In the runup to the attacks against Libya last year, the lie that Gaddafi Forces were using rape as a weapon was planted in the public mind, providing NATO the human rights cover they so desperately needed for their “intervention”. Of course, as is so often the case, the fact that these claims were later proven untrue went conveniently missing from the standard narrative. “But, by the time the myth was debunked, the PR damage was done: Gaddafi was a monster, the Benghazi ‘rebels’ and NTC (National Transition Council) were heroic freedom fighters, and Libya was in dire need of the benevolent bombs of NATO” argues Draiter.
Who makes these claims are also important in the propaganda war. The UNHRC, HRW, Amnesty International and countless other organizations which are dependent on funding from sources mainly within the US, lent credence to such charges. The fact that they are often quoted by the Western media and in turn relayed without criticism or questioning by the mainstream media around the world, gives legitimacy to Western interventions and ‘regime change’ campaigns such as in Libya.
Manipulation of imagery
In May, the Russian TV channel RT exposed a BBC news scam where they have posted on their website a picture of a small child jumping over dozens of white body bags under the heading “Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows”. The caption stated that the photograph was provided by an activist and cannot be independently verified, but said it is “believed to show the bodies of children in Houla awaiting burial”. The actual photograph was taken in March 2003 in Iraq by photographer Marco di Lauro, who works for the picture agency Getty Images. When he came forward and claimed its copyright the BBC quickly took it off their website.
A very useful tool the Western media has used, especially the BBC, CNN and Channel Four in Britain is the video clip provided by activists taken on mobile phones. Often they broadcast these without authentication and international human rights agencies including some UN agencies lap onto these to attack governments for human rights violations. Syria, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Libya, Iran, Russia and a host of other countries whose leaders are not subservient to Western interests have faced the wrath of this news manipulation in recent years.
The new face of colonialism
How Gaddafi was overthrown and a new government was set up is a very important lesson for countries of the South who are either rich in resources or is strategically important for Western powers. While demonizing Gaddafi with trivial stories, the Western media ignored facts, which would have shown that Gaddafi did look after his people well, even though they were not allowed to criticize him like the dictators in most proWestern Arab regimes do.
For example, in Gaddafi’s Libya education was free to everyone from elementary school right up to university and postgraduate study, at home or abroad, Libyans enjoyed free health care, with a ratio of one doctor per 673 citizens. Libyans were given interest free housing loans, free land for farmers. In 2010, Libya had no external debt and its reserves amount to US$150 billion. Abdurrahim Abdulhafiz El Keib, who served as Libya’s Interim Prime Minister from November 24, 2011 to November 11, 2012 has spent decades in the United States teaching at Alabama University. He is also a former employee of the Petroleum Institute, based in Abu Dhabi, and sponsored by British Petroleum (BP), Shell and France’s Total. Current Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was a Genevabased human rights lawyer, who is believed to have played a crucial role in persuading the French President Nicolas Sarkozy to support the antiGaddafi Forces.
It is interesting how the new form of colonialism works. First you get the socalled civil society groups who are funded and trained by the Western powers to provide a prodemocracy movement from within (or among exile groups in the West). When these attract violent reprisals from Security Forces (who are often provoked) it creates the excuse for “humanitarian intervention” the socalled ‘R2P’ gospel. Three hundred years ago it were the Christian missionaries who followed the gunboats, today international human rights groups like HRW and International Crisis Group have taken over that role to civilize the natives.
They would help to provide the cover of a new dawn of democracy with a sham election which will be praised by the Western media as a reflection of new found freedom for the long repressed people and this will pave the way for their choice, usually a technocrat who has been based in the West and a “native” just by name to take over the helms.
NGO funding under scrutiny
No wonder that recently, governments around the world have begun to look at such democracy movements with a high degree of suspicion. With the rapid escalation of “democracy movements” across the world, governments, local researchers and media, along with a number of independent websites modeled on ‘wikileaks’ have been uncovering mounting evidence of Western funded local NGOs acting as “content providers” to Western media outlets to discredit their own governments. Lately these pro democracy movements have even taken a new face as corruption campaigners and environmental activists.
Two of the biggest funders of such “prodemocracy” campaigners are the USbased National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the Open Society Foundation run by financial speculator George Soros.