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Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO’s War on Libya and Africa by Maximilian Forte

category international | anti-war / imperialism | opinion/analysis author Thursday May 02, 2013 06:42author by dubaltg8 Report this post to the editors

In his Ceasefire review, Dan Glazebrook examines Maximilian Forte's withering indictment of liberal humanitarianism and its collusion in imperialist designs on Africa, as seen in NATO's Libya campaign of 2011.

This review is an outstanding piece of writing by Dan Glazebrook, one of the best journalists around today, on a book that I have no doubt will be placed along side Fanon's The Wretched Of The Earth as one of the most penetrating analysis of the process of imperialism. I just give a taste of the review, and provide a link to the full work:

For the governments that lead us into war, of course, it makes perfect sense that we do not stop to look back at the last invasion before impatiently demanding the next one – if we realised, for example, that the 1999 bombing of Serbia (the textbook ‘humanitarian intervention’) actually facilitated the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo that it was supposedly designed to prevent, we might not be so ready to demand the same treatment for every other state that falls short of our illusory ideals.

That is why this book is so important. Thoroughly researched and impeccably referenced, it tells the story of the real aims and real consequences of the war on Libya in its historical perspective.

Its author, Maximilian Forte, is well placed to do so. A professor of social anthropology in Montreal, much of his writing and research in recent years has been dedicated to the new imperialism, and especially its ‘humanitarian’ cover. He was amongst the first to really expose violent racism within the Libyan insurrection, and its role in facilitating NATO’s goals in Africa, and has provided consistently excellent analyses of the media coverage surrounding the conflict.

One of the book’s accomplishments is its comprehensive demolition of the war’s supposed justifications. Forte shows us that there was no ‘mass rape’ committed by ‘Gaddafi forces’ – as alleged by Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, Luis Ocampo and others at the time, but later refuted by Amnesty International, the UN and even the US army itself.

Despite hysterical media reports, there was no evidence of aerial bombing of protesters, as even CIA chief Robert Gates admitted. Gaddafi had no massacre planned for Benghazi, as had been loudly proclaimed by the leaders of Britain, France and the USA: the Libyan government forces had not carried out massacres against civilian populations in any of the other towns they recaptured from the rebels, and nor had Gaddafi threatened to do so in Benghazi; in a speech that was almost universally misreported in the Western media, he promised no mercy for those who had taken up arms against the government, whilst offering amnesty for those who ‘threw their weapons away’, and at no point threatening reprisals against civilians.

When the NATO invasion began, French jets actually bombed a small retreating column of Libyan armour on the outskirts of Benghazi, comprising 14 tanks, 20 armoured personnel carriers, and a few trucks and ambulances – nothing like enough to carry out a ‘genocide’ against an entire city, as had been claimed.

Indeed, the whole image of ‘peaceful protesters being massacred’ was turning reality on its head. In fact, Forte notes, rebels “torched police stations, broke into the compounds of security services, attacked government offices and torched vehicles” from the very start, to which the authorities responded with “tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets – very similar to methods frequently used in Western nations against far more peaceful protests that lacked the element of sedition”. Only once the rebels had proceeded to occupy the Benghazi army barracks, loot its weapons, and start using them against government forces did things begin to escalate.

Myth of the Dark Heart

But the most pernicious of the lies that facilitated the Libyan war was the myth of the ‘African mercenary’. Racist pogroms, Forte argues, were characteristic of the Libyan rebellion from its very inception, when 50 sub-Saharan African migrants were burnt alive in Al-Bayda on the second day of the insurgency. An Amnesty International report from September 2011 made it clear that this was no isolated incident: “When al-Bayda, Beghazi, Derna, Misrata and other cities first fell under the control of the NTC in February, anti-Gaddafi forces carried out house raids, killing and other violent attacks” against sub-Saharan Africans and black Libyans, and “what we are seeing in western Libya is a very similar pattern to what we have seen in Benghazi and Misrata after those cities fell to the rebels” – arbitrary detention, torture and execution of black people.

