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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mohammed's Story

By Caustic Logic
August 11, 2012

<< Abu Salim Hospital Massacre {Masterlist}

The following is a sub-section of the report "A Violation of Medical Neutrality: The Negelected Massacre at Abu Salim Trauma Hospital." The report is nearing completion on schedule to mark the approximate anniversary of the hospital massacre - same day this kid allegedly had a bullet removed from his chest there.
The alleged sniper-shot boy is given as Mohammed (family name perhaps Al-Zadma), aged 10, although he looks a bit older. The Al Jazeera English crew didn’t get his name as they filmed him looking a little weak on the 25th. “A boy, a bullet removed from his chest, is now recovering.” He was sure to be filmed flashing the rebel victory sign and pumping his fist, while looking at someone off-camera expectantly. [AJE]

An AFP video report from the following day, as he was being evacuated, names him as Mohammed and shows his mother. [FP2] A Euronews report offers the most details, all questionable. “As the rebels swept in last Sunday [Aug. 21], 10-year-old Mohammad went on to the streets to watch history being made,” presumably without parental consent, and was “injured in the chaos.” [E1] A report from AFP’s Marc Bastian said the boy was shot, apparently by a sniper, “in the back,” while he was just “outside Moamer Kadhafi's compound in the Libyan capital.” This information came from his father, who obviously must not have seen it happen. He told Bastian “my son was wounded outside Bab al-Aziziya, but we didn't know where he had been taken.” [FP4]

 Euronews reported after the shooting, he was “taken to a local hospital where his parents eventually found him by chance,” five days later, and just moments before their news appearances. Rabii Saaid, “The doctor who treated him” said: “we were trying to transfer him, and suddenly the family arrived to look for him. They saw him in the ambulance and they were very, very shocked.” [E1] The reunion outside the hospital was purely by chance, a complete surprise, and thus presumably not stage-managed for the media. It did carry a conveniently positive message considering the grave aftermath of the rebel-initiated violence of the past week; “The discovery brought a ray of joy into an area that has seen fierce fighting,” Euronews noted. [E1]

 The boy’s mother Aisha Al-Zadma said, on the sixth and last day he was missing, that they had all “spent four days searching for him.” They wouldn’t have been able to check this most local hospital, considering the fighting, but it’s not specified where else they had frantically checked. “We’ve eaten nothing” in those days, Aisha said. His father added: “I didn’t know he was here. They told me that there were bodies here and maybe my son was among them. I came to look, and it was only today that I found him. That’s five days I’ve been looking for him.” [E1]

The Euronews video shows Mohammed’s unnamed father clearly overcome to an unnerving degree. It looks like relief, sudden joy, and perplexity all mingled, and still shaped by days of sorrow and worry. It’s all directed far more at the cameras than at his son who lays three feet away, once again just waiting. [E1] This scene was witnessed by Channel 4’s Alex Thomson as well. Perhaps not knowing the back-story, he decided “in one ambulance a man, almost incoherent with fear, just kept saying: “Al Hamdillulah” – thank God. Three young children sat near him almost beatifically calm in their shock.” [AT4] One of these children was of course Mohammed, and his little sister can be seen briefly, in the Euronews video, smiling at the strangeness of this family trip (visible in the still above, along with a younger brother, it seems). [E1] Mohammed doesn’t speak or show any emotion in the available videos at all, “in too much pain to talk,” one of them explained.

