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.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Rebel Atrocity Videos

April 26 2011
last update: Nov. 10, 2011
and 12/2/2017 (replacing and adding images) 

The following post will discuss a disturbing trend among Libya's rebel fighters, revealed in videos they themselves recorded and shared on social media sites, especially Youtube and Facebook. These have persisted despite a general ban on violent and gory images, perhaps for the posters' stated aims of supporting the rebel cause and freedom. Consider the inset screen capture from a video of at least four dead government soldiers being driven around Misrata, chased and insulted by the crowd.

Almost universally, the victims of these crimes are called "mercenaries," usually (black) African, though it now seems that probably none of them were. Their very presence on videos labeled as that, however, went far towards convincing the world when it mattered most.

For moths these have remained, some in several postings watched thousands of times each. But more and more people started noticing that these showed grossly inhumane atrocities, and said so.  Consider these excerpts from an excellent article at "Pajamas Media."
While the International Criminal Court has announced that it is investigating charges of war crimes against Muammar al-Gaddafi and other members of the Libyan regime, harrowing video evidence has emerged that appears to show atrocities committed by anti-Gaddafi rebels. Among other things, the footage depicts summary executions, a prisoner being lynched, the desecration of corpses, and even a beheading. The targets of the most serious abuse are frequently black African prisoners. The ultimate source of the footage appears to be rebel forces or sympathizers themselves.

What is probably the most harrowing of the clips depicts a public beheading. A man with a long knife can be seen alternately sawing and hacking at the neck of a man who has been suspended upside-down. The victim’s inert body is soaked in blood. The beheading takes place in front of a burnt-out building in what appears to be a public square. The Dutch public broadcaster NOS has identified the location as the main square of the rebel capital of Benghazi. [see below]
A crowd numbering at least in the hundreds cheers on the assailants. At one point, a man begins chanting “Libya Hurra!”: “Free Libya!” According to the NOS translation, someone can be heard saying, “He looks like an African.” As the principal assailant begins to saw at the victim’s neck, members of the crowd yell “Allahu Akbar!” Dozens of members of the crowd can be seen filming the proceedings with digital cameras or cell phones.
This Benghazi beheading video now has a split-off examination, in part for troubling implications for the government whose building this happened at.

Video #3, as given there, is one I have covered in some detail as "the al Baida massacre." It shows nine government soldiers and/or suspected mercenaries, held captive by armed rebels. This article links to a (poorly) English-subtitled version I've now saved a copy of to bolster my previous analysis. That suggests the nine prisoners were accused of shooting at someone's car, but only, they swear, after being shot at. They are all clearly threatened with death, and as noted in the video, compiled for Al-Libya TV, at least one and probably all but two of these nine were among the 21 or 22 found the next morning executed. And those 22 were among 130 Gaddafi soldiers killed by the regime itself, according to the rebels and the West at large, despite this available video proof otherwise (see the link for details).

A longer list of eleven videos accompanied an e-mail sent to Business Insider and oddly re-published by them on April 18. This was re-posted on other sites as well in the following days, and I watched most of them. But I checked the links a week later, and it was sudden attrition - nearly all deleted for "terms of service violation" or terminated account. Documented below are simply the descriptions give for a few of the videos in that e-mail (no guarantee of correct characterizations or implications).
- the boy that the rebels beat up because he supported the gov...
- here is an old man beaten by the rebels
- here some girls from Benghazi who are not with the rebels where raped by the Rebels the peaceful with risk to bring the videos to the public... she is calling for the Libyan army to come to save them!!!
- they are doing it just like the americans.. humiliating sexually - that is a direct evidence of the rebel-CIA connection
- Libyan rebels behead,mutilate a soldier that surrenderd... where is the cnn?
The last was still up, the "harrowing" video I cited above, and I saved a copy. (I've saved a lot of these, if anyone ever can't find any, I might have it). I had at first thought the sudden loss of videos showed an attack on them (spurring the saving spree). but it seems the above list was just too reliant on one or two sources. Other postings of most or all of these videos, plus many more, still abound. Here are a few I should have mentioned before but either didn't know of or think of them in time. I'll refrain from embedding them here, only giving optional links. Most people don't really need to see these things, just to know about them in general.

hesham shoshan.wmv
One famous video of a suspected foreign mercenary (who denies it in Arabic but is called a liar), being beaten to death by a crowd in broad daylinght, left face-down on the blood-stained street with his pants pulled down, and later hanged upside-down by one leg. His name is given here as Hesham Shoshan, and elsewhere as Hisham Mansour, DOB: 22-2-1983. I'm not sure the date of this attack, but it was probably within a few days of his 28th birthday. 100% Libyan citizen. This video focusses on the family and fiance he left behind, speaking of him and/or his killers.  Wish I knew what they were saying.

21-2-2011 Abuse soldiers Bawhita - ‏التنكيل بالجنود بالبيضاء
Basically, a black man is threatened vigorously with death, by a small armed gang, for several minutes, until he's harangued into saying the right thing. The video cuts without a single death. Wish I knew what they were saying.

Another couple of vids with no visible gore but disproving the myth of "peaceful Protesters" slaughtered by the military. Here they filmed themselves taking the fight to a military base, and seem to be firing numerous weapons - one assault rifle is fired repeatedly into the barracks, trees inside are burning, and at another point (later) they fire in the air to celebrate an ambulance running out of the compound. Real nice. They reportedly stormed the place, probably after getting more guns, and then took more yet.

A famous video published on Feb 19 (still at right) shows the corpse of an "African Mercenary" killed and shown to a camera, described as seeming to be from Chad. But as has been noted, he seems to be wearing the uniform of Libya's internal security forces - and as far as anyone knows, they tend to hire only Libyans. They killed a cop, broke his fingertip off (extracting the merc confession?), cut off his nose, somehow tore open his upper right cheek, and presumably shot him in the chest. That part was not put on Youtube, so we can't be sure in what order these things were done to him, and what other, less obvious, abuses he might've suffered.

Well, for one, he was just sorta found that way, all over again it seems, in a video posted March 5, two weeks later, unburied in the desert. Does he look two-weeks dried up compared to the earlier video, or is it just video that's so old old? Isn't that considered an atrocity itself in Muslim society, where burial within 24 hours is mandated? Such niceties aren't for Afro-Merc dogs?   

The "Chad mercenary" was, according to an online posting, killed in Az Zintan, the long-term rebel stronghold south of Tripoli. Many "mercenaries" were taken in alive there, but it seems others fled that town in the same days, and in late May, at least twelve bodies of black men were found in the desert to the south. In varying civilian clothes and frozen in their own final pathos, they were found half-mummified by prolonged exposure. I suspect they died there about three months prior, after being driven out there by an unwelcoming party. The sickening description on that (by a "Mr. Creosote" no less) says: "The survivors [sic] of a gang of Nigerian mercenary wretches [sic] who were forced to flee into the desert south of Az-Zintan are kept alive [??] by the heroes of free Libya. The gang fled into the desert without water, after coming under concerted attack." Why did the "mercenary wretches" cross the Sahara? To get to the other side? I don't think so.

On the survivor part, there is at the end of the video another scene of at least two living black men, shown being watered and cared for by someone. These tack-ons look emaciated, but clearly not "survivors" of the same doomed party as it was found and shown. Perhaps they were the ones who barely made it back to town after they were all dropped off for dead, but the rest seem a little close together to support much of a race. They may have been killed where they were, although none show any blood I noticed. 

