Tag Archive: Libya

The 9/11 attacks on the US embassies were not about a movie

Here are a couple of facts: On June 4 the White House confirmed that the US had killed Abu Yahya Al-Libi – OBL’s Libyan lietenant who had moved into Al Qaeda‘s #2 spot after Ayman Zahawiri after the Navy SEALs whacked OBL. On Tuesday 9/11, a tape was released of Zawahiri announcing that Libi had been killed earlier this year by a US drone attack. The Zawahiri tape was made during Ramadan which ended in the middle of last month. Zawahiri called for his terrorist underlings to avenge Libi’s death and especially exhorted Libyans to take revenge.

The attack in Libya was well planned and executed. It wasn’t about a spontaneous protest against some ridiculous Internet movie of Muhammad. The assailants came armed to the teeth, with among other things, RPG 7s. They knew that the US Ambassador was in Benghazi rather than Tripoli. They knew how to track his movements, and were able to strike against him after he and his colleagues left the consulate building and tried to flee in a car. As Israel Channel 2‘s Arab Affairs Correspondent Ehud Yaari noted this evening, you don’t often see well trained terrorists participating in protests of movies. Then there is the attack in Cairo. They were led by Mohammad Zawahiri – Ayman Zawahiri’s brother. According the Thomas Josclyn in the Weekly Standard, the US media has been idiotically presenting him as some sort of moderate despite the fact that in an interview with Al Jazeerah he said said, “We in al Qaeda…”

Egypt’s US supported Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi recently released Zawahiri from Egyptian prison. The same Barack Obama who has no time in his schedule to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu next week in New York, is scheduled to meet Morsi. The Egyptian government has not condemned the attack on the US Embassy in Cairo. But Morsi is demanding that the US government prosecute the film’s creator.

You may be wondering how some movie no one’s heard of has caused such a hullabaloo. Well, as it turns out, the film was screened on an Egyptian Salafist television channel. Obviously the Salafists — many of whom, like Zawahiri, were released from prison by Morsi, wanted to stir up anti-US violence on the eve of 9/11. So if the film is responsible for the violence, a finger needs to be pointed to its chief distributor — Al Qaida’s Egyptian friends and members.

With these facts in hand, it is clear that the attempts to present these acts of war against the US as the consequence of some stupid, nothing movie are obscene attempts to deflect the blame for these unwarranted attacks onto their victims and away from their perpetrators.

Shira’s note: Okay, since this all began, it’s been confusing. We need to get the facts straight before anything, because without the truths involved here, nobody can place judgment or render an absolute opinion on these matters. For me, the only politically correct, or is it incorrect, is to say that the main issue is freedom of speech. Obviously, the perpetrators and governments of Libya and Egypt abhor the idea and want to suppress what we hold sacred to our freedoms.  They hate enough to kill. I do not want the victims to have died in vain. These wonderful people died doing what they felt was right. We want that righteousness to have been planted to see it grow with the same care these wonderful people gave to it. We need to unite.  Whether in prayer or deed do not succumb to stupidities the media would have given to us through their apathy and greed as in their mediums and by all means research the facts out and then render an opinion. It takes time, but if you believe in your principles, then do what you must.  It’s about not being ignorant and adding to the pool of ignorance which births hate and intolerance.  Shira

Shira’s note:  This basically speaks for itself. If there is a debate regarding this information, please share.  I want to know all the facts.

– In 2009, Sarah Leah Whitson, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division at Human Rights Watch (HRW), visited Libya, claiming to have discovered a “Tripoli spring.” In particular, Whitson praised Muammar Qaddafi’s son Seif Islam as a leading reformer. In two articles promoting this façade of reform, she repeatedly praised him for creating an “expanded space for discussion and debate.”  In reality, Whitson was advancing a fiction; Libya remained a closed totalitarian regime that kept its population under tight control. Seif Islam continued to be an integral part of the repression, even appearing on state television to warn the protesters that the regime wouldfight until the last man, the last woman, the last bullet.”

In a Los Angeles Times op-ed (February 24, 2011), weeks after the rebellion against the regime had intensified and Qaddafi began murdering his own citizens, she belatedly reversed course, acknowledging the absence of human rights “reforms” in Libya.  Whitson admitted that:

“With no progress on any institutional or legal reforms… Seif Islam last year announced his withdrawal from political life and said that his foundation would no longer focus on human rights and political affairs… For sure, most Libyans we spoke with never had much faith that Moammar Qaddafi would learn new tricks, or that the announced reforms were anything more than an endless loop of promises made and broken.”

This condemnation reflects the chronic failure of HRW as a human rights watchdog, particularly in the Middle East.

