Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William Burns (L) meets Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh (R) in Tripoli, Libya on January 13, 2023. (Photo: Libyan Prime Ministry - Anadolu Agency)
The CIA director recently visited Libya, a state that was destroyed by the U.S. History shows that the CIA is never up to anything good in Africa.
CIA Director William Burns began 2023 by visiting Libya on a mission to stabilize and sustain imperialism in that country. Libya collapsed after Moammar Gadhafi was hunted down in 2011 by a mob that violently disemboweled him with a bayonet. The CIA had assisted anti-Gadhafi thugs, many of whom were angry at the Libyan leader for, among other things, providing work opportunities to Black immigrants from neighboring countries. The violent aggression faced by Gadhafi was also directed at these Black immigrants, pathetically on the watch of the first Black U.S. president. At the time, Zimbabwean journalist Farai Sevenzo reported:
“Because mercenaries from Chad and Mali are presumed to be fighting for him [Gadhafi], the lives of a million African refugees and thousands of African migrants are at risk. A Turkish construction worker told the British radio station BBC: ‘We had seventy to eighty people from Chad working for our company. They were massacred with pruning shears and axes, accused by the attackers of being Gadhafi’s troops. The Sudanese people were massacred. We saw it for ourselves.’”
Since Gadhafi’s death, Libya has remained in a state of perpetual chaos, even to the point of factional war that broke out in 2014. According to Reuters: “The United States has previously said it is worried about the role played by Russia in Libya's conflict, and fears continued instability in the OPEC member could impact global energy supply and give space to Islamist militant groups.”
Dr. Mustafa Fetouri, a Libyan scholar and journalist, explained: “The Russian invasion of Ukraine last year… changed many things both internationally and regionally, giving room for countries like Libya to play a role, however small. After all, the country is located strategically in the middle of North Africa; it is Africa's third largest oil producer; and it has a sizeable force of Wagner [a Russian-based company] mercenaries stationed near its oil producing region. In America's wider global energy strategy, Libya is becoming important in order to sustain some kind of stability.”
Fetouri said Burns’ mission was to arrange for Khalifa Haftar, leader of the eastern warring faction, to guard Libya’s oil fields and ensure the continuing flow of oil. That’s what imperialism’s interest in Libya has always been about. It has not mattered that a stable, prosperous African country has been destroyed and countless Africans died because of a campaign of anti-Black genocide. All that matters is that imperialists are able to rip off Africa’s oil. An April 2, 2011 e-mail to then U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton explains frankly and bluntly that France wanted NATO to eliminate Gadhafi not only because of his plans to establish a gold-backed pan-African currency that would effectively devalue the French franc, but also because of concerns that included: “… a desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production…”
As the need for revolution in Africa becomes increasingly apparent to the people of that continent and its diaspora, it is important that Africans not lose sight of both the role of the CIA in preserving imperialism’s grip on Africa’s resources, and also the agency’s ruthless commitment to its mission – even to the point of committing unconscionable crimes. The assassination of Gadhafi was not without precedent. In 1961, the CIA plotted the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, Congo’s first prime minister. Author Ludo De Witte explained:
“…[D]uring a meeting of the National Security Council with President Eisenhower, CIA Chief Allen Dulles stressed that ‘Lumumba…remained a grave danger as long as he was not disposed of.’ Three days later in a personally signed telegram to the US Embassy in Leopoldville, Dulles confirmed that he would take responsibility for the whole operation.”
Thereafter, the agency devised a plan to poison Lumumba. Though the plan was not implemented, the mission of killing the young leader was accomplished nevertheless by CIA stooges. It didn’t end there. The CIA has been implicated in treachery in Ghana, Angola and many other places throughout Africa for decades.
Agencies like the CIA thrive if they are allowed to lurk in the shadows - out of sight and out of the minds of those who fight for Africa’s liberation. As we press on in our campaign against the militarization of Africa by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and the military forces of France and other western countries, and also as we resist the continuing exploitation of Africa’s resources by the corporations whose interests these forces protect, we must not only shine a light on the moves and activities of high profile figures like CIA director Burns, but we must also look under the rocks for the CIA’s agents and operatives whose criminal projects facilitate the domination of a continent whose right to self-determination has been denied for much too long.
Mark P. Fancher is an attorney and writer. He can be contacted at mfancher[at]comcast.net.