*edit, June 4, 2017 – Reviewing this post, I can’t find the video segment matching the quote. The linked-to headline is there and for now, that will have to do. Reviewing this old Democracy Now footage, I’m quite bothered by Amy Goodman’s willing service to the US-led corporatocracy in regard to Libya. She joins in the propaganda designed to whip up public support for the US’s no fly zone and regime change in Libya. And Horace Campbell gets it wrong, somewhat, as well.
From the above linked-to segment of Democracy Now’s February 28, 2011 show, the following:
McCain Praises Egyptian Revolution
Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona and independent Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut were in Egypt this weekend as the first visiting congressional delegation since Mubarak’s ouster. McCain and Lieberman met with officials in Egypt’s transitional government and even took a walk through Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the focal point of the uprising. At a news conference, McCain had warm words for the Egyptian revolution.
Sen. John McCain: “This revolution is a repudiation of al-Qaeda. This revolution has shown the people of the world, not just in the Arab world, that peaceful change can come about and violence and extremism is not required in order to achieve democracy and freedom. That’s why we are especially proud to be here, where history is being made for the entire world, not just the Arab world.”
McCain’s comments appear to differ from his stance during the height of the Egyptian uprising. Speaking on Fox News just days before Mubarak was forced to resign, McCain described the popular movements in the Arab world as a “virus.”
Sen. John McCain: “This virus is spreading throughout the Middle East. The president of Yemen, as you know, just made the announcement that he wasn’t running again. This, I would argue, is probably the most dangerous period of history in—of our entire involvement in the Middle East, at least in modern times.”
Usually I only read, in Chomsky’s books, about turds like McCain, wandering around in “the traditional world of domination” doing evil and saying crap like this. I’ve only ever read about such comments being in the planning record and being spoken by imperialists. I’m not as old as Chomsky nor am I young. I have been politicized since the 80s and this is the first time I’ve heard someone, currently, who is actively doing imperialism and saying crap like this. It was surreal.
“Rhetoric aside, the perceived danger throughout, in the Middle East and elsewhere, is independent nationalism, described as a “virus” that might “infect” other countries, a “rotten apple” that might contaminate the region and beyond, a “domino” that might topple others.” -pg 57 of “Deterring Democracy,” by Noam Chomsky
As can be seen from the numerous quotation marks in Chomsky’s statement, he’s getting that view from the horses’ mouths. Have a look at “Deterring Democracy” for the details.
“The United States and the European powers are moving towards direct military intervention in Libya. They are seeking to exploit a legitimate popular uprising against the 41-year rule of Muammar Gaddafi…,” writes Patrick Martin on World Socialist Web Site. He goes on to state that “No one—least of all the Libyan people themselves—should believe the claims of humanitarian concern put forward to justify the entry of American, British, French, German, Italian and other military forces.” But he should have no fears in that regard.
Just because the mainstream media isn’t reporting the actual views of the people fighting back against their corporatocracy-backed dictators, that doesn’t mean those views aren’t being expressed and aren’t known. I reported in a previous post on Anjali Kamat’s report that the Libyans are well aware of humanitarian intervention conducted by imperial powers elsewhere and they don’t want it in Libya, even if they would welcome a genuine no fly zone. She’s repeated that in a subsequent report to Democracy Now! Libyans, it seems, are repeating their wishes and fears about humanitarian intervention to her. Consider:
“You know, people—I listened to a press conference given by the Council of the Revolution, and the main spokesperson made it very clear that, you know, while they were calling for a no-fly zone—this is the number one demand in terms of what the international community can do—they’re very opposed to any other form of foreign military intervention. They do want targeted sanctions, which have already begun. But they also do want a no-fly zone.” – “Libyans in “Liberated” Eastern Cities Balance Self-Government with Supporting Tripoli Resistance: Anjali Kamat Reports” (Democracy Now! Feb 28, 2011)
Robert Fisk must be hearing this as well, although I’m finding few references by him to Libyans’ clearly expressed, to him, fear of humanitarian intervention. Strangely, He dismisses the idea that the imperialists would want to invade and occupy Libya. That’s a view I would expect from someone ignorant or in the service of the corporatocracy.
“Talk of civil war in Libya – the kind of waffle currently emerging from Hillary Clinton’s State Department – is nonsense. All revolutions, bloody or otherwise, are usually civil wars unless outside powers intervene, which Western nations clearly do not intend to do and the people of eastern Libya have already said they do not wish for foreign intervention (David Cameron, please note).” – Robert Fisk, “The historical narrative that lies beneath the Gaddafi rebellion,” The Independent, March 2, 2011
Amy Goodman interviewed Professor Horace Campbell on Democracy Now!, who told her that there are those within the American administration who are calling for a no fly zone and military intervention and those who are leary of that.
