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Monday, December 26, 2011

The Sirte Massacres: 100 Dead in the Fuel Depot Incident

December 26, 2011
last edits Dec. 28

<< The Sirte Massacres

Another Massacre?
The following is not officially (per NTC sources) a massacre of any sort, and may not be one even in reality. But quite a few people, over 100 by some reports, were killed on October 24, four days after Muammar Gaddafi and 100 with him were killed, capping a brutal campaign of massive shelling and bombardment and an effective life embargo, massive arrests, and numerous cruel massacres yielding several hundred anonymous dead dumped in a mass grave, blamed on Gaddafi loyalists (see the link above for details).

This incident was blamed not on loyalists, just then becoming a shadow threat only, but on accident. Reports from commanders and locals say about 50 to more than 100 were killed, while lined up at a fuel depot, in an explosion sparked by a neighboring power station. Many bodies were of course left charred beyond recognition, but many others survived.

If an accident, this incident is a testament to the harsh realities imposed on the people of Sirte. The fuel embargo was meant to stop them living until they surrendered (along with de facto food, water, electricity, and medicine embargoes). With wartime damage everywhere in Sirte, when the electricity is switched back on, something could go wrong. Specifically, as Euronews reported, "there are claims that the facility was damaged by NATO bombs and blew up because of an electrical short circuit when power was restored."

Otherwise, there's the possibility I'll mention without marrying, that this was an engineered inferno to explain the many dead they had already parked there and burnt to anonymity. The survivors, as far as I know, could be just made up, to make it sound more realistic.

Should the Sirte massacres be expanded by 50-100? I can't yet say one way or the other, so I won't.

Sources of Information
Fuel Depot Blast in Libya's Sirte kills 100: Commander
“There was an enormous explosion and a huge fire. More than 100 people were killed and 50 others wounded” in Monday’s blast, a National Transitional Council (NTC) commander, Leith Mohammed, told AFP.

He said the scene was “a heart wrenching spectacle with dozens of charred bodies.”

“We are still unable to put out the fire,” caused by a spark from a nearby electricity generator, said Mohammed.

The accidental explosion came as a crowd of people waited near the fuel tank to fill up their cars...An AFP correspondent said the tragedy took place near Sirte airport, some 30 kilometres (18 miles) south of the Mediterranean city, hometown and last bastion of Libya’s slain veteran leader Kadhafi.

A radio station and two large fuel reservoirs stand nearby, said the correspondent, who saw at least 29 vehicles blackened by huge flames that shot into the sky, burnt shoes, melted plastic jerrycans and shreds of clothing.

“The explosion happened yesterday (Monday) at around noon,” said Ali Faraj who helped evacuate the wounded. “It was very strong. I live 25 kilometres away and I heard it..Omran Ajelli, a doctor at Ibn Sina hospital in Sirte, said he treated 26 people, five of them “in critical state” with severe burns, and three bodies were brought in, with the other casualties apparently taken elsewhere."
The Telegraph repeats most of that, some of it twice, and adds:
Some of the victims had returned to the town, the last bastion of resistance by Gaddafi loyalists, which fell on Thursday, to inspect the damage to their properties, the NTC commander added.
The Canadian CBC reported:
Dozens of people are dead after a blast tore through a fuel depot in the Libyan city of Sirte, local officials say.

The exact number of people killed in Monday's blast is not yet clear.

A local resident told Reuters that about 50 people were killed. The Telegraph, meanwhile, cites a National Transitional Council official, who put the figure at roughly 100.

Jalal al-Gallal, a spokesman for Libya's National Transitional Council, said Tuesday he did not have further details about the explosion. He said Ali Tarhouni, a cabinet minister, would provide details in a news conference later in the day.

The explosion in the coastal city was likely the result of an accident, reports said.
Photos by Youssef Boudlal, Reuters, exclusively, I think.
Locals gather and watch the fire
Locals gather: one man who doesn't want to be seen, one who looks almost happy at this fire.
Residents try to carry a dead body that was found near the site of burning tankers on the outskirts of Sirte
Carrying a charred body
carrying the same body
At right, excerpts from all three images with bodies. They might all three show the same one, and they show no more than two. They're among the extremely charred. Reuters (see video below) counted fifteen cars and saw only "at least two bodies" removed.

Reuters Video, Youtube
Reuters video with transcript
Euronews Youtube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecpkak9YolI (later in the video)

Cars "lined up in a cue" or simply parked all around? How far down any "line" would the fire spread? If there's a big path of fuel connecting them all, why?

