War Crime: NATO Deliberately Destroyed Libya’s Water Infrastructure


War Crime: NATO Deliberately Destroyed Libya’s Water Infrastructure

By Nafeez Ahmed, The Ecologist | Report

The military targeting of civilian infrastructure, especially of water supplies, is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions. Yet this is precisely what NATO did in Libya, while blaming the damage on Gaddafi himself. Since then, the country’s water infrastructure – and the suffering of its people – has only deteriorated further.

Numerous reports comment on the water crisis that is escalating across Libya as consumption outpaces production. Some have noted the environmental context in regional water scarcity due to climate change.

But what they ignore is the fact that the complex national irrigation system that had been carefully built and maintained over decades to overcome this problem was targeted and disrupted by NATO.

During the 2011 military invasion, press reports surfaced, mostly citing pro-rebel sources, claiming that pro-Gaddafi loyalists had shut down the water supply system as a mechanism to win the war and punish civilians.

This is a lie.

But truth, after all, is the first casualty of war – especially for mainstream media journos who can’t be bothered to fact-check the claims of people they interview in war zones, while under pressure from editors to produce copy that doesn’t rock too many boats.

Critical Water Installations Bombed – Then Blamed on Gaddafi

It was in fact NATO which debilitated Libya’s water supply by targeting critical state-owned water installations, including a water-pipe factory in Brega.

The factory, one of just two in the country (the other one being in Gaddafi’s home-town of Sirte), manufactured pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipes for the Great Manmade River (GMR) project, an ingenious irrigation system transporting water from aquifers beneath Libya’s southern desert to about 70% of the population.

On 18th July, a rebel commander boasted that some of Gaddafi’s troops had holed up in industrial facilities in Brega, but that rebels had blocked their access to water: “Their food and water supplies are cut and they now will not be able to sleep.”

In other words, the rebels, not Gaddafi loyalists, had sabotaged the GMR water pipeline into Brega. On 22nd July, NATO followed up by bombing the Brega water-pipes factory on the pretext that it was a Gaddafi “military storage” facility concealing rocket launchers.

“Major parts of the plant have been damaged”, said Abdel-Hakim el-Shwehdy, head of the company running the project. “There could be major setback for the future projects.”

Legitimate Military Target Left Untouched in the Attack

When asked to provide concrete evidence of Gaddafi loyalists firing from inside the water-pipe factory, NATO officials failed to answer. Instead, NATO satellite images shown to journalists confirm that a BM-21 rocket launcher identified near the facility days earlier, remained perfectly intact the day after the NATO attack.

Earlier, NATO forces had already bombed water facilities in Sirte, killing several “employees of the state water utility who were working during the attack.”

By August, UNICEF reported that the conflict had “put the Great Manmade River Authority, the primary distributor of potable water in Libya, at risk of failing to meet the country’s water needs.”

The same month, Agence France Presse reported that the GMR could be crippled by the lack of spare parts and chemicals” – reinforced by NATO’s destruction of water installations critical to the GMR in Sirte and Brega.

The GMR is now “struggling to keep reservoirs at a level that can provide a sustainable supply”, UN officials said. “If the project were to fail, agencies fear a massive humanitarian emergency.”

Christian Balslev-Olesen, UNICEF Libya’s head of office, warned that the city faced “an absolute worst-case scenario” that “could turn into an unprecedented health epidemic” without resumption of water supplies.

Stratfor Email: “So Much Shit Doesn’t Add Up Here”

While pro-rebel sources attempted to blame Gaddafi loyalists for the disruption of Libya’s water supply, leaked emails from the US intelligence contractor Stratfor, which publicly endorsed these sources, show that the firm privately doubted its own claims.

“So much shit doesn’t add up here”, wrote Bayless Parsley, Stratfor’s Middle East analyst, in an email to executives. “I am pretty much not confident in ANY of the sources … If anything, just need to be very clear how contradictory all the information is on this project … a lot of the conclusions drawn from it are not really air tight.”

But the private US intelligence firm, which has played a key role in liaising with senior Pentagon officials in facilitating military intelligence operations, was keenly aware of what the shutdown of the GMR would mean for Libya’s population:

“Since the first phase of the ‘river’s’ construction in 1991, Libya’s population has doubled. Remove that river and, well, there would likely be a very rapid natural correction back to normal carrying capacities.”

“How often do Libyans bathe? You’d have drinking water for a month if you skipped a shower”, joked Kevin Stech, a Stratfor research director. “Seriously. Cut the baths and the showers and your well water should suffice for drinking and less-than-optional hygiene.”

