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.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Life and Death of Abdel Fateh Younes

July 30, 2011

It's fairly new news and there's a chance this will the first someone hears of it, so ... it seems to be solid that rebel military commander, Libyan turncoat and suspect double agent Abdel Fateh Younes has been killed, on July 28, almost certainly by the rebels who had him in custody at the time. They say, of course, Gaddafi militiamen killed him.

His Wikipedia says so, and gives some details and sources. I presume plenty other articles do as well.
Major General in the Libyan

I suspect this is a major voctory for the rebel,NATO side, and another blow to Libya's future. This thing is getting less Libyan all the time, and that's good - helps purify it. Viva Heftar! Viva CIA!

I will scrap this whole text and put in its place the promised 'life and death of' post, when I have the time. In the meantime, comments are welcome.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Video Study: Hospital Brutality (disturbing)

July 25/26, 2011

Below is a very telling and detailed new rebel atrocity video that deserves its own post. I've not seen this before, and it seems to have been first posted on July 21 by the important Libya S.O.S. site. Nonetheless, I suspect it's old, from the rebellion's first days in Benghazi.

The on-screen title gives the locale as al-Jalaa hospital, Benghazi. This is a facility I know little about besides this tidbit from Chinese news, Xinhua, February 18:

Oea newspaper reported on its website [...] that a group of protesters killed the managing director of AL-Galaa hospital in downtown Benghazi, Libya 's second largest city. The victim's body was tortured, it added.
Why? My guess is for daring to treat the "African mercenaries" the "protesters" were brutalizing across town. That would fit what what we see below. And do remember, the evidence of foreign fighters still consists of unsubstantiated rumors - all those captured as Afro-mercs wound up being Afro-workers or loyal Libyan fighters of dark skin.

What this video shows is a hospital under what I hope is not the normal management. So I presume it's later on the 18th or a day or two after the directing manager was ruthlessly killed.

In this hospital, dimly lit, a young black man lays on the floor, pants pulled low in a fashion familiar elsewhere, and his shirt long gone. By his pants, he's a civilian, not a soldier, so most likely a foreign worker, perhaps pressed into some type of counter-protest. Presumably suspected of being a brutal well-paid mercenary, he's clearly injured, touching his head gently with concern. His hands and arms are caked with blood, and thick blood has been bubbling from his nose.

The men crowded around this casualty do not seem interested in helping him, but neither do they start out (here) attacking him. He manages to stand slowly on his own, but then they instantly grab, push, and attack him. He apparently starts trying to flee and they - about eight men in civilian and medical clothing - chase (it's chaotic). At least one "doctor" (by his blue surgical gown) waves a curved sword above his head as he follows. The victim is making little if any sounds, seems feeble, possibly drugged, or just delirious from blood loss. The whole scene is surprisingly quiet by the usual standards.

The video now, for those who can stomach it:

And the rest of the description for those who aren't sure:

When we see the victim again, it's not far away and he's down again, face down on the floor, covering his head with his hands. A blue-gowned medical terrorist is striking him hard on the head or shoulders, with a sword - it's audible - at least three blows. One man in blue then steps in, standing between the swordsman and his reeling victim, until others grab his feet and drag him down the hall since he's unable to walk out any longer. One patient (?) hits the man with his walking stick in as he passes.

One more quick sword attack I missed at first, just as he's pulled through the door into the parking lot. It looks like a forcefully placed blow by a kid in a dark sweater, probably to the left upper arm or shoulder. The "protesters" shout "Allahu Akbar!" as they get him out of the hospital into the sun, apparently their main goal - no treatment of mercenaries.

The persona non grata is tossed down, with an audible sound, onto the curb right by the brightly-colored garbage cans. He's kicked and stomped, and swiped at with a sword again, not real hard but enough to visibly cut his lower left side (?) at 1:17.

Then again a man intervenes, and there's a short edit. Next, someone starts pulling the "mercenary," again by the leg, from his shielded huddle. He sits up instead, as if snapping awake, showing a serious red slash on his right shoulder blade. He's quickly hacked again on the right side and falls back in surrender - his hands and his whole upper body are bloodied now, his hand on his belly, the spot just sliced, and his left upper arm is visibly pulsing out blood.

The men around him start to argue instead of attack; one definitely seems to be saying "enough," and at 2:05 stands over the lynch mob's prey defensively until pushed aside by the others. A few resume kicking and stomping the man, and somehow something like baking soda is splashed across him. As the barely conscious victim is rolled over, we see he's been bleeding badly all over the concrete. But his hands seem intact, and nothing's noticeably coming off. (on closer look, some of the sword strikes look more like slaps.)

Collectively, the crowd has second thoughts about where this is going. They pick him back up ... and carry him back into the hospital, it seems. The video ends there, seemingly disappointed with no guts spilled. But a powerful testimony, perhaps, to the differing interpretations of mercy in Islam.

But for all we know, he might have been killed by another mob the next day who were all "what's HE doing here?" And again, these are the monsters working for the cabal Barrack Obama calls the legitimate government of all Libyan people. Pray for Libya.

Great Man-Made River, Being Undone by Men?

July 25, 2011

I don't write so much here on the nature of the fighting in the Libyan Civil War, geeking out instead on the underlying moral justifications and the reality of the rebellion in February (and before), and only highlights of later, broader developments. But this shocking new turn is one those, and warrants special mention.

It's been seriously alleged, though details are still coming out (see below), that NATO's warplanes have started targeting Libya's civilian water system, the epic "Great Man-Made River." At right, the horse-shaped system as shown on the Libyan 20 dinar bill, from Wikipedia's entry on the "GMR". This government project provides most of Libya's people and crops with fresh water piped in from a vast aquifer beneath the southern deserts.

The portion reportedly attacked is that ending at the government-held but rebel-coveted city of Brega - approximately the horse's behind in the network above, just past the furthest reach rebel country in the east, or the horse's tail. Brega is also a major oil terminal and host to repeated NATO assaults in recent weeks, including an unprecedented July 6 taking out of fuel supplies used by the government of Libya. It's also hosted repeated rebel assaults and claims to have taken it. It's past the reasonable dividing line between east and west Libya.

Now, it's alleged, NATO's trying to turn off the water to this town. Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim, as quoted in an AP report carried by USA Today:
"Most Libyans drink from the Great Manmade River, most Libyan land is farmed from the water, so any harm against this vital project is a harm aginst all Libyans. We believe this a very dangerous development in NATO'S attacks."
I'm not sure what he said in his full remarks (will report back if interesting), but this doesn't specify the  physical system was being targeted. My first tip-off to that effect was via the interesting Libya S.O.S.  blogspot site, and picked up by many, including by Uruknet.com. "RAPE of LIBYA : GREAT MAN MADE RIVER reason for NATO attack."
July 22 2011. A date for humanity to remember. NATO hit the Libyan water supply pipeline. It will take months to repair. Then on Saturday they hit the pipeline factory producing pipes to repair it.

Sine [sic] when is the water supply pipeline itself a legitimate target?
I don't know ... like with the oil facilities hit, again in Brega - it could be that "Gaddafi's forces" were using it to hydrate themselves during their attacks on "civilians." Who apparently don't require water?

Was it only the Brega part hit? If so, NATO isn't trying to deprive all Libya of water to pressure them against Gaddafi. That would only say all loyalists in Brega should move out and leave the plum of a prize to rot in Benghazi's orbit.  This is a rebel town now, they'd be saying, and only our contractors (French water privatizers no doubt) will be allowed to build and run the replacement system. "Illegitimate" governments don't get to do that.

Those are some first thoughts I had, anyway. On first blush, it's simply alarming. But I needed to learn more, of course.

What (it seems) Happened
The widest-run article was by AP (it's what USA Today used, and also Canadian Business.com. While relating this war crime alleged against NATO, the article focuses on rebel demands that Gaddafi leave Libya and stand trial for his own alleged war crimes. If I felt the slightest confident the trial would be fair, by the way, I'd be urging him to go and get his name cleared of the charges.

The rumors these were based on have brought on the third and fourth foci of the AP report, yet another bombardment of Tripoli to pressure the people into revolt, and an attack in Tripoli on some high officials by pressured people, which the government denies happened ("cooking gas," says Ibrahim, an "accident.")

On the GMR attack, besides quoting Mr. Ibrahim, this report says only:
NATO planes struck a factory near the embattled oil city of Brega on Friday [July 22] killing six guards, Libyan officials said.

