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.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Identifying the Dead, Embodying the Missing

December 22, 2011
(incomplete, rough draft/outline)

The NTC Commission
The Rebel NTC ("Libyan government") has created a National Missing Persons Commission," tasked with matching names of the missing (some perhaps fictitious) to bodies of the unidentified (primarily loyalists), and thus suggesting who killed whom nationwide,

It's partially headed by one Dr. Salim al-Ferjani of Tripoli Medical Center, a hotbed of rebel medical propaganda. He's already surfaced under a false name (Dr. Salem Rajub) as a false witness to a disputed incident with uncertain identities involved (see the previous link). He decided from what he "saw" that Gaddafi loyalists had killed the roughly 150 captives of the Khamis Brigade shed massacre. Under his other name, al Farjani showed the site of that incident to UNSG Ban Ki Moon on November 3, where they gave him as "the acting Chairperson" of the commission.

Mentioned in late November as jointly heading the commission with Farjani was a DNA specialist, Othman Abdul-Jalil. [VG]  The DNA part of this "National Missing Persons Commission" can be quite helpful if done right, and I have no cause to doubt Dr. Abdul-Jalil's ability. But something tells me this is added just to sound fancy, and will have little effect on the process, besides sometimes giving it a sheen of hard science.

If the National Missing Persons Commission was for real, I would assume they would have some presence on the web. I have found nothing. 

A Ministry to Head it
Hurriyet Daily reports on the new government, November 23:
[Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib] will head a 24-member government which will include such portfolios as the ministry of martyrs, wounded and missing people, and a ministry of civilian society.
The Libyan Society of the Missing
Facebook logo and website
header for Libyan Society of
the [Rebel] Missing.  

Loyalists welcome to type in 
their info as well... but
they might not. 
Hatem el-Turki, head. El-Turki said loyalists wouldbe fairly identified too, in the search for justice." We don't discriminate." [VG]

Petri Krohn comment, 12/16
The one person mentioned in the article that is trivially easy to find is Hatem el-Turki, the head of the Libyan Society of the Missing. He has a Facebook page that again links to the Facebook page of the society. Their official web page is at www.missing.ly

Other Comments
Felix comment, 12/17:
This YouTube video,NATO and Libya: The search for missing relatives in Tripoli, Libya (w/subtitles) uploaded 11 October shows someone called Muhammed Hatem Musbah from the Community for Missing People(almost zero internet presence in English for it or the interviewee) uploaded by NATOchannelTV (er..) it also mentions the Libyan Society of the Missing. "There seems to be too many missing people organisations working independently of any official authority" (hence the near zero success rate)

Petri Krohn comment, 12/21:
There is an important point noted by Mohammad Miloud Benhammed, the vice president of the Mitiga missing persons group on this Russia Today video. Families of dead Libyan Army soldiers and other Gaddafi supporters will claim that their relatives were "civilians caught in the crossfire" – this when speaking to the only neutral party in Libya. With a little pushing and some help from a Massacre Masseuse any dead Gaddafista can be turned into a revolutionary martyr. Who would want to be related to a dead servant of a dead tyrant when a far better afterlife is on offer as an icon of the revolution.


  1. What a nice logo the Libyan Society of the Missing has. I wonder who designed it...

    The rebel logos are one of the fakest things in this fake revolution. I do not think anyone in Libya designed these. They come from some Western advertising agency in London or Madison Avenue in New York. (Isn't that where HRW also has its head office?)


    The name of the DNA specialist heading the National Missing Persons Commission is not Othman Abdul-Jalil. He is Dr. Othman el-Zentani, according to multiple reliable sources. I think Vanessa Gera just got hes notes mixed up.

  2. Earlier I commented on the similarity of the Benjamin Lowy and Ron Haviv photo sets from the Fall of Tripoli. Both men are in the same places at the same time and capture the same subjects only seconds apart.

    On the page on Early Shed Massacre Reportage I noted that an operation had started in Tripoli to identify the alleged 150 victims of the "shed massacre" even before the shed and the "victims" were found. Ron Haviv has a set of photos on the topic dated August 27th.

    Both sets have a picture of this crying man. The image captions have very different implications.

    © Ron Haviv/VII
    From Series: Libyan Uprising, August 2011

    Image number: 00109207
    Description: A man cries after displaying photos of the victims of a massacre allegedly committed by forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in Tripoli, Libya, Aug. 27, 2011. The victims were summarily shot and then burned in a warehouse near the Khamis Brigade compound.

    © Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images
    The Fall of Tripoli
    Libya Tripoli 0017

    Description: A man weeps as a crowd gathers to read a list of Libyan civilians who have disappeared following the arrival of opposition forces in Tripoli.

    The Benjamin Lowy image has an Exif timestamp of 08.25.57 on August 27, 2011, but his camera is set about 6 hour late for Tripoli time.

  3. The Haviv version looks like an identical cropped version of Lowy's. Lowy 0026 is also curious, perhaps fitting in with 0017. The dramatis persona looks like he ought to be in the Khamis compound, covering his face and dressed like that...and I thought all along it was the smell of dead bodies which caused everyone to pull their shirts over their faces.

  4. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/gaddafi-snatch-squads-took-hundreds-of-men-and-boys-from-misrata-2290800.html

    A newly opened missing persons office has registered 1,020 people with the number rising every day, said lawyer TAREK ABDUL HADI ,
    organising the piles of forms detailing those missing. Families yesterday were pushing photos of their loved ones into the building. "These just arrived in the last hour," said Mr Hadi, indicating a pile of passport photos of Misrata's lost men, women and children on his desk.

    Abdul Hadi's 80-year-old father was captured as he returned to his farm from the mosque. For over a month his family heard nothing from him. On 18 April they saw him on television. "They give him a green flag, and make them sing in support of Gaddafi," Mr Hadi said.

    Tarek Abdul-Hadi Eshtiwy :

    Abdul Hadi Eshtiwy saw his 81-year-old father’s car at a demonstration in Misurata after he disappeared March 16. His father, Mohammed, had left the house in his car that morning but failed to return for the afternoon prayer. Three days of exhaustive searches found nothing. His uncle, Eshtiwy Khalil Eshtiwy, 63, is also missing.


    1. misrata
      The head of the Missing Affairs Committee, Tariq Abdul Hadi, is in charge of collecting information on missing persons in Misrata. He said 1204 people were unaccounted for since the uprising against Gaddafi started on the 17th of February.

  5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCdTEh5bP2I&feature=youtu.be

    Report: Libya's prisons harder than Abu Ghraib
    @0.57 the missing.ly for finding people ????

  6. "Fact Finding Commission Tripoli “ Libyan minister before tripoli fell ,Mohamed Zidan is missing captured by the NTC rebels.”

  7. Benghazi
    6. Mustafa Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Fact-Finding Commission

  8. January 02, 2013 Ali Gadour as minister for Martyrs and the Missing,


    Gadour replaces Sami Al-Saadi who resigned


    2.10.2012 SSC :Abdul Latif Gadour, who helped lead the underground resistance against the Qaddafi regime during last year’s revolution, is to be replaced by Colonel Mohammed Abdullah Souissi

    Misrata : Abdullatef Gadour, a veteran prosecutor in the attorney general’s office who stayed on with the new government, said that while major changes are underway, much of the old judicial system would remain in place.


Comments welcome. Stay civil and on or near-topic. If you're at all stumped about how to comment, please see this post.