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Left-wing Journalist Doubts Libyan Woman’s Gang Rape Allegations

Posted on April 7 2011 4:00 pm
Jenn escaped blue state academia for redder pastures in the South. Follow her on Twitter and read more of her work at

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Cross-posted at NewsReal’s That’s What She Said blog. Please follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our feed!

Yet again, an oh-so-enlightened left-winger tries to discredit politically inconvenient rape allegations.

By now you’ve heard the story of Iman al-Obeidi, the Libyan woman who was dragged off to prison after telling reporters of the vicious gang rape she suffered at the hands of Qaddafi’s men. Well, according to frequent HuffPo contributor and professional Bush Derangement Syndrome fomenter Russ Baker, that’s just what they want you to believe. Because psyops, man. Don’t you get it? Wheels within wheels:

As reprehensible as Qaddafi’s regime is, it is important to be on our guard against psyops–disinformation efforts designed to sway public opinion.  The Pentagon and CIA, as well as agencies of many other countries, have extensive operations focused on this objective.

In this light, we might consider this story that Qaddafi militia members raped a woman:  [bold type added for emphasis]

In the latest turn in the case of Eman al-Obeidy, a Libyan woman apprehended by security forces for trying to tell journalists that she had been raped by members of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s militia, a government spokesman said Tuesday that the unidentified militia members she accused had filed a civil case against her.

Mr. Ibrahim initially described her as drunk and potentially delusional. Then, later on Saturday, he called her sober and sane. And on Sunday he termed her a prostitute and a thief.

He said that her case against the men had been dropped because she refused to submit to a medical examination, and he reiterated a promise that she would be offered a chance to speak again to the press.

The story of her treatment, covered by satellite news channels and Web sites, has riveted Libyans of all stripes. To critics of the Qaddafi government Ms. Obeidy has become the new face of its brutal tactics. Her family and tribe, based in the rebel-held east, is reportedly standing by her, bucking tradition to reject any assertion of a stain on her reputation from the alleged sexual crime. Rebels in Benghazi, the de facto rebel capital, have also held rallies to support her.

Note the sections Baker emphasizes in bold. He finds al-Obeidi’s story suspicious because the accused assailants–Qaddafi’s men–are suing her. He questions the validity of her allegations because she refused to submit to a pelvic exam administered by people employed by Qaddafi’s regime.

The very fact that her story reflects poorly on the Libyan dictatorship tells Baker we’re looking at wartime propaganda. And the substantial media attention given to al-Obeidi means this is probably all part of an elaborate government ploy to gin up sympathy for American involvement in Libya:

For one thing, as awful as rape is, it is hardly uncommon anywhere in the world, and the fact that this story would get so much attention—and generate such a strong response—has to be viewed with restraint.  It may not be true, and even if it is, why would it get this much publicity at this particular moment, given the norm of brutality under Qaddafi (and many other rulers around the world.)

“As awful as rape is,” why bother publicizing this case?

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