Libyan Tribes speak out against NATO war crimes

UPDATE: Eyewitness account describes the evidence that NATO’s invasion of Libya constitutes multiple war crimes. This is an email sent to Susan Lindauer.

Going Rogue: NATO War Crimes in Libya

By Susan Lindauer, former US Asset covering Libya at the United Nations

It’s a story CNN won’t report. Late at night there’s a pounding on the door in Misurata. Armed soldiers force young Libyan women out of their beds at gun-point. Hustling the women and teenagers into trucks, the soldiers rush the women to gang bang parties for NATO rebels—or else rape them in front of their husbands or fathers. When NATO rebels finish their rape sport, the soldiers cut the women’s throats.

Rapes are now ongoing acts of war in rebel-held cities, like an organized military strategy, according to refugees. Joanna Moriarty, who’s part of a global fact-finding delegation visiting Tripoli this week, also reports that NATO rebels have gone house to house through Misurata, asking families if they support NATO. If the families say no, they are killed on the spot.  If families say they want to stay out of the fighting, NATO rebels take a different approach to scare other families. The doors of “neutral homes” are welded shut, Moriarty says, trapping families inside. In Libyan homes, windows are typically barred. So when the doors to a family compound get welded shut, Libyans are entombed in their own houses, where NATO forces can be sure large families will slowly starve to death.

These are daily occurrences, not isolated events. And Gadhaffi’s soldiers are not responsible. In fact, pro-Gadhaffi and “neutral” families are targeted as the victims of the attacks. Some of the NATO tactics may have occurred in hopes of laying blame on Gadhaffi’s door. However the attacks are back firing.

Flashback to Serbia

The events are eerily reminiscent of Serbia’s conflict in the Balkans with its notorious rape camps— Except today NATO itself is perpetrating these War Crimes—as if they have learned the worst terror tactics from their enemies.

Their actions would be categorized as War Crimes, just like Serb leader, Slobadon Milosevic—except that NATO won’t allow itself to face prosecution. According to NATO, International Law is for the other guy.

NATO is wrong. So long as NATO governments provide the funding, assault rifles, military training, ground advisers, support vehicles and air power, they are fully responsible for the actions of their soldiers in the war zone. Libya’s rebels are not a rag tag fighting force, either. Thanks to NATO’s largesse, financed by U.S. and British taxpayers, they’re fully decked out in military uniforms, parading through the streets with military vehicles for all the people to see.

And they do see. In Washington, Congress likes to pretend that America has not become involved in the day to day actualities of military planning. However refugees have observed U.S, British, French and Israeli soldiers standing by as rebel soldiers attack civilians.

“Rape parties” are the most graphic examples of NATO’s loss of moral control.  One weeping father told the fact-finding delegation how a couple of weeks ago NATO rebels targeted seven separate households, kidnapping a virgin daughter from each pro-Gadhaffi family. The rebels were paid for each kidnapped girl, just as they are paid for each Libyan soldier they kill— like mercenary soldiers. They hustled the girls into trucks, and took them to a building where the girls were locked in separate rooms.

NATO soldiers proceeded to drink alcohol, until they got very drunk. Then the leader told them to rape the virgin daughters in gang bang style. When they’d finished raping the girls, the NATO leader told them to cut the breasts off the living girls and bring the breasts to him.  They did this while the girls were alive and screaming. All the girls died hideous deaths. Then their severed breasts were taken to a local square and arranged to spell the word “whore.”

The grieving father spoke to a convention of workers, attended by the global fact-finding delegation.  He was openly weeping, as all of us should. NATO’s offenses in Libya are as terrible and unforgivable as Syria’s castration and mutilation of the 13 year old boy that shocked the world. Yet so long as NATO’s the guilty party, the western media has looked the other way in distaste.