 All this together merits a flashback to Misrata, about four months before the events in Tripoli. “The Sniped tykes of Misrata,” an early investigation by the author, exposed transparent rebel propaganda based on fake x-ray images. [STM] These were said to prove at least two children, a 4-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy, were both shot in the chest by government snipers. The boy’s film was shown by Human Rights Watch, alongside the victim, his bandaged wound, and his mother. Then a copy of it was quickly spotted in a video - presented as an image from the girl’s chest. The “removed bullet” was shown in a vial, alongside the film and a sleeping girl. [STM] Below, the two images compared – left, the girl’s film, skewed to proportion, and right, the boy’s.
Both images are the same but for the shoulder marking on the right and, here, the different backgrounds behind the translucent films. This clearly can’t be an accurate image for both of them, and further, the image itself is quite questionable. There is no deformation to the bullet (center, obscured by the spine), and stranger yet, there is no bending or breaking of a single rib. We see a short path to stopping, after no visible resistance, just shy of the heart. Before that, it was apparently fired upward, at an odd, steep angle – perhaps a rare case of street-level snipers shooting rooftop children. Or alternately, the bullet was laid on a kid’s sternum at a stupid angle as the x-ray projector was passed over them, or image editing software and a film printer were used. But clearly, the firing of a bullet had nothing to do with these images or, presumably, with those two children from rebel-held Misrata. [STM]

 Tripolitanian Mohammed allegedly suffered the same fate, a sniper bullet lodged in the chest, just as the Misratan rebels entered the capitol. They also brought their public relations tricks. Sniper-shot kids and nice endings injecting “rays of joy” are both helpful. His X-ray film wasn’t shown, but it’s entirely possible the CIWCL already has two copies of the one someone might have considered showing.

 The best view for assessing Mohammed’s injuries is an AFP video that shows him shirtless, carried onto a gurney. His back is seen obliquely, and his chest from all sides, all revealing no mark anywhere aside from the bandaged area on his mid-right side, a drainage tube attached. [FP2] This is arguably “the back,” by now apparently the entry wound and the point of surgical extraction (suggesting the bullet didn’t lodge itself in very far). There being no exit wound is consistent with the bullet needing to be removed, as it reportedly was, with surgery performed at Abu Salim hospital on or after the 21st, just about the same time most of the staff was reportedly fleeing.

 Mohammed was thus apparently there the whole time, and like the others, has nothing to say, or even gesture, suggesting there was a mass-killing in that time. By seeing no such thing, he’s another witness for the questionable rebel version of what happened at the trauma hospital. Considering this and the problems laid out above, it’s clearly worth wondering if he was ever shot at all, and whether he was truly there for days waiting for rescue. Perhaps he and his story were simply placed there on the 25th, prior to Simmons’ guided tour.

After, he was taken to Tripoli Medical Center, a roost for Dr. Salem Al-Farjani and his fake witness operation. If there was anything shady about Mohammed, or Abdullah, or the car buyer, Dr. Al-Farjani was the guy, apparently, who would understand and wink. If little Mohammed’s turn for the cameras was a stage managed propaganda stunt, as it almost seems, it would be a sick task to lay on a child. As AFP’s Marc Bastian noted, after laying for however long among the rotting dead, with such ominous mystery hovering over them, Mohammed “is likely to suffer nightmares about his time in the hospital for years to come.” [FP4]

Sources: forthcoming


  1. so sad, links about children shot by snipers seem to be broken in 2012

    8/22 Children Shot Amid Sniper Attack In Libya

  2. Seems like Al Jazeera got there ahead of everybody else [late on 25th]. Video was uploaded on August 26.[but see Simmons' tweets] Indeed all the numerous photos from inside Abu Salim were dated 26 and 27 August.

    I notice a tweet from the 25th however:

    Derek Stoffel @DerekStoffelCBC
    Went to hospital near to Abu Salim. Four ambulances pull up in the 10 mins I'm there. About 30 injured brought in in 2 hour period.
    11:29 AM Aug 25th, 2011

    Near to Abu Salim???

    The BBC's Wyre Davies also reported on Mohammed:

    The father of a 10-year-old boy who was shot in the back near Col Gaddafi's compound said he had to lie in the heat for almost a week with no help, while the stench of decomposing bodies grew around him.[I guess the BBC is interpreting the "five days later" bit]

    ...The boy was one of 17 survivors taken away for treatment by the Red Cross, one of whose workers described the conditions as "dreadful".

