The knives are out for Seymour Hersh again.

The London Review of Books have recently published a long investigative piece by the legendary reporter Seymour Hersh. The article is about the killing of Osama Bin Laden in 2011, in which Hersh claims, among other things, that:

  • Bin Laden ‘had been a prisoner of the ISI at the Abbottabad compound since 2006’ (i.e. they not only knew of his whereabouts, but were actively detaining/protecting him).
  • That ‘ In August 2010 a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer approached Jonathan Bank, then the CIA’s station chief at the US embassy in Islamabad. He offered to tell the CIA where to find bin Laden in return for the reward that Washington had offered in 2001’.
  • That ‘Saudi Arabia . . . had been financing bin Laden’s upkeep since his seizure by the Pakistanis’, because they were concerned that if the U.S. got ahold of him, he might ‘start talking to us about what the Saudis had been doing with al-Qaida’.
  • And that ‘General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI’ had known about the raid in advance. Indeed, had green lighted it, in return for military and other kinds of aid.

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n10/seymour-m-hersh/the-killing-of-osama-bin-laden

Personally, I don’t know whether these claims are true or not. But as with Hersh’s LRB pieces on the Ghouta sarin attacks, it’s tempting to give them some credence, if only because Hersh *does* have a distinguished journalistic track record – even his critics would have to concede that.

But not everyone is convinced by this latest article, or even prepared to give Hersh the benefit of the doubt.

So for example, Chris J Woods, of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, tweeted:

And Shashank Joshi of the Royal United Services Institute tweeted:

But perhaps the strangest and most vehement set of tweets came from Rob Crilly, a foreign correspondent for The Daily Telegraph newspaper. Here are some of them:

‘Can you believe the LRB would publish such utter, paper thin bullshit?’ seems to be the gist of Crilly’s criticism.

I say ‘strangest’ though, because in August 2011, Rob Crilly and The Daily Telegraph essentially published the *exact same story themselves*.

Compare these details from the Telegraph story with the details I referenced above from Hersh’s story:

  • Bin Laden was ‘protected by elements of Pakistan’s security apparatus’.
  • Bin Laden’s ‘whereabouts were finally revealed when a Pakistani intelligence officer came forward to claim the longstanding $25m bounty on the al-Qaeda leader’s head’.
  • The Saudis ‘were paying off the Pakistani military and intelligence (ISI) to essentially shelter and keep bin Laden under house arrest in Abbottabad’.
  • And the U.S. had ‘approached Pakistan’s military leaders securing their co-operation in return for cash and a chance to avoid public humiliation’.

See what I mean? Crilly’s story is near enough identical to Hersh’s.

I pointed this out to Crilly on Twitter, and got this response:

I then asked Crilly for any links he might have to these debunkings – because i’ve seen some alleged some ‘debunkings’ of Hersh’s work that weren’t actually that at all –  but have yet to receive a response.

Now, Crilly may well be right here – it’s quite possible that the story has been ‘conclusively debunked’ since its first telling in 2011. Then again, it might not have been.

But I just don’t understand why Crilly has to use such harsh and derogatory language about Hersh, his methods and his sources.

And by doing so, he’s only condemning himself and his own newspaper.

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Ken Roth keeps on digging?

Ken Roth has now conceded that the video he said was of carnage caused by Syrian regime barrel bombing in Aleppo, was actually of carnage caused by Israeli regime bombing in Gaza. As here:

He then links to an image, sourced from a BBC article that was published on May 5th, as a genuine ‘example of Aleppo’s destruction after Assad’s barrel bombs’. As here:

The BBC article is about a report from Amnesty International, published last week, which has documented how, in Aleppo:

government forces and many rebel groups are committing war crimes on a daily basis.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-32581007

But nowhere in the article is it actually stated that the destruction shown in the image that Roth linked to was caused by a barrel bomb. Indeed, it doesn’t even say that it was caused by Syrian regime bombing at all.

The caption accompanying the image states:

Much of Aleppo, Syria’s industrial and financial centre, has been devastated

That it unambiguously shows the aftermath of a regime barrel bomb would appear to be nothing but Roth’s own interpretation.

However, given that the article is about both rebel *and* regime crimes, I am not sure that interpretation is reasonable.

