The EU is a much prettier version of tyranny than rough Russia.
One might say it is the feminine version. It dresses nicely. It has its hair styled. It paints its nails. It smiles. It thinks it is alluring. It spends more than it has.
It is easy to understand why half the Ukrainians want to live with it. With her. Rather than with unshaven, violent, shabby, ill-mannered Daddy Russia.
Her corruption is prettily packaged. Her despotism has a gentle touch. It really is more pleasant to live with her than with him.
But it would be better for the Ukrainians if they just took off on their own.
Bruce Bawer offers that very advice. He writes at Front Page:
It’s in Europe, and it’s huge – after Russia and the top five EU members, it has Europe’s largest population, and twice as many inhabitants as all the Scandiavian countries put together – but Ukraine isn’t a nation we often think of in the West, except when, as in recent days, it’s in the midst of a crisis. It has spent most of its history being conquered and brutalized by its more powerful neighbors, and in the last century underwent one savage chapter after another: 1.5 million people died in the civil war that ended with its absorption into the USSR; millions more died in Stalin’s deliberately engineered famine in 1932-33; during World War II, Hitler slaughtered an additional three million in what was intended to be the first stage of a program of exterminating two-thirds of the country’s population and enslaving the rest.
Today, unsurprisingly, Ukraine is a basket case of a country, riddled with corruption and living in the shadows of its historic horrors. It’s also a linguistically and philosophically divided land, torn between a western chunk whose people speak Ukrainian and identify with Europe and an eastern chunk whose people speak Russian and still feel an attachment to their massive neighbor to the east.
Viktor Yahukovych, the corrupt, autocratic president who disappeared last weekend in the face of mounting public unrest, is a Russiophile whose fatal error was his decision to strengthen bonds with Moscow (which coveted Ukraine as a key ally in a new Eurasian Union) and to turn down a free-trade agreement with the EU; most of the rioters who sent him packing are Europe-oriented types, the majority of whom are eager to see Ukraine become a Western-style democracy free of Putin’s influence, but some of whom, it should be noted, are neo-Nazis who look westward to Germany for the least attractive of reasons.
Most of the Ukrainians who favor European ties also want to see their country join the EU – which, in their eyes, as one Swedish newspaper put it the other day, is “above all…a symbol of a society free of corruption”. Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister who was sprung from prison on Saturday after Yahukovych took it on the lam – and whose own years in office (ending in 2010) were far from corruption-free – told the Kiev crowds shortly after her release that she’s “sure that Ukraine will be a member of the European Union in the near future and this will change everything”.
Change everything! What is it that makes presumably liberty-loving Eastern European politicians talk about the EU as if it were a magic freedom elixir, a miracle cure for former victims of tyranny?
I suppose part of the explanation is that these politicians travel to the great cities of Western Europe and take in the relative freedom, the relative prosperity, and the relative lack of corruption and thuggery, and assume that all this has something to do with the EU. And part of it, naturally, is the ceaseless stream of pro-EU propaganda poured out by the Western European media and, not least, by the Western European politicians whom the likes of Tymoshenko consort with when they visit the West.
Yet how odd that the superstate’s economic woes haven’t put a dent in the magic for people like Tymoshenko. How odd that even the merest glimpse of the way things work in Brussels – where corruption is, needless to say, very much alive and well, even though it doubtless falls far short of Ukrainian levels – doesn’t give them pause. And how odd that when they witness the arrogance that’s characteristic of virtually all Brussels bigwigs – their habit of responding to any reasonable criticism of the EU not with cogent arguments but with vicious ad hominem attacks – they don’t immediately recognize that they’re observing tyrants in the making, the sort of folks that you’d think they’d had more than enough of over the centuries, thank you very much.
Take European Council president Herman van Rompuy, that colorless, Politburo-style mediocrity, who in a 2011 speech blithely ignored the essentially undemocratic nature of the EU, describing it – outrageously – as “the fatherland, or the motherland of democracy”.
Or take European Commission president José Manuel Durrão Barroso, who started his political career as a Maoist, and who in 2012 argued that the EU’s democracy deficit isn’t a bug but a feature: “Governments are not always right. If governments were always right we would not have the situation that we have today. Decisions taken by the most democratic institutions in the world are very often wrong.”
What he says is not untrue (even democratically-elected governments are almost always wrong), but he is making an argument for despotism.
