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Pack Journalism Promotes War on Libya

by Stephen Lendman Friday, Mar. 11, 2011 at 9:34 AM


Pack Journalism Promotes War on Libya - by Stephen Lendman

America's major media never met an imperial war it didn't love and promote, never mind how lawless, mindless, destructive and counterproductive.

Despite Washington already bogged down in two losing ones, Obama's heading for another on Libya, the media pack in the lead clamoring for it, perhaps by "shock and awe," supplemented by special forces death squads on the ground recruiting, inciting, and arming opposition elements.

Notably favoring intervention, a New York Times February 24 editorial headlined, "Stopping Qaffafi," saying:

Unless he's stopped, he'll "slaughter hundreds or even thousands of his own people in his desperation to hang on to power."

Where's the Times outrage over millions Washington slaughtered, hundreds more killed daily, its ties to global despots, its funding and support for Israeli brutality against Palestinians, and its imperial insanity to achieve unchallengeable global dominance, no matter how many corpses it takes to do it.

Nonetheless, The Times hailed Libyan courage, asking for more Western support, implying the belligerent kind. "Colonel Qaddafi and his henchmen have to be told in credible and very specific terms the price they will pay for any more killing. They need to start paying now. (The) longer the world temporizes, the more people die."

On February 28, The Times editorial headlined, "Qaddafi's Crimes and Fantasies," saying:

His "crimes continue to mount. Rebel commanders said (his) warplanes bombed rebel-controlled areas in the eastern part of the country." However, Russian satellite imagery showed no bombing evidence or destruction on the ground. So much for The Times or other major media credibility, reporting the same unverified accounts.

On March 8, The Times headlined, "Washington's Options on Libya," saying:

"....some way must be found to support Libya's uprising and stop (Gaddafi) from slaughtering his people....It would be a disaster if (he) managed to cling to power by butchering his own people."

Indisputably, Gaddafi is a despot, but he didn't initiate conflict. Western powers did, sending in covert intelligence and special forces to incite, arm and support it.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron admitted that UK commandos were in Benghazi. So did Foreign Secretary William Hague, telling Parliament it was "a serious misunderstanding," drawing laughs from opposition benches.

Channel 4 News aired a video with him saying intelligence and elite special forces were on "a diplomatic mission" to make contact with rebel elements. However, he left unexplained why they arrived secretly by helicopter at 2AM with no advance warning. In fact, the Cameron/Hague "misunderstanding" came to enlist and incite violence along with US special forces there for the same purpose. Commandos are trained killers, not diplomats.

As a result, Gaddafi responded in self-defense. Washington and NATO bear full responsibility for growing daily casualties. Blood's on their hands. It's their cross to bear, costing many Libyan lives.

It hardly matters for greater stakes, including:

-- replacing one despot with another;

-- preventing democratization;

-- colonizing Libya;

-- controlling its oil, gas and other resources;

-- privatizing its state industries, handing them over to Western interests;

-- perhaps balkanizing the country like Yugoslavia and Iraq - in other words, effectively destroying it for profit and control, as well as using it as a platform to intimidate other regional states to comply fully with Western diktats - or else; and

-- exploiting its people ruthlessly as serf labor.

It's a familiar Western scheme, justified as "humanitarian intervention," what America, above all, doesn't give a damn about and never did, seeking only imperial dominance, no matter how much death and destruction it takes to get it. "Operation Libya" had antecedents, notably in Yugoslavia and Iraq, two previous countries Western powers destroyed and now exploit.

International Law on Self-Defense and External Intervention - Humanitarian or Otherwise

International law authorizes Gaddafi to respond in self-defense. Article 51 of the UN Charter's Chapter VII: Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression" states:

"Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security."

In other words, self-defense is permissible. Moreover, the UN Charter explains under what conditions intervention, violence and coercion (by one state against another) are justified. Article 2(3) and Article 33(1) require peaceful settlement of international disputes. Article 2(4) prohibits force or its threatened use, including no-fly zones that are acts of war.

In addition, Articles 2(3), 2(4), and 33 absolutely prohibit any unilateral or other external threat or use of force not specifically allowed under Article 51 or otherwise authorized by the Security Council.

Three General Assembly resolutions also prohibit non-consensual belligerent intervention, including:

-- the 1965 Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty;

-- the 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations; and

-- the 1974 Definition of Aggression.

Under no circumstances, with no exceptions, may one nation, NATO, or other combination of nations intervene against another without specific Security Council authorization. Doing so is illegal aggression, a lawless act of war. Washington and NATO have already initiated conflict. Gaddafi, or any other democrat or despot, legally may respond in self-defense as he's doing, love him or hate him. By law, he's justified.

Yet The Times urges NATO to expand "its air surveillance over Libya (and) share relevant information with the rebels." No matter that violating its air space is illegal and aggressive. The Times also wants pressure put on "Qaddafi and his cronies to cede power," by what authority it didn't say because there is none. No matter because in Times-think, "(i)t would be a disaster if (he) managed to cling to power by butchering his own people."

Hyperbole, misinformation, imperial support, and disdain for international and US laws as well as democratic values are Times specialties - on display backing Washington's attempt to destroy, colonize and exploit another country, no matter the corpse count to do it.

