Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Featured Editorial: Who is telling the TRUTH in Libya? - 23rd Mar 2011

We are all aware of the stories coming from two sides out of Libya: Gaddafi supporters say that the militia has killed civilians, while the UN informs us it was the Gaddafi forces doing the senseless murdering. Of course, we can go back and forth like this all night, but the outcome will still remain the same: neither side seems to show any concrete proof.

Who are these rebels, these "militia"? What do we know about them? We have seen them carrying missile launchers, rifles, riding in tanks and even flying a jet, yet we're also told that they are untrained protestors. Which is it? Why are there so may conflicting stories regarding this so-called rag tag group of freedom seeking citizens?

And what about Gaddafi's forces? Is their job not to protect the country? It seems only commonsense that a nation's army would fight back if someone stood in the street with a missile launcher, but speculation seems to have replaced commonsense in the Mediterranean. This debacle resembles a civil war rather than like the protests that took place in Tunisia and Egypt earlier this year, but don't tell those pushing the buttons that launch the tomahawks.

Fact: we have two sides in a civil war, and between them we have civilians. Fact: Each side blames the other for casualties among innocents. Question begged: who is right, and who is telling the truth?

We all know what a UN "No Fly Zone" means. We have seen them before in the past, and we have seen the thousands of casualties that are the result of unchecked use of aerial military power, but this time they tell us it's "humanitarian reasons" fueling this international cause. This seems a reasonable explanation upon first glance, that is, until one notices the many strange events surrounding this saga.

We know this subject is continually touched upon, but if humanitarianism is so important to America, Europe and the UN, why have thousands of innocents been allowed to be slaughtered day in and day out by their governments around the world for years without anything being done? Although when the Libya unrest started and started to spiral into a civil war, it took mere weeks for the west to commence bombing a country from so many different angles that humanitarianism could not just be questioned, but tossed out the window entirely due to the innocent civilians being put at risk.

We want to know the answer to the following question: has the UN completed a fact finding mission of any sort to determine if there is any proof to support either side and to determine the truth and reasoning behind why the western world is embroiled in another country's civil war?

Today, March 22, 2001, a US fighter went down and crashed onto Libyan soil. Gaddafi blames rebels for shooting down this plane, and the rebels blame Gaddafi for the same act; the US says it was mere engine failure. What hasn't been reported as loudly, however, was that villagers have accused the Americans of strafing, via the downed jet fighter's wingman, 6 of their people who came to welcome the downed American pilots, including a small boy who reportedly may need his leg amputated. Are these villagers also lying, or did the US tell us a fib by later releasing a statement that the pilot did not in fact shoot at the villagers? Why the constant flow of propaganda and half-truths? What's going on?

By this point it's clear to anyone how quickly the Libyan story can be turned around by those with an agenda. If the villagers lied about the American pilot strafing them, could the rebels also be lying? Do we pick and choose the news from the "liberated" Libyan east that we want to believe? Maybe we should follow the example of the abstaining countries countries who prefer not to get involved until all facts become available.

Also of interest is March 22, 2011, interview conducted by Lisa Holland of Sky news with Libyan Government Spokesman Moussa Ibrahim. Here is the full transcript, which we've painstakingly hand-transcribed for all our wonderful readers, of the entire interview so that people can see the strange brush of propaganda with which the media is painting this issue:

MOUSSA: Many civilians were killed last night. We are still awaiting for the official figures, because many of the targets last night were civilian and (quasi?) military places. Like ports and harbors used by fisher men and civilian employees with army as well, west and east of Tripoli.

So basically, what is happening now is the British government is killing more civilians to protect civilians and this for us is really bizarre. We have asked time and again for the British government and the international community to come on-ground and observe that we are not killing anyone, send fact-finding missions that will cost very little money and very easy effort, and instead they are sending us rockets and bombs without investigating anything on the ground. No court of law, no judge anywhere in the world would accept this. Why is it that instead of checking facts they are rocketing us every night?

Your spokesmen for the Ministry of Defense is saying that we killed many people in Zawiyah. How does he know this? Where is the proof?

LISA: OK, well first of all in terms of Zawiyah, we saw with our own eyes, sky news team on the ground unarmed civilians being killed. We saw children injured in the hospital, so there is the evidence for that, so Moussa you give us the evidence about where the civilians are being killed as a result of the air strike.

MOUSSA: OK, basically we need to establish this is armed militia fighting against the government. We are saying that these civilians were killed by the armed militias. Why are you believing the armed militias when they are saying that we are killing the civilians? We need judges--

[at this point Lisa does not allow Moussa to finish, and interrupts him]

LISA: Children are not armed militias. We are referring to Zawiyah here. Children are not armed Militias.

MOUSSA: No, no, no. Lisa, what I’m saying is these civilians were killed by the armed militias, not by us, because these armed militias are fighting street to street, house to house, mosque to mosque. The reason that these civilians were killed is that these armed militias occupied the centre of Zawiyah with tanks and anti aircraft machinery and rifles, so the ones -- the criminals -- are the armed militias who occupied our cities.

LISA: Well, as far as Zawiyah is concerned, we saw with our own cameras a crowd of civilians running who where not armed militias, but let's for one moment put Zawiyah aside lets talk about the airstrikes last night. Where is your evidence that civilians have been killed as a result of these bombing missions by this coalition of countries who are launching this military intervention?

