A TRAGEDY OF CIRCUMSTANCE | BY PETER JOSEPH Israeli actress Orly Weinerman seeks the world's attention to the plight of her beloved Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of Muammar Gaddafi.
TZM EXCLUSIVE: A TRAGEDY OF CIRCUMSTANCE | BY PETER JOSEPH
The love story - A staple of our history and culture. As much as modern economic theory and the dubious claims about our supposed "Human Nature" would have us believe that all humans are merely selfish organisms that would rather sacrifice each other than save each other for the sake of mere convenience, the archetypal love story prolific in our artwork challenges all - and reminds us of our deeply empathic and social nature - a clear characteristic of our evolutionary psychology and perhaps even the hidden saving grace of our evolutionary fitness as a species.
However, likely the most grand of all love stories in our history might be the heartbreaking depiction found in Shakespeare's classic: Romeo and Juliet. Among the many themes in this play is the taboo of their love due to their feuding, enemy families and in their pressured attempts to overcome - they meet a doleful, epic demise.
The reaction of the audience to this tragic romance is fairly predictable. Rarely does the sympathy of the reader turn to support the families, which were at odds, while thinking that Romeo and Juliet got what they deserved. Rather, we identify with the desperate, loving couple whose lives are vanquished due to the circumstance they found themselves in.
At the core of this play, love story aside, is a broader concept we will call the "Tragedy of Circumstance". Perhaps the true brilliance of this work is its hidden message of how each of us are born into familial, cultural, political, religious and other preexisting sociological "establishments" which, without our choice in many ways, influence our thoughts, biases, loyalties, ambitions, ideas, social affiliations and the like.
In this sense, we are all victims, just like Romeo and Juliet, and likely the most tragic part of all comes when these influences, once given a human face or group association, clash with the influences of other persons or groups - each side having no idea they are both victims of circumstance in their ultimately vain opposition.
Miss Orly Weinerman
In early September 2012 I was introduced to an Israeli actress named Orly Weinerman through a friend involved in the Israeli Chapter of "The Zeitgeist Movement", a Global Sustainability Advocacy Group seeking social reformation. A glamorous model as well, quite famous in Israel and blessed with the prestige and comforts of her successful career, she has recently taken a very bold position which many in her home country and in the Western world might gawk in moral outrage.
She wishes to see her now incarcerated love, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the infamous, so called "Tyrant Dictator" Muammar Gaddafi, be removed from his current Libyan rebel captors, who intend to try him for war crimes, and brought to the International Criminal Court instead for his pending trial. No proof has been given as to these accusations and the ongoing postponement of the trial suggests the opposition might be struggling to manifest such evidence.
Since the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, some of the now captive Gaddafi family and loyalists face severe charges, many under the most despised of distinctions: Crimes Against Humanity. Saif is currently facing the death penalty in Libya, where he is, most notably, accused of participating in the killing of civilian protesters during last year's Western backed coup d'etat against his father. Weinerman's concern is that Saif has no chance of a fair trial in the hands of the new power establishment in Libya and also feels the nature of the Western backed invasion was not for the interests of the Libyan people but rather for geo-political and geo-economic advantage - a criminal act.
British Prime Minister David Cameron's notable public statement: "We must not tolerate this regime using military force against its own people", was just one of many sound bites heard from US and UK politicians as they worked with NATO to take out the Gaddafi regime under the guise of a "humanitarian mandate". The mainstream media describes the Libyan Revolution as an organic rebellion originating from an opposing group of citizens, often categorizing the event as part of the mass protests and revolutions now known as the "Arab Spring" uprisings that effected Tunisia, Egypt and many others. However, a closer look at the rapid dethroning of the Gaddafi regime starts to take a different picture - a picture all too familiar to those who have had the sad fortune of following the history of covert warfare coming from Western powers and their economic interests.
A History Lesson
In the past 70 years, the idea of using the facade of civil uprisings to execute Geo-Economic/Politic reformations favorable to Western economic interests has become increasingly more common. We know this not only because of the now declassified CIA documents that boast of such measures - such as the overthrow of the democratically elected Iranian leader Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953 which returned commercial power to Western oil interests as a response to the unwanted nationalization of Iranian oil fields by Mosaddegh prior - we also have the testimony of whistleblowers, such as famed "Economic Hit Man" John Perkins, who has admitted in great detail as to his involvement in such affairs in Latin America.