Whitson’s “Tripoli Spring” Myth

In the wildly misnamed “Tripoli Spring,” (Foreign Policy, May 27, 2009), Whitson called Seif Islam “the real impetus for transformation” via his Qaddafi Foundation for International Charities and Development and two semi-private newspapers. Her embrace of Qaddafi’s heir-apparent continued during a visit to Libya in February 2010, referring to him as one of the “forces of reform” in danger of being silenced, and favorably comparing the Qaddafi Foundation to HRW (“Postcard from . . . Tripoli,” Foreign Policy in Focus, February 11, 2010). Although HRW’s Libyan press conference was cut short by government agents and ended in “pandemonium,” ominously presaging the violence of 2011, Whitson spun her trip and the event in an entirely positive light. As Nick Cohen reported in The Guardian (Our absurd obsession with Israel is laid bare, February 27, 2011), “Human Rights Watch, once a reliable opponent of tyranny…described a foundation Saif ran in Libya as a force for freedom, willing to take on the interior ministry in the fight for civil liberties.”

In the article, Whitson also praised her experience of “open dissent” in the country. Yet, she failed to disclose that in January 2010, the regime had actually imposed censorship controls on the internet and had blocked access to YouTube. By this time, the government had also shut down the two semi-private newspapers lauded by Whitson in “Tripoli Spring” and had established a new regulatory body to monitor journalists.

Fathi Eljahmi – HRW Silent Consent in Torture

HRW’s willful blindness was further reflected in the case of Fathi Eljahmi, Libya’s most prominent dissident, who was imprisoned in 2004, tortured, held in solitary confinement, and who died as a result in 2009. As his brother wrote,

“both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch hesitated to advocate publicly for Fathi’s case…. Perhaps because they still fear antagonizing Gaddafi, in their May 21 statement Human Rights Watch didn’t call for an independent investigation and stopped short of holding the Libyan regime responsible for Fathi’s death…. Sarah Leah Whitson is one of the Human Rights Watch researchers who last saw Fathi before he was rushed to Jordan. She wrote an article for Foreign Policy upon her return from Libya, where she described efforts by the Gaddafi Foundation for International Charities and Development, which is headed by the Libyan leader’s son, Saif al-Islam, as a ‘spring.’ The organization is actively menacing my brother’s family. Some family members continue to endure interrogation, denial of citizenship papers and passports, round the clock surveillance and threats of rape and physical liquidation.”

Not everyone followed HRW and Whitson in promoting the Qaddafi façade. US-based Freedom House remarked that the “regime hardened its monopoly on media outlets in mid-2009 with the nationalization of Al-Ghad media group, which was established in 2007 by al-Qadhafi’s son, Saif al-Islam.” Journalist Michael Totten, who also visited Libya and compared the country to North Korea and Turkmenistan, noted that Saif Islam “is ideologically committed to preserving his father’s prison state system, and that he wants to export that system to as many countries as possible. Gullible diplomats and journalists may sincerely believe he’s a reformer, but a close look at his own statements proves that he’s lying when he passes himself off as moderate” (emphasis added).

HRW’s Embrace of Arab Dictatorships: A Behavioral Pattern

As NGO Monitor documented in its detailed report Experts or Ideologues: Systematic Analysis of Human Rights Watch, Whitson’s pursued similar policies regarding other repressive regimes in the Middle East. In May 2009, Whitson led a fundraising trip to Saudi Arabia, where she used HRW’s testimony “about Israeli abuses to the US Congress” and accusations of “systematic destructive attacks on civilian targets,” and the specter of the pro-Israel lobby to solicit funds from “prominent members of Saudi society.”

In November 2010, HRW staff and international committee members, including Whitson, traveled to Lebanon to discuss human rights reform in the country. Whitson praised “the Lebanese sophistication for human rights.” In contrast, HRW Lebanon Director Nadim Houry condemned the lack of effectual and accountable state institutions, the absence of political will to implement change, and the problems created by the country’s political confessionalism. In January 2011, Hezbollah orchestrated a bloodless coup, seizing control from the Saad Hariri government in order to block cooperation with the UN Tribunal empanelled to investigate the murder of Rafik Hariri in 2006.

Similarly, Whitson met with Hamas Minister of Justice Faraj Alghoul in May 2010. At the meeting, Whitson assured Alghoul that she was visiting Gaza “to listen to all parties directly so she will prepare more objective and impartial reports,” and appeased Hamas by promising that HRW’s next report would tackle Israeli settlements and allege Israeli violations of international law.

As noted by HRW founder Robert Bernstein, under Whitson’s direction, HRW’s Middle East and North Africa division has “lost critical perspective” by writing “far more condemnations of Israel for violations of international law than of any other country in the region” while

“Arab and Iranian regimes rule over some 350 million people, and most remain brutal, closed and autocratic, permitting little or no internal dissent. The plight of their citizens who would most benefit from the kind of attention a large and well-financed international human rights organization can provide is being ignored as Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division prepares report after report on Israel.”