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We interrupt the global fascination with the non-stop psycho drama of the DSK (Dominique Strauss-Kahn) case – Was he “a perv?” Was she “a hooker”? Was there a conspiracy? – to inform how a post-modern “kinetic military action” is won; in the public relations arena, where else.

This implies that the DSK powerful white male/poor African woman combat in a Manhattan hotel suite does indeed match the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) war on Libya; no matter what happened or happens, the party with the best “com” – or able to recruit the best PR team – wins.

This also proves that the much-incensed Libyan “rebels” – that dodgy bunch of opportunist defectors, Central Intelligence Agency assets, jihad-related Salafi clerics and greedy tribal leaders – is not as pure and innocent as the massive Western propaganda barrage would like world public opinion to believe.

And this also explains why the “rebels” have once again rejected a sensible peace plan proposed by the African Union (AU) late last week – immediate ceasefire, deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi staying out of transition negotiations – as a “non-starter”. They’d rather spin another “massive” offensive towards Tripoli, with weapons – illegally – supplied by neo-Napoleonic Nicolas Sarkozy’s France and the inevitable NATO air strikes.

Bets can be made that this “offensive” – essentially groups of spirited fighters with AK-47s in pick-up trucks against Gaddafi’s Soviet Grad missiles with a range of nearly 40 kilometers – will hardly move the de facto border in the Gulf of Sirte between Tripolitania – controlled by the Gaddafi regime – and Cyrenaica.

We want the money

The “rebel” government – which is now named, after numerous permutations, the Interim Transitional National Council of Libya – has hired Patton Boggs, one of Washington’s leading (and one of the most profitable) PR firms, to “advise and assist” them in, well, winning the war – or at least providing the illusion they are winning the war (shades of NATO’s PR campaign in Afghanistan).

Patton Boggs is already furiously lobbying for the “rebels” to be globally accepted as the “legitimate government of the sovereign nation of Libya”. The agreement was signed between Patton Boggs and former Libyan ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali, the “rebel” top dog in the US. Senior partner Thomas Hale Boggs Jr will be in charge of the account.

Italy, Britain, France, Qatar and now Turkey have already recognized the Interim Transitional National Council; the Barack Obama administration has already allowed them to open a Washington office. But inevitably this is most of all about money; what the council wants are the billions of dollars in frozen funds from the Gaddafi regime held in the US.


Patton Boggs, by some reports, bags a maximum of US$50,000 a month – charged by the hour. The “rebels” will only pay when they have funds – virtually dry at the moment. For nearly three months they’ve already had another top Washington PR firm, The Harbour Group, spinning their case on a pro-bono basis – especially on that crucial “unfreeze the funds” front.

It’s relevant to note that one of the Patton Boggs lobbyists already involved with the “rebels” is Vincent Frillici, a former director of operations at NATO for the alliance’s 50th Anniversary Host Committee. That’s sweet; a NATO-connected lobbyist selling Libya’s alleged popular/indigenous uprising.

So thanks to a Washington lobbyist paradise, the US government will eventually recognize one belligerent side of a northern African civil war, represented by a shady “council” – and enable them to grab billions of dollars to, as the spin goes, “help the Libyan people”.

Screw that American boat

A quick look at the facts on the ground would rather suggest a neo-colonial agenda of bribing mercenaries to topple the regime – as unsavory as it may be – of an energy-wealthy country that wouldn’t play ball with the International Monetary Fund, and wanted to form a union of African countries that would not sell their natural resources for anything but gold.

Meanwhile, the same rebel-happy US government refuses to admit that the Israeli blockade of Gaza is illegal. As the irrepressible former Central Intelligence Agency analyst Ray McGovern – on board the Audacity of Hope boat trying to sail to Gaza – has written on, “Before leaving the United States, I was cautioned by a source with access to very senior staffers at the National Security Council that not only does the White House plan to do absolutely nothing to protect our boat from Israeli attack or illegal boarding, but that White House officials ‘would be happy if something happened to us’.”

So the White House, as McGovern was told, is “perfectly willing to have the cold corpses of [American] activists shown on American TV” – while showering lavish praise on a dodgy “council” eager to feast on Libya’s wealth.

Tibetans, Uyghurs, Burmese, Uzbeks, Chechens and countless others may be eagerly reading the writing on the wall. Wanna start a revolution? Do it in English – not your local language. Trouble with the concept? Invoke “R2P” (“responsibility to protect”) and Western powers will be knocking at your door in no time, UN resolution in hand and Robocop NATO ready to roll. Can’t afford to buy guns? Do it the Libyan “rebel” way – hire a powerful Washington lobbyist to sell you as legitimate and thus enabled to plunder your central government’s resources.

None of this applies, of course, if your patch of land is not drenched in oil.

(Republished from Asia Times by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Gaza Flotilla, Libya 
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