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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Activist Salem Gnan

October 19, 2011

My first encounter with the works of Salem Gnan, activist, was an important call he made to the UK Guardian on February 21, as cited in the post "Bombing His Own People." Really? Three reports of Libyan gov attacks on Tripoli came in that day, within an hour and a half. The latter two were to al Jazeera and called it aerial bombardment, but the first call, Mr. Gnan's, said the city was being shelled from the sea. As the Guardian reported:
5.07pm – Libya: Salem Gnan, a London-based spokesman for the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, says eyewitnesses in Tripoli have told him the navy has opened fire on parts of the capital.

"We have just heard that the military ships are bombing an area in Tripoli and many people have been killed although we don't know how many at the moment because people have just called to tell us it is happening."

Gnan said the navy appeared to be bombing a residential area outside the city centre as part of a desperate crackdown by Gaddafi's troops.

"He is even turning the ships on his people now. His plan is to use absolutely everything he can to stop what is happening."

Gnan said he had had also had reports of ongoing shooting around Gaddafi's residence in Tripoli and said more people were taking to the capital's streets as darkness fell.

"This is going on because if it stops that means it is finished. This will be the last act." He said people were travelling to Tripoli from across the west of Libya for a "final showdown."

I have had calls from people in towns and cities all across Libya. Those in the east can not get out but those in towns and cities in western Libya, everybody is saying: "We are going to Tripoli." The plan is to come from everywhere and go to Tripoli to sack the city, for the finish.
Yeah, on that "finish" to the "popular uprising" ... Even with massive help of all kinds from some of the most powerful nations on Earth, it's finally been approximately finished, eight months, thousands of very real bombs, missiles, and rockets, and tens of thousands of deaths later.

And on the bombings reported by Mr. Gnan and others, as explained at the above link, they apparently did not occur. There's still to date been no other evidence produced, of any variety, for something that should have been quite video-recordable and should have left plenty of physical evidence. Evidence like bomb parts, flattened buildings, and specific dead people in situ or shown with compatible injuries. Only "confirmations"(repetitions) of these same baseless reports ever emerged.

Reader Felix dropped some great research on Mr. Gnan in comments beneath that piece. The below is derived primarily from these.

The group he swears allegiance to is the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL - Wikipedia), a Natural-Seeming Front for those Salivating over Libya. With the basic premise that Libya neededto be "saved"from Gaddafi's revolutionary system, it's been a long-time CIA-connected training ground for anti-Gaddafi activists. Founded in 1981, it was staging both sit-ins (see below) and armed attacks by mid-1984. According to Medialens:
US official records indicate that funding for the Chad-based secret war against Libya also came from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Israel and Iraq. The Saudis, for instance, donated $7m to an opposition group, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (also backed by French intelligence and the CIA). But a plan to assassinate Gadafi and take over the government on 8 May 1984 was crushed.
As Felix notes, the NFSL is also "the same group which organised the ill-fated protests outside the Libyan People's Bureau in 1984." This resulted in the  Murder of policewoman Yvonne Fletcher on April 17. A bare three weeks before the daring NFSL attack against Gaddafi's compound, the regime allegedly shot itself in the foot by ordering embassy personnel to shoot at their cousins in central London in broad daylight. [see also here] Several Libyan kids were injured, and one cop, Fletcher (the only female officer there), was thoroughly killed on accident, greatly souring Anglo-Libyan relations just ahead of the NFSL's offensive. It was well-fated for their purposes.

More than two decades later, the front has apparently matured to a less violent group, focused more on talking, and feeding with the greatest ease Western misconceptions of Libya. As war broke out on the streets in 2011, they fused with other groups to create the National Conference for the Libyan opposition in support of the uprising. Their members went on full-tilt with the propaganda, and Mr. Gnan did his part, seeding the lies above.

He apparently learned from his follow-up callers that day that air attacks are the most potent thing to allege, and three days later was telling the Guardian all about more such, near the capitol if not in it:
3.47pm: Salem Gnan, a London-based spokesman for the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, whom we have spoken to regularly this week, says the situation in his home country today is "very bad".

