Archives For Propaganda

Instigator of racist violence, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo,  confirmed late on Sunday that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi had been detained by “rebel special forces” according to The Telegraph.

“Saif was captured in Libya,” he said.

“We have confidential information from different sources that we have within Libya confirming this.”

Libyan rebels had said earlier that they had detained Saif and Colonel Gaddafi’s eldest son Mohammed Al-Gaddafi.

According to BBC correspondent in Tripoli:

and

Saif’s brother Mohammed was also reportedly captured, but apparently managed to escape.

This is not the first time the heavily compromised alleged rapist (who was instrumental in spreading the false reports about mercenaries, mass rape and viagra) the has been involved in psyops in Libya.

Human Rights Investigations again demands his immediate resignation.

Update: Release from Reuters suggests some confusion within the ICC and the office of the prosecutor:

“There was no official confirmation from the National Transitional Council,” ICC official Fadi el-Abdallah said. “Different answers were given. That was a little ambiguous.”

He added that statements from both the ICC and the prosecutor on Monday said they had received information about the arrest but that they were trying to confirm this.

The office of the prosecutor, which told Reuters early on Monday it had confirmation from sources that Saif had been arrested, has not yet responded to requests for comment.

Update (23 August): Mahmud Jibril tells Al Jazeera in all transparency, three days ago one of the revolutionaries from Tripoli told him that Saif had been captured. Mahmud Jibril asked him if he had carried out the detention and was told – no another group. Mahmud Jibril told him to go to the place where Saif was kept to confirm after he saw him. The revolutionary said he would ring back in 30 minutes.  Mahmud Jibril rang Mustafa Abdel Jalil and told him that there was an unconfirmed report Saif had been captured but would have to wait for confimration. But the revolutionary in Tripoli did not ring back.

When Moreno Ocampo called he was told the reports received were not certain and unconfirmed. Ocampo was also told that the NTC would get back to him if it was confirmed as Mahmud Jibril believed some help would be required for security.

Mahmud Jibril confirmed that the report Saif wsas captured was very useful, including in ensuring more countries recognised the NTC and more embassies declared they had joined the rebels.

The NTC military spokesman Colonel Ahmad Bani also confirmed that Saif had never been under arrest and the news was not planned but did give good results including to surrenders of some brigades – in fact he said that they “won with this trick.”

Tawergha has been taken by rebel forces from Misrata, according to a report by Andrew Simmons for Al Jazeera. Unfortunately, the mainstream media has not been giving any context to the battle for Tawergha, so most viewers will be entirely ignorant of the significance of this event.

Rebel forces from Misrata, including one of their commanders, have long threatened to wipe Tawergha off the map, ethnically cleansing its inhabitants.

The report from AL Jazeera shows at least one of the large residential blocks in Tawergha alight, prisoners packed inside a freight container (who the rebels didn’t want filmed), an injured man in civilian clothes and the rebel fighters evicting one of the last civilian left in the town (an Egyptian woman who has lost her 9 children under 12 who ran away during the attack.)

Loyalist prisoner in Tawergha

The last remaining civilians and defenders of the town are reportedly surrounded. Andrew Simmons even failed to challenge the palpable nonsense claimed by the rebel commander he interviewed that only rifles and no heavy weapons were used in the assault on Tawerga:

The apparent fall of Tawergha was also reported by Orla Guerin of the BBC who also, disgracefully, failed to give the ethnic cleansing context despite actually interviewing Ibrahim al-Halbous, the very commander of whom the Wall Street Journal reported:

Ibrahim al-Halbous, a rebel commander leading the fight near Tawergha, says all remaining residents should leave once if his fighters capture the town.  “They should pack up,” Mr. Halbous said. “Tawergha no longer exists, only Misrata.”

Please click here for a comprehensive update – thanks

Anders Behring Breivik, who has admitted responsibility for the horrific massacre in Norway, is a right-wing extremist, according to Norwegian officials who cited his previous writings including his Facebook page.

