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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The True Face of col. Gaddafi's Regime?

August 31, 2011
Update Sept. 15

Okay, the tortured maid of Hannibal Gaddafi's wife. I can see that. For a bit there I was. The video was shown by CNN, re-posted by LibyanM (Shabbab Libya's youtube account, I think - embedded below). The demonized regime we're crushing on all fronts, was by this looted home decadent, rich, had servant, possibly did some actual evil things here and there. Surely it's not ALL lies, right?

So this Somalian lady they just found, left there all alone by the fleeing family, locked in until rescued by the heroic FFs ... says she refused to beat their child, and was punished with boiling water all over her body, twice, most recently three months ago. She was denied medical treatment, and even had maggots on her head (gone now). But she's still alive and fairly well seeming, despite the still unhealed sores all over, missing hair, layered scalp dripping pus, etc.

She was also never paid, and now couldn't afford to even take herself to the hospital. That's strange, considering medical care was always free in Libya, I had thought. Then I look again at her and, like some commenters there, see it totally different. I can still go either way, but felt my doubts worth putting down. Below is my comment there, in case it doesn't stay:

I have to say, there's a case for this being fake as hell. The makeup would have to be pretty darn good, but that's doable. Her acting ... she doesn't wince in pain convincingly. She acts like someone with makeup on, I think. 
And the part about needing money for the hospital - even if she had the foresight to know of the NTC penchant for privatization, they JUST took over. Historically, medical care is free. Don't give her any money. She'll just spend it on makeup. 

In a bit more detail, I note the serious gore/makeup is only on her visible scalp, and a bit on her upper chest. Her pretty face is left unmarred by this ick, but does look burned at some point. And she's got dark splotches over the much of her body (arms and legs) that could almost be those mutant, all-over "birthmarks" some people have, or the simple layer of her makeup. Or all body scalding. Would like to see an expert's opinion.

But again, no strange movements from the rawness, no mental lethargy from the long captivity. Sepsis from prolonged neglect of her maggot-crawling scalp over the last three months might leave her racked with internal complications, weak or sickly yellow, something, but she seems feisty and chatty almost, like someone ready to go out to a Haloween party.

She does have the pleading eyes, which dart around to others, as if for confirmation she's doing well. But her acting is good enough otherwise that I can't call it acting on that alone.

"Is this the true face of col. Gaddafi's regime?" asks correspondent Dan Rivers, who I hope feels like Alice in Wonderland these days. If the allegations of this lady are true, then I apologize for doubting, and I'd have to answer no. This was its truest and purest face, smashed to bits now. This story, if true, is an aspect, a clue of something, perhaps even of some family-centric state brutality that's always trumpeted but often turns to dust on inspection.

But if my doubts are more correct, we might in fact be looking into the same fake as hell face of the brutal regime we've been sold for decades on end now, and just non-stop the last week or two.

Update Sept. 15: The nanny, Shweyga Mullah, 30, has been flown to Malta for treatment of this possible effectsjob. The PM Gonzi has taken a personalinterest, the defense minister is with her, she's got lawyers and is seeking assylum and damages, I hear.We'll see if this pans out orfizzles away like Iman al Obeidi's did.

@You Wanna go, CNN Man?

August 31, 2011

Tweeted by: @LibyaHurrahFeb17shabbab
to: @NTCMusta

Re: Alex Thomson, Dan Rivers, etc. FFs are request keep these pussie journos away our fighting. They start ask too many questions.

Yes, it's a fake tweet. That's why it's not even formatted right, so don't go calling me deceptive. But I'm sure the thought's been around. "You doubting us? Gaddafi used to doubt us. Yeah, these mercenaries been doubtin' us. You wanna go?"

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"The Qala'a Massacre" {masterlist}

Or More Accurately: The Qawalish Tree Farm Massacre
August 9, 2011

last update Sept 19

Note Aug 16: I just changed the title, only by adding quote marks and a by-line. The Qala'a massacre is the name I chose for this slaughter of 30-34 civilians, but also the name chosen by Shabbab Libya the same day when asking for a probe. As shown below, however, it's located much closer to Qawalish, the significance of which is accidentally explained up front. Thus I quote them on the more famous "official" title of what I'll otherwise call the Qawalish tree farm massacre.

Note August 20: I've moved the original discussion to its own dedicated post, for reference only. This post will eventually summarize the findings of this investigation and provide links to the sub-posts that cover certain aspects.

The links so far for the Qawalish tree farm massacre,
one of the most underreported war crimes of the Libyan war:

Video Postings and Posters - information on the different versions of the single video we have so far, most citing it as another Gaddafi massacre. Patterns of information management, damage control, unlikely claims of familial knowledge, and possible conspiracy emerge.

The Victims - 34 people cut off from life, all - or most - clearly civilian. Here I give each a number and a scan for clues. Who were they and who killed them? Why are so many local villagers black and dressed in sporty "mercenary"clothes? And why do some wear army fatigues?

Mass Grave Locale - A fascinating confusion of names (al-Mal'ab, Almliab, Alumblyab), satellite imagery, desert and tree farms, Gaddafi forces previously reported hiding in one possible match, not in the other. Again, rebel sources aren't helping sort this out. Only this blog and one intrepid reader (so far) are.

The Victims, Exhumed - A great update on the September recovery and supposed identification of the victims, buried in as positioned on video, and then dug back out. The location is still vague, but about where I have been saying. There's lots of talk of just how and where Gaddafi's guys did it - they had mercenaries with tribal scars, and lots of people witnessed lots of things at that "scouts base." The coffins are displayed,one too many, with all the black victims apparently left unidentified. Hmmm...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Libyan "Protesters," Redux

August 28, 2011

They're civilians running and shooting in the air for no apparent reason, and shouting Allahu Akbar to give them courage. They are congregating in the low dozens and have a truck with a heavy gun on it. But this time it's loyalists fighting NATO's foot soldiers and their "popular uprising. Civilians, volunteer, patriotic, likely slaughtered already, the "civilized world" dearly hopes. Why can't these people just surrender? The people have already won!

Source: Tripoli - Abu Salim - Today, 26 August 2011, heroic volunteers fight the "rebels" Posted by InomineX, August 26.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Tripoli Massacres {masterlist}

August 26, 2011
last edits April 24, 2012

Note, September 28: This post addresses massacres more than likely from late August and after, in the battle of Tripoli, that may have been carried out by rebel forces despitebeing blamed generally on "Gaddafi's men." It does NOT cover the field of animal bones near Abu Salim prison "thought" to be the mass grave for 1,270 prisoners allegedly killed there in 1996. That's instead covered here.

Intro Dec. 22: This from Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch sums it up nicely.
“The evidence we have been able to gather so far strongly suggests that Gaddafi government forces went on a spate of arbitrary killing as Tripoli was falling.”[HRW release]
The cartoon villains had wanted to unfurl their evil plans to kill all more slowly, but as freedom drew near, they had to kill as many as they could quickly.Per HRW and most of the world, it was a last chance for barbarity, but it's all over now. In reality, it was the first chance for rebels to slaughter as they screeched into town. And unlike the cartoon villains, they got away with it and are now in charge, positioned to let any remaining evil work itself out at allleisure (so long as "sleeper cells of Gaddafi loyalists" can be blamed).

Snapshots of Freedom
There are a multitude of aspects to what's going on right now in Libya, Tripoli in particular - things I don't know well enough yet to speak on. But one aspect grabs my attention enough to start finding out about. A side-effect of the near-total liberation of the capitol is literally blood flowing in the streets from brutal mass killings. At least one journalist has captured some of the horror of it as armed butchers from one side or another massacre fighters and civilians alike in growing numbers all across the city. (thanks to Brian Souter for tipping me off to this story)

I start with one rather stark, and detailed, article by Hadeel al-Shalchi, AP, Aug 26:
Fight 'the rats,' Gadhafi urges as rebels push on
(Associated Press writer Rami al-Shaheibi in Benghazi and Donna Bryson in Cairo contributed to this report.)
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — The streets where rebel fighters bombarded snipers loyal to Moammar Gadhafi were strewn with bullet-ridden corpses from both sides Thursday. Streams of blood ran down the gutters and turned sewers red.