Gnan says he was called by his niece this morning who lives in al-Zawiya, scene of bitter gun battles between Gaddafi loyalists and protesters and supposed location of Gaddafi's speech this afternoon (see 3.25pm).

She said they are bombing the town and lots of mercenaries have been flown in. People had been going to a gathering to hear speeches this morning when the planes came and bombed them. More than 30 people were killed. It is very bad. My sister's daughter was crying and crying on the phone but the people will not stop fighting.
No other sources mention bombing on Az Zawiyah (which is given here both correctly and as above), about 30 miles west of Tripoli and the closest "rebel-held" city in those days. That it would be bombed on the same day they said a speech by the leader was recorded there is doubly strange. A government attack is alleged on Feb. 24, but with no photo or video proof, and I remain less than convinced. These reports mentioned land-based shooting that killed several insurgents (ten by this source) and damaged the central mosque's minaret. All available videos show the protesters carrying machine guns and RPGs, firing them in a vague and possibly fake gun-battle, burying some of the previous day's dead, and hearing a fiery sermon about Libya's youth, the bombing of which was not filmed. All these and other events there happened in the city's main square, showing how little they really controlled - certainly not the part of town Muammar himself was in that day. (See the whole chronology at the fall of Az Zawiyah.)

Until now, I've heard nothing at all about alleged bombing there. Gnan's niece is a cold liar. Or simply confused. Or did he make the stuff up himself? Why did he feel a need to pass on such bogus information, and how did he know which lies to tell? Was he connected to some CIA-type networkof plotters and propagandists engaged in psychological warfare or something?

He later, on the defection of Libyan spy chief Moussa Koussa, spoke to the AP (via the Guardian 31 March 2011):
London-based Libyan dissident Salem Gnan suggested Koussa could provide a trove of information on Gadhafi's inner circle, the country's shadowy past and the dictator's increasing desperation. Koussa is Libya's "black box and curator of Gadhafi's top secrets," Gnan said. "He will uncover it all. He has got all the names, the documents and the information."
His supposed value (in solving generally fictitious crimes) was well-enough known, by Koussa and by his new hosts, first in London, then in Qatar. By trading on these, apparently, he got a cushy deal, effectively immune from prosecution so long as he helped inform the war effort. He reportedly has, and in so doing, helped fulfill the largely-French plot going back to late 2010, that many suspect Koussa was the main architect behind (see here).

Salem Gnan, if he doesn't work for Koussa, certainly helped his cause against Gaddafi and helped reinforce the reputation of his boss (sorry) as he stepped up to the bargaining table.

Felix adds some more (will work in later):
I think you can see Salem Gnan, سالم قنان here in a London demonstration (probably outside the Knightsbridge embassy) in this YouTube video uploaded on 17 February. (I think this is him too on 6 October recently,interviewed by Alaan. In May he seemed to be in Nalut. Also here on Al Arabiya 18 April.

(Nalut seemed a key town for rallying of westerners for an assault on Tripoli in August)

Salem Masoud Gnan is stated to be a lawyer but has directorships of several companies, EXCEL PHARMACY LTD of 23 Church Road, Isleworth TW7 4PR, but also of TOTAL MEDIA SERVICES AND MANAGEMENT LIMITED of 3A MONTAGU ROW, LONDON
More interestingly, he is a director of the Oxford based Centre for Libyan Studies of Suite 220, 286 Banbury Road, OX2 7DL, a charity. Funding? The directors in 2008 were :Mustafa Rugibani
Youssef El Megreisi (Company Secretary)
Omar Abdulatef (Chairman)
Doctor Fathi Sikta
Mohamed Ali Ahdash
Salem Gnan (Appointed 25.03.2008)

Accountants Shaw Gibbs LLP
264 Banbury Road
Oxford OX2 7DY

Mr Gnan, if it is the same person, now apparently styles himself Salem Gnan Alnaluty ,and according to his facebook page has relocated to Sweden recently. He has uploaded the Guardian live blog from February translated into arabic to his page,"This a translation in Arabic of our live blog on the uprising in Libya", along with the London video and an inconsequential Al Bayda video of 23 feb and the theatrical mass rape allegation video.