The plant, located six miles (10 kilometers) south of the strategic oil installation, builds the huge pipes that carry water from underground aquifers deep in the south to the coast as part of the Great Man Made River irrigation project.

"Major parts of the plant have been damaged," said Abdel-Hakim el-Shwehdy, head of the company running the project. "There could be major setback for the future projects."

At least 70 percent of Libyans survive on the water carried through the pipes to the coast in the project, according to government figures.
As for the earlier attack that had required these replacements: I can't find anything yet aside from the implication by Libya S.O.S. that the pipeline factory was hit Saturday (the 23rd), following a strike on the "water supply pipeline" itself on Friday.

Until I learn better, I'm considering this one-two punch interpretation a mistake. And that would narrow the possible crime to weakening the government's ability to repair the pipeline, should it be attacked, by rebel/al Qaeda elements or NATO, in the future. And of course, they'll insist the factory was making or doing something else besides pipe work, something horrible they can't explain, related to "attacking civilians."

video: Libya / Brega: NATO bombed "Great Man Made River"factory, war crimes

It looks like the expansive grounds of a factory, not a section of pipeline spewing water. A sign above the door says, in English:
"We try to continuously
Safety First , Quality Best
Save Cost , Delivery Just"
Another large building in the complex is demolished - its frame is mostly intact, but its walls and contents are blown out across the grounds. Then the factory's purpose is shown, a huge lot of 10-foot pipe sections, row after row, hundreds at least, filmed I think after the attack, and still available. It's only if they need more than this - and in a time of war, it's possible - that their downturn in production will matter much.

So as I see it, this facility is, technically, a part of the pipeline system - its management and maintenance parts. But it's not a part that starts bleeding life-water when blown up.

For the six guards killed, if true, and for their families, the matter is more immediate.

Further Reactions, Perhaps Beyond the Mark
NATO Bombs Libyan Water Pipe:Humanitarian Disaster
NATO jets destroyed key water infrastructure near the Libyan city of Brega on Friday. The plant is located six miles outside of the city of Brega, and was specifically targeted. Six plant workers were killed during the attack.

The plant is part of the Great Man Made River Project
It is an unfortunate strategy designed to create human suffering. NATO is desperate to spark unrest against the Gaddafi regime by any means.

The irony is that this war began under the auspices of helping the Libyan people. Now they are made to suffer as part of a NATO strategy. The policy reinforces the reality that the Libyan war has as little to do with humanitarianism as the Iraq war had to do with weapons of mass destruction.
Mathaba, a Libyan-centric but independent media outfit ran a piece that added Muammar Gaddafi's own personal reaction to the new strike(s):
Mathaba has learnt that the Leader of the Revolution sent a message on Friday to members of the UN Security Council who are not taking part in the aggression against Libya, notably Russia and China, regarding the NATO European terrorists targeting of the pipe factory of the great man made river in the city of Brega, where pipes are manufactured to compensate for damaged pipes of the river, the only source of drinking waters and irrigation for the people of Libya.
(bolding mine - actual damaged sections or hypothetical ones?)

Russia's pre-eminent Pravda.ru website pulled no punches here:
A NATO terrorist attack has hit a water pipes factory in al-Brega, murdering six guards, this being the factory which makes pipes for the great man-made irrigation system across the desert which brings water to seventy per cent of Libyan homes, according to sources in Libya. The factory was hit after the water supply network was destroyed on Friday.
The source is the same Libya SOS report, so it's not a support. But Pravda added:
NATO has committed another war crime, targeting a civilian water supply network which brings water to 70% of Libya's population, according to Pravda.Ru sources in Libya. The general manager of the Man Made River Corporation which controls the pipeline reports it was hit in a NATO strike on Friday. In another clear violation of the law, a consignment from Italy of 19 000 AK-47's was caught in Ajdabiyah by the Libyan authorities, according to Libyan military sources.
If NATO's contribution to protecting civilians is bombing their water supply then the international community will respond to this heinous war crime, whether or not the politicians do. Will anyone please do something about this horrendous war crime? Or will we all sit back while NATO destroys water supply lines, a civilian structure? Is this protecting civilians or is this an act of revenge because NATO is losing?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Fall of Az-Zawiyah

June 27/28, 2011
last updates October 16

Under and Over Rebel Control
Az Zawiyah (لزاوية الغربية‎) is one of Libya's larger cities at around 200,000, and home to one of its two most important oil refineries [wikipedia]. Just 30 miles from Tripoli's gate, it was the closest of the cities that briefly fell to rebel forces in late February, and in that regard the greatest threat. It was sternly re-taken in early March, and has remained in government hands since (not for a lack of rebel attempts to re-take it).

The mainstream media's collective account of the initial uprising in Az Zawiyah seems to be missing some key parts. By and large, the western narrative only picks up with any interest on the government threat in early March. Before then it was just another city that rightly came into rebel hands by the magic of Arab Spring idealism, and witnessed a golden age of freedom and peace before the re-conquest.

Not everyone agrees, even outside Libya. The French CIRET-AVT / CF2R report of May was based on a month-long fact-finding mission, by six terrorism and intelligence experts, to both sides of Libya. The report shared their findings on the period between the fall and the government re-seizure of Az Zawiyah (from the English report):
The insurgency in [az Zawiyah...] was planned and co-ordinated, and was neither peaceful nor spontaneous from the outset.

The ‘active’ demonstrators were only about 300-500, the majority Libyans - amongst them a number returned from abroad - but also according to the Police, Tunisians and Egyptians. From the start of the events, they entered the town and centre, taking hostage some of the citizens with them.
More, as translated by National Review Online):
During the three weeks [that the town was controlled by the rebels], all public buildings were pillaged and set on fire. . . . Everywhere, there was destruction and pillaging (of arms, money, archives). There was no trace of combat, which confirms the testimony of the police [who claim to have received orders not to intervene]. . . .

There were also atrocities committed (women who were raped, and some police officers who were killed), as well as civilian victims during these three weeks. . . . The victims were killed in the manner of the Algerian GIA [Armed Islamic Group]: throats cut, eyes gauged out, arms and legs cut off, sometimes the bodies were burned . . .
I haven't seen much to confirm the worst of that, nor to rule it out. Another video shows locals speaking in April with CCTV reporters about the arson and mayhem under rebel occupation, partly confirming the French mission. It was, as we'll see, an ugly time. For comparison, here is a splendid video of the city in peacetime. This has a few useful views in establishing where later videos occur, but mostly serves to show what was there before the rebels started a war in late February (if az Zawiyah followed the general pattern across Libya).

Another and more cynical view of Zawiyah after its re-conquest by the authorities was found there by the team from Sky News. They were allowed the film there, and showed wounded buildings (all by Gaddafi's mortars and rockets), draped again in green flags, healing green streamers, and portraits of col. Gaddafi to show the city's acceptance of his rule. A small group of a few dozen pro-government demonstrators wass shown, but the correspondent/narrator, Stewart Ramsey, said in his low, grave, unamused tone: "There are 200,000 people in Zawiya. We're not convinced this dozen [sic] actually come from the town itself."

Ramsey focused on the mosque used as a headquarters by the insurgents, later demolished by the government, and the graves of the fighting's victims in the central garden, later dug up. While Zawiyah might seem happy to be past the troubles, beneath it, the government was "trying to erase history in this place."

And for a taste of the uncertainty over how that deadly conflict began, consider the Wikipedia entry for "the battle of Az Zawiyah." It says the "battle," which didn't end 'til about March 10, "began on 24 February, when Libyan troops loyal to Gaddafi attacked a mosque where protesters were holding an anti-government sit-in." Protesters simply communicating their desire for change, as opposed to actually overthrowing, met with brute force. A familiar story.

The Feb 24 attack was also described there as being waged "on the city," which by implication had somehow become enemy territory (free of government control) prior to that. After looking into it, I think this AP report of Feb 24 is closer to truth:
Militiamen and pro-Gadhafi troops were repelled Thursday when they launched attacks trying to take back opposition-held territory in Zawiya and Misrata, near the capital, in fighting that killed at least 30 people.
How the Battle was at Least Set-Up to Happen
Before or after the day, the 24th is a natural enough time for protests near the capitol to rise up. They might be simply emboldened by Benghazi and all Cyrenaica falling, a process completed and known by Feb 23 at the latest. Nationwide, by Tripoli's account, the deaths on both sides occurred almost totally where "protesters" tried to seize weapons from government facilities. reflected in R. Breki Goheda’s video - how protesters became an army of sorts and how they came to hold cities for however long they were able. The video says, without giving a date:
In Az Zawiya, 40 km west of Tripoli army bases and ammunition depots were attacked early morning, and security forces were caught off guard. Attackers brought light and medium arms and tanks into the square of the city, and the number of people in the square rapidly increased. More tanks and anti-aircraft [weapons] were brought in. [a number of them are shown being admired and played with].

