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.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

2014 Rebel Infighting

July 12, 2014
I open here a new space for comments for my good gremlin "h" and perhaps other to drop helpful information about the new fighting and what it means, etc. Sorry, I'm swamped.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Libyan Observatory for Human Rights

July 14, 2013

There's the famous Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, with at one point two competing versions, which are interesting sources to followfor versions of events you can compare with other evidence. In Libya, not that I knew or noticed it while actively researching, has its own answer. Later I stumbled across the Libyan Observatory for Human Rights ( المرصد الليبى لحقوق الإنسان ) official Facebook page, all Arabic
, as well as a different page claiming the same name (I thought, maybe it was just similar) but with different and intriguing content. I saw that one just a few days ago but it disappeared before I got around to this post. The original url ended /moummer698 but it just re-directs to home now. It had continued into 2013, several posts in January. These show some of the militia crimes committed against decent Libyans - mangled fingernails, horrifically lashed backs, and skin-peeled legs, from later last year I think. Also, some posts had pictures of the Gaddafis, and it seemed in a positive context (however the translation of text was confusing). I took heart for my negligence of Libyan suffering to focus on Syria that even this dedicated site paused for months, with only a single post just appearing in July, discussing Syria. I didn't save any of it.

One of these Facebook pages had run some valuable new photos of the shed massacre un-burnt victims earlier last year. Probably the one just pulled, which inspired this post that now feels barely worth it (I did save those photos, however.

There's also a competing NTC-sponsored Libyan Observatory for Democracy and Human Rights, in Denmark at least (video, inaugurated April 2011) The Observatory less about democracy was cited in this July 2012 IPS article on worsening human rights after the war, which included some info on founder Nasser al-Hawary, an Islamist who's now upset at the militia crimes against Gaddafi loyalists, random blacks, etc. He might be genuine in that. On June 22, 2012, the BBC reported, the observatory implicated the NTC in the assassination of a judge investigating the assassination of Mustafa Abdel-Jalil a year earlier.

The more boring but existent Facebook page is pretty active. What's this on June 10? Is that Bashir al-Sadeq/Omar/whatever? And yet more injected strangers? Yep... "documenting" now a "Holocaust Yarmouk..." Wow, better get someone to really tell you on video what happened there.

Alright, well I was going to say the field is partly covered, and point readers to that, feeling better for my absence. But fucking Facebook just pulled it. I guess impostering, if that was it, was not the best strategy. It's not really covered, not by this observatory anyway.

- C.L.
Question for readers: Who is critically covering ongoing abuses, who's launching protests and efforts to change things, etc.? Please leave comments below directing people to useful links, or thoughts of your own.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Video Study: Al Baida Snipers

August 24, 2011
last update March 31, 2013


Update, March 31, 2013: Thanks to Petri, I finally noticed a comment left here recently by someone in Libya, phone number included, who claims he filmed one of the three videos examined here (not sure which one - See comments below, scroll waaaay down.) How do you respond to that? I ventured a guess, right below that.

Note, Sept. 9:
For those who've read this post before when it was boring, please check it out again. It took me two weeks, but I finally finished my analysis and it went better even than I thought. The introduction is optional context information. The actual analysis below that is what matters, with the videos themselves best for double-checking me.

Note, Sept. 18:
For those not inclined to read, I have a video explanation up now,embedded at the post's bottom.

---
Protesters Shot in al Baida
The UN Human Right Council report of June 1 [PDF link] found the following about the Libyan government's firing on demonstrators in the eastern city of al-Baida:
[M]embers of Al-Bayda Internal Security Agency fired live ammunition at a demonstration in Al-Salhi Square and the Commission has verified that several demonstrators had been killed. On 17 February, according to information received by the Commission from forensic and prosecutorial authorities, security forces of Khamis Katiba were deployed in Al-Bayda where they shot at demonstrators without prior warning, resulting in the deaths of 11 other demonstrators. Other witnesses spoke specifically of actions of the ISA and Revolutionary Committees in shooting at persons during demonstrations.
This is similar to what they found, mostly from just accepting what "protesters" told them, in several other Libyan cities. The main difference is that with al Baida, there is also at least some video evidence to support people being killed while only protesting.

Aside from the very few flukes like this, the Libyan government's explanation seems to fit the video record much better than the charges of the protesters and, pretty much, the world. Rather than peaceful protesters mowed down for speaking up, what the evidence (and lack of it) suggests is they were generally killed trying to storm army bases to secure their starter weapons for a military takeover. Few countries in the world would tolerate that without at least trying some deadly force to prevent it. (See the detailed article on this big question here).

A while back a Youtube friend tipped me off to an interesting angle about some videos I was already aware of but hadn't posted on yet. I already aware of two of the three videos he linked me to, listed and shown below. These were both the only videos I recall seeing where apparently unarmed protester types are shot dead right on camera while not clearly attacking a government facility. I only noticed seeing them together they were from nowhere but al Baida. Looking closer yet (again, below), I see they're apparently from nowhere but the intersection of Sharia Omar al-Muktar and Souq al-Hoot in al Baida.

I knew one of the videos below (the third) was from there, and didn't even know of the first one's existence. But they're all from that town of around 200,000 between Benghazi and al Qaeda central, Dernah. Al Baida's youth and Islamists were among the first to violently revolt; along with Benghazi and Az Zintan, al Baida witnessed violent protests and the torching of police stations on the 15th and daily from there. People were dying there, in small numbers and on both sides, from the very outset, unlike even in Benghazi. On the 18th, two policemen (internal security, I presume) were hanged by protesters there, perhaps angry about something that happened on the 17th.

Al Baida also fell before Benghazi, at an uncertain time between Feb 18 the Feb 20. The rebels there or perhaps from Dernah - Libya's nearby al Qaeda central - were able to spread out and take nearby Shahet military base, early on the 19th, and Labraq airbase right after that (before the 21st). The weapons seized from Shahet apparently assisted the final taking of the "Katiba" barracks in Benghazi the following day, marking the effective conquest of their new capitol city.

And by the time of the al Baida massacre, where 22 government soldiers were executed and blamed on the regime, there were some strange people working that town. One bearded, possibly be-robed man with a walking stick and questions about Emirs passed judgment, on video, upon the condemned men some evening around Feb 19-22. They deserved their fate, he said, for daring to shoot back at the rebels as they took Labraq airbase (see here for the transcript).

On the days the videos below were filmed, who was working that town?

The videos
1) Protests in Al Bayda East Libya on the 17th Feb facing live fire
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2f2dA_zoYc
Posted by Libyanm, Jun 10, but dated on-screen Feb 17, day 3 of fighting.

2) "Qaddafi's men open fire on a funeral procession and kill mourners, Al BaiDa'"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmaI2FeYB9s
Posted by LibyanSolidarity, March 2.
On-screen text has, in "Indian numbers," 17, suggesting again Feb 17. The day or the group? Dunno.

3) "VERY GRAPHIC_ BOY KILLED BY GADDAFI MEN IN BAYDA LIBYA"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqUHTsJBVqE
Posted by apologiiiize, Feb 20. Description gives this as the date of the incident. Could be earlier.

Analysis
First, Video 3
Only the date, February 20, and its view from ground level sets video 3 apart. Otherwise it seems all three videos seem to show either the same encounter or the same exact type of encounter happening repeatedly at the same spot. Video 3 is unique in showing it from ground level, as the crowd stops moving forward, holding a position near a row of dark blue blobs that seem to be internal security police. The quality is just atrocious. I've wondered if the resolution was lowered to obscure some detail. Like, for example, which way are the police's weapons pointing, up or forward?

