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April 21, 2011

The politics of assassination, Flanagan style

On November 30, 2010 the former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the architect of his 2004 election campaign, Thomas Flanagan, called for the assassination of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Flanagan is an American-born and -trained political science professor at the University of Calgary, author, and neo-conservative backroom operator who became active as a leading official in the extreme right Reform Party before managing Harper’s campaign to capture the leadership of the Canadian Alliance in 2001.

In a discussion about the significance of the leaks of U.S. State documents on CBC TV’s Power and Politics, Flanagan declared: “I think Assange should be assassinated, actually. I think Obama should put out a contract or maybe use a drone or something.”

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said Flanagan’s comments were “utterly unacceptable” and “crossed the line.”

The Prime Minister’s office simply dismissed the extremist call as a matter of definition. “Everybody knows Tom Flanagan is no advisor to the Prime Minister,” director of communications Dimitri Soudas said on Twitter.

Most newspapers passed over the statement without comment.

After Flanagan issued an apology for “a glib comment,” the extremist threat disappeared from the media.

However, one week later, Flanagan reportedly threatened Janet Reymond, a resident of Toronto, who wrote an e-mail to him asking if those who did not support his political views should be assassinated as well. He replied with an e-mail saying, “Be careful, we know where you live.”

Just three-and-a-half months later, the heads of Britain, Canada and France issued direct and indirect threats against the person of Col. Muammar al Gadhafi on March 19 at the NATO Summit in Paris.

The “unacceptable” became acceptable.

On March 20 and 21, TV networks reported the cruise missile bombing by the Royal Air Force of Bab Al-Aziziyah, the modest three-story residential compound of Gadhafi in Tripoli, on the second night of the U.S.-NATO attack on Libya.

The block is about 150 yards from the iconic tents which the Libyan leader uses to officially greet foreign visitors. Three hundred people were reported to be in the compound. The attacks were obviously long in the planning. Fox TV in the U.S. sought to blame the victims by saying the people were acting as “human shields.”

That same day France carried out four air strikes, and 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from American and British ships and submarines at more than 20 Libyan coastal targets.

Libya’s health officials said sixty-four people had been killed and 150 others wounded in the air strikes. Among its military objectives, NATO deliberately bombed power plants, government buildings, factories, schools and health facilities, including child health care centres.

On the evening of March 21, all parties in the Canadian Parliament unanimously voted to endorse the military attacks on Libya, the so-called “no fly zone.” On March 22, a residence of Col. Gadhafi in Adjdabiya was also damaged.

New chapter

Along with carnage and slaughter of civilians, the strikes opened a new chapter in the bloody book of political assassinations.

The Daily Mail reported, “Senior government sources described the strike as a ‘shot across [Gadhafi’s] bows’. The target was agreed around four days ago by British military personnel in concert with the U.S. and the French. It was not the result of specific ‘actionable intelligence’ that Gadhafi was present.” That is to say, it was not the result of specific ‘actionable intelligence’ that Col. Gadhafi was NOT present.

On March 21 a Globe and Mail editorial reported Harper’s comments in Paris repeating the U.S. line that “Colonel Gadhafi will not be content with reimposing his authority but will massacre ‘every single individual’ remotely suspected of disloyalty – words that lend themselves to a very wide interpretation of the protection of the civilians.

Similarly, Liam Fox, the British Defence Secretary, has declared Col. Gadhafi to be a legitimate target for fighter pilots” (“Don’t give in to mission creep”). British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague publicly endorsed Fox’s comments.

On March 21, The Daily Mail’s web site further reported that MI6 spies were telephoning Col. Gadhafi’s generals, threatening them that they too would be personally targeted by missiles unless they defected. Nicolas Sarkozy of France also spoke of “targeted” actions – meaning assassination.

According to the Montreal Gazette, Harper – a man who had already launched Canada into the criminal preparations for war against a country with which it enjoyed peaceful relations – openly declared that the strikes were “essentially acts of war.”

