Libya: Extremists Terrorizing Derna Residents


Libya: Extremists Terrorizing Derna Residents

An armed motorcade belonging to members of Derna's Islamic Youth Shura Council that pledged allegiance to ISIS, drive along a road in eastern Libya on October 3, 2014. © 2014 Reuters

An armed motorcade belonging to members of Derna’s Islamic Youth Shura Council that pledged allegiance to ISIS, drive along a road in eastern Libya on October 3, 2014.
© 2014 Reuters

Summary Executions, Public Floggings, No Rule of Law

(Beirut) – Armed militias that control the eastern city of Derna are terrorizing residents through summary executions, public floggings, and other violent abuse. The abuses are taking place in the absence of state authorities and the rule of law. The groups include some that have affiliated with the extremist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS).

Human Rights Watch documented 3 apparent summary executions and at least 10 public floggings by the Islamic Youth Shura Council, an extremist group which publicly pledged allegiance to ISIS in November. Human Rights Watch also documented beheadings of three Derna residents in what appear to be war crimes, and dozens of seemingly politically motivated assassinations of public officials, judges and members of the security forces, and others, including women.

“Extremist militias controlling Derna in the absence of any state authorities have unleashed a reign of terror against its inhabitants,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director. “Commanders should understand that they may face domestic or international prosecution for the grave rights abuses their forces are committing.”

Since May, an armed conflict between forces allied with the elected Libyan government based in Tobruk and led by General Khalifa Hiftar and Islamist militias has engulfed eastern Libya. In and around Derna, in addition to the powerful Islamic Shura Youth Council, the militias include members of Ansar al-Sharia and the Abu Saleem Martyrs Brigade.

Human Rights Watch spoke with Derna residents who fled the city to escape persecution by Islamist militias and in anticipation of an announced military offensive by forces allied to Libya’s elected government. One Derna activist, who said he left the city at the end of October after receiving death threats for speaking out against the militias, described Derna as “fully under the control of fundamentalists” who have imposed an extremist ideology, and enforced a strict interpretation of Shari’a law with public executions and floggings. He said extremist militias shared the same ideology and the only dispute between them related to the Islamic Youth Shura Council’s pledge of allegiance to ISIS.

The United Nations should urgently establish an international commission of inquiry or similar mechanisms to investigate alleged war crimes and other serious violations by all sides of the conflict in Libya, with a view to ensuring future ACCOUNTABILITY, Human Rights Watch said.

Derna has had no significant presence of state authorities, including police and a functioning judiciary, since the end of the 2011 revolution in Libya that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.

Since 2013, unidentified assailants in Derna have assassinated at least five judges and prosecutors, and two women – a former lawmaker and a former security official. Unidentified armed militias have also attacked and destroyed tombs in mosques, including Derna’s historic al-Sahaba Mosque, which extremists have repeatedly targeted since 2011.

The Libyan air force, allied with the elected government, has conducted air strikes against militia targets in Derna, Benghazi, and elsewhere, while the militias have mounted purported suicide and other attacks in Tobruk, al-Baida, and Benghazi. Both sides have carried out indiscriminate attacks that amount to war crimes, killing and injuring civilians and civilian objects. *****(Adding in these war crimes they should add NATO’s crimes when they were bombing indiscriminate attacks all over the country killing over 100.000 civilians including children)

All parties to the conflict in Libya are required to abide by the laws of war. Certain serious violations of these laws, when committed with criminal intent, are war crimes. War crimes include “the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all judicial guarantees which are generally recognized as indispensable.” Murder on a systematic or widespread scale when used as state policy or by an organized group is a crime against humanity. Those who commit, order, assist, or have command responsibility for war crimes or crimes against humanity are subject to prosecution by domestic courts or the International Criminal Court (ICC). ****(Well ICC should take in account that the war crimes committed in Libya now are the result of F.U.K.US and NATO who they should also be charged for their illegal intervention killing thousands, murdering the leader of the country, using Depleted uranium, destroying the infrastructure of Libya, bombing hospitals killing injured people by the thousands. Using cluster bombs which are forbidden by international law but they used them anyway killing thousand of people. Bombing Sirte for over two weeks and not allowing the Red Cross to enter to give food, medicine and whatever else was needed. The list is too long to write but if ICC decides to charge for war Crimes first in the list should be OBAMA, CLINTON, McCain, SUSAN RICE, CAMERON, HAGUE, SARKOZY, BERNARD LEVI, Ki Moon of the UN, ERDOGAN OF TURKEY, THE HOUSE OF SAUDI last but not the least HAMAD BIN KHALIFA AL-THANI of Qatar and of course lets not forget NATO COUNTRIES WHO BOMBED LIBYA TOGETHER  WITH THE CHIEF AT THE TIME ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN. Then the ICC can charge for war crimes that the Libyans did to each other.)

