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Monday, November 28, 2011

The Tripoli Massacres: Seven More at Bab al-Aziziyah

December 1, 2011
last update Dec. 8

<<The Tripoli Massacres

These victims may or may not be included in the approximatley two dozen mostly-black apparent Gaddafi fighters found scattered outside Gaddafi's Bab al-Aziziyah compound. They are, however, quite near the few of those that we've seen, prominently at the roundabout, just north and sort of inside the compound, in a barren, scrubby patch between two security walls. (images below).

I'm not sure how to define Bab al-Aziziyah, but there's a clear divide, with an open highway running north-south between the main compound and an apparent annex to the east. On both sides of that divide are walled areas within which bunker-looking buildings have mostly been bombed. The imagery is surprising, showing that Google maps must've just updated it. (direct link to current view of the compound, centered on the location under study - zoom in for body locale, zoom out for whole compound.) The bomb damage and scattered civilian cars inside the new tourist attraction, as well as improvised truck-based checkpoints nearby, all suggest this is Tripoli after the takeover, no older than late August.

The exact area I identified was also closed-off with some kind of slats across the south end, to keep traffic at the roundabout from banking right into the field. The rebels apparently gained access by removing some of theslats. That alone makes this within the supposedly secured area where one might think only Gaddafi's people could have days-old corpses stashed. And far moreso than those at the well-travelled roundabout, these seven could possibly have gone unseen here for days.

But they were seen on the 25th. A Reuters news video covering the roundabout victims meandered far enough north to see and describe how "seven bodies were also found piled into a wasteland nearby, their hands tied." They showed the image below, as well as a close-up from the same view:

Note the damaged gray wall, with a large hole in its mid span, not far from these bodies. A larger image I found of the same bodies, original source unknown, reveals a rather grisly burned face. A different wall is visible here, a white one with stars and a guard tower opposite the gray one we saw above. Note the proximity of tower, tree,and a  gate, allowing access from the dirt road outside to some crossroad inside.

Victim analysis... forthcoming perhaps. It's a messy scene, with decay and mysterious fluids. It could be blood, but something tells me they were dead when they got here. It seems to he the far victim in odd clothes the fluid is associated with, It could be oil. This victim seems to have burning of the face, among other possible problems...

On the location, walls with towers like this are seen around Baba al-Aziziyah's east side, near the roundabout area. I decided the photo above was of this spot below, the white wall here to the west, running nearly north-south. The time of photography is mid-day, shortly before solar noon. The sun is high and just a bit east of due south. The gate isn't visible in the Google Maps imagery, but the faint signs of a road behind the wall seeming to pass through it at that point are. So it's a gate.
Update Dec. 4: The exact location of the bodies is pre-marked in the satellite imagery - the large, dark spot right across from the gate, 4/5 of the way to the eastern wall. I can see the shape of the "stain" they would leave (a large roundish blob of oil/blood/whatever that is, with a south-running sub-blob left of center, per the photos). 

This is noted in comments below, along with contributor Petri Krohn's observation from looking at Google Earth (which I haven't installed yet) that "I see shadows on the blob, indicating it is not just blood on the ground but real bodies." With an enhancement (at right) I can agree for another reason. I see a light patch just right of center corresponding roughly to the lightest patch you'd see looking from on these bodies from above - the upper back, shoulder, and left arm of the man in the white shirt, expanded with glare effect to look larger than it is.

Petri also tells me this imagery is from August 29 (as Google Earth shows), meaning these bodies were still there four days after being filmed, six days after rebels took control of the area. As far as the map goes, these victims of sloppy rebel cruelty are part of the landscape now. 

Now, who were they, who killed them, and when and where and how did that happen? These questions will have to wait for now. One visual clue, perhaps, suggests they came from within the eastern compound walls; the overview shows a faint arcing path, traced in red above, just north of the spot. It starts scraping across the road inside the eastern compound - through the hole in the wall? - and across the field to about the dump spot. After carrying and re-piling the corpses in a clear patch of dirt 20-25 feet away, their body-dragging sledge apparently got lighter and left no further mark.


  1. Google has updated its satellite view of Tripoli. There was bomb damage before, but now I think I see more; each of the 20 barrel vaulted tank shelters in the compound east of Bab al-Aziziyah has been pierced twice by some kind of bunker busters.

    There are road blocks around the roundabout. I cannot tell if these are rebel road blocks or loyalist road blocks; everything seems to be in chaos. There is something that looks like a tent village – or the remains of one – at the larger roundabout.

    Something interesting is happening inside the Bab al-Aziziyah compound; a swarm of cars or pick-ups has collected in front of the "Fist Crushing a U.S. Fighter Plane" sculpture. The chaos is reminiscent of the situation after rebels captured the compound. Could this be "liberation day" August 23th? Solar time is around 11 am. Would this be August 24th. If it is, it should be possible to match the cars to videos of the jubilation scenes.

    If this pile of bodies was there on the day, it should be visible in the Google satellite image. We should also be able to see the individual roundabout victims. I see nothing there.

