Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, speaking at the Dr. Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on April 5, 2008. The event commemorated the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
NATO Kills 85 Civilians at Majar in Western Libya
Government consolidates support amid barbaric attacks
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
One of the worst atrocities committed by the U.S.-NATO forces now waging war against the North African oil-producing state of Libya took place on August 8 when 85 people were killed in the bombing of Majar in the western region of the country. This town located near Zlitan was shown on Libyan state television after the attacks which killed children, women and men.
The news reports showed burned bodies of children under the age of nine. In addition, women and children were captured on video receiving treatment for serious wounds in the local hospital.
In response to this massacre, the Libyan government declared three days of national mourning. Although the NATO forces admitted that its jets had bombed the town on three different occasions the night before, they maintained that the locations struck were being used for military purposes.
This attack on Majar followed the same pattern that has been in force since March 19 when the U.S. and NATO military fighter jets and warships began to bomb Libya under the guise of implementing a so-called “no-fly zone” which was mandated by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. During the last six months, when a western-backed rebellion was initiated in Benghazi on February 17, hundreds of thousands of Libyans and guest workers living inside the country have fled across the borders.
Over this six month period despite the efforts of the U.S. and its NATO allies to build up the rebels fighting the Libyan government as a credible force, the opposition Transitional National Council (TNC) has remained deeply divided and incapable of launching a serious military campaign against Tripoli. These rebel forces have openly called for and applauded the U.S.-NATO bombing of their own country which has killed not only governmental military forces and supporters but members of the opposition as well.
Just recently the putative leader of the military wing of the TNC was killed in an obviously planned assassination when he was summoned to return to the rebel-stronghold of Benghazi. Journalists have reported clashes among the rebels themselves in full view of the international media.
Imperialist War Builds More Support for the Libyan Government
In a recent commentary published in Pravda. ru, Timothy Bancraft-Hinchey asked the question: when will NATO stop murdering Libyan children, when will NATO realize it made a monumental mistake in attacking Libya and siding with the ‘rebels’ (most of whom are not even Libyan), when will NATO stop wasting hundreds of millions of dollars of its taxpayers’ money on bombing a country whose population stands with its leader?” (Pravda.ru, August 14)
Illustrating the role of the corporate media in spreading falsehoods about the actual situation in Libya, Bancraft-Hinchey asks “how can Sky News for example state that the ‘rebels’ (what rebels? The vast majority of them aren’t even Libyans, and over 90 % of the population support the Jamahiriya) control al-Brega, when in fact they are 195 kilometers to the East and all accesses to the city are heavily fortified?
This same article asserts that “The Libyan government is firmly in control, has from the beginning implemented international law to the letter, while NATO has flouted it. If there isn’t a man or a woman in the international community with the guts to stand up and say what is right, then let the citizens of the world take up the challenge.”
Scott Taylor, a journalist from Canada, whose government is serving as the titular head of the NATO bombing campaign in Libya, recently visited the country on a fact-finding mission. His assessment is that the claims of rebel advances in the West of the country have been largely fabrications promoted through the corporate media.
This reporter pointed out that “For more than five months now NATO planes have supported the rebels, and NATO warships have enforced a one-sided embargo against Gaddafi’s forces. And all foreign-held financial assets have been frozen, making it virtually impossible for Libya to purchase any war materiel, or even basic necessities such as fuel.” (The Chronicle Herald, August 15)
Nonetheless, the writer continues, “Despite all these measures, the ragtag collection of fractious units that compose the rebels have been unable to make any serious tactical headway against Gaddafi loyalists—let alone topple the leader.”
Taylor stressed that during his trip into the capital of Tripoli during the first full week of August, he witnessed firsthand how the Libyan government has solidified its control over the city and most of the Western region of the country. He says that foreign diplomats confirmed the stability of the capital and that Muammar Gaddafi’s approval rating has soared to 85 percent.
The existing shortages inside the country are blamed on the NATO forces that are bombing Libya. Leaflets dropped on the city periodically by the imperialist forces are often poorly written and most Libyans find the messages quite amusing to read.
In a speech delivered over Libyan television by Muammar Gaddafi on August 15, he stated that “NATO will eventually be defeated in Libya with the willingness of the people to resist and liberate their land. The Libyan people will behave as they did during their 1 September Revolution,” pointing out that the continuous bombing during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan will further anger the general population turning it even more against the West.
Gaddafi said on August 15 that “The only solution remaining for the agents of colonialism is the use of deception and psychological warfare following the failure of their various kinds of war with all types of weapons.” (Afrique en Ligne, August 15)
As the Libyan leader was addressing the country, there were simultaneous reports that NATO was bombing Tripoli and the suburbs of Zaouia and Sorman. On the same day video footage was released by the British Ministry of Defense showing crews from the Royal Air Force Marham in preparation for the long-range bombing of Libya. (edp24.co.uk, August 15)
One such video showed a number of Tornado GR4 jets being loaded with Storm Shadow missiles at the Norfolk base just prior to leaving for another bombing mission over the North African state. In another video the fighter jets are shown bombing what is described as a Libyan frigate in the harbor at Tripoli.
Harlem Demonstration and Other Rallies Opposes U.S.-NATO War in Libya
On August 13, a rally was held in Harlem to protest the ongoing war in Libya and the western sanctions leveled for a number of years against the Southern African nation of Zimbabwe. A Press TV report on the New York demonstration noted that “Protesters say it’s necessary to expose the United Nations Security Council machinations, western imperialism, the attack on Black people in the U.S. and all collaborators at every turn.” (Press TV, August 13)
A national speaking tour featuring former U.S. Congressperson Cynthia McKinney has reached over 20 cities from coast to coast. McKinney, recently returned from a fact-finding trip to Libya, has exposed the multitude of falsehoods about the actual situation taking place in the country and the region.
McKinney is scheduled to speak in Pittsburg on August 21 and Cleveland on August 22. In Detroit on August 27, the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI), along with other organizations such as the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the Green Party, Workers World Party, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and the New Marcus Garvey Movement will host a public speak out against the U.S.-NATO war on Libya at the U-M Detroit Center beginning at 4:00pm.