According to Libyan Government spokesperson Moussa Ibrahim, speaking at a press conference in Tripoli on 21st Ausgust, Tripoli experienced a bloodbath over the previous 24 hours.
He reported some 1,200 people had been killed; several thousands injured. Many no doubt were combatants, but it’s worth remembering they are people too – on both sides. This is carnage!
It’s not over, either. In fact, the bloodbath in Tripoli may just be beginning.
I had to switch my TV off a while yesterday in sheer disgust. I’d been listening to CNN, Al Jazeera, Fox, Sky.. for hours on end . Not ONCE did I notice a single commentator or talking head mention casualties.
Yet the courageous independent journalist Theirry Meyssan told us a day ago the hospitals are saturated. Today come’s gruesome footage, courtesy of Alex Crawford at Sky News. Has there been a squeak of angst out of ‘human rights groups’ such as Amnesty or Human Rights Watch – when ONE DAY yields casualty figures almost as bad as a MONTH of Israel’s savagery in Gaza, January 2009? If there has, I haven’t noticed.
Preventing large numbers of casualties, lest we forget, was the purported reason for NATO intervention in the first place. What a travesty! The liars at the UN who pulled off this stunt must never again be trusted. The responsible people in the USA, Britain and France are war criminals, thieves and maniacs. If anyone on the planet belongs behind bars, they do.
To imagine the terror people in Tripoli – and elsewhere in Libya – must be experiencing is as saddening as the lack of mobilization of the international peace movement, which barely seems to exist in any coherent form.
“Tripoli is 95% in rebel hands” Fox News reported at one point in what was a long night of viewing a day ago. Yet oddly, that 95% didn’t seem to include the Rixos Hotel, where foreign journalists have been based. It still doesn’t. A curious omission, especially as by all reports beleaguered hacks inside have been doing it tough. In fact, in recent days, life at the Rixos has been very tough – especially for genuine independent journalists to whom the world owes a debt of gratitude.
Sky News showed a crowd celebrating in Green Square, Tripoli on the 21st (Libya time). Yet a few hours later, a tweeter who claims to be in Tripoli stated all was quiet in the vicinity of the square. There has been some speculation Sky’s footage was faked completely (for days rumours have been circulating about a stage set replica of Green Square, built somewhere in Qatar). Or it may have been a temporary feat. Reports on TV yesterday suggest the ‘rebels’ have now retreated from Green Square.
Saif al Ghadafi: alive, well & free in Tripoli, AFTER the idiotic ICC said he was "in custody"
There have been reports of the capture of Ghadafi’s sons, of Ghadafi himself and of his death (complete with gruesome photo), reports of many Government and army defectors, tales of public celebrations once the rebels arrived… and on and on. None of these have been fully authenticated. Some have already been disproved. Believe the mainstream media and you have no doubt: the war is over, Ghadafi has lost. Game over! The political talking heads express no doubt. They’re committed to their necks: Obama, Cameron – even Julia Gillard chimed to welcome Ghadafi’s demise.
None of them mentioned the humanitarian crisis, as far as I’m aware. Nor are they exactly pursued with questions about that by ‘journalists’.
Tripoli’s nightmare has been packaged as Tripoli’s liberation by the media; politicians play their roles with quotable, optimistic cliches.
An Alternative Narrative
In addition to the largely overlooked humanitarian disaster, there is also a persistent, quite different narrative coming from non-standard sources. As best I can, I’ll piece together what I think may be a plausible alternative explanation of what’s happening in Libya at the moment. Since I began writing this, I’ve seen one attempt already to do something similar: I recommend Libya: Swimming against the Tide of NATO’s Media Propaganda by Joost van den Heuvel.
I’ll make a basic cases around three propositions:
First proposition: the (Ghadafi) Government remains popular throughout the country, especially in Tripoli. Even people who are not strong supporters are, for the most part, not in favour of what they perceive as imperial intervention. They are not enamoured of the rebels, either the TNC leadership or the gangs on the ground who bear its standard.
Second, the ‘rebels’, backed by NATO air-power, training and provisions, can and have made advances into territory, including many areas where they lack support and which they cannot hold long-term. Typically, over the last few months, they’ve retreat after some time and Government forces regain control, as long as NATO bombing subsides. Then the cycle starts again. That type of see-sawing has been going in in many parts of Libya since mid-March.
