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

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Gaddafi Burning Soldiers Alive: Really?

August 29, 2011
last edits Oct. 13

Suddenly Relevant
A recent turn of the news has spurred me to finally finish this long-neglected draft post. At least fifty-three more people have been found killed in the expanding Tripoli massacres, burnt to literally skeletal remains. These were found, still smoldering, on August 26 or 27 (accounts vary) in a warehouse next to the base of the demonized Khamis brigade, long reported to engage in serious crimes against humanity. Thus the crime is blamed saqurely, by location and by several self-described escapees of the massacre, as committed by the Gaddafi regime against those in the uprising.

The incident remains, in this researcher's mind, extremely questonable. I will wait until I've reviewed the evidence closer to to see if it still seems that way then. Most who hear these reports will, however, just presume it's all the truth, and not possibly made up by the rebel forces or the suspiciously numerous but relatively consistent eyewitnesses.

The temptation to just believe is understandable. After all, this heinous cinderization of families, freedom-seekers, and a few soldiers who wanted to defect, matches a previously "known" pattern: Gaddafi troops charring people like this, especially the mutinous military folk, in moments of extreme peril. Just before or maybe just after rebel fighters overwhelm some notorious government positions and kill them or send them running, Gaddafi's thugs allegedly often make a decision to burn the hell out of someone noble who's simply standing up for what's right.

This previous pattern is something I've somehow managed to gloss over almost completely, even at the epic Rebel Atrocity Videos. I've been meaning to fix that and note the alleged burning, alive, of government soldiers, by the government, along with my suspicions that something else was going on there.

As the claims stood back in February, this extreme death was usually ordered for those heroic soldiers who refused to attack protesters as ordered. However, this same motive was claimed for a certain 22 soldiers (among 130 total!), bound and executed by gunshots to the head in or around al Baida. They wouldn't shoot protester, so their officers shot them, before just disappearing themselves.

And in the case of the al-Baida massacre, the rebel claim falls apart on scrutiny. A separate video (posted by rebels, later pulled, and in-between found and shown by Libyan TV) shows at least one of the men killed, among nine men with several possible matches with the heroic dead, still alive and being sentenced to die by their captors - bearded, civilian, "protesters," clearly. Their crime was pronounced as daring to shoot back as the terrorists attacked their position, which they had a right to do, "to defend themselves." (The bodies of these heroic martyrs, by the way, were cursed by rebel viewers the following day as dogs who deserved their fate. Odd considering what they told the outside world.)

So if the victim is charred to a crisp, is the same rebel story of who killed them and why any more credible?

For starters, the rebels/"protesters" were the known fire bugs in these early days, destroying police stations with fire in many cities, as early as February 15. Three internal security stations in Benghazi alone were reportedly burnt on the 16th, in raids that led to some of the first, low-key "protester" deaths there.

Secondly, burning of bodies made mostly of water is not the most efficient way to ensure the death of mutineers. Here is one video of a "protester" attempt, on a man already killed, that failed. It is however a conveniently cruel method, and would help to demonize oneself, if that was one's bag. Perhaps that facts explains why the rebels, so intent on demonizing their enemy, decided to do these barbecue attacks, as well as educating the world on what really happened.

I believe there are multiple videos of different instances of "soldiers burned alive" in the uprising's first couple of days. But for now I'll focus on this widely-seen one, from the Benghazi front, posted February 21 (video is below). A "news" article from the next day referred to this find and gave the following, indirectly useful, information:
Five charred bodies were found Monday in military barracks in Benghazi, the second-largest city in Libya and a stronghold of anti-Gaddafi protesters. According to one of our Observers, the bodies were those of soldiers savagely massacred for refusing orders to fire against Libyan civilians protesting in the African nation.

Government-run Jamahiriya News Agency (JANA) reported last week that the Al-Fudhail bin Omar base, home of the barracks where the bodies were found, was an important target of anti-Gaddafi protests.

