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.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.
"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.
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".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.)
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.
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
W1U 6DZ and AGNAN LOCUM LTD of 32 WOODSTOCK GROVE, SHEPHERDS BUSH W12 8LE.
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.