Third, until two days ago, Tripoli had been safe from ground attacks (it had, of course, been hammered with NATO bombing for months on end). Now that’s changed…
Instead of blasting their way into Tripoli in one big push along main roads, NATO assisted the ‘rebels’ in at least two ways:
(a) it’s reported they gave bombing signals to trigger simultaneous attacks by sleeper insurgents within Tripoli and
(b) it’s confirmed they assisted insurgents land from the sea. They arrived once the Government armed forces were distracted by snipers and other rogue elements in the city. Taking advantage of the general confusion, there was also an influx of insurgents from the west. The handful of frontline but “embedded” journalists on the rebel side presumably came with them and were able to report, however briefly, that the centre of Tripoli was in ‘rebel’ hands.
This alternative explanation of events suggests the Government is still supported by the mass of Tripoli’s citizens (and the majority of Libyans as a whole). The Government forces, supported by tens of thousands of volunteers, are therefore likely to retake control of Tripoli and flush out rebel insurgents There are reports they have already succeeded to a significant extent in doing so. Although the mass media today is saying 80% of Tripoli in in rebel control, that’s trom the same “reliable sources” that reported on the capture of Saif Ghadafi when he was, in reality, not captured at all.
Of course, if more insurgents arrive – whether by land or in more NATO-asssisted stunts by sea or air – there will be more resistance, more killing. The thousands of dead could multiply. A few thousand wounded could become tens of thousands.
Mossa Ibrahim's statement 23rd August 2011
If this narrative is correct, the mass media has been engaged in selling a spectacular lie – no less of an orchestrated psy-op than 9-11.
That may seem hard to credit – yet so much of the media’s narrative that changes almost by the hour, and there’s so much that really doesn’t make sense. We saw the remarkable size of pro-Ghadafi rallies in Tripoli a few weeks ago. Why would all those supporters suddenly change their minds, as the media suggests, and welcome insurgents into their city?
The truth, I suspect, is that most of them haven’t. In that case, given many civilians are armed, they will take their city back, if they haven’t already done so.
If this western-promoted assault on Tripoli persists, carnage on an unthinkable scale is possible. Dr Ibrahim warned us eleoquently at his press conference on the 21st. The world community must heed that warning. NATO’s criminal actions – aided and abetted by the mass media – is destroying what was before the most prosperous nation in Africa. Now blood is flowing fast.
The unstoppable force of NATO is pushing its way, albeit shackled a tiny bit by a pesky UN resolution it goes out of its ways to misinterpret anyway. But it’s meeting an immovable rock – the resilient determination of most Libyans to remain independent.
So far, little more than a day after insurgents first appeared in Tripoli, it looks like the attempt to shift the immovable object will founder – unless the carnage is so great that life simply falls apart for residents of Tripoli. That might require thousands, even tens of thousands more casualties. Is this not a case for real “humanitarian intervention”?
For God’s sake, let’s get real! We need a general ceasefire NOW, including a complete stop to bombing!
This is NOT a game! The ‘pieces’ are real human beings.
The war was originally billed as a quick knock out; its proved to be a gruelling 15-round slug-out.
“Humanitarian intervention” has morphed into what may become one of the great humanitarian tragedies of our era.
Someone has been – someone is – playing war games. They seem to see this as a game. Maybe a little ‘game theory’ is of use to those of us who are repelled by their murderous schemes and want to resist them.
Gaddafi plays chess, rather well
Ghadafi, by all accounts, is no mean chess player. He has indeed proved a cunning, tenacious adversary and a tower of strength for his people, along with his colleagues. I know only a few of them via the media: I’m impressed by the very decent sounding PM (at a glance, I’d trust him more than my own Prime Minister) and the valiant Moussa Ibrahim, a truly superb spokesman for his country.
But this war is not really like chess. A game of chess presupposes two equal sides and pieces of comparable power. That’s not the case in this utterly one-sided contest, in which, for instance, the only British soldier killed so far was victim of a car crash while driving through Italy.
