Violence, Instability, Torture and Deaths in Libya

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Violence, Instability, Torture and Deaths in Libya
by Stephen Lendman
Wherever America shows up, mass slaughter, destruction, instability and human misery follow. 
Today’s Libya reflects Washington’s deplorable legacy. North Africa’s most developed country was ravaged and destroyed. Anarchical charnel house conditions replaced it. listed 16 things Libyans lost. They include:
(1) free electricity
(2) interest free loans from state-owned banks
(3) homes considered a human right
(4) 60,000 dinars ($50,000) given newlyweds to begin married life, buy a home, and start a family
(5) free healthcare and education
(6) free land, facilities, equipment, seeds or livestock for Libyan farmers
(7) government funded education and healthcare abroad as well as $2,300 monthly for expenses
(8) 50% of cost subsidies for car purchases
(9) gasoline at 0.14 cents per liter (about 53 cents per gallon)
(10) freedom from IMF tyranny and other external debt bondage
(11) average salary compensation paid graduates until jobs were found
(12) a percent of oil revenue automatically credited to individual citizen bank accounts
(13) $5,000 given new mothers
(14) practically free bread; 40 loaves cost 0.15 cents
(15) 25% of Libyans have college degrees; literacy under Gaddafi rose from 25% to 83%
(16) his monumental Great Man-Made River (GMMR) project
It made the desert bloom. It provided free water. Gaddafi called it the 8th wonder of the world. He did so for good reason.
It developed an ocean-sized aquifer beneath Libyan sands. It was a decades-long work in progress. 
In 2011, NATO bombed connecting pipelines and infrastructure. Depleted uranium weapons were used. Doing so irradiated clean, fresh water.
Free supplies no longer exist. Western profiteers intend exploiting them for bottom line priorities. 
Predatory capitalism works this way. Ordinary people are exploited for profit. They lose out entirely. Libyans can explain best. 
Dystopian harshness replaced North Africa’s most developed country. Doing so added another crime of war, against humanity and genocide to America’s rap sheet. 
Obama bears full responsibility. He thrives on war. He wages one after another. He’s got more targets in mind. Libyans won’t ever forgive him. 
They’ve got good reason not to. Things won’t ever be the same. Perhaps future generations will regain what they lost. Green resistance hopes one day to restore it.
Violent dystopian dysfunction reflects today’s Libya. Militia gangs control local areas. The entire populated north is a battleground. 
Central governance is more illusion than reality. Near-term prospects are grim. A new UN report explains more. It’s titled “Torture and Deaths in Detention in Libya.”
It explains what Western media ignore. It’s ongoing, widespread and horrific. 
International law prohibits torture and other forms of abuse at all times, under all circumstances, with no allowed exceptions.
It’s official US and Israeli policy. In Libya, it’s out-of control. In April 2013, Libya’s pseudo-government passed legislation criminalizing torture, forced disappearances and discrimination.
In September, another law requires all conflict-related detainees released or referred to the public prosecutor within 90 days.
It doesn’t matter. Torture and other forms of abuse persist. It’s commonplace to extract confessions. Detainees are denied access to counsel. Family member rarely get to see them.
An estimated 8,000 are affected. They’re brutalized lawlessly. It happens largely out of sight and mind.
In September 2011, Security Council Resolution 2009 established UNSMIL (UN Support Mission in Libya). On March 14, 2013, SC Resolution 2095 extended its mandate another 12 months.
From late 2011 to more recently, it reported 27 torture related deaths. True numbers are likely higher. Other deaths weren’t investigated.
Detention centers nominally are under government control. Local militia gangs effectively run them. They do whatever they want. They’re waging war on suspected Gaddafi loyalists.
UNSMIL’s more involved in militarized occupation than peacekeeping. It’s more part of the problem and related ones than the solution.
It’s true wherever Blue Helmets show up. They’re supposed to restore order, enforce peace, maintain security, and help transition to stable normality.
They’re imperial enforcers. They fuel conflict. They commit serious human rights abuses. They’re involved in sex trafficking and other crimes. They’re complicit in what they’re mandated to prevent. 
In its World Report 2012: Libya, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said:
Post-Gaddafi prison conditions are “sub-standard, with overcrowding, inadequate food and water, and consistent reports about abuse, including beatings (and) use of electric shock.”
Investigator Sidney Kwiram said HRW documented “ongoing torture” used “to force confessions or for punishment.”
HRW omitted saying most detainees are alleged Gaddafi loyalists.
