Libmonster ID: U.S.-1320


Candidate of Philological Sciences

MIA "Russia Today"

Keywords: Libya, Gaddafi, USA, media campaign

"Now, as I say these words, planes are circling in the sky, and shells are exploding around me. ... [But] we will not think about death or life. We will think about the call of duty."

Muammar Gaddafi, June 7, 2011

October 20, 2014 marks the 3rd anniversary of the tragic death of Muammar Gaddafi. The further away this event is from us in history, the more significant it becomes: the implicit political meanings become clearer over time, and what was initially dismissed and ignored in the wake of the general euphoria about the "victory" over the "dictator", now no one doubts. Each new explosion in eastern Libya, in Benghazi, each clash between groups that takes human lives, does not indicate the approach of the desired democracy, but that there is a fierce struggle for power and money in the country.

Now, almost four years after the "February 17 revolution", it is no longer possible to deny the fact that Libya has embarked on a path of disintegration and chaos, just as it is pointless to constantly refer to the transitional "post-revolutionary" period and hope that the population will overcome all difficulties on its own.

People's disillusionment with "democracy" - at least as it is currently being presented by the new authorities-is obvious: in the elections to the Constituent Assembly held in February 2014, and in the June vote for members of the new parliament, the "House of Representatives", designed to replace the General National Congress (GNAless than a quarter of all citizens of the country who have the right to vote participated. Out of 3 million 400 thousand voters, less than 500 thousand 1 turned out for the February elections, and 630 thousand 2 for the June elections, such results can hardly be considered a guarantee of stability and an indicator of the legitimacy of the "democratic institutions" being created, especially given that in both cases the voting procedure was accompanied by outbreaks of violence by armed groups of "ex-revolutionaries".".

Consequently, in a more global perspective, the "Libyan problem", real or far-fetched, was not only and not so much in Gaddafi and his regime, although certain forces are now trying to "write off" the country's incalculable troubles to the" dictatorship " .3

The Libyan campaign of 2011, which began in Benghazi, was remembered by the world community by many: the NATO air strikes, which did not always accurately hit the target, 4 and the barbaric murder of the country's leader, and, of course, the "war" launched by the media, in which words and images were the main weapon.

An objective and, if possible, complete analysis of the role of leading television news channels, news agencies, print and Internet publications in the events of that time is now particularly relevant for our country, which, unfortunately, had to come into contact with something similar to the "Libyan scenario" in the field of foreign policy. The development of the situation in Ukraine has shown that, contrary to our belief, deliberate "misunderstanding", unilateral ignoring of blatant facts can accompany the interaction of the West not only with the "third" raw material country far from Russia, whose hydrocarbon resources have decided to establish control. That is why the experience of the Libyan media campaign is now of particular value to Russian diplomacy.

The ideological confrontation between the West - in particular, the United States - and Libya began in the 1980s, at the height of the Cold War, i.e., long before the attempts to completely "democratize" the Middle East and North Africa region in 2011. Muammar Gaddafi's desire to extend his influence to neighboring states, cooperation with those who are not pleasing to America

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For example, contacts with the Soviet Union on arms supplies, contributions to the Palestinian liberation struggle, and the "export" of the original political doctrine set out in the Green Book - all this could not fail to attract the attention of the then President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. In Reagan's view, the foreign policy of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (NPC) perfectly fit the definition of "State terrorism."5

In his 1984 book Libya: the Vilified Revolution, William Perdue, a sociology professor at Eastern Washington University and media expert, writes::

"Reagan's language [in the original - "Reaganspeak", i.e."Reaganspeak". - author's note.] is a type of political rhetoric where simple and concrete meanings of words are replaced by symbolic meanings and allegories. It contains an ideology. This language is one of the means of controlling mass consciousness, with the help of which the population is sought to support the political course of the [given] administration and the interests it pursues. In such political language, primitive labels are used instead of full-fledged analysis, and images of" danger "or" mission " are used to discredit... or strengthening solidarity.

...It is safe to say that United States government agencies, especially during the Reagan administration, are sources of "official information" concerning Libya. The ideology of terrorism, which focuses on this particular North African country, is thus disseminated through the use of this "internal" data by leading figures of the current US administration in public speeches and [broadcast] by corporate media networks. " 6

This is a very clear description of the essence and mechanisms of the ideological campaign launched against Gaddafi in the 1980s. The graphic evidence presented in the photo also shows the seriousness of Reagan's intentions.