By sundown the rebels appeared to have won the battle for the Abu Salim neighborhood, next to Gadhafi's captured Tripoli compound [...] Outside his Bab al-Aziziya compound, which rebels captured Tuesday, there was another grim scene — one that suggested mass, execution-style killings of civilians.

About two dozen bodies — some with their hands bound by plastic ties and with bullet wounds to the head — lay scattered on grassy lots in an area where Gadhafi sympathizers had camped out for months.
Five or six bodies were in a tent erected on a roundabout that had served as a field clinic. One of the dead still had an IV in his arm, and another body was completely charred, its legs missing. The body of a doctor, in his green hospital gown, was found dumped in the canal.
Ms. al-Shalchi writes that "it was unclear who was responsible for the killings." It used to be clear to most that the exterminator col. Gaddafi was responsible for all such things. But after the rebels have been caught slaughtering their captives time and again, with greater frequency in this final push to the capitol, the credibility isn't there. Even in this extreme situation, where Gaddafi is again calling for a slaughter of "rats," and some are taking him up on it - it doesn't look good when hands-bound people in civilian clothes, and apparently Gaddafi supporters - wind up strewn across neighborhoods the rebels just took.

The "Freedom Fighters" will say - and are saying - the regime planted their own victims - those who "wanted to defect," perhaps - in the rebels' paths. The story also mentions that "on Thursday they announced that their leadership was moving into the capital." Wow, Mr. Abdel Jalil will be so giddy. It was just days ago that he predicted the fight for Tripoli would be "a bloodbath," one he hoped to celebrate, at the scene of the crime, by the feast of Eid (August 30 this year).

And finally, "Rebels say one of their key targets now is Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte," where stiff tribal resistance - that is, loyalist civilians, just as armed and civilian as the rebels but without an air force, are expected to put up a stiff fight. "I am appealing to the areas not yet liberated to join the revolution," an official told reporters in Benghazi. "There is no excuse for them not to join."

And, judging by the way things have gone in Misrata, Tawergha, Brega, Qawalish, Qawalish again, most of the Nafusah, az Zawiyah, Sabratha, etc., and now finally Tripoli, there's plenty at risk, as well as no damn excuse, for those people of Libya to refuse to surrender to this popular revolution

The good news - NATO's campaign to "avert a bloodbath in Benghazi" is finally bearing fruit.

Below is more on the Tripoli massacres of late August, probably September, and fall of 2011.

Identified Massacres
App. 24 victims: Slashing and Dumping at the Roundabout
Between the activists and the wounded in the medical tent, and about a dozen long-dead rotting black men, about 24 bodies were found August 25 on the grassy roundabout area just outside Gaddafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound.

This is the scene of the now-famous photos and video like the image at left. See the link for several sources considered for the clearest picture possible of what's up with these victims. (nothing totally amazing yet, but I can see why they stunk so bad.)

17 Out of 25 at Mitiga Hospital (added Dec. 22)
Al Jazeera English had a crew in Tripoli as well, but later, and they filmed 15 bodies in a morgue that's apparently under rebel control. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eTnEzQobBs Correspondent James Bays reported that there had been 17 bodies, but two were taken off by family.

As Petri Krohn notes with nice irony: "This much of what James Bays says is true: "political activists" ... "near the Gaddafi compound" ... "when the opposition fighters started to enter the compound" ... "they were killed." ... "injuries have the hallmarks of a mass execution."

A sub-masterlist is forthcoming, and one sub-post on imagery of the dead is up (above comment from there).

75-200: Abu Salim Trauma "Hospital"
(I go with the smaller number) This really upsetting report came in from Andrew Simmons for al Jazeera English. He should rightly be messed up for life from seeing the scene of Abu Salim trauma hospital, just south of Bab al Aziziya. I describe and analyze the report at the post Abu Salim Trauma "Hospital" or the summary Urgent Appeal: A Major, Unnoticed Rebel Abuse in Plain sight. This one is just frighteningly clear, gruesome, massive, and brazen. The victims were Government loyalists and primarily black men, patients killed in their beds, slit throats and missing heads, floors lacquered with blood, gunshot execution spatters in the halls, all staff "ran away" (like rats?), rebels saying they just found it that way. All the Western media did was show how hiorrible it was and smelled, let that fall naturally on Gaddafi, and walk away perplexed. Coverage and follow-up lasted one day.

And "more than 150" at Military Camps
Dec.22: Section finally removed - it mostly referred to the below, with some added confusion in thenext entry.

Fifty-three charred skeletons were just found August 28 in a shed/barn/farmhouse near the HQ of brigade 32, "Khamis brigade." It has up to 150 killed, by guards using hand grenades before fleeing to nowhere in particular. Thus, this must be the incident referred to above by Amnesty and by cmdr. Mlegta. But this time, it was a few miles southwest of the main slaughterhous around Bab al-Aziziya, behind the Yarmouk military base.

Several witnesses swear there were 120-150 or more prisoners stuffed in the shed when they were killed. But only 53 charred skeletons were there after the fire, suggesting to most of the witnesses there must be a mass grave nearby for the remaining victims. Watch for this number to grow. 

Another source noted of the several un-burnt bodies scattered outside the shed: "The bodies of three men covered in winter blankets and flies lay just outside, as a fourth eyeless corpse rapidly decomposed in the heat. One of them had his ankles bound with green rope." Eyes are being gouged out in Tripoli. Wonderful.

Later I looked into this and see at least 21 victims around the shed massacre site. All but a few are black men, and some suffered horrific violence.

Killings at Qasr Ben Ghashir
A second incident occurred at another makeshift prison run by the Khamis Brigade on Aug. 21, 22, and/or 24. In this case, 5-6 people were shot, with 3-6 being killed. 50-70 other prisoners simply walked away after letting themselves out of their cells. 

18 By the Dry Riverbed
More mostly black victims, some medical personnel, executed in a few spots, again, quite near Bab al-Aziziya. At least 13  of these are visible in various news footage and photographs.
Sub-set: Black Trash: Eight+ More in Ghargour
Eight of those 13 looked at separately. The burned dumpster they're stashed around hints at more victims here yet, perhaps cremated inside. 

Seven More at Bab al-Aziziyah
Piled up in a barren area, doused in oil(??) and partly burned. These may be a subset of the roughly two dozen bodies said to be found near the roundabout, which they were piled just north of.

At Least Two at the Internal Security Building
These execution victims were seen by Human Rights Watch on the 26th, in a closet beneath the stairs, and photographed in all their bloody glory.
On August 26, Human Rights Watch also examined two corpses that were still in place at the Al-Amal al-Akhdar Internal Security building in Gargur where the suspected execution of detainees took place.
This is the 25 that Mr. Swayi referredto.I'm hazy as to whether or not their bodies turned up and were identified as such, or if this was to explain some set of 25 of those we've seen scattered around the area.It seems only the two were found there. (Building location, perhaps a dedicated post, forthcoming).

Un-Placed Victims
Mysterious massacres at ambiguous locations, sometimes figured out.

Planted Bodies?
It looks like some of the victims, perhaps the last one mentioned above, and the blackAfricans at the roundabout, plus some others I've seen, had been dead some time. That could support regime authorship. Or ...

A Rebel Terrorist Maestro?
An "emir" of the terrorist Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Abdel Hakim Belhaj, is the man in charge of rebel military operations in the capitol. A look at what that could mean in connection with the massacres under examination.

A Witness-Faking Government Godfather to Solidify Cover-Stories
On shed massacre witness Dr. Rajub, who's actually Dr. al-Farjani, NTC head of matching certain identities to certain corpses nationwide. Look for his commission to find zero rebel atrocities, and every drop of blood shed by bad guys who then just disappeared...

