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Hear The One About How R2P NATO Let 63 ‘Boat People’ Die?

I am presently working on a continuation of a blog about how the Iraq War WMD engineering of consent playbook is now being used in Syria thanks to a cravenly cronied and betraying “stenographic” Western media. A bobble-headed media that drinks any kool-aid their hegemonic administrations serve up and myopically and manipulatively uses its corporate-paid echo chambers to stir up a mass nationalistic righteous jingoistic conviction among citizens that is often profoundly unwarranted, wrong-headed and deadly. That enables massive perpetration of evil on our global fellow human beings.

I came across an Exhibit A example from the Libyan War of how the "humanitarian intervention" justification used so readily and righteously by the US and NATO is pretty much a crock of shit.

Martin Kreickenbaum of wsws declares:

NATO bears a high degree of responsibility for the deaths of 63 refugees, who died of thirst last spring in the Mediterranean en route from Libya to Italy. This is the conclusion of a preliminary report issued by the Council of Europe.


On March 26, 2011, the 72 refugees from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Nigeria, Ghana and Sudan, including 20 women and 2 babies, started out from Tripoli in the expectation that within 18 hours they would reach the small Italian island of Lampedusa. But bad weather and the inexperience of the skipper put the vessel in distress. During the late afternoon of March 27, the skipper made contact with an Eritrean priest in Rome via satellite phone, who immediately alerted the Italian Coast Guard.

The satellite phone enabled the precise location of the boat to be identified, and the Coast Guard sent several emergency calls through various channels to all ships and also to the NATO high command in Naples.

According to corroborating reports by survivors, shortly thereafter, a military helicopter appeared and lowered a rope to provide water and biscuits to those on the boat. But the refugees waited in vain for further help to arrive.

After about 10 days, half of the refugees had died of thirst; the boat, which had lost the ability to manoeuvre, approached a large warship. The soldiers on board could see the refugees through their binoculars, and photos were taken. In desperation, the refugees even showed those on board their dead babies, but the ship sailed away without providing any help.”


When the fishermen saw the migrants' boat arriving though, they drew in their nets and sailed away swiftly, almost making the small migrants' vessel capsize.

Matthew Vella of Malta Today offers this:

"Left without food or water, the migrants began drinking sea-water as well as their own urine mixed with toothpaste. According to Dan Haile Gebre, after 2-3 days of this weather people started to die. According to Abu Kurke, the number of people dying increased daily. First two, then four, then five or six people died everyday."

The most astounding revelation is that after five to six days drifting the bad weather, a military vessel approached the boat at a very close distance of 10 metres, but failed to save the migrants.

"We are watching them, they are watching us. We are showing them the dead bodies.

We drank water from the sea to show them we were thirsty. The people on the boat took pictures, nothing else," Dan Haile Gebre, a survivor, said.

Martin Kreickenbaum supplies this perspective of how cruelly insane it must have been for these people with so much faux- “humanitarian intervention” maritime traffic all about them:

This tragedy took place at a time when one of the largest naval operations was taking place in the waters between Libya and Italy. More than 20 warships from 10 NATO countries, including aircraft and helicopter carriers, supported the NATO war against Libya. The fleet was equipped with high-quality radar and other tracking devices, was monitored by AWACS aircraft and was also equipped with satellite imagery.

At the same time, the European border agency Frontex was conducting Operation Hermes, searching for and finding refugee boats off the coasts of Italy and Malta. Also in the region were vessels and planes belonging to the Italian border police, who routinely monitor the strait between the Italian island of Lampedusa and the North African coast.

In spring 2011, this portion of the sea was one of the most watched in the world, and an Italian officer said at the time that “the crossing from Libya to Italy is like a slalom between warships”.

Nevertheless, over the course of two weeks, it was apparently impossible to come to the aid of the floundering refugee vessel and its passengers, who were slowly dying of thirst. In fact, the refugees could have been saved with ease, as the Council of Europe report reveals. Instead, they became the victims of NATO’s inhumane policies, which first drove the desperate refugees to flee as a result of the war in Libya, and then left them to their fate.

Kreickenbaum expands on the politically desperate plight of the refugees:

The NATO operation against the regime of Muammar al-Gaddafi was conducted under the cynical name of “Unified Protector” and was officially justified as providing the “protection of civilians” against attack by Libyan government troops. The fate of the Mediterranean refugees exposes the fact that this was merely a pretext for an imperialist war. NATO never had the slightest interest in protecting the lives of civilians and refugees, Libyan or otherwise.