A shot is fired, then we see a man down, a young guy, unconscious it seems, a pool of blood under the back of his head. Other quickly pick him up by the hands and feet and run him back the direction they came, blood just pouring from his head all the way. Barring an elaborate special effects job by the protesters (not impossible), it seems there's little doubt this kid was shot in the head right there, ten feet in front of this camera person, and was dead soon after.

We're to presume the shot was from the security men just fifty feet away at the intersection. But that's not what we're doing.

The Scene and the Sides
Videos 1 and 2 I'll focus on more. They are filmed from different low rooftops or mid-level balconies near each other, I've decided. For starters, I have a probable location within al Baida for the incident(s) shown in these three videos. The image below gives the best view from video one for comparison. The intersection, the buildings west of it, and the parking lot in particular perfectly match, and all else is consistent at least, for blocks down the street. Im 90% sure this is the spot.

What we're seeing is a funeral procession, in part, for what seems to be exactly one white-shrouded victim of some previous violence. The crowd moves east on Omar al Mukhtar way, perhaps after taking the body out of al Bayda hospital, abut six blocks distant. They're headed towards “Civil Defense of Al Jabal al Akhdar.”

The police line is quite near that presumed security center. The battle-scarred pavement around them seems to be from some previous violence. The white smears are I think from large rocks native to the area, breaking into chalky dust (al Baida means “the white,” by the way). The black smears are apparently from Molotov cocktails or some such, like the rocks, hurled towards the police line. In this video, both sides are hurling things at each other.

The security men run around in their area, with more coming from the north, but don't advance or retreat. Some hold rifle-shaped weapons for firing something - bullets, tear gas, I'm not sure. The sound of shots combined with no one running suggests they are shooting mostly in the air and everyone here knows that. 

But video one's subtitles disagree, saying they're clearly firing bullets at the crowd. To be fair, at least twice security men are shown pointing their guns - of whatever type (I'm no expert) - in the direction of the approaching crowd (see right). Neither of these lines up with the actual shooting captured. The subtitles call the man at left, kneeling and apparently aiming his weapon, a "sniper." This a little bit ironic, as we'll see below.

The Fallen
The first two videos show two separate shootings, at two different intersections. I'm pretty sure video 3 shows the same killing as video 1, from a position just a couple of people behind the victim.

Video 1 has the shot come at 1:26. The victim is visible writhing around (or being adjusted?) on the pavement. There’s no ambulance; some of the protesters carry him off, back towards the hospital, within a matter of seconds. A pool and trail of blood are left, as happened with the victim in video 3. I think it's the same.
video 2, victim at the center,
surrounded by others.

Video 2, the poor quality one, has a shot fired at 0:09. It takes a moment to zoom in, to see a vertical blob is now horizontal, and a crowd has gathered around. A yellow ambulance comes in quickly to help, but a gray pickup truck pulled up to retrieve them just a moment before, blocking their path. The video cuts there, and we don’t see what happened next.




At left are what I think are the camera person locations and the spots where the two martyrs fell, established by comparing cross-streets, building heights, and so on. By this, the video 2 victim was sniped quite a ways from the police line. It's possible as far as I know, but a long shot. The victim shown in Videos 1 and 3, however, is in a great spot to be told "no further" with a bullet to the head. There's no denying that. However...

My Theory: A False Flag Op by Terrorist Snipers
In video 2, the ambulance comes in from the side of the police line. We’re to presume the shooting did too, but I'm not so sure. My theory, which is looking better the more I look, is that rooftop snipers along the route, provocateurs hoping to demonize the regime and enrage the masses below, are doing the shooting here.

The camera just before the shooting.
Just left of the sniper position? 
Video 2 has an unusual start, giving me my first clue. The camera starts out watching the procession, then cuts. Whatever happened in the interim, it isn't long, and cuts back to a view from behind a corrugated metal wall, a great sniper nest if there were a hole in it. The camera emerges from behind this wall to again watch the crowd below. In a possible coincidence, the shot is fired just then, as soon as the targets are being recorded again. I can totally envision the camera guy cutting to ask the sniper next to him "we're ready? They're getting close." Getting the yes, he rolls again, then gets in position, and with a signal that he's recording - bang. Gaddafi crime on video, ready for prime time worldwide.

Video one briefly shows people on the roof that I think video 2 was filmed from. The red blob is definitely a person, moving a bit and with a pink arm across the ledge, filming I presume. The purple is likely another person, perhaps kneeling, and there might be a third, in blue-gray, sitting. The longish black thing leaned inert against the wall might be a rifle. (The tin wall isn't visible, but that would be off-frame, on the opposite side of the roof.)

If the first team shot both the victim and the video from their rooftop, they’re apparently not shooting now. But a person was just shot beneath them once the other camera had a view. Was it really the police this time, or another sniper yet next to this camera person? Twice in a row, a demonstrator was shot down just as they came into a cemera's line of view.

I'm not sure yet how to analyze the audio aspect of the videos, but unless it's been doctored, a shot from the police zone down the street should sound very different from a gun right there next to the camera. But just from the visuals, I think we have a compelling, if not conclusive, case that these rare protester deaths were part of a coordinated false flag operation by extremely sinister elements within the Libyan uprising.  


Note Sept. 11: One more odd bit - the gray truck in video 2, that has the victim loaded in its bed instead of in the government ambulance, was parked right there waiting. It pulls up just before the shooting in fact at 0:05, before the first cut (perhaps being the signal to double check everyone's readiness?). All it does is park there. Then comes the brief edit, the gunshot, enough time for the death and reaction to filmed for a moment passes. Then the truck rolls forward just in time to keep the evidence from the authorities, we presume. A group of people loads the victim, and in a matter of seconds, the truck drives through the crowd towards the hospital or wherever. I think what happened next is the crowd blocked the ambulance until it gave up, but again, that part wasn't shown. Why there was no truck ready the second time, I do not know.

Video Version and One More Clue



And one more thing, as I included in the video but not above, there is a possible clue from camera 3. Numerous gunshots happen with little effect on his filming. But for some reason, the one that killed the protester in front of him has the camera panning around differently, focusing briefly on only one spot - up, ahead, and to the left, in the direction of the building top where I think the shot came from and where video one was recorded. At left is the only view I know of of that building (the taller one with white lights at the top).

More on the Victims, Date, and Location
Comments (see below) submitted by astute reader Felix alerts me to A report on the website of AlKarama 4 March 2011. AlKamarais a Switzerland-based organization, he says, and the report "mentions that the evidence for 59 deaths in Al Baida is based solely on death certificates issued by the hospital, all for bullet wounds (allegedly). These are assumed to be demonstrators." Indeed, that was their basis for proving a government order worthy of investigation and sanctions. As this study shows, that was a leap of faith (unrecognized?) that seems unwarranted.

The report also mentions "a 10 year old girl, Rokaya Mabrouk, shot dead in Al Baida on 18 February 2011 and a 14 year old boy, Saad Al Yamani, killed in front of the security forces' headquarters on 16 February 2011," Felix says. Sounds like deft provocateur work, just like the videos examined above. Felix also reasons that these videos might be from the 16th instead of the 17th, citing exactly two protesters killed in front of the main security HQ that day - Mr.Yamani and a 21-year-old named Khaled Naji Khanfar. Other than one in Ajdabiya, and a few in front of al Abraq airpot, the rest of the death locales are given as just "Al Baida." Quite a few are listed as going down that day, any of them perhaps at the same place, just not specified.

