June 22, 2011
Back in April when the U.S. effort to overthrow Gaddafi was just picking up steam, the rebels aligned with al-Qaeda said they intend to install a parliamentary democracy in Libya.
“Libyans as a whole — and I am one of them — want a civilian democracy, not dictatorship, not tribalism and not one based on violence or terrorism,” Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga, vice chairman of the National Provisional Council, told the Associated Press.
Ali Zeidan, an envoy for the Libyan National Transitional Council, told the media in March his movement’s long-term goal is to improve education, health care and bring back 50,000 educated Libyans living in the United States and Europe to Libya to restore the country’s intellectual fabric and economy. “We would like to establish a new state on the basis of democracy … we do not want an Islamist government,” Zeidan said.
Well, it looks like the U.S. funded and militarily supported rebels will have to work on the democracy thing.
Rebel leaders in the besieged western Libyan city of Misrata have imposed restrictions on the foreign press, marking a sharp contrast with their previous openness and with the policies of their counterparts in Benghazi in the east, Bloomberg reports today.
In Dafniya, a village near Misrata, journalists are being turned back by rebel fighters, who say they have been told by authorities that some members of the media may be spies.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
“We want to care about your safety,” explained Mohammed Durat, head of the Media Center of the Misrata City Council. “You should be happy about this.”
Journalists are only allowed to use officially approved translators.
In May, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported a number of attacks on journalists, mostly attributed to Gaddafi’s forces. “CPJ has documented more than 80 attacks on the press since political unrest erupted in Libya last month. They include five fatalities, at least three serious injuries, at least 50 detentions, 11 assaults, two attacks on news facilities, the jamming of Al-Jazeera and Al-Hurra transmissions, at least four instances of obstruction, the expulsion of two international journalists, and the interruption of Internet service. At least six local journalists are missing amid speculation they are in the custody of security forces. One international journalist and two media support workers are also unaccounted for.”
In addition to their dismal performance on the battlefield, Libya’s ragtag rebels have been accused of various atrocities, including summary executions, beheadings, lynchings, desecration of corpses, and rape. Videos showing the public beheading of a man in Benghazi and another of a black man being beaten during interrogation have appeared on YouTube but are not shown by a corporate media that supports the rebels and the “humanitarian intervention” initiated by the United Nations and carried out by the Pentagon and NATO.
Obviously, such footage is extremely damaging to the rebels, which explains why they are now imposing censorship and travel limits on the media for their “safety.”