Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 11, 2013

WaPo Fudges Libyan Protests

The Washington Post lauded the intervention in Libya. The demise of Gaddhafi threw the country into deep chaos. The Washington Post is now working to instigate a like intervention in Syria. To be able to do so it has to hide the chaos in Libya. Thus we get this news report:
Growing concerns over protests roiling Libya prompted the State Department to begin evacuating some diplomats from Tripoli, as the Pentagon put troops stationed at nearby European bases on high alert.
The U.S. is evacuating diplomats and alarming troops because of some protests? Aren't their protests in many countries all the times without such measures taken? What are these protests about?
The protests that have spread in Libya over the past week stem largely from the passage of a law that bars from public office officials who served in key roles under the deposed Libyan regime of Moammar Gaddafi.
The unrest worsened after the country’s new legislature last weekend overwhelmingly passed the bill barring certain figures from serving in government. It could unseat officials who currently hold important jobs.
That is all you will learn from the Washington Post news report. Some law was passed, with an overwhelming majority we are told, that threatens some bureaucrats with being fired. Someone is protesting about that.

Except, of course, that is NOT what happened.

For over a week some unidentified heavily armed gangs had set siege onto the Foreign Ministry in Libya. They also occupied the Justice Ministry:

The armed protesters have said their main goal was to push the General National Congress to pass a proposed law that would ban Gadhafi-era officials from holding government posts.
Last month, armed protesters besieged the General National Congress for several hours in an attempt to force its members to pass the political isolation law. Gunmen later opened fire on the vehicle of the parliament speaker, who escaped unharmed.
There was more:
It has emerged that militiamen tried to intimidate Prime Minister Ali Zeidan when he met and negotiated with them. He said today that they had brandished a grenade and a gun at him. He did not say when this happened.

”The rebels unlocked the grenade in front of me but no one was hurt because the grenade did not explode and it was taken quickly outside the Prime Ministry headquarters,” he stated today at a press conference.

There was shooting at the parliament, armed gangs seized ministries and put guns to the prime minister's head. This to push for the law that the Washington Post writes was "passed overwhelmingly". Wouldn't it be more correct to say that the law was passed by very frightened parliamentarians only under very heavy duress?

There is still more that the Washington Post will not let you know:

Militiamen who have been besieging the Foreign Ministry this evening fled when hundreds of pro-democracy supporters arrived at the building to demonstrate their support for the government.

Around 200 demonstrators had marched from Algeria Square along the Corniche to the Ministry but were quickly joined by others along the way, overwhelming the couple of dozen or so militiamen who were still mounting their siege outside the Ministry buildings.

These protests, much bigger than the armed gangs, are against the new law. They are also defenders of democracy:
Earlier in Algeria Square, around 400 anti-militia protesters brought traffic to a halt. Placards read: “With our blood we will defence the legitimacy of the government”, “No to bringing down the government with arms” and “Get rid of the guns in your hands and start building Libya”.

“I don’t like Zeidan”, said a protestor, “but he was appointed by a democratically-elected Congresss. “We must support him”.

Does the Washington Post believe that these protests that pushed out the militants led to the diplomatic and military high alarm? That does not sound reasonable but from reading the WaPo piece is the only item one is led to believe. Or has the threatening diplomatic atmosphere to do with this issue:

The crowd roared anti-militia chants interspersed with takbeers (“Allahu Akbar”) and occasional barbs at Qatar.

“We don’t want to be ruled by Mozah and Hamid,” they shouted – a reference to the Emir of Qatar, Hamid bin Khalifa Al-Thani and his wife, Sheikha Mozah, who was brought up in Libya. Qatar is accused by many of interfering in Libya by funding Salafists and other Islamists.

Is this attitude of the protesters or are the heavily armed gangs the reason for diplomats fleeing and military alerts? Whatever. The Washington Post will not let you know. It fudges the issue. Throwing Syria into chaos is too important to let people have second thoughts about the chaos following similar interventions.

Posted by b on May 11, 2013 at 17:22 UTC | Permalink


Al Qaeda bombing apparently thwarted in Egypt:

82 Million people living along a river bank with not enough food. And they're arming themselves to the teeth. I saw some kind of symposium on cspan where they mentioned that near 20% of the Egyptian population has hepatitis c.

A true hell, brought to you by 30 years of western backed, Israel appeasing dictatorship.

