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Media Blackout: NATO Returns to Libya

NATO members are conducting ground operations in Libya — but you're not supposed to know

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

One of the major advantages of being a NATO member is that you are allowed to conduct military operations in any country of your choosing, with minimal (or no) news coverage and absolutely zero debate.

This delightful perk is more or less written into NATO's charter. And it's been an especially perky perk with regards to Libya —once the richest, most developed nation in North Africa; now a moon crater.

<figcaption>The 'right to protect' never ends...</figcaption>
The 'right to protect' never ends...

NATO's "no fly zone" was actually a highly coordinated air and ground campaign to topple (and ultimately murder) Gaddafi. The power vacuum created by the complete destruction of Libya has created a "democracy" plagued by warring tribes and general anarchy, in which the NATO-backed "legitimate" government is not even in control of Tripoli.

The security situation in Libya is so appalling that Peter Hitchens, a vetern journalist who has worked in conflict zones all over the world, says that he doesn't know of a single western journalist brave enough to go there. In other words: Perfect conditions for some NATO shenanigans. Take the wheel, Guardian:

A secret US commando mission to Libya has been revealed after photographs of a special forces unit were posted on the Facebook page of the country’s air force.

Libya’s air force said 20 US soldiers arrived at Libya’s Wattiya airbase on Monday, but left soon after local commanders asked them to go because they had no permission to be at the base. It was unclear if another branch of the Libyan military had authorized the mission.

Pentagon sources confirmed to US media that the special forces unit was part of a mission sent this week, but it was unclear if the soldiers had left the country.

Three points we want to make:

  1. This secret US special forces mission was not exposed by traditional, on-the-ground shoe-leather journalism. Not even by an anonymous source at the Pentagon. The only reason we know about this "mission" is because incriminating photos were posted to Facebook. In other words: Traditional media has no idea what's happening right now in Libya. But if you have a hot tip from Facebook, let them know!
  2. We love how the Guardian covers for what is clearly uninvited military activity on Libyan territory: "The Americans had no right to be there, but maybe a powerless puppet minister living in a tent 100km from Tripoli authorized the Pentagon to do whatever it wants? It's plausible, people!"
  3. Again, returning to the fact that the media has no idea what's happening in Libya, and that the Guardian is literally copy-and-pasting a Facebook post: We don't even know if the US soldiers involved in this incident have left the country. (Spoiler alert: They haven't.)

A more recent example of "we have no idea what's actually happening in Libya" has surfaced in the form of some classic "oil field liberation":

British Special Forces have been deployed in Libya to wrest back control of more than a dozen oil fields seized by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants, it has emerged.

Approximately 6,000 European and US soldiers, including 1,000 British troops, will be involved in a number of offensives set up to halt the advance of the jihadist terror group.

The operation will be led by Italian forces and supported mainly by Britain and France.

There it is.

We think it's valuable to briefly remind our readers of just how deceitful and criminal the war against Libya truly was (and continues to be).

One: Obama —and his administration, specifically Hillary Clinton — fabricated and disseminated outrageous lies in order to go to war:

Human rights organisations have cast doubt on claims of mass rape and other abuses perpetrated by forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, which have been widely used to justify Nato's war in Libya.

Nato leaders, opposition groups and the media have produced a stream of stories since the start of the insurrection on 15 February, claiming the Gaddafi regime has ordered mass rapes, used foreign mercenaries and employed helicopters against civilian protesters.

An investigation by Amnesty International has failed to find evidence for these human rights violations and in many cases has discredited or cast doubt on them. It also found indications that on several occasions the rebels in Benghazi appeared to have knowingly made false claims or manufactured evidence.

The entire premise of the "right to protect Libyan civilians" was based on a lie: That Gaddafi was slaughtering unarmed, peaceful demonstrators — at the time described as an actual genocide. There is zero credible evidence to support these cartoonish claims. Oh well?

Two: NATO violated its own mandate, and international law. Allow us to remind you what the NATO mandate in Libya actually was:

What we have decided tonight is to take the responsibility for enforcing the No-Fly Zone with the aim to protect the civilian population, and the mandate doesn't go beyond that, of course we can act in self-defence, but what we will do is to enforce the No-Fly Zone and ensure that we protect the civilian population.

So the mandate is: patrol Libyan airspace in order to protect innocent Libyans being slaughtered by Gaddafi (which never actually happened, but "so it goes").

The problem is that NATO (and a coalition of Arab states that wanted Gaddafi gone) did far, far more than just this. Via CNN:

Special forces troops from Britain, France, Jordan and Qatar on the ground in Libya have stepped up operations in Tripoli and other cities in recent days to help rebel forces as they conducted their final advance on the Gadhafi regime, a NATO official confirmed to CNN Wednesday.

The BBC doesn't even try to hide the outrageous disregard for NATO's strictly-defined "mandate" in Libya:

British efforts to help topple Colonel Gaddafi were not limited to air strikes. On the ground - and on the quiet - special forces soldiers were blending in with rebel fighters. This is the previously untold account of the crucial part they played.

Yeah, all of that was friggin' illegal and in violation of international law. There wasn't supposed to be British soldiers on the ground. Toppling Gaddafi was not part of NATO's mandate. Also thanks for the cheery "now that Libya is destroyed, we can tell you what really happened" story, BBC. We expect nothing less.

Three: We actually have no idea how many Libyans were killed/maimed/displaced as a result of this (ongoing) conflict, one of the main reasons being that NATO vehemently denied killing a single Libyan civilian (it later had to change its story). This was NATO's official policy in Libya:

only a death that NATO itself investigated and corroborated could be called confirmed. But because the alliance declined to investigate allegations, its casualty tally by definition could not budge – from zero.

If you measure the scale of destruction in terms of where Libya was before NATO's  "humanitarian intervention", and where it is now, it's simply criminal. Before NATO started dropping bombs, this is what the U.N. said about Libya:

In 2010, Libya ranked 53rd in the UN’s Human Development Index among 163 countries. With life expectancy at birth at 74.5 years, an 88.4% adult literacy rate and a gross enrolment ratio of 94.1%, Libya was classified as a high human development country among the Middle East and North Africa region.

Before NATO exercised its "right to protect", Libyans enjoyed a higher standard of living than 2/3 of the planet.

Libya's human development rating is now at 94, and continues to drop by about 10 places each year.

Libya was the richest, most developed, most educated country in North Africa. It was a model of much-needed stability in the region, with a government that was considerably less terrible than NATO's numerous medieval dictator-allies.

Libya is being raped. And you're not supposed to know about it. End of story.

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