By Les Blough. Axis of Logic
|"Rebels" welcoming arrival of NATO war jets to pave the way for their occupation of Ajdabiya March 26. AP Photo
The Western Media
Examining the facts and finding the truth of what began Friday night as The Battle for Bani Walid has not been easy due to the many conflicting stories published by the pro-invader media. That the western media has organized itself to blantantly lie about the NATO war on Libya is irrefutable; indeed, they make no attempt to defend their deception depending rather on repetition and brute media force on minds akin to the savagery of NATO's assault with bombs and missiles. In their coverage of the Battle for Bani Walid we argue that the media has warped into publication of deliberate contradictions meant to confuse the reader, hiding or ignoring the facts.
The Imperial Media and Their Grand Deception
Before we look at the Battle for Bani Walid, the BBC and Reuters serve as examples of the grand deception. The BBC reports today on the discovery of bodies found buried outside Tripol. In their title, the BBC calls the burials "roadside graves," a subtle minimization for mass graves that contain up to 15 bodies. The victims are slain African workers whom the BBC states, "They were said to be mostly the remains of African mercenaries who had been fighting for Col Gaddafi." - a rumor propagated by the western media that led to the hysterical murders of African migrant workers by the NATO mercenaries. The corporate media has never provided any evidence that Africans were hired by the Libyan leader to fight against the NATO attacks.
The first of the two photos below is a Reuters photo that includes Reuters descriptions. The second is published by the BBC with their descriptions of the image. The reporters and camera crews from Associated Press, Reuters and the BBC were present in these and many similar scenes showing they had full knowledge of the mercenaries. We can only imagine the photos they have which they chose not to publish. Of course none of the pro-invader media was "embedded" with the Libyan military despite numerous invitations.
|One of the Reuters photos of African workers, rounded up by the NATO "rebels" on the basis of their skin color on March 24, 2011. It is featured with others by Reuters under the title, "Gaddafi's Mercenaries." Reuters describes these men without evidence or qualification, "Mercenaries and soldiers loyal to Gaddafi sit inside a prison in Benghazi." In some of the other photos in the same series, Reuters calls them, "Suspected Mercenaries."
In typical western media fashion, the BBC also states, "It is not known who the victims are or who killed them," - after identifying them as mercenaries hired by and fighting for Col. Qaddafi. The BBC also suggests that the "rebels" were probably not responsible for these murders by reporting that the Africans were killed a month ago but the "rebels" arrived in Tripoli 3 weeks ago. It has been well-established that the beatings, lynchings, rapes, murders and dismemberment of African workers by "rebels" were also the rotten fruit of lies spread by the western media.
This corporate media photo is captioned by the BBC: "This machete-wielding Libyan rebel is rounding up men outside Ajdabiya suspected of having fought on the side of the pro-Gaddafi forces. The men's fate is unknown."
CNN serves as our last example of organized deception by the western media. Sara Sidner, their reporter in Tripoli during the sacking of the city was embedded with the mercenaries even as they rode into Tripoli in the wake of NATO bombing. In one scene on August 23, dressed in battle gear she reported as CNN's camera crew filmed the pillaging of the compound and home of Col. Qaddafi and his family. Sara praised the mercenaries as they fired through the exterior walls with heavy weapons for hours and later as they entered the Bab Al Aziza compound. As CNN cameras showed the mercenaries looting the compound, waving their stolen goods, Sara's CNN anchors cheered for the mercenaries and NATO, often laughing audibly in their studio back in Atlanta, Georgia ... while Tripoli burned. Such psychotic behavior. showing not a trace of genuine remorse or sadness for dying Libyans reveals the loathsome culture of the corporate media. Interestingly, CNN did not show any footage of unarmed Libyans who went to the compound to protest the invasion and were summarily executed with hands bound behind their backs.
|This is CNN's Sara Sidner reporting on the pillage of the Bab Al Aziza compound in Tripoli on August 23.
Here is part of an actual transcript of a televised exchange between CNN anchor, Brooke Baldwin in Atlanta talking to Sara Sidner in Tripoli on August 22:
BALDWIN: Sara, I know you have been covering some of these rebel groups for a number of weeks. And just looking back to months ago, when we were reporting on them, the last adjective you would use to describe these men would be sophisticated.
But I want you to characterize for them for me. As we have seen them take down this capital city, how do they appear?
SIDNER: Yes, it's very interesting, because we met a lot of different kinds of rebels, if you will. I mean, they are human beings, they are people who lived in neighborhoods. Some of them, many of them live in Libya. They are people who were planning on trying to protect their families, protect their homes, protect their neighborhoods, and indeed, protect their cities.