The ‘African mercenary’ myth was thus created to justify these pogroms, as the Western media near-universally referred to their victims as ‘mercenaries’ – or ‘alleged mercenaries’ in the more circumspect and highbrow outlets – and thus as aggressors and legitimate targets. The myth was completely discredited by both Amnesty International – whose exasperated researcher told a TV interviewer that “We examined this issue in depth and found no evidence: the rebels spread these rumors everywhere [with] terrible consequences for African guest workers” – and by a UN investigation team, who drew similar conclusions – but not until both organisations had already helped perpetuate the lie themselves.

That liberal humanitarians would launch a war of aggression in order to facilitate racist massacres is not as ironic as it might at first seem. Forte writes that “if this was humanitarianism, it could only be so by disqualifying Africans as members of humanity.” But such disqualification has been a systematic practice of liberalism from the days of John Locke, through the US war of independence and into the age of nineteenth century imperialism and beyond.

Indeed, Forte argues that the barely-veiled “racial fear of mean African bogeymen swamping Libya like zombies” implicit in the ‘African mercenary’ story, was uniquely and precisely formulated to tap into a rich historical vein of European fantasies about plagues of black mobs. That the myth gained so much traction despite zero evidence, says Forte, “tells us a great deal about the role of racial prejudice and propaganda in mobilizing public opinion in the West and organizing international relations”.

Full article:

author by dubaltg8publication date Thu May 02, 2013 07:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A very interesting interview with the good professor.

author by dubaltg8publication date Tue May 07, 2013 00:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A very interesting article, that looks deeply into the racist motivation of the rebels in Libya, and their NATO backers. I just give a short excerpt from the article, and provide a link below:

One of the interesting and very neglected features of the current "humanitarian intervention" in Libya is the extent to which it implicitly buys into racialized nationalist myths produced on the ground in Libya, adopting them without question and thus without concern for context, with little in the way of a critical examination of the media manipulation and calculated spread of racial fear by the leadership of "the rebels." It is not a simple matter of the Libyan opposition showing signs of xenophobia -- if that were true, it would resent the involvement of North Americans and Europeans. Instead, this is a racially selective xenophobia, with a preferential option for Western (i.e., U.S. and European) intervention, and against the presence of "Africans" (code for Sub-Saharan, black Africans). It reminds me of an old racial saying I learned in the Caribbean, truncated here: "If you're white, you're alright . . . and if you're black, go back." The point here is to explore and critique an issue that thus far exists only on the margins of media coverage and human rights discourse around Libya, that being the extent to which racism, and specifically the demonization of Sub-Saharan Africans, provides the unifying logic that bridged local revolt with imperial intervention.

In a situation where we have been told so little, and so many blind spots have been calculatingly put in place, what is apparent?

First, it was right from the intended start of the national protests (that is, Feb. 17 -- although protests in fact began two days earlier) that several opposition spokesmen, anonymous "Libyan" Twitter accounts, and other persons who would become associated with the insurgents' "Transitional National Council" (TNC) produced the paradox of racial/racist hysteria and humanitarian intervention. This was a double-barreled rhetoric: one barrel firing off accusations about foreign/black/African mercenaries engaged in "massacres" against Libyans, and the other barrel firing off demands for immediate Western intervention in the form of a no-fly zone -- the latter to help protect against the former. The two went together -- that is not an adventurous conclusion, as the two came together.

This merits repetition: those Libyans who called for foreign military intervention did so weeks before any supposed "impending massacre" in Benghazi, and did so just as the protests began. In addition, in making those calls, the black specter of African mercenaries was used as a tool to impress urgency on those who would intervene. The no-fly zone may or may not have averted a supposed "massacre" in Benghazi -- and there is good reason to dispute that one was in the works; but what it did not avert is the bloody and often lethal persecution of a whole other group of civilians, that is, African migrant workers targeted because of the color of their skin.

