The US and its allies have moved on to attempts at regime change in Syria, leaving the humanitarian crisis NATO created in Libya to fester, writes Glen Ford.
At least 7,000 prisoners are held without benefit of law by various armed elements in Libya, suspected of having connections to slain leader Muammar Gaddafi. According to a report by the office of United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, most of the prisoners are Black migrant workers from sub-Saharan Africa. Others are Black Libyans. The new regime, that was bombed into power by NATO after a green light from the UN Security Council, doesn’t make distinctions between Black Libyan citizens and foreign Blacks – they are all “slaves” and inferiors as far as the former rebels are concerned.
A doctor who is among the prisoners told reporters that detainees have been burned with cigarettes, beaten on their feet, hung by their arms, had their finger and toenails pulled out, and otherwise tortured. Those who were captured may be considered to be the lucky ones. Untold thousands have been massacred or simply disappeared. As one Nigerian man who lives in Libya said, “The Libyan rebels consider the Blacks as their enemies and decided to kill any Black man they come across.” A Black Libyan who lived in Bani Walid, one of the last outposts of resistance to NATO and the rebels, said: “Anyone who tells the truth in Libya gets slaughtered.”
The former rebels cling to the lie, that Colonel Gaddafi employed legions of Black mercenaries to keep him in power. Even the human rights groups that vilified Gaddafi’s regime now admit the mercenary stories were false, fictions that were reported as fact by virtually all of the western corporate media.
“Those who were captured may be considered to be the lucky ones.”
There is no real government in Libya, no central authority to safeguard the lives of prisoners held because of their politics, or their colour, or for no clear reason at all. Rebel military units from various cities hold the prisoners in makeshift jails and detention centres. Among the most aggressive armed factions hails from Misurata, whose brigades waged a long siege of the black town of Tawurgha, once home to 30,000 people. Tawurgha has now disappeared, its people dispersed or detained or dead.
The UN Secretary General says he believes, in the absence of any evidence, that “the leaders of the new Libya are indeed committed to building a society based on respect for human rights." The International Criminal Court, which was brandishing warrants for the arrest of Gaddafi and members of his government months before NATO established control over the country, is blind to the blatant ethnic cleansing, political persecutions and imprisonments, and rapes of displaced women that are ongoing in Libya.
The same goes for most of the European and North American media, many of which continue to insist that NATO’s Libyan allies are freedom fighters, even though many of the one-time rebels are clearly Islamic jihadists who reject any formula for governing Libya that bears a resemblance to western notions of democracy.
Six hundred Libyan gunmen are said to have travelled to Syria to wage war against the government, there. Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Council has demanded measures to “protect” the Syrian people from their own government, language reminiscent of the UN Security Council resolution that ultimately plunged Libya into hell. And the Security Council has just tightened sanctions against Eritrea, in the Horn of Africa, another nation marked for regime change by the US.
*Glen ford is Executive Editor at online journal Black Agenda Report.com.