When the allied forces invaded Iraq to take care of that little matter of illegal WMDs being held, as well as for other reasons that we may assume to be true, most of us warmed to the man known as Baghdad Bob – the minister for Iraqi propaganda. The lies coming from the man were hilarious. On the day that the American forces reached Baghdad, Bob faced the cameras and claimed that all was calm. In the background the cameras were picking up the movement of the army vehicles, but Baghdad Bob continued to deny the truth. In the White House, the Baghdad Bob equivalent was Robert Gibbs. He managed to twist and distort many things. Even Gibbsy has some genuine competition in the Middle East. Two propaganda men come to mind:
1. Mohammed Ibrahim of Libya. He is responsible for escorting the approved journalists around Tripoli. Ibrahim does not have a very good record of telling the truth. Amongst his many lies or propaganda were those that he told about Eman el-Obeidi, claiming that she was not a lawyer, but a prostitute, (not true), claiming that she was not being held when in fact she was being held at the compound. There were several lies being told about the woman who had been raped by 15 men at a checkpoint. However, his lies about Eman el-Obeidi have been eclipsed by his lies about not using the cluster bombs, as well as the claims about the “armed thugs” in the various cities. The people were unarmed until they stormed the weapons compound in Benghazi and other towns. Either way, Mohammed Ibrahim is a very good rival to Baghdad Bob.
2. Ministry for propaganda in Syria (no name given yet): Now there could be some truth in what is being said. It appears that some Salafists are involved in the protest movement. Also, it is possible that Salafists did come upon the General and his family. However, that story is surely eclipsed by the use of weapons to disperse the peaceful protests in the cities of Homs and Banias. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. However, the official line completely ignores the shelling of the protesters, and that 200 have died so far. Where are the “armed gangs”? If the protesters were armed, why did they not shoot back when the government troops opened upon them?
In both Libya and Syria the come back line has been the “armed gang”. In Libya, Daffy Duck had tried to provide cover for this story by releasing 100 Islamist prisoners days before the protests began. He then tried to blame Al Qaeda and he tried to claim that he had to go in and kill people because they were Al Qaeda and thugs. Even if a small portion of the people on the rebel side had links to Al Qaeda, the story does not hold water. This is because close to 10,000 members of the armed forces in Libya defected to the rebels prior to the enforcement of the no-fly zone. The majority in Benghazi do not appear to be involved in Al Qaeda either. However, one can never be certain that we are hearing the whole truth.
So move over Baghdad Bob, you now have some very stiff competition in the lying stakes. So far the competition has not managed to create the high level of amusement, but you never can tell with these clowns who are prepared to offer the high level propaganda.