An Amnesty International (AI) report headlined “Libya: Deaths of detainees amid widespread torture,” saying:
Libyan detainees were tortured and abused. Some died. Victims were pro-Gaddafi loyalists. AI met detainees “in and around Tripoli, Misrata and Gheryan.”
Torture marks were visible. They included “open wounds on the head, limbs, back and other parts of the body.”
They’re inflicted “by officially recognized military and security entities, as well as a multitude of armed militias operating outside any legal framework.”
AI called it “horrifying to find that there has been no progress to stop the use of torture.” 
“We are not aware of any proper investigations into (these cases), and neither the survivors or relatives of those who have died in detention have had any recourse to justice or redress for what they have suffered.”
“While many detainees have described their experiences of torture to us, some have proved too scared to speak – fearing harsher torture” by doing so. Instead, they just showed their wounds.
They came from being “suspended in contorted positions, beaten for hours with whips, cables, plastic hoses, metal chains and bars and wooden sticks, and given electric shocks with live wires and Taser-like electro-shock weapons.”
Injuries AI saw confirmed detainee testimonies. So did medical reports. Victims had no legal representation. They confessed to stop pain.
One detainee told AI:
“This morning they took me for interrogation upstairs. Five men in plain clothes took turns beating and whipping me.”
“They suspended me from the top of the door by my wrists for about an hour and kept beating me. They also kicked me.”
Another said he was beaten on wounds sustained weeks earlier, adding:
“Yesterday they beat me with electric cables while my hands were cuffed behind my back and my feet were bound together.” 
“They threatened to send me back to the militia (that) captured me, who would kill me.”
Others died from torture-inflicted injuries. Deep bruises and open wounds confirmed it. It’s unclear how many were affected. Perhaps dozens or more died this way.
Little is done to stop it. Dysfunctional conditions exist. Dismissiveness lets innocent thousands suffer in harsh confinement. 
Doing so reflects reality in today’s Libya. Heart of darkness lawless viciousness describes things. Pseudo-government does little to change them. Nor does UNSMIL. Rule of law in Libya doesn’t exist.
An estimated 37 detention facilities operate nationwide. With few exceptions, militia gangs control them. They do whatever they want. 
They do it without oversight. They get away with torture, other forms of abuse and murder.
Victims are abducted from homes, workplaces, on streets, and at checkpoints. Doing so is arbitrary. It’s lawless. Due process, judicial fairness and proper redress don’t exist.
Ali Mas’ud death reflected others. A preliminary forensic report said “death (was) caused by a cerebral bleeding and cardiac arrest.”
“The corpse had several traumatic bruises. The death was caused by beatings and torture.”
Abdelhakim Belaid al-Tajuri died on route to hospitalization. Forensic analysis said he “died as a result of widespread injuries to his body and bleeding inside the head cavity.”
His face was badly swollen. Injuries were clearly visible. His hands and feet showed evidence of torture.
Gaddafi era 1991 Law No. 20 on the Promotion of Freedoms stated:
“No one can be deprived of his freedom, searched or questioned unless he has been charged with committing an act that is punishable by law, pursuant to an order issued by a competent court, and in accordance with the conditions and time limits specified by law.”
Article 30 of Gaddafi’s Code of Criminal Procedure required security officers to have an official competent authority-issued warrant authorizing arrest and detention.
Article 31 afforded detainees the right to challenge why they were held.
Article 106 mandated the right of counsel during criminal interrogations. Article 321 authorized providing legal representation if defendants had none.
Article 26 limited referring suspects for General Prosecution to 48 hours. For crimes against the state, it was seven days.
Article 435 mandated 10 years imprisonment for “any public official who order(ed) the torture of or tortures an accused.”
Articles 379 – 381 ordered up to one year in prison for “causing harm to another person leading to a sickness.”
Two years were mandated if it was life-threatening or caused paralysis for less than 40 days. 
Five years were ordered in case of incurable illness, loss of body part or functioning organ, or other disability.
That was then. This is now. Anarchic viciousness replaced Gaddafi era law and order. 
As signatory to the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Libya is obligated to prevent these type abuses. So is UNSMIL as an occupying authority.
ICCPR’s Article 7 enshrines the right to life, stating:
“Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.”
Article 7 states:
“No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Article 10 states:
“All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.”
Other fundamental international laws have similar provisions. Under Gaddafi, Libya, as signatory, agreed to enforce them.
Little or nothing is done today. Innocent victims suffer horrifically. Torture and other forms of abuse persist. Law and order are figures of speech.
Obama bears full responsibility. He transformed sovereign Libya into dystopian hell. Out-of-control horrific conditions reflect today’s reality. 
Green resistance struggles for freedom. It remains a distant dream.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at
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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.