Second, the myth of the African mercenary, as it has been played out, suggests that Gaddafi is totally isolated: it is just him, versus all of the "united" Libyans. Nationalist drama requires a useful myth: "the people united against the dictator." In this case, "Gaddafi is going to kill all the Libyan people" or "the whole of Benghazi" is among the statements that were seized upon by those who would then invoke the "responsibility to protect" (R2P). The sometimes explicitly stated premise is that "no Libyans could do this" (suppress a Libyan revolt with such ferocity). That too is a myth: no dictatorial regime, not even that which you might consider to be the worst in history, has ever lacked a core of support, with supporters often continuing to exist long past the end of the regime itself, sometimes acting to restore it in one form or another. Of course Libyans can "do this," and the only available evidence is that they are. The wider point is that "the nation," in a deeply divided society, is being reinvented around unity, a unity that excludes Gaddafi and "his Africans."

It also bears repeating, and will be substantiated below: no incontrovertible evidence exists that "African mercenaries" have conducted any kind of mass slaughter in Libya, or that they have played any role in the suppression of protests. But evidence does exist of racially-motivated crimes against humanity committed by the insurgents and their supporters against African migrant workers, which thus far have been held beyond the call for investigation and accountability by the "international community." One has to wonder how the results might have been different, had all Libyans been black, and the targeted foreign workers white.

Full article:

author by dubaltg8publication date Tue May 07, 2013 05:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A radio interview with Professor Forte on his new book, Slouching Towards Sirte, NATO's War on Libya and Sirte:

author by Bourgeois Leftypublication date Sat May 11, 2013 11:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

    The book is also very strong in exposing the ideology of the ‘human rights industry’ and its role in bringing about the Libyan war. Western liberal humanitarianism, argues Forte, “can only function by first directly or indirectly creating the suffering of others, and by then seeing every hand as an outstretched hand, pleading or welcoming”.

    Forte goes on to expose the role of groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, who helped perpetuate some of the worst lies about what was happening in Libya, such as the fictitious ‘African mercenaries’ and ‘mass rape’, and who in the case of Amnesty, “mere days into the uprising and well before it had a chance to ascertain, corroborate or confirm any facts on the ground…began launching public accusations against Libya, the African Union and the UNSC for failing to take action”. By calling for an assets freeze on Libya and an arms embargo (“and more actions with each passing day”), Amnesty “thus effectively made itself a party to the conflict”; it had become part of the propaganda war and mythmaking that was designed to facilitate the invasion.

    This should not be surprising given Amnesty’s history. Forte helpfully recalls that their promotion of the infamous “incubator babies” myth that justified the Iraq war of 1991 was later singled out by several US Senators as having influenced their decision to vote for the attack. In the event, the Senate vote was passed by a majority of just six. The 1991 war devastated Iraq, which had barely recovered from the Iran-Iraq war, killing well over 100,000 people, as well as hundreds of thousands more from the diseases that ravaged the country following the deliberate destruction of its water and sewerage systems.

    So it should be little surprise that Suzanne Nossel, a State Department official on Hilary Clinton’s team, was made Executive Director of Amnesty-USA in November 2011. In her State Department job, Nossell had played a key role drawing up the UN Human Rights Council resolution against Libya that ultimately formed the basis for Security Council Resolution 1973 that led to the aggression.

Bears repeating and remembering

author by dubaltg8publication date Sun May 12, 2013 00:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Regarding Amnesty International, Professor Forte writes in his book, Slouching Towards Sirte, NATO's War on Libya and Africa:

On February 23, 2011, mere days into the uprising and well before it had a chance to ascertain, corroborate or confirm any facts on the ground, Amnesty International began launching publc accusations against Libya, the African Union, and the UN Security Council for failing to take action. Even more stunning, given what was described in the previous chapter, was Amnesty’s reinforcement of the “African mercenary” myth that justified and provided cover for the lethal targeting of innocent black African migrants and black Libyans.

