On November 14th, CNN broadcast a landmark investigative report titled “People for sale: Where lives are auctioned for $400” and showed many marketplaces in Libya where Blacks are sold as slaves in the same way it used to be done in the United States, especially the southern US states. This commerce wasn’t explained but merely shown. However, CNN here exhibited, by publishing this 7-minute video news report, a courage and an honesty that’s extraordinary in US journalism because it brought home to the American people one of the many vile but too often unreported results of US foreign policy, and of the US military that is the most-respected of all US institutions, as shown in Gallup’s ongoing polls on Americans’ respect and disrespect for over a dozen US institutions and federal government agencies.
The American public place the American military (the organization that carries out America’s invasions such as of Libya) at the very top of Americans’ value system, way above any other federal agency or department. Maybe Germans under Adolf Hitler were also like this. After all, how does a nation perpetrate destructions of vulnerable nations one after another for years on end, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Yemen — none of which had ever even invaded the US — and still keep its public hoodwinked faithfully in support of such a perpetual-war machine (its military-industrial complex), even increasing its budget to destroy yet more nations, while actually cutting spending to benefit the US taxpaying public itself? This seems like ancient Sparta, but on steroids. A very dangerous country it is, whose citizens accept being exploited for the benefit of its tiny aristocracy, who do actually benefit from all this military spending. (This statement isn’t referring to the low-level soldiers who simply do what they’re told; it’s referring instead to the people who own controlling interests in companies such as Lockheed Martin, which make the ‘goods’ those soldiers employ as tools-of-their-trade. America’s soldiers are merely the workers who use those tools. The generals, however, often become executives and board members of the aristocracy’s institutions, and this is then called the “revolving door” between the official government and the private one. The generals are, indeed, agents of the aristocracy, but the general public are just the aristocracy’s serfs.)
These slave markets that blossomed into existence soon after we invaded can be added to all the other destructions of Libya, of Iraq, Syria, and Honduras, and of many other nations that the US military has destroyed. This publicly supported mass-murdering operation against the residents of foreign countries — the US military establishment that Americans supremely respect — has been enforcing US Government policies abroad, and it wouldn’t function unless the same aristocracy that owns the weapons makers also controls the government that orders it to perpetrate such evils as these invasions. (Furthermore, in addition to America’s outright invasions of countries that never invaded us, there have also been CIA coups destroying yet more such countries, as in Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, Chile 1973, Honduras 2009, and Ukraine 2014, just to mention the most prominent ones. The US empire doesn’t function only by direct military means: the US military-industrial complex is a many-faceted beast, including the CIA etc. The actual annual budget for it is now around a trillion dollars.)
Here’s an excerpt from the CNN report about this Libyan slavery that the US and its allies have produced:
Carrying concealed cameras into a property outside the capital of Tripoli last month, we witness a dozen people go “under the hammer” in the space of six or seven minutes.
“Does anybody need a digger? This is a digger, a big strong man, he’ll dig,” the salesman, dressed in camouflage gear, says. “What am I bid, what am I bid?”
Buyers raise their hands as the price rises, “500, 550, 600, 650 …” Within minutes it is all over and the men, utterly resigned to their fate, are being handed over to their new “masters.”
After the auction, we met two of the men who had been sold. They were so traumatized by what they’d been through that they could not speak, and so scared that they were suspicious of everyone they met.
This was a predictable result even before our invasion, just as was predictable there the numberless hundreds of thousands of refugees from the chaos that would be produced by America’s (and America’s allies) killing of Muammar Gaddafi (of which Hillary Clinton was so proud) and destroying his anti-jihadist government (which had served his nation so vastly better than its conquerors have done). The guilt for this slavery doesn’t rest only with the leader of the US alliance; but it does rest mainly with that because, as Barack Obama himself said on 28 May 2014, “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation,” which means that every other nation is “dispensable,” in his eyes. Even his successor, Trump, hasn’t yet said anything so blatantly evil as that. Of course, it’s natural that a country which can tolerate such leaders will be viewed worldwide as “the greatest threat to peace in the world,” as the US is, in fact, viewed.