The" war of words " was eventually followed by action. After numerous provocations by the US Air Force in the Gulf of Sidra, the confrontation then reached its climax: on April 15, 1986. The United States bombed Libyan territory. Here's how the event was covered by the BBC: "At least 100 people were killed in air strikes carried out by US aircraft on the capital of Libya, Tripoli, and the Benghazi area. 66 planes-some of them flying from bases located in the UK-attacked [Libya] at one o'clock in the morning... White House Spokesman Larry Speeks said that the strikes were aimed at key military targets, but according to reports [from the scene], the rockets also hit Ben Ashour, a densely populated area on the outskirts of Tripoli.

The residence of Muammar Gaddafi was hit by a direct fire, as a result of which the adopted daughter of the Libyan leader Hanna Gaddafi was killed.

President Reagan justified the expediency of [the operation] by holding Libya responsible for terrorism against America... He claimed that the United States had exercised the right to self-defense set out in Article 51 of the UN Charter. " 7

Now it seems that what happened in 1986 was exactly the same as in 2011, with only a difference in scale. Just like a quarter of a century ago, military operations were preceded by a media campaign designed to ensure the success of the operation, and using the same terms and images. This campaign consisted of three phases, each of which is discussed in more detail below.


This phase began in February 2011, after a brief period of peaceful demonstrations in Benghazi were violently suppressed by the authorities. Thematically, it is built on the juxtaposition of the "demonic" image of Gaddafi ("tyrant", "dictator") and the" heroic " images of the rebels as ordinary citizens forced to take up arms. This stage of the campaign is characterized by a high rate of growth and, thanks to social networks "tested" as a means of mobilization, a large reach and engagement of the audience.

Gaddafi's" dictatorship "is presented as a" default "starting point, a given: he is such just because they say so about him, 8 and consequently ,the "crimes of the regime" that are imputed to him exist, they cannot but exist,

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once we were talking about the bloodthirsty oppressor of his own people.

For example, this is how the Wall Street Journal draws a given image in an article published on February 25, 2011.:

"The man who Ronald Reagan called the' mad dog of the Middle East ' is now living up to his title by launching a bloody campaign against his own people and [thereby] reminding us why we have hated them for so long.

.. Twenty years later, the circle is complete, and here we are again watching Gaddafi on TV in horror.

...It seems impossible to reason with Gaddafi. Gaddafi's vicious regime leaves Libya in a much worse state than it was at the time of the 1969 coup.

...Joining the ranks of Idi Amin and Emperor Bokassa, Gaddafi will soon join the pantheon of caricatured dictators who have left their states in ruins. Given that in recent years, U.S. policy toward Libya has shifted from open accusation to quiet disapproval, we can only hope that Libyans still remember the decades when we were Gaddafi's worst enemies. " 9

In addition to the fact that these statements have a negative subjective-evaluative emotional coloring, they also have a declarative character, i.e. in structural and semantic terms, they are constructed so as to state and convince, and not to explain and prove. It also provides a brief retelling of the history of Libyan-American relations in the 1980s, and in the style of the Cold War: the factual base is replaced by stereotypes based on an associative series, which, in turn, is implanted in the consciousness of the layman along with the concept of "tyrant".

However, neither the "opposition" nor human rights organizations had any indisputable evidence of the massacres necessary for the final consolidation of the image at the right moment, so they decided to compensate for the "defect" by introducing the topic of "rapes" allegedly committed by Gaddafi's army.

Then Eman al-Obeidi appears in the limelight-a living embodiment of the heroic and, at the same time, perfectly fits into the Western norms of feminist political correctness, the image of a woman from the "new Libya". About how she was "abused by Gaddafi", Eman speaks openly, to the whole world10, thereby breaking the traditional taboos that have existed for many decades in the" authoritarian " Libyan society.

The calculation of the forces behind it, apparently, was that the reliability of such statements will be almost impossible to verify, for at least two reasons. First, in the chaos of the growing conflict, it is extremely difficult to conduct any kind of investigation, and, secondly, the local population automatically classifies such topics as "closed": in Libya, it is simply not customary to discuss such topics, and even more so on TV and live.

