Monday, March 28, 2011

The hypocrisy of governments that let protesters be murdered in Bahrain while talking of the responsibility to protect and freedom to protest in Libya

There is a stench of utter hypocrisy and double standards emanating from the British, French, Canadian and US governments on the murder of unarmed protesters by dictatorships in the Arab revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa. We know that in Bahrain the dictatorship’s forces have been murdering unarmed protesters and medical staff trying to treat them, just as Gaddafi’s forces have in Libya. Yet British Foreign Minister William Hague claims that Libya and Bahrain are “qualitatively different” because the King of Bahrain has offered dialogue with the protesters. Hague said that ““Yes Bahrain is a different case from Libya, it’s clearly a different case…In Bahrain the Government has offered a national dialogue to the opposition forces, they have offered a referendum on a constitution, you don’t see Colonel Gaddafi offering a referendum on a future constitution.” (1)

You miss out, William, that, as with Gaddafi’s government (which has also repeatedly offered “dialogue” or negotiations with the rebels) this was while the King of Bahrain was (and is) still having unarmed protesters and medical staff killed and using riot police to beat up hospital staff and to prevent wounded protesters getting treated (2) – (3). So Bahrain is not one tiny bit different from Libya, other than the failure of hypocrites like you, Clinton and Obama to do anything to stop murder by a dictatorship there or in Yemen or Oman or Egypt (and soon likely in Saudi).

The US Fifth Fleet is stationed in Bahrain within sight of the Pearl Roundabout where most of the killings have taken place. Obama or Clinton could easily have asked UN Security Council authorisation to put some marines in to protect the protesters from the police and military (4). Have they? Have they fuck. That and similar mass murder by government forces in Yemen and Oman has gone without anything but empty words from Clinton and Hague about “deep concern” and how “both sides should show restraint” (as if unarmed protesters and the armed people murdering them are equally responsible for their deaths) (5) – (6).

Clinton claimed that “We’re particularly concerned about increasing reports of provocative acts and sectarian violence by all groups.”  (7). What “sectarian violence by all groups”? Sunni and Shia protesters demonstrated against a dictatorship together – and Bahraini police and soldiers killed them. That simple. So could you and William see your ways to please stop lying through your teeth please Hillary? Or have you become two more conscience-less robots, for whom truth is whatever suits the most powerful at the time?

So all the talk about the Libyan intervention showing that the “responsibility to protect” principles (developed by an expert panel for the UN in 2001) have finally been taken seriously and enforced is bollocks (8). The US and it’s allies are intervening where regime change would suit them (Libya, with the world’s tenth largest oil reserves and a government that haggles too much on it’s share of oil profits) while not even threatening to intervene where it’s allies are murdering protesters and medical staff. It’s business as usual.

I completely support the ‘responsibility to protect’ principles under which a government’s sovereignty is not absolute but depends on it protecting the lives and welfare of it’s people by providing basic services, disaster relief and not massacring them (9). If it fails in any of these ways or does target it’s own people, other governments are justified in intervening to help them. What we have so far is just the usual opportunism though – applying the principle where it suits big business and governments’ interests and not bothering where it doesn’t.

When an actual Rwanda or Bosnia takes place - or the slow motion ethnic cleansing by air and artillery strike in Gaza and the West Bank, there is no interest in intervention from the “international community” states led by the US. There’s no interest from them in humanitarian intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo either as long as the massacres, torture and gang rape of civilians, as well as their use as slave labour for mining by militias trading with multinational firms in the Democratic Republic of continue to make big profits for US and European based multinational companies doing deals with those militias – as they have for decades now (10) – (11).

 (To be fair in Bosnia the US did eventually intervene from the air, after spending several years blocking UN action to ensure the UN looked useless and the US-led NATO had a role. Their Croat allies ethnically cleansed thousands of Serbs from the Krajiina region in the final offensive that ended the war, backed by NATO air forces. The US ambassador to Croatia at least came out of it with some credit – he drove with a convoy of Serb civilians to try to stop Croat attacks on them (12) – (13)).

When the Israelis killed a thousand Palestinians – over 700 of them civilians often in deliberate targeting of civilians and ambulances – in a few weeks in December 2008 to January 2009, as revenge for the death of one Israeli civilian killed in rocket attacks before the offensive, by a Palestinian terrorist group, the US and British governments responded, as they had during Israeli bombing of the whole of Lebanon in 2006, in which ambulances and civilians were again targeted, by refusing to back a UN Security Council resolution calling for an end to the assaults. In the Lebanon war they were even sending the Israeli military plane loads of extra bombs to drop on those ambulances and civilians, in case they ran out (14) – (17).

Craig Murray and Democracy Now report Clinton also showed her hypocrisy by smirking as her security detail dragged ‘Veterans for Peace’ member McGovern out of a press conference for making a silent protest by standing up with his back to her while wearing a ‘Veterans for Peace’ t-shirt (you can see this part on CNN) (18). Clinton’s heavies then beat McGovern up. Clinton was making a speech railing against Gaddafi’s oppression of the Libyan people – including his refusal to give them the right to free speech and the right to protest peacefully. She may not have had McGovern shot by snipers, but her actions don’t exactly show her as a great defender of free speech either.

 (1) = Foreign and Commonwealth Office 20 Mar 2011 ‘UN intervention in Libya: Foreign Secretary on BBC Radio 5’,

(2) = Bloomberg 21 Feb 2011 ‘Libya Violence Deepens as Protestors Claim Control of Second-Largest City’,

(3) Haaretz (Israel) 07 Mar 2011 ‘Gadhafi regime offers olive branch to rebels while fighting to regain control over east Libya’,

(4) = Al Jazeera 20 Feb 2011 ‘Bahrain protesters remain in square’,

(5) = Amnesty International 18 Mar 2011 ‘Yemeni authorities must act over sniper killings of protesters’,

(6) = William Hague MP, Hansard 17th Feb 2011 , ‘We urge all sides to avoid violence and for the police to exercise restraint. The Bahraini Government should move quickly to carry out their commitment to a transparent investigation into earlier deaths, and extend that to include today's events and any alleged human rights abuses.

