Warning: This site contains images and graphic descriptions of extreme violence and/or its effects. It's not as bad as it could be, but is meant to be shocking. Readers should be 18+ or a mature 17 or so. There is also some foul language occasionally, and potential for general upsetting of comforting conventional wisdom. Please view with discretion.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Video Review: Endgame: State of Denial

Posted by Caustic Logic
April 30, 2012

Before the BBC Arabic video on the Gaddafi's "torture farms" (including prominently the Khamios Brigade Shed Massacre site) is aired, I wanted to finally start this spot for critiquing the Al Jazeera English documentary released in December. These Anglo-Arab unity videos stand together for their campaign against demonized Green Libya. They also stand against the truth.

This one is long, and says much on a number of subjects, and I am busy. So below, whatever comments and critiques and de-bunks anyone feels like pasting in comments, here's the video for reference.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sidney Kwiram of Human Rights Watch tours Tripoli in August

Posted by Felix
April 28, 2012
I don't see the name Sidney Kwiram (a female) so far in this blog. HRW, for whom she is a "consultant" or "researcher", does figure significantly.
Yet when I looked for an image of her,what else should come up but a photo she took of Marie Colvin, a huge fan of regime change and who allegedly died in an attack in Homs, Syria on 22 Feb 2012 in circumstances which can only be described as highly bizarre.

Kwiram photographed landmines in Qawalish on 6 July 2011, a subject of interest to CJ Chivers and Tawergha in early September.

In this BBC video, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14680857 [last updated 15.23 Friday August 26 2011] Kwiram is touring apparently the bodies at the roundabout. There is no gunfire in the background.

The BBC Live Blog makes it clear that the interviewe was for the BBC World at One programme, broadcast sometime between 13.00 and 13.30 BST, 15.00 Tripoli time. What is interestng is that the Tripoli report is all her own work: Campaign group Human Rights Watch has one investigator working in Tripoli. Sidney Kwiram described to the BBC what she found upon reaching a site where a number of bodies had been discovered:

The interviewer is the BBC's Shaun Ley.

"We're in Central Tripoli now, near Gaddifi's compound, Bab Al aziziya we're coming across bodies, they've been clearly sitting here for a while. Oh my! 1,2,3,4,5,6 ...it's hard to see from this what exactly has happened to them but they're not...erm..I don't see any signs of handcuffs on them. [so it wasn't the NYPD!]

It's hard to see how they have been killed from this angle. They're not in uniform and, but I'm not seeing any entry and exit wounds.
I do see some signs of, well I don't, I shouldn't speculate on that. [What then? Why not??]
We do have a witness here to one of the killings and we will be talking to him soon [Did he ever turn up in HRW reports??] but we are seeing evidence here of executions. I don't know if this here in particular is an execution but we have spoken to witnesses to some other executions [Ah, our old friend Bashir & Co.!]
and in those cases it was the Gaddafi side that had done it. In this case we [are] just only to do to the intervierws to figure it out. But what were looking at is a scene in Tripoli right now where we are finding groups of bodies, dead and some signs of executions.

Obviously there is a lot of fighting as well and so we can't rule out that as a possibility in some of these cases which is why it is important to look at the wounds and talk to witnesses as well to figure out what is going on.

Ley: Its a pretty chaoitic situation for you to be doing this work in at the moment

Right now it's quiet here. this area is quiet, things further out closer to the airport I think are more chaotic. Are there more there? There,with their hands bound. Oh God! Hold on....but it's fairly quiet here.

Ley: "What do you have to do in terms of preserving evidence, establishing the circumstances of deaths in order to gather the information that might be needed for any future action against people who might have been involved in any killings?"

We are trying to find the witnesses ... Oh God! This one has his hands bound...civilian clothes...clearly he's been here for a while...we're trying to talk to witnesses, we're trying to go the actual locations and look at the wounds...and getting names and all of that but...this is clearly a scene in which there's.. er...I'm sorry here, give me a second...

Ley: "You take as along as you need"
[Long gap]
Anyway,I should probably go now...[where?]

Ley: "Indeed, may I ask just one final question? You don't know the cirumstantecs here and how do you kind of evaluate that ..how do you establish whether these may have been executed by the rebels, or by ther govenrment forces or by someone unconnected?" [good question!]

First of all it is just important to find witnesses [who naturally all tell the truth in wartime] and it's impotrant to look at the forensic evidence [as at the Khamis shed, not] and in the work we were doing yesterday on one of the other excutions it seeems pretty clear it was done by Gaddafi forces and these cases I'm gong to have to speak to some of the gentlemen here who are witn
esses [what, more have just turned up?] before I can start to draw any conclusions .....but we have, there is still a lot of information here to mine in order to determine what's happening and why and of course our question is what do we do about it.

The NTC has been fairly aggressive about messaging, about the importance of ..treating captured prisoners humanely and not seeking revenge. [reassuring] There have been text messages to Libyana with he same message ......to the President of Tripoli and then the question is just going to be to what extent both sides are abiding by that and we are seeing evidence that there are problems here and so far the the stuff we have documented has been primarily on the Gaddafi side.

Ley: "Primarily but not exclusively?"

What we have documented is exclusvely but we are following up other things right now that we havent determined.
We just have to follow the facts thats our job. [facts very quickly arrived at in Yarmouk,apparently]

But I don't think Kwiram is anywhere near neutral in the matter of Libya. And I think her reaction in the broadcast were right over the top, verging on the fake. It's also available at Audioboo

One just has to see Kwiram's set of 14 photos at New Republic to show that she is just another flag-wagger for the rebels.
Kwiram's own podcast,dated 27 Aug, from the roundabout is no longer available. Strange but the Reuters photo to accompany t shows 1,2,3,4,5,6 black Africans (a signficant feature not entioned by Kwiram) , the closet two lying face down with hands behind tied together with zip ties.

In an interview with that beacon of objectivity, Al Jazeera, HRW reports abuses against civilians in Libya , Kwiram describes the Khamis warehouse with pictures from two days after meeting Bashir [25th by implication,vide supra].
"Human Rights Watch had heard for months now qbou5 various people being detained in that area, in Salaheddin and Yarmouk and this was a fairly grim ending to the already terrible stories we had heard about treatment in some of those areas. The Gaddafi regime had been placing people in both official and unofficial facilities and what we saw yesterday [27 Aug] were still smouldering ashes of about 50 skeletons.

It was hard to distinguish them. They were in a warehouse and it was a pretty grim scene. There were also some bodies thqt wre not burned outside of it in the courtyard of the agricularal area right next to the military base. According to somebody we talked to , some of these guys might have been the ones who were trying to escape after the guards opened fire on the detention facility and some of the gueys when the guards were reloading their ammuniting tried to escape and at that point got shot and several were wounded but did escape and some were unscathed and were able to tell us the story.

One of the things we were most concerned about is the possibility for revenge and we've seen some of that happening in benghazi....we've been very outspoken about the importance of making sure that even people's former enemies,people who might have done terrible things are handled under the rules of law. That's the most important thing.

Curiosity: Al-Jazeera had excellent footage from the Khamis Shed from late on 27 August. From about 1.25 in this post from Sept 19 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DApatb5chbc, الثمن الغالي لأسقاط نظام القذافي

Ref: Libya: Evidence Suggests Khamis Brigade Killed 45 Detainees HRW, August 29, 2011.
Who funds HRW? Read the comment by ANDRE at this blog post: Rothschild Proxies Destabilize Syria by Branden Moore, Jan 1 2012.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sheikh Al-Sadr: Shed Massacre Victim?

April 26, 2012 
(incomplete - last edits May 1)

<< The Khamis Brigade Shed Massacre

 This post will be the spot for all things Musa Sadr, but especially in connection with the allegation he was arrested in Libya in 1978, held secretly for decades until dying in the 1990s, buried somewhere for a decade, dug up and charred alongside the other unidentifiable victims of the August 2011 massacre as Tripoli was falling.

Sheikh Sayyid Musa Al Sadr, the Lebanese Shiite cleric, is widely believed to have been killed in 1978 after disappearing, allegedly, inside Libya. This rumor has been promoted down through the years and kept Lebanon unhappy with the Gaddafi regime, who always denied any such crime. The Lebanese didn't believe it, and this clearly helped motivate them to be the nation that first tabled a no-fly zone against Libya at the Arab League. This first move by non-European imperialists was ostensibly "to stop the violence" and "protect the civilians there," and/or done in the "belief that finally, in the wake of the chaos in Libya, the Lebanese can learn the fate of Imam Musa al-Sadr."[ Guardian] Thus the allegation against Gaddafi, along with so many others, contributed directly to the government's eventual destruction, a whole lot of chaos and mayhem and a nationwide purge, and protection for the militants no one is now able to protect Libyans from.

It took the conquest of Tripoli at least and a mass bloodletting before the Lebanese started getting their pay-off - totally true news about al-Sadr. In October, it was reported that he might have been held and tortured at the Yarmouk shed prison south of Tripoli, and perhaps even buried there. The source is rebel commander and terrorist LIFG founder Abdelhakim Belhaj. [LBC]

Journalist Feras Kilani, photographer Goktay Koraltan, and security man Chris Cobb-Smith of BBC Arabic reported being arrested by the Libyan military near Az Zawiya, accused of being spies. [BBC4] They were taken to a base with an eagle on the gate, Cobb-Smith said at the time, and finally to a “dirty scruffy little compound” behind the base. There they were held in a cage, then a room. Kilani was beaten and his Palestinian people were insulted. Cobb-Smith reported a mock execution they were subjected to shortly before release, and seeing other prisoners shackled, terrified, and speaking of torture. [CNN5]

Another more confusing report suggests Kilani and his team were detained in March after visiting the Yarmouk base itself, to film a documentary about the death of Sheikh al-Sadr. By this, Kilani was surprised to see a man come in with “dogs and special equipment to detect burials,” along with explanations that they were looking for buried bodies. But the newsman investigating the Sheikh’s burial there was threatened not to tell anyone about this, and was arrested, beaten, and released.  [LBC]

Cobb-Smith at least returned to the massacre shed after the rebel victory, and verified it as the same spot that they were held. [CTV]

There was a November 8 interview with "Gaddafi's right hand," Ahmad Ramadan, who was now a rebel (judging by his talking and his shirt) and who "names killers of Moussa Sadr" [video, and thanks to Felix] "Of course I witnessed that he arrived in Libya..." the man started. Even that part needs special corroboration-no one knows whether he was even in Libya at the time. From this pressurised captive's comments, we can be fairly sure he did not arrive in Libya. But that can't be. Consider the amazing(!) news announcement by the NTC's chief Abdul Jalil: Sadr Remains could be Confirmed Soon, Tripoli Post, April 13, 2012
Tripoli-- Mustafa Abdul Jalil, head of Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council (TNC), said on Friday Libyan authorities have obtained “semi-confirmed information” about the presence of Lebanese Imam Moussa Sadr’s body in a recently discovered mass grave in Tripoli. “Imam Sadr’s case was not on the front burner during this period, but some reports have suggested that the imam’s body might be among the bodies buried in a mass grave during the liberation of Tripoli” in August 2011. Abdul Jalil said in an interview on France 24 television.
Ah! I have a hunch it's this one.
Come on, you can't see the resemblance? It must be him!
They seem pretty confident they've either got one of these skeletons identified as his or will be able to in short order. Just how, I'd be curious to know.
He noted that investigators from the office of the public prosecutor in Tripoli were probing the case and that Lebanon had assigned a judge to follow up on the issue, following several visits by Lebanese officials to Libya. “The office of the public prosecutor in Tripoli is in contact with this judge, and God willing these bodies will not be removed from the grave except in the presence of a representative of the Lebanese government, so that the Lebanese can realize that we are serious in this endeavor,” Abdul Jalil added.
What a strange promise. They'll say "no, that's okay. We'll take your word for it." The NTC will take that as a blank check.

Also, they haven't dug up a single body still? Where exactly is this grave, and what ever happened to all the family members who wanted their loved ones' remains identified and sent home? Went away for good as soon as the news cameras left, I presume, with the real families too terrified or dead to ask after their own...

But Lebanon, you did the right thing. Truth is VERY important to you guys, huh? 

Update May 1: a video I've never seen shows Kilani already re-visiting the place on or before October 20, in a report that was eclipsed by the lynching of Muammar Gaddafi and many of his top loyalists. It can be seen here, BBC Arabic, posted the 21st: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arabic/middleeast/2011/10/111020_libya_sadr_farm.shtml or below. It's mostly about Sheikh Al-Sadr, and has an interview with the terrorist warlord of Tripoli Belhaj. So this is the BBC Arabic report cited by the LBC where Belhaj "explains" how this scene of one of his allies' war crimes was in fact the place Al-Sadr was buried and/or dug up and burnt.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A short-lived Spinner. Dr A.Y. Kenshil

Posted by Felix
April 25, 2012

Where did Dr Abdalla or Abdulla or Abdullah Kenshil عبدالله كنشيل come from? Suddenly he was the NTC Negoatiator for the surrender of Bani Walid in early September 2011. Try googling "NTC Negotiator". Not many of them about. He last checked in with the early news of the death of Colonel Gaddafi to the BBC by phone. Then he's gone. In th interim, he also provided - probably equally misleading - information about the death of Khamis Gaddafi and of the whereabouts of Saif Al-Islam. Where did he go to? A short and key role in the end of the Gaddafis. Elsewhere, he is the "chief negotiator of the NTC"

On 4 September 2011 Miles Amoore of the Sunday Times reported the first sighting of the man:

  Testimony from the prisoners suggests that Khamis was killed in the firefight, but other rebels question these reports.“We’re not sure if we got Khamis, but they buried someone senior in secret that evening in Bani Walid,” said Dr Abdullah Kenshil, who heads the political wing of the Bani Walid brigade. “They buried the body quickly and only security attended. We believe it was either Khamis or the intelligence chief’s son.”By nightfall on August 27 Gadaffi had entered Bani Walid, according to Kenshil, who said his information came from a network of rebel spies inside the city.Residents woke to a large presence of Libyan soldiers positioned in buildings inside the town, on the streets and in the surrounding villages, Kenshil said.

Only a PBS interview on Sept 5 hinted at Kenshil's background: The chief negotiator, a doctor who lived in Britain for 10 years [said] "We are worried about massacre of the civilians of the city."
ABC Australia,in an intereview with Kenshil,Emily Bourke on the evening of 5 September, Australia time reported the talks failed thus: "Dr Abdullah Kenshil says talks broke down after Gaddafi's chief spokesman Moussa Ibrahim insisted that the rebels disarm before entering the town." (naturally). In the same interview, Kenshil said that Saif had been in Bani Walid and had left for the south. It was helpfully relayed to CTV Canada, 7 September , that Kenshil told reporters outside a field clinic in Wishtat that Gadhafi's son and one-time heir apparent Seif al-Islam appears to be one of those hiding in the area. "There's evidence Seif was sighted yesterday in the district of Bani Walid," Kenshil said. "There are a lot of caves, but he has left from the centre of the city. No talks with Seif al-Islam." Thus another false trail is left...

Hadeel Al-Shalchi (AP) reported Dr Kenshil thus in the Washington Times: The elders left the besieged town of Bani Walid to meet with rebels in a tiny mosque about 40 miles away. “The revolutionaries have not come to humiliate anyone. We are all here to listen,Abdullah Kenshil, the chief rebel negotiator, said at the start of the meeting. Then, in a message clearly intended for the hardcore Gadhafi loyalists in Bani Walid, some of whom may be fearing rebel retribution, he added: “I say we are not like the old regime. We don’t take revenge, and we don’t bear grudges.”

Nevertheless, an attack was launched, as reported by AP on Sept 10 following the failure of the talks, but Kenshil said NTC fighters "later withdrew for tactical reasons decided by the military commanders which could be linked to military operations which NATO might be planning."

Kenshil dissapears from the radar until September 29 , apart from telling the BBC on Sept 16 that there is a lot of fighting going on in Bani Walid, when he talks to AFP, reported by Al Arabiya that "Among those killed in the rocket barrage at Bani Walid was senior commander Daou al-Salhine al-Jadak whose car was struck by a rocket as he headed towards the front"

On October 16, he tells the Washington Times that rebels had captured Bani Walid airport that Sunday.

His important swansong takes place on October 20 ,then his job is done. He tells The Takeaway in an audio link :
His words on the air:
"Firstly I am not the spokesman for the NTC. I am the chief negotiator for the NTC in Bani Walid front and I'm area ?co? for Bani Walid which has fallen two days ago where Gaddafi was there and Saif al-Islam his son was wounded yesterday and he's now cornered in ?some? area. However this time it's real. Gaddafi, either his body or himself he is in the hands of NTC forces after the fierce fighting in District 2 in Sirte. So I confirm that he is in our hands,according to very reliable sources from the field."
but a minute or two later in the broadcast he is suddenly certain that Gaddafi is dead...
"I will confirm that Gadhafi is dead and also his second man in the army, Abu Bakr Younus Jabr. This is definitely confirmed by our commander and our miltary council in Tripoli, so he is killed... We are very very happy."
Strangely he omitted to mention Younus in his dramatic call to the BBC on the same day. (I am not sure of the reporter who has a New Zealand accent) I have transcribed his message.
"Can you confirm that Colonel Gaddafi has been captured or killed?" "..he was by very very reliable sources confirmed that he was killed with three of his aides in Sirte."
"Who killed him?? Who killed Colonel Gaddahfi?"
"He was killed during the fight and found dead in a residental area where the heavy fighting was carried out and beside him are three of his adjutants."
"Who told, could you please tell us how you know this information? How how can verify it for us?"
"I can confirm it by very reliable sources who is there at the scene. and also the libyan TV some of the libya TV they brought his pictures on the screens now in Libya "
"We are getting so many different reports from so many different sources . Are you absolutely confident that the people you have spoken to ..that Colonel Gadaffi has been killed? It happend in Sirte in District 2?"
"Yes in Sirte."
"Where is his body now?"
"I have no idea. This will be announced by the authorities of the NTC to confirm this in the near future."
" It is your understanding that NTC frces killed him during fighting ?"
"Killed during fighting with NTC So Nato forces were not involved in this fighting??"
"No, Libyan people, Libyan forces had this honour.

Oh, where did Dr Abdalla Youssef Kenshil come from? He was a doctor in Blackpool UK until 1999 (presumably from 1989) when he emigrated to Saskatewan in Canada according tominutes of the state legislature to take up a position of chief surgeon at St Peter's Hospital, Melville,having trained and worked in Tripoli,England and Montreal.

If anyone knows what really happened to the Gaddafis, it is Dr Kenshil.
His facebook page shows a continuing keen interest in Bani Walid.

Videos of Dr Kenshil...
Daily Telegraph


(with the elders at Bani Walid, 0.05)



http://www.bbc.co.uk/arabic/middleeast/2011/09/110905_libya_bani_walid.shtml (at 0.46)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9rAkqD72f8 talking to Stephanie Fried of CNTV, uploaded Sept 17.[at 1.43 a fat rebel soldier has told Fried that he had nabbed a Belgian FNF2000 weapon from Khamis Gaddafi's car. http://english.cntv.cn/program/newsupdate/20110907/102901.shtml
CNTV China, at 00.50; subsequent interview with Bani Walid NTC local council member Mahmood Abdel Aziz said Gaddafi loyalists had threatened the elders."Gaddafi forces had shot all people who wanted to leave Bani Walid" Allegedly. But Aziz is described as a "political analyst" in the Sue Turton Sky TV video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K933MdFLEog: "the time for talk is over" Aziz's purposes was to collapse the talks.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUPJ-gpzuRs Interview with Stephanie Fried of CNTV
Anita McNaught of Al-Jazeera interviewed on Sept 10 "Mohamed Bashir", the head of the Southern Military Front NTC commander about the cease-fire and negotiations as Bani Walid. Andrew Simmons of the same station tweetet that he had Met Mohamed Bashir Saleh, 1 of 3 who escaped 1993 coup attempt. Now in talks on #BaniWalid [Video here] Bashir was also "one of the organizers of a meeting of Libya's opposition forces in London on June 25-26" ,a href="http://www.africaintelligence.com/MCE/who-s-who/2005/06/23/mohamed-bashir-saleh,14202383-BRE">[Maghreb Confidential] Bashir was sure Saif Al-Islam was in Bani Walid. In 2012, the town's Mayor is called Mohamed Bashir.
There is something very fishy about this standoff. In the Times of Malta, Sept 6 2011, we read: Mr Kenshil said, however, that Gaddafi spokesman Mussa Ibrahim had remained in Bani Walid, adding: “We know where he is.”
Channel 4 news http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtcYkSg70V0, Sept 3 , interviewed a rebel commander Brigadier Douros Salamjadek (?) from Tarhuna was sure Saif al-Islam and Moussa Ibrahim were in Bani Walid.
Finally another video from AFP this time, September 5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=jKwyT3qfHB8>http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=jKwyT3qfHB8 where Kenshil appears as Mohammed Buanna, to which a commenter has written: Do not trust Mohammed Buanna. He's from the old regime. LaosBuffalo 9 months a

Shed Massacre Report: A Hidden Thread of Knowledge

April 25, 2012

The following will be the bulk of sub-section 3.4 in the report A Question Mark Over Yarmouk, regarding the fake "Holocaust" tale of the Khamis Brigade Shed Massacre. I must say "hidden" isn't really the best word for it, but it helps to make it seem like there's some friggin' mystery being solved here.

Tweets and E-Mails

The first clues of the mass-killing at Yarmouk ostensibly came in from escapees , in accounts first publicly mentioned on August 25th. At uncertain daylight times less than 48 hours after the event. Munir El-Goula and his brother (Amr Dau Algala?) of Mansoura, Tripoli, and Abdulatti Musbah Bin-Halim of Zlitan, spoke to Channel 4 and the Telegraph, respectively, in pieces published late on the 25th but since becoming obscure. Their accounts are conveyed in some detail in sub-section 2.2. But an unusual, and perhaps the first version of the witness story came with a message first tweeted by “dovenews Libyan™” at 7:05 am on the 25th:
“Gaddafi forces executed 170 detainess [sic] in #Alyarmook military base, only 4 detainees mangd 2 escape 2 from #AzZwayia & 2 from #Hey#Alforjan” [DNL]
The number 170 is fairly close to the 180 dead that Bin-Halim would report that day, and he was among four alleged escapees being treated for injuries at Tripoli Medical Center. But three of these were from Zlitan, and none from Zawiyah. “Hey Alforjan” refers to the neighborhood (Hey/Hay/Haya) of Khellet al-Forjan, in which the Yarmouk base is situated. There are no locals from there specified among the escapees. At least three escapees are from Az-Zawiyah (“Mohammad,” Hussein Al-Lafi, and the person who’s gone by Mohammed Bashir and Bashir Mohammed Al-Sedik/Germani and ”Omar.”)

This early report of 170 dead was echoed by one Joanne Leo, as found in a compilation of tweets and other messages at the Libyan Uprisng archive (generally the source for the messages cited below). As luck would have it, this pro-rebel info-activist was able to add a fifth escapee from her own knowledge. She listed the same four “Plus 1 another: My uncle (from Alziziyah) who escaped from Yarmook CONFIRMS this, he said at least 150 massacred.” [LU] Alzizyah may refer to Al-Azizyah, a town just southwest of the airport, 10-15 miles from Yarmouk. This is another hometown not specified in later accounts; it was mostly Zlitan people.

Later in the day “Free Libya,” an apparently affiliated account, shared “Some bittersweet news” that “my uncle from my mum’s side has escaped from the Yarmook Military camp prison, badly tortured.” But that was followed shortly with “my family in Hadba are all free. The FF came and liberated them completely last night: Allahu Akbar” [LU] Al-Hadbah is a long road, but part of it passes in front of the Yarmouk base.

Between the witnesses and the tweets, these earliest reports would be the grimmest. There were as many as 200 original prisoners, as few as four escapees, and no more than 18 who survived. These stories were first widely circulated only the following day, along with the Amnesty International report issued early on the 26th specifying 23 known escapees. From there the story took its current form with more witnesses, more press reports and, by the 27th, photographs and video.

But there was one other earlier version yet, with the massacre first learned of from direct discovery of the bodies by people under the banner of the Misrata Military Council. Since just after their mid-August elimination of black Tawergha, the MMC’s information center briefly updated the media with Twitter messages, or tweets from ICFMMC. According to the account’s activity page, this practice ended after five days and 36 tweets, and never resumed. The last entry of August 23 announced the return of some prisoners to Misrata. [ICM] By the morning of the 24th they instead sent their heavier new information by e-mail, sent to the UK Daily Telegraph and apparently to no other media. The Telegraph’s “as it happened” log announced at 6:15 AM, ten hours after the alleged massacre:
The Information Center For Misurata Military Council claim to have found 140 bodies in a Tripoli prison. They claim the prisoners were killed by grenades thrown into their cells. So far 13 bodies have been recovered. [T1]
While the location of this find wasn’t specified, the use of grenades in a prison and the approximate number of dead both matches only with the Khamis Brigade shed massacre. "Cells" in a jail are mentioned, as opposed to an open hangar, requiring quite a few grenades, and there is no mention of these found corpses being burned, to the bone or otherwise. However, the eerie similarities forced the CIWCL to follow the thread of this find as far is it could.

