NATO’s Attack On Libyan TV An Outrage
NATO air attack on Libya’s state TV [Reuters]
NATO Friday night attacked the Libyan television station in Tripoli killing three people and injuring 15 others in direct violation of their own UN Resolution 1973 which stipulates they may attack military targets “to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi” and to impose a ‘no-fly zone’.
It has long become clear that the UN Resolution is just a pretext for regime change in Libya, yet NATO continues to look us straight in the eyes as they tell the wildest whoppers, and this time to justify attacking a hostile press.
The attack “was necessary,” said NATO spokesman Colonel Roland Lavoie, “as TV was being used as an integral component of the regime apparatus to systematically oppress and threaten civilians.”
If that were true, why did it take four months for NATO to discover this? Of course, it is not true. What is true is they attacked the TV the day rebel commander, General Abdel Fattah Yunis, was killed by another rebel faction. I believe NATO did not want Tripoli to explain to the Libyan people what had happened and certainly does not want public opinion to know the tribal nature of the rebellion and the large presence of al-Qaeda sympathizers in its ranks.
But whatever the case, there can be no justification for bombing the press, even a hostile press.
Libyan TV director, Rabea Mukhtar, said this is the second time his TV has been attacked by NATO. “What is there inside?” he asked. “Are there weapons inside them? What is inside Libyan Television to attack?”
Mukhtar went on to warn NATO they could “bomb us again four or five times, we will continue doing our duties…”.
The director of Libyan TV’s English Channel, Khaled Bazelya, said bombing is an act of “international terrorism… We are employees of the official Libyan TV. We are not a military target.”
The West’s Long History of Bombing the Press
But NATO and the US have a ling history of attacking the press. On April 23, 1999, during the needless Kosovo War, a NATO missile blew up Serbian Radio and TV in Belgrade, killing 16 people and using the same excuse.
On November 13, 2001, a US missile hit Al-Jazeera’s office in Kabul. On April 8, 2003 a US missile hit an electric generator at Al-Jazeera’s offices in Baghdad leading to the death of one reporter and hurting a second.
In April 2003 they shelled the Basra hotel where Al-Jazeera reporters were the only guests. Al-Jazeera reporters have been arrested with at least one sent to Guantanamo.
On November 22, 2005, according to minutes received by The Daily Mirror , US President George W. Bush, in a White House meeting in April 2004, speculated with his good friend, then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, about a US bombing raid on Al-Jazeera world headquarter is Doha, Qatar and other locations. The Mirror says Blair convinced Bush to take no action. The UK government run BBC came to the rescue saying that Bush’s comments could have been intended as “some kind of joke.” The Independent countered “official note takers don’t normally record jokes”. The Pentagon denied the story.
On July 12, 2007, a US helicopter killed a group of men in Baghdad including two Reuters staff. The US denied any knowledge of the incident until Wikileaks put the secret helicopter video online showing clearly the US soldiers not only shot unarmed civilians but also shot the wounded and those who came to help them.
Of the 189 journalists killed in Iraq since the invasion, at least 18 have been killed by the US. The Geneva Conventions stipulate that parties that have “no active part in the hostilities” shall “in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.” This includes journalists and media technicians.
But then again, UN rules outlaw foreign intervention for regime change and the Nuremburg trials banned pre-emptive war. That does not stop NATO powers from doing both: Iraq, Ivory Coast, Libya….
Yes, information is a weapon. That is why NATO has professional spin-doctors and tells us lies while looking us straight in the eyes such as the French Defense Minister, Gérad Longuet, on May 1st when he said there is no information of Islamic Fundamentalists in the Libyan rebellion.
If the US wants to bomb media they say is “inciting to violence against civilians” they can start by bombing Fox News, Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh who never hesitate to tell a whopper if it can stir up hate.
By George Kazolias
George Kazolias is an American Journalist based in Paris and a Professor of Global Communications at the American University in Paris. He runs the blog kazodaily.