I also said to the Foreign Minister that this is a time to build bridges between the different religious communities in Bahrain. I said that we would strongly oppose any interference in the affairs of Bahrain by other nations or any action to inflame sectarian tensions between Bahrain's Sunni and Shi'a communities. We recognise that Bahrain has made important political reforms alongside its growing economic success. We strongly welcome such steps within the context of the long friendship between Bahrain and the UK under successive Governments. I was assured in Bahrain last week and again this morning that the Bahraini Government intend to build on these reforms

(7) = US Department of State – Remarks by Sec. of State Clinton – Remarks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Al-Araby 15 March 2011 ‘Remarks With Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Araby’,

(8) = LA Times 28 Feb 2011 ‘Clinton denounces Kadafi, calls on leader of Libya to step down’,

(9) = International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty Dec 2001 ‘The Responsibility to Protect’,

(10) = Human Rights Watch 01 Jun 2005 ‘D.R. Congo: Gold Fuels Massive Human Rights Atrocities’,

(11) = Guardian 22 Oct 2002 ‘Multinationals in scramble for Congo's wealth’,

(12) = NYT 13 Oct 2002 ‘America's For-Profit Secret Army’,

(13) Human Rights Watch 1996 Annual Report – Croatia,

(14) = See sources numbered (21) to (45) on the link below on Israeli forces targeting civilians in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank,

(15) = Human Rights Watch 13 Aug 2009 ‘White Flag Deaths  - Killings of Palestinian Civilians during Operation Cast Lead’,

(16) = Amnesty International 02 Jul 2009 ‘Israel/Gaza: Operation "Cast Lead": 22 days of death and destruction’,

(17) = BBC News 27 Jul 2006 ‘Beckett protest at weapons flight’,

(18) = CNN 15 Feb 2011 ‘During a speech about internet freedom, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is interrupted by a heckler’,

Time for peace negotiations in Libya - country wide airstrikes and an offensive on Tripoli will kill civilians, not protect them

The bombing in Libya was justified under UN Resolution 1973 in targeting tanks and artillery which were shelling Benghazi. It is not justified if it continues to bomb the entire country long after anti-aircraft batteries have been destroyed, nor is it justified in targeting non-military targets (such as Gaddafi’s compound in Tripoli) nor in supporting rebel assaults on towns or cities held by Gaddafi’s forces, as this will kill as many civilians through “collateral damage” from bombing as would be killed by artillery and tank shelling. The repeated bombing of Tripoli which has taken place despite the fact there is no fighting on the ground is not authorised by the UN resolution for the same reason – it is likely to be killing civilians, not protecting them (1) – (5).

Cameron and Sarkozy have made a great deal of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 authorising the use of “all necessary means” (i.e military force), while largely ignoring the “to protect civilians” part of the same sentence.This has a lot to do with the very poor poll ratings and high unemployment both politicians have in their own countries. Cameron would dearly like to repeat Margaret Thatcher’s Falklands ‘patriotic war’ bounce back by moving the media’s focus to foreign policy.

This explains his government’s claim that attempting a re-run of Reagan’s 1986 attempt to assassinate Gaddafi by airstrike (actually managing to killed a very young girl – Gaddafi’s adopted daughter - along with dozens of other people and hit the Austrian, Swiss and French embassies) would be within the remit of the UN resolution to “protect civilians” as Gaddafi has ordered the killing of unarmed protesters (6) – (8). It would not, because, as with the 1986 strike, it would be likely to kill civilians in large numbers itself. It already seems to have been attempted in an air-strike on an “administrative building” or “Gaddafi compound” in Tripoli (9). The likelihood is that, as in 1986, civilians will have been killed. (Some people claim that the girl killed in the 1986 strikes was only posthumously adopted as Gaddafi’s “daughter” for propaganda purposes. Even they admit that the strikes killed civilians including children though. The same people – the badly mis-named ‘Accuracy in Media’ also use the neo-con rag ‘The Weekly Standard’ as a source on Iraqi WMDs though. The Weekly Standard is so unable to separate what it wants to believe from rational thought that it once simultaneously claimed both that former CIA head George Tenet was a proven liar and that a book he wrote proved Saddam had WMDs and links to Al Qa’ida – a considerable feat of doublethink) (10) – (13).

British Armed Forces Minister Nick Harvey and others have even suggested the possibility if deploying ground troops, claiming that if it wasn’t “a large deployment” it wouldn’t breach the Resolution. In fact the resolution clearly states that it involves “excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory” from “all necessary means”. Those suggesting the “necessity” for ground troops also ignore the fact that even the rebels say they would fight them “with more force than we are using against Gaddafi” if they are deployed - in order to avoid being occupied like Iraq or Afghanistan (14) – (15).

Not sending in ground troops will prevent an Iraq 2003 style war (though it still risks a long civil war if fighting continues – and even if Gaddafi is overthrown), but that still leaves the possibility of an Iraq 1991 – 2002 style air war in which tens of thousands of civilians are killed directly by bombing and hundreds of thousands killed by the indirect effects of it (e.g damage to water and sewage systems) (16) – (17).

Suggestions reported by Al Jazeera from some NATO governments that their takeover of the air campaign in Libya could involve preventing either side assaulting towns held by the other are welcome and – unlike some current strikes – would be enforcing the UN resolution by preventing civilian casualties, not going beyond it in a war of regime change.

These suggestions presumably come from the Turkish government, since the French and British have been following the opposite course – trying to “break the stalemate’ by supporting rebel offensives on Gaddafi held towns or those containing the forces of both sides (18).

While we know Gaddafi is a dictator and would very likely have killed or disappeared much of the population of Benghazi if he’d captured it, we know very little of the rebels, their past, their aims, who they are and who is funding and backing them. Gaddafi has the support of at the least a large minority of the population in the West and there is no guarantee that the rebels taking Tripoli would kill less people than Gaddafi would have if he’d taken Benghazi – especially if it involves air strikes.

We know from Kosovo, from Afghanistan and from Iraq that US and NATO air strikes are as likely to kill civilians as anyone else’s air or artillery strikes are. Given that the US military’s default line on air strikes killing civilians in Afghanistan being blanket denial (followed, months later, by admitting to killing half the number of civilians they actually did), the claims by NATO governments not to have killed any civilians in airstrikes in Libya are likely to be equally hollow (19) – (21).

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates claim that Gaddafi’s forces are killing civilians then moving their bodies about to pretend they were killed by air strikes is as ridiculous as his similar (and comprehensively disproven) claims on air strikes in Afghanistan and the Taliban in 2009.

The best outcome for avoiding civilian deaths would be a negotiated peace with an agreement that Benghazi and other rebel held towns will become a de facto autonomous zone like the Kurdish North in Iraq after the 1991 war and no fly zone, while Gaddafi will be left control of the rest. Both sides could agree not to attack the other and a UN air force (preferably including Turkish and Russian planes so both sides can trust it) will patrol it and order any  armed forces moving towards towns held by the other side to turn back or be bombed.

