Warning: This site contains images and graphic descriptions of extreme violence and/or its effects. It's not as bad as it could be, but is meant to be shocking. Readers should be 18+ or a mature 17 or so. There is also some foul language occasionally, and potential for general upsetting of comforting conventional wisdom. Please view with discretion.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Citizen's Investigation Into War Crimes in Libya {Masterlist}

February 29, 2012
last edits June 19

Announcing the launch of:
Citizen's Investigation into War Crimes in Libya(CIWCL)
Logo by me - hopefully adequate and not too corny.


(the lead up to forming the group)
- shed massacre follow-up work
- the big investigation group thing
Report: A Question Mark Over Yarmouk

(The following content may be re-arranged into new posts in time)

CIWCL signatories as of June 19 (alphabetical):

- Stewart Dredge, 
Edinburgh, Scotland

- Maximilian Forte
associate professor of anthropology, Concordia University 
Montreal, Canada

- Petri Krohn
Chairman, Finland without Nazism
Helsinki, Finland

- Adam J. Larson
blog administrator: libyancivilwar.blogspot.com
Spokane, USA

- Peter Schönfeld, Cologne, Germany

- Myra St. Clair, Spokane, USA

Active Members: Krohn, Larson, Schönfeld

Others have expressed interest in signing/joining/helping, but haven't yet submitted a formal signature. One is momentarily de-listed, one perhaps permanently.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Strike on Khamis' Convoy: Really?

February 27, 2012

When it was reported (but then denied) that Muammar Gaddafi's most militant son, Khamis, was captured alive recently, it seemed time to revisit the last time he was declared dead. Six months earlier almost to the day, in late August/early September of last year, he was reported killed in a rebel strike on his retreating convoy just after the fall of Tripoli.

Al-Fargi's Account
Allegedly, this strike came right after his father and Libya's onetime symbolic leader Muammar Gaddafi and parts of his core family met at Khamis' Yarmouk military base and fled from Tripoli. That was August 26, one week into the rebel assault on the capitol, four days after they claimed 90% of the city, three days after the alleged massacre of over 150 prisoners there, and about the same exact time rebels finally acknowledge holding the Yarmouk base itself (or, as the clues suggest, three days after the rebels violently took the base).

This is according to a baby-faced teenage captive who was presented to Richard Pendlebury of the UK Daily Mail, for an article run September2: "The car was armoured like a tank. But that wasn't enough to save Gaddafi's son Khamis when the rebels took their vengeance." Seventeen-year-old Abdul Salam Taher al-Fargi is described as "a child of the southern desert," who "has witnessed history.” So he says, anyway. (Photo of al-Farji speaking with Pendlebury)

In his story, he was the youngest recruit to Khamis Gaddafi’s bodyguard, picked for his youth, innocence, possibly his big hair, and his origin in the Loyalist town of Sabha. His very recruitment handily proved the desperation of the dying regime. Al-Fargi was given three days’ training shooting a gun, then sent to Tripoli with big promises following victory. He survived days of fighting “around Green Square and in the Bosleem [Abu Salim] district.” Pendlebury continues:
Then, on Thursday last week [Aug.25], when it was clear that the regime was finished, he was summoned along with other hand-picked soldiers to Khamis’s compound in the Salahuddin district.

The soldiers stayed there overnight. Then, on Friday, things began to happen. A Hyundai saloon arrived through the front gate and out got the ‘King of Kings himself’ — the nation’s leader — in a flowing robe and desert headdress. With Gaddafi Snr was his daughter Aisha, said Abdul.

The father spoke to Khamis and then left with Aisha in a military vehicle.

Another brother, Saadi, was reported as also having been in their convoy.

Abdul and his comrades were given lunch, then Khamis told them to get ready to go to Bani Walid. They would be meeting another brother, Mutassim, there.

The 60-vehicle convoy left Tripoli at around 4.30pm, Abdul recalls. Khamis was travelling in a heavily-armoured Toyota Land Cruiser.
This base is apparently the Yarmouk one, the only base of the 32nd brigade in the Salaheddin district, and among their two largest in the Tripoli area. Khamis had reportedly been there three days before when he ordered that 150 prisoners in the shed out back should be killed.

4:30 on Friday the 26th is apparently just ahead of, or even just behind, the photographer Daniel Berehulak who followed the rebels into Yarmouk. His set of eight photos of the shed massacre site are dated August 26 and, by the angle of sunlight seen (this image is the best help), it was mid-late afternoon - anywhere from about 4:00 to as late as 6:00PM (time analysis, uncertain, discussed here).

Further, it's about four hours after the rebels finally conquered the base, according to the unnamed fighter who spoke to Human Rights Watch. He said they entered the base around noon on the 26th, and to prove it, said that's when they first smelled and then saw the burning remains in the shed. At the same time, we're to accept, the Gaddafi family themselves were enjoying lunch alongside that smell some feet away, and then casually departed four hours later, before it was too late!

Just past Tahouna, near Bani Walid, an ammunition truck in Khamis' convoy was hit by rebels, Pendlebury was told, leaving a smashed bed that looks to me like a NATO bomb hit it from above. Photo of ammunition truck

Pendlebury described the convoy's last mission so:
What would appear to be happening is a fighting retreat, to buy time for the Gaddafis to escape into the desert wastes. Some regime forces have already left Bani Walid and moved to Sofe Aljane, 50 miles further south. Gaddafi himself is also thought to have gone.
Abdul al-Farji was with them. He said:
‘We were told the road was clear, and my pick-up truck was sent forward to make sure it was,’ said Abdul, who was manning a heavy machine gun mounted on the back.
‘We ran straight into rebel vehicles. I opened fire first and they shot back.’
But as the driver of his own vehicle tried to turn away from the rebel positions, Abdul lost his footing, fell out and was captured.
The last time he saw Khamis’s vehicle it was on fire, but still moving slowly.
The jeep apparently was hit too, but the kid survived, because he fell off of it. He was captured and told his story like so. The witness seems quite confident, open, and eager to explain all he saw and knew. He said he had been misled about the kind rebels, but now wanted to help them, and he was. And they were kind, to him.
It is clear, though, that Abdul has become something of a pet for the rebels. As we talked, another colonel came in, ruffled his hair, pinched his cheek and kissed him.
‘We are all one country,’ he beamed. ‘And this is still a Libyan child.’
It was the convoy battle by Tahouna that proved the kid was right, Khamis was in that convoy, and he didn’t come out alive, so was presumed among the charred dead. Pendlebury added:
The rebel colonel describes the demise of the dictator’s son. ‘His vehicle was well protected, but we hit it with a 23mm gun and it burned,’ he said.
I viewed the charred and melted remains of the Toyota by the side of the empty road. The glass was almost an inch thick and the armour on the doors would not have disgraced a tank. The bodywork did not appear to have been penetrated. 
Photo of the armored Land Crusier.

Does it add up well?

Other Evidence for Khamis'Death

Sunday, February 26, 2012

When Was This Photo Taken?

Feb. 26, 2012

Photographer Daniel Berehulak took a series of photos of the massacre site dated August 26, sometime in the mid-afternoon, from the general direction of sunlight. Image 2 is the only one I found useful for trying to set the exact time. External link, new window: http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/4j2SQVwCzEZ/Burnt+Bodies+Discovered+Tripoli+Mass+Killing/7l_03GCUoMV

An enhanced crop of this is inset at left. The men in the door are bathed in two types of light: ambient (from our left, mostly, and all sides of them but the front) and brighter, direct sunlight (apparently from our right/their left and somewhat above them). The door frame and even shadows inside will also help. But still, I can't decide on even a narrow range. Maybe another reader can help decide.

For now, I'm dealing with solar azimuth only, direction to the sun in its east-west arc across the sky. Solar altitude I can only say is above horizontal, so well before sunset. In the image below, the Google Maps image of the shed oriented to true north. The green line is an approximate line of sight within the shed. The yellow lines are possibly consistent sunlight directions shining towards the camera. The earliest is approximately 222º from north (southwest), with the others at 244º, at 267º, and as an outlier, 280º (just north of due west).