On March 1st Harper had informed the Parliament of the deployment of the guided missile frigate HMCS Charlottetown from Halifax to the shores of Libya. Thirteen military reconnaissance experts were deployed to Malta and reports persist that Canadian commandos were already in place, if not already in action in eastern Libya. Harper was preparing for “essentially acts of war” fully three weeks before that now infamous “take note” session of Parliament. On March 22, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon called for establishing “troops of the ground.”

In response to the naked British declarations, U.S. Defense Secretary and former CIA chief Bill Gates commented only that the assassination of Gadhafi would be “unwise.”

Meanwhile, the Ignatieff Liberals, who were exercised by Flanagan’s declaration in November, were second to none in demanding Gadhafi’s liquidation in March: “We have to engage on the human rights issues and we have to engage successfully in making sure Colonel Gadhafi is history,” Bob Rae had declared unequivocally as far back as March 7. Completing the scenario, NDP leader Jack Layton, whose party had unanimously voted for the ongoing U.S.-NATO military attack on Libya just ten days before, posed as the moderate: echoing the assertions by Gates, he said on March 31 that his party is now against “mission creep.”

NATO threats against the president of the Libyan government constitute another act of war. Resorting to the politics of assassination is one of the main ways of lowering the standards of human behaviour and subverting the achievements of the peoples of the world. Once targeted assassinations are presented by the big powers and their news agencies as par for the course, nobody is safe. This is the aim and content of the UN Security Council Resolution 1973 which gave the green light to “the use of all means possible” against Libya. It overthrows the international law that emerged from World War II and the victory over fascism.

International law does not permit the “humanitarian” assassinations of heads of state as part of foreign coups d’état according to the likes and dislikes of a foreign state. It makes no difference whether this leadership was “elected” or “not elected” or “mad or “delusional” according to the Eurocentric norms suitable to the foreign aggressors.

Furthermore, the targeted assassination of the Colonel politically aimed at detonating the proposals for a ceasefire initiated by President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and the African Union, which had been accepted by Col. Gadhafi. The rapidity of the military strikes were designed to make sure no force in the world could seize the initiative and provide an immediate and just solution to the problems facing Libya. The U.S. superpower wants to keep all world affairs in its own hands. It does not want the African or Arab people to seize the initiative, nor the peoples of the world, nor any other nation or group of nations including the UN Security Council.

This is the unacceptable infamy that the extremist Harper, the defender of “Canadian values,” is openly inciting – just as his former advisor Flanagan publicly declared in his “glib comment” that the head of Wikileaks should be assassinated by the Obama regime. Or, as former Chief of Staff Gen. Rick Hillier declared in 2005, the mission of the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan was to “kill detestable murderers and scumbags.”

What was at one time considered extremist and unacceptable, covert and dirty, is to be accepted as acceptable, routine, normal or “glib.”

In 2002, Sandra L. Smith, writing on the 2002 U.S. missile attack that obliterated a car in Yemen, instantly killing six people, pointed out:

“The fundamental premise of a rule of law is that the authorities in power cannot and must not make themselves judge, jury and executioner. Clear note should be taken that while ‘targeted assassinations’ are presented in an acceptable light by portraying the victims are ‘deserving’ of such things, the same politics are being put in place at home in the form that all agencies of the state, not just ‘security’ forces, can act with impunity. It shows that while preparations are made to unleash imperialist war abroad, all measures are also being put in place to unleash fascism at home so that the people are not able to mount an effective opposition. It must not pass. Every effort must be made to oppose the criminalization of dissent and make it very clear that it is unacceptable under any conditions and circumstances with no exceptions. It is untenable to accept a definition of rule of law which is in contempt of the very notion of rule of law. This is the field in which the greatest wrecking activity is taking place. The fact that all of it is done in the name of ‘rights’, ‘peace’, ‘democracy’, ‘security’ and even ‘nation-building’ shows just how subversive it is.”[1]

Assassination and the U.S. modus operandi

Especially since the directive of the Bush White House in the fall of 2002 authorizing assassination, the U.S. has officially adopted the practice of carrying out the physical elimination of its enemies, of those it sees as interfering with its aims and interests. This includes “regime change.”

