On June 27, the International Criminal
Court issued an arrest warrant for Muammar
Gaddafi and other Libyan state officials for “crimes against
Gaddafi is being charged by the ICC
with the “pre-meditated murder” of peaceful protesters in Libya.
The charges are in line with the
accusations of crimes against humanity that became the pretext for
the NATO bombing of Libya—that a “humanitarian intervention”
was needed to prevent atrocities that were supposedly taking place.
More and more accusations built as the
bombing raged on, bolstered by the mainstream media, and even by
progressive circles. The pro-war camp raced to find justifications
for the relentless bombing of Libya’s cities, especially as
civilian casualties from NATO air strikes began to climb. Gaddafi is
accused of ordering the killing of unarmed protesters; using
helicopter gunships, anti-aircraft guns and heavy weapons against
peaceful demonstrators, of using mercenaries and, most sensationally,
of pumping his troops full of Viagra and ordering them to mass rape
all women who opposed the government.
But the charges brought by the ICC—as
well as crimes decried by the Libyan rebels and their supporters—have
been presented and accepted as fact without any actual evidence.
Several human rights
organizations—including Amnesty International, which often finds
itself toeing the same line as U.S. imperialism—have conducted
investigations and found no evidence of any of the alleged crimes.
They did find, however, that rebels in Benghazi knowingly made false
claims and manufactured evidence.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
asserted that Libyan troops were participating in widespread rape in
Libya, including so-called “virginity tests.” She said this to
explain why people in the U.S. must accept over $9.5 million a day
being spent to bomb Libya.
But the senior crisis response adviser
for Amnesty International, Donatella Rovera, said “We have not
found any evidence or a single victim of rape or a doctor who knew
about somebody being raped.”
Human Rights Watch also investigated
the charge of mass rape and concluded: “We have not been able to
In fact, over the last few weeks, many
women in Libya have volunteered for military service to fight the
No evidence of mercenaries
When the Libyan rebels started lynching
Black African immigrants, publicly hanging them in the town square
(which continues to this day), they claimed that the victims were
mercenaries hired by Gaddafi. Similarly, when ordinary Libyans began
fighting the rebels in Benghazi and other centers of rebel
activity—rebels said these fighters could not be genuine Gaddafi
supporters. Rebels said the fighters must be receiving money from
Gaddafi. The claim that Gaddafi is using mercenaries is further
ammunition to justify the NATO bombing, the ICC warrant and so-called
progressive support for the rebels.
Amnesty International also found no
evidence that a single mercenary is present in Libya. “Most were
sub-Saharan migrants working in Libya without documents,” they
said. An unknown number have been hanged in racist public executions
by the rebels, and hundreds died in a capsized boat fleeing the NATO
bombs, including many children.
The bombing which began on March 19 was
supposed to prevent a massacre by Libyan troops who were advancing on
eastern Libya, where they had allegedly already killed peaceful
protesters in massive numbers.
The human rights groups that have
investigated these claims have found no evidence of any mass killings
of protesters. In incidents where violence was used by the Libyan
state, there is no evidence that this violence was directed against peaceful protesters. The rebel movement was heavily armed from the
get-go and was carrying out attacks on Libyan police and military.
Human Rights Watch, which actually
championed NATO intervention in Libya, revealed its data from the
fighting in Misrata that found that the Libyan military was
absolutely not targeting civilians in any way, but instead narrowly
targeting the armed fighters and taking measures to avoid collateral
Civilians have been killed in the
fighting, on both sides, which is inevitable during a civil war being
fought in urban centers. But the fighting was all but over when the
NATO bombing started, which has increased civilian deaths and
emboldened the rebels to continue their armed insurrection against
the government, prolonging and intensifying the conflict. There is no
evidence that civilians have been targeted by the military.
The assertion by President Obama that
“genocide” was imminent had no factual basis.
The investigations did find, however,
video evidence of rebel fighters executing pro-Gaddafi Libyans by
shooting them in the head and burning their bodies.
The investigations also concluded that
there was no evidence whatsoever that the Libyan state used aircraft
or anti-aircraft weapons against protesters.
The ICC accusations are not supported
by evidence, yet an international arrest warrant was issued.
If Gaddafi has a warrant for his arrest
for unsubstantiated accusations of war crimes, why has the ICC yet to
issue an arrest warrant for George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald
Rumsfeld? There is, after all, hard and indisputable evidence that
these U.S. officials committed war crimes leading to the slaughter of
over 1 million innocent Iraqis.
Why not? It is because the ICC itself
is a tool of Western imperialism. Founded in 2002 to address “crimes
against humanity,” it not-so-mysteriously has only issued warrants
for people in super-oppressed African countries that are in the
crosshairs of U.S. and European imperialism.
The ICC’s function is to further
isolate leaders who do not follow the dictates of Western powers, and
to aid in demonization campaigns aimed at toppling governments not
sufficiently subservient to Western domination. The ICC warrant for
Gaddafi is for exactly this purpose.
The arrest warrant comes as NATO powers
are expressing frustration over the failure of what they thought
would be an easy operation. The situation is at a stalemate. Due to
popular support, the Libyan government is in no danger of being
overthrown. The bombings only serve to keep the rebel fighters safe
in their enclaves behind a curtain of Tomahawk missiles.
But the vast majority of people in
Libya have made clear their outrage at the NATO bombing. July 1 as many as a million rallied in Tripoli against NATO bombing. This is in a nation of only 6 million people. Whether or not they have
grievances with the government, they are against the NATO bombing of
their country and against the rebel uprising. If NATO was banking on
the idea that the people were united against Gaddafi, as the people
in Egypt were united against Mubarak, they were sorely mistaken. The
Libyan government has proven to have the support of large sectors of
NATO is growing increasingly frustrated
at the mission’s failure thus far. To achieve its goal of regime
change, NATO will likely have to escalate its military action, which
likely would include ground troops, or move quickly to bring about
some sort of political settlement that would remove the current
NATO will no doubt try to come out of
this military adventure with the prize of dominating the country with largest oil reserves in Africa. Thus revolutionaries and progressives must
stand firmly on the side of those under attack by Western imperialism
and those standing against the NATO takeover of yet another African