Libya continues to be hit, on average, approximately every half hour by a NATO bombing attack in a ‘campaign’ of wreaking murderous damage that’s been underway for five months and counting.
For me, one consequence of following the bloody events in Libya has been making the acquaintance – from a safe distance – of some of the western journalists reporting from Libya.
Tripoli-based reporters stay at the now-legendary Rixos Hotel. It’s an arrangement that seems to suit all sides, despite routine grumbles from the valiant ladies and gentlemen of the ‘free press’ and bouts of quite extraordinary paranoia (The Guardian informs us one ‘journalist’ refused all hot food, believing it to be spiked with sedatives!)
Importantly, as long as these westerners remain at the Rixos, NATO can avoid the embarrassment of wiping out the entire western press corp by ‘mistake’ . That would be a terrible blow to the prestige of western humanitarians. Unlike their Libyan hosts, the Rixos set have real faces, real friends, real families and lives that matter.
The Libyan Government, for its part, can keep a close eye on the bastards while they’re staying at the Rixos. This is typically portrayed as ‘paranoia’ on the part of the Government. Those who make the claim seem to have forgotten how many German journalists were allowed to report freely from London during World War Two – and how the British State might have dealt with any who tried.
Ivan Watson, CNN. Spends most nights tucked up safely 'embed' at the Rixos
On any given day, a Twitter search for “Rixos” is a way of getting some idea which western journalists are in Tripoli and what they’re up to. There has been quite a turnover since March! It’s been like a soap opera for news junkies.
Ivan Watson, who works for CNN, is neither the worst nor the best of the Rixos crowd. He’s easy to tease because of his movie-star wannabee photo. But in fairness, one senses occasional attempts on his part to explain the full horror of what’s happening and even register a murmur of protest. Here’s his recent report, filed soon after attending a mass funeral near Zliten. In this unusual case, the articulate Libyan Government spokseman, Moussa Ibrahim, actually gets a few coherent sentences in edgeways on the tape.
Yet the lapse is only temporary. Ivan is back on track almost straight away – posing once again as the hard-nosed, sceptical, ‘can’t fool me’ style of reporter that his bosses expect… while Ivan is in Libya.
In case the CNN overlords send Mr Watson to London next, I’ve taken the liberty of writing his next story, using the same ‘Rixos-style’ of reporting – a technique that shows western journalists haven’t entirely lost the capacity for scepticism).
Here it is:
Ivan goes to London
Yesterday, travelling by bus with other reporters based at London’s Soxir Hotel, I was taken to witness dramatic scenes apparently caused by people the UK regime describes as ‘rioters’.
We saw what appeared to be many burning buildings. However, it was impossible for us to confirm these fires were, as the regime asserts, lit by rebellious civilians.
We also observed what did appear to be riots in progress. Some people seemed noticeably angry, but it was not possible for us to verify they were genuine rioters.
A massive police presence on the streets shows the isolated Cameron regime is still struggling to re-impose dictatorial rule.
A shop on fire in London, August 2011. Claims by the Cameron regime that this fire was started by rioters cannot be independently verified
A spokesman for the regime claimed hundreds of fires have been started by ‘rioters’ in recent days. That claim cannot be independently confirmed. Estimates of damage vary widely.
The only ordinary Britons willing to talk openly with us claimed to support the Government. I witnessed at least one surreptitious thumbs down sign. It’s hard to guage accurately the full extent of opposition to Downing Street.
The respected Tripoli-based ‘Committee for Protection of British Property’ yesterday issued a statement strongly condemning the Cameron Government for complicity in burning down its own peoples’ shops and homes.
“The world community demands that Cameron steps down immediately!” said CPBP Chairman Dr I’m-Ratha-Spooki, speaking by satellite phone from an undisclosed location.
Also by Ivan Watson: In Libya – as always in war – civilians pay highest price (August 5th 2011)