Some of us are paying attention— We can see that NATO has gone rogue in Libya. And the Libyan people themselves consider it unforgivable. Last week, 2000 Tribal Leaders gathered in Tripoli to draft a Constitution for the country, as demanded by the British government. Notoriously, British warships and U.S. drones pounded the streets of Tripoli with bunker bombs and missiles for days and nights close to where the Tribal Leaders were meeting. From Tripoli, it felt awfully like the British were trying to stop the Libyan people from bringing this Constitution to life.

Tribal Leaders Condemn British Aggression

Here’s what those 2,000 Tribal Leaders had to say about British aggression, in a statement approved unanimously on June 3. Sheikh Ali, head of the Tribal Leaders, delivered it to Joanna Moriarty and other members of the global fact finding mission:

“The Libyan people have the right to govern themselves.  Constant attacks from the skies, at all hours of the day have completely disrupted the lives of the families of Libya. There has never been any fighting in Tripoli, yet we are bombed every day. We are civilians and we are being killed by the British and NATO. Civilians are people without guns, yet the British and NATO protect only the armed crusaders from the East by acting as their attack army. We have read the UN resolutions and there is no mention of bombing innocent civilians. There is no mention of assassinating the legitimate authorities in all of Libya.

“The Libyan People have the right to select their own leaders. We have suffered occupation by foreign countries for thousands of years. Only in the last 41 years have we Libyans enjoyed property ownership. Only in the last 41 years have we seen our country develop. Only in the last 41 years have we seen all of the Libyans enjoy a better life, and know that our children will have a better life then we have had. But now with the British and NATO bombings of our country, we see the destruction of our new and developed infrastructure.

“We leaders see the destruction of our culture. We leaders see tears in the eyes of our children because of the constant fear from the “rain of terror” in the skies of Libya from the British and NATO bombings. Our old people suffer from heart problems, increased diabetes and loss of vigor. Our young mothers are losing their babies every day because of the stress of the British and NATO bombings. These lost babies are the future of Libya. They can never be replaced. Our armies have been destroyed by the British and NATO bombings. We cannot defend ourselves from attacks from anyone.

“As Tribal Leaders of Libya, we must ask why have the British and NATO decided to wage this war against the Libyan people? There are a small percentage of dissidents in the east of Libya that started an armed insurrection against our legitimate authority. Every country has the right to defend itself against armed insurrection. So why cannot Libya defend itself?

“The Tribal Leaders of Libya demand that all acts of aggression, by the British and NATO, against the Libyan People stop immediately.”

Does that sound like NATO’s got a winning strategy? If so, they should think again. Even if Gadhaffi falls, NATO has no hope of eliminating the entire tribal structure of the Libya, which embraces all families and clans. Instead NATO is losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the people with every missile that smashes into another building.

Tribal Backlash

The Libyan people are fighting back. This report arrived from Tripoli today. It is not edited, and describes a backlash in tribal warfare from the City of Darna in the East, where the rebellion is supposed to be strongest:

“People found the body of Martyr Hamdi Jumaa Al-Shalwi in Darna  city eastern Libya. His head was cut off and then placed in front of the headquarters of the Internal Security Dernah. That was after being kidnapped from a checkpoint complex Herich. In response to this Al-Shalwi family erected a funeral tent to receive condolences in which the green flag [of Libya] was raised.

“After the funeral the whole city of Darna rose up with all its tribes which include:- the Abu Jazia family, Al-Shalwi family, The Quba families, Ain Marra families. After that, Al-Shalwi family and Bojazia tribe attacked the headquarters of the Transitional Council and shot all the rats (rebels) and green flags were raised. Furthermore, the son of Sofian Qamom was killed, also two members of Al- Qaeda got killed by residents of the city of Darna. The flag of the Libyan Jamahiriya was raised above Darna after the clashes.”

CNN has reported none of this. The corporate media continues to lull Americans into false confidence in the progress of the Libyan War. Americans are way out of the loop as to the failures of the War effort. As a result, Libyans are losing trust in the potential for friendships with the West. An unlikely champion might restore that faith. Right now a team of international attorneys is preparing an emergency grievance on behalf of the Tribal Leaders and the Libyan people. The International Peace Community could contribute substantially to restoring Libya’s faith in the West by supporting this human rights action. Indeed, the Libyan people and Tribal Leaders deserve our support. Together we must demand that NATO face prosecution for War Crimes, citing these examples and others.