This vehicle shown on the Euronews video is at a good distance from the epicenter. I cannot see a fireball from the depot reaching this far, but the path of blackened pavement around suggests the fire followed some line of spilled oil that people should have had a moment to leap out of. Perhaps they did, at this distance.

For what it's worth, we have a location. I found it on Google maps, but didn't think it was it, but petri says it is. I haven't verified that, but I think he's right. Anyway, here's the spot, within a spot, within a spot 10-11 miles the south of Sirte. It's at the end of a long dead-end road, a decent drive from Gardabya airport. It's defineitely an out-of-the-way spot for civilian motorists to fill up on... some type of fuel.

If as the rebel commander said "Some of the victims had returned to the town ... to inspect the damage to their properties," they likely drove out and back in, in cars that, like normal ones, run on gasoline/petrol. They would have gone where gas was more available than in tightly-squeezed Sirte (anywhere else in Libya), and must've filled the tank at least enough to return, and maybe fill some gas cans too. So why, on returning, would they go fill their tanks in Sirte? And why at this presumably damaged or drained depot, of fuel we're not even sure is gasoline, ten miles south of town when most would be returning from the east or west coastal roads?

From a comment, Petri adds these technical thoughts, suggesting the fuel here was diesel, making the rebel commanders' story unlikely in two important ways, one that most cars do not run on it and had no reason to cue up for it:
The compound in the desert, west of Sirte airport is a radio transmitter, operating most likely in the long wave band. The Wikipedia article states Libya has a long wave transmitter, but no Libyan transmitter is included in the list of longwave broadcasting transmitters.

There are two building in the inner fenced area. The one on the eastern side is the radio transmitter. It is connected by an aerial cable to two guyed steel masts standing some 150 meters apart, due north of the transmitter. The shadows indicate the masts may be over 200 meters high. Long wave transmission uses high power; this transmitter in Luxembourg transmits at 2 megawatts.

The building to the west must be an emergency power station, most likely with diesel generators. The fuel in the tanks would be diesel oil, also known as light heating oil.

The story still does not quite add up. If this was gasoline (UK: petrol) the high number of victims would be easy to explain. Diesel oil is is however very difficult to ignite, and even less likely to "explode." Even if one was able to ignite one tank, how would the fire spread to the other tank?


  1. @ Petri, continuing from comments at the Sirte Massacres

    The location is hard to pin down, isn't it? I spent a little while looking all around southern Sirte and south, SE, SW, 10-40 km, into the desert, and I didn't yet find a match (not that I scoured every inch meticulously).

    These fuel tank buildings are round, aren't they? I was looking for ovals/circles from above, little else around, except the power station. There are two round-ish building, but with stepped sides, in the airport compound, west side, with oil all over the ground. Just dust suppression, I guess...not a match.

    I suspect the location will be helpful though, if we can get it. The imagery should be too old to show the fire effects and the ground, however, which might help a lot.

  2. Here's a question-if manyof the victims had returned to Sirte to check their homes, they likely drove out and in. They would have gone elsewhere where gasoline was more available than in Sirte (anywhere else in Libya), and must've filled the tank at least enough to return, maybe fill some gas cans too. So why, on returning, would they go to this presumably damaged or drained depot -way south of town when most would be returning from east or west, to fill the tank? That would be better done anywhere else.

  3. I don't think this is it, but at least worth ruling out.

  4. I don't get this placed story at all. The placer is the one responsible for much of what we know about events in Sirte around 20 October. {is anything then reliable?} The site doesn't seem to check out. There seems to be no coverage of the mass burials we would expect from such an alleged catastrophy. There is little follow-up coverage. The pattern of vehicles burnt does not match the fire. Indeed, what is the purpose of the story? We only see a couple of charred bodies. The press are kept away...
    A real fuel tank fire early on in the war is shown here: "Fuel tank on fire at Az-Zuwaytinah power station, near Ajdabiya" - a scary propostion. The after effects are seen here towards the end of the video.

  5. You found it! This is the spot, 5km west of the airport.

    Important details are the free standing walls, two between the tanks and one on the western side of the "power station." Also note the two high radio transmission towers north of the compound.

  6. The compound in the desert, west of Sirte airport is a radio transmitter, operating most likely in the long wave band. The Wikipedia article states Libya has a long wave transmitter, but no Libyan transmitter is included in the list of longwave broadcasting transmitters.

