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.

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?

1 comment:

  1. http://voices4libya.com/
    From the top of their impregnable barracks, Gaddafi’s ruthless murderers used anti-aircraft weapons to gun down unarmed kids.
    On the other side, it was an ordinary man, a supplies manager named Mahdi Zew, who spent three days burying kids’ bodies, then could stand it no longer.
    He brought down the wall of this fortress by driving a car packed with a couple of cylinders of cooking gas into a thunderstorm of Gaddafi machine-gun fire. He lost his life and his two daughters lost a father, but the Revolution was saved.

    I would like to add a description of Lindsey Hilsum: who says to have seen yellow hats shooting in Benghazi
    The crowd swelled, and the men in yellow hats began shooting.


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