MOUSSA: We have a list that we are going to give you later of the victims of the first night. People are very wary about revealing the names of their kids and daughters and have a right to their privacy, but we have convinced many people. We have their full names and you can contact them--

[Lisa once again interrupts Moussa and doesn't allow him to complete his answer]

LISA: How many people are we talking here, just to be clear? What is the scale?

MOUSSA: The first night 48 people, civilians were killed. The 2nd and 3rd night we don’t have the official figures yet. Once we have them, we give them to you, but Lisa our logic is very powerful.

How can you say anything? How can you judge us without observers on the ground? You are accusing us of committing crimes against humanity and as a result you are bombarding us. Where is the proof? The evidence is forced upon you, not on us. Come to the ground. I, as a government spokesperson and you were there for 3 weeks. Now, I have been asking for fact finding missions that would cost a few thousand dollar, and instead every rocket that falls upon us cost 1 million dollar. The first night cost a quarter of a billion dollars! Why don’t you spend money on fact finding mission and observers who will prove who killed who and who is killing the civilians?

We are saying we can not kill our children, our sons of Libya, because the Libyan army is composed of Libyan children of Libyan tribes. How could Libyan tribes kill Libyan tribes? We cant do that even if we wanted to, so come to the ground and this is a call. Lisa, please allow me to say this to the British government and the good British people: I lived in London for 15 years. I know every street in London. I know how decent the British people are. Come to Libya. NGO activist, intellectuals, politicians, opposition government: come to the ground here; don’t come to us in the cover of night and attack our civilians. Come to the ground check the facts, meet the people and then decide.

LISA: The problem is, Doctor Moussa, that sounds very rational and reasonable, but Colonel Gaddafi just a few nights ago, on the night the UN voted on its resolution, was saying there would be no mercy, no compassion. That’s the line that was picked up by President Obama in the United States. Do you not understand why the international community feels it needs to get involved?

[Moussa interrupts Lisa]

MOUSSA: Lisa, you are a professional journalist. You know what sound bites do to the truth--

[Lisa interrupts Moussa once again]

LISA: Are you disputing Colonel Gaddafi said there will be no mercy to the people of Benghazi?

[Moussa interrupts Lisa in turn]

MOUSSA: No, no, no. He didn’t say that. He said for those who held up arms and are part of Al-Qaeda will have no mercy. He said our kids, our children, our people of Benghazi are hostages--

[Again, Lisa does not allow Moussa to finish answering her question]

LISA: He said that they will go house to house. That would be a terrifying experience if you lived in Benghazi.

MOUSSA: He said the Libyan people -- you see how you change? -- he said the Libyan people. The tribes should go house to house to cleanse the country of these people. He did not say, "I" will go house to house or the army would go house to house. He said all Libyan people go house to house and cleanse your cities, but you know what sound bites do to the truth.

Colonel Gaddafi said it once, time and time again, we need dialogue. No one picked up on this. He said we need tribal intervention. No one picked up on this. He said we need fact finding missions. No one picked up on this. The soundbite of him encouraging people to cleanse their cities, and they make the statement of terror and threats, while the terror of threat is coming in the night in the sky on top of the heads of Libyan children and families. Why is so easy for the British government to use spokespersons to send rockets on us and very difficult to send politicians, observers and judges? What we are asking for is very reasonable in every court of law. You can't accuse us of crimes, condemn us, sentence us and punish us without investigating us. This is wrong in any court of law. We did not say no to people coming to Libya, so where is our mistake? You show me our mistake. You tell me.

LISA: Doctor Moussa, just briefly -- Colonel Gaddafi has been very conspicuous in his absence over recent days. There has been no big grand standing speeches like we got used to over recent weeks. Where is he? And does he believe he is a personal target?

MOUSSA: The fact that many people, many governments around the world choose to ignore is that the colonel is loved by millions. He is protected by tribes everywhere in Libya--

[Lisa once again interrupts Moussa as he attempts to answer her question]

LISA: The question is not whether he is loved. The question is where is he and does he believe he is a target.

MOUSSA: We believe Libya is a target and the leader is the historical figure. He is the figure of Libya and he needs to be targeted in order for Libya to robbed of its oil, to be robbed of its wealth and for Libya to be destroyed. He is the guarantee for now for Libya to remain one and strong and united--

[Lisa yet again interrupts Moussa as he attempts to answer her question]

LISA: Where is he? Why haven’t we seen him?

MOUSSA: No, he is here. He is here. He is leading the fight. He talks to us. We know where he is. He makes a speech almost every day to us through the Libyan TV, but as I said the main point is that in this fight Libyans are united and you will see this in the coming days. Many governments are relying on the Libyans rebelling against the government and their leader. This has not happened and will not happen. What people will need to know is we want to change Libya. We want to have to improve our political system but we know we cant do it through the Iraqi way because it didn’t work in Iraq, through the Somali way -- it didn’t work in Somalia, Afghan way -- didn’t work in Afghan way.

We want to do it peacefully, gradually change step by step. In Europe you took hundreds of years to change. Why should we change overnight? We need to do it under the leadership of Gaddafi because he is the guarantee not to have a civil war and kill many people.

-- Matt & Lynsey