Then there's the "Libya's Western-backed revolution" series, posted by user Sonbakkah. With 25 parts so far, each covering a certain atrocity, it might be close to comprehensive. Some of them ... I've become jaded, but parts 2 and 13 in particular made the bottom drop from my stomach in horror and gave me serious pause. Some are not clear in their relevance - gory dead people with little clue who they are and how they died. Each is just the raw footage, or someone else's edit (Saif Gaddafi's al Libya TV, etc.), with the same text intro, many without the original audio, but instead the same very sad Arabic music that I quite like.

Part 1 - Misrata I believe, a scene others have written of - quite a crowd stands atop a burnt-out tank in a main square while they take turns displaying high for all to see charred pieces of something, in different sizes. I can't make any of them out, but one's said to be a man's heart, another part of his whole de-limbed torso. I don't see what else it would be that everyone wants to see. Sick people, if you ask me.
Part 2 - A lone man on a side-street trying to back away from and fake-fight a nasty gang of about eight pumped-up, possibly stoned young men, some in no shirts, dancing around, swinging clubs and small furniture at him. He might be black, seems skinny and possibly mentally deficient. They tear his white civilian shirt off,  revealing a green undershirt, and it cuts before we see the end. Later, someone else I hope (lighter-skinned?) is shown, dead by then I hope, with slices from a heavy blade leaving guts, muscle, and bone visible, seeming to flex and breathe at one point as if alive. But then seeing the face I hoped not - sliced clean open, teeth, tongue, and nasal cavity are all right there. I can't go back and look again, sorry if I remembered wrong.  I almost cried there... The story isn't clear. (update 7/18: The especially aggressive shirtless kid is wielding a sword, not a club, so this might well be the result ... at the start, it should be noted, a young boy tries to stop the swordsman but is ignored.)

Part 3 - The famous Benghazi beheading scene - didn't watch it, so it might be a variation.
Part 4 - Same thing by the still image, so unless two of the same were posted, we have at least two recordings from the sea of cameras filming that night.
(note 2017: the green writing behind his body says Allahu Akbar, god is great)

Part 5 - Fascinating scene. It's nighttime, again in a main square somewhere, and a very large crowd surrounds a struggling black man attacked by some men who finally get a rope around his neck. A crane then yanks him up and leaves him dangling above the throng, which whack him with clubs like pinata. Mercifully, they shoot him a few times until dead after letting this drag on only a few seconds.
Part 6 - Another suspected mercenary, dead, hanging upside down from a fence of what seems a government facility. Stripped from the waist up, his shoulder is slashed open. It's daylight, and a pleased crowd is again taking pictures and video.
Part 7 - Two black men laying dead on debris-strewn ground, stripped from the waist up.
Part 8 - Again the "Al-Baida" massacre, 'dying soldier gets some water' version. I've counted 21 or 22 corpses in that courtyard (besides this likely actor), making this atrocity highly weighted relative to the rest, if not as bizarre and cruel as some. Like ...

Part 9 - A headless body, neck looking like stretched skin tucked behind - no visible blood. He's also suffered massive trauma to the legs, twisted, broken, swollen, almost unrecognizable, like a mutant with too many knees. One arm is also badly tweaked, with something hanging out of it. It looks like he was pulled through some kind of machine, or drawn and quartered. Possibly left in water and mud for a day or two? Again, the story's just not clear to me, no audio even for Arab speakers, but a document or letter is shown, perhaps barely readable.

Part 10 - A black man seated, tied up tight, surrounded by a small accusatory mob, scared, a pistol pressed tight against his head. One man in the back of the crowd is very eager to bring his large, shiny, sword into it, pointing it in, straining and cursing, but finally giving up. The gun is never moved for over 2 minutes but no direct violence is shown.
Part 11 - Very gory - a soldier in some junk-strewn warehouse, perhaps, with a lot of brain matter blown clear out of a vary large hole in his forehead, collapsing his otherwise intact face. He'd been shot from behind, while his head was over his right forearm, possibly while crawling. Spent casings lay in his blood. Something like seven or eight more dead soldiers in fatigues are panned across closely, piled against a far wall, partly covered in rubble. One has a head wrapped in bandages or cloth strips, none particularly gory. A few more are shown amid wreckage in the next room. Not really sure how much of an atrocity this was - soldiers die all the time in wars.
Part 12 - The same soldier (Hisham Mansour) covered above, and another shown being hanged, plus other Libyan soldiers killed in the massacres (no video available, sorry) have their paperwork and portrait photos in uniform shown. Apparently from al-Libya TV.

Part 13 - Seems to be a rooftop area. I don't know why, but there are body parts strewn about. They don't look like blown-up bodies, but torn up ones. In a recessed area with a rope net stretched across it, hang one dead body and two partial legs from different people (victims, 3). Then on the roof in the noonday sun, a human head, with a huge stretch of back skin attached. There's also an apparent bullet hole taking out his right eye and all surrounding tissue. It's pretty terrible stuff. (He's not black, and looks almost like a burly Roman soldier, not that I've ever seen one).
Part 14 - Several killed loyalists piled into the back of a jeep, some hanging over the sides. The bed is full of death and running with blood, an extra body stuffed in the passenger's seat, his slumped head pulled back for the camera.
Part 15 - The same soldier (Hesham Shoshan/Mansour) covered above, dead and bare-assed on the street, still being abused.
Part 16 - apparently missing. Must have been too horrible, the imagination supposes...

Part 17 - Dead soldiers or loyalists, two pickup truck beds full of them. The same video (which we opened with) is shown elsewhere as being from Misrata.
Part 18 - A man brings a torn-off leg into the hospital.
Part 19 - It looks like a man hanged in the green-painted gate of some official building, so one can't enter without bumping into it. His head is bent back, and someone standing up on the gate kicks it. (below we find he's on a meat hook). A man in a jacket with "POLESI" (?)  on the sleeve is pointing and directing others to do something, like clear the area. He seems totally ineffective. It's short, chaotic, and badly filmed.
Part 20 - Dead soldier, Arab in appearance, eyes frozen open, blood had come out his nose and mouth. The cameraman runs across a courtyard to where about six others are piled, hungrily zooming in on their bloodied faces and wounds. One has shirt and pants just soaked in blood, another, a nasty head shot.
Part 21 - the al-Baida massacre, behind the scenes as shown on al Libya, with longer interrogation footage than some versions.

Part 22 - A dead black man, naked, curled on the ground, partly covered with a blanket. He's got a bandage on his arm as if he'd had an IV installed earlier (snatched from a hospital? - I may have read an account of this racism-revealing incident where Arab government troops were spared). Another black soldier, I presume, lays on his back a few feet away, also dead, only half naked, nose bloodied.
Part 23 - Dead and reportedly burned soldiers beneath blankets. One looks like he was just badly sunburnt, others remain covered. Somewhere between nine and 12 bodies at least  are present.
Part 24 - two dead soldiers in the bed of a pickup truck.
Part 25 - dead soldiers across the hood of a truck. Widely re-posted elsewhere.

That last was just posted June 16, and I suspect there are more coming. That'll do for me, however.
Update June 29/July 5
I just found the site http://www.obamaslibya.com/, which then quickly disappeared - crashed or hacked, who knows. And I didn't know how to save any of them. Leave it to a spirited anti-Obama partisan to find the most horrible, disgusting-sounding videos I can't watch. I was able to view the first - a close-up knife beheading of a very frightened soldier truck driver (see below). Blessedly, the blade was sharp, but still, only a knife. A throat slitting is one thing, but it's another entirely when the butcher keeps on sawing when you know the victim is still alive and feeling his head come off. Are heavy swords or axes - or even mercy - that hard to come by in Libya? That left me shaking.

