Clinton accuses Qaddafi of using rape as a tool

Published: June 17, 2011
Hillary Clinton accuses the forces of Moamer Qaddafi of using rape and violence against women as "tools of war". PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Hillary Clinton accuses the forces of Moamer Qaddafi of using rape and violence against women as "tools of war". PHOTO: AFP/FILE

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused the forces of Libyan leader Moamer Qaddafi on Thursday of using rape and violence against women as “tools of war.”

Clinton said the United States was “deeply concerned” by reports of widescale rape in Libya and “troubled” by reports that governments across the Middle East and North Africa were using sexual violence to punish protesters.

“Rape, physical intimidation, sexual harassment, and even so-called ‘virginity tests’ have taken place in countries throughout the region,” she said in a statement.”

Qaddafi’s security forces and other groups in the region are trying to divide the people by using violence against women and rape as tools of war, and the United States condemns this in the strongest possible terms.

“International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said last week that there was evidence the Libyan authorities bought “Viagra-type” medicines and gave them to troops as part of an official rape policy.”

Recently, the International Criminal Court has taken note of the appalling evidence that rape in Libya is widespread and systematically employed,” Clinton said.

“A thorough investigation of this matter is needed to bring perpetrators to justice.”Clinton mentioned Iman al-Obeidi, whose accusations of rape against soldiers loyal to Qaddafi garnered worldwide attention when she stormed into the Rixos hotel in Tripoli — where many Western journalists were based — and threw open her coat to reveal scars and bruises on her body.

“Since Iman al-Obeidi bravely burst into a hotel in Tripoli on March 26 to reveal that Qaddafi’s security forces raped her, other brave women have come forward to tell of the horrible brutality they have experienced,” she said.

“It is an affront to all people who are yearning to live in a society free from violence with respect for basic human rights. We urge all governments to conduct immediate, transparent investigations into these allegations, and to hold accountable those found responsible.”

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (8)

  • Jun 17, 2011 - 3:39PM

    Coz this is a very easy formula some people have … create disturbances, kill people, create chaos … and when the government takes action to bring the city back to normal … hello! lets bomb the government now.

    Read more:

  • syed kashif Hassnain rizvi
    Jun 17, 2011 - 5:10PM

    Clinton USA is giving arms to lybian ppl (alqaida group)who are against Qaddafi, so usa is making war inside lybia by making these isues,,,usa have no shame to do this…just to steal oil from lybia…Recommend

  • Chilli
    Jun 17, 2011 - 5:36PM

    Abu Gharib Jail of Iraq is not an old story….You have to be in better place to say something to others.Recommend

  • Jun 18, 2011 - 12:23AM

    Hillary Clinton should not forget what her husband was up to in the White House.
    No one was calling her a molesters wife, I think she should refrain from mud slinging which is so close to her past. Recommend

  • Haris
    Jun 18, 2011 - 9:21PM

    isn’t this the same policy of american troops abroad?Recommend

  • Usa
    Jun 19, 2011 - 9:46AM

    @Logical Fools: How can you compares rapes with affairs? Recommend

  • Jun 19, 2011 - 12:59PM

    I don’t compare rape to affairs, what Clinton was up to was molestation due to his power and position which is not expected of a President in normal times, it is not like Ghaddafi has his hands in his pants and running after women in Libya.
    Hillary should know better.
    I was just pointing out that mud slinging to gain public attention for a crime he has not ordered should in fact be reviewed as a propaganda. Recommend

  • Nalliah Thayabharan
    Jul 2, 2011 - 8:22AM

    The past history of American wars tells us that, when the war-going begins to get tough, the professional p.r. campaigns get going, often with wholly invented stories. For example, when in 1990 Defense Secretary Colin Powell was expressing doubts that the United States should attack Kuwait, stories appeared that, as revealed by classified satellite photos, Saddam had amassed 265,000 troops and 1500 tanks at the edge of the Saudi Arabian border. Powell then changed his mind, and the attack proceeded. But after the invasion a reporter from the St. Petersburg Times viewed satellite photos from a commercial satellite, and “she saw no sign of a quarter of a million troops or their tanks.”

