theme of the three quotes: contact with black hands contaminates food and makes it unfit to enter the body; contact with a black body will result in the blackness rubbing off on one's own precious body and thereby befouling it.
The nuclear experience of the aversive racist is a sense of disgust about the body of the black person based upon a very primitive fantasy: that it contains an essence-dirt-that smells and may rub off onto the body of the racist. Hence the need for distance and the prohibition against touching.
Although the fantasy of dirt, and its projection onto the black man, attained its full force at a late stage in our history, it was present from the beginning as an element of the white man's reaction to the black. As Jordan comments when he introduces the theme of anal fantasies in his study of early American racial attitudes: "One sort of stress arose from emotional turmoil within individuals, and here it is possible to gain an occasional glimpse into the deepest, least rational meaning [italics his] of human blackness for white men . . . the Negro's appearance, his blackness, seems to have served certain deep-seated unconscious needs of at least some white men. There are sufficient indications of this fact in colonial America to make ignoring it difficult. Sexual intermixture was frequently referred to as 'staining' the white population. . . .""

Gross elements of these aversive fantasies still persist in our culture and wherever racism is found. The idea of "staining" the blood lives on in the "mongelization" fantasies cherished by all racists, and especially in America where, as Jordan points out, the belief emerged that the Negro's blood shared in the general filthiness illustrated by his skin, and that this same "blood" would be directly transmitted through the generations should intermarriage occur. Then there is the coarse racist epithet "boogie," a word applied both to the black human being and to specimens of mucus that, because they come from the body, automatically become a symbol of dirt. The list of dirt fantasies which whites apply to the Nego could be extended indefinitely.

Just as the basic dirt fantasy emerges early in human development, so does its application to black people. This point has been subjected to empirical proof in an outstanding example of social anthropological work by Mary Ellen Goodman. As reported in her book, "a sample of 104 small children, both Negro and Caucasian, revealed the uniform fantasy that a ), Negroes differed from whites in being dirty and that b), this implied a sense of basic inferiority. These beliefs set in during the pre-school years and had become quite well developed by the age of four."

The author writes perceptively of how the sense of inferiority so engendered enters into the minds of the black children to produce the nuclei of a lifelong low self-image; and of how the reverse conviction settles into the personalities of the whites. In this study, we can sense the depth of the irrationality inherent in the problems of race. As Goodman comments, "the fact is that mere intellectual awareness of the physical signs of race is not all of the story. There is another part which is not merely startling but quite shocking to liberal-humanitarian sensibilities. It is shocking to find that four-year-olds, particularly white ones, show unmistakable signs of the onset of racial bigotry."

We have been talking of dirt, which represents a set of peculiar fantasies based upon bodily experience. The central aspect of bodily experience upon which this tissue of daydreams rests is, of course, the act of defecation, and the central symbol of dirt throughout the world is feces, known by that profane word with which the emotion of disgust is expresses: shit. Furthermore, when contrasted with the light color of the body of the Caucasian person, the dark color of feces reinforces, from the infancy of the individual in the culture of the West, the connotation of blackness with badness. And since this dark brown color is derived from blood pigments, since in fact blood is the only internal bodily substance which is dark, the absurd beliefs about "staining" the blood through intermarriage with "inferior" races gain an ironic verification-one which, however, the proponents of these beliefs would be loath to accept.

Thus the root symbol between the idea of dirt and the blackness of certain people is that highly colored, strongly odored, dispensable and despised substance which the human body produces so regularly. How strange that this substance-which, after all, knows the body on the most intimate terms, and which is, aside from the pathogenic bacteria occasionally associated with it (another piece of reality immaterial to the life of fantasy ), certainly innocuous enough-should have received the brunt of such contempt and rage! Almost as peculiar is-the general reluctance to come to realistic grips with those distortions of the world which so clearly derive in part from their symbolic association with feces.
We can see from this presentation that Donald Trump's use of the word "shit" in reference to countries of color was no accident. He didn't just use a bad word, he used a word that reveals the inter infantile associations that drive the current president of the United States whenever the thinks about people that don't look like him.

The association with blood also glimpses why questioning Barack Obama's right to the presidency on account of birth was such a good proxy for questioning this right to the presidency on account of race for Donald Trump and his followers. Here is another short excerpt from Kovel's book:
By and large, connections between feces and the various symbolic organizations with which it is associated remain deeply repressed. The substance itself is abhorred, although the word, shit, is used freely enough; but for the rest the connection is mediated through the more remote, and hence less threatening, symbols of dirt. However, as we have observed in the case of castrative wishes, the deeper meaning becomes more explicit when the social structure within which these fantasies are realized becomes strained. Just as when a Negro became "uppity," he could expect a kind of brutal reprisal that might culminate in a castrative lynching, so when blacks today "move too fast" for the taste of whites one may expect certain raw manifestations of anal fantasies.
Whether he realizes it or not, this is where Donald Trump was coming from when he said:
 "Why do we want all these people from 'shithole countries' coming here?"
These brief excerpts hardly do Kovel's work justice so I hope you will read the book. I also hope these short selections will show that Donald Trump's "shithole countries" comment came from a very dark and very warped place in his infantile brain.