The second video I also saw, a re-post of one mentioned above - the extra bloody dead soldiers in a truck (see "part 14"). The third was just funny - an Islamist fighter declaring Jihad and then having his gun blow up in his hands. The others are few, unseen and now lost for the moment, and some I hope to God are mislabeled, exaggerated, something. Here are all the titles:

Libyan rebels behead Libyan Soldier
Libyan rebels Kill and steal weapons from Libyan Soldiers
CIA fighting rebels
Libyan Rebels sodimize Libyan Soldier with pistol
Libyan Protestors and Rebels hang and behead soldier
NATO bombs normal cars
Rebel forces Libyan Solider to cannibalize
Libyan Rebels Torture Small Child by Sticking a Pole Through His Body

I Can't look any more, for two reasons at least. But if anyone's seen this last especially ... is it real? Do we know it was torture and not a horrible accident following an explosion, etc.? Even these monsters wouldn't film that, would they?
Update July 18: Obama's Libya is back up - nothing new, just the same eight videos. I still can't find a way to save any of them. The sodomizing one is, again, killed soldier Hesham Mansour - I didn't notice before but the protesters stick what looks like a rifle barrel in his butt crack just before setting his boot on his butt. The "normal cars" NATO bombed are not a rebel atrocity and, according to a comment here, not normal but paramilitary/contractor/mercenary vehicles, and not even from this war, but from Iraq, a few years ago. And the bomb is supposedly a surface car bomb, not anything from the sky.

The child ... I watched that finally. It's from the Libya First website, as stamped, and he's a little trooper, making it less hard to watch. He's not really young, around 13 I'd say. He's awake, in pain, but staying calm in a hospital bed, as docotrs cut away his green shirt and prepare for surgery. It looks like a very bizarre accident or purposeful torture - the pole is thin, and does seem to run through his body, from his crotch area (it's shown, as modestly as possible, but I can't focus enough to see just where - it all looks strange) to his left shoulder, and sticking out of both ends. It seems just under the skin in spots, or just inside the rib cage in others, apparently piercing no major organs.

Does anyone more knowledgeable have anything to share regarding the story here? The text overlay gives this as happening in Misrata, where the government has alleged some other very heinous abuses... (see below)
July 5/6, later: Libya S.O.S. adds more videos, via a comment below. One post to start with, showing six videos embedded, but without working Youtube links: http://libyasos.blogspot.com/2011/06/bloody-scandal.html
top video: see "part 13" - re-post.
middle: See "part 19", this is an addition - the dead soldier (?) first being hoisted up - on a meat-hook under his chin (I may have read of this in an article recently).
Third and fifth, re-posts (al Baida massacre).
Fourth, new to me - dead soldiers in the street, heavily shot up - one's head is just a pile of mush. No particular cruelty shown - war is hell, and the rebels started it.
Sixth: I've seen it and even saved a copy, but didn't link here yet - no guts but lots of blood surround two dead, black, soldiers on the cobblestones near their truck, abused and insulted by the victors. One victim is  roughly picked up and dropped again, then mock-stomped in disdain.
July 18: Select others from Libya S.O.S., many available under the same titles at their Youtube channel:
(V) A family been raped by the Rebels
[with their clothes on? I don't know about this one - lots of blood, an attractive lady and possibly pre-teen daughter, laying face down, dead, fully clothed (though in short skirts), in a trashed living room, among huge pools of blood. One still image only at 1:05, long slow text additions before and after. The image I've seen elsewhere, given as from Misrata, and had the mother's blood centered at chest level, possibly tying in with the Misrata rebel rape-and-breast-removal stories I'm skeptical of.]
(V) Rape in Libya
[Speak of the devil - the story elaborated on Libyan TV, confessed by a former rebel. I didn't watch the interview, but read the transcript, provided.]
(V) Martyr blood of Varffala in Libya (+18)
[A backup posting of the knife beheading mentioned above - with added details in the text beneath:
"In the video, a man lost his life at the hands of "peaceful rebels".( March 20.2011.) Western-backed Al Qaeda rebels aka 'democracy seekers' beheaded Mr. Hamza al-Gheit Fughi , a truck driver from the Varfalla tribe. They beheaded him because he was pro-Gadaffi.
and let that be a lesson to the others, huh?]
(V) Cutting BABY's fingers, legs and hands (+18)
[two small children, a baby, and a heavyset adult dead (apparently for some days) in a muddy room that was blown open by shelling or something. One child is missing half a leg, the baby part of an arm, the adult maybe parts of legs, and part of a hand is also shown. It doesn't look intentional, and it's not clear whose weapons did this.]
[Soldier shot in the street, dead, much blood, is then set on fire by sick people and gasoline for a moment. It doesn't work, the lens steams up (?), and they start to drag him away.]
July 26: A new video from Benghazi, I'm presuming late February, covered in its own post here. Al Jalaa hospital, under rebel control. Their idea of medicine: decide the injured black man is a mercenary who doesn't deserve treatment. When he's too weak to stand and walk out, push him down the hall. When he falls and is hacked with a sword, drag him out and toss him on the street. When he just gets stomped and slashed more and can't do anything but die slowly ... well, the end I'll leave to those who read that.
July 29: A video from Az Zawiyah, Feb. 25, shows captive government soldiers in a makeshift rebel hospital. One black man lays dead and about three others of Arab complexion are injured, as well as a protester (the only one who's not a "foreign African mercenary" by the idiotic description.) Also, is it just me, or does it look like the dead soldier - as seen to the right - was injured in the hand and/or upper body, bandaged up, then shot again in the head? And what is that, a business card inserted into the exit wound?  
July 31: Hator-Ra has a clearer resolution version of police/soldier Hisham Mansour's death and humiliation, in connection with certain weaponry the rebels seized. (post in Spanish, imagery in universal). A non-lethal police weapon used in Libya, given as the FN-303 in another video, seems to be the same they're putting in his butt, apparently the one they caught him with and punished his mercenary ass for having.
August 9:
I've been alerted to a new video that's of supreme importance in showing what the Libyan people are up against here. The Nafusah Mountain rebels, illegally armed by French airdrops and emboldened by the West's patronage in general, expaned abusively into surrounding towns about a month ago. Somewhere in there, it seems they slaughtered at least 30 civilians and dumped them in a mass grave at Qala'a. See: The Qala'a Massacre
Aug 31:
The dead there number 34, and of course regime forces are blamed (the video was from one's "mobile phone," rebels say), but that's still in doubt - see above link for further details on what I've re-named the Qawalish tree farm massacre.

Then they took Tawergha, Zlitan, Az Zawiyah, and other cities, committing their atrocities primarily off camera, it seems. And finally the rebel atrocity videos from Tripoli itself started rolling in, but only mysterious, he-said vs. he's-dead, after-the-fact presentations. And the cameras are more professional. Alex Thomson reported for Channel 4 on the arrest of nine "Gaddafi fighters," African migrants called mercenaries whose brutal lynching was averted only by the camera crew staying when the rebels said to go. As he said, it's a dangerous time to be a black man in Tripoli, lately. Then they showed the charred skeletons of 53 people killed by the Khamis brigade, it's said. This has spurred me to finally note the atrocity videos of charred bodies that I'd somehow neglected to add here this whole time:

Feb 21, Benghazi - five charred bodies are found, and shown to the world, in the military barracks "protesters" just overran. They were pretty sure the dead had recently been mutinous soldiers, who wanted to join the people, but their officers had them burned alive. Just like the soldiers killed in the al Baida massacre! Or maybe they were mixed up, and these were instead the five Chadian workers the "protesters" had themselves just abducted, taken to the barracks, and burned alive. (See here) It's one of those two, anyway, point is, they wanted us to know the army was largely with the people, but up against butchers, and they needed humanitarian intervention to help get into other cities and, Inshallah, to Tripoli itself.