The anti-Black racism of the jihadists who took control in many parts of the resulting failed state in Libya was well-known ahead of time among Western policymakers, but these invaders didn’t give a damn about it, nor about the general consequences the invasion would have for Libyans. Gaddafi had been sympathetic to Blacks, and some of them thrived under his leadership. As even the AP reported under the headline “Libyan rebels round up black Africans” on 1 September 2011:
Gadhafi’s Libya welcomed hundreds of thousands of black Africans looking for work in recent decades. Many young citizens of Mali and Niger who flocked to Libya in the 1970s and 1980s were recruited into an “Islamic Legion” modeled on the French Foreign Legion. In addition, Gadhafi’s military recruited heavily from black tribes in Libya’s south.
As a result, people with roots in sub-Saharan Africa and black Libyan citizens have been targeted by rebel forces.
The CIA and other arms of US regime propaganda such as the ‘news’ media said about this round-up of Blacks that these people were being targeted by the ‘freedom fighters’ because they were Gaddafi’s ‘mercenaries’ (who were supposedly hated by the Libyan public); but, on 27 September 2011, a Fordham University professor who specialized in the subject, Carina Ray, published an article, “Gaddafi and the Mercenary Myth”, blasting that lie which had ‘justified’ our invasion. She explained that, “The mercenary myth was successful in galvanizing popular support for the rebels because it contained a tiny of kernel of truth. More importantly, it tapped into the smoldering resentment that many [white Arab] Libyans harbored against Gaddafi’s gradual shift away from the [white] Arab world in favor of [Black] Africa.” She was (however obtusely) saying that Gaddafi’s public expression of sympathy and respect for Africa’s Blacks was extraordinarily courageous in mainly white Arabia. As Americans ought to know but many don’t, being anti-racist in any deeply racist culture requires extraordinary courage.
AlJazeera’s 7 July 2013 report “Confronting anti-black racism in the Arab world” was especially direct and thorough:
The late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi understood this and he used his power and wealth to try to redeem our shared history. He was the first Arab leader to apologise on behalf of Arab peoples to our [Black] African brothers and sisters for the Arab slave trade and the Arab role in the European slave trade.
He funnelled money into the African Union and used Libya’s wealth to empower the African continent and promote pan-Africanism. He was a force of reconciliation, socialism, and empowerment for both African and Arab peoples. Gaddafi’s actions threatened to renew African-Arab reconciliation and alliances similar to that which occurred at the height of the Non-Aligned Movement during the presidencies of Jamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana.
Thus, NATO’s urgency to prevent “massacres” and “slaughter” in Libya was manufactured and sold wholesale.
The official US Government and ‘news’ media storyline about the CIA-generated ‘Arab Spring’ was even more mythological regarding Libya than it was regarding any other Arab country except for Syria (where it’s been just one lie after another).
The sad fact is that America, in the years after World War II, has gradually been taken over by fascists, both Republican and Democratic, and one of the worst was Barack Obama whose regime invaded Libya, but another was his heir-apparent and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton; and another of them turns out to have been their fascist opponent, Donald Trump; so that it’s a fascist monopoly controlling the two competing fascist Parties, one being liberal-fascist (called “neoliberal”), and the other being conservative-fascist (called “neoconservative”) — a multi-Party (but one aristocracy) dictatorship. It’s a place where “bipartisan” refers to anything that’s wanted both by conservative billionaires and by liberal billionaires, instead of merely by one or the other type of billionaires. (“Bipartisan” here doesn’t mean anything like serving the public; it instead refers to factions within the aristocracy.)