    There are two building in the inner fenced area. The one on the eastern side is the radio transmitter. It is connected by an aerial cable to two guyed steel masts standing some 150 meters apart, due north of the transmitter. The shadows indicate the masts may be over 200 meters high. Long wave transmission uses high power; this transmitter in Luxembourg transmits at 2 megawatts.

    The building to the west must be an emergency power station, most likely with diesel generators. The fuel in the tanks would be diesel oil, also known as light heating oil.

    The story still does not quite add up. If this was gasoline (UK: petrol) the high number of victims would be easy to explain. Diesel oil is is however very difficult to ignite, and even less likely to "explode." Even if one was able to ignite one tank, how would the fire spread to the other tank?

  7. Great work, Adam,Petri. That's definitely it. Not quite where one would tank up with unleaded... but tucked well away from civilisation. Fascinating.

  8. There is YouTube footage of the effects of NATO bombing of Sirte radio station on 17 September 2011 - the area doesn't seem to equate to the dead end road parallel with the airport. The direct proximity to the airport might indicate some link.
    Oddly a screen shot of burning tanks and stetcher for a Telegraph video, 27 October, yields only content of UN talking heads.
    On Saturday 24 September and Sunday 25 September , NATO bombed a TV or Radio Station in Sirte. And on 28 September storage bunkers were attacked. - See UK / NATO tweets
    The harrowing video from Ibn Sina Hospital relates to something other than NATO bombing.(uploaded 11 October.
    The downtown radio station is seen at about 5.28 to 5.58 in this aerial video of pre-destruction Sirte

  9. Huh... I thought there'd be more fences, more pavement, a fancy radio station, something I didn't even iron out first. Just looking for two circles. Now I see the towers. The wall (or one of two?) between them is there, much closer to one tank than in the middle like I thought.

    It's definitely out of the way. And it's not even clear that fuel means petrol/gasoline. It could as well be aviation fuel, being near the airport. Or maybe not, I don't know.

    @Felix: Cool peripheral stuff.

  10. More (related peripherals,re Ibn Sina...) The kids in the hospital look like axe victims. Notice the axe wielding rebel around 1.30 at a checkpoint here,Libya: Rebels looting and attacking civilians! ,uploaded 29 July, the cars are loaded with luggage, civilians fleeing Sirte,(perhaps) as a commentator has noted. Reminded me of the scenes from Tripoli of discarded suitcases, looted cars and bodies. I'm not connecting the two videos, but I don't think an axe is necessary for checking cars unless....

  11. That, Felix, is a chilling thought. Either way, the axe is troubling. But ...if you're at the checkpoint, having faces chopped... not the best spot to be able to say "never mind," turn back and get to the hospital.

    At the checkpoint you've surrendered, under their control, and going to a Red Cross field clinic or a shallow grave etc. if they decide to hurt you. And that's quite a hurt to do ... no, I suspect bombs, as these are more arbitrarily cruel than almost any human can be.

    The other side might suggest human hands-loyalists tearing kids faces apart in a desperate bid to shock the world. But no, I think the bombing/shelling, carried out with no regard for human life, did this and dozens of things even worse.

    Sorry if I over-argued that point. Must run now.

  12. I found another photo showing the four dramatis personae in this strange tank fire episode.... The muscly man in vest, the bearded guy with peaked cap, and has the shrouded monk like figure removed his head gear? The Euronews video shows a photographer in light green top with the gang of four posing with charred body and stretcher, perhaps Youssef Boudlal himself?

    The States Times has a tiny bit more detail:
    "Wе аrе still unable tο рυt out thе fire" said Leith Mohammed. (25 October)

    1. https://twitter.com/leith
      30 Oct · Mohamed Ali Chebâane ‏@MedAliChebaane. مشروع قانون الماليّة لسنة 2013 إلّي باش ... Retweeted by Leith · Expand Collapse. Reply; Retweeted ...

      Mohamed Leith
      Mohamed Chaban

  13. The full Reuters video,Deborah Lutterbeck reporting, with more footage is here along with transcript of witnesses. Uploaded 24 October.
    1VSMRK has also put it on YouTube

    15 burnt out cars,2 bodies, Reuters reporters count. Curious. There is also a construction tower crane visible at 1.05 and elsewhere.

  14. I think there is something very signficant here, connected with the death of the Gaddafis and Younis. I think about the mysterious night convoy to the secret desert burial site,the release to GlobalPost that Gaddafi burial: Body to be buried in "secret desert location"
    A National Transitional Council (NTC) official has told Reuters that the body of former Libyan dictator Col. Muammar Gaddafi will be buried Tuesday in a secret desert location.