Anyone? Which of these four, or other angles within our outside that range, do you think best explains what the photo shows? I have the correlating times, and a reason for wondering. But just to keep it about the imagery, I'll hold off explaining until I or someone figures out what's the best reading among those.

Rape Allegations Ganging Up on Gaddafi

Friday, April 29, 2011
last update Feb. 4, 2012

Note June 10: The top prosecutor for the International Court that's Criminal (ICC) has just added mass rape charges to the arrest warrants sought against Muammar Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and brother-in-law Abdullah Senoussi. Therefore, the cartoonishly thick allegations below have taken on more importance suddenly (see also, at bottom, update for June 13.

Iman, in Passing: A PR Stunt for War?
The issue of rape as weapon in the Libyan Civil War is, by design, tied in with its most vivid and personal allegation, by Iman al-Obeidi. On March 26, the soon-to-be anti-Gaddafi icon dramatically revealed a multi-day ordeal of gang rape, abuse, and himuliation by 15 of Gaddafi's troops, one of whom she was able to identify as a high-ranking officer and a relative of Col. Gaddafi's.

The effect was huge. No one could be factually sure - even if the allegation was all true - that this was a crime of the regime as opposed to some drunk soldiers behaving very badly. But of course it was generally taken as the first. The appearance of cover-up hasn't helped, from her famously being dragged away to the government smears and insults, and the fear of being silenced she's expressed to the several western journalists who've been able to speak with her just fine. But her story, which I'll cover separately in more detail, is far from established truth.
Update June 10: In fact, her later exploits raise further doubts - she later escaped to Qatar, only to be shipped back to Benghazi battered and bruised anew, this time she said by the Qatari government.
An article of April 28 in the Nation of Islam-linked journal The Final Call gave the al-Obeidi story as reason 10 of "Ten reasons why the US War in Libya is a CIA Operation."
Rape is charged. A distraught, English-speaking, Arab woman fortuitously finds her way from days of gang rape by Gadhafi's soldiers into the only hotel in Tripoli where foreign journalists are encamped (apparently dropped off by her tormentors) where she reports of her ordeal to the gathered media who immediately, unquestioningly, broadcast the brutal crime to the world as proven fact. She claimed that she was detained at a checkpoint, tied up, abused, then led away to be gang raped—all whilst her assailants were defending Tripoli against a Western bombing campaign. “They defecated and urinated on me and tied me up,” she said, her face streaming with tears. “They violated my honor, look at what the Gadhafi militiamen did to me.”

Everybody who heard this woman's claims—except 100 percent of the Western media—immediately remembered October 1990, when a sobbing 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl gave unsworn testimony in a Congressional hearing chaired by Zionist congressman Thomas Lantos in which she described what she saw in a Kuwaiti hospital with her own eyes: “While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where … babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die.”

The girl was actually the daughter of a Kuwaiti ambassador, and had been coached by the public relations firm Hill and Knowlton to give false testimony. Three months passed between the hearing and the start of the first Gulf War during which the fabricated incubator story was repeated over and over again by seven U.S. senators and ten times by President G.H.W. Bush himself. It was recited as fact in congressional testimony, on TV and radio talk shows like Nightline, and at the UN Security Council. It is cited as the single most persuasive reason that the American public backed the first Iraq War. None of those involved with the hoax have ever faced legal reprisals. CIA √
Actually, that highly relevant stunt has a better parallel, subject-wise, in the fakery-supported claim of Gaddafi's snipers picking off young children. But this additional charge has been more effective and convincing than that cartoonish claim. As Wikipedia explains it "[al-Obeidi's] insistence on telling her story in public had the effect of challenging both the Gadaffi regime and the taboo that surrounds discussion of sex crimes in that country." In a time of no shortage of challenges to Gaddafi, this one was always sure to "win the women's vote" for regime change, as it were.

And the impression given by the "taboo" part, is that this social pioneer is our first glimpse into a dark pit of systematic sexual violence. Prurient puritanical imaginations tend to run wild with things like this, and it's been widely presumed Iman represents but a screaming tip of a silent iceberg.

Africans Here to Rape our Women!
Indeed, it's much larger, say the balanced experts in rebel territory. The fear of rape by big, black, African mercenaries is a common theme of the alarmism of the early days. First, there are valid questions over how many foreign merceenaries there ever were in this war. Many or all of those captured as such, who have been double-checked, are either Libyan fighters from the south, or foreign workers (see below).

Yet these peoples' pigmentation had allowed a near-hysterical conflation of these into a mostly phantom enemy - the foreign, black African fighter. They were largely killed, forced into hiding, or chased away. They were captured in the hundreds by armed rebels, bludgeoned to death by gangs and de-pantsed in public, shot execution style in the dozens, hacked down, hanged in the squares, burned to a crisp, and in once case, awkwardly decapitated at the center of a night-time celebration in Benghazi's main square. (see: Rebel Atrocity Videos)

A few hundred other black African workers die each time one of the vessels carrying them capsizes in the Mediterranean, trying to flee this madness to Italy. Gaddafi is blamed, and it's called an attack on Europe.

With their skill identifying the nationalities or combatant status of their victims, one wonders if any of the rebel claims of the mercenary rape spree were reliable either. This from the Monthly Review, April 20
The Independent's Michael Mumisa observed that "foreign media outlets have had to rely mostly on unverified reports posted on social network websites and on phone calls from Libyans terrified of Gaddafi's 'savage African mercenaries who are going door-to-door raping our women and attacking our children'," and he speaks of "a Twitter user based in Saudi Arabia," who "wrote how Gaddafi is 'ordering african mercenaries to break into homes in Benghazi to RAPE Libyan women in order to detract men protesters!'"
Some of the particular Twitter tweets of rumors that managed to get in and out of Libya, despite the internet shut-down, and might have wound up stoking that ethnic cleansing:
LibyanThinker URGENT!!! From contact in the Army: So far, 1300African Mercenaries have arrived in #Libya to date. Cant' the World hear our cries??? Sat Feb 19 2011 23:21:00 (Eastern Standard Time) via TweetDeck Retweeted by you and 84 others
Tripolitanian I URGE THE LIBYAN ARMY TO SIDE WITH THE LIBYAN PEOPLE - don't let these African mercs kill your family! #Libya #Feb17 Sat Feb 19 2011 20:23:04 (Eastern Standard Time) via web Retweeted by you and 54 others
LibyanThinker NEW! #Gaddafi has given the African Mercenaries full freedom in raping Libyan women. #Libya Sat Feb 19 2011 19:57:04 (Eastern Standard Time) via web Retweeted by you and 20 others
Might be A Hundred / Family Values Assaulted
On April 17, The First Post in the UK ran a more scholarly article supporting this tactic by the more regular forces, if not the mercenaries. It's entitled "Gaddafi's Men use Rape as a Weapon of War," and reads in part:
Horrifying accounts of the systematic use of gang rape as a weapon of war by fighters loyal to dictator Colonel Gaddafi have emerged from Libya. Women have been violated in front of their own children - and some have asked their relatives to kill them rather than face Gaddafi's men.

Khalifa al-Sharkassi, a German-trained doctor based in al-Baida in north-eastern Libya, told the Sunday Times he is collecting the testimony of abused women. He believes as many as 100 have been subjected to gang rape.
Sharkassi decided to speak out despite rigid taboos on discussing rape or "dishonour" as it is known in Libyan society. He told the story of one 28-year-old mother of two, identified only as Leila, who was violated with one of her young children in her arms. Leila told Sharkassi she was raped on the night of March 14 by Gaddafi's soldiers who came to her home when her husband was away fighting for the rebels. She said: "The soldiers told me they would kill my children. They sneered 'you or your children'. I held one son close but one of the men forced me down onto the bed, then it happened..."
The attack took place as her children, aged 4 and 5, watched. Such is the shame associated with rape in Libya that Leila's husband will not see her and she is contemplating suicide.
Reporter Hala Jaber says this is just one of many cases he [sic - a she] has been told about. In another, a woman was raped over several hours, losing consciousness and waking again to find a bad bite on her breast.
These stories are emotionally upsetting and such atrocities are possible enough in a war situation. But they are neither confirmed nor proven, serve a suspiciously useful role as anti-Gaddafi propaganda, and even if true do not prove - or even strongly suggest - any government sanction for mass rape as a tool in their campaign.