As long as fighting continues hundreds of thousands of stranded migrant workers and people in disputed cities will also continue to suffer from lack of food, water and medicines and many wounded who could have been saved if treated, will die. A ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid in has to be a priority.

Peace negotiations could involve negotiating Gaddafi standing down and going into exile, before further negotiations on a transition to democracy without further fighting and loss of lives

(1) = UN Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011),

(2) = Channel 4 News 21 Mar 2011 ‘Libya: Gaddafi’s air defences ‘knocked out’’,

(3) = Reuters 28 Mar 2011 ‘Aided by air strikes, Libya's rebels push west’,

(4) = MSNBC 21 Mar 2011 ‘Blasts, anti-aircraft fire rock Tripoli’,

(5) = Sky News 22 Mar 2011 ‘Explosions Rock Tripoli For Third Night’,

(6) = Guardian 22 Mar 2011 ‘Is Muammar Gaddafi a target? PM and military split over war aims’,

(7) = Bovard, James (2003) ‘Terrorism and Tyranny’, Palgrave-MacMillan, NY,2003, Chapter 2, pages 24-26

(8) = Geoff Simons (2003) ‘Libya and the West’ Center for Libyan Studies, Oxford, UK, 2003,Chapter 7, pages 131-134 of hardback edition

(9) = See (3) and (4) above

(10) = Accuracy in Media 22 Feb 2011 ‘NBC’s Mitchell Regurgitates Gaddafi Lies’,

(11) = Accuracy in Media 28 Feb 2006 ‘Where are the WMD?’,

(12) = Weekly Standard 29 April 2007 ‘"George Tenet's Imaginary Encounter... With Richard Perle. by William Kristol"’,

(13) = Weekly Standard 01 May 2007 ‘"More Than Enough Evidence" What George Tenet really says about Saddam's Iraq and al Qaeda. by Thomas Joscelyn"’,

(14) = Guardian News Blog 22 Mar 2011 ‘Libya: air strikes continue live updates’, 11.09 am, colleague Sam Jones writes that armed forces minister Nick Harvey has refused to rule out the deployment of British ground troops in Libya. But he did stress that there was a huge difference between a limited intervention and a full-scale occupation force, which is banned under the terms of the UN mandate. Asked whether British ground troops could be deployed in a defensive role to protect civilians, the armed forces minister did not discount the possibility, although he said he did not believe that any deployment would be on a "significant scale". He told BBC1's Breakfast programme: "I don't think we would at this stage rule anything in or rule anything out but I agree with the distinction that you draw between landing an occupying force and the use of anybody on the ground."

(15) = See (1) above

(16) = Bennis , Phyllis & Moushabeck  , Michael (Editors) (1992)  ‘Beyond the Storm’  ; Canongate Press , London , 1992, p326 – 355

(17) = Lee , Ian (1991) ‘Continuing Health Costs of the Gulf War’, Medical Educational Trust , London , 1991

(18) = See (3) above

(19) = HRW 26 Oct 2001 ‘Under Orders : War Crimes in Kosovo’,

(20) = BBC News 01 Jan 1999 ‘Nato's bombing blunders’,

(21) = Phillip Knightley (2000) ‘The First Casualty’, Prion Books Limited, London, 2000, Chapter 20 is on the Kosovo war and propaganda and NATO war crimes in it in general; pages 516-517, on bombing of Chinese and Indian embassies in Belgrade by NATO after they’d criticised NATO’s air war – and given NATO the addresses of their embassies at it’s request, supposedly to ensure they wouldn’t be hit

Gates recycles disproven Afghan war air strike propaganda for bombing of Libya

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has claimed that in Libya “The truth of the matter is we have trouble coming up with proof of any civilian casualties that we have been responsible for…But we do have a lot of intelligence reporting about Qaddafi taking the bodies of the people he's killed and putting them at the sites where we've attacked.” (1)

There’s just one slight problem with this ridiculous propaganda – Gates used exactly the same propaganda line in 2009 after repeated US air strikes killed around 70 civilians in the Bala Baluk area of Farah Province in Afghanistan.

In 2009 it was reported that “A claim by American officials, which was repeated by the US Defence Secretary Robert Gates yesterday in Kabul, that the Taliban might have killed people with grenades because they did not pay an opium tax is not supported by any eyewitnesses and is disproved by pictures of deep bomb craters, one of which is filled with water.” (2)

Gates’ story was also found to be untrue by investigations on the ground by the International Committee of the Red Cross, by Human Rights Watch and by the Afghan Human Rights Commission and Gates was later forced to admit it was untrue. A US military cover up “investigation” that concluded only 25 to 30 civilians were killed used such stringent methodology as counting a grave in which a mother and child were buried as one person (3) – (6).

So claims that no air strikes in Libya have killed any civilians are unlikely to be any more true than in Afghanistan and if you want “the truth of the matter”, don’t take the word of Robert Gates or the US military any more than Gaddafi or his spokesmen.

(1) = CBS 27 Mar 2011 ‘Gates: Qaddafi losing ground in Libya’,

(2) = Independent 08 May 2009 ‘Afghans riot over air-strike atrocity’,

(3) = ICRC 06 May 2009 ‘Afghanistan: ICRC confirms dozens killed in air strikes’,

(4) = Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission 26 May 2009 ‘Press release:Balabolook incident’,

(5) = Human Rights Watch 14 May 2009 ‘Afghanistan: US Should Act to End Bombing Tragedies  : Civilian Death Toll in May 3 Airstrikes Shows Previous Measures Inadequate’,

(6) = Dispatches – Afghanistan’s Dirty War, Channel 4 News (UK) 12 Jun 2009, Afghanistan's Dirty War,

Iraq style sanctions on Libya - planned or already in place?

Some NATO country politicians have called for Iraq style sanctions on Libya through an “oil for food” programme of the kind that was imposed on Iraq from 1991 to 2003, leading to the resignations of UN officials Dennis Halliday and Hans Von Sponeck due to the huge numbers of civilians killed by it due to lack of food and medical supplies. Defecting Libyan diplomats have told them in no uncertain terms that there is no need for that and they don’t want it (1) – (2).

Colum Lynch of Foreign Policy magazine reports that according to former UK Foreign Office official Carne Ross and other experts even the sanctions already implemented may have similar effects to the Iraq oil for food programme – particularly the Asset freeze on the Libyan Central Bank, the Libyan Investment Authority, Libya's sovereign wealth fund, and the Libyan National Oil Corporation. These will make it very hard for Libya to export oil – and the vast majority of Libya’s national income comes from oil exports. In the long term, if the sanctions continue, that means ordinary Libyans suffering food and medicine shortages the way Iraqis did - and many dying as a result. (3).