By the evening of the same day, the Misratans were adding information to the picture with what seem to be tweets “frm Misrata military council” (but from no still-available channel of their own). A sequence of four messages were re-sent by a Jess Hill/Jessradio, from about 8:17 to 8:22 pm on the 24th. [JRT] Compiled together, they read:
1/4: "We have found possible mass murder in Tripoli prison. We believe event happen abt 4 days ago." 2/4:"Drs at main Tripoli Hospital know more. Prisoners were locked up, grenades thrown into their rooms." 3/4: "So far only retrieved 13 bodies. All badly burnt. Trying to get understanding from city morgue." 4/4: "A survivor we believe took the cloths of dead man & played dead for 10 hours until FLF free him." [JRT]

Four days prior would mean the 20th, putting the massacre three days before the discovery suggested by their previous e-mail. The fourth tweet adds “a survivor,” the first one mentioned, just about 24 hours after the now-accepted massacre date, and four days after by their reasoning here. How he was saved within ten hours is unclear; that’s the time-span between the Aug. 23 massacre and the first rebel e-mail, not between the Aug. 20 event and anything yet known.

If this first survivor is added to the previous revelations, as many as six escapees were already mentioned, with perhaps none of them being among those later publicized and examined in this report. On the following morning, at 9:40 AM, the Telegraph had a more detailed update with a second e-mail building on the flashes Jessradio passed on:

A [rebel] statement said: "Over 140 were killed, no more than 10 survived. Doctors at main Tripoli Hospital know more. Prisoners were locked up, grenades were thrown into rooms that contained many of them. This was followed up with many gun firings. So far only managed to retrieve 13 bodies. All badly burnt. Unclear if this was main cause of death [was because of] grenades. Potentially many prisoners were burnt alive. Unclear at the moment. We are trying to get understanding from city morgue." [T2]

As late as the 26th the Telegraph reported on “unconfirmed reports of as many as 140 bodies being found at one of Gaddafi’s notorious prisons,” adding that “a spokesman for an opposition group said the bodies had been burnt but showed signs of having been killed at close quarters possibly by a grenade.” [TME] With these updates, the MMC’s information center helped clarify this is almost certainly the same mass-execution the world would soon be hearing a different version of. Besides the number and blasted state of the bodies, there are few others among the Tripoli massacres that featured any burning of bodies. What “recovered” means here (pulled out of the shed?), and why only 13 had been, is unclear. How many of the others were burned, how badly, and when they had been burnt is also unstated.

With this dispatch the Misratans claim to know almost nothing, and hoped the hospital (presumably Tripoli Medical Center) looking at the survivors, and/or the morgue which presumably had the 13 recovered bodies, would be able to tell them what happened. If these early messages referred to a separate massacre, there was no further news on what the experts said, and the story of the 140 corpses ended abruptly, with a major Gaddafi crime fading to total obscurity just as the very similar Yarmouk massacre came to the fore. The CIWCL finds that rather unlikely.

The ten or less survivors were never heard from, unless they’re the same as the witnesses emerging of the shed massacre. But that would mean the rebels had found the remains - which were ostensibly in the loyalist-held base - almost three days before they would later acknowledge being able to do any such thing.

Echoes Across the Gap 

Between that first story cut short on the morning of the 25th, and the full emergence of the case under study on the 27th, was a short, awkward period that was not quite silently awkward. One disjointed yet useful insight on those days comes from rebel commander Jamal Al-Ragai/Rabbani (see sub-section 1.4). He told Robert F. Worth of the New York Times he was transferred from Yarmouk to the prison at Qasr Ben Ghashir, escaped from there on August 21, left the area, and re-grouped with his troops in Tajoura, to the east. He says he spent those days nowhere near the site of the Yarmouk and Qasr Ben Ghashir massacres, but once the city was mostly liberated, Worth wrote “Ragai’s own concern, he told me, was to free the 150 prisoners at Yarmouk.” [RWN]

 His convoy of fighters finally drove southwest to rescue the prisoners, by best reading, on Thursday the 25th. “At about midday,” Worth writes, “Ragai said, he got a call from one of the other fighters on his cellphone. The man had reached the Yarmouk prison and seen the deserted grounds. “It’s too late,” the man said. “Everyone is dead.”” [RWN] In crafting this story either from memory or from things he knew, it made sense to have the shed site accessible by mid-day on the 25th. Apparently he just didn’t realize that was still too early to match with what others were saying. If it was deserted and the shed was accessible to a single man, why were armed rebel forces still fighting for another day or longer to be able to do the same?

From the 25th on, Yarmouk was widely named as the place where 150 were killed with grenades, with no mention of conquest, body discovery, or burning. But another version surfaced on the 26th, with NTC commander Abdel Majid Mlegta, “head of operations for the takeover of the capital,” telling AFP it happened inside Muammar Gaddafi’s compound. In reference to what could only be this massacre, he said “in Bab al-Aziziya there was a mass murder. They killed more than 150 prisoners. The guards did it before running away. They threw hand grenades at them.” [FP2]

Interestingly, the compound was a place that was acknowledged as overrun by rebels on the 23rd or earlier and thus, arguably, it was the place those 140-150 bodies were found, after some earlier massacre. There is no mention here either of burning, and again, there is no mention after this of any 150 blasted bodies there, or anywhere else, except behind the Yarmouk base.

While none of these early witnesses mentions the victims being torched, dead or alive, one line in Andrew Gilligan’s report for the Telegraph, August 25, stands out. “Rebels said Gadhafi troops later tried to burn the bodies to destroy the evidence.” It’s unclear how they would know that so early. In fact, the best estimates have the bodies were burnt primarily on the 25th or even later, quite possibly even after this report. As covered in the previous article, the Misrata Military Council first introduced the notion of burning late on the 24th, with only a first 13 seemingly charred.

These first mentions sound greatly different from what would later be shown. “Tried to burn” and even “badly burnt” are not the same as successfully charred to skeletons. If these are the same batches, as logic strongly suggests, it seems they were burnt yet further while under rebel control. And it’s therefore worth wondering why they failed to mention the initial burning upon first discovery of the semi-charred bodies.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Tripoli Masscres: Airport Road Mass Grave

April 24, 2012 
last update April 28

<< The Tripoli Massacres

 I hear there are reports of as many as 1,000 bodies being found in a mass grave south of Tripoli, not far at all from the site of late August massacres: the Khamis Brigade shed massacre, the nearby Qasr Ben Ghashir non-massacre of August 21,22, and/or 24, and probably closer yet to the bodies of 22 brutalized black men executed behind a mosque. Somewhere around there, on Airport Road, eight months later, this new thing I'll explore below.

The sort-of-shocking news was mentioned in recent comments, but doesn't seem to have been widely reported yet. Google News Search for Tripoli mass grave still brings up only a recent story "confirming" Shiite cleric Moussa Al-Sadr was killed in Libya and buried in one of Gaddafi's Tripoli mass graves last year. Duh.

A few things for now: Libya S.O.S.:
Sunday, 22.04- There are reports that 1000 dead bodies were found in Tripoli . In the airport road there were bodies found buried, 600 bodies were found and they all still had their phones on them, And they had their hands tied behind their backs.
Ahmed Sanalla @ASanalla 22 Apr reports that around 1000 bodies have been found in mass graves near Airport road in #Tripoli #Libya, bodies are being transferred to morgues

Abdullah Esharif @HerrEsharif 22 Apr discover massive graves at the airport road #Tripoli with nearly 1000 dead bodies source : #Libya news agency

Mauritania are you listening? More than 1000 bodies of the martyrs have been found in a mass grave in #Tripoli #Libya #BringSenussi
He might be able to identify some of his colleagues. Nah, it's been eight months. They could be, and will be, anyone now.

 Clay Claiborne has bad math and/or objectivity skills, but also has a report and a picture allegedly from the site of this grave.

BREAKING NEWS: An hour ago Libyan Youth Movement reported that another mass grave has been found near Tripoli. This one may have up to a thousand bodies in it. 
[picture, at least 13 bodies tightly wrapped in white cloth with no visible dirt?] 
Another mass grave was discovered on Treeg Mattar (Airport Highway), Tripoli with up to 1,000 bodies; 600 were piled in groups on top of each other, some still had their mobiles on their person others had their hands tied with wire via Breaking Tripoli

1,000, or even 600, would be the single biggest mass grave yet found. The 900 bodies found in suburban mass graves last year were scattered across many sites. The 800+ in the Misrata "invader's cemetery" are a cemetary, not a mass grave. The Sirte mass grave ... I'll have to check back on that.

If there were two graves of that scale found at the same time, wow... These are almost sure to hold people killed in that period when rebels were semi-violently freeing the country, mostly getting lots of hugs and defectors, and the loyalists were flee-killing all kinds of good Libyans who often tended to turn African with decay.

April 25: Claiborne has his issues, but I have mine, like poor reading comprehension on occasion, especially in the wee hours. It could be, and probably is, that by "another mass grave" he meant the same one, as in "yes indeed, another mass grave, in addition to all the others unearthed..." Duh.

Still nothing official, or it'd likely be fairly high on the Google News search. Today for "Libya mass grave" I see a Benghazi mass grave, with news Anton Hammerl's remains might be in there. Again, the outsiders are getting all kinds of news about their missing, but so long as it's anonymous Libyans... Narrowing the search to Tripoli mass grave helps none. Web search has this post #1, but also Libyan Youth Movement's Facebook page with just what Claiborne quoted them with (because that's what the second part was), and the picture of the bodies that looks like they're being buried, not dug up. Hurriya shares some further re-tweets, and I'm seeing a few others, and that's about it. I'll see in 24 hours if there's new info or exhumation pictures, etc.

April 28: I gave it a bit longer yet, and still nothing new. Mauritania, are you listening? There was a report no one can substantiate that 1,000 bodies - we presume victims of the regime - was found and Senoussi should be sent back to answer for something he probably ordered or whatever. So get on it! Those toenails aren't pulling themselves out.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Khamis Brigade morgue?

Posted by Petri Krohn
April 24, 2012

<< The Khamis Brigade Shed Massacre

This post will discuss the evidence that the Khamis Brigade shed was primarily a morgue and not a prison.

The fact that a number of bodies are discovered inside building is prima face evidence of a morgue, not of murder. For the site to be a massacre site there would have to be other physical evidence of violence used to kill the people at the site; weapons, bullets, shrapnel, shell casings, a bloody knife or some visible sign of struggle. None of this is present at the shed. All the evidence of a "massacre" consist of testimony of self claimed "survivors."

Apart from the claimed massacre victims there are other sources that could account for the under 50 bodies in the morgue. Libya was in a civil war with the estimates of people killed ranging from 50 to 100 thousand. The Khamis Brigade base saw a fierce battle sometime between August 23rd and August 26th, with a stated number of around 50 loyalist dead. None of these bodies have ever been located or identified. In the area around Khamis Brigade base the CIWCL can count around 30 unidentified bodies, almost exclusively Black, most likely victims of the ongoing persecution of Libya's African migrant workers.

The shed does not have doors that could be locked to hold in prisoners. There is no running water or sewage. There is trash at the site, including empty water bottles, but not the amount that could sustain a larger number of people for any extended period of time. The shed is perfectly suited for storing bodies, but not live beings.

Inside the shed the bodies are not randomly ordered as one would expect from the results of a killing spree, but neatly placed in rows and along the walls. The larger cluster of bodies in front of the door is less organized, but instead of facing the door – as if shot while trying to get out – most of the bodies are facing inward, away from the door. (face down, feet toward door.)

An alleged guard "Laskhar" testified (most likely under torture) that after he and his fellow guards had massacred the prisoners they carried out the bodies and later carried them back in to be burned. Any part of this testimony could be untrue; the killing part more likely then the "carrying in the bodies" part. Even if the story was 100% accurate, it would still rule out any possibility that the bodies in the shed could provide physical evidence of a massacre happening there.

The compound holds three refrigerated spaces that could be used for storing bodies. All three can be identified from the August 20th satellite image of the site, but except for the smallest one are missing from the July 26th image. The most notable is the large 40 foot shipping container in white Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) livery right by the gate. The white color indicates that it is a refrigerated container and not the standard container that comes in yellow.

In the row of trucks and vans parked against the low brick wall there are two refrigerated vehicles. In the shed end there is a Isuzu delivery wan with a white container identical to the one found on al Sarim Street in central Tripoli around August 24th, containing at least six bodies. At the other end there is a delivery truck in green livery with a blue logo containing the word  نجمة  – Star. The trademark possibly connects the truck to the al-Naseem dairy and ice cream factory in Misrata.

Among the four satellite images available through Google Earth from the period of the Libyan Civil War there are two cases that indicate possible loading or unloading of vans or hearses. In the May 14th satellite image there are up to seven vans and pickup trucks parked in a tight row in front of the shed, with their rear facing the shed, as if for loading or unloading of heavy items. The August 20th satellite image show what appears to be a flatbed pickup truck parked back-to-back with the "Star" refrigerated truck, again as if for loading something from the truck to the pickup or vice versa.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Shed Massacre Tweets

April 22, 2012 (incomplete) 
last updates April 27

 << The Khamis Brigade Shed Massacre

 Note: I posted all this because it confused me. I added more related confusion later, in the hopes of getting some reader help making best sense of it all. I figured it out mostly on my own, with some tips in comments. This information then formed a good chunk of this post and a section of the shed massacre report. To get the significance in a wider context and with most of the kinks worked out, read that. Below is for reference/whatever it's worth.
An unusual, and perhaps the first version of the shed massacre story (that specifies the location) came with a message tweeted by “dovenews Libyan™” no later than a re-post at 11:33 am on August 25:
“Gaddafi forces executed 170 detainess [sic] in #Alyarmook military base, only 4 detainees mangd 2 escape 2 from #AzZwayia & 2 from #Hey#Alforjan”
The number 170 lines up closely with the 180 dead Abdulatti Musbah Bin-Halim would report that day, and he was among four escapees, perhaps all of them it might have seemed, who were being treated at Tripoli Medical Center. But three of those were from Zlitan, none from Zawiyah. There are no specified locals from Khellet al-Forjan the CIWCL knows of among the escapees. At least three are given as from Az-Zawiyah (“Mohammad,” Hussein Al-Lafi, and the person who’s gone by Mohammed Bashir and Bashir Mohammed Al-Sedik/Germani and ”Omar”).

This report was echoed by another Aug. 25 message by a Joanne Joanne ("Joanne ♌ Leo"?) who was able to add a fifth escapee, an uncle of hers.
“...only 4 detainees Escaped 2 from #AzZwayia 2 from #Hey #Alforjan #Libya Plus 1 another: My uncle (from Alziziyah) who escaped from Yarmook CONFIRMS this, he said at least 150 massacred. [source: Libyan Uprising Archive, LUA]
Alzizyah may refer to Al-Azizyah, a town ten miles southwest of the airport. Another locality not specified amongst the laterpublicized escapees. It was almost all Zlitan people. SHould someone contact Joanne and ask her for info on this uncle?

Later in the day, "Free Libya" tweeted or re-tweeted "Some bittersweet news, found out that my uncle from my mum’s side has escaped from the Yarmook Military camp prison, badly tortured." This was followed shortly with “Allahu akbar, my family in Hadba are all free :) The FF came and liberated them completely last night:) Allahu Akbar” Then "Hayat" repeated "#TripoliPrisoners Massacred. I don’t know how many but I can confirm #Gaddafi forces took them out before #FFs got to them." [LUA] 

Joanne does seem to have a link to someone in the area, Qasr Ben Ghashir. Honestly, I'm not sure who's talking to who in these things...
FromJoanne Joanne #HELP Fam of @Ebnat_Alislaam Lives in GaserBenGasher nrAirport FIGHTING CONT. 8daysNO POWER PPL Slaughtered FF need 2HELP This AREA Libiya_min_Hollanda @FromJoanne finaly my bro called me, he is stressed out they do t have any elect for more then 8 days now, he is SCREAMING for help and…. they dont know what happend in Tripoli, he told me now its mainly street fights out of fear he spoke 2 me in Dutch not even knowing that Gadafi cant control the lines anymore
"Libiya-min-Hollanda" had been earlier tweeting, on the 24th, about the shelling of civilian homes in the area, the number of civilians flooding the hospital, and then thanking the FFs for liberating the area. I repost that all here for additional (if confusing) details it gaves about the area.
PPL R SCREAMING 4 HELP #Tripoli GASR BEN GASHER close to airport FIERCE fighting #Media Pls contact @Ebnat_Alislaam #Libya Ppl DYING Just got info that FF from swani ben yadem are on there way 2 help Gaser Ben Gashir, I hope they get there fast! farms are of Bashir Salah he has 3 farms there, one next 2 gadafis farm, it has a very high wall of 4 meter the second one on the weat of the airport also with a 4 m high wall, 3 one the east side of the airport road, without a wall the one behind the center is the same one next 2 gadafis farm its about 10 hactare big also from a school called the school of Omran berabha in the center of gbg next 2 the school of Kmies Gadafi boys school the 3th farm is on the east side of the airport brige there has 2 be someth there even the comander of zintan FF said they noticed a mercides convoy near airport area the woman of my relatives left there homes and went more 2 the east, they r scared of the merc whom r everyw he Clashes are getting tuffer right now alot of injured civilians are at alafya clinc in GBG….. grad rockets figherd on civilian houses, they are fireing from the south!!!! Alafya clinic in gaser ben gashir is getting full of injured and dead civilians, doc there said he saw #Abdallah Mansoor GL Pls ppl let the world know what is happening in Gaser ben Gashir!!!!! the clashes are on the manara road, galet alferjan and next 2 the farm of #Gadafi BREAKING NEWS Gaser Ben Gashir has been liberated just reseaved a call from there!!!!! RT I will confirm later on again. FF from GBG, swani, zintan and misrata Thxxxxxxxxxxxx Joanne They need take photos RT @Ebnat_Alislaam Just heard #hannibal the son of Gadafi has been killed in Gaser ben Gashir not confirmed #Libya
Following some of the messages around, a "Cambo Donut" echoed some of the Misrata Military Council information Center's Aug. 25 e-mail, as if it had been tweeted.
“We have found possible mass murder in Tripoli prison. […] Drs at main Tripoli Hospital know more. Prisoners locked up, grenades thrown into their rooms.” “So far only retrieved 13 bodies. All badly burnt. Trying to get understanding from city morgue” “we believe event happen 4 days ago.” [LU]
That's August 21. Are they still saying, essentially, "yeah, we got here (wherever that is) late on the 23rd and found the bodies next morning, and they were killed days before we got here."? That's what they said later, just with this discovery erased, the massacre put in that time-slot, and conquest and discovery pushed up three days. The three tweets from Cambo Donut are listed elsewhere as messages 1-3 out of 4 from the info center (not at their previous account, or any other I could find). A Jess Hill/Jessradio re-posted all four parts (available only, per a Google search, here and here). The last one is given as follows:
4/4: Frm Misrata military coun: "A survivor we believe took the cloths of dead man & played dead for 10 hours until FLF free him." #Tripoli
The time and date are interesting: 8:22 PM - 24 Aug 11. What time zone? I cannot get a time stamp on Cambo Donut's re-tweets - the page as it stands only shows back to early March. (the dovenews channel goes way back 100 pages, to about a week too late to help with those early messages) April 24: I found all but the first of the four on original Jessradio pages with times. 8:18, 8:19, 8:22 pm, Aug. 24. Altogether, they read:
1/4: "We have found possible mass murder in Tripoli prison. We believe event happen abt 4 days ago." 2/4:"Drs at main Tripoli Hospital know more. Prisoners were locked up, grenades thrown into their rooms." 3/4: "So far only retrieved 13 bodies. All badly burnt. Trying to get understanding from city morgue." 4/4: "A survivor we believe took the cloths of dead man & played dead for 10 hours until FLF free him." [JRT]
How do the bolded parts line up? Four days prior would mean the 20th, putting the massacre three days before the discovery suggested by their previous e-mail. The fourth tweet adds “a survivor,” the first one mentioned, just about 24 hours after the now-accepted massacre date, and four days after by their reasoning here. How he was saved within ten hours is unclear; that’s the time-span between the Aug. 23 massacre and the first rebel e-mail, not between the Aug. 20 event and anything yet known.

The massacre time given: August 23, around 8pm/just after sunset/evening call to prayer
Misrata Military Council e-mail, August 24, 6:15 AM GMT, ten hours later:
The Information Center For Misurata Military Council claim to have found 140 bodies in a Tripoli prison. They claim the prisoners were killed by grenades thrown into their cells. So far 13 bodies have been recovered.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Fall and Purge of Tawergha

September 18. 2011
last edits April 23, 2012

The City
Photo: David Enders,/MCT
Tawergha (Arabic: تاورغاء)‎ lies about 30-40 miles south of Misrata/Misurata, along the western coast of the Gulf of Sirte. Its population is unclear (10,000 is reported, 30,000 cited more commonly) and recently changed (to zero?). From the Wikipedia entry (which uses a different and common spelling - "Taworgha" - and the Arabic cited), it's a town that's occupied by an unstated number of people of unknown type. [1] A Euronews dispatch filming a clash there in May called it a "no man's land" between rebel and loyalist areas. [2] 

Wiki says its name means "the green island" in Berber." [1] But another source, the rebel outreach site Free Misurata says rather "the name of Taworgha was used by Misrataies to describe the black population in that area, because of the dark skin they have just like the real ancient Tuareg." [3] Indeed, it's inhabited mostly by black-skinned people originally from further south, apparently a remnant of the slave trade, a significant factor considering known anti-black sentiments in the rebel camp. As they explain:
The origin of this black population in North Africa gos back to the roman empire days , when the slavery trade was a good businesses by bringing the blacks from meddle Africa to export them from Misratah port ( was known as Kayvalai Bromentoriom )* to old Rome.

The sick who can not make it to the port and the long trip by ship was left behind at that spot, which is known for its swamps and jungles ( Libya was called the “Bread Basket of Europe”, because of the moderate climate and fertility of soil during the Roman time, and was one of the main exporters of grains to Rome ) [3]
Otherwise, the Wikipedia entry desribed Tawergha as "a city in Libya that followed the public administrative jurisdiction of the city of Misrata [...] during the rule of Muammar Gaddafi." It also noted that "control of Taworgha helped the Romans coordinate control of Libya." [1] By this, Tawergha is strategically important, and that's basically part of Misrata/Misurata anyway, fit to be done with as the people in charge there like.

Misrata - the nation's third largest city and a major regional port - had been under at least partial rebel control since February. But loyalist elements hung on in and around the city, putting it famously under a state of deadly prolonged siege. Some of this came from the black "Taureg" town that also served as a "green island" of government support.

The Preludes / Priming the Hate Machine
Now, there is a danger in examining this of placing too much emphasis on race. The tactical threat alone is cited, and does seem compelling. But racism emerges, time and again, in unsettlingly blatant ways. Free Misurata explains the back-story of how the black Tawerghans became a wicked race (again, [sic] implied throughout. It's perfectly readable):
... Gaddfi started to give them power by using them as personal body guards and brain wash them so they over estimated them selves ,their resources and abilities. [...] because Gaddafi just used them and never improved their live style, there was always some kind of jealousy when they compare them selves to prospers Misratah. [3]
Patronizing suspected jealousy is nothing new for lynch mob types. As Misratan rebels see it, this envy, the regime brainwashing, and whatever other factors led to a fall from grace by their neighbors. This was testified to repeated rocket attacks from their hamlet, occasional raids into the city with their black troops featured, sometimes re-taking portions of Misrata in bloody battles. This is to be expected as the government tried to restore order, but as it was remembered anyway, the Tawerghans' actions stepped far beyond the norm. Again, Free Misurata:
When Gaddafi asked them to attack Misratah……they did what evil is ashamed to do. [...] When Gaddafi forces entered Misratah from the eastern part with the help of residents of Taworgha , whom are of a black descent, they made what evil is ashamed to do, killing, loathing, rape, and destroying the homes by bulldozers.

After they entered the eastern part of Misratah they have forced the families to flee eastward but not to westward, because they want to use them as a human shield.

”Taworgha stabbed Misratah in the back”
It might seem understandable to many - you can't leave crimes like that unanswered. The systematic mass rape aspect in particular is frequently called on, supported by various evidence like alleged cell phone footgae seized from Gaddafi troops. But the only evidence shared with the outside world was the clearly coerced verification of two young captives taken, apparently, on one of their raids on Tawergha.

It was in late May this was broadcast by the BBC, from prisoners still wearing "the same filthy, bloodstained army fatigues they were captured in two weeks ago." [4] Amnesty international's team spoke with both of these kids and found their stories inconsistent and unreliable, so probably coached by their captors. [5] Going out of one's way to create a myth that will enrage the fighters in advance and encourage war crimes, if that's what happened here, is highly unethical to say the least.

The Misratans also suspected the invaders from the south had help from within their walls, and their revenge started close to home. A neighborhood was purged, as the Wall Street Journal reported
Before the siege, nearly four-fifths of residents of Misrata's Ghoushi neighborhood were Tawergha natives. Now they are gone or in hiding, fearing revenge attacks by Misratans, amid reports of bounties for their capture. [6]
In early-to-mid-May, they started making public vows against Tawergha itself. Sam Dagher reported for the Wall Street Journal, in a now-famous and rare article, how regional rebel Commander Ibrahim al-Halbous eerily said that "Tawergha no longer exists. There is only Misrata," while encouraging the residents who oppose them to all leave. With less authority but greater menace Dagher noted some rebel graffiti left out on the road to Tawergha - "brigade for purging slaves, black skin." [6]

A mid-May discussion between rebel fighters and tribal elders was filmed in the desert, posted later by VSMRK. Elderly black men in traditional garb listened with worry and muted disgust as young Arab thugs in baseball caps explained things [in Arabic of course, so I can't follow], with hand gestures of leveling and totality indicating that Halbus' prescription was for real. At the end, an ominous dust storm blew in and the video stopped. [7]

Would they help the people "liberate themselves," or purge the whole town? A bad sign was the NATO bombings of reported Gaddafi sites around Tawergha in the following weeks, likely phoned in by Misrata rebels. In late June one strike at least killed many civilians in the usual unconfirmed way. According to some reports, sixteen were killed, including a whole family, when a NATO bomb hit the public market. Video shared there shows at least one baby was among the dead. [8]

But still the question of the town's continued life was allowed to hover through July and beyond, as Misrata both absorbed and dished out more attacks.

The Battle
Wikipedia cites a start to the Battle of Tawergha on August 11, and end on the 13th, which seems accurate enough by what else I've seen. No mention is made of forced expulsions or other human rights abuses, but that's just a serious but widely-repeated omission. [9]  In a video dispatch for al Jazeera English, Andrew Simmons speaks with the commander on site, Ali Ahmed al Sheh. The townspeople were used by government forces as "human shields," says al Sheh. This at first limited their fighting ability, leaving them only able to use rifles against tanks until all the people were cleared. [10] 

However, a rebel video of August 11 goes against this. It shows Freedom Fighters using artillery and truck-mounted anti-aircraft guns and firing long-range rockets from the start. It also shows them in city center, and it seems pretty empty already. There are no cars but for one that's looted, and no sign of non-rebel life for several minutes.

Allahu Akbar is repeated approximately 14,000 times before a shocking segment of a Gaddafi loyalist is shown. Amidst a battle with holdouts on the outskirts, one is taken. He's apparently military, his head badly burnt, forehead charred and peeling, caked in blood, hair melted, ear lacerated. His comrades are probably dead, and he must be in great pain or great shock, but is standing and alert. He seems to have been a light-skinned black man to begin with, but he is now mostly charcoal black, and the rebels are shouting and laughing and jabbing him threteningly with their fingers, rather than getting him medical help. [11]

There is an August 13 report for BBC News by Orla Guerrin on the threats posed to Misrata, leaving them "numbed by loss and trauma." [12] The report made no mention of fight they were then waging, in the numbed state, to take Tawergha, and no mention of Tawergha at all. Yet the same day, she was there reporting on the battle just then wrapping up, in a video report that made no mention of the purge, or inhabitants, at all. Rebel fighter Khalid Bashir said he would sleep easier, with his children safer, after the battle won here and the threat somehow eliminated.  Former government positions shown, "abandoned at speed," she said. "They ran in a hurry," she said, after having "dug in here for a long stay." [13]

She mentioned continued fighting against "pockets" of Gaddafi fighters in the city, but made no mention of non-combatant inhabitants, as if the town were an empty stage to fight battles in. As Human Rights Investigations put it, Guerin's reporting, "disgracefully, failed to give the ethnic cleansing context." She made this omission "despite actually interviewing Ibrahim al-Halbous," the commander who had first prophesized what was then happening under this reporter's nose. [14]

The Purge Realized
Cover stories and denial often being evidence of a crime, it's interesting that a fighter named Fatateh told the Telegraph they didn't have to remove anyone, and also gave them an earlier date. "Some [homes] had been taken over by pro-Gaddafi militias after the civilians had fled," he told them, "and a two-day battle had ensued with rebel forces on the 10th and 11th of August." [15]

Andrew Simmons, reporting for Al Jazeera English on the 12th, gave us one of the only visual glimpses we've been allowed of even the edges of the promised purge. Simmons said the rebels "took this town by storm in what appears to be a highly co-ordinated operation with NATO," and were now generally relocating the people. One black man in traditional clothing, his left leg splattered with blood, is carried gently - through leering crowd - to somewhere else. It'ssaid he "engaged them in combat." I would, and he may have. [10]

The rabbles were on nice behavior on account of the camera; nothing morbid or terrible was shown, just the rather ambiguous liberation of another Libyan city. It comes across as slightly troubling, but not as horrific as it might have been. As Simmons described his view, at the tail end:
"They search from house to house, the flags of Gaddafi's Libya on every one. None of his men are left here, only this woman, an Egyptian, terrified. "You're safe," the fighters say. "No one will touch you." "I'm afraid, she tells them. Leave me in my house." She explains that she has nine children under 12, and they ran away during the attack.
The opposition says civilians are being evacuated, and handed over to the red cross." [10]
She's not allowed to stay at home, and leaves with them for Misrata, hoping to find her many children there (her story is presented as fishy). Mr. Simmons' follow-up tweet confirms it with a nice spin, and clarifying that Red Cross is really the Red Crescent, and giving a rare quantification of "hundreds"of victims:
Hundreds of civilians evacuated from Tawergha to Misrata away from Gaddafi thugs. Red crescent helping them now #libya via @simmjazeera [16]
But it was al Jazeera's camera that captured rebels trying, with visible worry, to prevent the filming of a locked freight container filled with some of the "freed" "human shields." While this might have been just a brief detention, it might have been for the mass-relocation and even puts an image in one's mind of people as freight to be shipped out, and perhaps that was exactly the idea. Misrata, where they were generally taken, is a major port, after all.

This makes it relevant to bring up a line of worry traced out in the post  refugees and human trafficking. At least 480 people, mostly black Africans, vanished on the two ships carrying them away from Libya and its problems. One at least was captained by a known human smuggler, perhaps of the type that had struck secret deals with the rebel TNC. And again, the rebels coming to this town are on record thinking of their prey as slaves, sub-human rapists, perhaps beasts who must be put on a leash or sold to someone far way who will do it. This is not a promising combination as far as human rights is concerned.

Whatever the exact scale and nature of it, this is how they do it: "leave your homes, don't come back 'til we say it's okay. You're liberated from being in our way." In this way, they quickly, within a week, battled their way to being in cities from which they could move on Tripoli and its million inhabitans, hoping to finally make the people of all Libya safe from being in the way of the NATO foot soldiers and the free market future. In addition to a probable war crime, or a cluster of them, the purge of Tawergha was an embarrassing tacit admission their "popular uprising" wasn't so popular everywhere, and some parts of Libya could only be "liberated for the people" by being emptied of their actual people.

No Camps, Just Expulpsion
Concentration camps in Tawergha were sort-of alleged, by an over-eager critic of the rebels called "Antiwar Soldier" (AS) in a Twitter discussion with a rebel sympathizer, or even fighter, named "Elwakshi" (E) - trying to justify the cleansing of Tawergha. [17]

AS: why was Zliten not "evacuated" and Tawergha was?
E: Tawergha ppl invaded Misurata and did many against human crimes but Zliten ppl did not.

AS: and women and children as well? How would you react is all Misrata was cleansed the same way?
E: we did the right action, i think if this happen in other place they will be murdered totally but we are wise ppl

AS: What will happen to them next?
E: We gave them water and food we supply them by petrol, we just want to protect our self

AS: so you put all civilian population indiscriminately in camps to protect yourself? This was done before in WW2
E: no we did not do, we ask him to look for other place to live, Libya is a wide land country and they can find elsewhere plac

AS: So it would be okay if Misratans were asked to look for another place in Libya?
E: If we do so it is ok

In this man's mind, killing off Tawergha was understandable, just not wise. Forcing a whole city to clear out is a nice compromise, they decided. He also said "We are in war now and it is urgent for us and for them as well." Yes, the urgency: NATO was getting impatient with their foot soldiers, and wanted Tripoli taken before six months was up - September 19. They needed to deliver the victories, start taking cities quickly and get ahold of Tripoli within about a month. So the abuses commenced to make each taking more brutal and more final. As NATO's assistance with Zliten, including bombing 33 children at Majer on August 9, they were willing to lead by example, and it was eagerly followed.

A Mass Grave
This story remains vague (but it has its own post here), but a mass grave was reoported is some minor detail by the UK Daily Mail.
Libyan rebels claim to have found a mass grave containing the bodies of 150 civilians [...] The spokesman said: 'We discovered a mass grave containing 150 bodies in Tawargha. These are the corpses of civilians kidnapped from Misrata by Gaddafi’s loyalists.' [...] He claimed in addition to the grave, troops had discovered video 'showing kidnappers cutting the throats of people'. [18]
Al Jazeera's Simmons had a late look at the site, and could confirm only one victim, beheaded and rotting." (see link above) "Slaughtered by forces loyal to Colonel Gadaffi," they were, as the Mail put it. Not an encouraging charge, especially considering we're dealing with a "discovery" made by rebels after they took the city. Be skeptical of their description of the victims as their own, kidnapped and beheaded by their enemy. I'd be willing to bet money nearly all of the victims were black-skinned, all locals, and slaughtered by the rebels in their unchecked, self-inflicted rage.

The Purge Goes Mobile
On the day of the battle's end, Imazighen Libya posted an old video of two injured black men captured in the battle for Qawalish, early July. One is a young black man, and another skinny, older black man with a gray beard. One was given as an African mercenary, the other a "mercenary from Tawergha." One of a type used even outside Misurata to crush the rebellion. [19] All Libyan rebel sympathizers, especially extremely racist ones like this (see here), understand why Tawergha and its people have to go.

Now in Tripoli, Tawerghans who fled there are disappearing or hiding as rebels, some right from Misrata, have caught up with them, perhaps remembering those bounties. The UK Telegraph reported:
Even fleeing is not, it seems, enough to save you. Tawargas have also been arrested at checkpoints, seized from hospitals and detained on the street. "They are really afraid. They have nowhere to go," said Ms [Diana Eltahawy, a researcher for Amnesty International who is currently in Libya].

On Aug 29, Amnesty says it saw a Tawarga patient at the Tripoli Central Hospital being taken by three men, one of them armed, for "questioning in Misurata". Amnesty was also told that at least two other Tawarga men had vanished after being taken for questioning from Tripoli hospitals.
One 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. They were taken to the Military Council headquarters at Mitiga Airport just east of the capital. The men told Amnesty they were beaten with the butt of a rifle and received death threats. Both were held for several days in Mitiga and are still detained in Tripoli. 
Many Tawargas are now cowering in makeshift camps around Tripoli. But even there, they are not safe. In one camp, a group of armed men drove in and arrested about a dozen Tawargas. Their fate is still unknown. Another woman at the camp said her husband left the camp to run an errand in central Tripoli, about a week ago. She hasn't seen him since. [15]
A More Sentimental View, Dashed
Free Misrata's article cited above includes glowing reports of "freeing" seventeen families and bringing them back to Misrata. "[S]ome of them are known to be a pro Gaddafi , and now they say” we ware miss leaded and we ware wrong, thank you for saving our lives” While the writer found the purge fully necessary and mostly good, they noted with unexpected sensitivity that it wasn't all good:
Passing back Taworgh , it looked like a ghost city , no one is there , all the inhabitants fled fearing the revenge of Misratah people, but in reality no in Misratah thought of revenge…these where our people and will stay our people.

May be for the time being my advice to them is to return home and stay home, because when Gaddafi fall all standards will change and they may will be in danger where they stay now.

Later when all is settled and live is back to normal they can drive to Misratah again and seek jobs and work.

This was a black page in our history , and at the end of the day we are all on family, and welcome to any one wants to live under the flag of freedom and united free Libya.
The WSJ's Dagher noted in May that although "the rebel's political leadership says it will take steps to avoid reprisals if they capture the town," others more hands-on were "calling for the expulsion of Tawerghans from the area," or even "banning Tawergha natives from ever working, living or sending their children to schools in Misrata." [6] Dagher returned to the city in September to follow up, writing for the WSJ on effective NTC prime minister Mahmoud Jibril's approval of a more permanent purge. As Human Rights Investigations reports in Tawargha – the final solution, the earlier promise just didn't hold
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. [20]
The UK Telegraph reported:
This pro-Gaddafi settlement has been emptied of its people, vandalised and partly burned by rebel forces.
"We have met Tawargas in detention, taken from their homes simply for being Tawargas," said Diana Eltahawy, a researcher for Amnesty International who is currently in Libya. "They have told us that they have been forced to kneel and beaten with sticks." [15]
As for the rest? The Telegraph was told this, in no unclear terms:
"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." [15]
And David Enders confirms for McClatchy papers:
In Tawergha, the rebel commander said his men had orders not to allow any of the residents back in. He also said that unexploded ordnance remained in the area, though none was readily apparent.

Most homes and buildings in the area appeared to have been damaged in the fighting, and a half-dozen appeared to have been ransacked. The main road into the village was blocked with earthen berms. Signs marking the way to the village appeared to have been destroyed.

On the only sign remaining "Tawergha" had been painted over with the words "New Misrata."

On one wall in Tawergha, graffiti referred to the town's residents as "abeed," a slur for blacks. [21]
Ah well, they had some nicer sentiments at one time, and it's the thought of only a semi-final solution that matters. They really tried their best. Now only the last bounties and remaining scattered heads remain before their agreed solution is finalized.  Incidentally, at least one black man so far, a patient at Abu Salim trauma hospital in Tripoli, had his actual head removed.

World leaders: How's that campaign to stop Gaddafi's "genocide" against "the Libyan people" coming along?

Postscript, April 23, NYT, October 29 2011 (thanks, Hurriya):
Even at Janzur, they are not safe. Libyans harass them constantly, taking cellphones, money, even light bulbs. They are press-ganged into working as day laborers, for long hours and for little or no money, neglected by the rebel soldiers supposedly there to protect them. More than 10 women — some married, pregnant even — said they were gang raped by armed Arab men the night the rebels entered Tripoli. The men of the camp could not protect them.

[1] Wikipedia. Taworgha. Last edited August 22, 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taworgha
[2] Euronews. "Libya: fighting in Tawarga." May 19, 2011. http://www.euronews.net/2011/05/19/libya-fighting-scenes-in-tawarga/
[3] Free Misurata. English articles. Taworgha has become a ghost city, and FF free 70 families at Alhish 160km to the east. August 18, 2011. http://www.freemisurata.com/EngArt/archives/648
[4] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13502715
[5] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/amnesty-questions-claim-that-gaddafi-ordered-rape-as-weapon-of-war-2302037.html
[6] Dagher, Sam. "Libya City Torn by Tribal Feud" online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304887904576395143328336026.html
Re-posting: http://www.mail-archive.com/marxism@greenhouse.economics.utah.edu/msg04658.html
[7] Posted by VSMRK, August 17. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrQwZYa5dcY
[8] http://libyasos.blogspot.com/2011/06/nato-killed-16-civilians-28062011.html
[9] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Taworgha
[10] Al Jazeera English, Andrew Simmons reporting, August 12. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/08/20118131635565144.html
[11] Posted by VSMRK, Sept.12.  http://www.youtube.com/user/VSMRK#p/search/0/Bk_wBjDH15k

[12] Guerin, Orla. "Libya's rebel-held Misrata numbed by loss and trauma." August 13, 2011. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/9562064.stm
[13] BBC News video report, August 13.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14517267
[14] HRI Mark. Tawergha no longer exists, only Misrata. Human rights investigations. August 13, 2011. http://humanrightsinvestigations.org/2011/08/13/tawergha-no-longer-exists-only-misrata/
[15] Gilligan, Andrew. "Gaddafi's ghost town after the loyalists retreat." The Telegraph. September 11, 2011. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8754375/Gaddafis-ghost-town-after-the-loyalists-retreat.html

[16] http://inagist.com/ChangeInLibya/102169313498238976/Hundreds_of_civilians_evacuated_from_Tawergha_to_Misrata_away_from_Gaddafi_thugs
[18] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2027465/Libyan-rebels-mass-grave-150-civilians-slaughtered-Gadaffi-forces.html?ito=feeds-newsxml
[19]  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tEIv4LW-fw
[20] HRI Mark. "Tawargha-the Final Solution." Human Rights Investigations. September 14, 2011. http://humanrightsinvestigations.org/2011/09/14/tawargha-the-final-solution/
[21] Enders, David. Empty village raises concerns about fate of black Libyans. McClatchy. September 13. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/09/13/123999/empty-village-raises-concerns.html