I could go with either day at this point, and I don't suppose it much matters. But the location is a match. One site I found gives "Al Jabal al Akhdar" as one of Libya's 25 municipal adminstrative divisions. Many cities have a district of their own name, but not al Baida. So the civil defense station of that name these protesters were shot near would seem to be the main one for that city, as cited for those two shot guys.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

"Rumblings" Ahead of Feb. 15

By Adam Larson
February 11, 2013
last update Feb. 12

"Rumblings"
As we draw quite near to the two-year anniversary of the engineered uprising in Libya, there have been concerns of a planned "correction" of the 2011 "revolution." Which way it goes remains to be seen. Will the operative people here pull things even further in the direction of militant Salafism, or towards a greater neo-liberalism and pro-West privatization of industry? Or will it aim to actually start a process, by the long-suppressed Green masses, of reclaiming what was lost in the last two years?

Whichever of these prevails, the direction is sure to be mixed, with things being pulled in different directions at once.

I did not conduct an in-depth search for information here, but a widely re-posted AFP report by Youssef Ba is adequate to create this starting pont.
Google News
Dawn.com
Faced with growing rumblings in the street, the authorities have put security forces on high alert ahead of the protests as well as celebrations two days later marking the second anniversary of the “Feb 17 Revolution” that led to Qadhafi’s ouster and being killed in October 2011.

Demands by opposition groups range from a ban on officials of the former regime from holding public office to the disbandment of armed militias and a reform of the higher education system. Chants at protests are increasingly resembling those staged during the uprising against Qadhafi: “The people demand the fall of the (new) regime.” A leaflet circulated in Tripoli calls for a “popular revolt” and a civil disobedience movement to bring down the regime. It encourages Libyans to stock up with food and fuel in anticipation of what it says will be a complete shutdown of the country following the Feb 15 protests.

It is unclear who is behind the leaflet and the calls for protests but Libyan officials and several organisations, including Islamic groups, accuse remnants of the former regime of fomenting protests to “sow disorder and instability”.
No one can doubt that Libyans have much to protest, and the anniversary of the start of this awkward process can hardly be passed up as the best time to voice those concerns in whatever big way.

However, the exact date for the “popular revolt” against “the regime” is significant. Libya’s opposition and rebel fighters always trumpet Feb. 17 as the signature date of their “revolution,” the planned start date, marking the anniversary of extremist protests the government suppressed in 2006. The choice two days earlier instead marks the date when treasonous violence masquerading as protest actually began, with the arrest of provocateur Fathi Terbil and a military armory raided by rebels in Dernah the following day. There are signs of scheming in the days even before that. Suggesting much broader plans, over the following days emerged possible French commandoes and high-level defectors, on-script and pulling tricks at the UN.

Different people from different factions might find reason to commemorate the 15th, but whoever it is, the attitude it implies is troubling to anyone wanting to preserve the post-rape status quo.

In Benghazi and Cyrenaica, where that rebellion first took hold, the recurring federalist issue is one of the cornerstones of protester concerns, according to Ba’s AFP report. Longtime rebel activist Mohamed al-Mufti evidenced no concern with militias and public safety (that’s more an issue for Tripoli and other areas “liberated” only with more force and policing). But he told Ba “the calls to demonstrate are justified,” citing economic issues alone as bolstering the “politically motivated” campaign with legitimate “demands for federalism.”

Libya’s grand mufti (not the activist Al-Mufti), as well as a wide sector of civil society activist types have stressed publicly that all protests must be peaceful and focused on “correcting the process of revolution” and not threatening “legitimate institutions,” which “there is no reason to dispute.”

One man at least spoke to challenged that: “Sixteen months after the fall of Qadhafi, there is no change and (the new) government has failed to establish security or restore the authority of the state,” He’s surely not alone in this feeling that the existing regime might lack legitimacy and be a more than fair target for a more thoroughgoing correction.

Unsolicited Advice / Potentially Useful Thoughts
I have advice to Libyans at this juncture. It may be nothing but clever-sounding delusion, and might even be a very bad suggestion. The people who live there will know the ground reality better, but I ask that they give this a moment’s thought anyway.

Don’t count on this particular day to really start anything continuous. Do make a strong, silent, and controlled showing. Shut the country down - for an afternoon - to the extent possible. Establish the choke-hold, then let go with only a few breaths missed. A green giant can be merciful, and in no big rush. It can even compromise its color to appeal to as many as possible, even among those who previously betrayed the nation. It can take advantage of the forced opportunity to reinvent something like the Jamahiriya but better, freed from any nagging flaws of the old system.

Do not start killing soldiers, or even militiamen, and calling them defectors. It won’t work for you like it did for the enabled regime-changers two years ago. Document and expose all false-flag provocations you quite likely will be saddled with and blamed for. The "authorities" and/or the real muscle of extremist militias will try to arrest and crush the movement away on any pretext, even invented. This is likely to happen, and it may be intensely unpleasant for some brave souls. But the green giant is no single person, and they cannot stop it by plucking off even a few thousand of its leaves.

Also, changing the plans at the last minute, to strike on the 14th instead, might throw the false-flaggers off and give them too little time to re-adjust. That might give you a cleaner day that actually inspires the world with the depth of humanity they just saw shine in this darkened place, and leave no green activity for them to tack it onto the following day. It's a thought. 

Nails and Chaos: Related Big-Picture Thoughts  
The US State Department is not convinced the demands for peace will hold; its diplomatic security bureau urges all citizens to avoid Libya at this time if possible. Somewhere they had learned “even events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.” And of course the protests that start violent, like they did in Libya on February 15, 2011, can screw a country up for years – if they get enough air support and other outside help. As testament to that fact and its effects, the warning notes “because of ongoing instability and violence, the Department of State’s ability to provide consular services to U.S. citizens in these regions of Libya is extremely limited.”

Eastern Libya especially is marred now by “a general backdrop of political violence, assassinations, targeting former regime officials, lawlessness, and an overarching absence of central government authority.” This is according to a report by the Accountability Review Board investigating the Benghazi embassy attack of last September 11. That still-mysterious intelligence failure - around a CIA operation thinly disguised as a part of the State Dep’t – is explored in a recent article by Ronda Hauben: “The Benghazi Affair: Uncovering the Mystery of the Benghazi CIA Annex” That operation was closed down afterwards. As quoted there, a Wall Street Journal article decried the loss of “a critical intelligence unit” from “a hotbed of Islamism,” harming “U.S. standing in the region and the ability to fight terrorist groups” which the U.S. itself had enabled to create their hotbed there.

That acutely-symbolic event might be the nail holding one of the first-assembled corners on the framework of a massive and ominous new mythology. With the best of intentions, we may later decide, we (the civilized world) tried to free the Libyan people, only to unleash the worst aspects of their flawed Islamic culture. Sadly, the contagion ruled there, spread to Mali and metastasized across North Africa. It took root is Egypt’s upheaval and beyond, and was actively fostered by Arab/Sunni Muslim leaders in Syria, plunging that nation - and likely Lebanon with it - into years of sectarian chaos and awful bloodshed. Too late, we may finally recognize how blinded we were by our "own pure motives," and that the hated leaders overthrown were rational pragmatists who had carefully managed balance in their nations. It will seem a mistake that they and their brands of sanity were crushed under lies and replaced with the new global Islamic threat we'll know all too well by then. "Oops." World War will be upon us.