“Amnesty International also criticized the response of the African Union to the unfolding crisis, which has seen hundreds killed and persistant reports of mercenaries being brought in from Africa countries by the Libyan leader to violently suppress the protests against him.

“’It is outrageous that the African Union Peace and Security Council has not even met to discuss the emergency taking place in one of its own member states,’ said Salil Shetty.

“Amnesty International called on the African Union to ensure that its member states, particularly those bordering Libya, are not complicit in human rights abuses in Libya.” (AI, 2011/2/23)

Amnesty, in making such specific accusations (echoing the Libyan opposition), in calling for an assets freeze and arms embargo and more actions with each passing day, was essentially representing one side of the conflict, namely the insurgents, adopting their representational strategies, and calling for measures that would benefit them. Amnesty thus effectively made itself party to the conflict.

Yet Amnesty International showed an amazing ability to speak with two voices, or at least, through two faces. This was captured very vividly in a short documentary by Julian Teil, in his interview with Genevieve Garrigos, president of Amnesty International France, on the subject of Amnesty’s repeating the allegations of “Gaddafi forces” employing “African mercenaries.” Garrigos spoke on France24 on February 22, 2011, and clearly said that on February 18 and 19th Amnesty had recieved “information” that the Libyan government had sent in “foreign mercenaries” to fight against the protestors in order to “accelerate the oppressive process.” In this she echoed Dr. Soliman Bouchuiguir and his presentation at the UN Human Rights Council as the representative of the Libyan League for Human Rights, which, as noted above, had overlapping membership with the opposition, and soon to be crowned, National Transitional Council. Within five months, Garrigos took an entirely different position, seemingly forgetting her very own assertions of supposed fact in February 2011. Speaking to Teil, she noted how since the beginning there were “rumours” of “mercenaries” that came from the “anti-Gaddafi forces,” as if speaking as an observer. Garrigos further noted that the accusations were against “dark-coloured people or black people,” who could also have been Libyans. Garrigos then added: “Today we have to admit that we have no evidence that Gaddafi employed mercenary forces,” later continuing, “we have no sign nor evidence to corroborate these rumours.” She repeated that Amnesty’s investigators never found any “mercenaries,” agreeing with Teil’s characterization of their existence as a “legend” spread by the mass media.

Slouching Towards Sirte, NATO's War on Libya and Africa. Pages 249 - 250.

author by dubaltg8publication date Sun May 12, 2013 02:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Forte also quotes Francis A. Boyle, a professor of International Law and former board member of Amnesty USA.

Amnesty International is primarily motivated not by human rights but by publicity. Second comes money. Third comes getting more members. Fourth, internal turf battles. And then finally, human rights, genuine human rights concerns. To be sure, if you are dealing with a human rights situation in a country that is at odds with the United States or Britain, it gets an awful lot of attention, resources, man and womanpower, publicity, you name it, they can throw whatever they want at that. But if it's dealing with violations of human rights by the United States, Britain, Israel, then it's like pulling teeth to get them to really do something on the situation. They might, very reluctantly and after an enormous amount of internal fightings and battles and pressures, you name'll see a pretty good coincidence of the enemies that Amnesty International goes after and the interests of both the United States and British governments. Let's take an older example – apartheid in South Africa under the former criminal regime in South Africa. Amnesty International refused adamantly to condemn apartheid in South Africa. Despite my best efforts while I was on the board, and other board members, they would not do it. They are the only human rights organization in the entire world to have refused to condemn apartheid in South Africa. Now they can give you some cock-and-bull theory about why they wouldn't do this. But the bottom line was that the biggest supporter, economic and political supporter of the criminal apartheid regime in South Africa was the British government, followed by the United States government. And so no matter how hard we tried, no matter what we did, they would not condemn apartheid in South Africa. Now I just mention that as one among many examples.

