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Libya: Racist Brutality, up to the Shed

Caustic Logic


March 26, 2011

The following will be sub-section 3.1 "Racist Brutality, up to the Shed" in the upcoming CIWCL shed massacre report A Question Mark Over Yarmouk. It's long, with seven articles carved out within it.

3.1.1: "People Say..."

From February forward, the Libyan revolution was recognized, to some extent, for an unsettling bias against Black people. The racism on display has deep roots in Libya’s identity as an "Arab" nation on the continent of Africa, and the pan-African policies of the Gaddafi government. Dismayed by black foreigners, about two million in a small nation of only six million, anti-regime activists have eagerly latched onto the idea of ubiquitous black mercenaries, hired to kill them and fit to be gotten rid of. One rebel fighter helping hunt down suspected mercenaries explained "There are a lot of black people that loved Gadhafi because Gadhafi loved black people and gave money to African governments." [DEM]

But well before mercenaries were thought of, nationwide race riots in 2000 saw Hundreds of thousands of African workers and black Libyans attacked in what witnesses and The Economist called a pogrom. Often attacking with machetes, light-skinned rioters left dark-skinned bodies "hacked and dumped on motorways," lynched a diplomat from Chad, burned down Niger’s embassy, and warned Libyans caught sheltering Africans "that their homes would be next." The death toll was certainly higher than the 150 initially cited by "diplomats," along with tens of thousands injured, and hundreds of thousands, the Economist reported, "herded into trucks and buses, driven in convoy towards the border with Niger and Chad […] and dumped in the desert." Some of these surely died as well. [EP]

All this barbarism, according to the Economist, was sparked by "the rumour that a Nigerian had raped a Libyan girl in Zawiya," the city near Tripoli where "pitched battles" took place. [EP] A decade later, race riots again appeared, with not a single rumor of a single rape, but Twitter messages swearing Gaddafi had "given the African Mercenaries," thousands of them, armed with swords and anti-aircraft guns, "full freedom in raping Libyan women" nationwide. [TM] Breathless and widely believed reports, never photographed or recorded for proof, of murderous African repression mushroomed in the first days of protests, with claims that Gaddafi was using the foreigners in a "genocide against the Libyan people." [NLT] or "killing us with his African mercenaries!" [NTW]

This idea was widely reported as nearly fact in the Western and Arab media. A resort to hired brute force was useful in proving the regime’s loss of domestic support, illegitimacy, and fitness to be destroyed. Credulous, high profile dissemination came from the likes of regime official and known anti-African racist, Ali Abdelaziz al-Essawi, called out for provocations at the time of the 2000 riots [UNW]. A decade later he would resign as Libya’s ambassador to India to join the rebel NTC and to tell al-Jazeera on February 22 the "people say [the mercenaries] are black Africans and they don't speak Arabic. They are doing terrible things, going to houses and killing women and children." [DSG]

Across the country and the following months, when the villains were caught, they were shown as proof – terrified or dead black men, often with passports showing an African origin. That ignores the very real possibility the people were just a migrant worker looking for work in Libya or Europe, as they usually said when given a chance. Others would claim to be Libyans from Tawergha who never fought, or a naturalized citizen and a soldier who only fired in self defense, or who even surrendered. The various disguises would be seen through time and again as Free Libya grew. Mercenaries were consistently identified, collectively punished for reported atrocities, and often sent "back to Africa" with a bullet to the head.

3.1.2: Punishing the Mercenaries

CIRET-AVT-CF2R gave a figure of 3-4 million for those foreigners who had fled from Libya by May. These included one million Sahel, West and Central Africans, and 600,000 Sudanese. [CICF] These continued to flood out in a seaborne migrant wave, clogged the ports past capacity. Hundreds of thousands of others were left behind on the waiting list in dead-end camps, or hiding wherever else they could inside the cities, farms, and factories of Libya.

The world watched with some concern this outpouring of human misery, hoping the war would soon be won and the instability ended. Somewhat glossed over was exactly what the Africans in particular were fleeing from. Commencing on the first days of the protests and insurgency (they started together, contrary to popular belief) black foreigners and black-skinned Libyans alike started suffering the backlash over the mercenary reports. Unlike the attacks by Africans, the counter-measures were often verifiable.