Or take halfwit EU Foreign Affairs honcho Catherine Ashton, whose 2011 Guardian article lecturing Hosni Mubarak on the need for democracy in Egypt was widely (and rightly) ridiculed as the work of someone who, as Brendan O’Neill neatly put it in the Telegraph,
… has never once bothered the ballot box, never once ventured into the rowdy arena of public opinion to win the masses’ backing, and who was elevated to her current position as the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs through backroom wheeling and dealing.
Noting Ashton’s enthusiasm, in her Guardian piece, for what she called “deep democracy”, O’Neill explained that “she doesn’t mean deep as in profound – she means bureaucracy, the grey and unaccountable sphere that she haunts, the removed realm of experts and unelected high representatives” – a phenomenon Ashton contrasted (favorably, of course) with mere “surface democracy”, the undesirable, old-fashioned sort of system in which elected officials actually seek (horrors!) to honor their constituents’ wishes.
Even a cursory look at the careers and pronouncements of these unelected demigods, these self-regarding technocratic hacks, is to recognize them as people who itch to rule an empire and who are, quite simply, outraged at anyone who dares to stand in their way for a moment. Given the transparency of their lust for monolithic power – a power, moreover, utterly liberated from any notion whatsoever of responsibility to an electorate – it’s baffling that so many observers can actually take the EU seriously as a formula for European peace rather than for European autocracy.
What Europe has in Barroso, Ashton, & co., after all, is a pack of men and women who have done their level best to impoverish real political debate, to blunt its impact, and to make it seem obsolescent, counterproductive, and in every way undesirable.
Former Czech president and staunch EU critic Václav Klaus asked in his 2011 book Europe: The Shattering of Illusions:
Do we have real politics in Europe today – the political conflict of opinions – or have real politics been in fact eliminated by reducing the weight and importance of the nation states and by the self-confessed apolitical ways of Brussels?
Which is another way of saying that Brussels isn’t a city of politicians who have different political philosophies and who come together to debate ideas and hammer out compromises; it’s a city of technocrats who share an ideology and who work together as a team to translate that ideology into policy – never mind what the rabble think. (Or, as Klaus put it even more bluntly: “the European Union is no longer the symbol of democracy it pretends to be.”)
Klaus has coined the term “Europeism”. It’s a useful word, because it places the unreflecting, reality-defying enthusiasm for Europe in the category it belongs to, along with other, earlier European-isms. Among much else, Europeism views the free market as uncivilized and anarchic, places collective rights above individual rights, and strives, as Klaus excellently puts it, “for a homogenized, ‘decaffeinated’ world (with no flavour, aroma, and smell)”.
Europeists, he writes,
… do not believe in spontaneous, unregulated and uncontrolled human activity. They trust the chosen ones (not the elected ones), they trust themselves or those who are chosen by themselves. They believe in a vertically structured and hierarchized human society … They want to mastermind, plan, regulate, administer the others, because some (they themselves) do know and others do not. They do not want to rely on spontaneity of human behavior and on the outcomes resulting from this spontaneity because they think that rationalistic human design is always better than an unplanned result of interactions between free citizens, constructed and commanded by nobody. Even though we thought that after the collapse of communism all this was a matter of the past, it is not so. It is around us again. Europeism is a new utopism and, I add, it is an extremely naive and romantic utopism.
Above all, writes Klaus, Europeism “is based on the idea that states, more precisely the nation states, represent the Evil – because they were once the cause of wars among other things – while the supranational, continental and global entities represent the Good, because they – according to eurocrats – eliminate all forms of nationalist bickering once and for all”. This understanding of things, he adds, “is obviously childish, yet it is generally accepted in Europe”. Yes, it’s accepted because millions of today’s Europeans have been brainwashed into thinking that national feeling – patriotism – was the root of all of the worst things that happened to the continent in the twentieth century. No, ideology was the root – ideology in the form of Nazism, fascism, and Communism. And Europeism – which, by the way, has multiculturalism and fanatical environmentalism built into it – is the twenty-first-century heir of those wretched systems of thought.
Which brings us back to the latest developments in Ukraine. Tymoshenko’s speech on Saturday night was followed on Sunday by the news that the EU – notwithstanding its own massive financial difficulties – is now ready to hand over bushels of cash to the newly Europe-friendly government in Kiev. …
Note to Ukrainians: accepting the EU’s money is one thing. Go for it. But why this longing, on the part of Tymoshenko or anyone else in your country, to board the Superstate Express? Set aside, if you wish, the economic downside of the whole project, the looming disaster that is the eurozone, and just ask yourselves this: after spending most of your history taking orders from far-off imperial capitals, most of the twentieth century living under the nightmare of Communism, and most of the greater part of the generation that followed under the gravitational pull of post-Soviet Kremlin despotism, why be so desperate to subordinate yourselves to yet another set of haughty, high-handed foreign rulers? Why slip away from being under one thumb only to voluntarily place yourself under another?
