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Exposed: the ‘Abu Salim prison massacre’ fraud

26 September 2011 12,142 views 13 Comments

By the Editor.

Updated 27 September, 2011 – see section: ‘The meals‘.

Updated again 28 September, 2011. Click here to go to this update.

To date Libya has been subjected to decades of foreign meddling and attempts to assassinate and oust its leader Muammar Gaddafi. Throughout this time, foreign-based Libyan opposition groups and globalist propaganda mills have incessantly cited supposed atrocities committed by Gaddafi, and none is more infamous or overused than the ‘Abu Salim prison massacre’ of June, 1996. This is now being invoked yet again in an attempt to justify the brutal war being waged on the people of Libya.

The events of the ‘Abu Salim prison massacre’ are based on two reports – one from the New York based, globalist-funded Human Rights Watch, and one from the CIA-Mossad-created National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL). The backgrounds of these organisations lend them zero credibility and in addition, their reports are based on nothing more than the testimony of two people – one named and one anonymous. Openly admitted by Human Rights Watch, none of the claims made by their witness can be independently verified. On top of this, their witness states on record that he did not witness even one single prisoner being shot dead in this supposed massacre. Furthermore, as I will demonstrate, the reports are riddled with contradictions and weaknesses. All in all, these factors and the historical context that surrounds them, utterly expose the contrived nature of the ‘Abu Salim massacre’ story.

The story begins in Abu Salim prison complex, Tripoli, in June, 1996. After several successful and unsuccessful escape attempts mounted by prisoners in Abu Salim over the previous years, security was increased at the complex and living conditions worsened for the inmates.

According to the NFSL report, at “4:30 PM on Friday June 29th 1996″ (June 29th, 1996, was actually a Saturday) a prison guard named Omar Fathallah, entered a cell in order to bring food to the prisoners. Inmates had been waiting behind the door, and as Fathallah entered he was knocked unconscious by prisoners who then attempted to escape. The inmates began moving out to the courtyard of the prison, breaking the locks of other prisoners’ cells as they went:

“The prisoners continued to chase the guards out of the building and to break the locks on other cells freeing other prisoners.”

And herein lays the first, albeit relatively insignificant, contradiction. Human Rights Watch’s witness, Hussein al-Shafa’i, offered conflicting testimony – he claimed that this incident occurred on June 28th as opposed to June 29th, 1996:

“According to al-Shafa’i, the incident began around 4:40 p.m. on June 28, when prisoners in Block 4 seized a guard named Omar who was bringing their food. Hundreds of prisoners from blocks 3, 5 and 6 escaped their cells.”

As the guards were chased out of the cell blocks, one guard was left laying injured on the ground in the courtyard, whilst another was hoisted up to safety by other guards standing on the roof. The NFSL’s report here mentions that guards began firing on the inmates in the courtyard, killing 6 and injuring 11. HRW however, only mentions one death at this time – that of Mahmoud al-Mesiri. “There were 16 or 17 injured by bullets“, HRW’s witness tells us, “the first to die was Mahmoud al-Mesiri. The prisoners took two guards hostage.

With one guard laying injured on the ground in the courtyard, and Omar Fathallah having been killed by the prisoners, a negotiating team arrived at the prison to discuss the prisoners’ demands. Crucially the NFSL report does not mention the fact that Omar Fathallah was killed by the prisoners; only the HRW report does. In this deliberate omission, the NFSL report fails to even mention the fact that Fathallah died at all.

With the negotiating team having arrived at Abu Salim, the prisoners were told to designate representatives from each block. A condition of the negotiations was that the two hostages would have to be released by the prisoners. The injured guard held hostage in the courtyard was released, but Omar Fathallah had already been killed. The prisoners presented their demands to the negotiators after agreeing to return to their cells.

The ‘executed bus prisoners’

It was then that the NFSL report tells of some prisoners being herded onto buses:

“All those in need of medical attention were told to board buses that would take them to hospitals. About 120 people boarded the buses. Those who were accused of belonging to opposition groups were ordered to get off the buses. All others were taken outside the prison section to a different part of the compound.”