NATO governments must be required to pay financial damages to Libyan families, on par with what the U.S. and Britain would demand for their own citizens under identical circumstances. The world cannot tolerate double standards, whereby powerful nations abuse helpless citizens. The International Geneva Conventions of War must be enforced, and equal force of the law must be applied.

The Fight for Misurata

Though attacks are widespread, some of the worst abuses are occurring in Misurata. The City has the only mega port in Libya, and handles transportation for the country, including the largest oil and gas depots. NATO will stop at nothing to take the City.

Refugees report that the Israeli Star of David flag was draped over the largest Mosque in Misurata on the second day of fighting, actions guaranteed to humiliate and antagonize the local population.

NATO forces have cut off food and medical supplies throughout Libya. But the seas are plentiful with fish in Mediterranean waters. Brave fishermen have taken their boats out of port, trying to harvest fish for the hungry population. To break their perseverance, American drones and British war planes steadily fire missiles on the fishing boats, deliberately targeting non-military vessels to chase them out of the waters.

Yet for all of its superior fire power and tactical advantages, NATO still appears to be losing. According to the fact-finding delegation, reporting today, many rebels have left Misurata and have taken boats back to Benghazi.  The big central part of Misurata is now free and under central military control.  The Libyan people shot down two helicopter gunships near the town of Zlitan. And although Al Jazeera played a grand story about a major uprising against Ghadafi in Tripoli, one of the Tribal leaders’ wives lives on the street that claims to be the center of the demonstration, and declared that she saw no crowds out of her window. Buses pictured in Al Jazeera video do not run in Tripoli.

One has to ask: What kind of society does NATO think it’s creating, if in fact Gadhaffi can be deposed—which looks very unlikely? Have Washington and London learned nothing from their failure in Iraq? The cruelty and debasement of NATO’s forces is already fueling profound hatreds that will continue for the next generation.

Who could be proud of such “allies?” Not the Libyan people, surely.

NATO soldiers are no better than thugs. Anyone else would be labeled terrorists. Most worrisome, NATO’s actions are guaranteed to have serious consequences for long term political stability in Libya. Vendettas are forming between tribes and family clans that will carry over for decades. It is extremely short-sighted and self destructive.

NATO should take this warning to heart: Its soldiers are not legal-proof. The International Peace Community is already taking action to uphold Libya’s natural rights at the United Nations. Many of us in the International Peace Community shall defend Libya’s women. And we shall demand War Crimes prosecution and major financial damages against NATO governments, on behalf of the people.

Nobody’s fooled by NATO’s story that Gadhaffi’s the guilty party. We know that Washington, Britain, France, Italy— and Israel are the real culprits.

The murdered women of Misurata shall have justice. NATO can count on it.


This article can be reprinted in whole or part with attribution to the author.

Susan Lindauer covered Libya at the United Nations as a U.S. Asset from 1995 to 2003, and started talks for the Lockerbie Trial. She is the author of Extreme Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq.

18 responses to “Libyan Tribes speak out against NATO war crimes

  1. What is it with men who get a gun and suddenly become rapists? This is what’s happening in other African nations, specifically the Congo.

    Are they so sexually repressed that their first thought when armed is to rape? What kind of society breeds men like that? I know that cultural anthropologists measure different societies on a “rape prone” standard, but I only hear about rape as a weapon of war coming out of Africa.

    Maybe there’s a huge piece of info I’m missing — maybe all US and UK (and France and Italy, etc.) soldiers do this, too, whenever they’re deployed wherever they’re deployed.

    It sure isn’t some instinctual thing about fearing death and so needing to have sex, since they often kill the women afterwards.