This is not new in the sense that through its secret agencies it has been doing this for a very long time through the mechanisms of covert operations. Beginning with the Office of Secret Services (OSS) from the World War II era, it disinformed, trafficked, conspired and assassinated, according to declassified documents and other investigations, within Cuba, Laos, Vietnam, Chile, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and other countries.

The assassinations of President John Kennedy and his brother Robert, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Fred Hampton, as well as Premier Aldo Moro of Italy, Olaf Palme of Sweden, Orlando Letelier of Chile, Patrice Lumumba of the Congo and over 600 documented attempts on the life of President Fidel Castro of Cuba, among others, gave rise to legitimate questions about the hidden hand of the U.S. secret services and their role in these crimes aimed by the USA against its rivals.

Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, assassinated and disappeared by officers trained in the U.S. Army Latin American Training Center, based in Panama since 1946, and renamed in 1963 the School of the Americas, also known as the School of Assassins, based in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Today the USA has internationalized the politics of assassination, especially through its principal imperialist alliance, NATO. This is the significance of UN Security Resolution 1973 to “use all means possible” against the sovereign government of Libya. In this way, we can also speak of the institutionalization of the politics of assassination.

The United States is very publicly and directly involving its NATO allies in the operation and justification of the politics of assassination. This is the significance of the orchestrated chorus of direct and indirect threats against the person of Col. Gadhafi issued by Harper, Cameron, Fox and Sarkozy in Paris. No-one but the United States instructed, appointed or elected the prime minister of Canada, or of France and Britain, to overthrow governments in peacetime, much less to assassinate their leaders, irrespective of their politics, in the name of its high-sounding ideals and their calls for “humanitarian intervention” and the “responsibility to protect.”

In this regard, the self-serving “cautionary” and “moderate” statements of U.S. Defense Secretary Bill Gates and others of his ilk about “mission creep” recall the modus operandi of the United States of using violence to effect “regime change” which, since the 1990s, has now become its preferred weapon of choice, as the whole world witnessed on March 2oth and 21st in Tripoli and since.

“Libyan hit squad” disinformation

It started in the name of eliminating the danger of terrorism and providing justification for exceptional measures. To take one example, in 1981 widespread disinformation was floated in Canada and the U.S. about “a Libyan hit squad” that was allegedly to enter the United States to assassinate then U.S. President Ronald Reagan and other top officials such as Vice-President George Bush.

On December 2, 1981 the White House “officially confirmed” the disinformation as official truth: “hit squads” had been dispatched to the U.S. directly by Muammar Gadhafi. [2] The manufacturing of a black lie and its declaration as truth had already been revealed to be the official policy of the White House by Richard Nixon during the Watergate affair. Presenting the White House as above such savage Mafia tactics of the Libyans, Reagan exactly two days later signed the fake presidential executive order 12333 which banned the CIA or any other government agency – but not the military – from direct or indirect involvement in any assassination plan. [3]

The cosmetic “ban” failed to hide that, between 1980-1986, repeated plots and assassination attempts were launched upon the life of Col. Gadhafi as well as other leaders throughout the world covertly orchestrated by the CIA, the Pentagon and the White House itself. [6] These plots were totally contradictory to the anti-assassination policy which the government of the United States professed to follow. The plots failed and the Reagan administration became totally discredited.

Reagan bipartisan meeting approving the Libya bombing, March 14, 1986

Faced with that impotence, the United States brazenly carried out its assassination of Col. Gadhafi in the name of U.S. national interests. Using the pretexts of Libyan “hit squads” operating in Germany and a terrorist bombing of a Berlin disco of all places, some 100 U.S. aircraft at the direct order of U.S. President Ronald Reagan, under the code name “El Dorado Canyon,” at 2 a.m. in the early morning of April 15 specifically attacked Col. Gadhafi’s residence, killing his three-year-old daughter along with dozens of civilians. The major cities of Tripoli and Benghazi were bombed. Reagan tried to murder Gadhafi.

