Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, speaking to a large crowd at the Dr. Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History in Detroit during the MLK Conference, April 5, 2008. (Photo: Cheryl LaBash)., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Gaddafi Assassinated by US-NATO Lynch Mob
Seif al-Islam, loyalists vow to continue resistance against imperialist occupation
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Col. Muammar Gaddafi, leader of the Libyan people for 42 years, was brutally targeted, tortured and executed in a series of events on October 20 in the coastal city of Sirte. The city is a bastion of resistance to the U.S.-NATO war in Libya which has gone on for over eight months.
Gaddafi, 69, was in Sirte directing the resistance fighters who have defended the country against an imperialist engineered civil war and bombing campaign that has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Libyans and other foreign nationals. Even though the corporate media and the western states believed that the Libyan government would have fallen in a matter of weeks, the state and its supporters have heroically been able to hold out for eight months and are still waging a struggle to reverse the counter-revolution that is financed and coordinated by the U.S.-NATO governments.
Just two days prior to the assassination of Gaddafi, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Libya meeting with the National Transitional Council rebel regime calling for the capture and killing of the leader who had ruled the North African state since the Al-Fateh Revolution of September 1, 1969. There have been several attempts on the life of Muammar Gaddafi since the beginning of the U.S.-NATO bombing campaign on March 19.
Gaddafi’s son and three grandchildren were killed in one of the attempts when it was reported that he was in the same residence that came under attack by imperialist warplanes. It has also been reported that another one of Gaddafi’s sons, Mo’tassim, was captured and executed purportedly by the NTC rebels on October 20.
Stories related to the assassination which were reported by the NTC spokesman illustrated the inherently dishonest character of the U.S.-NATO rebels. They initially said that Gaddafi was killed in a crossfire involving loyalist forces and the NTC rebels. However, this fabrication quickly evaporated when a video shot by someone in the lynch mob showed that Gaddafi was alive when apprehended and was killed extra-judiciously.
Various reports indicate that the convoy Gaddafi was travelling in was tracked by a U.S. predator drone, which are notorious for the mass murder of civilians and those deemed enemies by Washington. Another account suggests that French Mirage fighter jets were also involved in the attack on the governmental convoy.
In the video it shows people who appeared to be NTC rebels beating and torturing Gaddafi, a series of gunshots and later the dead body being thrown onto a truck. Those in the crowd began to cheer and celebrate at the carnage.
In contravention of Islamic law and international norms, Gaddafi’s remains were put on display in a meat storage facility where a procession of people claiming to be supporters of the NTC rebellion were allowed to view the body and take photographs. These images were relayed via cable and satellite television channels throughout the world while corporate media commentators sought to justify the lynching with blatant falsehoods and distorted chronologies of historical events involving Libya.
Also in violation of Islamic law and universal norms, Gaddafi remains were not turned over to his family for a proper burial within a time period required by his religious and cultural traditions. It is quite obvious that a massive cover-up is being attempted to deflect responsibility for his death away from U.S. imperialism and its collaborators in Libya.
After international outrage over the assassination of Gaddafi and his son escalated in the midst of these grotesque images being broadcast internationally, the United Nations, the U.S. and the NTC client regime called for an investigation into the circumstances of Gaddafi’s death. These pronouncements by Hillary Clinton, saying that she was surprised that Gaddafi had been killed by a lynch mob, as well as other utterances made by the UN and the NTC rebel regime, highlights the hypocrisy of the imperialists and their allies.
It was the U.S. that had supported the anti-Gaddafi rebels for over three decades. The UN Security Council voted to impose a so-called “No Fly Zone” over Libya despite the fact that there was no evidence that alleged massacres had occurred in areas retaken by the government from the NTC rebel forces.
The “No Fly Zone” was a pretext for total war against the state of Libya. A naval blockade was imposed by the NATO countries, over $US120 billion in foreign assets belonging to the government were frozen, the NTC rebels were armed, financed, promoted politically and given military cover by the U.S.-NATO countries and their allies in the region, the Pentagon-NATO air and naval forces conducted over 20,000 sorties and 9,500 bombings, and corporate-government media campaigns were conducted against the Libyan government to justify the deliberate destruction of the most prosperous country on the African continent.