Now they're there, black men are getting executed in droves all over certain neighborhoods, and we cannot tell who was burned in that shed and by whom. My guess is it's the Khamis brigade, killed by NATO and the rebels, then burnt so false identities could again be attached to the unrecognizably charred dead.
Sept. 16: Are some of the rebels' own protesters-killed videos rebel atrocity ones as well? In al Baida, Feb.17, some half-decent evidence says yes. Video Study: Al Baida Snipers

Sept. 30: It's worth noting here too that the videos collected at this post seem to show the aftermath of a major rebel atrocity, for reasons explained there. About 75-100 people, mostly black men, mostly government loyalists, were found dead in a Tripoli hospital. It was said by the rebels who controlled it the old staff ran away fearing gov't snipers, leaving sniper-injured patients to die of neglect, and they just found it that way. But the signs of close-up gunshot executions of staff and patients alike, all over the hospital, kind of go against that. As does the black-skinned patient fully beheaded in his hospital bed. 

Oct. 13:
The situation remains somewhat the same in Tripoli, vis-a-vis videos - little more seen of recent violence.   Somewhere around August 23 or 24, some people trying to flee in cars with bedding were stopped from doing so, some with deadly force it seems. 20 of them of darker complexion were dumped at the hospital mentioned above. And more atrocities by someone are being uncovered in mass graves of executed prisoners from the battles of late August, with a recent batch said to total 900 bodies. A graveyard of about 800 unidentified pro-Gaddafi dead was also reported around Misrata, along with other such across recently taken areas. There's no video I'm aware of in any of these cases. A rash of atrocities from Sirte is in the offing. Whether or not any videos of the new government's handiwork there will be shared, I can't yet say. (later same day: CNN has footage, re-posted here, of 12 executed prisoners on Sirte's outskirts)

I've also seen several new videos from the older days, here and there. Most are unremarkable. One stands out enough to mention. I have no context information aside from it being in Banghazi and done by rebels, and it looks like rebel work to me. A fighting age man, apparently of partial black descent judging by nose and hair (skin tone medium) lies dead in the morgue. His hands apparently had been bound but aren'tnow, and his feet are still tied together.

He's intact except at the neck, where it seems someone tried to behead him but it didn't quite work all the way - his head (eyes frozen open) remains attached, apparently only by the spinal cord and tissue from there back, with all flesh cut through. The surrounding tissue on the left side is red and meaty and wide-open, and on the right side, it seems burnt, melted, and stringy-looking. His cheeks and jaw on both sides show marks consistent with burning. It's an odd type of injury, and my guess is he had burning-hot metal - a sword maybe, heated cable, or rifle barrel, pressed deep into his throat, effectively cutting and burning at the same time. Little point doing that to a dead man, or someone you want information from. This was a pointless torture of the condemned, cruelty on the way out for its own sake. Allahu Akbar!

Nov. 10: Like the recent finds in Tripoli, the leavings of the Sirte massacres we've been able to see have been due mainly to the presence of mainstream media in mid-late October. But recently I added a video analysis of footage from October 25 that finally has the true rebel atrocity video feel. Filmed on a wobbly mobile device, this one is made by Sirte locals, apparently, not rebels, documenting the actions of their oppressors. We see three bodies floating in a water reservoir, there for perhaps weeks, headless and disintegrating into slime. Human Rights Watch had been there just before and said there were ten bodies floating there, "apparently executed."

The Military Defected. Really?

Or: Fifty Ways to Leave Your Leader
November 5, 2011
last edits Nov. 7

The Army and the People are One. Really?
Nothing was a clearer benchmark of the Libyan uprising's claims to rightness than the widespread defection of government soldiers to the side of "the people." They refused the desperate and murderous orders of the Gaddafi regime to crush the uprising. Instead they demanded, as the people at large were doing, that the government itself step down. Or so goes the simplified narrative we've been given.

This wasn't an idea the Libyan massesjust invented, of course. It was fully in the esteemed and weeks-old "Arab Spring" tradition of allowing "the youth" - and always some opposition political leaders - to seize the country's future.  The military and the people and the Transitional National Council were now one, it was said, and they stood together, combining their strenghts, against the doomed regime.

As World Tribune reported, Feb.22
Units of Libya's military were said to be defecting to the opposition in the war to oust the regime of Col. Moammar Gadhafi. 
Opposition sources said [...] Gadhafi could no longer rely on his military and much of his police. They said the remaining loyalists were his Presidential Guard and special units comprised of foreign mercenaries...
"There have been several cases which a Libyan Army unit attacked Gadhafi's security forces rather than join them," an opposition source said.
The Qatari satellite channel A-Jazeera reported that Libyan military officers issued a statement that called on their colleagues to defect. It was not clear how many officers signed the statement.
Of course evidence was cited to support the powerful impression, and it wasn't completely untrue. However the reality was nothing like the cherished illusion it remained in the West. Back at the beginning, we heard from the insurgents that "the military units defecting to them are well-armed, well-disciplined and well- organised." [source] Where did they go when the fighting started? In March, we saw heavily-armed bearded civilians, who knew how to fire but not aim, being completely rolled back by a still-coherent national force.

Once NATO's aerial "protection"started, it required the systematic destruction, over several month, of probably tens of thousands of dedicated, loyal, and terribly brave members of the armed forces. That would have been an awkward reality, if we had bothered to notice it.

So what reason was there to ever believe Gaddafi had been stranded alone with his mercenary army as his people all walked out from beneath his authority? And if the military didn't side with the people, then why did they stop killing them, allowing revolutionary forces, armed with Libya's national weaponry, to come out in control of whole cities and regions?

Benghazi, Feb. 20: Like a Bolt From the Blue
As early as February 18, videos were claiming to show how in the uprising epicenter of Banghazi, just shy of three days into it, "Libyan army surrenders to protesters." A few soldiers amongst the people seem to be, for the moment, acting friendly and not firing, or being fired on. They smile and nod at the people proclaiming this victory. Two days later they'd be hunkered down in their barracks, under withering "protester" attacks.

February 20 was the big day for military defections in the big city of Benghazi, and the same day the "protesters" scored their new capitol. Sky News reported on that day about the most widely reported group involved in that:
Members of a Libyan army unit have told Benghazi residents they have defected and “liberated” the city from pro-Gaddafi forces. Speaking from Benghazi, a local man named Benali, told Sky News that members of the Libya’s armed forces have defected and that anti-regime protesters are now in control of the city. 
Habib al-Obaidi, who heads the intensive care unit at the main Al-Jalae hospital, appeared to confirm the reports, saying the “Thunderbolt” squad arrived at the hospital with soldiers who had been injured in clashes with Gaddafi’s men. “They are now saying that they have overpowered the Praetorian Guard and that they have joined the people’s revolt,” said Mr al-Obaidi. 
The same day, Reuters reported on this Thunderbolt defection, with a duplicateof Mr.al-Obeidi's line spoken by someone else:
In the port city of Benghazi, two residents said members of the army's Thunderbolt squad had arrived at the local hospital with soldiers wounded in clashes with Gaddafi's personal guard. "They are now saying that they have overpowered the Praetorian Guard and that they have joined the people's revolt," lawyer Mohamed Al-Mana said by telephone. It was not possible to independently verify the information.
One witness had earlier said that many police and soldiers had joined protesters. 
I can find no photos or video of this event, and little else about this brigade and its significance, before or since this dramatic abandonment of the Gaddafi regime. The only thing that popped up prominently was video of rebel units in June fighting against "Gaddafi's 32nd Thunderbolt Brigade."

