Today I read an article in the New York Slimes dating back to early May (alas I do not have a copy of the article for a variety of reasons), that related to a problem in Benghazi. The gist of the article is that a group was going around and kidnapping people who were known to have been involved with the secret police in the Daffy regime, and then abducting and killing those people. The article mentioned at least 3 people by name. What is very odd is that the men who had been killed had signed on as part of the “rebels”.
The gang responsible for this action were using a pick up truck with February 17 on the side. Now it could be that it was painted on the truck as a means of pointing the finger or at least distracting from the real culprits. In fact the finger had been pointed at one particular individual and he denies the charge.
Whilst I do not believe that the NTC has anything to do with these revenge killings, I do think that such actions tarnishes the people who have taken charge in Benghazi. The question that I have is: who is responsible? Some possibilities come to mind:
1. Islamists who do in fact live in Benghazi, or in the surrounding villages could be responsible, especially if they had undergone punishment at the hands of those who had been abducted and killed.
2. Daffy Duck loyalists who live in Benghazi upon learning that these individuals had signed on as part of the rebellion, decided to take revenge.
3. A group of individuals who had been captured, and then tortured, and who knew these men had been a part of the Daffy regime, therefore not believing that they were now a real part of the rebellion and that they were spies.
Any of these three scenarios could be correct. However, this kind of thing is of the nature that comes under war crimes. There needs to be some kind of effort to find the culprits and to have them dealt with. The NTC cannot afford to be seen as assenting to this kind of action.
It is highly likely that the group responsible are former prisoners. I could easily point the finger at those “Al Qaeda” symapthisers that we know do exist within Libya, and might even be willing to point the finger in that direction, but there is always the possibility that Daffy loyalists might have seen this as a way of killing two birds with the one stone. I assume that this is the kind of thing that was meant when the ICC prosecutor said that there were things that needed further investigation on the rebel side.
At the same time there are other stories floating about, and some might in fact be exaggerated claims that started with Daffy Duck. The propaganda out of Libya is very exaggerated and both sides have indulged to some extent, but most of the exaggeration has been done in Tripoli. I have read some stories about the “rebels” discriminating against black people because they were thought to be mercenaries. Yes, initially there were problems, but in Benghazi they knew the people who were in the fort were mercenaries. In fact some of the captured soldiers were from Chad and Mali. This is undisputed. The stories claiming other mistreatment are in fact unsubstantiated at this point in time.
There are other stories floating about, and I have already sounded a warning against one source for the stories, because that source seems to be spreading unsubstantiated stories. I have not seen any substantiation of the alleged Algeria-Libya border clash. For some reason that story has only come from that one dodgy source. Not one single member of the LSM has mentioned such a clash, and as such I will treat the story as suspicious, until I see verification from other sources.
I have also seen stories about the “rebels” smuggling arms to AQ via Chad. However, this I believe is another dodgy story, and here is the reason why I think it was a bit dodgy:
1) the Chad government is an ally of Gadhafi. One thing I have noted is that these allies have tended to back Gadhafi, and are more than willing to put about stories that would support Daffy’s contention that the rebels are “armed gangs” and “Al Qaeda”.
2) no evidence was ever provided that the “rebels” found the remaining cache of mustard gas, especially in the western part of Libya. On the other hand, in the eastern part of Libya, in the town near Benghazi, warehouses full of landmines were discovered. The UN were given access to these warehouses in Benghazi and in the other city. In fact, when Daffy’s troops departed from that city, they had laid landmines, hoping to kill the rebels when they drove over them.
3) Location, location, location. When I first heard the stories I was thinking rebels in Benghazi. However, the fact is that there are “rebels” in a large number of small towns all over Libya. Some are in the east, some are in the west, and some are in the mountain region. The rebels in the mountain region are Berbers with a history of detesting Daffy Duck. One has to know the region, and have an understanding of the borders to work out whether the stories are in any way credible. It just sounds so very odd that people who are fighting off being shelled daily would send the few weapons that they possess to AQ. This is why location is so very important.
4) Who started the rumour? I think that these stories have one source – the Libyan regime. As such, until the stories are somehow substantiated and not the subject of rumour I will take them with a grain of salt. As far as I am aware Hezbollah did not receive any mustard gas from Libya, unless Daffy Duck provided them with the item.
I feel certain that the people involved with the NTC are not involved in any arms smuggling. I cannot vouch for the “rebels” in the west of the country, even though in many of those towns they are indeed fighting for their own lives, as well as the lives of their families. This is why I doubt the veracity of most of these stories, except of course the story about the abduction and killing of those men. That really happened, and whoever is responsible needs to be punished.