    The Reuters video seems to originate from August 25th. If it could be shown that the Google image is from the 24th, the result would be – to say the least – interesting.

  2. Not sure if you have seen this this MisrataPost video,مرتزقه فى كل مكان -- mercenaries everywhere - along with mistreated and bound black prisoners (0.12, onwards) and an almost certianly staged sniper incident, filmed 08.42, 29 August,at 0.41-8, there is a pair of dumped bodies beside a ring road concrete underpass (?) at 1.01. (seems to be France24 footage recycled)

    Some Al Jaeera footage at 1.28 here - roadside and field hospital.(25 Aug)

  3. This is all post-takeover new imagery, I think. It'svisible at Yarmouk, and here. The roadblocks look rebel -I can imagine some insurgency victories, but loyalists running a system of roadblocks in central Tripoli (and Google showing us) seems unlikely.

    I'd suspect they would choose imagery from maybe early September, to avoid showing piles of bodies as much as possible. I looked in this spot, and no bodies. Thought maybe I could see the stain of that pool of blood/oil, and maybe. Look east of the guard tower, 4/5 of the way to the other wall, a dark blob, with a south-running sub-blob left of center. Could be a lot of other things, but that's what the stain should look like, and where it'd be. Hmm!

    Also, they seem to be mixing new and old imagery. Or at least, the new isn't new enough to show a single thing I noticed wrong with Sirte. It looks just the same, as far as I can see.

    Felix: Will look, haven't yet.

  4. Ooh, Abu Salim trauma hospital... whole lotta white things, smaller than cars, cluttering the road...

    Az Zawiyah's mosque is gone now

    1st video: The scene at 1:01 I just mentioned at another post. Apparently Tripoli, not Sirte, and part of the 18 along the river, including the six behind the orange trash bin. Excellent.
    2nd one: Good video of the roundabout/medical tent victims. Hadn'tseen any video of the latter before, except one... I need to find that link and add to my post on them.

  5. I am more convinced that the Google satellite image is from around August 24th. The pile of bodies outside the Abu Salim trauma hospital shown in the beginning of the August 26th Telegraph video is not visible yet. Did someone dump the bodies there after the rebels killed or abducted the patients?

  6. I installed Google Earth. Fantastic! Should have done this years ago. In fact I did, but Google Earth did not like the graphics adapter on my old Windows machine. Google Maps is such a great service that I never had a need for anything else.

    There are two important features in Google Earth missing from Google Maps:

    1) You can turn the image around and adjust the eye level to match the camera angle or to get more natural lighting with the light source at the top. This helps in analyzing 3D structures and small detail.

    2) Google Earth has a timeline that lets you view older images.

    Google Earth provides three fresh images for this part of Tripoli. The one now used on Google Maps is labled August 29, 2011. I suspect the date is in fact closer to August 24, based on a number of factors. I do not think so much massacre scenery would be visible at 11 am on August 29 – including the hospital beds ("Gurney" in NATO newspeak) outside the Abu Salim Trauma Hospital.

    Another view is dated August 20. It still shows the tent vilage in the larger roundabout. A third one is dated September 30. It is not used on Google Maps, most likely because of a cloud covering the Bab al-Aziziyah compound.


    I now see I was wrong earlier and the "blob" is in fact the pile of bodies. I originally placed the bodies further to the south. This was caused by an optical illusion created by rectilinear wide-angle lenses – the point-of-view appears to be further away of the subject. To see how the wide-angle images would appear in reality you have view them in full screen from a distance of some 15cm.

    I see shadows on the blob, indicating it is not just blood on the ground but real bodies. This does not really make a difference as the important information is that we can date the killing to before the Google image.)

    It is also interesting to note that no sign of the "blob" appears on the August 20th or the September 30th images.

  7. I don't feel like installing it. Are the shadows consistent with the sunlight,or possibly artifacts/shrubs? Either way, I think that marks the spot, for whatever that's worth.

    On the imagery date, I think later. As I gather, most bodies were inside on the 26th, pulled out same day, and removed. The lack of those by the long sidewalk (just west, presuming the spot), might mean they're now bagged up and ready for removal. Narrows it down to the 26th, if I'm not confused on that (could well be). Will count the beds and add that to the post on the subject...

  8. This Euronews video from my Abu Salim hospital playlist shows the large volunteer tent on the patch of grass in the south west corner of the wasteland. Correspondent Mustafa Baq refers to "African soldiers" that died there. I am sure he did not determine the race based on possessions they left behind.


    The "sledge tracks" you pointed out are also visible on the August 20th Google Earth image, so evidently they have nothing to do with the bodies.

  9. Two photographers from Xinhua have photographed victims: Hamza Turkiya (who also visited Mitiga hospital on 27 Aug) Bodies are seen the Bab al-Aziziya compound, in Tripoli, Libya, Aug. 25, 2011, and a similar scene, showing one victim to be black, by Cai Yang,

  10. Killing the truth is an integral part of the military agenda :

    NATO warplanes deliberately targeted the peaceful vigil of tents in front of the Gadhafi compound in a gruesome massacre.


