From Cynthia McKinney: Has NATO Unleashed a Race War in Libya? Please call Congress to stop this madness!
Please call the House and Senate and ask for an end to this madness--defund US War Against Libya now! Please let them know that US Libyan allies, the "rebels," are cleansing Blacks out of areas under their control.
The House has just taken another vote and I will discuss its implications this evening.
House rejects measure to continue US role in Libya
By DONNA CASSATA, Associated Press – 2 mins ago
WASHINGTON – The House on Friday overwhelmingly rejected a measure giving President Barack Obama the authority to continue the U.S. military operation against Libya, a major repudiation of the commander in chief.
The vote was 295-123, with Obama losing the support of 70 of his Democrats one day after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had made a last-minute plea for the mission.
While the congressional action had no immediate effect on American involvement in the NATO-led mission, it was an embarrassment to a sitting president and certain to have reverberations in Tripoli and NATO capitals.
The vote marked the first time since 1999 that either House has voted against a military operation. The last time was over President Bill Clinton's authority in the Bosnian war.
The House planned a second vote on legislation to cut off money for the operation.
House Republican leaders pushed for the vote, with rank-and-file members saying the president broke the law by failing to seek congressional approval for the 3-month-old war.
"The president has operated in what we now know is called the zone of twilight as to whether or not he even needs our approval," said Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla. "So what are we left with?"
Some Democrats accused the GOP of playing politics with national security. They said the vote would send a message to Gadhafi.
Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said the vote would essentially "stop the mission in Libya and empower Moammar Gadhafi."
The defeated resolution mirrors a Senate measure sponsored by Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and John McCain, R-Ariz., that Obama has indicated he would welcome. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will consider the resolution on Tuesday.
The second vote to eliminate money for the Libya operation would make an exception for search and rescue efforts, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, aerial refueling and operational planning to continue the NATO effort in Libya. That measure has no chance in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
House Republicans and Democrats are furious with Obama for failing to seek congressional authorization as required under the War Powers Resolution. The 1973 law, often ignored by Republican and Democratic presidents, says the commander in chief must seek congressional consent for military actions within 60 days. That deadline has long passed.
Obama stirred congressional unrest last week when he told lawmakers he didn't need authorization because the operation was not full-blown hostilities. NATO commands the Libya operation, but the United States still plays a significant support role that includes aerial refueling of warplanes and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance work as well as drone attacks and bombings.
A New York Times report that said Obama overruled some of his legal advisers further incensed members of Congress.
In a last-ditch effort Thursday, Clinton met with rank-and-file Democrats to explain the mission and discuss the implications if the House votes to cut off funds. The administration requested the closed-door meeting.
Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., said Clinton apologized for not coming to Congress earlier. But he said she warned about the implications of a House vote to cut off money.
"The secretary expressed her deep concern that you're probably not on the right track when Gadhafi supports your efforts," Walz said.
Rep. Howard Berman of California, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said such a vote "ensures the failure of the whole mission."
Earlier this week Clinton said lawmakers were free to raise questions, but she asked, "Are you on Gadhafi's side, or are you on the side of the aspirations of the Libyan people and the international coalition that has been bringing them support?"
In the Senate, backers of a resolution to authorize the operation wondered whether the administration had waited too long to address the concerns of House members.
"It's way late," said McCain, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee. "This is one of the reasons why they're having this veritable uprising in the House, because of a lack of communication. And then the icing on the cake was probably for them when he (Obama) said that we're not engaged in hostilities. That obviously is foolishness."
He added, however, "That is not a reason to pass a resolution that would encourage Moammar Gadhafi to stay in power."
Earlier this month, the House voted 268-145 to rebuke Obama for failing to provide a "compelling rationale" for the Libyan mission and for launching U.S. military forces without congressional approval.
