By Adam Larson/Caustic Logic
In the course of some reading earlier this year, I and readers and contributors here have noticed some references to a place called something like "Janat hotel." I had gathered Janat meant - with ominous overtones - heaven. At least two survivors of the Free Libyan prison system of Misrata referred to it with dread. These I've previously mentioned here and here.
There are some grave allegations made between them, which I don't feel up to working in here at the moment. (maybe comments will help - Hurriya? - as well as time to get other things caught up) And I believe there are other claims around about the morbid locale that I'm even more hazy on. Was there systematic sexual abuse reported at this former luxury resort? Is this the spot where it was said some sick doctor from India was doing organ extractions, to let the militias turn prisoners into a few million dollars a piece?
Thanks to a tip from Hurriya, I learn that a guy from the UK Daily Mail now gets to expose the place. His report sounds none too positive by mainstream media standards, and tends to land with a well-weighted thud. But is it really the full story, or just an edge of it they felt compelled to acknowledge? Andrew Malone reports, July 6, in part:
Called Funduq Al-Jannah - Arabic for Heaven Hotel - it is an execution ground where up to 1,000 of Gaddafi’s fighters were taken by the victorious rebel army, then slaughtered in cold-blooded vengeance.Malone learned of the horrors from "a group of fighters I came to know at the height of Gaddafi’s siege of the town last year." They took him to the site and explained how loyalist and suspected loyalist prisoners were executed here "after being tortured at rebel bases." They were the "worst of the worst," rebels said, certainly guilty of rape and/or torture. "Many had been mutilated and made to drink diesel - a form of torture common in Libya." Found guilty and driven to the beach, they were unloaded, laid out, and at first, had their throats slit. Later, it was ordered they should do it with guns. The bodies had been buried in huge piles of gravel and sand nearby. At the time of Malone's visit, families played in the surf nearby.
Everyone in Misrata knows of the events that unfolded at this desolate spot, but no outsiders had been here until I visited this week and heard the full harrowing details of what happened at Heaven Hotel - a bitterly ironic name, as I shall explain.
Misrata’s rebel fighters reassured them they would not be harmed, that they were simply being taken for questioning at the ‘hotel’. It was a lie. As soon as the captives arrived, the killing started.
‘I’d told one of these dogs that we were taking them to Funduq Al-Jannah near the beach - he was really pleased and said that was good because his aunt lived in the area,’ a Misratan revolutionary told me. ‘We cut his throat first.’
Alleged scale and duration of the execution spree:
Every one of them denied killing any captives themselves. ‘We burned some of the bodies before burying them in the sand,’ I was told. ‘I don’t know how many were killed - as many as 1,000.’
Most died in the immediate aftermath of the end of the war last August. But sources say people were still being taken to Heaven Hotel earlier this year.It's not clear how far back the killings go. It was in about April 2011 that the rebel militias established full control of the area, and could kill those they captured anywhere, at leisure, thereafter.
This report is admirably dark-sounding and closer to reality than we've been normally allowed, with a lot of the previously-known rebel bad side hanging out to see. They admit with every word that they are jerks, and gravely so. They still call their victims dogs, still leaving the bodies rotting a year later.
But it still feels a little clean and simplified, according to these "full, harrowing details." We're reminded of the alleged horrors in the siege of Misrata. The victims here were real soldier types and mercenaries who took part, even if the confessions were sometimes a little forced. Torture occurred, but only to the point of confession to a true and heinous crime. Simple execution, a bit of burning, and an unacknowledged mass grave, are the worst that happened at the Janat hotel. It happened perhaps a thousand or so times over, but the whole thing is not quite as sick morbid as I had previously thought. That was in part my imagination filling in for partial info I never considered closely. But the info was from people who had served time in a system that had the "heaven hotel" as one of its designated exits...
The picture painted for Malone could be a realist piece, an impressionist piece, or a forgery. It could be what they call a limited hangout, where a part of a suspected truth, or a version of it, is acknowledged, while helping conceal darker secrets yet. Limited hangouts are often displayed with a suspicious air of total openness. Since they seemed so open, and did admit to bad things, that must be all there was to admit, we're to presume.
Beyond that question, I must protest the article's casual references to some supposed fact that African mercenaries fought for the Libyan government in any real number. Likewise, the Tawerghans have been 'white-washed.' Malone argues that most of the Blacks of Tawergha were not really loyalists, in a fighting sense anyway - they've just been confused with the Afro-mercs. Were they good and brave people? I presume so, and so they likely fought with or actively supported the Jamahiriya. But that's not the main point here. Except, as usual with the mainstream media, it is a main point.