Benghazi fell to protesters on February 18. Two days later, demonstrators headed to the military compound to demolish the building they regarded as a symbol of Gaddafi’s authoritarian rule. JANA reported that the building had been pillaged by "rioters" but did not mention that the bodies of five burned soldiers had been found.
Actually, Benghazi didn't fall in a meaningful way until the 20th, when the sprawling, walled-in barracks in the center of the city, sometimes called the Katiba, finally fell after days of "protester" attacks. It was a major symbol indeed, and much-hated, and indeed the same base where these bodies were found. A UN report (advance unedited version, PDF link) mentioned "incidents of protestors being injured by government forces were reported in Benghazi (in front of Al-Fadhil bin Omar Katiba) [...] on February 18." That's exactly where "protesters" were killed that day and others - right next to the military base, if not exclusively than overwhelmingly.

On February 20 the armed attacks on the Katiba's walls, ongoing daily since the 17th, took a drastic turn. They were decisively breached, and an uncounted number, probably scores at least, of government soldiers were killed within the compound, with at least one beheaded by the enraged masses. A "heroic" suicide bomber, Mahdi Ziu, had let them in. The armory was freely looted for tanks and other heavy weapon to carry out better attacks in other cities. The remaining Katiba soldiers, hundreds of them, were forced to take refuge in various buildings. Several buildings were torched by the rebels, and left gutted and smoke-stained, as later video shows. Only Interior Minister Abdel Fateh Younis was able to arrange the safe departure of those remaining, as part of his defection deal the night of the 20th.

More Martyrs on Display
Anyway, here is the video filmed in some Benghazi barracks the following day, of these exactly five carbonized soldiers:

And there's another video around of clearer resolution, posted as "people of libya is burning." This one reveals enough detail to see that one of the victims at least is missing his head (see image below).

User Ibnomar, who posted the first one, explained there:
Footage of burned soldiers Gaddafi had killed because they would not commit the brutality commanded to them

By the heaven, holding the big stars (1) And by the Promised Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection); [yadda yadda]
In reality, when you see anything like this, consider it more than likely another rebel atrocity. If the above narrative alone doesn't do it for you, here's more food for thought.

The Real Victims - Martyrs for What?
A reader first tipped me off a while back to see the UN Human Rights Council report on abuses, on both sides, in the early civil war period. [PDF link, accompanying press release] Among their findings was endemic abuse of black Africans, men and women, and especially those from Chad. One of the more shocking which they found credible enough to pass on was this:
4. Violations committed by opposition groups. The Commission received several accounts of attacks on migrant workers carried out by armed opposition groups. […] Another case reported to the Commission related to the extra-judicial killing of five Chadian nationals who had been arrested on the basis of their nationality, and taken to the military barracks in Benghazi. Dozens of armed persons either in military style or civilian clothing were said to have poured kerosene on their bodies and burned them to death on 21 February. 
Hey, isn't that the same exact day this video was shown? Is this video of "Gaddafi crimes" in reality corroboration of this horrific rebel war crime? (Or is it a "protest" crime? Is there a tribunal for that?) Often the black-skinned dead are proudly shown on video, signs of horrific torture and all, and called African mercenaries (which they were not). But there's a whole different potency in calling the skeletons, race and clothing indeterminate, brave government soldiers, like those in al Baida, killed for their heroic stand "with the people."

Maybe the rabbles at the Katiba were left, by Younes' bargain, with less real soldiers to slaughter and play PR games with than they had hoped for. So they had to go snag five Chadian workers, arresting them as "mercenaries." But once they'd been burned alive, they were good, presumably Arab, soldiers to look up to, and just found that way in the base that had just been held by the wicked government.

Stopping Bloodbaths?
Thank God the West intervened to stop this kind of regime brutality. And now the "Freedom Fighters" are discovering dozens of even more charred bodies in Tripoli itself, in areas that had just been held by the wicked government. And again, they have the explanation all ready for us. Again, a horrific blood bath was occurring there just before the FFs pulled in. They saved countless other lives, but a little too late to save at least 400 regime victims reported to date across the holdout neighborhoods of Tripoli.

And in this case, they were just barely too late - the video of the remains show them still smoldering. 