    According to sources from our correspondent in Tripoli, the death toll in the course of the last week (20-26 August) is of the order of 3000

    Libya / Tripoli: Incredible NATO crimes in the night from 20 / 21 August 2011

    Tripoli 22 8 11 طرابلس

    دخول باب العزيزية عدسة كتيبة طرابلس 23 8 11

  11. "My sons were precious to me and it was hard to lose them," said Mr Naama

    By Karin Laub/Associated Press/Published: Friday, Sept. 2 2011 12:45 p.m. MDT


    The Abu Naama family's ordeal began on Aug. 22 as fighting raged in Tripoli after the rebels swept into the capital, forcing Gadhafi into hiding.

    But hope has been fading since a relative told the family earlier this week that he saw three of the men inside Gadhafi's residential and government complex, Bab al-Aziziya, on Aug. 23.

    Thousands of rebels had stormed the compound that day, exchanging heavy fire with retreating government troops.

    The relative, a soldier in the Libyan army, says he watched as Mohammed, Faisal and Abu Bakr were shot near the gate of the compound.

    He saw them drop to the ground, said al-Hadi al-Ghazaili, who is married to one of the missing men's sisters.

    Still, dozens of people are still searching for the men, passing around their photos anywhere they can think.

    The family, al-Ghazaili says, needs to know what happened: "We hope to find them, alive or dead."

  12. The story has been elaborated 1 year after with an unproven claim :

    "The jails were already full, and when security forces realised that a decisive moment was at hand, the order went out to simply shoot detainees. "

    " Most vanished in the immediate days before the Tripoli uprising, as the regime's grip on power was crumbling, "

    Tripoli one year later/ By Nick Meo, Tripoli/7:00PM BST 25 Aug 2012


    "My sons were precious to me and it was hard to lose them," said Mr Naama, at his home in Tripoli.

    "Their loss was part of the price that many families have had to pay for a new Libya."

    The last time they were seen alive they had been taken captive by a Gaddafi loyalist militia at a checkpoint, days after a notorious order was sent out to kill captives instead of jailing them.

    More than 800 rebel fighters and sympathisers are still missing after last year's revolution and war.

  13. Mohammed Hamed, a chubby engineer who started collecting evidence about the unidentified dead last year when he worked in a hospital, is now an official at the ministry.

    When relatives arrive searching for clues he brings out a gruesome collection of photographs of dead fighters and dug-up graves.

    "Those five boys are probably in a mass grave in Tajoura, just outside Tripoli," he said.

    "We think about 400 bodies were dumped in there last August when the killing was at its worst.

    One day we will have the technology to DNA test the bodies and identify who is in that pit."


    Gaddafi's Mass Grave: 300 Dead Bodies in Bir Al-Uosta, Tajura, Libya Oct. 5, 2011


    1. link : Gaddafi's Mass Grave: 300 Dead Bodies in Bir Al-Uosta, Tajura, Libya Oct. 5, 2011 :

      published by well informed Canadian house wife ,
      since Libiya fall never heard from again

    2. 338 rebel martyrs maktoubblog counted, troughout their fight in Libiya , many names
      double or 3 times listed

      List for each of the martyrs Libya

      More than 800 rebel fighters and sympathisers are still missing after last year's revolution and war.

      Ironically, the loyalists' families ...

      But the ministry admits that most of those who were on the wrong side last year are too scared to come forward.


  14. Killing detainees in Misrata , proved :

    Indeed, older, wiser leaders in Misrata were horrified when they learned soon after the war that the prisoners were being killed in such a manner.

    They ordered that, in future, all executions had to be carried out with a single bullet in the head - rather than by holding the victims down and cutting their throats.

    ‘After that, we always shot them,’ another militia fighter told me. ‘It was quicker and cleaner - better for everyone.’


  15. And the discovery of a grim pile of corpses of executed men in the Bab al-Aziziya compound
    that had once been Colonel Gaddafi's citadel offered grim evidence of retribution being exacted in the bloody civil war.

    A dozen bodies were seen by The Independent lying inside the complex with their hands tied behind their backs.

    "Mercenaries, mercenaries," shouted a group of shabab (youths), as armed volunteers pointed at the dead men.

    The opposition had accused Colonel Gaddafi of hiring gunmen from sub-Saharan Africa during the conflict and many of those captured had been killed.


  16. Another 7 I suppose , from the dry bed ?:

    He said seven other bodies had already been carted away.


    Abdul Hadi Abu Shahayna, a Tripoli judge who said he was held at the facility, said the other prisoners included lawyers, other judges and engineers -- opposition figures, but also regular people caught up in a post-uprising sweep. Mr. Abu Shahayna said he was arrested on May 25 and held until July 10 with a group that fluctuated in size between 70 to 100 people.

    Two blocks away, the badly decomposed bodies of at least 15 other men were found rotting in a wooded gully.

    One of the men had his hands tied behind his back with plastic flex cuffs, and a rebel commando said the men were locals who had been killed by Gadhafi loyalists who wanted their cars.


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