Despite the objection of the 53-member African Union continental organization, the U.S.-NATO states refused to negotiate a settlement to the war and demanded that the government resign. The International Criminal Court in the Netherlands issued unsubstantiated charges and indictments against the Libyan leadership to further isolate the government amid a massive military invasion and bombing campaign.
The assassination of Muammar Gaddafi and his son Mo’tassim no matter how illegal and brutal must be viewed within the broader context of the atrocities engineered against the Libyan people by the U.S.-NATO Alliance and their NTC rebels.
A systematic racist campaign targeting Black Libyans and Africans from other states on the continent who are living and working inside the country has exposed the true nature of the opposition to Gaddafi.
Hundreds of dark-skinned people and other presumed and actual supporters of the Gaddafi government have been persecuted by the rebels. Numerous people have been beaten, tortured, driven out of their home towns and cities, imprisoned and lynched in the same fashion as Muammar Gaddafi and other high-ranking officials. The U.S.-NATO air campaign was specifically designed to destroy the national wealth and infrastructure of the country which had achievement tremendous progress since the Al-Fateh Revolution of 1969 and the assumption of People’s Power in 1977.
In the same city of Sirte where Gaddafi was assassinated, another massacre was reported at a hotel that involved 53 pro-government supporters. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), “the hotel is in an area of the city that was under the control of anti-Gaddafi fighters from Misrata before the killings took place.” (Afrique en ligne, October 24)
HRW called upon the NTC to conduct an immediate investigation into the massacre. In a statement HRW said that “We found 53 decomposing bodies, apparently Gaddafi supporters, at an abandoned hotel in Sirte, and some had their hands bound behind their backs when they were shot.”
Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director for HRW, said that “This latest massacre seems part of a trend of killings, looting, and other abuses committed by armed anti-Gaddafi fighters who consider themselves above the law. It is imperative that the transitional authorities take action to rein in these groups.”
Gaddafi’s Contributions to the African Revolution and Responses to His Assassination
The legacy of Muammar Gaddafi will be the subject of much discussion in the coming weeks and months. Despite the imperialist-controlled media assertions that his rule was solely characterized by undemocratic processes, many within Africa and throughout the world admired the leader and have paid tribute in the aftermath of his death.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a close ally of Gaddafi and revolutionary Libya, called the fallen leader a martyr who died a hero. The Global Alternative Agenda (GAA) African youth organization based in Nigeria said through its president Oludare Ogunlana, that “The assassination of Gaddafi was highly irresponsible, a breach of all international laws.” (GAA Statement)
This statement from the GAA continued by stressing that his killing “was barbaric and humiliating to all Africans. It must be condemned in the strongest terms.”
The Zimbabwe state newspaper Sunday Mail said on October 23 that “Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s heroic last stand against NATO hegemony is a defining moment in this era of UN-backed imperialism. He could have fled Libya, but he did not.” (Sunday Mail)
This newspaper of the government of President Robert Mugabe pointed out that Gaddafi “could have fled Libya, but he did not. Col. Gaddafi chose to fight alongside his people in Libya, to his last breath. He stood his ground until the end, refusing to flee, choosing to be martyred on African soil.”
The Sunday Mail reflected on the gains made for working people in Libya during the Al-Fateh Revolution. The paper noted that “Gaddafi’s legacy speaks for itself. He guaranteed the right to free education for everyone from elementary school right up to university and post-graduate studies, at home or abroad; free health care; 1:673 doctor-patient ratio, free electricity for all citizens; interest-free housing loans; and free land for farmers.”
This same article continues pointing out that “A mother who gives birth to a child receives US$5,000. Forty loaves of bread in Libya cost 15 cents. Twenty-five percent of Libyans have a university degree. All newlyweds in Libya receive US$50,000 from the government to buy their first apartment so as to help them start a family.”