Ukraine, here’s one simple piece of unsolicited advice: vote for sovereignty. Vote for freedom. Take the money and run.
Stay out of the EU.
This is from a book review by Mark Tapson:
A recent book … lays out the historical evidence for massive Communist penetration of our government beginning in the New Deal era, increasingly rapidly during World War II, and afterward leading to gaping breaches of national security and the betrayal of free-world interests.
Contrary to the notion that domestic Communists were simply harmless, misguided idealists, Stalin’s Secret Agents: The Subversion of Roosevelt’s Government by M. Stanton Evans and Herbert Romerstein shows that widespread government infiltration by Soviet spies sabotaged our foreign policy and molded the post-WWII world in favor of the Soviet Union. Evans, the author of eight previous books including the controversial revised look at Joseph McCarthy called Blacklisted by History, is a former editor of the Indianapolis News, a Los Angeles Times columnist, and a commentator for the Voice of America. Romerstein is a leading Cold War expert, formerly head of the Office to Counter Soviet Disinformation at the U.S. Information Agency from 1983 until 1989, who has served on the staff of several congressional committees including the House Intelligence Committee.
The early Cold War spying which resulted in the theft of our atomic secrets, radar, jet propulsion, and other military systems was serious enough, but that wasn’t the major issue. “The spying,” as the authors put it, “was handmaiden to the policy interest,” which was by far the leading problem. As President Franklin Roosevelt’s health and mental ability waned, covert Communist aides exerted pro-Soviet influence on U.S. policy, which was reflected in postwar discussions by the Big Three powers about the new shape of the world.
We would contend that even if his mental powers had not been waning, he would still have tried to please “Uncle Joe” Stalin. FDR actually admired that evil man.
The policy impact of such deceptive influence on the part of Soviet agents was to turn Western influence and support against the anti-Communist forces and in favor of their Red opponents, as U.S. and other Allied leaders based decisions on false intelligence from pro-Soviet agents.
The effects were calamitous for the cause of freedom, as numerous countries were thus delivered into the hands of Stalin and his minions.
The three leaders – FDR, Churchill, and Stalin – “would ultimately decide what political forces would prevail where and the forms of government to be installed in formerly captive nations, including those in alignment with the victors.” Unfortunately, at that time “seeking Soviet ‘friendship’ and giving Moscow ‘every assistance’ summed up American policy [in meetings] at Teheran and Yalta, and for some while before those meetings.”
At the Yalta meeting at the end of the war, when the future of eastern Europe was decided, Roosevelt allowed the subjugation of hundreds of millions of non-Russians to Communist tyranny. Churchill was against it, seeing Stalin as the incorrigible tyrant he was, but Roosevelt’s decision prevailed.
Three notable examples of countries “pulled into the vortex of Communist power” were Yugoslavia, Poland and China. Other nations in central Europe were absorbed into the Soviet empire as well, as prelude to the Cold War struggle. Similar results occurred in Asia, where millions were slaughtered in China, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos where Communists came to power. “Red police states would in due course extend from the Baltic to the Pacific, and later to Africa and Latin America… The supposedly progressive twentieth century thus became a saturnalia of tyranny and violence, surpassing in this respect also all previous records of such horrors.”
The most powerful pro-Red influence was actually the President himself. He distanced himself from Churchill’s warier stance about Russian imperialism, and instead made common cause with Stalin. “His main object was to get Stalin to agree with the Rooseveltian vision of a peaceable kingdom to come via the United Nations.” FDR seemed to be “guided very heavily by his advisers and took no step independently,” as one observer noted. Harry Hopkins, FDR’s longtime and most powerful adviser, “held pro-Soviet views of the most fervent nature.” Indeed, the authors claim, “Throughout the war years, Moscow had no better official U.S. friend than Hopkins.”
FDR’s wife too advocated in a pro-Red direction, and Vice President Henry Wallace was “arguably the most prominent pro-Soviet political figure of his time.”
But entities outside the government affected American foreign policy in these years too. The press corps, academics, lobbyists, and think tanks all helped mold a climate of opinion that paved the way for pro-Red policymakers in federal office. Media spokesmen then helped promote pro-Soviet policy “while attacking the views and reputations of people who wanted to move in other directions.” A complicit media helping to advance the Communist agenda while shutting down opposition voices – sound familiar?