    "He will be buried tomorrow in a simple burial with sheikhs attending the burial. It will be an unknown location in the open desert," he told Reuters.

    Would the official have been Leith Mohammed / Mohamed?

    In this video, why does the maker zoom in (0.28) at the mention of Mo'atassim Gaddafi on the strange man in the monk's habit hiding his face at the fuel depot fire (think alleged arrest of Saif al Islam)? (the death certficate shown is of Muammar Gaddafi)
    See Emma Hurd reporting for Sky News at Misrata, 25 October, about the secret burial which has taken place, from 1.55 onwards. " buried at dawn ...secret location...in secrecy..... sworn to secrecy..swear on the Quran...during the night....convoy...probably about 5AM Libyan time...secret location.... armed guards ..proper funeral....lid on this....with none of his family present ...none of his tribe tribe present...there were members of Gaddafi's family present (!!!) (two versions,two scripts..the other one here captured on YouTube

    Is it beyond the bounds of possiblity that the convoy reached the oil tanks?

  15. I just found the Reuters video independently, but the one with a transcript is useful.

    On the robot-voice video, the pan-in on that unrelated guy is apparently aesthetic, maybe playing up the mystery of that guy,. I found the red iron cross on Sirte (0:34) at least as interesting.

    Could this be part of the convoy, or the actual spot it was first captured on the 19th or whatever? I wouldn't be the one to say, with my "whatevers." Something unusual but undiagnosed is at work, is all I can say.

  16. A Google Image Search on Felix's Reuters photo brings up a set of five images that contains an uncropped version of the photo:
    news.cn.yahoo.com/newspic/news/18675/ (mirror1, mirror2)

    I also found this BBC news story with a longer version of the Reuters video:
    Libya: Fuel blast 'kills 50 in Sirte'

    The fifteen brand new white pickups now burned do not look like the cars normal Sirte residents would be using. I believe most Libyans drive Peugeot 404's, It is more likely that this is some rebel convoy – or part of the Gaddafi convoy.

    I have understood that in fact part of the Gaddafi convoy got through after it had dispersed. The NATO source said they spotted 75 vehicles assembling in Sirte. There are far less in the pileup at the electrical substation.

    @felix – Re: Is it beyond the bounds of possiblity that the convoy reached the oil tanks?
    Yes, if a part of the convoy got through they would be travelling in this general direction. The radio transmitter is a cul-de-sac and a 5km detour. If they were heading for Niger, it would be sensible to fill up with diesel before heading into the desert. There was a siege of Sirte and besides these two tanks, hardly a drop of fuel left.

  17. In Europe almost half of new cars run on diesel. Outside the US, practically all new Japanese pickups run on diesel. In Libya, I suppose it is the same. This would of course explain the atypical choice of vehicles.

  18. Brilliant work, Petri finding those pictures. I love nr.4 , the guy hiding in the manhole. BTW, I meant the funeral convoy.... did you realise that Gaddafi was born (in a tent) in the village of Sirte airport, Qasr Abu Hadi,قصر ابو هادي ?

    My feeling is that there is some massive deception involved here. (do bombs leave craters these days?) and this fuel tank scrapyard is one part of it. The sub-station is another.

    I don't for a minute believe anyone died at the fuel tanks. Is that why the story was hardly touched by the mainstream media?

  19. This German site has five photos from the set, attributed to Reuters/Youssef Boudlal:
    Explosion in Benzinlager fordert 100 Tote

    1. The explosions took place on monday afternoon = 24 october

      Die Explosionen hätten sich bereits Montagmittag ereignet


      Am vergangenen Donnerstag war Gaddafi in seiner Heimatstadt Sirte verletzt und kurz darauf getötet worden

      Last thursday Khadafi was wounded in his hometown & short after that he has been killed

      Tuesday, October 25, 2011 MISRATA: The body of Libyan ex-leader Moamer Kadhafi was buried overnight in a secret location
      after days of being put on display in a market freezer,
      a Misrata military council member said Tuesday.


    2. No building was spared in the weeks of fierce combat backed by daily NATO air strikes that reduced the Mediterranean city to rubble, a ghost town filled with the stench of death, where bodies still littered the streets on Monday.


      Meanwhile a fuel tank exploded in Sirte late on Monday killing more than 100 people, NTC military commander Leith Mohammed said.