Another little known yet declassified example of a CIA sponsored overthrow for corporate and financial interests was the 1954 coup d'etat that ousted President Jacobo Ãrbenz GuzmÃ¡n of Guatemala. The United States engineered this for the benefit of the United Fruit Company which had been lobbying the CIA to oust reformist governments in the Republic of Guatemala for years prior to secure its commercial interests. Similar CIA behavior can also be linked in one variation or another to the overthrows and/or assassinations of Ecuador's Jaime RoldÃ³s Aguilera in 1981 due to energy interests; Panama's Omar Torrijos also in 1981, due to conflicts over the Panama Canal (a key conduit for international maritime trade), along with perhaps the most interesting recent example - the failed 2002 coup d'etat against President Hugo ChÃ¡vez in Venezuela.
As detailed by journalist Eva Golinger who obtained top-secret documents from the CIA and State Department through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the United States' Bush administration had prior knowledge of and was complicit in the 2002 coup against President Hugo ChÃ¡vez and had apparently provided over $30 million in funding aid to opposition groups to help execute the public uprising against him. Why? Oil Interests.
Not to say it is a new thing for CIA to covertly arm rebel forces in other countries as they try to remove the power structure, as can be exemplified from Afghanistan to Cuba to Iraq to Argentina to Honduras to many, many other cases - but the recipe for the covert war that doesn't cause public outcry within the invading nation, without serious military commitment, is a special circumstance.
The basic requirement is an initial, ideally organic public rebellion. From there, the task is to fuel the conflict and escalate destabilization which serves as a cover for covert moves. Public perception can be exploited with the conflict artificially magnified by the media. Then, some type of knee-jerk accusation that draws public sympathy is needed to generate acute disdain for the targeted parties and enable follow through.
For example, before the 1991 invasion of Iraq, a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl gave public testimony stating she watched Iraqi soldiers "come into the hospital with guns and go into the room where...babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die." This testimony was repeated as fact in further Congressional Testimony, on TV and radio shows, at the UN Security Council and even by then President George H.W. Bush. It had a clearly relevant effect on public opinion and support for the 1991 invasion. However, what was not discussed, was that this 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl was a member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family. Her father was Saud Nasir al-Sabah, Kuwait's Ambassador to the USA and her entire testimony was a lie. Again, this is public record.
So what is the story with Libya? Does it fit any of these profiles? Were the US & UK simply being good parents and working to altruistically protect humanity from some rouge tyrant or is there something else going on? Is there evidence to show they were complicit in the uprising, exploiting mass sympathy by some event, while holding deep ulterior motives to serve their financial and political interests? Yes. In fact, the event appears to be just about as textbook as the case was with Mosaddegh in 1954 and Chavez in 2002.
First, let's start with the state of affairs. If you are like most Westerners, you have likely never met anyone from Libya nor do you know anything about it other than that odd looking man with the funky sunglasses who had been in charge for 40 some years. The idea of autocratic rule is deeply opposed in the West and perhaps that is a legitimate concern given the patterns of history in general. However, let's leave our ideologies aside and ask about the relative state of the culture before the uprising and invasion.
In 2010, Libya ranked 53rd on the Human Development Index (out of 170 U.N. member states), making it a "high human development" country. The U.N. Development Program said Libya had "high human development" in every major index category, including education, empowerment, economy and infrastructure, access to information, civic and community well being, and gender inequality. In a 2005 Country Profile report by the Library of Congress' Federal Research Division, it noted: "In comparison to other states in the Middle East, the health status of the population is relatively good. Childhood immunization is almost universal. The clean water supply has increased, and sanitation has been improved."
As far as accusations of terrorism or weapons of mass destruction, it also stated: "During the period 1999-2003, Qadhafi, ever the pragmatist, eventually fulfilled all the terms of the UN Security Council Resolutions required to lift the sanctions against Libya. He accepted responsibility for the actions of his officials and agreed to provide financial compensation to the families of the victims of Pan Am 103. As a result, the UN sanctions were lifted on September 12, 2003. In December 2003, Qadhafi publicly announced that Libya was ridding itself of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile development programs, and fully cooperated with the United States, the United Kingdom, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Through these actions and decisions, Qadhafi brought Libya back into the world community."