The report then claims that some of these inmates, but it does not state how many, were executed by Libyan army conscripts who were given ‘kill or be killed’ orders. There is no evidence for this claim, but the NFSL report cites an anonymous ‘prison guard’ who supposedly escaped and told his story:

“They were lined up and shot execution style by young conscripts whose choices were shoot, or stand with them to be shot. This was later reported by an officer, who defied orders that night and was able to escape.”

Referring to the ‘bus executions’, HRW’s report cites the NFSL report and claims that “many of them were executed“, but offers no numbers or details.

Conflicting timelines: when did the ensuing ‘massacre’ actually occur?

The NFSL report then speaks of how, in the evening of ‘Friday June 29th’ (again, June 29th, 1996, was actually a Saturday), prisoners were herded into the courtyard of the prison and then the ‘massacre’ began at 11:00pm that night.

However, HRW’s report states that Omar Fathallah was knocked unconscious and the violence erupted at 04:40pm, June 28th. Their witness then claims that the ‘herding’ happened at 05:00am on June 29th, and the ‘massacre’ then began at 11:00am that morning.

According to the NFSL, the ‘massacre’ began at 11:00pm on June 29 when hand grenades were thrown into the courtyard and firing began. HRW’s different timeline tells of how the ‘massacre’ continued from 11:00am until 01:35pm on June 29th. Then, apparently, guards began ‘finishing off’ prisoners with pistols at 02:00pm.

Al-Shafa’i did not see a single prisoner shot dead

Crucially, and this must be stressed emphatically, HRW’s lone witness, Hussein al-Shafa’i, did not see a single prisoner being shot during the supposed massacre. Conveniently however, he was able to see the green bandanas worn by the men doing the shooting from the roof:

“I could not see the dead prisoners who were shot, but I could see those who were shooting. They were a special unit and wearing khaki military hats. Six were using kalashnikovs. I saw them – at least six men – on the roofs of the cellblocks. They were wearing beige khaki uniforms with green bandanas, a turban-like thing. Around 2:00 p.m. the forces used pistols to “finish off those who were not dead,” he said.”

The meals

Not having actually witnessed a single prisoner being shot in the ‘massacre’, star witness al-Shafa’i provides HRW with an estimate of how many were allegedly killed “by counting the number of meals he prepared prior to and after the incident“. There are a number of problems with using this as a basis for calculating how many were killed. First and foremost, it would only constitute an indirect estimate, in the absence of any evidence of bodies or the witnessing of the alleged killings.

Secondly, al-Shafa’i does not state the time period over which he counted the meals. Was it only the next day, or was it every day for the next month? There are a whole host of reasons why less meals may have been prepared after the incident. Perhaps prison logistics were thrown into chaos by the escape attempt and the killings of guards and prisoners, and as a result some meals were skipped.

Perhaps prison authorities decided to punish the prisoners for the violent escape attempt, and skipped meals (cruel as this may be).

More importantly however, are we supposed to believe that one man was responsible for preparing meals for a prison population of between 1,600 and 1,700 inmates? If one meal were to take just one minute to prepare, this would take al-Shafa’i 1,600 minutes – which is 26.6 hours. It would be literally impossible for one man to do this every day. At the same time, the only way a reliable estimate could be reached, would be if this one man did prepare all the meals himself (impossible), unless he had knowledge of how many were being prepared by other kitchen workers.

Realistically for a prison population of 1,600-1,700, the only way to feed all inmates every day would be to have a number of kitchen workers, so let’s follow this line of inquiry.

Let’s say there were a number of prisoners preparing meals every day – 35 prisoners preparing 50 meals per day, each – that is realistic. This would amount to 1,750 (the approximate total capacity of the prison).

Let’s then say that after the ‘massacre’, al-Shafa’i perhaps was preparing 15 meals instead of 50. If he were to extrapolate this number out over the other prisoners that were preparing meals, we would arrive at an estimate of 1,225 less meals.

However, this method of estimation would only be accurate if al-Shafa’i had knowledge that the other kitchen workers were preparing the same number of meals as him. He did not have this knowledge, because he estimated based on the number that HE was preparing.

This is a typical tactic to manipulate the numbers in order to give the story a credible estimate, in the absence of any actual evidence.