So UN Security Council resolution 1973 contradicts itself by authorising economic warfare which will result in huge numbers of civilian deaths if continued in the long term, while authorising military intervention by air to protect civilians from military attack (4).

(1) = Reuters 09 Mar 2011 ‘U.N. split on Libya no-fly zone; oil escrow mulled’,

(2) = Guardian 29 Nov 2001 ‘The hostage nation : Former UN relief chiefs Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday speak out against an attack on Iraq’,,,608578,00.html

(3) = Foreign Policy 23 Mar 2011 ‘Is a Libyan oil-for-food program on the way?’,

(4) = UN Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011),

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Racism, sexism and religious sectarianism are problems for all democracries - not just for Arab democratisation

There are also some serious problems coming from some of the opponents of the dictatorship, who don’t seem that keen on democracy being extended to women or Coptic Christians. Women protesting for equal rights in Tahrir Square were threatened, shouted down and told that this was the “wrong time” to discuss equality for women and that their demands were “against Islam”, while days earlier 12 people were killed in fighting between Muslims and Coptic Christians in Cairo (1) – (2).

In Libya both sides have attacked migrant workers, Gaddafi’s people attacking them as suspected “foreign agents” while some rebels and protesters attack them as suspected “foreign mercenaries” (3) – (4) This is part of a long history of racist attacks on migrant workers in riots in Libya – for instance in September 2000 around a dozen migrant workers were killed in rioting against them by Libyans (though rioters attacking black migrant workers with guns, iron bars and cars in Italy is not unknown either) (5) – (6).

However, looking at the history of other democracies, this is not unusual. There were riots attacking blacks by whites and lynchings of black people in the North of America during the American Civil War when Lincoln announced black units would be fighting alongside white ones in the Union army; and it was a century later before desegregation in the Southern states (7). Democratisation is slow, difficult and uneven. It can take decades and centuries, not just months – and the process can slip backwards or be reversed as well as going forwards. So these are no reasons to think that Arab countries can’t become democracies too, apart from the fact that many protesters believe the dictatorship’s secret police may have been stirring up trouble between different groups.

(1) = Christian Science Monitor 08 Mar 2011 ‘In Egypt's Tahrir Square, women attacked at rally on International Women's Day’,

(2) = 09 Mar 2011 ‘Muslim-Christian clashes in Cairo leave 11 dead’,

(3) = Human Rights Watch 26 Feb 2011 ‘Libya: Security Forces Fire on Protesters in Western City’,

(4) = Al Jazeera English 28 Feb 2011 ‘African migrants targeted in Libya’,

(5) =Ronald Bruce St. John (2008) ‘Libya : From Colony to Independence’, Oneworld publications, Oxford, UK, 2008, p 228 of paperback edition

(6) =Human Rights Watch 04 Feb 2010 ‘Italy: Speed Investigations of Rosarno Attacks’,

(7) = Leslie M. Harris (2003) ‘In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863

US and its allies continue to try to limit democratisation, not help it along

You may have got the impression that Egyptians are on the road to their first democratic elections now. Unfortunately there’s no guarantee that that’s going to happen. In fact the army are still co-operating with the dictatorship to try to crush any resistance and any demands for a transition to power sharing with the opposition before elections. When the focus of most of the media shifted to Libya the Egyptian army took the opportunity to clear Tahrir Square by shooting into the air, beating protesters and tasering them (1). When Egyptian protesters raided an Interior Ministry building to get files on who had been involved in torture,  Suleiman and the army responded the next day by shooting above their heads to keep them out, while also employing the plain clothes thugs stabbing people, attacking them with machetes and iron bars and throwing bricks – the same tactics used by Mubarak in the past (2) – (4).

None of this stops the US military aid flowing or Cameron from continuing to arm the Egyptian dictatorship. The Obama administration have never once even verbally backed the protesters against the dictatorship in their demands for a transition to a National Unity government including the opposition parties.

The Egyptian SSI secret police and their Tunisian equivalent have formally been abolished by court order (5) – (6). There remains the possibility that they will turn up under a different name, just as they did in Iraq. Bush claimed that “the torture chambers and the secret police are gone forever” in his speech on the capture of Saddam (7).Yet Iraqis still face US trained police commandos and “counter terrorism unit” death squads using the same methods as Saddam’s forces, including pulling out nails with pliers, rape and electrocution (8) – (10).

The democratically elected Iraqi government also initially had unarmed demonstrators shot dead by the dozen when they protested against it recently, just like the dictatorships have. The killings have not been on the same scale as in Egypt or Libya so far and shooting protesters seems to have stopped for now, but they show Iraq after “regime change” is far from fully democratic. The Iraqi government has also used the tactics of Mubarak and his successors – hiring civilian thugs or plain clothes police to attack anti-government protesters with beatings, knives and bricks (11 – (13). So Iraq as a lot further from real democracy than Blair or Bush or their blind disciples would have you believe.

In Bahrain the country’s own military and police and Saudi and UAE troops are targeting protesters and medical staff with live fire, snipers and helicopters – just the same as Gaddafi’s forces have done in Libya, but with no calls for the Emir of Bahrain or the King of Saudi to be tried by the International Criminal Court.

This underlines the fact that western governments oppose Gaddafi’s dictatorship in Libya for the same reason they opposed Saddam’s – it doesn’t give them the profits and military bases they want from it. Most of the governments who are against any kind of intervention in Libya have motives just as selfish. Italy gets over 30% of it’s energy from Libya. Russia and China are in talks with Gaddafi on replacing former British, American and French oil and arms contracts with ones for their own companies.

The Libyan rebels are in the sad position of having no-one but foreign governments and militaries to call on for assistance if they want to avoid defeat. For that reason I’m for giving them the assistance they ask for – but make no mistake, the governments calling for intervention are not doing so for democracy or to save lives – and their involvement in Libya would be a double edged sword for the majority of Libyans.

Even in Tunisia and Egypt it’s a long way from decided whether they’ll end up democracies or new dictatorships or one party states. We know that with Ben Ali’s RCD party disbanded by court order and Ben Ali’s former Prime Minister Mohammed Gannouchi having been forced to resign by further protests, the US and French governments are seeking to ensure that prominent members of the RCD are absorbed into a new “centrist” party in order to attempt to ensure some continuity with the previous system (14) – (16). So, while this brings Tunisa closer to democratisation than Egypt, as in Egypt with US backing for Mubarak’s appointed successor Suleiman, the Obama administration’s priority is not to support democratisation, but to limit it.