      Mohamed Leith, Kommandeur für Misurata-Süd./commander of misrata south

      @ 1.25 leith mohamed field commander


    3. https://twitter.com/leith
      30 Oct · Mohamed Ali Chebâane ‏@MedAliChebaane. مشروع قانون الماليّة لسنة 2013 إلّي باش ... Retweeted by Leith · Expand Collapse. Reply; Retweeted …

      •Mohamed Leith
      •Mohamed Chaban /Mohamed Ali Chebaane
      In front of the field hospital fighters bear a comrade on their shoulders , mohamed schaban [sjabaan,chaban], he holds a big golden revolver


      Vor dem Feldlazarett tragen Soldaten einen Kameraden auf den Schultern, Mohamed Schaban, er hält einen großen goldenen Revolver

  20. All news reports are from the 25th, aren't they? So after most bodies and/or victims removed. Presumably. Never there, likely.

    The explanation is for an event elsewhere, where about 100 bodies were charred by choice, probably to cinder-house perfection, not fuel-depot fire randomness, I'd guess.

    The ill-fated Gaddafi convoy could have passed here, the people going to bury Muammar surely would have, I don't know. Maybe no one did and it was just picked for its characteristics.

    But there were just about 95 dead in the field north where the capture was staged. Possible connection?

  21. I can't find the report from Alrai TV - تلفزيون الراي - about the fuel tank incident at Sirte, but they do show some powerful images of the bombing of Sirte by NATO in September 2011 and the after effects in Sirte Hospital tagged Sirte,the taking of Sirte University etc...

  22. this Al-Jazeera video, ليبيا الأنـ I ثوار ليبيا يسيطرون على قرية قصر أبو هادي uploaded 3 October - Rebels control village of Qasr Bin Hadi - shows shelling of the radio station by the fuel tanks. The mast is prominent at the beginning.

    More footage here,ليبيا قصر ابو هادي مسقط رأس القذافي تسقط بقبضة الثوار 3 10 2011 : is that a fuel tank at 0.49? Tower crane too but no mast. However, the land looks a bit rough and isolated for the fuel tank (?) at 1.22 here to be the alleged massacre site. Also, it is alone.

    In another Al Jazeera video from the next day, 4 October, we see car drivers parked up next to a road tanker at 1.37. The text says that rebels consolidated their hold on Qasr Abu Hadi from the previous day and took a base to the South-West of Sirt called القرضابية Al-Qurthabia (the name of the International airport at Sirte) There would be no earthly need for vehicles to go to the radio station to tank up. The story is a nonsense. Why though?

    Sirte airport was liberated on 30 September in this video and also in this one by Al Jazeera.

  23. Boudlal also took photos of digging up bodies in mass graves in Sirte, as seen on these two South African sites - See here and also here, taken 23 and 25 October.

    1. Why dig up bodies on 23 october? To present them as new bodies on 25 october at the mahari hotel?

      Volunteers dig up corpses in the city of Sirte October 23, 2011.





      A men inspects one of the about 45 bodies found in Bani Hawal cemetery in Sirte October 25, 2011

      REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal



      is the place a cemetery or mahari?

  24. This embedded foreign adventurer (US) has uploaded lots of high definition footage of the attack on Sirte, but what caught my eye was a weapons cache near Sirte airport, but from Garmin GPS watch at 12.01, it isn't quite at the airport. Perhaps someone can identfy the site. Very tall mast at 0.29 and 1.08 in this video

    1. Location of the weapons cache is here

      The oil tank fire is only 5 km SSW from this spot, but approached due south from a junction about 1.5km W of the weapons cache.

  25. File under extremely odd, but I don't know why:
    Little reported Feature: The human cost of defending Libya's oil, filed 26 October 2011 by Jessica Donati or Reuters.
    Special NATO permission was given to break the no-fly zone over Sirte to reach an isolated oil field "last week" . Libya must have scores of onshore oil fields. Why this one in particular?
    "Last week" includes Thursday 20 October, the day Gaddafi's alleged convoy was attacked. And what part of Libya was allegedly under Gaddafi control "last week"? Central Sirte?? What is going on here?? How often was special permission given to breach the no-fly zone for commercial purposes?? Where did this flight take off from? Sirte airport?? Malta?? Seems not to have been Tripoli.

  26. I still don't get that special NATO permitted flight - Wintershall is a German producer, with Gazprom holding a 49 pc share of on-land production. Production is located at concessions c96 and c97 according to this 18 october press release
    More details about their Libyan operation here:
    Production from eight onshore fields
    Wintershall operates in eight onshore oil fields in concessions 96 und 97 in the Libyan Desert about 1,000 kilometers south-east of Tripoli and another exploration area in the south-east of the country. In addition, Wintershall also holds a share in the offshore oil field Al Jurf (Block C 137) off the coast of Libya.

