Carnage inflicted by the US-led bombing campaign against the North African state of Libya. Washington has mobilized a host of other imperialist governments and their allies to plot regime-change in this oil-producing country., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Misleading western reporting still downplaying number of Libyan victims of NATO bombing
There are none so blind, as those who will not see...
By Yellow Bird
It appears that the western media are as keen as ever to keep covering up NATO war crimes in Libya, as witnessed by a piece that came out in the New York Times (NYT) on December 17th, which attempts to downplay NATO’s murderous bombing rampage over a period of seven months by giving the laughably inaccurate impression, through its misleading and deceptive reporting, that a mere 40-70 Libyan civilians were killed in total throughout the entire bombing campaign.
Let’s take a look at some excerpts from the article itself (with my bold highlights added):
In Strikes on Libya by NATO, an Unspoken Civilian Toll
In the opening paragraph below, it is reluctantly admitted that NATO caused civilian casualties, but the number of victims is immediately downplayed by referring to these casualties as being in the ‘scores’ (a word meaning here, ‘multiples of 20’) thus already directing the reader’s mind away from the reality that hundreds upon thousands of civilians were actually killed by NATO ordnance raining from the skies.
TRIPOLI, Libya — NATO’s seven-month air campaign in Libya, hailed by the alliance and many Libyans for blunting a lethal crackdown by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and helping to push him from power, came with an unrecognized toll: scores of civilian casualties the alliance has long refused to acknowledge or investigate.
In the third paragraph, the writer refers to “accounts of dozens of civilians killed by NATO in many distinct attacks”. Notice the use of the word ‘dozens’ (ie, multiplies of twelve, which has an even smaller numerical value than the earlier-used ‘scores’).
And in the fifth paragraph:
In all, at least 40 civilians, and perhaps more than 70, were killed by NATO at these sites, available evidence suggests. While that total is not high compared with other conflicts in which Western powers have relied heavily on air power, and less than the exaggerated accounts circulated by the Qaddafi government, it is also not a complete accounting.
Here the author states that 40-70 civilians died in several bombing raids, but then he goes on to imply that this is the total number of civilians killed throughout the NATO air campaign, by craftily referring to this estimate as “that total”. Moreover he goes on to white-wash even that meagre estimate by claiming that it ‘is not high compared with other conflicts in which Western powers have relied heavily on air power’. (By this wording he incidentally also reinforces the estimate of 40-70 civilian dead as the final tally). In the meantime he takes the opportunity to make the arrogant and baseless assertion that accounts of civilian casualties circulated by the "Qaddafi government" (meaning "Jamahiriya government") were ‘exaggerated’ - in case anyone should question the ridiculously small numbers enumerated by NATO’s media puppets. He is forced to admit however that the estimate “is not a complete accounting” - but the damage has already been done and the figure 40-70 is implanted in the mind of the reader, who, unless he or she makes a strenuous effort to find out the truth, is going to swallow this outrageous manipulation of the facts.
We can see from this NYT article that the figure 40-70 has been selected as ‘the magic number’, which will now be repeated ad nauseum in other western news outlets, with the added misfortune that these will quote no doubt only parts of the NYT article. The resulting edited version will make the deception even more comprehensive.
Below is a perfect example of how the NYT story was picked up by UPI and published without any background provided on how the number 40-70 was drawn from just a small selection of admitted bombing sites. The reader is thus left with the impression that only 40-70 died throughout the entire campaign.
NATO airstrike flaws killed Libyans
TRIPOLI, Libya, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- The NATO air campaign in Libya appears to have caused 40-70 civilian deaths despite its surgical precision, The New York Times reported.
We can only hope that the readers of the western mainstream media will eventually come to realise how brazenly they are being manipulated, but as the old saying goes, ‘There are none so blind, as those who will not see….’