Be skeptical here folk, hard as I know that's going to get. The moral stakes are very high, and the greatest powers in the world are intent on seeming to have backed the good guys who really are stopping slaughters, not initiating and fobbing them off. 

Update Sept. 6: I've got a video for this now.

Update Sept. 7: And a line from Clive Baldwin from Human Rights Watch, via Sky News, about his look at the scene of August's massacre:
[Baldwin] said the scene was similar to other ones he had witnessed. The warehouse was apparently used to execute people who refused to kill civilians. He said it appeared that pro-Gaddafi forces had shot detainees in the last few days before rebel fighters entered Tripoli. "We have also seen people in military uniforms," he said. "This is similar to March when we had evidence of members of the Libyan army refusing orders and being killed.
Yes indeed, it's quite similar, but that shouldn't cloud our vision of the facts on the ground. Just because it was clearly rebels burning innocent black men alive the first time doesn't necessarily mean the same thing happened here. By "March," I presume he's going by memory that he wrote about Gaddafi's crimes against humanity on March 1, holding this news in mind at the time, though it didn't seem he mentioned it there.


  1. The possible connection between the video and the UNHCR report is realy a good point. That's impressive, well done.

  2. We have "Antinazi hippy" to thank for bringing it to my attention. I was floored when I finally double-checked the details. Glad you agree - the pseudo-skeptics at the JREF so far act completely unimpressed.
    I've wasted too much time there, but it's good practice for sizing up the cognitive dissonance of the masses.

  3. I saw an other copy with higher resolution of the five burned guys in al-Baida. Just for completeness, it probbly don't give any further information.

  4. That's great resolution. We can see the bubbles and more detail. It might add something.One seems to have a missing head, another has his head bent sharply back (face against a wall?) and another we see his butt. Doesn't add or change anything for the basic story. Good comments there now.

  5. There is a YouTube video of a CNN report , uploaded 26 Feb where Dominic Waghorn finds an alleged defected soldier who said that Gaddafi soldiers who refused to fire on protesters were burnt alive with petrol. Allegedly.

  6. Updates needed at this post... at least two claims of this policy at the Katiba, both following this. See also Mercenary myths: A confession in Benghazi. Burned alive with petrol, by Afro-mercs, if they refused to shoot people. Over 100 protesters killed on the 19th alone, 40 officers burned (IIRC), says a desperate captive. Allegedly.

  7. Here is a high definition 720p video of the five – or more likely six – bodies, uploaded by love8libya on May 2, 2011


  8. Here are two videos with burnt bodies in Benghazi. The first one shows a fire being extinguished at a military compound in Benghazi. The charred body of a soldier is placed on a distinctive blanket.

    The same blanket and body appear in the second video at the morgue of the Benghazi hospital. The solder is put into a green body bag along with about 20 other burnt bodies.

    We also see the body of a suicide bomber. Maybe you could start a masterlist for the Benghazi morgue and all the Feb 17 bodies in Benghazi.

    سقوط كتيبة الفضيل بوعمر بنغازي
    (The fall of the battalion holy Buamr Benghazi.3gp)
    Uploaded by nadirnabous on Mar 12, 2011

    بعض ما حصل في كتيبة الفضيل أثناء الهجوم عليها
    (Some of what happened in the battalion during the attack upon the holy)
    Uploaded by 4libyafreedom on Mar 2, 2011

  9. The last video is one I just stumbled across myself - or the same set of bodies - and was about to link here.
    جرائم القذافى فى ليبيا 25
    [Crimes of Gaddafi in Libya 25]
    Uploaded by alfateh83 on Feb 26, 2011

    That there are six bodies, not five looks about right to me. That complicates the five Chadians connection, but only somewhat. I think there were a higher yet total number of charred corpses (19 pops to mind, forget why). You cite that one appearing in both videos-good catch. It's not one of the 5/6, is it?

    Franco (last name, Italian -Pagetti?) has photos of quite a few of these bodies in the morgue,bags open to show Gaddafi's cruelty.

