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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Juma al-Gamaty

Posted April 23

Juma al-Gamaty is the UK-based co-ordinator of Libya's rebel-affiliated Interim Transitional National Council and a frequent talking head saying all the familiar things. Here's a standard example, from February 24 - a breathless barrage of misinformation, delivered with the run-on sentence exuberance of a kid chosen to run a candy factory. Gamaty describes Gaddafi as all alone with his family, effective in Tripoli only and was "finished" and preparing to fly away. That was two months ago now, and despite growing recognition of the rebels as the new government, and fierce NATO bombardment and other escalating support, Gaddafi is back in control of half the country with his loyal miltary.


This post will be filled in later, but for now, two instances where he was actually put up against someone who challenges his views. He does not handle it well. First, a small-time program, posted to Youtube April 1, which I'm surprised he agreed to considering, as he says, "hundreds of media outlets are after me."

Mr. al-Gamaty was seated next to Sukant Chandan, a hard-left writer for the Monthly Review. When Mr. Chandan dared challenge the alarmist figure of 10,000 killed by Gaddafi's forces, al-Gamaty was so infuriated, he stormed off the set, refusing to hear the challenge explained or to sanction with his presence its explanation to the audience.

At least as informative, if less theatrical, is his performance in an audio debate with U.S. professor Alan J. Kuperman, a critic of humanitarian military interventions. This was broadcast on BBC News Hour, April 3 2011. Kuperman has come under some criticism for his articles then and since lambasting Obama's case for war based on a slanted reading of the nature and scale of civilian deaths. But in this exchange, I hope it's clear who has more credibility and who's "spinning out of control."

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