They began distributing weapons in a manner that would enable them to challenge any incomer. The cover of the tanks’ cannons demonstrate that they were never used before. [shown for a tank and an apparent anti-aircraft gun]. The video displays that the inhabitants of the city were behaving casually in the absence of security forces or soldiers. The following day, armed rebels began digging trenches, and the square was turned into a heavily armed fortress, with the contribution of Libyans and foreigners. [A man is shown holding aloft what looks like a large bar of gold - looted?].
A decent quality video is shown for the digging-in segment, which I used to double-check if this could be pegged to Az Zawiyah. Indeed, I could find the central square and it's a perfect match for the screen grab at upper left, using the pivotal mosque (which is actually no longer there - see this post). The view is roughly south, towards the the central park, a tree-and-fountain-filled awesome little place.

The exact dates of these events is not given, but the central square and its domed mosque are fortified as their main base, with weaponry they acquired somehow. During the early part of the government mop-up, on March 4, before even taking the main square, Libyan media said that 31 tanks, 19 troop carriers, many rocket-launchers, anti-aircraft guns, and other heavy weapons had been seized from the rebels. [source]

The "protesters" had become well armed somehow, and clearly by the end of February at the latest had come into control of the city, requiring - really, requiring - a government response. Those questions - when and how certain people of az Zawiya came to hold the city and to be an army, will be found in the events of the second half of February.  I will draw on the Wiki, a few other sources, and a lot of direct evidence - online videos of the day's events themselves.

Like most, I can't understand Arabic, so my observations of some redordings (especially the ones with addresses and sermons) will miss valuable clues about what was happening between the scenes, and maybe behind them.

Chronology: Feb 18-23
The earliest protests I can find are on the night of the 18th, already three days into the national uprising. This is shown in a Youtube video, and at least one other. (and another gives the same as Feb 19, but I'm going with that one forgetting time zones) There is chanting in the center of town at night, and a few kids loudly striking with metal implements at a 12-foot high metal-framed picture of Gaddafi. The second video has an edit just as something kills their vibe, cuts back to brief chanting again, some other unclear noises, and then cuts for good as they start to disperse.

Protests are shown again on February 20, again at night, and in a different, more permanent mood. They're camped out, not dispersing. There's lively chanting, mellow fires of the toasting marshmallows kind. Many children are present, and it seems pretty nice.

But earlier in the day, a building (described somewhere as a hotel) is already burnt and belching smoke, as seen at left, the ground littered with debris (one view, and another closer-up, with redable Graffiti and someone shouting on a public address system. Sky News would later pass this rebel vandalism/terrorism off as strictly government rocket and mortar damage.

Feb 21-23 shows a strange absence of shared footage or news that I've been able to find. What happened in Az Zawiyah those days? It can't likely be a massacre of protesters, or anything remotely like it, or we'd have seen and heard about it.

The "Battle" Starts: Feb 24
Wikipedia's page says of the events of this day:
The battle began on 24 February, when Libyan troops loyal to Gaddafi attacked a mosque where protesters were holding an anti-government sit-in. The troops opened fire with automatic weapons and hit the minaret with an anti-aircraft gun. After the attack, thousands of people rallied in Martyrs' Square by the mosque shouting “Leave! Leave!” On the same day, anti-Gaddafi forces repelled the attack on the city.
Three sources were cited, none terribly useful. But this is the mainstream narrative - a peaceful protest, met with brute force, which only made a limited attack then melted away in the face of chanting. The rebel propaganda site feb17.info posted that day an account with a little more detail:
Zawiya – as we reported earlier army units and militiamen loyal to Muammar Gaddafi attacked a mosque where protesters were holding an anti-government sit-in. Ten people were killed and around 150 wounded, according to a doctor there. Rebels had been camped at Souq mosque for days. Soldiers opened fire with automatic weapons and hit the minaret with an anti-aircraft gun, a witness said.

That report was coupled with the photo inset at left, possibly from the same town and same day, or earlier yet, showing rebels driving at least one tank already. They also held plenty of machine guns at least by this time.

Goheda's video said the az Zawiyah arsenal was formed following an early morning raid on an arms depot - an attack, obviously with a few starter weapons. But the rebel sources and their supporters cite defections, where units just brought the equipment they themselves had "liberated" from the government. While armed raids are well-evidenced in other spots, and it might be a factor here, I imagine the latter is at least partly true in this case. I had seen a video - given as Feb 24 - of apparent defectors, in fatigues, and some jeeps being cheered by rebel crowds, reportedly after joining them. I lost the link, and can't re-locate the video. It seemed to be at about mid-day. (10/16: I just stumbled across a newer Youtube posting of it)

A contemporaneous video shows protesters (but no defectors) returning - from somewhere apparently to the south - to Az Zawiyah's main square in a large mass. They now have many guns - pistols, automatic rifles - and plenty of ammunition seized, judging by the unrestrained celebratory fire and clearly giddy disposition. It's an interesting video, showing lots of life as it wanders around the square, well-filmed, and uploaded on February 24, so it can't be any newer than that. (seems to be early afternoon)

So the peaceful protesters camped out at the square were either already armed as they came under attack in their "sit-in" on the 24th, or managed to get armed quickly despite the injuries and deaths incurred in the brutal offensive that then just faded away and let their weapons go. One dead and bloodied rebel is shown in that video, carried among them as they came back. Obviously he was the one who was just sitting there protesting, and not on a weapons raid to a base outside town. More weapons can be seen in this view of apparently the same procession - at least one grenade launcher amongs the rifles, swords, hatchets, clubs, and fists. There's smoke in background.

At another point in the day, an apparent firefight occurred at the square, with one wounded carried back to the semi-sheltered area the camera was. As usual, the enemy is never seen, and no one else seems terribly worried, many standing fully exposed in the street for no clear reason. At another point (mid-late afternoon), a shrill and emotion-filled sermon with heavy use of "shabab" (youth) is delivered in the central garden.

At the central morgue (as labeled, in Italian), one dead person shown and many, many, others wanting to see. Another video of this date suggests victims on one side or another with long smears of blood on the hospital floor. At night, there are burning vehicles in the square, possible looting and mob violence, seen from a high point and unsteady. It looks insane, much shooting but no battle, shouting and whistling. Most people mill about, some dart between them on mini-missions we don't know. Setting fire to a building along the square - there are people inside (see 5:20).  Sound of a tank driving around? (4:40)

Feb 25 to 28
A video posted February 25 shows captive government soldiers ("mercenaries" - see the idiotic description): one black man laying dead (head-shot, see right, and below) and others of Arab complexion injured, tended to and filmed in a makeshift rebel hospital. This suggests the local hospital staff hadn't defected, as was the case in Misrata and Benghazi. Bad sign - the city was not theirs, only the square and certain homes and such.

Also, is it just me, or does it look like the dead soldier - the black one - was injured in the hand and/or upper body, bandaged up, then shot again in the head? And what is that, a business card inserted?  

Also on the 25th we have numerous graves being dug by the rebels right in the main square's dirt, shunning the usual routes to get people buried within 24 hours, it seems, keeping it all to the area they control. Later mass graves were found there, as shown in another video  - somewhere outside of downtown in a large field - perhaps near where the weapons were secured ... one victim's hand (black-skinned it seems) was left sticking out of the ground in a grotesque gesture. It was blamed on Gaddafi.]

The same day - early afternoon - a smaller number of rebels not armed at the moment that I see were recorded at the burial of the previous day's dead, again in the central garden. After a short and fiery sermon from the Imam, they march out to make more martyrs, shouting "Allahu Akbar!" No security forces are yet seen, but they must be out there. The building burnt on the 20th is again visible here.

The 25th has video of a march, a stationary gathering, smoke in the background, and a night rally. No repression shown, nor detailed notes yet. Recalling the CIRET-AVT/CF2R report of citizens taken hostage, one video of the 25th is of interest: Mercenaries in Zawia: (click "Kadin" to view). I'm not sure what the hell's going on here - the mercenaries may be the guys at the video's end, in a small trashed room in the mosque compound.

