Herland Report: Media lies about Libya: The Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was brutally killed in oil rich Libya in 2011. As the civil war still rages on, we will republish an article about the Media lies about Libya in 2011, that made the NATO assault possible, to refresh the memory as of how civil wars are manufactured and nations spiraled into chaos by outside forces:
The UK published its report in 2016, and its examination revealed extensive misinformation and fake news reported by leading media outlets.
The media presented a string of decisive lies about Gaddafi and the situation on those momentous days of February, 2011—lies that opened the floodgates for NATO’s waging of war. This article uncovers some of the processes that were going on behind the facade of the media.
It also looks at the statements made by French philosopher Bernard Henri-Lévy in Libya—which were taped by Libyans and submitted to the Herland Report—that the war was Sarkozy’s own personal war.
This article about the Media lies about Libya also touches on the connection between Qatar’s al-Thani family and Hillary Clinton’s Clinton Foundation, which accepted millions during this period (ref. Judicial Watch, Wikileaks), as well as the exiled Libyans with connections to Sunni extremism acting as Western supporters.
Further, it takes a look at provisional government chief, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, who openly—on tape—admits to the Arab media that the accusations against Gaddafi were lies.
Muammar Gaddafi was a known enemy of al-Qaeda
Media lies about Libya: Benghazi, in eastern Libya, gained particular notoriety for being an al-Qaeda-affiliated and Sunni-extremist terrorist lair. In early February, 2011, riots broke out there. According to the CIA, for years there they had been training and then sending Islamists to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
It was no secret that since 1995, attempts had been made to murder Gaddafi by al-Qaeda, which has had one of its strongest bases in the Benghazi area for years—a region that has been one of the most active in the world and has sent the most al-Qaeda jihadists off to the war in Afghanistan.
- Unattainable dream of freedom for Libya, without Western interference.
- Under autocratic Muammar Gaddafi, Libya was Africa’s richest welfare state.
- Horrifying Militia Rule in Libya post NATO assault 2011. An analysis.
- Memorandum on Libya: Fabrications against the State – Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.
For more, read Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. Media lies about Libya War.
Gaddafi was also the first Muslim leader who called for Osama bin Laden’s arrest. The fact that Libyan Islamic Fighting Group leader, Abdelhakim Belhadj—also commander of the al-Qaeda faction in Libya—ended up as the military governor of Tripoli in cooperation with the West at the end of NATO’s war—a man who fought with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan only years before—is hardly a coincidence.
Belhadj was later photographed together with and honoured by Republican senator John McCain at a ceremony where he was referred to as Libya’s “heroic freedom fighter”.
Belhadj has since reportedly become Africa’s richest man, now with a net worth of around 19 billion dollars.
In the early days of the invasion, Gaddafi said that those who were behind it were not Libyans, but rather al-Qaeda and foreign fighters. Qatar has since proven to play a central role.
The country’s leader, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, was one of Hillary Clinton’s closest partners and among the biggest contributors to the Clinton Foundation at the time.
Clinton’s Washington-based ties to the Muslim Brotherhood have long been discussed. The shuttle running between Clinton and al-Thani on those momentous days in February—along with the millions in funds transferred from Qatar to the Clinton Foundation—in the run-up to the Libyan War have been widely publicised by Wikileaks, Judicial Watch and other sources.
It was also a known fact that Gaddafi had long challenged the Saudi Dynasty—in the homeland of Wahhabism and Sunni extremism.
Millions have since undertaken the voyage to Europe via Italy.
Hillary Clinton, Qatar and Al Jazeera’s new role
Media lies about Libya: By 25 February, all American diplomats had already left Libya. The following day, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on the country.
The rebels’ interim government was put in place, with its base in Benghazi, and in close contact with the West and a number of well-known Islamists. Countries like Qatar were already contributing massive financial support; prisoners were also reportedly freed from jails in Egypt so that they could participate, as well as from a number of Western countries.
The tumult in Benghazi received immediate media attention, with Al Jazeera leading the way. Just days later, Libya’s Justice Minister, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, suddenly pulled out of Gaddafi’s Jamahiriya government and became the rebels’ leader.