Mass Graves
At Least 125: Mass Graves All Over
Around September 11 we started hearing mainstream media reports of roadside graves in and around Tripoli. BBC, 9/11:
The corpses of up to 20 people have been found in two roadside graves on the outskirts of Tripoli. Forensic experts are investigating the deaths, thought to have occurred last month. The graves are located just off the 11th June highway, in the Souk al-Jumua area to the east of the capital.

Separately, the charred remains of two bodies were uncovered on airport road in Tripoli.

The corpses were found near the oil tanks of a site known as the Hadba Project, a witness has told the BBC. Local residents in the area said the men were killed on the 22 August.
Local people said there were around 15 bodies buried at one grave site.

They were said to be mostly the remains of African mercenaries who had been fighting for Col Gaddafi.

A few hundred metres away, at a separate site, another four bodies had already been dug up.
Sept. 15: Mass graves discovered 'weekly' in Libya
Mass graves are being discovered every week in Libya, the international Red Cross said on Wednesday, noting that it has dealt with the remains of 125 people at 12 sites in and around Tripoli.

“As mass graves are being discovered on a weekly basis, the International Committee of the Red Cross is striving to bring answers to grief-stricken families of people who have gone missing and to ensure that any human remains uncovered are properly handled,” said the relief agency in a statement.

“The ICRC has helped to ensure that the remains of 125 people found at 12 different sites in and around Tripoli have been handled properly,” it added.
Sept 14: 13 mass graves found in Libya

“This week we dispatched two forensic experts to the field to support our colleagues already involved in the management of human remains,” said Carole Pittet, an ICRC staff member in Tripoli.

“The experts will also be advising the Libyan Red Crescent, local councils, health and religious authorities and other partners.”

The statement added the discovery is particularly important to preserve any available proof of identity when no family member has come forward to claim or identify a set of remains.
We learn they do not intend to gather evidence for possible crimes against humanity procedings, just wanting to do identification work. And that might be hampered by careless handling in the numerous ad-hoc exhumations occurring.
HRW, September 22: Halt Exhumations of Mass Graves
Forensic Experts Needed to Identify Remains, Secure Evidence
Exhumations began on many of the grave sites from the recent conflict as soon as they were located. Local authorities and groups typically conducted these exhumations without central coordination and at times without professional forensic assistance. The ICRC helped arrange the handling of 125 bodies from 12 different sites, but the organization is not involved in collecting evidence for possible use in legal proceedings. Where unplanned and unassisted exhumations have occurred, the opportunity to identify bodies and the circumstances of deaths may already be lost, Human Rights Watch said.
Translation: all graves of rebel victims should de dug back up and maybe burnt. They're giving the excuse they'll use why they called those ones inconclusive, thus presumably the old regime's doing.

8+ More Bodies Behind the Rixos
Another find published on September 28, in a wooded area (Tarabalus Zoo park?) near the Rixos hotel. Famous for hosting, allegedly by force at the end, the international press corps, the Rixos was oneof the last areas to remain in government hands before rebels violently took it as well. Shockingly, dead bodies were found there -surely the work of the regime that controlled the hotel until they didn't any more. Sky News reports
The National Transitional Council (NTC) say the latest site is being unearthed near the Rixos Hotel, where 37 foreign journalists were trapped by the Gaddafi government during the fall of Tripoli. A total of eight corpses have so far been uncovered although no evidence has yet been made available linking it to the previous regime.

The discovery was made after a soldier saw blood on the ground and what looked like broken limbs. The military spokesman for the armed forces of the NTC, Radwan Elbuzedi, says "the bloody behaviour is typical of the style of the Gaddafi government". It is thought the alleged victims died within the past five months and the NTC is speculating that they could be local civilians.
Hmm, broken branches and blood on the ground are unusual and eye-catching in Tripoli these days? They've been advised (on the 22nd) against hasty digs, which might destroy valuable clues as to who killed people and when. As I noted above, this warning might just spur rebels to dig up their own victims and provide the excuse for HRW and others to call them inconclusive. And here they are digging up a grave, just as the warning was repeated (on the 26th). Why are they so willing to throw away clues about the regime's "bloody behavior?"

"An Estimated 900" in Suburban Mass Graves
October 5, reports are made official of numerous graves in the Tripoli suburbs of Gargarish and Tajoura, totaling and estimated 900 bodies. 900. Many at least seem to be government soldiers, bound and executed, even tortured, gathered and buried in these mass graves. The NATO rat spokesman announcing this epic find called them "two mass graves of victims of the old regime." Onceagain, they'rehastily exhuming the sites to "identify" thevictims (or ruin the possibility of it perhaps).

1,000 in a Mass Grave on Airport Road?
New, April 22, 2012

An S.O.S.
The Tripoli-based Libya S.O.S. website has a different viewpoint from most of these other sources.
From Zawiya I herad that still people and even families are disappearing during the night, the same in Tripoli. Some remain disappread - others are found next day killed. It is a hidden repression and a hidden revenge to those who belived and still believe in the government.
The person running the site lives in Libya and supports the government. That site had bettter keep running.

Initial Conclusion, August
Investigations are called for. Seriously. Blood samples should be taken, forensic work on government vehicles and rebel ones, and the like - all science, all access. I don't trust what the BBC called "the existing Commission of Inquiry on Libya" that will naturally oversee an "inquiry."

These are terrible things happening, and I fear the world will simply not allow itself, at any cost, to blame this on anyone other than the crumbling regime. Someone has to take the blame, and how on Earth can our humanitarian intervention start to seem sane if we put the butchers of Abu Sallim and the rest on Tripoli's throne?

Do we have the courage to face up to the reality of the situation, whatever it may be? I fear not. I hope desperately to be proven wrong.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

So If They DIDN'T Capture Seif...

August 23, 2011
last edits Aug 25

Okay, so the rebels did NOT capture Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son and hier apparent to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The invasion of Tripoli, the claims to hold at least 4/5 of it, and the other triumphalist "we took Tripoli in a day, it's over in a week tops" pronouncements. It was reported as fact worldwide, and I was willing to go along, and dismiss the truth journalists there who denied the majority of it, even claiming victory, that the rebels had in fact been lured into a trap in Tripoli. Kooky Gaddafi useful idiot conpiracy theory, many would simply proclaim.

I'd have said probably so, and call it the "Trapoli" theory.

Countering it is of course the certainty that good-guys-win moment had emerged from rebel reports. The most solid resounding victory among these signs of the end, aside from unfurling a rebel flag at Green Square with surprising ease, was the capture of the younger Gaddafi, while his father was somewhere unknown, only speaking via an audio tape, in which he sounded "desperate." People were calling it - Dewey defeats Truman, finally.

I wondered just how they caught Seif so easily, or quickly, but the rebels swore it was so. Then the International Criminlal Court's clown of a chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, confirmed it. He asked that Seif be handed over for trial on human rights abuse charges, rather than killed or mutilated, as some rebels have openly promised to do, in understandable but improper revenge. I was waiting for him to appear at the hague, fingerless and railroaded and dead of some mystery ailment halfway through trial six years down the road.

Just a last hurrah? Perhaps. But it's a good one. 
But then the BBC met face-to-face with Mr. Gaddafi - as he drove up suddenly in a government armored truck to the still government-held Rixos hotel, which still housed and protected the international press corps there.
Matthew Price says Saif al-Islam arrived in an armoured vehicle looking buoyed up and confident, and when asked if his father was safe and in Tripoli, he shrugged off the question, saying: "Of course".
He said in fact the rebels had walked into a trap, and had their backbone broken. elsewhere, it's said he "seemed confident and full of adrenalin."

Lizzie Phelan, one of those truth journalists, speaks with Russia Today over footage from the Rixos, where many Libyans are cheering with him that "freedom" isn't final yet.

Tough talk, perhaps not all true, but clearly true enough to have spun the world around a bit and cheered me the **** back up! There's still hope for something other than total victory for the dark side. Please, don't squander it on more senseless defiance with nothing else. Many fronts, including the compromise and dialog one, can be managed by Libya's brilliant people (temporary partition anyone?). Wisdom still exists in there somewhere.