The nail of the Benghazi attack was driven into the wood of "post-Gaddafi Libya," as the invention is called. Hypothetically at least, that wood can reject the nail, and turn itself from stale plank back into a green and living tree again. This possibility should be encouraged to grow in likelihood in every way possible.



Monday, January 21, 2013

Syrian Opposition: We Are All Terrorists

January 21, 2013

As we reflect on Dr. King's non-violent dream of social change...

2011-2012: Syrian government represses and kills peaceful protesters, calling them "terrorists." They start fighting back, but also keep protesting, and insist:
WE ARE NOT TERRORISTS. They only want the terrorist regime to go away. (photo in context here, AFP credit)

They keep fighting and get better armed. The Turks and Saudis and "Free Libyans" help them expand greatly in arms, men, and resources, with Western approval and other support. Horrible things start happening, blamed on "the regime" and on Alawites, who implicitly must pay. They keep happening more often as the rebellion gets more capable. The aftermath of their May 25, 2012 conquest of Al-Houla is scary, with its shaken dead babies (who weren't terrorists!) pointed at Kofi Annan. That event, like no other, galvanized "the world community" further yet to demand that the Syrian government stop fighting "terrorists" and surrender themselves and all their people to the non-terrorist "people of Syria." (the above photo seems to be from the days after the Houla massacre.)

For months before that and for months since, Jabhat Al-Nusra, aka Al-Nusra Front, rose along with the defector-based Free-Syrian Army, to the forefront of the conflict with terrorist tactics that proved deadly effective. Car bombings, TV station and hospital attacks, destroying electrical stations, blocking/stealing food aid shipments, plane shoot-downs, soldier executions, other abductions and executions, forcing a child to (try and) behead a Syrian soldier, possibly the bombing of Aleppo university, and the same day, perhaps the Haswiyeh massacre, etc.... all in the service of a Sunni-purified Salafist Syria and/or a global Caliphate. Allahu Akbar! (at left, from Busatin Al-Haswiyeh: a man in mourning runs his fingers across his throat, while explaining to ITV news what happened when other black-clad men - Al-Nusrah or other rebel Islamo-nihilists - passed through in mid-January, 2013)

On December 11, Al-Nusrah Front were listed by the US State Dept. as a terrorist group, just for being a direct offshoot of Al Qaeda in Iraq and engaging in the same kind of things in Syria. It would be surprisong if the problem hadn't been glaringly obvious for moths already by then. It's unlikely to have much effect this late in the game they own. The opposition and all its allies protested that listing and seem intent on ignoring it. (FSA-Al-Nusra-supporting Turkey took a particularly Twilight Zone approach to the freedom-fighter/terrorist problem with their actions and words on Jan. 17/18).

Earlier, non-violent protest organizers who would never themselves slash a child and blame "the Alawite regime" cast their lot with the Islamo-nihilists too. A New York Times report, just pre-dating the listing, mentioned this:
In keeping with a tradition throughout the uprising of choosing themes for Friday protests, the biggest day for demonstrations because it coincides with Friday Prayer, many called for this Friday’s title to be “No to American intervention — we are all Jabhet al-Nusra.
Now that we see how little dishonesty is involved (apparently that wasn't the chosen theme), let's just insert that back into the photo above (with some other artsy touches) to see how it would have looked.



Sunday, January 13, 2013

December (2012) Digs at Yarmouk

January 14, 2013

This is just too strange. Libya Herald: No bodies found at Yarmouk camp: official Dec. 12, 2012.

Reports that unidentified bodies and money have been found at the Yarmouk camp in Tripoli have been denied by an interior ministry official, Fawzi Falaq.
He said that no bodies nor any money had been found when security agencies started excavating the site in response to such reports.
A local had reported digging at the Yarmouk camp, saying bodies were exhumed on each of several occasions. Somehow, money was also suspected, along with these unidentified bodies. But by the time authorities dug to check, there were no bodies, just bloody blankets and scraps of clothing. So that means ... what?

Monday, December 31, 2012

Shed Massacre Trial, part two

December 30, 2012
last edits, Dec. 31, 2:35 AM(Pacific)
See Part one

The Captive Soldiers
The nine named men awaiting trial for the Khamis Brigade Shed Massacre, as announced by the Libya Herald, are largely know to us by name from previous study. They weren't necessarily all guards or commander at the Yarmouk alleged prison shed. Rather, they were part of an overall team that ran that plus another compound quite nearby at Qasr Ben Ghashir, at the facility here called "the Slovenian company." The alleged massacre there at about the same time as the shed massacre is at least as bizarre, having three different official dates given so far, for one thing, and approximately five prisoners killed, and 70 escaped when they suddenly realized they could let themselves out of their cells.
- The Tripoli Massacres: Killings at Qasr Ben Ghashir
- See also A Question Mark Over Yarmouk (QMOY, PDF link), section 1.4, pp 20-31.

So ... the four men accused over that smaller alleged incident are to go up in the dock second, on January 8. Two days before, the five tagged for atrocities at the larger site have their turn. A high-level commander is named in the lesser case, and in his own separate military tribunal. Let's take a look now at the men named and, more importantly, a couple who were not mentioned.

The main source for about 50% of the info we have previously collected is an amazingly useful piece by Robert F. Worth, New York Times, May 2012. This was based on visits to rebel-held prisoners in Tripoli and the Western Mountains (but not Misrata), who stood accused of the atrocity he had earlier written about. (side-note: in that, I suspect, he was advised by Dr. Salem Al-Farjani, under yet another pseudonym: see QMOY p. 88)

Jan. 6 Trial:
Yakhlif Sifawi, Abdul-Razak Baruni, Juma Daqdouq and Mohamed Harous

Mohammed Harous and Yakhlif Sifawi are new names to me. We have nothing to add, unless Mohammed is the same one mentioned by alleged escapee M.M. Zedan: “someone called Ibrahim Tajouri came, with him another one called Mohamed from Abou Salim and some Tuaregs…” (QMOY p. 76) A "Jumaa" was seen on supposed loyalist torture videos by Worth, made to dance in such a way the rebels always busted up when they saw it. The family name Daqdouq is new. Although it wasn't specified by Worth, I wonder if he's a Black Libyan of sub-Saharan descent. (open questions to Mr. Worth - is either hunch so far ventured correct?)

Abdul-Razaq Barouni is a special case. In a couple variegated names, he’s been hailed by alleged escapees as a hero. He was a guard, but had a good heart and even acted on it. He helped them, or tried to, in several conflicting ways, with maybe another guy named perhaps Mustafa or Osama. Depending on the version, Abdulrazaq tried to free the prisoners 30 minutes before the attack (but they never made it out the unlocked door), or successfully released the survivors after the worst of the killings, or offered no help at all, leaving the prisoners to die or escape on their own. He then ran away, it was said, perhaps with the other semi-hero guard(s). Later, he was arrested by rebels, apparently Misrata ones.

Mr. Barouni presumably struck a plea deal long ago, as his name has been written into the rebel cover-story from day one. He sounded more like a legend at first, an added detail of the script the "survivors" were working off of. But he shows up as a named captive in Robert Worth's report in May 2012. One Tripoli fighter said the Misratans shot the guard in the foot during interrogation, and took him back to Misrata with them. (see QMOY report pp 74-76 for the varying legends, and p. 63 for Barouni as an unseen captive) According to the Herald's announcement, he's still alive and ready to face the charges both ways, perhaps to some dramatic acquittal. We might finally get to see the guy.