Black Star News Editorial
So what can one say about the Times for ignoring the ethnic cleansing of Black Libyans by the "rebels" in Mistrata, with the help of NATO? Does this make The New York Times culpable of the ethnic cleansing, since the newspaper not only deliberately ignores the story, but also falsely depicts the "rebels" as Libya's saviors? The Times also has totally ignored the African Union (AU) peace plan, which actually calls for a ceasefire, negotiations for a constitution, and democratic elections, all to be monitored by the International community. also reported that the rebels are being trained by former al-Qaeda leaders who were released from U.S. custody on Guantanamo Bay. is comfortable with the simplistic narrative: "al-Quathafi bad," and "rebels good," regardless of the fact that The Times can't write about the ethnic cleansing of Black Libyans and migrants from other African countries because it would diminish the reputation of the "rebels" who the Times have fully embraced, even after the ICC also reported that they too have committed war crimes. Instead, Instead The New York Times is busy, as in a recent editorial boasting of its support for NATO's bombing campaign, which this week alone is reported to have killed 20 civilians. The Times has also ignored Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s call that the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigate NATO commanders on possible war crimes in connection to Libyan civilians killed. that Black Libyans and specifically being targeted for liquidation because of their skin color. If the case were reversed and Black Libyans were committing ethnic cleansing against non-Black Libyans, does anyone believe that the people who now control the editorials or the news pages at The New York Times would ignore such a story? Evidently, it doesn't much bother the sages at or even the news pages that such a huge and damning story would be ignored? The evidence of public lynching of Black people are readily available online through simple Google or YouTube searches, even thoughThe New York Times has completely ignored this major story. Does anyone believe that if people of African descent controlled the editorials in , which has become as journalistically corrupt and as compromised as the old PRAVDA, during the Soviet era. This editorial page has been insisting since the beginning of the Libya conflict that the "rebels" embraced racism and used the allegation that Muammar al-Quathafi had employed mercenaries from other African countries as a pretext to massacre Black Libyans. You won't read this kind of article in article, the "rebels" refer to themselves as "the brigade for purging slaves, black skin." The Journal quotes a rebel commander Ibrahim al-Halbous saying, of Black Libyans, "They should pack up," and that "Tawergha no longer exists, only Mistrata." According to The "rebels" now eye the city of Tawergha, 25 miles away, and vow to cleanse it of all Black people once they seize the city. Isn't this the perfect definition of the term "genocide"?
[Black Star News Editorial]
Libya City Torn by Tribal Feud
Ethnic Hatred Rooted in Battle for Misrata Underlines Challenges the Nation Faces After Gadhafi
By SAM DAGHER
A Misrata fuel depot burns after a pro-Gadhafi forces bombed it in March, part of a fight that fanned tensions between Misrata and Tawergha.
MISRATA, Libya—"Traitors keep out," reads graffiti at the entrance of a housing project in an impoverished neighborhood of Misrata, the rebel-held city grappling with the physical and emotional scars of Col. Moammar Gadhafi's siege since March.
A group of men sipping tea in the courtyard on a recent afternoon say the "traitors" are those who hail from Tawergha, a small town 25 miles to the south inhabited mostly by black Libyans, a legacy of its 19th-century origins as a transit town in the slave trade.
Many Misratans are convinced that Tawerghans were responsible for some of the worst atrocities committed during their city's siege, including allegedly raping women in front of their relatives and helping Gadhafi forces identify and kidnap rebel sympathizers and their families.
The feud between Misrata and Tawergha offers a stark example of the challenges Libya will face in reconciling communities that found themselves on opposite sides of the conflict when Col. Gadhafi leaves power.
Misrata, Libya's third-largest city and its commercial hub, has been viewed with suspicion by Col. Gadhafi, who sought to promote minority groups like the Tawerghans and some Bedouin tribes in the area to counterbalance the might of the tightly knit white merchant families here.
Before the siege, nearly four-fifths of residents of Misrata's Ghoushi neighborhood were Tawergha natives. Now they are gone or in hiding, fearing revenge attacks by Misratans, amid reports of bounties for their capture.
The rebel leadership in the eastern city of Benghazi says it is working on a post-Gadhafi reconciliation plan. But details are fuzzy and rebel leaders often resort to platitudes when dismissing suggestions of discord, saying simply that "Libya is one tribe."
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That viewpoint could prove dangerously naive. Already the fighting has fanned historic feuds and created new fault lines across the country. In the Nafusa Mountains southwest of Tripoli, rebels from the Zintan tribe are now pitted against their old rivals the Mashashya, who are mostly pro-government.
