Major Media Promote War on Libya – by Stephen Lendman
When imperial America wants war, peace advocates are shut out by official rhetoric and hawkish media reports supporting militarism, not diplomatic efforts to achieve peace. Those for it aren’t heard. Hugo Chavez’s government is one. On February 28, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Nicolas Maduro, warned against belligerence saying:
“We would be against any military intervention against the Arabic people of Libya, and I’m sure that all peoples of the world would support a struggle against any interventionism that some powerful countries would commit against it….Arabic people who are in a process of rebellion, seeking a better destiny, (can) find their way to peace. (Venezuelans understand) very difficult times, (but have) gone about finding our ways to independence, democracy, and freedom, which in our case” is Bolarivarianism.
“Just as we were against the invasion of Iraq and the massacre of the Palestinian people of Gaza, we would be against any military (attack or) invasion of Libya.”
Chavez added: We “want peace for this country and for the peoples of the world. Those who immediately condemn Libya don’t talk about (Israel’s) bombing (of Gaza, America assault on) Fallujah, and the thousands and thousands of deaths including children, women, and whole families. They are quiet about the bombing and massacres in Iraq, in Afghanistan, so they don’t have the right to condemn anyone,” especially from unverified reports.
Amidst hawkish official rhetoric and supportive media reports, Chavez and Maduro are shut out, unheard voices in the wilderness outside Venezuela and parts of Latin America.
Official US Policy: War Yes, Peace No
For imperial America, giving peace a chance isn’t an option when war is planned to destroy another nation, replace its leader with a more amenable one, and plunder its resources. In Libya, its to exploit its vast energy reserves and people, commodities for greater profit.
A previous article said Gaddafi without question is despotic, governing by “fear and cronyism,” treating Libya as his “private estate,” as well as spawning a hierarchy of corrupt officials, disdainful of popular interests.
The same holds for dozens of other countries, most of which Washington supports, some as close allies. Ones allied with America escape media scrutiny, their crimes airbrushed from daily reports. Enemies, however, are pilloried, including by unverified misreporting, willfully distorting the truth, violating good journalism principles.
Until it closed at year end 2005, Chicago’s famed City News Bureau gave young reporters rigorous training, explained in its notable principle: “If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out with two independent sources.” In other words, get it right or not at all, what’s absent in today’s deplorable reporting, from Fox to The New York Times, BBC and others, offering managed, not real news and information.
Fox News especially, as America’s official voice of right wing politics. On US television, it’s in full battle mode, beating the drums of war, its staff under strict management guidelines, manipulating facts to be hardline.
As a result, news anchor Jon Scott said, “If I were President Obama, I would unilaterally” impose a no-fly zone, no matter that doing so is an act of war. Bill O’Reilly called Obama’s position “beyond wimpy.” Sean Hannity wonders when America will attack Libya, calling Obama “extraordinarily weak.” Glenn Beck said Wisconsin protests prove the Caliphate’s presence in America. Other hosts are just as extreme. No wonder Fairness and Accuracy in Media (FAIR) calls Fox “the most biased name in news.” It reports. It decides. Truth is nowhere in sight.
The New York Times editorial headlined, “Qaddafi’s Crimes and Fantasies,” matched Fox, saying:
His “crimes continue to mount.” Citing unverified reports, it said “Libyan Air Force warplanes bombed rebel-controlled areas in the eastern part of the country. Libyan special forces mounted ground assaults on two breakaway cities near the capital. (Finally), the United States (EU and UN want) Qaddafi and his cronies to go (and) called on the International Criminal Court to investigate potential war crimes.”
This is the same paper that exonerated Washington and Britain for fabricating Iraq WMD intelligence to justify war, citing London’s whitewash Hutton inquiry in its January 29, 2004 editorial headlined, “Testing Two Leaders; Tony Blair, Vindicated.”
Despite clear indictable evidence, The Times endorsed the findings for being “fully consistent with the information available to British intelligence (and Washington) at that time and that no claims then known to be false or unreliable were concluded.” In fact, they were independently exposed as false and misleading, though nonetheless used to wage war.
Moreover, discredited reporter Judith Miller wrote daily propaganda, functioning as a Pentagon press agent, not a legitimate journalist. Commenting on her earlier, Alex Cockburn said:
“With Miller, we (sunk) to the level of straight press handout. Lay all Judith Miller….stories end to end, from late 2001 to June 2003, and you (got) a desolate picture of a reporter with an agenda, both manipulating and being manipulated by US government officials, Iraqi exiles and defectors, an entire Noah’s Ark of scam-artists.”