Also, people of Tripoli, to the extent what the government is saying is true, and you're all part of a trap to surround and swallow the rebels:
1) Can you make it a bit more obvious this is what you're doing?
2) Please respect international human rights standards, and humanely detain the rats, rather than slaughtering them in vengeance or disgust. This will help the world start to see things differently, to justify backing down "with honor", on the off-chance they still can be forced to back off.

A Double?
So, if Seif al-Islam was never captured, what happened with the claim he was arrested? Did the rebels just make it up? The motive is clear, but it seems dangerously short-sighted idea under normal circumstances. All he'd have to do is appear and say "uh, no, you must have me mixed up with someone else."

Perhaps they did. Here's what I imagine happened. They received a friendly tip, just as they rolled in almost, from a very high level defector or an easily taken captive. He told them just where Seif was hiding. They chase off the few wimpy guards, or they just surrender, or get killed, who knows. The man in the room passes the commander's visual ID, mannerisms and voice check, and cases it "that's him."

Webcam video to Moreno-Ocampo scores a confirmation, from what he knows of these things. The world hoots with triumph because it wants to, lets itself start envisioning the bright new future, oil prices finally fall, etc. Then, sometime before the re-appearance, the captive speaks up.

I need to tell you guys a great secret about my father. Okay, you listening close? You'll want to know this now. My father - his name is Farooq Iqbal. I'm his son, Ahmed. * I work for Saif Gaddafi, who is about to re-appear and laugh in your face.

You can do whatever you like with me - try and pass me off, show me to the world and admit you were fooled, kill me for fooling you and pretend you just made the story up, whatever. I'm prepared to die for the revolution, the Jamahiriya, just like the rest of Tripoli and many of those behind you that you think you conquered.

But we won't die. You will. I'm not the only tricky booby-trapped thing you've already run into in Tripoli. You shouldn't have done that.

* made-up, any similarity, disclaimer, yadda yadda

As a member of a forum I infrequent (and several media reports) suggested, he might've managed to escape from a real custody, and noted in part that "your decoy theory sounds fine for a film," but yadda yadda. As I mused in response:
He was in custody but then escaped. Hmmm.

It's certainly in the realm of possibility. He could trick the one guard he's left with into bending down so he can elbow him, knock the wind out of him, and knee him in the head unconscious. Then, cuffed to the chair, he could still twist around and grab the key to undo the cuffs, take the rebel's "uniform" (a lack of one is how you know which guys in tanks to NOT bomb), and his AK. By now he's got his own beard, can leave that.

Sunglasses, casual victory signs, shouting "Allahu Akbar!", shooting his gun in the air, he'd blend right in. Kick a negro for effect, and he's not just walking out but getting high-fives. Then hightail it for some government safehouse and go get yourself seen.

I could see this too, in another movie, competing with mine for viewers!

Misrata Rape Parties: Really?

August 17, 2011
last edits Aug 24

It seems the rebels recently made good on their promises to help Tawergha's people "liberate themselves," or alternately to leave en mass and/or be "purged" as "slaves, black-skin." It was the latter that came to be, it seems, but not as horrific as it might have been feared, from the little we've been able to see and learn (a separate post on this is coming). Misratans say they sleep easier with a threat removed, but the cost was high - admitting they could only free some cities "for the people" by clearing them of their people.

The main point of this post is one of the reasons they gave why they had to do this. Most prominently, and probably true, is the rebel accusation of government rocket attacks from Tawergha, killing innocents in their homes as well as combatants trying to overthrow the government. There was also the reported, and logical, action of Tawergha natives among the fighters they've had to deal with to keep their stolen city.

But among the most volatile charges, given what we know of the racism in the rebel ranks, is that the black-skinned inhabitants of Tawergha have been employed by the regime to go into Misrata and surrounding areas and rape their women in large numbers, and often by large numbers.

When you see that allegation repeated about, remember that it almost surely refers to the only known evidence, explained and analyzed below.

Rape Parties in Misrata
(This is the section I added on May 23 to the big post "Rape allegations ganging up on Gaddafi.")

New allegations from the BBC's Andrew Harding of mass rape come from two young black men captured in Misrata. They confess in some detail to being forced into a huge cue to rape some young rebel women.
Was there a systematic campaign of rape by forces loyal to Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi during the battle for Misrata?

Two young prisoners in a detention centre in the city tell me the answer is almost certainly "yes", and that they took part in the gang-rape of four women.

The men, aged 17 and 21, are sitting on a sofa - heads bowed - in the same filthy, bloodstained army fatigues they were captured in two weeks ago.

They are obviously nervous
, but speak clearly.

The authorities in this rebel-held city were reluctant to let us interview them, but finally agreed on condition we do not reveal the soldiers' names.

Before I go any further, let me acknowledge that it is clearly in the rebels' interest to portray Col Gaddafi's forces in the worst possible light.

It is also possible that the soldiers were coerced into telling us lies.

And there is a big difference between individual acts of violence committed during wartime and a systematic campaign to target civilians.
Indeed, on all three counts. However, Mr. Harding says "my impression was that the men were telling the truth," and he passes that on. In part:
"The mother was screaming and when we pointed the gun at her, she stopped screaming.

"Then we tied up the mother and father and their boys [three of them] by their feet and hands. Then we shot every one of them in the leg.
"There were four girls aged between about 20 and 24. They were conscious [during the rapes]. I raped one.

"The girls said nothing. They were tired and they were in bad shape because there were 20 officers before us. It happened in the morning, and lasted about an hour and a half. The officers brought in a music system and listened to pop music, and smoked and danced during the rapes.

"I'm not happy with what I did but I don't feel nervous or frightened now, and I want to emphasise that the officers forced us to rape.
Nice infidel behavior mixed in - again, the rebels and their Arab patrons want us to know the battle is between God and Gaddafi. Note the assertion of no nervousness when Harding said they were "obviously nervous." The last part is interesting: these black men (mercifully called "soldiers" and not "African mercenaries") did this on evil regime orders, not from their own wild African lusts. That allows them to use these guys as propaganda without having a lynch mob to appease or oppose. And it helps soften the rebel camp's previous, well-earned reputation for being horrible racists who use black men's lives like dirt to score cheap political points.

A few more bad signs, and I thanks Mr. Harding for gathering details with this report:
"They told us that if you rape any girls, we will give you money and we got 10 dinars [$8, £5] each afterwards.

"This was my first time to have sex. I have four sisters at home."

I asked the men if they knew of other instances of rape, and whether it happened often.

"I think it happened so many times. Most of the people who raped families here were from the special forces and we heard on the radio [their military radio system] that there were about 50 families that experienced rape."

The rebel authorities in Misrata say they believe there may be hundreds of victims, but so far no-one has made an official complaint. There are many possible reasons for this.
Dr. Fortia is quoted at length, and again, the social taboo against reporting rape is cited. [to add: I know of no taboo about having your sister raped while you were shot in the leg, and no one's reported that either]. Another obvious reason [for a lack of reports] is that these paid for, regime-forced, disco-dancing, smoking and probably drinking, bragged-about-on-the-radio, mass rape parties didn't actually happen.

A Professional Agrees
Only later did I see, prominently run in the UK Independent in late June, a confirmation of my suspicions from one of Amnesty International's top experts on the subject. She doesn't specify the case she cites is from Misrata, but it's clearly in reference to the same Tawergha kids cited by Mr. Harding.
...Donatella Rovera, senior crisis response adviser for Amnesty, who was in Libya for three months after the start of the uprising, says that "we have not found any evidence or a single victim of rape or a doctor who knew about somebody being raped".

She stresses this does not prove that mass rape did not occur but there is no evidence to show that it did. Liesel Gerntholtz, head of women's rights at Human Rights Watch, which also investigated the charge of mass rape, said: "We have not been able to find evidence."