February 26 started out with a rousing address at the square's north end (it I have the spot this was shot right, it's shortly after sunrise). The many green banners still hanging from the (residential?) buildings behind the speaker and interesting, and I think he addresses the things. Wikipedia says later in the day:
On 26 February, government forces opened fire on anti-government protesters and Egyptian migrant workers. By this point, most of the city was under rebel control — however, security forces controlled surrounding areas and had set up checkpoints on the outskirts. In addition, some government militia and security forces were still present in the city and at least one tank was seen. 24 rebel fighters were killed during the two previous days of fighting.
On Feb 27, the video posting says, heavy weaponry was on display - tanks and anti-aircraft guns. Another video that might be the same day. This looks like the arms bazaar Goheda showed, and nothing earlier really does. Half an army seems to have passed through and just left their stuff. Another video of Feb 27 shows an aggressive still rally, with hundreds holding aloft weapons - swords, clubs, hunting rifles, strictly. All professional gear - that perhaps acquired the same day, and that held for days already, is kept from view. Another is the same, protesters raising swords, sticks, and an axe. Coincidence, or coordination?

The same day, according a LiveLeak video posting, "Libyan youths close the last regime outpost" in the city. A crowd of young men in a building complex are chanting aggressively and throwing rocks at one of the buildings. A door and other debris litter the ground, and at least three cars and a pickup truck are burning fiercely. At the end, semi-automatic gunfire is heard popping just as the video cuts. That the video ends there supports my guess is it was from the rebel side.

The wikipedia article, from a few collected sources, gives this dramatic and illogical narrative for February 28:
On 28 February, government troops conducted a counter-attack against the city with 200 soldiers coming in from the east, supported by snipers, tanks and artillery. The first attack came just after midnight when loyalist soldiers tried to come through the eastern city gate in pick-up trucks. The attack was repelled. In the early evening, a second attack of three more trucks tried to break through the west gate. Two of the trucks were destroyed. At the same time, six more pick-ups again attacked the eastern gate. Two were captured by rebel forces. During the clashes one government tank was damaged by a rocket propelled grenade. After six hours of fighting, government troops were unable to reclaim the city. 10 soldiers were killed in the street fighting and 12–14 were captured, of which eight switched sides and joined the rebels.
The video record, as far as I've seen, shows none of that, nor even the aftermath. All that I've noticed is victory celebrations. In the daylight hours, we see jubilant crowds under the new/old (monarchist) flag, showing their temporary freedom from Gaddafi in a nicely varied video. An overview of the main square, looking south to the central garden area, shows one tank among the crowd, described elsewhere as "Captured," in the government-led fighting against the city. Just where their other tanks and arsenal were parked isn't clear.

At night on the 28th, after the alleged second wave attack, a massive crowd fills the square, waving the flag. A child is held aloft in the crowded square shouting Allahu Akbar! Four days into the "battle" and it seems unquestionably won, with only the furtive or overpowered attacks described above - allegedly - slowing them down a little. It would be a few more days before the battle started afresh, now that the rebels had set it up by stealing another city.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Libyan Internal Insecurity: Brutality and the Boys in Blue

July 23, 2011

A video I just posted at Youtube - again, there's graphic imagery (including a man with his finger broken off, nose cut off, shot through the cheeks, and then shot in the chest).

Click the YT icon to view it at its own page, too, and help get the views up.

As I said there, it kind of speaks for itself, except that I understand the opening video of police brutality" isn't even from Libya - they were better behaved there than in Morocco. I will possibly add more anyway, but not at this time. Just be aware the leadership who had this start are now called by Barrack Obama the legitimate government of Libya. Pray for Libya.

Friday, July 22, 2011

First British Military Death in Libya Campaign

In a sign that things are slowly moving slowly towards symmetry


car went off the road in southern Italy

Now that blood is being shed the troops might

Thoughts on a Two-State Solution

July 15/16, 2011
last update July 22

So here we are in mid-July, with the Libyan Civil War / NATO's war for Libya on the verge of five months old. Even France and the US are backing down from their broadest swipe at Libya's system, narrowing the focus back to the rule of Muammar Gaddafi. Negotiations with the sitting government are now being considered, based on whispers that the strongman might consider leaving power, if not Libya. His sons, not so central. This might be the talk of the tired.

And discussions on the future shape of the country, as seen on the map, are opening up. I've been meaning to explain my proposed two-state solution, but it took being annoyed by an article to finally spur this attempt. Matt Gregory wrote about - and panned - such a solution the other day.
Many have suggested that a two state solution, in which two seperate entities, East and West Libya, were created; the Western state would be controlled by Gadhafi and have a capital in Tripoli, and the Eastern state would be governed, like in South Sudan, by a new government with its base in Benghazi. The border would be located in the area outside the rebel-held Misrata. And, like in Sudan, everyone would be satisfied. Right?
No, that's ridiculous. See the map below, where red is areas solidly held by rebels (it's a bit simplified, and doesn't show the implied southern desert control). The loyal people of the Sirte basin would not be happy to be swallowed under traitor control by the Misrata rebel's intransigence and ability to barely hold on.

Hell, there's a rebel toehold in Az Zintan, and other rebel holdings that come and go in the surrounding Nafusah mountains, west even of Tripoli. Do the rebels get the mountains and everything east of there now? That's the whole country! If the rebels keep Misrata at all (and despite the unfair cost to real Libya, it'll be hard to avoid), it'll be as a discontiguous exclave, and under military quarantine. Misrata cannot be the threat to Tripoli the rebels want it for.

Reality is what it is - real. No one among the great powers will now sanction a re-conquest of all Cyrenaica by Gaddafi's forces. The two sides are not likely to peacefully re-integrate any time soon after what's happened. The border should be just southwest of Ajdabiya. The cease-fire would leave the Nafusah mountain rebels frozen out of control, and quite possibly Misrata, besides the aspirants in other cities. They would be allowed to leave for the east. In fact, all people who feel displaced must be free to migrate.

It should be noted my east Libya is not really large (nor all that small), and pretty coastal. No one needs the desert south of there except for the oil in it. And this was never about stealing Libya's oil, only about freedom. There - two million people, hundreds of miles, beautiful cities, the second largest among them - coastal Cyrenaica, under rebel control and recognized, in peace, with elections, and endowed with offshore oil (north and slightly west) that's not bad.

I recommend also a cut off the top of all onshore and offshore oil under Tripoli's control, as these are still (some of) the peopl of Libya. But the management of that, via terminals in Brega and westward, should stay under Tripoli. Whatever else they've done, Gaddafi and his government have shown an ability to manage the oil wealth for the peoples' benefit, as opposed to Wall Street's. Benghazi should have a small share (reduced for extreme intransigence and sedition), but not be allowed to control and sell it out.

And then, maybe that could just be nullified in trade for continued access to the Great Manmade River, built by the government the rebels reject, but relied on by all Libyans... they could call it even Steven there, and have a small start towards re-discovering what they have in common. The truth and reconciliation will take a while to even broach, it's been so horrific since the rebels started the war in February.

Anyway, that's my proposal. It's much too fair to Tripoli for most peoples' liking. Just about anything is, it sometimes seems. For his part, Mr. Gergory in his article was pessimistic even about his narrow Western slice of Libya being acceptable.

Unfortunately, this plan would not work for several reasons. First of all, Muhammar Gadhafi is a war criminal. Retired British army Brigadier Ben Barry, who served as a peacekeeper in Bosnia, stated that should a two-state solution be implemented and Gadhafi remain in power, he would, "behave like an intransigent Bosnian warlord...controlling energy resources and then reverting to previous bad behavior."

Indeed, should Gadhafi, to whom an arrest warrant has already been issued by the International Criminal Court, be allowed to remain in power, he would be able to revert to his ruthless, tyrannical ways and virtually enslave all the people unfortunate enough to live west of rebel-held Misrata. Gadhafi has already been accused of human rights violations, such as the use of cluster bombs, which are extremely dangerous to civilians, and the location of military personell and weaponry in close proximity to buildings such as mosques, schools, and hospitals. If democracy is the object of NATO's mission in Libya, such a solution would not work.
That Gaddafi is a war criminal is undeniable on paper, but reality is another story. I'm not impressed with the opinion of a crusading war-crimes-empowered, war-crimes-believing, British general. There's been serious disinformation about a certain class of NATO target governments like Yugoslavia and Libya.

