Press TV has interviewed Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former assistant secretary of US Treasury from Panama City, who gives his insight on the revolution in Libya and why US President Barack Obama needs to overthrow Qaddafi when no other US presidents did.
Press TV: Russia has criticized NATO for going far beyond its UN mandate. In other news a joint Op Ed is going to be written by Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy who have said that “leaving Qaddafi in power would be an unconscionable betrayal to the Libyan people”.
We do know that the mandate does not call for regime change; the Obama administration has been saying they are not in there for regime change; but things seem a little different now don't they?
Roberts: Yes they do. First of all, notice that the protests in Libya are different from the ones in Egypt or Yemen or Bahrain or Tunisia and the difference is that this is an armed rebellion.
There are more differences: another is that these protests originated in the eastern part of Libya where the oil is - they did not originate in the capital city. And we have heard from the beginning credible reports that the CIA is involved in the protests, and there have been a large number of press reports that the CIA has sent back to Libya its Libyan asset to head up the Libyan rebellion.
In my opinion, what this is about is to eliminate China from the Mediterranean. China has extensive energy investments and construction investments in Libya. They are looking to Africa as a future energy source.
The US is countering this by organizing the United States African Command (USAC), which Qaddafi refused to join. So that's the second reason for the Americans to want Qaddafi out.
And the third reason is that Libya controls part of the Mediterranean coast and it's not in American hands.
Press TV: Who are the revolutionaries. The US say they don't know who they're dealing with, but considering the CIA is on the ground in contact with revolutionaries - Who are the people under whom Libya will function in any post-Qaddafi era?
Roberts: Whether or not Libya functions under “revolutionaries” depends if the CIA wins - we don't know that yet. As you said earlier, the UN resolution puts constraints on what the European and American forces can achieve in Libya. They can have a no fly zone, but they are not supposed to be in there fighting together with the rebels.
But of course the CIA is. So we do have these violations of the UN resolution. If NATO, which is now the cover for the “world community,” succeeds in overthrowing Qaddafi, the next target will be Syria. Syria has already been demonized.
Why are they targeting Syria? - Because the Russians have a very large naval base in Syria. And it gives the Russian navy a presence in the Mediterranean; the US and NATO do not want that. If there is success in overthrowing Qaddafi, Syria is next.
Already, they are blaming Iran for Syria and Libya. Iran is a major target because it is an independent state that is not a puppet of the Western colonialists.
Press TV: With regards to the expansionist agenda of the West, when the UN mandate on Libya was debated in the UN Security Council, Russia did not veto it. Surely Russia must see this expansionist policy of the US, France and Britain.
Roberts: Yes they must see that; and the same for China. It's a greater threat to China because it has 50 major investment projects in eastern Libya. So the question is why did Russia and China abstain rather than veto and block? We don't know the answer.
Possibly the countries are thinking to let the Americans get further over- extended, or they may not have wanted to confront the US with a military or diplomatic position and have an onslaught of Western propaganda against them. We don't know the reasons, but we know they did abstain because they did not agree with the policy, and they continue to criticize it.
Press TV: A sizeable portion of Qaddafi's assets have been frozen in the US as well as some other countries. We also know that the Libyan revolutionaries have set up a central bank and that they have started limited production of oil and they are dealing with American and other Western firms. It begs the question that we've never seen something like this happen in the middle of a revolution. Don't you find that bizarre?
Roberts: Yes it's very bizarre and very suggestive. It brings back the fact of all the reports that the CIA is the originator of this so-called revolt and protest and is fomenting it and controlling it in a way that excludes China from its own Libyan oil investments.
In my opinion, what is going on is comparable to what the US and Britain did to Japan in the 1930s. When they cut Japan off from oil, from rubber, from minerals; that was the origin of World War II in the pacific. And now the Americans and the British are doing the same thing to China.
The difference is that China has nuclear weapons and it also has a stronger economy than do the Americans. And so the Americans are taking a very high risk not only with themselves, but with the rest of the world. The entire world is now at stake on American over-reach; American hubris - the drive for American hegemony over the world is driving the rest of the world into a World War.
Press TV: In the context of America's expansionist policies, how far do you think the US will stretch beyond the UN mandate? Are we going to see boots on the ground?
Roberts: Most likely - unless they can find some way of defeating Qaddafi without that. Ever since we've had Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and now Obama, what we've learned is law means nothing to the executive branch in the US. They don't obey our own laws; they don't obey international law; they violate all the civil liberties and buried the principal of habeas corpus, no crime without intent, and the ability for a defendant to be legally represented.
They don't pay any attention to law so they're not going to pay any attention to the UN. The UN is an American puppet organization and Washington will use it as a cover. So, yes, if they cannot run Qaddafi out they will put troops on the ground - that's why we have the French and the British involved. We're using the French elsewhere in Africa also; we use the British in Afghanistan - they're puppets.
These countries are not independent. Sarkozy doesn't report to the French people - he reports to Washington. The British PM doesn't report to the English people he reports to Washington. These are puppet rulers of an empire; they have nothing to do with their own people and we put them in office.
Press TV: So these other countries would welcome having NATO troops on the ground?
Roberts: Of course. They are in the CIAs pocket. It's a CIA operation, not a legitimate protest of the Libyan people. It's an armed rebellion that has no support in the capital city. It's taking place in the east where the oil is and is directed at China.
Press TV: Where do you see the situation headed? There seems to be a rift between NATO countries with Britain and France wanting to increase the momentum of these air strikes, but the US saying no, there is no need.
Roberts: The rift is not real. The rift is just part of the cover, just part of the propaganda. Qaddafi has been ruling for 40 years - he goes back to Gamal Abdel Nasser (before Anwar Sadat) who wanted to give independence to Egypt.
He (Qaddafi) was never before called a brutal dictator that has to be removed. No other president has ever said Qaddafi has to go. Not even Ronald Reagan who actually bombed Qaddafi's compound. But all of a sudden he has to go. Why?
Because he's blocking the US African Command, he controls part of the Mediterranean and he has let China in to find its energy needs for the future. Washington is trying to cripple its main rival, China, by denying China energy. That's what this is really about; a reaction by the US to China’s penetration of Africa.
If the US was concerned about humanitarianism, it wouldn't be killing all these people in Afghanistan and Pakistan with their drones and military strikes. Almost always it's civilians that are killed. And the US is reluctant to issue apologies about any of it. They say we thought we were killing Taliban or some other made-up enemy.
Press TV: Who will benefit from all of this other than the US? The other countries that comply with US wishes - What do they stand to gain from this?
Roberts: We are only talking about NATO countries, the American puppet states. Britain, France, Italy, Germany, all belong to the American empire. We've had troops stationed in Germany since 1945. You're talking about 66 years of American occupation of Germany. The Americans have military bases in Italy - how is that an independent country? France was somewhat independent until Washington put Sarkozy in power. So they all do what they're told.
Washington wants to rule Russia, China, Iran, and Africa, all of South America. Washington wants hegemony over the world. That's what the word hegemony means. And Washington will pursue it at all costs.