Warning

Warning: This site contains images and graphic descriptions of extreme violence and/or its effects. It's not as bad as it could be, but is meant to be shocking. Readers should be 18+ or a mature 17 or so. There is also some foul language occasionally, and potential for general upsetting of comforting conventional wisdom. Please view with discretion.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Khamis Gaddafi Once Again Killed (Ring of Truth This Time)


October 21, 2012

However fascinating it is, I don't feel like the person to write blog posts about what's happening in Libya these days, as Petri and I focus on Syria and the Houla Massacre investigation that I'm not even keeping up with quite well enough. So below, some comments, maybe even by me, on this strange new subject emerging from the final, or most recent, major battle of the Libyan Civil War, the unknown but currently happening siege of Bani Walid, of October 2012.  All somewhat unverified (??). They say, at the Libya Herald for example, that Misrata Brigades engaging in some kind of fighting there managed to capture Khamis Gaddafi, drive him towards Misrata, and kill him along the way.

Aside from the all-too likely truth of a hideous and genocidal ignored assault on a major Libyan city, this has all gotten really fascinating. More than a year after his last-reported, for real and for sure, violent death, (which I never quite bought), he was offed on the road by Misratans, get this, on about or exactly the anniversary of his father's exact experience. When an anniversary marker like that appears in Libya, it suggests it's been planned that way. Someone has good intel and capabilities and can choose their own time for the crime, anddoesn't mind letting us know it. Not unlike the now spontaneous, non-Al-Qaeda, non-planned consulate attack right on the anniversary of 9/11. Suuuure...

For those reasons, this has both the ring of truth, and the ring of Al Qaeda wreacking its slow vengeance for "the 1990s" on Libya, and on its slimming pool of secret backup plans. As usual, a victory for Al Qaeda is a victory for the CIA. That's all a few leaps from what precisely is known, especially by me. But clearly the plan for a pre-fabricated clash of civilizations is running fast, World War IV (or is this V already? Will depend on your definition...) looms, and at the very least it's intended Iran will burn to the ground.

It's a guess, anyway.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bani Walid Attacks, Poison Gas Allegations

October 14, 2012

I've let the blog lapse, haven't been following comments, etc. Sorry. But Leonore Massanet has at her site some disconcerting reports in the last few days (Spanish language). Several posts there address reported use of poison gas by rebel forces against the people of Bani Walid in their recent assaults on the area. It's a little Déjà Vu, or at least not  the first time reported (but mainly ignored) poison gassing of recalcitrant Libyans who resist their new master-puppets. Last year, if leveled against the sovereign Libyan government, it'd be taken as fact. Now, it's not even on page 10.

URGENTE. 09/10/2012
 GASES TÓXICOS PROHIBIDOS SOBRE LA CIUDAD LIBIA DE BENI WALIT...

BENI WALIT 10/10/2012
Video of some victims in a hospital

A doctor reports from Bani Walid hospital, speaking to 108Morris108 (video, English)

BENI WALIT ACOSADA Y BOMBARDEADA...
October 10

People protesting and resisting in Bani Walid, Oct. 11 (is it still Arab Spring there, like it is in Syria?)

Even if I don't get to assessing the evidence here, here's a space for comments and more to accrue. I turn it over to "H," (see below) and will at least follow this one.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How Tripoli, and Sirte, Lost Their Water

August 3, 2012
last edits Oct. 3, 2012

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A fairly important side-issue in the upcoming report is the loss of Tripoli's clean water supply just as the rebel forces swept through in late August. As usual, I solicit further information that might help. Not that this is going to be a big section, but I can simmer lots of material down into a well-informed few paragraphs. First, the supporting case of what was done in later in the loyalist holdout city of Sirte.

Update 10/3: See revised section below

Sirte, A Latter Precedent
(source for the following: Situation in Sirte: Neither Good Nor Great.)
As rebels solidified their hold on Tripoli and turned their eyes east, an Associated Press report of September 1 passed on this threat from a rebel spokesman in Benghazi: "'in the end, we will get Sirte, even if we have to cut water and electricity' and let NATO pound it with airstrikes." In the end, the city was pounded with more ferocity than anyone expected, killing uncounted thousands over in about six weeks. Food and medicine were effectively embargoed, electricity was cut, and water was shut off to the best of the rebels' ability. Reuters reported that "both sides accuse the other of cutting off water and electricity, the U.N. source said." Why the Gaddafi loyalists trying to hold out would turn the water off on themselves is not the slightest bit clear.

Details were hazy last I looked, but it seems this was done in various ways:
- It's possible the pipes of the Great Manmade River into the city were disrupted, but we haven't seen direct evidence or claims to that effect (or have we?)
- Shelling and/or bombing broke open most of the city's water mains, draining the taps and flooding the streets. Rebels speculated Gaddafi did this to make "moats" to slow them down.
- The backup reservoirs were at least sometimes damaged, like at the city's main Ibn Sina hospital. The Red Cross reported "The first time we went to the hospital, we saw that the water reservoir had been hit by a rocket..."
- Clean water was brought in by the UN but not allowed in - it was for those in the giant forced traffic jam "on the road from Sirte." residents had to come out, surrender, and be allowed onto the road before they could have a drink.

