You have seen revolutionaries before, real and phony. These heavily armed excited hombres don't look and act the part of the aggrieved, and for the most part don't look like the noble people risking their lives in the streets of Cairo, Tunis, Sana'a and Manama.
Thirdly, the really bad guys, the big bad guys - the very powerful imperialist capitalists who revolutionaries must always fight, are incongruously on the side of "Libyan "revolutionaries.'
Police and security personnel have been killing protestors throughout the Western dominated Arab world. One might be surprized that it happened in socialist Libya (1), but police everywhere are known to get carried away, and in Libya from the very first days, there were attacks on police and foreigners.
In Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and Tunisia the contiuning loss of life during massive demonstrations, that were, and are, still being shown to be basically peaceful by plenty of onsite media crowd-coverage, was heartbreaking. We saw for weeks, beautiful simpatico and charming faces of people heroically risking their lives, generous common people, driven to protest by bad living conditions, lack of jobs, health care and education.*(2) The huge amount of desperate poor, in dire straits, especially in Egypt and Yemen had, and continue to have, pressing reasons to get rid heartless U.S. backed dictators favoring the rich. They want to install economic fairness and well being for their children, not that kind of corrupt and phony Western parliamentary democracy that supports foreign investment capital and the Mubaraks, Ben Alis, Salehs, Suhartos, Duvaliers and other local rulers of the world's poor for the benefit of investors in the industrialized First World.
Given the nine millenniums long history of rivalry between Greek founded Benghazi (Cyrenaica) and Phoenician founded Tripoli, the present climate of Arab anti-government protests and decades of virulent hate Gaddafi stories in the media*( 9) how easy it must have been for the big powers and their pro-democracy organizations. How easy for CIA, M16 and French Secret Services and the overseas based U.S. and British funded National Conference for the Libyan Opposition to coordinate and plan the armed uprising that began with a call for a day of rage on the anniversary of the huge riot over the Danish cartoons insulting the Prophet and a deadly attack on the Italian Consulate in Benghazi in 2006.
For 7,540 years Cyrenaica (Benghazi) and Tripoli have been governed independent from each other during Roman, Vandal, Byzantium, Ummayad of Damascus, Aghlabids, Egyptian Shiites, Spain, the Knights of Malta, Turks and Italians. In 1934 Italy tried to unite the two into one nation named Libya (ancient Greek word for N. Africa). Then came the British and French occupation until 1954.
With British backing, Idris as-Senussi proclaimed an independent Emirate of Cyrenaica in 1949. He was also invited to become Emir of Tripolitania, and ultimately became King Idris of Libya in 1951. Idris had close ties with the British and the United States (ergo the large U.S. Wheelus Air Base). Oil was discovered in Libya in 1959, but King ldris allowed most of the oil profits to be siphoned into the coffers of the oil companies.
In 1969, non-commissioned officer Muammar Gaddafi led coup by a group within the Libyan Army. A republic was proclaimed, the monarchy abolished. What was a predominantly rural and backward country when the king was deposed 42 years ago is today a country with a modern economy and high literacy. But Idris' home was in Benghazi, and Gaddafi resides in Tripoli. Decentralized Green Book Arab Socialism also favored the Tripoli - Cyrenaica rivalry to continue. Perhaps a bit of ""East is East, West is West, and never the twain shall meet."
Where there is rivalry, there is opportunity for covert funding of disorder and mayhem to whip up insurrection. With false flag operations a lot can be done. With al Qaeda elements and other fundamentalists populating a large area to the South and East of Benghazi, (7) there was no shortage of fanatical manpower for a well planned armed rebellion to be portrayed as peaceful demonstrations for democracy.
CNN, the unabashed voice of the Pentagon with a history of slandering enemies of imperialism, initially ran cell phone videos of people running with the sound of gun shots - shots from where and whom unknown except for the CNN newscasters excited voices passionately shouting, "Gaddafi!! Gaddafi is shooting, bombing, peaceful protesters asking for democracy."*(3)(4)
Not once, during these two months of high violence in Libya, has this writer heard CNN TV newscasters report any civilian death caused by rebels firing their heavy weapons. But from some European and African news reports we know of a lot, including brutal executions.*(4 )(6) Gaddafi charged early on that there was a massacre by rebels in Green Square, and called for a UN investigation team on the ground in Libya, while continually pleading for meetings and discussions with the rebels. "Gaddafi, must go!" has always been the rejection from the rebel leadership.