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

How Stephen Miller plugged white supremacy while sparring with @JakeTapper on @CNN for #Dotard #Trump's amusement

There has been a lot of discussion of the Stephen Miller fracas with Jake Tapper on CNN today, but since I haven't heard anyone comment on how Miller smuggled white supremacist dog whistles and talking points into his monologues, I thought I'd make this contribution to the discussion.

There are two place that Miller did this:

Stephen Miller @7:48
I think that what the point is is that his [Steve Bannon] role has been greatly exaggerated whereas the president hasn't gotten the due that he deserves for the movement that he put together to tap into the kinds of people whose life concerns don't get a lot of attention on CNN, not a lot of hours of coverage on this TV talking about the working class construction workers who've lost their jobs to foreign labor, there's not a lot of coverage on this TV about the people getting slaughtered in sanctuary cities, you don't do a lot of human interest stories about immigrant communities under siege from ms-13, he tapped into a reality that has happened in this country [that] is not covered on this network and I know you think I'm interrupting you but I think the American people deserve to have two or three minutes of the truth and we've let you know here's the truth.
It's interesting that he used the phrase "tap into" and "tapped into" to describe the nature of their propaganda operation. You tap into, or mine, something that already exists, in this case racist elements within American culture, because you can turn it into something of value to you. For Donald Trump, this means power and money. The policy dog whistles are what they use to drill down into the psyche of the worker, sometimes without her even realizing it, to extract that wealth, in this case votes and political support.

Even though automation has been the main competitor for jobs in the United States, and the AI revolution promises to replace 7 million professional driving jobs in the next decade, Miller draws attention to foreign workers facing the same dilemma.

He talks about people getting slaughtered in sanctuary cities when only a tiny percentage of the murders in any US city are committed by people here illegally.

To prove he's not racist, Miller speaks of concern for immigrant communities, but his real point is how terrible ms-13 is. The truth is the new Trump/Miller immigration policies are the biggest problem these communities now face, while sanctuary cities exist to allow these besieged immigrant communities to feel that they can call the police when ms-13 comes around.

Stephen Miller @11:06
The president's tweets absolutely reaffirmed the plain spoken truth. A self-made billionaire, revolutionize reality TV, and tapped into something magical that's happening in the hearts of this country. The people that you don't connect with and understand, the people whose manufacturing jobs have left, who've been besieged by high crime communities, and who've been affected by a policy of uncontrolled immigration, those voices, those experiences don't get covered on this network.
Again Stephen Miller resorts to the language of exploitation before enumerating his racist talking points. This time it is "tapped into." What he calls "magical" is simply a resurgence long ingrained reactionary ideology and culture, and what he euphemistically calls "the hearts of the country," are the fears some white Americans have about a future where they don't automatically come first.

Of course, he has no solution for the manufacturing jobs that have left, and the reality is that jobs leaving for foreign shores is no longer a big job killer. The big job killer is automation, and Trump and company have just passed a tax bill designed to encourage corporations to bring billions of tax free dollars back to the US to invest in automation and things like driverless trucks.

Instead he points them at what he wants everyone to see as the problem: "high crime communities," dog whistle for communities of non-white people, and "uncontrolled immigration," meaning non-white foreigners.

While the main point of Stephen Miller's little fracas with Jake Taper was to defend his boss from charges that his lunacy is evolving, we can see from his statements above, pushing their white supremacist agenda is never far from their thoughts.

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Middle East Iran protests: A turning point?

By John Reimann republished with permission from Oakland Socialist, January 1, 2018

 Middle East Iran protests: A turning point?

Ongoing protests in Iran. Is this a turning point?
Are the protests in Iran a turning point in the global class struggle?

They started on Thursday in Iran’s second largest city, Masshad around the issues of high prices and unemployment. The very next day they had spread throughout the country, including to Tehran. There is actually some suspicion that the “hard liner” supporters of Ali Khameini were behind these original protests in order to embarrass President Rouhani over the deal he made with Obama. If so the whole thing certainly backfired, since within 24 hours the issue had moved to include protests against the clericals and against the Revolutionary Guard. There were also several instances of crowds trying to invade government buildings, possibly to get documents showing government corruption.

Earlier Workers’ Strikes

Yurt coal miners protesting Rouhani. They shouted him
down, blocked his car and stomped on the roof and hood.
This movement did not spring up out of nowhere. In May of last year, there was an explosion in a coal mine in Yurt, Iran, which killed some 40 miners. Rouhani visited the mine and was shouted down by the miners, who pounded on his car and jumped on the hood and roof and drove him off. The Alliance of Mid East Socialists reported at the time that workers were saying things like: “Mr. President, none of you knows what it means to be a mineworker. You only remember us now that we have lost 40 miners, 170 children have lost their fathers and 40 women are widowed. Why don’t we have safe working conditions?” Another mineworker said: “I swear to the Holy Koran that we don’t have bread to eat. I am in pain. . . Do you even know what a mineworker is? We work but we don’t have any insurance.”

In September and October of last year there were strikes of sugar cane workers, factory workers 
Striking HEPCO workers
and others. These strikes revolved around privatization of government-owned companies and the layoffs and even non-payment of wages that resulted.

Echo of Arab Spring
These protests, then, seem to be taking the path that the Arab Spring did, especially in Egypt, where there was a series of strikes against privatization for several years prior to the general uprising of 2011. And that general uprising throughout the Arab world helped create a global mood of revolt that included the Occupy movement in the United States.

Bus drivers in Tehran demanding the
release of their leader Reza Shehabi.
See this article for more information.Occupy movement in the United States. Likewise, the defeat of the Arab Spring set off a wave of reaction. It gave a tremendous boost to Islamic fundamentalism, including terrorist attacks both within the Muslim world and outside. This combined with the collapse of the Occupy movement and the general rise of nationalism globally to increase the chauvinist and racist reaction here in the United States. It was largely on that basis that Trump was elected.

So, now the question is whether this renewed movement in Iran will set off a new wave of working class struggle. Will it possibly encourage a similar movement in Saudi Arabia, for example, which is already experiencing a shake-up at the top? If so, it could really undermine the bitter sectarian war between the Shia and the Sunni. What affect will it have on the war in Yemen and in Syria too?
Women join the protest. Inevitably, the issue of women’s rights
will be raised if the protests continue.
Also, there are reports that the youth are also taking up issues of social and sexual freedom under this puritanical regime. Inevitably this will also involve the issue of women’s rights.


Trump has tweeted support for the protests in Iran, but he’d better look out. Just like he painted all immigrants and all black people with one brush (as criminals), so he’s painted all Muslims and, especially, all Iranians as terrorists. But if Iranian workers are seen as fighting for jobs and a better living standard, that stereotype won’t fly with millions of US workers any longer. As one union carpenter had said to this writer shortly after the Soviet Union collapsed: “What will they use to scare us now that Communism is gone?”

Nothing is guaranteed. There are hints of nationalism in the protests. Probably US imperialism will try to find a way to influence the events. But we should remember the myth of the Greek goddess Athena, who sprung fully formed from the head of Zeus. Just as that myth was exactly that – a myth – so is it a myth that revolutionary movements spring to life fully formed.

Confusion and set-backs are inevitable. But if these protests continue and deepen, they have the potential to reverse the period of sectarianism, racism and division in which the working class presently finds itself. We need to watch this situation closely and lend support in any way we can.

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Gaddafi's Harem: No rapist abused women like the late Libyan leader

Gaddafi with two of his "Amazons" in Italy
Muammar Gaddafi's 'Amazonian' bodyguards' were famous all over the world, and celebrated by many on the Left as examples of the liberated women Gaddafi's Green Book Revolution had created. In reality most of the estimated 400 beautiful women to pass through what was internally known as "Gaddafi's Harem" in the 20 years before his homicide were regularly raped and sexually abused by Gaddafi and other Libya leaders, and many of them had been kidnapped from their families while they where only school girls.

Gaddafi's female bodyguards replaced his East German guards in the 1990's. They were celebrated as “The Amazonians;” they were also called “Revolutionary Nuns,” and it was said that they had to take a vow of chastity before they could guard Brother Leader Gaddafi. Also known as "The Guide," Gaddafi required all of his female guards to be virgins, and he named them all after his only daughter, Aisha. They travelled with him everywhere, and they were generally tall, always immaculately groomed, dressed in high heels, with their long hair flowing freely. They also received training in martial arts and firearms at the Women's Police Academy in Tripoli. US fanboy Zack Parsons put it simply: Gaddafi  "has a huge entourage of sexy female bodyguards that dress up in awesome uniforms and follow him wherever he travels."

President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko and Muammar Gaddafi listen to national anthems during a ceremony of the meeting at the Presidential office in Kiev on November 4, 2008. (AFP Photo)

The Young Turks posted this video on 24 February 2011, three days after Democracy Now did its first piece on Libya, 7 days after the official 17th February start of the uprising, and 39 days after Linux Beach started covering the then developing uprising on 18 January 2011. Most of the US Left didn't wake up to the Libyan Revolution until late March when NATO started enforcing a no-fly zone. The first thing they knew was NATO was on one side and the leader of the other side claimed he opposed Israel. Apparently that was all they needed to know, because most never bothered to investigate the real conditions in Libya and the 42 years of utter madness the people were revolting against.

Muammar Gaddafi's female bodyguards are seen during his visit to the Louvre museum. (AFP Photo)
In 2004 Doug Saunders, a journalist for the Globe and Mail noted the "all-female squad of bodyguards, dressed in blue uniforms and armed with AK-47 and Berretta rifles, who surround Libyan leader Colonel Moammar Gadhafi" and called it "feminism: Libyan style," and that same year Rania Ajami did a 57 minute documentary titled Shadows of a Leader: Gaddafi's Female Bodyguards. IMDB says the:
ambitious documentary takes a fascinating look inside one of the Mid-East's most unusual military units, Libya's elite female military corps assigned to guard the country's supreme leader, Muammar Gaddafi.

Female bodyguards of Gaddafi present arms in a five-hour military parade to mark the 30th anniversary of the Libyan coup d'etat that brought him to power. (AFP Photo)
In September 2009, when Gaddafi was slated to come to the US for the UN General Assembly, Macedonia Online predicted:
Libya's "Brotherly Leader" Muammar Gaddafi will be invading midtown Manhattan this week surrounded by a gang of fetching "gun girls."
But by then it appears that Gaddafi was using his Amazonians less. After his New York visit, US State Department cable 09TRIPOLI771 reported:
His recent travel may also suggest a diminished dependence on his legendary female guard force, as only one woman bodyguard accompanied him to New York.
But it added:
Ukrainian nurse, Galyna Kolotnytska with Gaddafi
Qadhafi relies heavily on his long-time Ukrainian nurse, Galyna Kolotnytska, who has been described as a "voluptuous blonde." Of the rumored staff of four Ukrainian nurses that cater to the Leader's health and well-being, Libyan protocol staff emphasized to multiple Emboffs that Qadhafi cannot travel without Kolotnytska, as she alone "knows his routine." When Kolotnytska's late visa application resulted in her Security Advisory Opinion being received on the day Gadhafi's party planned to travel to the U.S., the Libyan Government sent a private jet to ferry her from Libya to Portugal to meet up with the Leader during his rest-stop. Some embassy contacts have claimed that Qadhafi and the 38 year-old Kolotnytska have a romantic relationship. While he did not comment on such rumors, a Ukrainian political officer recently confirmed that the Ukrainian nurses "travel everywhere with the Leader."
Oksana Balinskaya, another of
Gaddafi's Ukrainian nurses
When Muammar Gaddafi came to New York in 2009 with his 350 person entourage, he needed a place to pitch his huge “Bedouin-style tent,” replete with “a tapestry of camels and palm trees and outfitted with leather couches and coffee tables,” and after the city refused him permission to do so in Central Park, and Englewood, NJ turned him down, he found an alternate site on the 113-acre Seven Springs estate in Westchester, NY owned by Donald Trump. Trump was trying to be Gaddafi's friend. Buzzfeed quoted a former U.S. government official with knowledge of the deal as saying: “The fact that he would allow Gaddafi to stay at his place, that says tons. Hotels would not let Gaddafi in.” In addition to renting him the property when no one else would, Trump took Ali Aujali, the Libyan ambassador, to Mar a Lago for golf, and tried to get some face time with Gaddafi himself.

Being a fellow sexual predator wasn't the only thing that attracted Trump to Gaddafi. Gaddafi controlled the Libyan Investment Authority, and its $60 billion in oil revenues. As usual, Trump was on the outs with the banks and looking for a cash infusion from any available source, no matter how shady, and it was hard to get any shadier than Colonel Gaddafi. According to Buzzfeed:
A former U.S. official with knowledge of Trump’s efforts to raise Libyan cash said that U.S. intelligence and law enforcement “absolutely” knew what Trump was up to, and “we were disappointed.”
So are we all. Clearly Trump is corrupt, and the sooner he is caught, the better. Had he been caught making illegal deals with Gaddafi in 2009, things would be quite different now. Later, as a 2016 candidate, Donald Trump told John Dickerson on Face the Nation, "I made lot of money with Gaddafi," but that may just be Trump bragging again.

UkyiVids - Published on Nov 6, 2008

Narrator: While the leader is sleeping, the bodyguards are on full alert, and it's these women who do the fighting. When it comes to security, Gaddafi relies on ladies only. The head of the Libyan Jamahiriya has a total of 300-400 girls on his security detail. According to official accounts, all of them are virgins. Selection is done by Gaddafi himself.
A Reappraisal

Shweyga Mullah, a nanny for Hannibal and Aline
Gadhafi, says Aline burned her with boiling water.
Now that the #MeToo movement has put the question of sexual abuse on the front-burner, especially sexual abuse by men in power, this may be a good time to remember how Muammar Gaddafi really treated "his" women.

A reappraisal is also necessary because many on the Left still promote Gaddafi's Libya as "the good old days," and blame an American woman, Hillary Clinton, for destroying it. The truth is he was overthrown by the sweat and blood of the Libyan people because they finally got tired of living under a regime of unimaginable brutality and madness. The way Gaddafi treated women, from the time he seized power as a brash 27 year old lieutenant in 1969 until his death at the hands of his own people in October of 2011, makes Alabama's Judge Roy Moore look like a boy scout.