Worst of all was The Times itself for giving her daily front page space, then never adequately apologizing when their complicity was exposed. Powerful media outlets never have to say they’re sorry. They stay in full battle mode against new targets.
Now Times editors have the audacity to advocate Libyan intervention for reasons other than humanitarian, including asset freezes, a no-fly zone, harsh sanctions, travel bans, encouraged insurrection, criminal prosecution, stopping just short of endorsing war, but expect that to change if Washington attacks.
The Washington Post is just as belligerent, its February 21 editorial headlined, “Moammar Gaddafi must pay for atrocities,” saying:
His “beleaguered dictatorship (is) waging war against its own people and committing atrocities that demand not just condemnation but action by the outside world,” accusing Gaddafi of committing genocide based on mostly unverified reports, according to reliable independent in-country sources. Nonetheless, the Post endorses “regime change” and International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecution, ignoring far greater Bush and Obama administration crimes, ongoing daily but not reported.
On March 2, a Wall Street Journal editorial headlined, “The Reluctant American,” saying:
“The moral and strategic case for US leadership in Libya is obvious. A terrorist regime is slaughtering its people who will appreciate America’s support and protection. A bloody civil war could create chaos that turns Libya into a northern African failed state, an ideal home for terrorist groups. The US should support a provisional government that can take over when the regime collapses….What is Obama waiting for?”
Ask beleaguered Iraqis and Afghans if they appreciate US intervention, occupation, mass destruction, genocide, depravation, disease, and for many living early deaths! Ask them if they recommend this for Libyans! Ask them if they prefer America to Saddam and Taliban rulers!
Ask Kosovars and Serbs! Ask Koreans and Southeast Asians with long memories! Ask Central and Latin Americans! Ask Somalis and other African nationals! Ask Palestinians! Ask Libyans if they know what awaits them if America intervenes! If not, explain and let them decide! It won’t for Washington’s military option, growing more imminent daily.
On February 28, New York writers Mark Landler and Thom Shanker headlined, “US Readies Military Options on Libya,” saying:
“The United States began moving warships toward Libya and froze $30 billion in (its) assets on Monday,” ahead of plundering them, Libyan oil, and other resources, not mentioned in The Times report.
Conflict looks increasingly likely. Both Obama and Hillary Clinton want Gaddafi out “without further violence or delay.” “No option is off the table,” said Clinton, stopping just short of declaring war. Secretaries of State can’t do it. Neither can presidents, but it hasn’t stopped them since December 8, 1941, the last time America legally went to war.
In meetings with NATO allies, said The Times, “European officials have resisted military action,” but didn’t rule it out. “Should NATO get involved in a civil war to the south of the Mediterranean,” asked French Prime Minister Francosi Fillon? “It is a question that at least merits some reflection before being launched,” weasel words perhaps ahead of proceeding.
Pentagon officials want an international action mandate, either from NATO or the UN, usually easily pressured to get. War winds are blowing. Expect anything ahead, especially if misreporting incites it the way it precedes all US wars.
Notable was Al Jazeera’s March 1 report headlining: “Battles rage in Libya,” saying:
Gaddifi’s forces stepped up attacks, including “fighter jets bomb(ing) an ammunition depot in the eastern city of Ajdabiya.” Up to 2,000 deaths were reported in Tripoli. Many thousands fled. Gaddafi remains defiant.
Most of what Al Jajeera and Western media report isn’t verified. Yet it’s inflammatory enough to stoke war for “humanitarian intervention,” the usual bogus reason America and Western nations use, the same one earlier for Iraq, Afghanistan and other imperial interventions. Affected nations are never the same.
Breaching Libyan Sovereignty
Britain and Germany already launched air operations to evacuate their citizens. France is sending two or more planeloads of aid to opposition forces in Benghazi. Italy suspended its Libyan nonaggression treaty, saying the state no longer exists, an outrageous assertion.
In a BBC interview, Gaddafi called Western actions “betrayal,” adding: “They have no morals.” Indeed not and never did, despite Big Oil profiting handsomely in Libya, and Gaddafi offering his security forces for America’s “war on terror.”
Nonetheless, he’s targeted for removal, State Department spokesman PJ Crowley saying US officials have “been reaching out…to a range of figures within the opposition.” Hillary Clinton added: “We are going to be ready and prepared to offer any kind of assistance that anyone wishes to have from the US.” Nothing is ruled out, including weapons, intervention and war.
Nothing is said about client regimes engaged in similar or worse practices, including killing, arresting, torturing, and otherwise abusing thousands of its citizens. Decades of Israeli atrocities are ignored. So are those of Iraq and Afghanistan puppet governments, proxy force belligerence in Somalia and elsewhere, and numerous global client states doing the same things.
Only outlier leaders are vilified, in Gaddafi’s case an embraced one now betrayed for broader aims. Washington seeks greater regional dominance. Doing it requires compliant leaders, willing to let America and European nations colonize their countries, plunder their resources, exploit their people, and provide locations for new Pentagon bases. For six and half million Libyans, that awaits them as Washington moves in for the kill.
According to Russia Today (RT) television:
Russia’s military has been monitoring Libya by satellite since unrest began for accurate information about what, in fact, is ongoing. Its Joint Staff confirms no evidence of air strikes or destruction on the ground. Reports from US media, BBC, other Western sources, and Al Jazeera are entirely bogus.
Writer Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, a Middle East/Central Asian special maintains reliable Libyan contacts, essential for accurate accounts on the ground.
On March 2, he said the following:
— “Qaddafi still has control over much of the country.”
— “There are claims that cities have fallen, but in reality old videos or (ones) of other cities are being shown (in airing) these reports….to the public.”
— “The words ‘claim’ and ‘claimed’ are now systematically being used….to (corroborate) distorted or incorrect information.”
— World attention is on Libya, excluding other vital events “in the Arab world – such as the continued protests and demands of the Egyptian people (and others regionally) for authentic democracy,” jobs, better wages, and other social issues.
— “Reports have been made (about) fighting in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, (saying) parts of it have fallen, when it has been peaceful for days.”
— “On February 26, 2011, claims were (falsely) made that all the main cities were not in Qaddafi’s control.” In fact, he controls the following ones: “Sabha (in central Libya), Sirt/Surt (on the coastal mid-point of Libya), Ghat (on the southern border with Algeria), Al-Jufra, Al-Azizya (close to Tripoli) and Tripoli itself.”
— Media reports ignore Qaddafi “trying to negotiate with the places not under his control.”
— Most important: Outrageous misreporting persists, “blowing the violence out of proportion to justify foreign intervention.”
It’s coming – Washington-led naked aggression justified as “humanitarian intervention.” In fact, it’s imperial lawlessness against another target before advancing to the next one.
While one-sidely focusing on Libya, Western media ignore the March 1 Amnesty International (AI) report titled, “Tunisia in Revolt: State Violence during Anti Government Protests,” saying:
During December and January protests, Tunisian security forces engaged in “unlawful killings and acts of brutality….act(ing) with reckless disregard for human life in all too many cases,” according to Malcolm Smart, AI’s Middle East and North African program director.
“People detained by the security forces were also systematically beaten or subjected to other ill-treatment, according to (corroborated) evidence” obtained. Innocent bystanders were killed in cold blood, some shot from behind. Death, injury and arrest numbers are far higher than acknowledged. Major media sources, including Al Jazeera, largely suppress this.
Brutal Egyptian military treatment is also ignored, including mass arrests, disappearances and torture. An Egyptian human rights group said thousands are in military custody. Many have been beaten or tortured. US media ignored Egypt after Mubarak was ousted, despite protests, strikes and violence continuing after a brief quiet period.
On February 15, AI condemned Bahrain’s “heavy-handed….excessive police force” violence, including killings against peaceful protesters. An eyewitness said police, without provocation, opened fire on demonstrators, wanting a new constitution and democratically elected government.
In its January 11 report titled, “Crackdown in Bahrain: human rights at the crossroads,” AI cited serious human rights abuses, including suppressing free expression, closing critical web sites, and banning opposition publications, besides arrests, killings, beatings and other abuses.
US major media reports suppress client regime crimes. Only leaders Washington opposes draw attention, mostly by distorted misreporting. Major focus now is on Gaddafi to provide legitimacy for imperial intervention. As issue is replacing one despot with another willing to open Libya to Western colonization, ahead of regional expansion for greater plunder, exploitation and profits.
Arabs and North Africans want democratic change. Washington and Western allies plan raw power to suppress it. Battle lines are drawn. Sustained popular resistance is essential for real reform, what people want, not dark forces allied against them repressively, especially America treating all developing countries as exploitable low-hanging fruit. What better time than now to stop it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.