The Truth – Government Officials Were Trying to Keep Water Flowing

Meanwhile, UNICEF confirmed that Libyan government officials were not sabotaging water facilities, but in fact working closely with a UN technical team to “facilitate an assessment of water wells, review urgent response options and identify alternatives for water sources.”

Nevertheless, by September, UNICEF reported that the disruption to the GMR had left 4 million Libyans without potable water.

The GMR remains disrupted to this day, and Libya’s national water crisis continues to escalate.

The deliberate destruction of a nation’s water infrastructure, with the knowledge that doing so would result in massive deaths of the population as a direct consequence, is not simply a war crime, but potentially a genocidal strategy.

It raises serious questions about the conventional mythology of a clean, humanitarian war in Libya – questions that mainstream journalists appear to be uninterested in, or unable to ask.

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Latest Libya News Updates


Latest Libya News Updates

source: Support for Muammar al Gaddafi from the people of Slovakia

Brega: Green resistance has hit 3 fuel trucks leaving Brega and had short clashes near Brega.

Tripoli: Baniwalid fighters are now fighting in Tripoli against Souq al Juma’a brigade. Rebels are in high alert & heavy fighting at Baniwalid over last 2 days.
According to source Tripoli port areas and Bab al Azziziyah are filled with NATO soldiers, but in other areas are militias.

Source met with green resistance and confirmed message from Moussa Ibrahim, he said they are very determined to remove rats.

Moussa Ibrahim tells source “Resistance is growing and people understood the treason and evil of NATO and its mercenaries.”

Protests across Libya against lawlessness, rape/looting and no electricity or water and money… Winter is very cold in Libya, NATO only cares about free oil.
Yesterday, there were great protests in Benghazi, Tripoli, Derna, Tobruk and Misurata against the corrupt NTC vermin.

Entire families are in hospitals as water has become poisoned by NATO airstrikes on The Great Manmade River. Many died.

Qatar Military has declared it will begin a military mission to secure Saif al Islam and capture his followers.

A Tribute to the great Muammar al Gaddafi


A Tribute to the great Muammar al Gaddafi 

 

19 FACTS on LIBYA & GADDAFI : 

1. There is no electricity bill in Libya; electricity is FREE for all its citizens

2. There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at 0% interest by law. 

3. Health Care is FREE in Libya. 

4. Education is FREE in Libya. 

5. Before Gaddafi only 25% of Libyans are literate. Today the figure is 83%. 

6. Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming land, a farming house, equipments, seeds and livestock to kick start their farms — all for free. 

7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need in Libya, the government funds them to go abroad for it — not only free but they get US $2, 300/month accommodation and car allowance. 

8. In Libyan, if a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidized 50% of the price. 

9. The price of petrol in Libya is $0. 14 per liter. 

10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion — now frozen globally. 

11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would pay the average salary of the profession as if he or she is employed until employment is found. 

12. A portion of Libyan oil sale is, credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens. 

13. A mother who gave birth to a child receive US $5 ,000 

14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $ 0.15 

15. 25% of Libyans have a university degree 

16. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Man-Made River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country. 

17. Home considered a human right in Libya — Gaddafi vowed that his parents would not get a house until everyone in Libya had a home. Gaddafi’s father has died while him, his wife and his mother are still living in a tent. 

18. All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 Dinar (US$ 50,000 ) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start-up the family. 

19. Gaddafi has made vast improvements for women rights, since the former monarchy.

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NATO Bombs the Great Man-Made River Project in Libya: Humanitarian Disaster Looming


NATO Bombs the Great Man-Made River Project in Libya: Humanitarian Disaster Looming

HRI Mark
Human Rights Investigations
Wed, 27 Jul 2011 12:40 CDT

Thanks America: End of the road for Libya’s high-tech dream

It is a war crime to attack essential civilian infrastructure. 95% of Libya is desert and 70% of Libyans depend on water which is piped in from the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System under the southern desert. The water pipe infrastructure is probably the most essential civilian infrastructure in Libya. Key to its continued function, particularly in time of war, is the Brega pipe factory which enables leaks and breaks in the system to be repaired.

NATO has admitted that its jets attacked the pipe factory on 22 July, claiming in justification that it was used as a military storage facility and rockets were launched from there.

The Great Man-Made River

Libyans like to call the Great Man-Made River “The eighth wonder of the world“.

According to a March 2006 report by the BBC, the industrialisation of Libya following the Great Al-Fatah Revolution in 1969, put strain on water supplies and coastal aquifers became contaminated with sea water, to such an extent that the water in Benghazi was undrinkable. Finding a supply of fresh, clean water became a government priority and fortunately oil exploration in the 1950s had revealed vast aquifers beneath Libya’s southern desert.