    The largest Wintershall production deposit is the oil field As Sarah near the Jakhira oasis. A unique facility has also been set up there which conditions the associated gas from oil production so that the gas and condensate can be transported to the coast for sale. In addition, in 2006 the BASF subsidiary was awarded the license for another exploration area covering more than 11,000 square kilometers in the south-east of Libya.

    Seems like there is a recriprocal facility for treating civil war casualties in Germany with ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who is also honorary chairman of the German Near and Middle East Association, initiating the aid campaign after talks with the Libyan ambassador Aly Masednah Idris El-Kothany, seems to have initiated, in association with RWE A.G., "one of Europe's five leading electricity and gas companies...." (Germany getting back in the act...) Schroeder has had close and controversial links with Gazprom

    1. @ felix : is this shipping connected with the by y mentioned area?

      An 80,000 metric-ton cargo of Libyan crude is being offered for shipment from Mellitah this month, according to three people with direct knowledge of the transaction.
      The oil, equal to about 600,000 barrels, will be loaded from Sept. 15 to Sept. 17, the people said, declining to be identified because the consignment hasn’t been publicly announced
      Note :
      Bani Walid’s garrison is composed of the elite 32nd Brigade commanded by Qaddafi’s son Khamis, members of the Legion Thoria secret police, and units of mercenaries from Darfur, Salem said

    2. could it also be related with :


      Heinz: So many drones over #BaniWalid. Largest concentration in the world. Shld be over by Wed. It will be a st. to st. fight. #Libya

    3. Abdeljalil Mohamed Mayuf, information director of Libya’s Arab Gulf Oil Company, about old deals, new partners, and the demise of the National Oil Company.

      Dr Abdeljalil MohamedMayuf is spokesman for the Arab
      Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO), founded in 1979 as a
      subsidiary of Libya’s National Oil Company.

      Its oil fields are in the east of the country, its head office in Benghazi.

      Before the uprising, the company was producing 40 per cent
      of Libya’s oil. In March 2011 it broke away from Gaddafi.

      But AGOCO supported the revolution from the start by providing
      moral and financial help to the rebels.
      We gave them food, transportation, shelter. From the start we were the revolution’s driving force.

      zenith: The »AGOCO revolution«?

      You may say that. We have made everything possible for the revolution to succeed, including most of the financial assistance needed.
      We were selling oil already in March, even earlier, from February 21,from the very beginning.

      zenith: Dr. Mayuf, you have spent more than two decades working in the Libyan oil industry.


    4. Mayuf said most oilfields in west Libya were run by Western companies who evacuated from Libya weeks ago, with production at the main western Hamada fields halting from the start of the revolt.

      He said the western refinery at Ras Lanouf operated with Agoco oil, so could not be productive until Agoco resumes work.

      Agoco provided about 15 percent of fuel for a smaller refinery at Zawiya, just east of Tripoli, he said.

      zenith : An »oil trader from Switzerland« –
      do you mean Glencore?

      Yes, Glencore, and Dutch company Vitol.

      Only two weeks ago I visited the German company Wintershall, their concession in the Libyan desert.

      They’ve already resumed production and now are pumping out 60,000 barrels a day of crude oil.

      This is fine, though before the revolution they were pumping out twice as much.

  27. @felix...

    (sorry off topic)

    there were and are ONLY economic interests + geopolitical interests , germany was never out of the act ...
    dont know, if you want to look for background in this way, but here are some notes and analyses written in german, but with many given links and some parts of the texts (from links) in english...
    only the libyen-taged parts of the blog...
    you dont have to share/agree with the results of the started analyses (of the articles,which were linked), but perhaps the informations about the economic interests and actions...
    tom is not something like a so called "truther" or someone who is most interested in conspiracy plots, but he works in -perhaps- the same way on "texts" and "timelines" and "what is linked with/to ..." like you do with videos and pictures...

    1. Hey, JG, I never noticed this comment. I looked a little, but sorry, too busy to look much. This is a bump, anyway, to refresh the link.

  28. easier than inserting in the post is a comment. Petri found some photos from Sirte compiled here,Including a couple from the fuel depot fire. This one - when did those barrels get emptied and dumped there? Right after the staging of the fire in the "queue?"