    Regime change obsessive Brown Moses helpfully extracted Simmons' tweets from night/morning of August 25/26:
    Returned last night from what was a truly horrific visit to a hospital in Tripoli. Compiling a report.
    in case you didn't see earlier report on compound fighting and secret tunnels http://t.co/jDICpbD
    Just finished editing a disturbing report on Tripoli's Abu Salim Trauma Hospital. Bodies lie outside and inside.
    Abu Salim Trauma Hospital -- cut off from any outside help. Seven medics, only 2 docs trying to cope with 21 seriously ill.
    Say their mortuary is full and bodies have to lie in a side ward and outside. We counted 29. Docs say more than 100 in total.
    Some are civilians. Eye witness tells me GF shot them dead insicriminately.
    Abu Salem - eye witness, a restaurant owner says the killings were on Sunday.
    Abu Salem - Horrific pictures in Trauma Hospital. Trail of dry blood leads to makeshift morgue. Stench all over hospital.
    Abu Salim Hospital - Drs appeal for outside help. Two dead in 2 days because no power for ventilator. Man with bullet in spine CPR x3.
    Abu Salim Hosp - Investigation needed re war crimes. And immediate action. Humanitarian emergency.
    Abu Salim Hosp: Report will air on AJE this morning. Warning on graphic content.

  3. in the AFP Video the story of Abdallah Hussein is equally amazing - he allegedly arrived at Abu Salim "weeks ago, injured by a car accident". He looks pretty chipper as he is hauled out.
    "Those on life-support machines died as a result of power cuts" Really!!

  4. H, thanks for broken links news. Now I can't even see what got broken. :(

    Felix, last link didn't work but I think I have that video. Abdullah is mentioned prior to this, suspect. I notice he was there on the 25th, next to the man with severe abdominal injuries, in Simmons' video.

    On Stoffel's tweet -he saw about 30 patients arrive on the 25th, am? Only 21/22 were seen alive by MSF and Al Jazeera (later) the same day! This changes a few things, needs worked in, the kind of thing I'd prefer to know a month ago. I guess what I'm saying is, quit finding new things! Maybe... but I need to finalize this and get it to Petri in just a few more days...

    I wondered if Mohammed and the others were really there that whole time,or brought in - on the 25th, before the visits. Seems it was before 2 of the three... And it seems the rebels "secured" the place early on the 25th... that staff of one/two doctors was ready to deal with 30 more on top of the ?? they already had.

    There were the 25 patients seen on the 22nd by the ICRC, apparently post-massacre. On that last, the interesting part is how there were ONLY 25 patients and the one doctor, no mention of any dead, or of the 100+ other patients who allegedly died around then and the next couple of days. This means "the staff" wasn't showing the ICRC everything. !!!

    I suspect those 25 were a different batch of actors, or maybe the same, but not likely kept there for three days of nothing but hard breathing and nightmares... all removed, then brought back in makes the most sense. Someone should ask Stoffel if little Mohammed was one of these he saw arriving. He'd stand out.

    Otherwise, we need all the original 25 to die (in addition to the rest/whenever), app. 30 to come in and replace them the 25th, then about 8 of those die in the next few hours, and that's if there were, as reported, no other admissions between the two dates.

    1. Great stuff tho! If you find anything else, it has to be this good to force me to include it, and there's like two days left.

    2. One more things-that might well not be the same hospital at all. "Near Abu Salim" is vague, and either he didn't go inside at all, nor wander far, or the site of so many bodies and stench of so much decay just didn't warrant a mention. I'm including it as a possible related item...

    3. Stoffel could be talking about the Green Hospital (Al-Khathra?) which nobody seems to write about. Who knows.
      (AFP video here, btw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_ZbRquT7TU

      Just noticed the AP report, taken up by Fox, Huffington, but which the Guardian says is by Karin Laub:
      Associated Press reporters flagged down a cab to take some of the wounded from the clinic to a hospital. The driver at first agreed, but men from the neighborhood intervened, saying the men would have to be interrogated before they could be moved.