A bit of further digging reveals that the image in question was taken by AFP photographer George Ourfalian on April 9th 2015, and is sourced to Getty Images. The blurb accompanying the photo states that:

A general view shows destruction in the Hamidiyeh neighbourhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo as local popular committee fighters, who support the Syrian government forces, try to defend the traditionally Christian district on the third day of intense battles with Islamic State group jihadists

http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/news-photo/general-view-shows-destruction-in-the-hamidiyeh-news-photo/469041930

So the photo would actually appear to be of a ‘pro-regime’ neighbourhood that had been coming under attack from ISIS.

Now, that doesn’t of course preclude the possibility that the destruction we see in the photograph was caused by a regime barrel bomb. It may well be the case. But could it not just as well have been caused by ISIS artillery or rocket fire? Or even a ‘conventional’ regime airstrike?

And how does Roth know that it was caused specifically by regime barrel bombs? Because despite a few hours of Googling around, i’m still none the wiser.

My suspicion, quite frankly, is that Roth doesn’t actually know *for certain* either.

He’s just Googled ‘Aleppo barrel bombs’ (or something along those lines), and then linked to the first picture he came across from a vaguely credible source.

If this is the case, then it’s simply more slack, unforgivable shoddiness from such a high profile human rights campaigner.

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CEO of Human Rights Watch misattributes video of Gaza destruction.

For a couple of years now, it’s been apparent to me and others – including some Nobel laureates – that Human Rights Watch isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

We’ve seen their blatant double standards and hypocrisy on who should and shouldn’t be allowed to sit on the U.N. Human Rights Council; we’ve seen how people within the organisation can and do move seamlessly from and then back into the U.S. regime; and we’ve seen their CEO Ken Roth agitating for war in Syria (on ‘humanitarian’ grounds, of course – like the millions of people killed and displaced by U.S. wars over the last fifteen years alone, the countries ruined, just never happened).

Roth also believes, incidentally, that ‘for all its faults, the U.S. government remains the most powerful proponent of human rights’. A quite staggering claim that many people ranging from Latin America to the middle east to southeast Asia to north Africa would, I am certain, strongly disagree with.

Roth’s language in regards to the crimes of the Syrian regime and it’s armed forces – and you won’t find me denying that they have committed war crimes (the documentation is way too extensive for it all just to be dismissed as Western propaganda) – has always been particularly harsh. Have a look at this series of tweets, for example:

Assad is committing ‘mass murder’ in no uncertain terms, those criminals Russia and Hezbollah are facilitating him, and it’s down to Obama to step in and save the day.

Nevermind that Obama is quite clearly a ‘mass murderer’ himself.

In regards to the crimes (moral and legal) of the U.S. regime though, his tone changes quite markedly.

According to a report from the Syrian Network of Human Rights, 64 civilians, including 31 children, were killed in a series of U.S. lead airstrikes on the Syrian village of Bir Mahalli on Thursday the 30th April.

Roth’s response to this blatant atrocity? As here:

So straight away, he’s presenting the attack as an accident, a mistake, by asking ‘What went wrong?’. And the U.S. merely ‘kills’ civilians, rather than deliberately ‘murders’ them. Nor is there any attempt to blame Barack Obama personally for the slaughter. He also places ‘ISIS’ squarely into the picture, thus locating the attack within a ‘war on terror’ framework.

This is not atypical for Roth, and I would defy anyone to find a tweet of his about U.S. crimes which employs language like ‘murder’.

You won’t be able to, and that’s probably because he thinks ‘for all its faults, the U.S. government remains the most powerful proponent of human rights’, and because he has friends and ex-colleagues actually working for the U.S. regime.

This morning, Roth tweeted a picture of a devastated looking town or city, saying it showed ‘what Assad’s barrel bombs have done to Aleppo’. As here:

Christoph Koettl, who works for Amnesty International U.S., then tweeted in reply that:

That this video was actually of Gaza, rather than Aleppo, then appeared to be confirmed by the Danish state broadcaster. As here:

This isn’t the first time that Human Rights Watch have misattributed an image in such a fashion.

In February, they had to issue a correction after they inadvertently used a photograph of Kobane, a ‘town devastated by U.S. air strikes and the use of explosive weapons by ground forces’ in their words, to illustrate ‘ the Syrian government’s use of barrel bombs in air strikes elsewhere in the country’.

