edits Aug 1
I've been trying to find any visible evidence - anything other than tweets and other reports from supposed witnesses - for the crucial claim that the Libyan government "bombed its own people" as they sought to protest. I'll collect all the alleged proofs and how they pan out elsewhere, but so far, I'm not impressed.
Der Spiegel's Matthias Gebauer reported on February 26 2011 about the bloody battle for Labraq airport, well off the east near al-Baida, on Feb 18-21. One of his sources was a kid named Said with an odd story ranging into nationwide intrigue (covered elsewhere). Here I'd like to discuss the alleged video evidence of this epic battle that seems to carry the theme of just how crucial a "no-fly" zone would be:
The world has Abdul Kadr to thank for spreading the news of the airport battle. The young student lives in a small town not far from the airport -- and he filmed the three-day-long battle day and night. From rooftops and from the street, he shot [... see list below...]
Kadr didn't sleep at all during the three days of the battle. Sitting in his parents' living room, Kadr describes how the tanks that were flown in fired on buildings outside the airport grounds. Several houses in his village were hit and four people were killed. Kadr knew how important his videos were. When the first BBC reporter made it to Bayda in the days following the battle, Kadr handed over his images and begged him to publicize them. Just hours later, they could be seen on computer screens across the globe. It was the first solid proof of the brutality that Gadhafi had visited upon his own people. It was the first solid proof that the dictator's regime had bombed his own people.
According to this, the "solid proof" - first and, I think still only - is said to consists of the following being recorded and published:
- Ilyushins [transport jets] landing at the airport to send more mercenaries into the battle.
- A Libyan fighter jet roaring over al-Baida and dropping a bomb not far from the airport.
- A helicopter shooting into the mass of people.
- He apparently didn't catch the tanks firing.
These sound like powerful images, smoking guns of airborne state brutality, and all from one guy at a pivotal spot. They should be all over Youtube, and might finally help convince me these allegations have some merit. Although the battle at Labraq, armed from the taken barracks at Shehat nearby, is a far cry from peaceful crowds in city squares.
But even this I can't find. Image search for his name reveals nothing. Video, same.
Google video search for all "Helicopter + Libya - Dutch, looking at any posted before that article of Feb 26.
All helicopter over Libya videos -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7VX3PJq6V8 - Tripoli
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIrU-GfKX4w&feature=player_embedded - bombiing planes on Tripoli 2/20
Feb 21 - Zawiya?
They're all clearly in transit, not likely firing on anyone.
Ah, I see "niqnaq" has beat me to citing this Spiegel report and asking "where's the video?" Abdul was said to have given these to the BBC, but the search "Abdul Kadr" at BBC News reveals nothing. Some alternate transliterations didn't help. I'm going to drop it there with two best guess possibilities:
1) young Mr. Kadr made up all these incidents and his videos of them and meeting the BBC and telling the world. And Mr. Gebauer simply took his word for it, as the type of thing that's happening all over Libya, it seems.
2) The videos were handed over but showed a rebel force too well-armed to send the right message. That was supposed to be people power, not firepower. Mass defections and harmonious waves of self-liberation is how the bases fell, not surprisingly well-armed and audacious military assaults. That almost suggests planning, secret knowledge emboldening them, and so on. And it certainly cries less for outside help.
In that case the BBC folks simply sat on it, and only the part about being seen around the world was made up. That in itself wold be interesting.
If anyone can prove me wrong by pointing to any evidence these videos were ever seen by anyone, or to the actual videos themselves, I'd be much obliged. Then, I'll keep looking for any sign of the few reports prior to this across Libya when people weren't yet diving tanks to the "protest." This, likewise, is still unverified, despite triggering a "no-fly zone" that's opened up into a fully packaged and widely pushed regime change campaign.