Only Regime Change can Save these Kids
Social taboos are cited for the lack evidence of widespread sexual violence in this war. But children can be so much more open, with the social norms of the adult world not as firmly imprinted yet. It was so that Michael Mahrt, with the organization Save The Children (and who could disagree?) oversaw hundreds of interviews with children displaced by the fighting. Reuters reported, April 23:
Save The Children said it had spoken to nearly 300 children in six temporary camps in rebel-held Benghazi and heard reports of rapes and murders committed within the last four weeks in Ras Lanuf, Ajdabiyah and Misrata.
In one case mothers who had fled the fighting told the charity that a group of four or five teenage girls in Ajdabiyah had been abducted, held hostage for four days and raped.

"The stories are similar that we get across these camps. I am completely confident that this happened," [Mahrt] told Reuters.
Please note that Mahrt "said the families and children spoke of "soldiers" committing the assaults, but the charity could not say which side they came from." This leaves it open, in some instances at least, that rebel fighters could be responsible. In fact, if all of them used the same vague term - "soldiers" - it might be a sign of coaching. It is well-established that a majority of child sexual abuse is committed by those within the home, or from near it.

The interviews were carried out in "temporary camps in rebel-held Benghazi," and detailed attacks "within the last four weeks." But these were newcomers, with tales from "Ras Lanuf, Ajdabiyah and Misrata," places where fighters of both sides have had some free reign. In civilized and loyalist-free Benghazi, rape of children has probably been eradicated, we're to believe.

Clearly, the effect of that STC report, like the others, is more demonization of the regime. Even leaving the identities of the pedophiles unclear (perhaps because 2/3 of the kids described rebel attackers?), few people out there will read this and decide we have to "save the children" from perverts among the freedom-fighter camp. That would be rather an uphill battle to start without even offering any specifics, considering this media climate and that the rebels are becoming the recognized government of Libya day by day. Now more than ever, the bad things must have been done by the bad guys. 

"Male Enhancement" from the Regime of Rape
As if it's not enough that "Gaddafi's men" are using sexual violence against women and children, the United States' top voice at the United Nations is taking a cartoonish new twist on a new offensive for international support. The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, says Gadhafi troops have been issued Viagra to enhance their drive to war-sex-crimes! As reported by MSNBC, April 28
UNITED NATIONS — The U.S. envoy to the United Nations told the Security Council Thursday that troops loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi were increasingly engaging in sexual violence and some had been issued the impotency drug Viagra, diplomats said.

Several U.N. diplomats who attended a closed-door Security Council meeting on Libya told Reuters that U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice raised the Viagra issue in the context of increasing reports of sexual violence by Gadhafi's troops.
"Rice raised that in the meeting but no one responded," a diplomat said on condition of anonymity. The allegation was first reported by a British newspaper.
Several diplomats said Rice provided no evidence for the Viagra allegation, which they said was made in an attempt to persuade doubters the conflict in Libya was not just a standard civil war but a much nastier fight in which Gadhafi is not afraid to order his troops to commit heinous acts. "She spoke of reports of soldiers getting Viagra and raping," a diplomat said. "She spoke of Gadhafi's soldiers targeting children, and other atrocities."

Rice's statement, diplomats said, was aimed principally at countries like India, Russia and China, which have grown increasingly skeptical of the effectiveness of the NATO-led air strikes, which they fear have turned the conflict into a protracted civil war that will cause many civilian deaths. Most council members, diplomats said, had expected Gadhafi's government to collapse quickly. They said the frustration felt by India, Russia and China would likely grow if the war dragged on.
Ouch. That didn't go well. One should hope. No one else finds it reputable. MSNBC again reported on April 29
There is no evidence that Libyan military forces are being given Viagra and engaging in systematic rape against women in rebel areas, US military and intelligence officials told NBC News on Friday.
While rape has been a weapon of choice in many other African conflicts, the US officials say they've seen no such reports out of Libya.
Not only the Viagra aspect of the rape campaign, but the rape campaign itself is unsupported, say these unusually square-sounding (but unnamed) military and intelligence sources.

This claim is cited as originally coming from the British tabloid press, but it seems to have been aired earlier yet on al-Jazeera, March 28, and that came from those trustworthy rebel-affiliated doctors:
Several doctors say they have found Viagra tablets and condoms in the pockets of dead pro-Gaddafi fighters, alleging that they were using rape as a weapon of war.

They say they have been treating female rape survivors who were allied with pro-democracy forces.
The stuff allegedly found in the pockets of dead men was evidence for the allegation. The only evidence, for the highly useful allegation. The UK Daily Star was one to repeat it on April 18:
A Libyan doctor says there has been over 100 cases of rape and Gaddafi has even issued troops with Viagra to fuel their attacks.
Sounds like our good friend Dr. Khalifa al-Sharkassi, whose work I gave some credence to above. A bit less now. The Daily Fail was another, on April 18:
Details also emerged yesterday of gang rape being used by Gaddafi’s soldiers, many of them African mercenaries supplied with Viagra by the Libyan leader’s officials.
And now after Rice they're recycling it, predictably mixed-in with Save The Children's Concerns. The Mirror, April 27:
Gaddafi thugs 'rape children while pumped up on Viagra'
CHILDREN as young as eight have been raped in front of their families by Viagra-fuelled troops loyal to Colonel Gaddafi, aid workers claim.
Otherwise, it's a repeat of the previous findings, with no support for the Viagra part, from aid workers or otherwise.

Who Else in Libya can Combine Violence and Penises?
Recall the frenzied tweets about Afro-Mercs and therir door-to-door rape sprees. The new authorities caught some of these dark foreigners and managed to get them into a jail alive. The proof was shown, about 50 captured Africans, paraded before journalsists in late March. Unexpectedly, one of the trophies spoke up, and was noted by a writer for the Los Angeles Times:
“I am a worker, not a fighter. They took me from my house and [raped] my wife,” he said, gesturing with his hands. Before he could say much more, a pair of guards told him to shut up and hustled him through the steel doors of a cell block, which quickly slammed behind them.
Times reporter David Zucchino, our interpreter and I skipped the bus ride back and instead got a lift from a passing motorist. In the car, our interpreter, a Libyan national, asked Zucchino: “So what do you think? Should we just go ahead and kill them?
Between these two exchanges, the man in question was argued down, by a gaurd producing his Gambian passport, which "proved" he was a mercenary killer, not a Gambian worker living in Libya with his wife. His name was written down, as Alfusainey Kambi, and someone should check up on him. One can only wonder, if this brave man's story is true, does it show a fluke incident, or is Mr. Kambi the vocal tip of a silent iceberg?

It's also said this video's audio track is of a woman explaining how she and at least one other young woman who supported the government were punished - with gang rape - by part of a rebel mob. I can't understand spoken Arabic, but it's said "she is calling for the Libyan army to come to save them!" As is sometimes said of the rebels making their i-phone videos, this girl might be risking her life to come forward with this charge, living as she is behind enemy lines and there's no one coming to the rescue.

I've always wondered what life is like for known Gaddafi supporters in Misrata. The rebels are in charge there but under siege from without, and maybe looking for fifth columnists within, or seeking to intimidate them into silence or death. Here is a horrifying account of systematic mass rape, murder, dismemberment, and so on that I'm inclined to doubt. I hope to God it isn't true and we have a desperate lashing back in the rape-baiting ring of this propaganda war.
Update May 23: Rape Parties in Misrata New allegations from the BBC's Andrew Harding of mass rape come from two young black men captured in Misrata. They confess in some detail to being forced into a huge cue to rape some young rebel women. Analysis and de-bunks split off to this dedicated post.

In summary, the two boys, aged 17 and 21 and apparently from nearby Tawergha, said they were compelled (and paid a bit) to partake in the gang rape of four daughters from a certain family. There was smoking and dancing to pop music, and family members were bound, shot in the legs, and forced to watch. They said they heard broadcast on the military radio bragging about doing this to 50 families.