In one instance two captured pro-Gaddafi soldiers presented to the international media by the rebels claimed their officers, and later themselves, had raped a family with four daughters. Ms Rovera says that when she and a colleague, both fluent in Arabic, interviewed the two detainees, one 17 years old and one 21, alone and in separate rooms, they changed their stories and gave differing accounts of what had happened. "They both said they had not participated in the rape and just heard about it," she said. "They told different stories about whether or not the girls' hands were tied, whether their parents were present and about how they were dressed."
In Misrata and nationwide, there is no evidence that Gaddafi ordered rape as weapon of war, but it's plainly evident the rebels used the allegation of rape in their information war. The racist and perhaps brutal aspects of the fall of Tawergha, among many other episodes over the last half a year in Libya, will sometimes show its deadly consequences.

From Both Sides
Also in June, a top UN investigator who'd just been to Libya finding facts dismissed the broad sweep of rape charges, if not each and every one, as the product of a "massive hysteria," M. Cherif Bassiouni, an Egyptian-born UN human rights investigator of high repute, panned the separate "Viagra" claims thusly:
"[rebel sources told me] we arrested or found bodies of people dead with Viagra pills and contraceptives on them. So we go over to Tripoli and we sit with 30 NGO’s and guess what the same story comes up. This time it’s the government people who are telling us you know what the opponents have a policy of rape and we have discovered that they are giving out contraceptives and Viagra pills and so I told them this is exactly what the other side told us and I communicated to both and I said what it is, at least my interpretation of it is, when the information spread out and the society felt so vulnerable it created a massive hysteria.”
The same both-sides hysteria comes across with Misrata rape parties. We've seen the rebel version, and as for the government's - well, it's worse yet. As I mentioned in passing at the post Rebel Atrocity Videos, the Libyan government, legitimate and beseiged as it is, implausibly claims rebels there have raped loyalist women in mass, mothers and daughters together, and slaughtered them, slicing off their breats, and having festive dinner parties with the trophies laid on the table (see here for the video and transcript of a confession). Is it alright if, like Bassioumi on the Viagra claims, I reject both versions of the Mirata rape party phenomenon?  

The only known basis for the claim of systematic rape of Misratans by Tawerghans was the two youths who swore they took part. But if their stories didn't match, were internally inconsistent, too convenient, too implausible, and possibly coerced, we can say there's a damn good chance they were just coerced.

This means someone was going out of their way to consciously create such a fiction against a city they already had reason to take out. Someone decided to fill the fighters' hearts with hateful images of black men raping their family before going into battle against them. Is it right, legal, or ethical to pump your fighters up in this way before "purging" a whole city? Might that not lead to abuses of the kind that seem to have happened in the shadows of the fall and purge of Tawergha?

And of course, via Mr. Harding and the credulous media at large, they sought to explain to the world - with this same fiction - why their final solution for their southern neighbors was justified.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Qawalish Tree Farm Massacre: The Victims

August 24, 2011
last updates September 19

This post in the Qawalish tree farm massacre series will analyze the victims this all about, and the crimes committed against them.

The Number of Dead: 34
First, I needed to settle the number of dead: 34 victims were given by the first postings. My first tentative count, from a low resolution copy, published Aug 9 was "exactly 30. It's not less than that, possibly a bit higher." Rebel support group Shabbab Libya said, the same day, the videos showed "more than thirty people." Until now I've been saying 30-34, but I finally re-did the count using the highest resolution copy, from Facebook (used for all images below). This final take gives me ... exactly 34 victims. Each is shown numbered, from south-to-north (left-to-right from initial camera view, I think), in the images below. That's one step forward.

General victim notes
I wouldn't be 100% sure myself, but those more knowledgeable of Arab dress have all said the victims are 100% male. They're mostly of fighting age, taken broadly (it's desperate times). The age range bottoms out around fifteen, possibly, tops out high - some say 85 (see last section below).

Nearly all of these 34 are in clear civilian clothes, barefooted, blindfolded, laid face down and bound, hands behind their backs. The material they're bound with seems to vary, most being invisible from the distance filmed, possibly wire. But some differ, and some are apparently unbound, as noted below.

Most of them show no obvious sign of the manner of their death. Compared to the gunshot executed victims of the al Baida massacre, there is little blood seen here, and no clearly exploded skulls. Some exceptions are noted, and to be fair, this soil is more absorbent, and the elapsed time since death longer, than the next-morning concrete of that rebel massacre.

Most of these are intact and look like they could just be asleep. But they are dead, and something tells me in most cases, they might've got that way by having their throats slit. Otherwise we have what, suffocation? Broken necks? The relative lack of blood suggests they were killed, by and large, at other locations, and their bodies brought here to be hidden until someone thought of a good way to explain the crime away before some pesky journalist or do-gooder found the mass grave and revealed it their own way.

There's an exceptional amount of trauma to the backs of pants, especially among the black men near the north end (#22, etc). Where behinds and thighs are visible through torn fabric, it suggests to me they were dragged by the wrists, alive or dead, for some distance. The tearing is often asymmetrical, maybe because they were dragged by one arm only for a while.

One victim at least (#1) has his pants tugged down partly, which might be significant. In Islamic culture, pulling down the pants is a way to humiliate the dead. Either side is capable of this, but it should be noted that one of the government soldiers dumped nearby (see the Qawalish water basin massacre), had been so de-pantsed by his killers, who were almost certainly from the rebel side. (another was beheaded). But these pants are not even half down, so that might be a stretch.

Whoever killed them, each of the bodies was once a person with a unique life story cut short. Each is worthy of respect and consideration at least, and for their death to be examined for the lessons that last sentence can give us.

Each Victim Considered
Unless otherwise noted, all victims are barefooted, laid face-down, hand bound behind, laid across the trench roughly east to west (facing away from Mecca) - that is, if the video was filmed in the morning. If it's sunset instead, then they're primarily facing the right way, with victims 1-27 generally in line with each other, and the remainder at various angles. If not specified, ethnicity is presumably Arab, Black, Amazigh, etc., or unsure.

The images below can be popped out in a new window for a larger, more detailed view.

#1 - A light skinned adult male, modern clothes in blue, pants partly down. He's laying face-up, apart from the others at an angle, apparently bound behind, blindfolded (a gray rag covering most of his face), mouth open as if gasping in pain. His top - a baggy, strangely fitted shirt or possibly some non-shirt covering - might be stained with blood, suggesting his throat may have been slit. The dense and dark body hair (abdomen and upper pubic) is clearer here than in the low resolution, where it might have looked like a sign of torture (burning?).

#2 - An old man, bearded, balding, tradional clothes - blue pants, off-white shirt, face-down, bound behind. His face looks very yellow, but this is probably just from being covered in dirt.

#3 - A large man, bearded, light-skinned Arab, traditional dress, dark blue in color, sandals on his feet. He lays face-down, apparently unbound, hands folded in front.

#4 - A boy, possibly 14 or 15 years old. Tradional clothing, barefoot, unbound apparently, face down. Unlike most, he has visible injuries - a sizable hole in the top of his head possibly consistent with a bullt exit wound, or a sharp tool entry wound. He was also possibly shot through the right foot.

#5 - A possible youth, age 17-21, modern clothes. Wearing sandals.

#6 - A possible youth, age 15-17, apparently black, modern dress.

#7 - Another grown man, apparently black, traditional dress, purple in color. He seems to be wearing sandals and thus, aside from race, seem to "fit"with victim #3 in some regards. 

#8 - A light-skinned victim in traditional dress, off-white in color. He's laid at an angle to the rest, lower in the trench. 

#9 - Traditional clothes, white top, light blue pants.  Apparently unbound.

#10 - Little can be told looking from the west. From behind, however, his hands and feet look fairly brown, sports pants with a stripe down the side. Likely a black man.

#11 - Traditional garb, apparently shot in the back of his right thigh at some point.

#12 - at an odd angle along the bottom of the trench. Bound behind, but arms at an awkward angle. Possible bag over head.