Some of them are Libyans who lived outside of the country. There are ex-patriots who decided that they were going to leave their comfortable lives and return to Libya to fight what they felt like was the good fight to try and rid this country of the Gadhafi regime. They came back into this country and had to learn, for example, how to shoot a gun, never having touched a gun before.
And so, within the few months that this has gone on, we're talking about an army that really doesn't have that much training. And that is pretty concerning when you think about what they thought they were going to encounter when they got to Tripoli. And that is why there is a lot of surprise here in the minds of a lot of these opposition fighters. They cannot believe in some ways that they have done this so quickly and just basically 24 hours from getting to the edge of the city they've pushed their way all the way in and have taken over most of the neighborhoods -- Brooke.
Another media synchophant gives Sara her "kudos" :
"CNN’s Sara Sidner has been garnering much positive attention — and rightfully so — for her in-depth, compelling live coverage from Libya, where rebel forces have been clashing with those supporting ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi. While covering the continually unfolding events in Tripoli, Sidner was actually grazed by a bullet wayward shell casing, likely from celebratory gunfire. Throughout it all, Sidner has proven herself to be a tenacious, aggressive and downright fearless reporter. So, for helping to bring astonishing, up to the minute coverage of a faraway revolution to American viewers (and for not letting something like a little bullet get in the way of her reporting), we say kudos to CNN’s Sara Sidner. And, just to drive home how exceptionally fearless this women truly is, here’s the footage of her dodging bullets. All for you, America. All for you!"
Definition of Terms
A NATO Mercenary
NATO Mercenaries: The government controlled media run by their corporations in the west have gradually shifted their name for the mercenaries from "Rebels" to "Freedom Fighters" and now to "Revolutionaries" and soon they will be called presidents, congressmen, officers and soldiers to give them an aura of credibility. If it's important enough for the government/corporate media to place so much emphasis on their shifting status, it's important for us to remind ourselves who and what these people have been from the beginning of their "uprising". Even as their leaders will be photographed by AP and Reuters in fine suits, shirts and ties bought with stolen Libyan reserves and even as their gunmen begin to don NATO-issued military uniforms with medals pinned to the breasts of their new colonels and generals, we will continue to call them what they have always been - "mercenaries," armed and funded by western regimes in Washington, London and Paris. Nothing can change that. The only real revolutionaries in Libya are those who overthrew a corrupt US-backed king 41 years ago and then led Libya to become the most advanced nation in Africa.
A Libyan Soldier
Libyan Soldiers: As early as February, the western media began by calling Col. Qaddafi a "brutal dictator," the government "a dictatorship" and since then they've called the Libyan military "Gaddafi's Forces", "Murderous Thugs," Gunmen," Mercenaries" ... and now the western media seems to favor application of the term, "Gaddafi Loyalists."
We continue to call them the Libyan Military and the Libyan soldiers and forever shall they be. This is the case regardless of what "Regime Change" the U.S. and NATO are able to achieve - for the government and military that has existed for 41 years cannot be de-legitimized by western regimes putting in place their own NTC puppet government. Nor can the only legitimate Libyan government be erased with future "elections" created and manipulated by foreign regimes.
The War: The corporate media has continuously changed terms they apply to this war on the Libyan people. It began as a "rebel uprising," then a "civil war" and now, a "revolution." The US/NATO attack began as a "No Fly Zone" to protect civilians called an "intervention," immediately converted to a massive, bombing campaign calling civilian targets "military installations." We call it what it is - War.
Battle for Bani Walid
Our current study of the western media's coverage of the Battle for Bani Walid is meant to counter-attack the lies of the the government-controlled media of the west with the weapons of close examination and exposure.
Some may feel that these details are not important as our general knowledge of the US/NATO/NTC assault on the Libyan people is already all too obvious. Maybe so. Nonetheless, in this analysis we attempt to clarify, to the degree possible how the battle for control of Bani Walid began and to establish facts about what is happening today, even as the slaughter is underway with the real mercenaries reportedly entering the city on Sunday, having had their path paved by NATO destruction from the air.
Preparation for the assault on Bani Walid
Over the last couple of weeks, “Thousands of rebel fighters have converged on Bani Walid in recent days from multiple directions,” as they prepared for their assault on the city. .
Bani Walid, a town of 100,000 was probably chosen for the assault because unlike the City of Sirte, it was considered to be one of the softer targets being defended by Libyan soldiers. Two weeks ago, the NATO mercenaries laid siege on Bani Walid cutting off electricity, food and water supplies and the people have only food and water stocks they have stored. A pretext for this assault is laden with rumors that Col. Qaddafi and/or his sons are in the city and variably, the objective is to capture the city, rout out the "Gaddafi Loyalists" and to capture Col. Qaddafi and his sons.