When they were later interviewed seperately by a professional from Amnesty International, the captives' stories changed, conflicted, fell apart. All in all, I conclude there's a damn good chance they were just coerced by the racist rebels. The myth of mass rape by black Tawerghans was seeded in the minds of Misrata's rebels and told to the world outside, to pump up the one for the coming purge of the enemy town, and to explain to the other why their final solution for their southern neighbors was justified.

Update May 30: Male rape in the Benghazi underground
Considering the social taboos against discussing rape, and additional taboos against homosexual behavior, a Youtube video conveys something I find odd. To the whole world, a young male allegedly freed from an underground dungeon at the Katiba base in Benghazi, openly speaks of his rape and that of others, by government soldiers.

He tells of the sodomizing of an old man with a stick, and their being urinated on - as well as generally tortured and humiliated, starved, and finally slated for hanging, in a busy five day ordeal. Much of this was done by African mercenaries, the rest by col. Gaddafi's own son Saadi and his trusted aide Abdullah Senoussi.

The brutal end of all this was only averted at the last minute, he says, by the fall of the Katiba. Praise God and pass the popcorn - it's like a snuff movie where reality itself is the victim.

Update June 13: The ICC's announcement of expanded charges to include mass rape led to a small controversy. A top UN investigator who'd just been to Libya finding facts dismissed the broad sweep of charges, if not each and every one, as the product of a "massive hysteria," leading to impassioned rebuttals. But he had reason to say that, citing a questionable claim of 70,000 questionnaires being mailed in the midst of the war and receiving 60,000 responses with 259 reports of rape by regime forces. His mission asked for copies, but the woman responsible was unable to produce any for them. Yet it was her claim of "proof" of mass rape that convinced the ICC to add it to the reasons to arrest the three most powerful men in Libya today.

One of them. Sennoussi, was indicted for not planning but "participating" in attacks on civilians. See the previous entry and ask yourself, were these alleged attacks Moreno-Ocampo cites below ground level? We don't know - the ICC's evidence is redacted and secret.

Updates, Feb. 4, long overdue:
Allegations and Crimes of the Takeover Period and no more Gaddafi regime to blame anymore:
UK Daily Mail, Aug 31: Father slit throats of three daughters in 'honour killing' after they were raped by Gaddafi's troops
This was in Misrata, reported by Physicians for Human Rights. As the Mail put it, among other uncovered alleged crimes, "Gaddafi's men ... used rape as a weapon of war with deadly consequences." Even if the allegation is true, we can see they had a little help with the deadly part.

Richard Sollom, who was the lead author on the report, concluded that no one had evidence that rape was widespread - but the fear of sexual assault was endemic.
'One witness reported that (Gaddafi) forces transformed an elementary school into a detention site where they reportedly raped women and girls as young as 14 years old,' the report noted.

Distress: Iman Al-Obeidi claimed she had been raped by Gaddafi's men when she rushed into the Rixos hotel in Tripoli
It added that it had found no evidence to confirm or deny reports that Gaddafi troops and loyalists were issued Viagra-type drugs to sustain their systematic rapes.
Researchers also heard reports of suspected honour killings - including the murder of the three sisters by their father.
But PHR also noted that 'some in Tomina have stood up against this practice, including a well-known sheik who has publicly advocated for raped women and girls to be seen as brave and bringing honor to their families'.

Gaddafi's Revolutionary Nuns: Raped by Gaddafi and Friends?
Routine abuse of his own female bodyguards and other female soldier types, covered in a post here.

Gaddafi's Revolutionary Nuns: Raped and Killed by Rebels?
The flip-side.Again, both sets of allegations have problems and are less than totally convincing.

Male Rape at Abu Salim Prison
Araya Human Rights Organization reports, Oct. 3 the story of "eyewitness 1":
- Taken by force to the criminal investigation general administration –Tripoli.

- Confined to a collective crowded cell with neither places to sit nor to sleep.

- Bad smells intensively and intentionally hurt the prisoners.

- Garbage, rubbish, and waste products were accumulating and amassing every day, when prisoners asked to remove these material they were answered “shut up O’garbages” .

- Limited meals and drinks, just few loaves of bread, cheese and water.

- The guardians were all black skinned, non-Arabic speakers.

- Ten prisoners were raped and filmed to compel the others to stop talking about these crimes.

- A cousin of the witness (who had helped bringing the witness to the prison) visited him in the prison warning him that he would face the same fate if he didn’t accept to fight with Al-Gheddafi brigades, our witness said yes I would, he got out of the prison and fled immediately to Tunisia.

- Unfortunately, the witness family still supporting Al-Gheddafi and refused to receive our witness calling him a traitor.
Did they add "liar?"

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Once Again, Khamis NOT Dead

February 25, 2012

Thanks to Felix for this fascinating tip - for at least the third time in a year, Khamis Gaddafi, believed to have been killed, was not. At least according to the following dispatch from the Tripoli Post.

BREAKING NEWS: Khamis Gaddafi Captured by Zintan Forces, Another Blow to Pro-Gaddafi Remnants
24/02/2012 22:45:00
The Tripoli Post has learnt from reliable sources, that Khamis Gaddafi, one of the sons son of the dead dictator of Libya, has been captured by Zintan rebels near the towns of Regdalin and Jmail in western Libya near the borders with Tunisia.

Khamis who was also a commander of the Gaddafi forces during the revolution and participated in the killing of the civilian protesters in Zawiyaha, Tripoli, Misurata and other Libyan cities and towns was well known for his brutality and crimes.

His most feared brigade, named the Mechanical 32 Brigade, played a major role in the suppressing of the uprising and also committing many war crimes.

Zintan forces captured Seif Gaddafi three months ago in the Sahara desert and he is now imprisoned there.

Khamis has been reported dead many times during last year's conflict but he always turned out to be alive.

More to come.

Unconfirmed reports say that his doctor has also been captured and that Khamis has an amputated leg.

His convenient death story with no proof in late August was less than convincing, and I suspected he might still be around, although we sure didn't see any proof. Now Zintan's oddly positioned forces, already holding Saif al-Islam incomunicado, say they can confirm that.

Now he can go on trial for the shed massacre he allegedly ordered personally. This makes us and our findings suddenly more significant.

Unless he now dies. But even that only lasts until he emerges alive yet again.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

On the "Gaddafi's Dead!!!" Party

The Capture, The Killings, and Those Who Don't Know Right From Wrong
October 21, 2011

last edits, Oct. 28

So it's more than 24 hours later and still no retraction, and a pretty convincing video exists. It seems Muammar Gaddafi himself was captured, roughed up and bloodied pretty bad, and then shot dead by a hyped-up teenager. Sounds about right for how the rebels work. Celebrations worldwide have greeted the images. What a splendid little war that finally gave us this rush of fulfilling a long-programmed desire. All it took was a lot of scheming, lying, stealing, manipulating, and the often brutal deaths of several tens of thousands of people, and... I could go on.

I have created this space for comments in case someone else finds anything interesting on the reported murder of Muammar. I have nothing to add, aside from the image at left. Thanks to Petri Krohn for the tip on this from al Jazeera of a black man taken captive, strapped to the barrel of anti-aircraft gun as greatly-amused "government forces" drive through Sirte displaying him to general cheers. One doubts they'll be able to resist the temptation to fire off some celebratory rounds with this baby, perhaps until the prisoner dies of shock as his back is seared through to the spine.

Allahu Akbar!

Update October 25:  Pleasesee the comments below for full  video cataloguing, additional links and thoughts, and so on. In addition to other revelations and questions I haven't included here yet, yesterday news was broken of a video analysis by Global Post's brilliant Tracey Shelton. I caught it via CBS News, but the original video stills and explanation are here at Global Post. From two different camera views, it looks like the former Libyan leader was casually sodomized with a knife, by a playful captor, before his untimely execution.

More, October 28: Among Muammar Gaddafi's last recorded lines is apparently this "laughable" but truly apt line, which I've adopted partially as the site's new by-line: "Do you know right from wrong? What you are doing is wrong." There is also Mutassim Gaddafi's execution and odd wounds to consider, the story told by a self-described South African security man who tried to help the Gaddafis escape, how the leader came to be inside that storm drain, and so on. Again, see below.