In August 1984, Muammar Al Qadhafi laid the foundation stone for the pipe production plant at Brega. The Great Man-Made River Project had begun. Adam Kuwairi, a senior figure in the Great Man-Made River Authority (GMRA), vividly remembers the impact the fresh water had on him and his family:

“The water changed lives. For the first time in our history, there was water in the tap for washing, shaving and showering. The quality of life is better now, and it’s impacting on the whole country.”

On 3 April Libya warned that NATO-led air strikes could cause a “human and environmental disaster” if air strikes damaged the Great Man-Made River project.

Engineer and project manager Abdelmajid Gahoud told foreign journalists in Tripoli:

“If part of the infrastructure is damaged, the whole thing is affected and the massive escape of water could cause a catastrophe,” leaving 4.5 million thirsty Libyans deprived of drinking water.

The Brega Pipe-Making Plant

The Pre-Stressed Concrete Cylinder Pipe Factory at Brega is one of only two such facilities in Libya – the other being at Sarir to the east. This makes it a very important component of the Great Man-Made River – with two production lines making up to 80 pipes a day.

According to the BBC:

The engineer in charge of the Brega pipe factory is Ali Ibrahim. He is proud that Libyans are now running the factory:

“At first, we had to rely on foreign-owned companies to do the work. But now it’s government policy to involve Libyans in the project. Libyans are gaining experience and know-how, and now more than 70% of the manufacturing is done by Libyans. With time, we hope we can decrease the foreign percentage from 30% to 10%.”

As a result, Libya is now a world leader in hydrological engineering and it wants to export its expertise to other African and Middle-Eastern countries facing similar problems with their water.

According to the official web siteof the Great Man-Made River Authority:

Approximately 500,000 pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipes have been manufactured to date. Approximately 500,000 pipes transported to date. Pipe transportation is continuous process and the work goes on day and night, distance traveled by the transporters is equivalent to the sun and back. Over 3,700 km of haul roads was constructed alongside the pipe line trench to enable the heavy truck – trailers to deliver pipe to the installation site.

NATO Attack

On 22 July NATO warplanes attacked the pipe making plant at Brega killing six of the facility’s security guards:

As you can see from Google Earth, the hundreds of pipes at this facility, out in the desert south of Brega, make it clear, even from the air, that this is a pipe-production plant:

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&t=f&ecpose=30.29695508,19.69132767,1417.33,1.366,44.802,0&ll=30.309528,19.691675&spn=0.017784,0.027466&z=15&source=embed

Video footage shows a major building within the plant has been destroyed and there is also damage to at least one of the trucks which is used to transport pipes to places where repairs are required:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTM1gLu4Vkc&feature=player_embedded

According to AP, Abdel-Hakim el-Shwehdy, head of the company running the project, said:

“Major parts of the plant have been damaged. There could be major setbacks for the future projects.”

Water supply to Brega Cut

On Monday 18 July, rebel spokesman Shamsiddin Abdulmolah told AFP that remnants of Gadhafi’s troops were holed up among industrial facilities in Brega with supplies dwindling.

“Their food and water supplies are cut and they now will not be able to sleep.”

Given the rebel boasts that the pro-Gadaffi forces in Brega had no water, the question has to be posed whether this attack was a deliberate attempt to prevent repair of the pipeline into Brega.

NATO Response

In response to a HRI enquiry, the NATO press office said:

“We can confirm that we targeted Brega on July 22nd and we successfully struck one military storage facility and four armed vehicles.”

HRI requested clarification:

    • The building you hit (apparently in the Brega pipe factory) was being used for what kind of military storage?

    • What considerations were taken into account to ensure that the strikes did not damage civilian infrastructure or was damage to the civilian infrastructure considered legitimate?

  • Given the potential consequences to civilians of damage to the pipe factory and the ability of the engineers to be able to repair broken water pipelines I hope you will appreciate the importance of these questions.

On 26 July at the NATO press conference in Naples, Colonel Rolond Lavoie, neglecting to inform the assembled journalists that the “concrete factory” plays an important role in preserving Libya’s water supply, said: Now in the area of Brega, NATO strikes included armoured vehicles, rocket launchers, military storage facilities and a repurposed concrete factory from which Pro-Gaddafi forces were using multi-viral [sic] rocket launchers, exposing the population to indirect fire.

Let me show you some intelligence pictures that illustrate what we have observed at this concrete factory. By the way these pictures will be made available on the NATO site so it will be possible for the media to download them.

