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Saturday, January 28, 2012

See-Through Salem: "Dr.Salim" Speaks, Coach Salem Manages

January 24, 2012
Last edits Jan. 28

<< See-Through Salem: Dr. Salem al-Farjani Or, What Ever Became of Dr. Rajub?

Fact-Seeding, Amidst Fact-Finding?
As we've previously established here (explained in the above link and illustrated at left), one very useful alleged witness to the Khamis Brigade shed massacre, called Dr. Salim Rajub, seems to be physically the same person as one Dr. Salem al Farjani. That matters because the latter works for the NTC government, finding facts about massacres they want to make sure Gaddafi Loyalists are blamed for. Working for Tripoli, he will be gathering "facts" on a massacre he himself seeded facts about, blaming loyalists under a false name.
The ethical implications are simply astounding.

Having established that, we turn to just what the this "Dr. Rajub" did with his 15 minutes of fame under his false identity. The visual cue we started with was his interview, at the massacre site south of Tripoli, with Stuart Ramsay of Sky News. Theirs was apparently the first news team at the site, around 11 am on August 27 by the angle of sunlight. The man who looks and talks just like al Farjani is actually in two different segments, interviewed each time.

AFP spoke with him the same day many hours later, by the late afternoon sunlight in the video (see at right), and apparently somewhere in-between he gave an interview for a fascinating Global Post video, a later discovery recently found and mined by readers here.

On the same day or perhaps over the next few, I'm not sure, he also spoke to French paper LibĂ©ration,  to Anthony Loyd of the Times of London (but run in The Australian instead), apparently to Human Rights Watch, and possibly to Robert Worth of the New York Times (see below, and did I miss any?).

The correlation is only sometimes by name, and this is given differently throughout the time he spoke in this persona. Sky News called their interviewee first "Salim," then in the final, more inclusive report, as "Salim Rajip," no "doctor." In the first one he gives a fairly long version, mostly with standard details as below, not worth re-typing. At 1:55 he says "actually I'm living about 200 meters from here, and I heard some people shouting, from this place..."

At 3:25 he says "so, we guess about seven to ten people were escaped, and the rest of the people were killed here." He mentions three wounded escapees seen nearby shortly after the attack, who are now at the hospital and could be talked to. This local knows who can and can't be talked to and where they can be found. Take note. At 4:07, Ramsay asks al Farjani if any of the victims, any at all, might've been "mercenaries" killed by Rebels. He responds:
They were killed by Gaddafi forces, that's for sure. That's according to the witnesses, [pointing] and you can talk to them, and according to the people who actually escaped from here. That's for sure. They were killed by Gaddafi forces. That's sure. Sure.
Verbatim from the second video:
We were here near this mosque [Hurriya wonders - this one?] and we heard some people shouting. Right? We try - we're but 5, 10 people, we, we want to come here to see what's happening and see whether some people are calling for help. We hear some guns are going on, and their bombs are going on inside. And then when we just come by near, we found some snipers there, above that (pointing) and they're start shooting. So we went back, right? Next day morning, I mean after maybe, I don't know, one hour or so, everything is quiet. And there were about three people. injured, and they're escaped, okay, and they are now in Tripoli Medical Center.
He's the only witness or survivor, I believe, to single out the TMC, Dr.al-Farjani's workplace at the time. His account delivery to Ramsay is less than convincing; feel free to watch the video and see for yourself (linked above). Was he at home, near a mosque,or at home near the mosque? Who are the other 4-9 members of this "we?"

This second report has "Salim" bring forth another witness, Mustafa Abdullah el-Hitri/Atiri. He wasn't named there, but it's him (explained here). For the first report, Atiri wasn't ready, but was surrounded by men talking with him, as he somehow prepared. Once ready, he tells the tale, "Salim" translating his story to English, with his arm around the witness' shoulders. It's an unconvincing delivery for both, but the short edit cuts out the details of Mustafa's detention and escape. This is probably the worst part of all judging by his fuller narratives to other news outlets.