Any ‘moral authority’ that the US Government once did have is dead now, killed by the same international-fascist group (called the West’s international “Deep State,” and consisting actually of all billionaires in the US and in its allied, vassal, aristocracies). Mussolini proudly called this basic system, in its original embodiment, “corporationism”, which he used as a synonym for “fascism.” Mussolini, of course, was, as Hitler and Hirohito were, a conservative fascist. Liberal fascism (the liberal half of neoliberalism-neoconservatism) rose only after World War II as the pathway for the now-discredited conservative form of fascism, ultimately to win by becoming ‘liberal’. But now even the conservative form of fascism is again becoming ‘respectable’, as simply “conservative.”
Another liberal fascist, besides America’s Obama and the Clintons, was the UK’s Tony Blair, who had joined the US in invading Iraq in 2003, and who didn’t become inactive after he left office in 2007. He actually participated along with the Conservative fascist David Cameron in the UK’s decision to invade Libya; and on 7 January 2016, Britain’s Guardian headlined “Gaddafi warned Blair his ousting would ‘open door’ to jihadis”and reported:
In the first call, at 11.15am on 25 February 2011, Gaddafi gave a warning in part borne out by future events: “They [jihadis] want to control the Mediterranean and then they will attack Europe.”
In the second call, at 3.25pm the same day, the Libyan leader said: “We are not fighting them, they are attacking us. I want to tell you the truth. It is not a difficult situation at all. The story is simply this: an organisation has laid down sleeping cells in north Africa. Called the al-Qaida organisation in north Africa … The sleeping cells in Libya are similar to dormant cells in America before 9/11.” …
Crispin Blunt [from the Conservative side, of UK’s fascist Government, opposite the liberal side, Blair’s Labour Party], said: “The transcripts supplied by Mr Blair provide a new insight into the private views of Colonel Gaddafi as his dictatorship began to crumble around him. The failure to follow Mr Blair’s calls to ‘keep the lines open’ and for these early conversations to initiate any peaceful compromise continue to reverberate.”
Being itself a fascist newspaper though of a liberal bent (i.e., more neoliberal than neoconservative), the Guardian’s reporter went on to refer to “Gaddafi’s otherwise delusional take on international affairs” — as if Blair’s and Cameron’s, and Obama’s, and Clinton’s, weren’t actually even more delusional (or else just plain greedy for more wealth and power — and far more harmful) than Gaddafi.
Like CNN, however, the Guardian avoided discussing anything that might reasonably explain (or make sense of) these evil results of Western leaders of ‘democracies’ — such as, for example, that these nations are no longer actually democracies at all (except in the superficial vestigial senses) but are instead ruled by aristocracies who control the government and treat it as an extension of their financial investments (especially the military ones). The more that the military is used, the more that the military firms they invest in will boom; and this is the only type of investment whose returns depend virtually entirely upon the government (and its allied governments) to be the market for its products and services. So, what US President Dwight Eisenhower had in 1961 hypocritically called and warned against as the “military-industrial complex” (but which his own Administration had served) now actually leads America and its allies, because this portion of their portfolios (“military” and “aerospace”) demands ever-increased national ‘defense’ spending and thus an ever-increasing military-industrial complex. In the US, we see this especially with the Republicans’ obsession to skyrocket ‘defense’ expenditures while simultaneously slashing non-‘defense’ expenditures.