Coinciding with the April 1986 U.S. attack against Libya, Reagan made a national address in which he manipulated the UN Charter and showed the double standards which characterizes U.S. behaviour in international relations and with those who express their legitimate right to be independent of the U.S. dictate: “Self-defence is not only our right, it is our duty. It is the purpose behind the mission … a mission fully consistent with Article 51 of the UN Charter.”

In the manner of Joseph Goebbels, Reagan shamelessly presented the extra-judicial politics of targeted assassination as “fully consistent” with international law, of which the USA is the supreme arbiter, precisely to subvert the very notion of the rule of law. The practice of the assassinations of its rivals was justified to effect regime change abroad and to ensure that politics is not used to sort out differences in policy and opinion.

It was later revealed that the “Libyan hit squad” was CIA disinformation. Its aim was not to inform the polity about the dangers facing the nation but to disinform the polity. It is the other side of the same coin which considers targeted assassinations and violence as options. The fiction aimed at confusing and paralyzing the people so that they could not develop any effective political opposition to U.S.-Israeli policies in the Middle East, Africa, Central America and Ireland, where people were rising up to demand their legitimate rights to self-determination, and where Gadhafi was alleged to be behind such “terrorism.”

A few American publications detailed the collusion of the highest levels of the U.S. state. The U.S. secret services initiated the operation by planting a story in the foreign press, i.e. the Toronto Star, which was quickly disseminated within the United States by the Wall Street Journal and then picked up by the news wires and newspapers in the USA and other countries – the “multiplier effect” originally used in the Guatemala coup of 1954 and again in Chile in 1973 to establish its military dictatorships. [4] The “propaganda campaign,” wrote one anti-Libyan author who outlined the subversive operation, was “designed to discredit the Libyan leader and turn him into an international outlaw.”[5]

How Canadians paid the bill

The politics of assassination involves the annexation of targeted countries and annexation demands the implication of the ruling elite of Canada directly in the imperialist politics of assassination.

Just tagging along won’t do.

In the 1980s Reagan’s disciple, Brian Mulroney, then Conservative Prime Minister, and official and media circles eager to devour the coming fruits of “free trade” and continentalism surrendered themselves to U.S. dictate. Canadian state agencies were integrated into the U.S. offensive.

At home, the state deliberately fomented a psychosis of terror to justify its aggressive military acts and attempted assassinations abroad and criminalize dissent in North America. [7] Immediately following the April 1986 bombing attack on Libya, and fifteen years before 9/11, it was widely reported that “increased terrorism” was feared. A sensational panic was created in the U.S. and Canada media, leading to the widespread cancellation of tourist flights to Europe.

A planeload of Canadian youth travelling from an international youth gathering in Europe back to Canada was diverted to land in Maine, where it was surrounded by U.S. armoured personnel carriers. The Department of National Defence and the U.S. secret services and foundations financed such Canadian university military institutes as the Centre for Conflict Studies at the University of New Brunswick and Camp Gagetown to churn out a boatload of “academic” studies justifying U.S. disinformation, state terrorism and “low intensity conflict.”

Professional “terrorism experts” peddled the absurd claim that a network of terrorist cells with Libyan connections had spread across Canada; according to the Canadian media, Expo 86 became a target for terrorist gangs. Draconian security measures were adopted at the U.S.-Canadian border, airports and train stations.

At the time I was a sometime traveller on the Halifax-Montreal train, the old CPR line (The Atlantic Limited), which passed through Maine and Vermont to Quebec. Passengers with felony convictions, no matter how minor, or those of Arabic or Middle Eastern origin, were simply and sometimes brutally removed by the U.S. Border Service and arbitrarily dropped by the wayside with the tacit complicity of Via Rail and the Government of Canada. They acted with complete impunity: one Mi’kmaq youth I knew was brutalized and left at Fredericton Junction.

Passenger traffic naturally dropped by two thirds; the Mulroney government then used that fact as the pretext to cut services on the line in its 1989 budget to three days a week, at the expense of southwestern New Brunswickans and scores of railway workers who were ultimately laid off when the line was terminated in 1994. It was later taken over by a newly-incorporated American company.

The Canadian people paid the bill for the CIA disinformation against Libya in the 1980s, just as they will from the military attacks launched against Libya in 2011 and the dark reaction to follow.