Dr. al Farjani spoke to AFP as "Dr. Salim Rajub," the full name I've adopted here as semi-official.
Dr Salim Rajub, who lives near the base, told AFP: "I am shocked, I never imagined I would see a scene like this in Libya [...] On August 23, we heard gunfire before breaking the (Ramadan) fast and people shouting for help, but there were snipers outside and nobody could get close. These men were killed by Kalashknikovs and hand grenades, and then they were burned."
Confirming that, a "Dr. Salem" spoke to Alex Loyd (who also spoke with el Hitri) with strange factual authority, almost like a man in the midst of a fact-finding mission like Dr. al Farjani is said to have gone on at the time:
"There are about 65 bodies in all either in the barn or yard," said Dr Salem, a local resident. "But we know for a fact that there were more than 150 prisoners in the barn when the firing started and that only about ten escaped [25-50 now]. What has been done with the other bodies?"
Human Rights Watch did not speak with Atiri, but on the 27th interviewed an unnamed "local resident" with medical training, possibly our subject, who said:
Last Wednesday [sic - Aug 24], sometime after the early evening prayer, I heard the sound of heavy gunfire and grenades, then complete calm. Then in the evening, my neighbors came to me. They asked if I could help people with gunshot wounds…I told them to take them to the hospital. [The neighbors] were scared to take them to the hospital, so they kept them [at home].
Which hospital, one wonders? TMC is not named here, going against the Farjani ID, but I still suspect it's him.

Global Post spoke on the 27th with an unnamed man who is clearly Dr. al Farjani (a still at left), apparently still playing the same role he did for Sky News. Here he said:
0:21 - "On Friday night, this area were liberated by the rebels, and this morning, we just come and see this place [on fire?]."
0:58 - "For the last 40 years, I hear that some people killed, executed, that they were hanged, but this is the first time I see people, they kill them and they [bury?] them."
James Foley: "They burn them."
Dr. al Farjani: "Yeah, they burned them, yeah. Yeah, I mean it's a [?buy?], to kill somebody and burn him again? I mean, for what? I mean, they are trying to hide their crime? [shaking head slowly with an odd smile] No.
Libération also spoke with our subject, as "le docteur Salem Rajab" for a report not run until August 29. Again, they also spoke with his kiddo el Hitri/Atiri (as Moustapha el-Etri) and perhaps with Atiri's escape companion, Gazi Tarrar (see below). Here's what Jean-Louis le Touzet wroteabout "Dr. Rajab" and then I let Google translate mangle:
This is Dr. Salem Rajab, who said to keep a medical office in the district, which carried the death toll Saturday afternoon.
According to Dr. Salem Rajab, "between 140 and 160 prisoners from the jails of Gaddafi were gathered in the courtyard Tuesday 23 [August, ed]." Then, still on Tuesday, shortly before breaking the fast, he heard gunshots. A lot. He and the neighbors came immediately, "but the soldiers shot Kadhafi the top of the mounds of sand from the cement plant. There were three big explosions and screams, and saw the flames. As there was fighting in the barracks, could not close until this morning [Saturday]. "
"We are looking for 90 missing bodies," says Dr. Salem Rajab. And these three bodies outside, one of which has its feet in a noose? The doctor, while Moustapha said nothing: "These are three soldiers who refused to participate in the implementation and the mercenary," he said, mimicking the scene, "killed on the spot."
And the good doctor possibly spoke, at a later date, to Robert F. Worth at the New York Times, as covered in the article A "Dr. Salim," a "Mr. al Farjani, and a Key Escapee. No mention is made of a Dr. or a Salem, but Worth did speak with his protege el Hitri (as Mustafa Abdullah Atiri), who told him about his co-escapee "Taha" (Tarrar apprently does translate that way sometimes...). Mustafa also mentioned the local man, Ahmed al-Farjani, who took in on both he and Taha on about August 24. Mr. al-Farjani, who is Dr. al-Farjani's same age (but a construction worker), spoke to Worth as well and agreed he saved Atiri, the same kid the doctor he probably looked just like would take to the media in a few days.

