Files reveal Gaddafi spies

2011-09-03 13:18

Tripoli - When Muammar Gaddafi threatened to chase rebels "street by street, alley by alley [zenga, zenga], house by house", it was no idle threat, thanks to his army of informants and gunmen posted in every area.

Tucked away in an innocuous office building on Baladiya Street, an offshoot of Martyrs' Square, or Green Square as it was known under Gaddafi's regime, lies one node of the regime's intricate spy network.

"This was the control room for all of Tripoli," said Abdelkarim Gadder, gesturing at three expansive satellite maps veined with the smallest streets of the capital and marking every major landmark.

Green thumbtacks show a myriad of gates from which security operatives could funnel into a neighbourhood in search for regime opponents.

"Checkpoints and communication channels doubled after the resistance," said Gadder, referring to the protest movement that erupted mid-February, escalated into civil war, and forced Gaddafi and his clan into hiding.

House arrests

Street camera footage shown on massive television screens, he said, helped security services and neighbourhood informants to identify those who took part in anti-regime protests.

Door-to-door house arrests would promptly follow.

"There was a snitch for almost every household," said Gadder. " Gaddafi's regime knew who lived in each apartment, who is with him, who is against him."

By way of example, he points to the neighbourhood of Souk al-Jumaa in south-eastern Tripoli which was an early pocket of resistance against Gaddafi's regime after February 17.

"Just this one, small neighbourhood had five fixed checkpoints, 14 mobile checkpoints, 170 armed men and 90 backup forces," ready to move and smite the opposition, he said, leafing through a binder with records of the manpower available in each area of the city.

Gadder said security services consisted in a mixture of military men and civilians.

Massive file folders document the names of agents, most of them armed, drawn from more than 15 branches of security including the armed forces, interior ministry, foreign ministry, intelligence services, national security, military police, Tripoli security forces and revolutionary councils.


There were at least 500 low-level spies, including taxi drivers, working in metropolitan Tripoli under Gaddafi.

They earned no more than 400 Libyan dinars ($330) per month, but the salary was supplemented by material perks.

Mid- to high-ranking officers stood in their thousands and earned up to 1 200 dinars.

"It was not the salary that counted. It was the cars, the homes, the money for medical treatment," he said.

The majority of these men are still at large, said Gadder, adding he was now tasked with tracking their whereabouts so that those involved in crimes could be brought to justice.

Those without blood on their hands could be brought into the fold of new security services.

But telling the two apart might prove a difficult task as a large amount of evidence disappeared - Gaddafi's men destroyed digital databases on their way out when rebel forces overran the capital on August 20.

"They destroyed all the computers so we have to rely on the written documents," he said.

Another loss of data came from Nato's air strike that pummelled the headquarters of Abdullah Senussi, Gaddafi's former right hand man and spymaster, he said.

"We never know what was lost. Many things are missing," including the records of mercenaries who fought to defend the regime, he said.

  • Anton - 2011-09-03 15:57

    Thank God, this nightmare is over for the Libyan people. I have visited a number of African countries, where in a public place, like a coffee shop, my host would be too scared to even mention the name of their president. These dictators are not these "strong" guys one always hears about, but instead a bunch of weak COWARDS, who can only survive through the tyranny of "their" security forces. In Africa , Libya is now number three, who has got rid of their thugs. Africans are learning fast, what democracy is all about; ACCOUNTABILITY They are demanding a simular system as one has in Western Europe, that if a leader makes an unpopular decision, it won't take 42 years to get rid of him , but 42 minutes!!!!!!!!! There is a Arab Awakening, but there is also an African Awakening. There is still a long road to go, but one day; AFRICA WILL BE FREE!!!!

      tommy 2 - 2011-09-03 17:29

      @ANTON You should be very wary of travelling any were in Africa going forward. Let me correct you, The nightmare for the Libyan people has only just begun. Africa will never be free unless it takes the west and its allies on.

      Peg-Leg-Sven - 2011-09-03 17:54

      @tommy 2, if Africa took on the West and it Allies, there would not be a Black African state left in Africa. They would be mowed down like flies. Go back to your Kraal and play with your cattle and do some reading. There is no nation on the planet that can stand up to the West and it's Allies, except China and that is not going to happen as long as China needs the West to buy it's goods.

      tommy 2 - 2011-09-03 18:07

      @peg, African leaders do not have to bow down to the west & its allies. They have raped,sold arms caused wars in africa for to long..... This is what one means about taking on the west.......

      slg - 2011-09-03 18:37

      Tommy, grow up buddy. You;re trapped in a cycle of victimhood and delusion. You're not helping Africa with these hate-filled ideas. You're only imprisoning it more.

      Anton - 2011-09-03 18:38

      Tommy, Sorry, your first sentence, I fail to understand... Anyhow, What the Libyan people concerned, if it is going to be a nightmare, i don't know, but for sure, it is not going to be easy. Don't forget , as a good dictator, gaddafi destroyed just about everthing. Political parties, unions, civil organisations, THE LOT ! Because it was just not necessarily, There was that flipping dumb stupid green book, that told everybody how to live, and for leaders ,This criminal thug was going to give "his" country to his lovely son Saif and your comment " ....unless it takes the West and its allies on" sorry,but that is so pathetically childish. of

      john - 2011-09-04 12:39

      tommy 2: "Africa will never be free unless it takes the west and its allies on." You are correct. However, we differ in our interpretations of what it means to "take the West on". Let us take Japan as an example. It "took the West on" in WW2, by launching an attack against the US at Pearl Harbor. That didn't work out too well for it. Then it "took the West on" after WW2, by adopting a liberal democratic system in 1947 and competing against Western companies in world markets. That worked out VERY well for them. Yes, Africa needs to take the West on. But, more than that, it needs to take the world on. Because that is who we are competing against in markets - the world. South America, Asian, East European countries are our competitors and our customers, just as much as Western countries are.

  • slg - 2011-09-03 16:06

    Thank heavens that time is now coming to an end for the Libyan people. I hope that waitress who bagged the poor woman raped by Gadahfi's soldiers is found and arrested.

      tommy 2 - 2011-09-03 17:37

      The one woman who claimed to be raped by gaddafi forces, This same women who now has citizenship in the U.S. She came with a false story but what followed in the media was mass rapes that have occurred. Now the same with the women claiming to be burnt with boiling water..... Why are we only hearing about her once hanibal and his wife are in algeria.Its simple: the west will want the world to put pressure for algeria to give the gaddafi family members up. This women could have got burns from nato strikes,rebels lauching RpgS into buildings but we will be told that the gaddafis have done this....... The suffering for the Libyan people has just begun.......

      slg - 2011-09-03 18:39

      You're deep in delusion, Tommy, no doubt about that. You're supporting the rape of women and the oppression of Africans, you just don't know it. You don't want to know it, that's the problem. Until you do, you're be a force for evil in the world. This is what you're doing.

      Anton - 2011-09-03 18:42

      Tommy 2, "The suffering of the Libyan people has just begun...." Are you joyful of this....???????????????? If so, shame on you !!!

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