Moreover, al-Shafa’i claims that he was “asked by the prison guards to wash the watches that were taken from the bodies of the dead prisoners and were covered in blood”. Why did he not count the watches? This is not discussed in the HRW report.

This highly questionable ‘star’ witness who admits to not even having seen anybody get shot, then goes on to state that the dead inmates’ bodies were put into trenches and concrete was poured on. Subsequently, the bodies were moved, he tells us:

“They threw the bodies into trenches – 2 to 3 meters deep, one meter wide and about 100 meters long – that had been dug for a new wall … In 1999 security officials poured cement over the trench, he claimed, although he believed that they later had the bodies removed.”

The idea that the bodies were moved is a convenient excuse for the 1,200 bodies not being found at Abu Salim – an eventuality that seems inevitable considering the laughably shaky nature of the whole story. The unelected lackeys and terrorists of the NTC are already trying to rekindle this fable with the help of the media.

Conclusion: 1996 and the wider context

It is eminently clear that the ‘Abu Salim massacre’ was nothing of the sort. Even the NFSL admits that what transpired was a violent escape attempt as it mentions guards being attacked and cell locks being broken. As a result of this a guard was killed, one was taken hostage, and a number of prisoners were killed as prison guards reacted to quell the violence. This is corroborated in HRW’s own report where it quotes ‘Khaled’, the head of the Libyan Internal Security Agency:

“Prisoners had captured some guards during a meal and taken weapons from the prison cache. Prisoners and guards died as security personnel tried to restore order,”

The charge that 1,200 were killed is supported by no physical evidence whatsoever, and on top of this, the single named witness on which the story hinges, did not even see a single shooting. Furthermore, as demonstrated, the testimonies of both witnesses are simply not credible and conflict with each other.

For wider context we must consider an important factor. 1996 was a time when MI6 was mounting attempts to assassinate Muammar Gaddafi using ‘al Qaeda’ extremists to whom they paid a large sum of money. Abu Salim prison – and this is openly stated by the NFSL’s report – was used to house “members of a group from the city of Derna“. Derna is the very city mentioned in the infamous West Point report which found it to be a hotbed for extremist ‘al Qaeda’ fighters. These extremists had fought in Iraq and Afghanistan against the occupying forces. Furthermore, these very groups are now being supported by NATO in Libya in its attempt to oust Gaddafi – as they have been for at least the last three decades as indicated by Newsweek in 1981.

In fact, the HRW report cites the head of the Libyan Internal Security Agency as follows:

“According to Khaled, more than 400 prisoners escaped Abu Salim in four separate break-outs prior to and after the incident: in July 1995, December 1995, June 1996 and July 2001. Among the escapees were men who then fought with Islamist militant groups in Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq, he said.”

It is not just probable but highly likely, that the violent break-out mounted at Abu Salim in June 1996 (which was partially successful) was related to the ongoing MI6 attempts to kill Gaddafi using the very groups that were being held in that prison. Ever since that time, foreign-backed Libyan opposition groups such as the NFSL, and globalist propaganda mills such as Human Rights Watch, have distorted and manipulated the truth about ‘Abu Salim’, in an attempt to both rally the extremist fighters opposed to Gaddafi, and justify the brutal, illegal war of aggression now being waged on Libya.

Update: 28 September, 2011

The following December 2009 report from Human Rights watch contains a very interesting piece of information that delivers the final nail in the coffin of the ‘Abu Salim massacre’ fabrication. The report attempts to back up the 1,200 estimate by claiming that the number was confirmed by the Libyan government:

The number was also confirmed by the Libyan Secretary of Justice to Human Rights Watch in April 2009.

This can be seen on page 50 of the report, and the source for the claim is cited as:

Human Rights Watch interview with Counselor Mostafa Abdeljalil, Secretary of Justice, Tripoli, April 26, 2009

For those that don’t know, Mostafa Abdeljalil is the Chairman of the NTC – nothing more than a lackey and a puppet of NATO and the powers now waging war on Libya. In case you forgot his face, he is pictured below.

13 Comments »

  • Caustic Logic said:

    Excellent article, Martin. Thanks for putting it together.

