Back in 1986, The Washington Post reported on a meeting at the White House, attended by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Secretary of State George P. Shultz, about ways to undermine the regime of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. The terrorism option had already been tried.
According to an AP report on the story, it contained the following details:
…Mr. Reagan at one point referred to Colonel Qaddafi’s reported proclivity for flamboyant attire, saying, ‘Why not invite Qaddafi to San Francisco, he likes to dress up so much?’ and Mr. Shultz rejoined: ‘Why don’t we give him AIDS!’”
California officials took offense on behalf of San Francisco and the AIDS community.
Reagan smoothed things over by denying that he wanted Gaddafi anywhere in the U.S.
During a visit to Nicaragua not so long ago, I spent a good deal of time speaking with a former Sandinista fighter, now a bank security guard in the town of San Juan del Sur, who was disillusioned with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and what he referred to as Ortega’s abandonment of Sandinista revolutionary ideals.
It was as if, the security guard said, the dead no longer mattered when one was in power.
The death toll of over one thousand in Libya has provided the Nicaraguan leader with a second opportunity for revolutionary abandonment, and Nicaragua’s opposition daily La Prensa reports Ortega’s affirmation of total solidarity with Muammar Gaddafi at the United Nations yesterday.
According to the paper, Ortega condemned “speculation by western media, which through exaggerated and contradictory news reports incite violence and [set the stage for] foreign intervention” (see Fidel Castro’s warning of an impending NATO invasion of Libya). (more…)
U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone responded to the arrests by stressing the importance of freedom of the press:
Journalists are being detained on the one hand, while addresses about freedom of the speech are given on the other. We do not understand this.”
In the interest of adding to the ambassador’s confusion, I am submitting the following two recent news excerpts on the subject of press freedom. The first is from an article in The Guardian about the possible true identity of “Raymond Davis,” the American contractor who murdered between two and three people in Pakistan at the end of last month. The second is from the introduction to a Democracy Now! interview with American journalist Brandon Jourdan.
1. “A number of US media outlets learned about Davis’s CIA role but have kept it under wraps at the request of the Obama administration. A Colorado television station, 9NEWS, made a connection after speaking to Davis’s wife. She referred its inquiries to a number in Washington which turned out to be the CIA. The station removed the CIA reference from its website at the request of the US government.”
Nearly 25 years ago, U.S. air strikes on Libya killed 41 people in Tripoli and Benghazi, including the adopted daughter of Muammar Gaddafi, in what Noam Chomsky has referred to as the “major single terrorist act” of 1986.
In 2009, Gaddafi himself posed the question:
What’s the difference between the U.S. airstrikes on our homes and [Osama] bin Laden’s actions?”
Congratulations to Gaddafi for thus far outperforming the U.S. by a factor of 3 in Benghazi alone.
The bio on his Twitter account reads:
As U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, I carry out the Secretary’s mandate to help people understand the importance of U.S. foreign policy.”
Acting Deputy Department Spokesman Mark C. Toner meanwhile replaced Crowley at yesterday’s briefing, although there have thus far been no reports that Crowley has followed recently deposed U.S. allies into a coma. As the following excerpts demonstrate, Toner’s performance confirms that State Dept. employment in fact hinges upon one’s ability to be vague and self-contradictory:
Toner reports that “we are deeply saddened by the apparent sinking of a tourist boat in Halong Bay in northern Vietnam today.”
QUESTION: Sorry, you said apparently sank?
MR. TONER: It sank, okay.
QUESTION: Yeah, it either did or didn’t.
MR. TONER: It did sink. I’m confirming that it sank.
Mary O’Grady, editorial board member of The Wall Street Journal and champion of the 2009 coup d’état against Honduran President Mel Zelaya “because he was trying to extend his presidency in violation of the nation’s constitution” [read: because he was trying to conduct a nonbinding public opinion survey to gauge popular will to rewrite a document produced at the height of Honduras’ cold war service as a U.S. military base], has finally found an acceptable reason for constitutional revision.
O’Grady’s latest dispatch from Tegucigalpa begins:
What advocate of free markets hasn’t, at one time or another, fantasized about running away to a desert island to start a country where economic liberty would be the law of the land? If things go according to plan, more than one such ‘island’ may soon pop up here.
Honduras calls these visionary islands ‘model cities,’ and as the Journal’s David Wessel reported from Washington 10 days ago, the Honduran Congress is expected to soon pass an amendment to the constitution that would clear the way to put the concept into action.