When Arizona Senator John McCain went to Benghazi in April to call for stepped-up American support for the Libyan rebellion, he was filmed with rebel leaders at a location where the rebels had publicly decapitated a man only weeks before, as reported last week on the Daily Caller. Following Nicolas Sarkozy's and David Cameron's triumphant visit to Benghazi, Senator McCain is no longer alone.
The beheading occurred during the first weeks of the rebellion. An amateur video documenting the event appeared on the internet in late March. It shows a dark-skinned man being suspended upside down in front of the arched window of a burnt-out building. A crowd of hundreds is gathered around, many of whom are filming the proceedings on their cell phones. Members of the crowd chant revolutionary slogans. As one of the rebels begins sawing at the man's neck with a long knife, there are cries of "Allahu Akbar!"
(The full video can be viewed here. Viewer discretion is advised.)
The victim appears to have been one of the countless black African migrants or dark-skinned Libyans to be accused by the rebels of serving as pro-Gaddafi mercenaries. Countless other videos exist that likewise document the brutal treatment of black detainees in rebel-controlled territories.
The burnt-out building has been identified from news agency photos as part of Benghazi's main courthouse complex, where the rebels would establish their headquarters shortly after the outbreak of the rebellion.
French President Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Cameron were the Western leaders who first advocated military intervention to support the fledging rebellion in March; along with the United States, France and Britain have been the main contributors to the NATO air campaign that paved the way to the rebels' conquest of Tripoli.
As France's state-sponsored wire service the AFP has put it, Sarkozy and Cameron received a "hero's welcome" on their September 15 visit to Benghazi. The same formula appears in many other press accounts in both English and French. The main evidence for this "hero's welcome" consists of images of Cameron and Sarkozy being swarmed by an adoring crowd.
These images, it so happens, were filmed at the precise spot where a large crowd of supporters of the rebellion had earlier cheered the abuse of the alleged black "mercenary." Note the arched window in the background in the below video still. The still is taken from Associated Press footage of Cameron's and Sarkozy's visit [here].
The window is the same window in front of which the alleged "mercenary" was decapitated. It is recognizable in the following two stills from the video of the beheading. The two men in the window frame are here seen hoisting up the alleged "mercenary" by his feet.
The website of the French presidency has even published a group photo in which Sarkozy and Cameron pose with leaders of the rebellion in front of the same window.
The sign in French reads "Thanks for having saved Benghazi." Here is a closer look of the assembled leaders and notables.
In the close-up, David Cameron is the second person from the right. To the left of Cameron is the chairman of Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC), Mustafa Abdul Jalil; then Nicolas Sarkozy, and then French foreign Minister Alain Juppé. The vice chair of the NTC, Abdul Hafez Ghoga, is standing next to the man in army fatigues at the left. The man with long graying hair and the unbuttoned shirt in the background is the French philosopher and author Bernard-Henri Lévy. In press accounts, Lévy is widely credited with having convinced Sarkozy of the need to intervene in Libya for "humanitarian" reasons.
The whole premise of western military intervention in Libya was that "pro-Gaddafi" Libyan government forces were committing atrocities that had to be stopped. But extensive video evidence, including the Benghazi beheading video, documents horrific atrocities committed by the very forces that western powers have supported in Libya and whom John McCain described as his "heroes."
This evidence has been passed over in silence by western governments and the virtual entirety of the established western media – perhaps because it is so difficult to reconcile with the standard justification of the Libya war. Even if it should turn out that the targets of the rebels' wrath were indeed pro-Gaddafi "mercenaries," as per the standard narrative, it is difficult to imagine the American public being sympathetic to the cause of people who decapitate and otherwise torment their perceived enemies. Americans did not, after all, regard it as understandable, much less "heroic," when American and other foreign hostages were being decapitated by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
As it so happens, the perpetrators of the atrocities in Libya and those in Iraq are essentially the same groups animated by the same ideology. As discussed here, the eastern Libyan heartland of the Libyan rebellion sent more recruits to Al-Qaeda in Iraq than any other region; and one of the military commanders of the rebellion, Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi, has admitted that he personally recruited some of them.
The smoke-stained window frame in the background of Nicolas Sarkozy's and David Cameron's triumphal photo ops reveals the enormous elephant in the room that the western media has been ignoring: the al-Qaeda-like brutality and anti-black racism of our allies, the Libya rebels.