Last Update June 18
This is post is dedicated to a reported event I've never heard of outside of a Libyan government press conference by Moussa Ibrahim. That alone would cause most people to give up considering it any further. But I'm not most people.
The video in question is on Youtube, entitled Peace drive kidnapping of two women by armed group attacking convoy 30 3 2011. And strangely, after calling it undated, I just now noticed, at the end of the long title, a date! March 30. Oops. The main subject Mr. Ibrahim tried to keep it to was a reported kidnapping (as well as at least one killing) that resulted from a "peace drive" of loyalist civilians, hoping to open talks with the rebels in Benghazi. The accompanying text:
Dr Moussa Ibrahim on what happened to the peace caravan 100km east of Sirte, where two Libyan women were kidnapped by armed rebels. This peace drive was called for and organised by the Libyan tribes, not by the government.The Western press was distrustful, and clearly trying hard, right then and there, to spin the news back against the government. After the fact, I have yet to see if anyone wrote anything about it. I was following the news close enough then I'd be surprised if I totally missed it. But then, I missed that date ...
All of the video above is also included in this video I just made based on it, with info, questions, and opinions inserted. (page link)
I could find little, using different search word variations. (but then, I didn't even know the date to help narrow things down). I could before find only one reference, dated March 31, to a since-deleted Youtube video of "The Libyan rebels opening fire on a peace caravan of women, children, and the elderly." Url: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtmL60oHXtU. So I did have the date, just couldn't see the video.
At my video posting, I asked for more information, and got some quickly, from Youtube member "Anti-Nazi Hippy"
The attack link is the same dead end I found. But the aftermath video, via user "Rayyisse," works and is interesting (I saved a copy).
It's dated April 7 (stamped later, not necessarily the date it was filmed), and shows Libyan soldiers posing at the scene of a mysterious incident or incidents. Two tour busses are left abandoned, tires flat, windshields shattered, marked with spray-painted Arabic graffiti. Only at the very end is a third bus shown, apparently gutted by fire to boot.
In the middle span is shown quite a number of destroyed or abandoned tanks at the same scene, some just yards away from the busses, others scattered across the desert nearby. It looks like around a dozen. Some are still on fire, or on fire again. Others are charred, seemingly flattened a bit, some with turrets blown off and laying nearby. I thought it looked like a NATO air strike where, one presumes, the tanks came to rescue the besieged caravan only to be bombed for coming too near to rebel positions.
Except ... a couple at least are painted with the rebel/monarchist flag, which the soldiers kick and spit at. Another with a flag on its turret is shown pouring flames. Are these rebel tanks that had come to meet the peace caravan? Managed to kill a few and take some captives before being partly destroyed by the nearby army?
The Attack Video -
Searching for the text, I found this:
Libyans in the west decided to settle the matter with peaceful negotiations with armed rebels from the east. They formed a convoy consisting of hundreds of people, mostly women, children and elderly people. They went to the east of Libya, t...And at that page, an existing posting of what I presume to be the attack video:
And at the same link is included a version with English subtitles, and commentary, added:
I cannot verify if it's the same, but I'd guess so, and made sure to save a copy of each. Off the bat, it's not completely convincing. Perhaps the subtitles version threw me off.
"We want peace," "These rebels are dangerous! Damn them!" "Ooh, here comes the soldiers! These are the Gaddafi soldiers coming to save us!" etc. Possibly genuine, possibly scripted.
It shows the view from one woman's vantage point, as she runs, shrieking, towards a larger group of people milling around a line of at leas six tour busses. The hills here are covered with tiny flowers, not the sandy desert the tanks were filmed in (although it's conceivable the two spots are very close). There is gunfire and light explosions heard, but it sounds like a nearby battle. The other people visible - barely, as the camera flies around - do not seem to be running or taking cover like the camerwoman is. Only she seems so agitated, fearing for her life, and prominently clutching a white cloth of surrender in her right hand as she runs towards the others, who seem much safer a hundred yards away. Along the way, she helps an old man said in the subtitles to be injured. But judging how he easily stands right up when she offers her hand, it seems more like he was just tired. The one with translation has the man off-screen talking to her halfway through saying the government was telling them they were in danger and had to flee. She seemed to already know that, but the others don't really. It's strange.
I have previously done some critiques of what I suspect are fake propaganda videos by Libyan rebels. I may finally have a contender here from the government side. I intend to see about learning more, however, to see if my skepticism is just in overdrive here. I'll report back what I learn and decide, sometime later now. Just this took too long.
Update June 18: After explaining how I wasn't going to do any new research, I just did some but will only explain it briefly: The above aftermath video was probably, instead, this, dated (as the video is) April 7, Ajdabiya:
Rebel fighters claimed NATO airstrikes blasted their forces Thursday in another apparent mistake ... […]This video shows three busses, not one, but otherwise it's a better match with what's shown.
A rebel commander, Ayman Abdul-Karim, said he saw airstrikes hit tanks and a rebel convoy, which included a passenger bus carrying fighters toward Brega. He and other rebels described dozens killed or wounded, but a precise casualty toll was not immediately known.
And at about the same time, a better match for the peace drive bus - Sky News, video, 100 miles east of Sirte, March 29:
“This is the road to Sirte. We’re about 100 miles from Gaddafi’s home town and the rebels’ advance has been badly blocked by some heavy fighting about five miles down the road. We’ve seen at least three bodies come back, but for the rest, the rebels are simply parked off and waiting for the coalition to do their job for them with air strikes.”
“Fear and bad intelligence paralyze the rebels. The movemement of a coach was enough to cause panic. I saw this bus come across the front line. In it were 30 or 40 young men, fighting age males."How he knew the passenger makeup is unclear, but a dark blue tour bus is shown driving towards the camera. It has an escort of a few pickup trucks, one with a very large gun pointing straight up. Later, standing by the abandoned coach, he said:
"Now, the rebels feared that they might be infiltrators sent by Gaddafi to sow mayhem and chaos behind their lines. The wheels were shot out, and the bus itself has been shot up. But there’s no evidence of blood inside it. What we don’t know is what happened to the young men."And for what it's worth, I blew portions of a couple of nights trying to stabilize that attack video, which is clearly a different scene from the one Sky showed. This is about the best I could do, and better than I meant to. The gunfire sounds realistic, and we have confirmation a dark blue coach, like the five seen here, was peppered with gunshots.
There is at least one other person besides the camera woman waving a white flag, and a few sort of jogging towards the top of the hill, plus the man telling them to flee (back to the busses, or away from them?). All this suggests if the scene is partially staged, there are a few people at least in on it.
Did they stop and get out upon being attacked, or was it a surprise as many were scattered out on some pit stop? The trucks are there pretty much the whole time the busses are visible. SOrry the volume's a little high - turn your stuff down before starting it. I was trying to just boost the battle and background sounds.