    I truly do not get it. I can’t wrap my mind around the mind of someone who sees war as an opportunity to sexually assault people. I just don’t get it. And yet millions of men do just that.

    Millions of them.

    As for the real reason the US and NATO is there, well, you said it. Oil.

  2. Its just so graphically clear that the way we fight wars today is blatently illegal and against every law and convention that we established to ensure that a war as that of ww1, ww2 would never be repeated. When such blatant and humilating punishement is dolled out on specific ethnic or political groups of the world, I believe we as humanity decided after the two wars that such behaviour would no longer be tolerated. We are now sowing the seeds for years ahead that we may soon regret. It is clear to see that NATO intends on fighting as the Americans did in Guatamala, Nicuraguia with Torture and death squads. I think this itself is more proof of the massacres purpetrated by our current leaders of government.

  3. Susan Lindauer

    It’s important to remember this is Northern Africa and these are tribal peoples who, prior to unification lived in a communal warfare setting. This remark is not intended to be racist, and I apologize in advance if it comes out wrong. The Libyan diplomats I knew would have small tattoos on their hands or ankles or the shoulders. Once I asked why, and he told me that the grandmothers would tattoo very young children (maybe only the boys). Because at that time, it would happen that clans and tribes would raid one another to steal the livestock, the women and children– sort of like a Scottish wedding at Gretna Green.

    If you take a woman, she’s yours and the family can’t take her back. But the boys particularly and the young children would be considered wealth, slaves centuries ago, but wealth later on. So the boys would get tattoos so the fathers could identify their very young children, when they would conduct counter-raids. They could steal their children back, and sort them out from the new children they would steal from the other tribe or family clan.

    Today, there are 2,000 Tribal Leaders representing all of the families in Libya. They have united to condemn this War. They are baffled by it. They don’t understand why NATO has got involved at all. But I can assure you that they have their own ways of dealing with this.

    The report coming out of Darna is perhaps the most important primary intelligence in my article. It shows the families of Darna have united against the rebels. They’ve said enough, and they have taken action to punish the “rats”— that’s what the Libyan people are calling the rebels. “Rats.” They’ve gone too far. Libyan women have a very low status compared to western women, but their virginity is protected as property rights. You don’t touch their women. Or you pay.

    So believe me when I say that the Libyan men are aggressively hunting out who’s committing these crimes. They know the rebels are targeting pro-Gaddhafi, and then trying to blame Gadhaffi’s forces in the western media. They are not fooled for a moment. Nor are they forgiving. There will be hell to pay for the next generation.

    NATO’s actions today guarantee there will never be peace in Libya again.

    • “So believe me when I say that the Libyan men are aggressively hunting out who’s committing these crimes.”

      I’m glad to hear that — sorry to say. My eyes see red on this issue. And, thanks for the deeper background history of the culture.

      I came out of the womb an egalitarian — I was fighting boys for my right to do everything they did even before i had the language for it.

      Had I been born in a culture like what you describe, they would have killed me very young, or I would have grown up to become the Bandit Queen (and get assassinated once in power).

  4. I’m with you Rady, it’s a mind-blowing concept. And it makes me think more about learning how to shoot a gun, despite the fact that I don’t like them.

    Susan, thank you for reporting this. I mustm confess while reading this I arched my eyebrows a couple times thinking, “oh, come oooonnnn!” But then my brain came back online. How did we EVER let this world get so cruel? It sickens me beyond words.

    • My first introduction to rape as a weapon of war was this chapter from a book, which I got permission to reprint:

      Kathleen Kern’s The Human Cost of Cheap Cell Phones.

      It’s in A Game as Old as Empire: The secret world of economic hit men and the web of global corruption, © 2007 by Steven Hiatt, ed. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., San Francisco, CA.

      And then I read Eve Ensler’s (of Vagina Monologues fame) Women Left for Dead and the Man Who’s Saving Them.

