In a response to a Freedom of Information request, the UK Foreign office has claimed that “ethnic cleansing has not taken place” in Tawergha. Continue Reading…
Archives For NATO
Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi was reportedly captured and shot dead 20 October. As the evidence below shows the Libyan leader and his son Mutassim were summarily executed by the rebels, sharing the fate of so many Libyans in this conflict. Continue Reading…
The background to the video and image below is the ongoing bombardment of Sirte by NATO aircraft in support of the rebel brigades who are indiscriminately firing tank, mortar and artillery shells into this urban, civilian-populated area. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has refused to comment on why NATO is not fulfilling its UN mandate to ‘protect the civilian population.’
As is now well documented, the rebellion in Libya began with violent attacks on police stations, such as this one in Al-Bayda where people locked inside were reportedly burnt to death:
An intensive propaganda campaign systematically distorted the facts on the ground, including in particular allegations that the Libyan airforce was bombing peaceful protestors and that Libyan soldiers were being massacred for not shooting on unarmed protestors (since proven to have been a false flag operation). This propaganada allowed a mobilisation of the international community and the passing of UN Resolution 1973 which imposed the No-Fly Zone.
It is UN Resolution 1973 which NATO argues provides the legal basis for the coalition operation in Libya as NATO makes clear in their Factsheet on Operation Unified Protector:
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 mandates “all necessary measures” to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under attack or threat of attack. In line with this authorisation, NATO conducts reconnaissance, surveillance and information-gathering operations to identify those forces which present a threat to civilians and civilian-populated areas.
Notwithstanding this NATO supported the rebels as they escalated the level of violence directed against those who opposed them, civilians and guest workers with attacks using Grad rockets, artillery, tanks and mortars – in fact any weapons that could be looted from arms dumps or supplied by NATO, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Here is an early example from Misrata of rebel forces nonchantly firing mortars, in between drinking cups of tea:
With the brutal assault on Sirte, which is facing a bombardment from the air, surpassing Guernica, the indiscriminate assaults on civilian areas are now being taken to a higher level:
As we have seen, NATO’s official justification for their operations includes a requirement “to identify those forces which present a threat to civilians or civilian-populated areas.”
Furthermore the justification includes this:
Targeting depends on the decisions of operational commanders. Targets struck to date have included tanks, armoured personnel carriers, air-defence systems and artillery around and approaching key civilian areas including Misrata, Ajdabiyah and Zintan. [My emphasis]
Yet clearly NATO is supporting the rebel use of tanks and artillery around and approaching the key civilian area of Sirte; indeed NATO and its allies are almost certainly supplying the ammunition for these big guns.
Many journalists are having trouble processing this information, let alone communicating it to their readership, as it does not fit in with the overriding paradigm of an operation “intended to protect civilians.”
It remains to be seen, which journalists have the intelligence to realise that the old paradigm is dead and the courage to communicate this fact to their readers. A new paradigm is required, a new framework to understand the NATO war on Libya, one which recognises that the mantra of “responsibity to protect civilians” which NATO repeats at every press conference and in every press release is nothing more than:
1) A propaganda device, aimed at the fooling the public into supporting a war of aggression.
2) A legal device whereby the NATO command seeks to escape responsibility for war crimes.
Human Rights Investigations has been following the situation of the Tawergha closely and here we draw the information together and find, based on the reports of witnesses, journalists and human rights workers, the situation of the Tawergha is not just one of ethnic cleansing but, according to the legal definition, genocide.
“Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
And the sudden smell of burning flesh!
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.”
For years we have been waiting to see the fruits of Barack Obama’s presidency, hoping this man was the embodiment of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream, that he would be a peacemaker, that he would show solidarity with the poor and persecuted – yet gradually we have come to see the Obama Tree as barren and useless. Continue Reading…
Human Rights Investigations supports the email campaign to stop the NATO bombing in Libya, to prevent massacres such as we have already seen in Zlitan and NATO supported ethnic cleansing in places such as Tawergha and to protect the people of Sabha, Zlitan and the south of Libya from further death and destruction.
Take just a few easy steps to send e-mails to non-belligerent members on the UN Security Council, calling on them to take a stand against the military intervention and to support and promote a negotiated resolution/peace.