Libyan authorities have shown themselves powerless or unwilling to investigate and prosecute those responsible for unlawful killings and other serious rights abuses in the country. International ACCOUNTABILITY efforts for serious crimes have stalled despite an existing ICC mandate in Libya and a UN Security Council resolution threatening individual sanctions. The UN Human Rights Council ended the mandate of its commission of inquiry into violations in Libya in 2012.

“UN Security Council threats of sanctions become hollow if they are never acted upon,” Whitson said. “As each day passes, more people die and more opportunities to reverse Libya’s downward spiral are being frittered away.”

Security Council and ICC

The ICC has jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide committed in Libya since February 15, 2011, under UN Security Council Resolution 1970. Human Rights Watch has urged the ICC prosecutor to consider additional cases addressing ongoing violations by all sides in Libya. In a November 11statement to the Security Council, the ICC prosecutor said that the combined effect of instability in Libya and lack of resources had undermined further efforts to investigate ongoing abuses. The Security Council, whose members unanimously gave the ICC authority to investigate in Libya, have special responsibility to extend their full support to facilitate the prosecutor’s continued work there, Human Rights Watch said.

On November 20, the Security Council added the extremist groups Ansar al-Sharia in Derna and in Benghazi to the Al Qaeda sanctions list. Members of these two entities are now subject to international travel bans and asset freezes.

On August 27, the Security Council passed resolution 2174 (2014) broadening international sanctions on Libya to include people who engage in or support acts that “threaten the peace, stability or security of Libya, or obstruct or undermine the successful completion of its political transition.” Such acts include “planning, directing, or committing acts that violate applicable international human rights law or international humanitarian law, or acts that constitute human rights abuses.” The Security Council is still to deliver on this threat of sanctions by designating individuals to be subjected to a travel ban and assets freeze under the expanded sanctions regime.

Attacks, Abuses in Derna

Human Rights Watch spoke with Derna residents who witnessed militia members carrying out cruel punishments, including summary executions and floggings. Human Rights Watch also spoke with family members and friends of victims, and community activists, and reviewed available online content, including videos, photos, and statements.

An activist who recently fled Derna told Human Rights Watch on November 13 that the Islamic Youth Shura Council emerged in April, gradually took control of the city and created its own public administration to rule Derna. The group, which rejects democracy and only accepts Sharia law, established a Legal Committee for Dispute Resolution and Reconciliation and appointed judges to a new Islamic court who have interrogated, prosecuted, and pronounced sentence on those deemed to have offended against their strict interpretation of Sharia law. Information the Islamic Youth Shura Council published says it has also set up a body called theDiwan al-Hisbah to oversee the “promotion of virtue and prevention of vice,” as well as a bureau for education and its own “Islamic police” force. Derna residents told Human Rights Watch that some of the judges at the Islamic Court were foreign nationals.

Summary Executions

Derna residents said they witnessed militants of the Islamic Shura Youth Council carry out public executions of three men accused of murder in two separate incidents. On July 27, militants of the group shot Al-Sanussi Nasri al-Huweidi, a Libyan, and an unidentified Egyptian national, for the alleged killing of Hamad Miloud al-Hassadi on July 25. According to a witness, the family of the victim handed the two alleged killers to the Islamic Shura Youth Council, which interrogated and declared them guilty on the same day.

One witness said armed men belonging to the group took the two accused to Martyrs place at al-Sahaba Square at around 1:30 a.m., where a member of the group shot both the accused in the head, one with a single bullet and the other with two, after the victim’s family declined to shoot them:

The Shura Council, which now became ISIS, hardly waited at all before executing the suspects. It all happened so fast within just two days. The sessions at the Islamic Court where people are interrogated and sentenced by a panel of three judges are not public. Usually, the court announces if it will carry out a death sentence beforehand. In this case the family of the victims refused to pardon the suspect, so the court carried out the sentence.

On August 19, the Islamic Shura Youth Council oversaw the public execution of Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed, an Egyptian national, at a football stadium in western Derna, after accusing him of killing Khalid al-Drissi, a Libyan. In a six-minute video posted online, an unidentifiable masked man reads charges against the accused man, who is kneeling, blindfolded and with his hands tied behind his back, on a plastic covered stretcher. The masked man first asks members of the victim’s family if they wish to pardon the alleged murderer and, when they refuse, hands a pistol to one of the family members, who shoots the accused man in the head, killing him.