Jan. 8 Trial
Hamza Mabruk Muftah Harizi, Marwan Emhemed Khalifa Gaddoura, Musbah Mohamed Musbah Ajim, Naji Massoud Najjar and Sami Saleh Ragie

Hamza Harizi, the base commander, is a special case that will be covered below. Musbah and Sami are new names to me. Marwan and Naji, however, we know, again mostly via Robert Worth. The following summaries are directly from the report QMOY, pages 63-64:
Naji : Naji Najjar, a former Yarmouk guard, is now apparently a base trustee, whipping boy, and clown. He reportedly is happy to beg for beatings, and for family of his alleged victims to beat him at will and break broomsticks over him. A letter from his brother was read out: “Naji is being held by an illegal entity, being tortured on a daily basis, starved and forced to sign false statements.” They all laughed, even Naji. Ragai’s rebuttal to torture, starvation, and false confessions by an illegal entity was “there is no legal entity for us to hand the prisoners over to.”
Then there's Marwan Gdoura, the 28-year-old newly-devout Muslim scholar, involved in the execution of prisoners at “Yarmouk,” Worth writes, but apparently at Qasr Ben Ghashir by the details. There, on August 24, he ignored Dr. Omar Salhouba/Salhoba’s plea to “fear God” and killed him, along with five others. Interrogator Nasser Salhoba, Dr. Omar’s brother, says he still wanted to kill Marwan and once beat him severely for reflexively failing to step on a green Jamahiriya flag, showing a lack of remorse, and “that he would kill all of us here if he could.”
Hamza Harizi: Hazy
Harizi alone among these nine gets a military trial for some reason. Given as Hirazi in Worth's article, he was held in or near Az Zintan, apparently, with no visit managed. His jailer Eissa Gliza cited security concerns, explaining that the prisoner had to be moved frequently due to repeated death threats, two of which became thwarted assassination attempts by unspecified parties. No rank was there given, but a high one implied; he was “the Yarmouk prison commander.”

Sgt. Maj. Hamza el Harizi is mentioned in a late 2011 report by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), as “the officer-in-charge” of the Yarmouk detention facility. there his superior was Lt. Col. Mohammed Mansour (see below), whoin turn reported directly to the Libyan leader's son Khamis Gaddafi. Thus, Harizi was ostensibly set just two degrees from Khamis. UN report, March 2 the commission found the “immediate commander” of the Yarmouk base was the soldier called [056], reporting to a brigadier [028] who in turn reported to Khamis. Thus, [056] is most likely Harizi. It doesn’t seem the UNHRC commission spoke with him and it’s not clear if he was in custody at that time or still at large. But by the time of Worth's visit, Harizi was locked-up. As QMOY summed up (p.64)
The CIWCL was eager to learn what the second link said, but for security reasons, there was no meeting. Worth too wrote “I was eager to talk to him,” hoping for insight into “one of the central mysteries” of the massacre: “Why? And who gave the orders?” [RW2] The presumptions so far has been “evil,” and “Khamis,” but perhaps Worth was hoping to have an expertly handled captive spell it out with alleged second-hand authority.
And now this prisoner of opaque condition is slated to get his day in court, under whatever rules of fairness and transparency govern military trials in "Free Libya."

Note: Harizi was heavily implicated, by alleged eyewitnesses and at least one alleged subordinate, with the Yarmouk shed massacre. They have him directly passing on the order to kill the lot, overseeing the elimination of survivors, and the burning of (about 50 of) their bodies back inside the shed days later. According to what's reported, he will be tried not in connection with that crime, but on the 8th, in connection to the smaller alleged massacre at the "Slovenian company" prison, as well as by tribunal. That's slightly interesting.

The Lesser Missing Names
There are more sources than Robert F. Worth feeding into the CIWCL's previous knowledge base, but only a few alleged accomplices fall outside his roster, mostly excluded from this trial list.

The first notable exception is actually  one of Worth's central interviewees, a young Ibrahim Lousha, mentioned in part 1. The oft-cited Ibrahim Lousha/Tajouri/Sadeq-Khalifah, aged 20, of Tajoura Tripoli, says he did it all. Devil child. He threw the grenades, headed up the heavy shooting, finished off the survivors 'til 2 am, and/or burned them alive. He left little for the other four or so alleged executioners, but candidly confesssed to everything and helped his jailer Ibrahim Bietalmal prove there was no torture in Misrata's jails. I mean, just look at this kid!

Yes, can we have a look at him now? He's not listed as about to stand trial for his crucial and shifting role. Has he been forgiven and released, or knocked off? Perhaps fake-knocked-off, his character forgotten or written out of the show with a wink?

Massachusetts-based Physicians for Human Rights witness "Laskhar" may or may not be missing from the list – the name was a pseudonym. One likely real/alleged name behind that is Wajdi Kikly (QMOY p. 57), from Az-Zawiya, who reportedly helped execute and later burn the victims, along with his boss, Hamza Hreji/Harizi (see below). Laskhar was from Az Zawiya, it was said, turned in by his uncle after taking a solid and all-seeing role in the Yarmouk killings. (QMOY p. 56) Laskhar also related the ridiculous days-long clean-up process with his commander Harizi, that consisted of burning them on about the 25th. His account was especially well-suited to the mainstrean understanding of the evidence, and was supported with curious precision by PHR's other well-managed witneeses. But of course, it's contradicted by most of the other information from sources not so well-meshed.

Missing: Mansour/Brigadier [028]
And then there's the top link between the multi-dead Khamis Gaddafi and the highest acknowledged captive, Hamza Harizi. This is Lt. Col. Mohammed Mansour, as perviously given, and according to the Herald, Mohammed Mansour Dhau, a continuing threat.
The Yarmouk association has urged survivors as well as families of those killed to attend the trials and keep track of the cases. It added that a number of people believed to have been involved in the massacre are still at large, including the officer in charge of the camp at the time, Colonel Mohamed Mansour Dhau.
It's never been clarified 100% that Mansour was in custody, but previous research had suggested it pretty strongly. The QMOY report had taken it as likely true, which was perhaps an over-estimation, especially since it suggests the lack of confirmation suggested he was killed, as opposed to never held.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) deputy director Richard Sollom wrote in late 2011 that “alleged war criminals from all sides of the recent conflict remain at large” and that “holding these individuals accountable is the most effective way to end impunity and establish the rule of law.” But he only named one such person, from one side; “one whom Libyan authorities should detain and hold accountable is Lt. Col. [Mohammed] Mansour, who ordered his troops to kill 153 men in late August.” PHR were told, and believed, that he “reported directly to Khamis Qaddafi,” who originated the order.


PHR's witness "Laskhar" had Mansour firmly in his overly-clear picture of the command loop (QMOY p. 56):
At 12:30 pm on the day of the execution, Laskhar said, Khamis Gaddafi was there at the base conducting a meeting, with bigwigs including Lt. Col. Mansour and the deputy chief of military intelligence. A few hours later, Laskhar says he also saw his boss Sgt. Maj. Harizi get a call from Mansour, relating the order to kill all the prisoners that very night. Unsurprisingly, Hamza also confirmed for Laskhar that the order came straight from the younger Gaddafi.