    I think a morgue in the early days post would come in handy. The blown-up people deserve more scrutiny.I can see AA fire or some such, or suicide bombing, at work here.

  10. Here is one more video of the "five" Benghazi bodies. This one seems to originate directly form the camera phone. The timestamp is UTC 2011-02-20 12:17:58 – not February 21 as some of the other sources claim. (The date of the killing of the Chadians could be off as well.)

    نظام القذافي يحرق الشباب فى بنغازي بنار.mp4
    (Qaddafi regime burn with fire youth in Benghazi.)
    Uploaded by Kadekke6 on Feb 21, 2011

  11. This came up quite unexpectedly on Wikipedia:

    Jamil Hussein controversy
    Quote: The Jamil Hussein Controversy was an instance where bloggers disputed the fact checking of the mainstream media. In an Associated Press (AP) article dated November 25, 2006, it was reported that "rampaging militiamen burned and blew up four mosques" in the Hurriya neighborhood of Baghdad and that six Sunnis had been dragged out of prayers and burned alive

    The original AP article is here:
    Shiite Militants Burn 6 Sunnis Alive After Friday Prayers, Iraq Police Say

    None of this is true. I even doubt whether Baghdad ha s neighborhood called Hurriya.

  12. @Petri:
    Associated Press reporters returned and found "more witnesses who described the attack in particular detail"; these new witnesses were all anonymous, AP stating that they feared persecution if identified.

    Reminds me a bit of the Khamis shed report...

  13. I noticed that the footage of the burnt bodies at Benghazi in February had already been pointed out to CNN's Cairo correspondent , Ivan Watson for broadcasting the same day, 21 February - upload by TorontoG20 Charred bodies in Libya . Watson says "according to YouTube it suggest that this was filmed as recently as Friday" [18 February,by inference....] in the Eastern City of Benghazi which has been out of the control of the central government since at least yesterday, since rebel demonstrators were evidently able to take control of Libya's second largest city..."

  14. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHt3oR5xAUg&feature=channel_video_title
    even their doctor is heavily involved in this barbaric behavior.

    How the 5 destroyed men could have died?

    -burned while locked in police station
    -burned while locked in police station
    Some died when protestors burned down the police station in which they locked them up and 15 were lynched in front of the courthouse in Bayda.[4][16]
    az debiya/ morgue filled/1.32 police station on fire

    The closest thing is the headquarter of the police department and I can smell the fire from here and see it from the roof.


    -killed by freedom fighters & after burned

    Video of Libya Army troops joining anti-Gaddafi protesters in Benghazi/knives 0.51?

    -killed by bombardments

    2.13 / 4.37 black bodies throath, neck cutted / not labeled, from Katiba is said
    8 bodies in bodybags?piled up ,this why can assume it aren't Arabs
    Arabs in white blankets, labeled

  15. Here is an important collection of 20 photographs from Eastern Libya from around February 20th to 24rd:
    Michael Graae Photography

    Contains Shahat Barracks, La Abraq Airport ("Lubrique"), and several photos of burnt barracks in Benghazi. Are these barracks related to the burnt bodies?

  16. Two days earlier, on 16 February, it was also reported that Islamist gunmen, with the help of a defecting army colonel, stormed an arms depot in Derna and seized 250 weapons and an assortment of 70 military vehicles. During the raid four soldiers were killed and 16 wounded.[15] By the end of 18 February, the only place that still housed a significant number of Gaddafi loyalists in Benghazi was the Katiba compound.

    all the clothes of killed brave army

  17. That sudden endorsement of the official Khamis shed narrative by Clive Baldwin is interesting. Baldwin is the Senior Legal Advisor for the Legal and Policy office at Human Rights Watch, where he has been working on issues of international law since 2007. I doubt very much he was in Tripoli at the time, yet Sky News reports him in a report filed at 05.45 on Sunday 28 August. So, he makes a call based on a fishy report by the sole HRW operative in Tripoli who hasn't even seen the shed,just spoken to a dodgy witness and Stuart Ramsay being led up the garden path by key perps Salim Rajub/Rajip/Al-Ferjani and Al-Hitri. He's based in London.@cliveabaldwin Pathetic.
    On 27 August, Baldwin tweets the HRW report Libya: Q&A on the Arrest and Surrender of the Three International Criminal Court Suspects dated 26 August. And so the the same day as the much publicised BBC World at One broadcast by Sidney Kwiram, we are fixing the evidence around the demand for the arrests..
    And on Sept 2, HRW rushes into the Sky News studio:
    Clive Baldwin ‏ @cliveabaldwin 2 Sep

    Will be discussing Libya on SkyNews at 1530.