Public Flogging

A Derna resident told Human Rights Watch on November 18 that he witnessed the public floggings of eight young men in Derna’s Old Mosque Square on October 25 or 26. He said two masked men alternate in flogging the men:

Masked men from the Shura Council lined up eight young men at Al-Sahaba Square and punished each with 40 whips after they were caught drinking alcoholic beverages at a “bachelor party” together with the groom. The council member starts by whipping the shoulders and then continues all the way down to the feet, 40 lashes. If an individual is caught drinking alcohol, they [Shura Council] will implement the “whipping punishment” [had al-Jald] on the spot.

Photographs and ACCOUNTS published by the Islamic Shura Youth Council on social media show two other public floggings in front of the Islamic Court. On each occasion, three men were flogged for allegedly drinking alcohol. Human Rights Watch was able to corroborate the floggings but not the dates on which they took place.

Assassinations

Human Rights Watch has tracked 250 cases of apparently politically motivated killings in Derna and Benghazi since the beginning of 2014. The victims included former and current members of the military and security agencies, as well as five judges and members of the public prosecution. In all cases, the killings were carried out by unidentified assailants. None of these unlawful killings have been investigated, and no one has been prosecuted or convicted for these crimes.

Mohamed Najib Hweidi, head of the appeals court for the Green Mountain region, was assassinated on June 16, 2013; Mohamed Khalifah al-Naas, deputy general prosecutor for the Green Mountain region was killed on November 9, 2013; Retired judge Youssef al-Kreimi died in Tunis on December 24, 2013 from wounds he sustained during an assassination attempt on November 25, 2013 in Derna; Abdelaziz al-Hassadi, Libya’s former general prosecutor, was assassinated on February 8, 2014; and former judge Mohamed Bouejeilah al-Mansouri was killed on April 28, 2014.

Unidentified assailants also targeted and killed two women, Fariha al-Barkawi and Salwa Yunis al-Hinaid, in 2014 in Derna in what appears to have been politically motivated assassinations. Two Derna residents, one an activist, said that the shooting death of a third woman in February only weeks after the killing of her husband, a former army officer, was not linked to politics but to a family dispute.

Unidentified assailants killed al-Barkawi, a former Derna city representative to the General National Congress (GNC), and a member of the National Forces Alliance, a political party with a non-Islamist agenda on July 17. One of her relatives in Derna, who spoke to Human Rights Watch on November 19, said al-Barkawi’s killing occurred five months after she resigned from the GNC, where she had called vocally for the presence of state authorities in Derna and criticized Islamist extremists. The relative said:

She was on her way to a market in western Shiha area to do some shopping for the month of Ramadan when she was killed by three bullets after her car was sprayed with a hail of bullets by a passing car with unidentified assailants. Although some passers-by tried to help her, it was too late. She died before she reached Al-Harish Hospital. There is no forensics examiner in Derna, so she was transferred to al-Bayda, which is 100 kilometers away and back the next day to be buried. The prosecutor’s offices are shut and the court was burned down early in 2011, during the revolution. There is no one who can investigate the killing.

Unidentified assailants gunned down al-Hinaid, a former employee of the state’s internal security apparatus under Muammar Gaddafi on September 9, 2014. A relative told Human Rights Watch on November 19 that gunmen killed al-Hinaid at around 8 a.m. as she left her house to buy bread, a regular routine. Several bullets hit her, and she died on the spot. No one has claimed responsibility.

Kidnappings and Beheadings

On November 1, a video statement by a group of nine masked young men, some of them armed, calling themselves Youth of Derna circulated on the social media. The statement pledged allegiance to the so-called Dignity military operation led by General Hiftar, who had been reinstated with 16 other officers in November by the elected government, and recognized the authority of the elected House of Representatives in Tobruk.

The group called on revolutionaries to take up arms and fight the “extremist militias in Derna including Ansar al-Sharia and ISIS,” and threatened to avenge unlawful killings and other rights abuses of the preceding three years that they alleged the “Muslim Brotherhood and extremist militias” had carried out, vowing to “show no mercy.”

The members of the group remain unidentified but they appear to have included at least one of three young men – Siraj Katish, Mohamed Btaou, and Mohamed al-Mismari – who were subsequently abducted in separate but seemingly coordinated incidents on November 5 in Derna. Their bodies were subsequently found in fields at Hisha, southern Derna. All three had been decapitated.