#13 - possibly black, by his hands and feet. His jacket is of a roughly military shade. 

#14 - Clearly black, a bit beefy, modern dress - blue pants, bright blue shirt. He lays perpendicular to the rest, laid on his back, knees bent, at the bottom of the trench.

#15 - Apparently black, traditional dress, purple pants and black top, bound with white rope, hairless legs (?), blindfolded with a white cloth.  Laid far up the slope from the rest but in line.

#16 - Possibly black, apparently traditional dress, all bright white. Seems to have a bag or stocking over his head.

#17 - A black man in modern dress - black pants, black sweater. White blindfold.

#18 - Black, modern dress - light striped shirt, black pants with running stripes down the side. He's laid at an angle to the rest, curled on his side, at the bottom of the trench, behind in the air, head in the dirt.

#19 - Possibly black, modern clothes - beige shirt, gray pants, bound with rope. He's apparently got a bag over his head - this is often done with head-shot victims, as with several at al Baida. No blood visible, however.

#20 - Light-skinned Arab man, long-sleeved checkered shirt, dingy gray blindfold. No sign of shooting visible, but his head is at an unnatural angle. Partially disconnected neck perhaps?

#21 - Modern clothes - black, hooded sweatshirt with white lettering, and sports pants.

#22 - A black man, white blindfold, modern clothes, face down but apparently unbound, right arm bent out. This victim seems to have been shot at the site, in the back of the head, staining the soil with his blood and perhaps collapsing his face.

#23 - Apparently Arab/caucasian, modern dress, formal-looking long-sleeved shirt. Also seems to have darkened soil around the face, and a chunk of white (skull?) visible, plus an apparent lack of facial structure leaving his head resting "too low," suggesting he too was shot right there.

#24 - Apparently black, and another head-shot victim, it seems. Light blue shirt, no blindfold.

#25 - Possibly black, dark blue shirt. Apparently wearing shoes or sandals.

#26 - Apparently black. Light blue or gray shirt, black pants, white blindfold.

#27 - A black man, somewhat beefy, modern clothes, blue striped shirt, black pants, badly torn on the right thigh.

#28 - Possibly black, modern clothes - light shirt, light blue pants. He's laid perpendicular to the rest, bound behind, face down.

#29 - Possibly an old man, slender, traditional clothes, a sort of cylindrical hat tipping off. He's laid at an angle, knees bent, on his side, bound in front or possibly unbound.

#30 - Traditional dress, possibly bald, apparently shot in the back of the head in this position - his face situated against 29's behind - judging by the apparent blood splatter there.

#31 - Is that Libyan army green fatigues? It might be a little too light for that. He's not barefoot, wearing either dark socks, or possibly some flimsy boots.

#32 - skinny, light-skinned adult male, entangled with 31.

#33 - Apparently an old man, white hair, white clothes, brilliant white. Blindfolded, bound behind, laid on his side, curled up.

#34 - Adult male, beefy, laid face-down, unbound or bound in the front. Wearing what looks like a green army jacket and blue pants. He's halfway covered with a thin foam mattress.

Extra Thoughts (more coming)
A number of interesting and perhaps helpful clues can be gleaned from the commonalities and differences of the victims. For example, that the (apparent, possible) black men - and there are quite a few - in modern dress are lumped together, the head-shot victims mostly in one spot, the young ones together, an old man near each end, capped by a man set apart at an odd angle, and so on. But a few interest me right off.

Are there soldiers in there? #31 and #34 at the north end, after the negroes, have clothing clues. And in that context, #32 between them has clothing that looks arguably military, of the under-clothes type, and then there's victim #13.

Why is there a mattress? I propose someone slept here at least one night to guard the stash, ready to rise and chase off anyone snapping twigs - or pictures - nearby. It was laid across this man #34 for some unclear reason. The guy at the odd angle on the other end is the one that could use some covering up, but that was rejected by the inhumane organizers of this slaughter and cover-up.

Something tells me this area is not "heavily mined," as Shabbab Libya said of the al-Mal'ab creek area 45 miles to the north.

More victim details alleged
All rebel sources agree these victims were at least primarily from Qala'a or around it, and some specify they were farmers, which matches the traditional clothing (shalwar kameez?) of some of them. Shabbab Libya was able to add this to their August 9 press release, "According to some sources, the men and boys were arrested by Gaddafi Regime troops on June the 2nd 2011." One wonders who their source was.

Algelawy2009, Youtube comment:
It is in Algalah [Qala'a] in the area called” Almlaeb” I am from Algalah and I know this area very well because i recognized the first face of the first body in the queue and it is my uncle and his name Emahmed Soliman and his son next to him and they kidnapped since 4 months ago and other people they recognized the some bodies by their clothes they are clear some of them are children as he say the photographer and all the family of these bodies think they are in the prison of Gadafi
See here for the findings about this forest "in Algalah." But within this tree farm by Algawalish, he says, were the very uncle and cousin of this brilliant internet warrior for freedom. What are the odds, huh? He has them kidnapped back in early April or so. I'm not quite buying it, even with the bad Engrish.

The latter victim, his young "cousin, "is likely the notable boy with the hole in his skull (#4), and his uncle perhaps #1, with his pants down. Or perhaps #2, the old man, who isn't the first seen, or next to the boy, but he is old. And a Youtube posting by Libyanm, which may be the channel of Shabbab Libya, added:
Families of these farmers are still being informed of their death. Investigations into the details of this horrific incident are still underway. It has been confirmed that one of the farmers was 85 years old.
It was probably confirmed by Algelawy2009, giving him power of confirmation of the shockingly young and the shockingly old among these victims, all known as simple peasant folk, but close relatives of a major internet freedom fighter. And who were the families being alerted when the bodies hadn't even been found or identified? Just one self-described member of Emahmed Soliman's clan?

In contrast, there's the information Libya S.O.S. attached to their posting of the video, with a source and credibility that's no more clear to me than the other side's:
Rebels crime in the Western Mountain at Al Qala'a area! They killed all the civilians from Almeshashia tribe who refused to join them!
Nonetheless, whatever this specific explanation is based on, something tells me it's closer to part of the truth than what the original posters claim.
Update Sept.19:

The bodies were buriedafter being filmed and have since been found and exhumed-34 of them, plus three others nearby. 27have been identified (perhaps accurately)as rebel sympathizers taken away by the regime. The rebel story is looking good finally, on paper. These details were toomuch to add here, and instead have their own post now.

A Legitimate Target.

Select Thoughts on the Majer Massacre
August 12/13, 2011
last update Aug 24

First, for those who don't know, Majer is a small city just south of Zlitan in Western Libya. Zlitan in turn was a major objective for the rebels between their stronghold of Misrata and the capitol, Tripoli, to the west. NATO bombardment of government, and other, positions in and around Zlitan paved the way for a rebel advance. As always, NATO was protecting (certain, militant) civilians (from not being in control of all Libya), but sometimes, as in Majer, they wound up killing (non-militarized) civilians in the process.

The people responsible still cannot confirm, nor do they have no evidence for, any of the following being true.

Dr. Moussa Ibrahim:

Reporters taken to mass funeral in Libyan town, nearby hospital, CNN, August 10
Libyan government officials said the mass funeral witnessed by foreign journalists Tuesday in the village of Majer accounted for a fraction of the people killed by a series of deadly airstrikes late Monday night.
"Eighty-five Libyan civilians, including 33 children, 20 men, 32 women and we're still counting, were massacred last night in an intensive air raid by NATO on the town of Majer," declared the spokesman for Moammar Gadhafi's besieged government, Musa Ibrahim.
It is impossible for CNN to confirm the extent of the casualties, and whether or not they were all civilian.
No. One at least - very graphic video - seems to be in military clothing. Another blown to small bits (worse yet) is a grown male, at any rate. The others...
In an e-mail to CNN, NATO confirmed that aircraft bombed targets south of Zlitan Monday night. But a spokesman for the military alliance denied targeting civilians.
"NATO had very clear intelligence demonstrating that former farm buildings were being used as a staging point for pro-Gadhafi forces to conduct attacks against the people of Libya," wrote a public affairs officer with NATO's Operation Unified Protector, on condition of anonymity. "We do not have evidence of civilian casualties at this stage, although military casualties, including mercenaries, are very likely owing to the nature of the target."
Here's the evidence. Mercenaries?

A girl, injured physically but she'll be fine. Emotionally ... she lost someone, possibly several someones.

This one's just dead. Before that, she was just a baby.

Definitely dead, definitely not full grown, not likely to be fake.

But hey, you can't make a fucking omelette without breaking a few eggs, huh? The only way to protect civilians is to get rid of Gaddafi, and if that requires "pressure" that means sometimes killing 33 children, 20 men, 32 women, well ... such is the high cost of the type of freedom we require them to have there. Did they mention some mercenaries might've been killed too? Again for emphasis, Mecenaries - that's code for Gaddafi's faltering, and we're almost done here - just like everyone said back in February.
Update Aug 17:
At a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty article about NATO's lack of evidence, a former Libyan with contacts deep inside assures us, in a comment beneath, that NATO is totally right and the government is totally lying, plus murdering:
by: namour from: tunisia
August 11, 2011 12:25
Reply Hi ... my family lives in majer area of zliten i cntacted my family and told me that all dead are ghadafi forces including his son KHAMIS who surely died in this strike NO CIVILIANS Affected , they brought kidnapped families from MISURATA and shot them with tanks and brought their bodies to the nato bombarded scene plus extra dead bodies and they have done cosmetic work on children bodies by burning them what i have said i am sure of because houses hit from the front not from above.
so NATO carry on and GOD PLESS NATO AND ALL NATO COUNTRIES who are participating in protecting this people.
again thanx NATO officers.
by the way allllll libyans know this fact.
So there it is. Carry on in good conscience. Yes, there were dead bodies there, but a real live Libyan has assured you the cartoon version of Libya and of NATO's war that you all have in your heads is true. And the only answer to that is more bombs, says this person with family in Zliten (not Majer) who all feel safe under NATO's bombing of that area, and probably fear nothing more than that it should stop. If it's bad, Gaddafi did it, and yay! We win with good guy power! Says an online account!
Update, Aug 24:
Amnesty International has called for an investigation, by NATO, of this alleged NATO war crime. Maybe once they can solace themselves with victory uninterrupted by the glaring fucking hypocricy of this war crime, they might then be willing to have a look, and admit some "errors."

A while back, on August 18, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) ran a thoughtful piece on this denied massacre.
Allegations of Libyan civilian deaths as a result of NATO bombing have often been covered in the corporate media as an opportunity to scoff at the Gadhafi regime's unconvincing propaganda (FAIR Blog, 6/9/11).

But dramatic new allegations that dozens of civilians were killed in Majer after NATO airstrikes on August 8 have been met with near-total media silence.
The bolded should be in quotes or something. Breaking the near silence, several articles are mentioned, including Reuters:
"There was no evidence of weapons at the farmhouses, but there were no bodies there, either. Nor was there blood."
No blood anywhere? Many bodies were charred and their blood cooked away. The third video below had pieces of human flesh being picked up lovingly by the wailing workers, with no blood visible or expected. One imagines the soldiers and "mercenaries" NATO thinks it killed, who just boiled a bit as they were blasted open like water balloons, would leave some blood around there somewhere. Civilians will do the same. Reuters was looking in the wrong spot.

FAIR notes how CNN did send correspondent Ivan Watson to cover the allegations. Despite earlier efforts to cast doubt on government claims, he conceded that in Majer anyways, "it does appear that at least some women and children were among those hurt in this deadly strike." The report also "included an interview with a Libyan who claimed that nine members of his family were killed in the attack, including his two-year old daughter," FAIR noted, as well as "a man who was burying his daughter." CNN opted to run this only on CNN international, largely bypassing domestic viewers and readers.

FAIR did take note of one other good article, from the BBC's Matthew Price, August 11, headlined "What really happened in Libya's Zlitan?" This said in part:
[NATO] confirmed it had hit the area, targeting four buildings and nine vehicles at the site between 23.33 on Monday and 02.34 on Tuesday.

The times for the strikes correspond with those given by people in the area.

Nato went on: "We monitored this military compound very carefully before striking."
"Our assessment, based on the level of destruction of the buildings, confirms the likelihood of military and mercenary casualties. The allegation of civilian casualties made by the Gaddafi regime was not corroborated by available factual information at the site."

Try telling that however to 15 year-old Salwa Jawoo. Her name was on some of the school books at the scene - I found her in Zliten hospital. Her face was scarred - she had a broken shoulder.
She said she was sitting outside her home when the first missile struck. It was the second one that injured her. "There was no military camp. We were just living there. Why did they attack us?" she asked. 
"My mother died, and my two sisters," she added, with a sigh. A tear ran down her cheek as she spoke. Her grief was genuine.
More video of the dead, the living and angered, and those on the verge. It's plenty graphic, several dead babies and children.

Monday, August 22, 2011

On The War in Tripoli

August 22, 2011

So it seems Tripoli is in flames at the moment, parts again pummeled by NATO bombs, parts now infested with their lynch mob foot soldiers for the first time in this sick little war. The header's main son, Seif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, is in custody, somehow, says the International Criminal Court (some sneaky betrayal, I presume, as opposed to great hunting skills). His father is said to have fled, and a majority of the city captured, reports are saying. The rebels have won a lightning war against this million-strong holdout behemoth, to believe the mainstream media accounts.

All this is, as usual, too much for me to keep up with, let alone investigate critically, so don't hang around here waiting for the latest. Please refer, for one, to Mathaba's running reportage:

One  piece of interest has a video interview with Mahdi Nazemroaya on alleged targeting of critical journalists who support the government against the attrocities and lies of NATO and its foot soldiers, increasingly being threatened and fired on by "terrorists."

Dr. Moussa Ibrahim August 21st Press Conference on NATO Massacre in Tripoli
Mainstream media are waging a Psychological War on People of Tripoli

Some of this - especially the last, and reports like it -  is striking me as, at best, whistling in the dark from the regime and its supporters inside Libya and abroad, encouraging lies to rally the people, claiming victory at the moment of defeat. Some more might be false propaganda, like the exaggerated GMMR attack claims, to cause doubt in the West.

And then, truth can be the most powerful propaganda at all times. As Mathaba put it, in the third link:
Mathaba analysts are predicting a victory for Muammar Qaddafi, because the NATO objective is to kill the symbolic hero of the Libyan revolution, who brought about one of the highest standards of living in the world, with a socialist and democratic government that is a model alternative to capitalism.

Unlike the bankrupt states of NATO -- the USA, Britain, France, and much of western Europe -- which are attacking Libya in a desperate grab for Africa's resources, Libya being the wealthiest nation, in Libya all medical, dental, housing, electricity are provided to citizens free of charge from the oil revenue.

In capitalist countries such as Australia, poverty is rampant, with mining and national resources going into the coffers of private conglomerates to the tune of trillions of dollars annually, instead of being shared among the population as is the case in the Libyan Jamahiriya system.

Wether or not we will collectively look back with shame on this coalition gang-rape of a nation that might help spark world war IV, well... we should.

Pro-Libyan propaganda aside, rebel/Western media campaigns to exaggerate gains and shake the enemy's resolve are nothing new, and surely in play especially at this crucial moment. Grave as the situation has become for the government and Libya's people, it's a big enough grave to possibly swallow the rebellion and still leave part of real Libya laying on top, at surface level, once the dirt is piled on.

The surface impression of this end-is-nigh, cue-the-fireworks news isn't likely true, at least in full, but the impression will help steel the public - again - for the inevitable realization of that dream, just around the corner now, surely... as has been said since February.