Now, i’m not alleging deliberate deception on the part of Ken Roth/HRW here. I’m sure his misattribution of this video was simply a mistake. I’m also sure that there are plenty of genuine images and videos floating around that could easily make the same point.

But when errors like this keep occurring, what it suggests to me is that their determination to show the Assad regime as being comprised of brutal, irredeemable, evil mass murdering monsters sometimes gets the better of their discernment, judgement and duty to verify,

They already *know* the regime is guilty, and so aren’t very careful in how they choose to demonstrate that. And when you’re a high profile human rights organisation with a multi-million dollar budget, and a significant degree of influence, it isn’t really good enough.

And again, let’s see if we can find an equivalent mistake by them, where they’ve posted images purporting to show damage caused by U.S. airstrikes, but which are actually from somewhere else entirely. You probably can’t, because they’ll be much more careful, and much more conservative, when it comes to attributing blame and criminality to the U.S..

I put this down to people like Roth and other senior Human Rights Watch officials basically being drawn from a small cadre of privileged, U.S. based liberals with roots in the Democrat party, corporate media and the corporate-philanthropic world (have a look at their board of directors, for example).

And so they’re going to share certain ideological assumptions with these elites, and one of those assumptions is that the United States of America ‘remains the most powerful proponent of human rights’, whose role is to ride to the rescue when people are in trouble. This in its turn will shape their output in terms of it’s focus, tone and framing.

That this narrative is thoroughly self-serving, and even dangerously delusional given the U.S.’s track record, will probably never occur to them.

Posted in anti-war, human rights watch, propaganda | 7 Comments

The horrific normalisation of war.

As most people in the U.K. will be aware, the Labour Party look to have lost yesterday’s general election. And they look to have lost badly. There is some sadness and regret about this on the broader ‘left’ in the U.K., for understandable reasons, which i’m not going to go into here. There is also a lot of sympathy for Ed Miliband flying around.

For example, George Monbiot, the left wing Guardian columnist, tweeted:

And i’m sure, in a way, that Miliband is a ‘decent man’. Nice to his partner and children, polite in conversation. And if you went to his house, i’ll bet he’d offer you a cup of tea, a bacon sandwich, and tell you to put your feet up (although perhaps only in his second kitchen).

But let’s not forget: Ed Miliband supported the bombing of Libya. Ed Miliband supported the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. Ed Miliband supports the bombing of Iraq. And Ed miliband supports the bombing of Syria.

This bombing has taken and ruined hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of lives. It has caused literally untold misery for a multitude of people, and is in essence *mass murder*.

And the reason that Ed Miliband, supporter of mass murder, can be considered a ‘decent man’ by even ‘left wing’ commentators is because war has become so normalised within our political culture.

It isn’t noticed, and it doesn’t matter.

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Reuters on how U.S. backed rebel groups in Syria are fighting alongside ‘Al Qaeda’.

As here:

Hardline Islamists fighting side-by-side with groups backed by the United States have made gains in northern Syria in recent weeks while showing rare unity, which some fear may be short-lived . . .

. . . The alliance, which includes al-Qaeda’s wing in Syria, known as the Nusra Front, and another hardline militant group, the Ahrar al-Sham movement, is edging closer to the coastal province of Latakia, President Bashar al-Assad’s stronghold.

Fighting alongside them, although excluded from a joint command center, are groups which reject the jihadists’ anti-Western aims and say they receive covert support from the CIA. Two of these are called Division 13 and Fursan al-Haq . . .

. . . Sitting in Istanbul with Division 13 and Fursan al Haq commanders, a representative of Ahrar al-Sham’s political office, Abu Mohammed, stressed unity . . .

. . . Abu Hamoud, a commander from Division 13, said his group coordinated with Nusra Front, which the United States considers a terrorist organization, but this does not mean it is aligned to it.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/30/us-syria-crisis-opposition-islamists-idUSKBN0NL21620150430

Anyone remember when ‘Al Qaeda’ were the most evil and depraved ‘terrorist’ group ever to walk the face of the Earth?

So dangerous and threatening that we had no choice but to invade and occupy Afghanistan, and invade and occupy Iraq, and bomb Pakistan, and bomb Yemen, and bomb Somalia?

Now they’re fighting alongside and working with the U.S. and U.K.’s ‘moderate’ (a propaganda term meaning ‘groups who’ll toe our line’, regardless of their actual behaviour) rebels in Syria.