Derna residents identified al-Mismari as the likely spokesperson who appeared in the video, but Human Rights Watch was unable to confirm the identities of any of the nine youths. Derna residents said al-Mismari had spoken out against the Islamist militias in a June interview but that Katish and Btaou had no known public profiles as activists.

A Derna resident told Human Rights Watch on November 21 that unidentified armed men who arrived in three cars abducted Katish on November 5 as he stood in front of his house with three friends. A Derna resident familiar with the case told Human Rights Watch that on November 10 a shepherd alerted the Derna branch of the Red Crescent after finding the remains of two men, whose heads had been severed and were missing. The bodies were later identified by their families as those of Katish and Btaou. Al-Mismari’s was then found in an adjacent field; his head had also been severed, according to a news report. Human Rights Watch could not confirm the circumstances surrounding the abduction and killing of al-Mismari.

No one has claimed responsibility for these abductions and killings, although local residents have told Human Rights Watch they believe Islamist militants were responsible. One Derna resident who knew Katish said, “The extremists who pledged allegiance to ISIS are de facto in control of the entire city, they are now the strongest group there and they control everything, so they are undoubtedly responsible for the beheadings.”

In another incident, gunmen killed Moataz Bouruaq al-Shalwi near his house on November 13, according to a Derna resident who lives close by. Soon after, news circulated that militants of the Islamic Youth Shura Council had detained three people alleged to have killed al-Shalwi. Activists and news sites suggested that they faced imminent execution by shooting if the victim’s family desired it. There has been no news of the three since.

A May 28 news report said that the severed head of Abdul Moaz Turkawi, a Derna student who had previously challenged militia manning a checkpoint, was found in the compound of the city’s Al-Sahaba Mosque.

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War in Libya: France Sued


War in Libya: France Sued

Residents of the Libyan city of Touarga, victimized militia anti Gaddafi during the war in Libya in 2011 , started proceedings against France for legal assistance to the rebels said their lawyer in Paris, Marcel Ceccaldi. This lawyer assigned the French State before the High Court of Paris and claimed more than € 600 million to compensate some 40,000 people forcibly displaced or families of the missing Touarga or 15,000 euros per person, has he explained . During the war in Libya, Touarga, near Misrata, 200 km east of Tripoli, had long been a strong pro-Gaddafi instead. Its inhabitants were accused by rebel fighters from Misrata have played a key role in the siege of their city by loyalist forces and committing numerous abuses, such as rape. A violation of the UN charter, but after Touarga taking by rebels of Misrata, the city had been deserted as a result of violent reprisals, including looting and fires. These abuses were denounced by Human Rights Watch.  In his summons, counsel submits that taking Touarga and atrocities that followed were made ​​possible thanks to the coalition air strikes under NATO command, which France played a leading role. However, Resolution 1973 of the Security Council of the UN “provided for the protection of civilians, but did not allow the members of the coalition states to intervene in the conflict,” outlines Marcel Ceccaldi. In his view, it is therefore a violation of the principle of non-use of force posed by the UN Charter, which the French state can be held responsible. “The consequence is a deserted city 2000 missing and an unknown number of people in prison, “said the lawyer, who has defended several dignitaries of the former regime of Muammar Gaddafi. This procedure is expected to take many months before a hearing on the merits of the complaint.

Revealed falsification of the Libyan rebels in Amnesty International


Revealed falsification of the Libyan rebels in Amnesty International

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Libya, ALBA and the West: Humanity’s Choice Between Cooperative Solidarity and Murderous Competition


alfatah69:

In September 2013, the Belfer Center of Harvard University published a study confirming that NATO’s war on Libya was based on downright falsehoods. In June this year the US authorities announced data indicating that the economy contracted 2.9% in the first quarter. In the same month Facebook admitted accusations that it had abused its system so as to carry out an unauthorized experiment in mass psychological manipulation of its users

But no one in the NATO countries concerned is facing trial in the International Criminal Court for the criminal aggression against Libya. Stock market prices continue at high levels and the financial media say, six years after the international financial system collapsed in 2008, that the recovery is “gaining traction”. The millions of Facebook users continue to use that social network as if nothing has happened presumably because it has become such an integral part of their daily routine.

The connection between these diverse apparently unrelated events is that they show the integral corruption of the criminal system of Western capitalism. No matter where one looks. In international relations, in the United Nations, in the economy, in the financial system, in intellectual life, in the communications media, in sports bodies like FIFA or the International Olympic Committee, corruption is everywhere. Virtually every area of public policy is perverted so as to benefit corporate elites.