Posted by: guest77 | May 11 2013 21:16 utc | 1

It's a shame that Libya has come to this. Saif al Islam would have been an exceptional influence in this century, young, intellectual, deeply independent a dreamer not as vicious and tough as Gaddafi senior. The promise that he represented was crushed by the powers that be. Libya still is an experimental democracy, like it was under the Jamahiriya but in an experimental one none the less. Now Egypt, a great civilization to rival China and Persia, brought to its knee's! The great nation has been humbled, it's so sad and so pathetic. It's so sad because they chose this path with the peace treaties they signed. With an acquiescent Egypt at its South, neutralized. The Israelis were given a free hand to punish and persecute the Palestinian people. Damn you Mubarak & also damn you Mursi and your foul brotherhood of evil for not doing the right thing and engaging in piecemeal politics. You better wake up bashar.

Posted by: Fernando | May 11 2013 22:02 utc | 2

Hey, these "interventions" are done for politicians. Some gain, some lose.

Nicolas Sarkozy was a winner in Libya because the Emirate of Qatar is going to give him €3 million a year.

Barack Obama, who "led from behind," might be the loser because of the killing of the US ambassador and lies about it. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said in a radio interview Thursday that “of all the great cover-ups in history” — including the Pentagon papers, Iran-Contra and Watergate [and Clinton's blowjob] — Benghazi “is going to go down as the most serious, most egregious coverup in American history.” And I think he's correct.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 12 2013 2:03 utc | 3

History is trying to teach the James Inhofes of the world that meddling in other people's countries always backfires but these idiots just won't take the lesson. Instead they're getting worked up over some totally inconsequential bullshit side-issue about security, protestors or terrorists, and whether the response in Benghazi was enough.

Not once in this week's hearings did I hear a single congress person raise even the slightest suggestion that Ambassador Stevens' death might lead one to question the wisdom of the Libyan intervention in the first place. Nor do I ever hear this line of thought in the media. This is the biggest ever case of 'not seeing the forest for the trees". That is the scandal.

Posted by: J. Bradley | May 12 2013 5:27 utc | 4

I posted about this then-projected law weeks ago. It is a huge deal in Lybia and has crystallized, polarized, various factions.

Of course some of those who are presently sitting want a new broom and more power for themselves, and the old guard, or Gadafi supporters object, several ex-Gadafi regime ppl have important Gvmt. posts.

That is how regime change proceeds sometimes. And yes the demos have been massive and violent to some degree. So far the WaPo is at least not lying, if shallow, mealy-mouthed.

The protests have gotten out of hand, or if one likes, have slipped over into more thuggish and violent moves. No human chains or Kumbaya or writing position papers with demands or calls for legislation. Any and all vestiges of Gadafi must go, in favor of some new neo-lib Gov. is the position, who shapes that exactly, who the main actors are, is hard to judge, dope out.

At the start of the Lybia attack against Gadafi, I sketched two possible outcomes, a no-brainer: a return to to the three regions, or general civil war. But another outcome is now possible I see.

The militia men have abandoned the siege of two Ministers (Foreign Affairs and Justice), reportedly after negotiations and the setting up of some body to ‘discuss’. In F, from today:

Posted by: Noirette | May 12 2013 15:07 utc | 5

Wait a minute. There's still a Washington Post? Do those cute kids Woodward and Bernstein still work there? I thought it had tuned into a suburban shopping daily.

Posted by: Mooser | May 12 2013 16:07 utc | 6

There is a pattern to all these US backed regime changes. Libya is now at the stage that Honduras, Haiti and Iraq all recently passed through, the de-legitimisation, of all opposition to the imperial project, by means of propaganda, bribery, proscription and terror.

This is the other side of US "soft power." Any surviving members of Ghadaffi's circles are either purchased, or banished, abroad or from participation in politics, or killed. The unlucky ones are jailed and tortured to death.
This is what happened in Germany, Japan and Korea. And since then it has been repeated again and again: Indonesia remains the most graphic example of it. It has been practised recently in Haiti and Honduras and would have been in Venezuela if all had gone according to plan. No doubt Paraguay is already enjoying the dividends of its rescue from itself.

The United States's empire is, in political terms, international fascism, an aggressive, pre-emptive defence against any attempts to wrest economic and social power from the capitalists. Once socialists, with their commitment to collective ownership of the means of production and nationalists whose (almost equally dangerous) commitment is to national control over the economy are eliminated, democracy is so toothless that it may wander impotent and purposeless wherever it wills.

What we are seeing in Libya now, I suspect, is an unequal struggle between the idiots, who thought that they were fighting to inherit a wealthy state, and the realists who knew that the price they would have to pay for power would entail handing it over to the empire and settling for its protection as they set about stripping the Libyan people of their property before lowering their living standards to the point where sweatshops are preferable to flight.