In parallel, successive presidents of the United States from the ultra-conservative Reagan to the liberal Barrack Obama began to organize and fund secret armies in North Africa as their fifth column to achieve covertly the dark policy aims that they were unable to achieve through overt means. (At the same time, they began infiltration of the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization.)

These subversive forces are now emerging from the desert shadows to openly constitute the indigenous “popular opposition” to the Libyan government worthy of the protection of the U.N. Security Council and the rain of Cruise missiles on the coastal cities of Libya. [6]

Within the USA the politics of targeted assassination have also been normalized as one of the means to resolve factional struggles and conflicts in the ruling elite, as exemplified by the mortal shootings on January 8, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona, attributed to a “deranged individual.”

Nor is annexed Canada “safe” from the dirty means being employed by the United States or immune from the politics of assassination.

Few have forgotten Harper’s personally hosting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his official country estate at Harrington Lake as his overnight guest on Sunday May 30, 2010 on the eve of the murderous Israeli attack on the six-ship Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, 70 nautical miles from its coast. Nine Turkish nationals on one aid ship, the Mavi Marmara, were killed at close range and fifty-five people wounded.

In a statement issued at 4:26 a.m. Mediterranean time or 9:26 p.m. Ottawa time, the Israeli Defence Forces stated that the operation by its special forces (the Shayetet 13 unit) had been approved by the highest levels of the political leadership.

The Zionist war criminal asked Canada for a safe haven to carry out a war crime well removed from the scene of the crime and Canada gave it to him.

In a joint press conference with Netanyahu on that fateful morning, Harper expressed more concerned about Israel than about the fate of the three Canadian nationals who were volunteering in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

Issuing a pathetic statement expressing “regrets”, he pretended that it was all a mystery as to what happened in the early hours of June 1, 2010 (or mid-evening Ottawa time), and he insisted on a Zionist criminal premise of equating the victims and the killers.

Nor did the media, which is normally filled with all the behind-the-scenes gossip, raise a single question either at the press conference or afterwards regarding the agenda of Sunday’s afternoon and overnight rendezvous with Netanyahu, let alone the collusion of Canada in carrying out a war crime against the people of Palestine and their supporters.

Rather than raising alarm bells, neither Harper nor Flanagan, who helped him consolidate power for three-and-a-half years following the 2004 election, were held accountable in 2010 for their actions, creating the precedent for Harper publicly justifying the attempted assassination of the leader of a foreign sovereign state in March, 2011. This too has been passed over in silence.

If one lets an accomplice in a serial killing go scot free, it is more than likely they will repeat the crime again and again. Not only were they granted impunity but their extremism has been tightly controlled by the PMO and shrouded from Canadians in the silence of a media which is second to none in its shrill demonization of the Libyan leader as “barbaric.”

Now, for the first time since World War 2, Canada has its military involved in wars on three continents: North Africa, Palestine and Afghanistan. All the “major parties” are equally complicit: four days after the assassination attempt and their “bi-partisan” unity vote in Parliament, they called a federal election on March 25th in which they have ensured, by party discipline, that this and related political issues vital to humanity would not be discussed by the polity of Canada – let alone challenged.

Crude “strategic psychological operation”

The reader can now see the pattern and direction behind the amoral calls issued from Paris and elsewhere.

Besides the obvious multiplier effect upon the potential audience they give the appearance of an independent world consensus. The calls to assassinate Muammar al Gadhafi constitute nothing more than a crude “strategic psychological operation” to ensure U.S. “plausible deniability.” [8] No sooner the U.S. demands Col. Gadhafi be hauled before the International Criminal Court as its fig leaf than the “allies” come forward as judge, jury and executioner in an organized manner.

In this manner, Harper and the heads of Britain and France with the backing of the other political parties in their parliaments have stepped forward as willing tools of the U.S. Empire. The savage law of the jungle is being sanctified as the rule of law. Thus the road is being prepared for unleashing the imperialist politics of assassination and intervention in North Africa by the U.S. Empire and fascism at home.

