May 3, 2012
January 17, 2012
last updates May 3
First, a few scattered articles and limited commentary. Below, more pointed updates as the 2012 elections draw near. I invite further examples and developments in what I expect to be lively comments beneath. It's a potentially broad subject, how one ruling party and its supporters are made criminal to varying degrees and severed from civil society in favor of some other politico-economic vision.
First, a recent one:
Libya: TNC releases anti-democratic draft electoral laws
By Will Morrow, World Socialist Website.
13 January 2012
This is a critique of the rules just laid down for the upcoming elections. Now that "democracy" has come to Libya, the people finally get to chose their leaders. As usual, the field to choose from will be narrowed by many, often invisible, factors. The largest and most important is set up now - no Gaddafi loyalists or anyone connected with the hyper-demonized old system or representing any of its ideals will be allowed. No matter how many people might want it, and perhaps because many will want it, the new leaders so indebted to the West will not allow it. Freedom isn't free and it's also got limits.
Those not allowed to hold public office, as Morrow writes:
Virtually everyone who worked at any level of Moammar Gaddafi’s former government is barred, unless they can demonstrate "early and clear support for the February 17th revolution."
This is insane. "Early and clear support for the February 17th revolution" as a requirement for former government people means only those ideologically inclined to side with the conspiratorial likes of Ibrahim Dabbashi and Nouri al Mesmari,in the foreign-sponsored, traitorous, deceptive operation to sell the country out, are fit to run the government now. This is a very, very bad sign. It's not enough to just dominate and manage things, they demand a full purge and cleansin of anything decent (if demonized by relentless propaganda tricks) remaining in Libya's leadership ranks.
Those with an academic degree in Gaddafi’s "Third Universal Theory" or Green Book—previously required by many people to advance their careers—are ineligible.
Imagine scholars of the U.S. constitution barred from serving in liberated United States. Anyone who ever got government financial aid. Maybe anyone who received food assistance. Where exactly is the cut-off line here?
Other statutes reportedly disqualify people who allegedly benefited monetarily from the regime or received diplomas or university degrees "without merit." Massaoud El Kanuni, a Libyan lawyer specialising in constitutional law, told the Wall Street Journal: "That criteria could be used against three-quarters of the country. How are we going to follow a path of national reconciliation if so many people are excluded from [the country’s] future?"
There should be little surprise; threats of political exclusion and even punishment go back. As Rebels encircled Sirte in September, cutting off fuel, food, water, and medicine while pummeling the city with indiscriminate rocket attacks coupled with extra-wide-ranging NATO air attacks. All inhabitants, many or perhaps most of them dedicated Gaddafi loyalists, were told to leave, and that only after surrendering at trigger-happy (and racist) Rebel checkpoints many never passed in freedom or alive. As the Wall Street Journal noted (second-hand source):
"As refugees gathered, the Misrata fighters checked their names against lists of suspected Gaddafi loyalists. Some men were arrested while others were told to wait on the side of the road with their families.
The same notion seems to have taken over in the takeover of Tripoli and after.
"'We’re going to punish even those that supported Moammar with words,’ said a bearded fighter to a man who protested his detention. 'We are the knights that liberated Libya.’ "
Ex-Libya rebels search homes of Gadhafi loyalists
Karen Laub, AP, Sept. 6 2011
TRIPOLI, Libya — Former rebels, weapons drawn, burst into the houses of suspected supporters of Moammar Gadhafi, searching rooms and hauling away military uniforms, a portable safe and documents that appear to link residents to the deposed regime.
The actions documented in the article, of this Imam and his local militia in Khalet al-Ferjan go somewhat against that (the mosque, its fighters, and possible connections to the Khamis Brigade shed massacre will be covered separately). Here, they're followed as they search several homes, angering a tax collector but finding only a green flag (taken, one presumes), carting off a safe, some cars, a bag of dog food. One man who protested was told to appear for questioning.
The search party leader, a mosque preacher-turned-military chief, insisted only those who fought for Gadhafi — and not his political backers — will be interrogated and possibly punished.
Leaders of the rebels have said they seek reconciliation with most Gadhafi supporters, eager to avoid the mistakes made in post-war Iraq, where a purge prompted former regime loyalists to take up arms and helped destabilize the country for years.
In the third house, which belonged to a family originally from Sirte, Gadhafi’s hometown, the search team found several piles of military uniforms, a Kalashnikov and a briefcase with documents, including photocopies of ID cards that suggested some in the family had fought for Gadhafi.
How the searches go when they're not putting on a good show for the media is a troubling unknown. One man of the family was present and swore he was a civilian, but the papers said otherwise. He was in trouble. He'd been incriminated.
Furjani crouched and sorted through the papers, returning personal documents to a member of the family, Abdel Wahab Mohammed, while handing possibly incriminating ones to his aide, Mohammed Shiriana.
Mohammed insisted he was a civilian, but Shiriana, a construction engineer and aide to Furjani, said the documents indicate the man was a member of a Gadhafi brigade. Furjani said the man would also have to report for questioning.
What was the alleged crime? A serious one - supoporting, being connected to, working for, fighting for ... the national government of his nation. When did the law making that a crime take effect, who signed it, and on what authority? Having a government job - even in the military - is not a crime, even if that government had been declared illegitimate by protesters, terrorists, rebel fighters, liars and demonizers, human rights groups, the media, the likes of Mesmari and Dabbashi, then France, Qatar, and then much of the world and NATO's collective air muscle.
