Archives For Libya

Cameron and Sarkozy visited Tripoli today in a carefully staged public relations operation.

The two held a press conference with Chairman Mustapha Abdel Jalil and Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril as the two western leaders pledged to carry on bombing Libya as long as it takes. There was, of course, no mention of the recent seal of approval Mahmoud Jibril gave to the ethnic cleansing of Tawergha and no mention of the ongoing reign of terror directed against pro-Gaddafi supporters and black-skinned Libyans.

The unfortunate fact is that these leaders are not interested in finding a peaceful political accommodation between the people of Libya, but are committed to the unconditional surrender and to the brutal suppression by military force of all forces who do not share their vision of Libya’s future. This will include the taking by force of Sabha. As Chairman Jalil said:

“There will be fierce battles in Sabha with equipment that we do not yet have, and we ask for more equipment to retake these places”

As usual, the BBC faithfully relayed the messages being sent out by the British government (all the Libyan people are so grateful etc.) so we have to look to Russia Today for any kind of objective reporting of the facts on the ground:

A particularly worrying feature of Sarkozy’s recent pronouncements have been his references to Syria and the fact he obviously sees Libya as a prelude to what he wishes to achieve in that country. The preparations for an attack on Syria are already being laid (itself a prelude to attacking Iran), both in the media, by supplying arns to violent elements of the opposition and imposing economic sanctions designed to destabilise the country further.

In this context, it is fortunate that the position of Russia, reiterated by Vitaly Churkin, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations is sensibly:

“If you want to protect civilians the last thing you do is start a civil war”

Mahmoud Jibril

The final chapter is now being written for Tawargha, as reported by Sam Dagher of the Wall Street Journal

Mahmoud Jibril, the NTC prime minister, rubber-stamped the wiping of the town off the map at the Misrata town hall:

“Regarding Tawergha, my own viewpoint is that nobody has the right to interfere in this matter except the people of Misrata.”

“This matter can’t be tackled through theories and textbook examples of national reconciliation like those in South Africa, Ireland and Eastern Europe,” he added as the crowd cheered with chants of “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is greatest.”

The WSJ goes on to report:

Now, rebels have been torching homes in the abandoned city 25 miles to the south. Since Thursday, The Wall Street Journal has witnessed the burning of more than a dozen homes in the city Col. Gadhafi once lavished with money and investment. On the gates of many vandalized homes in the country’s only coastal city dominated by dark-skinned people, light-skinned rebels scrawled the words “slaves” and “negroes.”

“We are setting it on fire to prevent anyone from living here again,” said one rebel fighter as flames engulfed several loyalist homes.

For the former residents this is still not the end of the story, as reported recently by human rights workers in Tripoli, male inhabitants of the town who fled are being tracked down and rounded up in Tripoli and sent to Misrata to face the tender mercies of the mob there.

Please click here for a comprehensive update on the Tawergha

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

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Please paste the following addresses into the recipient box of your “Stop the War in Libya” e-mail:

ChinaMissionUN@Gmail.com, rusun@un.int, India@un.int, portugal@un.int, contact@lebanonun.org, chinesemission@yahoo.com, delbrasonu@delbrasonu.org, siumara@delbrasonu.org, bihun@mfa.gov.ba, colombia@colombiaun.org, pmun.newyork@dirco.gov.za, perm.mission@nigerdeleg.org, aumission_ny@yahoo.com, presidentrsa@po.gov.za, info@new-york-un.diplo.de, dsatsia@gabon-un.org, LamamraR@africa-union.org, waneg@africa-union.org, JoinerDJ@africa-union.org, gabon@un.int, Nigeria@un.int, unsc-nowar@gmx.com

In the e-mail’s subject box:
PLEASE PUT A STOP TO NATO WAR IN LIBYA – APPEAL TO NON-BELLIGERENT UNSC MEMBERS

Body text:

“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.

Respectfully yours,

Name (or association)
Address (optional)

Promoted by Rete No War and U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice – Rome

As our regular readers will be aware, we have been reporting on the fate of the people of Tawergha since the local rebel commander Ibrahim al-Halbous, said he was going to wipe the town off the map. We reported the storming of the town, with NATO support, and the extremely worrying reports of prisoners in shipping crates and the people of the town being “handed over to the red cross,”  which they weren’t (see ‘Tawergha no longer exists, only Misrata’).