In his March 9 commentary, longtime insider Bob Chapman said the following:

" we pointed out after the Tunisian episode, this was the beginning of CIA, MI6 and Mossad planned activities in the Middle East. As usual there were several objectives. The first was a distraction to cover up (Western) financial troubles....The second was to remove Mubarak from his dictatorial position, because (he refused) to participate and agree to an invasion of Iran and to cause chaos in the region, so that (Iranian allies) would not give it assistance in the event of war."

"There was also the matter of controlling Libya's oil and toppling its dictator Gaddafi....From behind the scenes, (new leadership will emerge) tied to the CIA, MI6 and the Mossad. (These plans) have been in the works for years." Unrest will continue. "A solution will be found for Libya, and the west hopes its puppet (Saudi) regime stays in place." If disruption occurs there, America will intervene. Turmoil will continue for some time. "It won't take long for Mr. Gaddafi to be deposed and sent on his way," perhaps by US troops.

More Major Media War Endorsements

With total editorial control, Murdoch's Wall Street Journal aggressively backs imperial wars, notably now against Libya. On February 23, it editorial headlined, "Liberating Libya," saying:

"The US and Europe should help Libyans overthrow the Gadhafi regime," replacing him, of course, with a Western favored despot, ceding control to imperial interests.

On March 6, the Journal headlined, "Obama's Libyan Abdication," asking:

"Will the US let Gadhafi slaughter his way back to power? The greatest danger now to US interests - and to Obama's political standing - would be for (him) to regain control....isolated and dangerous (he'll) likely (abet) terrorists," hyperbole exceeding The New York Times and most other corporate sources.

Not far behind, a February 21 Washington Post editorial screamed, "Moammar Gaddafi must pay for his atrocities," calling them "genocide." It was the same deception used before, including against Slobodan Milosevic to justify NATO's punishing 1999 illegal aggression to complete its long-planned Yugoslavia balkanization, defended then as "humanitarian intervention," no matter the vast destruction and loss of lives it caused.

The Post's resident zealot, Charles Krauthammer, called Gaddafi "a capricious killer" in his March 4 "Baghdad to Benghazi" article, saying he's "delusional, unstable and crazy."

On March 8, the Post's Marc Thiessen headlined, "Apply the Reagan Doctrine in Libya," by arming opposition elements, and inciting violence to topple Gaddafi the way Reagan operated in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union and Central America, notably against the Nicaraguan Sandinistas and FMLN in El Salvador, killing countless tens of thousands in the process, a record airbrushed from official history, calling imperial slaughter "liberation."

Arming Libya's Opposition

On March 7, London Independent writer Robert Fisk headlined, "America's secret plan to arm Libya's rebels," saying:

Washington asked "Saudi Arabia (to) supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi." In the 1980s, Saudis helped arm Mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan and Contra forces in Central America. Asking Saudi help lets Washington deny involvement, perhaps impossible with Fisk breaking the news. He also said "US Awacs surveillance aircraft have been flying around Libya" for days, violating its air space illegally.

Moreover, he noted an "Arab awakening, the demand for democracy in North Africa, the Shia revolt, and the rising against Gaddafi become entangled in the space of just a few hours with US (UK, and NATO) priorities in the region." They augur no good for Libyans for sure.

A Final Comment

At times, Al Jazeera sounds like BBC, falling short of what viewers deserve. On February 18, Professor As'ad AbuKhalil's Angry Arab News Service discussed its coverage, saying:

"I am seething. The coverage of Aljazeera Arabic has become too blatantly politically biased for my taste. They protect their allies and friends and go intensely after the rivals and enemies of Qatar (where it's based) like the regime of Hosni Mubarak."

When GCC countries "decided to back the Bahrain monarchy, Aljazeera quickly reflected that. It is not a story anymore. Aljazeera is extensively covering Libya and Yemen now: not close allies of Qatar. If Mubarak was a member of the GCC, he would have been protected by Aljazeera."

Nonetheless, its service is vastly superior to US corporate news, offering entirely propaganda, sanitized reports and infotainment, a worthless mix to be avoided and condemned.

Reaching 40 million viewers, The New York Times called Al Jazeera "the bete noire" of Arab governments (shaping) popular rage against oppressive American-backed Arab governments (and against Israel) ever since its (1996) founding."

In their recent study on "How Al Jazeera Shapes Political Identities," Erik Nisbet and Teresa Myers found that exposure to Arabic media weakens national identities and strengthens Muslim and Arab ones.

Asked how it affects Middle East protests, Nisbet said:

"In the short term, the Pan-Muslim and Pan-Arab narratives typically embedded in Al Jazeera content, in combination with growing Pan-Muslim and Pan-Arab identification among Arab audiences, most likely facilitate the contagion begun by the Tunisian revolt."

The long-term implications for US foreign policy are also significant, posing "a serious challenge for Egyptian relations with the United States and Israel." Perhaps also for America's regional agenda. The "greater political liberalization combined with the growth of transnational political identification may challenge the United States to enact foreign policy within a regional context dominated by transnational political identities whose interests may be more opposed, or at least less amenable, to US foreign policy goals compared to state-centric identities."

Anything weakening Washington's dominance anywhere is important. Hopefully, Al Jazeera will promote and encourage it by more forcefully opposing imperial intervention, especially by belligerence and occupation.

That would make its service invaluable.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog site at 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.

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