Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Review of Prof F A Boyle's "Destroying Libya and World Order"

[A lengthy review on the website of the Albany Tribune of Professor Francis A Boyle’s recent book Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade US Campaign to Reverse the Qaddafi Revolution by the distinguished German political scientist Dr Ludwig Watzal can be read here. Among the Lockerbie references in the review are the following:]

Since the early 1980s, Boyle visited Libya off and on and advised the government on international legal cases. He convinced Gaddafi to sue the United States and the United Kingdom at the International Court of Justice in The Hague over the Lockerbie bombing allegations. Before the filing of this lawsuit, US President Bush senior ordered the Sixth Fleet off the coast of Libya on hostile maneuvers in preparation of another illegal attack like his predecessor Ronald Reagan did.
After Boyle had filed these two World Court lawsuits, Bush senior ordered the warships to stand down. The author also tried to support Gaddafi during the US/NATO war of 2011 but to no avail. (...)
Boyle’s [critique] of the American foreign policy towards Libya is based on his functionalist, Fullerian, and anti-Hobbesian framework of analysis for international law and organizations. In two chapters, he describes the series of military conflicts and crisis between the US and Gaddafi over the Gulf of Sidra and the allegations of international terrorism during the Reagan presidency. In chapter four follows the description of the alleged Lockerbie bombing allegations and the dispute by the US and the United Kingdom against Libya over it.


  1. This is an excellent book and a very thorough and fair review by Ludwig Watzal. While in the theoretical section of the book Professor Boyle rails against those with a Hobbistn or neo-Conservative view of world history and world events I would venture that the Lockerbie saga has proven them right!

    The book contains many serious points and arguments but Professor Boyle puts the blaming (and framing ) of Libya in the context of an essentially irrational policy going back to the start of the Reagan administration. Essentially in a bi-polar world Libya was just such a soft target.

    As an apparently fervent Irish nationist Professor Boyle has nothing to say about Colonel Qaddafi's support for the IRA as a factor in blaming Libya for Lockerbie despite the explicit demands made of Libya in the security Ciouncil resolutions.

    The Professor has very little to say about the bomb ing itself or the evidence but argues, as he did before the International court of Justice that the Montreal Convention was the appropriate law to deal with "The Lockerbie dispute" and that the several rounds of UN Sanctions were essentially illegal (as parties to the dispute the western powers were precluded from voting.)

    Professor Boyle claims that after 6 years deliberations the ICJ found completely in Libya's favour (albeit with dissenting opinions on various points.)

    What he does not explain (and perhaps cannot) is why Libya snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by agreeing to Camp Zeist which Professor Boyle inaccurately describes as a "diktat" a "show trial" or a "kangaroo court". Libya agreed to this and foolishly insisted on having no Jury.

    The Introduction provided some valuable insight into Professor Boyles view of Gaddafi whom he describes as "ruling Libya like the traditional Arab Shaikh." Through his official interpreter the Professor seems to have only received the official version of events in his three weeks in Libya where his lectures were broadcast on National TV! (Who wants to watch Corrie!)

    Clearly he took Gaddafi's seriously and as a guest observing the Basic Popular Congress wrote "Interestingly enough, Colonel Gaddafi proposed to abolish the death penalty for Libya. But the Basic Popual Congress rejected his humanitarian initiative: Democracy in action!" It is only interesting that Professor Boyle took this charade seriously.

    He later wrote of visiting the home of Colonel Gaddafi bombed in 1986 "I was greatly moved to see the little bed where his adopted daughter Hana was crushed to death by a beam from the ceiling. Her autopsy picture is grisly."

    One curious story concerns a Mr Maghour a Libyan lawyer whom Boyle was working with on the submission to the ICJ. Professor Boyle found him obstructive and suspected he was working for the Americans. (The words pot and kettle occur!) Boyle threatened to fly to tripoli "where he would meet personally with Colonel Gaddafi, tell him what had happened, blame Mr Maghour personally for not filing the lawsuits on time, and tell the Colonel that Mr Maghour should be held personally responsible for the consequences. -Mr Maghour has since done on to his "reward" - whatever that may be!"

    According to Professor Boyle Mr Maghour went on to represent Al Megrahi describing this as "the fix". I had never heard of Mr Maghour. I wonder if anyone else has or is there some artistic license here?

    Still a fantastice book - like reading Noam Chomsky without the warmth!

  2. Kamel Maghur replaced Ibrahim Legwell as the Libyan lawyer for the two suspects in September 1998 -- a long-overdue step, in my opinion. He continued to act throughout the trial and until shortly before his death in 2002. Legwell then took over once again -- Libya at that time had relatively few lawyers with international experience.