We relayed the reports from Diana Eltahawy of Amnesty International about the inhabitants who managed to flee being persecuted in Tripoli.

Andrew Gilligan, a reporter from The Sunday Telegraph, now reports from Tawergha:

This pro-Gaddafi settlement has been emptied of its people, vandalised and partly burned by rebel forces. The Sunday Telegraph was the first to visit the scene of what appears to be the first major reprisal against supporters of the former regime.

“We gave them thirty days to leave,” said Abdul el-Mutalib Fatateth, the officer in charge of the rebel garrison in Tawarga, as his soldiers played table-football outside one of the empty apartment blocks. “We said if they didn’t go, they would be conquered and imprisoned. Every single one of them has left, and we will never allow them to come back.”

Andrew Gillighan is a serious reporter and he even mentions the racial context:

And as so often in Libya, there is also a racist undercurrent. Many Tawargas, though neither immigrants nor Gaddafi’s much-ballyhooed African mercenaries, are descended from slaves, and are darker than most Libyans.

Along the road that leads into Tawargha, the Misurata Brigade has painted a slogan. It says, “the brigade for purging slaves [and] black skin.”

We have to say, the racist element is more than an undercurrent, but if more journalists had reported the truth rather than turning a blind eye, refusing to report or to investigate then perhaps lives could still be saved.

In this context we should just mention the “reporting” of so-called journalists such as Chris Stephen who has been in Misrata for weeks writing pro-war, pro-NATO propaganda for the benefit of the Guardian’s readership and failing miserably to report on the racist atrocities and ethnic cleansing.

Update (12 September) – The Washington Post reports Human Rights Watch Emergencies Director Peter Bouckaert as confirming:

“It really is racist violence against all dark-skinned people, this situation for Africans in Tripoli is dire.”

Update (14th September) – The ethnic cleansing of Tawergha is now being made permanent with the seal of approval of Mahmoud Jibril.

Please click here for a comprehensive update on the Tawergha

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

Please click here for a comprehensive update on the Tawergha

Please click here for a comprehensive update on the Tawergha

Senator McCain at rebel HQ - still from video below

Senator McCain R-Arizona the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, was quickly off the mark to Benghazi in April to give political support to the rebels.

Here is the video of him visiting:

 

 

Here is the building which John McCain was visiting in a picture (courtesy of Al Jazeera creative commons license):

Benghazi rebel headquarters

And here is footage of the rebel lynching which took place before Senator McCain’s visit, at the same location. The video shows a man being strung up and beheaded.

WARNING VERY GRAPHIC VIDEO

 

 

In Benghazi, McCain attracted a crowd so enthusiastic that at one point he joked,

“I’ve got to bring you to Arizona.”

He called on President Obama to recognize the rebel government, provide more air support like AC130 anti-tank and A10 ground support aircraft, get anti-tank weapons into rebel hands, train rebels on target marking technology and give the them satellite phones to aid communication.

As Libyan rebels, who have been lynching black people in the north of Libya, prepare to attack the south and Sabha, inhabited by black libyans, we hope this message from Martin Luther King finds its way through to Barack Obama.

Continue Reading…

Human Rights Investigations has been repeatedly warning about the Libyan rebels and it has become increasingly clear that racism lies at the very heart of the conflict in Libya. It now clear that the rebel forces are NATO (and Qatar and UAE)’s proxy fighters on the ground. Many of these fighters have been recruited and motivated on the basis of psy-ops about African mercenaries, fired up by viagra, mass-raping women and pillaging their cities – discredited stories which have been spread and amplified by rebel commanders, NATO ministers, the media and ICC prosecutor Moreno Ocampo.

The effects of this pernicious propaganda campaign have been seen in Benghazi, Misrata and Tawergha and across the nation and are now being seen on the streets of Tripoli as rebels round up black-skinned Libyans and African guest workers, putting them into football stadiums.

AP reports:

Virtually all of the detainees say they are innocent migrant workers, and in most cases there is no evidence that they are lying. But that is not stopping the rebels from placing the men in facilities like the Gate of the Sea sports club, where about 200 detainees – all black – clustered on a soccer field this week, bunching against a high wall to avoid the scorching sun.         