In a bid to calm some of these tensions, Libya's former colonial ruler Italy, which is siding with the rebels, announced last week it would host almost 300 Libyan tribal leaders for a major reconciliation conference, an offer quickly ridiculed by the Gadhafi regime.
"The longer this [fighting] goes on, the more it reinforces deep mistrust across all social cleavages," said Lisa Anderson, president of the American University in Cairo who is a Libya expert.
Misrata's rebels succeeded last month in pushing Col. Gadhafi's forces out of the city, but they continue to struggle in battles on three fronts including the border with Tawergha. A teenage boy was killed Monday and six of his relatives were wounded, including his parents and siblings, said witnesses, when pro-regime forces on the city's outskirts fired rockets into Misrata. Since Friday, similar attacks in the area have killed two women and at least 26 rebels, including ten on Monday, doctors said.
Though the rebel's political leadership says it will take steps to avoid reprisals if they capture the town, others are calling for the expulsion of Tawerghans from the area.
Ibrahim al-Halbous, a rebel commander leading the fight near Tawergha, says all remaining residents should leave once if his fighters capture the town. "They should pack up," Mr. Halbous said. "Tawergha no longer exists, only Misrata."
It is unclear how many families still live in Tawergha, which has turned into staging grounds for government troops. Many are believed to be in a government-administered camp in al-Haisha farther south.
Other rebel leaders are also calling for drastic measures like banning Tawergha natives from ever working, living or sending their children to schools in Misrata.
The hatred of Tawergha stems from witnesses who say loyalist soldiers were accompanied by hundreds of volunteer fighters from Tawergha when they ransacked and burned dozens of properties in an assault against Misrata and surrounding areas on March 16 to 18.
There are also accounts of rape, with one rebel commander putting the number at more than 150, but they are harder to prove given the stigma attached to the crime in the conservative muslim nation and the lack of testimony.
Some of the hatred of Tawergha has racist overtones that were mostly latent before the current conflict. On the road between Misrata and Tawergha, rebel slogans like "the brigade for purging slaves, black skin" have supplanted pro-Gadhafi scrawl.
The racial tensions have been fueled by the regime's alleged use of African mercenaries to violently suppress demonstrators at the start of the Libyan uprising in February, and the sense that the south of the country, which is predominantly black, mainly backs Col. Gadhafi.
Bashir Amer says he was one of the victims of the assault on Misrata by loyalist soldiers and Tawerghans in March. Nothing was spared on his ranch, he said, in the farmland area of Tuminah on the road between Misrata and Tawergha.
The carcass of one of Mr. Amer's Thoroughbred horses was still baking in the sun during a recent visit. His farmhouse was set on fire after all valuables were looted, Mr. Amer said as he held up his wife's empty jewelry box. He stood in the master bedroom, which was reduced to incinerated walls and a carpet of ash.
Mr. Amer said he was having breakfast with his family when soldiers jumped over the farm's fence and started shooting indiscriminately, wounding his daughter Fatima, 16, in the leg.
Mr. Amer said they were then allowed to go to his parents' ranch farther up the road in nearby Karzaz opening the way for pro-Gadhafi volunteers from Tawergha, who eventually reached his parents' farm. There, he said all were led out before the house, like his own, was looted and set on fire. "It was terrifying when the Tawergha men came into my parents' house," Mr. Amer said.
His father and six cousins and their families were detained during the same raid on Tuminah and Karzaz. They remain missing along with more than 1,000 other Misrata residents.
The Amers, like their wealthy neighbors the Issas, have been accused by the regime of bankrolling the rebels, which they admit to doing.
Standing on the roof of his family's burned out farmhouse, Tareq Issa recalls their escape after his uncle was killed and brother gravely wounded in a shootout with Gadhafi loyalists who attacked the farm. The Issas came back to Tuminah last month to find their properties in ruins.
The incinerated body of a Lexus sedan sat in the garage of one mansion while a smashed marble urn was all that remained of the contents of another Tuscan-style villa nestled amid acres of orchards.