    Hawks in Congress, notably Tom Lantos and Stephen Solarz, secured support for the attack on Iraq with a story from a 15-year-old girl, that she had seen Kuwaiti infants snatched from their incubators by Iraqi soldiers. The story was discredited when it was learned that the girl, the daughter of the Saudi ambassador in Washington, might not have visited the hospital at all. She had been prepped on her story by the p.r. firm Hill & Knowlton, which had a contract for $11.5 million from the Kuwaiti government.

    The history of American foreign interventions is littered with such false stories, from the “Remember the Maine” campaign of the Hearst press in 1898, to the false stories of a North Vietnamese attack on U.S. destroyers in the so-called Second Tonkin Gulf incident of August 4, 1964. We know furthermore that in their Operation Northwoods documents, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1962 proposed a series of ways, some of them lethal, to deceive the American people in order to engineer a war against Cuba.

    Since the fiasco of the false Iraqi stories in 1990-91, these stories have tended to be floated by foreign sources, usually European. This was conspicuously the case with the forged yellowcake documents from Italy underlying Bush’s misleading reference to Iraq in his 2003 State of the Union address. But it was true also of the false stories linking Saddam Hussein to the celebrated anthrax letters of 2001. (Their anthrax was later determined to have come from a U.S. biowarfare laboratory.)

    This recurring history of falsified stories to justify interventions should be on our minds as we now face the allegations, as yet neither proven nor disproven, that Gaddafi has been using rape as a method to fight insurrection, and may have been guilty of raping victims himself. These charges were made on June 8 by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), who claimed (according to Time Magazine)

    there were indications that Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi had ordered the rape of hundreds of women during his violent crackdown on the rebels and that he had even provided his soldiers with Viagra to stimulate the potential for attacks.

    According to Time, the rape stories are being circulated by doctors who claim to have met and treated patients but do not have patients’ permission to reveal their identities. Earlier, according to a Libyan doctor interviewed in an Al Jazeera video, “many doctors have found Viagra and condoms in the pockets of dead pro-Gaddafi fighters, as well as treated female rape survivors. The doctor insists this clearly indicates the Gaddafi regime is using rape as a weapon of war.”

    But what of Moreno’s charge that “Now we are getting some information that Gaddafi himself decided to rape, and this is new.” This is a sensational charge: until we learn there is a reliable source for it, one can suspect it was made to grab headlines.

    One problem in investigating these charges is that Libyan culture is so unkind to rape victims that they are reluctant to come forward. Researchers for Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International were unable to find one woman who said she had been raped. A U.N. human rights investigator, Cherif Bassiouni, told Agence France-Presse that the rape and Viagra stories were being circulated by the Benghazi authorities as “part of a ‘massive hysteria.’” In fact he had discovered only three cases.

    Military conflict of course is normally accompanied by rape. What might constitute a war crime would be whether (to quote Time) Gaddafi “had provided his soldiers with Viagra.” Moreno actually said, according to the Associated Press, that “some witnesses confirmed that the [Libyan] government was buying containers of Viagra-type drugs ‘to enhance the possibility to rape.’”

    Others have objected that the purchase of Viagra-type drugs falls far short of indicating a war crime. Former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, in Tripoli on an investigative mission, has pointed out in her emails that to date the one army known to have distributed Viagra as part of its war operations is the U.S. Army – as a bribe to entice information from aging tribal leaders in Afghanistan.

    Time’s subtle enhancement of Moreno’s claim – from purchasing Viagra to providing it to soldiers, reminds us of the sorry record of the U.S. mainstream media in circulating past false stories to justify war. It is painful to say this, but virtually every major U.S. military intervention since Korea has been accompanied by false stories. Mr. Moreno-Ocampo should be pressed to come forward quickly with the supporting evidence for his charges, which should be based on more than the testimony of doctors working for the Benghazi regime.Recommend

More in Pakistan