The keeper of Gaddafi’s secrets reveals the oddities of a leader who killed his opponents, raped women visitors, and washed his hands with deer’s blood (2)

The keeper of Gaddafi’s secrets reveals the oddities of a leader who killed his opponents, raped women visitors, and washed his hands with deer’s blood (2)

Amman – Ghassan Charbel |

The keeper of Gaddafi’s secrets reveals the oddities of a leader who killed his opponents, raped women visitors, and washed his hands with deer’s blood (2)

 

Mismari: Gaddafi offered Saddam asylum and followed his trial closely as if this was going to be his own fate

He despised Blair and did not think of Mubarak as an equal. There was no love lost in his relationship with Arafat and Abbas

Watching television upset the tyrant, as they showed him the fate of his counterpart, his photos and his statues, as if it was a premonition of what was going to happen to him. Gaddafi watched the American military machine uprooting the regime of Saddam Hussein. He hated him a lot; but the scene was far more dangerous. He then saw Saddam being taken to court and executed. Nuri Mismari, the former Libyan Chief of Protocol, revealed that Muammar Gaddafi offered Saddam asylum in Libya in order to avoid war in his country. He later on closely followed Saddam’s trial, as if this was going to be on his own fate.

 

Mismari recounts how the rise of Saif al-Islam clashed with his father’s desire to keep everything under control. Saif al-Islam also clashed with his brothers’ opposition despite the intervention of their mother, Mrs. Safiya.

 

Mismari also revealed that Omar al-Meheishi, a member of the Revolutionary Command Council, tried to assassinate Gaddafi in his sleep in Kampala but the guard there drew his weapon and thwarted his attempt. He quotes the guards as saying that, when Gaddafi succeeded in bringing in Meheishi from Morocco, he told him, we brought you here under our feet. He then shot him dead.

 

Mismari said that Gaddafi did not see President Hosni Mubarak as an equal; that he didn’t like President Yasser Arafat; and that he insisted for his chair to be always higher than his visitor’s.

 

Below is the second part of the interview:

 

Q. Is it true that Gaddafi became scared when he saw the images of Saddam Hussein’s execution?

A. This is normal. He might have concluded that a dictator cannot protect himself indefinitely no matter how large his army is and regardless of his merciless oppression machine. It is not easy for a dictator to see his counterpart being taken to court and then executed with all his photos and statues removed. He might have felt that there is no such thing as permanent immunity especially following his massive crimes against his opponents and the citizens. Gaddafi was well aware of what he had done throughout decades, both within and outside Libya.

 

Q. Did he hate Saddam?

A. He hated him in a peculiar manner. He used to insult him and call him stupid and say that he is a petty and reckless man. This is perhaps due to the fact that Saddam was also an arrogant man. In addition, Saddam would never acknowledge Gaddafi’s role or leadership. Gaddafi supported Saddam’s opponents in Iraq; so Saddam responded by supporting Gaddafi’s opponents in Chad. There was an extreme animosity between the two men. Prior to the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, Gaddafi received an envoy sent by Saddam. He told the envoy that he doesn’t believe that things will go well. He said he was ready to host Saddam in Libya if this can spare Iraq the atrocities of war. He also said that Saddam may choose another place if he did not wish to come to Libya. Saddam was certainly not going to leave and it was unimaginable for him to come and live in Libya, the country that supported his opponents and offered weapons to Iran during its war with Iraq. The Iraqi envoy stressed that the Iraqi morale and preparations to confront any aggression were adequate; but Gaddafi wasn’t convinced.

 

Q. During his speech at the Arab summit in Damascus, Gaddafi predicted that some participants will be facing a fate similar to that of Saddam; is that correct?

A. Yes, he told them: “Your turn will come and you will be put to trial.” In reality, he was afraid for his own self. He saw what the Americans did in Afghanistan and Iraq and he realized that America can uproot any regime hostile to it.

 

Q. How did he view President Hosni Mubarak?

A. He never considered him an equal despite Egypt’s stature. It is as if he believed that Egypt needed him personally. I once heard him say: when I used to go to Egypt to meet with their master, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak used to salute me.

 

Q. Did he support Mubarak financially?

A. Yes.

 

Q. Are there other Arab presidents that he supported?

A. I think he supported Tunisia and Egypt. I don’t have any information about the others.

 

Q. How did he treat Yasser Arafat?

A. He used to treat him like he was just a regular person and he used to think that he’s weak. He probably hated Arafat’s halo as the torchbearer of a cause; or his keenness on keeping all communication lines open with all Arab leaders. At some point, their relationship grew cold and Gaddafi supported some organizations that used to oppose Arafat and his policies. The story of Sabri al-Banna (Abou Nidal) is well-known and so is the story of the splinter in Fatah. Gaddafi was always keen on standing or sitting in a more favorable location. He wanted to have a better location that Arafat and this was also the case with President Mahmoud Abbas. Being strict with regards to the Palestinian issue and being arrogant vis-à-vis Arafat was part of Gaddafi’s and other leaders’ methods. This attitude was used to gain internal support and to polish his image.