And corporate media generally be like:

I personally never bought into the hype about ‘Al Qaeda’ (or groups labelled as such)  being some homogenous, supra-threatening, omnipresent menace.

But given the context of the last 15 years of incessant anti-‘Al Qaeda’/’war on terror’ propaganda, you might think the fact that U.S. backed groups are now openly working with them would be treated as a major news story. A bit of a scandal even, and certainly worthy of newspaper headlines. Yet more evidence that the ‘war on terror’ is a demonstrable sham, designed to give cover to the same old Imperial machinations.

But no. It’s mentioned in passing, and we’re just supposed to move on like it’s no big deal.

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Hamish de Bretton Gordon calls for Syria ‘no-fly zone’ in The Guardian.

Hamish de Bretton Gordon is currently Chief Operating Officer of SecureBio Ltd.

According to his blurb on the website MilitarySpeakers.co.uk, he was previously ‘Commanding Officer of the UK CBRN Regiment and NATO’s Rapid Reaction CBRN Battalion’, whose ‘operational deployments have included 1st Gulf War, Cyprus, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan’.

The Guardian have today published an article of his calling for a ‘limited no-fly zone’ over northern Syria, in response to alleged chemical weapon attacks being carried out by the Syrian regime.

I just want to take a quick look at some of the specific claims made by de Bretton Gordon, and the conclusion he draws from them. So here goes.

De Bretton Gordon opens by saying that:

Chemical weapons first appeared in the Syrian conflict at Sheikh Maqsoud in March 2013

Here, de Bretton Gordon links to a BBC article from September 2013. The article states that ‘UN chemical weapons inspectors are expected to return to Syria on Wednesday’, and that they would ‘investigate alleged chemical weapons attacks at Khan al-Assal, Sheikh Maqsoud and Saraqeb’.

But nowhere does the article actually say that chemical weapons were deployed in Sheik Maqsoud – the word ‘alleged’ is clearly used – let alone specify who was responsible for their use. So the article simply doesn’t back up the claim that de Bretton Gordon is making.

And indeed, the final report of the U.N. team who investigated the alleged attack in Sheik Maqsoud, released in December 2013, concluded that:

In the absence of any further information and with no prospect of finding further information, the United Nations Mission was, therefore, unable to finalize the investigation of this allegation and to draw any conclusions pertaining to this alleged incident.

https://unoda-web.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/report.pdf – p.79

So their conclusion was that they couldn’t draw any firm conclusions, and the ‘incident’ remained merely ‘alleged’.

In the next paragraph, de Bretton Gordon then claims that:

Samples from Sheikh Maqsoud and Saraqeb in May 2013 did eventually find their way to French and UK government laboratories and tested positive for the nerve agent sarin, with David Cameron saying as much in the summer of 2013.

Again he links to an article from the BBC, published in September 2013, to back his claim up. But nowhere in the article is ‘Sheik Maqsoud’, or any variation thereof, even mentioned.

Indeed, it’s clear from the opening sentence – ‘The UK has fresh evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Damascus‘ – that the article is talking about the attack in Ghouta on August 21st, and not the ‘alleged’ attack in Sheik Maqsoud.

Nor does David Cameron speak about the alleged attack in Sheik Maqsoud in the video interview that is embedded in the article, let alone say that samples from the town had tested positive for Sarin. He doesn’t even say anything that could be interpreted as suggesting that. It simply isn’t a subject that comes up in the interview.

So de Bretton’s use of sources here is sloppy at best, and downright dishonest at worst. None of the material he links to even comes close to establishing that there was a chemical weapon attack in Sheik Maqsoud in March 2013, and the U.N. themselves later said they were unable to come to any firm conclusions about it.

Perhaps de Bretton Gordon was simply assuming that people wouldn’t check the articles he has linked to, but anyone who does will see for themselves that they don’t support his assertion.

de Bretton Gordon then moves onto the attacks in Ghouta themselves, and states that:

A major chemical attack occurred at Ghouta in Damascus on 21 August 2013, when 1,000kg of sarin were dropped, killing up to 1,500 people, mainly women and children. Many believe that Assad was on the point of defeat after fighting the rebels there for 18 months, and that he used chemical weapons as a last-ditch measure.

It’s true that ‘many believe’ the Assad regime was responsible for this attack. But it’s also true that many believe elements of it remain contested.