For one, Libya never blew up Pan Am flight 103 in 1988; this much is known by the best minds on the issue, although on paper they're still guilty by Abdelbaset al-Megrahi's preposterous 2001 conviction. Likewise, the supposed crimes of this war have a legal reality in the ICC arrest warrants - but these are based on what could best be understood as unverified rumors, as the 1991 indictments over Lockerbie were based on dubious stories from a paid and coerced informant. This time, by and large, it's unconfirmed and unlikely "tweets" from self-described rebels.

The cluster bombing - which has been questioned but might still be true (I need to update that issue) - is the least of it. The Gaddafi regime has been accused of using black foreign mercenaries to commit a range of atrocities against innocents. Hundreds or thousands have been arrested for the crime, hundreds others killed, but all expert analysis [see "refutations"] of these claimed foreign fighters shows they're foreigners but just workers, or fighters but Libyans and serving their country. Tripoli has been acused of bombing protesters with fighter jets, ordering them shot and ordering soldiers who refuse shot, bombing mosques and shooting worshippers for no good reason ("God vs. Gaddafi," he's secretly a Jew, etc.), ordering mass rape, again and again in different sadistic ways, having young children shot by snipers, planning various genocide and preparing for chemical warfare, and much more, all with no credible evidence. This will be the subject soon of a mega-post to keep score of how these have all panned out under scrutiny.

If a lying campaign like we're seeing emerge is pervasive and audacious enough that the world has called it true, should we, in the interests of skepticism, presume it must be mostly true?
Furthermore, a peace deal at this time in which the civil war was halted in order to create a division between Gadhafi's Libya and the rebel-held East would negate any of the positive progress that the rebel forces have made over the last few days. Slowly but surely, rebels have crept through the desert towards Tripoli, overtaking supply routes and weapons depots as they move forward. While no major victories have been won in the recent past, this new progress offers hope that rebel forces will eventually be able to eliminate Gadhafi and his forces for good, negating the need for any two-state solution. Should such a deal be signed, any momentum accumulated will be lost and Libyans will only be able to dream of what could have been a unified state under a democratic government.
Ask the people of conquered Qawalish (aka Gualish) how positive this progress is. They fled the rebel conquest, and if they ever return, it'll be to burnt homes, looted stores, dead livestock, and a drained gas station. At least six defending soldiers were brutally killed and dumped outside Qawalish. Civilians were beaten and homes burnt in other towns in the area, to punish them for siding with the government. [see here for explanation]

Whatever the nature of it, this progress towards Gharyan and then Tripoli came only after relentless and costly outside bombing, destroying perhaps half Libya's real army, stealing a huge chunk of its money, refusing compromise, punishing peace initiatives, and finally air-dropping weapons for weeks in violation of the arms embargo. Only then this army of a thousand Islamist mountain punks made some gains towards what? Imposing their will on the million in Tripoli itself? Imagine David Koresh's group, twenty times larger and better armed. Should the Russians be holding out for a takeover of Texas? Or the whole US?

Again, the People there DO NOT WANT IT. The people west of Ajdabiya are already "enslaved" under Gaddafi and most seem fine enough with it, for now, if the world would just let them run their country, buy gasoline, work, and get paid, ever again. That's great that so many talking heads and world leaders and crusading journalists want rebel control over the green-washed masses to start re-programming them. So long as the free market people currently heading the rebel TNC stay in charge, the West is happy, confident they'll get those spoils coming in to satiate the masses at home who complain about the cost - as if they don't know a burglary takes a few bucks to set up.

The only fair solution to the reality on the ground is a (temporary) two-state solution. Anything else puts a lot of people under the rule of others they consider traitors and butchers. It's that simple. 

I can see why putting the whole back together under Tripoli's rule will be unacceptable to everyon that matters. But I cannot support the opposite either. Perhaps Mr. Gregory - or Secretary Clinton? - will want to go to Tripoli and Brega, to the besieged loyalists still alive inside rebel-held Misrata and the threatened blacks of Tawergha that they just have to get used to the new order. A nasty coalition of the Lynch mob people who now say "Tawergha no longer exists, only Misrata," Islamist radicals returned from Gitmo and Iraq, monarchists who just suck, and TNC sell-outs who eye kickbacks upon helping NATO's economies finally crack open Africa's largest oil reserves for real.

This seems to have been the aim of the rebel-NATO alliance, but that doesn't make it a just one, one that progress towards should be called "positive." People need to notice how fuzzy their understanding of this whole issue - starting with the geography of it - really is. Lives are at stake here.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

More Questions of Legality? Again, the Answer: "No, It's Not."

July 22, 2011

From: "U.S. Recognition of Libyan Rebels Raises Legal Questions." The Atlantic, July 18 2011.

The Obama administration's announcement July 15 that the United States will now "recognize" the Libyan opposition as the legitimate government of Libya, while welcomed by those who have advocated this step, goes farther than many other countries have been willing to go and raises difficult questions under international law.

Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, the thirty-two-country "Libya Contact Group"--which includes the United States--announced that "the Qaddafi regime no longer has any legitimate authority in Libya and that Qaddafi and certain members of his family must go." The statement went on to say that "until an interim authority is in place, participants agreed to deal with the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the legitimate governing authority in Libya." The fact that the statement says Contact Group members agreed to "deal with"--rather than "recognize"--the NTC as the legitimate government of Libya indicates that there remains disagreement among Contact Group members about the issue of recognition.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went further, stating that the United States will "recognize" the NTC as the legitimate governing authority for Libya, though she noted that "various legal issues remain to be worked through." This recognition allows the United States to unfreeze certain Libyan assets in U.S. banks and allow them to be used by the NTC.

In trade all they ask is the rebels' follow-through on this "democratic reform that is inclusive geographically and politically," (no beating opponents and burning their houses down) and to "disburse funds in a transparent manner," and "to address the humanitarian and other needs of the Libyan people."

Well, they already just f***ed that up the last part in Qawalish, looting it to the bone to prevent life there, on top of their past abuses. But expect a second chance, and a third ...

Recognition by the United States (and other countries) of the NTC as the "legitimate governing authority" of Libya is especially unusual under international law because the NTC does not control all of Libyan territory, nor can it claim to represent all of the Libyan people. Indeed, as a general rule, international lawyers have viewed recognition by states of an insurgent group, when there is still a functioning government, as an illegal interference in a country's internal affairs.

Recognition of the NTC while the Qaddafi regime still controls extensive territory and exercises some governmental functions also raises other legal and practical problems, such as which group bears the responsibility for Libya's treaty obligations. [...] No doubt these are among the "various legal issues" that Secretary Clinton says the State Department is working through.

The legal question about this campaign started as soon as the campaign did, when NATO exceeded the no-fly-zone to protect civilians into air support for civilian advances into other civilian areas, taking sides in the civil war. Then NATO bombs killed a minor son and three infant grandchildren of col. Gaddafi's while clearly aiming for him. Such assassinations are illegal, but all NATO had to do, aside from being untouchable, was declare the house a "command, control, and communications" facility. If there's a phone there, and someone you want to kill who might have issued some order, that may be adequate. The guidelines aren't clear.

Then there was the freezing tens of billions of dollars in its government assets, itself an unprecedented move, legally speaking. Further yet was the effort to thaw that money out and give it to the rebels to use against the people of Libya, a move that it was acknowledged "poses legal problems," which lawyers were working on answers to. Collectively, they said "screw the spirit of the law, how can we play with words?"

Then there's the breaking of the arms embargo on Libya, by at least two of the European countries who first called for it. First, it was revealed that France had spent June air-dropping medium weapons to rebels in the Nafusah mountains. (Russia called it illegal, while France and the U.S. called it legal, required to defend civilians. They defended themselves from not being in charge of nearby weapons depots, which they took using these weapons, expanding the arsenal and using it to kill more and conquer more towns, like Qawalish, where they looted, abused, and killed yet more.

Then Italy was found to have likely armed the rebels with a huge cache of weapons the Navy had held for over a decade after seizing them during the Balkans wars. These weapons were stored on an island until moved in late April or May, and shipped south on a commercial ferry. PM Berlusconi blocked an investigation of this on national security grounds. The supplies included, per the Guardian:
30,000 Kalashnikov AK-47 automatic rifles, 32m rounds of ammunition, 5,000 Katyusha rockets, 400 Fagot wire-guided anti-tank missiles and some 11,000 other anti-tank weapons.
The anti-Gaddafi coalition of states, in their mad rush to live up to their rhetoric of a new Libya, keep doing things that are illegal as well as grossly immoral. And then, each time, they act perplexed at the legal complications they face while just trying to do what they insist is the right thing.'