    4. According to the Washington DC based NGO International Medical Corps (and its Lebanese Vice-president Rabih Torbay was quoted on the 17 Mitiga assassination victims), Situation Update August 25 2011: Tripoli Central Hospital: The hospital, with more than 10 Operating theatres. has recently received many casualties. There are many volunteer doctors, however support to provide specialty surgeons and supplies (particularly external fixators) is needed.
      Tripoli Medical Center and Al-Khadra (the largest and busiest hospitals prior to the revolution) have been completely shut down for the past few days, but are reported to be opening again tomorrow. Full assessment will be conducted by International Medical Corps once the facilities re-open.

      No mention, tellingly, of Abu Salim trauma hospital.

      Notice too: "Oxygen supplies are also rapidly dwindling throughout Tripoli and to resolve this problem International Medical Corps is currently working with volunteers from Misurata to transport oxygen cylinders to Misurata to be re-filled and then sent back to Tripoli"

      Interview with the smooth talking Torbay here

      So, was Stoffel talking about Tripoli Central Hospital? (not quite near Abu Salim)

    5. Note, that I have tried to arrange the first videos in my playlist in a temporal order.

      What is striking is the normalcy of the videos from the morning. Only in the afternoon do they start pushing the hospital beds out to dump the bodies.

      You can still see the wheeled beds in the satellite image from August 29th. These are not gurneys for bringing patients in, as some of the media reported.

    6. 23 August 2011 ,Karen Graham, a matron at the 11th of June Hospital [ oil hospital]

      There is a bridge about 20m from where I am in the hospital, and one side of the bridge is pro-Gaddafi and one side of the bridge is anti. They're chucking rocks and everything at each other, and it's just awful.

      Last night there were massive rocket-propelled grenades and heavy arms fire, small arms fire, and that went on for about three to four hours.
      The patients are absolutely petrified. And the staff are petrified.

      We had rebels inside our compound last night and they said they were trying to protect us but they were actually trying to gain a better vantage point at some snipers across the road.
      We're not daft. We could see exactly what they were doing.


      The local hospital, the central hospital, has got no scrub nurses.


      Rixos Al Nasr Hotel , Tripoli ,Near The Guest Palace Al Hadra Hospital , Bridge Al Nasr

  5. Stoffel must have meant Tripoli Central, Al Zawiya street. IMC here confirming TMC was down - previously I heard just no mention until the patient transfer there of the 25th. Will have to note this specific reference, More mystery why they were down! It's not Al-Khadra- that was only re-opened the 27th. First closed, who knows. That leaves one main hospital, relatively "near" Abu Salim, which meant the day's fighting. See NYT, Aug. 25:
    In their drive to take command of Tripoli, the rebels concentrated their forces on a block-by-block battle for the streets of the Abu Salim neighborhood, a center of Colonel Qaddafi’s support. By late afternoon, the fighting had once again swamped Tripoli Central Hospital with wounded civilians and combatants.
    Like they could be standing next to each other.

    Petri: Thanks for the date reminder-I said :"late August." I counted minimum 57 beds. Should double-check I'm using the right words in the report, bed vs. gurney, etc... I didn't try getting much into times of videos or body movement details. I did finally realize Simmons was there on the 25th, and so timed that. Sunlight almost exactly due west. I guessed 5:30-6:30, came out like 5:30-5:45. All others are "the reports of the 26th and 27th" pretty much. Seen a lot of things and possibilities and details and I decided to gloss over to get this done and not too ponderous. Will have you a final draft in a couple days.

  6. definitely beds, in general, not gurneys/trolleys. I've mixed-it up to be no more than half-wrong, as if looking it up is so hard...

  7. Another Euronews broadcast,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyLlHEQIj60 this time by Mustafa Bag, August 26, from Abu Salim Hospital (not named) shows the same (unnnamed "Abdallah Hussein" in his London Arsenal football shirt, he who had spent weeks here after a car accident. He says he comes from "Chadan".(is this Chad?); different footage

  8. http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2012/06/12/Ethnic-Cleansing-in-Post-Qaddafi-Libya


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