    I think they'd pour fuel in nice lines to connect all vehicles full of evidence into a continuity of fire damage. It was probably poured right from these barrels into smaller cans and then trickled about. It's possible the too-perfect oil paths are still visible in the dust there for any investigator to go look at and photograph.

  29. I always thought it was a strange coincidence that this was the day, October 25, that Gaddafi allegedly had a secret desert burial, and this site is very close to his home village., south of Sirte.
    From Moonlitlibya, 23 Oct 2011 : Mansour Daw /Dhao / Dao said:Gaddafi convoy was not escaping Sirte, they were heading to Gaddafi's birth village for final stand.

    And why the exclusive by Youssef Boudlal?? And where is Mansour Daw?

    1. Was it now? Funeral celebration gone awry?

      This point (among the many others above) is a thought worth keeping and maybe developing.

  30. More oddities... the photos of Boudlal are in a strange early morning light, an unusual time for war photography. The phone call to say that there would be a dawn desert burial was made by an unnamed NTC official to Reuters. Boudlal works for Reuters. " the official told Reuters by telephone" Who wrote the story? The Reuters Baghdad correspondent who was in Misrata on 24 October....who stopped blogging at the end of 2011.(new year's resolution??)

    Rania El Gamal ‏ @Rania_ElGamal
    quiet days in Iraq, off to Libya for a month. Hope it'll be exciting, news wise while I am there
    1:29 PM - 26 Sep 11 via web

    No tweets from Ms El Gamal from Libya.

    An NTC official in Misrata said authorities in the city were still awaiting instructions from the interim government.
    El Gamal, 24 Oct 2011. At the same time, Reuters' correspondent in Sirte was Taha Zargoun

    The smoke from the burning oil tanks must have been visible from Sirte - but no photos or curiousity as far as I can tell.

  31. KARIN LAUB and RAMI AL-SHAHEIBI reported also on the Oil tank explosion, for AP, as at the Huffington Post,
    Gaddafi Buried: Burial Of Gaddafi, Muatassim And Abu Bakr Younis In Secret Location
    , 25 October:

    Meanwhile, a government spokesman said an explosion rocked a fuel depot near Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte on Monday and that there were casualties. Col. Ahmed Bani said the blast is being treated as an accident, but that an investigation has been launched.

    A human rights researcher, Tirana Hassan, said that while in Sirte on Monday, said she saw 11 people with severe burns arrive at the city's Ibn Sina hospital. Nurses said the injuries were from the blast.

    The article continues..They were then buried at dawn Tuesday, according to Ibrahim Beitalmal, a spokesman for the military council in Misrata. Bani also confirmed the burial.

    In a text message, Beitalmal said Islamic prayers were read over the bodies and that relatives and members of the local and military councils of Misrata attended the funeral. Beitalmal could not immediately reached by phone Tuesday to provide further details.

    On Monday, Beitalmal said the three would be buried in unmarked graves to prevent vandalism. Presumably, the location would also be kept hidden to prevent it from turning into a shrine for Gadhafi loyalists.

    International organizations asking to see the burial site would be given access, Beitalmal said.

    1. Who is Tirana Hassan?? An Australian working for HRW who was arrested in Java and deported in late September 2011. Previously with MSF in Somalia. She is seen in this video, Tawergha Residents hounded from their Homes , 31 October 2011.

    2. Tirana Hassan was also involved following the death of Gaddafi: from , Tracey Shelton, Global Post 20 October:
      Tirana Hassan of Human Rights Watch said they have confirmed Gaddafi's death through video evidence and reports from the Misrata committee of the National Transitional Council.

      “The NTC confirmed he was captured alive but died on the way to Misrata. I’m not a medical expert but he has clearly been shot once in the head and twice in the abdomen,” Hassan said.

    3. a member of the Lisco Libo,Ice cream Misrata old boys network :

      "A decision has been made to bury him in a secret location said Mohammed El Fteisi, the head imam of Tripoli's main mosque

      2012 privileges to foreign partners and foreign companies”: Dr Mohammed Tumi ...... of the General Board for Investment, and industry minister Mahmoud Al Fteisi.


      director of Libyan general company of iron and steel, Mahmoud Fteissi said./may 2010

  32. From the tweets of Jonny Hallam, a key BBC perp.
    Jonny Hallam ‏ @Jonny_Hallam
    Al-Ra'y TV is reporting the #Sirte explosion was caused by #NATO bombing.
    4:39 PM - 25 Oct 11 via web · Details

  33. Comment on the Times of Malta report on the story...
    Bill Khan

    Oct 26th 2011, 18:28

    When you have too many people to execute, it is easier to put them in a depot and blow them up.
    If you capture the gaddafi supporters you have to feed them and look after them. And since this is the start of new libya, there is absolutely no harm in just blowing them up esepcially when the forces of the west are on your side.

