A look back at Libya

The 2011 armed conflict in Libya was fought between forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government. The war was preceded by skirmishes and protests in Benghazi beginning on Tuesday the 15th of February 2011.

Within days of the conflict beginning the Guardian began publishing pro interventionist and overtly aggressive editorials.

Libya: The urge to help – Thursday 24 February 2011

“The quicker Muammar Gaddafi falls, the better…….   a no-fly zone should become an option. Lord Owen was therefore right to say that military preparations should be made”

Libya: Limited options – Saturday 26 February 2011

“American and other western forces in the Mediterranean area, working with military units from Arab countries, could probably destroy the Gaddafi family’s ramshackle legions in about the same amount of time it took over 150 years ago. When sniper fire rakes crowds outside mosques and when ill-armed fighters face machine guns, the temptation to reach out for a quick military solution is strong.”

Libya: Narrowing the options – Tuesday 29 March 2011

“The emerging compromise may be that for a few more days the current rules of engagement, allowing ground attacks on military assets not directly or actively threatening civilians, will continue in force but then a narrower interpretation will prevail. That gives Nato planes a slender window to tip the military balance further against Gaddafi.”

During the conflict the Guardian also seemed very eager to report that Gaddafi was issuing Viagra to his soldiers so they could commit mass rape against his opponents.

Gaddafi ‘supplies troops with Viagra to encourage mass rape’, claims diplomat – Friday 29 April 2011

Libya mass rape claims: using Viagra would be a horrific first – Thursday 9 June 2011

Gaddafi faces new ICC charges for using rape as weapon in conflict – Thursday 9 June 2011

This ridiculous claim which lacked any evidence whatsoever was then refuted by major activist groups – as stated on Wikipedia.

Amnesty international, Human Rights Watch and Doctors Without Borders failed to find first-hand evidence that mass rapes were occurring, this was confirmed by the UN’s investigator, M. Cherif Bassiouni.

I cannot find any evidence that the Guardian bothered to report the findings of Amnesty international, Human Rights Watch, Doctors Without Borders and the UN investigator.

One of the major selling points of the Libyan intervention was the issue that Gaddafi used airstrikes on his population. This rumor was repeated over and over (like the claims of mass rape) by the mainstream media but I have yet to see any compelling evidence that it actually happened.  Please send me any information if I am mistaken. There is no video evidence anywhere online and until there is I have to keep an open mind. According to a Russian news network the Russian Military confirmed that “Airstrikes in Libya did not take place”. If airstrikes are such a deciding factor in whether or not a government decides to go to war – surely some evidence for the general public would be beneficial.

Another biased attribute of the Guardians reporting on Libya was the downplaying or ignoring of atrocities committed by the NATO backed rebels. As stated on a previous blog post…

“The UK Government and media outlets downplayed and largely ignored the brutalization of black communities during the Libyan conflict and in its aftermath reports of ethnic cleansing were conveniently swept under the carpet.”

The examples of propaganda and media bias during this bloody conflict are many. The action on the ground unfolded so quickly that before investigations into what was true and what was false could even begin – NATO had already started its bombing campaign and civilians were being killed in the name of ‘humanitarianism’.

It speaks volumes that the ongoing violence in Libya is now barely reported by the Guardian. During the conflict, major incidents were treated to rolling news coverage and headlines on the home page but ever since the forced regime change the faux concern has shifted to the citizens of Syria, almost as if to imply – job done – on to the next.

It is very important to note that there were some articles on the Guardian website opposing intervention in Libya but the pro interventionist propaganda had already begun. By promoting a conversation on the positives and negatives of war – war itself becomes rationalized, when the very idea of such carnage should be opposed at every single level. We live in an apathetic world where powerful, Western Governments have been able to destroy entire countries based on deceit and a complete lack of accountability. For every anti war campaigner working against the tide there seems to be a well paid war apologist with column inches to fill. We must hold our mainstream media to account whenever it prints pro war commentary and any form of propaganda.

For further reading on mainstream media propaganda during the Libyan conflict, please visit the following links >

 Libya One Year On (Part 3): The Propaganda and the Law

Libya: NTC concocts mass grave story in brazen propaganda piece

Proxy Propaganda

As the rhetoric between the USA and Russia intensified during their ongoing proxy war in Syria, the Guardian firmly maintained its parroting of Western policy. On a constant basis Russia has been scrutinized and attacked by mainstream media for its position on the crisis.