One dead and stiff mercenary, believed to be flown in from Chad, was shown on al Jazeeraon February 19. It’s been reported as Az Zintan (among other places) where this proof was scored, but they had to go into a government facility with a security gate to find it (see inset).

This "mercenary" was actually a Libyan Internal Security soldier, a national policeman for riot control, judging by the puffy blue camouflage. As far as anyone knows, Internal Security only hired Libyan citizens. [TM] That same public servant killed in the line of duty was seen again weeks later, dried out, dumped in the desert south of the city (here given as Zawiya) [LL1].

The desert south of Zintan saw other dumping of human trash. A group of at least twelve dead black men was filmed, in civilian clothes, desiccated in the blowing sands in their various pathetic final poses. This eerie echo of the pogrom busses of 2000 was branded the usual way - the men were called Nigerian mercenaries, who ran all the way out there by no fault of the rebels, and died, aside from two the rebels allegedly saved. [LL2]

Another Afro-merc famously shown being beaten and then dead on Youtube videos has been named as Hesham Mansour (or Hesham Shoshan), a Libyan-born soldier, 27 years old. His family was shown on Libyan TV responding to his callous public lynching. People danced on his body, with his pants pulled down in dishonor, and sodomized him with his fearsome mercenary gun. [HM1]. This weapon was brandished, rare evidence of the Africans actually being armed. It’s been identified by others as Belgian-made FN303, a non-lethal weapon used by police for riot control. [HM2] The CIWCL cannot vouch for any of these details, but finds them worth passing on.

The "Aruba school" in Shahet, east of al Baida, hosted a number of alleged mercenaries in late February. About 325 mostly black men, by their own count, flew into L’Abraq air base on February 18. An army of about 3,000 armed locals had come to meet the 400 African mercenaries someone told them were coming. After a short battle, "the protesters in al-Bayda have been able to seize control of the military airbase in the city," an activist said on the 18th, "and have executed 50 African mercenaries and two Libyan conspirators." [BB] "Roughly 200" and then 156 survivors were shown to the media days later. Aside from their Libyan bosses, all were mercenaries from Chad and elsewhere, sent to kill and, judging by the generic Viagra they found, to rape. [LAS]

Given that about 125 of them were dead, Time’s correspondent noted "the remaining men consider themselves lucky," as well as primarily "Libyans," albeit ones "with roots in Chad or Niger." There were a few non-Libyans, About six Chadians and some Sudanese teenagers among them. But when Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch was allowed to inspect the mercenaries he found they "were, in fact, 156 soldiers from the south of Libya," Radio Netherlands Worldwide reported, "and not from another African country." By March 2, they reported, the remaining half of the Libyans sent to al Baida had been quietly released to go home. [LAS]

Further, these soldiers repeatedly said they agreed only to counter-protest in Tripoli, with someone else’s armed insurgency having them re-routed to al Baida, apparently to help defend the army base, and were handed guns for defense, just in time to be captured. [LAS] The prisoners were Libyans, and the rebel captors had every chance to learn this in Arabic. Why they insisted these were foreign killers, up until Bouckaert publicly corrected them, remains unexplained.

The fighting forces of Misrata have become rightly infamous for their ongoing campaign of ethnic cleansing against their neighbors in Tawergha, black Libyans, descended from Tuareg slaves centuries ago. The Misratan rebels still saw slaves, judging by their Graffiti about "purging" them. After suffering loyalist strikes based from and using fighters from Tawergha, the Misratans – with NATO air support – emptied the town and sealed it off in mid-August, expelling its population of 30,000. [LFP]

Then the Misratans pursued the Tawerghans, ones who appear on lists, to wherever they scattered. This was largely to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps around Tripoli, which were unable to guard against frequent raids during which people were taken and never re-appeared. [BJ] Fearing Misratan raids, a Tawerghan man spoke to journalist David Enders, saying security for the camp was provided by a brigade from Benghazi who were nice enough. But he said "we don't know what we'll do if they go back to Ben Ghazi." [DEM]