  34. photo of the blast



    1. @Hurriya - no, that is a photo of Misrata, attacked by a rocket on May 7. See NYT article here by CJ Chivers. It's just this photo only surfaced in late Oct 2011.

    2. thx, my sweet investigator.
      btw , the link Chiavers gave : Mystery deepens over Vienna UN death

  35. At 0.42 in the Reuters video and identically at 0.25 in the Euronews video, the tall local with head covering is translated saying that there was nothing like this under Gaddafi. However at 0.49 in this CNTV video, LIBYE Crimes du CNT et de l'OTAN , uploaded 25 Oct by zziner, which uses a lot of Reuters footage, there is a NEW interview the same man. [Chinese translation of Arabic into English]
    This is fuel [sic] storage unit and there is no other source for petrol in the area of Sirte except here. It was bombed by NATO before and there is some damage to its electric system. Electricity was reconnected for half an hour and the fuel storage [sic] in it exploded. The reason is NATO.

    1. It happens now many times to me , when I click a link on blog the message appears : page doesnt exist

  36. Replies
    1. The happy man, is fortunately preserved at photo #2 in the German set uncovered by Petri. (comment above, December 27)

  37. A longer Reuters video is found at ITN Source,,nearly 3 minutes, incorporating much of the familiar footage, but with longer interviews with the two local residents. They are named as Saeed (Gaddafi tribal clothes) and Jamal (Green football shirt).

  38. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=6JRywjOCaPI
    Libye Regrets mort Kadhafi.flv

    HRW says the complete convoy was 50 cars , other articles told the convoy was 70 or 80 cars , till they were stopped at a roundabout. 8:30 a.m

    The khadafi convoy , 20 cars changed direction

    But what happened with the other 50 cars of the original convoy?


  39. Benghazi :


    @ 31.07 blast

    @32.06 some were libiyan people , but most of them were ...@ 32.26 : kefir [ non muslims] [ or loyalists?]

  40. caustic : "For what it's worth, we have a location. "

    A seaside touring gives this picture with a very tall mast:



    more views from the seaside :

    watch from 3.42
    entrance 3.58




    building with car with Mutaseem's body , opposite of the building

    where Mansour Daou was captured


  41. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZsiNFJF1go

    strange : mansour daou 1 and 2


  42. ROB VREEKEN − 29/10/11, 00:00


    On the western edge of the city a group of forty men is at work,
    some with fluorescent vests and masks.

    They clean the streets, with shovels, brooms and wheelbarrows as best as they can

    "We are volunteers, residents of Sirte," says the 34-year-old candy seller Mustafa Zarga.

    Tuesday they have begun, five days after the Libyan former dictator was slain just outside Sirte by fighters of the National Transitional Council (NTC)

    Yesterday, they BURNED the bodies of six hundred men ,
    to identify each of them a photo has been taken.

    There are still many bodies around in Sirte. "Nobody is helping us. While we are really not all pro-Gaddafi. "

  43. December 27, 2011 at 1:59 PM
    I think about the mysterious night convoy to the secret desert burial site,the release to GlobalPost that Gaddafi burial: Body to be buried in "secret desert location" :

    "A decision has been made to bury him in a secret location said Mohammed El Fteisi,
    the head imam of Tripoli's main mosque

    a member of the Lisco Libo : Mohammed El Fteisi

    For the last four decades the Libyan Sahara Desert has kept its secrets well hidden from Libyans as well as the outside world. In fact, former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi made sure he never revealed its secrets to anyone.

    Ironically, he was buried in a secret location in this vast desert of thousands of sand dunes (his burial location is only known to Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the former president of the Libyan National Transitional Council).



    Minister Mahmoud Al Fteisi

    2012 privileges to foreign partners and foreign companies”: Dr Mohammed Tumi ...... of the General Board for Investment, and industry minister Mahmoud Al Fteisi.
    Mahmoud Fteissi 2010


    director of Libyan general company of iron and steel,
    Mahmoud Fteissi said./may 2010

  44. fuel depot before it was blasted


    @ 0.22 Uploaded on Oct 6, 2011



    @ 1.00 Uploaded on Oct 25, 2011


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