The most famous example of infiltration was, of course, the spy Alger Hiss, whose “skill in positioning himself at the vectors of diplomatic information indicates the degree to which Soviet undercover agents were able to penetrate the U.S. government in crucial places, up to the highest policy-making levels.” Hiss rose from obscurity to become the custodian of all memoranda for the President on topics to be considered at the crucial Yalta summit. However, “he wasn’t an isolated instance, but only one such agent out of many.”
The authors’ conclusions are threefold: 1) Communist penetration in the American government in the WWII-era and early Cold War was deep and extensive, involving many hundreds of suspects; 2) the infiltrators wielded important leverage on U.S. foreign policy in that period; and 3) pro-Soviet penetration and the resulting policy damage occurred because Soviet agents preyed on the credulity of officials who were willfully ignorant of Communist methods. “The net effect of these converging factors was a series of free-world retreats” in the face of Marxist conquests across Europe, Indochina, Latin American states, and African nations.
The lessons of this highly readable and concise history are well worth taking to heart today, not merely as an historical study, but as a reflection of the subversive infiltration and influence of the Muslim Brotherhood on our current administration.
For Muslim infiltration and influence on the Obama administration see for instance our posts:
Obama gang submits to America’s enemy, June 14, 2012
The State-whisperer, August 16, 2012,
Al-CIA, al-FBI, al-DHS, al-USA, November 4, 2012
Margaret Thatcher’s reign over Britain was a pause in the decline of the nation. That is the verdict of almost all the most insightful obituaries that have appeared since her death. She changed Britain, held it for a while as a model to the world of how capitalism can restore wealth and prestige, but did not succeed in reversing its downward trend.
Nevertheless she was one of the British people’s greatest leaders.
Mark Steyn writes:
In Britain in the Seventies, everything that could be nationalized had been nationalized, into a phalanx of lumpen government monopolies all flying the moth-eaten flag: British Steel, British Coal, British Airways, British Rail . . . The government owned every industry — or, if you prefer, “the British people” owned every industry. And, as a consequence, the unions owned the British people. The top income-tax rate was 83 percent, and on investment income 98 percent. No electorally viable politician now thinks the government should run airlines and car plants and that workers should live their entire lives in government housing. But what seems obvious to all in 2013 was the bipartisan consensus four decades ago, and it required an extraordinary political will for one woman to drag her own party, then the nation, and subsequently much of the rest of the world back from the cliff edge.
Thatcherite denationalization was the first thing Eastern Europe did after throwing off its Communist shackles — although the fact that recovering Soviet client states found such a natural twelve-step program at Westminster testifies to how far gone Britain was.
She [Margaret Thatcher] was the most consequential woman on the world stage since Catherine the Great, and Britain’s most important peacetime prime minister. In 1979, Britain was not at war, but as much as in 1940 faced an existential threat.
Mrs. Thatcher saved her country — and then went on to save a shriveling “free world,” and what was left of its credibility. The Falklands were an itsy bitsy colonial afterthought on the fringe of the map, costly to win and hold, easy to shrug off — as so much had already been shrugged off. After Vietnam, the Shah, Cuban troops in Africa, Communist annexation of real estate from Cambodia to Afghanistan to Grenada, nobody in Moscow or anywhere else expected a Western nation to go to war and wage it to win. Jimmy Carter, a ditherer who belatedly dispatched the helicopters to Iran only to have them crash in the desert and sit by as cocky mullahs poked the corpses of U.S. servicemen on TV, embodied the “leader of the free world” as a smiling eunuch. Why in 1983 should the toothless arthritic British lion prove any more formidable?
And, even when Mrs. Thatcher won her victory, the civilizational cringe of the West was so strong that all the experts immediately urged her to throw it away and reward the Argentine junta for its aggression. “We were prepared to negotiate before” she responded, “but not now. We have lost a lot of blood, and it’s the best blood.” Or as a British sergeant said of the Falklands: “If they’re worth fighting for, then they must be worth keeping.”
Mrs. Thatcher thought Britain was worth fighting for, at a time when everyone else assumed decline was inevitable. … [But for her and] anyone with a sense of history’s sweep, the strike-ridden socialist basket case of the British Seventies was not an economic downturn but a stain on national honor.
A generation on, the Thatcher era seems more and more like a magnificent but temporary interlude in a great nation’s bizarre, remorseless self-dissolution.
She was right and they were wrong, and because of that they will never forgive her. … For eleven tumultuous years, Margaret Thatcher did shock them. But the deep corrosion of a nation is hard to reverse …
Not just hard. Impossible. What great power that declined and fell ever rose to greatness again?
