As reprehensible as Qaddafi’s regime is, it is important to be on our guard against psyops–disinformation efforts designed to sway public opinion.  The Pentagon and CIA, as well as agencies of many other countries, have extensive operations focused on this objective.

In this light, we might consider this story that Qaddafi militia members raped a woman:  [bold type added for emphasis]

In the latest turn in the case of Eman al-Obeidy, a Libyan woman apprehended by security forces for trying to tell journalists that she had been raped by members of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s militia, a government spokesman said Tuesday that the unidentified militia members she accused had filed a civil case against her.

“Oh, yeah, they have filed a case,” the spokesman, Musa Ibrahim, said. “The boys who she accused of rape are bringing a case because it is a very grave offense to accuse someone of a sexual crime.”

Journalists have been unable to learn Ms. al-Obeidy’s whereabouts since she was removed by force from the Rixos Hotel here after scuffles between security personnel, hotel staff and foreign journalists she had been trying to approach on Saturday.

Mr. Ibrahim initially described her as drunk and potentially delusional. Then, later on Saturday, he called her sober and sane. And on Sunday he termed her a prostitute and a thief.

He said that her case against the men had been dropped because she refused to submit to a medical examination, and he reiterated a promise that she would be offered a chance to speak again to the press.

The story of her treatment, covered by satellite news channels and Web sites, has riveted Libyans of all stripes. To critics of the Qaddafi government Ms. Obeidy has become the new face of its brutal tactics. Her family and tribe, based in the rebel-held east, is reportedly standing by her, bucking tradition to reject any assertion of a stain on her reputation from the alleged sexual crime. Rebels in Benghazi, the de facto rebel capital, have also held rallies to support her.

For one thing, as awful as rape is, it is hardly uncommon anywhere in the world, and the fact that this story would get so much attention—and generate such a strong response—has to be viewed with restraint.  It may not be true, and even if it is, why would it get this much publicity at this particular moment, given the norm of brutality under Qaddafi (and many other rulers around the world.)

For perspective, let’s look at the story of Saddam Hussein’s soldiers supposedly tossing babies out of incubators during his occupation of Kuwait. This incident went a long way toward convincing Americans to support George HW Bush’s invasion of Iraqi-held Kuwait. Here’s a good primer on this incident, and psy-ops and war in general, from PRWatch:

[T]he most emotionally moving testimony on October 10 came from a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl, known only by her first name of Nayirah. According to the Caucus, Nayirah’s full name was being kept confidential to prevent Iraqi reprisals against her family in occupied Kuwait. Sobbing, she described what she had seen with her own eyes in a hospital in Kuwait City. Her written testimony was passed out in a media kit prepared by Citizens for a Free Kuwait. “I volunteered at the al-Addan hospital,” Nayirah said. “While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where . . . babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die.”

Three months passed between Nayirah’s testimony and the start of the war. During those months, the story of babies torn from their incubators was repeated over and over again. President Bush told the story. It was recited as fact in Congressional testimony, on TV and radio talk shows, and at the UN Security Council. “Of all the accusations made against the dictator,” MacArthur observed, “none had more impact on American public opinion than the one about Iraqi soldiers removing 312 babies from their incubators and leaving them to die on the cold hospital floors of Kuwait City.”

At the Human Rights Caucus, however, Hill & Knowlton and Congressman Lantos had failed to reveal that Nayirah was a member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family. Her father, in fact, was Saud Nasir al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Ambassador to the US, who sat listening in the hearing room during her testimony. The Caucus also failed to reveal that H&K vice-president Lauri Fitz-Pegado had coached Nayirah in what even the Kuwaitis’ own investigators later confirmed was false testimony.

So, let’s be hyper-vigilant in these crucial early days of war creep.

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0 responses to “Libya Rape Charge: View With Caution”

  1. Dan says:

    Hi Russ,

    I am struggling for words, wanting to thank you enough for your contribution to my understanding of the world and recent history.

    Were it not for Family of Secrets, I would not be plugged in at all.  It is one thing to read a lot of short stories, such as the one on this webpage, but there is something about the exhaustive trail in Family of Secrets that is impossible to convey, except by actually reading through.  I keep hoping I will get to the end of the bad, but all I see is there is more bad, like the bad info put out regarding Qadaffi. 

    You are constantly revealing facts, which keeps proving to be beyond anything I could have imagined.

    Anyway, thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you for what you do.  I am no reporter, but I am doing what I can to get the word out, word like stuff you create here and  provide to the public.  Russ, you give me hope. 

    Now all we need is another few hundred thousand people like you, and maybe we could make something happen!  I feel so overwhelmed by the lies.

    Best regards,

  2. Iiiears says:

    Next up: Syria, and or Somalia. Yes, we could invade Egypt for the same reasons used in Libya but the government is in tumult at the mount and we can bide our time and see how it turns out.

    Consider for a moment how much of the world’s wealth is spread thin at the bottom. Example 50% of the U.S. population controls less than 5% in wages property and everything else.

    How difficult would it be to use market speculation to increase public dissatisfaction?

  3. Xtiangodloki says:

    Good points. Though I don’t doubt what this poor lady went through, if she is not part of a CIA operation already I am pretty sure her ordeal has been used by the CIA.

  4. The Yankee Clipper says:

    I have a feeling you might be trying to go down the road that a recent article in Salon was talking about.
    “What prompted the American bombing in 1986?

    The main thing that touched off the incident was the bombing of the La Belle nightclub in West Berlin in April 1986. There were a small number of people killed and a large number injured. The United States had an absolute smoking gun. The Libyan agents involved in the attack were operating out of East Germany. During the dregs of the Cold War, there was kind of a perfect storm — East Germany and the communists were involved with the Libyans and they were bombing a nightclub in West Berlin. So the story was, “Evil Gadhafi and evil communists plot to bomb Westerners.” Later on it turned out to be true that the Stasi had been involved, but we didn’t know about this for a long time, until after the reunification of Germany. A week after the bombing, Reagan ordered the strike on Libya.”
    Stasi, CIA, KGB,GRU? Shadowy government “agents”. But now there is no more Soviet Union. Who can you believe? Your article has brought out strong feelings. Good or bad.

  5. Wildonetwo says:

    Maybe what you say is true, but maybe not. And I think many people do think this is a true story. And in that case you have brought to light things that don’t help and only make us look bad. Is the US newspapers working for the Bin Ladin or something?? You guys just don’t get the picture. You think you have a clearer picture than anyone else, but you just hurt us more and more every article you put out there. Very unamerican.

    • Abdulrahman says:

      sometimes facts and truths are hurting and providing bad feeling because they shake one’s beliefs.

  6. ocschwar says:

    When you were a kid, did you know you’d grow up to be a worthless sack of shit?

  7. Henry Dubb says:

    “As reprehensible as Qaddafi’s regime is…..”
    “As awful as rape is….”

    Listen to yourself.

    • Happy Friend says:

      You are silly. Rape is terrible, but it happens all the time in every country. Ghaddafi is a despot but we tolerate and even support despots all the time. Wars are not fought for the reasons that the state and corporate media tell us. Wake up.

    • Dirk says:

      “… there many reprehensible regimes in the world.”
      “… what makes this particular rape among the thousands worldwide that occur daily so noteworthy?”

  8. davecdn says:

    Wonder what the next really big “event” will be. I am thinking a false flag with kadafi as the supposed culprit.

    At some point I expect some kind of chemical/disease event.

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