Jean-Paul Pougala’s April 14, 2011 piece in Pambazuka News titled “The Lies Behind the West’s War on Libya” describes how Africa first developed its own transcontinental communications system by purchasing a telecommunications satellite on December 26, 2007: the African Development Bank ponied up $50 million toward the nearly $400 million cost of the orbiter and the West African Development Bank added $27 million more.
Libya contributed $300 million, which made the purchase possible. Pougala writes that when it was up and running, the new system was “connecting the entire continent by telephone, television, radio broadcasting, and several other technological applications such as telemedicine and distance teaching.” After 14 years of foot-dragging by the IMF and the World Bank, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s generosity allowed for this one-time purchase that spared the nations of Africa a $500 million annual lease payment for access to a telecom satellite and euchred Western banks out of potential billions in loans and interest. At this time, Gaddafi was also seeking to establish a trans-African banking system based on gold to free the continent from its financial bondage to the IMF and the World Bank—which would gravely harm both predatory entities.
Since 2003, Gaddafi had worked hard to repair his reputation for financing terrorism by renouncing any future support for terrorist organizations and by establishing a fund to compensate victims of Pan Am Flight 103 and UTA Flight 772, each destroyed by acts of terror believed to have been financed by Libya. On December 10, 2007 Gaddafi traveled to France for a pow-wow with then-President Nicolas Sarkozy. During their December 11, 2007 meeting, Gaddafi and Sarkozy signed some $15 billion worth of contracts for military hardware and a nuclear power station, but matters other than trade were also on the agenda. In a March 12, 2012 report, the French investigative journalism consortium Mediapart stated: “According to information contained in a confidential report prepared by a recognized French expert on terrorism and terrorist financing, President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign received up to 50 million euros in secret funds from the regime of the late Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Sarkozy denied he’d accepted Libyan money to finance his campaign, which is illegal in France and could well land him in prison. However, an official investigation was launched into Sarkozy’s conduct and when portions of the resulting secret report surfaced at Mediapart’s website, the evidence pointed squarely to Sarkozy’s receipt of Gaddafi’s cash.
Gaddafi recognized that because of his telecom satellite initiative and his as yet unpublicized Pan-African banking proposal, his popularity with Western leaders was slipping and that he might soon be the target of “regime change” and likely hoped that by financing Sarkozy’s election he was buying insurance against his own untimely death. Meantime he did his best to be seen as a good pro-West statesman. In February 2009 Gaddafi was elected Chairman of the African Union and first made public mention of a “United States of Africa” and hinted at the possibility of a pan-African banking system.
These developments did not enhance Gaddafi’s profile in Western eyes. Also, there was a lot of money at stake. Prior to the fall of Gaddafi, oil-rich Libya had cash reserves of $150 billion, and there were 143 tons of gold in Gaddafi’s vaults. As Pougala wrote “A large portion of this money had been earmarked as the Libyan contribution to three key projects which would add the finishing touches to the African federation namely the African Investment Bank, the African Monetary Fund and the African Central Bank which when it starts printing African money will ring the death knell for the CFA franc through which Paris has been able to maintain its hold on some African countries for the last fifty years.”
Bob Fitrakis (2016) further writes “The real reasons for the attack have been dealt with most directly
After March 31, 2011 the United States enforced the “no-fly” zone over Libya, ostensibly to aid a legitimate uprising and to evict from power a “bloodthirsty dictator”, but the resulting attacks went much further than simply bringing down Gaddafi. On July 18, 2011 NATO targeted the Great Man-Made River, a massive irrigation project that brought water to thousands of acres of arid land. This vicious, wanton devastation served no practical purpose whatsoever save for collectively punishing the Libyan people. Prior to Gadhafi’s murder, Garikai Chengu argues that Libya was a stable country if not a traditional nation-state and that toppling Gaddafi erased a system of government that had functioned smoothly, and fairly, for nearly half a century. Today Nicolas Sarkozy remains a free man. He has yet to be prosecuted for receiving illegal Libyan cash to finance his presidential campaign or for launching an illegal war to cover up his criminal relationship with Gaddafi.
Much has been written about the catastrophe visited upon Libya following the murderous attack by France and the US—400,000 people driven from their homes, an endless cycle of terror and reprisal, and the creation of yet another failed state in the wake of a US foreign policy initiative. But the real damage was done to Africa itself, for had Gaddafi’s proposal for a trans-African banking system reached fruition, that unhappy continent for the first time in centuries would have had true freedom and real independence within its grasp, a circumstance the Western powers could not abide. Freedom and justice were never part of the West’s agenda.
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