In Western media, innumerable liberal and progressive analysts express an almost neurotic longing for change. The academic and media phenomenon of Thomas Piketty’s study of capitalism openly acknowledges the social and economic injustice of capitalism. The media phenomenon of Edward Snowden explicitly recognizes the routine abuse on a massive scale about which many other people before Snowden had raised the alarm for decades.

Few have noted the paradox that these media phenomena are generated by the self-same inert broken system that Snowden and Piketty criticize. Far from being a virtuous demonstration of democracy, essentially what Piketty and Snowden and their promoters are saying comes down to something like, “Sure, the system’s broken but if we tighten a nut here and a bolt there the machinery will work again just fine”. Or perhaps, if the Princess could only overcome her revulsion and kiss the toad everyone could live happily ever after. Real human history has been very different.

Human history prior to 1945 was one of a century and a half of bitter struggle by untold millions of women and men around the world against the sadistic cruelty and injustice of genocidal Western capitalism. That long history of struggle achieved a few positive results at end of the Second World War, including the start of decolonization and recognition of the right to self-determination. One can argue that those changes have helped the majority world to resist in some degree since 1990 the persistent surges of aggression by the Western powers trying to defend their residual global domination.

In recent years, Libya has been the most representative case of North American and European sadism and hypocrisy. The opportune study in 2013 by Alan Kuperman of Harvard University’s Belfer Center concludes : “Libya’s 2011 uprising was never peaceful, but instead was armed and violent from the start. Muammar al-Qaddafi did not target civilians or resort to indiscriminate force.” Kuperman adds, “NATO’s action magnified the conflict’s duration about sixfold, and its death toll at least sevenfold, while also exacerbating human rights abuses, humanitarian suffering, Islamic radicalism, and weapons proliferation in Libya and its neighbors.

While there has been wide recognition of the deceit-based failure of the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, not for nothing have few admitted the disastrous failure of the war against Libya. More than any other recent conflict, the sadistic aggression against Libya revealed the falsity not just of Western governments and corporate media but also of Western alternative media, progressive intellectuals and progressive movements. Along the whole length of the Western political spectrum the most distinguished political academic and intellectual leaders were mistaken in the most humiliating and shameful way.

The destruction of Libya shows the completely rotten reality underlying the false claims to moral and intellectual superiority of Western political culture. The contagion of baseless prejudices and rumours glibly treated as fact also extended to many majority world intellectuals. It was truly remarkable how many supposedly cultured, sophisticated individuals, knowing practically nothing about Libya, expressed an irrational antipathy against both the Libyan Jamahiriya and its architect Muammar al-Gaddhafi.

Only a few leaders, notably Daniel Ortega, Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro, showed the necessary wisdom to accurately assess what was happening. This is indisputable. So one obvious conclusion is to question the judgment of all those Western political leaders, intellectuals and many supposedly progressive movements, whatever their political label may be. The aggression against Libya has proven to be the graveyard of the credibility of public political and intellectual life in North America and Europe.

The UN showed itself yet again to be a reliable accomplice of aggression violating its most fundamental principles. Almost alone, it was the governments of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas who maintained a consistent and correct position based on an accurate assessment of the facts. When almost all other world political leaders failed so grossly on Libya, it is indeed interesting to look at why Daniel Ortega, Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro and their ALBA colleagues got things right.

More than anyone those leaders and their colleagues like Nicolas Maduro, Evo Morales and Rafael Correa understand the meaning of the true history of mass struggle against the Western imperialist powers throughout the majority world. They were right about Libya and they are right now in their defence of Cuba, Venezuela and Argentina in Latin America and, elsewhere, of the people and government of Syria and the people of eastern Ukraine. Last week they again showed the strength of their anti-imperialist political vision in two very important events for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Firstly, last week saw the first meeting of the Administrative Council of the long delayed Bank of the South, a South American alternative to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Secondly, last week also saw unanimous solidarity with Argentina from Latin American and Caribbean countries in the Organization of American States against US court judgments favouring predatory vulture funds. Both cases indicate the influence and prestige achieved in recent years of the ALBA countries’ vision of solidarity based regional integration.

As the economic and political crisis in the NATO countries deepens, the challenge to its global political and economic domination increases. The West promotes a vision based on greed and competition rigged via unfair trade, manipulative development cooperation and unjust debt. The increasingly influential ALBA vision, of solidarity and cooperation based on fundamental respect for nations’ self-determination is also the vision of the Libyan Jamahiriya. In Latin America, the deep moral battle between this vision and the destructive corporate greed of the West plays out mainly in the continuing vicious blockade of Cuba, the violent destabilization of Venezuela and, now, the wanton legal attack on Argentina’s economy.