The name twist "Dhau" suggests two villainous brigade commanders on record - a Mohammed Mansour and a Mansour Dau - are one and the same (while other clues argue against that). The latter was named as a mind-controlling rapist by alleged girl executioner Nisreen Al-Farjani (no known relation to Dr. Salem). She later allegedly escaped rebel custody and claimed all this was a lie extracted under torture and rape. But she said, while shackled to a bed under rebel guns, that a female controller named Fatma "had an office at the 77 Brigade base and there was a room with a bed next door." She was sent there one day, and "Mansour Dau, who was the commander of 77 Brigade, then came in and shut the door" and raped her. Thereafter, she became a regime slave, she said (more willing than that, others smirked), forced to shoot at least a dozen rebels point blank in the face just for the added evil and insult. She was 19 at that time.

If Col./Lt. Col. Mansour/Dau is currently at liberty, it might be that he escaped. A commander code-named Brigadier [028] was met by the UN’s investigators. Brigadier is sometimes a general term for a higher-ranking officer, so this could without contradiction be Mansour/Dau. He had been in command of “the Khilit al-Ferjan zone,” which includes the Yarmouk base. Mansour is said to command that base but, since his subordinate Harizi ran it, Mansour's turf might have been the broader area.

The UN commission related as a fact they believed, based on what rebels told them, that 028 "reported directly to Khamis Qadhafi," as did Mansour, allegedly. Although they believed it, he didn't confirm it; "he denied this to the Commission.” Both Mansour and 028 are said to have visited Yarmouk on the day of the massacre, but then left-after passing on the order but prior to its execution. (see QMOY p. 55) This crucial, high-level, witness – a link if not the link to the leader’s son – says there was no such link. This lack of "confession" is unusual among those captured. Perhaps he was one of those not being tortured, or not yet broken by it. His denial had a little more detail:
“He told the Commission he was simply in charge of personnel at the Military Intelligence (Istikhbarat). … he says he never was tasked directly by members of the Qadhafi family. When asked about his knowledge of the massacre, he claimed he only heard about it after the event and “if you’re interested inhuman rights violations then I don’t know why I am here.”[UH p.70]
I suspect Brigadier [028] has died in the interim, whoever he was. Robert Worth visited in the spring of 2012 and heard exactly one past-tense reference to Mansour, by young Ibrahim, as a giver of the kill orders. (QMOY p. 62)
[Ibrahim Lousha] names commander Muhammad Mansour, who “arrived late in the afternoon and ordered the guards to kill all the prisoners in the hangar.” He previously said Mansour threatened them with his gun, but Worth adds, as the UNHRC does, Mansour / [028] then left the site, with his gun. With the threat removed, Lousha says: “the other guards had the grenades. I told them, ‘Give the grenades to me.” He threw two of these in on the prisoners...
No one else even mentions Mansour/Dau at all. He may well have been dead already by then, and he may not have gone out comfortably. If [028] is someone else, we apparently have a missing captive anyway; this Khamis-linked non-confessed commander doesn't seem to be mentioned anywhere else; no one higher in rank than Harizi has been acknowledged. The UN investigators should come clean whether it was Mansour they spoke to or someone remarkably similar. Because if it was him, he’s since been eliminated and erased as a captive, and turned into a ghost at large. And that's not how "Free Libya" was supposed to work (or was it?)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Shed Massacre Trial, part one

December 29, 2012
last edits Dec. 31

Note, Dec. 30: Part two, not today.

There has been nothing going on at this site for much of 2012, myself and other contributors having become wrapped up in the events in Syria. In a real sense, there’s more good to be done/bad to be prevented there. Libya, sadly, has been doomed to whatever it is as it hadn’t been for sure when I started this site in April 2011. The ongoing conflict in Bani Walid an elsewhere, the civil war as it exists in reduced form in the Libyan mind, and the various crimes and abuses of the new government and its forces, are all still well-worth study, but we only have so much time in a day.

But a reader alerts me to a development in an area I feel an obligation to; the Khamis Brigade Shed Massacre, which is set to take on a courtroom dimension some 16 months after the event. As a reader alerts me, the upcoming trial for several accused asoldiers was announced in the "new independent Libya daily" Libya Herald on December 27.

Yarmouk camp massacre trials to start in 10 days’ time
The trials of ten men accused of involvement in the Yarmouk Detention Camp massacre on 23-24 August last year are to start in January.
[...]
The Yarmouk association has urged survivors as well as families of those killed to attend the trials and keep track of the cases. It added that a number of people believed to have been involved in the massacre are still at large, including the officer in charge of the camp at the time, Colonel Mohamed Mansour Dhau.
Accused, by-and-large confessed, and innocent. This series of two posts will serve double as a first new article here in months (and a last chance for one in 2012), as well as an open letter to the defense team for this upcoming trial. Anyone who knows who that is and how to contact them should pass this on to them.

Our Investigation
We have of course covered this event quite extensivelyat this site and via the Citizen’s Investigation into War Crimes in Libya.
- All research here, links gathered
- 152-page report, A Question Mark Over Yarmouk (PDF link)
- Summary press release - "Holocaust" denied
- video:Amnesty by Way of Fakery

In summary: Something like 80 apparent Gaddafi loyalists were slaughtered at and around the overrun Yarmouk military base south of the capitol, and the majority charred beyond recognition (those who weren’t charred were primarily Black men). Then a stream of fake witnesses came forth, eventually making it seem that 51 non-loyalist prisoners out of an original 157 had escaped without a scratch to tell the tale – blasted at close quarters with machine guns and grenades, by Gaddafi loyalists and African mercenaries. They formed a survivor’s group and had an anniversary meeting earlier this year, featuring the first-ever Black survivor. Their original champion, Dr. Salem Al-Farjani aka Dr. Salem Rajab, might be dead by now.

Recommendation to the Defense
First, anyone claiming to represent these accused Human Beings should consider the PDF report, especially the overview (section 1.1 pp 7-9), any sections hinted at there that sound interesting, and the part about the captive soldiers now to stand trial (section 2.3, pp 51-67).

If such a thing won’t get the courthouse rocketed, try for a special defense of incrimination. Your clients aren’t guilty, torture-extracted confessions notwithstanding, because somone else is.

It’s hard to know just who executed the people in question, but the evidence suggests it would have been primarily fighters from Misrata. The Misrata Military Council had the first information on the crime, 140 grenade-killed prisoners, all dead, increasingly burnt as reports came in, just found in some prison in near Tripoli. These leaks started at 6:15 AM on August 24, just hours after the massacre is alleged, the same day some rebels say they conquered the Yarmouk base, and three days before the Misratans later acknowledged access to the place. There is simply nothing else known that they could have been talking about - they were at the scene way too early and they knew it. All else, apparently, is made-up to cover for that. (report p.129)

One name does rise to the fore as someone to blame; Ibrahim Bietalmal, leader of Misrata Military Council at the time. (pp 139-141) Since then overseeing a "prison system" plagued by endemic torture, executions, and disappearances, he also may have had a special role in crafting the cover story for his fighters' crime. For one thing, he played hands-on (cigarette-burning?) jailer to another Ibrahim, some kid held in one of his Misrata hell-holes. The younger Ibrahim does appear well-treated, pampered like a star actor almost. He claimed to be one of the Yarmouk guards, either the grenade thrower, the main shooter, the main torturer, or the one who burned everyone alive on the wrong date. His last name always changes – Tajouri, Lousha, Sadeq-Khalifah – but the visual and biographical clues and the unchanging first name make the link clear. Ibrahim's name is probably fiction, but it's the same name as a chief suspect in this unsolved crime. (p 59-62)

So far, the victorious teflon brigades have had the last word on their crime, filtered through their own captives and various alleged witnesses who seem to be speaking freely, but can often be proven to be lying or wrong in their memories anyway. In court, that could, hypothetically change. The details of "Free Libya" will decide whether or not that happens.