The best that can be said of this is that past transitions to democracy, like those in Spain and Portugal in the 1970s, show that partial transitions to democracy in which members of the previous regime retain some influence, are more likely to succeed as the previous regime have less motive to carry out a counter-coup.

 (1) = Reuters/Guardian 26 Feb 2011 ‘Protesters say Egypt military used force to disperse them’,

(2) = 07 Mar 2011 ‘Egyptians prise open secrets of Hosni Mubarak's state security headquarter’,

(3) = Al Jazeera Egypt Live Blog 6 Mar 2011,

(4) = AFP 15 Mar 2011 ‘Egypt minister disbands feared security police’, ; Protesters stormed several state security buildings early this month to retrieve files kept on the population by the powerful regime apparatus long accused of human rights abuses. In one incident, hundreds of protesters outside the state security headquarters in Cairo were attacked by armed civilians, as the army fired warning shots and used sticks to disperse the crowd, prompting Washington to voice its concern.

(5) = AFP 15 Mar 2011 ‘Egypt minister disbands feared security police’,

(6) = 07 Mar 2011 ‘Tunisia dissolves secret police to meet key demand of protesters’,

(7) = White House – Office of the Press Secretary 14 Dec 2003 ‘President Bush Addresses Nation on the Capture of Saddam Hussein’,

(8) = New York Times Magazine 01 May 2005 ‘The Way of the Commandos’,

(9) = Shane Bauer ‘Iraq’s new death squad’ in The Nation 6th June 2009,

(10) = Amnesty International World Report 2010 (covering 2009) – Country Report Iraq, ;(once pdf loads, scroll down to page 125 (by PDF page number) or 178 (number marked on page); ‘Iraqi security forces committed gross human rights violations including extrajudicial executions, torture...and did so largely with impunity....Torture methods reported included beatings with cables and hosepipes, suspension by the limbs for long periods...electric shocks to the genitals...breaking of limbs, removal of toenails with pliers and piercing the body with drills. Some detainees were alleged to have been raped….In May inmates of the womens’ prison in al Kadhimiya told members of the parliament’s human rights committee that they had been raped while held in prison or detained elsewhere’

(11) = AP 25 Feb 2011 ‘12 killed as Iraqis protest in 'Day of Rage'’,

(12) = 04 Mar 2011 ‘Baghdad protesters converge on Liberation Square’, ; Security forces around Iraq clashed with protesters last Friday in the country's most widespread and violent demonstrations since a wave of unrest began to spread across the Middle East. At least 14 people were killed

(13) = HRW 25 Feb 2011 ‘Iraq: Open Immediate Inquiry Into Protester Deaths’,

(14) = 09 Mar 2011 ‘Tunisia dissolves ousted president's party’,

(15) = 27 Feb 2011 ‘Tunisian prime minister Mohamed Ghannouchi resigns amid unrest’,

(16) = 27 Feb 2011 ‘Tunisians know Ben Ali was not democracy's only block’, ; ‘France and the US are thought to be pressing for the formation of a new centre party that will absorb leading members of the old ruling party, the RCD, and provide a good candidate for the presidency.

In Bahrain as in Libya unarmed protesters and medical staff are being killed with helicopters, live fire and snipers

Bahrain’s military and police, along with Saudi and UAE troops are now doing everything Gaddafi’s forces have been condemned for. They are killing unarmed protesters using ground forces and helicopters, as well as firing at medics, seizing ambulances and using them to attack protesters ; and preventing doctors treating the wounded and using snipers to stop the wounded or doctors getting into hospitals. They are also occupying hospitals and beating doctors and nurses there, resulting in the deaths of wounded patients who haven’t been treated as a result. Snipers have been killing protesters in Bahrain for weeks now. The only reaction from the Obama administration is to tell the King of Bahrain that he should show more “restraint” and claims that the US government is “deeply concerned”. Similar actions by Gaddafis forces in Libya warranted reference to the International Criminal Court and talk of military intervention from the air (1) – (6). Hilary Clinton has even ludicrously suggested that Saudi forces sent into Bahrain to help crush the protests “should be used to promote dialogue” (7).

Amnesty International reports that even in earlier incidentsDr Hani Mowafi, a US medical doctor who was part of the Amnesty International team, found a pattern of fatal and serious injuries during February’s violence showing that the security forces used live ammunition at close range, and apparently targeted protesters’ heads, chests and abdomens. They also fired medium-to-large calibre bullets from high-powered rifles on 18 February. The worst violence before today took place early on the morning of 17 February, when five people were killed. Witnesses told Amnesty International that, in scenes that would be repeated on 16 March, tanks blocked access to the Pearl Roundabout as police used shotguns as well as tear gas, batons and rubber bullets to disperse protesters, many of whom were camping there. Among the injured were people clearly identifiable as medical workers, who were targeted by police while trying to help wounded protesters at or near the roundabout.” (8)

If western governments are to have any credibility they must condemn these attacks on civilians and medical staff as much as they have those by Gaddafi’s forces in Libya, end all provision of arms and ‘crowd control’ devices to these governments and consider military intervention in Bahrain too if necessary.

Clinton has also described the attacks on the protesters as “sectarian violence” as if this was a matter of equally armed Sunnis and Shia fighting one another (9). This is nonsense, just as it was in Iraq. This is democracy protesters (Sunni and Shia) against a dictatorship. While some of the wealthier Sunnis back the dictatorship this is merely to preserve their own jobs from competition with the majority. In Iraq similarly some Shias were loosely allied to the US and Iranian governments (the SCIRI faction of mostly wealthier shia) while others – the Sadrists who represented most of the poorer Shia – demanded an immediate end to the occupation. When Sadr was targeted by US forces during what were meant to be peace negotiations he fled to Iran and accepted Iranian support. In Iraq too US forces promoted divisions between Sunnis and Shia in order to try to focus them on fighting one another rather than Coalition forces.

(1) = 16 Mar 2011 ‘Bahrain unleashes forces on protesters' camp’, ; Military troops have opened a large-scale assault against hundreds of anti-government protesters occupying a landmark square in Bahrain's capital. At least two protesters and three policemen were reported to have been killed, and hundreds injured when riot police overran Pearl roundabout, the focal point for a two-month anti-government uprising.

Gunfire was heard throughout the capital and at least five helicopters were circling scenes of clashes, amid widespread panic on the streets below.

Riot police also entered Manama's Salmaniya medical centre for the first time since the demonstrations began and doctors reported they were being prevented from reaching the hospital and treating patients inside.

