Fake video footages, sons of Gaddafi in rebel hands, rebels controlling Tripoli are all lies coming out of Libya as the situation in Tripoli becomes more chaotic, renowned writer and columnist Stephen Lendman says.
Press TV talks with Stephen Lendman, writer and radio host in Chicago for his assessment of the situation in Tripoli and shares an email from independent journalists being targeted for execution. Below is an approximate transcript of his interview. Lizzie Phelan, our correspondent, then responds to Mr. Lendman's comments and contributes important information about the so-called revolutionary fighters.
Press TV: How are you assessing the situation right now in Tripoli?
Stephen Lendman: I know your reporter on the ground Lizzie Phelan and she is exceptional; she is right there putting herself in harm's way sending back, as able, heroic reports.
I know conditions on the streets are very fast moving, very fluid, very chaotic, and very violent; I also know that anything reported by the major media, especially America's major media - some of it is so shocking it's shameless and it's deliberately falsified. It even gives propaganda a bad name.
When they talk about a conflict like this Libya one that is just an outrageous American-led imperial war for conquest; absolutely illegal and with no humanitarian concern for the Libyan people, even the so-called rebels are not rebels they're mercenaries; they have been hired.
Most of them may not even know what they are doing. They were paid; they were brought in mostly from outside the country; they're probably being paid more than they ever go before so, you know, you need a job and you get a paycheck and you were told “We want to liberate this country from bad people”. And they go in and do what they're told to do because they want to keep getting their paycheck.
About the so-called celebrations in the streets of Tripoli - I absolutely discount them. There were polls taken a week or two ago that showed across the country including in the eastern part of the country in the Benghazi area - wherever they conducted these polls, which is not an easy thing to do in any country at war so you can't vouch for the absolute accuracy of this - but polls showed the longer the NATO bombing went on the higher approval rating Gaddafi got; and the last numbers I saw - 85 percent of the Libyan people approve of Gaddafi.
Earlier when Western media reported a rebel mass celebration in the streets of cities like Zawiyah, Misrata and others that were supposedly liberated by rebels - they never were liberated by rebels; these were lies.
Gaddafi forces took cover while NATO was bombing; rebel elements moved in; fake footage was shown on Western TV of large celebratory crowds with fireworks going off - these were lies.
As soon as the bombing curtailed, Gaddafi forces moved back in and the rebels scattered, afraid. Misrata, Brega and Zawiyah are each still in government hands and who knows what's going on in Tripoli.
Just days ago there were supposed rebel's mass celebrations of victories in Misrata while there were massive crowds in Tripoli 2 days ago celebrating government victories over the rebels. The vast majority of people in Tripoli especially detest the rebels. All the major tribes in Libya detest the rebels and detest NATO.
The idea that there would be a mass celebratory crowd in Tripoli now celebrating whatever is put across as a rebel victory - who knows what is really going on - I don't think there has been any rebel victory I think it is very chaotic and violent, so we have to wait and see how this plays out. There may be lots of people in the street, but they're certainly not supporting the rebels...
Can I read you something from an email from Mahdi Nazemroaya who is there in Tripoli with Lizzie Phelan, Franklin Lamb is also there... Mahdi's overnight email said, “NATO landed insurgents in Tripoli harbor. They are attacking my hotel. I almost got shot. They are still lying a lot about claims of controlling the capital, but we are in danger”. Mahdi also asked about any help Press TV can supply to get him, Franklin and Lizzie out of the city; they need whatever help they can get and as Lizzie said on air just moments ago she is afraid to leave the hotel because she is a marked woman and Mahdi and Franklin are marked men.
NATO knows who they are and they are targeted. There is sniper's on roof tops - who knows who is friend or foe. Franklin was shot in the leg - I think he's OK. He was shot in the leg on Sunday and Marty said he was shot at and came very close to being hit. But he also said the rebels are armed guerilla gangs and mercenaries who are indistinguishable from Tripoli residents - they're waging street warfare.
Press TV: So what you're saying is that we cannot say what is really happening in Libya or what the situation is looking like; there is a bigger picture we must see on what the people are really thinking is happening to their country.
Tell us about the NATO role in all this, when you are saying this is something that the Western governments have been trying to achieve. What has been NATO's role since those airstrikes started and now it appears they are going to continue those strikes?
Stephen Lendman: This is a Washington-led effort; this is Obama's war. This is NATO's war of which the main NATO partners are Cameron in the UK, Sarkozy in France and of course Obama - they're the three main co-conspirators in this war.
If the bombing stopped the rebels would disintegrate and disappear - they wouldn't last even 24 hours if the bombing stopped. It's the bombing that is really doing everything and the bombing is killing an awful lot of civilians. I absolutely believe that NATO wants a blood bath in Tripoli.
Let's say that hundreds of mercenaries came in; they landed on the shores of Tripoli and they look like any other Libyan - nobody else knows who the person next to them is.
All Libyans are armed; it's not unusual to see a Libyan on the street with a weapon. So these people came in with weapons looking like other pro-Gaddafi Libyans and they intermingle.
I also believe that there were sleeper cells in Tripoli awaiting orders and who knows how many people might have been in them - there could have been dozens or even hundreds and they are scattered at points that NATO wants them positioned at including on roof tops shooting at people.
Just imagine going out on the streets anywhere and you hear gun fire and you sense that it's coming very close to you - you would be very terrified. The residents of Tripoli don't know what's going on so they're scared; they're also mostly armed. Gaddafi handed out something in the order of two million weapons to Tripoli residents and others.
My understanding is they're committed to defending their country against NATO against the rebels. So again, I discount everything coming through the major media. They even show stock fake footage - they make this stuff up.
Now, there is a big difference between Iraq 2003 - the Gulf War also - to what's going on in Libya. You had the US military invade both times. The US military is far different to ragtag rebels - you can't even begin to compare the two. So the situation is entirely different. Of course the US military had great air cover as well so Saddam didn't stand a chance.
The Libyans are civilians and you've got Gaddafi's military force, but if they come out visibly in the open NATO bombs them. So they have to be very careful and clever and disguise themselves. They have to disperse and use non-military vehicles and such so as not to look like a military target because they will be bombed immediately.
By the way, in Mahdi's email he said to me that CNN - not directly to him, but through another person - threatened him and said that he personally would pay for opposing the war. Now if you can imagine that, a broadcaster threatening an independent journalist for reporting the truth about events on the ground... not the propaganda CNN, the New York times and the other major media report daily.
Lizzie, Mahdi and Franklin and there are reporters from various countries from South America and they are all being targeted. They could be targeted by the rebels and assassinated; they are very fearful and that's why these people need help to get out...
I don't for a minute believe that the Libyan people support what's going on. Sure, there are elements of Libyans that may support this, but the vast majority, I am sure, are against this. They know what happened to the Iraqis and the Afghanis - they know what's awaiting them if NATO wins this battle.
If they don't want to be colonized and occupied and plundered and their lives made miserable because NATO has won this conflict, I think in the end they will put up a fight to defend their country - I'm hopeful...