If no such defense is lodged, that would be a bad sign for the prospects of accountability and justice there. If they're found guilty, it will be suspicious, but not surprising. In fact, I predict very little fight for prosecutors to get the win. I predict guilty pleas, and begging forgiveness and/or for death. The "revolution" must be vindicated. Facts on the ground can't do it, so one way or another, the courts will have to help.

Anyone challenging that decision will have to have some courage. I'm really not sure if I hope they do or not. Thefight for truth iscosmicallyworth it, every time. But one more kidnapped-and-tortured-to-death lawyer, just to slow to process down a bit, might not be worth it to everyone involved.

Trial Sequence
The Herald got its information from members of the Yarmouk Massacre Victims Association, who named several defendants in three separate trials with set dates in the very near future. There's little time to prepare that hasn't already passed. My recommendation comes late.

January 6: trial of four men accused of torturing prisoners to death (and/or the alleged mass execution?) at Yarmouk:
Yakhlif Sifawi, Abdul-Razak Baruni, Juma Daqdouq and Mohamed Harous are accused of torture and torturing unnamed victims to death at the camp.
January 8, related Qasr Ben Ghashir killings trial (also covered in great detail in the report, pages 20-31):
A second case, known as “the Slovenian company case” (a reference to the company that ran the compound before it was taken over, as a makeshift prison) involves five named defendants: Hamza Mabruk Muftah Harizi, Marwan Emhemed Khalifa Gaddoura, Musbah Mohamed Musbah Ajim, Naji Massoud Najjar and Sami Saleh Ragie.
Undated:
The third case involves just one defendant: Sergeant-Major Hamza Mabrouk Muftah El-Harizi. He is accused of mass murder. This case is said to be being handled by a military court.
Part two I don't have time for this morning will go into those names and give some profiles of the men in the dock.

Note Dec. 31: Part two

Monday, November 19, 2012

Syria: Daraya Massacre

By Caustic Logic
September 9, 2012

Updated Nov. 18, 2012 (new links)

First, it's been decided by Petri and I, CIWCL co-founders, to make Syria an official area of focus for the CIWCL, and not for some new group dividing efforts. No promises of tons of posts here, but being sort of the CIWCL's blog, well, here's one at least. This is a spot for those inclined to a spot like this, to discuss the Daraya massacre (preferably not too many side-issues, if it's to be a comment-driven post like most)

On the weekend of Aug 24-26 a huge but uncertain number of people were massacred in the Syrian city of Daraya, just outside Damascus. This roughly coincided with a decisive government conquest of the rebel-held city, and has of course been blamed on the invading national army and its allies, by the retreating FSA/activist/terrorist forces who would be the prime alternate suspects.

This latest example of "Assad's massacre strategy" escalates the insane brutality requiring intervention. The Houla massacre in May was Assad thumbing his nose at the West, 108 people dead, 49 children, diplomats expelled (later found to be a rebel crime). He allegedly shot himself in the foot bigger yet with the massacre/battle of Tremseh in mid-July. Saudi paper Al Arabiya made a Freudian slip, it seems, reporting at the time "at last 250 people have been killed," finally eclipsing Houla. (Emphasis added - presumably they meant to parrot the standard "at least 250.")  But that story of 250-300+ fell apart quickly, with even the Western mainstream media considering it more a minor battle the rebels lost, with no more than 50 killed (though neglecting victims of a rebel massacre apparently interrupted by the battle), and too boring to rant about any longer.

Now in Daraya, the reports of dead started where Tremseh's did, only climbing from there to a range of reports of 3-400 to "more than 1,000." At least about 200 can be visually verified so far. But now, the high-water (high-blood) mark of the Houla Massacre has been subsumed under a whole new level of bloodshed. Clearly it merits some investigation. In the last few weeks, it's gotten that. Our wiki page at A Closer Look on Syria is the best resource for it and still growing. Feel free to spread this link:


We encourage interested and responsible/honest people to register and help develop this and all topics related to the Syrian conflict.

Tentative findings (my own readings, opinions, and questions):
  • Not mentioned in initial "activists say" reports, there were some number of government loyalists held hostage by rebels in Daraya. By some evidence, it was when negotiations on a prisoner transfer for opposition fighters fell through that the national army attacked the city. This aspect was first dramatically broken in a report from Robert Fisk on Aug. 29, and elicited much buzz and some rebuttals. Three hostages (all officers, all evil) are now admitted (pleaded to) by FSA spokespeople. Officers, off-duty conscripts, military families, and a mailman were all mentioned among those taken - more than three categories, let alone three people. But we don't know what the FSA's hand was entering into trade talks for their captured comrades. Was it closer to 3 or to 300?

  • Local witnesses, freed by the army from rebel-run basement shelters in Daraya, spoke to Addounia TV on Aug. 26. They claim they were forced in there by rebel fighters, mostly the day before (Aug. 25) to protect them from the government coming, with plans (that rebels knew about) to kill them. Some of the others weren't so lucky, and not all the shelters were found. Or were they? People executed in basement/shelters, by the government, of course, appeared on rebel videos in the following days. Time-release false flag massacre to coincide with the "brutal occupation?"

  • One eyebrow-raising feature of the Daraya massacre is the relative lack of alleged eyewitnesses and miracle survivors. This will likely turn around soon, but the delay is still noteworthy. Taken by surprise? Most witnesses and activists are called "Abu something." Even to the massive alleged mosque massacre there's no clear witness. The regime killed 150 or so while they his inside the Abu Suleiman Al Darani Mosque, it was said by some. Other reports aren't so sure, but speculate that's what happened, after they found the bodies there. 

  • The mosque massacre clearly didn't happen. If the rebel story (see last point) is correct, then why does it seem otherwise to be rebel base of operations on the southern fringe, especially crucial after losing most other bases? Why are all the bodies on/wrapped in blankets, one even in a coffin, with no blood spray all over the floor? Why are they dodgy about the "basement" the bodies were found in, the "makeshift morgue" they were taken to after, and the mass grave site they were then buried at? Because it's all, visually verified, the same rebel-base-mosque? (There are some interesting facts buried now in that dirt lot... Damascus will want to strip mine it for data ASAP. But first, they'll have to attack a mosque, again. Watch for news on that...) 

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

<< The Abu Salim Hospital Massacre {Masterlist}
      << Abu Salim Hospital Massacre Research {Masterlist}

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.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Behind the Scenes of an Al Qaeda Massacre {Masterlist}

Masterlist created May 27, 2012
Last edits Sept. 20, 2012
(new wiki link Nov. 18)

The original article "Behind the Scenes of the Al-Baida Massacre" has been moved here.
"Al-Baida" wasn't necessarily the location, for one thing, which remains unsettled.
The Sub-posts: 

Original article, first published March 30, 2011, as Behind the Scenes of the Al-Baida Massacre - one of the first articles plugged in as this site was started a month later.

Further Behind the Scenes - quick updates from April 30 - a transcript, some other things.

