2011-03-22 23:41:12 UTC
Walter's CubaNews list. It was written on Sunday. Some comrades have
raised the post being forwarded to this list, so here it is. I apologize
if it winds up double-posed. Typing "marxmail" in the "To:" field has
brought up two different addresses.
-------- Original Message -------
"In war, truth is the first casualty."
--Aeschylus (525 BC - 456 BC)
I would suggest that people retrace the evolution of their perceptions
on Libya and recalibrate them by taking pretty much everything they've
read and heard in the last month and view this material as if it were
official U.S., British or French government handouts, briefings and so on.
Especially at the outset of the protests in Libya, there was a tsunami
of hate Gaddafi propaganda, the most incredible stories of outrageous
In general, there is no way to know in real time how much truth there is
to such reporting under those sorts of circumstances.
But what struck me right away is that the sourcing given to the public
for these stories --unverified second or third hand anonymous accounts--
would not have justified their being broadcast or published by the
editorial standards of any major news organization.
So the fact that they were published and broadcast, and pretty much by
all the mainstream media, means other sources were vouching for the
accounts but these sources were doing so on condition they not be mentioned.
Having worked as a journalist all my life, I am certain that those
unmentioned sources would have been people from the foreign policy and
defense establishments of the U.S. and European countries, very likely
foreign intelligence agency operatives functioning under diplomatic cover.
That this is what happened is even more obvious when you consider that,
at the outset, there was not one single person from a foreign news
organizations inside Libya -- the ones assigned to the region were in
Egypt and Tunisia. And that we were told --repeatedly-- that internet
and phone service in Libya had been interrupted.
So the stories wouldn't have gotten out without extraofficial Western
Given the tone and tenor of the coverage, it was obvious that the main
imperialist governments launched a coordinated effort to intervene in
this situation. And from the first, they were talking about military
action and specifically a no-fly zone.
That was justified on the basis of reported air raids by the Libyan air
force against civilian protests. These reports were even corroborated by
the defection of two air force pilots who took their Mirage jets to
Malta claiming that they had been ordered to bomb civilians ... or so we
There were also claims that other airmen had parachuted out of their
plane over rebel territory near Benghazi and let the plane crash rather
than attack the city.
But according to the Russian government, there were no air raids against
civilians early in the crisis.
How would the Russkies know? Cause they have satellites that take
pictures. Like, duh...
Why would they go public? Because they were opposing no-fly zone
proposals in the UN security council.
Here's the Russia Today report from March 1 saying the Western
media reports about air raids were false:
But of course CNN and other news organizations can buy images from
commercial satellite operators. The ones of the Japanese nuke have been
quite prominently used. So why didn't they get pictures showing the
damage from the attacks by Gaddafi's air force to civilian installations?
My guess is that they couldn't. When the US government doesn't want the
networks to have satellite pictures, they buy exclusive access from the
commercial services. They did it in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I suspect
they're doing the same thing in Libya.
Remember, supposedly this imperialist military intervention is called a
no fly zone because its purpose is to prevent Gaddafi from renewing the
sorts of air raids against civilians that he purportedly carried out in
February, before there was much international press in the country.
The veracity of the reports about those original air raids has been
challenged. And even though this challenge has not been widely reported,
certainly the State Department and Pentagon and their counterparts in
Britain and France would be aware of it.
You would think that the promoters of the no fly zone would make sure
that Satellite pictures showing the air raids really did take place
would make it to the media.
If such pictures existed.
I think the claim that Gaddafi had his air force attack civilian
protests has become extremely dubious.
Yet fresh claims against Gaddafi along similar lines continue. Just
this morning (Sunday) I heard on CNN International a phone interview
with an anonymous person claiming to be in a port city east of
Tripoli -- Misurata. And he said the Gaddafi forces had the city
surrounded and were shelling it from all sides, much of the town had
been destroyed and Gaddafi was doing it all in order to blame the
Americans for the damage.
We weren't told how CNN International had found this guy, what efforts
it had made to corroborate the story ... nothing, nada, zero, zip.
I know how a news organization like CNN International works. They would
not have put the guy live on air without a LOT of checking and vetting
first. That NOTHING was said to establish the guy's bona-fides for a
skeptical audience tells me that the sources who vouched for him
insisted they not be mentioned. That almost certainly means diplomats or
other officials from Europe or the U.S., who are the ones who play this
sort of game.
I have of course no way of knowing whether what the person was claiming
was true. But I am very skeptical because the report had disappeared
from the news on CNNI by Sunday night.
Then there's the stories that have been debunked. One was an air
strike against an oil refinery that had everyone at the State Department
and Fox News hyperventilating at the beginning of March. Turned out
there WAS a bomb dropped from an airplane ... but it missed. Hit a sand
dune. Or at least that's what some guy from Reuters who apparently was
the one who got the ball rolling about the bombed refinery claimed.
Because people started asking why didn't the refinery blow up.
Another story that proved false was that Gaddafi's soldiers had gone
from hospital to hospital in some town dragging away wounded
oppositionists. An NPR reporter spent a day chasing that one down.
Then there were the mercenaries. One early report had them commandeering
ambulances to show up in random areas of Tripoli and shooting everyone
in sight. Strange how this seems to have stopped once foreign reporters
got to the Libyan capital.
There are undoubtedly many more reports that have proven false.
I'm not saying Gaddafi is a really nice guy and everything said about
him is a lie. I'm also not saying his side is telling the truth.
This really isn't about how much might be true or false, on either side.
My point is that the first barrage of the American and European
imperialist intervention wasn't Saturday's cowardly cruise missile attack.
It was the barrage of propaganda at the outset of the crisis. Those
reports were pushed to the public by imperialist governments through the
mainstream media irrespective of their veracity.
And this barrage had the political effect of creating a hysteria that
has dominated the tenor of the coverage and commentary on Libya since
then. Even among many in left and progressive circles.
This is a classic war hysteria of the Huns-bayoneting-Belgian-babies and
Consider the widely repeated current assertion that Gaddafi has promised
to to hunt down every last person who sided with the opposition in
Benghazi and kill them.
Sure. In the middle of a civil war, Gaddafi is so stupid that INSTEAD of
trying to get his opponents to give up, he tries to make sure that they
will continue fighting to the death against him by telling them he will
surely kill them if they give up and he wins.
How likely is it to be true that this is REALLY what Gaddafi is saying?
The bottom line is this:
The imperialists aren't responding to a world outcry about a
humanitarian crisis. They CREATED the world outcry to launch a war and
now with their imperialist war they will turn Libya's crisis into a
PS: Let me suggest that folks check out the RT (Russia Today)
coverage. You might want to start with this piece: "Wag the Dog: Media
blamed for covering Libya unrest with fog of war":
It's been commented on, reposted or reported on thousands of times on
Internet web pages in the last few days ... yet not been mentioned once,
as far as I can tell from a Google News search, by the corporate media
in the spaces they control.