The Pulitzer prize winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, for example, has written a couple of articles alleging that some people within the U.S. Intelligence community believe that the attack was a rebel provocation, designed to elicit an international military response against the Assad regime.

Hersh’s claims are backed up by other credible reports. On August 29th 2013, the Associated Press published an article reporting, among others things, that:

U.S. intelligence officials are not so certain that the suspected chemical attack was carried out on Assad’s orders. Some have even talked about the possibility that rebels could have carried out the attack in a callous and calculated attempt to draw the West into the war.

And that:

A report by the Office of the Director for National Intelligence outlining that evidence against Syria includes a few key caveats – including acknowledging that the U.S. intelligence community no longer has the certainty it did six months ago of where the regime’s chemical weapons are stored, nor does it have proof Assad ordered chemical weapons use, according to two intelligence officials and two more U.S. officials.

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ap-sources-intelligence-weapons-no-slam-dunk

To be clear, neither Hersh nor the Associated Press report are saying that a rebel faction or factions carried out the attack.

Just that this was being considered as a possibility by U.S. Intelligence, at a time when – publically at least – the Obama administration and its closest allies were saying that the attacks could only have been the work of the Assad regime. Essentially, and as with the run up to the invasion of Iraq, they misrepresented the raw intelligence to try and create a casus belli for war.

Senior U.N. Officials like Carla De Ponte and Lakhdar Brahimi have also suggested rebel culpability for at least some of the chemical weapon attacks in Syria.

Nowhere does de Bretton Gordon even acknowledge any of this.

He does, however, go on to lament the fact that the U.S. et al didn’t go through with their plans to bomb Syria in September 2013, apparently believing that such a bombing campaign might’ve facilitated the fall of the Assad regime, and stopped ISIS in their tracks.

Although how that would’ve worked, he doesn’t explain. And it sounds like magical thinking to me, quite frankly, with the strategy being along the lines of:

1. Bomb Syria.
2. ??????
3. Assad falls and ISIS are defeated.

And it’s the kind of magical thinking – that Western bombs are some kind of panacea – that has left Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan in varying states of civil war and disintegration.

De Bretton Gordon then writes that:

After Ghouta and the removal of the regime’s declared stockpile by the OPCW, it used chemical weapons again in Talmenes and Kafr Zita in April 2014.

Once again, the article de Bretton Gordon links to to back his claim up doesn’t say what he suggests it does. The article, published in April 2014, reports that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is to ‘investigate fresh claims that a less dangerous – but still lethal – chlorine gas has been used in recent attacks on opposition areas’.

It doesn’t actually say they have been used, let alone who by. And once again, neither Talmenes nor Kafr Zita are even mentioned in the main body of the article.

To be fair to de Bretton Gordon, a later report by the OPCW, released in December 2014, did conclude ‘with a high degree of confidence that chlorine has been used as a weapon’ in Talmenes and Kafr Zita (why he didn’t just link to the *actual OPCW report*, I don’t know).

But in the very next sentence, the report then states:

The work of the Mission has remained consistent with its mandate, which did not include the question of attributing responsibility for the alleged use.

So the report, unlike de Bretton Gordon, doesn’t  blame the regime (or anyone else for that matter) for these attacks.

Those who do allege regime responsibility are arguing that, because these chlorine bombs were reported to have been dropped from helicopters, and only the regime has access to helicopters, then only the regime could have been responsible. And it’s a plausible and credible theory, on the surface of it (although are helicopters really that difficult to come by?).

But that’s all it is at the moment: a theory, and not the cast iron certainty that de Bretton Gordon presents it as.

The article then moves onto de Bretton Gordon’s solution for stopping the ‘alleged use’ (the OPCW’s phrase, rather than mine) of chlorine bombs in Syria:

A limited no-fly zone over Idlib province, just for helicopters, which deliver the barrel bombs, would be of great help. There is no IS activity in this area, so the regime could not claim it would affect the battle against them, a fact which could convince Russians to abstain rather than veto the proposal. And in military terms, with the coalition command and control structure in place over Syria and Iraq to prosecute the air campaign against IS, this limited no-fly zone should be achievable.

First at all, while ISIS themselves may not have much of a presence in Idlib province, Jabhat al-Nusra – which is the official ‘Al Qaeda’ franchise in Syria – most certainly do.

