Archives For tripoli

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”

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.”

Charles De Gaulle French aircraft carrier - left refugees to die

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.”

Today Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports on the arbitrary detention of black-skinned people in Tripoli.

HRW is one of the members of the “Responsibility to Protect coalition” and has been slow to condemn the racist atrocities of the Libyan rebellion and has little to say about the bombing of civilians by NATO in places like Zlitan.

HRW is not to be confused with Human Rights Investigations (HRI) which opposes the NATO bombing, supporting the African Union position on Libya and has worked to expose the racial element to the conflict

The HRW article contains evidence of black Libyans and sub-Saharan guest workers being abused in Tripoli, which have already been widely reported, as well as hopes for an  “embryonic legal system” in Tripoli.

VIDEO SHOWS DEAD BODIES:

HRW witnessed black men being taken into the Bab al-Bahr football club – but weren’t allowed by the commander to see what was happening inside. The commander claimed the detainees were all “foreign fighters” but their families were outside complaining and the four they were allowed to interview who were apparently being released were elderly Libyans.

HRW also found black people – a mixture of black Libyans and sub-Saharan Africans – detained in other places around Tripoli including the Maftuah prison in the Fernaj neighborhood, (300 detainees on September 1 including wounded). In this prison HRW described the conditions for Libyan detainees as acceptable, but

“the sub-Saharan Africans were in overcrowded cells with a putrid stench; one cell had 26 people and six mattresses and the African men complained of inadequate water, poor sanitation and not being allowed to make phone calls to ask family members to bring their documents.”

At a school in the Intisar neighborhood, 76 detainees incuding 3 women were found on September 1. About half of the detainees appeared to be sub-Saharan Africans, the remaineder being Libyans accused of having fought for Gaddafi.  HRW saw the prisoners being prepared for transfer to the Mitiga air base.

One of the detainees, a 25 year old from Mali, was arrested at his house and complained that:

At about 10 p.m. a big group of Libyans came with the owner of the building. They tied us up, took all of our passports and possessions, and beat us. They brought us to a big mosque in the neighborhood, and then they went to other African houses and arrested them. In the end, they had more than 200 Africans in there. Then they put us on vehicles and took us around town shouting “Allahu Akhbar!” [“God is great”] and saying we were mercenaries they had captured.

HRW also visited Nigerian families at Girgarish, and one of the men, a carpenter, complained:

“I’m from Abu Salim, but our lives are not safe there because they say we’re mercenaries, they regard all black men as mercenaries.”

The HRW article contains new incendiary allegations of the use of “African mercenaries” (similar to the earlier allegations which Amnesty researchers found to be largely unfounded and which led to so many deaths).

According to the Article 47 of the  Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977 the definition of a mercenary is as follows:

2. A mercenary is any person who:
a) is specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;
b) does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities;
c) is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party;
d) is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;
e) is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and
f) has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces.

To be clear – all the above have to apply for someone to be considered a mercenary. Others apply even more stringent conditions and the security guards employed by the Americans in Iraq, Gurkhas employed by the British etc are not described as mercenaries.

All human rights organisations should focus on protecting black people in Tripoli, rather than their own institutional interests. We agree with Sarah Leah Whitson,  Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch who states:

 “It’s a dangerous time to be dark-skinned in Tripoli,

“The NTC should stop arresting African migrants and black Libyans unless it has concrete evidence of criminal activity. It should also take immediate steps to protect them from violence and abuse.”

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.

Alex Thomson of Channel 4 News reports – and probably saves the lives of nine Nigerian men: (Updated link 17/03/2018)

Human Rights Investigations warned that the failure to find a political solution and the entry of rebels into Tripoli would lead to a humanitarian disaster – and that is what has unfolded.

Here are more reports on the situation:

NATO backed rebels storm the district of Abu Salim. Black men are rounded up and forced to chant rebel slogans:

WARNING GRAPHIC VIDEOS

More black men being rounded up from Al Jazeera

AL Jazeera reports from the Abu Salim hospital where according to Kim Sengupta of The Independent rebels executed patients:

“Come and see. These are blacks, Africans, hired by Gaddafi, mercenaries,” shouted Ahmed Bin Sabri, lifting the tent flap to show the body of one dead patient, his grey T-shirt stained dark red with blood, the saline pipe running into his arm black with flies. Why had an injured man receiving treatment been executed? Mr Sabri, more a camp follower than a fighter, shrugged. It was seemingly incomprehensible to him that anything wrong had been done.

Unfortunately, most of the media, with a few honorable exceptions, has chosen to downplay or totally ignore the attacks on black people in the city, derided any possibility of a peaceful solution and focused entirely on massacres allegedly committed by the western-trained (link to new wikileaks cable) Libyan army.

30 August: More honest reporting from Patrick Coburn in The Independent:

But the Libyan rebels are hostile to black Africans in general. One of the militiamen, who have been in control of the police station since the police fled, said simply: “Libyan people don’t like people with dark skins, though some of them may be innocent.”

Going by Mr Bahr’s experience, any black African in Libya is open to summary arrest unless he can prove that he was not a member of Colonel Gaddafi’s forces.

 

The UNHCR has finally blown the veil off the racist atrocities being committed by Libyan rebels:

GENEVA, August 26 (UNHCR) – UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has issued a strong call for sub-Saharan Africans to be protected in Libya as reports emerge from Tripoli of people being targeted because of their colour as the city fell to rebel forces.