Monday, July 18, 2011

Eman Flashback/Mass Rape Charges in a Nutshell

July 18, 2011

Below are the comments I just posted at an old Daily Beast (Newsweek-affiliated) article.
Alleged Libyan Rape Victim Speaks. Eliza Griswold, March 30, 2011. What got me set off to spout off was the title suggested by the URL (the original one, I presume): "Emad al Obeidi sued for being raped in libya."

Otherwise, it's not especially bad, and reads like just about everything else written upon the outside world's first blush with Iman al-Obeidi. This one came just four days after the Libyan dissident burst into the one spot in Tripoli where Western journalists were clustered at that moment, the Rixos hotel in Tripoli, and announced that the Libyan government they were all active against had in fact ordered her raped brutally for days, for supporting the rebellion. She named some of the men involved, recognizing one as a relative of a government official.

For reference or just in case, I'll re-post my comments here:
Three and a half months later, sure I'll provide the first comment.

As the intro states, Ms. al-Obeidi is "the woman who ACCUSED Gaddafi’s soldiers of rape to a hotel-full of journalists," and ones inclined to believe the rope marks on her ankles, but no one noticed any on her wrists. Her wardrobe, stunning for just escaping such torture. Her timing and instinct taking her tale straight to the Rixos? Professional.

The tile here is fine, but the URL (original title) is wrong. emad-al-obeidi-sued-for-being-raped-in-libya. I believe the suit specifies the crime is LIYING about being raped. She wasn't shot dead to silence her, she was sued for libel.

But she was sneaked off before the trial could decide whether or not she was a fraud. Shuttled to rebel-supporting, Moussa Koussa-hosting Qatar, then for some reason flown by them back to Benghazi, with everyone predicting Gaddafi would try to kill her there with sleeper cells. But she was beaten up again! Not raped, but bruised and cuffed by Qatari aythorities this time, she said.

From Benghazi the drama queen was sent with he father to quietly disappear in Romania. Now the strange saga will be allowed to die - she got out the same way she got in, it seems.

Thanks for covering the first part of that, if a bit selectively.
ETA: "Tile" should be "title," and I meant to note Emad (from the url/original title), in Arabic, is a man's name. That's why hers is Iman or Eman. Other typos, sorry. Will do better next time.


"It’s too early to know for sure if rape is being used as a crime of war in Libya, but anecdotes ranging from Eman Al-Obeidi’s to that of two male doctors hundreds of miles away indicate that such a crime may already be under way. "
The idea took off in the meantime, becoming a major theme, with erectile dysfunction medicine, children, African mercenaries, rape parties with alcohol and dancing, all kinds of perversions alleged. None of it panned out evidence-wise. All experts who've gone and really looked found the claims unproven at best, downright stupid at worst.

Nonetheless, Gaddafi, his son, and a top aide are still wanted by the ICC, in part, for their role in ordering mass rapes.
It's awesome when the first comment(s) can slay the original article, even if it takes them nearly four months to do it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

On Malta, Pilots Defect

May 6, 2011
last edits June 22

The Colonels Spill the Beans
It was Monday, February 21, less than a week after protests in Libya began. It had just become clear an armed rebellion had "liberated" most of the country's sizable cities, and all of the cities in the northeast. Desperate measures might be in order for any government wanting to re-establish order, when, on that day, the world was told, by two amazing whistle-blowers about one of these measures. The Tripoli Post reported two days later: Libyan Military Pilots Defect to Malta

Two Libyan Air Force fighter pilots on Monday defected and flew their jets to Malta where they told authorities they had been ordered to bomb protesters. [...] Maltese government authorities said that the two pilots, both colonels, took off from a base near Tripoli, and that one of them has even requested political asylum.

The two pilots, currently being questioned by the Maltese police, said they decided to fly to Malta after being ordered to bomb anti-government protesters in Libya's second largest city of Benghazi.

They are reported to have said that they had been asked to bomb their own people and would not. The bombs were on the aircraft and the guns were fully loaded with ammunition.

The story told by these pilots, being double-confirmed between them, and well in-line with the worst the West always presumed from Gaddafi, was taken as simple and solid fact. But the real fact is, only, that we have these pilots claiming their order was to destroy innocents with such overwhelming firepower. It wasn't to attack militant positions, where they had stolen cities by force and planned to overthrow the whole government. No, it was simple protesters they were sent to kill, because Gaddafi hates peaceful protest.

So early in the uprising and civil war, there was this widely seeded claim that Gaddafi was "bombing his own people" - or at least, had tried to have these two do it. There's been only the whispiest evidence of such attacks otherwise - numerous alarmist "reports," with no photos or video of the attacks, or even any consistent aftermath, like craters in the streets.

And against the word of the Malta pilots, there are  stern government denials, satellite-based evidence (of some sort) claimed by the Russians, and common sense indicating it would be a stupid and suicidal thing to command. There are much better and cheaper ways to kill slow-moving crowds than with a Mirage (a helicopter, for example, can just hover instead of having to swoop over repeatedly). 

Just the belief in this order paved the way for Gaddafi's destruction - talk of a no-fly zone to protect civilians from these supposed air attacks began the next day, February 22. And it was this trojan horse that unleashed the current air war for regime change that's already decimated Gaddafi's ground forces (up to one third of armor and soldiers incinerated), and killed one son and three grandchildren at least.

A Link to the Plotters?
Now, we know there was an air force colonel, Abdullah Gehani, arrested in late January for plotting against the government. Charged with civil aviation in Benghazi, he reportedly made contact with a European secret service in November 2010, and also with the protest planners.

Gehani might well have had some underlings on board as well, so that even after his arrest and the uprising's start, someone else could locate two trustworthy, disloyal fighter pilots for an important propaganda mission. Al Jazeera reported that both pilots were themselves "senior colonels," but otherwise there's been little or no detail about them. The whole story went pretty quiet once its purpose was served.

Most likely, this alleged order would only be disobeyed shortly before or even after takeoff. It would be an emotional, spur-of-the-moment decision. Neither of the colonels, in this supposed police state of informants and twisted loyalty, was too afraid the other would shoot him as a traitor. They both decided together it was time to flee, and while that's fully possible, it would work better with some agreement well before taking off - with or without orders to kill.

This is a cynical theory, but it can't be logically ruled out. Nor can their alleged mission, really, but it is inherently short on logic. The F-1 is not so good at crowd control, but it does excel at escaping quickly once it's been stolen, making it a perfect weapon for running off armed with live bombs and the lies that turned them to propaganda.

Mysterious Frenchmen: An Escort Mission?
Finally, what at first seems a peripheral oddity. The same day these guys landed in Malta, a few hours later it seems, two helicopters from Libya also landed. The Tripoli Post again:
On the same day police also questioned seven passengers who landed in Malta from Libya on board two French-registered helicopters, with Malta government sources saying the helicopters had left Libya without authorisation by the Libyan aviation authorities and that only one of the seven passengers - who say they are French citizens - had a passport.
These people claimed to be simple oil workers, fleeing just after Benghazi had fallen. But they had not their proper ID, suggesting clandestine (or just forgetful?) work. They were from France, where the European end of arranging the protests was apparently based (Gehani's alleged contact was with the French DGSE). Who were they, and what were they doing in Libya in the days before the no-fly discussion started? They and their rides are covered a bit more in-depth at this follow-up post.

They might help explain the fighters, commissioned by the French-Rebel conduit, as escort duty on the first leg of the choppers' illegal (and slower) flight. I would suspect they all set out together from rebel-held Benghazi, despite the defector story of scrambling from Tripoli.

Any such protection might help explain the armaments, in case anyone tried to enforce the law. And it would be a nicely efficient double-mission - cover the whole unauthorized escape, then land with with the mental seeds of the rebels' NATO air support. It also works towards giving the game up. What are the odds the colonels would happen to fly off with this order and snap to the north on winds of conscience, just as these unauthorized clandestine Frenchmen were leaving?

Again, that would work better with some agreement well before taking off.