Mr. Issa, a lawyer who now leads a clutch of fighters in charge of security in Tuminah, blames Tawerghans for the attack and said his whole clan has scores to settle with the town.
Write to Sam Dagher at email@example.com
4. US Conference of Mayors Says No More War Funding
Mayors Tell Congress: Bring War Dollars Home
By Lisa Savage
BALTIMORE, June 20 – Mayors from around the world met in Baltimore this week to set public policy for the billions of people living in big cities, depending on municipal services to stay safe. While Congress considered allocating another $118 billion to conduct wars next year – and President Obama absurdly maintained that the costly bombing of Libya is not an act of war, and thus not subject to Congressional oversight – mayors listened to the people.
Following a lively debate about adding stronger language supporting troops and their families, and adding President Obama as a recipient,mayors voted in their June 20 plenary session to call on the federal government to stop funding wars, and bring the money home.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors' Resolution Number 59 was only a twinkle in the eye two years ago when a coalition of citizens alarmed at endless wars and catastrophic budget shortfalls coined the slogan “Bring Our War Dollars Home” at activist Sally Breen's kitchen table in Winthrop, Maine. That state's campaign took off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2010, and soon spread nationally with adoption by the women-led peace group CODEPINK. Locations across Maine soon adopted war dollars home resolutions, including Deer Isle, Portland, and School Administrative District #74, followed by Northampton and Amherst, Massachusetts and, most recently, by Hartford, Connecticut.
Meanwhile, Congress continued to pass war funding supplemental bills, but without the support of Maine's two representatives in the House. Rep. Mike Michaud (D-2nd) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-1st) defied Democrat party leadership to repeatedly vote no on the measures. Pingree began speaking out in Congress and in the press about the need to listen to her constituents' demands to end the wars as Maine's economy unraveled, and local budgets for education, health care, housing and job training were slashed.
In March CODEPINK brought on board national campaign manager C.J. Minster, who wrote the text of the mayors' resolution at another kitchen table, that of co-founder Medea Benjamin. The idea to bring a resolution to the annual conference of mayors had been proposed to co-founder Jodie Evans by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the incoming president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The conference first convened in 1932, as big city mayors came together in Detroit to consider what could be done to pull their troubled cities out of the depths of the Great Depression. The New Deal incorporated many of their ideas, and mayors have met annually ever since.
"The United States Conference of Mayors calls on the U.S. Congress to bring these war dollars home to meet vital human needs, promote job creation, rebuild our infrastructure, aid municipal and state governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy," the resolution reads, citing the $126 billion a year cost of U.S. wars and the deaths of more than 6,000 troops.
Mayor Joanne Twomey of Biddeford, Maine spoke out about the current recession last April when her city council was forced to drastically reduce spending on K-12 education. At a rally at the State House in Augusta, Maine Public Radio reported: "As mayor of the city of Biddeford – we are cutting $1.6 million in our education budget, and last week I had had it – I'm starting to say it from the podium," said Twomey. "It's my responsibility as mayor of the city of Biddeford to start saying if our priorities were straight, if we could bring these war dollars home, I wouldn't have to be doing this, and neither would the Biddeford school board."
Kitty Piercy, Mayor of Eugene, Oregon, took the lead by introducing Resolution 59 stating: “Mayors call on our country to begin the journey of turning war dollars back into peace dollars, of bringing our loved ones home and of focusing our national resources on building security and prosperity here at home. Our children and families long for and call for a real investment in the future of America. It is past due.”
Piercy was joined in supporting the measure by mayors from Worcester, Hartford, Baltimore, and a score of other cities. States represented on the endorsement list included Virginia, Florida, Ohio, New York, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Wisconsin. The resolution flew through the Metro Economies Committee on the opening day of the mayors' conference, and the news was picked up by media outlets all over the world. On Sunday, June 19, Mayor Villaraigosa spoke in favor of the resolution on television current affairs program Meet The Press – and the rest is history.
As for who will enforce the non-binding resolution, that is up to the people. Grassroots pressure to end funding for wars eventually produced an end to U.S. military presence in Vietnam, presaged by the last time the mayors considered a war dollars home resolution in 1971. Mayors may very well be closer to the will of the people than are senators or presidents. The framers of our Constitution seemed to recognize this when they put the power of the purse in the hands of the branch of government supposed to be closest to the people, the House of Representatives.
