In recent weeks, a range of humanitarian organisations have expressed concern at the deteriorating situation in Libya. One of the most respected organisations, Medicins Frontiers, whose bravery in going into war torn areas, to provide medical relief, is unsurpassed, has recently pulled out of Misrata, because they were finding that they were being asked to patch up hundreds of political prisoners, who had been brutally tortured, only in order for their captors, in the new regime, to continue torturing them further!
As, the Telegraph report, above, details, they are not the only ones. Amnesty International have also detailed extensive torture by the new regime, particularly of Sub-Saharan and Black Africans. For socialists, the argument, put forward by the new regime, that its political prisoners are supporters of the old regime, should be of particular concern, because our priority is the defence of the working-class.
In Libya, as a State Capitalist regime, that was very badly developed industrially, a large proportion of the working-class, which was itself tiny, was employed by the State. They were particularly employed in Tripoli, and, as with other such situations, that gave those workers very considerable material interest in, if not defending, at least not opposing, the State, which was their means of subsistence. They had a particular reason to do so given that the "rebels", particularly those elements from Benghazi who had built up a relationship with European Imperialism, had already declared their intention of privatising State enterprises and services. It is no doubt many of these workers, along with the Black Africans, who now languish in the gaols of the new Libyan State, suffering torture that cannot be distinguished from that of its predecessor.
The Telegraph quote Amnesty,
""After all the promises to get detention centres under control, it is horrifying to find that there has been no progress to stop the use of torture," said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty Libya adviser. "We are not aware of any proper investigations into cases of torture, and neither the survivors or relatives of those who have died in detention have had any recourse to justice or redress for what they have suffered.""
Christopher Stokes of Medicins Frontieres told them,
"We have protested and in some cases they have said they will stop but in other cases they say it happens everywhere, like Abu Ghraib. If anything, the number of cases has been accelerating."
"Navi Pillay, the UN human rights chief, said she had serious concerns over the fate of the 8,500 prisoners held in around 60 centres by revolutionary forces that were not accountable to a national government."
Of course, like its predecessor, the new Libyan State denies all knowledge of any torture taking place.
And, how do the Stalinists of the AWL respond to this regime of torture, being carried out by those who, just months ago, they were giving uncritical support to?
In an article ironically entitled Back Our Eniemies Enemies, they write,criticising Lyndsey German's opposition to Imperialist intervention in Syria,
"Still avoiding any criticism of the Syrian murderers, German ignores the concrete progress that has been made in Libya - the ousting of a murderous regime - as a result of a anti-regime uprising aided by Western bombing.
The root of the problem is that these 'leftists' have lost any sense of what they are for.
We must return liberty and freedom to the heart and soul of the Marxist project."
In other words, they continue the morally bankrupt position they held during the War itself! They are worse than the kind of apologists of the George Bernard Shaw variety, who failed to notice the extent of the show trials, and repression taking place in the USSR under Stalin, and could also only talk about the "progress" that was being made! Worse, because Stalin's propaganda machine was extensive. But, today, their is extensive media exposing such brutality.
The AWL's title for this article is ironic, it would be hilarious were it not so tragic, because the AWL continually base their politics on the concept of "My Enemy's enemy is my friend". In fact, they take it one step further. They go so far in Iraq, in Libya, in Kosovo, in South Ossetia, of saying "My enemy's enemy's friend, is also my friend." That is why they now have to adopt the position of the three monkeys "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil", when it comes to their "friends" amongst the clerical-fascists, and neo-liberals of the new Libyan regime, who they uncritically supported, because they were the allies of their primary friends - the Imperialists. It is a similar course, which led the SWP and others, to act as apologists for the Iranian Mullahs, after they were unable to admit they dropped a bollock in uncritically supporting them during the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
And, of course, the article itself is ridiculous when it talks about, "as a result of a anti-regime uprising aided by Western bombing", because everyone knows that what actually happened was an Imperialist War against Libya, with massive bombing - around 20,000 bombing missions, including the use of Depleted Uranium munitions! - as well as the use of significant numbers of Special Forces troops, from Britain, France, and Qatar - with a rag tag band of a few thousand rebels, who could only move forward when the outside forces had cleared the way for them.
And, as I predicted at the time, the Liberal politicians from Benghazi, had, and have no social base within the country. Their support comes from outside, from the Imperialists. As a result, real control is in the hands, as it had to be, of the Islamist militias, and increasingly it seems elements of Al Qaeda with whom the Libyan Jihadists have long had connections, including during the time they were fighting in Iraq. The only way the bourgeois Liberal politicians will be able to govern will be with the assistance of outside intervention by Imperialism.
During the Balkan Wars, Trotsky described the kind of Opportunist politics of people like the AWL, when he criticised, those such as Miliukov, who cherry picked, which atrocities to be outraged about, as a means of furthering wider political goals. Trotsky wrote,
"An individual, a group, a party, or a class that 'objectively' picks its nose while it watches men drunk with blood massacring defenceless people is condemned by history to rot and become worm-eaten while it is still alive".
"On the other hand, a party or the class that rises up against every abominable action wherever it has occurred, as vigorously and unhesitatingly as a living organism reacts to protect its eyes when they are threatened with external injury - such a party or class is sound of heart. Protest against the outrages in the Balkans cleanses the social atmosphere in our own country, heightens the level of moral awareness among our own people... Therefore an uncompromising protest against atrocities serves not only the purpose of moral self-defence on the personal and party level but also the purpose of politically safeguarding the people against adventurism concealed under the flag of 'liberation'."
The AWL were happy to criticise the atrocities of Gaddafi, as a means of justifying the intervention of their friends the Imperialists in Libya ("adventurism concealed under the flag of 'liberation'."), just as they criticised those of Milosevic in Kosovo, or of Russia against Georgia. But, when it comes to criticising the atrocities of the new Libyan regime, or of criticising the atrocities of Kosovan Albanians against Kosovan Serbs, under the protection of the Imperialist occupation, or of criticising the atrocities committed by Georgia against the South Ossetians, the AWL "'objectively' picks its nose while it watches men drunk with blood massacring defenceless people".
Like every Opportunist and Stalinist gang before it, the AWL has no moral compass. It cannot admit it was wrong. That would challenge the infallibility of the gerontocratic leadership, which has held power for longer than their North Korean equivalents, or Gaddafi himself. So, instead it is forced to deny reality. All the more it is forced to do that now, in order to justify committing the same mistake again in Syria, in support of an intervention by its Imperialist friends once again.
During the Vietnam War, which was supported by the AWL's mentor, the renegade Shachtman, it was said by one US General that it was necessary to destroy a village in order to save its people! It was the basis of the slogan "better dead than red". When it comes to Libya and other such instances, the AWL clearly believe that entire nations have to be destroyed by the power of Imperialist military might, in order to save their people. Perhaps, they could put "Better dead than not a friend of Imperialism", on the masthead of their paper.