  18. http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q62/chainsawmoth/Libyan%20Civil%20War/atrocity_13.jpg

    What became of our people after the Al Rajma explosion at an amunition store.

    1. Oh yes, the same photos of Feb 21 recycled for the explosion nearly two weeks later brought to us courtesy of "Nabbous TV"
      The report on the mysterious explosion [Black op?] of 4 Feb at the Rajma base in the Daily Telegraph is here: Libya: weapons depot blasts kill 19
      . [Interesting, reminded me of the Sirte oil tank fire]
      An AFP journalist who visited the hospital saw 11 bodies in the morgue, some of them horrifically disfigured and burned. The corpses were wrapped in blankets and lined up on the floor, as medics rushed to treat the wounded.

      [I don't see this explosion at Rajma or Al-Rajma referred to elsewhere in this blog]

      From elsewhere, multiply, on the web (original source unknown):
      Hospital official Nasser Tumi had earlier put the death toll at 12 with 26 wounded after witnesses reported twin simultaneous explosions at the Al-Rajma military base, southeast of Benghazi.

      An AFP journalist who visited the hospital saw 11 bodies in the morgue, some of them horrifically disfigured and burnt. The corpses were wrapped in blankets and lined up on the floor, as medics rushed to treat the wounded.

  19. From the blog of Reuters corresponent Angus MacSwan. March 20 2011:
    At least 24 bodies of fighters and civilians, many burnt beyond recognition, lay in the morgue of Benghazi’s main hospital on Sunday.

    The hospital’s wards were filled with men, women and children wounded in Saturday’s assault by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces on the rebels’ eastern stronghold.

    One doctor, Ibrahim Beheih, said that by Saturday night 32 deaths had been recorded in the hospital and 66 wounded.

    “It is important for the world to see this. We have been busy since yesterday morning, we have many casualties, many dead, many waiting for surgery,” he said.

    A Reuters correspondent counted 24 bodies in the morgue but more may have been stored in refrigeration units. In three body bags were charred lumps that had once been people.

    In one room lay eight bodies of Gaddafi’s fighters. Morgue attendants said three were mercenaries from Chad or Niger.

  20. A new HQ video was published yesterday showing 'AfroMerc' bodies at the Benghazi morgue:

    يعرض لاول مرة مرتزقة القذافي داخل مستشفي الجلاء بنغازي بداية الثورة
    (Presents for the first time Gaddafi mercenaries Jalaa Hospital in Benghazi beginning of the revolution)
    Published on Sep 11, 2012 by karim ben zablih

    From the same channel, this video shows the courthouse burning on February 16th:

    بنغازي الشرارة الاولي للثورة المباركة 16 2 2011
    (Benghazi, the first spark of the revolution blessed 16 2 2011)
    Uploaded by karim ben zablih on Sep 10, 2011

    1. @ petri nice find


      le Staff Medical de l'hopital eljalaa se manifeste en honorant les Martyrs de benghazi

      Uploaded by TemoinBenghazi on Feb 25, 2011

      as smb said on social media : one would not send a dog to libiyan dr

  21. Libya in crisis - Monday 21 February"We found 150 corpses burning and we believe they were the bodies of officers and soldiers who refused to follow orders to fire on the the people," a Libyan man who spent a number of years in the UK before five years ago to his home city said

    the burned remains of the fadheel khateeb





    wednesday 16 February
    February 23rd, 2011 was a Wednesday



    Al jalaa hospital ?? bodies behind bars








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