Update, June 22: Reader Felix left some comments beneath a related post, about the arrival of these pilots on Malta, which he witnessed. I mistook him for Maltese, but he was there only on holiday, he says.
[June 6]
This was a very important propaganda coup to launch the war to the gullible scribes of the west. I was fortunate to observe the arrival of the Libya jets above my head. Contemporary reports tell of the helicopters arriving shortly before the jets though I have no recollection of seeing them although there was much large helicopter activity during the week. Certainly the two jets did not arrive as defecting pilots might- whatever that might be - but they performed a kind of airshow above the Med some time before , swooping and circling like a display team. They then vanished out to sea again, before eventually returning according to the normal flightpath. I thought it extremely odd. As they landed overhead, the Libyan markings were visible from beneath.

[June 16]
It was only a brief show of skill - but they vanished for a while before returning in a straight descent as a tourist plane might make, one followed by the other about a minute later. I couldn't get out my camera as I was otherwise occupied. Only that evening did the signficance become apparent as I watched the news on Al Jazeera.

That would be an interesting addition - making sure to be noticed first, making a big show of their arrival, does seem less than consistent with someone escaping in fear and horror at the orders they were just given. Instead they show the flourish of someone delivering an important part of a big master plan they're excited to be part of.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Video: How Protest Became War

July 14/15, 2011

This is a video I just uploaded on Youtube, part 1 of a planned series of probably very few videos, called How Freedom* Came to Libya. The asterisk means, more or less, the "freedom" sought by the rebellion and NATO - I chose not to spell it out. And the title may not prove accurate after all, but it was meant ironically enough I'll leave it.

Warning: as the "graphic" in the title suggests, there are some dead people and blood, but I did not go for the shock value of the more horrible footage available.

This opening salvo, How Protest Became War, expresses the Libyan government version, with supporting video evidence, of how "protesters" were led by Islamist extremists into stealing weapons to overthrow the government. It may not be 100% true, and is almost sure to have some omissions, but this stuff is, at the very least, worth more consideration than it's gotten yet in the West.

I chose not to go much into the Islamist, racist, or inhumane characters of the uprising (in this segment), just leaving them hinted at. The emphasis is mechanical - how the hell did "peaceful protesters" manage to take over half a country? That was my first question back at the end of February. I could see the defectors part, to some extent, and in fact I might have left it there if it weren't for being keenly aware by now that you trust the news regarding Libya at your own peril. They get framed and presented in fantasy colors all the time.

Lo and behold, the video evidence offers no proof for either the rebel or government version in toto, but the evidence seems to be leaning towards Tripoli's take.

I draw here, mainly, on three videos I've previously hosted - Goheda's video Libyan Crisis, events, causes, and facts, a Feb 28 press conference by Libyan spokesman Moussa Ibrahim, and a July 1 Russia Today interview with Seif al-Islam al-Gaddafi. I also used about a dozen downloaded Youtube videos, still images, and original animated graphics, plus my own music. I hope it's of some value.

Special attention is given to Az Zawiyah, to that one barrack, to the Katiba in Benghazi, and to the victims of the al-Baida massacre, taken it seems at Labraq airport.

Further notes likely ...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gaddafi Salutes NATO

July 12, 2011

I thank Brian Souter again for a tip off to an excellent dispatch from Libya that I found heartening and inspirational:

Franklin Lamb. "France Says NATO Bombing Has Failed" Foreign Policy Journal. July 12, 2011
Tripoli - One of the jokes heard at this week’s massive pro-government Friday post prayer rally at Green Square (in most of the other Arab countries Friday’s are days of rage against the government du jour but in Libya Friday prayers are followed by massive pro-Qadaffi rallies attended two weeks ago by close to 65% of Tripoli’s population) is about how each morning Libya’s leader, following early morning Fajr prayers dons his formal uniform, complete with those huge epaulets, and salutes the small NATO flag he tapes to his bathroom mirror as he moves from place to place dodging NATO drones and assassins. 
“Our leader does this”, one young lady informed me first with a wide smile and then growing serious, “because the NATO bombing of Libyan civilians, which the US/NATO axis claims Qaddafi is doing, has caused his popularity to skyrocket among our proud and nationalist tribal people. I am one example of this. 
Yes, of course we can use some new blood and long overdue reform in our government. Which country cannot? But first we must defeat the NATO invaders and then we can sort out our problems among our tribes including the so-called “NATO Rebels.”
The main point, which I've missed as I'm still not following the news closely, a rather surprising turn from the onetime gung-ho leader of all this:
The Russian and Chinese leadership has grown increasingly critical of NATO’s actions in Libya and are now firmly demanding an immediate and permanent ceasefire.
On Sunday, July 10, France seemingly allied itself with Russia and China in calling on NATO to immediately stop its counterproductive and counterintuitive bombing, as more countries witness public demonstrations against NATO’s actions in Libya. French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said in Paris that it was time for Qaddafi loyalists—which France acknowledges have been rapidly increasing in number—and Libyan rebels “to sit around a table to reach a political compromise” because, he said, “there was no solution with force.”

Wow. I mean, wasn't that the only solution considered up until now? And isn't France the country that hosted the plotter who helped them deal with the uprising, four months before it began? Aren't they the first to call the rebel's Libya's new government, and the first and fiercest to bomb the old one? Didn't they just admit they'd been long breaking the UN arms embargo by air-dropping weapons to rebels in the Nafusah mountains? And they only said they could stop now as those rebels proved they were armed enough to overwhelm Libyan military sites, kill their defenders, and seize heavier weapons yet?

Further, Mr. Lamb speaks of France's trans-Atlantic partner:
NATO, Diplomatic, and Congressional sources confirm that the Obama Administration erred badly in thinking that Libya’s regime would collapse “in a few days, not weeks” as Obama assured the American public who has to pony up the estimated $5 billion in costs through July 31, 2011. Obama’s egregious miscalculation may cost him his presidency if the economy does not.
This refers to his stance first outlined on March 3, after about a week of hazy rumors and disinformation, that "Colonel Gaddafi needs to step down from power and leave." The guy has been there long enough, and I for one wouldn't mind seeing that happen. But now I hope he'll be able to stay in office long enough to first see Obomber out.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mercenaries Alleged Anew

July 11, 2011
last updates July 22

I just the other day finally erected a post dedicated to the early allegations of sub-Saharan, foreign, African mercenaries used by Gaddafi against his people. I would have hoped the original rumor-based disinformation had faded away by now with debunking and time.  But it was great timing that Brian Souter tipped me off, among many other things (and thanks, mate) to a renewed allegation of just this. On July 7, Iranian Press TV passed it on:
Libyan revolutionaries have captured a number of foreign mercenaries following heavy fighting with forces loyal to the country's ruler, Muammar Gaddafi.

The revolutionaries arrested a number of African mercenaries that were mostly from Ghana and Mali, AFP reported.
First, it should be noted, these alleged mercs aren't attacking "protesters" or even attacking rebel military positions. The rebels came to them, in an offensive capacity, allied with the foreign NATO aggressors. And, as later reported, they looted the hell out of the place and torched several homes - the population suffered no deaths or beatings, but that might be because they had all fled before the rebels got there.  The Agence France Presse report, featured in Pakistan's Dawn paper, same July 7:
GUALISH, Libya: Libyan rebels on Wednesday seized the desert hamlet of Gualish on the first day of a Nato-backed push on Tripoli and captured a number of African mercenaries, an AFP correspondent said.

Buoyed by French arms drops and Nato-led air strikes, the rebels attacked positions in the Gualish area, in the plains north of their enclave in the Nafusa Mountains southwest of Tripoli.

The correspondent embedded with the rebels said they captured a number of mercenaries, some of whom were seen in a pick-up truck and told AFP they were from Ghana and Mali.
The news seems to have helped spur the American NPR to have a look and report back July 8, somewhat critically, about "Gaddafi's African fighters." One Ghanian worker (a plasterer) was taken in, in a mix-up like the old days, but others were in military fatigues and acknowledged being paid fighters. However, "they also say they were living in Libya as foreign workers before the uprising began, and they became soldiers for hire only after being promised money or documents." The practice is becoming more widespread, NPR reported, leaving the Libyan army almost as foreign as domestic:
Captured Libyan army officers, in interviews conducted separately, estimated that some 50 percent of Gadhafi's fighting force these days is made up of sub-Saharan Africans.

If those captured in Zintan are anything to go by, even though the Africans were paid to fight, they aren't the fearsome mercenaries described by many rebels. None of them had previous military training.
Abu Jela Dau Arafa, 38, is a Libyan captain who was captured on Wednesday when the rebels overran the village of Gualish. He says Gadhafi doesn't have enough soldiers to man the front lines now, and that's why he's hiring sub-Saharan Africans.

