Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, has tendered her resignation and steps down on January 11th. Amnesty are looking to appoint a new Executive Director. Continue Reading…
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On the 12th July, Human Rights Investigations wrote:
“Given the atrocities committed in Misrata and Benghazi the option of allowing the rebels to conquer pro-Gaddafi population centres is inconceivable – there is now only one option – and that option is peace.”
Well, Mr Anders Fogh Rasmussen and NATO did not agree and the atrocities we feared are unfolding.
Amnesty today report on the killing of black and dark-skinned people in Libya after Amnesty workers personally see them targetted in Tripoli. The article clearly recognises this is part of a bigger pattern:
An Amnesty delegation visiting the Central Tripoli Hospital on Monday witnessed three thuwwar revolutionaries (as the opposition fighters are commonly known) dragging a black patient from the western town of Tawargha from his bed and detaining him. The men were in civilian clothing.
(Tawargha is the town south of Misrata about which HRI has MAJOR concerns as the inhabitants – whose fate is unknown – were dark-skinned.)
The thuwwar said the man would be taken to Misratah for questioning, arguing that interrogators in Tripoli “let killers free”. Two other black Libyans receiving treatment in the hospital for gunshot wounds were warned by the anti-Gaddafi forces that “their turn was coming”.
The delegation also witnessed a group of thuwwar beating a man outside the hospital. The man, in distress, was shouting “I am not a fifth columnist”, a reference to al-Gaddafi loyalists.
Amnesty International’s Diana Eltahawy on CNN (after the Alex Thomson report we covered before)
From the start of the Libyan rebellion black people in Libya have been attacked and lynched by rebel mobs. This has been known by human rights groups and the United Nations as well as by the intelligence agencies, military forces, media and political leaders in the NATO countries – but they have generally kept a lid on it because it does not suit the narrative.
It does not suit the narrative of an oppressed people standing up against tyranny and for human rights to find rebel lynch mobs targetting black people, lynching them and ethnically cleansing them. Human Rights Investigations has documented that these lynchings even happened at rebel HQ in Benghazi.
Below is graphic footage of another lynching – and as with other incidents we see large numbers of rebel supporters involved. HRI has far more graphic footage including Al Qaeda-style beheadings which we are keeping back as evidence. (Note for those submitting material: please provide information regarding provenance, time, place, perpetrators, victims and witnesses and soundtracks where possible)
Where reports of racial atrocities have reached the media, the story has been that the victims are “African mercenaries” despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. Amnesty workers on the ground have reported that the widespread allegations of African mercenaries have little or no basis in fact – but this information has been suppressed and the fears of African mercenaries, extremely useful to the rebel side, have been whipped up by the media and NATO politicians such as UK Defence Secretary Liam Fox.
The rebel commander in Misrata threatened to ethnically cleanse Tawergha, the town to the south of Misrata occupied mainly by dark-skinned people – months later that object seems to have been achieved with direct air support from NATO – yet the crime has been ignored.
The entry of the rebel brigade from Misrata – which the Wall Street Journal reports calls itself the “brigade to purge black skin, slaves” into Tripoli, enabled by NATO, led to inevitable round-ups of black people, massacres and abuses of human rights including the slaughter of patients in the Abu Salim hospital.
Well, today are Amnesty reporting some of the facts in Tripoli although whether this will reach the mainstream media is another question.
Today, Amnesty also report some earlier incidents they witnessed recently:
On 29 August, Amnesty examined the body of an unidentified black man at the Tripoli Medical Centre morgue. He was brought into the morgue earlier that morning by unknown men. His feet and his torso were tied. He bore no visible injuries, but had blood smudged around his mouth. The state of his body pointed to a recent death. No autopsy report was available, and no identification documents were found on him.
On 28 August, Amnesty visited a group of Eritreans hiding in their home in a poor Tripoli neighbourhood. They told the organisation that they were staying indoors for fear of violent attacks. Their situation was particularly dire given the absence of electricity and running water.
It has now become clear that the Al Qaeda /Ku Klux Klan types who have taken over in Tripoli, and the rebels generally, are not as welcoming to human rights workers, UN observers and the whole panoply of western intervention as it appeared they might be when they were primarily concerned with spreading pro-rebel propaganda.
The dam holding back reporting of these incidents has been breaking in recent days as many journalists are in Tripoli and commendable individuals within the media corps have been prepared to report honestly about the situation. It is to be hoped that information about rebel crimes does not continue to be suppressed, reports delayed, excuses found and the black people of Libya betrayed.
The full coverage of rebel racist crimes is essential to protect the population in Tripoli and the prisoners and also because many black people in Libya live in the south of the country. It is the south (including Sabha in Fezzan) that will be attacked by NATO and the rebels in the coming weeks. Racist atrocities will follow and public pressure on the decision-makers has to be mobilised to try and prevent it happening.
UPDATE: 1 June 2011 – See later articles for updates
More on the evidence Libya possessed cluster munitions:
HRI has located the original source of the Spanish media reports quoted as the basis by Amnesty International for the assumption that Libya possessed the MAT-120.
The specific passage in this report is,
Instalaza, por su parte, no quiso hacer declaraciones al respecto, pero puede ser la principal perjudicada.
En la última legislatura, el Gobierno compró varios lotes de sus granadas de mortero MAT-120 y, además, aprobó dos contratos de exportación de este material a Finlandia y Libia.
In the last parliament, the government purchased several lots of mortar MAT-120 and also approved two contracts for export of this material to Finland and Libya.
The report is unsourced. All we know from the Javier Noriega’s report is that the source is not Instalaza:
Oficialmente, el fabricante Instalaza no hace ningún tipo de declaraciones sobre las bombas de racimo.
Officially, the manufacturer Instalaza makes no statements on cluster munitions.
It should also be noted that the Spanish Defence Ministry has denied any knowledge of the export of MAT-120 to Libya, which seems highly unusual, even if they are not responsible for the actual decision to export.:
Al respecto, el Ministerio de Defensa no tiene constancia del armamento está utilizando el régimen libio
The Spanish Government’s Report on the statistics of the export of military goods for 2007 had come out at the beginning of July 2008.
Relevant extracts from the Report:
From Annex II – Authorised Exports – licenses by country
A few of the most interesting ones:
Qatar, 6 licences, 1,177,299 euros
USA, 61 licences, 159,585,721
UAE, 2 licences, 0 value
Libya, 3 licences, 3,823,500
Finland, 5 licences, 10,796
UK, 39 licenses, 58,173,209
Israel, 22 licenses, 4,365,309
Category 4 (Covering bombs, missiles etc) Authorised exports 2007
A few of the most relevant ones:
Finland, 0 value
UAE, 0 value
Israel, 0 value
(The ‘0’s indicate licences were issued but with no Euro value, perhaps as they were part of a larger contract)
So the assumption the MAT-120 was licensed to Libya is just an assumption – actually Spain issued licences in Category 4 to:
Argentina, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Slovenia (0), Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, United Kingdom, United States
UPDATE: 1 June 2011 – See later articles for updates
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.