In relationship to the gains made in Libya after 1969, the article points out that “Prior to the sanctions on Gaddafi and Libya in the 1980s, the country was one of the richest in the world in terms of GDP per capita—with a living standard higher than in Japan. It was the richest in Africa. This is Gaddafi’s legacy. Just sit and watch what happens to a “free” Libya from now onwards. A lot of national wealth which some Libyans are taking for granted will be siphoned off by western corporations.”
The African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party in South Africa, which gained tremendous support from the people of Libya during and after their struggle for national liberation, said that “It is regrettable that the Libyan conflict ended with the gruesome killing of the Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi. It is the view of the ANC that his could have been avoided had the African Union road map been adopted….We once again call on western countries under the command of NATO stop the bombardment of Libya and its people.” (ANC Statement, October 21)
In another statement from the ANC Youth League it pays tribute to Muammar Gaddafi as an “Anti-Imperialist Martyr.” The statement says “The ANCYL salutes Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, a brave soldier and fighter against the re-colonization of the African continent. Brother Leader was ruthlessly killed by rebels armed by NATO forces who invaded Libya because of its natural resources.” (ANCYL Statement, October 21)
Then ANCYL went on to say that “Brother Leader resisted imperialist domination of the African continent and never agreed to the continued draining of natural resources from beneath Africa’s soil. He understood and appreciated that Africa’s natural resources should be economically used to benefit the people of Africa.”
In the East African state of Uganda, 30,000 people attended a memorial service in honor of Gaddafi. In Nigeria, a former militia leader who said he was supported by Gaddafi said that the Libyan leader would be avenged.
Reports in the aftermath of Gaddafi’s martyrdom indicated that his son and heir apparent Seif al-Islam was captured by the NTC rebels, yet subsequent developments makes it appear that this is not true. In a broadcast over the Libyan-owned Al-Rai satellite television in Syria, Seif issued a statement saying that he was alive and committed to both avenging his father’s death as well as continuing the resistance to the U.S.-NATO invasion and occupation of his country.
Seif said that “We continue our resistance. I am in Libya. I am alive, free and intend to go to the very end and exact revenge.” (hamsayeh.net, October 24)
In response to the reported capture of Seif al-Islam, Atty. Franklin Lamb in an open letter asked if the heir apparent was in TNC custody would he survive to stand trial before the ICC? Lamb said that a delegation of lawyers hired by the Gaddafi family was heading to Libya to legally defend Seif al-Islam against unjust prosecution.
According to Lamb, “They have been advised by Gaddafi supporters in Libya and neighboring countries that the NTC at the direction of NATO fully intends to see Seif al-Islam killed before he can address the international media and his supporters, following the transfer of his father’s leadership authority to Seif on August 29, 2011. Seif has been planning to announce his candidacy in the planned coming election.” (Lamb Letter, October 21)
Lamb notes that “Informal polls throughout Libya have shown him (Seif) garnering close to 70 percent of the vote if he is allowed to stand for office under the now NATO-controlled country. We intend to prove in Court that NATO did repeatedly sanction others to carry out Muammar Gaddafi’s assassination and that his killers on October 20, 2011 knew that a large cash award awaited them if they killed Colonel Gaddafi thus silencing him from testifying against NATO officials and current western leaders who led the eight month destruction of Libya.”
Why Was Gaddafi Killed?
Gaddafi was lynched in a vain attempt to end the resistance of the Libyan people against imperialist aggression. The extra-judicial killing is also designed to send a message to other opponents of imperialism in Africa where the U.S. and NATO states are intervening at a rapid rate.
Africa is increasingly supplying larger amounts of oil and other strategic resources to the U.S. and western European states. This attempt at regime-change in Libya is also designed to impede the increasing cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the African continent.
If the social justice and anti-war movements inside the United States and Europe are going to achieve any results aimed at ending militarism and austerity imposed by the banks and transnational corporations, they must seriously address the escalating imperialist aggression against the African continent, its people and leaders. The massacre of Libyan people and the attacks upon its government can only be viewed as a setback to working and oppressed people within the imperialist states who are suffering as a result of low-wage capitalism and wars of occupation abroad.
It will take an alliance of the working people in the capitalist states and around the world to bring down world imperialism. Only with the destruction of imperialism will there be an opportunity to achievement genuine peace and development throughout the planet.