Slouching Towards Sirte, NATO's War on Libya and Africa. Pages 251-252.

author by dubaltg8publication date Sun May 12, 2013 05:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Regarding the so called UN Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine, Professor Forte writes;

In terms of the failure to protect civilians, in a manner that is actually an international criminal offense, numerous reports revealed how NATO ships ignored the distress calls of refugee boats in the Mediterranean that were fleeing Libya. In May 2011, 61 African refugees died on a single vessel (Shenker, 2011/5/8), despite making contact with vessels belonging to NATO member states. In a repeat of the situation, dozens died in early August 2011 on another vessel (Simpson, 2011/85). In fact, on NATO's watch, at least 1500 refugees fleeing Libya died at sea during the war (Schwarz, 2011/8/13). They were mostly Africans from south of the Sahara, and they died in multiples of the death toll suffered by Benghazi residents during the protests. R2P was utterly absent for these people.

Slouching Towards Sirte, NATO's War on Libya and Africa. Page 260.

author by W. Finnertypublication date Sun May 12, 2013 14:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Reply to by dubaltg8 at Sun May 12, 2013 02:32 ...

I have learned a long time ago that Amnesty International is as corrupt as corrupt could be; and, that its exceptionally corrupt activities involves the Republic of Ireland, in addition to its involvement in corrupt activities relating to the wars in Libya and Africa mentioned in this particular Indymedia (Ireland) Article.

The text in the section below is from a registered letter I sent to former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on December 21st 2002, which heavily involved some particularly revolting, troublesome, and expensive (in more ways than one) behaviour (as I have experienced it) by Amnesty International in connection with some help I sought from them regarding issues which involved criminal unconstitutional legislation, and which has since been used to locate a Greenstar rubbish dump near my home in East County Galway. "Greenstar", before slyly changing their name to cover their tracks after doing "their unconstitutional dirty-work" (in close partnership with government and using large sums of money provided by the banksters), used to be called and known as Celtic Waste.

To date, and despite considerable effort on my part, I never been able to find out what happened to the "CD ROMs" referred to below, or to the REGISTERED LETTER I sent them in to the London Metropolitan Police (which I had insured for £10,000).

Neither have I ever received a penny of the £10,000 the registered letter was insured for: which the London Metropolitan Police say they did not receive (after initially e-mailing me to say they had received it), and, which the UK Post Office INSIST they successfully delivered to the London Metropolitan Police. The Post Office have provided me with a "delivery signature" for the "missing" registered letter in question: which they (the UK Post Office) claim is the signature of a person who worked for the London Metropolitan Police on the day the registered letter in question was delivered to them.

Excerpts from December 21st 2002 Registered letters:

=== === ===

' "Immediately following some lengthy private discussion (involving legal advice) which I had with an experienced judge who works in mainland Europe, I sent a CD ROM containing irrefutable evidence of State corruption to the London address of Amnesty International UK on October 14 2002.

Twelve days later (i.e. October 26 2002), after Amnesty told me they NOT received the CD ROM evidence I sent to them, I then wrote to the London Metropolitan Police Service to request their help. My letter to the Police included two further copies of the CD ROM evidence I had earlier sent to Amnesty International.

The London Metropolitan Police Service has informed me on a number of occasions (by e-mail) that they also did NOT receive the CD ROM evidence I sent in the Royal Mail “Special Delivery” letter I sent to them on October 26 2002.

Copies of the Royal Mail receipts I received for the two letters mentioned above (to Amnesty International and the London Police) can be seen at the following www page address:

On November 15 2002, after having been strung along by a number of vague and evasive replies from Royal Mail personnel regarding the matter, I finally decided to submit a formal insurance claim to Royal Mail for the letter I sent to The London Metropolitan Police Service on October 26 2002 – which was insured for consequential loss of £10,000.

