Libya Coverage Provides a Peek Behind the Curtain
Coverage of the situation in Libya over the past three days, while useless to anyone trying to understand what is actually happening in Libya, nevertheless provides an interesting peek into the modus operandi of the global media that has broad application for the decoding of its coverage of all of the issues that touch our lives.
The manufacture of events in Libya has been underway since the lead-up to the US-led invasion, including the narrative that enabled the UN resolutions 1970 and 1973 – prominent among these were the claim that the Libyan government was conducting an aerial war against protestors, countered by satellite evidence from the Russian military showing no such attacks took place, and the claim that African mercenaries were firing on protestors, which was both untrue and provoked racist killings of Libyans with African features and skin by rebel gangs.
Absent from the manufactured narrative was the report by the Pakistan Observer on February 25th that US, UK and French troops had landed in Benghazi on February 23rd and 24th. Also absent were photographs of captured Qatari weapons that were intended for rebel forces in Brega, and reports of French arms also sent to the rebels.
Since March 19th, a US-led NATO bombing campaign has been conducted against Libya. On one day alone, former Rep. Cynthia McKinney reported from Tripoli that she and a group from the African Union counted 89 bomb explosions in that city alone during a twelve-hour period. In terms of TNT poundage, that is somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 to 50 World Trade Center explosions in a city the size of Manhattan EACH DAY for more than 180 consecutive days.
I discussed some of the issues surrounding the coverage of the Libyan invasion with PressTV yesterday and thank them for allowing me to get this information out, including my statement – made some 7 hours before Saif al-Islam Gadhaffi surfaced in Tripoli not as a captive, but a free man cruising the city in his SUV – that the press claims of the capture of the Gadhaffi sons was “suspect.” Here’s a transcript of my remarks:
Press TV: How do you see the events that have been taking place in Libya? It seems that they have changed very rapidly and when we talk to a lot of our people on the ground in Tripoli, they were also quite taken aback at the speed of which everything changed in Tripoli especially.
Don DeBar: Well, I was fortunate enough to be in touch with people on the ground in Tripoli who somehow were able to stay on the internet and stay in touch. Almost all of the reporting that is coming from there is coming from inside a hotel that the reporters cannot leave. One reporter was shot at trying to post a press sign out. Several have been threatened by the western journalists in the building with death. There was an article published calling for the killing of a French journalist from a website in France – the Voiltaire website – and Lizzie Phelan who you have featured here before.
So the information itself, a lot of it, is coming from the people pointing a camera out the window of the hotel, and the information that has come to me from some of the people on the ground there, including Lizzie Phelan, has come from calling around to the contacts that they have nurtured in Tripoli over the last month that she has been there, with reports from different neighborhoods. And those reports were quite different.
Keep in mind that since Friday the western media has been saying that Gaddafi left the country. They were reporting him in Tunisia on Friday afternoon on NBC and this was parroted in the western media all weekend. Now today again – somehow – he is back in Tripoli and they are trying to find him and they have arrested his sons and so the information itself is suspect.
But this entire war, people have to think about this fact: the United States has been funding this and conducting the bulk of the military operations here. And anyone on the ground, anywhere where the United States has their guns pointed, including at Tehran, that takes comfort in that the fact that the United States is about to achieve a military victory in Libya should really reconsider that position and think about what’s the next step going to be for this type of policy which, believe me, has a map. And they’ve expressed Tehran as a destination now for the last 20 to 25 years.
So I would be mostly concerned about what does this mean for the people that these guns will be pointed at next and I would question every report you are hearing out of Tripoli right now that says that they are in charge because they have been saying it for days before there was anyone there.
The last point is that the reports that we got were that the people that had come into Tripoli from the outside with arms were actually Qataris – with their own commanders running this operation – and I am told that there are many dead Qataris on the ground in Tripoli.
Press TV: Don DeBar, you mentioned as far as the role of the media – let’s expand on this in general. How do you see the role in general, especially in this situation that is taking place in Tripoli from the beginning till today, as far as the role of the mainstream media and how they have reported the events that have taken place?
Don DeBar: OK, the enabling rhetorical point is that this is a popular uprising against Gaddafi, OK? And from there it was that the government is brutalizing protesters – including with aerial bombardment – and that was the enabling narrative for resolutions 1970 and 1973 out of the United Nations Security Council.
Now the Russians, who conduct satellite surveillance of planet Earth, because they have been prepared for 50 years for a nuclear strike from the United States, said that, on the specific dates that the charges were delineated that Gaddafi had attacked his people from the air, here are the photographs: there are no planes in the air, there were no aeral activities conducted whatsoever.
This has not made the media in the west at all – including on programs like Democracy Now and on Al Jazeera which is carried on progressive radio networks, if you can believe that, in the United States.
In addition to that, it was reported in the Pakistan Observer, the English language daily in Pakistan, on February 25 that there were US, UK and French troops that landed in Benghazi from Indian naval vessels on the 23 and 24 of February. Now this is in advance of the UN Security Council Resolutions and that also has never been reported and I personally reported both that and the Russian intelligence information to Amy Goodman at Democracy Now, for example, and other progressive media outlets here, and have yet to hear them even set it up as a straw man to shoot down, let alone actually report these things that were reported elsewhere, including from government officials – the foreign minister and defense minister of Russia.
So the media has been not just deficient but, in my mind, active and complicit with this effort by NATO to take the oil of Libya and to establish for anyone that does not do what the United States tells them, you’re next.
Press TV: If the Gaddafi regime has totally fallen, or will fall, how likely is it that the Libyan people will actually go further towards independence and be freer people as a lot of them who have been in the streets, and they have been showing some of them today, are saying? What’s the likely scenario in your perspective?
Don DeBar: The likely scenario is colonialism, and the reason for the invasion of Libya is that Libya was one of the places organizing against colonialism of the continent of Africa.
This is the second stop for AFRICOM [Africa Command], the first direct stop for AFRICOM under Obama’s regime. AFRICOM came online about two months before he was elected but after Cote D’Ivoire – where they carried the elected president out of the country at gunpoint, the French did, the former colonial power – this episode began. And Libya has played – if you want to believe Nelson Mandela – Libya played a major role in ending apartheid in South Africa, and Muammar Gaddafi in particular played a major role in doing that. He has been active in building a communications infrastructure and a financial infrastructure owned by Africa in Africa.
The people of Libya, by the way, went from being the poorest people on the planet in 1969, by every objective measure, to having the highest standard of living in Africa, and one of the highest standards of living in the Muslim world – housing is owned by the people, free of any mortgages, everyone, it is a human right there under the law – and the entire education system and free healthcare…(out of time).
”There are a lot of Dead Qatari on the Streets of Tripoli Now”
LIBYA: The Real Deal