In Benghazi, their fate had been rubber-stamped. NTC Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said, on the Misratan plan to wipe Tawergha off the map, "nobody has the right to interfere in this matter except the people of Misrata." [SD2]

A surgeon who left Benghazi, his home of 21 years, and fled to Tripoli, reported "they wanted to kill blacks there. I’d be killed if I stayed." [TMF] CIRET-AVT/CF2R spoke of Benghazi’s human trafficking mafia, in 2011 just put in check by Tripoli in conjunction with Italy. In revenge, they threw their full support behind the rebellion and found other ways to squeeze money from migrants. As their May report said:
"Numerous gangs and members of the city’s criminal underworld are known to have conducted punitive expeditions against African migrant workers in Benghazi and the surrounding area. Since the start of the rebellion, several hundred migrant workers - Sudanese, Somalis, Ethiopians, and Eritreans - have been robbed and murdered by rebel militias." [CICF]

3.1.3: Blame Games

Summary executions began early in al Baida and surrounding cities, especially from among the Sabha "mercenaries" described above. 22 loyalists, largely black and perhaps from that same batch of captives, were executed by rebel forces around February 22, somewhere between al Baida and Dernah. Their bodies were shown in a few videos first appearing early on February 23. Bound hands-behind, blindfolded, laid face down and shot dead, they wore a mix of military and civilian clothes, and all had their shoes removed.

These videos were published along with, and apparently part of, a total 130 government soldiers executed in the east by their own officers, for refusing to kill protesters. Press TV for one showed this scene, explaining "an amateur video shows the bodies of some 130 slain soldiers with their hands tied behind their backs. The mutinous soldiers were shot dead in al-Baida […] amid more reports of defiance among army ranks and soldiers who have refused to obey orders by embattled Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi to shoot peaceful protesters." [PTV] The claim apparently originates with the International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR/FIDH), and its affiliate Libyan League for Human Rights (LLHR), although the original report is hard to track down.

Countering that claim, another video showed at least one of those killed, and perhaps several others, being harangued and sentenced to death. It’s done by their Islamist rebel-looking captors, not by uniformed commanding officers. [LBS] This was a rebel video originally, obtained somehow and shown on Libyan TV (al Libya) as the outside world ignored the grave implications. From this, and the unconfirmed and logically tenuous dispatch from the LLHR, it could reasonably be inferred that someone had tallied 130 soldiers killed by "protesters" up to that point, and put them all under the one umbrella of mythology.

This notion emerges time and again in the cases under study; no matter the evidence involved, it’s only on notable occasions (like the October Mahari Hotel massacre in Sirte of more than 50 loyalists) that no firm accusation of regime authorship is put forth.

3.1.4: Smite at their Necks

The repeated claims of Gaddafi-regime massacres are often directly belied by Islamist methods of execution. Anyone is capable, but enraged Islamits are more likely than a professional state security force to do things like cut people’s heads or hands off. The following examples are some of the most relevant low points, and by no means the full roster of often-bizarre atrocities that have accompanied Libya’s revolution.

Consider the "protester" conquest of Benghazi’s chief military base on February 20. Enraged by days of civilians being killed during attacks on the Al-Fadhil bin Omar barracks ("the Katiba"), they finally took the place, with the aid of heavy weapons and a suicide bomber with a very powerful car bomb. The Guardian 's Chris McGreal later reported "what followed wasn't pretty. … some of Gaddafi's soldiers were lynched. At least one was beheaded." [CMG]

The Internal Security soldier killed in Az Zintan on the 19th, mentioned above, wasn’t just killed but tortured. The close-up shots reveal he suffered a left index finger broken in half, a right cheek torn open, and his nose cleanly sliced off of his face. The city of Az Zawiya to the north was under rebel control in late February and early March, with no security force intervention. An investigation by the respected French-based groups CIRET-AVT and CF2R found that, with no help from Gaddafi loyalists:
"There were also atrocities committed (women who were raped, and some police officers who were killed), as well as civilian victims during these three weeks. . . . The victims were killed in the manner of the Algerian GIA [Armed Islamic Group]: throats cut, eyes gauged [sic] out, arms and legs cut off, sometimes the bodies were burned . . ." [CICF]
As mentioned, fifty other "mercenaries" from Sabha were lynched in al Baida, with 15 hanged in front of the courthouse there. This was acknowledged by eventual NTC chief Mustafa Abdel-Jalil; an unfortunate incident borne of rage and chaos. But at least one more public lynching happened in front of the former Justice minister's own courthouse in Benghazi, and it was in late March.