To date, I have not received any insurance payment from Royal Mail; and, I am still finding it extremely difficult to get any information of real substance from them regarding the matter. When I last inquired (some days ago) at the main Shrewsbury Post Office - where the letter to the London Metropolitan Police Service was posted on October 26 last - the lady I sought help from sharply informed me: “We cannot get involved anymore in this matter.” '

=== === ===

The full text of the two e-mail/registered letters dated December 21st 2002, one to former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and one to his wife -- "leading human rights lawyer Cherie Blair" (so referred to in the Main Stream Media around that time) -- together with scanned copies of the associated Post Office receipts, can be viewed at the following www location:

WORTH NOTING (I think?): the first two e-mail addresses in the "Cc:" section of the above mentioned December 21st 2002 e-mail are: and . For all the good their inclusion did me, I would have done just as well -- and possible better maybe!! -- if I had NOT included the two Amnesty International e-mail addresses at all?

It is also the case, that my difficulties (referred to in the above mentioned registered letters dated December 21st 2002) in finding a human rights lawyer to advise and represent me continue: without ANY success whatsoever (to date). More "BIG PICTURE" type information relating to my ongoing needs and efforts to find such a human rights lawyer can be found in the text of the e-mail I sent the day before yesterday (May 10th 2013) to US President Barack Obama (who will soon be in Ireland for the G8 Summit I imagine?) at the following www location:

As can be seen at the www address just above, Republic of Ireland Chief Justice Susan Denham was one of a number of senior lawyers and politicians that my May 10th 2013 e-mail to President Obama was copied to.

Allowing for all the years the "public servants" (so called) concerned with my situation, have thus far managed to keep all of the extremely serious government crime I have reported to them so well hidden from the viewpoint of the "general public" ("the people" of the various nations involved, in other words), despite the fact that it involves a vast array of TREASONOUSLY CRIMINAL unconstitutional activities -- including copious amounts of unconstitutional legislation, both in the Republic of Ireland and in the Republic of the United States of America -- it looks like "they" (the "ruling-elite participating and supporting" politicians, lawyers, clergy, medical doctors, social workers, advocates, human rights representatives, and so on) may be able to succeed with their ongoing "heads in the sand", "hear no GOVERNMENT evil, see no GOVERNMENT evil" approach INDEFINITELY? And, to do so with the FULL knowledge, approval, and the unflagging support, of Amnesty International: who have been kept regularly updated (by me) throughout the years since 2002.

Please see the list ("Amnesty International, government corruption, crime, cover ups, impunity, William Finnerty") available via the following link:

Please also see ("Unconstitutional Legislation, Republic of Ireland, United States, Banksters, William Finnerty"):

Related Link:
Amnesty, Missing DVDs, William Finnerty ...

author by dubaltg8publication date Mon May 13, 2013 09:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just as in Libya, in the lead up to the first war against Iraq in 1991, Amnesty International chose sensationalism first, endorsing the infamous, fabricated stories of Iraqi troops dashing babies from incubators to the floors of hospitals in Kuwait. Amnesty International UK was hell bent on publishing the report of incubator babies, placing it, "on the fast track, they were ramming it through. They didn’t care” (Boyle & Bernstein, 2002). As Boyle pointed out, Amnesty simply refused to acknowledge any error, with dire consequences for Iraq: “They then put the report out, and you know what a terrible impact that had in terms of war propaganda. Of the six votes in the United States Senate that passed the resolution to go to war, several of those senators said that they were influenced by the Amnesty report” (Boyle & Bernstein, 2002).