  1. The director of the Oxford-based Centre for Libyan Studies, Mr Youssef El-Magreisi , apparently had a brother in Benghazi who was picked up by the security police in January 1989 and held incommunicado for more than 3 years (see UNHCHR report here. Then, the brother Mohammed Bashir El-Megreisi vanishes from the internet. So what happened?

  2. Interesting Al Jazeera video of dissidents in London here on the BLSC British Libyan Solidarity Campaign website,the prime mover being Naji El-Fallah, ناجى الفلاح who says, protesting outside the US Embassy in London (23 Feb 2011) (at about 6.15)

    "we don't want any military involvement,all we want is to help us maybe give us weapons to defend ourselves ,maybe help us by introducing a flying zone ban so the aircraft can not fly and bomb the Libyans...maybe yes, but as a military intervention,or physical like that we don't agree to that, it's a Libyan problem and Libyan people have to solve it (cuts to house near Southend-on-Sea where they apparently spot his brother Fakhri in the demonstration in Benghazi on TV)
    At about 13.37 there is some 1984 People's Bureau footage. Dissident Ali Ziu (at about 14.15) says he had spoken to PC Yvonne Fletcher,just a few words, then she has been shot. At 15.31 Nouri Al Mesmari comes in...and again at 19.30.
    At 20.42, pilot climbs out of Mirage F1 jet in Malta.(no 508):but Lt Colonel Ghasm Nagaa is not one of the two pilots who appears at 15.15, he defected in apparently to Brussels in 2005. Watch him at 22.35, and also on YouTube lobbying the EU,representing the Libyan Working Group on April 2011 :"arrests more than 15,000 he killed more than 10,000 today (sic)" and who, apparently, dies in Misrata on 20 June 2011 (!) according to this YouTube Martyr video uploaded 26 September 2011. (the LWG website no longer shows this:"With Great sadness, we report our loss and death of LWG's Belgium Representative,Mr.Ghasm Nagaa (Zenbo). The late Mr. Nagaa was killed by Qaddafi's forces in the city while he was fighting for Libya's liberty" (strange that....it just vanishes..)LWG is part of Ederfan* group Inc,. Ederfan is a not for profit organization based in the USA. Ederfan is a pro Democracy, Human Rights and cultural advocacy group which put out this YouTUbe Video on 15 February, calling for revolution and a rising up against the dictator on 17 Feb.

    A YouTube video uploaded 28 December 2010 shows our friend Mr Bouchuiguir and Mr El-Magreisi on the platform, surrounded by slogans from the green book by the look of things. It is titled Manchester October 2005. Mr Ziu,in the Al Jazeeera video says a dissident was assassinated in Manchester but I can't find any reference.

    What is my organisation in this YouTube video here,uploaded 10 Dec 2010??

  3. The Al Jazeera Video from the 23 February London protest is here: Libya @ a State of Terror from the BLSC website.

  4. The organisation in the 2010 video is ChangeMakers, and the speaker is Mark Waters.
    The 28 December video shows a meeting of October 2005 which seems to show a popular conference , with slogans on the walls, in Manchester, which is interrupted at the end by an outburst from a man who brings up the subject of Abu Salim prison.

  5. in the Al Jazeera english video,uploaded 5 March 2011 Libya - a State of Terror, it is worth recording the words of Mr Ali Ziu, a London based dissident,from 5.18.
    "I left Libya in 1978. After April 1975 1976 there were peaceful demonstrations by the students in the University and then they have arrested hundreds of people, they have shot people on the streets ,two of my friends have been killed in front of me
    three of my friends have been hanged and I am waiting to go back to Libya

    Ali Ziu is described as Naji's childhood friend.
    "As a 19 year old, he attended a student protest (i.e.1975) in Benghazi. He claims he was then unlawfully detained by a clandestine unit of state security,dubbed Group 16"
    He describes Group 16 as a torturing group.
    In 1976 he is released. The alleged Manchester assassination is mentioned at 13.24, as well as further assasinations in Italy, Lebanon and Greece.At 14.09 he says that he was actually speaking to PC Yvonne Fletcher on the day she was shot dead in 1984, just a few words...


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