Gaddafi's Harem

Fully fitted gynecological suite where young girls would

be checked for STDs before being taken to the dictator.
(Fresh One Productions/BBC)
Gaddafi maintained his "harem," which really was a prison for his sex-slaves, in one two-story building at the headquarters of the 77th Brigade, right next to his Bab al-Aziziya compound. On the first floor, the last door on the left was the office of the commandant, a vehement Gaddafi loyalist named Fatima Baroud. The unit was known as Haris al-Shabi.

There was also a specially designed suite of rooms at Tripoli University that Gaddafi could use to abuse and rape his victims. This even included a fully equipped gynaecological suite, where victims would be tested for STDs before being sexually assaulted. Nor were these the only specially built sex dungeons Gaddafi maintained in Libya. He even held young girls captive in the basement of his residence.

Gaddafi with Nuri Mesmari
These sex dungeons were run by an official government department, the Department of Protocol, and it was run by Nuri Mesmari who like to parade around in a general's uniform and had the very unofficial nickname of "general of the whores." His main job was procuring new girls for Gaddafi, and he looked for them everywhere. As chief of protocol, he could disguise the arrivals of the women as ‘committees,’ ‘delegations,’ or ‘groups of journalists.’

Gaddafi was also constantly on the lookout for new girls for his harem and he liked them as young as fourteen. For this reason his ceremonial visits to Libyan high schools and colleges were greatly feared. He treated all the women of Libya as his property and he used these public events to make his selection. A simple pat on the head by The Guide could change a young girl's life forever. That was the signal to his government "procurers" that he wanted this one.

French journalist Annick Cojean recounted the tale of one such girl in her book Gaddafi’s Harem. She hid her real name with the pseudonym Soraya. This excerpt is from a report by Matthew Campbell in The Australian:
For the dictator, schools were not centres of learning but hotbeds of carnal possibility. Soraya's fate was sealed that morning in April 2004 when Gaddafi beamed at her as she handed him flowers. Putting his hand on her head, she came to learn, was a signal to his henchmen: "I want that one."

The next day, women in uniform appeared at the hair salon run by Soraya's mother in the town of Sirte. The Guide, they explained, wanted to see Soraya for another "bouquet ceremony". Refusal was not an option. They drove her for hours through the desert.

Soraya was perplexed when someone asked: "Is she the new one?" She was even more perplexed when a woman took a blood sample from her arm. Another woman asked for her bra measurement then stripped and shaved her.

They dressed her in a thong and a low-cut white satin dress. She remembers thinking when they put on the lip gloss: "Mama wouldn't approve of that." She was told: "The master is waiting." Escorted to Gaddafi's bedroom, she was shocked and embarrassed to see that he was lying on the bed, naked: "I hid my eyes and thought, 'It's a horrible mistake'."

She went on: "He grabbed my hand and forced me to sit next to him on the bed. I didn't dare to look at him.

"He said, 'Don't be afraid. I'm your papa. That's what you call me, isn't it? But I'm also your brother and your lover. I'm going to be all that for you. Because you are going to stay and live with me forever'."

Reported to be Mabrouka Shérif
Then he tried to force himself on her but she managed to fight him off. He summoned Mabrouka Shérif, Gaddafi’s leading procurer of girls, a sour-faced woman in charge of his "harem", and told her: "Teach her. Educate her. And bring her back."

Mabrouka slapped Soraya: "Obey, or Papa Muammar will make you pay dearly." A nurse showed some sympathy, taking Soraya in her arms and murmuring to herself: "How can they do that to a little girl?"

The next day, when Gaddafi promised her diamonds, "a beautiful villa" and a car, she replied: "I want to go home to Mummy."

He told her: "All that is finished, you're with me now."

She fought him again and he sent for Mabrouka again.

On their third encounter he beat her into submission, raped her then told her to "get out". She was summoned the next morning as he ate a breakfast of garlic cloves. He told her to dance, then raped her. Taking her into his bathroom, he urinated on her.

A grim routine was established. Mabrouka would appear at Soraya's door, saying: "The master is waiting." Sometimes he gave her whisky and cocaine. He would rape her, then read for a few minutes or check his emails before resuming the assault.

Sometimes other girls would join them. When a girl performed oral sex on him, Gaddafi told Soraya: "Watch and learn."

Mabrouka gave her pornographic films to watch, saying: "It's your homework."
In an interview with EuroNews, Annick Cojean talked about Mabrouka's role, and the complicity of Western diplomats in hiding Gaddafi's crimes:
Yes, I think a lot of diplomats knew. It’s highly unlikely they knew how far the system went, or perhaps how seriously, or how barbaric Gaddafi was. But it was known he was a predator. Someone in the French foreign ministry told me, “Yes, of course.” When the Madame in charge, who was always behind Gaddafi, and who was received in diplomatic meetings of the highest level… she was always there. Her name was Mabrouka Chérif. She is actually still in Libya. Her house is under surveillance but she is relatively free to move around. When this woman came, she was followed by the French secret services, and a very important French diplomat told me: “We knew very well she was doing her shopping.” I wasn’t sure I had understood correctly. ‘Shopping’ meant she came to recruit young girls who would then systematically leave for Tripoli, for the bedroom of the Guide of Libya.