Yes, there have been moments that brought chess to mind. I’ve thought sometimes Ghadafi conceded pawns to get bigger gains. Here’s an example. When Ghadafi first began speaking about Al Qaeda, back in February, I couldn’t understand why. Asked about Al Queda last year, Ghadafi laughed off the subject and said it was essentially a western propaganda invention. Yet in February, with his Government under attack, he began using the expression. Why?
The reason,I think, is he understood the usefulness of what the advertising industry calls branding. The “Al Qaida” connections of some of the rebels goes down well in western mainstream society. That meme gets a run.
Unfortunately, by using the term ‘Al Qaida’ we’re also allowing the psy-ops orchestrators to successfully get away with creating universal acceptance of a ‘brand’ which they invented and control. They issue its press releases and release its videos. Hello 1984?
I’m sure Ghadafi would have been aware of that – but in chess the loss of minor pieces is often a strategic necessity. Ghadafi and his colleagues have had more pressing concerns at the time and since, not least of which has been survival.
When the war began, it seemed to me more like judo than anything else. The weight of the loser (most people around the world) was used against us. “Public opinion” flung itself into supporting the ‘UN intervention’ and the “NATO mission”, all for what seemed at the time like the best of reasons such as saving lives. We now now (or should do) just how bogus those reasons were. But back then, Arab Spring euphoria was intense. So it was that many decent people flung Libya over the cliff and into war, war which has proven far more protracted and bloody than was ever suggested at the time of the cunningly hustled UN resolutions.
Even if NATO’s flag flies over Green Square tomorrow, this cannot be proclaimed in any sense a success. The west has shown its fangs. We are now widely recognized as a monster. That’s not good for peace and harmony on this planet. Libya’s destruction is no “success”.
But wait a moment… the war is still happening.
The game isn’t over!
As of now, there’s no comfirmation Ghafdafi has been killed or captured. Nor is there decisive refutation of the proposition that the Government still controls most of Tripoli. A coupe of hours ago, Saif Al-Islam, whose capture was announced in the early hours of the assault on tripoli, turned up at the Rixos and chatted with journalists. He told them the government is winning and the rebels will be defeated. He says the rebels who’ve entered the city have fallen into a trap.
As long as a game of chess is still going, stalemate is still a possible outcome. That could happen – if casultaties create an international surge of protest. And that’s why, I suspect, minimising the casualties is currently so important. The last thing the NATO thugs want is the UN breathing down their necks.
I noticed media war shills are already starting to put about the talking point that blames the Libya Government for any humanitarian disaster and suggests any further loss of life would be sufficient pretext for invasion by western “peace-keepers”.
There’s another very fine board game called Go. It’s a Japanese game, which I think is comparable to chess in the way animals are comparable with plants. Both are living organisms – but whereas animals move, plants move out, spread, entangle and occasionally extinguish each other. In Go, pieces are put down, one by one, by each of the two players, onto a square lattice. They don;t move – but they form patterns. The object is to capture opponents’ pieces by surrounding them. Sometimes small areas can be captured – but are themselves surrounded later. Towards the end of the game, remarkable apparent reverses of fortune are possible.
Go: whose tipping point?
Go seems to me a more apt metaphor for the current events in Libya. According to the mainstream media narrative, the game of Go in Libya in at its last stage. The winner – NATO – is about to win, if it hasn’t actually won already.
But in Go, the reverse scan happen too. And there’s another thing. Go games can be played on larger and larger matrices. Small games can become part of bigger games (anyone remember August 1914?) For that reason, suddenly help can come from unexpected quarters.
The decision by Tunisia, two days ago, to recognize the TNC as Libya’s sole legitimate Government was doubtless made under extreme duress. One can rail against the duplicity of Tunisia, but winners are grinners, as the saying goes. That seems to seal independent Libya’s fate long-term.
On the other hand, the importance of overwhelming tribal support for the Ghadafi Government, as affirmed several months ago, cannot be underestimated. The tribal character of Libyan society is an element lacking in the west and western commentators refer to it only as a dark force. From their perspective, undoubtedly it is. As well as the political council style of mass participation in Ghadafi’s Libya, the tribes and their militias may pull surprises.