These latest chess moves, do recall, are actually happening - the world is okay with this - in the streets of Tripoli, a city of a million, that recently (July 7 IIRC) hosted about that many still showing their full support for the government. Contrary to claims, they were not all there because of a million family members held hostage.

Plus there was a comparable number in other cities, some even braving exposure behind then enemy lines, and all of them behind the potential enemy lines that would extend Libya's borders, as the West already pretends. In a nation of six million, after months of the West's clear messages, one third of Libya still said no. What's so amazingly different now, aside from the proximity of sheer, brute force?

When the Green revolution first came, it was bloodless. Next time, it won't be. Ruthless suppression will be tried, however. Drones will prowl, skirmishes will persist, corporations will push for stability but Libyans, the slow ones, will finally start catching on.

I told you guys not to do this. But you decided it was too late to turn back on about February 20 (or was it back in '90, or back in '69?).

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Feasting After A Bloodbath

August 20, 2011
last edits Oct. 22

Some interesting tweets lately - one claims the operation to take down Tripoli (or a related operation?) has already started (as of the 21st, the news was confirming that just hours after "taking" Az Zawiyah, they were starting into Tripoli's outskirts, and reporters heard gunfire there).

#libya --- operation "Fajr Al-3aroos" (Dawn of the Bride) has began -- Tripoli is known in Arabic as The Bride of the Mediterranean Sea
HafedAlGhwell 7 hours ago


Called some friends in #Tripoli, they're ecstatic. Haven't heard them this confident since Feb 20th. #Libya #Feb17Tripolitanian 8 hours ago

Good! Happy people is nice. Is everyone ecstatic?

Defect now before your head defects off your neck! #Libya #GaddafiCriminals
Tripolitanian 8 hours ago

They ain't joking either. Some of them do this. Right at the beginning, when protesters finally stormed the Katiba barracks in Benghazi following a suicide bomber attack on February 20, they lynched several soldiers, and beheaded at least one, the Guardian reported. It's not a head, but the nose was sliced off one soldier in Az Zintan the day before (video - note also the cheek and finger injury - obvious and barbaric torture against a described Chadian mercenary who, like the rest, was almost certainly not a foreign mercenary).

More than a month later, once order was restored by the rebel leadership, and even after they'd won recognition from NATO's air forces, we got to see another video if interest. It shows a rebel mob hacking the head off another probable loyalist soldier in front of what I hear is Benghazi's main courthouse. This was apparently sometime between March 28, when several black "mercenaries" were driven in from Bin Jawad, and early April, when the video of the public disassembly started appearing (that I noticed). [thanks to reader Scott S. for the timeline tip here - see comments below for more details] Whatever trial there was, this described Afro-merc was already dead, so the giant crowd watching in Benghazi's main square that night saw no ethical problems with cheering it on.

When they're in smaller groups with no crowd to soften their act for, you needn't even be called a mercenary to lose your head to the rebels, nor be black at all, nor already dead. Consider Mr. Hamza al-Gheit Fughi, a truck driver from the Warfalla clan, reportedly captured by hardcore Islamo-nihilists, allied with the rebels, in March. They filmed themselves slicing his head off slowly with a knife, right there up to the camera, throat-first, for supporting Gaddafi and refusing to defect to the side of "the people." It might take quite a bit more of that to cleanse Libya to the West's liking.

Now, not all rebels are like this - only the ones you'll want to guard your neck around. But these few are mobile, they can blend in with the general rabble, and they do likely fan out to sow terror in the cities that NATO has opened to them.

One final tweet, however, seeks to change all that. "Joanne" implored the "Freedom Fighters":
OFFICIAL #APPEAL TO ALL FF in liberated East #Libya + Misrata Brega Tawergha Gharyan #Sorman #Zawiya #Nafusa etc http://t.co/887EuCB #Libya
FromJoanne 2 days ago
All Libyans urged to adhere to international human rights and international humanitarian law
Lawyers for Justice in Libya

Gaddafi and the Libyan government and loyal patriotic soldiers with real Libyan families - and real Libyan families, for hat matter - get bombed relentlessly over cartoonish, transparent, fear-mongering rumors that could have been dispelled by the slightest examination. No examination was carried out.

In contrast, the rebels are occasionally pleaded with to please stop allegedly massacring people, which they're doing for real, in city after city, using weapons, silence, and other support provided by the West. People just wish they wouldn't embarrass us so openly and so frequently. It's getting harder to make excuses for this project.

Oh, and the wish the Freedom Fighters (FF) would hurry up. This "Arab Spring" euphoria thing is wearing thin...

But the rebels don't listen to the pleas of those like Joann because they don't have to and don't want to. The terror their legendary brutality is supposed to engender is clearly part of their strategy of war, an accelerant they need to follow the important request.

The people of Qawalish were hipped to their intent somehow, and sadly caved, all fleeing (or so we heard) before their early July "liberation" as if the Mongols were coming. The "freedom fighters" looted and burned homes, as expected. And they killed the soldiers who stayed behind, beheading at least one, and stashed at least six of their bodies outside town. And somehow 30-34 civilians wound up dead too, stashed down the road in a nearby tree farm. None were beheaded, but throat-slitting is the likely cause of death for most. All these and any other possible Qawalish slaughters are Gaddafi's work, the rebel conquerors said.

After months of complaining about indiscriminate shelling of Misrata, that killed about 90% adult males somehow, the rebels now brag of clearing Brega with their rockets and artillery, causing the people to flee so the city can be free. "We are actually surrounding the city and using our artillery to empty it," said rebel commander Fawzi Bukatif. Also, he promised his sponsors Brega's oil terminals would be flowing again soon, under the control of good guys you're allowed to do business with, and with none of those pesky loyal people of Libya and their silly nationalism getting in the way.

About a week ago the Misrata rebels at least partly purged black Tawergah by force, sending away much of the city's people, no return desired. Then they "found" at least 150 of these "slaves" dead, so far, in mass graves. Some had their throats slit, some with the killing filmed after being kidnapped, we're told. Details remain sketchy, but again, they assure us it was Gaddafi's work and that's why they need to advance and "liberate" other cities, up to and including Tripoli.

Be anti-Gaddafi in the extreme, make ending that one man and his rule your life's obsession. Deliver the news of victories, of cities "liberated" of Gaddafi's control (arguably, for a moment, final solution style, whatever). If you can keep that up, insurgents of Libya, you've got a free card to do it any way you like, all expenses paid, all absolution guaranteed.

What kind of behavior should be expected? The cocky, casual brutality, the sense of endless license, the sickening, spoiled-rotten inhumanity, runs right up the ranks to the top levels of their leadership. AFP just reported on the latest musings of the new would-be Libyan strongman, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil:
[R]ebel chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil [...] in an interview published in pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat [...] said the rebel campaign to cut off Tripoli was proceeding apace and that he feared a "veritable bloodbath" in a battle for the capital. "Kadhafi will not go quietly; he will go amid a catastrophe that will touch him and his family," he told the newspaper from his eastern bastion of Benghazi.
Ooh, doesn't everyone want to touch that guy and his family, and hard? Why would they "fear" that? Will this catastrophe of choice touch anyone else, we wonder, as NATO's foot soldiers push into a city of a million Gaddafi supporters? And only the timid are going to flee from there - there's nowhere left to flee, they don't want people fleeing. They want to see Muammar's guts, and cut off Seif's fingers. That would indeed be an epic and tragic massacre for all involved (on the ground), but it's one the West is anxious to begin soon, and one that Mr. Abdel Jalil "said he hoped to celebrate" in the capitol itself, by the feast of Eid al-Fitr - the end of August.

Nothing like feasting after a bloodbath, huh?


Update, late October: Did I call it or what? Once the rebels got there, blood ran in the streets, people were yanked from cars and killed, doctors and patients were offed, bodies appeared chopped up, blown, up, burnt, bound and shot, and of course beheaded, all over town. The rebels blame Gaddafi people for all of the Tripoli massacres, primarily of black men, but the worst one shows that wrong. Enter if you dare Abu Salim trauma hospital.