Only they can declare what is legal and what constitutes the rule of law, nobody else. Only they can declare what is good and moral for Canada, nobody else, even as what the whole world can see that what is good and moral for Canada is not good and moral for the people of Canada nor the people of Libya and the nations of North Africa.

Not In Our Name, Mr. Harper, means precisely that: Not In Our Name.


1. Sandra L. Smith, “The Politics of Assassination,” TML Daily, November 14, 2002 – No. 179.

2. For Newsweek’s reference to the disinformation campaign, see “A Plan to Overthrow Kaddafi,” Newsweek, August 3, 1981, p. 19. An excerpt:

“The details of the plan were sketchy, but it seemed to be a classic C.I.A. destabilization campaign. One element was a ‘disinformation’ program designed to embarrass Kaddafi and his government. Another was the creation of a ‘counter government’ to challenge his claim to national leadership. A third – potentially the most risky – was an escalating paramilitary campaign, probably by disaffected Libyan nationals, to blow up bridges, conduct small-scale guerrilla operations and demonstrate that Kaddafi was opposed by an indigenous political force.”

Also in October, “NEWSWEEK has also learned that Kaddafi . . . [is] ordering the assassination of the U.S. ambassador to Italy. . . . U.S. intelligence also picked up evidence that Kaddafi had hatched yet another assassination plot – this time against President Reagan.” [Michael Reese, “Uniting Against Libya,” Newsweek, October 19, 1981, p. 43]

In November the plot deepened, according to John Brecher, “New Threats From Kaddafi,” Newsweek, November 30, 1981, p. 51. An excerpt:

“[S]enior American officials told NEWSWEEK, Kaddafi’s talk appears to be more than bluster. These officials say Kaddafi has expanded his hit list to include Vice President George Bush, Secretary of State Alexander Haig and Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger – and that he has equipped special assassination squads with bazookas, grenade launchers and even portable SAM-7 missiles capable of bringing down the President’s plane.”

“The Kaddafi Hit Squad At Large?” Newsweek, December 14, 1981, p. 36. An excerpt:

“[A]n assassination squad dispatched by Libyan strongman Muammar Kaddafi [has] entered the United States.”

David M. Alpern, “Coping With a Plot to Kill the President,” Newsweek, December 21, 1981, p. 16. An excerpt:

“Security around [President Reagan] tightened amid intelligence reports that placed his potential assassins either in the country or on its borders preparing to strike.”

These quotes from the press are cited by Noam Chomsky, Towards A New Cold War: Essays on the Current Crisis and How We Got There, New York: Pantheon, 1982.

3. On December 4, 1981 Reagan’s Executive Order 12333 on US intelligence activities reiterated assassination prohibitions issued by Presidents James Earl Carter in 1978 and Gerald Ford in 1976. On 18 February 1976, US President Gerald Ford had issued Executive Order 11905 banning political assassinations. In a section of the order labeled “Restrictions on Intelligence Activities,” Section 5(g) stipulated: “Prohibition of Assassination. No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination.” By deliberately not defining “assassination”, the executive order on intelligence kept the door open for “plausible deniability” and “contract killing” which is not covered. The ban applies to assassination efforts by US government employees, but not the military. This was after the CIA had been exposed for schemes to kill world leaders in developing countries such as Fidel Castro and Patrice Lumumba (see next footnote). The order also barred officials from “contracting out” these activities, i.e., soliciting or aiding others – such as “dissidents” – outside the government to carry out political murders. American presidents have skirted the order ever since. In 1984 Reagan cancelled his own executive order with a new order which was actually called by the press a “license to kill” – a license to kill anyone deemed a “terrorist.”

In Autumn 2002, Parameters, the journal of the Army War College, which trains senior US military commanders, published an article entitled “Can we put the leaders of the Axis of Evil in the Crosshairs?” The aim of the presidential ban on assassination, according to the article, had been to serve cosmetically as “a public statement that can be pointed to when our international critics decry the unilateralism of US foreign policy” and an argument that “the United States is not as savage as it may be perceived to be.” It goes on to argue that murder is a justifiable weapon against leaders of “rogue states.” The publication of the article was timed to coincide with the directive of President George W. Bush sanctioning such operations in the manner of the Mossad. In Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq assassination by unmanned Predator aircraft equipped with Hellfire missiles has plunged the U.S. military into unprecedented acts of mass terror.