He set up an interim government right away with himself as the leader in Benghazi.
On 14 March 2011, Hillary Clinton met with the man who has since become the interim Prime Minister, Mahmoud Jibril, in Paris, where the French-Jewish philosopher Bernard Henri-Lévy helped his friend and business partner, the U.S.-educated, Muslim Brotherhood member Mahmoud Jibril, to pull off the meeting.
Jibril was the former CEO of JTrack, which was responsible for changing Al Jazeera’s opposition to the American narrative after new owners took over the channel in the wake of the channel having been highly critical of the U.S. during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
With the advent of the Libyan conflict, the Al Jazeera news channel of course took on a brand new role. The channel went from being a freestyle media company that was critical in its reporting, to one that now actively and more or less one-sidedly echoes the world view of American-supported, Saudi Arabian Wahhabism and the Muslism Brotherhood.
JTrack was an international company that was known for training Asian and Middle Eastern leaders in how to communicate with the West and use “Davos jargon”, or speaking favourably of the international progressive Western democratic rhetoric.
Under Jibril, Al Jazeera became an instrumental voice in the formation of the myth that “the Arab Spring” was about oppressed people in the Middle East wanting “Western democracy, economic liberalism and a Western lifestyle”.
As of 2011, the news channel had also switched to being a channel of almost pure propaganda, spouting Qatar’s Sunni world view, and thus also for the American-controlled, Western narrative.
The Libyan War is the result of Sarkozy’s personal vendetta, says Bernard Henri-Lévy
Media lies about Libya: The famous French philosopher, Bernard, played a central role in the run-up to the Libyan War. He travelled by shuttle between France and Libya.
And spoke on behalf of Sarkozy, as shown by local footage in Libya, saying that the war was a result of President Sarkozy’s personal ambition to pull off a regime change in Libya.
As we know, Sarkozy was recently charged with corruption in France for allegedly accepting millions from Gaddafi. Henri-Lévy says in the video “Sarkozy called me personally…he says that this war is his personal war, his personal, strategic war against Gaddafi. It wasn’t originally NATO’s idea, nor the UK’s, this was Sarkozy’s personal invasion.
He’s very happy to see that all of you are involved in this war, Arabs, Berbers, together hand in hand you won’t let Sarkozy down, and his troops support you every step of the way in this war of his”.
New meetings were held on 29 March, this time in London, and a number of prominent people conversed with British Foreign Secretary William Hague.
Perhaps the most well-known of them was Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani.
Qatar had already been the first nation to approve the interim government, which was actively supported by the Muslim Brotherhood, and al-Thani encouraged other nations to do the same.
He also confirmed that Qatar actively supported the rebels militarily and wanted to set up a no-fly zone. It was important, he said, to put a stop to Gaddafi and the ongoing “massacre of civilians” in Libya.
Undocumented media rumors paved way for the NATO invasion
He asserted that Gaddafi himself was responsible for all of the attacks perpetrated in Libya.
At the time he also said that he knew that Gaddafi himself had orchestrated the Lockerbie bombing, where American Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Scotland, killing 270 people.
President Barack Obama commented at the time that “military fighter jets and helicopters bombed innocent people who had no chance to defend themselves against the airstrikes”.
He said that “water supplies were cut off in Misurata, which affected hundreds of thousands of people”. Nevertheless, in early March, the Pentagon had already denied that such attacks had happened.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was asked whether they had found evidence that there had been airstrikes, to which he replied “we’ve seen the media reports, but have found nothing to confirm them”.
For further reading, Horace Campbell’s NATO’s Failure in Libya: Lessons for Africa.
Still the newspapers continued to write as if the rumours were true, despite the fact that they had already been disproven. As everyone should know by now, 90% of the American media is owned by six companies. In 1983, there were over 50 different companies and ownership structures that owned the same U.S. media organisations. There has been considerable consolidation of these organisations in recent years.
When an entire country’s media is left in the hands of so very few, it is easy to influence people’s opinions and make them believe practically anything. Libya has since been left in total ruins.