SEND YOUR E-MAILS NOW!
Please pass this on to your friends, family and contacts around the world! For Italian, French and Spanish versions of the appeal (with email in English) please go to: http://www.interculture.it/libia
Please paste the following addresses into the recipient box of your “Stop the War in Libya” e-mail:
ChinaMissionUN@Gmail.com, email@example.com, India@un.int, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, LamamraR@africa-union.org, email@example.com, JoinerDJ@africa-union.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, Nigeria@un.int, email@example.com
In the e-mail’s subject box:
PLEASE PUT A STOP TO NATO WAR IN LIBYA – APPEAL TO NON-BELLIGERENT UNSC MEMBERS
“PLEASE PUT A STOP TO THE NATO WAR ON LIBYA!”
WE APPEAL TO NON-BELLIGERENT MEMBERS OF THE U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL
•to put an end to the misuse of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 to influence the internal affairs of Libya through warfare, by revoking it, and
•to press for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Libya.
We thank those countries that have tried, and are still trying, to work towards peace.
Our appeal is based on the following:
•the military intervention in Libya undertaken by some NATO members has now gone far beyond the provisions of Security Council Resolution 1973, and is based on hyped-up accounts of defenseless citizens being massacred by their government, while the truth is that, in Libya, there is an on-going and intense internal armed conflict;
•we are aware of the economic and geo-strategic interests that lie behind the war in Libya and, in particular, behind NATO support of one of the two armed factions;
•NATO military intervention in Libya has killed (and is continuing to kill) countless civilians, as well as harming and endangering the civilian population, including migrants and refugees, in various other ways;
•the belief, at this stage, that only non-belligerent countries – and particularly those with U.N. Security Council voting rights – can successfully bring a peaceful end to the conflict through negotiations and by implementing the opening paragraph of UNSC Resolution 1973, which calls for an immediate ceasefire.
Name (or association)
Promoted by Rete No War and U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice – Rome
A number of reports now, from a variety of organisations, show that black people are being rounded up, disappearing or being interned in atrocious conditions in Tripoli.
Hundreds of African workers are stuck in various locations including about 1,000 at the military port of Sidi Bilal six miles west of Tripoli, fearing for their lives, with little water and limited provisions. This situation has been going on for weeks, with the ICRC finally delivering some water on 5 September.
Macclatchy’ David Enders reports:
The rebels who ring the camp suddenly open fire. Then they race into the camp, shouting “gabbour, gabbour” — Arabic for whore — and haul away young women, residents say.
“You should be here in the evening, when they come in firing their guns and taking people,” one woman from Nigeria said Wednesday as she recounted the nightly raids on the camp. “They don’t use condoms, they use whatever they can find,” she said, pointing to a discarded plastic bag in a pile of trash.
As she spoke, other women standing nearby nodded in agreement.
One of the women describes the feelings of the inhabitants of the camp:
Stacey Alexandra, 26, who said she had spent the last three years in Libya cleaning private homes and hotels and sending money back to family in Cameroon. “Now everyone here wants to leave. This country is too racist.”
David Enders reports further:
There is no way to know how many women have been raped here, where hundreds of Africans have settled in and around the boats of a marina. No one keeps statistics in the camp, and foreign aid workers say they are prohibited from discussing the allegations on the record. [Our emphasis] International Red Cross representatives say only that they have spoken to rebel leaders about “security concerns.”
The ICRC (who managed to get the reporters out of the Rixos) says “it is searching for a way to ensure the long-term security of the people in Sidi Bilal, for example by transferring them to a safer location.”
Where are the European countries and NATO when black African civilians need help? Well, we got the answer to that earlier in this conflict when, as the Guardian reported, 72 African refugees were left to die in the Mediterranean by various military units including the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle:
A boat carrying 72 passengers, including several women, young children and political refugees, ran into trouble in late March after leaving Tripoli for the Italian island of Lampedusa. Despite alarms being raised with the Italian coastguard and the boat making contact with a military helicopter and a warship, no rescue effort was attempted.
