Why Blair should also face the wrath of liberated Libya
By Eamonn McCann
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
Watching the foot-age of Gaddafi's last moments, a friend with no particular interest in politics turned to me and said: "You'd have to feel a pity for any human being treated like that."
But not necessarily. The most disturbing images of the past week were not of Gaddafi wounded and helpless being kicked to pulp and flung across the bonnet of a truck for the small mercy of the coup de grace, but the broad smiles of a number of television journalists as they reported the news.
The display of Gaddafi's body on a slab in a freezer in a Misrata vegetable market for the cameras to linger on was the calculated crowning indignity.
Beside him lay the body of his son Mutassim, filmed shortly before he was killed smoking a cigarette in a cell, apparently uninjured.
Gaddafi inflicted worse on his enemies, it might be argued, and Mutassim must have been complicit. Does that make it okay, then?
It may be a mitigating circumstance that the maiming and killing wasn't done in cold blood, but by fighters who had come through a welter of danger and may have been seized by frenzy at having Gaddafi in their clutches at last - unlike the controlled circumstances of the torture perpetrated by Gaddafi's goons on prisoners in bunkers far out of sight of television cameras. But not everybody is entitled to make this comparison.
On September 4, researchers for Human Rights Watch (HRW) gained access to the Tripoli headquarters of the Libyan foreign ministry and discovered documents which threw light on the real attitude of powerful interests in the West towards torture under Gaddafi.