UNHCR spoke by phone on Friday to one scared African, Ahmed, a Somali who has been living in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and teaching at the university there, since 2007. He has stayed on in the city since anti-government protests in the North African country turned violent in February, leading to all-out war between the Muammar Gaddafi regime and rebel forces.

Ahmed said he did not feel directly threatened. But now, as rebels take over the city, he wants to leave. Since most neighbourhoods in Tripoli fell to rebels earlier this week, sub-Saharan Africans like Ahmed are again being singled out.

“If they see you are African, that you are black, they will target you,” said Ahmed, reached in his home. He said local residents, many of whom are armed, are in the streets, setting up roadblocks. “The situation is very difficult here,” he told UNHCR. “You can’t leave your home even for water.”

As a result, he and other Somalis in the community with whom they are in contact are running out of vital supplies. One group of Somalis was attacked when they tried to leave their apartment in another part of the city, he said, leaving one man injured. “It’s really very desperate.”

Sub-Saharan Africans, especially those from Niger, Chad and Sudan, have been targeted by both sides after it became known that some sub-Saharan Africans had worked as mercenaries for the Gaddafi regime. Many migrants fled to neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia. But several hundred did not.

They are trapped in the capital as, once again, people with black skin are being accused of siding with the dictator. “Anyone who is black, they say they are against them,” said Ahmed, who has family in the United States and a visa awaiting him in Tunis, if he can reach there safely.

The High Commissioner has urged restraint from rebel forces and Libyan civilians. “We have seen at earlier stages in this crisis that such people, Africans especially, can be particularly vulnerable to hostility or acts of vengeance,” he said.

“It is crucial that humanitarian law prevails through these climactic moments and that foreigners – including refugees and migrant workers – are being fully and properly protected from harm,” he stressed.

For more information:

On the ethnic cleansing by the rebels
On the lynching at rebel HQ in Benghazi
On the ethnic cleansing of Tawergha

What has happened to the people of Tawergha? What has happened to the prisoners in the shipping crate? We ask our readers to insist the media cover what is really going on in Tripoli and stop the unforgiveable practice of the media and so-called human rights activists justifying the persecution of black people as “African mercenaries.”

Update 27 August

Kim Sengupta reporting from Tripoli writes:

“Come and see. These are blacks, Africans, hired by Gaddafi, mercenaries,” shouted Ahmed Bin Sabri, lifting the tent flap to show the body of one dead patient, his grey T-shirt stained dark red with blood, the saline pipe running into his arm black with flies. Why had an injured man receiving treatment been executed? Mr Sabri, more a camp follower than a fighter, shrugged. It was seemingly incomprehensible to him that anything wrong had been done.

 

NATO has been described as the rebel air force, but it is more accurate to describe the rebels as NATO’s ground forces. The National Transitional Council has little independence and NATO controls the rebel ground forces, arms them, trains them, provides advisers, provides massive fire support and decides on strategy. NATO controls the air and sea and little moves on the ground without NATO’s permission.

As the rebel fighters took Zawiya, NATO faced a last-minute appeal from the Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim for a negotiated solution. The precise circumstances that led to the decision to proceed with the attack on the capital, with the inevitable humanitarian disaster that followed are uncertain, but the decisions made will be subject to examination.

It is worth having a look at the footage of Muammar Gaddafi touring the capital, to appreciate what a beautiful, well-developed city Tripoli had become and also to understand some of the obvious popular support he enjoys in that city:

Sarkozy, Cameron and Obama and the NATO high command share the belief in the efficacy of violence combined with vigorous prosecution of the information war is the best way forward. NATO, of course, has no interest in fulfilling UN Security Council Resolution 1973 which established the no fly zone and mandate to protect civilians with

“the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary to find a peaceful and sustainable solution”

In making their decision the western leaders would have been encouraged by the enthusistic participation of the western media in producing pro-war propaganda, who faithfully and uncritically report information provided by NATO, government spokespeople and intelligence sources. Anything which may seriously threaten the pro-war narrative is either not reported or downplayed (e.g. rebel atrocities, ethnic cleansing of Misrata and Tawergha, RAF massacre in Zlitan, peace initiatives, support for Gadaffi regime from Libyan people).

Support for Admiral Stavridis’ information war was also provided by ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo who has been a very enthusiastic participant in NATO psy-ops.

In any case, in an attack coordinated by NATO, rebels from the Western Mountains entered Tripoli from the west and ships delivered fighters from Misrata, fresh from ethnically cleansing Tawergha, into the city. NATO airstrikes were launched against the residential area of Abu Salim.

The short-term results from a humanitarian perspective were predictable: widespread destruction, looting, a collapse of public services, executions, widespread death and destruction and the deaths of hundreds of civilians (particularly black people), militia and fighters on both sides. As AP reports:

The streets where rebel fighters bombarded snipers loyal to Moammar Gadhafi were strewn with bullet-ridden corpses from both sides Thursday. Streams of blood ran down the gutters and turned sewers red.

The long-term consequences of this are unpredictable, but Sirte on the coast and Sabha in the south-west are next to be turned into slaughter-houses and how long guerrilla warfare and other violence will continue is anyone’s guess.

HRI supports the African Union’s continued attempts, to find a peaceful and sustainable solution which is inclusive of all parties to the conflict.

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.”