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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Khamis Brigade Shed Massacre: Vehicles

January 4, 2012

I've been a little slow to analyze the vehicular situation around the massacre site, from earth movers to pickups, prison trucks, and more. I'll start with some images I was just alerted to, revealing three corpses removed from the scene early on August 27, apparently just before Sky News first reported. These were taken by Seamus Murphy/VII. These are bodies I've never seen or blogged on before but will. Warning-the one body is especially messed up in the face, most visible in the first image.

The trucks they show parked on the compound's west side are visible in the Sky News footage, right behind "Dr. Salim" for his first interview. He and Stuart Ramsay are standing about where the loaded truck had been parked and that char-faced, blood-soaked body had been moved around byrebel fighters just an hour or so earlier. To the left, foreground, is the same tall white truck with windows, a (or the?) prison truck,with its back platform, from which the bodies seem to have been taken before being put on the other truck.

The Murphy photo, crop at right above, shows the red graffiti saying, I guess,"Khamis Brigade," "Death Squad," etc., proving who ran the place and its trucks. It's already there but for the green, which it really seems the man is just starting on, recalling Arabs write right-to-left. Or perhaps he's erasing (left-to-right) something else before a later-yet painting over. An amazing photo, really.

The top image there is from a photo in the recent Physicians for Human Rights report on the massacre. That photo was taken, apparently, on the 28th or later. The area of the "mattress victims" looks dug-up, as it did not on the 27th or 28th, aside from CNN's Arwa Damon's late report from almost sunset on the 28th. The area dug-up then, at right, had previously been covered partly in a gray gravel unlike the surrounding dirt. It doesn't seem to dug deep enough to be a grave. It's a mystery.

In the later Sky interview, "Dr.Salim" is backed by a different truck, or rather two of them; dump trucks with driver's side doors open. They've been active lately, might be again soon. The one's load we can see is indistinct monochrome, made of numerous large objects -boulders, concrete rubble, garbage bags, body bags, all possibly consistent. Rubble fits the bill best, however, in my opinion.

Below I compared that with a consistent dump truck seen later in the day by Human Rights Watch (full photo, also showing the prison truck). I'm not clear if this is the same truck, or if they've moved (I think still put, driver's door still open, with the one in front off-frame here). Its load is much more colorful-seeming here. Clothing colored objects - brown/orange, black, white, red, a bit of hospital blue, in roughly human sizes. The cloth hanging over the side, stained black, seems to have a red tint when lightened and enhanced. Is that just the sun's reddening light here near sunset, or is that blood?


  1. I spent time on Monday studying the changes to the crime scene from August 20th the August 28th and was planning a long post. Unfortunately I have been occupied for two days.

    All the vehicles seen on the site in the morning of the 27th are also present in the Google Maps satellite image from August 20th. I will list the vehicles counterclockwise from the shed.

    The satellite image shows nine vehicles parked in a row next to the low wall, front facing the 32th Brigade base. Of these four are seen in images from the 27th.

    1) Isuzu pickup with "fridge". (see Physicians for Human Rights)
    2) missing
    3) Blue pickup with "doghouse" in back
    4) Mitsubishi prison transport truck.
    5) missing
    6) missing
    7) Blue prison transport truck, towed to the front of the shed in the afternoon on the 27th
    8) missing
    9) missing

    In the southwest corner there were about eight passenger cars and smaller pickups. Two of these are seen in this photo from the HRW news release.

    A dark Mitsubishi or similar sedan is where it whas on the 20th.

    A small white car has lost its wheels. The car has been moved forward a few meters, evidently before the wheels were removed. The implication is that the tires were removed on the 26th and used for igniting the fire.

    A white pickup without wheels is in the corner, next to "man on the stairs." it is not clear where this was on the 20th.


  2. ...continued

    The two dump trucks facing south are in the same place as on the 20th. The amount of trash in the truck nearest the shed may have increased.

    The west facing water tanker and the boom excavator are where they were on the 20th.

    The two front loaders parked next to the white MSC shipping container are where they were on the 20th. The hole / excavation near the east wall is not present on the 20th, so one of these may have moved and returned to its original spot. The white pickup parked next to the front loaders is missing.

