By Diane Bukowski
Aug. 27, 2011
DETROIT – The story told by former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney during her appearance in Detroit Aug. 27 was agonizing, appalling and rage-inspiring.
It is the story of Libya under Moammar Gadhafi and the socialist Jamahiriya, and the imperialist campaign to wipe it from the face of the earth.
Under Gadhafi’s revolutionary administration, established in 1969, McKinney explained, Libya has guaranteed and paid for housing, health care, education and utilities for all its citizens out of its vast oil wealth. At the same time, it has opened its borders to workers and students from across Africa and the world to share in its peoples’ good fortune. Shop owners have also migrated there, she said, sending aid home to their families.
“Libya is the wealthiest country in Africa,” McKinney said. “The quality of life there was good—the best in all of Africa. Now that tremendous wealth is being squandered and reduced to rubble by bombs we pay for. Not only is it war on Libya, it is war on all of Africa. Libya began the discussion of an African currency backed by 144 tons of gold. Libya has no debt, while the US is virtually bankrupt, with $60 trillion in obligations according to David Walker, former comptroller.”
She said Libya therefore represented a threat to the Western world.
“Not only did Libya advocate an Africa-wide currency that would separate the French economy from its parasitic relationship to the African states, they proposed building a one million person army so that Africa could stand on its own. Moammar Gadhafi announced he had set $90 billion aside for the creation of a United States of Africa. Moammar Gadhafi and Libya came to the rescue of the people of Northern Ireland as well as Nelson Mandela and the people of South Africa. The attack on Libya is an attack on all of us.”
For these reasons, McKinney said, the U.S, the U.K., France and Italy with NATO launched their brutal war against the Libyan people, which currently has the streets and hospitals of Tripoli running red with the blood of civilians, especially Black Libyans and immigrant African workers. Their intent is to destroy every vestige of Libya’s achievements in the most brutal way possible.
“People of African descent have a right to be able to live on this planet in dignity,” McKinney said, citing the message of the Pan-African Conference held in Libya in January.“If you can’t live in dignity, then come back home to Africa. That was the message–come back home to Africa, to Libya.”
McKinney said at the time of the conference, the imperialist powers had just lifted economic sanctions against Libya.
“Libya was in a building frenzy—they were building high rises all over the country because in the socialist Jamahiriya housing is a human right, therefore the government provides housing to everybody,” McKinney said.
“Education under the socialist Jamahiriya is a human right. Whatever your talents are, Libya will pay for your education at Al Fateh University, which I visited after it was bombed . . . or the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, which a Libyan national who has been with us on this tour was attending. Also health care is a human right and if a Libyan national has an ailment and there is problem with treatment in Libya, then government will fly that person and family members to whatever country that has the expertise that is needed. . . . .Electricity is also free of charge. Can you imagine not having a utility bill?”
McKinney said the Libyan U-Mass student told her he received an allowance of 2500 dinars a month, his portion of revenue-sharing from the country’s oil wealth. In addition to his tuition, the Libyan government was paying for his living expenses and that of his family. McKinney said he has just discovered that these payments are now suspended due to the war.
Imperialist banks froze at least $50 billion in Libyan assets, $30 billion in the U.S. at the direction of President Barack Obama. The plundered wealth of the Libyan people is now being handed over to the so-called Transitional National Council of the counterrevolutionaries, who are led by the CIA and NATO.
McKinney said her observations of Libya in January and during a previous trip led her to establish the Dignity Delegation of independent journalists, which left June 1 to tour the country with her, at the outset of the U.S.-NATO bombing campaign. She and some of those on the tour have now spoken in 36 cities across the U.S.
“They were charged to do what journalists do, go there, hit the ground running, interview people, videotape, write stories and tell the truth,” McKinney said. They included Wayne Madsen (http://www.waynemadsenreport.com ), Jocelyn Barnes of DC TV in the District of Columbia, who shot most of the video, and a South African journalist from Channel 4 in Capetown, South Africa.
“I was an eyewitness to NATO’s war crimes,” McKinney said. “They are targeting the civilian population, which is denied food, fuel and medicine under a naval blockade, even as the bombs are falling. Targeting civilian populations is a war crime. They also targeted Moammar Gadhafi for assassination. Targeted assassination is illegal under any aspect of international law.”
She said U.S. Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and Africa, and Commander of the Allied Joint Force Command based in Naples, Italy, admitted that part of the NATO mission is to murder Gadhafi.
She said just during the week of the Aug. 27 meeting, 3,000 Libyan civilians in Tripoli alone.had been killed by bombs and ground forces, including Westerners.
“But what I also saw there was a spirit of resistance,” McKinney said. “The residential compound of Moammar Gadhafi, Bab Al-Azizia, was bombed every night. When I was there, people would go there at nighttime and have a party, with drums and dancers. They camped out there increasingly as people’s homes were bombed by NATO, setting up a tent city. Every night when NATO bombed they knew they were bombing unarmed civilians. Bab Al-Azizia now is rubble.”