      Both Ensler and Kern lay out a story that requires a strong stomach — as horrifying as it is, I made myself read it because no matter how disturbed it got me, my reaction is miniscule tof what these women felt and endured.

      I stopped buying diamonds after that, too.

  5. Susan Lindauer

    Arab countries are obsessed with women’s virtues and virginity. So to destroy the ego and morale of your enemies you attack their women. It’s that simple. I suspect NATO may be stepping up its bombing attacks on Libya (today 4,000 – 5,000 pound bombs are dropping all over the city since 5 a.m.–not reported on CNN) , because they know they’ve got to end this war as fast as possible. The rebels uncontrollable a–holes. Their war strategy is deeply antagonizing the ordinary people, who mostly have no part in the conflict. They just want to live their lives without trouble. And the rebels are acting like thugs. They’re not showing promising leadership skills. The fact that 2,000 tribal leaders came together through the bombings, and unitedly condemned the rebels and the war shows that they are not being seduced into cooperation. They’ve made their decisions, and they’ve decided against the rebels. NATO would have to destroy the entire Tribal leadership structure to have any chance of stopping the vendetttas that are forming right now.

    • yeah, but it’s not just Arabs — they’re not Muslims in Rwanda and DRC, Chad, etc.

      The info you bring about the tribal leaders is so revealing — what a complete failure is US foreign policy.

  6. This should interest all of you who are asking about documentation. It’s from Joanna Moriarty in Tripoli.

    fWe have so much documentation that it make your head spin. We spoke with 250 rebels who were released by the Tribal Leaders with the blessings of Ghadafi, the stories they tell of the atrocities that they did are horrifying we have them on tape. We also have many rebels that are documented admitting all the atrocities that they themselves committed. But, here is one truth that is irrefutable – the 2000 tribes of Libya are the actual government here, if anyone does not know this then they do not know Libya. These tribal leaders released 150 rebel prisoners 3 weeks ago, 10 days later another 250 were released. There were about 20 foreigners that witnessed this magnificent show of forgiveness, we have this on tape. There is another release of 200 prisoners in these coming days.

    Go to Benghazi and you will not find one single prisoner because they have all been killed. This is a hard fact. Anyone that says they interviewed prisoners in Misurata is a liar. The Misurata prisoners that were released said that they were paid 2500 dinar for every soldier they killed and another 1000 dinar for burning the bodies. This is why there are no prisoners, so who is believable 250 prisoners on tape or someone who will not even give his name and makes statements that are unbelievable and unverifiable.

    Here in Tripoli, the people say, please tell them to come to Tripoli and speak to us but they will not come because they don’t want the truth. They would like to ask these liars to PROVE what they say, they say none of their lies can be proved. Yesterday was Ghadafi’s birthday, they bombed the H*** out of this place yesterday, many many people crying and big damage, but they are not breaking the back of these people. They had parties and shot off fireworks for 3 hours, we were invited to a wedding because they wanted to show us how life continues here and they celebrate life every day.

    NATO is not bombing the rebels in the East. NATO is working for the rebels. People don’t dare complain about the rebels. They are scared for their lives and their family lives. We have met many people who have escaped these place with their lives, but most don’t want their names out because they have family left there and if they show their face or publicly speak about the rebel atrocities then the members of their families that are left will be killed. We know this from first hand, one of our group had this exact problem and could not be filmed, his father called him and said the rebels saw him on TV and if he spoke out one more time against them they would kill his brother one by one and then begin with his other family members.

    Today we went to the Roxis hotel. There was a large group of women and children holding signs up that said “tell the TRUTH”, “thank you Qatar for killing our people”, “thank you NATO for destroying our country”. WE love the leader of our revolution, M. Ghadafi. I stopped and took photos and the women came up to me instantly, they thought I was a reporter as all the reporters stay in the Roxis Hotel. They were quite angry and said, TELL THE TRUTH, we want to see the TRUTH outside of Libya we are sick of the lies. One lady had a very small boy with her (maybe 3 years old) he was dressed in a military outfit, he was black, she said you see my son, even our children will fight against this terror, we will never accept NATO or the rebel RATs. [Note: the Libyan people call the rebels “rats.”]

