Washington Babylon — May 22, 2009, 8:48 am

Death in Libya: Political prisoner latest victim of Bush’s “Freedom Agenda”

Former President George W. Bush’s “Freedom Agenda,” a set of policies that exists only in the minds of Washington Post editorial page writers and senior fellows at the American Enterprise Institute, has claimed its latest victim:

The Associated Press reported today:

A Libyan dissident and human rights activist repeatedly imprisoned in Libya for defying the country’s leader Moammar Gadhafi died after being released earlier this month to Jordan, a top Jordanian security official said. Fathi al-Jahmi, whose ordeal in Libyan prisons had been decried by the United States, never regained consciousness after having slipped into a coma following a stroke on May 4 in a Libyan jail, the official said…

Since 2000, al-Jahmi had been imprisoned several times, mostly for urging free and fair elections and calling for the abolishment of Gadhafi’s “Green Book,” which outlines the Libyan ruler’s anti-democratic and economic policies. Upon one of his releases, in 2004, al-Jahmi gave an interview to U.S.-funded al-Hurra television, repeating his call for Libya’s democratization. In another interview to the same station days later, he called Gadhafi a dictator and said the Libyan leader “wants people to worship him.”

He was arrested weeks later, along with his wife and their eldest son. The three were detained at an undisclosed location without access to relatives or lawyers. The wife and son were released about six months later but al-Jahmi remained in detention.

Incidentally, Jahmi’s 2004 arrest came soon after Bush praised Libya for freeing him and declaring that Jahmi was one of those “courageous reformers” that the United States government was so devoted to. But Libya was providing cooperation in the “war on terrorism” (and it also sits atop vast reserves of oil that American companies want access to), so Jahmi’s detention was swept under the rug in order to facilitate the Bush administration’s political thaw with Libya.

Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Postcard October 16, 2013, 8:00 am

The Most Cajun Place on Earth

A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada



September 2014

Israel and Palestine

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Washington Is Burning

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On Free Will

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

They Were Awake

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content


Arab artists take up — and look past — regional politics
“When everyday life regularly throws up images of terror and drama and the technological sublime, how can a photographer compete?”
“Qalandia 2087, 2009,” by Wafa Hourani
“There was torture by the previous regime and by the current Iraqi regime,” Dr. Amin said. “Torture by our Kurdish government, torture by Syrians, torture by the U.S.”
Visiting His Own Grave © Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
The Tale of the Tape·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Heroin isn’t the weakness Art Pepper submits to; it’s the passion he revels in.”
Photograph (detail) © Laurie Pepper
The Soft-Kill Solution·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Policymakers, recognizing the growing influence of civil disobedience and riots on the direction of the nation, had already begun turning to science for a response."
Illustration by Richard Mia
New Books
New Books·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Almond insists that watching football does more than feed an appetite for violence. It’s a kind of modern-day human sacrifice, and it makes us more likely to go to war.”
Photograph by Harold Edgerton

Chance that a movie script copyrighted in the U.S. before 1925 was written by a woman:

1 in 2

Engineers funded by the United States military were working on electrical brain implants that will enable the creation of remote-controlled sharks.

Malaysian police were seeking fifteen people who appeared in an online video of the Malaysia-International Nude Sports Games 2014 Extravaganza, and Spanish police fined six Swiss tourists conducting an orgy in the back of a moving van for not wearing their seatbelts.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!


In Praise of Idleness


I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today