4. The “multiplier effect” was documented by the Church Committee, the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church (D-ID) in 1975 [ or]. The Church Committee famously exposed U.S. plots to assassinate foreign leaders such as Fidel Castro of Cuba and the targeting of Martin Luther King by the FBI.

5. Edward P. Haley, Qaddafi and the United States Since 1969, New York: Praeger, 1984.

6. Simultaneously in October 1981 the so-called National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL) was formed as part of U.S. and Israeli efforts to assemble and train a fifth column to overthrow Col. Gadafi. Its core comprised those captured in Chad while fighting in a rebellion against the U.S.-backed government of Hissène Habré supported by Libya. Efforts to this end were supported and funded by Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco, among others. According to Peter Dale Scott, the NSF received $7m from Saudi Arabia alone [“Who are the Libyan Freedom Fighters and Their Patrons?,” March 25, 2011, Global Research.] From that moment on the CIA drafted and approved numerous assassination plans whose number remains a secret even today. In 1984 the NFSL claimed responsibility for a military assault on the Gadafi compound at Bab al-Azizia on May 8th – an action widely regarded as having being coordinated with the CIA. Gadafi escaped, but 80 others were killed in the attack. It is worth pointing out that the NSFL, now based in Chad, is an agency in the current Libyan counter-revolution; its Washington office has been exposed for churning out false atrocity stories to demonize the Libyan government.

In March 1984 according to two former MI5 officers, David Shayler and Richard Tomlinson, Britain engineered another plot to assassinate Gadafi. It involved the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), considered the Libyan wing of Al Qaeda. British intelligence reportedly paid the LIFG £100,000 to plant a bomb under Gadhafi’s motorcade in Sirte. The wrong car was targeted and innocent bystanders were killed. In November 2002 Shayler was jailed for six months for disclosing MI5 documents thought to relate to the 1984 plot. [among others: Julie Hyland, “The agents of Washington and Britain within Libya’s opposition leadership,” April 2, 2011,]

7. For a later exposure of some of the U.S. government’s disinformation campaigns, see Jonathan Alter, “A Bodyguard of Lies,” Newsweek, October 13, 1986, p. 43. An excerpt:

“[I]n August national-security adviser John Poindexter sent President Reagan a memo outlining what Poindexter called a ‘disinformation program’ aimed at destabilizing Libyan leader Muammar Kaddafi by generating false reports that the United States and Libya were again on a collision course. . . . Evidence that the disinformation campaign was under way first turned up on Aug. 25 in The Wall Street Journal. . . . ‘We relied on high-level officials who hyped some of this,’ [Wall Street Journal Washington Bureau Chief Albert] Hunt says. . . . [The lies] were profoundly disturbing, even to journalists hardened by a lifetime of covering dissembling officials.”

Chomsky adds that, in addition to the Reagan administration’s seeking to create public hysteria in order to help ram through its policies, Qadafi also was opposed because, increasingly, he was standing in the way of the U.S. “strategic consensus” in North Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere – he was supporting (along with the United Nations) Polisario, the indigenous resistance movement to Morocco’s illegal annexation of Western Sahara, as well as anti-U.S. elements in the Sudan; forging a union with Morocco; intervening in Chad; and in general seemingly being an obstacle to U.S. objectives in the region and interfering with its efforts to impose its will elsewhere.

8. “The ultimate objective of U.S. military psychological operations,” says the Pentagon, “is to convince enemy, neutral, and friendly nations and forces to take action favorable to the United States and its allies … Global in nature, they may be directed toward large audiences or at key communicators.” [Psychological Operations Fact Sheet, U.S. Army Special Operations Command,]

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Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University and the author of several books focussing on the Middle East including 'The Hundred Years' War On Palestine'. He explains some of the basic facts of the struggle for Palestinian independence and the creation of the Zionist project of Israel.

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