Originally posted on Libya 360°:

tortilla con sal

In September 2013, the Belfer Center of Harvard University published a study confirming that NATO’s war on Libya was based on downright falsehoods. In June this year the US authorities announced data indicating that the economy contracted 2.9% in the first quarter. In the same month Facebook admitted accusations that it had abused its system so as to carry out an unauthorized experiment in mass psychological manipulation of its users

But no one in the NATO countries concerned is facing trial in the International Criminal Court for the criminal aggression against Libya. Stock market prices continue at high levels and the financial media say, six years after the international financial system collapsed in 2008, that the recovery is “gaining traction”. The millions of Facebook users continue to use that social network as if nothing has happened presumably because it has become such an integral part of their…

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The Truth of Libya (Finally) Goes Mainstream


The Truth of Libya (Finally) Goes Mainstream

Mustafa Abdul Jalil Head of False Libyan Revolution Admits Qaddafi did not Kill Protesters

Author: Eric Draitser

Editors note: The article admits that the Illegal war in Libya was a false flag, its what we have been saying since 2011 finally the truth is coming out and going into the mainstream. We the simple people have been writing about it from the beginning and the Mainstream was calling us conspirators, Qaddafi loyalists are some of the names that I can remember. Thanks to all the activists and bloggers who spent hours on end with no financial back up. We have been for the last three years laughed at, condemned at, some were prosecuted, some lost their lives and some are still in hiding as the Libyan Militias have put a price on our heads. I would like to thank the author and his colleagues who took the time to read our articles, videos etc and to decide to write an article about the truth. We still have a long way to go, but its a start.

99977

Sirt

 

More than three years after the US and its NATO allies unleashed an “intervention” and regime change in Libya, the US establishment admits they maybe have “got it wrong.” Naturally, there were many of us who were demonized endlessly for speaking out against that war, and against all those politicians, analysts, and “activists” on the left and right, who championed the “humanitarianism” of waging war on Libya. We were attacked as “soft on dictators,” “conspiracy theorists,” and “anti-Americans.” And yet, today it is our voices that still proclaim loudly the immorality and illegality of that war. Thankfully, it seems the establishment is beginning to hear us.

One of the most highly regarded politico-academic institutions in the US – the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University – has issued a report which undermines the established narrative of the war in Libya, laying bare the cold, hard reality of what Libya was at the outset of the war, what really happened in the early days, and what Libya has become today. Of course, responsibility for the tragic and lasting effects of that war should be laid at the feet of Obama, Cameron, Sarkozy, and the other participants, in addition to those media outlets and NGOs that deliberately spread lies about the reality on the ground in Libya. All must be held accountable.

Finally Seeing the Light?

The recent report, which is actually almost a year old, was written by Dr. Alan Kuperman, Associate Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin. Dr. Kuperman attempts to shed light on some of the key aspects of disinformation before and during the war in Libya. These important findings contradict every single justification for that war, from the lies and distortions of Samantha Power, Susan Rice, and Hillary Clinton, to the deluge of propaganda from so-called NGOs such as Human rights Watch and Amnesty International. By examining the obfuscations and outright lies told by these individuals and organs of soft power, Dr. Kuperman makes it quite clear that, just as with Iraq, the people of the United States (and much of the world) have been lied into yet another war.

One of the principal lies told about Libya and Gaddafi was the totally unsubstantiated claim of “massacres” by Gaddafi forces in Benghazi and a few other cities. This claim, perpetrated by Human Rights Watch among others, was repeated ad nauseam by every major media outlet. As Dr. Kuperman writes:

Contrary to Western media reports, Qaddafi did not initiate Libya’s violence by targeting peaceful protesters. The United Nations and Amnesty International have documented that in all four Libyan cities initially consumed by civil conflict in mid-February 2011—Benghazi, Al Bayda, Tripoli, and Misurata—violence was actually initiated by the protesters. The government responded to the rebels militarily but never intentionally targeted civilians or resorted to “indiscriminate” force, as Western media clai med. Early press accounts exaggerated the death toll by a factor of ten, citing “more than 2,000 deaths” in Benghazi during the initial days of the uprising, whereas Human Rights Watch (HRW) later documented only 233 deaths across all of Libya in that period.

These are indeed significant facts that merit further examination as they completely contradict the standard narrative of the war in Libya and, most importantly, the justifications for it. First and foremost is the question of who initiated violence. The talking points in Western media all through early 2011 held that Gaddafi was “murdering his own people,” and that this justified a humanitarian intervention, to “help the people of Benghazi.” However, the hitherto suppressed truth is that it was the violent “protesters” (who should rightly be referred to as terrorists within the protests) who actually initiated the violence, using protesters as human shields.