China had to turn to the capitalist model set by Margaret Thatcher to save its economy – which it did, spectacularly.
But far from acknowledging a debt, this obituary published in China belittles all her achievements, putting her whole career through the Marxist class-analysis mincer.
Petty, mean, and puerile, it is an exercise in Schadenfreude; sneer after sneer concluding with a spiteful joke:
Thatcher grew up in a classical English petty-bourgeois family. Her father owned two grocery shops in Grantham. He preached the word of God, was staunchly patriotic, and became the town’s Mayor from 1945-6. His self-confidence derived from selecting food that commanded a good price and turned a good profit. His daughter, Margaret, also formed her intellectual outlook around the petty proprietor’s fetish for the magical qualities of prices. …
Her marriage to Dennis Thatcher in 1951 elevated her into the ranks of the bourgeoisie. He had inherited his wealth and felt that business distracted him from dabbling in amateur military escapades. He was generally seen as a blithering incompetent buffoon to be shunted out of ears reach, in case some bigoted diatribe escaped his lips, but Margaret dearly loved him and treasured the life opportunities his wealth had opened up for her. Dennis funded her career change from studying the chemical composition of ice cream, to studying to become a barrister …
The 1960s were characterized by an entrenched social-democratic consensus whereby social and economic development was widely seen as the product of an alliance between theclasses. Employment was easy to come by and wages rose, and public housing, health care and education expanded rapidly. This all smacked of communism to Margaret Thatcher, who was allowed to bark vitriol against socialism to the gleeful cheers of her bourgeois-aristocratic colleagues in parliament.
The victory of the mineworkers against the Conservative government in two strikes in 1972 and 1974 led to an election, which the then Prime Minister, Edward Heath, claimed would answer the question “who runs Britain?” He lost the election to a minority Labour government and Margaret Thatcher became the Conservative Party leader in 1975.
The shopkeeper inside her, meant she automatically gravitated toward economic theory based on price. Her ideology imagined a world of free and unrestricted competitive pressures where atomized individuals replace organized workers. The pathway to this free market utopia involved selling off state resources and public housing at prices that were absurdly low. This created a significant constituency within the working and middle classes who suddenly acquired money from nothing. In this way the shopkeeper’s delusion, that an economy is simply a nation of buyers and sellers, was materially anchored in the minds of those who suddenly had loads of money. In this way a significant minority acquired a material stake in Thatcher’s “property owning democracy.” Making goods and services was replaced by selling second hand bricks; producing coal, steel, ships, trains and cars was replaced by speculative instruments conjured up by a Thatcherite tribe of arrogant barrow boys who were encouraged to take over the trading floors of the City of London, elbowing aside the “toffs” in bowler hats, and revolutionizing financial markets in a cocaine fueled [?] speculative orgy.
So severe was the economic dislocation and the scars of social conflict that the government was thrown into deep crisis. However, luck was on the side of Mrs. Thatcher, as President General Galtieri of Argentina used their nation’s historical conflict over British occupation of the Malvinas Islands to launch a war to take them by force. Thatcher dispatched the British fleet and reconquered the Islands, whipping up a wave of jingoistic flag-waving. Riding a new tide of popularity, the real war began. Its objective was to smash the central core of trade union strength, the National Union of Mineworkers. Huge reserves of coal were stockpiled, the police were militarized, and war was declared on millions of British workers. Thatcher proclaimed the miners’ union to be agents of the Soviet Union. When she described them as “the enemy within” she had the look of hysteria in her eyes. The strike lasted a year and was defeated. This was a result of Thatcher’s determination and an impotent response by the majority of Labour and Trade Union leaders. The defeat of the miners union led to greater control by capital over labour and a long period of passive industrial relations.
The greatest nonsense is spoken about Thatcher’s significance in the struggle against what she called “the Evil Empire” of the USSR. The role of the U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher was insignificant and peripheral. Even though the Soviet press had given her the name, “the Iron Lady,” of which she was so proud. The collapse of the USSR was a result of internal disintegration and not external pressure. …
May the Iron Lady rust in peace!
China’s prosperity is the result of allowing private enterprise. It makes China a rising world power.
The pretense continues that “the rebels’ – a crowd of untrained Libyans dangerously armed – achieved the conquest of Tripoli and now the defeat of Gaddafi’s last defenders in Sirte and his capture.
Here is a report from the Telegraph in which the writer tries to uphold the internationally agreed lie, while yet supplying the information that a US drone guided from the Nevada desert, and French bombers, and British “advisers” – actually strategists and leaders and, probably, effective fighters in sufficient number – ended Gaddafi’s forces’ last stand and flushed out the man.
Deep in the lunar landscape of the Nevada desert, American specialists trained to their computer screens spotted unusual activity at around 7.30am in District Two. From their windowless bunker, lit by constantly flickering computer screens, the analysts directed their unmanned Predator drones to zoom in on the convoy [of trucks] as it picked up speed and headed west. Nato’s eyes were suddenly trained on Gaddafi’s convoy. …
Around 40 miles off the Libyan coast a Nato AWAC early-warning surveillance aircraft, flying over the Mediterranean, took control of the battle and warned two French jets that a loyalist convoy was attempting to leave Sirte.
As the convoy sped west, a Hellfire missile was fired from the Predator and destroyed the first vehicle in the convoy.
By now, the NTC troops had realised that the loyalists were escaping and a small number of lightly armed rebels began to give chase.
To me it seemed like a wild, chaotic situation. But we now know that it had, in fact, been foreseen by the British SAS and their special forces allies, who were advising the NTC forces.
British military sources have told The Sunday Telegraph that small teams of SAS soldiers on the ground in Sirte, armed but under strict orders not to get involved, had warned them throughout the siege to be alert to the fleeing of loyalists.
Assisted by other special forces – in particular the Qataris [put in because they're Arabs which makes it okay if they have "boots on the ground"? - JB] with whom the SAS have a long relationship dating back 20 years – the SAS tried to impress on the Libyans the need to cover all escape routes.
But despite the advice, the breakout seems to have taken the rebels on the Zafran front completely by surprise.
In the previous two weeks I had repeatedly seen the militiamen fail to hold forward positions at night as they fell back to their encampments. Again and again loyalists had used cover of darkness to surprise the militiamen and manoeuvre into new firing positions.
Once more their surveillance was lax, and one rebel fighter confessed to me that in the early hours of Thursday they had failed to keep proper watch on the western front and they were surprised by the convoy. …
At this point the SAS urged the NTC [National Transitional Council] leaders to move their troops to exits points across the city and close their stranglehold.
After the Hellfire missile struck its target, the convoy changed direction, possibly hoping to avoid a further strike, before heading west again. It had begun to fracture into several different groups of vehicles.
The French jets were also given permission to join the attack.
By now a group of 20 vehicles in the convoy had reached a point around three miles west of the city. The shattered streets had been left behind, and the convoy had halted next to a walled electricity sub station, in arid farmland dotted with breeze block compounds and trees.
Just then, the French pilot began his bombing run, seconds later releasing two 500lb GBU-12 laser-guided bombs, into the centre of the convoy.
The bombs unleashed massive force. Arriving at the site, a few hours later, their devastating power was clear to see: at least a dozen vehicles were shredded and burned out, while I counted more than 25 bodies, some lying twisted and charred inside the vehicles and others lying in clumps nearby.
The air strike marked the end of any attempt at an ordered retreat and the convoy’s remnants scattered. …
Col Gaddafi had survived the air strike, but was apparently wounded in the legs. With his companions dead or dispersed, he now had few options.
He and a handful of men … appeared to have made their way 300 yards north from the devastation and taken shelter in a drainage culvert running under a dual carriageway. …
Members of the Al Watan revolutionary brigade who had been following the convoy at a distance witnessed the explosion, but at that point still had no idea who was in the vehicles.
Saleem Bakeer, a rebel fighter who said he was among those who came across Gaddafi hiding in the pipes said they had approached on foot.
“One of Gaddafi’s men came out waving his rifle in the air and shouting surrender, but as soon as he saw my face he started shooting at me,” he said.
“Then I think Gaddafi must have told them to stop. ‘My master is here, my master is here’, he said, ‘Muammar Gaddafi is here and he is wounded’.”
“We went in and brought Gaddafi out. He was saying: ‘What’s wrong? What’s wrong? What’s going on?’”
The initial astonishment [on the part of the rebels] appears to have quickly switched to jubilation, and then rage.
“I don’t think that anyone thought he would be there, we all thought that he would be in the south, or maybe across in Niger or Algeria. We were as shocked as he was at first,” said Abdullah Hakim Husseini, one of the band of men who found him. “We were so happy when we knew it was him. I thought, ‘at last, it’s all over’.”
Mobile phone footage shows Col Gaddafi alive but weak and bloodied, with blows raining down on him from frenzied fighters. At one point he was hauled onto the bonnet of a pickup truck, then pulled down by his hair. His weighty golden gun, intricately engraved and decorated with the words “The sun will never set on the Al Fattah revolution”, was snatched by one of the revolutionaries. His satellite phone was seized, and it was later discovered that he had made one last call to Syria.
Omran el Oweyb, the commander who captured Gaddafi, said that he only managed to stagger ten steps before he fell to the ground. …
One rebel was heard screaming in his face: “This is for Misurata, you dog.”
Gaddafi – confused, bloodied, stumbling – can be heard to reply, in what could be his last, laughably philosophical words: “Do you know right from wrong?”
What happened in the next minutes is the subject of intense controversy. Sometime in the next hours or minutes he died of a bullet wound to the left temple. The official NTC account says he was caught in crossfire as he was being driven to hospital. …
However the ambulance driver who ferried him said Col Gaddafi was already dead when he was loaded into the ambulance, around 500 yards from his point of capture.
One NTC member, who did not want to be named, admitted that this version of events was likely. “They beat him very harshly and then they killed him,” he said. “This is a war.”
So British SAS soldiers directed the last battle on the ground.
A Hellfire missile and bombs released from French planes hit the truck-convoy in which Gaddafi was trying to flee from Sirte. Gaddafi and at least one of his men sought shelter in a large drainpipe. And only then the Libyan savages moved in for the kill.
This is also from the Telegraph:
In Benghazi, on the main square where it all started, they were slaughtering camels in celebration. … They daubed their hands in the camel-blood, and gave the V-for-victory sign with dripping fingers. …
In the cafes, people were watching TV pictures – more graphic than any shown in Britain – of a bloodied Gaddafi dragged along and beaten, feebly protesting, before a gun was put to his head.
The picture then cut to the dead ex-leader being rolled onto the pavement, blood pooling from the back of his skull. …
Gaddafi’s death is already showing up some of the weaknesses of Libya’s new rulers.
The claim by the interim prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, that he was killed in “crossfire” looks ever more false with every new piece of video.
Both he and his son Mutassim were alive when captured, and dead soon after. A statement by an anonymous NTC source that “they beat [Gaddafi] and they killed him” seems closer to the mark.
But Mr Jibril angrily rejected demands by the United Nations and some in the West for a proper investigation into the circumstances of Gaddafi’s death.
“People in the West don’t understand the agony and pain that the people went through during the past 42 years,” he said.
The dictator’s treatment – before and after death – underlines that Libya does not have a government, or a state with functioning standards, only a collection of militias.
After he was killed, his [torn and bloodied] body was taken by the Misurata militia and put on display in a shopping centre, where yesterday the corpses of his slain son Mutassim and Gaddafi’s army chief, Abu Bakr, were placed alongside.
Libyans from hundreds of miles away came to queue up and, some wearing gloves and masks, view the three bodies. …
The various militias are quarreling over who should take possession of the corpses. It is a harbinger of fiercer quarrels to come. Trouble looms.
Most of the militias are based on a particular town, financed and commanded largely autonomously. Gaddafi’s death means that the main thing which united them – the war against him – is over. Now, the many rivalries and disputes between them, and between them and the NTC, may come to the fore. …
The NTC is indeed going to vanish: Mr Jibril, along with the rest of the council, have already said they will serve only until elections in eight months’ time, and he repeated that yesterday. Eight months is quite enough time for political disputes to fester and harden into something more serious.
Such as more civil war?
This comes from DebkaFile:
[National Transitional Council leader] Mustafa Abdul-Jalil will be little more than a figurehead. Even now, he is confined in Benghazi by three strongmen, who control most parts of the capital, and have not given him permission to move the seat of the interim government to Tripoli. …
The regime taking shape could not be further from the Western ideal of a free democracy.
Behind the grisly images of Muammar Qaddafi’s last moments spilling out since Thursday, Oct. 20, a quiet contest is afoot between the US and at least two NATO allies, France and Germany, over who deserves the credit for his termination and therefore for ending the alliance’s military role in Libya.
American sources are willing to admit that US drones operated by pilots from Las Vegas pinpointed the fugitive ruler’s hideout in Sirte and kept the building under surveillance for two weeks, surrounded by US and British forces.
Both therefore had boots on the ground in breach of the UN mandate which limited NATO military intervention in Libya to air strikes. …
According to the London Daily Telegraph, his presence in the convoy was first picked up by the USAF River Joint RC-135V/W intelligence signals plane, which passed the information to French warplanes overhead who then carried out the strike on Qaddafi’s vehicle.