Update Feb. 23, 2012: Long ago, I starter another post to discuss Muammar's torture and murder, which got many comments but few updates from me. Reader Stan Winer has also written a short PDF report on the episode and its implications. This report, Lies Killed the Colonel, is currently available (the link downloads the PDF) at his site Truth-Herz.net.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kufra Battles Kill Over 100

February 22, 2012
edits 2/23

Thanks to Global Civilians for Peace for keeping up on these and other recent news stories.

Unstable Libya as militias clash in desert town. AFP via Al Akhbar English, Feb. 14
Fresh tribal clashes erupted Tuesday in Libya's remote southeastern desert, with one man saying five members of his clan had been killed, a toll that could not be independently verified.

Clashes between the Zwai and the Toubu tribes in the town of Kufra broke out for a third consecutive day on Tuesday after 17 people were killed in fierce fighting over the first two days.

More than 100 killed in clashes in southern Libya: Tribes
AFP via Times of India, Feb. 22, 2012
Fierce clashes between two tribes in Libya’s remote southeastern desert have killed more than 100 people over the past 10 days, tribal sources said on Tuesday.

At least 113 people from the Toubu tribe and another 23 from the Zwai tribe have been killed in the town of Kufra since fighting erupted on February 12, the sources said.

“We are under siege since a week. Since the start of the clashes, 113 people (from our side) have been killed, including six children,” Toubu chief Issa Abdelmajid told AFP by telephone.

He said another 241 members of his tribe have been wounded.

Abdelmajid, a former opponent of Moamer Kadhafi who fought the slain dictator’s forces in last year’s conflict, was previously tasked by the ruling National Transitional Council with monitoring Libya’s southeastern border.

So he was at one point a trusted revolutionary. But somehow his people (presumably dark-skinned southern Libyans ??) are under attack by the Zwai tribe's army (lighter-skinned ??) and the NTC isn't taking the Toubu's calls.
At first, both groups used light arms, but eventually started firing rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft guns, local sources said.

"I appeal to the international community to intervene and stop these clashes which are aimed at exterminating my tribe," said Abdelmajid.

"We tried calling the NTC but it has not responded," he added.

The NTC probably is on speaking terms with the attackers here, the Zwai people in charge of Kufra. It seems they suspect Mr. Abdelmajid of doing his job backwards, and bringing Africans in instead of keeping them out, and apparently plotting some black-backed Green counter-insurgency.
"People from the Toubu tribe are being helped by foreign elements from Chad and Sudan. We have arrested several Chadian and Sudanese fighters," said Yunus Zwai, spokesman for Kufra local council.

Supporting the impression of a Green resistance in Kufra that's got the Zwai so agitated, reader Sam1 alerts me:
Some members of the green army where in al kufra today as well the green flag was raised and the old athem was also played.
The video (saved): Libya, Al Kufra today - the green lions are back!
From: InomineX
A better posting from "Mutassim Gaddafi's"channel:

Not the best way to avoid being attacked by NTC-affiliated militias.

See comments for more. It's quite possible this is an early event, an angle Petri's looking into. Technical points aside (later...), from the quick view I gave it, it had the feel of people responding in early 2012. But it could be the more fresh defiance of early last year, re-cycled by someone to "explain" the fighting, which could only have so many. Straight-up ethnic cleansing I don't think is it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Bombing His Own People." Really?

Evidence and Over-Acitivist Imaginations
August 1/2, 2011
last edits Nov. 22
bumped Feb. 21, 2012, for app. one-year anniversary

There has been virtually no Libyan Air Force presence over Libya's own territory since the March imposition of a no-fly zone and swift enforcement of it by NATO. Just how much aerial bombardment there was prior to that, and of what kind, is the matter of some deabte.

The pre-no-fly period can be further broken into two main segments. The first is late February, the 16th to about the 25th, when the rebellion is generally understood (incorrectly) to have been strictly protest oriented and peaceful. The other span is after cities had fallen, starting Feb 19 really, but only a solid fact to respond to by the last days. By then, no one could reasonably deny the government's opponents were armed bligerents to be called "rebels" or "freedom fighters," not "protesters."

It's the earlier reports of bombing simple protesters that had the shocking effect on world conscience driving intervention, especially in the skies NATO would seize to bomb Libya. These came in quick, in a rapid burst from Feb. 21-23, and then stopped.

Supporting evidence beyond the flimsy early reports never surfaced. We saw no videos of jets over head, let alone of bombs falling from them. There are no photos of craters in the streets, or of homes or anything flattened by these attacks. Remains of the exploded bombs, or any unexploded ones, never surfaced. No victims among the hundreds claimed have ever been shown or named.

The only evidence is as follows:

Videos from Labraq Airport:
Der Spiegel reported on Feb. 26 about "the first solid proof that the dictator's regime had bombed his own people." This they cited an activist's "shaky" videos of the Feb 18-20 battle for Labraq airport, near al Baida. Among other things, this footage was said to show "a Libyan fighter jet roaring over al-Baida and dropping a bomb not far from the airport," itself not clearly against protesters, but there was also "a helicopter shooting into the mass of people."

The video was said, by Der Spiegel, to have been posted all over the Internet, but as I said there, I cannot find it now, nor any other allusion to it. It seems likely this claim of widespread dissemination - or the content of said videos - was just a miscommunication.

Orders to Bomb Benghazi
The most high-value moment that really made an impression on the world community, and shaped the coming "no-fly zone," was when pilots defected to the rebel side and claimed they were ordered to bomb innocent people. It happened twice in a three day span.

As I've written about elsewhere, two Libyan pilots in their single-seater Mirage jets defected and landed on Malta February 21. They didn't just land quietly either, but swooped around in an air-show manner to draw attention prior to landing, a witness tells me (see the link). They claimed they'd been ordered, at least as Reuters put it, citing Maltese officials, "ordered to bomb anti-government protesters in Libya's second largest city of Benghazi."

Benghazi had just the day before fallen under rebel control, in a military sense. So even if the order was true, it's not obvious why the government would be interested in killing those still only protesting, rather than the heavily armed and ruthless gangs declaring war on the government.

But we don't know for sure the order, or even a more legitimate version of it, was ever truly given. We have only the word of those two pilots. They remain unnamed, but were both reportedly high-ranking colonels, not unlike their fellow Air Force colonel Abdullah Gehani, arrested by the Libyan government a couple of weeks earlier on suspicion of helping set up some kind of overthrow with French involvement (see here).

The defecting colonels also seemed to be - possibly - escorting two helicopters ferrying undocumented, mysterious Frenchmen who arrived on Malta just before them. One set of craft escaping from Benghazi without clearance, the others allegedly sent to Benghazi but veering off without clearance, both meeting up on Malta. Hmmm...

Strange as it this alleged order was, two days later came confirmation of the charge. Two more Libyan air force pilots ejected from and ditched their two-seater SU-22 jet near Ajdabiya. They landed and surrendered to the rebels, claiming they too were ordered to bomb Benghazi but just couldn't follow through. News 24, Libya pilot rejects orders, crashes plane:
Tripoli - A fighter pilot disobeyed orders on Wednesday to bomb the opposition stronghold of Benghazi and ditched his plane after he and his co-pilot ejected, a Libyan newspaper reported on its website.

The Russian-made Sukhoi 22 crashed near Ajdabiya, 160km west of the city which has fallen to anti-regime protesters, a military source said, quoted in Quryna newspaper.

"Pilot Abdessalam Attiyah al-Abdali and co-pilot Ali Omar al-Kadhafi ejected with parachutes after refusing orders to bomb the city of Benghazi."
On the co-pilot, there is a variant story where the pilot refused and al-Kadhafi (Gaddafi - of the ruler's tribe) pulled a gun on him to continue, but he ejected anyway, the rat had to follow suit, and was then arrested and put in prison. See comments below for more details.

So, to summarize: three jets were allegedly sent to the rebel capitol to kill protesters only. Four pilots, two missions, all aborted by the pilots, none carried out. Both the puny alleged attempts and the near-universal rejection of them reflected poorly on the regime, whose orders no one seemed to follow anymore. And their 0% success rate might explain why they stopped allegedly trying to bomb Benghazi just three days after it fell.