Secondly, the notion that Gaddafi’s forces intentionally targeted civilians has been thoroughly debunked. Quite the contrary, the evidence now shows that Gaddafi went to great lengths to make sure that no civilians were harmed in the counter-terrorism operation as can be evidenced by the fact that “Qaddafi avoided targeting civilians…HRW reports that of the 949 people wounded [in Misrata] in the rebellion’s initial seven weeks, only 30 were women or children, meaning that Qaddafi’s forces focused narrowly on combatants.” Rather than ordering the wanton killing of civilians, Gaddafi attempted to maintain discipline among his forces such that they could stamp out insurgency with as little collateral damage as possible.

Third is the simple fact that all death tolls reported by the media leading up to the war were not only inaccurate, but wildly exaggerated beyond the parameters of “margin of error.” In fact, by overestimating the death toll by a factor of ten, Human Rights Watch consciously played the part of public relations clearinghouse for US-NATO. Of course, Human Rights Watch, long since understood to be very cozy with the State Department, Pentagon and CIA, has become increasingly discredited in the eyes of serious human rights investigators and activists. The role of HRW in Libya exposed the organization in ways it had never been exposed before – as an organ of US soft power projection, working tirelessly to justify on humanitarian grounds what is undoubtedly a nakedly imperialist war.

Dr. Kuperman also points out another key aspect of the Western narrative which is a complete fiction, namely that US-NATO’s goal in waging the war was not regime change, but the protecting of civilians. As Kuperman writes:

The conventional wisdom is also wrong in asserting that NATO’s main goal in Libya was to protect civilians. Evidence reveals that NATO’s primary aim was to overthrow Qaddafi’s regime, even at the expense of increasing the harm to Libyans. NATO attacked Libyan forces indiscriminately, including some in retreat and others in Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte, where they posed no threat to civilians. Moreover, NATO continued to aid the rebels even when they repeatedly rejected government cease-fire offers that could have ended the violence and spared civilians. Such military assistance included weapons, training, and covert deployment of hundreds of troops from Qatar, eventually enabling the rebels to capture and summarily execute Qaddafi and seize power in October 2011.

Indeed, the US and its allies abandoned the “protection of civilians” justification almost as soon as UNSC Resolution 1973 was passed, authorizing merely a No Fly Zone in Libya which the NATO forces took as a de facto authorization for total war. As Dr. Kuperman describes, NATO forces were clearly engaged in an air war to destroy the military and political institutions of the Gaddafi government, rather than simply protecting civilians and providing support to rebels. Indeed, the NATO forces became the primary driver of the campaign against Gaddafi, allowing the rebels to take territory and, I might add, carry out their massacres of civilians.

bp2Even Human Rights Watch, which vigorously suppressed the truth about ethnic cleansing carried out against black Libyans while it was happening, was forced to admit crimes against humanity in Libya, specifically the forced displacement of the Tawergha ethnic group. Naturally, these revelations came much too late to save the many innocent black Libyans, particularly in the Fezzan province, who were slaughtered by the rebels backed by US-NATO.

Kuperman’s report also highlights a number of other disastrous effects of the US-NATO war on Libya, including the civil war in Mali, the proliferation of weapons to terrorist groups throughout North Africa, and the general chaos and breakdown of all political, economic, and social institutions in Libya. Additionally, Kuperman notes that the US-NATO war prolonged significantly the war. He writes:

When NATO intervened in mid-March 2011, Qaddafi already had regained control of most of Libya, while the rebels were retreating rapidly toward Egypt. Thus, the conflict was about to end, barely six weeks after it started, at a toll of about 1,000 dead, including soldiers, rebels, and civilians caught in the crossfire. By intervening, NATO enabled the rebels to resume their attack, which prolonged the war for another seven months and caused at least 7,000 more deaths. ****(unfortunately it was not 7,000 deaths the number is a lot bigger to even for someone to grasp it. In these eight months the death toll arrived over 100 thousand people including women and children.)

This is a critical point to highlight. Even by the western investigation number of 7,000 – a gross underestimation in my view, the death toll is likely much higher – the US-NATO war led directly to at least 6,000 additional deaths in Libya. Far from “protecting civilians,” it seems US-NATO was too busy killing them.

While noting some of the critical points, Kuperman’s report also leaves out a number of other shameful outcomes of the war including the deliberate destruction of critical infrastructure (including the Great Man Made River Project), the oppression of women whose rights were protected under Gaddafi, the displacement of many black Libyans and Africans from other neighboring countries who had taken refuge and found employment in Gaddafi’s Libya, and many other deeply troubling developments.