Benghazi Feb. 20: The Younes and Barracks Defections
Besides this group, the other important true defection in Benghazi that day was by one man. The Interior minister and nominal military leader Abdel Fateh Younes, for whatever reason, joined the uprising late on the 20th. The whole military didn't necessarily follow him, however, nor even those in Benghazi and closest to his supposedly transformative defection.

He'd been sent there to reinforce the besieged al-Fadhil bin Omar Katiba barracks ("the Katiba"), Benghazi's main army base. This had actually been blown open by a suicide bomber earlier on the 20th (see image at right), as part of the fourth and final day of "protester" attacks there.

Soldiers were holed up in buildings within the stormed compound, gradually succumbing to insurgent guns, swords, and flames, as Younes arrived. As the UK Guardian reported, only two months after the fact, on the suicide bomber and what he enabled:
What followed wasn't pretty. "(The revolutionaries) were beating Gaddafi people they captured, it's true. When they captured a Gaddafi soldier they said: 'What was this man doing? He was shooting us.' Gaddafi's soldiers wanted to kill anyone. They were using anti-aircraft weapons on humans. It cut people in half. People were angry," says Fasi. So angry that some of Gaddafi's soldiers were lynched. At least one was beheaded. 
The remainder either joined the rebels happily, surrendered to them under force, were killed by them, or, for the most part, walked away in the opposite direction following the amnesty Younes negotiated as a term of his own defection. Already we can see that "defected" is a broad term applied to many things. Readiness can be signaled with a flashed victoy sign, a white flag, or red drips, like these down the basement wall of the Benghazi barracks. One way or another, they stopped opposing the uprising, and the one way sounds best, so it's used universally. They just "defected."

It should also be noted February 20 was by all accounts the deadliest day of the uprising in Benghazi. Reuters added this:
Habib al-Obaidi, who heads the intensive care unit at Benghazi's Al-Jalae hospital, said at least 50 people had been killed and 100 seriously wounded since 1300 GMT on Sunday.

"Today has been a real tragedy ... since 3 p.m. (1300 GMT) and up to 9.15 pm, we received 50 dead, mostly from bullet wounds," he said. "There are 200 wounded, 100 of them are in very serious conditions."
The idea behind the rebel takeover of al Jalaa hospital (effective February 18) seems to have been, in part, denying treatment to soldiers. So if this number is credible, it's of protester deaths only. 50 martyr's from a six-hour pitched battle they threw themselves into isn't outlandish. The number of military deaths from the battle has never been compiled or broadcast, but it was likely higher yet. All we heard was that collectively they had "defected." And they were among the first, as the World Tribune heard it:
The sources reported the first defections of Libyan soldiers on Feb. 20 in Benghazi. They said both soldiers and officers refused orders by the military brass to shoot protesters and were instead allowing them to take over facilities and seize weapons. 
This seems to refer not to the Thunderbolts but to the conquest of the Katiba, where the military "allowed them to take over." If the bolded is true, it means they only "refused" to kill "protesters" starting the same day they were militarily defeated by them. 

Benghazi After the 20th: Wow, More Defections!
Others in Bengazi, apparently in less crucial facilities, took longer before deciding to follow their conscience and/or survival instincts and side with "the people" rather than trying to fight them. The Huffington Post reported on one of them, February 24
The security chief in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi announced his resignation on Thursday, voicing his support for the opposition to head of state Muammar Gaddafi in a video aired by Al Arabiya TV.

"I am Brigadier Ali Huwaidi, the director of Benghazi's security popular committee. I tendered my resignation and I am ready to stand behind the youth," he said in the video.
Russia Today obtained a video of more defectors in Benghazi on February 25. We see some camouflage jackets, and modified civilian vehicles with weapons that do look military, being driven through the streets. There's little discipline anywhere, however, just a whole lot of yelling, and a special emphasis on showing off shiny swords, machetes, and other blades, in the hundreds. 

It wasn't until February 26 that the holdout Naval base in Benghazi, the largest in the country it's said, came over, more peacefully than the army barracks had. Euronews covered this:
There is mounting evidence that a growing number of Libyan military personnel are defecting and joining the opposition against Colonel Gaddafi. At the nation’s biggest navy base in opposition- controlled Benghazi, officers have declared a ‘free Libya.’ 
People have resigned themselves to homes destroyed by natural disasters before. That doesn't mean they support the disasters, really, or that the disasters were winning moral victories.

Nationwide "Defections" 
It was back on February 21 that the Libyan Air Force joined the game. On the same day the first bombings of Tripoli were falsely reported (bombing wouldn't begin until NATO started it), two fighter pilots famously defected, stole their jets, and took them to Malta. The day after Benghazi had fallen militarily, they said they were sent to bomb "protesters" there, but just had to refuse.

There's no compulsion evident in this case. These guys were eager to defect, to be seen, and to have their wild stories heard widely. Considering the illogic of their alleged orders, the conveninece of them for villifying Gaddafi and greasing the way to air war, and the mysterious Frenchmen that they almost seem to have escorted out of benghazi, these defectors seem more the conspiratorial than the conscientious type. They fit better with schemers like Mesmari and Dabbashi than anything like the heroes of the people they were painted as.

Euronews trumpeted that "in the western city of Zawiya, amateur film shows soldiers being carried by protesters. “One Libya, one people” they chanted." The video is around, for example as Libyan Army With The Protesters, from February 24. About five armed, uniformed, apparent army defectors are shown and carried by the enthusiastic crowd. The rest of what happened in Zawiyah for the three weeks "protesters" had run of it is murkier and far more troubling than this one nice little moment. The army base was raided, many people were killed in often horrific ways, much was looted and burned. The army and police were ordered to keep back as armed gangs scored numerous rifles and RPGs on the 24th (but only the five "defectors" we've seen), and massive machinery including a couple dozen tanks following a morning raid on the 27th.

As for how the insurgents came to be armed, a UN Human Rights Commission investigation acknowledged defections and gifts were only part of the picture (how large a part is unclear):
58. According to information received by the Commission, the weapons and vehicles available to the opposition forces initially comprised equipment captured during battles with governmental forces or taken from military posts and warehouses upon gaining control of such facilities together with equipment belonging to the defecting military units. The opposition armed forces are also believed to be receiving equipment from foreign countries including uniforms and communication means.
A news video I stumbled across on Youtube called  Libyan Army Gives Weapons To Revolutionaries is of interest here. This staged media event, broadcast by NBC, seems to have been in the far eastern city of Tobruk, no later than February 24, per this other posting. The army guys aren't directly joining the fight, nor are they being killed or robbed. But neither are they shown. Rather, they're down in the basement, we hear, freely handing out weapons for the fighters to take. "They say now that the people and the military are together," the reporter says. 

Al Baida and Dernah: The Cyrenaican Hard Core
The cities of al Baida and Dernah, between Benghazi and Tobruk, were overwhelmed even earlier than their capitol. AFP (via Jihad Watch) has an interesting piece here, citing Libyan government sources on the creation, in Dernah, of an "Islamic emirate of Barqa." By this, a single defector helped allow a raid as early as Wednesday, February the 16th, scoring some serious weapons and started them towards conquest. When exactly they got control of the city isn't clear, but the Barqa people were, by this report, active in al Baida as well by the 18th, helping a mob hang two policemen among other things.

