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CIA & MI6 in Libya: U.S.-British covert operations exposed

Apr 7, 2011

The New York Times, the Washington Post and other corporate news sources are now openly admitting that the opposition forces fighting the Libyan government are supported and coordinated by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and Britain’s MI6 with in-country special forces.

President Barack Obama in March signed an order dispatching CIA operatives to identify targets for bombing and to vet potential leaders within the rebel forces in the event of toppling the Libyan government.

Al Jazeera says in a recent article that both U.S. and Egyptian Special Forces are providing training to the rebel groups at a secret facility in eastern Libya. This adds greater clarity to the insistence on the part of the Obama administration that the current leader of Libya, Moammar Gadhafi, be forced from office. The U.S. wants a compliant regime in control of this oil-rich North African state of more than 6 million people.

Egypt’s military receives in excess of $1.5 billion a year from the U.S. for training, equipment and cooperation with Washington. An unidentified rebel fighter described being trained in military techniques by U.S. and Egyptian military forces.

“He told us that Thursday night (March 31) a new shipment of Katyusha rockets had been sent into eastern Libya from Egypt. He didn’t say they were sourced from Egypt, but that was their route through. He said these were state-of-the-art, heat-seeking rockets and that they need to be trained on how to use them, which was one of the things the American and Egyptian special forces were there to do.” (Al Jazeera, April 4)

The fact that the rebel forces are receiving arms and training from U.S., British and Egyptian intelligence and military units illustrates the hypocrisy of the naval blockade being imposed on Libya, under the guise of an arms embargo. The only arms embargo is against the Libyan government, while the imperialist states and their allies in the region are free to provide air and sea support for the rebels.

While Al Jazeera has been supportive of the military and political campaign against the Libyan government, it was forced to admit on April 4 that “since the rebels appear to be receiving covert support in terms of weaponry and training, it is not surprising that they are not inclined to criticize NATO openly.”

U.S. cover story falls apart

The Obama administration claims it does not know who the so-called “rebels” are in Libya. But Khalifa Haftar, officially appointed leader of the military campaign against the Libyan government, has for many years been financed and supported by the CIA. For two decades he lived in Virginia near CIA headquarters in Langley.

A report by the right-wing Jamestown Foundation declares, “Today as Colonel Haftar finally returns to the battlefields of North Africa with the objective of toppling Gadhafi ... he may stand as the best liaison for the United States and allied NATO forces in dealing with Libya’s unruly rebels.”

This same study revealed that Haftar played an important role in June 1998 in establishing the so-called Libyan National Army, the military wing of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya “with strong backing from the Central Intelligence Agency.” Not only did the CIA set up the LNA but it also created a training camp in Virginia where members of the group were taught counterinsurgency and destabilization tactics by the U.S. government.

The Nation magazine, in an April 3 article entitled, “The CIA, the Libyan rebellion, and the president,” concludes, “An event that Americans were led to believe was an autonomous rising on the model of Egypt turns out to have been deeply compromised from the start, and compromised by American meddling. All the external parties are in Libya for different reasons. Things could not have gotten this far without the CIA.”

The CIA and Africa

While the first clandestine operations of the CIA were directed against leftists in Europe after World War II, it soon focused on weakening oppressed nations, national liberation movements and socialist states. In 1953, the CIA engineered a coup against Mohammad Mossadegh, the elected leader of Iran, who had tried to nationalize the oil industry for the benefit of the people. He was replaced by the Shah, a U.S. puppet, who was finally overthrown in 1979.

The CIA was behind the 1954 overthrow of the progressive Arbenz government of Guatemala. In Cuba in 1961, CIA-trained exile forces landed at the Bay of Pigs in an attempt to topple the revolutionary government of Fidel Castro.

In 1966, the CIA was behind the destabilization and overthrow of the Pan-African and socialist-oriented government of President Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana. Nkrumah had supported national liberation movements throughout Africa and the world and formed close relations with the Soviet Union, China, Cuba and Yugoslavia.

In 1975, the CIA attempted to prevent the consolidation of national independence in the oil-rich Southern African nation of Angola. Agency operatives aided the racist South African Defense Forces and the counterrevolutionary UNITA and FNLA movements. Angola finally was liberated in 1994.

Importance of anti-imperialist perspective

An important role of the CIA has been to foster chaos in order to destabilize and overthrow governments in countries where U.S. imperialism wanted to intervene to protect its strategic interests. Thus it has a long track record of fomenting disinformation and psychological warfare.

The corporate media are always ready to build public support for U.S. imperialist aims and objectives, both domestically and internationally. As Washington sends the CIA, stealth bombers and “Tomahawk” missiles to engineer regime change in Libya, the media have framed this as an act of humanitarian relief designed to protect civilians. They have little to say when Libyans die and property is destroyed.

It is the duty of the anti-war and peace movements in the U.S. and throughout the Western industrialized countries to expose the role of the CIA and other intelligence services and uphold the right of oppressed, post-colonial and revolutionary governments to self-determination and sovereignty.

Any other approach strengthens the imperialists and their intelligence and military apparatuses. It only delays the struggle for international solidarity of the workers and oppressed inside the U.S. and around the world.

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UPDATED Apr 9, 2011 10:41 AM
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