All eyes are on Libya these days. We don’t know yet how the uprising of the Libyans against their ruler will end, who will survive and who will be in power after all is said and done. Certain is that tremendous wealth was made on the exploration and production of the oil reserves in Libya during Gadaffi’s rule. You might ask who benefited from that?
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, selected for several months of further training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, England after completion of his military training, called himself the brotherly leader and guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (republic), and has ruled the nation since 1969.
It is clear that Gaddafi enriched himself and his family during those years; his wealth is rumoured to be at least 60 billions to $70 billion invested in the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) a holding company for many other investments: money stashed somewhere in Europe, in Canada and possibly in the USA banks since “friendship” was restored with western nations after Gaddafi apologized before the UN assembly for having been responsible for the Lockerbie plane bombing. He promised to pay compensation to the 270 families of the victims. Most of the sum of 2.7 billion was allocated and divided over four different groups of victims of Libyan-funded terrorist actions.
In 2004, Britain’s Tony Blair snuggled up to Gaddafi explaining his action as recruitment of Libya’s ruler against the El Qaeda terrorists. British oil companies have a stake in the oil industry as well and are now scrambling to bring their oil workers home from the field.
In 2006 France signed an agreement with Libya for the production of a significant nuclear power program.
On 15 May 2006, the US State Department announced that it would restore full diplomatic relations with Libya, once Gaddafi declared he was abandoning Libya’s weapons of mass destruction program. The US State Department also said that Libya would be removed from the list of nations supporting terrorism. US State secretary Codoleeza Rice paid a state visit to Gaddafi in Sep 2009. Also in 2009 Barack Obama shook hands with him at the G8 summit where Gaddafi appeared as chairman of the African Union.
In August 2009 Italy’s prime minister Berlusconi signed a treaty and paid Libya 5 billion as compensation for its military occupation of Libya, in exchange for Libya taking care of the illegal immigration by Libyans to Italy and the additional investment of Libyan money in Italian corporations.
(Question: Why would Libyans try to leave their own country were such riches are to be had, one wonders?)
During the years of US embargo of Libya, nationals from other nations, such as Canada, replaced the Americans in the oil field industry, although the same multinationals stayed involved and continued to earn big profits under the flag of a sister company stationed in Europe. One company is famous for having stakes in many sectors of the industry: Halliburton, its former CEO placed into the position of George W. Bush’s right hand man: Dick Cheney.
Other international companies exploited workers from poor nations such as the Philippines and Bangladesh to provide cheap labour for the service contracts connected to the oil industry. Those workers are now abandoned, at times without having their passports returned to them, as their bosses have fled already. Those workers are now congregating at Libya’s borders with Tunisia and Egypt with only their clothes on their backs and no help in sight.
Many Canadians as well worked in the industry, living and working in desert camps, or if placed in management positions, living in cities, in compound homes. Some workers are still stuck in the desert now.
We hear now that entertainers were paid outrageous sums of money to perform for the Gaddafi family, generally at locations outside of Libya. The family owns quite a few nice digs elsewhere.
I am sure many more disclosures are to be expected about exploitation and unethical investments in the follow up to the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s reign. There will not be a nation or industry that has not profited on the backs of the Libyan population, poor, destitute and brutally suppressed.