Did the NTC's massacre-solving czar leave us the full name Dr. Salem al-Farjani, spread out over two fake witnesses, both flanking Mustafa el Hitri?

Coach Salem?
Beyond his own voluminous words to the media, perhaps under two or more untrue names (is Rajub/Rajip really a transliteration issue?), Dr. al Farjani seems to have had a hand with some of the other, far-too-numerous alleged witnesses to the massacre. He of course physically held Atiri/el Hitri while translating for him, after pre-announcing him and then walking him up. As contributor Peet 73 said just from that:
The Sky Video show's quite clearly that the doctor is the puppet master behind this presentation. He's not only the most educated and "serious" witness he's also the man who guides the journalists around and leads other dummies to them. It's very revealing how he backs the other, less profesional liar with his arm around his shoulder (after 2:34). 
Taking "presentation" narrowly as of young Mustafa, that's fairly apparent. But to take it further and to offer a competing metaphor, he might be the dungeon master of this whole multi-witness massacre role-playing game. I could see it then, but wasn't ready to say it yet.

We had a look in Seamus Murphy's VII photo library for any glimpses of Dr, Farjani, but no identifiable views appeared. However, this image (crop at left) could possibly show his chubby arm raised behind the foreground character (also an alleged witness, unnamed), as he helps prepare Mustafa (orange shirt) for Ramasy's coming visit. This and other photos suggest Murphy was there shooting  at around 9:30 to 10:30 am, when Sky Seems to have filmed about 11:00 (all by rough reading of sunlight "azimuth").

That arm's gesture says, perhaps, "this is a huge story, huge. You can't screw this up." Atiri's might say "but I haven't even been inside there yet. How am I gonna know what to say?" 

Just from that, the possibility of witness coaching is there, but only with one witness we've already seen him translate for. But contributor Felix noticed the signs of another case of fondling by the coach, in the final clip of the Global Post video report by James Foley. This regards the sobbing man, an unnamed, gaunt man with a lean intensity, a "grief-stricken relative and/or survivor" seen in solitary anguish in a photo here, and then being comforted by many here, here, here, here, and here (17th image in that slide-show).

Then, in a more chipper mood off to the side, apparently after this session, what seems to be the same man can be seen at the end of that GPvideo (1:23). He's first smiling, talking to another, chubbier man who's patting him on the back. That arm, again all we can see of him, looks a hell of a lot like Dr. Farjani's. One can imagine this saying "that was some serious grief you gave them. You earned your pay today, son." The sobbing man seems aware, if "Salim" isn't, that a camera was suddenly filming them, and he quickly moves away from the pat, leaving the doctor's hand lingering and sliding off his back, along the way revealing the short sleeve of that goofy blue "aligator" (Lacoste?) shirt.

That's sloppy, sloppy work. Lucky the world doesn't give a shit.

Dr. Rajub was just an ordinary man, an anonymous local whose only claim to fame was witnessing this loyalist massacre with his own eyes and ears, knowing many of its escapees, apparently in a supervisory capacity, and bringing all that together for the world's gathered news media. It's only natural that we should never again hear from Dr. Rajub once his public work was complete. Afterwards, the strangely similar Dr. Salem al Farjani, who's apparently the same guy in fact, took over this massacre, its witnesses and escapees, its presentation to men of powerits mythology and its utility in the continuing persecution of Libyan loyalists.


  1. There is no evidence that Salim was present the next day, on the morning of Sunday 28 Aug, when several groups visited. Who is the go-to man that day? Alex Thomson's 3rd witness, - see 4.00 in the Channel 4 video who wouldn't give his name because he was "too frightened", is the main man in the Murphy photo above ,white shirt, which he has changed since the 27th, and now needs a face mask, but he doesn't speak English. However I think the man with crisp grey long-sleeved shirt at 3.47 does (who looks rather like the "frightened" witness BTW. Who was the ringmaster on the Sunday? Did anybody else appear two days running?

