William Hague has just said that Musa Kusa, the former foreign minister of Libya who landed in the UK yesterday, will not be offered any immunity from international or British justice. Anyone who leaves the sinking ship at this stage is bound to be a rat, and the UK government is right to treat him as an enemy.
The press release from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office makes a point of using the word ‘resignation’ when talking about Kusa and ‘defection’ when talking about those who left earlier on in the revolution. In other words, this is no hero, but a captured deserter.
In the seventies, Kusa was a spy based out of different Libyan embassies in Europe before being appointed as Libya’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1980. He was expelled from the UK in 1980, after announcing to a reporter from The Times outside the Libyan embassy in London, ‘The revolutionary committees have decided last night to kill two more people in the United Kingdom. I approve of this.’ And guess what? He followed through.
After he was expelled from the UK and while he served as Gaddafi’s spymaster, Libyan dissidents were assassinated around Europe right up until 1995, when Ali Abuzeid, an exiled Libyan dissident, was assassinated in London.
So brazen were Kusa and the rest of Gaddafi’s clique that on 17 April 1984, Libyan officials fired two machine guns from their embassy at a crowd of people outside who were protesting the public hanging of dissidents in Libya. Eleven people were gunned down, and one ended up dead. The embassy was besieged and its entire staff expelled, cutting diplomatic ties between the UK and Libya.
All of this is summarised neatly in this vintage report from Michigan’s WXYZ News. Here’s the video:
And here’s a summary.
Two Gaddafi supporters who attended Michigan State University in the seventies played key roles in the Libyan assassination campaigns carried out in the eighties.
Those supporters were Musa Kusa (foreign minister until yesterday) and Abdul Ghader El-Baghdadi. Both are under investigation by the ICC. The latter is the current prime minister of Libya and was named on 26 February as one of the subjects of a travel ban issued by the UN Security Council (named as Al-Baghdadi, Dr Abdulqader Mohammed, see statement by European Union, and UN Security Council Resolution 1970 and press release).
Kusa produced pro-Gaddafi propaganda while at MTU and tried to recruit non-Libyan Arabs (not sure why - audio is unclear). After leaving the US, he was made ‘head’ (ambassador, effectively) of the Libyan ‘People’s Bureau’ (embassy) in London.
Less than a year later, he was expelled for masterminding a campaign to assassinate Libyan dissidents in the UK. A newspaper headline reads, ‘Killing will go on, says the kicked out Libyan’.
The video cuts to a statement from a police spokesman who says that Baghdadi, a ‘sociology student’ in the UK, was one of the people deported four years later, after the siege of the Libyan embassy, in 1984. Police suspected that he was one of the organisers of the shooting that led to the siege. He is described by dissidents as an agent of ‘terror and assassination’ against Libyan exiles living in the UK.
The UK government has been pushing for Gaddafi’s prosecution before the International Criminal Court, of which it is a party. Now that Kusa is in their hands, lets hope they give him the same honour.