Silvio Berlusconi and Muammar Gaddafi in Italy 2010
Barbie Latza Nadea, reported in the Daily Beast, 15 October 2017:
Gaddafi is said to be the originator of the bunga-bunga orgy that Berlusconi made famous in his Milanese villa basement. There, young women hoping to become showgirls or parliamentarians stripped and lap danced for the elder statesman and his cronies for decades.
17 September 2011 Colin Freeman reported:
The letters and emails, found by The Sunday Telegraph, show Mr Blair held secret talks with Gaddafi in the months before Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was freed from a British jail.

He was flown to Libya twice at Gaddafi's expense on one of the former dictator's private jets - visiting the him in June 2008 and April 2009...

Mr Blair even brought an American billionaire [Tim Collins] to one of the meetings. Sources say the financier was asked by Gaddafi for help in building beach resorts on the Libyan coast.

In the correspondence, Mr Blair's private office refers to Gaddafi deferentially as "The Leader."
Annick Cojean also wrote about Tony Blairs contacts with Gaddafi and his female bodyguards:
Tony Blair with Gaddafi
Soraya’s position gave her a view of the rich and powerful. Among them was Cecilia Sarkozy, the wife of the French president, and also Tony Blair, who visited Gaddafi in 2004.

“In Sirte, I saw Tony Blair come out of the Guide’s camper [van]. ‘Hello girls!’ he tossed out to us with an amicable gesture and a cheerful smile,” says Soraya.

Other important women in Gaddafi's world were Salma Milad, Judia Sudani, Mabrouka al-Mashat and Howa Tuergi. Mabrouka al-Mashat was a loyalist of many years that directed Gaddafi's private office and tended the family home. Howa Tuergi and Judia Sudani also played prominent roles in Gaddafi's affair, among other things, they provided women for parties. Salma Milad was a female bodyguard that was described as "built like a tank," always seen "with a gun at her belt, watching over the Guide on every trip, ironing his clothes and tormenting his little slaves."

Martin Chulov told us of another of Gaddafi's victims in a The Guardian report from Tripoli, 7 September 2011. He spoke to her as they toured the abandoned harem barracks after Gaddafi left:
"That is where I was raped," said Nisrine Gheriyanih, 19... "They would come and take us by the hand and walk us down the corridor. We knew what would happen."
She had been forcibly taken away from her mother - who was battling cancer - by the head of the unit, a family friend. "My brother came and tried to get me out," she says, but he was threatened and told to leave. CNN also reported on Nisreen:
When the uprising began in February, she says her female leader summoned her to see the 77th Brigade commander. He raped her.

"I screamed," she tells us. It made no difference. She was summoned twice again and raped by two other commanders. Her leader told her she had to bear it.

She says all the women in her unit were raped, but they were forbidden to speak about it.
She was also forced to contribute to Gaddafi's carnage directly:
Nisreen became an executioner for Moammar Gadhafi's forces. She admits she murdered 11 rebels, all prisoners of the Gadhafi regime. (CNN is not identifying Nisreen with her full name because of her experiences in Gadhafi's all-female brigade.)

"They brought one person in at a time and they said shoot him," she tells us, her voice quiet, her words chilling. "There was someone on either side of me and one behind and they said if you don't shoot we will shoot you."

She pauses, sliding back into that horrific moment.

"I would turn my head away and shoot. I saw the blood dripping, it just kept flowing."
What maybe most frightening about these stories is just how ordinary they were in Gaddafi's Libya. In some respects, Soraya may have been among the lucky ones. Truthdig reported in 2014:
"Some were only 14," recalled one teacher at a Tripoli school. "They would simply take the girl they wanted. They had no conscience, no morals, not an iota of mercy, even though she was a mere child."

"Some of the girls were held for years, while others were dumped with appalling injuries."

"One just disappeared and they never found her again, despite her father and brothers searching for her. Another was found three months later, cut, raped and lying in the middle of a park. She had been left for dead."
Tom Porter wrote in IB Times, 26 January 2014, that Gaddafi's banalities weren't limited to girls:
Boys were also forced to serve in Gadhafi's harem. "He was terribly sexually deviant," recalled former chief of protocol Nuri Al Mismari. "Young boys and so on. He had his own boys. They used to be called the 'services group'. All of them were boys and bodyguards .  .  . a harem for his pleasure."
Porter reported that they were also forced to witness the execution of regime opponents:
One former member recalled: "Early one morning, at 2am, we were taken to a closed hall. We were to witness the murder of 17 students. We were not allowed to scream. We were made to cheer and shout. To act as though delighted by this display. Inside I was crying. They shot them all, one by one."
Benghazi-based psychologist Seham Sergewa interviewed victims for the International Criminal Court, she said:
"A pattern emerged in their stories. The women would first be raped by the dictator then passed on, like used objects, to one of his sons and eventually to high-ranking officials for more abuse.

"In one case a girl of 18 said she was raped in front of her father. She kept begging her distraught father to look away. Many of the victims say they contemplated suicide many times. Doubtless there were some who took their own lives."
Gaddafi would also send girls to trap or compensate other high officials in the government. He also used them as spies. Sexual abuse was integral to how Harvey Weinstein ran his business, for Muammar Gaddafi, it was integral to how he ran "his" country. Guy Walters wrote in The terrible truth about Gaddafi’s harem, 24 October 2013:
Fuelled by cocaine, alcohol, cigarettes and Viagra, Gaddafi used sex not only as a physical weapon, but as a political tool through which he could exert his power.

Rape subjugates women - and at the same time subjugates the men who are close to them, such as their husbands and fathers.

Gaddafi was all too aware of this. The wives and daughters of senior figures were blackmailed, bribed, cajoled and forced into having sex.

Gaddafi not only enjoyed the act of degrading these girls and women, but relished the power it gave him over other men.

Some women were even abducted during their wedding ceremonies, as the ultimate show of omnipotence.

As one of Gaddafi’s close collaborators admitted after the tyrant’s death, sex was “all he seriously thought about” and “he governed, humiliated, subjugated and sanctioned through sex”.

In public, Gaddafi claimed to have women’s rights at his heart. In 1981, he said that he had decided “to wholly liberate the women of Libya in order to rescue them from a world of oppression and subjugation”.

As “evidence” of this most hollow of promises, Gaddafi surrounded himself with female bodyguards.
Muammar Gaddafi wrote his little Green Book in 1975 and he meant it to be a guide to the new "revolutionary" society he was building in Libya. Although he claimed it to be the ultimate in women's liberation, it is easy to see how it was used to justify the appalling way women were abused under his regime. Here are a few select passages:
[A]lmost everywhere in the world today as they confuse the roles of men and women and endeavour to transform women into men. In harmony with nature and its subsequent purpose, men and women must be creative within their respective roles. To resist is retrogressive; it is directed against nature and destroys the basis of freedom, for it is hostile to both life and survival. Men and women must perform, not abandon, the roles for which they are created.
He taught that the biological differences between men and women made women the weaker sex:
Physical structure, which is naturally different in men and women, leads to differences in the functions of the organs, which in turn leads to differences in the psyche, mood, emotions, as well as in physical appearance. A woman is tender; a woman is pretty; a woman weeps easily and is easily frightened. In general, women are gentle and men are aggressive by virtue of their inbred nature.

To ignore natural differences between men and women and to mix their roles is an absolutely uncivilized attitude, hostile to the laws of nature, destructive to human life, and a genuine cause for the wretchedness of human social life.
And he believed these roles should be enforced:
The woman who rejects pregnancy, marriage, beautification and femininity for reasons of health abandons her natural role in life under these coercive conditions of ill health. The woman who rejects marriage, pregnancy or motherhood because of work abandons her natural role under similar coercive conditions. The woman who rejects marriage, pregnancy or maternity without any concrete cause abandons her natural role as a result of a coercive and morally deviant circumstances. Thus, abandoning the natural roles of female and male in life can only occur under unnatural conditions which are contrary to freedom and are a threat to survival. Consequently, there must be a world revolution which puts an end to all materialistic conditions hindering women from performing their natural role in life, and so drives them to carry out men's duties in order to attain equal rights.
In Libya, these Green Book passages were much more influential and permanent than Donald Trump's tweets. This was a totalitarian society. From Wikipedia:
According to British author and former Greater London Council member George Tremlett, Libyan children spent two hours a week studying the book as part of their curriculum. Extracts were broadcast every day on television and radio. Its slogans were also found on billboards and painted on buildings in Libya.
Muammar Gaddafi's Green Book was the law of the land and this sexual pervert its supreme ruler.

But, Oh did he have his fans on the Left
"We shall remember Gaddafi our whole lives as a great fighter, a revolutionary and a martyr."                            --- Hugo Chavez
Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro broke my heart when they came down on the side of the brutal dictator and against the Libyan people in this struggle. It caused me to wonder if they would be willing to treat their own people as Gaddafi was treating his? It caused me to wonder what they meant by "socialism," because to me the bottom line is: Do you care about the people or not?

U.S. delegation to the 2009 Society of Supporters of the
Green Book conference. McKinney is at the center, Fitrakis
is on the left of the second row, Madsen is second from
the left in the front row. (From The Free Press)
Cynthia McKinney, former Georgia congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate, has long been a Gaddafi supporter who had traveled to Libya many times while he was in power. She has been known for promoting his Green Book around the globe. In October 2009 Cynthia McKinney led a delegation of eleven US Gaddafi supporters to Libya for a World Conference of Green Book Supporters, and an audience with Gaddafi. She was the 2009 honoree. Bob Fitrakis, Green Party's 2006 Ohio gubernatorial candidate, and conspiracy theorist Wayne Madsen were also in the delegation.

McKinney spoke as the 2008 Green Party presidential candidate when she told the gathering, 25 October 2009:
We are here to listen and observe, then to support and carry forth the ideas of equality and democracy, universal principles embodied in the Green Book -- the goal of our effort being to empower black and indigenous and depressed peoples worldwide for the betterment of the Earth and all its inhabitants.

The universal principles of the Green Book, although widely associated with the challenges facing developing nations, are equally applicable to the needs of people of the United States at this period of profound crisis for finance capital.
Cynthia McKinney in Libya
If she wants Gaddafi style rule for the people of the United States, she is no friend of women. [See Helter Skelter: Qaddafi's African Adventure for my critique of the white supremacist views in Gaddafi's Green Book.]

McKinney was back in Libya in the Spring of 2011 to support Gaddafi in his time of trouble. As the uprising against the Gaddafi regime was rapidly expanding, she talked about the Green Book on Libyan TV 21 May 2011:
On a previous visit to Libya, I was able to learn about the Green Book, and the form of direct democracy that is advocated in the Green Book.
Cynthia McKinney was all for "democracy" directed by Gaddafi, but she came back to Libya to oppose the people taking power into their own hands.

Continuing this ignoble Green Party tradition, Jill Stein, its 2012 and 2016 presidential candidate, was also nostalgic for the fascist dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi, and when he was about to use his air force to do to Benghazi what Bashar al-Assad has done to so many Syrian cities, in Gaddafi's words, slaughter them "like rats," she opposed the no-fly zone requested by the 22-nation Arab League and approved by the UN.

The pro-Trump Brietbart website was happy to give her coverage in a front page article titled Jill Stein Slams Hillary Clinton’s ‘Disturbing’ Laughter at Lynching of African Ruler. There is a lot of unity between the Alt-Right and the white Left when it comes to supporting brutal dictators like Putin, Assad and Gaddafi. It began:
Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein blasted Hillary Clinton’s “laughter at the lynching of an African ruler” as “disturbing,” referring to a 2011 CBS video clip of Clinton laughing about the death of Muammar Gaddafi.

Clinton “left Libya in bloody chaos,” Stein wrote.
Women all over the world, in fact, people all over the globe, had good reason to cheer at the death of Gaddafi. Why was Jill Stein so sad?

When Gaddafi was finally defeated and killed, Jill Stein refused to credit the Libyan revolutionaries who had shed so much blood in the struggle, instead she blames Hillary Clinton, and she mourns the loss of Gaddafi. Of the estimated 30,000 Libyan lives it cost to overthrow Gaddafi, no Libyan is mourned by the US Left like Gaddafi. There isn't even a close second.

Post Gaddafi Libya: Chaos and Development

In February 2014, three years after the start of the revolution, the Libyan cabinet decreed that women raped during Libya's 2011 uprising should be recognized as war victims. This would put the women on the same level as wounded ex-fighters and entitle them to compensation. While this decreed was still awaiting congressional approval, BBC News reported:
Libyan Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani told the BBC that the decree offers 12 measures, including financial assistance and physical and psychological health care.

Money would also be available for things "like sending the parents of victims to Hajj - this is to elevate the status of victims, so they are not looked at as a burden", he said.

The justice ministry says it will not wait for the national congress to pass the decree in order to avoid further delays
The Nobel Women's Initiative welcomed it, saying:
A new unprecedented constitutional decree in Libya is recognizing the use of rape as a weapon in the 2011 uprising that ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The decree deems rape survivors as “official war victims” and offers women rape survivors compensation that is the same entitlement offered to former soldiers.

In 2011 the International Criminal Court collected evidence that Gaddafi ordered military forces to use sexual violence against women during the uprisings. There are also separate allegations that Gaddafi and his sons raped their female bodyguards. While the exact number of sexual violence cases remains unknown, estimates indicate that hundreds of women were raped during the uprisings.
The attempt at creating a unified Libyan government with the General National Congress failed in 2014 and with it went its plans to compensate rape victims. In November 2017 the ICC investigation of rape war crimes in Libya continues and has had to be expanded to include revenge rape, especially of male Gaddafi supporters accused of participation in his use of rape as an instrument of war.

This documentation of Gaddafi's sexual abuse of women is also a window into just how depraved the dictatorship that ruled Libya for 42 years was.

Is it any wonder that a society throwing off such a yoke should find itself in an extended period of disruption and reorganization? Thanks to Gaddafi's "Green Book" rule and other deviate policies, few living Libyans have ever known regular state organizations or political parties as they are ordinarily found throughout the world. After Gaddafi's overthrow, Libya had to start building state structures, open political organizations, and a free press all from scratch. Even when revolutions take place in countries with a much richer recent history of state and political structures, as with the American Revolution, the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution, the overthrow of the old authority is followed by a decade of disruption. What the people overthrew in Libya was very much the gangster rule of one man and his family, and they did it without the benefit of a unified political leadership, in part due to the historic betrayal of the Left. This is the cause of Libya's current problems. The solution is not to be found by looking backwards but by moving forward.

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

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