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Despite the all-encompassing belief in democracy and a free press, Americans have very little democracy left and perhaps the worst media in the world. Even people who make efforts to be informed don’t know what is happening domestically and internationally because of the constant lies and disinformation they are exposed to by the corporate media. They act as spokespersons for the powerful instead of providing analysis and information for readers and viewers. The result is a world turned upside down, with lies being sold as the truth. Libya is just the latest example of press malfeasance.
In 2011 the leaders of NATO appeared to pull off the perfect crime. That year they used the Arab Spring democracy movement as a cover to destroy Libya, kill its president, Muammar Gaddafi, and turn that nation over to jihadists supported by the Persian gulf monarchs.
Migrant Prisons of Libya: Europe or Die - Trailer
Regime change was the only issue ever on the agenda. They used the dubious doctrine of Responsibility to Protect, R2P, as a means of getting away with murder. This was no mysterious conspiracy either. The American secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said quite publicly that her government wanted Gaddafi dead. “We hope that he can be captured or killed soon,” said the characteristically undiplomatic diplomat. After the deed was done she again spoke openly about killing a head of state. “We came, we saw, he died.”
The American government unleashed a race war in the intervention and, to this day, African migrants and darker skinned Libyans are at risk of assault and death. The town of Tawergha was turned to rubble and inhabitants who survived the assault were forced to flee. America’s first black president was responsible for this terror.
2011 was the year that Barack Obama made his bones and a fiendish re-election campaign commercial by going on a killing spree in the Middle East. Osama bin Laden, Gaddafi and American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki were all victims of the U.S. hit squad, in a clear violation of law.
Now Libya is back in the news and this very recent past is never mentioned by corporate media. When ISIS decapitated 21 Egyptian Christians the horror was separated from American involvement in that country. The murder of the American ambassador in 2012 is used by Republicans as a club to beat Obama but none of them question the very premise of American involvement there.
Libya is now a ruin. As Vladimir Putin pointed out, everything America touches will end up the same way. The once prosperous country is now in a tumultuous civil war, with war lords fighting for their own piece of the action and ISIS using the media to spread fear and outrage. None of this would have taken place had NATO left Libya alone.
One wouldn’t know this of course from watching the news or reading the newspaper. The United States role in the destruction of Libya has been shoved down the Orwellian memory hole, never to be seen or discussed again.
Boko Haram’s rampages in Nigeria and jihadists incursions in Mali are all a result of the fall of the Gaddafi regime. Death was unleashed not just in Libya, but throughout the region. The killing of the United States ambassador at Benghazi in 2012 was a harbinger of things to come as the jihadists repeat their standard operating procedure toward their benefactors. Now Libyans and Egyptian migrant workers pay the price for western aggressions.
It is staggering to see the depth of manipulation directed at the people of this country. If the president openly calls for the overthrow of a sovereign state, networks and newspapers go along and regurgitate every word. When the project goes south, no one who bragged about it in 2011 will now admit to their role in the disaster and the press continues to repeat official policy like the good little scribes they have always been.
The ISIS story has been dumbed down to tired analysis about a clash of civilizations and whether or not Islam is a religion of peace. Muslims can be peaceful or warlike but the hand of American involvement and the silence about it is the real story.
Therein lies the perennial problem. This is not the first time in history that an administration directed what the media does and doesn’t report. Journalists know that they have to play ball so to speak. If they want the good gig and access to senior officials they will write only what they are told to write. They won’t stray from the script or tell any inconvenient truths like the United States spending the last nearly forty years supporting jihadists who they later end up fighting.
When the next ISIS video of immolation or beheading is released, the history of American involvement ought to be told too. But no one should hold their breath and think that the press will report on any such thing.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in Black Agenda Report, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com.
Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.