Other captured Libyan soldiers describe a force that is suffering from lack of basic supplies like food and fuel. They say desertions are common. Many of the enlisted men stay on only out of fear or promises of money, they say.
All that's keeping the rest from defecting, says one of the men who lost Qawalish, are fear or money. And it could be that patriotism or righteous anti-Imperialist fervor, and the fact those still left haven't been defeated or bombed are factors that still play in.

But the pressures are immense - by now, Libya's loyal forces have, in the course of defending their homeland from a foreign-backed overthrow, suffered over three months of aerial decimation. NATO itself brags of destroying a third or a half of all Libya's armor and moveable weaponry, much of it luckily carrying its crew when hit, denying the enemy one more resource (they of course "regret" this).

Besides this God-like and inescapable death from above, there are some defections and desertions to absorb the loss of, the occasional losses to rebel fire, artillery, sword, club, hatchet ... Many brave Libyan soldiers, especially black-skinned ones accused of being foreigners, died in the line of duty because lynch mobs felt empowered by the magical absolver - the world believed these negroes were vile mercenaries.

Therefore, even if genuine, professional, and effective mercenaries might finally be appearing in July, it would be no huge surprise. That the best that can still be found to this end is these amateur, found-around, semi-mercs is a sign of the Libyan military's resiliency. It might take a while still to convince these guys it was all over months ago when President Obama said some really stupid sh*t he just can't back down from now.

It must, however, be noted - even if full on squads of professional paid fighters were proven, now - it does nothing to support the earlier, and criminal, disinformation campaign. Someone first seeded the lie of foreign fighters brought in by the third full day of protests, Feb. 18. As expert Issaka Souare told Voice of America on March 1 "The reason why I doubt the thesis is that we started hearing these claims just the third day of the revolt, and I would imagine it would take some time before you really can go and have recourse to these mercenaries, unless you are foreseeing that your own army is not going to be loyal to you."

For this and other reasons as well, the malicious meme was unlikely and apparently untrue. And yet it was widely accepted as self-evident, and acted on with impunity by the vilest sectors of Libyan society. It took its toll on probably several hundreds of black men killed, hundreds more assaulted, captured, and quietly released, and tens or hundreds of thousands sent fleeing to Europe, to the desert, or to the bottom of the sea just to get away from a place they were working peacefully in not long ago.

The effect on Libya itself of this mercenary mania will linger like a festering scar for a long while. Don't take this new rebel spin bomb as any sort of justification.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Video Study: Benghazi Hardhat "Mercenaries"

July 11/12, 2011

Hard-Hat Mercs Deployed
In the early days of the Libyan uprising and civil war, ABC News passed on a rumor from an anonymous Benghazi "doctor."
Moammar Gadhafi is using foreign mercenaries from Africa who don't speak Arabic, as a private army to protect his regime and they have shown no hesitancy to fire on civilian protesters, witnesses have said.

A doctor in Benghazi told ABC News several foreign mercenaries were captured by Libyan police who have sided with the protesters. [...] "They know one thing: to kill whose in front of them. Nothing else. They're killing people in cold blood."
He explained how, wherever they came from, these thugs could be known by their "yellow hats," or as we'll see, construction helmets. But in a city and nation obviously awash in pocket camera to internet technology, We have only a few recordings of these killing machines, only a few said to show their violence in action, and none I know of that captured a single death or obvious injury by their hands. What we see instead are things like this:

Mercenaries Deployed in Benghazi Libya today 18.02.11
Posted February 18, 2011 by "Leakspinner."
This video is reported to show mercenary deployment in Benghazni Libya. The individuals in the Yellow hats are reported to be paid thugs employed by the regime to crush the growing demonstrations.

These look like an impromptu, deputized, adjunct security force to deal with the crisis. They do not seem like simple peaceful protesters, but more an answer to the harder edge of the early uprising. They carry their clubs, run and shout, and seem to pick up rocks for hurling. The hard-hats, not universally worn, suggest they expect some of the same from the riled youths. One would presume these deputies were local Libyans, and/or foreign workers already at hand. Most of them look like light-skinned Arabs, and they seem to give and respond to commands in Arabic.

R. Breki Goheda's video, part one at about 4:25 (below), shows yellow hardhat protesters, mostly Arab in appearance, counter-demonstrating in Benghazi. They are pumping their fists and looking stern. Are these mercs, or what? Again, why are so few of them black-skinned if they are what the rebels say? What language are they chanting in?

The Main Video
Then the famous video said to prove mercenary brutality against the people of Benghazi, looked at more closely below. The exact date is unclear - no newer than Feb. 21 by the postings I can find, one posting (see below) gives Feb. 17, but I suspect it was the 19th or 20th. Benghazi had fallen by the end of the 20th, and I suspect all the hard-hats were killed or had fled by about then. Although this might show part of a retreat on the 21st even.
Benghazi - Mercenaries in Yellow Hats ! Libya 2 21 2011
Posted Feb. 25 by "DougandDonna7."

I’d say it was the worst camera work imaginable, bobbing around for no reason, making things confusing. But the guy running the iThing in front of our view is worse yet – waving it around like crazy, blocking our own view of this purported atrocity. Why would you do this unless you were trying to confuse people?

The maniacal shrieking is also problematic, conspiring with the unclear view to conjure up the illusion, in those gullible Western masses, of urgent massacre. Slowed down the women are less annoying, and sound like primates in a zoo. But they throw pink plastic dustpans - two of them (paused) - instead of their poop.

The video in question is most widely re-posted (as it is here) as "Horrifying video from Libya mercenaries in Benghazi entering homes & shooting people." Another posting gives the date Feb 17, and added this impassioned comment:
HELP ANYONE PLEASE !!! Mercenaries with yellow hats in the street Shamsa - Benghazi, Libya .. On Thursday, February 17 at noon Libya massacre revolution resistance Fighters Zintan Protest Mesrata Benghazi Gaddafi Revolution [...long string of words...]
It's a little late now, but I'm glad to be of help. Here's my version, trying to make more sense of it rather than less:

What I did to the video is layer it with a still of the full scene, adjust the center constantly so things stay in about the same spot, with only the view meandering. It's tedious but calming to do, and a useful effect. I also slowed it down, to 50% or less, added the door marker, still frames and labels, and a compound blur that makes it look smoother without losing useful details.

First, on "entering homes & shooting people," there's no shooting and no guns at all that I can discern in this video. Second, at the lower right corner is a set of three green doors on a certain building - the "home" eventually entered. This is roughly the Libyan government's shade of green, suggesting this is a government facility of some kind. The nearest door, half-obscured by a light pole, is less clearly green, but important, marked with the arrow here - it's what the "mercenaries" finally enter by. Before that they seem to be guarding it more than anything.

Put broadly there are two areas of this narrow Benghazi street as seen - one in the distance dominated by perhaps 150 or more protesters, and the foreground held by guards clustered around the green doors. Some of these wear the famous yellow hard-hats (to protect from rocks one presumes), and brandishing heavy sticks. The one at lower left looks black, and fairly beefy. Others look more like police, and one has a clear riot shield. Another hurls something (back?) in the opposite direction - apparently towards a second front with more protesters, and likely more security men, that we can't see.

The two fronts we see remain static, aside from two persons of interest who run from the protester area into the security zone. I'm not entirely sure if any of them are protesters launching themselves into arrest, or "mercenaries" who lost their helmets running back to safety. As the first one (holding a stick) runs in and disappears in their pixel zone, the black guy in the lower left moves as if to stop him, but then just lets it go and turns back to his station. Another guy in their team turns, pounds on the big door, and steps back. It doesn't seem to open.

Later on, another runner, more likely a protester, charges in from the crowd as one guy tries to block his path and another runs up on him. Our view isn't clear enough to be sure, but I think he's tackled to the ground and arrested. Another man runs in then at a strange, low angle, from another direction, too obvious to highlight here, and also merges with the group gravitating to that door. Only at the end does the door open with an audible clang. The pressed yellow helmets, and their detainees or comrades, start entering and the rest start moving that way.

It's only then that the alleged home invasion, the crime advertised, begins, just as the video cuts. If this was just the start of a massacre, with shooting we might hear, rather than the end of an awkward locked-outside-with-the-angry-mob moment, why stop recording?