How to flip over the advantage from outside the Libyan board? Where’s the global tipping point?
Hugo Chavez pointed to one very fruitful possibility. He’s pulling Veneuela’s funds out of the west, including all its gold. It’ll be interesting to see whether he gets it, or if this is also viewed as a casus belli by Washington’s maniacs. But what do they do if Russia and China follow suit and start to use their reserves aggressively? World stock-markets were already plummeting last week. Western leaders are not unconstrained. They have a day job, as well as moonlighting as war mongers.
Russia, China, India, South Africa – and the all the nations on earth outside the west need to understand something. It’s appreciated you don’t want to start a world war or anything suicidal like that – and that you have to share the planet at present with a hyper-militarised USA and its poodle States. That can’t be easy. They bully, you respond with smiles and polite coughs. They demand Libya as “theirs”. You grumble but reluctantly move aside and let them throttle the small kid.
I can understand that other inducements (trade, oil prices) may also have helped bribe China and Russia into not vetoing UNSCR 1970 or 1973. I have heard about ‘real politik’.
However, if by now you don’t realise that you are dealing with maniacs, you surely never will. Broad solidarity is the way to resist Empire. The more territory Empire captures, the more people whose political and social cohesion it destroys, the more it thrives and the more dangerous it becomes to its remaining adversaries.
Black and white
In this great global game of Go, in which the Libyan ‘theatre’ is just one part of a much larger board, ultimately all pieces in combat are either white or black. Neutrality is possible – but grey piece are not immune from being swallowed up too.
In the real great game, what does “black v white” really signify?
Some people might see it as a contest between “The West” and “the Rest”, or “Black v White”, “North v South”, “Christianity v Islam”, “Capitalism v Socialism”, “Corporations v the people”.
There’s doubtless case to be made for all, but none of these divisions in humanity seem to me to be genuine, catastrophic fissure lines that are inexorably pushing us to war. None of them explain what’s driving the Libya War – and all the rest of the devastating, invasive, illegal wars of our time.
What is ultimately driving this ‘war game’?
Even more than the gigantic, bloated vested interest of the military and security state itself (especially in the USA), what’s driving the active, military push to radically realign certain pieces on the board (nations) is Zionism.
In the case of Libya, there’s no evidence western military forces or even weapons manufacturers actively pushed for the war. Oil and resource companies were likely to have preferred stable commercial relationships – not the chaos to come, if royalties do end up being somewhat lower. It’s true jackals like Haliburton will probably profit out of this war as they’ve done from others. But those vested interests, powerful as they are, aren’t big enough to push Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy into war. I doubt even the “intelligence agencies” could do that, although they’ve doubtless played a key role.
Public opinion in the west has always been very luke-warm about this war. Most Christians and Muslims don’t support NATO bombing (though some do!) The people who support NATO intervention, overwhelmingly, do so because they’ve been grossly misinformed by the mass media. There has been no authentic “push” from below in the electorates of the warrior nations.
No, Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy started this war and hustled to get it approved by the UNSC because their Zionist controllers told them to do it. That’s where the push came from. That’s how they KNEW the media would help, not hinder.
"End of Zionism equals peace" - wot 'he said!
Whether Obama and Sarkozy have “intelligence” connections in their backgrounds, they operate now as agents of a foreign power. So does Cameron. Do does Julia Gillard in Australia, for that matter. That power is Zion: the alpha and omega of the drumbeat for war. If Zionists’s didn’t want a war in which the west is involved, it wouldn’t happen.
At the moment, there’s still lots of the global board that’s anti-Zionist territory to a greater or lesser degree. Those nations are all potential targets.
Game theory suggests that unless the Chinese, Indians, Brazilians, Africans – and indeed most people on earth – want to join the west and middle east in becoming either vassals or victims of Zionism, they must start showing SOLIDARITY with opponents of the most dangerous ideology the world has ever known.
We should hang together, lest we hang separately. United we’re strong. Divided we can be picked off, easily, one by one – especially if we allow our own divisions to be exploited.
Plain-dwelling herbivores learnt these basic truths long ago.
When will humanity catch up?
Mahdi Nazemroaya from Tripoli, early 22nd August
Some more recent reports from Tripoli by independent media: