Libya-USA ties and Soft Terrorism (DR.ABDUL RUFF Colachal)
Libya-USA ties and Soft Terrorism
The process of rapprochement between USA and Libya, a former “rogue state” seems to have achieved another mile-stone with the resolution of what could be rightfully called the soft terrorism case unleashed by Western mafia in Libya, in favor of the Western "outlook" as Libyan government has appeased the EU and USA by sparing the lives of Bulgarian medics and a doctor, arrested in 1999 at a Benghazi hospital after an outbreak of HIV/Aids among 400 children. Spread of biological weapons in the atmosphere causing diseases to masses is indeed a dangerous trend threatening the humanity. Injecting the poison into the bodies of children is in fact worse than that. Out of 19, 13 medicos were later freed. In May 2004, Libya convicted and sentenced five Bulgarian nurses and the doctor for infecting children with HIV and a Bulgarian doctor is freed; in Dec 2005, Libyan Supreme Court overturns the convictions and orders a retrial; in DEC 2006 Medics sentenced to death a second time; in Feb 2007 Medics appeal to the Libyan Supreme Court; in June 2007 top EU officials hold talks in Libya to try to secure medics' release and in 11 July 2007: Libya's Supreme Court upholds death sentences.On 17 July the But the EU and USA hope that the culprits, who are seemingly well treated thus far by the Libyan prisons, are left free.
Libya's highest judicial body on 17 July commuted to life in prison the death sentences of five nurses and the doctor after a multi-million dollar compensation deal was hammered out with victims' families.European diplomats pressed Libyan officials to commute the death sentence.Families of the children have started receiving compensation of $1 million for each of the families of 438 Libyan children infected with HIV-tainted blood under a deal that is expected to result in the lifting of the sentence against the five Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian doctors.
That is the charge that 400 Libyan children who were allegedly deliberately infected with the HIV virus by five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor in 1998, has been proved and six medics were found guilty and sentenced to death twice, first in 2004 and again in 2006 following a court appeal. During their trial, one of the doctors who helped first isolate the HIV virus, Luc Montagnier, said the hospital epidemic began before the foreign medics started working at the hospital. The government in Tripoli is caught between its wish to repair ties with the West and to defend its own legal system, the BBC's Eastern Europe reporter Nick Thorpe says. Fifty-six of the 438 children infected with tainted blood at the Benghazi hospital have since died. USA and EU obviously use different yard sticks to measure the acts of terrorism killing and aimed at killing innocent people. In Libyan case it was the little children that were the object of the soft terrorists. It is a known fact that biological weapons are being used by big powers around the world to make people suffer from deceases and die unnoticed by the world.
Speaking after the Supreme Court ruling, Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov urged Libya to find a quick solution. "Unfortunately, the court's ruling today is not a surprise. We expected the death sentences to be confirmed. We expect and insist for a swift solution by Libya's High Judicial Council to finally complete the case," he said. The families of the infected children had previously demanded the maximum punishment. The European Commission said it regretted the decision by Libya's Supreme Court, and the EU's External Relations Commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said she hoped the Libyan authorities would show clemency to the medics.
Following the announcement of Libya renounced weapons of mass destruction, paving the way for a further blossoming of relations with the West. In the same year, Qaddafi allowed inspectors into its facilities. In 2002, the US and Libya had revealed they had been in talks aimed at improving ties. Some diplomatic links were restored in 2004 and the US eased restrictions on traveling to Libya. Libyan oil exports to the US were resumed and in 2005, US energy companies invested in the country for the first time in more than two decades. In May 2006, Washington announced the full resumption of diplomatic ties with Libya.
The Libyan government sent many of the children to Italian and French hospitals for care. The imprisonment of the medics has caused an international outcry, precisely because the soft terrorists are not Muslims and the EU and USA are solidly behind the release of the criminals. They insist they are innocent of deliberately giving tainted blood to the children at the Benghazi hospital in 1998. The US-led West believes and makes other do same that only Muslims are terrorists and the rest of the world is peace loving and ”non-terrorist” by nature and particularly Christians are anti-terrorists. If the culprits were Indian Muslims or Pakistanis, for example, they are certainly terrorists. USA is extremely good at devising varying yardsticks to measure terrorism. Now both USA and EU are trying to influence the Libyan judiciary at the highest level as well as the Libyan government in this case by showing money bags. As Libya's Supreme Court has upheld death sentences imposed in 2004 on five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor for infecting 400 children with HIV, judiciary has clearly taken a firm position on the issue. The High Judiciary Council(HJC), which can overrule the Supreme Court, was to meet on Monday to confirm, annul or amend the death penalty verdicts, but met on 17 July as it waited for documents from the children's families that would affirm they are dropping their demand that the medics face the firing squad. But the HJC commuted to life in prison the death sentences of the convicts.
Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi once accused the nurses of being part of a plot by the CIA and Israeli intelligence to test AIDS as a biological weapon. He later recanted.Pressured by EU and USA, World Health Organization (WHO) in 1999 said the infections were caused by unsanitary conditions and the reuse of contaminated needles and transfusion equipment.
In recent months, the European Union has stepped up diplomatic efforts to have the medics freed. The United States has also been involved, with President George W Bush appealing for their release in June. Former UK Prime-minister Tony Blair visited Libya and met relatives of those ill-fated children.
A former Roman colony, Libya is a mostly desert country which saw invasions by Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks and more recently Italians before gaining independence in 1951. Oil was discovered in 1959. With it, the country was transformed into a wealthy monarchy. Ten years later, though, the king was overthrown in a coup led by the 27-year-old Gaddafi, and Libya embarked on a radically new chapter in its history. Colonel Gaddafi's revolution has been based largely on distinguishing his country from the world around it. Ideas put forward in his Green Book aim at an alternative to both communism and capitalism, while Islam is adhered to Libya possesses considerable reserves of oil and gas, but the sector remains relatively undeveloped.
USA once called Libya a rogue state that needed to be contained or eliminated.UK always supported the US claims arguments. Gaddafi called the UN led by the US unilateralism a terrorist organization. Britain and the US persuaded Gaddafi to give up ambitions on nuclear weapons in 2003. That resulted in good relations between Libya and Western world including the USA. Relations between Libya and USA very recently became almost normal. The US severed all diplomatic relations with Libya in 1980, branding Col Gaddafi's government a sponsor of terrorism. Months earlier, the US embassy in Tripoli was ransacked by people demonstrating in support of the Iranian revolution. The move capped a decade of steady deterioration in US-Libyan relations. Since seizing power in 1970, Col Gaddafi had pursued Arab nationalist policies. Resources were brought under state control and alliances forged with nearby Arab nations. Col Gaddafi also expelled US oil firms that had invested in the country and banned US military vessels from Libyan waters.
In 1981, two Libyan fighter aircraft were shot down by the US over the Gulf of Sirte. Libya said US jets had violated its airspace. In 1986, the US tightened its economic sanctions against Tripoli, freezing Libyan assets in US banks. A naval clash with US forces in the Gulf of Sirte left 58 Libyans dead, according to Tripoli. On 15 April 1986, US President Ronald Reagan ordered his aircraft to bomb Tripoli, the town of Benghazi and bases used by the Libyan military. At least 100 people died in the attacks, many of them civilians - including Col Gaddafi's adopted daughter. The US said the raid was in response to the bombing of a Berlin nightclub, frequented by US soldiers, that killed at least 40 Americans.
Libya, once shunned by much of the international community over the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am plane above the Scottish town of Lockerbie, has undergone a dramatic rehabilitation. The UN Security Council met in 1992 and imposed sanctions on Libya, demanding it hand over the Lockerbie suspects. The sanctions crippled the Libyan economy. In April 1999, Col Gaddafi handed over two men accused by the US of planting the Lockerbie bomb. Libya also said it accepted legal responsibility for the Lockerbie attack and agreed to pay $2.7bn in compensation to the victims' families in 2003. The UN responded by lifting sanctions against Tripoli. Tripoli formally took responsibility for the incident in 2003. The move, part of a deal to compensate families of the 270 victims, heralded the lifting of UN sanctions and most of the compensation has already been made.
There is a little doubt that the HIV virus injection was administered into children as a part of US containment strategy against the Libyan people, the "sponsor of terrorism" The tragic act took place when Libya was fighting a terrific Cold-cum-rhetoric war with USA. Meanwhile a final deal, reportedly brokered by the Gaddafi Foundation, remaining vague with an assurance of about $1billion, has been reached with all the interested parties involved, including the European Union and the Libyan government. EU has already committed 2.5 million euros to the fund. Any financial settlement with the families of the infected children means they will drop their rights to pursue the death penalty. Tripoli says that when it meets on Monday, the High Judiciary Council will take into account any financial compensation to the infected children's families and the amount of time already served by the prisoners. Its decision will be final and irreversible. Whatever the outcome, the latest developments signal a near end to this eight-year saga. Libya trying to be closer to USA may consider this “concession” as well. After all, USA remains the most powerful, most influential power on earth. Its decision cannot but be final in global matters. Is that not?
Al last the EU and USA have succeeded in getting lives of the medicos secured now by using their valet power.One, however, would like to ask President Bush: Mr.US President, would you have left the culprits free if they were Muslims having done this seemingly terrorist act in USA? If so, why do you run the secret prisons in Europe and else where to torture and kill the Muslims, so-called suspected terrorists?
DR.ABDUL RUFF Colachal