All they did was support the government, like any patriotic citizen, and had the government lose. Losing the war is not a criminal act. I suppose that's a philosophical argument with no real legal merit - history has the winners writing the history books, just after re-writing the laws like a fortress around their intervention and victory. But still, having green flags in your home or car is not a crime. Not a capitol crime at least, as this video still suggests it was treated as (video filmed Abu Salim, Tripoli, app. Aug. 25). Fighting an invasion of your city by armed gangs supported by outside governments is not a crime, but the mainstream media acts as if it is.
In the mainstream narrative, the problem is only "innocent" people being too easily accused of being loyalists, or even fighters. When the charge is accurate, we seem to have little concern. Consider how Mrs. Afaf Gaddafi's family was killed, including two infants, as they tried to flee the city in September, for fear of being killed over their coincidental name. It was explained they'd been "mistaken for Gaddafi loyalists," possibly in part because of the name. The people with the bad reasoning and perhaps unsettling body language may have been the same ones with the guns responsible at the roadblock responsible.
They were wrong. Had they been right, well, that gets murkier. Revolutions can be messy. Freedom isn't free, and we know who can keep footing the bill for this one.
What's that? Some chemicals found, a theory that Gaddafi was planning to use poison gas? Mostly against children, especially pious ones? Ten, nay twenty more years in the brig for all green-clinging servants of the dark lord... maybe some should start dying mysteriously... maybe some heads on spikes around town would do nicely (claimed as rebular Libyans, blamed on Gaddafi sleeper cells)...
Update Jan. 23
Felix alerts me to protests against the NTC and its electoral law system 22 January, as reported on the Free Generation Movement site (they are also campaigning against guns being everywhere). Pictures of the protest on Facebook. The English part on the big sign says the FGM "supports the call for protest against the imbalanced and unjust election charter." Sounds good-for a moment I feared they were like the recent Benghazi protesters, pissed off that the exclusion of loyalists wasn't quite final enough as a solution. But this makes sense - Libyans speaking out against actual injustice. These are the same people who also made the Yarmouk massacre propaganda video, so they are a mixed bag. I suppose that's a good thing.
Updates, May 3:
As elections in June draw near and the beliefs and grievances of Libya's people are to be aired and represented, Human Rights Watch called for curtailment of restrictive rules on who could run. April 28:
Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) should amend regulations to eliminate vague and broad prohibitions on who may serve as a government official or become a candidate for election, Human Rights Watch said today. [...] The current regulations prohibit people from holding senior government posts or running for office if they were "known for glorifying" the previous government or they "stood against the February 17 revolution" that overthrew Gaddafi. [...] Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch [said] "exclusion from public office should be based on concrete and provable claims of wrongdoing, rather than poorly defined connections with the previous government."
A fair enough point, but that's not how the NTC roll. They're up against a highly popular system overthrown by a coup/uprising and artificially-enable civil war. If this is put up for election and the Green/Jamahiriya system re-instated by the peoples' will... well, that can't be aloowed to happen, even in part. No hints of the true weather can come through.
And so, a new NTC proclamation of May 2 clears up these problems. IOL News reports:
Libya's ruling National Transitional Council on Wednesday criminalised the glorification of slain leader Muammar Gaddafi and his regime. "Praising or glorifying Muammar Gaddafi, his regime, his ideas or his sons... is punishable by a prison sentence," said the text of the law read out to reporters by a judicial official following a high-level meeting. "If those news reports, rumours or propaganda cause any damage to the state the penalty will be life in prison," the official quoted the text as saying. "In conditions of war, there is a prison sentence for any person who spreads information and rumours which disrupt military preparations for the defence of the country, spread terror or weaken the citizens' morale," he added. According to the law, Libya is still in a state of war following the 2011 bloody conflict that pitted Gaddafi loyalists against NATO-backed rebel forces.
Hold on - back when this started and started to finish it wasn't even war. In February, "Please note (to media): Libya is NOT at civil war, this is a state and regime attacking a whole population." In late October "Libya was not a civil war. The dictator didn’t have deep enough support to turn it into one. It was a revolution, a people against a regime, rising up without any instigation from us, with nothing but rage, humiliation and hope to guide them. We gave them air cover and they made a revolution." The people wouldn't be illegalizing and arresting and torturing each other in the thousands for past affiliations and loyalties if that liar were telling the truth. It wasn't a war, he says, past tense. Six months later, "the people of Libya" (NTC) say, it still is and will be for who knows how long. Even after the brutal deceit-soaked bloodbath of sacking of Tripoli, even after lynching Gaddafi and half his sons and officers, torturing some to death, all based on rumors and political-religious hate - still the war is on.
Because the ideology and ideals of the Jamahiriya still remain in the hearts and minds of Libya'speople. Now their beliefs are the battlefield. How do you define "harm to the state," when your lifelong liberty is at stake? Better stay totally quiet just to be safe. No hint of nostalgia, of complaint, of any return from the total new future NATO brought you. In times of war, due process is optional. The war will continue for decades until the old ideals and those who harbor them are stifled away in locked boxes or put in the ground.
Any questions? Now get out and vote. This is free Libya after all.
Further ideas for the NTC as they shape the field for the elections: people shouldn't read sites like this, MATHABA, Libya S.O.S. Viewing can be tracked, arrests can be made. Sites can be blocked. State-run safety-filtered media only? No need, CNN and the others are on your side until you stray from the corporatist path. The first lesson of modern democracy is sculpting the public mind to vote for what you want them to vote for. You guys don't have time, so yes, you need to illegalize the alternatives. Probably harshly.