(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
This was written by Ellen Brown back on April 14. We shall see a few years from now whether Libyans will still be cheering and throwing flowers like Iraqis and Afghanis and Bahraini’s are now…
Several writers have noted the odd fact that the Libyan rebels took time out from their rebellion in March to create their own central bank – this before they even had a government. Robert Wenzel wrote in the Economic Policy Journal:
I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising. This suggests we have a bit more than a rag tag bunch of rebels running around and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences.
Alex Newman wrote in the New American:
In a statement released last week, the rebels reported on the results of a meeting held on March 19. Among other things, the supposed rag-tag revolutionaries announced the “[d]esignation of the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and appointment of a Governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with a temporary headquarters in Benghazi.”
Newman quoted CNBC senior editor John Carney, who asked, “Is this the first time a revolutionary group has created a central bank while it is still in the midst of fighting the entrenched political power? It certainly seems to indicate how extraordinarily powerful central bankers have become in our era.”
Whatever might be said of Gaddafi’s personal crimes, the Libyan people seem to be thriving. A delegation of medical professionals from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus wrote in an appeal to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that after becoming acquainted with Libyan life, it was their view that in few nations did people live in such comfort:
[Libyans] are entitled to free treatment, and their hospitals provide the best in the world of medical equipment. Education in Libya is free, capable young people have the opportunity to study abroad at government expense. When marrying, young couples receive 60,000 Libyan dinars (about 50,000 US dollars) of financial assistance. Non-interest state loans, and as practice shows, undated. Due to government subsidies the price of cars is much lower than in Europe, and they are affordable for every family. Gasoline and bread cost a penny, no taxes for those who are engaged in agriculture. The Libyan people are quiet and peaceful, are not inclined to drink, and are very religious.
They maintained that the international community had been misinformed about the struggle against the regime. “Tell us,” they said, “who would not like such a regime?”
And that appears to be how the Libyan system works. According to Wikipedia, the functions of the Central Bank of Libya include “issuing and regulating banknotes and coins in Libya” and “managing and issuing all state loans”. Libya’s wholly state-owned bank can and does issue the national currency and lend it for state purposes.
That would explain where Libya gets the money to provide free education and medical care, and to issue each young couple $50,000 in interest-free state loans. It would also explain where the country found the $33 billion to build the Great Man-Made River project. Libyans are worried that North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led air strikes are coming perilously close to this pipeline, threatening another humanitarian disaster.
So is this new war all about oil or all about banking? Maybe both – and water as well. With energy, water, and ample credit to develop the infrastructure to access them, a nation can be free of the grip of foreign creditors. And that may be the real threat of Libya: it could show the world what is possible.
Most countries don’t have oil, but new technologies are being developed that could make non-oil-producing nations energy-independent, particularly if infrastructure costs are halved by borrowing from the nation’s own publicly owned bank. Energy independence would free governments from the web of the international bankers, and of the need to shift production from domestic to foreign markets to service the loans.
If the Gaddafi government goes down, it will be interesting to watch whether the new central bank joins the BIS [Bank of International Settlements], whether the nationalized oil industry gets sold off to investors, and whether education and healthcare continue to be free.
Libya all about oil, or central banking?, Ellen Brown
This was written by Ali Abunimah August 26 at Electronic Intifada…
The US administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were set on developing deep “military to military” ties with the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi, classified US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks on 24 August reveal.
The United States was keen to integrate Libya as much as possible into “AFRICOM,” the American military command for Africa which seeks to establish bases and station military forces permanently on the continent.
“We never would have guessed ten years ago that we would be sitting in Tripoli, being welcomed by a son of Muammar al-Qadhafi,” Senator Joseph Lieberman (Ind.-CT) said during an August 2009 meeting, which also included Senators John McCain and Susan Collins.
“We can get [equipment] from Russia or China,” Muatassim told the visiting senators, “but we want to get it from you as a symbol of faith from the United States.”
In hindsight, given the US support for the NATO war against the Gaddafi regime, it is not difficult to understand why the Libyans wanted these guarantees.
Nevertheless, Gaddafi received high praise for his “counterterrorism” credentials from US officials.
The documents also reveal that the United States was keen to court Gaddafi’s sons, flying them to the United States for high level visits.
And, notably, none of the cables regarding high level meetings quoted in this post made any mention of American concerns about “human rights” in Libya. The issue never appeared on the bilateral agenda.
Does the removal of the Gaddafi regime now clear the way for the United States to pursue the plans for integrating Libya into AFRICOM under what the Americans must hope will be a pliable regime?
Courting Gaddafi and his sons
After President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, it appears General William Ward, the commander of AFRICOM did get his invitation to visit Libya the following March. Before his visit, Ward received a classified briefing document from the US Embassy in Tripoli setting out US priorities and goals in Libya as well as providing insights into the regime.
Ward’s brief, according to the classified cable, was to help overcome Libyan suspicion of US military expansion into Africa.
At no point were human rights concerns ever an obstacle to American engagement for either the George W. Bush or Obama administrations.
The documents support the view that the decision to go to war against Gaddafi – in the name of “protecting civilians” was more opportunistic – riding on the back of the “Arab Spring.”
Did Wikileaks just reveal the US blueprint for Libya?, electronicintifada.net