Libya: turned backwards

Those who celebrated the removal of the previous Libyan government should read two recent reports. Amnesty International visited 11 detention centres in Libya. In its report Militias threaten hopes for new Libya Amnesty says, ‘Militias in Libya are largely out of control and the blanket impunity they enjoy only encourages further abuses and perpetuates instability and insecurity.’ The most gruesome tortures are recalled, committed in front of Amnesty staff. ‘Not a single effective investigation is known to have been carried out into cases of torture, even in cases where detainees have died after having been tortured at militia headquarters or in interrogation centres formally or informally recognised or linked to the central authorities.’ Some 8,000 people are still missing after the NATO-led war on Libya and over 8,000 former government supporters are in prisons run by militias, many have been murdered.

On 2 March the UN International Commission of Inquiry on Libya published its second report. There is no mention of the former Libyan government planning to massacre civilians, no evidence of ‘what may amount to crimes against humanity’, used by NATO to justify its attack. There is evidence of the removal of 30,000 inhabitants, mostly black people, from Tawergha by Misrata militias, of torture and murder by these militias carried out under NATO’s shield.

On 6 March 2012 militia and tribal leaders in Benghazi announced their intention to form a semi-autonomous region of Cyrenaica in eastern Libya. Cyrenaica contains three-quarters of Libya’s oil reserves. Many of those who made the announcement are connected to the oil industry and are headed by the great-nephew of former King Idris. The head of the National Transitional Council (NTC), Mustafa Abdul Jalil, threatened using force if the east tried to secede and accused ‘sister Arab nations’ of funding sedition.

The NTC announced that land and properties expropriated by the former government will be handed back to their previous owners. NATO has turned the clock back in Libya to colonial times.

Trevor Rayne

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism 226 April/May 2012


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