Topic: Libya after Gaddafi
Human Rights Watch decided to contribute in the dramatic disputes over how many civilians were killed in NATO’s air campaign in Libya.© AFP 2013/ Mahmud Turkia
Human Rights Watch decided to contribute in the dramatic disputes over how many civilians were killed in NATO’s air campaign in Libya.© REUTERS/ Paul Hackett
Human Rights Watch decided to contribute in the dramatic disputes over how many civilians were killed in NATO’s air campaign in Libya.© AFP 2013
Yelena Suponina for RIA Novosti
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- NATO rejects criticism over Libya; says operation ‘saved lives’
- Moscow alarmed over NATO's disproportionate use of force in Libya - vice-premier
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has finally decided to contribute its weighty word in the dramatic disputes over how many civilians were killed in NATO’s air campaign in Libya. HRW experts worked on the report “Unacknowledged Deaths” for a year and published it on May 14. It will probably disappoint some Russian analysts, at any rate, those who talk about thousands of Libyan civilians who were killed. HRW experts who personally visited the regions hit by NATO bombing cite a much smaller figure: 72 people.
This figure is accompanied by the qualification, “at least.” In other words, it's possible that not all victims have been accounted for. But the tragic list will not become much longer in any event. NATO representatives told Human Rights Watch that their organization “did everything possible to minimize risks to civilians,” including the exclusive use of precision-guided munitions. This is sometimes possible in modern wars but God forbid anyone strays into the margin of error.
The NATO summit as a pretext for admitting hard facts
HRW mentions an internal NATO inquiry into the Libya campaign last February 2012 that reportedly failed to mention civilian deaths. HRW is urging NATO to give up this attitude of denial and start an inquiry into each tragic case. Moreover, NATO executives will have a good pretext for their public statements in the near future – the NATO summit in Chicago on May 20 and 21.
HRW believes that “NATO is also obligated to investigate credible allegations of laws-of-war violations, appropriately punish those responsible, and provide compensation to victims of unlawful attacks.” One of HRW’s recommendations for NATO is to “conduct a general investigation into NATO strikes that resulted in civilian casualties with the aim of minimizing civilian casualties in future armed conflicts.” If a war cannot be avoided, it is essential to at least minimize civilian casualties.
Every life is priceless, and it is impossible to read calmly the report’s quotations of the testimony of eye-witnesses and relatives of how 72 people (more than 20 of whom were children) were killed. There is only one conclusion: a war is the worst large-scale disaster.
“I’m wondering why they did this, why just our houses?”
The village of Majer 160 km east of Tripoli was hit during the Muslim fast of Ramadan at about 11 p.m. on August 8, 2011. Contrary to the assertions of the allied command about strikes at exclusively military targets, NATO aircraft dropped bombs on four houses in this village.
Carroll Bogert, deputy executive director for external relations at HRW, told me that Fred Abrahams, an HRW employee, visited the village on August 9, the day of the funeral. She said they were in Libya at that time and the local authorities were very helpful when they wanted to visit some of the NATO-bombed sites.
The surviving residents of the destroyed houses testified that refugees from other parts of Libya had been there at that time. They had visited their relatives in a village that was considered safe because it had no Gaddafi troops or military equipment. However, no place is safe in a country that is engulfed by war. Mohamed El Raqeeq lost three of his children in the attack, Hana, Abdu Allah and Ahmed, as well as his wife Salima, not to mention his other relatives.
The owner of another house, Muammar al-Jarud, lost four family members: his wife Hanan al-Fargani, 30, his mother Salma, 53, his sister Fatima, 29, and his eight-month old daughter Salma. He was in the street at the time, but rushed over when he heard the explosion and was wounded in the leg by a splinter from the bomb that hit outside the compound. His neighbors rushed to clear the ruins, and the second strike came about 20 minutes after the first, killing 18 men and wounding another 15. “I’m wondering why they did this, why just our houses?” said Muammar al-Jarud.
The authors of the report ask a different question: Why did the pilots strike again if they had infrared guiding systems that must have detected a crowd of people around the wreckage. This question remains unanswered.
The village of Majer lost 34 people on that day, all ordinary civilians without exception. More people died in this tragedy than in seven other cases during NATO’s air attacks registered by HRW. NATO’s operation ran from March 19 to October 31, 2011.
10,000 euros for every dead person
HRW admits that at the time Libyan government representative Musa Ibrahim spoke about 85 deaths in this village, but they could not confirm this figure over the course of several visits there. The report mentions that the Gaddafi government claimed that over a thousand civilians died but HRW considers this figure to be exaggerated.
In some cases NATO struck houses of senior Libyan military or officials and sometimes their relatives, but they cannot be regarded as military targets. Nevertheless, on September 25, 2011 NATO bombed a housing compound in Sirte on Libya’s northern coast, killing three women and four children. The house belonged to Brig. Gen. Musbah Dyab’s brother. The civilians who were killed were his relatives.
The house of another military figure, Ret. Gen. El Khweldi El Hamedi, was destroyed by bombs three months before. Thirteen people staying in his house, including five children from eight months to eight years, were killed. The general himself was unharmed. Now his family is suing NATO. His son Haled filed a lawsuit in Brussels, where the NATO headquarters is located. He demands 10,000 euros for every dead person. The trial was launched last October. The next hearings are scheduled for September 17, 2012.
Russian diplomats are incredulous
It will be recalled in connection with these new figures on civilian casualties in Libya that the Russian Foreign Ministry repeatedly demanded an investigation into this. They were not satisfied with the data of the UN commission that was published in March 2012.