The United Nations is sending trucks of drinking water for the increasing flow of civilians crammed into vehicles on the road from Sirte, heading either toward Benghazi to the east or Misrata to the west, he said. But fighting around the city, Gaddafi's hometown, and continuing insecurity around the Bani Walid area, the other loyalist hold-out, are preventing the world body from deploying aid workers [and water] inside, he said. [RN]

Tripoli Without Electricity or Water
Update 10/3: A belated update - the better research and compression completed before the report, copied directly from it. [read/download page]

The loss of the capitol’s water supply is an issue worthy of more study. It’s a well-known fact mentioned in most reports of the day, as people scavenged condensation from rooftop air conditioners just to get by, and hospitals couldn't clean up the unusual amounts of blood gathering there. The rebel-approved city council’s leader “said that between 60 and 70 per cent of the capital's residents do not have enough water,” the Telegraph reported, blaming a “technical problem” that would soon be fixed. [T6]

But there were widespread rumors, given a high and muddled profile even outside Libya, that loyalist sabotage was to blame. The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick noted how “rebel leaders … sought to link the shortages to fears about sniper fire and sabotage from retreating Qaddafi loyalists.” [DKN] Some echoes of their engineered fear said “BBC reporters are saying the water supply for Tripoli is contaminated, possibly poisoned.” [BB] The BBC actually reported how “the Telegraph's Rob Crilly tweets: Hearing that Gaddafi forces have been trying to disrupt Tripoli water supplies (and I hope nothing more sinister besides).” [BC] The Telegraph in turn reported how “fear began to spread after discarded pellets of aluminium phosphide were discovered at a civilian water plant close to Misurata.” [T4] The fears spread far, and the CIWCL sees no mechanism for the poison’s spread to Tripoli, aside from the movements of Misratan fighters.

Kirkpatrick suggested a prosaic cause for the lack of water; the Great Man-Made River stopped. The government hydration system, drawing from the massive Nubian Sandstone aquifer beneath the southern desert, needed electrical power to run. And this, as noted, was sporadic, in some places apparently cut. [DKN] An Al Jazeera English video report by James Bays, Aug.27, supports this. Standing atop the massive expanse of concrete lids at Tripoli’s “water plant,” Bays addressed rumors of sabotage or poisoning as “not true.” Rather, the tanks were all empty, unable to be re-supplied, as usual, “through a series of reservoirs, the furthest one in the deep south of Libya.” An electricity shortage there, 45 days running, was blamed for leaving “no way to pump water to the capitol.” Bays heard this from engineer Tarik Al-Shogman, who thought it might take a week or less to fix the problem if their engineers “successfully re-start the system.” [JBV]

Saudi Arabian news agency Al Arabiya reported on the 30th that more than a fuel problem, “the pumping station … had been damaged.” [AR] Damaged by what in July, if not NATO bombing, was unexplained. Further, the plant was in the city of Sabha, still loyalist-held, so to fix it would require a “big military force” to “escort a repair team of engineers,” and that force wasn’t available yet. [AR] The NTC’s assault on Sabha commenced around September 19, one week after the water problem in Tripoli was quietly fixed. [UT] So it doesn’t seem the real problem was there after all. Besides, it’s too coincidental for comfort how that would lead to the reserved water running out almost exactly on August 20, as the rebel assault started. It was “a week ago” when the water stopped, a local man told Bays on the 27th. [JBV]

The European Union's humanitarian office was told a different story; “pro-Gaddafi forces in Sirte,” not Sabha, “had cut off the water supply to Tripoli.” [TR] Again, the rumors presaged conflict; a rebel spokesman in Benghazi threatened the loyalist holdout city: “‘In the end, we will get Sirte, even if we have to cut water and electricity’ and let NATO pound it with airstrikes.” [CLS] Over six weeks, intense bombing and surface attacks fairly leveled the whole city, and killed uncounted thousands. The only way to leave was through a checkpoint run by people who had already promised to “punish even those that supported Muammar with words.” [CLS] Electricity was cut and water mains were burst, backup reservoirs were damaged, trucked in water from the UN was kept outside the city, and Reuters heard “both sides accuse the other of cutting off water and electricity” there. In addition, fuel, food, and medicine were effectively embargoed by various documented tricks; the very density of NTC war crimes against Sirte is staggering.

In both Tripoli and Sirte, the loss of water and electricity were blamed on the attacked government, but best served the opposition, and was likely their doing. What they told the world was likely a string of inconsistent cover stories, where the rebels turned off nothing. NYT’s Kirkpatrick captured the one known exception, where minister Farage Sayeh in Tripoli may have admitted the partial truth when he “said in an interview that the rebels had turned off the city’s water supply,” but only to help, on the unsubstantiated rumors “that Qaddafi loyalists had poisoned it.” [DKN]

Non-included original paragraphs
Tawergha, and other rebel-hammered cities, were "close to Misrata"... Okay, there's a method for spreading now that Misratan attackers were in the capitol.  This is the best evidence I can find for any reason to suspect the same in besieged Tripoli.

If "Gaddafi loyalists" had poisoned the water, that might be why the "technical problem" was about to arise – as stated, they turned it off somehow to avoid poisoning. They were only trying to help, not to thirst a city of millions into surrender which would, I believe, be a serious war crime.


sources
[BB] http://www.blindbatnews.com/2011/08/tripoli-water-supply-poisoned-gaddafi-says-war-is-still-on-rebel-positions-near-tunis-under-attack/6667
[BC] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14610722
[DKN] Rebel Government Struggles to Restore Water and Power in Tripoli. David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, August 27, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/28/world/africa/28libya.html?pagewanted=all
[FT]Tripoli Water Shortage blamed on sabotage. Financial Times, August 31.
[RN] UPDATE 2-NTC seeks UN help for wounded in Sirte-UN source. By Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters, Sept. 29, 2011. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/29/libya-aid-idUSL5E7KT3E020110929
[T4]“Libya: Col Gaddafi troops may have poisoned country's water supply” Martin Evans. The Telegraph, August 24, 2011. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8721049/Libya-Col-Gaddafi-troops-may-have-poisoned-countrys-water-supply.html
[T6] “Libya: Up to 50,000 people imprisoned by Gaddafi regime are missing, rebels claim” By Gordon Rayner, The Telegraph, Aug 28, 2011.