With NATO’s help, rebels had taken Ras Lanuf, and on the night of the 28th, as seen in a video, at least four black men of unclear origins were taken back to Benghazi, paraded before the courthouse in a tiger cage on the back of a pickup truck. By the 30th, there was another video from the same place, again at night, showing a dead black man dangling upside down from a window of Free Libya’s answer to the White House. Dressed only in green army trousers, he was having his head slowly hacked off by a few men with swords, while a cheering crowd of hundreds watched and filmed it. Mr. Abdel-Jalil has never publicly acknowledged this incident. [LBB]

In mid-July, just outside Qawalish, six executed Gaddafi soldiers were found dumped in a water basin. One was black, one had his pants pulled down in dishonor, one was "cleany decapitated." It was said by "rebel sources," based on "they say so," that they’d been "killed and hidden by other Qaddafi soldiers." [CJC] [TRS] In this instance, hardly anyone believed them.

On October 20 in Sirte, about 100 people were left dead in the field following the fatal capture leader Muammar Gaddafi, his son, and his defense minister. At least ten of these were executed, including four black men across the road from the famed drainpipe. One of these, a reporter noted, "had been decapitated, his dreadlocked head lying beside his torso." [RI] No one blamed that on loyalists at all. A few days later, ten badly decomposed bodies were seen by HRW in a large water reservoir. A video shows three bodies, two apparently beheaded, one at least a black man, floating face down, with his pants down. Again, it was said Gaddafi’s people did all that before the rebels controlled area, and Human Rights Watch, with questionable reasoning, agreed. [LWB]

3.1.5: Blame Games with Flames

Burning has been a call sign of the Gaddadfi devils from the outset. February was the first full day of rebel control in Benghazi, following the suicide bombing and soldier executions. Videos showed at least five badly charred bodies, said in vague reports to be found this day in "military barracks" in Benghazi, and to be "those of soldiers savagely massacred for refusing orders to fire against Libyan civilians." [O24] [IB]

The "savage" part suggests what one man specified; a former soldier at the Katiba, self-described, unnamed, and paraded before journalists. He said 'the African mercenaries put guns to our heads and forced us to open fire on the people,’ he claimed. 'If someone refused then the mercenaries poured petrol over their head and set them alight. I saw this with my own eyes. I had to do what they said." [RP2]

Perhaps coincidentally, the UNHRC was told by an eyewitness about a different incident, "the extra-judicial killing of five Chadian nationals," arrested on that basis, and driven to "the military barracks in Benghazi," where armed men "were said to have poured kerosene on their bodies and burned them to death on 21 February." It’s not clear if these two groups of five were the same. Another video in fact shows there are at least six charred bodies, and slightly larger numbers have been reported. By far the most extreme is this claim from the Katiba’s smoking ruins, passed onto the Guardian:
"More than 350 people have been killed, [a local man] said, while adding that this death toll did not include the grim discovery made inside the army garrison headquarters by those who entered it following its surrender. "We found 150 corpses burning and we believe they were the bodies of officers and soldiers who refused to follow orders to fire on the people," he said." [F21]
If there really were 150 soldiers burned inside the rebel-swept barracks, this would be troubling, in part because no one else has mentioned this scale of atrocity there, as if in embarrassment.