If there seems to be just a coincidence between the states that Amnesty International prefers to investigate and criticize, and those that are chosen as enemies by the US and UK, it might be a by-product of the revolving door between Amnesty International USA and the US State Department. Or it might be indicative of an amicable relationship that such an exchange of personnel can occur. In November 2011, Amnesty International USA announced that it had selected Suzanne Nossel as its new Executive Director (AI, 2011/11/17). From August 2009 to November 2011, Suzanne Nossel was the US State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Organization Affairs. As Amnesty further pointed out, in her capacity as Deputy Assistant Secretary under Hillary Clinton, “Nossel played a leading role in US engagement at the UN Human Rights Council, including the initiation of human rights resolutions on Iran, Syria, Libya, Cote d’Ivoire.” Moreover, she had previously served as the Chief Operating Officer of Human Rights Watch, which shows the spread of the network of connections, overlaps and convergences between elements of the government-human rights consortium. Last but not least, Nossel also worked for a business consultancy, McKinsey and Co. In her new capacity at Amnesty USA, Nossel has taken to writing columns pushing for regime change in Syria. She appears to have little concern for the “human rights” outcome of a fractured state and escalating civil war, while absolutely gloating about the treatment Libya received at the UN (Nossel, 2012/2/10).

Slouching Towards Sirte, NATO's War on Libya and Africa. Pages 252 - 253.

Related Link:
author by dubaltg8publication date Mon May 13, 2013 10:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Where was Amnesty International when Obama & Co. were causing 1500 Black people to be drowned in the Mediterranean sea - as they tried to flee the racist Holocaust Obama had started in Libya?

Related Link:
author by dubaltg8publication date Mon May 13, 2013 20:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The majority of the North American and European left – reconditioned, accommodating, and fearful – played a supporting role by making substantial room for the dominant US narrative and its military policies. Even here self-described anti-imperialists and Marxists conceded ground to the State Department which would then be used to amass support for intervention: Gaddafi, in their view, was a dictator, even a collaborator of the West, he should not be defended, and he had to go. They thus agreed to make an issue out of Gaddafi, not empire. The left joined the choir, and the State Department pointed to the choir in justifying the idea that “the international community” was speaking with one voice against Gaddafi.

Other supposed anti-imperialists and “leftists” (including some Marxists, anarchists, and social democrats) even backed the military intervention to “save Benghazi.” In both approaches, the US and other NATO political and military leaderships would benefit from what was at the very least half-praise from supposed ideological opponents at home. These approaches were derided by Latin American socialists, Pan Africanists and African nationalists alike, who were the only real bastions of anti-imperialism in this entire story.

The “neither-nor” a la carte attitude – neither supporting Gaddafi nor supporting NATO (with some exceptions to the latter) – with prompt denunciations of “Stalinism,” paid scarce attention to who stood up against US and NATO intervention in Libya: it was not Benghazi, which played an active role in legitimating and boosting the makeover of the US reputation among Arabs.

Turning a blind eye to Sirte, and a racist blind eye to the plight of black Libyans and other black Africans at the hands of the insurgents, the European and North American left did nothing to oppose imperialism. They have suffered an irreparable loss if international credibility while cementing a North-South dividing line among socialists. It seems that the left of the global North bought into the dominant US self-image of being a “force for dignity,” fearful that its status would be imperilled by seeming to support “dictators” and being aligned with “Stalinists.” (They were quick to adopt the cherished epithets of the very same “neocons” that they claimed to loathe.) Instead, they effectively opted for the imperialism and for the global dictatorship of the US, with far more blood on its hands than any number of such “dictators” combined.

In denouncing Gaddafi, just as the US was gearing up to depose him, they legitimated the position that Gaddafi’s leadership was somehow the root or the pivot of the intervention, thereby inevitably even if indirectly, supporting regime change. They spoke as if all political systems must be identical to ours to be deemed democratic. They treated us to jejune formulas, with fatuous warnings to “Gaddafi supporters”: “the enemy of your enemy is not your friend.” Somehow, they failed to heed their own warning as they embraced the “valiant revolutionaries” of Benghazi, paying heed to neither their racist outrages nor the presence of Islamic reactionaries.

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