Anders Behring Breivik

The acting police chief, Sveinung Sponheim, said the suspect’s Internet postings:

suggest that he has some political traits directed toward the right, and anti-Muslim views”

In the aftermath, the New York Times and the BBC and right-wing commentators rushed to publish unreliable and quickly discredited evidence of Jihadi involvement:

Here is the immediate reaction to the bombing from Michelle Malkin:

Michelle Malkin is a conservative commentator who was regularly given a platform by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, until she objected to fellow commentator Geraldo Rivera saying of her:

“Michelle Malkin is the most vile, hateful commentator I’ve ever met in my life, … She actually believes that neighbors should start snitching out neighbors, and we should be deporting people”

This is how Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun newspaper reported the massacre:

How Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun reported the Norway Massacre

The irresponsibility of Murdoch, the New York Times and the BBC is clear from this quote by Reverend Carl Petter Opsahl of Oslo who stated:

“As a citizen of Oslo I think it is a relief that it is a Norwegian. It would be very difficult to be muslim or an immigrant if it was Al Qaeda. We saw a little it of that on Friday when we didn’t know who the killer was. Some were beaten up and I hope that will not continue.”

It is worth pointing out that of 294 terrorist attacks in 2009 in Europe (latest figures) only 1 was an act of Islamic terrorism.

More evidence is emerging of Anders Behring’s links to the US Right – he posted regularly to anti-immigration web sites and his writings  indicate that he advocated for a “cultural Euro-version of a Tea Party movement.”

He also recommended posts on ‘Atlas Shrugs’ (winner of a 2008 best conservative blog award) run by Pamela Geller, one of the main organisers of the campaign against the Park51 community centre who heads an organisation called ‘Stop Islamization of America.’

Update – Manifesto of a Killer

What looks like the manifesto of this mass murderer is now available – its called “2083 A European Declaration of Independence” and calls for a cultural conservative and nationalist revolution across Europe to defeat “cultural Marxism” (defined as multi-culturalism), Islamism and Nazism in the interests of monoculturalism, patriarchy and isolationism.

The manifesto calls for a Pan-European Crusader Movement (an ‘infidel movement’) and reiterates many of the themes of ‘Stop Islamization of America,’ and its affiliate sites such as  ‘Stop Islamization of Europe’ and ‘Stop Islamization of England.’

Still from video manifesto

Extremely worryingly the manifesto calls for the targeting of ‘multiculturalist cultural Marxist traitors’ and talks of a meeting of 12 ‘conservative revolutionary’ delegates from 10 countries – France, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Greece, Spain, Russia and Serbia in London in 2002.

Anders Behring, who describes himself as Andrew Berwick in the manifesto, is clearly a complete fantasist, but from his other writing it seems he had significant funds available and he is clearly operating within an ideological framework shared by other islamophobes. In fact, his islamophobic views correlate with those of Pamela Geller who writes for Murdoch’s Fox News.

Last week CJ Chivers introduced us to the “short stub case.” His argument was that to be used in a breech-loaded mortar system (such as the AMOS or NEMO) a ‘short stub case’ is needed. Since no short stub cases were found in Misrata a breech-loaded system couldn’t have fired the shells.

The trouble with this argument is explained in a recent patent application by BAE Systems:

When stub case weapon systems are fired, the stub case separates from the round. Thereafter, the stub case must be removed from the breech. Because of the relatively high temperatures generated during the firing process, there are also issues relating to disposal of the hot stub case in a safe manner.

So the stub case is ejected in a burst of hot air and doesn’t travel to its target…

The New York Times have published unsupported allegations that this blog is being funded by Qaddafi.

The allegation was made in a 3800 word article regarding the ongoing HRI investigation into the facts around the bombing of Misrata, the arms trade and the involvement of US and Spanish officials.

On 23rd April 2011 the New York Times published the allegation by “several readers” that HRI:

“is a Qaddafi-backed site, a Qaddafi mouthpiece or even a flat-out hoax, another Gay Girl in Damascus.”

