On June 15, Minister Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, held a press conference denouncing the U.S. military assault on Libya. The conference was held in the Millennium Plaza hotel, situated across the street from the headquarters of the United Nations.
In his opening remarks, Farrakhan addressed the UN Security Council’s Resolution 1973-supporting a no-fly zone and air strikes against Libya-that was passed on March 17, asking for its justification.
He asked, “What has Muammar al-Gaddafi done to deserve what this united coalition of demons is putting on him?”
Farrakhan also made the claim that President Barack Obama is not acting of his own accord on the Libyan conflict, insisting instead that Zionists and Wall Street bankers were motivating him.
During the question-and-answer portion of the press conference, when asked if he felt that Obama was being influenced by forces outside of the government to attack Libya, Farrakhan told the Amsterdam News, “There is no doubt. Look who he’s surrounded by…the crowd from Goldman Sachs. He’s not an economist, he’s a lawyer by profession. He’s surrounded by the people who are Zionist-controlled.
“He was not elected to serve a Black agenda. He was voted in to be the Black face on a white agenda. And he’s not escaping it. He’s caught up in it, and will pay the consequences for it,” he continued.
UN Resolution 1973 calls for NATO air strikes against the Libyan government under Colonel Gaddafi for his alleged human rights violations.
Since February, Libya has been a hotbed of civil unrest and rebellion. Rebels have claimed that Gaddafi and his government, the Jamahiriya, are corrupt and oppressive and have demanded that he and his regime step down. This in turn prompted the UN Security Council to past a resolution authorizing nations to combat the Libyan regime.
As a result, Obama initiated air strikes against the African nation in early March.
“If the Security Council passed Resolution 1973 to protect the civilian population of Libya from the so-called evil intentions of the leader of Libya, why, then, is NATO, under the auspices of the Security Council, forgetting about humanitarian concerns and now using Resolution 1973 as a pretext to assassinate Muammar Gaddafi and create regime change?” Farrakhan asked.
He said the UN was fostering through NATO an “armed rebellion to create civil war,” and said he felt it was in contradiction to the UN’s claim of concern about human safety, knowing that a civil war would cause a loss of lives.
Farrakhan lambasted the coalition formed against Libya, which includes NATO, the United States, Russia, Canada and the Arab League for “engaging in errant behavior.” He warned that this action would lead to the “destruction of the United Nations and all those engaged” in this operation.
The Nation of Islam leader also asserted that neither the U.S. nor the West had ever proven that Gaddafi was guilty of committing any human rights violations. He also mentioned that neither group had any right to accuse nations of human rights violations, stating, “England, France, Italy, Germany and the United States do not have a good humanitarian record.” He cited as proof the transatlantic slave trade and the oppression of Blacks and Native Americans in the U.S., as well as the dropping of bombs on Japan during World War II, as clear examples of this.
Farrakhan claimed that the war against Libya is being driven by and large by corporate interests, saying, “Western forces were angered” by Gaddafi’s nationalization of the country’s oil and other resources, which interfered with the West’s wealth.
Prior to Farrakhan’s speech, former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney addressed the press conference from Libya via phone link. Since the air strikes against Libya began she has been working with the Answer Coalition on the “Hands Off Libya” campaign. The former congresswoman criticized the U.S and the international media in Libya, saying, “They-the media-are here, but the truth is nowhere to be found.”
McKinney informed listeners that she has witnessed “NATO terror” since her arrival in Libya. “I have seen this terror in people’s homes, in the mosques, at schools and even at community parties. No place is safe.” She added, “The first casualty of war is truth. War is a racket. And nowhere is that more evident than right here in Libya”.
McKinney also commended the U.S. House of Representatives for discontinuing funding for the war against Libya, but alleged that a 24-hour news blackout was instituted to keep the American public from becoming aware of the move.
The chairwoman of the New York-based December 12th Movement, Viola Plummer, also gave some brief remarks. She claimed that the attack on Libya represented a broader attack on Africa and its Black citizens. She urged Black people around the world to unite and defend Africa, quoting the famous words of the late scholar of African studies, Dr. John Henrik Clarke, “Pan-Africanism or perish.”
Also in attendance was former attorney general and human rights activist Ramsay Clarke, who told the Amsterdam News that the attacks on Gaddafi were “criminal, obviously. There’s a covert assassination attempt. It’s murder. We tried that in 1986. The same thing-a secret attack in 1986. We killed hundreds of people. And then we’re paying for it now.
“The hypocrisy is absolutely astounding… You can’t bring peace on Earth by assassination,” he continued. He also pointed out that the U.S. has supported dictators throughout Africa and the Arab world for a long time.