EDDIE CONWAY Welcome to The Real News. I’m Eddie Conway coming to you from Baltimore. Recently, I have been looking at the conditions of black Africans along the northern African continent. We looked at Mauritania, we looked at the Sudan, we did not look at Libya because we did not have enough expertise on it. Now, joining me today is Glen Ford, the executive editor of the Black Agenda Report who is thoroughly aware of what’s going on over there and I’m asking him to share some of that information with us. Glen Ford, thanks for joining me.
GLEN FORD: Thanks for having me, Eddie.
EDDIE CONWAY Can you give us a little understanding of what’s happening in Libya, in northern Africa, and so on, and who’s behind it?
GLEN FORD: Well, you know, this story really strains the limits of vocabulary and especially the limits of polite vocabulary if we’re going to describe the behavior of the people that the United States has put into power at two ends of the African continent. At the far northern end of the continent in Libya, the Islamist militias that the U.S. acted as an air force for and bombed into power back in 2011 with the attack on the Gaddafi government. The CNN news operation now reports that in Libya, in the areas controlled by these Jihadist factions, which are represented by one of several governments in Libya that the price of an African on the option block is about $400.
That’s what you can buy an African for. But we should remember that it was CNN that six years ago during the assault on Libya that was embedded with the same militias, especially the militia from Misrata that was openly slaughtering black Libyans and slaughtering sub-Saharan African immigrant workers and they were doing that right under CNN’s nose, and CNN said not a mumbling word about it. These militias were engaged in a very open racist campaign. Finally, the Wall Street Journal, of all people, made a report on how the rebels were exterminating and wiping off the face of the map the all black city of Tawergha.
That’s a city of about 40,000 people. That city was wiped off the face of the Earth. It’s inhabitants were either killed or imprisoned and dispersed throughout Libya by these same militias that CNN had been embedded with and after the victory of the Gaddafi governments, these same militias, now organized as one of the two or three governments in Libya, proceeded to enslave those Africans, those black Libyans and sub-Saharan Africans that survived the war. Then to also sell into slavery those Africans who were traveling or trying to travel through Libya to get on boats across the Mediterranean to resettle in Europe that rump government that controls western Libya was very embarrassed at the CNN report.
They then put out a call to the African Union and they asked the African Union for money so that they could do something with the many tens of thousands of black Africans that they were holding in detention in Libya. Apparently those are some of the people who were being sold at auction, that is they were put in detention camps and some of them are now being sold. The so-called Libyan government says, well, it doesn’t have enough money to do anything with them. It’s kind of like an excuse for why they’re selling them into slavery.
Who then steps forward to say, “Well, we’ll provide sanctuary”? None other than the U.S.-backed government of Rwanda. A government which under Paul Kagame, whose made himself virtually president for life, has been implicated by the United States as being largely responsible for the death of six million Congolese, and also there are hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Rwandans who are in exile. They need sanctuary but because Kagame is so tight with the United States government and with the British and the French, it is very difficult for Rwandan exiles to find sanctuary in the West.
Here we have Rwanda, who is responsible largely for the biggest genocide since World War II now being … trying to present itself as a savior. The connecting link between Libya and Rwanda is of course, the United States, which backs both governments and the connecting link of course, is also the U.S. corporate media, which does not report on the slaughter and the persecution of people by these U.S.-backed governments until most of them are dead.
EDDIE CONWAY I was just thinking of another link also between the two. The French government, which played a real serious role in the destruction of Gaddafi’s government and the destruction of Libya itself as a country, falling right closely on the heels of Obama’s unleashing missiles in the Air Force and so on. That same French government is very close with Rwanda and so it seems like they have a partnership there. The big bully from the U.S. and the little bully from Europe, they seem to be working together.
GLEN FORD: There used to be a competition between the United States and the French, but now it is a real collaboration because the French can’t even support their soldiers and they’ve got many tens of thousands of them in Africa without the logistical support of the United States. Only the United States has the airlift capacity to bring in these French soldiers and to resupply them, so yeah, there used to be a competition but now there’s a partnership and the junior partner is, of course, the French, and they’re the ones out front like the little yapping dog who make the most noise but the U.S. is the big dog.
EDDIE CONWAY Yeah, yeah. We can see them in Mali, we can see them in CAR, the Central African Republic. They have actually recolonized with the help of the United States air power. They’ve actually recolonized a lot of Africa. So I’m wondering what’s … All this apparently happened under Obama’s regime also?