The author of the article, ex-marine CJ Chivers (who regularly reports on military and intelligence affairs for the NYT) went on to admit that:

“I have not looked into these things, and have no evidence that HRI is any of these things”

Contacted by HRI, the office of the public editor of the New York Times, refused to remove the article or answer the question as to whether the NYT considered it ethical to publish allegations, for which even the author admitted there was no evidence. The publisher of the NYT, Arthur Sulzberger, has refused to comment.

There are a number of factual errors in the article, as will become clear as we release more information about the facts regarding the cluster bombing of Misrata and about the HRI investigation.

Updated 20 July

The issue of the short stub case, which was pretty central to the NYT article’s allegations against HRI is tackled here.

The issue of the Spanish government’s transparency regarding cluster munitions is dealt with here and here.

Mr Hiznay has failed to provide a copy of his memorandum.

More information to come.

According to ICC Presiding Judge at the Pre-trial Chamber II Ekaterina Trendafilova, Luis Moreno Ocampo has now missed the deadline for ensuring that 59 victims who have applied to appear before the court to raise their concerns on what they underwent during Kenya’s deadliest poll violence could actually be heard:

“The Prosecutor’s Request makes clear that the two-week deadline established by the 30 March 2011 Decision was simply disregarded or overlooked.”

According to reports, the victim’s evidence could have included detailed evidence of rape and sexual violence.

Of course, Luis Moreno Ocampo was cleared of charges of sexual misconduct himself – although the matter was so serious that a member of staff who “blew the whistle” by making an internal complaint against Mr Moreno-Ocampo — and who was then sacked by him — is to receive nearly £20,000 in “moral damages”, as well as compensatory damages approaching £100,000 – Damages and costs to be paid not by the prosecutor but by the International Criminal Court itself. (Click here and go to the appendix for more on the Luis Moreno Ocampo rape allegations).

Yesterday, Luis Moreno Ocampo had this to say:

Gadaffi himself decided to rape – and this is a new pattern, to control the population. Rape is a new aspect.”

He went on to say that if the Judges of the ICC were to issue warrants against Gadaffi this would mean that the rapes would stop.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, Chairman of the UN Human Rights Council and war crimes expert Cherif Bassiouni said:

People are accusing each other of a policy of rape. People are accusing mercenaries and foreign fighters of engaging in rape. I would like to say at this point its more of an hysterical social reaction. We have no evidence of it.”

Poonam Joshi of Amnesty International confirmed that in the areas where Amnesty workers who have been on the ground for several months in Eastern Libya and Misrata they “haven’t come across any hard evidence yet” of rape or sexual violence.

Even Liesel Gerntholtz, head of women’s rights at Human Rights Watch (partly funded by western governments and secretive off-shore trusts), which also investigated the charge of mass rape, said: “We have not been able to find evidence.”

Luis Moreno Ocampo has previously been accused of  bizaare behaviour and as Alex De Waal, co-director of Justice Africa has argued with regards to the decision to charge President Bashir with genocide:

“for nineteen years, President Bashir has sat on top of a government that has been responsible for incalculable crimes […] Two weeks ago, Moreno Ocampo succeeded in accusing Bashir of the crime for which he is not guilty. That is a remarkable feat.”

It is no surprise at all to HRI to hear that Justice Ekaterina has now reprimanded the Prosecutor, saying it was up to him to organise his office so as to meet deadlines issued by the court.

HRI fully supports the call for the immediate resignation of Luiz Moreno Ocampo issued by the legal editor of the Daily Telegraph, Joshua Rozenberg

“Overgrown military establishments,” George Washington said in his farewell address of 1796, “are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty.”

Similarly, Dwight Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States (1953-61) and 1st Supreme Allied Commander Europe (1951-1952), in his farewell address as president warned that

“we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

and he cautioned that

“the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist… Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

President Eisenhower warned against the dangers posed by the military industrial complex

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HRI has reported before about the information wars of the curent Supreme Allied CommanderAdmiral Stavridis.