Here’s the neoliberal neoconservative Hillary Clinton’s advisor and buddy Sidney Blumenthal, emailing to his master Hillary, on 2 April 2011, prior to the murder of Gaddafi, in a revealing note about what these conquerors’ real interests in the affair actually were (but only about their allies’ greed, not about that of their liberal hypocritical sanctimonious selves — even liberal psychopaths are quite willing to recognize their allies’ paychopathy):
From: sbwhoeop Sent: Saturday, April 2, 2011 10:44 PM To: Subject: H: France’s client & Q’s gold. Sid Attachments: hrc memo France’s client & Q’s gold 040211.docx; hrc memo France’s client & Q’s gold 040211.docx CONFIDENTIAL April 2, 2011
For: Hillary From: Sid Re: France’s client & Qaddafi’s gold
1. A high ranking official on the National Libyan Council (NLC) states that factions have developed within it. In part this reflects the cultivation by France in particular of clients among the rebels. General Abdelfateh Younis is the leading figure closest to the French, who are believed to have made payments of an unknown amount to him. Younis has told others on the NLC that the French have promised they will provide military trainers and arms. So far the men and materiel have not made an appearance. Instead, a few “risk assessment analysts” wielding clipboards have come and gone. Jabril, Jalil and others are impatient. It is understood that France has clear economic interests at stake. Sarkozy’s occasional emissary, the intellectual self-promoter Bernard Henri-Levy, is considered by those in the NLC who have dealt with him as a semi-useful, semi-joke figure.
2. Rumors swept the NLC upper echelon this week that Qaddafi may be dead or maybe not.
3. Qaddafi has nearly bottomless financial resources to continue indefinitely, according to the latest report we have received:
On April 2, 2011 sources with access to advisors to Salt al-Islam Qaddafi stated in strictest confidence that while the freezing of Libya’s foreign bank accounts presents Muammar Qaddafi with serious challenges, his ability to equip and maintain his armed forces and intelligence services remains intact. According to sensitive information available to this these individuals, Qaddafi’s government holds 143 tons of gold, and a similar amount in silver. During late March, 2011 these stocks were moved to SABHA (south west in the direction of the Libyan border with Niger and Chad); taken from the vaults of the Libyan Central Bank in Tripoli.
This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French.franc (CFA).
(Source Comment: According to knowledgeable individuals this quantity of gold and silver is valued at more than $7 billion. French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to commit France to the attack on Libya. According to these individuals Sarkozy’s plans are driven by the following issues:
a. A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,
b. Increase French influence in North Africa,
c. Improve his intemai political situation in France,
d. Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,
e. Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi’s long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa)
On the afternoon of April 1, an individual with access to the National Libyan Council (NLC) stated in private that senior officials of the NLC believe that the rebel military forces are beginning to show signs of improved discipline and fighting spirit under some of the new military commanders, including Colonel Khalifha Haftar, the former commander of the antiQaddafi forces in the Libyan National Army (LNA). According to these sources, units defecting from Qaddafi’s force are also taking a greater role in the fighting on behalf of the rebels.
(General Haftar, though Blumenthal didn’t mention it — since Hillary already knew this — was a Washingtonian who had been born in Libya and whom the CIA had assisted in his previous unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Gaddafi.)
If that’s not “fascist,” then what is?
Henry A. Wallace understood fascism better than perhaps any other progressive did in the 1940s. He was FDR’s Vice President and intended successor, but the Democratic Party’s money-lords managed to replace him in 1944 by the manipulable Harry Truman as the V.P. on the 1944 Democratic Presidential ticket, notwithstanding FDR’s strong opposition to that switch. A major reason why FDR wanted Wallace to stay and to become FDR’s successor (besides Wallace’s having exceptionally high approval-ratings from the public — far higher than did Truman) was that Wallace understood the fascist enemy far better than did Truman or any other of FDR’s subsequent successors; so, here’s the opening of Wallace’s extended essay about fascism:
Selected Works of Henry A. Wallace
The Danger of American Fascism
An article in the New York Times, April 9, 1944.
From Henry A. Wallace, Democracy Reborn (New York, 1944), edited by Russell Lord, p. 259.
• On returning from my trip to the West in February, I received a request from The New York Times to write a piece answering the following questions:
• What is a fascist?
• How many fascists have we?
• How dangerous are they?
• A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends. The supreme god of a fascist, to which his ends are directed, may be money or power; may be a race or a class; may be a military, clique or an economic group; or may be a culture, religion, or a political party.
• The perfect type of fascist throughout recent centuries has been the Prussian Junker, who developed such hatred for other races and such allegiance to a military clique as to make him willing at all times to engage in any degree of deceit and violence necessary to place his culture and race astride the world. In every big nation of the world are at least a few people who have the fascist temperament. Every Jew-baiter, every Catholic hater, is a fascist at heart. The hoodlums who have been desecrating churches, cathedrals and synagogues in some of our larger cities are ripe material for fascist leadership.
• The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned. The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.
• If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort. They are doing this even in those cases where they hope to have profitable connections with German chemical firms after the war ends. They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.
• American fascism will not be really dangerous until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information, and those who stand for the K.K.K. type of demagoguery. [This seems to describe presciently the Trump coalition.]
• The European brand of fascism will probably present its most serious postwar threat to us via Latin America. The effect of the war has been to raise the cost of living in most Latin American countries much faster than the wages of labor. The fascists in most Latin American countries tell the people that the reason their wages will not buy as much in the way of goods is because of Yankee imperialism [which wasn’t true under FDR but did become so under Eisenhower]. The fascists in Latin America learn to speak and act like natives. Our chemical and other manufacturing concerns are all too often ready to let the Germans have Latin American markets, provided the American companies can work out an arrangement which will enable them to charge high prices to the consumer inside the United States. Following this war, technology will have reached such a point that it will be possible for Germans, using South America as a base, to cause us much more difficulty in World War III than they did in World War II. The military and landowning cliques in many South American countries will find it attractive financially to work with German fascist concerns as well as expedient from the standpoint of temporary power politics.
• Fascism is a worldwide disease. Its greatest threat to the United States will come after the war, either via Latin America or within the United States itself.
• Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion. American fascists of this stamp were clandestinely aligned with their German counterparts before the war, and are even now preparing to resume where they left off, after “the present unpleasantness” ceases. …
That described the situation before it happened, at least as well as any ordinary historian would describe it after it happened. And that’s how we have gotten to where we are today.
Before we had invaded and destroyed Libya, it was one of the highest income and most egalitarian and least-tribal nations in Africa, with good quality socialized health care for everyone; but that’s all gone now; and the response of the US Government to the resulting failed state there is to block admission of the resulting refugees; and the response of European governments is to let these refugees drown in the Mediterranean in preference to adding them to the millions that US-led invasions have also caused to flood into Europe, from Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and elsewhere. NATO is destroying Europe, and invasions like this are just one way it’s happening.
None of this would have happened without American leadership.
Europeans thus might have even more justifications to detest the US Government than Americans do. However, for some reason, they still haven’t abandoned NATO — maybe it’s because the people in control of each of these vassal-nations are likewise heavily invested in companies such as Lockheed Martin and BAE, which need ever-increasing growth in order to please their investors; so, perpetual war for perpetual peace is good for their aristocracies’ perpetual profits. But, Trump demands that Europe’s populations nevertheless should contribute even more to the US military alliance NATO than is currently the case. America’s many military bases there might thus be considered a certain type of profitable military occupation by the global imperial power, especially because that occupation isn’t shrinking, it’s expanding: war equipment and war services are a growth-industry, even for firms such as Google and Amazon.
As long as that uniform European acceptance of NATO continues, Europe will continue to fall apart, and to decline, and the relative advantage will thus go to the megalith on the other side of the Atlantic, the occupying power itself; that is, the US aristocracy.
So, slavery, in Libya or anywhere, is the result of the flowering of fascist values; but the publics everywhere — and not only slaves — suffer from those values. Unfortunately, fascism rose like the phoenix from the ashes of defeat after WW II, to its victory today. “Fascism” became successfully re-branded as “neoliberalism” and as “neoconservatism.” Slavery is just one of the many ways that it’s happening.
To see how the American public responded to CNN’s blockbuster report about these slave-markets, just read the comments about it at reddit.
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About the author
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
Image of black men behind grill, courtesy of CNN