My point would be, Are those who ‘say’ that they are leary of that really leary of that? Or are they just leary of public opinion on the subject of humanitarian intervention, which may be shaping up to be more negative as reports of the true nature of humanitarian intervention, in places like Haiti, continue to spread, partly thanks to the growing reach of alternative media and the means of spreading it (internet) and therefore the growing awareness of the ‘whole’ story of humanitarian intervention and democracy promotion?
Professor Horace told Amy Goodman that “…I would think that the opportunistic and cynical elements in the military establishment in the United States and Britain, in particular, are calculating that keeping Gaddafi in power longer would be to the benefit of the West, because it would destabilize the revolutionary forces in both Egypt and in Tunisia. And I would think that the concern that is being expressed by Lieberman, McCain and Hillary Clinton is not for the revolution in Libya, but is a concern for oil and for the destabilization of the Egyptian revolution, because of the long-term implications of this revolution for Africa and the Middle East.”
That also occurred to me. If humanitarian intervention is becoming suspect in the public’s eyes, and there is a desire to tamp down resistance to imperialism from domestic constitutencies in imperial states, then let the Libyans suffer horribly for a time so that the public will be more likely to (uncritically) accept a case for ‘humanitarian intervention’ in Libya. The public itself may demand it!
While there may not be a whole lot of focus on getting Libyans and others in the region fighting for democracy on the record as being against humanitarian intervention, there can be no doubt that it’s there or reporters like Fisk and other commentators wouldn’t say it is. It’s just not easy to scour through current reportage to find Libyans who are right now fighting for democracy going on the record as stating that they fear humanitarian intervention specifically. But that’s a fear that’s been expressed numerous times in many places by all kinds of people fighting for democracy and dealing with imperial humanitarian intervention, and recorded in books written by people like Noam Chomsky, who, in regard to the present situation notes that “efforts could be made to provide assistance and protection to the parts of the population that have succeeded in liberating parts of Libya. However, nobody wants a western intervention. That would probably be not only wrong but also disastrous… For the Arab public, the major threat by overwhelming majority is the US and Israel and Iran is considered a threat only a by small minority… I should say, however, that reports from [the] ground in Libya that we get is that people are under attack by Apache and Chinook helicopters and jet fighters that come from the US.” (See ‘Stability A Code Word With US’)
And, of course, the nub of it, from a history lesson by Chomsky about a direction that Egypt could have taken had Britain and the U.S. allowed it to: “Furthermore, this is one tradition during the period of secular nationalism in Egypt which was very much opposed by the Unites States and Britain, as you know, there was a threat that Egypt might spearhead an effort to use the energy [resources] of the region for the benefit of its own population not for Western investors, Western powers and our ruling elite. That is a real threat. I mean that is why Britain and the United States have traditionally supported the radical Islamic fundamentalism, Saudi Arabia primarily, in opposition to secular nationalism. That provides them with, I think, stability.”
Naomi Klein has some useful things to say about the democracy promotion of imperial powers in her book “The Shock Doctrine – The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism.” Flaming hypocrite McCain praises Egyptians for peaceful revolution in search of democracy, but capitalism, especially ripe, or neoliberal, capitalism only comes into being through force and via the suspension of democracy. How could it be otherwise? When you are offering people slavery and deprivation and policies that benefit a minority of exploiters at their expense, they will not willingly take those things.
“Since the fall of Communism, free markets and free people have been packaged as a single ideology that claims to be humanity’s best and only defence against repeating a history filled with mass graves, killing fields and torture chambers. Yet in the Southern Cone, the first place where the contemporary religion of unfettered free markets escaped from the basement workshops of the University of Chicago and was applied in the real world, it did not bring democracy; it was predicated on the overthrow of democracy in country after country. And it did not bring peace but required the systematic murder of tens of thousands and the torture of between 100,000 and 150,000 people.” -page 121 of “The Shock Doctrine,” by Naomi Klein
Indeed, a 44 year old economist by the name of Orlando Letelier, who publicly stated that Milton Friedman’s design for economies, pushed by him and his students onto whoever they could persuade, meant that Friedman shared responsibility for Pinochet’s crimes was treated to a dose of Friedman’s democracy in response. Less than a month later, in September of 1976, while he was driving to work in Washington, D.C., “a remote-controlled bomb planted under the driver’s seat exploded, sending the car flying and blowing off both his legs. With his severed foot abandoned on the pavement, Letelier was rushed to George Washington Hospital; he was dead on arrival… The assassins had been admitted to the country on false passports with the knowledge of the CIA.” -pages 117, 118 of “The Shock Doctrine”