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NATO kills 85 civilians in Western Libya

Published Aug 19, 2011 9:32 AM

The U.S./NATO forces now waging war against the North African oil-producing state of Libya committed one of their worst atrocities on Aug. 8, killing 85 people while bombing Majar in Libya’s west. Located near Zlitan, Majar was shown on Libyan state television after the attacks killed children, women and men.

News reports showed burned bodies of young children, and children receiving treatment for serious wounds in the local hospital.

In response to this massacre, the Libyan government declared three days of national mourning. NATO forces admitted that their jets had bombed the town on three different occasions the night before, but claimed the locations struck were military targets.

This attack on Majar followed the same pattern that has been in force since March 19. Then, the U.S. and NATO military fighter jets and warships began to bomb Libya under the guise of implementing a so-called “no-fly zone,” which was mandated by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.  During the time since a Western-backed rebellion began in Benghazi on Feb. 17, hundreds of thousands of Libyans and guest workers living in Libya have fled across the borders.

Over this six-month period — despite U.S./NATO efforts to build up those fighting the Libyan government as a credible force — the opposition Transitional National Council has remained deeply divided and incapable of launching a serious military campaign against the capital, Tripoli.  These rebel forces have openly called for and applauded the U.S./NATO bombing of their own country.

Just recently the putative leader of the TNC’s military was killed in an obviously planned assassination when he was summoned to return to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. Journalists have reported clashes among the rebels themselves in full view of the international media.

Canadian journalist on fact-finding mission

Scott Taylor, a journalist from Canada, whose government is serving as the titular head of the NATO bombing campaign in Libya, recently visited the country on a fact-finding mission. His assessment is that the claims of rebel advances in the West of the country have been largely fabrications promoted through the corporate media.

This reporter pointed out: “For more than five months now NATO planes have supported the rebels, and NATO warships have enforced a one-sided embargo against Gadhafi’s forces. And all foreign-held financial assets have been frozen, making it virtually impossible for Libya to purchase any war materiel, or even basic necessities such as fuel.” (The Chronicle Herald, Aug. 15)

Nonetheless, the writer continues, “Despite all these measures, the ragtag collection of fractious units that compose the rebels have been unable to make any serious tactical headway against Gadhafi loyalists — let alone topple the leader.”

Taylor stressed that during his trip to the capital of Tripoli during the first full week of August, he witnessed firsthand how the Libyan government has solidified its control over the city and most of the western region of the country. He says that foreign diplomats confirmed the stability of the capital and that Moammar Gadhafi’s approval rating has soared to 85 percent.

The existing shortages inside the country are blamed on the NATO forces that are bombing Libya. Leaflets dropped on the city periodically by the imperialist forces are often poorly written and most Libyans find the messages quite amusing to read.

In a speech delivered over Libyan television on Aug. 15, Gadhafi said: “NATO will eventually be defeated in Libya with the willingness of the people to resist and liberate their land. The Libyan people will behave as they did during their 1 September Revolution,” pointing out that the continuous bombing during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan will further anger the general population, turning it even more against the West.

Gadhafi continued, “The only solution remaining for the agents of colonialism is the use of deception and psychological warfare following the failure of their various kinds of war with all types of weapons.” (Afrique en Ligne, Aug. 15)

As the Libyan leader was addressing the country, there were simultaneous reports that NATO was bombing Tripoli and the suburbs of Zaouia and Sorman. On the same day video footage was released by the British Ministry of Defense showing crews from the Royal Air Force Marham base in preparation for the long-range bombing of Libya. (edp24.co.uk, Aug. 15)

One such video showed a number of Tornado GR4 jets being loaded with Storm Shadow missiles at the Norfolk base just prior to leaving for another bombing mission over Libya.  In another video the fighter jets are shown bombing what is described as a Libyan frigate in the harbor at Tripoli.

Rallies oppose U.S.-NATO war on Libya

On Aug. 13, a rally was held in Harlem to protest the ongoing war in Libya and the Western sanctions leveled for a number of years against the Southern African nation of Zimbabwe.

A national speaking tour featuring former U.S. Congressperson Cynthia McKinney has reached more than 20 cities from coast to coast. McKinney, recently returned from a fact-finding trip to Libya, has exposed the multitude of falsehoods about the actual situation taking place in the country and the region.

McKinney is scheduled to speak in Pittsburgh on Aug. 21 and Cleveland on Aug. 22. In Detroit on Aug. 27, the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War Injustice, along with other organizations such as the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the Green Party, Workers World Party, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and the New Marcus Garvey Movement will host a public speakout against the U.S./NATO war on Libya at the U-M Detroit Center beginning at 4 p.m.