The 130 executed soldiers the FIDH apparently reported must not have included this 150. It did include the 22 that rebels killed, as already mentioned. And according to one source, the number also "included a group of mutinous soldiers slain in the nearby city of al-Bayda, where the burnt bodies of 48 soldiers were found at a military barracks." The source given is the International Federation for Human Rights, IFHR/FIDH, "quoting unnamed humanitarian and academic sources." [MCH]

Later in Sirte, it was reported that 42 victims of a massacre were found, near Muttassim Gaddafi’s home, suggesting he ordered it. Some of the corpses were shown to the media on October 12, as the rebels said they had just taken over that area, and still had resistance not far away. A survivor was able explain it all and identify the vitims from video as the suspected rebels he was held with. [LMH]

One spot with about ten victims has been located in satellite imagery by the CIWCL. [LMH] Three of these were reportedly run over with vehicles, and were then burnt with tires. Two skeletal charred bodies were shown, one seen at left, another with its legs missing, and crushed leg bones all around. A Danish reporter was told, by a rebel fighter, that these were all Gaddafi victims, explaining "the proof is that they have burned them." [NYH] [LBR] It is eerily similar to Yarmouk, six weeks earlier.

The other seven bodies were shown piled by a partially toppled wall, bound, face down, shoes removed. At least five of them were black men, and only one clearly light-skinned. Previous rebel claims of territory held had that area under control by October 10 or even by October 4. [LMH] But clearly by the 12th the loyalist butchers were gone, and yet the same bodies were found again on October 14, now doused with black fluid and one of the victims with a freshly burned face. [LBR]

3.1.6: Ambiguous Killings in the Tripoli Theater

The rebel conquest of Tripoli was dubbed Operation Mermaid Dawn and launched August 19 with NATO air support. With Misratans sweeping in from the east and Zintanis from the west, the operation brought new opportunities for horrible things to surface. The time of conquest of each area saw the greatest of the Gaddafi regime’s alleged brutality in that area; everywhere the rebels went, nebulous loyalists had just executed detainees and then fled. Most of their victims were black men, although few acknowledge this. Frequently, the killers were specified as African mercenaries.

At a traffic Roundabout in front of Muammar Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziyah compound, activists in a tent city had long staged demonstrations in support of the Libyan government and defiance of NATO. As of August 24 at the latest, they stopped. At least thirty bodies were seen rotting in the sun across the street, the grassy islands, the solidarity tents, and other random places nearby. Many were killed near cars that had been peppered with bullets or rammed off the road, doors flung open, blankets and clothes strewn about. [LRV] A pile of seven rotting bodies in a field was doused and partly burnt. [L7M] Some at least had clearly been dead for several days.

On the 25th, two days after rebels first partially took the area, they brought Dan Rivers from CNN to see and show the dead outside Bab al-Azizyah. "The rebels say they were executed by Gadhafi's retreating forces," Rivers said, "but these bodies appear to be black Africans […] raising questions about whether the men were executed by the rebels." [DR1] {DR2] Rivers apparently had to do a second take, cut off by the minders [DR3]

A New York Times piece the next day reports on more bodies in the streets from the night’s fighting. Rebels were saying the usual, that still-fleeing loyalists were still flee-killing good Libyans. Then one courageous man stepped up and "said they were [Gaddafi’s] fighters, slain by rebels." One of the rebels sternly informed the resident of Free Libya he was not authorized to speak on this matter. [SF]

Disturingly, many victims right by the roundabout were in and around a medical tent, a specially protected space. Gaddafi loyalists, by the green cloths tied to wrists and ankles, were killed in gurneys and stretchers, on the floors of tents, just outside tents. Some were bound, and some were receiving treatment for previous injuries. One victim was charred and missing its legs. One seems to have been stabbed in the top of the skull, perhaps with a sword. [LRV] The whole complex of tents was systematically burned down in disgust by the rebel fighters, perhaps with bodies inside.

Nearby, 18 corpses were reported along the dry riverbed separating Bab al Aziziya from the Ghargour neighborhood to the southwest. Many of these were bound, some with their own belts, but many others unbound, at least when found. Nearly all the CIWCL can make out are clearly black men. One bizarre story told to Human Rights Watch relates to four of these men seen dumped together, two of them in blue/green medical scrubs. A two-witness team suggests African mercenaries killed two of them (a doctor and "another guy," but not the driver), stole the gas from their ambulance, then drove off in the ambulance to dump three bodies at the same spot these four were seen, by the other witness’ house. The first witness confirmed the two, and said the third was the driver. No one mentions the fourth body, or the race of the victims. HRW implicitly considered this story confirmed and blamed fleeing loyalist mercenaries from Africa for this black-on-black violence. [HR2] [LDR]