However, the theme of sexual violence as a weapon, allegedly used by the "regime" along with firearms, for all its obvious absurdity, has taken root. The" tyrannical image " of Gaddafi, as a result, acquired another unpleasant shade, and then, a few years later, books of the corresponding content appeared, 11 describing in color how the "dictator" commits "violence" over the entire country, and not only in a figurative sense. Nevertheless, the authors of these "unbiased journalistic investigations" should have carefully studied the reports of human rights organizations Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, who were forced, over time, to admit that the facts of such crimes committed by soldiers of Gaddafi's army "were not confirmed" 12. At the same time, similar offenses of the rebels were subsequently repeatedly proven 13.

On the other hand, the "heroic" image of the "revolutionaries" as a" popular "force resisting the "dictator" can be traced in many articles that raise the question of who these people are who challenged the "authoritarian" rule: "So who are the Libyan rebels? They are this... Libya. They are proud, committed nationalists, with their own shortcomings and inexperienced in the management of the country. But overall, they are the greatest hope for a better future for Libya, better than anything Gaddafi could offer. " 14

Such a positive assessment is intended to eliminate all doubts that the "revolution" is legitimate and that the "obsolete regime" is being replaced by those who rightfully own power in the country.

Thus, the basic conceptual part of the 2011 propaganda campaign against Gaddafi is based on stereotypes that emerged back in the 1980s.One of the fundamental Western propaganda attitudes of the Cold War period was the "external threat" to US security posed by "states with a terrorist regime", including the Libyan Jamahiriya.

The reality of the "terrorist threat" as such was confirmed by the world on September 11, 2001. Western ideologues had only to justify why instead of Al-Qaeda, which was allegedly directly responsible for the bombings of the World Trade Center buildings, the strike should have been aimed specifically at Iraq. As a result, the" hidden "threat was found in the absence of "democracy" in the Middle East: despite the fact that this region does not border on the United States, the local "dictatorship" by its very existence challenges the "only true" - i.e. pro - American-political world order, and at the same time all the accompanying values and way of life.

This interpretation can be seen, for example, in George W. Bush's 2003 speech at the National Endowment for Democracy meeting: "The fact that Western countries have been humbling themselves for 60 years and turning a blind eye to the lack of [democratic] freedoms in the Middle East has not strengthened our security in the least. ... In the long run, stability cannot be achieved by sacrificing freedom. " 15

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Consequently, the current President, Barack Obama, who in 2008 chose "contrast" with Bush Jr. as one of the main themes of his election campaign, in fact turned out to be a convinced continuation of the policy of his predecessor, having achieved the" democratization " of Libya by military means.


After the image of the "lawless enemy" has been created, and the name of the " target "in the minds of the world community has passed from the category of" neutral "to the category of" negative", the media forces have found themselves inside a dense cocoon made up of negative associations, it is time to act.

In a sense, the effectiveness of the first phase is historically determined: It was possible to recall Gaddafi's "terrorist" past, or even his "mental instability"17, and then, by skilfully manipulating facts and using appropriate linguistic material, achieve the desired results.

However, in order for a NATO military campaign to even look legitimate, higher-level decisions were required - within the framework of the concept of international law. In the case of Libya, the corresponding "legitimate" reason was the "duty to protect", which, however, even then caused a mixed media reaction.

According to some analytical authors, "the Obama administration acted quite correctly in upholding the main principle of the "duty to protect": the sovereignty of the state is not a dictator's license to kill civilians. ... The" Duty to protect " was not intended to be used as a measure of influence on any regime that behaves incorrectly. It is designed only for those cases where mass atrocities are committed-genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. " 18

Others insist that "by applying [in the case of Libya] the' duty to protect ' concept, the Security Council has helped to bring together [the concepts of] legitimate (i.e. ethically justified) and legitimate (i.e. legally permissible) intervention. ...The Security Council has narrowed the gap between legitimacy and legitimacy. However, the ethical and legal grounds for both are very vague. Most importantly, both legitimate and legitimate results of the operation are not guaranteed at all. " 19

What followed the adoption of UN Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973-within the framework of the "responsibility to protect" concept-is well known.20 The current situation of the country and its population confirms that even international law can be used for ideological purposes and, in fact, become part of a more global propaganda campaign. Even officials at the highest level, apparently, then found it very difficult to believe that the "revolutionaries" from the" defenders " of the civilian population would turn into tormentors and looters, committing crimes just against those whose rights they defended with weapons in their hands, and even enlisting the support of powerful international organizations-the UN and NATO.