Immediately after the first NATO air strikes, the UNHRC warned of the possibility of a large wave of refugees from Libya, particularly since some migrants in Libya were accused of being Gaddafi’s mercenaries and had become the targets of rebel troops. For the stranded refugees and migrants from sub-Saharan Africa in Tripoli, the choice was between falling into the clutches of the imperialist-backed rebel troops or attempting to flee across the Mediterranean.


In one of the interviews, Dan Haile Gebre said that while he worked and earned a decent living as a mechanic in a garage located in Tripoli, the Libyan conflict made life increasingly perilous for for Sub-Saharan migrants in particular. "The people are divided in two, pro Gaddafi and pro Benghazi groups. So anybody will ask you asked: who do you support? If you say 'rebels' the person you are speaking to might be pro Gaddafi, and if you say with 'Gaddafi' he might be with the rebels.

"They started killing black people. They come to our homes and steal everything you have. They stole everything from my workshop because of the green flag, mandatory if you want to find work under the Gaddafi regime. We were afraid. There was a lot of things: if you want to take a taxi, the driver will ask you the same question. In a bakery: buying bread was not allowed for Africans."

Kreickenbaum sums up the tragic scope of the deadliness of this faux-“humanitarian intervention”

In no previous year have so many people lost their lives fleeing across the Mediterranean as in 2011. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) counted more than 1,500 refugees who drowned or died of thirst, and the true figure is likely far greater.

The Council of Europe, which is not an institution of the European Union (EU), but is charged with monitoring compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights within the 49 member states, conducted an investigation to find out why so many people died in 2011 on the Mediterranean despite its being monitored more closely than ever before.


The NATO operation against the regime of Muammar al-Gaddafi was conducted under the cynical name of “Unified Protector” and was officially justified as providing the “protection of civilians” against attack by Libyan government troops. The fate of the Mediterranean refugees exposes the fact that this was merely a pretext for an imperialist war. NATO never had the slightest interest in protecting the lives of civilians and refugees, Libyan or otherwise.

“NATO never had the slightest interest in protecting the lives of civilians and refugees ...”

The UN estimates that 10,000 people have lost their lives in Syria over the past 15 months. US, NATO nations, Israel, along with those dear allies, citizen-rights-crushing Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are insisting the UN offer these ulterior-motive imperialists even more official cover of “humanitarian intervention” to "officially" interfere militarily (meanwhile they have been unofficially involved all along).

How many of us citizens are bobbling our own heads over one more garden path to brutal war cavalierly explained away by a seductive media? Granted, Assad is a tyrant and with a SINCERE group of international nations working diplomatically together could be induced to transition out. But the US in particular has turned into "Bloodbaths R Us", its only tools being a hammer and PROPAGANDIZED BULLSHIT. I am calling out the diabolical anti-diplomacy disaster capitalism motives of the US, NATO, Israel et al. which are a long way away from humanitarian! Ask the citizens of Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya their opinion on that. Ask the traumatized small number of survivors of that inflated rubber boat.


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Submitted by libbyliberal on

It is like shouting into the wind. Shouting into a storm or even a hurricane or tornado, since the mainstream media is echoing so loudly the propaganda of our corporate overlords.

Or it is like that kid who said the emperor has no clothes. Only most people aren't apparently ready to let themselves see he has no clothes. Bush they acknowledged had no clothes finally. With Obama, it is so hard for them, tragically.

I am not defending the leadership of Assad in Syria, or the prior leadership of Gaddafi in Libya. I am defending international law. The ethics and rules of that!

The spirit and actual movement of the Arab spring has been co-opted by bullying imperialist US, Israel, NATO nations, dictatorial Middle East ones to stoke destabilization in a country like Syria or Libya to civil wars that are triggered by external forces and money and weaponry.

These interfering for imperialist purposes countries like ours use the language of the Arab Spring. Call foreign paid operatives with agendas different from the citizens, some even just mercenary, to terrorize the country and destroy the infrastructure and the established defense of the country -- they call them "rebels" and "protesters" even "freedom fighters" when they are not. They have co-opted the real rebels and protesters and freedom fighters and turned the quest for citizen rights into a murderous mess, a lose/lose for ALL the citizens of a country and the established leadership. Breaking the country itself and the people, killing so many. 10,000 at least now dead since the faux-"humanitarian intervention" and all the covert enabling with weapons and money of "terrorists" who the US and West now call "freedom fighters." These are some of the same terrorists -- some full out Al Qaeda -- who killed our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq but to war-lusting imperialists the ends justifies the means.