Abu Salim was the green loyalist holdout neighborhood immediately south of the roundabout area. Abu Salim trauma hospital saw the worst scene of al, publicized in a big way on August 26. Initial reports said that 75 or "more than 200" mysteriously dead bodies were found rotting inside it. The death toll was 165 by a report from two weeks later. Sadly, the last one is the most credible. [ATH]

Who the victims were and how they died was always left vague. The overall "official story" is that ordinary locals were injured by Gaddafi snipers for protesting, and were taken to the hospital. But the staff fled the hospital - "for fear of the snipers" – and left the critically injured patients to die. Further, more patients kept on being brought in, and simply left there despite no receiving staff.

Contrary to that, CTV’s reporter Janis Mackey-Frayer saw signs of gunshot executions of patients in their beds, and identified one victim from his papers as a special forces soldier with the Libyan army The rest also seemed to be loyalists, injured in the fighting, killed in the hospital. The presumably loyalist staff was gone. In one stretch of hallway, blood spray consistent with gunshots was visible in at least six spots. One man at least was cleanly beheaded in his hospital bed, his right arm frozen out in protest, one fingernail torn in the struggle. Between him and others bled in that room, the entire floor was covered with a thick layer of drying blood.

Of the 20 bodies shown piled outside with blankets and clothes, with the dozen or so scattered in the drive, the several in the morgue, and the 20 or 21 in the blood-filled sick ward, only one visible victim was clearly light-skinned (an old man in one of the morgue’s drawers). As sometimes noted, the majority again were black people. For once it wasn’t all men, but also two women and two children, Alex Thomson found. [AT2]

That Gaddafi loyalists weren’t directly blamed is noteworthy. It leaves no explanation at all for the obvious massacre inside that protected medical space. Perhaps even the Misrata fighters couldn't believe themselves saying these 75-163-200 killings were loyalist work. A few locals, perhaps by reflex, did whisper that it was probably that. [LTH]

The world gasped at news of this carnage, and might have drawn a blank if not for what rebel fighters and "witnesses" explained for them. Sarah Whitson for Human Rights Watch announced that "Gaddafi government forces went on a spate of arbitrary killing as Tripoli was falling." [HR2] They carried out these arbitrary, cruel, and racist killings as they fled, easier than walking and chewing gum at the same time. In turn they fled just as they were attacked, which was just as the racist, brutal, unchecked rebels entered town. Why this fails to set off more alarm bells than it does is one of the prime questions the CIWCL would like to ask all the readers of this report.

3.1.7: Bad Omens Around Yarmouk

The pattern described above arced across Libya, through areas where government resistance was worn down by sanctions and bombs.It fish-hooked into Tripoli from the east and west, pointing in space and time south, towards the Yarmouk base and the smoldering find of August 26. The follow-on news reports of the 27th and 28th caught a possibly relevant side-story. Black men found walking across the road were arrested and brought into the base through the eagle gate. AP’s Ben Hubbard reported that he saw "rebel forces punching a dozen black men before determining they were innocent migrant workers and releasing them." [BHH]

A Daily Telegraph video shows the arrest, the bewildered men standing amid a pile of leaves and tree branches - they apparently just had some fierce bullet pruning done above their heads.[??] Channel 4’s Alex Thomson was there, his cameraman seeing only a gentle pat on the head of a "Gaddafi fighter, Gaddafi fighter." Thomson said the men were slated to visit a "special council" for mercenaries. "The men, clearly terrified and some weeping, said: "Please don't go. Don't leave us. They will kill us." So he made part of the story refusing to leave until he saw that they were safe. [ATC]

These suspected mercenaries were given water and apparently set free, but followed by media and rebel fighters, to the farm they were squatting at. The men were out looking for food for the community of "hundreds of Africans […] including many women," seen by AP reporters Hubbard and Karin Laub. [HLF] Photographs from the site show armed men watching the threatened blacks mill around the big warehouse, some packing their stuff. [AOP] A Reuters video shows a good view of their daily life and explains "they have no food and the water coming out of the outside tap is salty. They live in fear." [DLF] The men didn’t find any food, but at least they weren’t executed, apparently.

