- Storm Daniel hit the coastal city of Derna in Libya, causing two dams to break sending torrents of water into the city.
- So far, 11,500 have died and more than 10,000 remain missing
- The media is being criticised for its coverage of Libya and why the country was so unprepared to deal with the storm
- Most media hasn’t acknowledged the Western intervention in Libya in 2011
- Leaked documents revealed the West’s ‘dirty war’ in Libya
- The media’s role in the 2011 intervention has also been hushed
Western media exposes itself in its coverage of Libya floods
The floods in Libya have so far killed 11,300 people, according to the UN, and more than 10,000 remain missing.
The media’s response to the devastation caused by the floods has seen words like “chaos”, “unstable”, “lawless” and “fractured,” as an attempt to explain why Libya seemed so unprepared for the storm, the floods and everything that came after it.
But the media isn’t telling the whole truth. They’re not explaining why Libya was in such a dire situation before the storm.
Nothing highlights the heavily edited version of the truth – to make Britain and the West look less complicit – better than the good old BBC when they decided to add their assessment of why Libya is such a mess.
In true BBC style, they shoved a load of UK colonialist propaganda in our faces – only to be called out on X (formerly known as Twitter) as they downplayed Britain’s role in destroying the country – barely more than a decade ago.
Storm Daniel hits Derna
The storm caused two dams around Derna to burst which sent massive amounts of water into the city, destroying bridges and washing away entire neighbourhoods, before spilling into the Mediterranean.
Of course, the climate crisis can be pointed to for Storm Daniel. It grew in the Mediterranean because of the heatwave – where sea temperatures broke records.
There are fears for survivors in the city due to not enough medicine, clean water and lack of shelter.
The international community is involved in the search and rescue operation, with countries and organisations sending food, water, tents and other essentials.
What did the media fail to do?
The media has told us how lawless and unprepared Libya was for the storm and floods. But it has largely avoided telling us why, and when the BBC did acknowledge it, it was in the most pro-Western way.
BBC News Africa tweeted on 13 September:
Libya was once one of Africa's most prosperous countries, but years of lawlessness have left it a fragile, divided state – ill-prepared to cope with the forces unleashed by a natural disaster. https://t.co/aFGO37ettU— BBC News Africa (@BBCAfrica) September 13, 2023
In the article, the BBC states:
Once one of Africa’s most prosperous countries, years of lawlessness have left it a fragile, divided state – ill-prepared to cope with the forces unleashed by a natural disaster.BBC
Then, it specifically stated that:
The vast majority of deaths from the flooding have occurred in Derna – a city emblematic of Libya’s breakdown. It has received little investment for decades and a government minister in the area admitted that one of the dams that burst had not been maintained “for a while”.BBC
The BBC then goes on to point out the fact Libya has two rival governments who have been in conflict with each other for years.
But why is Libya unprepared?
Why was Libya so unprepared for this disaster, why do they have two rival governments? Why has there been so little investment?
Well, the BBC frames it as:
Libya has been beset by chaos since forces backed by the West’s Nato military alliance overthrew long-serving ruler Col Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011.
It’s not quite the true story though.
People on X (formerly known as Twitter) were quick to slam the BBC.
What a disgustingly misleading description!Here is the reality: “Due to western invasion, under false pretenses, a once flourishing African country was destroyed, its population decimated. With the invasion of Iraq, Libya is one of the last unjust, barbaric actions, conducted… https://t.co/wrb23VTxUz
Why did the West really involve itself in Libya in 2011?
Despite the humanitarian tagline that Western governments love to use, the reasons for the West involving itself in Libya had nothing to do with freeing the people from an ‘evil dictator’.
In March 2011, US-NATO forces began the air and sea bombardment of Libya. The intervention was led by the United States first through its Africa Command, then through Nato under US command.
In seven months, the U.S.-NATO air force carried out 30,000 sorties, 10,000 of which were bombing attacks, unleashing over 40,000 bombs and missiles.
(We’ve summarised a 2021 article, originally published in the Italian web daily newspaper II Manifesto below)
Before the air-sea offensive began, US-Nato agents and client states financed and armed ethnic groups and Islamic groups hostile to Libya’s government and Qatar deployed special forces to instigate armed clashes within the country.
The role of the US-Nato intervention in Libya must never be underestimated. Before the intervention, in 2010, the World Bank said Libya had maintained “high levels of economic growth,” with its GDP increasing by 7.5 per cent per year, and recorded “high human development indicators,” including universal access to primary and secondary education and, for over 40 per cent of the youth, access to university education.
About two million immigrants found work in Libya, which possessed the largest oil reserves in Africa, and had limited profit margins for foreign companies.
Because of energy exports, the Libyan balance of trade showed positive margins of $27 billion per year. With these resources, the Libyan state had invested around $150 billion abroad.