    I’d like to mention another possibility for the lunch tray change (if it even happened) – what if app. 1,200 prisoners were transfered after the incident? Too many Islamist heads kept together managed to hatch their June 28 plot, so maybe they decided it was better to split them up to different prisons than keep them concentrated. This, like death, would cause missing lunches for an extended period. Either way, even if his count is true, as you say it’s not the best method for determining that people were murdered, and it’s alarming that was the initial evidence.

    I’m curious about his angle of view-how realistic is it to have seen the shooters on the roof but not their prey? Does he give a detailed description of where he was at the time and why?

    And another point that just arose-at my blog post, Felix has comments conveying later info, whereby the government seems to have conceded to over 1,100 killings – sort of. It seems on the surface like confirmation, but then again, they also seem to have admitted to Lockerbie,right?

  • wage said:

    you three person ur hands cannpt raise anymore cause ur the loser in war of libya

  • Mannie said:

    I have no position and I thank you for presenting a different take on events than I’ve read before. But I have to say something about a part of your piece that I thought was unnecessary and detracted from your argument. And that’s your meal preparation analysis. You question if one man could prepare 1750 meals but if he’s comparing before and after then his claim of counting the meals he prepares relates to the preparation of 525 meals, not 1750. He could’ve based the previous count of meals on the capacity figures which you yourself cite as the basis of your mathematical argument.

    Now if, as you say, it could take a man a minimum one minute to prepare a meal that’s just over eight hours. Also I think we’re talking just rice and something else here, so you could get that timing down to 30 seconds, less even. (From memory at Burger King you’re expected to make a Whopper in less than 40 seconds.) But let’s put that aside. It’s a silly argument. Thankfully we’re not privy to the machinations of that kitchen, but it’s rare to have more than one preparing preparing more than a single item in an industrial-size kitchen. The witness could’ve counted how many slops from a pot he made. The details provided by the witness of the guns and the uniforms of the guards compared to how light his testimony in relation to the killings is your best argument. I thank you for your piece but I sincerely suggest you tweak the meals section at very least because up until that point I was starting to really hear you.

  • sbs100 said:

    If you read up on other claimed atrocities, for instance, the farm warehouse massacre during regime change in Libya – the witness testimony bears a lot of similarity.

    You’ve only to look at the claims of mass graves in Iraq given by opposition groups which HRW were happy to repeat. No evidence of these mass graves have been found to date.

  • shirley said:

