Gaddafi and friends
Photo: Reuters

Gaddafi's Western friends

Op-ed: Will Western media outlets investigate many fans of former Libyan dictator?

Which Western politicians sanitized Gaddafi and his murderous regime? Which human rights supporters closed their eyes to the Libyan government’s criminality? Who else assisted the regime? These should be excellent topics for the Western media to investigate systematically.


The more so, as new information is made accessible and far more could be uncovered if journalists made the effort. The little attention this subject gets reflects the kind of information many Western media want their readers to know, as well as their false morality.


It is not difficult to produce an initial list of Libya’s sanitizers and gradually enlarge it. Over the decades, enough became known about Gaddafi’s crimes at home and abroad to shun him. This remained true after he gave up his country’s nuclear ambitions and officially “repented” from terrorism in 2003. Yet that did not diminish his responsibility for those who had been murdered or tortured by his regime.


The killing of an estimated 1,200 prisoners at the Abu Salim jail in 1996 was the most murderous incident in a long catalogue of Libyan crimes. Their burial place has now probably been found. In addition, there was enough information about a series of public hangings, torture and disappearances as well as pogroms and the ethnic cleansing of Libya’s last remaining Jews. Libya’s most notorious terrorist act outside the country was the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 which exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing 270 people. A fuller list of Libyan crimes is too long for inclusion here.


French President Nicolas Sarkozy was the first leader of a European country to receive the murderous dictator in his country after he “repented.” Gaddafi pitched his tent in Paris in 2007. He had two audiences with Sarkozy and Sarkozy gave him a parliamentary reception and dinner at the presidential palace on World Human Rights Day. Sanitization had its price, or, if one wishes, its reward. On that occasion, Libya purchased 21 Airbus aircraft and signed a nuclear cooperation agreement upon which the French industry would receive 10 billion Euro.


Welcoming serial rapist

In 2009, Gaddafi was cordially received in Rome by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Part of that program was a speech by the Libyan leader to a gathering of 700 women. The Italian Minister of Equal Opportunities, Maria Cafagna opened the meeting. She explained that Gaddafi’s speech would present “a strong clear message against the abuse of women.” It was a pleasant Roman welcome for a serial rapist.


British Prime Minister Tony Blair had already opened the sanitization process and visited Gaddafi in Tripoli in 2004. Blair returned in 2007 to sign an oil deal. More information is also likely to become known about Blair’s multiple visits to Libya after he left office. In addition, it was revealed that in 2002 — before the dictator had “repented” — the Blair government tried to secure a place at Oxford University for Saif Gaddafi. Romano Prodi, the then-European Commission President, met Gaddafi in Brussels in 2004. He even broke with protocol and received the murderous dictator at the airport.


Politicians were not the only ones assisting Gaddafi’s regime. WikiLeaks recently published that the French firm Amesys sold Libya a system which enabled it to spy on the emails of members of the Libyan opposition abroad. According to WikiLeaks, many other firms continue to sell spyware to dictatorships.


The London School of Economics is considered a progressive academic institution. Its Director, Sir Howard Davies, resigned in March after the Libyan revolution was on its way. He admitted to two basic errors. One was the university’s acceptance of a donation from a foundation of Gaddafi’s son Saif. The other was that he had advised the Libyan government on financial reforms.


LSE then appointed Lord Woolf, a former Lord Justice as investigator. A few days ago, he published his extremely critical report detailing the multiple links of the academic institution with the Gaddafi regime. Judith Rees, the interim Director of LSE said that the Woolf report was particularly damning on the school’s handling of the 1.5 million pound sterling donation from the Gaddafi foundation.


Even before Gaddafi had “renounced” terrorism, Libya was elected to chair the United Nations Human Rights Council in January 2003. Only three nations voted against this. It might be a good idea to publish a list of all the human rights officials who collaborated with the Libyan chair.


Many of the abovementioned personalities will continue to harangue Israel about how it should behave in order to meet moral requirements according to their double standards. This is one of many reasons why – even after his death – further detailing of Gaddafi’s relations with them and others in the Western world remains important.


Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld has published 20 books. Several of these address European anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism.



פרסום ראשון: 12.07.11, 12:01
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