The combined insurgent forces in al Baida also attacked the army base that day and the nearby airport, both locations containing soliders and alleged "African mercenaries" (actually extra Libyan security flown in from Sabha). At the base, Time reported after speaking with one of the Sabha men, "a protest outside the base turned into an intense firefight" and "by the night of Feb. 18, soldiers began to defect, joining the revolution." Those who didn't were captured or killed when the insurgents conquered the base that same night. By the 20th, somehow, al Baida and Dernah had both fallen, along with the airport and all roads and towns between them. Unknown hundreds of loyal forces were killed in the process.

This spree of early conquest included the February 19 taking of the military base at Shehat, home of the ancient site of Cyrene, namesake of the eastern region Cyrenaica. Rebel video from there shows a mechanical digger tearing open the concrete walls of the barracks on that day; the base was apparently already seized and they were working at their leisure. There was a vary large hole there to start with, apparently blasted out by a tank from the inside. All this elborate hassle to circumvent the walls could suggest the gates were still locked and they didn't have any defectors left alive handing them the keys.

Army Person? Yes. Al Baida, Feb 22
However, we have been shown how a "Military Unit From Jab'al AlAkhthar (Green Hill) Defect and Declare Support For People." That's the title of a video posted by SaveLibya on February 22, though it might have been days old by then. Jabal al Akhtar is the name of the administrative district for for the city of al Baida, I found elsewhere. They had decided to defect, no more than four days after the main army base there was overrun, and here's the proof: a distracted youth and a bearded insurgent with rifle flash victory signs while flanking one uniformed officer who sits less at ease. The one clear representative of the military makes the announcement under rebel guard, reading from a sheet someone else probably wrote for him. The English transcription provided says, in part, "we declare that we have fully joined the youth movement and are under orders of the people." Which people exactly? Well the ones with guns might have some immediate influence.

Armed Amateurs
The first thing that really struck me as odd about the first days of the civil war is how non-violent protesters, whom I then believed were being shot dead in droves, were able with just anger, and despite the heavy losses, simply take military control, even briefly, of half of the cities in the country. I sensed we were missing something there, and the things I've found since are starting to reveal what that was.

Army weapons, yes. Army people? No. Benghazi, Feb. 20
For just one important example, the Katiba in Benghazi yielded much hardware like that seen at right. Tanks, Grad rocket launchers, and more, where wheeled out for use in the next battles. But as they made off with this arsenal, it was enthusiastic civilians doing the driving and handling, not military professionals. As we've seen, at the Katiba anyway, these were happy just to be allowed to leave the scene alive and intact, in the opposite direction.

Other weapons taken from Zintan to Zawiyah, Misrata to Dernah, were shown in other videos made by protesters, and largely included in R. Breki Goheda's documentary Libyan Crisis: Events, Causes, and facts. This explains that "rebels stormed most of the military camps in the country," along the way seizing "different types of weapons, including 250 tanks, 72 armored vehicles, 112 artillery, 176 anti-aircraft machine guns, 254 rocket launchers, 222 light [artillery] machine guns, 3,628 rifles, and a large quantity of ammunition." I can't vouch for all of that, but it sounds reasonable considering the small samples we've been able to see of rebel arsenals coming together all across "Free Libya" in those early days and weeks.

Army weapons, yes. Army people? No. Az Zawiyah, Feb. 27
Every time a new city center saw its display of rebel-held weaponry, the "freedom fighters" would trumpet that the military there had defected, bringing their weapons along. For example, consider the Youtube video "Army Battalion Joins Al Zawiya Protesters." Just their weapons, actually, are shown (still at left). It's Feb. 27 and they have anti-aircraft, artillery, and tanks all over the main square.The people holding the weapons are clear amateurs clearly excited to be far better armed than they deserved to be.

By the time of this March 2 PBS report, the tide was turning already. The initial victory phase had run its course, and now the only question was how deep into the ensuing government rollback things would be allowed before a NATO bail-out could be arranged.
At a nearby arms dump, where the guards had joined the rebellion, they're taking ammunition and handheld weapons to get them down the road to their colleagues. But what they have in supplies, they lack in expertise.

FATHI ABDUL MENOUM: We are taking most of the RPG and the other things, the machine guns, the -- it calls for -- to use for the planes.

JAMES MATES: So, anti-aircraft weapons?

FATHI ABDUL MENOUM: Yes, anti-aircraft.

JAMES MATES: Do you have enough people who know how to use them?

Shortly after this, the rebels would hit their first complete rout in Bin Jawad before beingpushed back east.

Consider also this video analysis by C.J. Chivers on the rebels in Misrata. Even into August, as "defections" intensified, and as the Gaddafi loyalist graveyard filled up, they still held far more weaponry than experts in running it. Not a person on the crew running this heavy artillery piece knew they were standing ten times too close to that wall for safety. At least two rebel fighters were injured by the sloppiness, including one whose femoral artery was severed and who likely died soon after. But they did the job - the place they were blasting was like charred swiss cheese, and had several very destroyed government soldiers and a mysterious carbonized boy inside.

The Power of the People, Overridden

World Tribune had acknowledged "for its part, the regime has maintained that the military remained under control but acknowledged the opposition seizure of military bases and heavy weapons." It was a well-planned, bold, surprise attack, a populist blitzkrieg whose advantage was now gone. The Libyan government and military, supported by much of the population in no mood for this rebellion project, pushed back. In Az Zawiyah and eastward, starting at the end of February, the minority status of the people demanding violent change was coming into focus. The Libyan forces remained coherent on land, sea, and in the air, and successfully crushed the armed rebellion in city after city. 

They pushed almost to the gates of Benghazi before the NATO bombs started coming down on March 19. This opened a second phase of military "defections," eventually numbering in the deep thousands, and by now pretty much the entire military force of Libya has stopped fighting the new government, one way or another.

That's people power, huh?

The Sirte Massacres: 30 Wrapped Bodies in District Two

October 31, 2011

<< The Sirte Massacres

A Puncture-Prone Environment
It was announced on October 12 that a further 25 or maybe 30 bodies - as usual, victims of Gaddafi loyalists - had been found by NTC fighters in an area of Sirte that had just come under their control. There'd already been a cluster of 42 bodies announced the same day, and now these in another portion of "neighborhood (district) two," the densely-packed northwestern segment of Sirte's urban core, where loyalist resistance from house to house had proven the stiffest.

The "former rebels" who'd taken much of Sirte already were calling this the last loyalist holdout neighborhood, and were pounding it fiercely. The image at right is from the UK Daily Mail, October 14. (View it full-size in a new window for fuller appreciation of the texture of destruction - the red soccer ball is a nice touch).

These were buildings that loyalist fighters and civilians and civilian-fighters had until recently been - or stil were - hiding within. there must be quite a few dead loyalists punctured, blasted, charred, and mangled inside some of them.

And as for those captured alive, Diego Marin of TeleSur reported earlier on the 12th a story that "is worrying us" - a NTC fighter's admission that they would be executed on the spot. He repeated the news that if anyone in the city was found with weapons "there is no doubt that he will be executed." If found without a gun, who knows? There were thousands of people of both descriptions hemmed with nowhere to run.

More Victims: Killed When, Found Where?
By this time, fighters of both sides were wearing both military andcivilian gear, with the tables mostly turned to the opposite of the war's beginning. Other than civilian clothes tending to suggest Gaddafi loyalists, there's little to set the sides apart aside from somewhat more facial hair on one side, and somewhat more black people on the other.

