Libya — our time of shamehttp://www.trinidadexpress.com/commentaries/Libya___our_time_of_shame-132595588.htmlBy Rickey Singh
October 26, 2011
WITHIN THE past week Libya's most controversial political leader, Moammar Gadaffi, was executed by a combination of local and international forces and then secretly buried him in an unmarked grave.
But as of yesterday, (Tues), at the time of writing there lingered a deafening silence among governments of our Caribbean Community (Caricom) that had established diplomatic relations with his administration in Tripoli .
With the sole exception of the Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit who condemned the extra-judicial killing of Gadaffi, the rest of Caricom leaders seem to have suffered a loss in speech over this bizarre, vengeful execution that must be an affront to all who subscribe to the rule of law as a civilised judicial process.
It cannot be that our Caricom Heads of Government are reluctant to offend President Barack Obama or any of the heads of government of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) who had initiated the war against Gadaffi under cover of a United Nations Security Council resolution to "protect civilians" in a revolutionary uprising for 'freedom and democracy"
They all knew, from initial reservations that followed last March anti-Gadaffi "no fly zone" resolution by the Security Council that support for "freedom and democracy" was not the primary motivating factor. Evidence is lacking in support of such objectives about America and its NATO allies ever engaging in military warfare in a non-European 'third world' country that does not have the rich natural resources—oil, for instance—that Libya and Iraq have.
In the case of Iraq, where "regime change" was an officially declared objective, the then George Bush administration had demonstrated utter contempt for the United Nations by its refusal to give even prior notification to lead a military invasion with its European allies under a claim to destroy what never existed—weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
At least, having exposed President Saddam Hussein to the world in his humiliating moments of capture, the USA was instrumental in having an interim administration in Baghdad going through the tortuous motions of a court trial, along with a few of his better known former colleagues.
Not so for Libya and Gadaffi. President Obama, who was opposed to the invasion of Iraq, is on record as declaring at the time of passage of the UN Security Council "no fly zone" resolution for the war against the Libyan leader that the USA was not interested in following the pattern of Iraq for "regime change in Tripoli" Yet, that is precisely what Obama's administration had closely worked with NATO to achieve—and worse.
They not only achieved the officially unstated goal of "regime change" in Tripoli with NATO bombs and the arms supplied to the anti-Gadaffi forces on the ground, to end some 42 years of rule by the Libyan strongman—politically notorious for his dictatorial rule and lavish, wealthy style—but they executed him, had his body dumped at a meat storage centre and, after selected macabre viewings of his corpse, finally gave it a secret burial in an unmarked grave in the desert of Libya for fear of his devout supporters transforming the spot into a shrine.
Now, amid a call by the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner for a scrupulous independent probe into the circumstances of Gadaffi's death (will this include forensic evidence and access to his place of burial?), read words from President Obama, whose Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, had arrived, unannounced, in Libya just the day before the reported capture and execution of the Libyan leader:
"Today (October 20)' he declared from the White House, "we can definitively say the Gadaffi regime has come to an end and one of the world's longest serving dictators is no more…Today's events proved, once again, that the rule of the iron fist inevitably comes to an end…"
Also true, as the outstanding former law professor, currently seeking second-term as President of the USA, well knows, is that the expedient ignoring of the rule of law by powerful and wealthy nations could also inevitably prove dangerously counter-productive….Examples abound in every continent of our world.
For us in the Caricom region, it is not a case of simply ending dictatorial rule in Libya. After all, the crushing of the Gadaffi dictatorship was not the achievement of a popular internal revolution of the oppressed. It was a war of external origin orchestrated and funded by militarily powerful nations that continue to dominate the United Nations.
In expressing disappointment, therefore, over the current public silence of Caricom governments to even welcome the UN's call for a serious independent probe into the circumstances of Gadaffi's death, there is the more pertinent concern over their failure to denounce the brutal disregard for the rule of law by a collection of foreign and local executioners.
This is certainly not the way for our Caribbean to encourage the promotion and defence of the rule of law to safeguard "freedom and democracy". Rather, it sadly seems more like our time of shame!http://www.trinidadexpress.com/commentaries/Libya___our_time_of_shame-132595588.html