    The white Mediterranean Shipping Company container has not moved. The red shipping container to the left of the gate seen on the 27th is not present in the satellite image.


    The black water tank takes a curious path from the roof of the "guardhouse" to the center of the yard.

  3. You can't quite see the graffiti in the Ron Haviv photo. It just says Allah in red, with possibly Rasul, messenger, beneath. Hard to say. No idea what is written in green. I guess Murphy and Haviv were there at the same time. Some new faces in the latter's "mourning relatives" shots.

  4. The Arwa Damon CNN video has some vehicle shots, esp around 1.40-1.46. And later. Who is the guy in spectacles? He is obviously a key player in this scene. Is he the one reposible for excavating the bodies, as told to BBC Radio 4?? Notice also at 2.50 a large yellow construction vehicle with drum winch, labelled Ocateli (?).

  5. The first Sky News video, without Al Atri shows the small van is already covered with graffiti. The large mobile crane, at 2.50 in the CNN video, is seen inside the compound, behind the white water tanker in the same Sky video,additional to the two front loaders. Perhaps this was used to lift ISO containers?

  6. @Petri-I need to get Google Earth or that early imagery from you maybe. I doubt these same loads were all in the truck on the 20th, even if they were. Good workon that so far, it's to you I'm trying half-heartedly to catch up here.

    The Haviv link didn't work but I've got his photos up. Interesting stuff all around. Too many possible off-topic notes...

  7. At 1.11 in the second SkyTV video with Stuart Ramsay one sees the same hand in the graffiti as on the refrigerated van on the wall of the end building next to the shed. It clearly now says "God and Moammar and Libya" and something related to in arabic - الجرذان - Rats. My guess is it is being written on, not cleaned off the van. (Interesting how many people milling about, like a grand opera cast,in the compound are covering their faces, when there is no need to. Something to hide? Try the european looking egg-head with check shirt at 2.48 onwards behind Salim in the same Sky video above...)

  8. Sorry, I cropped the last digit off the Ron Haviv link - here it is from which his photos can be searched - eg Haviv Khamis Compound Tripoli etc.

  9. Graffiti: I notice that Moammar in the Stuart Ramsay video has been crossed out in red by the time that Orla Guerin appears. (screen shot on your page here The green addition / crossing out on the van also looks like the rough shape of the word Moammar. All very strange.

  10. antiwar_soldier no one
    Skynews report from this place on saturday did not show any earth diggers because there were none
    08/31/2011 Reply Retweet Favorite

    Is this erroneous re: Sat 27 Aug? Need to check both Sky vids.

  11. no, you can see a front-loader at 2.38 in the second Sky Video with Al-Atri.

  12. .....and of course both are shown in the first Sky Video as Petri Krohn noted. The larger is a Chinese Changlin ZL18 or ZL30 loader.

  13. At 6.48 in the AlJwarhFreemedia17 video there is a strange yellow six-wheeled vehicle in front of the white tipper. Is it a suction excavator? The video also has some shots of the prison/refrigeration vehicles from the other, western side at 2.59.

    1. And the only other sighting I have of the yellow six-wheeler is in the Canadian Janis Mackey Frayer CTV video....

    2. Oh, and it pops up in the Daily Telegraph / Andrew Raven / Reuters video at 1.21 Has it some kind of pump?

  14. In this Channel 4 video from August 28th Chief Correspondent Alex Thomson makes a reference to the two "earth movers" and an "attempt to dig mass graves."
    Evidence of Libya nassacre as remains of 50 people found

    I do not think either of these two front loaders were used to dig the pit. They are in exactly the same location as in the August 20th satellite image. The "grave" must have been dug by a third front loader, possibly the one we see bringing in the faceless body on August 28th.

    All together, I do not think any of the vehicles on the site were operational. The water tanker has not moved since March. This looks more like a junk yard for broken down equipment.

    1. It would have needed a back hoe on it. Like a JCB or similar.

  15. I have been wondering where the photographic evidence is for the blue prison transport van in its original location, before it is towed to the spot in front of the shed. It is seen at 5m 19s on the Moktar Mahmoud Zedan video.


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