Therefore, if one runs across executed people in this fractured hell, it might be hard to know just who they were and what happened to them. Especially if no one can show or even tell us if the victims were black or light-skinned, in civilian or military clothes, etc. With the vague reports so far, we're flying blind on these details.

But NTC forces are apparently imbued with special powers that allow them to cut through all the doubt and ambiguity to know things others couldn't know. Reuters reported on Wednesday, October 12, of the bodies just then discovered in the latest swathe of District two to be cleared.
SIRTE, Libya (Reuters) - The corpses of 25 people wrapped in plastic sheets were found on Wednesday in the city of Sirte by government forces, who accused militias fighting for deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi of execution-style killings.

A Reuters team counted 25 corpses in plastic bags in a southern area [sic] of Sirte called "Neighbourhood 2". Five corpses shown to the team had their hands tied behind their backs and gunshot wounds to the head. They wore civilian clothes.

A commander with the National Transitional Council (NTC) said the corpses had been there for at least five days.
Why the reporters were  not shown the other 20 bodies is, perhaps like the plastic sheets/bags around them, not clear.

If "the corpses had been there for at least five days,"as they were told, that would have them killed on Friday the 7th at the latest. There was no earliest, just a date after which it couldn't have happened. Rebels had taken this area sometime in the previous three days. The Cleveland Plain Dealer wire service, Oct. 12, heard the same from NTC commander Salem al Fitouri. “There are about 25 innocent people with their hands tied. There is no humanity. It’s sad." He said this standing next to the bodies, "which he said had been there for at least five days."

But as suggested by an analysis run by both Libyan Free Press and Nochienparteibuch, the date might be being fudged.
However, when the Guardian – another NATO mouthpiece – reported on the same corpses a couple of hours later, the story changed in significant details:

The already angry mood towards the loyalists hardened with the discovery, in three locations in the city, of 30 captured men who had been cuffed and executed. According to government (editor: meaning TNC here) commanders the men had been killed on Tuesday [Oct 11].
It’s pretty clear that the Guardian wants to tell it’s readers that the crime was committed by “loyalists.” However, the Guardian forgot to tell it’s readers where the crime was committed and just said “three locations in the city.” But the Guardian reported now that the crime of the summary execution was committed just yesterday.

So what does this look like? Reuters reported that the crime was committed five days ago, because the location where the corpses were found was captured a couple of days ago by TNC forces. But in the evening it didn’t add up because the corpses were fresh. So the Guardian told they were fresh, but didn’t report where the corpses were found. The Guardian did so to be sure that readers couldn’t draw the obvious conclusion that this is a crime of the TNC forces, just as Telesur reported that they announced they would commit the crime.
And the Telegraph (Oct 12, 10:55PM) again helps clarify these 25/30 are probably (though not surely) the same, taking the Reuters timeline, and the Guardian's higher number of dead and vagueness on locale:
As the front advanced, reporters were shown evidence of the execution of captured revolutionary fighters by retreating loyalists. The several-days-old bodies of 30 males, some just boys, bound and shot, were found across three locations.
The part about age is one rare clue. The TNC forces have the upper hand and little reason to use child soldiers. There are endless shell-games one can play saying "these were rebel kids taken from here or here, held prisoner, then killed right before we moved in." Such things are possible. But there are - were - also boys and young men in Sirte. Some of them might well have taken up arms to defend their city and their way of life. If they were caught, one expects, they'd be executed.

Note also that the number is higher with the later reports from the Guardian and the Telegraph. This could be just a different estimate, or could show that five more dead had been discovered in the interim. I'd like to see the bodies to check the level of decay and any other clues that can be seen, but to my knowledge no images of them, wrapped or not, are available. The Reuters report does have a photo attached of a partially-wrapped and well-decayed body surrounded by workers, but even the caption clarifies this is a corpse exhumed from a mass grave in Tripoli (already covered here).

Why Wrapped?
Further, I wonder why these execution victims, unlike others, were wrapped up in plastic, and how thoroughly? That's time-consuming work in a war zone. Who did that here, and why? The loyalists were running from shells and AA gun fire, likely hungry, thirsty, injured, and tired. The rebels TNC fighters just didn't likely givea damn and had much else to do. Ususally they leave their victims to rot completely uncovered, even de-pantsed, confident the world will overlook their obvious authorship, and confident of their ability to blame Gaddafi for the horrible smell. Wrapping the dead shows a certain respect they don't normally want to give the villains in their narratives. Why should that be any different here?

I have no solid answer, but two guesses as to why the bodies were wrapped:

1) To conceal clues about the dead (from their race of those they executed to the horrific state of the battle dead), and/or to disguise them as loyalist executions for simple propaganda value.

2) Since wrapping slows the advance of decay, it might have been done to try and explain why execution victims five-days-dead looked so fresh. Again, they don't usually do this, even when they've argued in the past "oh those? They were here when we got here. Here's the story..." But there's a first time for everything.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Sirte Massacres: The Mahari Hotel Massacre

October 30, 2011
(incomplete rough draft)

<< The Sirte Massacres

A Seafront Find and a Sea Change
Some of the massacre victims, bagged up.
Photo: Peter Bouckaert/HRW (source
Again on October 21 a large batch of bodies in civilian clothes was discovered in a "recently-liberated" area of Libya. There were 53 this time, bound and killed with gunshots, at the Mahari hotel outside of Sirte. They were discovered by locals and, two days later, shown to Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch. By then they were badly decomposed, most placed in body bags, and laid across the seaward side of the hotel's garden. For once, no one among the rebels (to my knowledge) or even in the Western mainstream media is calling this a crime of Gaddafi loyalists.

Two factors at least set this case apart from most previous massacres. For one thing, the victims were recognizable Gaddafi loyalists, including some senior but little-known figures. There's no clear reason, to put it softly, that their besieged colleagues would want to off them amidst the brutal NTC onslaught.

That was also the case, however, for the Abu Salim trauma hospital, where around 75 bodies of executed patients and civilians were found in Tripoli. Black "African fighter" types, and at least one card-carrying special forces soldier, were killed in their beds, and a loyalist staff of a loyalist hospital just vanished, leaving only fine-spray blood spatters in their wake. At the time, nearly all of the dozens of journalists at the scene ignored these clues. It wasn't pinned on loyalists, just left hanging as a terrible mystery.

But that's not happening here. So we turn to the other factor, that Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi had been captured, brutalized, and executed by "former rebel" forces on October 20, four days prior to the announcement of this discovery. Sooner or later, the NTC would be the (relatively) unchallenged rulers of Libya, and due to the need for pressure points for external influence, would start being blamed for their own crimes. And if they become any trouble at all, perhaps for other peoples' crimes as well (see side-box below). Within four days of the leader's death, HRW was there to let us know the switch-over had happened, and it's time to start looking closer at what Libya's new rulers have been doing the last eight months and might be expected to do in the future. Whether this is by design or just "how things work out" doesn't effect the positive turn this shift will be for readership of this site.

HRW's Details
Fifty-three people, apparent Gaddafi supporters, seem to have been executed at a hotel in Sirte last week, Human Rights Watch said today. The hotel is in an area of the city that was under the control of anti-Gaddafi fighters from Misrata before the killings took place.
“We found 53 decomposing bodies, apparently Gaddafi supporters, at an abandoned hotel in Sirte, and some had their hands bound behind their backs when they were shot,” said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, who investigated the killings.
Human Rights Watch saw the badly decomposed remains of the 53 people on October 23, 2011, at the Hotel Mahari in District 2 of Sirte. The bodies were clustered together, apparently where they had been killed, on the grass in the sea-view garden of the hotel.