In the Khallat al-Firjan neighborhood in south Tripoli, Associated Press reporters saw rebel forces punching a dozen black men before determining they were innocent migrant workers and releasing them.     

Racism lies at the heart of many of the NATO campaigns, including in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq where innocents are slaughtered in a way that simply would not be accepted if the victims were white.

NATO’s chief weapon in the Libyan conflict has been and continues to be, not Brimstone or Paveway bombs, Tornados, Typhoons or Tomahawk cruise missiles – but racism.

To appreciate the importance of racism in motivating soldiers please listen to Mike Prysner’s speech made at the 2008 Winter Soldier hearings:

Transcript:

“And I tried hard to be proud of my service but all I could feel was shame and racism could no longer mask the occupation. These were people. These were human beings. I’ve since been plagued by guilt anytime I see an elderly man, like the one who couldn’t walk and we rolled onto a stretcher, told the Iraqi police to take him away. I feel guilt anytime I see a mother with her children like the one who cried hysterically and screamed that we were worse than Saddam as we forced her from her home. I feel guilt anytime I see a young girl like the one I grabbed by the arm and dragged into the street.

”We were told we were fighting terrorists, but the real terrorist was me and the real terrorism is this occupation. Racism within the military has long been an important tool to justify the destruction and occupation of another country. It has long been used to justify the killing, subjugation, and torture of another people. Racism is a vital weapon deployed by this government. It is a more important weapon than a rifle, a tank, a bomber or a battleship. It is more destructive than an artillery shell, or a bunker buster, or a tomahawk missile. While all of those weapons are created and owned by this government, they are harmless without people willing to use them.

”Those who send us to war do not have to pull a trigger or lob a mortar round. They do not have to fight the war. They merely have to sell the war. They need a public who is willing to send their soldiers into harm’s way and they need soldiers who are willing to kill or be killed without question. They can spend millions on a single bomb, but that bomb only becomes a weapon when the ranks in the military are willing to follow orders to use it. They can send every last soldier anywhere on earth, but there will only be a war if soldiers are willing to fight, and the ruling class: the billionaires who profit from human suffering care only about expanding their wealth, controlling the world economy, understand that their power lies only in their ability to convince us that war, oppression, and exploitation is in our interests. They understand that their wealth is dependent on their ability to convince the working class to die to control the market of another country. And convincing us to kill and die is based on their ability to make us think that we are somehow superior. Soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, have nothing to gain from this occupation.

”The vast majority of people living in the US have nothing to gain from this occupation. In fact, not only do we have nothing to gain, but we suffer more because of it. We lose limbs, endure trauma, and give our lives. Our families have to watch flag draped coffins lowered into the earth. Millions in this country without healthcare, jobs, or access to education must watch this government squander over $450 million a day on this occupation. Poor and working people in this country are sent to kill poor and working people in another country to make the rich richer, and without racism soldiers would realize that they have more in common with the Iraqi people than they do with the billionaires who send us to war

”I threw families onto the street in Iraq only to come home and find families thrown onto the street in this country in this tragic, tragic and unnecessary foreclosure crisis; only to wake up and realize that our real enemies are not in some distant land. But not people whose names we don’t know, and cultures we don’t understand. The enemy is people we know very well and people we can identify. The enemy is a system that wages war when it’s profitable. The enemy is the CEO who lays us off our jobs when it’s profitable; it’s the insurance companies who deny us health care when it’s profitable; it’s the banks who take away our homes when it’s profitable. Our enemies are not 5000 miles away, they are right here at home. If we organize and fight with our sisters and brothers, we can stop this war, we can stop this government, and we can create a better world.”

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)

WARNING:GRAPHIC VIDEO

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.

WARNING VERY GRAPHIC VIDEO: DEAD CHILDREN

The following video includes more footage from the NATO bombing of Libya including from a strike on Sorman – very disturbing.

The military head of the Libya bombing campaign is Lieutenant- General Charles Bouchard – a modern version of Catch 22’s Lieutenant-General Scheisskopf.

The NATO bombing missions continue at the same level – now  almost all aimed at the current target which is the town of Sirte. Sirte was  bombed with 415 key strikes from Sunday 28th August to Thursday 20th October.