NATO’s military coup based on media lies
Media lies about Libya: The military coup that led to al-Qaeda-affiliated groups taking power in Libya was made possible in March 2011 by UN Resolution 1973, which established a no-fly zone.
Norway was one of the first countries to enter the war.
It was approved by the UN Security Council since information was provided claiming that Muammar Gaddafi attacked his own people, bombed hospitals and so on. These accusations, which were never verified, were the false premises on which NATO based its reaction against Gaddafi’s administration.
It became apparent early on that there was no evidence to prove that Gaddafi had plans to attack his people. But this fact received little press coverage. Russian intelligence also confirmed with satellite pictures that no planes were flying at the time.
“No mercy will be shown” he said in his speech, which was directed at the rebels and published on 17 March. The New York Times also confirmed in an article that Libya’s leader offered amnesty to any rebel that “put down their weapons”. Gaddafi even promised them a chance to flee the country via Egypt in order to prevent continued battles.
Abusing the no-fly zone to attack the country from the air
Media lies about Libya: Some protests arose in the U.S., which were quickly drowned out by the flood of media.
Professor Alan Kuperman recounted to Democracy Now that murdering the children and families of heads of state goes thoroughly beyond the UN mandate, which was about protecting civilians—not killing the families of leaders.
He asked how attacking families of civilians in residential areas has anything to do with “protecting noncombatants”.
This undermines the respect for international law, he said, and nowhere does it say that the way to go after a leader is to murder his family, grandchildren and children.
Kuperman tells journalist Amy Goodman at Democracy Now that chronologically speaking, what happened was that a small group of rebels attacked armouries and government-controlled areas in Benghazi in February and that in March, Gaddafi warned them about continuing to do so, as his forces would bring the rebellion to a halt. The New York Times also confirms that the rebellion was “staged by rebels”.
Other sources confirmed early on that the militant group that Gaddafi took action against was an al-Qaeda-affiliated rebellion on 17 February 2011, where rebels launched an attack on a military camp in Benghazi, occupied it and stole weapons and military equipment from the site.
Gaddafi’s response to send his convoy of military vehicles to stop this was not a violation of international law, but instead was what you would expect any head of state to do in order to protect their country from terrorists.
Gaddafi’s threats were directed at the rebels—not civilians—but because the rebels realised that Gaddafi’s forces were going to attack them, they were infuriated that it would be a “civilian bloodbath” if NATO didn’t intervene.
The point is that Gaddafi’s forces were faced with an attack aimed at the rebels in Benghazi and there was nothing to suggest otherwise. Data from Human Rights Watch confirms this, among other things.
Media lies about Libya: According to HRW’s data from Misurata, which at the time had been retaken by Gaddafi’s forces, only 3% of the wounded were women.
The rest were rebels, many of whom were not from Libya. Civilian areas and private residences were not attacked by Gaddafi’s Jamahiriya forces in the city.
The government forces were simply engaged in stopping the military rebellion. The point of the no-fly zone was to prevent Gaddafi from resisting the U.S.-supported rebels and NATO’s upcoming military coup from the air.
It quickly became evident that NATO bombed civilian areas and implicitly accepted that the rebels did the same.
Interim government leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil admits to lies about Gaddafi
Media lies about Libya: Mustafa Abdul Jalil was among those who were very active at this stage, informing the rest of the world of the “Gaddafi attack”. He spoke in a number of interviews that he gave for the Western media on this topic.
In one of them, Jalil says that “we want a no-fly zone, and a naval blockade. Gaddafi has been using his air force and navy to destroy the country and all the cities. All we want is to have the international community level the playing field”. Statements like this, as well as letters and documents with the same message, were absolutely instrumental in NATO’s decision to attack.
Ironically enough, the same man—Jalil—gave an interview with Libya Channel One, which was uploaded to YouTube in May, 2014, where he admits that they knew the whole time that Gaddafi had not ordered the shooting and that Gaddafi’s soldiers had not shot at the populace on those fateful days around 17 February 2011.
He knew this, Jalil says, because he was part of the group of five or six people who played a key role in Gaddafi’s government at the time and were responsible for dealing with the demonstrations.