Anti-Gaddafi fighters from Misrata had held that area of Sirte since early October, according to witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch. On the entrance and walls of the hotel Human Rights Watch saw the names of several brigades from Misrata.
"The condition of the bodies suggests the victims were killed approximately one week prior to their discovery, between October 14 and October 19 [...] About 20 Sirte residents were putting the bodies in body bags and preparing them for burial when Human Rights Watch arrived at the hotel. They said they had discovered the bodies on October 21, after the fighting in Sirte had stopped and they returned to their neighborhood."

Human Rights Watch "called on Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) to conduct an immediate and transparent investigation into the apparent mass execution and to bring those responsible to justice." Peter Bouckaert, the main investigator here, said. “If the NTC fails to investigate this crime it will signal that those who fought against Gaddafi can do anything without fear of prosecution.” 

Well, it's worked so far...

Victim Identification
Special Note:

Seeing the name Ezzadin al-Hinshiri, “allegedly a former Gaddafi government official,” among the dead strikes a chord with me, in that I've run into him before in my research. He was (implicitly) accused by a strange little liar for being involved with the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, the “Lockerbie bombing” of 1988.

In February 1991, Swiss electronics maker and apparent CIA asset Edwin Bollier wrote to his “friend” Mr.Ezzadin Hinshiri, of the Libyan JSO (intel agency), about his work with investigators of the bombing.The letter was neither warning nor threat, just a friendly tip-off that the Libyans were in the process of being framed by someone, and to make sure they "wouldn't think that we had made up the story in order to accuse the Libyans,”as Bollier said at the 2000 trial.

Bollier mentioned therein a suitcase, which he says he was tricked into carrying to Libya shortly before the bombing. An intermediary brought him a brown suitcase full of “clothes for a friend" and “asked me to deliver the suitcase and its contents to Ezzadin's office in Tripoli.”
Among his shifting stories of what was and wasn't in the suitcase, which he peeked into, was "a blue children's suit" very like the “blue babygro” that became a crucial clue from the bomb bag, pointing to Malta, to Tony Gauci, and to "bomber" al Megrahi. Elsewhere, Bollier says he himself added the baby-suit, as a gift for the driver (Mr. Ali) who was to actually deliver the suitcase to Hinshiri.

He didn’t get blamed for Lockerbie, but its legacy underpins all that’s happened to Libya since. Now Ezzadin has died at the crescendo of the decades-long operation, just before his leader he was bound and shot in the head by CIA-backed, Islamic fanatic Libyan Contras.

The locals identified to Bouckaert four of the dead as two Sirte residents, Amar Mahmoud Saleh and Muftah al-Deley, a military officer named Muftah Dabroun, and one Ezzidin al-Hinsheri, according to HRW "allegedly a former Gaddafi government official." (indeed, by the name, he was - see box at right). 

The other 49 remain publicly unknown. The story of their final hours will probably never be told truthfully, so in a way, they died alone like so many others have over the past eight months.

Implications for the Misrata Brigades:
Not good.

More coming...

Another Sub-Heading to Help Fill This Space

And more yet, later...

External images of pre-bagged dead:

One of these made into a clever poster that makes one yearn for more people power adventures in Syria and beyond:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Urgent Appeal: A Major, Unnoticed Rebel Abuse in Plain Sight

September 9, 2011
last edits Oct. 28

The following is from an e-mail (improved) I sent to someone at Amnesty International yesterday. I've been unable today to send it out to anyone else, but plan to soon. In the meantime, I will post it here on my bulletin board, with a request for anyone else concerned to help spread the word. We can be fairly sure who's responsible for the horror at Abu Salim trauma hospital at least. We can't be 100% sure, but the problem is, they're the ones with no checks on them at the moment, aside from weak pleas to "respect human rights." These are always issued to "both sides," and the side in question apparently ignores them. People on the ground seem to be paying a high price for that.  
This is to alert you of some things I have found regarding the recent grim discovery of Abu Salim trauma hospital, Tripoli. The place was much reported-from on August 26, with its abandoned halls and perhaps hundreds of rotting bodies (reported as "dozens," 75, 100-150, and over 200). But I fear the circumstances there are little understood (the body count being so inexact is a clue).

Indeed, journalists tend to walk away perplexed, after apparently failing to noticing some of the most important clues. I have compiled my research on publicly available media here: The Tripoli Massacres: Abu Salim Trauma "Hospital." Below are the clearest clues from a couple of journalists who did notice them, and we owe them for that.

"Tripoli hospital turned into 'mass morgue'" Janis Mackey Frayer, South Asia Bureau Chief, CTV News. Sat. Aug. 27 2011
It is unclear how the men, women and children died. The bodies we saw were those of Gadhafi loyalists who were wounded in battle. A poster of Moammar Gadhafi presided over a room slick with blood, water and maggots.

At least two men were shot in their beds. They were on the second floor covered with blankets. As the gurneys were wheeled away you could see where a bullet had passed through the pillow. The blood on the wall hinted at an execution. One of the bodies had a Libyan military card identifying him as a special forces member.

Nobody there claimed to know whether it was Gadhafi or rebel gunmen who executed them. I asked one doctor to give his opinion on how long the two men had been dead. He estimated two or three days, then shook his head and walked down the blood-streaked corridor.
Besides patients, staff may have been shot. This photo by Youssef Boudlal should be shown to a forensics expert, but I think it shows the residue of 3-6 gunshot  executions in that stretch of hallway:

The rebel forces said the old staff simply "ran away," but I feel they were executed so the rebels could take it over as a sort of morgue. The makeup of the dead is another clue: all or nearly all of them are black-skinned men, according to the journalists there and the photographs. Another photo by Francois Mori shows one victims at least is headless, apparently decapitated in that very bed (right of center):

Certain elements within the rebel forces have been known for killing black men especially, and for cutting off heads. I just don't see the work of a fleeing evil regime here, killing their own with snipers or on-site executions, or chasing the doctors away so patients would die of neglect.

What exactly can and should be done about the possible abuses by the new government's forces, I don't know. For my part, I had to go past blogging. I hope you can help raise an alarm of concern over what this evidence strongly suggests the people of Tripoli are being subjected to in the absence of the former government's protection.

Here in summary is the situation at the hospital:
Said: Old staff ran away from gov't snipers just before FFs got there
Fact: Blood spatters like gun executions on the floor
Said: Patients in there injured by gov't snipers, died of neglect
Fact: Some patients shot in their bed (gov't loyalists/soldiers)
Fact: The dead are almost 100% black men
Fact: One black patient was beheaded in his hospital bed
Fact: The rebels now in charge are the ones missing massacre clues and saying the staff "ran away."
Fact: Everywhere they liberate, horrible things were happening just before - not just after - they got there.

Seriously - world leaders, readers, crusaders, anyone ... the math on this is not hard. People will be able to see this some day, and perhaps a larger holocaust this is the nose-above-the-water to. They will ask questions about why you remained silent and allowed it to continue. What will be your answer?

Note, October 28: I'd like to just bump this with the following comments from some of the "first-responders" among the media. BBC's Simpson had aptly described the hospital massacre as "One of the most terrible incidents of the revolution." And His colleague at al-Jazeera English, Andrew Simmons, tweeted following his tour there:
Abu Salim Hosp - Investigation needed re war crimes. And immediate action. Humanitarian emergency.
Two months later, no investigation of who dumped executed would-be refugees outside the hospital, shot Gaddafi loyalists in their beds, beheaded black men in their beds, and probably killed the whole staff, who, by the way, should have numbered perhaps 200 I hear.