    This is literally everywhere in Tripoli, tonight thousands were on First of September street in support of their revolutionary leader.

    In all the time (5.5 years) we have come here we have never heard of oppression by Ghadafi, the people have great respect and love for him. They all wear green and wear photos of him around their necks, believe me the Western news is so far from the truth they are on another planet. We have never seen anybody beaten, harassed, in prison, in fact we have been days and never even seen a policeman unlike our trips to Cairo where armed guards are on every corner, with tanks around Mosques on Fridays. Believe us, before this mess, it was safer in Tripoli than in Houston.

    This is not the Libyan way, they don’t pass out Viagra, this is from the Western mind – I may explode before long, cannot suffer fools lightly and these people have mouths that are not connected to souls.

    The final two verifiable truths about the atrocities committed by NATO and the Rebels and the US and UK are:

    1. The leader of a tribe of 1 million Libyans living in Benghazi was brutally murdered in his home by the rebels after a kangaroo court which was broadcast in the news on TV here in Libya by Dr. Shakeer. The million people tribe wanted to retaliate against all the rebels, the other tribal leaders and Ghadafi told them please do not kill all these people as there has already been too much bloodshed in Libya. Does this sound like a tyrant?

    2. Two days later another pro Ghadafi person was murdered, his head was cut off and placed at the door step of the security office in Dharna (he was a tribal leader) the outrage by most of the population in Dharna was expressed in demonstrations of disgust against the rebels and at the end of the day, the green flag of the legitimate government of Libya was flying. The three major tribes in Dharna proclaimed that they had had enough of the death at the hands of these rats and the Council of Shame as they call the revolution council in Benghazi.

    All of these facts are true and verifiable by video and by affidavit of those present, this liar cannot prove one thing that he is saying.

    The word of some paid CIA mercenary is not worth ****.

    Susan believe us when we say, we have huge amounts of documentation, we are collecting it every day. We must file war crime charges against Obama, Sarkozy, Cameron, and NATO.

    Question the Libyans constantly ask is: “Who are these countries to dictate who our leader should or should not be, we will pick our own leader, we ask for a vote, let us vote and then you will see who should be our leader.” NATO will never dictate to us, if they impose their puppet leader upon us, we will have another revolution and throw him out, he will not last one week.

    The biggest population is Libya as you know, is in the west, the more NATO rains down destruction upon them the more they back Ghadafi. These are a strong and resilient people, they have an ancient culture and they are an endangered species. Misinformation is the tool of the West not Libya. We have nothing to gain by helping these people (except our souls). One cannot stand by and witness this type of tyranny without doing everything possible to stop it.

    God Bless them, I pray they will survive this siege that is upon them.


  7. Pingback: On the ground in Libya: ‘NATO is destroying our country’ | COTO Report

  8. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » Libyan Tribes speak out against NATO war crimes | COTO Report

  9. All our troubles go back to the fraudulent War on Terrorism. I know a lot of folks are tired of hearing about 9/11, but honestly, until people really understand that the enemy was always Us. We did 9/11 to ourselves. Until people really get that, we’re going to be trapped by these false fears. Nothing out there is going to hurt us. It’s all right here.

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  11. Pingback: Motvallsbloggen » SvD talar sanning om Libyen utan att förstå det

  12. The situation is horrific..but what can we do to stop it ?
    many ppl do not want to hear the truths of Libya BOMBING…
    The governments involved in the massacre will not listen..the mainstream media has just about stopped reporting what is going on and prior it was all lies..
    I am so saddened by the actions of the world is sickening…how can we a citizens of the world stand by and let this go on…
    it needs to stop …
    Stop Bombing Libya !

  13. Pingback: US picks wrong allies again, cannot accept defeat in Libya | COTO Report

  14. This is a great project and website. winamp and Publisher 2003

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