 

Q. Did he hate Abbas then?

A. Yes and he thought he was weak. He also accused him of being complacent on Palestine and the rights of the Palestinians.

 

Q. Who among the Palestinians did he like?

A. He liked Ahmad Jibril (the Secretary General of the Popular Front –General Command) who was his friend and his assistant Talal Naji.

 

Q. He also used to receive some Lebanese politicians…

A. Yes, he received Walid Jumblatt, George Hawi, and others. Former President Amin Gemayel also visited him. He prepared a good reception for him and they had a good discussion. Gemayel was a former president and I remained with him throughout his visit. Gaddafi treated him with respect and, to say the truth, Amin Gemayel respected his post as a former president and a political leader.

 

Q. Is it true that Gaddafi used to lower his tent’s entrance so that visiting leaders would have to bow down upon entering?

A. No that’s not true; but he was arrogant and he always wanted his chair to be higher than his guest’s chair.

 

Q. What was his relationship with Toni Blair like?

A. At the beginning, it was bad. He actually received him with a humiliating gesture. He crossed his legs so that his shoes were facing his guest’s face. He knew there were cameras there and he did that on purpose. Later on, the relationship between the two men turned into a close one with the encouragement of Saif al-Islam.

 

Q. Did you hear him say that Saif al-Islam was going to succeed him?

A. Saif al-Islam was bracing for that but his brother Al-Mo’tasem Bellah wasn’t pleased with that and he formed a lobby along with his brothers, Al-Saadi, Hannibal, and Khamees. Things escalated until their mother Safiya brought them together and told them: I want you to support your brother, Saif al-Islam, because he is the eldest. Saadi then objected and said: “That’s what you and he think.”

 

Q. Did you hear Gaddafi say anything about succession?

A. No I did not. However, he was grooming Saif al-Islam for the post without granting him a great deal of control. Saif al-Islam was hasty at some instances and he tried to speed things up but Gaddafi used to bring him back to his senses by saying: As long as I am alive, I am the only one to rule. When it comes to power, Gaddafi showed no leniency; neither towards his children nor towards anyone else.

 

Q. Do you think he was obsessed with power?

A. He was obsessed with both power and himself. He was merciless in this sense. Saif al-Islam tried to expand his control so his father pulled the rug from under his feet.

 

Q. How was his relationship with his wife knowing that he married twice?

A. His first marriage was to the daughter of Nouri Khaled, chief of the Sabha police. The marriage was a hasty one. Her brother Khaled was a member of the Free Officers. Later on, Gaddafi married Safiya. She was a nurse that he met when he had his appendectomy in the area of Al-Sharqiya. She was the nurse who looked after; so he married her and divorced Fathiya.

 

Q. Did he have a good relationship with Safiya?

A. Gaddafi was a man with no boundaries and no rules. He did whatever he pleased. He was a dominating and excessive man and he believed that no one had the right to question him. He did whatever he pleased and so there were major problems between the two of them especially at the last phase as there was talk about his relationships with women. His children were convinced that he did have such relationships. I remember we were once visiting an Eastern European country along with his son, Mo’tasem. We were trying to stop him from doing something but Al-Mo’tasem said: “Leave him. Let him live his life.” His children were convinced that he was adamant on living as he pleased.

 

Q. Did you ever feel that he had differences with Safiya?

A. Yes I did in many instances. There were many differences. He used to stay in the house that the NATO destroyed in Bab al-Azizia. After this house was destroyed, they arrested my wife, children and grandchildren. This was an underground house. There are young boys there; and foul things used to take place there. The house has bedrooms, gyms, a kitchen and a barbershop. It is a complete underground house with labyrinths leading outside. He would sometimes stay there for one or two months. We knew that, whenever he was there, he was busy with his wild and shameful life.

 

Q. Did he suffer from any health issues?

A. He had difficulty in breathing

 

Q. Did he have any plastic surgeries?

A. Yes. His hairline was receding so he hired a Brazilian doctor to solve this issue. He used to claim that he is angry and in retreat and he would stop receiving people in order to take care of his own issues and affairs. He hated wrinkles and he always got Botox shots.

 

Q. Was he a brave man?

A. He was a coward who claimed to be brave. When we used to take part in conferences, he used to ask us to find out where the emergency exits are. He used to say, “Put guards there. You must also have flashlights. If the lights go out, you should turn your flashlights on. Those sitting by the exits should send signals so that we know that there is a gate that we can use to leave.” He was a coward. I said that he would never leave Libya because I know he’s stubborn and that he would never surrender. He cannot imagine his life without power. But this is not because he was brave. He used to take some pills that improved his morale and gave him a feeling of courage and power.

 

 

Q. Who got him those pills?

A. I think it was Abdullah Sennoussi. He used to take them all the time and during war, they used to give them to the army. They were not hallucination pills. They just lifted one's morale.

Q. Did he ever take them when you were with him?

A. Yes.

Q. What did he do when he got angry?

A. When he used to get mad, no one could meet him in any way until he calmed down. And in order to calm down, he had to clash with someone to vent his anger.

