June 25, 2011
Human rights organizations have failed to find evidence that the government of Libya’s Colonel Muammar Gaddafi engaged in rape and other widely reported abuses. The allegations were used by the United States and NATO to justify the invasion of the north African country.
In March, the media reported Gaddafi’s troops had used rape as a form of intimidation.
Since the uprising against Gaddafi that began in mid-February, the corporate media has published lurid stories accusing the leader and his troops of using helicopters to fire on protesters, ordering mass rapes, and using foreign mercenaries.
The ludicrous story that Gaddafi distributed Viagra to troops first came to light in March after NATO had attacked tanks advancing on Benghazi. At that time the rebels showed packages of Viagra to foreign journalists, said Donatella Rovera, senior crisis response adviser for Amnesty, who was in Libya for three months after the start of the uprising.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, repeated the rape claim in April while accusing Gaddafi of numerous human rights abuses.
Amnesty International said it failed to discover any evidence of human rights violations, The Independent reported on Friday. The organization said it appears the stories originated with the U.S. and NATO backed and armed rebels in Benghazi. Amnesty said it is likely the rebels knowingly made false claims and manufactured evidence.
The United Nations’ International Court used the bogus information to claim Gaddafi engaged in human rights violations. ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told a news conference two weeks ago that “we have information that there was a policy to rape in Libya those who were against the government. Apparently he [Colonel Gaddafi] used it to punish people.”
Secretary of State Clinton said she was “deeply concerned” Gaddafi’s troops are participating in rape in Libya. “Rape, physical intimidation, sexual harassment, and even so-called ‘virginity tests’ have taken place in countries throughout the region,” she declared last week.
The stories are reminiscent of the Kuwait incubator hoax used as propaganda in the effort to get the public behind the U.S. invasion of Libya in 1991.
It was later learned that the 15 year old girl who had testified that Saddam Hussein’s soldiers removed incubators and left babies to die during the 1990 invasion of Kuwait was the daughter of Saud bin Nasir al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. Her testimony was organized as part of the Citizens for a Free Kuwait public relations campaign which was run by Hill & Knowlton for the Kuwaiti government.
The story was mentioned six times in speeches given by Bush Senior and seven senators cited it as a reason for voting to give the Bush administration authorization for the Gulf War.