GLEN FORD: Well yeah, this 2011 military assault by the Obama regime against the Gaddafi government was the beginning of a U.S. military offensive that then carried itself into Syria and is still going on, and that’s the Obama offensive. What Obama succeeded in doing is rescuing the U.S. so-called muscular position in the world that had fallen into ill repute with George Bush’s defeats in Iraq, but within a couple of years, Barack Obama had that military machine rolling again, and he began that role in 2011 in Libya and the black folks of Libya were the first to suffer.
EDDIE CONWAY Mm-hmm. There’s some hint that Rwanda is actually receiving a payment for each refugee that it takes in the country and then they’re staying for a minimum amount of time and then Rwanda is shipping them out. Are you aware of that or have you heard anything about that?
GLEN FORD: Well, we’ve heard lots of rumors about that and they ring true in their essence in that the Kagame regime is in that kind of business. It provides the UN peacekeeping forces and African Union peacekeeping forces on the continent, all of which are paid for the United States and by Europe, with a steady stream of soldiers because they get a per capita for all the soldiers that they contribute. Rwanda deals in a kind of human transaction with its own soldiers as a standard business operation, and it would be just like it of course then to put a per person per diem … A per person value on every person that they supposedly rescued from other U.S. allies in Libya.
EDDIE CONWAY Mm-hmm. If I could go back for a minute to Libya, it seems like the people that’s in charge of Libya now, at least one of the three government operations there, is being headed by people that had been on the U.S. terrorist’s list, had been imprisoned for years, and now they are like a close ally of the United States and the CIA. Is that true?
GLEN FORD: Oh, the Jihadists that the United States supported with the bombing campaign were from Al Qaida affiliates, and one of them who had been a prisoner of the CIA, which then handed him over to Gaddafi and Gaddafi under an amnesty then allowed him free, he was listed by the United States as an Al Qaida offshoot leader. He became head of the Jihadists, that is the U.S.-backed rebels’ military government in Tripoli. This is an Al Qaida guy who is the military governor of Tripoli and CNN and the United States are were celebrating that in 2011.
But you know, there is a real political story here about why the Jihadists are also racists and why they were so dead set on getting rid of Gaddafi. Gaddafi came out of the old school of Arab socialists who were inspired by Nasser in Egypt, but later he also became an avowed pan-Africanist and if you went to Libya during his reign, you would see slogans, billboards all over proclaiming not just the Arab nature of Libya, but the African nature of Libya.
This was an assault to the Jihadists who opposed Arab socialism as an identity. They have an Islamic identity and they oppose an African identity because they associate that with black folks, so when they were fighting Gaddafi, they singled out black Libyans, as well as people from Chad and elsewhere in Africa for persecution for lynching, for imprisonment, because the whole idea of Libya being an Arab and socialist and African country went against the grain of their Islamist ideology. There’s a basis for their hate mongering.
EDDIE CONWAY Mm-hmm (affirmative). It seemed to me that the NATO and the U.S. actually raised a bumming campaign to help wipe out that black city?
GLEN FORD: Oh sure, their favorite militia was the Misrata militia. Misrata was the nearest beach city to Tripoli with an active militia and they became the front line, at least on the ground, for the so-called rebellion. Now of course, the rebellion would have gotten nowhere without having an air force. An air force made up of the United States and Britain and France and other NATO members, so the Misrata militia, which is the militia that dismantled Tawergha, which is the militia that put up signs all over the place talking about their intention to get rid of the people with dark skins and an Arab word for slaves.
Those were the closest allies on the front lines with the United States and that’s why CNN was so deeply embedded in that particular militia. That’s also why they didn’t report back in 2011 when these slaughters were going on and when the town of Tawergha was being destroyed. CNN didn’t say a word because it was in bed with these people. It took the Wall Street Journal that wasn’t so close on the ground with them to reveal to Western audiences what was happening on the ground.
EDDIE CONWAY Okay, so thank you for that update and we’ll keep watching this.
GLEN FORD: Yes, we’ll watch this as much as they want us to see. Keep watching what’s happening of course, with Rwanda. There we have a dictator who represents a small minority of Rwanda’s population, the Tutsi minority, couldn’t be more than 10% or 15% of the population that the United States and all of its corporate media are singing the praises of as if he is a Godsend to Africa and a beacon of democracy. How could that possibly be? But that’s the impression that folks like CNN want to give to us.
EDDIE CONWAY Okay, so thank you for joining me.
GLEN FORD: Thank you.
EDDIE CONWAY And thank you for joining the Real News.