The rebels had a chance to show their compassion for people stuck in a bad situation in the country they were liberating. Instead, recognizing the base of the African mercenaries, they shut it down. As Laub updated later in the day:
William Osas, a 32-year-old Nigerian, said many of them were once farm workers. They fled the fighting and have been living there for months, often receiving food from the black soldiers in Gadhafi's army.

Now the rebels have told them they must get out. "They told us that we have two days to leave here, and if we don't leave they'll kill us all," he said. "They said that Gadhafi uses blacks and that we are with Gadhafi, but we don't know anything about that."

They were apparently only evicted on September 4, moved to a factory only to be kicked out of there, then split-up and sent to different camps. [UNO] No one is sure if their numbers have stayed the same or if any of them were routed to other places even less friendly.

The CIWCL has located what seems to be the farm area [GM2], as seen in photographs. It lies just over a kilometer southwest of the Yarmouk base, and a bit closer to a mosque behind which 22 executed bodies were discovered on August 26. The graphic below shows where these areas are relative to each other.

The 22 bodies were sprawled along a dry riverbed turned dirt road, running along the back wall of what could be the mosque used by the fifth-column rebel fighters in that area. These were led by Sheikh Hussein Furjani, reportedly "the undisputed boss" of Khelet al-Furjan, a preacher who took up the fight as the rebels brought it in. Karin Laub, AP, reported "Furjani heads the local military committee and operates from his mosque," [KL6] [LLF] There can only be so many mosques in that area.

CNN reported on the 29th that "a resident who lives nearby told CNN that at least 22 bodies were found in a ditch near the [Yarmouk] base, but it was not clear whether those remains were connected to the killings at the warehouse." [CNN3] David Kirkpatrick from the New York Times visited the scene on August 27 and reported back, "at least 15 other men were found rotting in a wooded gully," at least one of them bound, and with seven others already removed. [DKN]

The dead were called Gaddafi victims, randomly kidnapped, some for their cars. Richard Spencer of the Telegraph went there and spoke to Nasser Aweidat, a doctor, who said his brother Mohammed had disappeared after going to help a hospital. "I found him here," the man said. Spencer added "the family believe he was killed [by Gaddafi loyalists] for his car, perhaps as a means of escape." [RS]

Mr. Aweidat was likely a light-skinned man, and Spencer said the bodies he saw were only "blackened by the summer heat." [RS] But in fact he was seeing black African skin, as clarified by two known videos from the site. The first is described as filmed on August 26, posted later [MD1], and the other labeled 2011-8-27, encoded the 28th, posted the 29th. [MD2] Both videos show about the same array of brutalized men who could pass for mercenaries. The CIWCL can count fifteen bodies, and can identify none as light-skinned. Some area bit vague, but a majority are clearly black people from Chad, Nigeria, Libya, or wherever.

They wear civilian clothes, some of it perhaps ill-fitting. Some are partly or perhaps fully stripped, and some have their pants down. They were executed on-site, judging by the dark pools around many of their heads. All seem to be about fighting age except perhaps one (sadly, the potentially naked one) that looks perhaps too small to be full-grown, and another that seems to have a graying stubble beard.

Compounding all this, these victims were apparently doused and burnt by someone, perhaps trying to hide clues, at some point after these videos. As seen on the 26th and 27th, these primarily at least not burnt. a photo by Ron Haviv/VII mid-day August 28 of the execution site shows the bodies removed, but the spots they had been blackened as if the bodies had been burned [RH1] [RH2] The grass and twigs beneath are blackened, but not reduced to ash, so there was no burning of the intensity seen at the shed. But the role of flames is corroborated by a report from Al Manaar: "When we visited the place referred to by locals behind a mosque there, we saw the burn marks on the soft ground where the bodies were set on fire." [AM]

This would have been arranged, most likely, by whoever was in charge of the area. This was all after the 26th, after all Gaddafi loyalists had been defeated and rebel militias had free reign. Once again, the killing, if not the burning, was blamed on shadow loyalists, African mercenaries with a thirst for the blood of innocent people who would, after death, become black themselves, with decay and/or with fire.


:: Article nr. 86833 sent on 27-mar-2012 08:43 ECT


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