She said the tent city included migrant workers who refused to go back to their home countries in solidarity with the Libyan people.
McKinney said a worker from Cameroon she met at the tent city called her three days ago.
“He was in tears,” McKinney recounted. “He said ‘My skin is Black, my children are Black, my wife is Black—they are going to kill us.’ People are being targeted, threatened, intimidated, killed and lynched because of the color of skin. Can you imagine the ethnic cleansing of people of dark skin in Africa? About 58 percent of people in Libya look like me. What does it mean when the Voice of America writes a story about “New Libya More Arab, Less African?” (To see VOA story with photos go to http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/decapua-libya-au-arab-laegue-25aug11-128388573.html. Also “The deadly face of racism revealed by the NATO led war in Libya as Black Africans are being slaughtered,” from the Sierra Leone Telegraph. http://www.thesierraleonetelegraph.com/articles/100576.htm
McKinney said she visited the family of one of the dark-skinned Libyans murdered by the counterrevolutionaries.
“They were called on their loved one’s cell phone and told ‘we have your loved one—watch what we do to him on Al Jazeera,’ and the family witnessed the torture and murder of their loved one.”
McKinney said the damage to Libya’s infrastructure from NATO bombs is immense.
“I tasted the grit of bunker-buster bombs, when NATO bombed during day, morning, afternoon, evening, night, eight to nine times a day. The clouds were not white, the sky was not blue, but an off-black color because so many bombs had been dropped that dust particles were hanging suspended in the air. Lib;yan scientists have now determined it to be depleted uranium.
But to demonstrate the determination of the Libyan people to fight back, McKinney showed a video sent to her by a Libyan national she met during the Dignity Delegation’s tour in Texas.
The video (below) shows house to house fighting and gunfire in the streets Aug. 27, the day of the Detroit meeting.
Libyan war. Gaddafi supporters battling with Rebels Abu Salim suburbs Tripoli Today 27/08/11
“What you just witnessed was sent to me from a Libyan national whose skin is dark just like mine, who is a businessman here in the U.S.,” McKinney said. “He joined us in Houston Texas for our truth tour. He made a statement tha the people of Libya would fight house by house, inch by inch, bullet by bullet, body by body to defend their country. That young man is now one of those volunteers who feel so deeply about their country that they have gone back to defend the integrity and sovereignty of Libya. What we saw on that film is going to take place for a long, long time to come.”
Even a video from the Western media backs up her assertion. Filmed at the same time as the one above, it says Gadhafi is still in Tripoli leading Libyan forces against the counter-revolutionaries, utilizing a system of tunnels built under the capital to prevent his capture.
McKinney said corporate media in the U.S. and world-wide are directly complicit in the slaughter in Libya.
“I just received a phone call from a friend and supporter, a fellow peace lover who lives in Canada. He literally started crying on the telephone. He was crying because his best friend is being held in a hotel that is controlled by rebels—the NATO allies. The gentleman’s best friend committed the crime of being an alternative journalist who went to Libya to tell us the truth.”
She said former U.S. Rep. Walter Fauntroy and other independent journalists are also at the hotel, where gunfire was heard.
“One individual who is a representative of the mainstream corporate media in the US tried to turn this alternative journalist over to the rebels. What has brought us to this point in Tripoli is that fact that embedded in the media under the guise of journalism are members of the press from various NATO countries who have been transmitting information for targeting purposes to NATO.”
McKinney said President Obama’s role as commander-in-chief of the U.S. forces operating with NATO against Libya is creating problems abroad. Previously, Pres. George Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice began calling African migrants to Libya “mercenaries,”setting the stage for the current racist purge in Libya.
“Now people are blaming us because we have allowed the policies of the imperium to take place in black face. If we don’t stop the war machine it will run right over us all. No war is an acceptable war for us to fight.”
But McKinney was upbeat in describing the potential for resistance against the war on Libya and the war on Black and poor people at home.
“Something is happening in our country because many cities began to react to our tour,” McKinney observed. “With little notice people’s organizations came together in each city, and there has been standing room only at every one of our events. We the people will make a new and better America. We’re here to kickstart the revolution. What we are trying to create is a better United States. We know that our war-mongering government does not represent the peace-loving people of the U.S.”
Also speaking during the meeting were Debbie Johnson, of Workers World Party, who chaired it, Mark Fancher of the National Conference of Black Lawyers, Maureen Taylor of the Michigan Welfare Rights Association, Fred Vitale of the Green Party, and Abiyomi Azikiwe of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice. Several of their talks are included along with the video of McKinney’s speech below, taken by Lou Novak.
Below is the last video known to have been broadcast by Lizzie Phelan Aug. 25, 2011, one of the independent journalists McKinney referred to, whose lives have been threatened by CIA plants in the western media. All of Lizzie Phelan’s outlets, her WordPress site called “Lizzie’s Liberation,” and her Facebook and Twitter pages, have been shut down, clearly by forces who did not want her broadcasting the truth from Tripoli.