The prospect for Syrians is perfectly clear. It is a measure of the criminal stupidity of the "feckless left" that they either cannot see the nature of what they are promoting or actually regard imperialism as a step forward for the masses, because it opens up career opportunities for compradors and court jesters.

Posted by: bevin | May 12 2013 17:37 utc | 7

Ah, bevin. What the US has done so often overseas it has now brought home, and, what Bush/Cheney began in terms of austerity and attempts to dismantle the few social safety nets and strong programs such as SocSec and Medicare are not being brought forward on steroids by Obama and his Banskter Buddies.

Goodbye to the middle class, as it was known in the US.

What the US has been doing overseas to others militarily has already been put in place here. The local police forces have been militarized almost beyond recognition as simply policing local areas. The ability to track individual's actions and speech has been implemented in ways we may never know about. Until Bush/Cheney's Total Information Awareness (TIA) is a fact on the ground and not to be removed.

Posted by: jawbone | May 12 2013 18:25 utc | 8

Typo, 1st graf: "not" should be "now"

...what Bush/Cheney began in terms of austerity and attempts to dismantle the few social safety nets and strong programs such as SocSec and Medicare are not NOW being brought forward on steroids by Obama and his Banskter Buddies.

Obama, Coporatist running dog lackey.

Posted by: jawbone | May 12 2013 18:28 utc | 9

"alarming" troops? I hope you mean "arming".

Posted by: ruralito | May 12 2013 20:07 utc | 10

@7 "already enjoying the dividends of its rescue from itself."

That's a fantastic phrase, perfectly fitting.

Posted by: guest77 | May 12 2013 23:19 utc | 11

What did that ghoul Hillary say? Something like " what difference does it make how he (amb stevens) died"
As she pounded her fists

We will never see a real investigation from these criminals in congress. These same idiots that are clammering for answers are still pushing for intervention in Syria. Just political theater.

Posted by: Hilmihakim | May 13 2013 4:49 utc | 12

bevin @ 7: Another gem, thanks.

Posted by: ben | May 13 2013 5:51 utc | 13

funding terrorism is supposed to be illegal...but not for the US regime

America is Loosing its Covert Syria War: US Sponsored Al Nusra Rebels Defeated by Syrian Armed Forces

Recent reports from the ground suggest that America and its allies are loosing their covert war in support of the Al Nusra front. In recent weeks, the US sponsored Al Qaeda affiliated rebels have been decimated by the Syrian Armed Forces....
What these developments suggest is that Al Nusra rebels are cannon fodder.
Washington in consultation with its Western allies has decided to sacrifice its Al Qaeda affiliated foot-soldiers who are now being decimated by the Syrian army.
While Britain and France had earlier blocked Syria’s earlier initiative to include Al Nusra on the United Nations Security Council terrorist list, the initiative is now emanating not from Syria but from those countries, which until recently were providing the Al Nusra front, with money and weapons.
Moreover, Washington’s direct financial support of Al Nusra, brokered by Obama’s new Secretary of State John Kerry, has become, to say the least, the source of diplomatic embarrassment.
Not to mention the fact that an American citizen who is indirectly suspected, with or without evidence, of supporting an Al Qaeda affiliated entity would immediately be arrested, with of course the exception of Secretary of the State John Kerry, among other senior US officials.
But its all for cause: support “good guy terrorists” with a view to “promoting democracy in Syria”.

Posted by: brian | May 13 2013 11:40 utc | 14

Hilmihakim @ 12 -- I think the State Department was not covering up for Obama or Hillary, but for the CIA.

Maybe the ambassador had been temporarily sheep dipped to the CIA for his work in Benghazi? And that could not be allowed to become widely known?

Emptywheel as been doing some good coverage of the whole Behghazi hearings. Scroll around. Petraeus is also involved in trying to point at State, away from his role at the CIA.

Posted by: jawbone | May 13 2013 14:34 utc | 15

You wrote: "Barack Obama, who 'led from behind,'" ..

Compare Wikipedia "Pierson's Puppeteers":

"The leader of the Puppeteers is known as the Hindmost. Since Pierson's Puppeteers are most concerned with their own safety .. the most important Puppeteer is considered to be behind, or protected by, every other member of the species. It is a shortening from the more literal 'He who leads from behind.'"

IOW, the most cowardly of all is considered the greatest of all.

Note the two oppositely facing heads, which enable the Hindmost to change direction instantly without emerging from his solipsism.

Very appropriate for OBambi. Edmund Lear would approve.

Posted by: rivit | May 14 2013 9:19 utc | 16

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