Yet more evidence of the importance placed on control of the internet and the use of social media in propaganda operations comes from a 2011 document produced by the Marine Corps Council called “Strategic Communication and Marine Corps Veteran Organizations.”

This is the text from one of the slides illustrating how the internet is viewed:

24/7, hyper-competitive media environment.
Speed over accuracy.
From broadcast network news to multichannel 24 hour cable news networks.
Rise of the Blogger and micro-niches.
“Social Media” went from amusement to vital business practice.
Local/tactical actions can quickly become nat’l/int’l challenges.
Messages “intended” for U.S. audiences regularly reach disparate int’l audiences.
Legacy media = mass audience broadcast.
New media = micro audience discourse.

The next slide supports our point about the dangers of military interference in public discourse, providing some background to the apparent false flag operations around Misrata:

So, what does this all mean? Marines must maneuver in the Information Battlespace

Admiral James Stavridis and Misrata

Admiral James G Stavridis, NATO Supreme Commander Europe, tops the military command structure with regard to the coalition operation in Misrata.

As we have stated before his job encompasses the war on the land, air, on the sea and also the ‘information war’ and in his words:

“We sail in a cyber-sea and it is a rebel sea, and we must learn how to govern, how to sail in that sea.”

Because of the sheer weight of evidence that the USA cluster bombed Misrata the spotlight is now back on him.

Admiral James Stavridis and Special Operations

We find that Admiral James Stavridis is deeply involved in US Special Operations (including the operation which killed Bin Laden):

As the Telegraph’s Toby Harnden put it::

But here’s what the legendarily verbose and loose-lipped Vice President Joe Biden said at a dinner at Washington’s Ritz Carlton Hotel last night to mark the 50th anniversary of the Atlantic Council:

Let me briefly acknowledge tonight’s distinguished honorees.  Admiral James Stavridis is a, is the real deal.  He can tell you more about and understands the incredible, the phenomenal, the just almost unbelievable capacity of his Navy SEALs and what they did last Sunday.

And:

Folks, I’d be remiss also if I didn’t say an extra word about the incredible events, extraordinary events of this past Sunday.  As Vice President of the United States, as an American, I was in absolute awe of the capacity and dedication of the entire team, both the intelligence community, the CIA, the SEALs.  It just was extraordinary.

Admiral Stavridis and the information war

On 21/07/2010 Admiral Stavridis picked this question out of the many sent to him on his social networks:

“What’s the best advice you can give to operational commanders to help with the information war, that is so critical in today’s environment?”

His answer was telling and indicates the importance given to this aspect of warfare and perhaps why the coalition propaganda has been so effective in the case of Libya. It also indicates a danger to democracy, with free speech being undermined by a new network of dedicated, military-trained bloggers and information specialists:

“People. Its investing in our young people who already have intuitively so many of the information age skill-sets. What we need to do is gather them up in their 20s, get them the right training and education and create a cadre within the military who are specialised in this kind of information war and frankly if we look today at the kind of environment we’re in, its pretty easy to project a future in which the information aspects of conflict are going to be quite significant.”

So we can assume that there is a cadre of covert information specialists out there who are working full-time at shaping the public discussion over the war in Libya – and there likely will be such a cadre in all future wars.

Admiral Stavridis and humanitarian organisations

Another major concern of Admiral Stavridis is “government-civilian” connections and specifically working with humanitarian operations – and we can now see the fruits of his labours as certain humanitarian organisations (along with most of the mainstream media) actively embrace pro-war propaganda.

On this page, HRI presents some of the evidence relevant to the use of cluster munitions in Misrata in April 2011.

As more information comes to light, and in response to the requirements of the on-going investigation, this page is updated on a fairly regular basis.

Unlike those who jump to instant conclusions based on propaganda and partial truths,  HRI is sceptical and unbiased – which clearly isn’t popular in some quarters.

For those looking for a 100% definite answer as to who fired the munitions into Misrata, this page will be a bit of a disappointment but more about links between the banks, governments, arms traders and the military is being uncovered on an almost daily basis.