Any general research on Libya shows that it was improving and stable and while accusations of social oppression and misdeeds might hold true on some level, as with many countries in that region, we need to be honest with ourselves and consider the realistic nature of the circumstance in comparison. If we were to examine all the oppressive regimes the United States and United Kingdom coexist with without objection, Libya was far from the worst and it wasn't until the 2011 uprising that the accusation of Libya using force against its own citizens become a heated claim for intervention.
If the Western powers cared about the humanitarian crisis in Africa or the Middle-East, both general and oppressive, forces would have taken control of the Sudan long ago, where the genocide and barbarian abuses are almost beyond comprehension, not to mention intervene to end the virtual prison still existing in the West Bank due to the illegal, US sponsored Israeli occupation. This list could go on and on and the bottom line is that the very idea that the West "cares" about the citizenry of any such country to inspire such intervention is enormously naive and completely ignorant of history.
The central "war crime" accusation itself, which gives the appearance that Gaddafi forces just decided to start killing civilian protestors for fun, is void of its true context, which was a response to an armed conflict from rebel forces. Does this justify the death of human beings? Of course not but this is an issue of circumstance. If an armed militia began to make its way towards the White House, do you have any doubt that once the first shot was fired, the Police, Military and Secret Service would not hesitate to shoot anyone in their line of fire under such pressure? Again, this justifies nothing in and of itself but such is the nature of circumstance in the discordant, power sick zeitgeist we share today and the "Crimes Against Humanity" charges being propagated around the now fallen regime needs a much closer examination.
The central charge against Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who actually didn't hold any political office, is this claim of "civilian murder", which appears as an act of defense, not cold blooded execution that would define a "war crime". It is estimated that the United States and its allies are responsible for ¾ to a million civilian deaths in Iraq and likely 10s of thousands more during the prior UN sanctions that crippled the nation for many years prior - yet we see no one on trial here. Let's also not discount the score of civilian deaths achieved by NATO as it bombed Libya for months.
Have you ever wondered how the United States can operate with 16 trillion dollars in debt and growing? It has the Global Reserve Currency. Of all the Macro Economic factors that favor Western domination in the world today, the fact the Euro and the US Dollar are used for not only the majority of oil transactions, which in many ways serves as the virtual "backing" of these fiat currencies, many other major goods are priced in Dollars and Euros, requiring most nations to purchase these currencies in order to engage in global trade, maintaining demand.
In fact, approximately two thirds of world trade is done in dollars and two thirds of central banks' currency reserves are held in the American currency, which remains the sole currency used by global institutions such as the IMF. This gives the US a major economic advantage as they have the ability to run a constant trade deficit because foreign countries need those dollars to repay their debts to the IMF; to conduct international trade and to build up their currency reserves. As long as the dollar remains the main international currency, the US can continue consuming more than it produces, as it has been doing for decades now.
Well, guess what? Muammar Gaddafi had been openly advocating the creation of a new currency that would counter the dollar and the euro. He called upon African and Muslim nations to join an alliance that would make this new currency, the "Gold Dinar", their main currency. They would sell oil and other resources to the US and the rest of the world only for gold dinars. If this were to happen, it would have had dramatic effects on US economic hegemony. In fact, some might remember that Saddam Hussein was pushing for a similar petrodollar shift before the 2003 US Invasion. This is a very serious yet little discussed reality.
That noted, we shouldn't dismiss the energy interests even though they may be secondary in importance. The National Oil Corporation, Libya's nationalized oil company, was ranked 25 among the world's Top 100 oil companies and while its reserves might be minor compared to the reserves of Saudi Arabia, the liberating of previously off-limit business contracts is clearly a positive for the West.