All but 11 of those on board died from thirst and hunger after their vessel was left to drift in open waters for 16 days. “Every morning we would wake up and find more bodies, which we would leave for 24 hours and then throw overboard,” said Abu Kurke, one of only nine survivors. “By the final days, we didn’t know ourselves … everyone was either praying, or dying.”
Human Rights Investigations calls for European countries to take action to ensure the safe and speedy evacuation of all migrants in Libya who wish to leave.
Update 12 September – The Washington Post reports quotes Niklas Bergstrans, the communications officer for Doctors Without Borders in Tripoli who says of the African guest workers at Jansour that
“They need to be moved somewhere where they are safe,” . “It’s disappointing. We haven’t seen any concrete actions from the Transitional National Council and other international organizations.”
We have been following the fate of the people of Tawargha since one of the Misratan rebel commanders threatened to wipe Tawargha off the map. The same commander then turned up on camera with Orla Guerin of the BBC, as Tawargha was taken by the rebels with NATO support and the inhabitants fled. There can be no doubt that NATO commanders were fully complicit in this ethnic cleansing.
Al Jazeera reported that the inhabitants had been handed over ot the Red Cross but the ICRC were unable to confirm this and there have been rumours of a mass grave. The fate of the prisoners shown loaded into a shipping container is unknown.
Now Amnesty International’s Diana Elthaway reports that the 10,000s of Tawarghans who have fled to Tripoli (and other dark-skinned-Libyans) are facing continuing persecution from the Misratan rebels who have now caught up with them in the capital.
One lady from Tawargha describes how the townsfolk fled:
“When the thuwwar entered our town in mid-Ramadan [mid-August] and shelled it, we fled just carrying the clothes on our backs. I don’t know what happened to our homes and belongings. Now I am here in this camp, my son is ill and I am too afraid to go to the hospital in town. I don’t know what will happen to us now.”
The evidence suggests that Tawarghas are fearful of going outside, cannot return home and have been abused, detained (even whilst in hospital) and gone missing:
Some Tawarghas who have been detained in Tripoli are said to have been made to kneel facing the wall, and then been beaten with sticks and whips. Others have simply vanished after being arrested at checkpoints and taken from hospitals by armed revolutionaries (thuwwar).
On 29 August, Amnesty International delegates saw a Tawargha patient at the Tripoli Central Hospital being taken by three men for “questioning in Misratah” and were told about at least two other Tawargha men had vanished after being taken for questioning from Tripoli hospitals. A 45-year-old flight dispatcher and his uncle were arrested by armed rebels while out shopping in the al-Firnaj area of Tripoli on 28 August.
Even in the refugee camps, the Tawarghas are not safe. Towards the end of last month, a group of armed men drove into the camp and arrested about 14 men – and their relatives do not know of their fate.
Amnesty also report that “in addition to Tawarghas, other black Libyans including from the central Sabha district as well as sub-Saharan Africans continue to be at particular risk of reprisals and arbitrary arrests, on account of their skin colour and widespread reports that al-Gaddafi forces used “African mercenaries” to repress supporters of the NTC.”
Sabha is a city in south-central Libya, formerly capital of Fezzan which was historically one of the three provinces of Libya and fully became part of the Kingdom of Libya in 1951 when the French left. In 2006, the population of Fezzan was 442,090 constituting 7.8% of the Libyan population.
Sabha is mainly inhabited by Libyans of mixed and black African descent and the population is temporarily safe from being massacred by the hostile rebels from Misrata or from the Western Mountains due to its geographical remoteness as the routes to Sabha traverse large expanses of barren and desert landscape, although there is a metalled road which the rebels will no doubt be travelling down once they have dealt with the conundrum of Bani Walid.
As well as the native inhabitants, more than 1,200 African migrants are stranded in the towm according to the International Organization for Migration.
In a statement, the IOM said “there is no longer any political infrastructure in Sabha” able to support the migrants until evacuation plans are organised.
“With no electricity, fuel and little food and water, the situation for the migrants and those in the town is becoming increasingly difficult,”
Moreover, Sabha is not safe from NATO bombing, as this tweet from UK Military Spokesman Maj Gen Nick Pope indicates:
This long-range mission would have required logistical support from the US and the consent of “son-of-Africa,” Barack Obama.
Please click here for a comprehensive update on the Tawergha