Libyan investments in Africa were crucial to the African Union’s plan to create three financial bodies: the African Monetary Fund, the African Central Bank and the African Investment Bank. These three bodies would have served to create a common market and a single African currency.
Less than two months after the African Union summit in 2011, which gave the go-ahead for the creation of the African Monetary Fund by the end of the year, Nato’s so-called humanitarian intervention in the Libyan state began.
In emails from then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, later leaked by WikiLeaks, emails showed the US and France wanted to rid the country of the dictator Muammar Gaddafi before he could use the country’s gold reserves to create a pan-African currency as an alternative to the dollar.
Before the intervention in 2011, the banks went into action and seized $150 billion invested abroad by the Libyan government, most of which disappeared.
That’s not to say life under Muammar Gaddafi was easy but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that human rights in Libya have worsened since Gaddafi was toppled. And economically, Libya is clearly worse off.
Today in Libya there are regular armed clashes as different power groups hoard revenues from energy exports. The standard of living has also plummeted.
As the Canary reported back in 2016:
Libya is a mess following the Western military intervention that started in 2011. We were told it was necessary because there was an evil dictator who had to be taken out as he was massacring his own people…
Muammar Gaddafi did have much blood on his hands – from the so-called Toyota War (or Chadian-Libyan conflict) to taking responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing. Not to mention his handy role in George W. Bush’s extraordinary rendition program…
When anti-Gaddafi protesters took to the streets of Libya in the midst of the ‘Arab Spring’, the UK, US, and France declared Gaddafi’s rule illegitimate. The soon-to-follow NATO military intervention on behalf of Libyan rebel militants ended with the brutal execution of Gaddafi on the road out of Sirte – ironically, the very city which Libyan Daesh (Isis/Isil) fighters have now made their de facto headquarters.Canary Workers’ Co-op
What did the leaked documents reveal about the West’s ‘dirty war’?
The Canary listed five leaked, declassified and censored secret government documents, that “reveal the ugly truths behind what has been described as the West’s “dirty war” in Libya.”
- France wanted control over Gaddafi’s billions in gold and silver bullion
- The US and UK knew al-Qaida members were embedded in rebel groups, yet armed them anyway
- A secret Libya to Syria ‘weapons pipeline’ was set up to fuel the devastating conflict in Syria
- Fake propaganda was planted in the media to make Gaddafi look like a fanatical monster that must be stopped
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was informed there was no real humanitarian basis for NATO’s bombing, but NATO would continue its devastating bombing of Libya for another seven months anyway
Read more about the leaked documents – including the experts from the leaked documents on the Canary.
‘BBC is complicit’ – the role of western media in the 2011 intervention
Someone else pointed out the BBC’s own role in the 2011 invasion.
BBC talking like they didn’t play a vital role in shaping the narrative to justify the NATO military aggression that destroyed Libya in 2011 https://t.co/ShIG9uRJs8— Hadi Nasrallah (@HadiNasrallah) September 14, 2023
A research paper into the BBC and Al Jazeera‘s coverage, specifically their framing, of the West’s invasion of Libya noted:
the coverage of both these networks was aligned with the national and foreign policy interests of their home countries, making their political contexts the main influence on their news agendas. News frames across the sample reflected coverage that was largely supportive of the aims of opposition and the intervention.
The BBC was far from impartial back in 2011, framing the invasion in the way the government and the West wanted it to be framed. It was always a mile from the truth and now more than a decade later they are still downplaying the West’s role in Libya and promoting its pro-Western colonialist attitudes.
Online, “5 explosive secret intelligence memos on Libya everyone must read,” Canary:https://www.thecanary.co/global/2016/08/08/5-explosive-secret-intelligence-memos-libya-everyone-must-read-video/
Online, “Why the media aren’t telling the whole story of Libya’s floods,” By Jonathan Cook, via www.MrOnline.org: https://mronline.org/2023/09/16/why-the-media-arent-telling-the-whole-story-of-libyas-floods/
Online, “The BBC just shamed itself with its coverage of the Libya floods,” Canary: https://www.thecanary.co/global/2023/09/15/bbc-libya-floods-article/
BBC online, “Ros Atkins on… Libya’s political turmoil and the floods,” BBC Video: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-africa-66808449
BBC online, “Libya floods: A barren wasteland with a lingering smell of death,” By Anna Foster: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-66833973
A 2021 article, orginally publshed in the Italian web daily newspaper II Manifesto: 10 years ago U.S.-NATO forces demolished Libya: https://www.workers.org/2021/03/55169/
Online article, Middle East Monitor: Libya’s human rights situation is worse than what it was under Gaddafi: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20230413-libyas-human-rights-situation-is-worse-than-what-it-was-under-gaddafi/