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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sidney Kwiram of Human Rights Watch tours Tripoli in August

Posted by Felix
April 28, 2012
I don't see the name Sidney Kwiram (a female) so far in this blog. HRW, for whom she is a "consultant" or "researcher", does figure significantly.
Yet when I looked for an image of her,what else should come up but a photo she took of Marie Colvin, a huge fan of regime change and who allegedly died in an attack in Homs, Syria on 22 Feb 2012 in circumstances which can only be described as highly bizarre.

Kwiram photographed landmines in Qawalish on 6 July 2011, a subject of interest to CJ Chivers and Tawergha in early September.

In this BBC video, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14680857 [last updated 15.23 Friday August 26 2011] Kwiram is touring apparently the bodies at the roundabout. There is no gunfire in the background.

The BBC Live Blog makes it clear that the interviewe was for the BBC World at One programme, broadcast sometime between 13.00 and 13.30 BST, 15.00 Tripoli time. What is interestng is that the Tripoli report is all her own work: Campaign group Human Rights Watch has one investigator working in Tripoli. Sidney Kwiram described to the BBC what she found upon reaching a site where a number of bodies had been discovered:

The interviewer is the BBC's Shaun Ley.

"We're in Central Tripoli now, near Gaddifi's compound, Bab Al aziziya we're coming across bodies, they've been clearly sitting here for a while. Oh my! 1,2,3,4,5,6 ...it's hard to see from this what exactly has happened to them but they're not...erm..I don't see any signs of handcuffs on them. [so it wasn't the NYPD!]

It's hard to see how they have been killed from this angle. They're not in uniform and, but I'm not seeing any entry and exit wounds.
I do see some signs of, well I don't, I shouldn't speculate on that. [What then? Why not??]
We do have a witness here to one of the killings and we will be talking to him soon [Did he ever turn up in HRW reports??] but we are seeing evidence here of executions. I don't know if this here in particular is an execution but we have spoken to witnesses to some other executions [Ah, our old friend Bashir & Co.!]
and in those cases it was the Gaddafi side that had done it. In this case we [are] just only to do to the intervierws to figure it out. But what were looking at is a scene in Tripoli right now where we are finding groups of bodies, dead and some signs of executions.

Obviously there is a lot of fighting as well and so we can't rule out that as a possibility in some of these cases which is why it is important to look at the wounds and talk to witnesses as well to figure out what is going on.

Ley: Its a pretty chaoitic situation for you to be doing this work in at the moment

Right now it's quiet here. this area is quiet, things further out closer to the airport I think are more chaotic. Are there more there? There,with their hands bound. Oh God! Hold on....but it's fairly quiet here.

Ley: "What do you have to do in terms of preserving evidence, establishing the circumstances of deaths in order to gather the information that might be needed for any future action against people who might have been involved in any killings?"

We are trying to find the witnesses ... Oh God! This one has his hands bound...civilian clothes...clearly he's been here for a while...we're trying to talk to witnesses, we're trying to go the actual locations and look at the wounds...and getting names and all of that but...this is clearly a scene in which there's.. er...I'm sorry here, give me a second...

Ley: "You take as along as you need"
[Long gap]
Anyway,I should probably go now...[where?]

Ley: "Indeed, may I ask just one final question? You don't know the cirumstantecs here and how do you kind of evaluate that ..how do you establish whether these may have been executed by the rebels, or by ther govenrment forces or by someone unconnected?" [good question!]

First of all it is just important to find witnesses [who naturally all tell the truth in wartime] and it's impotrant to look at the forensic evidence [as at the Khamis shed, not] and in the work we were doing yesterday on one of the other excutions it seeems pretty clear it was done by Gaddafi forces and these cases I'm gong to have to speak to some of the gentlemen here who are witn
esses [what, more have just turned up?] before I can start to draw any conclusions .....but we have, there is still a lot of information here to mine in order to determine what's happening and why and of course our question is what do we do about it.

The NTC has been fairly aggressive about messaging, about the importance of ..treating captured prisoners humanely and not seeking revenge. [reassuring] There have been text messages to Libyana with he same message ......to the President of Tripoli and then the question is just going to be to what extent both sides are abiding by that and we are seeing evidence that there are problems here and so far the the stuff we have documented has been primarily on the Gaddafi side.

Ley: "Primarily but not exclusively?"