(2) = BBC 15 Mar 2011 ‘Bahrain king declares state of emergency after protests’,

(3) CNN 16 Mar 2011 ‘Witnesses: Security forces attack protesters and doctors in Bahrain’, Security forces blocked highways leading to the capital and formed a ring around the country's main hospital, Salmaniya Medical Complex, not letting people enter or leave, witnesses said. Security forces then stormed the hospital and beat staffers, several doctors there said.  Doctors have been hiding in rooms, said Yousif Sharaf, a doctor at the hospital. "We are trapped," Sharaf said. "We are asking for the security forces to please stay outside the hospital. They are beating the staff." Fatima Haji, another doctor, also said she was trapped in the hospital."We are in a small group hiding," Haji said, her voice rising with emotion. "This is a government hospital. How can this happen in a government hospital?"Haji said two people had died in the hospital Wednesday morning, and she feared for the other patients there because the doctors were not able to work.

(4) = BBC News 20 Feb 2011 ‘Bahrain protests: Your stories’,

(5) = BBC World Service 16 Mar 2011 ‘Bahrain security forces in crackdown on Pearl Square’,

(6) = BBC News 16 Mar 2011 ‘Bahrain crackdown on protests in Manama's Pearl Square’,

(7) = Independent 17 Mar 2011 ‘Bahrain protesters driven out of Pearl Square by tanks and tear gas’,

(8) = Amnesty International 17 Mar 2011 ‘Evidence of Bahraini security forces’ brutality revealed’,

(9) = See (7) above

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Russian and Chinese government propaganda on Libya?

There have been reports from the Voice of Russia Radio of almost half the casualties being soldiers – without specifying how many soldiers were rebels and how many Gaddafi loyalists.The Chinese Xinua news agency also reported in the early stages of the protests in Benghazi that two policemen were hung by rioters and the managing director of a hospital was tortured to death by them (1) – (2).

It’s possible that these reports are true or closer to the truth than other media, but we also have to remember that these governments have their own ulterior motives and that most of the media in China and Russia are controlled by the governments of one party states with rigged elections. If Gaddafi survives then Libyan oil and arms contracts are likely to move from American and European firms to Russian, Chinese and Indian ones. Gaddafi has already started talks with the ambassadors of these countries on this (3). So there’s even more likelihood of their reports containing propaganda than those of the western media.

Xinua news agency have not been exactly unbiased on the causes of riots in Chinese occupied Tibet and Xinjiang, or on police responses to them. There’s no reason to think they’re more unbiased on Libya.

We also have to take account of the fact that Russia Today (RT) and Voice of Russia Radio get most of their funding from the Russian government – and that Russian journalists critical of their government often end up murdered, like Libyan journalists have in the past under Qaddafi, or having their legs and skulls broken (4) – (5). If you watch RT’s coverage of Chechnya for instance you’ll get the impression that the Russian government and their client thug Kadyrov in Chechnya are very humane democrats, with all killings in the country being the actions of “western forces” or terrorist groups. In fact Kadyrov, like Russian forces under Putin, kills anyone who defies his rule in order to keep the main oil and gas pipeline from the Caspian to Moscow under Russian control. Kadyrov has said that he approves of “honour killings” and worse than this many supposed “honour killings” are actually kidnappings followed by rape and murder, then presented by police as an “honour killing” (6). Russian forces along with Kadyrov’s  have tortured, murdered and raped their way across Chechnya for the last 25 years (7) – (9). When Russian journalist Anna Politskaya wrote articles about Putin and Kadyrov’s involvement in this, she was poisoned and when she survived that, shot dead. After the murder of human rights activist Natalya Estemirova, who was investigating the killings of women in Chechnya, Kadyrov said that she was a woman who “never possessed any honour, dignity or conscience” (10).

You will struggle to find out any of this from Russia Today or Voice of Russia coverage, which includes nothing but Kadyrov and Russian government officials condemning the killings, mixed with fawning interviews of Kadyrov telling them that all human rights activists are after is money and that all murders in Chechnya are caused by agents of the US, years after the US ended all support for Chechen rebels to get Russian support for UN resolution 1441 on Iraq (11) – (12). RT and Voice of Russia are the propaganda arms of the Russian government.

(1) = Voice of Russia 23 Feb 2011 ‘Libya riots kill 111 troops, 189 civilians’,

(2) = Xinua news 19 Feb 2011 ‘Two policemen hanged in Libya protests’,

(3) = Xinua news 14 Mar 2011 ‘Gaddafi urges Russia, China, India to invest in Libya's oil sector’,

(4) = 08 Nov 2010 ‘Russian journalist beaten unconscious outside office’,

(5) = 10 Dec 2010 ‘Russian journalist cleared of slander in road controversy’,

(6) = St. Petersburg Times 03 Mar 2009 ‘Chechen President Kadyrov Defends Honor Killings’,

(7) = Human Rights Watch 13 Nov 2006 ‘Widespread Torture in the Chechen Republic’,

(8) = Human Rights Watch 13 Aug 2009 ‘Killing with impunity in Chechnya’,

(9) = Human Rights Watch 09 Mar 2000 ‘Rape Allegations Surface in Chechnya’,

(10) = See (6) above

(11) = Russia Today 27 Jan 2011 ‘The US should leave the Caucasus alone – Chechen leader’,

(12) = Guardian 24 Sep 2002, 'Russia lifts objections after Chechen 'deal'',,,797846,00.html

Governments' war propaganda is the main reason why people doubt every call for humanitarian intervention

It’s best to retain some scepticism about some claims by governments and defectors from Gaddafi’s government, given the use of propaganda over the decades to get public support for wars and military coups.For instance in 1953 in Iran the CIA and MI6 hired mobs to chant pro-Communist and pro-Mossadeq slogans while smashing shop windows and attacking people, in order to give the false impression that Mossadeq’s supporters were mostly Communists and violent (1). Propaganda can even sometimes initially be spread by human rights groups and aid organisations before they find out it’s false. In 1991 there was the notoriously false story about babies being thrown out of incubators to die in Kuwait by invading Iraqi troops. In fact this never happened and the story was invented by the Hill & Knowlton public relations company hired by the Kuwaiti monarchy, with the key “witness” telling the story to congress being a member of the ruling Kuwaiti Al Sabah family and the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US. The babies thrown from incubators story was also published in an Amnesty International report based on what the Kuwaiti Red Crescent told them, before they carried out interviews with staff in the hospital involved and found out it was false. Hill & Knowlton also hired seven other people to assume false identities and give false testimony to the UN on supposedly eyewitness accounts of human rights abuses by Saddam’s forces  (2) – (3). The American media also declined to publish satellite images showing that President Bush (senior)’s claims of an Iraqi military build-up on the Saudi border were false (4)  Similar “public relations”  (often a euphemism for lying) would be used by the Bush junior administration to sell the 2003 invasion. (Of course I’m not suggesting here that Saddam’s dictatorship didn’t torture, rape or murder large numbers of people – while the US government was arming, funding and supporting it and once it was at war with it).

