The flags those protesters are waving represent the Libyan Republic, which was the ruling entity before Gadaffi (or however you spell it) took over 42 years ago. It made me wonder: Where did all those former Libyan flags come from? Were they lying around somewhere in Libya for the last half-century? Then I remembered an article called "The Man Who Sold the War" that ran in Rolling Stone Magazine a few years ago. That article was about a guy named John Rendon, whose PR firm, The Rendon Group, helped market the first Gulf War.
From the article:
After Iraq withdrew from Kuwait, it was Rendon's responsibility to make the victory march look like the flag-waving liberation of France after World War II. "Did you ever stop to wonder," he later remarked, "how the people of Kuwait City, after being held hostage for seven long and painful months, were able to get hand-held American - and, for that matter, the flags of other coalition countries?" After a pause, he added, "Well, you now know the answer. That was one of my jobs then."
How indeed did those Kuwaitis get those flags? And how did the Libyans get theirs? Then as if on cue, Eman al-Obeidi manages to provide this war's humanitarian crisis to Western TeeVee audiences, just like good ol' Nayirah al-Sabah did back in 1990. Of course, we have since learned that Nayirah al-Sabah was the daughter of Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States, Saud bin Nasir al-Sabah, and that her testimony was written and arranged by the PR firm Hill & Knowlton. So then one wonders which PR firms are responsible for the flags and for al-Obeidi's performance.
UPDATE: Oddly enough, The New York Times spells it all out for us:
WASHINGTON — In 2009, top aides to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi called together 15 executives from global energy companies operating in Libya’s oil fields and issued an extraordinary demand: Shell out the money for his country’s $1.5 billion bill for its role in the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 and other terrorist attacks.
If the companies did not comply, the Libyan officials warned, there would be “serious consequences” for their oil leases, according to a State Department summary of the meeting.
And Russ Baker has a quiz:
Embattled Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi: Good or bad? How about GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt?