5 May 2011 — Dissident Voice – Ron Ridenour
1. Libya is Africa’s largest exporter of oil, 1.7 million tons a day, which quickly was reduced to 300-400,000 tons/day due to US-NATO bombing.
Libya exports 80% of its oil: 80% of that to several EU lands (32% Italy, 14% Germany, 10% France); 10% China; 5% USA.
2. Gaddafi has been preparing to launch a gold dinar for oil trade with all of Africa’s 200 million people and other countries interested. He has been working with this since 2002 together with Malaysia. As of recently, only South Africa and the head of the League of African States were opposed. Before the invasion of Iraq, Hussein was in agreement as was Sudan, Burney, then Indonesia and United Arab Emirates, also Iran.
French President Nickolas Sarkozy called this, ‘a threat for financial security of mankind’. Much of France’s wealth—more than any other colonial-imperialist power—comes from exploiting Africa.1
3. Central Bank of Libya is 100% owned by state (since 1956) and is thus outside of multinational corporation control (BIS-Banking International Settlement rules for private interests). The state can finance its own projects and do so without interest rates, which reduce the costs by half of private banks. Libya’s central bank (with three branches in the east including Benghazi) has 144 tons of gold in its vaults, which it could use to start the gold dinar. (China, Russia, India, Iran are stocking great sums of gold rather than relying only on dollars.)
4. Gaddafi-Central Bank used $33 billion, without interest rates, to build the Great Man-Made River of 4,000 kilometers with three parallel pipelines running oil, gas and water supplying 70% of the people (4.5 of its 6 million) with clean drinking and irrigation water. This provides adequate crops for the people making it a competitive exporter of vegetables with Israel and Egypt.
The Central Bank also financed Africa’s first communication satellite with $300 million of the $377 cost. It started up for all Africa, December 26, 2007, thus saving the 45-African nations an annual fee of $500 million pocketed by Europe for use of its satellites and this means much less cost for telephones and other communication systems.
5. The opposition led by former Gaddafi ministers and some Eastern clan leaders set up a central bank in Benghazi to replace Libya’s central bank even before they have set up a government or an organized army. It was immediately recognized by Paris stock exchange and soon other Westerners. This is the first time in history rebels have set up a bank before victory or before having a government.
6. There is evidence from Gaddafi defectors (especially Nouri Mesmari), under France protection that France started preparing a Benghazi based rebellion against Gaddafi from November 2010, in order to stop his plans to switch from the dollar to a new gold currency. US politician, Rep. Dennis Kucinich confirms this.2
On December 23, 2010, Libyans Ali Ounes Mansour, Farj Charrant and Fathi Boukhris met with Mesrami and French officials in Paris. Those three are now part of the Benghazi-based leadership.
US General Wesley Clrak (ret.) told Democracy Now (2007) that ten days after September 11, 2011 another general had told him that the Bush government was planning to invade: Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. What they have in common is that they were not members of banks within the BIS, and most of them have lots of oil. Hussein had agreed with France President De Gaulle to switch from dollars to Euros in oil trading six months before Bush invaded.
7. While Gaddafi had turned much of his oil sales toward the West, inviting in many of the major oil companies for great profits (BP, EXXON Mobil, Shell, Total, etc), he did not join the US wars against Afghanistan and Iraq as did most of the oil rich Middle Eastern governments. Nor did he sign on with AFRICOM, a US-inspired pact oriented towards US economic and military benefit in Africa also oriented to isolate China from Africa’s natural resources. In fact, China has 50 major economic projects going in Libya with $18 billion investment. Before the US-NATO invasion, there were 30,000 Chinese workers on these and other projects. Much of China’s investment is destroyed.
8. Human Rights Watch (which some call an imperialist-oriented NGO) reported that there has been no civilian bloodbath by Gaddafi. In Misurata, for example, with 400,000 population (second largest city), after two months of war only 257 people were killed, including combatants. Of 949 wounded, only 22 (3%) were women.3
9. As France took the lead, along with UK, to threaten Gaddafi militarily, Gaddafi threatened (March 2) to throw western oil companies out of Libya. With more blustering from the west, Gaddafi invited (March 14) Chinese, Russian and Indian oil companies to take their place. On March 17, the US-France-UK got want they wanted for starters from the UN. Resolution 1973, calling only for a no-fly strategy and not a regime shift or troop landings, was not backed by key big powers: China, Russia, Brazil, India and Germany. Of the 28 NATO countries, only 14 are involved in the Libyan campaign and only six of those are in the air war.
Denmark is one of those six. It spent 70 million kroner ($12 million) in the first two weeks of bombing. By April 30, it had dropped 297 bombs on Libya. Denmark’s 2011 defense-war budget is $4 billion annually (22.4 billion kroner) out of $130 billion (671 billion kroner) budget. It uses more money than ever for wars: $250 million annually in Afghanistan, three times 2008 expenditures–$14 billion total in nine years. It used $½ billion in five active years at war in Iraq and continues there with less.
What the US-NATO-EU hopes to achieve is to eliminate the half-reliable partner Gaddafi and replace him with a neo-liberal oriented government that will do their bidding: sign on AFRICOM, kick China out, reverse the government central bank to a BIS private enterprise, continue using dollars of course, and have the lackey leaders join in their permanent war age throughout the Middle East and Africa.
New neo-liberal socio-economic policies would eliminate what the Gaddafi government has provided the entire population through state subsidies funded with oil export sales: the highest standard of living in Africa with free, universal health and education care, and the possibility of studying abroad at state expense; $50,000 for each new married couple to get started with; non-interest state loans; subsidized prices of cars much lower than in Europe; the cheapest gasoline and bread prices in the world (similar to Venezuela); no taxes for those working in agriculture.
This is not to say that Gaddafi is all that one would want in a leader, but he is definitely not as bad as most of US-NATO allies, such as dictators in the Middle East and some in Africa, Asia, and certainly Israel. Their friendly governments in Saudia Arabia—which sent troops to good neighbor Bahrain to murder hundreds of unarmed protesters condoned by the US—Yemen, Oman, Jordon where the governments murder hundreds of unarmed protestors. In fact, the only armed insurrection occurring in the Arabic countries is in Libya. It seems the US doesn’t like supporting non-violent demonstrators and would rather see them dead. And that is yet another, and one of the most important, reasons for US-NATO taking over Libya: to stop the progressive, dynamic uproar throughout the Arabic world. If these mostly youth-led revolts could actually win, which would mean replacing the imperialist-backed system and not just a dictator here or there, it might lead to an anti-capitalist revolution.
1. See: ‘The Libyan War, American Power and the Decline of the Petrodollar System’ by Peter Dale Scott; ‘Bombing of Libya – punishment for Gaddafi for his attempt to refuse US dollar’ as cited by Ellen Brown in ‘Libya: All About Oil, or All About Banking.’ For this and other points see also: ‘Euro-US War on Libya: Official Lies and Misconceptions of Critics’ by James Petras and Robin Eastman-Abaya; plus other articles on the subject.
2. See: ‘French plans to topple Gaddafi on track since last November’ by Franco Bechis.
3. Boston Globe, April 14.
Ron Ridenour is an activist who has written many books on Cuba, including Cuba: Beyond the Crossroads (2006) and Cuba at Sea (2008). Read other articles by Ron, or visit Ron’s website.