This phase, the main content of which was the "victory" over the "tyrant", oddly enough, continues to this day. This is proved by a documentary released by the BBC in 2014 called "Mad Dog: the Secret World of Gaddafi" 21, which, like a catalog, reflects all the topics of propaganda media campaigns from the 80s to the current moment. At the same time, the evidence base remains, to put it mildly, unconvincing.

To understand the true meaning of the main "victory of the revolution" in 2011 from the perspective of today, we need to try to analyze the very event that marked the beginning of a new period in the history of Libya - that is, the murder of the "dictator" by the rebels.

As noted by prominent Belgian sociologists Jean-Claude Payet and Tulay Umay in their article "The Cult of Murder and the symbolic laws of Western barbarism" 22, the massacre of Gaddafi has a symbolic meaning. This is a kind of sacrifice, replicated by the international media both in the form of vivid repetitive images, and in verbal-text-form. The repeated broadcast of videos of Gaddafi's final moments and, without pauses or transitions, scenes of the unrestrained euphoria of the rebels surrounding his dead body should be regarded as forcing the public to "enjoy the spectacle of death", a gross interference in the daily life of ordinary people. 23

At the same time, attention is drawn to the fact that the sound accompaniment to this visual sequence is shouts of "Allah is great", although everything that is happening is clearly anti-Islamic in nature. Both the murder itself and the double violation of the rules concerning burial* are contrary to both Muslim and universal norms.

By not hindering, but rather encouraging, the new government, represented by the Transitional National Council (TNC), put itself above the traditional way of public life that existed in Libya, declared its "legitimacy", symbolically placing "politics" above religion and morality. By abruptly "overturning" the established system of values, the government, consciously or not, opened the way for the ideology of radical Islamists: the basis of the state, the legitimacy of which is being built.-

* According to Muslim customs, the deceased should be buried on the day of death and, of course, do not refuse to hand over the body to relatives. In the case of Gaddafi, both were violated: his remains were kept in the freezer of a supermarket for 4 days (moreover, the new authorities organized a kind of "pilgrimage", and everyone could take a picture with the dead leader), and his wife was refused to hand over the body, despite the fact that the corresponding request was made by her sent it to the UN.

page 29

In fact, based on ritual murder, Sharia law was officially proclaimed... 24.

The images of Gaddafi's "lynching", Paye and Umay conclude, " tell us not so much about the conflict itself, but about the state of our (i.e. Western) state. - author's note) of the society and about the future prepared for Libya - an endless war " 25.

Of course, such a search for symbolism - and even more so for traces of primitive rituals in our enlightened time-could be considered an exaggeration and explained by the excessive zeal of scientists in everything to find ethnographic parallels and make hasty generalizations about human nature, if not for the precedent created earlier with the execution of Saddam Hussein. By chance (or not?) By coincidence, he was hanged on the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, the "day of sacrifice," and the mobile phone video - like the footage of Gaddafi's death-soon appeared in the media, although it was not widely distributed.

The analogy with "ritual murder" suggests itself.

In contrast to the relatively clear goals of the previous two phases-to create a negative image of the "enemy" and thus justify a military operation-the need to continue the media campaign after the program has already been completed seems redundant. Perhaps now the West is trying to reassure itself - and the public - that everything it did was right, and that Gaddafi is "to blame" for not behaving as expected and not leaving "at the right moment." There is another semantic substitution: if he was treated like this, then he really deserved it, and whether all the crimes that are attributed to him took place is not so important.

In much the same vein, in 2009, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said about Iraq: despite the fact that weapons of mass destruction were never found, the war against Saddam Hussein was fully justified, since it ended his dictatorship.26

Meanwhile, Muammar Gaddafi himself clearly saw the future prepared for the country, even at the very beginning of the "Arab Spring": "...Do you want the Americans to come and occupy you? Did they turn you into Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan or Iraq? This will happen to our country. Our country will become like Afghanistan"27.