    THE SO CALLED AL QEIDA YOU TALK ABOUT IS RUBBISH AL QEIDA WAS NOT FORMED UNTIL 1988 ACORDING TO OTHER US GOV AND MANY INDEPENDANT SOURCES MANY NATIONLIST GROUPS HAVE BEEN PUT UNDER THE ALQEIDA BANNER THE ALGERIAN GROUP WHICH ALSO FOUGHT IN AFGHANISTAN AND PROBABLY KOSOVO DECIDED ONLY 5 YRS AGO TO COME UNDER THE ALQEIDABANNER THERE WAS NO ALQEIDA IN IRAQ NON OF THESE GROUPS ARE CORE ALQEIDA ONLY ONE CORE ALQEIDA FIGHTER WAS EVER CAUGHT IN IRAQ EARLY ON THE ALQEIDA IN IRAQ WERE SIMPLY RESISTENCE FIGHTERS THAT USED THE NAME AND WERE EVEN CALLED BY US ALQEIDA IN IRAQ NOT CORE ALQEIDA YOUCANNOT BELIEVE WHAT US SAYUS BECAUSE THEY HAVE DECIDED TO PUT ALL GROUPS UNDER THE ALQEIDA BANNER AND EVEN IF PEOPLE FOUGHT IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ UNDER ALQEIDA BANNER SO WHAT BOTH COUNTRIES HAVE BEEN INVADED UNDER PACK OF LIES TALIBAN NOTHING TO DO WITH 9/11 US DID NOT NEED TO CARPET BOMB AFGHANISTAN BUT COVERT OPERATION TO CATCH O B LADEN ETC THERE WAS NO ALQEIDA IN IRAQ AS US STATED AS ONE REASON BESIDES WMD TO ATTACK IRAQ SAYING SADDAM SUPPORTED ALQEIDA BASES IN FACT IRAQ WAS INVADED TO SET UP SHAM PRO US ISREAL GOV THERE US WANTS TO CLUMP EVERYONE UNDER THE ALQEIDA BANNER AND AS YOU KNOW THE CURRENT AL QEIDA FIGHTER IS A TRAITOR BUT IN REALITY HAD VERY LITTLE TO DO WITH CORE ALQEIDA WHICH IS AN EXTREMELY SMALL GROUP HE WAS PART OF NATIOLIST MOVEMENT IN LIBYA IN 1990s AND HAS BETRAYED ALQEIDA WHICH WOULD NEVER HELP US DESTROY AND CONTROL AN ARAB COUNTRY THIS MAN IS JUST A GADDFHI HATER AND HAS LUMPED TOGETHER A RABBLE FOLLOWING tHINK WHILE THE STRONG ALGERIAN GROUP WHO HAVE OPENLY JOINED ALQEIDA HAVE NOT USED LIBYA COLLAPSE TO START ALGERIA TROUBLE BECAUSE THEY DO NOT SUPPORT THIS TRAITOR IN LIBYA USING ALQEIDA AS A COVER THE US OVER THE YRS HAS GREATLY EXPANDED THE ALQEIDA GROUP MANY IN GTMO TEESTIMENT TO HOW US TRIED TO ATTACH THEM TO ALQEIDA IT IS IN US INTERESTS TO EXPAND ALQEIDA THE TRUTH LONG BURIED AS TO HOW SMALL CORE 9/11 AL QEIDA REALLY IS IT THE US THAT HAS MADE ALQEIDA LLARGE BY DISTORTING FACTS AND REWRITING THINGS NOT THE CORE ALQEIDA GROUP ITSELFI HAVE BEEN FOLOWINF ME MANY YRS NOW ALSO ISREAL ENGAGED IN DEMANIZING AND SUDAN AND ARMING SOUTH SUDAN REBELS ISREAL AND ITS AFFILIATES HAVE BEEN DESTABILIZING AND DEMANIZING ARABS FOR DECADES ONE ISREALS GREATEST PROPAGANDA ISREAL THE ONLY DEMOCRACY IN ME IN 1950s ISREAL AGENTS ATTACKED WESTERN INTERSTS IN EGYPT AND BLAMED IT ON EGYPT GROUPS AND CAUSING TROUBLE FOR EGYPT it ALSO CAUSED EGYPT TO EXPEL JEWS WHICH ISREAL WANTED TO POPULATE ISREAL . ISREAL AND ITS TENTICLE ARMS HAS LONG DESTABILIZED ME LONG BEFORE ALQEIDA WAS EVEN THOUGHT OF

  • nadia mohammed said:

    In my possession, along with many other families,is a paper we recieved from the Gadaffi regime in 2008. It apologises for the unlawful death of my relative in the Abu Salim massacre and the regime offers blood money. It took nearly 13 years for this paper to be sent out to the victims families. If the regime were innocent of any wrong doing then why take all that time? If they were terrorists they would certainly not have offered blood money. This blood money, in libyan culture/tradition is only offered in cases of unlawful killings. Abu Salim did happen and not how you are trying to portray it. A mass grave has been discovered just outside Abu Salim with over 1,000 victims, hopefully DNA will finally give closure to the victims families. May Allah have mercy on your soul.

  • Jovanka Broz said:

    In order to support NATOs war against Libya, the fabricated claim was used that the former Libyan government massacred 1200 prisoners in an uprising in Abu Salim prison in 1996.
    Western press made the claim that the massgrave of 1200 had been found. Only French journalists actually investigated the “massgrave”. They found only one dead and that was a camel!

  • Isabella Blackmani said:

    I hope everybody in Libya is happy now after the sell
    out and destruction of your country. I was born in Chile , and lived under Pinochet’s dictatorship so to Nadia, how come I don’t have any problem, by doing a simple google search, to come up with numbers, places, etc. of Pinochet’s killings, but all of Gaddaffi’s are alleged,and non corroborated by impartial entities? Let the stealing, the exploitation by the transnationals commence again, straight back to before Gadaffi.

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