The use of cluster munitions in Misrata

On 15th April 2011, during the day, sub-munitions of a MAT-120 cluster munition were shown to Human Rights Watch (HRW) and C.J. Chivers, a journalist for the New York Times, in Misrata. That evening, during ongoing clashes between rebel and loyalist forces, HRW workers witnessed 3 or 4 cluster munitions landing in residential areas of Misrata. HRW attest to further subsequent such bombings.

Initial Reactions

Civilians were reportedly killed in these attacks and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, condemned:

“The reported repeated use of cluster munitions and heavy weaponry by Libyan government forces in their attempt to regain control of the besieged city of Misrata.”

She noted that one cluster munition had reportedly exploded a few hundred metres from a hospital in Misrata while another two clinics were apparently hit by mortar or sniper fire.

“Using imprecise weaponry such as cluster munitions, multiple rocket launchers and mortars, and other forms of heavy weaponry, in crowded urban areas will inevitably lead to civilian casualties.”

These attacks were immediately blamed these attacks on the Gaddafi regime and the news has been a front page and first item on the television news around the world.

Here are the relevant HRW and NYT reports:

The Human Rights Watch Report of 15th April on which the Ghaddafi forces fired cluster munitions story has been based.

CJ Chiver’s report on 15th April, ‘Qaddafi Troops Fire Cluster Bombs Into Civilian Areas’

Fred Abrahams on BBC Radio 4 Today Program 16 April 2011

In response to the question of why he assumed the munitions were fired by Libyan rather than NATO forces, Fred Abrahams said,

“Because the MAT-120 is mortar-fired and NATO has no troops on the ground.”

When initially confronted with the information that cluster munitions had been found in Misrata, Hillary Clinton’s reaction was:

“That is worrying information. And it is one of the reasons the fight in Misrata is so difficult, because it’s at close quarters, it’s in amongst urban areas and it poses a lot of challenges to both NATO and to the opposition.”

The MAT-120 cluster munition

The MAT-120 cluster bomb

The MAT-120 can be fired from a number of smoothbore 120mm mortar systems. A 12omm mortar system is a large calibre mortar, operated by a small team and in service with a number of nations.

The systems which can fire the MAT-120  include the NEMO and AMOS systems mounted in a turret.

Here is the AMOS system mounted on a CB-90 in action:

The combination of the AMOS and the Combat Boat 90H has been described as ideal for fire support in urban environments. As Captain Evin H. Thompson, Commander of US Naval Special Warfare Group Four, said in June 2007, in relation to a specific question about US Navy use of the CB90-H and AMOS system (which fires the MAT-120):

“The Amos or something like that – tied into my reduced signature boat gives special operations and our Navy the ability to clandestinely be someplace with the capability to act if circumstances allow.”

Spanish sales of the MAT-120 to Libya.

Spanish media reports indicate that Instalaza have denied selling these weapons to Libya.

The Spanish Industry Minister, Miguel Sebastian (himself linked to a bank who have financed US cluster munition manufacture), has so far failed to meet the HRI request to release details of all exports of cluster munitions.

The Spanish government  needs to confirm exactly what happened to all stocks of MAT-120 produced, where the machinery for making the MAT-120 has ended up, where the MAT-120 was exported to and where they have been stored.

As far as official exports go, a lot hangs on whether the MAT-120 is regarded as a category 3 munition (ML3) – in which case, of the countries to which category 3 exports were officially made in 2007 and 2008, only the USA has not signed the Convention against Cluster Munitions and is involved in the conflict in Libya – or if it is categorised as a Category 4 munition (ML4) in which case the USA, Qatar and Libya fit the bill. According to Nicholas Marsh of NISAT, who is an expert in these matters, “There is a blurred division between weapon categories, and especially ML3 and ML4.”

If exports of the MAT-120 were made to Libya, it has to be explained why, who made the decision, how many were sent there, at what time, of which batches and where else these munitions went.

There is additional detail on this in the section on Spanish bombs.