The natural dissent in the country is set back since the citizens, the civilians, are TERRORIZED, and it makes them depend all the more on their own leader, Assad. Which leaves the citizens at the mercy of both radicalized and killing factions. The military fighting for survival vs the radical thugs for outside interests (including CIA operatives as well as jihadist terrorists). To have the Western media pretend that this is not the case in many instances and to over-simplify it all and spin it to justify imperial aggression is EVIL.

To pretend that the thugs are not committing any crimes, but that it is a one-sided slaughter (even though there are slaughters and atrocities on both sides) is LYING. To beef up the death toll reports is bad enough about the Syrian government forces and to pretend that the other side is rarely armed when it is, but then for the anti-government thugs to go on the media and insist the other side perpetrated what they themselves have done is so evil. And to have the media knowingly or stupidly pass along those vile lies is so evil.

And the ethnic cleansing happening. To have the outside countries stoke those rivalries among the groups in a country. The Alawites and the Christians and the Shia in the minority and the Sunnis wanting power, and Sunnis from other nations encouraged and paid and naturally pouring in to fight and destroy what was a secular government.

What are we and the other Western nations doing destroying a secular government in the Middle East? Do we want to establish all the more repressive and fundamentalist ones? No real commitment by the outsiders for real democracy. No serious caring about ethnic cleansing? On the contrary, enabling it!!!

As for the boat people who died in that boat. They are REAL and they give us a non-myopic look at the REAL horror that is happening to thousands and thousands of people, all these lives treated so cheaply by the war mongering rogue nations who are like playground bullies only there is such exponential suffering going on. Collateral damage (in the millions) over the years in these mid-East wars that apparently are going to continue like a game of dominos since our rogue country and so many others who posture as examples of modern "civilization" are so not civilized.

And then there is the cost in death, physical and psychological maiming, suicide to our own young troops who trust they are not being betrayed by a government that is betraying them. Betraying humankind. But with addictions, morality goes out the window and stays there.

As the media of the US and the West paints a good guys vs. bad guys picture. Yes, there are atrocities ON BOTH SIDES. But the amount of disinformation that has been presented, the lies about how actual violent jihadists (again, some Al Qaeda) have been enabled by the US and NATO countries to go in and terrorize for the ends justifies the means of Western imperialism. Weaken a country, displace or kill thousands of citizens by proxy, then swoop in to do your lying "humanitarian intervention."

They've got Amnesty International singing to their disinformation tune, the overlords now, but not the International Red Cross and some entities like monasteries and foreign reporters are trying to tell the truth about what is happening there seriously amidst the blanket of bullshit that the mainstream media is laying on all of us.

Shock and awe works. It is being used to destroy people and countries. Disaster capitalism.

The hypocrisy of our government. The lies of this status quo matrix is horrifying. After Afghanistan and Iraq and all that devastation, and now they are using the same WMDs drumbeat to justify even more "official" faux-humanitarian intervention so that the banksters and the international conglomerates can continue to take power and resources. And the lower 99% of the population, our lives are so cheap and expendable.

How many times do they get to use the same lying playbook to destroy whole countries and the planet and the global economy?

All I ask right now is for my fellow 99%ers to stop being played. To not be fooled once again by the cravenness of our war-addicted government.

best, libby

jest's picture
Submitted by jest on

You should make this comment a post of its own.

Again, this is really great reading...

jest's picture
Submitted by jest on

I think it started with the reorganization of the Pacifica leadership a few years ago, and more establishment types took over.

Since then, especially after Obama got elected, they have been much more milquetoast than they used to be. The drop off has been even worse since Obama's re-election campaign got off the ground. It's pretty sad.

HuffingtonPost has turned into a stomach wrenching tabloid/social media site.

MSNBC and Current are a joke.

The Daily Show is a friggin comedy show, and he held a gigantic rally essentially mocking the left for being too left.

I trust & rely on citizen journalists more now. At least I know there isn't a corporate messaging angle embedded in every story...