The G8 countries met this weekend to negotiate and here is a Guardian headline;

Syria crisis: Russia faces isolation at G8

Underneath that headline you’ll find no follow-up remarks as to why or even how Russia will face isolation. Just one biased, opinionated headline is given with no actual journalism on why the headline has been written in the first place. What makes this statement even worse is that far from being backed up by facts it is actually, in some respects, opposite to the truth. As noted by one regular commentator;

PeterBrit
18 June 2013 9:03am

“Syria Crisis: Russia Faces G8 Isolation”

Ironic, since all the evidence and polls suggest that the actual voters of the G8 countries support Putin’s approach to Syria, not those of their own governments. The headline could read “Syria Crisis: Russia in line with Western public opinion, other G8 governments isolated.” So who’s pulling Cameron’s strings on Syria? Why is he so keen to support the proxy war of US hawks and Gulf dictators against Iran and ignore his own voters?

The following day the Guardian once again bases its statements against Russia on anonymous British diplomats by stating that;

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is willing to see the removal of the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, but only if it leads to a balanced government and not a dangerous power vacuum of the kind that followed Saddam Hussein’s removal in Iraq, British officials believe after two days of intensive talks at the G8 summit.

To those who were actually keeping an eye on the G8 these reports seem completely contrary to what actually happened. Here are 2 comments from the readers that summarize this point.

PeterBrit

We’ve had this time and time again. Unnamed UK officials ‘spin’ that Russia is moving towards Britain’s position and time and time again the press dutifully report it as fact and time and time again it’s bollocks. The Russians have said from Day One that their concern is not whether Assad stays or goes but that there is peace and stability in Syria

philbobaggins1

“Vladimir Putin may allow Assad to go if power vacuum in Syria is avoided”
Quite astounding doublespeak on the Guardian’s behalf. And further proof-positive that this newspaper is a mere mouthpiece for Whitehall and UK foreign policy.

This anti-Russian tirade has been going on since the conflict began (evidently less so since a military stalemate and political polarization occurred).

Here are some clippings from an editorial called “Syria: Assad’s last stand” published by the Guardian on Tuesday the 4th of December 2012.

  • “Bashar al-Assad has ringed the city with a force 80,000-strong and is reported by his Russian interlocutors to have lost all hope of either victory or escape”

  • “Over 20 months into this conflict, there are signs, too, that Russia is having second thoughts. Its military support of Assad was doomed to failure from the start”

  • “Russia’s position is weaker now that the rebels are stronger militarily, and that European support for the Free Syrian Army means money and arms are now flooding in”

Listed below are 3 more articles to back up this claim of anti Russian bias regarding Syria:

Thursday 9 August 2012 > For the record, Russia and China failed Syria

Tuesday 7 February 2012 > Syria: Russia on the wrong side

Tuesday 24 May 2011 > Let’s call Russia’s bluff on Syria

There are many more examples of this proxy propaganda on the Guardian website and in time I will update this post with more links.

With great power comes great ROFL

Sunny Hundal  who writes for the Guardian recently wrote a blog entitled “Why I support (limited) western intervention in Syria”. 

When he promoted this blog on twitter my initial response was to relay the opinion of my Syrian friend. Only weeks after the civil war began my friend told me that he felt safer knowing the USA wouldn’t bomb his country because he thought China and Russia would veto any military intervention (which indeed they have).

Here is the response from the well respected journalist Sunny Hundal.

Image

Whether or not my story is true isn’t exactly the point (although on a personal level it does hurt when someone laughs at you and accuses you of lying when you’re telling the truth). The point is far more significant. Surely, with a population of 20 million people, there are many Syrians who would fear US led aggression and a possible bombing campaign. Surely many of those people would automatically look to Russia and China to help prevent it. What disturbs me is that this concept is so alien to a mainstream, liberal journalist that it is actually ridiculed. When an influential journalist like Sunny Hundal has such a weak grasp of reality yet openly supports military intervention – our mainstream media seems terrifyingly immature.

Whilst this specific incident did not appear on the Guardian website itself, I still felt it necessary to document. Our mainstream news organisations have a great power. And with great power comes great responsibility.