The United States leadership fully approve of cluster munitions

Although Spain has apparently gone to extraordinary effort to try and clear the USA of any involvement in the use of cluster munitions in Misrata, the USA has refused to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions and these weapons are an important part of their arsenal with the USA possessing a large stockpile of cluster munitions.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said cluster munitions are regarded by the US as:

“Legitimate weapons with clear military utility.”

As Richard Kidd, Director of the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, U.S. Department of State, wrote in “Is There a Strategy for Responsible U.S. Engagement on Cluster Munitions?” April 28, 2008:

“Cluster munitions are available for use by every combat aircraft in the U.S. inventory, they are integral to every Army or Marine maneuver element and in some cases constitute up to 50 percent of tactical indirect fire support.”

Yet, incredibly, the alleged war crime of bombing Misrata is also being used by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other authorities to justify an escalation of the conflict in Libya.

The US government position in favour of the use of cluster munitions, their widespread possession by US forces and the weakening of the Convention on Cluster Munitions to accommodate nations fighting in coalition with US forces,  implicates the US government in the use of cluster munitions anywhere in the world.

The Battle for Misrata

As part of the investigation, HRI is looking into both land and naval forces  involved in the Misrata operation, as the specific units involved, operating at night, who made use of the cluster munitions is not yet clear.

There is no doubt that this was fierce urban warfare, with hundreds killed in the battle and NATO, including US Naval forces, about which HRI has written, were deeply involved.

On the 14th of April, NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen confirmed that Admiral Stavridis had briefed foreign ministers that Gadaffi’s forces were now in populated areas and that “to avoid civilian casualties we need very sophisticated equipment.”

Certainly coalition forces were providing fire support and (allegedly) special services support to the rebels in order to secure the town for the rebels and establish a major foothold in western Libya.

Our update on the bombing of Misrata shows that on the eve of the Royal Wedding, NATO admitted to using “certain weapons” within the city of Misrata and some more detail on this has been provided by the RAF.

So it is quite clear that coalition forces were deeply involved in the bombing of Misrata, using deadly force in a civilian area, contrary to the spirit of UN Resolution 1973.

Human Rights Investigations calls for:

1). A full investigation by the United Nations into the use of munitions (including cluster munitions and DU weapons), particularly in urban areas.

2) For all parties in the Libyan conflict to confirm they will not use cluster munitions in the current conflict and to pledge to sign up to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

3). Suspension of military personnel found to be involved pending investigation for war crimes.

4). An end to the ‘information war’ and military distortion of the public debate.

5). An end to the ongoing bombing of Libya which is against the spirit and intent of UN Resolution 1973 which was intended to protect civilians, not justify bombing of civilian areas.

Amnesty International have published a flawed report on human rights violations in Misratah.

Of the MAT-120 the author states “Spain sold these to Libya in 2007.”

Asked for evidence, one of Amnesty’s writers pointed to speculative reports in the Spanish press.

The report is one-sided, with almost no mention, let alone criticism of the rebels or of the military intervention in Libya. There is little historical context and no attempt to understand the nature of the conflict in Libya or to even discuss considering the conflict in terms of a war of aggression.

The only context given to the conflict is in the footnotes, where it is briefly explained that,

As anti-government protests rocked Misratah – Libya’s third largest city – on 19 February, the first protester was killed by forces loyal to Colonel Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi. His funeral the following day drew large crowds and, as was happening elsewhere in eastern Libya, most members of the army and security forces left the town (and a small percentage joined the protesters). The (mostly light) weapons left behind by the departing forces were seized by the thuuwar (or revolutionaries, referring to the protesters who took up arms against Colonel al-Gaddafi’s regime) and shortly after, the city declared its allegiance to the Interim Transitional National Council (TNC) based in Benghazi (Libya’s second city, in the east of the country).

There is no discussion of the smuggling of arms and fighters into the city, under the guise of humanitarian aid, even though the footnotes allude to this smuggling and that it includes 106mm rockets.

Reading this report, you would have little idea that NATO have been bombing inside the city of Misrata for the last four weeks, as reported here and as even NATO have admitted.