* * *

At the moment, even the most optimistic hopes for a democratic future in Libya look, to say the least, unconvincing. The death of the country's leader Muammar Gaddafi - even in the ritual, sacrificial sense-did not prevent the subsequent mass death of innocent people, and therefore the actions of NATO and its accountable forces cannot be justified by any "expediency". The war in Libya continues, and perhaps it is time for those who defended the "rights of the people" to stop fighting idols and images from the past and have the courage to recognize the existence of real, not imaginary, problems.

1 Libya votes on constitutional assembly - tingbody.html

Fahim K., Zway S.A. 2 Violence and uncertainty mar Libyan Election for a New Parliament - africa/violence-and-uncertainty-mar-libyan-election-for-a-new-parliament.html

Scherer S. 3 Western countries alarmed as Libya slides towards chaos - REA2523B20140306

Meysan T. 4 "The tragedy in Sorman" - Tragediya-v-Sormane

5 The President's News Conference, April 9, 1986 -

Perdue William D. 6 The Ideology of Terrorism: "Reaganspeak" and the Politics of Paranoia Against Libya - in: Libya: the Vilified Revolution [ed. by Themba Sonoj. USA, Progress Press Publications. 1984, p. 35 - 36.

7 1986: US launches air strikes on Libya - onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/15/newsid_3975000/3975455.stm

8 См., напр.: Libya crisis: UN Security Council to meet over Gaddafi crackdown -; Libyan Dictator Gaddafi wanted by ICC for crimes against humanity -

Abrams E. 9 Our bargain with the new Gadhafi - http://online.wsj. com/news/articles/SB10001424052748703842004576163212492956024

Sly L. 10 After Libyan woman's rape claims, methods of Gaddafi government put on display - libyan-woman-offers-glimpse-into-workings-of-gaddafi-government/ 2011/03/26/AFhBEbdB_story.html

11 See, for example, Cojean A. Gaddafi's Harem. New York, Grove Press. 2013; Aames A. The Rape of Libya: Four decades of suffering under Muammar Gadhafi. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2012.

Cockbum P. 12 Amnesty questions claim that Gaddafi ordered rape as weapon of war - amnesty-questions-claim-that-gaddafi-ordered-rape-as-weapon-of-war-2302037.html

13 Amnesty accuses Libyan militias of unbridled torture - 06

Murphy D. 14 So who are the Libya's rebels exactly? - tly

Abrams E. 15 Op. cit.

16 Campaign Themes, Strategies, and Developments. Barak Obama's campaign themes and strategies - instructors/setups2008/campaign-strategies.jsp

17 See, for example, Jerrold M. Qaddafi's post Under Siege. A political psychologist assesses Libya's mercurial leader - http://www.foreignpolicy. com/articles/2011/03/15/qaddafi_under_seige?wp_login_redirect=0

Patrick S. 18 A New lease on life for humanitarianism. How operation Odyssey Day will revive RtoP - articles/67674/stewart-patrick/a-new-lease-on-life-for-humanitarianism

Doyle W.Michael. 19 The Folly of Protection. Is Intervention against Qaddafi's regime legal and legitimate? - articles/67666/michael-w-doyle/the-folly-of-protection

20 See for example: Doroshenko E. I. Operation "United Defender": all facets of reality / / Asia and Africa Today. 2014, N 4. (Doroshenko E.I. 2014. Operatsiya "obyedinyonnyi zashchitnik": vse grani realnosti // Aziya i Afrika segodnya. N 4) (in Russian)

21 For more information, see:

PayeJ. -C., Umay Tulay. 22 The Cult of killing and the symbolic order of western darbarism -

23 Ibidem.

McConnell D., Todd B. 24 Libyan leader's embrace of Sharia raises eyebrows -

Paye J. -C., Umay Tuay. 25 Op. cit.

Butt. R., Norton-Taylor R. 26 Tony Blair admits: I would have invaded Iraq anyway -

27 Excerpts from Libyan Leader Muammar al-Qaddafi's Televised Address, February 22, 2011 - in: The New Arab Revolt. What Happened, What It means, and What comes Next. USA, Council of Foreign Relations, Foreign Affairs, 2011, p. 418.


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