Ammunitions Depots, Not Protesters
Successful air-strikes in rebel-held areas were nonetheless implied in a February 22 interview with Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi. The leader's son told Christiane Amanpour that the military had not attacked Libya civilians. "Show me a single attack, show me a single bomb. The Libyan air force destroyed just the ammunition sites. That's it." he said." [source]

Again, no one has shown him or anyone the evidence that any bombs were dropped on protesters as opposed to raid-worthy ammo dumps and possibly other fully military targets the "protesters" had already stolen.

Aerial Bombing of Tripoli Neighborhoods
While the government failed to bomb actual enemy fighters or civilians in the east, there were contemporaneous claims of successful attacks on their own capitol city to snuff out the relatively small violent protests that had started there. At first, I thought it came down to a single bold claim by one Adel Mohamed Saleh, a "political activist", to al Jazeera. It was translated and reported by Reuters, filed 1:43 PM EST (6:43 GMT).
What we are witnessing today is unimaginable. Warplanes and helicopters are indiscriminately bombing one area after another. There are many, many dead. Our people are dying. It is the policy of scorched earth. Every 20 minutes they are bombing. It is continuing, it is continuing. Anyone who moves, even if they are in their car they will hit you.
"There was no independent verification of the report," Reuters noted, and in fact the evidence suggests he didn't witness any of that at all. Another message of the day, via Twitter (See here and/or here), said:
sultanalgassemi: Al Jazeera breaking Multiple reports confirm that military airplanes are bombing protesters in Tripoli.

The rulers in Libya have cut off most international communications, but Al Jazeera is broadcasting ways that their jammed TV feed can be picked up, other agencies are offering land lines so that Tweets can be passed on to the world.
Multiple reports? Indeed. Another Tripoli witness came out in support of the activist Saleh who spoke to al Jazeera. This time it came in via al Jazeera, from "Soula al-Balaazi, who said he was an opposition activist." As Reuters again translated, filed actually before the other report (5:11 PM GMT, one hour, 32 minutes before).
Military aircraft attacked crowds of anti-government protesters in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Monday, Al Jazeera television said.

A Libyan man, Soula al-Balaazi, who said he was an opposition activist, told the network by telephone that Libyan air force warplanes had bombed "some locations in Tripoli". He said he was talking from a suburb of Tripoli.
Again, "no independent verification of the report was immediately available," said Reuters. But a while later there would be, and the second time, that same statement wasn't true. Or were they suggesting these two were not independent reports? One way or another, they probably weren't.

A Version by Sea
Possibly related is a similar accusation of insane naval bombardment of Tripoli on the 21st. This time, it was an activist, named Salem Gnan, "a London-based spokesman for the National Front for the Salvation of Libya," speaking to the UK Guardian (I presume) and reported at 5:07 PM GMT - four minutes before al-Balaazi and 96 minutes before Mr. Saleh.

Gnan said eyewitnesses in Tripoli told him the navy ships were firing into one part of the capital, on the outskirts. "Many people have been killed," he said, and added that "[Gaddafi's] plan is to use absolutely everything he can to stop what is happening." But there's no mention from these witnesses of jets - which Gaddafi had - dropping anything. (See here for more on Mr. Gnan and theNFSL - he would also be the only source to allege bombing - by planes - of nearby az Zawiyah on the 24th.)

Both versions of the attack of Feb 21 share multiple deadly explosions across town, but differ on what was happening in the sky. And they all three came in over a span of about an hour and a half. Quite strange. My guess is this: something blew up loudly at about 5:05 PM, heard by many people who would be left wondering what it was. This triggered the first two dramatic guesses what it was. Then Mr. Saleh thought for a bit before he decided to "corroborate" and expand the airplanes version with his over-activist imagination. Thus "multiple reports" can sometimes be born.

What it Meant
If not the evidence, the implications were certainly clear. As Reuters reported (the second one cited here), citing a total genius:
An analyst for London-based consultancy Control Risks said the use of military aircraft on his own people indicated the end was approaching for Muammar Gaddafi. "These really seem to be last, desperate acts. If you're bombing your own capital, it's really hard to see how you can survive, " said Julien Barnes-Dacey, Control Risks' Middle East analyst.
Just like ordering protesters shot, running to Venezuela, hiring mercenaries, resorting to mass rape, sniping children dead, and so on. All of these and more fantasies yet strongly hint to to us that Gaddafi is over. It's been said worldwide, daily, for over five months now. Each time, the big "if" was the big problem.

It wasn't a problem for whoever made this image, seen at libya-watanona.com.
Never mind the dramatic relevance of this parallel for the grinding down of Sirte, October 2011, it's rather telling that in the absence of a single damn photograph, rebel supporters had to rely on a 74-year-old painting to get their point across.

Video Evidence from Tripoli
There are videos from Tripoli claiming to show the aftermath of these air attacks. By one of these I've seen, but didn't save and cannot re-locate, we might have been seeing the effects, over a whole neighborhood, of some type of bomb that sprays graffiti, burns out a few buildings, and drags junk across the street. Does such a weapon exist, and is Gaddafi known to have acquired them?

Another with very similar effects is still around. This is given as the rebellious Tajoura district: bombing in tajoora tripoli 22.02.2011.mp4. There is smoke rising in the distance, perhaps from an air-strike.
But this bomb does nothing, on closer inspection, than burn a car and perhaps the insides of a building, sending up a plume of smoke. There's also gunfire from men perhaps guarding a hilltop building in the distance. But a horde of civilians is unafraid of the warning shots into the air, charges the security line, and breaks through as the guards retreat. Others clamber over a wall and join their march towards that green-domed building.

Another interesting video on Youtube is a re-broadcast on Jazeera English, it seems, of the original Saleh phone call (dubbed in English). Here it's specified he's calling from and speaking of the Fashlum neighborhood "where the revolution erupted in the city of Tripoli." He claims that anyone who comes out to help the wounded and dead are shot by pervasive snipers, and that bombing runs were ongoing and aiming for people. Yet the B-roll footage under the audio shows many hundreds of people calmly walking away from somewhere, towards somewhere. A few run in and out of that column, for unclear reasons, but no one is falling dead. There's no mass panic as if suddenly attacked, and there are no jets or anything shown.

Mr. Saleh's rant is worth a listen. He's clearly fired up and shrieking over these things he says happened. And he knew just what was needed to stop them: outside intervention. From the video:
The Libyan people need urgent help! People are crying, death is everywhere! Why is the world silent on these atrocities? Why? This is the question. Why are the Arab countries keeping silent? Why? Within the next few hours, the entire Libyan population can be wiped out if this continues ...
On March 4 Sky News had a look at Fashlum and Tajoura and brought back video:
"This is Fashlun, this is the centre of Fashlun," Saif al Islam Gaddafi said.
"Show me a single attack, one drop, one attack on Tajoura."
I was invited to tour around the suburbs of Tripoli with Col Gaddafi's son.
He insisted there have been no bombings in the capital designed to intimidate anti-government protesters - and prevent them from launching an uprising in the capital.
During our drive we saw no evidence of airstrikes, but this was just a short, unscientific exploration of the city.
There was no time for science, just journalism, and they failed. Sky was given a chance to visit any site they wanted. They had the reports of which areas (vaguely) were bombed. If they didn't ask to go there, it was their loss. If they did, they saw nothing. Nothing but people loving Seif, even in the neighborhoods supposedly bombed for their insurrection.

Sukhat Chandan was part of a UK delegation that spent longer and was more thorough. Here in late April he speaks with Russia Today about one of the first fact-finding missions. Mr. Chandan started with what he considered the most important claim, vis-a-vis unleashing the bombing of Libya. This was the alleged bombing of "three particular districts in Tripoli: Souk-al-Jouma, Fashlum, Tajoura," all well-stocked with men like the ones we just heard from. "We visited these areas and there was no indication whatsoever of any aerial bombardment," he said, along with many other fascinating findings.

Looking for these scant videos of or about Tripoli bombings in February, I saw a very large number of non-hits roll by. Bombings of Tripoli, flames, flattened buildings, craters, unexploded ordnance, mangled or charred bodies, including baby-sized ones, damaged civilian infrastructure,  etc. But these were all after mid-March, and exclusively carried out by NATO, for months now aggressively bombing civilians to protect them from bombing that was itself only rumored to begin with.

Update Aug 14: The Russian Evidence
Goodness, did I completely neglect for weeks now to even mention the Russian evidence against Gaddafi “bombing his own people?” Most, like this scholarly article by Ronda Hauben, cite an alleged Russian satellite-based information proving there were no airstrikes carried out in Libya in these early days

I don’t really like this evidence, especially in its wide re-use as a lazy crutch. The allegation comes from a Russia Today broadcast, re-posted on Youtube here, for example. There are no supporting explanations or even specifics I’m aware of. It was satellite-based, perhaps photo-based. But if so, to prove a negative like “no airstrikes,” you’d need something like constant security camera footage over numerous Libyan military bases, showing no craft leaving, or over all cities, to prove no bombs dropped. Perhaps it was based only on photos looking for damaged buildings or craters in the streets. Or maybe it was something different, like monitoring military communications that would have heard such an order. Again, no specifics were given.

Besides, Saif al-Islam admitted there were air strikes, just at ammunition depots, not on protesters in the street.

When this notion was put before the skeptics at the JREF forum, it didn’t do so well. A reasonable-sounding consensus emerged among people of middling knowledge that this wasn’t possible. That’s not scientific disproof, and the forum has a mixed record, but I can’t see why I should embrace this as a leading point of evidence. If the claim is ever explained better and shown to be proof, or even as inconclusive supporting evidence, so be it. Until then I’ll call it an alleged support for an idea that’s still apparently true and is better illustrated in other ways.

Oct. 17: Grimaldi's View
From a recent interview with 73-year-old Italian filmmaker Fulvio Grimaldi, "the legendary Italian (and former BBC) journalist and filmmaker who shot and smuggled out video footage of the Bloody Sunday massacre from under the noses of the British army almost forty years ago," who's now working on a film about the Libyan war which I very much hope to see finished:
I began by asking Grimaldi how closely his recent trips to Libya matched the impression given in the mainstream media:
“Not in the least. I personally visited areas around Tripoli where Gheddafi had allegedly “bombed his own people”, but not a bomb had fallen before Nato started its attacks. And this was confirmed by Russian spy satellites. Wherever I went – only in the company of other Fact Finding officials, talking freely to people of my choice, and stopping wherever I wished – I came across multitudes of young and old, men and women, who declared themselves committed to Gheddafi. They are the people who withstood a 7 month war by 27 military powers who had promised a two-week victory, those who defended Tripoli for over a week, those who today hold out in Sirte, Bani Walid, Sabha, Kufra and in 75% of the still free national territory – against genocidal bombings, special Nato troops and mercenaries.”
Oct. 26: Shammam's Explanation
Mahmoud Shammam, currently the NTC lying sack of an information minister, was back in February just a Libyan dissident giving a fair-minded account of what was happening inside Libya. On the 27th, he spoke with Al Jazeera English's Inside Story, along with French defector and schemer Nouri al Mesmari. At 10:10 he's confronted with Seif assertion that there were no airstrikes against the Libyan people. His response:
They were for the last four days working day and night to clean areas to look - Tripoli looks like a normal city. And we warned against it. We warned the media, and we helped them come from the eastern part, from Salum (?) and they come starting from the eastern part.
That was all he could say before veering off. Wherever he's speaking of, one presumes that, unlike in any videos or photos ever presented, one will see ... what? Roads patched over where there was a crater? A house being torn down to sanitize its visible bomb damage? Who did this "cleanup" and why was none of that filmed either? If bombs like those evidenced in videos - ones that trash, burn, and loot - were used, a standard "clean-up" will suffice. But normal bombs like people meant will require heavy work crews to erase the signs of. Shammam blames the cover-up on "public relations firms in Europe, especially in Italy," who were apparently doing this urban reconsructive surgery in complete secrecy within dissident areas of the capitol that we know were flooded with cell phone cameras. Shame on those PR firms who hadn't yet nullified their contracts and defected to the rebel side!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Amnesty Int'l on Out-of-Control Militias

February 19, 2012

Amnesty International (AI) last week released a report that's sure to have Misrotten militia jailors fuming mad. Rebel fighters are still not being called out for conducting most of the horrific mass-scale "Gaddafi atrocities" of the war. But they are criticized for widespread torture, illegal detentions, war crime mass expulsions (Tawerghans, Mshashiya tribe, Misratans who dared to leave) and more. Refugees are raped, "suspected loyalists" tortured to death, common criminals and foreign black men are "interrogated" and beaten, and the "feds" don't even bother investigating any of it. (see the article Mainstream "Concern" Over Rebel Torture for previous examples and notes on this issue).

Well, AI been collecting lots of consistent testimony, photos and video, plenty of evidence of things that'll make those in the civilized wold who bombed these guys into power want to puke. AI did their part, among so many others, making the moral case against that old regime and for the rebels. For their part, they're doing a decent job on the clean-up half of the job, to the effect they able.

Here's their own article announcing the report:
And a direct link to the report (English):

I've just had a look at much of that report, and it's pretty horrifying. And what they saw, bad as it was, can only be a sampling, the stuff so common it can hardly be covered up. What's happening in the more remote chambers can only de guessed. The farthest edges glimpsed by AI from morgue photos include dead people half covered in black bruises, whipped until their flesh came off, toenails are pulled out, extremities sliced and carved up. And I didn't read the whole thing yet. From the report, one heart-wrenching example:
Abdellatif (Lotfi) Iyad Mohammed Zbeida was detained on 11 September 2011 by a militia from Misratah near Tripoli but immediately handed over to a local council. He was subsequently moved to the Sidi Khalifa Military Council, in the former Internal Security building in downtown Tripoli (Jumhuriya Street, now 17 February Street). The family was able to visit him once and on occasions he was able to call them on the phone of a sympathetic guard. The last call came on 22 October, asking for food for Lotfi, which the family took to the detention centre and it was accepted.

On the night of 25/26 October, Abdellatif Zbeida was badly beaten and at 7am he was taken to the nearby central hospital. He died almost immediately. Video footage filmed at the morgue shows Abdellatif Zbeida’s back completely black with deep bruising from the shoulders to the knees, open wounds and missing flesh in his lower legs and chest, and deep whip marks and cuts on his upper arms. The forensic examination found deep bruises and abrasions all over the body, as well as marks on his head, ears and nipples caused by electric shocks. It concluded that death resulted from the severe abuse which also caused these wounds.
On the upside useful insights on the limits of human suffering, and maybe intel useful in hunting down the rest of the known Loyalist thought criminals, is likely flowing like a geyser in Libya. It's a new great manmade river of brutally stolen information, allegations and confessions, true and false, closing old cases and creating new ones, requiring more arrests yet.

It's largely the rawness of the militia abuses, apparently, that's at issue to Amnesty. And the fault, as always, goes right back to the villified Gaddafi system. Donatella Rovera said in their article:
"A year ago Libyans risked their lives to demand justice. Today their hopes are being jeopardized by lawless armed militias who trample human rights with impunity. The only way to break with the entrenched practices of decades of abuse under Colonel al-Gaddafi's authoritarian rule is to ensure that nobody is above the law and that investigations are carried out into such abuses."
It's not really hard to meet these criteria. Just conduct an "investigation," not necessarily a fair one, and make sure the exculpations are legal. The thuggish way they don't even bother is what's really making it hard for the West to just accept, as-is, the fruits of their sponsored revolution.

From the article:
At a detention center in Misratah, an Amnesty International delegate saw armed militia members beating and threatening some detainees whose release had been ordered. An older detainee from Tawargha was cowering, squatting against the wall, and crying as he was being kicked and threatened by a militia member who told Amnesty International that "those from Tawargha will not be released or we'll kill them."

In an interrogation center in Misratah and Tripoli, Amnesty International found detainees who interrogators had tried to conceal and who had been severely tortured -- one so badly that he could hardly move or speak.

Not a single effective investigation is known to have been carried out into cases of torture, even when detainees died after torture at militia headquarters or in interrogation centers.
The NTC remains unwilling or unable to offer the people of Libya protection from these abuses unlocked by anarchy.