Meanwhile, the western media flooded the newswires with propaganda that the mercanaries have been trying to negotiate a peaceful solution with the Libyan soldiers and residents in the city, ostensibly due to their desire to to avoid the spilling of more blood. One NATO mercenary allegedly told TIME, "I hope there is no fighting. We want no more blood and no more killing." But anyone who has followed their war on the people of Libya knows that they have left nothing but blood in their tracks over the last 6 months which have included executions, beheadings, lynchings, cannibalism and serial rape and killing, not only of Libyan soldiers but civilians and migrant workers from Africa.
For NATO and their mercenaries, "a peaceful solution," means unconditional surrender. Libyan soldiers who have been defending Bani Walid have flatly rejected their demand for surrender. Again, the Western media comes to fore, condemning the Libyan military for refusing to negotiate for a "peaceful settlement."
September 3 Deadline: On Tuesday, August 30, 2011 NATO, the NTC and their mercenaries first set a deadline for Libyan government forces in the city of Bani Walid to surrender by the following Saturday, September 3. As the deadline approached, they extended the deadline by one week, again claiming the extension was motivated by their desire to save lives. It should be obvious that the mercenaries extended their deadline due to their fear of the Libyan military in Bani Walid just as they fear them in the City of Sirte. They have not made any advances against the Libyan military even in small towns like Zitlin let alone Tripoli, without advance carpet bombing by NATO to clear the way for them.
September 10 Deadline: On the eve of their September 3 deadline for Libyan forces in Bani Walid to surrender, they extended the deadline to Saturday, September 10.
The Battle Begins: It began Friday night, before the NATO deadline expired. The western media publishes two accounts of how the battle began and who made the pre-emptive strike. One of two things happened, depending on what news report one reads. Either the Libyan soldiers inside the city launched a pre-emptive attack on the mercenaries who awaited NATO bombing to be completed - or the mercenaries attempted to attack on the eve of the deadline. These conflicting reports also depend on when one reads these reports because the corporate media is continually “updating” their reports, seemingly to put the best possible face on what happened on Friday night.
Reports that NATO and Mercenaries attacked first, before the deadline
Today, Associated Press and Israel’s Haaretz headlines: Former Libya rebels attack Bani Walid, Sirte on day before surrender deadline. They load their news report with anti-Qaddafi rhetoric, “The fighting came after Interpol issued arrest warrants for Gadhafi and two others Friday …” They continue, “Former Libyan rebels began attacking the loyalist holdouts of Bani Walid and Sirte on Friday night, a day before their own deadline for the surrender of those cities took effect.”
Then the Isaelis qualify their statements,
“ 'The former rebels reportedly were inside Bani Walid but fighting continued', Busin said. Busin said the Bani Walid attack took place early because loyalist forces inside the small city had opened fire on former-rebel positions outside. As for the attack on Sirte, he said, 'They may have pushed forward a few hours early simply because it was a strategic advantage'."
Xinhua News reports that NATO Mercenaries entered Bani Walid:
“The battle broke out one day earlier before the deadline set by the rebels for the Gaddafi forces in the town to surrender. According to earlier reports, the rebel forces had been nearing a deal with the Gaddafi loyalists in the town for a peaceful handover of the town.”
Al Jazeera TV reported that NATO’s mercenaries entered Bani Walid, "one day ahead of the Sept. 10-deadline the rebels set for Gaddafi loyalists to surrender …. from the north, east and south and had been just 2 km (1.5 miles) from the town center."
Reports that Libyan soldiers inside the city launched a surprise attack.
But today, Dr Abdullah Kenshil, a rebel spokesman told Reuters that the battle began with a pre-emptive attack by the Libyan military: “… the fighting, which began late on Friday - ahead of Saturday's noon deadline - after the Gaddafi troops launched artillery attacks on rebel positions."
And Wikipedia has an entry already today about the battle:
"The National Liberation Army said its fighters had entered Bani Walid from the north and east, penetrating to within two kilometres of the city centre, and heavy street fighting was underway. The offensive apparently began in response to a Grad rocket barrage against besieging anti-Gaddafi forces originating from within the city."
And One India News (AP) reports,
"Libya's new rulers had set today's deadline for Gaddafi loyalists in Bani Walid to surrender or face an offensive but decided to attack yesterday evening after Gaddafi forces fired volleys of rockets at the fighters' positions around the town."
NATO Mercenaries Flee the Battle
Across the board, the western media reports that the rebels have retreated from the assault laid on them by the Libyan soldiers around and within the city of Bani Walid. But the reports put forth conflicting stories about the reason they fled the battle. One Reuters reporter witnessed “dozens” of mercenary vehicles fleeing Bani Walid.
Mild digression: a Google search on “Rebels flee battle of Bani Walid” or any variation, only produces thousands of western media reports with propaganda about “Ghaddafi Loyalists fleeing” from one battle or another or from the country itself. The western media avoids any suggestion that the mercenaries ran from the battle.