(We can put Gaddafi’s supposedly proven guilt for the Lockerbie bombing in the same propaganda category. Megrahi’s trial was a sham and no-one knows who carried out the Lockerbie bombing.)

That's why I can't say I know for certain what is going on in Libya, only to try to make informed guesses based on past events and recent reports – and parallels with events elsewhere currently and in the past. There is no maxim truer than that ‘in war, truth is the first casualty’. If we were to wait for absolute certainty though, we would be too late to prevent the killings of civilians which the balance of probabilities suggests are taking place.

The main motives of governments backing and opposing intervention in Libya are mostly selfish and about their own poll ratings, their firms’ profits and access to oil contracts and energy supplies, but Gaddafi is as much a dictator as Mubarak and the rest and we should support the rebels and protesters who want to overthrow him, especially as, wherever he’s winning, anyone in the town is taken away as a suspected rebel – and on past practice that means they’ll be in jail for decades, or more likely summarily executed. (It’s worth noting though that both Cameron and Sarkozy, the two heads of government most keen on a no-fly zone in Libya, also have mass unemployment at home and plummeting poll ratings – and may well hope a wave of patriotic fervor will save them at the next election if they use their militaries against Gaddafi (as Thatcher used hers in the Falklands war when she similarly had terrible poll ratings due to increasing unemployment from 2 million to over 3 million). Meanwhile the Italian government – which gets over 30% of its energy from Libya – is not keen at all to risk disrupting this by a change of government in Libya. EU countries’ reliance on Russian gas imports – especially Germany – may be another reason for most of the EU opposing a no-fly zone (5) – (9).

It’s also entirely rational to doubt the motives of the US and other governments for calls for intervention and war criminals to be brought to justice and Gaddafi’s dictatorship overthrown, given their failure to make similar calls about dictatorships (and democracies) allied to them who have had unarmed protesters shot or killed by police and thugs – in Egypt, in Bahrain, in Oman, Yemen and Iraq (though these killings seem to be smaller scale in most cases – though over 300 in Egypt until Mubarak handed over to Suleiman and the military - they are definitely against entirely unarmed protesters, whole some reports from Libya say some protesters in Zawiyah were armed with guns, though this was after Gaddafi’s forces had fired on protesters in Benghazi) (10) – (17). They made no such calls during Israeli war crimes which killed over 700 civilians in the 2008 -2009 Israeli war on Gaza – and they have committed war crimes including targeting civilians and using methods which kill civilians along with combatants in large numbers in air strikes and drone strikes and night raids in Afghanistan and Pakistan, just as they did during the Kosovo war (18) – (21). They’re making no calls for intervention while the Saudi military has drivne into Bahrain and is killing democracy protesters in a kind of Middle Eastern version of the Soviet crushing of the Prague Spring (the Emir of Bahrain may have “requested their assistance”, but he is a dictator not an elected head of government – and even if he didn’t want them there, he has little choice in the matter given Saudi’s greater military strength). (22) – (23) .

NATO’s “Humanitarian Intervention” in Kosovo

Jamie Shea - NATO's spokesman during the 1999 Kosovo war

In Kosovo NATO claimed to be intervening to stop Yugoslav (mostly Serbian) military and police killings of Kosovan Albanians. Yet the KLA had been killing Serbs to try to provoke such attacks for years and had been described as terrorists by the US state department until a few months before the war. The Rambouillet Accord, which the US demanded the Yugoslav government accept before the war stipulated that ‘The economy of Kosovo shall function in accordance with free market principles’ (chapter 4 article 1) and also basically demanded the entire country allow immediate occupation by NATO forces (Appendix B).John Norris , an adviser to US deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott (who was chief US negotiator at Rambouillet) wrote that ‘It was Yugoslavia’s resistance to the broader trends of political and economic reform—not the plight of the Kosovar Albanians—that best explains NATO’s war.’ So the war was at least as much about free market “economic reform” as “humanitarian intervention” (24) – (26).

NATO air forces committed a mixture of deliberate atrocities and indiscriminate bombing carried out because they were under orders to bomb from 50,000 feet. This ensured NATO pilots were safe from being shot down, but resulted in them bombing many of the same Albanian refugees they were meant to be saving, partly due to mis-identifying their tractors as Serbian tanks; and partly due to some Serbian soldiers locking refugees in a village they were in, which they knew NATO planned to bomb (27) – (29).

The deliberate atrocities included targeting Serbian state television on the grounds that its broadcasts encouraged genocide against Albanians. This succeeded in killing such supposed mass murderers as an elderly night watchman and a make up lady. The targeting of the Serbian Communist Party headquarters in Belgrade on similar grounds accidentally hit a hospital, killing patients. NATO forces also managed to bomb the Chinese, Russian and Indian embassies in Belgrade. This was explained as an accident. It was a remarkable co-incidence that all three governments had just voted against a US motion in the UN Security Council to give them UN authorisation for military action in Kosovo. This was not under the notorious Bush administration, but under the supposedly moderate and internationalist Clinton administration. This doesn’t even go into the bombing of bridges and town centres with cluster bombs on market day, or planes returning to target those trying to help the survivors and wounded (27) – (29).

Some will argue that despite all this the military action stopped massacres and ethnic cleansing once NATO ground troops moved in. Unfortunately that’s not true. It just changed how was ethnically cleansing and murdering who. Serbian military, police and paramilitary killings of Kosovan Albanians mostly ended. However KLA murders, kidnappings and ethnic cleansing of Serb and Roma civilians grew rapidly as recorded by Human Rights Watch and investigative journalists on the ground like Robert Fisk. These had begun before NATO intervention, partly in order to provoke Serb forces to carry out atrocities that would bring NATO in. Up until NATO began the push for military intervention they described the KLA (fairly accurately) as a terrorist group. The KLA are also involved in trafficking Afghan heroin to western Europe, including the UK, kidnapping people to sell their organs; and kidnapping women and girls as forced prostitutes (something ‘private contractors’ for the US state department and UN funded Albanian militia units have also been involved in). One of the most notorious KLA thugs is Hashim Thaci. The Clinton administration chose to back Thaci and the worst elements of the KLA rather than Kosovan Albanian nationalist and pacifist Ibrahim Rugova and his LDK party to become the new government of Kosovo (30) – (39).

