Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Has the U.S. Issued Kill Orders Against Reporters in Libya?

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It was reported last week that the online news source the Examiner has learned through confidential “human rights defenders” in Libya that NATO has “allegedly ordered targeted killings” of non-mainstream reporters operating inside the war-torn African nation.

According to the story, American military commanders had ordered the detainment or elimination of several independent journalists, including several from the French-language Voltaire Network who were in country covering NATO’s aerial assault on the people of Libya.

As additionally reported by Voltaire Network:

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Research Associate, Centre for Research on Globalization, and Thierry Meyssan, president and founder of Voltaire Network and the Axis for Peace Conference, are entrenched in the Hotel Rixos, around which heavy fighting is taking place. Reportedly, the order was given to shoot them down.

Voltaire also claims that the actual order was issued by unnamed Americans posing as journalists operating out of the Hotel Rixos in Tripoli.

While these extermination orders may seem farfetched, a story published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reports that one independent journalist, Mohammed Nabbous, was murdered Saturday while attempting to cover the continuing hostilities between the NATO-supported rebels and forces still loyal to Moammar Gadhafi.

ABC reported:

The conflict in Libya has claimed the life of another journalist. A sniper shot Mohammed Nabbous, a resident of Benghazi and founder of its first independent TV news channel Libya Alhurra, on Saturday night. 

He was out filming Gaddafi attacks in Benghazi when he was shot. It happened not long after the regime claimed that it was honouring a ceasefire. 

As to what made Nabbous a target for assassination, clues might be found in the content of an interview he gave to radio station KPFA wherein he revealed his eyewitness account of events on the ground in Tripoli. During the interview with host Don DeBar, Nabbous insisted the “news” as reported by mainstream Western media sources was purposely slanted in favor of the rebels and their NATO allies and that anyone courageous enough to deviate from the official plot points was persecuted.

Additionally, observers note that the timing of the tragic death could not have been more suspect. As the Examiner reports: “Within days of NATO bombings on Libya, Nabbous reportedly had a team of ‘citizen reporters,’ shooting video reports all around Benghazi that he was posting on his channel Libya Alhurra."

In the story which ran on ABC, the credibility of Nabbous was regularly relied upon by other, more traditional news agencies, who regularly interviewed him to obtain a more accurate, less biased version of the battle for control of the government of Libya.

Of the utmost urgency to Nabbous and other unofficial spectators of the war is the spreading of the news not being broadcast by mainstream media outlets. The biggest and most important story is the massacre of Libyan civilians by NATO and rebel ground forces. Shockingly, it was reported Monday that a NATO offensive carried out over the weekend killed 1,300 Libyans and wounded 5,000 others. 

However, despite his own claims and those of ABC that Nabbous was one of the unfettered voices crying in the wilderness of war, DeBar insists that Nabbous was “clearly a U.S. agent.” As proof of his claim, DeBar points out that Nabbous “founded Libya's version of al-Hurra.”

The entry for al-Hurra posted on Wikipedia explains that "Alhurra (or al-Hurra) (Arabic: الحرّة‎, al-Ḥurrah [alˈħurra] 'The free') is a United States-based satellite TV channel, sponsored by the U.S. government."

Furthermore, Wikipedia states, "The station is forbidden from broadcasting itself within the U.S. under the 1948 Smith-Mundt Act concerning the broadcast of propaganda." 

What is clear, then, is whether or not Nabbous was a U.S. agent, he was employed by a media company funded by the government of the United States.

This sort of elaborate manipulation of the media on the part of the United States, its armed forces, and NATO was outlined briefly by DeBar in an interview he gave last week:

Now the Russians, who conduct satellite surveillance of planet Earth, because they have been prepared for 50 years for a nuclear strike from the United States, said that, on the specific dates that [Gadhafi] charges were delineated that [he] had attacked his people from the air, here are the photographs: there are no planes in the air, there were no aeral activities conducted whatsoever. 

DeBar further explained, "Coverage of the situation in Libya over the past three days, while useless to anyone trying to understand what is actually happening in Libya, nevertheless provides an interesting peek into the modus operandi of the global media that has broad application for the decoding of its coverage of all of the issues that touch our lives." 

Regardless of the true alliances and agenda of Nabbous, the Voltaire Network (Réseau Voltaire) has indicated that it will soon name the names of those reporters operating out of the Hotel Rixos that it claims are actually working for the U.S. government to identify those journalists and media providers that are refusing to cooperate with the powers that be and the party line they want toed.

The Examiner article portrays as fact the order by the American government to silence alternative voices attempting to break through the noise of official broadcasts. Such claims are difficult, if not impossible, to prove, but there is evidence of the willingness of the Obama administration to secretly target enemies of the state.

For example, President Obama recently signed an executive order under which names are added to CIA and military "kill lists" through a secret executive process and stay there for months at a time.

As quoted in the Examiner piece:

After the attacks of September 11, the Pentagon began a shift away from its late Cold War–era "two-war strategy," premised on maintaining the ability to conduct two major military operations simultaneously, and began to focus instead on irregular warfare against individuals and groups.

Weinberger states further, "The head of U.S. Special Operations Command talks about 'high-tech manhunting,' while Air Force officials describe plans to compress the 'kill chain.'"

The imminent execution of this order and the intent of the U.S. military to actually perform the “compression” described in the quote cited above is accepted as truth by Don DeBar, who has covered events in Libya for years and maintains contact with other independent reporters working in that theatre today. Says DeBar: "Most reporting is being done from inside or near the journalists' hotels. Outside the primary location, snipers have fired at — and in one case, shot — non-mainstream journalists."

Further, DeBar insists that only those reporters embedded with the rebel forces dependent on NATO are allowed to shoot footage outside. Moreover, Libya's media has had its power cut off, so it is no longer broadcasting, he added.

In a report published last week, DeBar wrote:

The manufacture of events in Libya has been underway since the lead-up to the US-led invasion, including the narrative that enabled the UN resolutions 1970 and 1973 — prominent among these were the claim that the Libyan government was conducting an aerial war against protestors, countered by satellite evidence from the Russian military showing no such attacks took place, and the claim that African mercenaries were firing on protestors, which was both untrue and provoked racist killings of Libyans with African features and skin by rebel gangs.

While there undoubtedly are those who deny even the possibility that the government of the United States would encourage, condone, or much less order, the death of those trying to tell the true story of atrocities being carried out by NATO, constitutionalists insist that the unassailable truth is that there is neither authority nor need for the armed forces of the United States to be involved in yet another war against a regime that poses no clear, present, or proven threat to the safety of the citizens of the American Republic.

Photo: AP Images