Sunday, April 17, 2011

PANW Editor, Abayomi Azikiwe, Interviewed on Press TV: Allegations Require Verification

CIA-Libyan rebels struggling

Sat Apr 16, 2011 5:13PM

Interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor of Pan-African News Wire

Libya has denied the use of cluster bombs on rebel forces while many people in the United States and NATO countries are opposing the war.

Press TV interviewed Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor of Pan-African News Wire regarding the war in Libya.

Press TV: Do you think that now the news has reported the use of cluster bombs, there is something else the international community could do that so far they have not?

Azikiwe: First I think we need some kind of independent verification whether these weapons are actually being used. We have seen in the past the justification for this ongoing war that is being launched by the United States and by NATO against Libya. They have not been successful in regards to providing air cover for the opposition forces, which are largely based in the Eastern city of Benghazi. Of course we know that the NATO countries are becoming very frustrated in regards to carrying out this war.

Opposition to it is growing. We saw yesterday inside the UK Parliament where the Prime Minister David Cameron was actually challenged for signing a joint letter with US [President] Barack Obama and French President Nicholas Sarkozy. We also know that last weekend the Pan-African News Wire covered a large demonstration that took place in New York in Lower Manhattan opposing not only this new war against the Libyan people, but all of the wars going on that the United States has been heavily involved in.

The US is involved in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Iraq and the proxy wars that are raging in Somalia as well as Palestine. So I think the public in these various Western industrialized countries are really raising some serious questions. I mean how many more wars are we going to have to fund in light of the fact we are facing grave economic crises in all the western industrialized countries?

We have seen some of the allegations made in regards to the situation in Iraq during the 1990s and in 2003 prior to the intervention. There was no independent verification that weapons of mass destruction were being used. Yet these stories were planted in the media and planted in various newspapers and television networks to justify a United States intervention inside of Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction found whatsoever.

Press TV: Are you saying that it is like the WMDs in Iraq, and this is just something being planted in the media by the western entities in order to justify them being in Libya and if that is the case do they want to stay in Libya? If so, for what if you could give me clarification?

Azikiwe: Well look at the resources that exist there. We are talking about the largest oil deposits on the African continent, we are talking about substantial natural gas resources that exist in Libya, and we are also talking about having a strategic base in the Mediterranean [region] for the US African Command, which is designed to exclusively focus on the US interests on the African continent. This is the first major conflict that is actually being conducted by the US African Command. So we definitely will have to get some type of independent verification in regards to these allegations made.

However we do know as reported on Press TV numerous times, and there have been articles by the Center for Research on Globalization, that depleted uranium weapons are being used by the United States against the Libyan forces, and against the civilian population as well. We know definitely what the long term impact of depleted uranium weapons are.

I don't hear the western and corporate media outlets neither the opposition forces inside Libya raising any concern about the environmental impact, physical impact and health impact of the use of depleted uranium weapons in Libya. They were used in Iraq and used during the first [Persian] Gulf War that began in 1991. They had extremely negative consequences for the health of civilians. Hundreds of thousands of people had all types of infections, high cancer rates, it caused birth deformities and these weapons are utilized by the United States.

We hardly hear any criticism in the corporate media based here in the United States, or by these Western countries that are bombing Libya on a daily basis. We don't hear any criticism coming from them. We do hear these allegations of weapons of mass destruction coming from the Libyan military.

Press TV: Many say the attacks are taking place in the East. Now there are political experts that say the western forces want to concentrate on the East because that's where the oil is, and ultimately they would be interested in trying to split the country to take control over the East. How likely of a scenario is that in your perspective?

Azikiwe: They definitely have regime change as their agenda. There have been several efforts on the part of the Latin American countries and the African Union. Yesterday there was a meeting by the Arab League in Cairo and all of these overtures ended in bringing forward some type of peaceful resolution and the resumption of negotiations between the Libyan government, and the opposition forces have rejected these efforts along with the people who are supporting them in North America and Western Europe.

In regard to what these countries should be doing, they have been bombing Libya every day since March 19th. That is almost a month. It's four weeks today. They have carried out over 2000 bombing missions over the country. They have killed civilians, government personnel and also killed the people who are supporting the rebels inside Libya. Even the Libyan Transitional National Council has criticized NATO for killing some of their own forces. They asked for an apology and NATO refused to offer an apology even to the rebel forces. So if they want a ground invasion into Libya by the United States and by NATO, which probably could very well happen.

This air campaign they are launching doesn't have the capacity to remove the Libyan government. The rebels obviously do not have the fighting capacity to overthrow the Gaddafi government because this has been going on now for two months. They themselves have called for the intervention from these imperialist countries against their own nation.

They have refused to negotiate with the Libyan government. I think that the people inside the United States and Britain do not want to go into another period of war under the guise of a humanitarian mission and that they [the US] are working to save civilians. We have heard this story so many times before. People who are not inside the country, who live outside the country who have a vested interest in wanting to overthrow these governments and take charge of these governments, are in alliance with the US and Britain.

They could be making up these stories about atrocities taking place inside of Libya. We need some independent verification that these things are going on. We also need some method to bring about a peaceful resolution to end this conflict. If the working people of the US, Britain and France who are financing these wars that have no end, we talked about Afghanistan. That is a war with over 100,000 US troops involved. We can talk about Iraq where there are 50,000 US troops still occupying the country.

The fact of the matter is the conditions have worsened for the civilians inside Afghanistan, and inside Iraq and also inside Pakistan since the US involvement in those geopolitical regions.

Press TV: What about the atrocities our guest is speaking about?

There is no way any reasonable person in the US or any of these Western industrialized countries that are bombing Libya right now and are maintaining a naval blockade against the North African state, can with any type of clear consciousness support the US entering another war at this point based on allegations made by opposition forces many of whom have for decades been supported by the US.

All we have to do is make reference to the recent articles that have come out in the New York Times and the Washington Post and the Jamestown Foundation report which indicates very clearly that the CIA has supported some of the leading figures in the Libyan opposition for decades. This is not something that is new. So there is no way in the world we can justify entering another war. The majority of people inside the United States, and I would say also in Britain are opposed to these unending, permanent military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now we are in the same type of scenario in North Africa.

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