What we have documented is exclusvely but we are following up other things right now that we havent determined.
We just have to follow the facts thats our job. [facts very quickly arrived at in Yarmouk,apparently]

But I don't think Kwiram is anywhere near neutral in the matter of Libya. And I think her reaction in the broadcast were right over the top, verging on the fake. It's also available at Audioboo

One just has to see Kwiram's set of 14 photos at New Republic to show that she is just another flag-wagger for the rebels.
Kwiram's own podcast,dated 27 Aug, from the roundabout is no longer available. Strange but the Reuters photo to accompany t shows 1,2,3,4,5,6 black Africans (a signficant feature not entioned by Kwiram) , the closet two lying face down with hands behind tied together with zip ties.

In an interview with that beacon of objectivity, Al Jazeera, HRW reports abuses against civilians in Libya , Kwiram describes the Khamis warehouse with pictures from two days after meeting Bashir [25th by implication,vide supra].
"Human Rights Watch had heard for months now qbou5 various people being detained in that area, in Salaheddin and Yarmouk and this was a fairly grim ending to the already terrible stories we had heard about treatment in some of those areas. The Gaddafi regime had been placing people in both official and unofficial facilities and what we saw yesterday [27 Aug] were still smouldering ashes of about 50 skeletons.

It was hard to distinguish them. They were in a warehouse and it was a pretty grim scene. There were also some bodies thqt wre not burned outside of it in the courtyard of the agricularal area right next to the military base. According to somebody we talked to , some of these guys might have been the ones who were trying to escape after the guards opened fire on the detention facility and some of the gueys when the guards were reloading their ammuniting tried to escape and at that point got shot and several were wounded but did escape and some were unscathed and were able to tell us the story.

One of the things we were most concerned about is the possibility for revenge and we've seen some of that happening in benghazi....we've been very outspoken about the importance of making sure that even people's former enemies,people who might have done terrible things are handled under the rules of law. That's the most important thing.

Curiosity: Al-Jazeera had excellent footage from the Khamis Shed from late on 27 August. From about 1.25 in this post from Sept 19 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DApatb5chbc, الثمن الغالي لأسقاط نظام القذافي

Ref: Libya: Evidence Suggests Khamis Brigade Killed 45 Detainees HRW, August 29, 2011.
Who funds HRW? Read the comment by ANDRE at this blog post: Rothschild Proxies Destabilize Syria by Branden Moore, Jan 1 2012.


  1. Did she watch what was going on?


    Libye – La vidéo de mercenaires qui tuaient les Libyens de la Jamahiriya – Des images interdites que El Jazeera (29 avril 2012)

  2. Was Sidney Kwiram 1 of the first in the shed and spread the story?
    Sidney Kwiram from HRW has been working in Libya. She spoke to Al Jazeera about the abuses against civilians.

    Sidney Kwiram about the deads on the roundabout:
    Groups of dead bodies found in Tripoli
    26 August 2011 Last updated at 14:23 GMT Help

    Rebel fighters are continuing their struggle to secure Tripoli against forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi.
    Sidney Kwiram, from the campaign group Human Rights Watch, said she found groups of dead bodies near Col Gaddafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound and evidence of executions in the capital.

    Voice of Sidney Kwiram:
    evidence execution, spoken to witnesses : khadafi side done it !!!!!!

  3. Anyway she seems to belong to the hailers of the Misrata Brigade:

    Service Held for Combat Photographers and Doctor Killed in Misurata
    Sidney Kwiram, right, of Human Rights Watch, and Alexander Dziadosz of Reuters leave candles in a bouquet next to a pair of cameras placed in rememberance of Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros at a small memorial service held by colleagues in Benghazi on Thursday.

    1. I think she spoke to Al-Fituri at the shed, implied in her HRW report.

  4. Sidney Kwiram sounds like a well-meaning dupe. Her ill-advised efforts to get truth from "witnesses" has helped establish as "fact" the "terrible things" that might in some minds justify the "revenge" she warns against. Oh well, better luck in Syria, huh?

    1. the dupe Kwiram is blond , I like : Deborah Dupre, Human Rights Examiner

    2. I don't think she is a dupe, think Arwa Damon of CNN. Kwiram is ex-Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, Washington, DC,
      At around 18.50 in this 2009 Video, Sarah Leah Whitson of HRW,whose name is more associated with Libyan bulletins, groups Syria, Libya and Saudi Arabia on less free side of the Arab world. So, is Saudi next for destablising? Doubt it.

    3. Well Kwiram is a Jewish surname ;) take it for granted


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