Reasons why the mercenaries fled.
The mercenaries have not won – or even fought – a single major battle with Libyan forces without pre-NATO bombing. There is a great deal of evidence suggesting that they fled the battle of Bani Walid out of fear. But the media has published two conflicting stories about NATO’s involvement in their retreat. One story is that they retreated because of the fierce attack or counter attack by the Libyan forces. The other story is that NATO ordered them to retreat as a prelude to NATO bombing when it was clear that they were not able to withstand the Libyan forces.
The NTC negotiator Abdullah Kenshil, told AFP that the mercenaries came under attack by Libyan forces but, "later withdrew for tactical reasons decided by the military commanders which could be linked to military operations which NATO might be planning."
While running from the battle in his pickup truck, one mercenary fighter, Abdul Mulla Mohamed, told Reuters,
"Field commanders have told us to retreat because NATO will be bombing soon."
Several other mercenaries fleeing the scene also said they expected a NATO strike. The Reuters reporter, "saw dozens of vehicles pulling back from the town."
Al Arabiya reported that "Libyan rebels retreated from Bani Walid before the start of NATO’s bombing to the Qaddafi loyalist town." An Alarabiya correspondent reported this on Saturday. But we know from numerous reports that the US, English and French have been bombing the city at least since last Wednesday. (See the report on the Libyan living in Scotland below.)
Abdul Mulla Mohamed quoted above told a Reuters reporter,
"Field commanders have told us to retreat because NATO will be bombing soon [while] driving away in one of dozens of vehicles leaving the town, which lies 150 km (95 miles) southeast of Tripoli. All our troops have retreated because of NATO. We are waiting for orders from our comrades to go back in again."
And Reuters reported,
"Forces of the ruling Transitional National Council (NTC) said they had advanced to within 500 metres (yards) of the town centre, but then pulled back shortly before NATO aircraft struck at least seven times at Gaddafi positions around the town."
But also speaking to Reuters, a NATO spokesman in Brussels denied reports that it had warned NTC fighters to withdraw ahead of air strikes, saying it had no contacts with the NTC:
“NATO did not contact the rebel forces to let them pull back from positions on Bani Walid. We don’t have contacts with the NTC forces.”
On the other hand an AFP correspondent reported, “NATO aircrafts could also be heard overhead early on Saturday.”
One India News reports that NATO planes are seen in the air:
"Loud explosions were heard about 10 kilometres from the front line, followed by plumes of black smoke in the already hazy air. NATO planes circled above."
And contradicting earlier statements by the NATO spokesman in Brussels, asked about its bombing of Bani Walid, he admits,
"NATO says it is acting under a UN mandate to guarantee the safety of Libya's civilian population. Its bombing campaign has been crucial to the advance of Gaddafi's military opponents."
We look at NATO's bombing of civilians from Zliten to Tripoli and throughout the country and we understand it's UN mandate to "guarantee the safety of Libya's civilian population." NATO did not deny that it began to bomb Bani Walid at least 3 days ago on Wednesday September 7 when Mohi Alghazali inquired about his family in Bani Walid. Mr. Alghazali is a Libyan man living in Scotland who received word from relatives that his aunt, uncle and 3 of their children were killed in the city by NATO bombing. He is a senior production engineer, who studied in Edinburgh for four years before moving to Aberdeen. He also has other close family still living in Libya, among them his parents who live in the City of Sirte which is being bombarded by NATO. Mr. Alghazali has contacted NATO asking for answers as “Nato as it carries out its own investigation into the incident.”
From NATO’s War Crimes in Libya: Who Grieves for the Fallen Heroes? by James Petras:
"If the destruction and occupation of Libya marks a time of infamy for the NATO powers, it also establishes a new awareness that a people can struggle and resist 6 months of intense, massive bombings from all the NATO powers. Perhaps when their heroic example becomes clear and the fog of media propaganda is lifted, a new emerging generation of fighters can vindicate the battle of Libya, as a continuation of the struggle for the definitive emancipation of the Afro-Arab and Islamic peoples from the yoke of Western imperialism."
As with the 2004 Battle of Falluja in Iraq and the U.S. deeds in the Abu Ghraib prison and many other atrocities, the truths about the Battles of Bani Walid and Sirte will eventually leak out. The "misdeeds" of the imperialists will be admitted in pieces for years to come, peppered with lies, revisionist history demonizing Col. Qadaffi and the Libyan government and military. The US, NATO and Israeli imperialists will have their way. But in the now famous words of President Hugo Chavez Frias when he was imprisoned in 1992 after an attempted coup by Venezuela's revolutionaries, "Por Ahora" - "For Now."
BIO AND MORE ESSAYS AND POETRY BY LES BLOUGH