@antiwar_soldier informed me that today rebels have executed thirty captured soldiers in the town of Tarhouna, thereby committing a major war crime. The captured soldiers were reportedly executed as rebels were retreating from the city, which they were unable to keep under control.
The rebels, of course, try to give a different explanation for the 30 dead. Doha-based Libya TV (i.e. not the Libyan national TV) attempts to cover up the killings and says that the soldiers were killed by Gaddafi for “refusing to kill their own people.” We’ve heard this very same explanation for similar crimes committed by the so-called “rebels” before. Back in February, they executed prisoners of war, and tried to blame it on Gaddafi using the same story. Patrick Cockburn wrote back in June:
The Libyan insurgents were adept at dealing with the press from an early stage and this included skilful propaganda to put the blame for unexplained killings on the other side. One story, to which credence was given by the foreign media early on in Benghazi, was that eight to 10 government troops who refused to shoot protesters were executed by their own side. Their bodies were shown on TV. But Donatella Rovera, senior crisis response adviser for Amnesty International, says there is strong evidence for a different explanation. She says amateur video shows them alive after they had been captured, suggesting it was the rebels who killed them.
There’s video proof for this particular rebel war crime from February. The Libyan state television aired two YouTube videos. The first one shows the soldiers being interrogated and threatened. The second one (which starts at 3:51) shows the executed, dead bodies of those soldiers, with their hands tied behind their backs.
A much more detailed analysis of videos that document this atrocity can be found at nocheinparteibuch.wordpress.com.
And here comes the worst part. How did the Western media react after it was proven that this atrocity was committed by rebels? They never reported about it. The same is true for when Amnesty and the UN found that there was no evidence for most of the atrocities that rebels claimed Gaddafi had committed: no mention in the major news networks.
To this day politicians justify Nato’s intervention in Libya by citing atrocities supposedly carried out by pro-Gaddafi forces such as mass rape or extensive use of mercenaries. Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch long ago revealed that there was no evidence for most of the atrocity stories, as did a UN commission headed by the distinguished legal scholar Cherif Bassiouni.These well-researched reports were almost entirely ignored by the media which first published the Gaddafi atrocity stories.