So, basically, repeatedly over the last few weeks we got clear intelligence indicating that pro-Gadaffi forces are using this factory for military purposes. This factory is being used to hide military material including Multiple Rocket Launchers. These weapons have been used every day from within this factory compound and then carefully hidden after the day within or along massive pipes you can see in this picture:

Dodgy satellite ‘evidence’ – Slide 1, 20 July

More dodgy satellite ‘evidence’ – Slide 2, taken 23 July

Slide 1: Taken 20 July, apparently shows a BM-21 rocket launcher -a model of rocket launcher widely used by both loyalist and rebel forces in Libya.

Slide 2: Taken 23 July, apparently shows a BM-21 rocket launcher. The slide shows black smoke in the centre of the picture which suggests two hits (possibly on vehicles) have already been made, with the BM-21 left intact.

Neither slide appears to show the building which was destroyed in the video or helps to understand when or why that was hit. So the photos lead to more questions than they answer – clearly the BM-21, spotted on July 20, was not considered a priority target, and there is nothing in the NATO explanation which explains why the water supplies of the Libyan people have now been put at such risk.

On 27 July, further enquiries by HRI elicited the additional information that

The factory is being used to hide military material, including multiple rocket launchers. These weapons have been used every day from within this factory compound and then carefully hidden after the day within the factory buildings and the area.

and

All sites that could be used by the pro-Qadhafi regime forces to threaten or attack civilians can be considered as a legitimate target by NATO in full accordance with UNSCR 1973. That resolution mandates the use of all necessary measures to protect civilians in Libya from attack or threat of attacks.

According to the NATO press office, the attack was within the rules of engagement agreed upon by all 28 countries in the coalition by consensus. It seems unlikely that the rules of engagement would allow this attack or that the states in the Security Council would agree that a devious interpretation of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 should supercede international humanitarian law.

NATO have failed to provide answers to the following questions:

    • Do you have any concrete evidence that rockets were fired from inside the pipe-making plant?

    • Can you explain the precise targeting and timing of strikes within this facility?

    • What steps were taken to ensure collateral damage to the facility was avoided?

  • What alternatives were considered to military strikes on this factory?

Applicable humanitarian law

The Laws of War were designed to prevent attacks on targets indispensible to the civilian population, so attacking a civilian infrastructure target such as this plant is a war crime.

Even if rockets were being fired from within the location (for which no evidence has been produced) or this facility was being used for military storage by Gadaffi forces, or housed armoured vehicles, attacking the pipe-making factory in a way that leaves it severely damaged is illegal as this facility is important to the water supplies of Libyan civilians.

The citing of UNSCR 1973 does not supercede the need for NATO forces to obey the laws of war.

Applicable humanitarian law includes (inter alia):

Rule 15. In the conduct of military operations, constant care must be taken to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects. All feasible precautions must be taken to avoid, and in any event to minimize, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects. [IAC/NIAC]

Rule 16. Each party to the conflict must do everything feasible to verify that targets are military objectives. [IAC/NIAC]

Rule 17. Each party to the conflict must take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of warfare with a view to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects. [IAC/NIAC]

Rule 18. Each party to the conflict must do everything feasible to assess whether the attack may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. [IAC/NIAC]

Rule 54. Attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population is prohibited.

Human Rights Investigations demands:

1) The immediate cessation of the bombing campaign by NATO which is putting Libyan civilians in mortal danger

2) A peace congress be convened to bring this conflict to a rapid end.

http://www.sott.net/articles/show/236967-NATO-Bombs-the-Great-Man-Made-River-Project-in-Libya-Humanitarian-Disaster-Looming

16 Things Libya Will Never See Again


16 Things Libya Will Never See Again

  1. There is no electricity bill in Libya; electricity is free for all its citizens.

  2. There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at zero percent interest by law.

  3. Having a home considered a human right in Libya.

  4. All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 dinar (U.S.$50,000) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start up the family.

  5. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25 percent of Libyans were literate. Today, the figure is 83 percent.

  6. Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming land, a farming house, equipments, seeds and livestock to kickstart their farms are all for free.

  7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need, the government funds them to go abroad, for it is not only paid for, but they get a U.S.$2,300/month for accommodation and car allowance.

  8. If a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidizes 50 percent of the price.

  9. The price of petrol in Libya is $0.14 per liter.

  10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amounting to $150 billion are now frozen globally.

  11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would pay the average salary of the profession, as if he or she is employed, until employment is found.

  12. A portion of every Libyan oil sale is credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.

  13. A mother who gives birth to a child receive U.S.$5,000.

  14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $0.15.

  15. 25 percent of Libyans have a university degree.

  16. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Manmade River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.