Who Should Pay?

Because the entire narrative of the Libya war has been shown to be a fabrication of the State Department, CIA, International Criminal Court, NGOs and other appendages of US hard and soft power, the question of guilt and culpability comes into play. The United States, along with its allies, has been howling for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, held illegally by the Zintan militia since 2011, to be taken to the International Criminal Court to be tried for war crimes. Now that both mainstream and non-mainstream, western and non-western sources have emerged to challenge this narrative, it’s time we start asking who in the West should be held to account.

First among the criminals must be high-ranking officials in the Obama administration, including former Secretary of State Hillary “We Came, We Saw, He Died” Clinton, and President Obama himself. Not only have they, and their subordinates, blatantly fabricated intelligence leading to an aggressive war (a crime against peace, the most serious of the Nuremburg charges), they deliberately misled the world as to the nature of their operation in Libya. Russia and China certainly feel betrayed by the US and its lies in the UN Security Council. But this is merely the tip of the iceberg.

What price should be paid by media organizations and NGOs deliberately spreading misinformation? Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International should face serious investigations into criminal negligence, or at least gross misconduct, in terms of their dissemination of lies – lies which were used as the prime justification for the war in terms of how it was sold to the people. Is it a crime to inflate by 1000% casualty figures, the end result of which is a justification for war? If not, it should be, as without such propaganda, the war could never have been sold to the public.

Media organizations, especially some ostensibly on the Left, should also be held to account for their misinformation and disinformation. Democracy Now is at the top of the list of guilty organizations. As Bruce Dixon, Managing Editor of Black Agenda Report, wrote at the height of the war:

So like every other Western reporter, Anjali Kamat [Democracy Now’s Libya correspondent] never saw any “mercenaries,” just their oversized bullets. She never saw any mass graves of the hundreds or thousands allegedly killed by Qaddafi’s “heavy machine gun fire” either, or that would be on Democracy Now too. It’s not. Nobody’s located the thousands of wounded survivors either, that must have been the result of shooting into crowds killing hundreds of people, and none of this has stopped Democracy Now from carrying the story just like Fox News or CNN or MSNBC…Something is really wrong with this picture. We have to wonder whether, at least as far as the war in Libya goes, whether Democracy Now is simply feeding us the line of corporate media, the Pentagon and the State Department rather than fulfilling the role of unembedded, independent journalists.

As Dixon points out, Democracy Now exhibited at the very least poor journalistic practice, and at worst, served as the left flank of the imperial propaganda machine. By faithfully reporting the “facts”, which have now been utterly discredited, Kamat and Democracy Now primed the pump of left progressive support for “humanitarian” war.

Of course, Democracy Now is not the only outlet that should be held responsible. All major media in the US obviously toed the US line on Libya. So too did Al Jazeera, the Qatari-owned news outlet which gained notoriety during the Bush years as a news outlet hostile to US policy in Iraq. However, by the time of the war in Libya, Al Jazeera had purged its staff of anyone truly critical of US foreign policy, particularly as it pertained to the “Arab Spring” narrative. In fact, insiders have told me that a wave of resignations, forced resignations, and firings at Al Jazeera coincided with the refusal by some of the more principled journalists to suppress the truth of what was happening in Libya. It would seem then that, rather than reporting the news, Al Jazeera, like its western counterparts, was more interested in serving power than challenging it.

In fact, Al Jazeera was the first news organization to report, and repeat ad nauseam, the lie that Gaddafi’s soldiers were systematically raping women in Benghazi, and that they had been issued Viagra by their commanding officers. This claim, repeated by Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, and many others has since been debunked, with absolutely zero evidence ever surfacing to substantiate the allegation. And yet, it was one of the principal claims used to justify the indictment issued by Luis Moreno-Ocampo as head of the International Criminal Court. This fact, among many others, shows how the irresponsibility of Al Jazeera, and nearly every other journalistic and human rights organization, led directly to the war in Libya.

Sadly, it is unlikely that any of the parties responsible for the criminal and shameful war on Libya will ever be held to account for their crimes in a courtroom. However, they can be held to account in the court of public opinion. Their institutions must be discredited. Their names and faces must be known and repeated the world over. They all share responsibility for the misery inflicted on the innocent people of Libya. And we who have stood against this war from the beginning, we have been vindicated. Unfortunately, there is no solace to be found in a Libyan graveyard.

 

source: journal-neo.org