So, understandably, few people trust any government to back democrats in it’s foreign policy; and when some of those calling for “liberal intervention” lambast people who think they may be being lied to again, they should really be complaining about the governments who have churned out so much propaganda that it’s hard for anyone to tell the difference until the major events are already over.

(1) = Curtis, Mark (1995), ‘The Ambiguities of Power : British Foreign Policy since 1945', Zed Books, London & New York, 1995 hardback edition, Chapter 4, pages 86 – 96 (and especially 93-94)

(2) = Naseer Aruri (1991) ‘Human Rights and the Gulf Crisis’ in Phyllis Bennis & Michel Moushabeck (1991) ‘Beyond the Storm : a Gulf Crisis Reader’, Canongate Press, Edinburgh, UK 1991, Chapter 28, especially pages 313-317 of paperback edition

(3) = Christian Science Monitor 06 Sep 2002 ‘When contemplating war, beware of babies in incubators’,

(4) = Laura Flanders (1991) ‘Restricting Reality : Media Mind Games and the War’ in  Phyllis Bennis & Michel Moushabeck (1991) ‘Beyond the Storm : a Gulf Crisis Reader’, Canongate Press, Edinburgh, UK 1991, Chapter 13, esp. p168 of paperback edition

(5) = YouGov/Sun Poll 10 Mar 2010, (also see recent polls and average of them on same page)

(6) = Reuters 21 Feb 2010 ‘Sarkozy's poll ratings fall, near record lows’,

(7) = BBC News 01 March 2011 ‘Italy and Silvio Berlusconi face Libya dilemma’,

(8) = Reuters 20 Feb 2011 ‘Berlusconi under fire for not "disturbing" Gaddafi’,

(9) = Anthony Seldon & Daniel Collings ‘Britain Under Thatcher’ , Chapter 2, page 20

(10) = Human Rights Watch 08 Feb 2011 ‘Egypt: Documented Death Toll From Protests Tops 300,

(11) = Amnesty International 17 Feb 2011 ‘Bahrain protest deaths rise as camp is evicted’,

(12) = Amnesty International 24 Feb 2011 ‘Oman must rein in security forces to prevent further deaths’,

(13) = Amnesty International 09 Feb 2011 ‘Yemen urged to halt deadly attacks on protestors’, Yemeni authorities must end deadly night raids and other attacks on protests, Amnesty International said today, after one protester was killed and around 100 injured in the capital Sana'a late last night. According to media reports, security forces used live rounds and tear gas against protesters camped outside Sana’a University…. Some 30 people have reportedly now been killed in Yemen during ongoing unrest which began early last month. Protesters are demanding government reform and an end to corruption and unemployment.

(14) = AP 25 Feb 2011 ‘12 killed as Iraqis protest in 'Day of Rage'’,

(15) = 04 Mar 2011 ‘Baghdad protesters converge on Liberation Square’, ; Security forces around Iraq clashed with protesters last Friday in the country's most widespread and violent demonstrations since a wave of unrest began to spread across the Middle East. At least 14 people were killed

(16) = HRW 25 Feb 2011 ‘Iraq: Open Immediate Inquiry Into Protester Deaths’,

(17) = Human Rights Watch 26 Feb 2011 ‘Libya: Security Forces Fire on Protesters in Western City’, ; Egyptian migrant workers who fled to Tunisia from Zawiyah, a coastal city 40 kilometers west of Tripoli, told Human Rights Watch that Libyan security forces shot at protesters who had defied government orders to stay inside their homes and who tried to hold a demonstration after Friday prayers. One migrant worker said he saw approximately 3,000 protesters in the main square, some of whom carried guns.

(18) = Human Rights Watch 07 Feb 2010 ‘Israel: Military Investigations Fail Gaza War Victims’,

(19) = The Public Record 19 Oct 2009 ‘Report: Drone Strikes Increased Dramatically Under Obama’,

(20) = thenews (Pakistan) 03 Jan 2011 ‘Drones killed 59pc civilians, 41pc terrorists’,

(21) = See this blog post and sources for it and the following blog post link under the sub-heading ‘Night Raids and the El Salvador Option moving from Iraq to Afghanistan’,

(22) = Reuters 14 Mar 2011 ‘Saudi sends troops, Bahrain Shi'ites call it "war"’,

(23) = 15 Mar 2011 ‘Two killed as Bahrain's king declares martial law’,

(24) = BBC News 28 Jun 1998 ‘The KLA - terrorists or freedom fighters?’,

(25) = US State Department ‘Rambouillet Agreement - Interim Agreement for Peace and Self-Government in Kosovo’,

(26) = John Norris (2005) ‘Collision Course : NATO, Russia and Kosovo’ cited by Naomi Klein (2007) ‘The Shock Doctrine’ , Penguin/Allen Lane, 2007, page 328 of hardback edition, Chapter 17, page 328

(27) = HRW 26 Oct 2001 ‘Under Orders : War Crimes in Kosovo’,

(28) = BBC News 01 Jan 1999 ‘Nato's bombing blunders’,

(29) = Phillip Knightley (2000) ‘The First Casualty’, Prion Books Limited, London, 2000, Chapter 20 is on the Kosovo war and propaganda and NATO war crimes in it in general; pages 516-517, on bombing of Chinese and Indian embassies in Belgrade by NATO after they’d criticised NATO’s air war – and given NATO the addresses of their embassies at it’s request, supposedly to ensure they wouldn’t be hit

(30) = Independent 24 Nov 1999 ‘Serbs murdered by the hundred since `liberation'’,

(31) = Observer 25 Jul 1999 ‘Killings blamed on KLA’,

(32) =  HRW 26 Oct 2001 ‘Under Orders : War Crimes in Kosovo’,; see summary under Sub-heading ‘Abuses by the KLA’)

(33) = San Francisco Chronicle 05 May 1999 ‘KLA Linked To Enormous Heroin Trade / Police suspect drugs helped finance revolt’,

(34) = Mother Jones magazine Jan/Feb 2000 ‘Heroin Heroes’,

(35) = Observer 25 Mar 2000 ‘Revealed: UN backed unit’s reign of terror’,

(36) = Guardian 10 Dec 2003 ‘The Privatisation of War’,

(37) = Siddharth Kara (2009) ‘Sex trafficking: inside the business of modern slavery’, Columbia University Press, 2009, Chapter 5, pages 143- 145

(38) = 14 Dec 2010 ‘Kosovo PM is head of human organ and arms ring, Council of Europe reports’,

(39) = Time 05 Jul 1999 ‘Democracy School’,,9171,991398,00.html