    1. So you think maybe these two guys are brothers or something? Could be, but some of the similarity is from their common squint, but that's the light doing that. Nonetheless, both seem to be trying to communicate the story, with the one gesturing for involvement even though the other is talking.

      Either could be the ringleader for the day, but it feels like an inadequate substitute teacher, a day not as much wackiness will be delivered. I'm not familiar enough with dates the other witnesses to say who showed up two days -not many I'd guess. Somewhere I listed some of those present on the 27th, but not the 28th...

  2. Alex Thomson answered Facebook Questions on reporting from Libya's front line, the same day he visited the Compound and , I suspect subsequently, meeting the detained and petrified Africans [the Rebel did NOT want Thomson to see beyond the wooden door in the Khamis base....].
    Answer to Q1:
    Simon Moss: How do you stay neutral when in conflict zones?

    AT: I don't know that you can stay all that neutral. You have to be, physically, with one side or the other in a war. But if people are committing atrocities you say so - rebels included in Tripoli - as we are seeing.

    People lie in wars more than they shoot. Always attribute everything eg RAF's claim to have hit a "Gaddafi bunker" in Sirte. It amazes me how few media organisations do this. Most will have taken the RAF's claim at face value.

    My emphasis. Did he believe the three witnesses whose stories he said agreed with each other??

  3. why is he still living? phykick

  4. Well, phy... I'm not entirely sure he still is. In late November, anyway...

  5. Update: Dr. Salem I presume can be seen in this video, as Hurriya first noticed, app. 5:35-6:00 in.
    At the massacre shed, out front, a stubby guy in a short-sleeved blue shirt. Seen ata distance and from behind, it's not too clear, standing amidst a small group of people of unknown type, explaining something to them with exaggerated arm gestures.

    And a question (for anyone): I'm considering whether it could be argued (or even be true), that Dr. al Farjani was not lying. Petri I think suggested maybe he decided to use the name Rajub out of fear of loyalists (or could claim that's why). Aside from the name, he wasn't really using a false persona, perhaps.

    But now we have this tidbit where he claimed to keep a practice down in Furjan near the base. The question then is how realistic is it that he would work at Tripoli Medical Center in the capacity he claims (cardiac surgeon, right?) and also run a private practice a ways south of town. I don't know enough about the doctor world to know how much or little sense that makes. Is it a problem for his body of claims and how big of one if so?

  6. Sorry, just to make it a handy link like I meant to, with even the time marker per Petri, the video.

    1. Returning to the video, we've previously had massive evidence of the doctor's presence on the 27th and none for the 28th. The video was posted the 28th. It was filmed about mid-day, the light and shadows say, so either day is possible, but I'm guessing it was filmed the 27th.

      The people he's speaking with: I see no battle helmets, so journos seems unlikely. The one at right almost seems to hold a notepad, but his shorts don't sit right. He's actually standing aside from the group, reading something maybe. The one on the left, casual posture of a manual worker between shifts. He's a Libyan, a local or visiting. The other one or two, can't tell.

      gestures at 5:46 and 5:55, pointing west. What's explaining there? The direction of the mosque and/or his alleged home, direction of escape? Pointing up, too, or high, suggesting escape over the wall maybe.

      Adventures in reading things in - too much or just enough? You can't know 'til you try.

    2. @Adam - if you look at 3.11 in the long amateur video you will see the word Moammar has already been covered with red paint. Yet at 0.25 and again at 1.10 in the later Sky Video, the red paint has not yet been applied. Therefore the 11 minutes amateur video was made after Sky's Stuart Ramsay filmed. (is that the Irish Commander of the Tripoli brigade, Mahdi Al-Harati, at 1.28 prowling behind Salim?)
      The first Sky Video doesn't show the wall - in the distance a dark blue pick-up blocks the view. This earlier video with Salim was filmed before mid-day on 27 August.


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