He explains that the meetings were terribly intense, with raucous discussions about how they should be addressed.
In the interview, Abdul Jalil confirms—in Arabic—that everyone in the group agreed that it was crucial to deal with the demonstrations without the use of force.
Those in attendance were himself, Libya’s Director of Military Intelligence Abdallah Zenussi, Interior Minister Abdel-Fatah Younis, Libya’s Chief of Police Tohah Michaled and Director of Foreign Military Intelligence Abuzed Dorda.
Media lies about Libya: They agreed to allow the protesters to set things on fire in the streets, burn up and destroy valuable items, cars and so on without Gaddafi’s forces intervening and using force, Jalil explains in the interview. They considered this to be the best method to get the protester’s rage and fury to subside.
Gaddafi had never ordered the shooting of civilian protesters—they were murdered by mercenaries who were not Libyans, but foreign fighters.
This, admitted to by the man who spread accusations against Gaddafi all over the world, which led to the NATO attack. Four years later, he says the exact opposite on Libyan Arab TV.
Libyans are silently nostalgic in Libya today, and many want Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, to be their new leader. However, neither the U.S nor the E.U., which have military power in Libya today, are in support of this. Photo: A typical illustration by Libyans which are abundant on social media in anger over Media lies about Libya War.
British report shows exiled Libyans played significant role
Media lies about Libya: The UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee published its report in August, 2016.
The report emphasises that the premise for the intervention in Libya’s domestic affairs, which was based on the accusations of “Gaddafi murdering his own people” and “genocide in Libya”, was a lie that was propounded by Western and Gulf State media. It stated:
The Foreign Affairs Committee concludes that the British government “failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element.”
- Qaddafi was not planning to massacre civilians. This myth was exaggerated by rebels and Western governments, which based their intervention on little intelligence. This story was massively pushed in the Western media and became one of the main stories of the Media lies about Libya.
- The threat of Islamist extremists, which had a large influence in the uprising, was ignored — and the NATO bombing made this threat even worse, giving ISIS a base in North Africa.
- France, which initiated the military intervention, was motivated by economic and political interests, not humanitarian ones.
- The uprising — which was violent, not peaceful — would likely not have been successful were it not for foreign military intervention and aid. Foreign media outlets, particularly Qatar’s Al Jazeera and Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya, also spread unsubstantiated rumors about Qaddafi and the Libyan government.
- The NATO bombing plunged Libya into a humanitarian disaster, killing thousands of people and displacing hundreds of thousands more, transforming Libya from the African country with the highest standard of living into a war-torn failed state.
The report also shows to what extent the Libyan War was propelled by exiled Libyans that had it out for Gaddafi. A number of extremist families with ties to al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, among others, were sent into exile by Gaddafi, as he would tolerate no such extremism in Libya.
The very problem in Syria too was that the “moderate rebel groups” supported by the US often affiliated with Al Qaida, ISIS and other rebel groups. Many have commented on the hypocrisy: Why pretend that these are not our allies?
The Manchester bomber, among others, was an exiled Libyan whose family had been driven from Libya by the Gaddafi regime on account of the family’s al-Qaeda links. As we know, the Manchester bomber was also recruited by the British to be a “rebel” in Syria and worked for the British there.
Professor at King’s College in London, George Joffé, confirms in the report that President Sarkozy’s administration was heavily influenced by exiled Libyans with close contacts in the French intellectual milieu (read Bernard Henri-Lévy and friends), and they worked together to pull off a coup d’état in Libya.
The British report concludes by saying that exiled Libyans, for various reasons, knowingly exaggerated the likelihood of “genocide in Libya” in order to persuade the West to intervene, which it did.
Maybe we eventually will have reports on why the Western-backed government in Tripoli continues to hold thousands of Gaddafi loyalists prisoner without charge or trial in Libya. Weren’t we supposed to contribute with democracy and human rights?
This article offers viewpoints based on information provided by sources on the ground in Libya, as well as external articles that might be useful in arriving at an understanding of the 2011 Libyan war. We believe that the information comes from reliable sources, but cannot guarantee the information to be free of mistakes and incorrect interpretations.