The Libyan "rebel" forces that took to the street in February 2011 were depicted by the media and Western political commentary as an unexpected organic uprising mirroring the Arab Spring revolts nearby. Yet, a closer examination reveals a deep premeditation and clear connection to CIA involvement. Former Gaddafi army commander, Khalifa Haftar, who had been living in exile for 20 years essentially next to CIA headquarters in Virginia, with tremendous evidence to indicate ties to the agency, was quickly brought to Libya after the uprising and put into position as commander for the rebel forces. How convenient.
All that was left was a trigger for intervention and it wasn't long before Libya fought back against what could very well have been a mercenary group set in motion to enable a larger mobilization against Gaddafi. This violence was quickly emphasized and set the stage for the so called "Humanitarian Intervention" less than 2 weeks after with "Resolution 1973" from the UN Security Council. Quickly and semi-covertly, the US began to add more arms to the rebels. Something, again, they have done in so many other cases to secure their interests, such as with the tens of millions of dollars going to anti-Soviet Afghan rebels for the 1980's Afghanistan War.
This is the earmark. The earmark that links dozens of US covert interventions in the past 100 years and there is even evidence the US has been funding opposition groups in Iran, if not many other places in this turbulent world we see rising. It's a great strategy - low budget; mostly hidden from the general public - and completely against international law.
And once the fireworks started with NATO, there was no turning back - another coup d'etat success. Today Libya is a fragmented and destabilized terrain. Apparently is it now a "Democracy" for whatever that is really worth since it is looking more like another post-war Iraq than anything else and it will likely be a long time before progress is achieved.
Now coming back to our "Love Story", there is little that can be done now with respect to the irresponsible overthrow of Libya but perhaps a little poetic sensitivity could heal these global wounds in some small way... So let's return to Ms. Weinerman's struggle to save someone dear to her - someone who might be deeply misunderstood - Muammar's son: Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.
Today, she has not only spoken out in praise of Saif's moral character, interest to reform Libya into a true democracy, defiance of his father on many issues regarding needed change and equality, she has also publicly implored Saif's known associate and long time friend, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, to intervene. She is also working to petition for his release from the Libyan successors - an effort the reader is encouraged to review and hopefully participate in.
Since that time she has been criticized and even targeted for criminal wrong-doing by political powers in her home country, such as by a member of the National Union Party who wrote to the attorney general that she was involved with a 'terrorist' who wanted to 'destroy the Jewish people', as reported by The Times of Israel.
A fascinating circumstance indeed. Geo-Politics, warfare and corruption aside, their very relationship challenges some common taboos all too common in the world today. In the story of Romeo and Juliet the tragedy of circumstance rested mostly with a disruption of traditional loyalty to the feuding families. In this story, there is a disruption of loyalty across multiple cultural lines.
First, we have the Nationalist disruption: If the state of Israel is against another state and vice versa, the implication is that citizens of that state must also be opposed. Second, we have the Religious disruption: Ms. Weinerman of the Jewish faith and Saif of the Muslim faith, which, unlike other combinations, is particularly rare. Third, we have the Race disruption, which is a corollary to the Nationalist loyalty, and while less relevant today in general, is still notable given the deep racial tension still existing in the Middle East; and fourth we have what we will call the Disruption of Associated Bias which, in this case, is the prima facie assumption that Saif, who, again, never officially held political office and has yet to be named in any documents for such criminal evidence, is still to be associated with the alleged crimes of his father.
That determination, of course, is the role and importance of the fair trial to which Ms. Weinerman pursues. This Bias of Association is a powerful influence of perspective and to expect a fair trial from what is to be, in effect, a court run by the "rebel opposition" in Libya, might be wishful thinking.
Below is an exclusive interview with Ms.Weinerman:
Question: Please briefly discuss your upbringing, especially given the context of tension in your homeland, Israel; in the Middle East.
O.W.: "I was born in Tel Aviv to a pianist mother and an engineer father who specializes in the field of renewable energy. I've been acting and modeling since I was a child and as a teenager I already started being socially and politically involved. However, activism wasn't something I picked up at home but was rather my natural response to all the wrongdoings I witnessed growing up. Spending 3 years in South Africa during the apartheid years in the mid 1980's, between the ages of 13-16, shaped the way I view the world today.