It was Jabhat-al Nusra, working with U.S. armed ‘moderate’ rebel groups, who recently captured the city of Jisr al Shugur, according to a report from McClatchy.

My main bone of contention with de Bretton Gordon’s proposal isn’t that it could ‘inadvertently’ benefit ‘Al Qaeda’, though.

It’s this:

Even if we take it as a given that the regime is indeed launching these chlorine attacks, the attacks are only responsible for a very small number of the deaths occurring in Syria. I mean, don’t get me wrong. One is still far too many, but a ‘no-fly zone’ limited to helicopters flying over Idlib isn’t going to make a great deal of difference in terms of saving lives.

What it may well do though – and what it may well be designed to do – is set a precedent for the enforcement of a ‘no-fly zone’ within Syria. It starts with helicopters in Idlib province, and then there are calls for it to be broadened to all aircraft over all of northern Syria. And then beyond. Perhaps to be accompanied by a ‘buffer zone/safe zone’ on the ground.

This is the plan that Turkey inparticular have long been pushing hard for, and it’s one that the U.S. State Department is said to have ‘largely endorsed’.

And far from it being a measure designed to protect civilians from the depredations of the regime, it is actually a measure designed – as Turkish officials admit in private – to create ‘a place where moderate rebels would be trained to fight Mr. Assad’s government; in other words, a fledgling rebel state’.

That would likely entail an escalation of the war, the further fracturing of Syria as a coherent political entity, and by extension a deepening of the humanitarian crisis.

It would also entail the potential take over of large parts of Syria by groups who have been armed and trained by – are in hoc to, basically – some of the most vicious, reactionary and anti-democratic states in the region. Which, if the ultimate objective in Syria is political freedom, justice and self-determination, doesn’t bode well at all.

So, based on a series of real or alleged chemical weapon attacks, for none of which culpability has been determined conclusively, de Bretton Gordon is proposing a measure whose major utility – in my opinion – would be as a trojan horse via which certain reactionary regional and global powers can make their formal entry into northern Syria, and perhaps beyond.

And I don’t think anyone should be naive about their intentions, nor the ramifications if they get their way.

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A complicating factor in Libya: Libyans.

This little snippet from Stars and Stripes magazine, on ‘what went wrong’ in post-regime change Libya:

While the U.S. was eager to hand off much of the post-intervention responsibility to the Europeans — France was a prime advocate for the intervention — the Libyans themselves were a complicating factor, resisting ideas of international support or a stabilizing force, experts say.

(Emphasis mine)

Admiral James Stavridis, who commanded the war in Libya, also explicitly compares NATO’s support for Libyan rebel groups with the U.S. and U.K’s support for the mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 1980s (while not repudiating the war):

Retired Adm. James Stavridis, NATO’s former supreme allied commander, who led the military operation, said at the time of the intervention that it wasn’t clear who all the rebels were that aimed to overthrow Gadhafi. “In those pre-Arab Spring days, there was not serious intelligence or analysis to Islamic radicalism,” Stavridis said. “If we recall the U.S. experiences in Afghanistan, where we backed what evolved into the Taliban, it is not dissimilar. When you are undertaking complex operations, the natural tendency is to focus on the mission at hand — such was the case in Libya”.

At the time, anyone who suggested that some of the rebel groups might not be the democracy loving, human rights promoting freedom fighters of NATO/NTC propaganda was shouted down as a Gadaffi apologist and/or useful idiot.

Still, no regrets eh? Because as ever, they meant well:

For its part, NATO still argues the military mission in Libya was a success, though officials acknowledge more should have been done by the United Nations and European Union to stabilize Libya and rebuild its political institutions in the wake of Gadhafi’s 42-year-long dictatorship. “It was about protecting civilians against attacks from the regime; NATO fulfilled that (U.N.) mandate with unprecedented precision,” a NATO official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to comment, said on Wednesday. “There should have been more follow-up, more presence of the international community after the military operations ended in 2011. However, ultimately it is up to the people of Libya to build a new Libya”.

http://www.stripes.com/news/nato-role-in-2011-gadhafi-ouster-may-have-given-rise-to-islamic-state-presence-in-libya-1.341580

Image: what the town of Tawergha looked like after NATO and the rebel

militias they were supporting had finished ‘protecting’ it, August 2011

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