There once was a government in place both willing and able to put these thugs in theirs. But someone killed that government in a long process that provided plenty of time to re-think things. That persistence has now given us a chance for a longer-yet process where, if possible, every heart who supported that system is tortured to some kind of death or other.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

See-Through Salem: An Innocent Explanation?

February 16, 2012

<< See-Through Salem: Dr. Salem al-Farjani Or, What Ever Became of Dr. Rajub? 

I just drafted a short interim report on the Khamis Brigade Shed Massacre, drafted first for the consideration of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). In it, I described the apparent deceit of Dr. al Farjani calling himself Dr. Rajub and claiming to be a massacre witness. Speaking to that group, who consulted Dr. al Farjani for their report on the massacre, made me feel compelled to include the following:
There are relatively innocent possible explanations for the apparent deceit of his testifying under a pseudonym (or even two of them), and PHR would be better situated than I to know. Did he mention to PHR that he was also a direct witness to the massacre, who tried to help, but was driven back by snipers? Or is Dr. Rajub supposed to be a different person from him? (that is, did he fail to ever mention that?)
That in turn makes me want to bring it up here for more group thoughts to consider before I finish up the final report. Is it possible, or very likely, that "Dr. Salim Rajub" had a relatively innocent reason for coming into existence? What if he makes some argument to that effect, true or not? If he's always been up-front about his witness activity, that would be a sign of no deception intended. I've never heard him mention it as Dr. Farjani, but I haven't heard a whole lot from him at all.

Is Rajub a False Name Even?
First, is this even a false name? Some Arabs, especially ones connected to this massacre, have rather plastic names that change from one report to the next. Perhaps his name is Dr. Salem Rajub al Farjani?

It's not terribly likely. I found few Internet hits for Libyans of his name in English beyond his recent "professional" work. Some of those refer to a soccer player of the same name. Only one seems to help here: The Arab Society for Plant Protection had its 9th congress organized in al Baida, Libya, 2003. The year before, the 8th Congress had a "Dr. Salem O. El-Ferjani" on the organizing committee, and a "Dr. Salem Omar El-Ferjani" on the fundraising one. He doesn't seem to pop up in later conferences.

He's not a plant science guy, we hear, but a cardiac surgeon perhaps (that remains vague). But the skills he's shown - knowing people, saying things, networking - work great for the committees he's listed on. It could well be him.

So unless his name is Salim Omar Rajub al Farjani, this is not likely a version of his real name at all.

False But Innocent?
But even using a pseudonym can have a non-nefarious explanation. Petri Krohn brought this up in a very open-minded comment a while back.
I do not think you can discount or discredit al-Farjani for not revealing his true name. This happened on August 27th when the Battle of Tripoli was far from over – or if it was, you cannot expect locals to know about it. Dr. al-Farjani had every reason to be worried about his own security, even more so if he truly believed the shed victims were murdered by "Gaddafi" soldiers.

We also have to excuse Dr. al-Farjani for not disclosing his true mission to the base: documenting massacre sites. Living near by is a perfect cover story. In understanding the events we must keep in mind that people meeting the press are often dragged into far more publicity than they vouched for. Also, Sky News might have pressed him into giving a 1st person account of the events of August 23th – he must have seen something, didn't he just say he lives next door.
I gave these thoughts some consideration, but not in enough detail at the time. I've been making a big deal of the shady appearance of the whole thing, and need to re-think it.

Let's imagine the most honest version: he did witness the attack, and returned to the Yarmouk shed to learn and share. Although it rings false, maybe he really is a local and his witness account is true. Certainly the coincidence that this expert on loyalist massacres would happen to live right by and directly witness the worst among them is eyebrow-raising, but it's possible.

So, he returned and happened upon the media feeding frenzy, and perhaps out of fear, gave a false name, and explain how he was a close neighbor who witnessed it.

But here's a problem - if he really is a local who saw it, by saying so he gave his approximate address ("200 meters" from the base). He called himself "Dr. Salem" and mentioned Tripoli Medical Center. Not good ways for a Dr. Salem from TMC to obscure his identity. Adding his distinctive face to this mysterious Dr. Rajub on the news camera certainly sounds unsafe as well, but he did that.

But maybe being a local was part of his cover story along with the name. It's not a very good one, if so, but it would mean he's probably lying about witnessing the massacre, since he explained that with the fact that he's a local. If it's a false story, we can't be sure if he dreamed it up for his own reasons prior to arriving, or improvised on the spot to impress the news crews, as Petri postulated.

As for fear and the war, I think the battle of Tripoli was considered pretty much over by the relevant date. 90% of the capitol was claimed as under rebel control by the 22nd, and Bab al Azizyah was loudly overwhelmed on the 23rd. Both of these were simplifications of the issue, but four days later even Abu Salim was contained, all bases under control and, in my opinion, there should have been little to fear from the coming days from any effective loyalist reprisals.

Further, the vast majority of the witnesses gave full names that, as far as we know, aren't false ones. So, again, fear of Greens as a reasonable motive for dishonesty is possible but not well-illustrated.

As noted above, he showed his face, used half his name and his title, mentioned his workplace, and gave what he said was his rough address. Anyone trying to hide could leave out or changed any of that. He could drop "doctor," or "Salem," or "al Farjani," or all three. He dropped only one of those. (And he might have picked it right back up with Ahmed al Farjani, the unseen 42-year-old local construction worker who took in the same survivor - Mustafa el Hitri/Atiri - that Dr. Salim escorted to the world stage a couple of days later.)

Barely anything of his identity was, in fact, hidden here. So as effective camouflage for any deceit, it also fails, and that itself is a thing I've wondered about. Why be so transparent about it?

There's another possibility that answers a lot of these questions... eh, I'll explain that later.

Early Special Forces Operations in Libya

February 18, 2012

As Petri alerts me in a comment that would have gone here if there was a here when he posted it yesterday:
The BBC has finally "revealed" the extent of the Western conspiracy to intervene in Libya and take out Gaddafi. "Revealed" in quotes as this is only news to readers of the mainstream media. Everyone has known all about this from the very beginning. Inside story of the #UK's secret mission to beat Gaddafi The BBC story is also discussed in this Global Research post: BBC "Reveals" After the Facts how British Special Forces Supervised and Spearheaded Libya Rebels to Victory

The "Spontaneous Uprising" of February 2011

February 18, 2012

There's plenty of evidence of some kind of pre-planning for the protest/insurgency that started just over one year ago. The question is, how far back and among whom does the evidence suggest these plans originate? 

I'll start it with a recent comment from Petri:
Two interesting discussion on Twitter between Green Resistance @GreLYeN and papiliono24 @papiliono24: Green Resistance @GreLYeN: @papiliono24 Stupidly fabricated story! how about armed gangs since FEB 14, & Suicide Mombers ? papiliono24 

@papiliono24@GreLYeN what happened on Feb 14? I'm only aware of Feb 15 onwards... 
Green Resistance @GreLYeN: @papiliono24 ok the US embassy in Libya called US citizens in Libya on the 9th, for a meeting to be held on the 15th of FEB @papiliono24 here is part of it: This Warden Message is to announce a town hall meeting for American citizens. 1/2 @papiliono24 US Embassy invites American citizens living in Libya to a town hall meeting @ the US School of Tripoli on Tue, Feb15 at 5:30 pm @papiliono24 and on the 13th an email was broadcasted from Libya17feb@yahoo.com with instructions on what to do in each city, @papiliono24 That email contained the gathering places, where to put road blocks, and even instructions to control the border with Egypt @papiliono24 There was a PDF attachment with all these details, I have a copy @papiliono24 on 15th : "U.S. Embassy Tripoli Warden Message - Possible Demonstrations on Feb 17 & 18" warning Americans on Feb 15, 2011 All the US Embassy messages are available here: MESSAGES FOR U.S. CITIZENS – Recent Messages The February 9, 2011 message is here: U.S. Embassy Tripoli Warden Message - American Citizen Town Hall Meeting
I didn't notice the Feb. 14 part being explained, other than suggesting an e-mail of the 13th should lead to action by the next day. But it was violent by the following evening, that much at least is clear.