Immense profits by weapons manufacturers – and the jobs that depend upon war funding – are compelling reasons for wars with vague goals and shifting targets to continue indefinitely. Corporations spend millions lobbying Congress while contriving to pay no income taxes. Many citizens are questioning who the federal government really represents.
President Obama said while campaigning that he was not against all wars, just stupid wars. Bankrupting the country to maintain 800+ military bases abroad, and drop bombs costing $1 million apiece – the equivalent of 25 teachers' annual salaries – could be the definition of stupid in the 21st Century. Fellow Democrat Rep. John Garamedi of California warned this week, “If the president doesn’t move…he will face a revolution in Congress…It’s coming to that.”
If the President has forgotten that Afghanistan is called “the graveyard of empires,” the people have not. Their mayors now join the chorus calling on the federal government to end endless wars, and bring the war dollars home.
Lisa Savage is CODEPINK's Local Coordinator for Maine, and an active organizer with the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign. For more information wardollarshome.org.
5. Eyewitness Libya Fundraising Tour in DC tonight; we will get an update on and talk about today's Congressional action
WHEN: Friday, June 24th at 7:00 pm
WHERE: The Festival Center @ 1640 Columbia Road, Washington, DC
JUST: four blocks four blocks from Columbia Heights Metro, Green and Yellow Lines
6. Americans Turn Against Libya War
June 24, 2011
Americans Shift to More Negative View of Libya Military Action
Now more likely to disapprove than approve
by Jeffrey M. Jones
PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans are more likely to say they disapprove than approve of the U.S. military action in Libya. That represents a shift from three months ago, just after the mission began, when approval exceeded disapproval.
The results are based on a Gallup poll conducted June 22. The House of Representatives is set to vote on resolutions that would limit the U.S. role in Libya, partly because of questions about whether the mission violates the War Powers Act since President Obama did not obtain congressional authorization for it. The U.S. sent forces to Libya in March as part of a multinational force to protect rebels in that country from attacks by Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi.
Democrats are the only political group to show more support for than opposition to the U.S. involvement. Independents are the most likely to show opposition, with a majority disapproving.
Republicans' opinions have changed the most since March, moving to 39% approval from 57%. This likely reflects increased criticism of the mission's legality and cost from some Republican congressional leaders and presidential candidates. Independents' views have become slightly more negative over the last three months, while Democrats' opinions have been largely stable.
Opposition Mainly Because of Substance, Rather Than Legality, of Military Operation
The poll sought to explore Americans' reasons for opposition to the operation by asking those who disapprove whether they disagree with the substance of the policy or with how it was executed. Most who disapprove, 64%, do so because they do not think the U.S. should be in Libya at all. Just under a third, 29%, disapprove because they do not think the president obtained the necessary approval from Congress to conduct the operation.
Republicans who disapprove divide about equally between saying the U.S. should not be in Libya (48%) and saying the president did not go through the proper procedures (46%).
Supporters View Gadhafi Removal as Ultimate Goal
The stated goal of the military operation was to protect Libyan citizens from attacks by the country's government, but the obvious question is whether the ultimate goal should be removal of the government, namely, President Gadhafi, from power. The poll asked those who approve of the mission whether the U.S. action should continue until Gadhafi is removed from power, and the vast majority, 85%, agree.
Gallup found initial support for the U.S. mission in Libya low compared with other recent U.S. military engagements. As the operation continues into its fourth month, and with increased criticism of the effort from political leaders, it is not surprising that support for it has eroded. It is still unclear whether Congress will ultimately limit the mission in Libya or authorize it to continue. The president's Wednesday announcement of troop withdrawals from Afghanistan shows he is sensitive to pressure to scale down U.S. military operations abroad as the U.S. struggles to improve the economy and get the federal budget deficit under control.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 22, 2011, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 999 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2010 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
Polls conducted entirely in one day, such as this one, are subject to additional error or bias not found in polls conducted over several days.
View methodology, full question results, and trend data.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.
Silence is the deadliest weapon of mass destruction.