To maintain public support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)’s proxy war with Russia, it’s important to erase its history of violence. The Canadian media’s refusal to mention NATO’s role in Libya’s instability partly reflects the requirements of Ukraine propaganda.
In their coverage of the devastating flooding in eastern Libya, the Canadian media have all but refused to mention the 2011 NATO war on Libya, as this author detailed in “We broke it, but refuse to own Libya’s disaster”. Adding weight to this author’s initial media analysis, only one other article, a Medium article from an activist, has mentioned the Canadian general who oversaw the NATO war in 2011 (hundreds of articles mention his role in Libya previously).
In maybe the most extreme example of omission propaganda, CBC released the context focused “How Libya’s preoccupation with war left it vulnerable to epic flooding”. The summary for a story released Friday notes:
Storm Daniel devastated the city of Derna, Libya, with severe flooding. The death toll could be as high as 20,000. Andrew Chang breaks down the political climate in the country that led to a preoccupation with war, which analysts say distracted from being able to react to the disaster.
But the 10-minute-long report failed to even mention NATO’s six-month war, which included Canadian fighter jets, naval vessels and special forces. Produced by Canada’s public broadcaster for a Canadian audience, the prominent CBC host simply omitted the most politically salient point for his audience. In 2011 NATO fighter jets dropped thousands of bombs in a war that destroyed Libya’s government, leading to years of violence and political division. The war reportedly disrupted repairs by a Turkish company on Derna’s two dams and political division led to a disorganised evacuation of the devastated city.
From the standpoint of Canadian foreign policy mythology CBC’s omission is unnecessarily gratuitous propaganda. ‘Benevolent Canada’ mythology isn’t so brittle that it can’t handle a quick mention of NATO’s war in Libya.
What explains the glaring omission is NATO’s proxy war in Ukraine. To maintain support for that obscene horror show we’ve been bombarded with the claim NATO is a defensive alliance representing no threat to anyone. Repeated endlessly over the past 20 months, media personalities from Andrew Chang to Geoffrey York don’t dare mention NATO’s role in destroying Libya. If that war turned out so bad then… Don’t even think about it!
It’s not only prominent journalists but also supposed media critics. CANADALAND’s Jesse Brown, Mattea Roach and Jonathan Goldsbie have refused to mention the NATO omission on Twitter or their podcasts. But they are undoubtedly aware of the remarkable propaganda feat since hundreds of thousands have liked, retweeted and viewed messages highlighting the media’s biased Libya coverage.
Dimitri Lascaris pointed out that “Canada spent $347 million (in 2011 dollars) to participate in NATO’s destruction of Libya. Canada is spending a paltry $5 million (in 2023 dollars) to aid Libyans in their moment of dire need. That, in a nutshell, is the ‘rules-based international order’.”
Irrespective of one’s opinion regarding his conclusion, Lascaris has raised an important point. Contrasting military and aid spending was once common among aid groups and liberal commentators. But it’s tough to make the comparison if you can’t even mention the war.