I was constantly asking questions about the human inequality and neglect that I saw around me, rather than accept it as "natural" or "normal". I've always been a social activist in Israel with a special interest in human rights, especially around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I worked with "B'tselem"- a non-governmental non-profit organization promoting human rights in the occupied territories. I worked in fundraising for "Alon"- an association dedicated to bridging social gaps through education, and am currently working in fundraising for Israeli Flying Aid. It has always been important to me to use my "celebrity" and my connections for a greater cause."
Question: Please describe your impression and experience with Saif.
O.W.: "Saif is the best person I've ever known. He's a warm, kind, friendly, open-minded, peaceful, calm and loving man. A real gentleman and pure hearted. He is honest and that's something admirable in a time like ours. Saif's vision was to turn Libya into a modern society and he did the best within his power to help the Libyan people. He brought reforms to his country and had so many more ideas of reforms to bring about. Saif had an agenda for promoting human rights not only in his country but in the international community as well. He worked on a roadmap for peace in Cashmere, amongst other human rights projects and charities he was involved in. He was the one to convince his father to give up his program for weapons of mass destruction.
Saif has always been very popular amongst the people of his country, and especially loved by the younger generation there. He used to meet with the people directly in the city square every week and talk to them without the protection of any guards. He was always challenging and even openly criticizing his father's regime. He even set up a free media organization that his father kept shutting down, so he had to keep relocating it, from Libya, to Jordan, to London, etc.
He was also popular outside his country; he was the one connecting Libya to the west in his efforts to open his country to the world and bring balance and peace to his region. He had a good relationship with the west, especially England, to the extent that he was titled "Europe's darling", before the west (mainly the US, France and the UK) decided to invade his country for corporate profit. Then, all of a sudden, they started to portray him very differently, in order to manipulate public opinion to legitimize their acts.
The accusations made against him sound even more unbelievable, when you consider he wasn't even a part of the regime, he had no political or military position in the time of the war. If there were any concrete evidence against him- be sure we would be bombarded with it, brainwashed with it in the mainstream media. It's very convenient for the west to leave him there to silence the facts & hide the evidence. The sad truth is that they turned their back on him once they had taken over the country and its resources and they don't need him anymore.
Question: Please explain the Petition Click Here for Petition you are pushing and why you feel Saif must to be removed from Libya in order to achieve a fair trial?
O.W.: "Firstly, the underlying meaning of this petition, or every other petition, really, is the people's understanding that we need to empower ourselves, unite and take responsibility for the affairs of our world, because justice will not be served by the powers that be. I think there is a growing understanding that we can't let the super powers lead our world anymore, as we found they are immoral in their deeds. Using the people's ignorance to fool them with cheap propaganda, the powers that be allow themselves, on our behalf (the international community), to harm the innocent & portray their victims as "evil".
Specifically, the same Security Council that had passed a resolution allowing the NATO forces to intervene in the Libya conflict has also passed a resolution giving the International Criminal Court a jurisdiction over crimes committed during the conflict. It is obvious that the so-called "justice system" of the current Libyan administration is unable to conduct a fair trial which will ensure basic human rights and due process.
Therefore, in accordance with its resolution & the importance of true justice, the security council & every member state within it has a moral interest, responsibility, and obligation to bring Saif to justice before the ICC, where he can receive a fair trial before a competent court. Moreover, the fact that Saif was captured during an armed conflict makes him a prisoner of war, and therefore he is entitled to the full legal protection declared by the Geneva Convention, which includes visits from the Red Cross or the Red Crescent representatives, but he has been held incommunicado and no information about his captive conditions or his health condition has been provided.
We can't go on looking the other way or shutting our mouths about these violations of human rights sponsored by USA, France, England and their corporations. Somebody must be gaining something out of all of this... and those ones should be the ones to be put on trial."
Question: Do you feel Tony Blair is avoiding intervention due to his need to preserve his political persona? If you had anything to say to him directly, in person, what would it be?
O.W.: "It's no secret that Saif and Mr. Blair were good friends, have worked together and Mr. Blair has even helped Saif with his PHD. I do believe Mr. Blair is not doing or saying anything not because he thinks Saif deserves anything he's been going through, or that he should have an unfair trial before an incompetent court. But that his silence and his inactivity about the injustice that Saif is dealing with comes from fear of losing his own position and more than that, he is probably threatened that if he says or does anything about the matter, he will be punished by people and entities that don't want anything done to change this horrible policy of silencing the truth about western corporate crime in the international arena.