The German Der Spiegel reported Monday, Oct. 24, that the tip revealing Qaddafi’s last hiding place came from German BND intelligence agents. Although Chancellor Angela Merkel was dead against German participation in the NATO operation in Libya, the BND nonetheless played an important role in intelligence-gathering.
It is increasingly obvious now that without the active intervention of the US, Britain, France and Germany, the anti-Qaddafi rebels on their own would never have beaten Qaddafi or been able to end his life.
As usual, however, the foreign offices of all the NATO countries involved in the operation will follow a long established custom of the Western powers and allow the Arabs to lie.
The lie will be that the people of Libya overthrew a tyrant. The truth will be that they’ll instate an Islamic regime in his stead; and the West, for all its talk of helping Libya become a free democracy, will not raise a finger to prevent that from happening.
New information about Anders Brievik, the Norwegian terrorist, is being published in erstwhile Soviet satellite countries – that he underwent militant-terrorist training in (post-Soviet but still communist) Belarus.
According to this report he was trained under a former colonel of Belarusian special forces, Valery Lunev.
Eastern European feeds are full of details of Breivik’s multiple trips to Belarus, changes in his behavior and wealth, and the training he underwent in Belarusian militant camps. In fact, Belarus’ tight government regime and active intelligence have served a great purpose this time around. … Belarusian KGB kept precise records on Breivik, who was called “Viking” in the intelligence reports. …
It appears that the Norwegian terrorist underwent the militant-terrorist training under the guidance of 51-year-old Valery Lunev, a former colonel of Belarusian special forces, who now lives in Netherlands but regularly visits Belarus. According to Mikhail Reshetnikov, the Head of the Party of Belarus Patriots who is familiar with the intelligence records, “Breivik visited Belarus three times. Last Spring, while actively preparing for the terrorist attacks, he entered Poland with his own passport, and then travelled to Minsk under a passport of another European country. He recently got a Belarusian girlfriend and obtained access to significant amounts of money.”
Who paid him? To do what?
His targets were members of a Russia-friendly left-wing Norwegian political party. How did his terrorist actions against them serve the interests of communist Belarus?
It is an impoverished state with a “Soviet-style economy”, ruled by a man who, according to the BBC (which is not unfriendly to collectivist tyrannies), is a nasty tyrant:
[Belarus] has been ruled with an increasingly iron fist since 1994 by President Alexander Lukashenko. Opposition figures are subjected to harsh penalties for organising protests.
In early 2005, Belarus was listed by the US as Europe’s only remaining “outpost of tyranny”. In late 2008, there were some signs of a slight easing of tensions with the West, though this proved to be only a temporary thaw. ..
In the Soviet post-war years, Belarus became one of the most prosperous parts of the USSR, but with independence came economic decline. President Lukashenko has steadfastly opposed the privatisation of state enterprises. Private business is virtually non-existent. Foreign investors stay away.
For much of his career, Mr Lukashenko has sought to develop closer ties with Russia. On the political front, there was talk of union but little tangible evidence of progress, and certainly not toward the union of equals envisaged by President Lukashenko.
Belarus remains heavily dependent on Russia to meet its own energy needs and a considerable proportion of Russian oil and gas exports to Europe pass through it.
Seems Master Putin may be choosing another class favorite:
Relations with Russia deteriorated sharply in the summer of 2010, with disputes over energy pricing, customs union terms and the presence in Belarus of ousted Kyrgyz president Bakiyev, prompting speculation that Moscow might switch support from Lukashenko to another leadership candidate.
In Russia and Eastern Europe, it seems, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!
There is a mystery here. Does Belarus just train anybody who applies to become a terrorist, regardless of the use he intends to put his training to, or the objectives he has in mind? That would mean that Lukashenko (remember nothing official happens in a tyranny without the tyrant ordaining it) simply wants to promote general chaos.
If not that, what particular Belarusian or Russian interests was Breivik serving? Did Lukashenko want to strike a very indirect blow against Putin by hurting his Norwegian fans?
Perhaps Breivik misled his trainers. Perhaps he told them he intended to bomb the US embassy in Oslo.
With what’s been revealed, there’s plenty of scope for conjecture but little certainty. Rather, uncertainty grows.
And it’s unlikely that explanations will come out of Belarus. None, anyway, that a savvy observer would trust.
Footnote: Of course the whole story of Breivik being trained in Belarus could be “disinformation”, a term coined during the Cold War meaning: false information, spread for mischievous ends through obscure channels on the chance of it’s reaching and deceiving the enemy’s mainstream media and intelligence agencies.