The UN International Commission of Inquiry on Libya included reputable lawyers: Asma Khader from Jordan, Cherif Bassiouni from Egypt and Philippe Kirsch from Canada (head of the commission). They established that 60 civilians lost their lives in Libya during NATO bombings. In the report to the UN Human Rights Council, they mentioned 55 wounded persons.
The Russian Foreign Ministry’s ombudsman for human rights, Konstantin Dolgov, advised them to “be more persistent in receiving information from NATO and the new Libyan government.”
The figures quoted by HRW in the new report almost align with those of the UN – fewer than 100 deaths in more than eight months of the military campaign. Is this a big number?
Let’s just point out that these are not Libyan military losses, including those in which rebels were killed by “friendly fire.” These losses show that it is hardly possible to live a calm life in Libya today. This is just one side of the multi-faceted tragedy that is war.
Yelena Suponina is a political commentator and expert on Oriental Studies.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s and may not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.
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- firstname.lastname@example.orgVery glad to hear civilian death toll reduced to 7219:14, 15/05/2012After reading this article I was happy to hear that the civilian death toll had been reduced from thousands to 72 people.
The bigger picture with regards to war, death and killing people.
For people who follow my comments there is now a new reality emerging with regards to actually what is a human being and how death affects us.
Death now simply means the end of this current life experience and our spiritual energy is released back to the Spiritual Realm, for energy reconstruction, repair and then a life review.
Our lives on Earth seemed to be carefully planned before hand in the Spirit Realm before hand with any karmic issues to be dealt with during that life.
For instance if you were a soldier in a previous lifetime and killed a civilian, then it would be your karmic debt in this lifetime to live through that same experience that you had inflicted on another person.
In this way you get to experience first hand the violence that you bestowed on another person.
If the violence is NOT planned then the soldier, pilot and those in charge of the violence are responsible in the future of a karmic debt.
Meaning the pilot who has dropped the bombs in this lifetime, must become the victim in his next lifetime of a similar event. In this way he will gain first hand experience of the violence he caused.
And the karmic debt goes up the ladder to those who ultimately make the decisions. Everyone in the end is responsible for their actions.
Irregardless each soul will relive the experiences that they caused others.
This means the pilot of the jet fighter dropping the bombs, those making the bombs, those putting the bombs on the plane, those responsible for giving the orders to drop the bombs will each relive the consequences of their actions that lead to the deaths of those on ground, planned or unplanned.
In this way they learn completely how their actions affect others.
Why is this done?
The grand scheme of things is learn how valuable life is and how our everyday actions affect others and ultimately to grow from that knowledge.
Life on Earth is a juxtaposition to the Spirit Realm, which is unconditional love and acceptance.
Life is ultimately love, although the word love in the English language does not fully express it.
For all Spiritual Entities living within the Spirit Realm it is hard to understand what unconditional love and acceptance is until you experience first hand what it is not.
An allegory for this would be, if you have always lived in a white room, how do know the room is white, if you have experienced no other colour? And such is the purpose of our lives on Earth.
To learn from the natural human condition and all the emotions that come with the package and to grow from these experiences.
Three great books on the subject.
Journey of Souls by Michael Newton
Destiny of Souls by Michael Newton
(both of these can be found online with a Google search and PDF at the end)
Application of Impossible Things by Natalie Sudman.
Natalie Sudman was given the very unique gift to experience an NDE event that took her to the Spirit Realm and back confirming all of the evidence that Michael Newton had discovered in 50 years of research from the 1950's to 2010.
Our core consciousness is that of a young pure energy light being that reincarnates over and over again on Earth and other planets to learn specific lessons on what it is to be alive and all that entails.
Once these lessons have been adequately learned incarnation ends and we move onto other tasks in the Spirit Realm.
Very interesting stuff.
So I was glad to read that the Libyan civilian deaths had been limited to 72 and not thousands.
Since Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was responsible for approving the dropping of ordinance (bombs) on Libyan targets I would hate to see him karmically responsible for thousands of human deaths.
Irregardless he will still have to relive each one of these deaths as if they were his own, after he dies as part of his life review. There is no escape from this.
All world leaders and soldiers must now take this new found knowledge into account before attacking a country and killing someone, anyone. You are karmically responsible for that death if it is not planned. Irregardless you must relive that death as if it were your own, during your life review.
One extreme example of this.
The United States Republican Administration of George Bush and Dick Cheney orchestrated the destruction of the World Trade Center Towers, attack on the Pentagon, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
900,000 people were killed as a result of these actions
1,700,000 people were wounded because of these actions.
This administration and the people involved in these actions are now responsible for reliving the deaths of those 900,000 people killed just as they occurred and the injuries of 1,700,000 people just as they occurred. There is NO escape from this in their life review.
If these deaths were NOT planned then they are karmically responsible for those deaths and injuries in future life times.
The worst case scenario for former President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney is 65 million years for the 900,000 deaths and 128 million years for the 1,700,000 injuries.
Everyone involved however is responsible.
Be VERY CAREFUL of your actions and how they affect other people.
Your Spiritual Essence is ultimately responsible for those actions.
In light of the present situation in the Middle East, Russia and Israel find themselves facing common challenges. Under these newly emerging situations, Russia sees its partnership with Israel as a potential asset in resolving acute regional issues. From a Russian perspective, the compatibility of Israeli and Russian interests could contribute to such a partnership.