Mr. Blair and other high-profile influential politicians and corporate businessmen that were good friends with Saif, have now renounced him as it's no longer in their interest, they now have free access to all they needed from him. If I was to meet Mr. Blair, I would ask him if everything that he has, position-wise, materialistic-wise, is worth giving up the values of being human, and that means being loyal to your friends, not letting them be victims of propaganda intended to wash off other people's sins. As a Christian man he should help his friend and speak the truth.
All we have in our lives is our word, and a man who doesn't live telling the truth, speaking out what he knows, has nothing, for our property in this life is nothing. Not even our bodies. When we leave this world we take nothing with us, and the only thing that will be left of us is our good words, good deeds and the influence they will keep on making long after we are gone."
Question: In the course of this mission you have reached out to The Zeitgeist Movement, a Global Sustainability Advocacy group interested in declaring all the world's resources as common heritage for all the world's people and works with new economic ideas to unify humanity and improve conditions. Why do you feel this audience might well understand your circumstance? Do you identify with such broad cultural changes?
O.W: "Of course. The people who are now in control of the world's wealth, and therefore control the rest of the population (through the use of the monetary system and the state system) are being cruel & thoughtless in their actions, seeing the entire world as their own playground back yard. They do not show any regard to the way our economy is destroying our planet, as if we have more than one, or as if there would be no one left to live here after them. However, I do not accuse them of being "evil" but I see them as victims of their own disproportionate power.
I agree with The Zeitgeist Movement's understanding that a new system that will allow us a more open-source, "flat" way of managing our affairs on this planet, is the only way to build a more humane and environmentally responsible society, and I think that now, for the first time in history, we have the technology that can enable us to do just that."
In many ways, what is done is done and Libya will never be the same. We can speculate upon its future and even try to be optimistic that it will recover and maybe even progress to a level never known before. Yet, that doesn't change history and the Means never justifies the End. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is still in prison and awaiting a trial that may decide if he is to live or die. He also sits in a symbolic position in many ways as the corruption inherent to the Libyan invasion has yet to find an end and the outcome of Saif sets the tone for what we as a people are willing to tolerate within the criminal meltdown of power abuse so common on the tragic global stage today.
Orly Weinerman's plead works on many levels. We can't return the many lives taken when NATO blanketed bombs over Libya nor can we bring Colonel Muammar Gaddafi back so he can face a trial to determine the legitimacy of the accusations against him. However, we can reduce ourselves to the recognition of one shared mortal reality and that is that we are all human and our personal relationships can transcend the circumstantial baggage and cultural victimizations that seem to divide us in the broad view. The saving of just one life in this play might be the key to shift it from tragedy to redemption.
What if we as a species were able elevate ourselves outside of the ongoing Tragedy of Thought we all to often find our values and loyalties. What if we were to show compassion for a man who just might have been trying to change an outdated regime from the inside, but was not given enough time to do so and was taken down prematurely by a criminal mafia that has no concern for the well being of the state of Libya.
What if our loyalist illusions of "peace keeping", "protecting civilians" and other clearly hypocritical and false claims used to justify the overtaking of other societies recently by the Western powers were seen for what they were? How would that affect your sense of responsibility?
And most broadly, what if our loyalty to retribution and the reciprocated hatred of each other's misdeeds was relinquished and replaced by a more rational understanding of how we are all Victims of Circumstance - Victims of Culture - involved in a seemingly never ending play of tragic proportions where we harm those who harm us or our loyalties - all justified under the guise of an ideological perversion of "Justice" itself.
All human actions are consequences of conditions, past or present, and it is only when we shed the primitive, narrow loyalties to our ancient traditions of Nation, Religion, Race & Circumstance that we will likely see that the only loyalty we can possibly have is to truth and each other - as one species, sharing one habitat.
If you wish to support Ms. Weinerman's mission to protect another human being from this Tragedy of Circumstance, creating instead a Triumph of Dignity, here is her petition.