Al Baida Massacre III: Three Killings in February.
From October, the Al-Hassadi Al-Qaeda link and a location-Maktub-come into focus.

Report: Behind the Scenes of an Al Qaeda Massacre
(pretty slick cover at left, report forthcoming, no estimated due date).

Update Sept.20:
Still no report or even effort towards one. Sorry. There should be a more cogent summary of the stuff at the links above, but I'm swamped. However, since this post is getting plenty of views lately, let's take a look at some Al Qaeda / Islamo-nihilist atrocities happening in Syria more recently.

In Douma, near Damascus, the same kind of matching work between rebel captives and murky massacre victims yields fruit more brilliantly than it did here (luckier with abundance of clear visuals). Sixteen regime victims were found, throats slit, rebels said, around Aug. 17, 2012. Only six were clearly shown, and all match with six out of 16 known FSA captives. Those were last seen alive in a video shot by a rebel death squad from the neighboring town (Harasta). (the six seen dead marked here)

See here for the fuller explanation, mostly citing existing work but with a few additions from our own.

See also the expanded Syria page at the CIWCL site for more things relevant things done well.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Christopher Stevens Operation

September 12, 2012
Updates Sept.18

The average reader should need no links to know of this story by now, and I have nothing great to offer other than this post to collect commentary. Maybe I'll put something more here, depending. I'm curious if this gets blamed on remnants of Gaddafi loyalists, or on the Salafists it would seem like.

Sept.18: On blaming loyalists: Indian Express:
A senior Libyan official accused supporters of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi of carrying out an attack that killed the US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi.
Deputy Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharif told a news conference in Benghazi that the attackers had used rocket-propelled grenades.
There were RPGs...which shows there were forces exploiting this. They are remnants of the (former) regime, he said. The news conference was broadcast on Al Jazeera television.
Fox News/Infowars:
While the establishment media has engaged in a concerted effort to bury the fact that today’s attack on a U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was carried out by the same extremists the U.S. armed during the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi, Libya’s Ambassador to Washington Ali Aujali launched his own lame attempt to shift the blame, ludicrously pointing the finger at Gaddafi loyalists.
“We know that Qaddafi’s associates are in Libya. Of course, they took this chance to infiltrate among the people,” Aujali said in today in an interview.
Also, Petri has somehow assembled a playlist of 83 videos of the Benghazi consulate attack. One in particular sounds interesting, and was picked up by Dputamadre: Chris Stevens: Hunting or Saving?

Al Qaeda's Flag Over Benghazi

October 31, 2011
last updates Sept. 12, 2012

Bumped Sept. 12 in response to the news of the US envoy to Libya's killing during Salafi protests, and roughly on the anniversary of 9/11 to boot.
---
Happy Halloween, everyone. You want something spooky? As usual, you can find something to fit the bill here.How about the flag of al Qaeda in Iraq being flown surreptitiously above the flag of new Libya, over the NTC headquarters-cum-capitol building in Benghazi?
Via Libya S.O.S., a video and a story from Vice.com.


http://youtu.be/ZAfBoOsYK1c

http://www.vice.com/read/al-qaeda-plants-its-flag-in-libya
AL QAEDA PLANTS ITS FLAG IN LIBYA
By Sherif Elhelwa

Excerpts:
... [A]ccording to multiple eyewitnesses—myself included—one can now see both the Libyan rebel flag and the flag of al Qaeda fluttering atop Benghazi’s courthouse.
[...]
According to one Benghazi resident, Islamists driving brand-new SUVs and waving the black al Qaeda flag drive the city’s streets at night shouting, "Islamiya, Islamiya! No East, nor West," a reference to previous worries that the country would be bifurcated between Gaddafi opponents in the east and the pro-Gaddafi elements in the west.


Earlier this week, I went to the Benghazi courthouse and confirmed the rumors: an al Qaeda flag was clearly visible; its Arabic script declaring that “there is no God but Allah” and a full moon underneath. When I tried to take pictures, a Salafi-looking guard, wearing a green camouflage outfit, rushed towards me and demanded to know what I was doing. My response was straightforward: I was taking a picture of the flag. He gave me an intimidating look and hissed, "Whomever speaks ill of this flag, we will cut off his tongue. I recommend that you don't publish these. You will bring trouble to yourself.”

He followed me inside the courthouse, but luckily my driver Khaled was close by, and interceded on my behalf. According to Khaled, the guard had angrily threatened to harm me. When I again engaged him in conversation, he told me "this flag is the true flag of Islam," and was unresponsive when I argued with him that historically Islam has never been represented by a single flag. The guard claimed repeatedly that there is no al Qaeda in Libya, and that the flag flying atop the courthouse is “dark black,” while the al Qaeda flag is charcoal black.
Update Nov 1:
Reader Peet73 alerts me the same flag can be seen in a demonstration last Friday in Benghazi. The New York Times made no mention of the flags, but showed a photo with at least five of them, the most common one carried, per that image. The demonstration was in support of extremist Sharia law, particularly to support the Jibril/NTC stance on marriage (no-consent polygamy, rescinding of female-friendly divorce laws). How their terrorist flag wound up atop the main courthouse (the same spot as the famous Benghazi beheading, by the way) is a puzzle that was bound to make news. In fact:
Digital Journal
Fox News (readers vote it "scary")
Daily Caller: "A CNN report on Saturday [the 29th] showed al-Qaida’s black flag flying over the Benghazi courthouse, which was one of the rebellion’s starting points."
The CNN video, submitted to them, is the one shown above.

There was also this:
Anti-Qaddafi Forces Flew al-Qaeda Flag During Siege of Sirte (National Review Online)
John Rosenthal here conflates the similar "Emirates flag" and the al Qaeda flag, the former actually being seen flown in Sirte. Hence, no al Qaeda.
The appearance of the al-Qaeda flag over the Benghazi courthouse has been generally spun by commentators in the Western media as a sign that Islamic extremists are now rushing to fill the “vacuum” left by the fall of the ancien régime in Libya. But the Echorouk report and the accompanying photo indicate that anti-Qaddafi forces in fact fought under the “Islamic Caliphate” banner in the decisive battle of the rebellion.
Only one or the other flag can be flown, apparently, and it was this one. So see, these aren't bad guys. That other black (bad) flag of Islamist extremists helped them to lay siege to Sirte and mop up afterwards. Far from a troublesome symbol of Islamist terrorist war criminals, the AQ/Emirates flag is now just another way of saying "FREEEEEDOOOOMMM!"

But reader Sam 1 alerts me, in comments below, new video (if not a new procession) of rebel fighting vehicles in Sirte flying the same al Qaeda flag with the full moon. The occupants of those vehicles are all disguised too, like bank robbers or snuff film makers. Was this from October, during the slaughter, or more recently, to mop up again inside the shattered and scattered onetime "capitol of the resistance?"

Others think it's possibly new. ABC News (US) has picked up the story, saying these are "police" vehicles." Similar processions have been seen in Tripoli. Ibrahim Dabbashi says:
But the Libyan ambassador to the United Nations, Ibrahim Dabbashi, told ABC News that the video is not what it seems. Libyan brigades have flown similar flags in the past and, when questioned about them, the brigade commanders always said they were simply the "flag of the Prophet Muhammad," Dabbashi said.

"These brigades have no relation whatsoever with al Qaeda," he said. "There are no al Qaeda elements in Libya."
So it is al Qaeda then. Great.