by Ronda Hauben
This issue is a collection of articles documenting what happened in Libya in 2011. It presents a critique of the inaccurate reports that were used to justify the NATO war against Libya.
The focus in this collection is on the role played by the UN in making possible the aggression against Libya. The actions taken by the Security Council and other United Nations bodies like the Human Rights Council were contrary to the obligations of the UN charter and other principles of international law. The articles in this issue document the process by which the UN became an accomplice in a NATO war against a sovereign nation that is a member of the United Nations.
These articles serve to argue that starting in February 2011 there was a media blitz supporting the NATO actions, largely based on unverifiable claims by the opposition against the government of Libya. The story that emerged is based on broadly circulated falsifications of what was happening on the ground. The media blitz was accompanied by a rush at the UN Security Council to authorize force against the Libyan government, military, infrastructure and civilians under Article 7 of the UN Charter. The resulting Security Council resolution gave NATO and special forces the pretext to support an armed insurrection inside Libya. This armed insurrection was supported by a military campaign of bombing and other aggressive acts on the part of the U.S., France, the U.K. and several other NATO nations. The harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure was ignored by those supporting the NATO aggression.
There were however a number of journalists, websites and independent news sources which provided an alternative account and critiqued the false narrative being presented to justify the NATO war. Such a form of journalism, contributed to online by many netizens, has been described as “netizen journalism.”(1) Netizen journalism takes as its mission to independently investigate situations, seek out the accurate story, and challenge the fact that much of the mainstream western media is but a media presenting the dominant viewpoint of those in power. Whereas the western mainstream media most often acts to reinforce this power, netizen journalism takes as its mission to challenge the abuse of power.
A number of independent journalists and journalists working for alternative media like TeleSUR covered the struggle in Libya against the NATO aggression and the damage inflicted on the civilian infrastructure and the civilian population. This issue includes not only articles documenting what happened in Libya but also contains references to some of the many independent news reports and analyses that explore the long term goal of the NATO war and the injustice done by that mainstream media which used unverified reports by opposition sources to spread a phony rationale for the invasion of a sovereign nation.
A list of journalists who provided this alternative coverage would include, among others, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Thierry Meyssan, Lizzy Phalen, and Franklin Lamb.
Some of the websites that have been part of this broader collaborative effort to understand what happened in Libya and to present it to the world include:
In his article in this issue, “From Munich to Tripoli,” Yoichi Shimatsu refers to the resistance offered by the fighters of the Spanish Civil War and the work to spread the story of their resistance by the writers and commentators who conveyed this story to the world. In this issue of the Amateur Computerist we want to pay tribute to both the resistance offered by those in Libya who fought against the foreign intervention and to the journalists, websites, and other forms of netizen journalism around the world that have helped to spread the story of the resistance to the NATO war against Libya and to the destruction of Libya that it wrought.