Q. Did he use to break things?

A. No, he did not have that habit. He had to insult someone to calm down. Even in the presence of presidents, he used to throw files on the ground so that his aides would pick them up.

Q. Did this happen to you?

A. No, it happened with the poor Bashir Saleh, the director of his office.

Q. Did you ever clash with him?

A. Yes, quite often, and he used to punch me at times.

Q. And when he got mad at you?

A. He would send me to prison.

Q. Did he ever beat you?

A. Well, he used to do that with everyone to show he was a man of the street. He would say: Go there, go. I remember once in the seventies he had a dispute with Yasser Arafat. We were hosting a celebration on the anniversary of the Americans' withdrawal on June 11 in the Mitiga base. President Arafat was with us. When I arrived, I found Mirage aircrafts with a camel next to them placed there at his (Gaddafi's) orders. At the time, students were abstaining from enrolling in military faculties and were demanding civilian ones. I felt that the situation was not normal and I had an officer who headed the special guard and was named Saad Massoud with me. I said: Saad, go welcome the president, but he retorted: No you go. Gaddafi was wearing a red helicopter pilot uniform and when I approached him, he punched me and said: Go there. Later on, when the school students came close to the platform in front of Yasser Arafat and released white doves, Gaddafi was in frenzy, looked at air force commander Saleh al-Farajani and said: You are sentenced to one month in prison. Why are you releasing peace doves? And when one of them fell at his feet, he grabbed it hard as though trying to kill it and asked that it be taken away and tied up. When he delivered his speech he stated: These are your aircrafts laying there with camels next to them. Take the camels and leave the planes for your masters. He was very upset about the students' abstinence from entering the faculties.

Q. Did he hate the Islamists?

A. He hated them and often cursed them.

Q. He also hated Osama Bin Laden…

A. Yes, and in 1984, they accused Bin Laden of having dispatched a group from Afghanistan to Bab al-Azizia to kill Gaddafi.

Q. Can you tell us about the assassination attempts against Gaddafi?

A. This was one of them and at the time, he blamed the Islamic opposition and Bin Laden. The perpetrators rode garbage trucks into his home. But he was not there. Because of this attempt, all the members of the special guard were executed. The perpetrators came out and went out without anyone seeing them, so he concluded that there must have been a conspiracy by the guards and executed them all. Following the attack, the perpetrators hid in a building and the Republican Guard assaulted it with tanks under the command of Khalifa Hneich.

Q. Where was he also targeted by an attempted assassination?

A. He was the target of a coup attempt led by Idriss al-Shuheibi, who was killed in an air raid as he was trying to escape to Egypt. There was also a coup staged by Omar al-Muheishi, a member in the Revolution Command Council. He disagreed with Gaddafi and started coordinating with military elements to topple him. They were planning a coup, but Gaddafi had information or became suspicious. He boarded them all on a plane with him to Uganda in the days of Idi Amin to attend a Summit in Kampala in the seventies. During their meeting at the house of the chargé d'affaires Mahmoud al-Bahi, Gaddafi wanted to go to them at night, but the guards there would not let him. That same night, Omar Muheishi wanted to enter Gaddafi's room while he was sleeping and it appeared he wanted to kill him. Back then, an officer who is now a colonel named Massoud al-Zeghrad prevented him from getting in. Al-Muheishi told him: I am a member in the Revolution Command Council and I want to enter. However, the officer drew his gun in his face and Muheishi backed down. When they returned with him to Libya, arrests took place. Muheishi fled but was later brought back from Morocco as part of a deal. Gaddafi told him: We brought you beneath our feet, then shot him, as it was relayed to me by the guards who were somewhat bragging. There was another attempt by one of Gaddafi's relatives who was an officer in the Presidential Guard. We saw the video and saw how gruesomely he was killed. Gaddafi hung the corpses of some of his relatives near Bab al-Azizia.

Q. Do you mean he was afraid?

A. Yes, he was very fearful. He could not enter tunnels or elevators and made many stops at airports during our trips to avoid long journeys. I used to get very tired.

Q. So how did he get to New York?

A. I was going mad despite my flying experience. We had to make stops and maneuvers because he did not want to spend long hours traveling over the ocean.

Q. What is al-Mathaba [Ar. the Center]?

A. There is a revolutionary Mathaba and an international Mathaba. The latter was headed by Moussa Koussa and its members were from the April 7 group which hung students at universities. The most prominent figure in it was Abdul Salam Jalloud, the head of the revolutionary committees.

Q. What about the April 7 incident?

A. It was a liquidation of Gaddafi's opponents at the universities. It was a long process.

Q. Who took the decision?

A. Gaddafi took the decision and Jalloud supervised the liquidation.

Q. What was the relationship between the two men like?

A. It was excellent at the beginning. But then Gaddafi started monopolizing power and Jalloud abandoned him and went home. During uprising, Gaddafi tried to bring Jalloud back to supervise the military operations, but he refused.

Q. Was Jalloud involved in bloody incidents?

A. He was involved in the April 7 incidents. At the time, he headed the office of the revolutionary committees. Later on, they launched the international Mathaba which tended to the external arena, staged coups and ran training camps.

Q. Where did this Mathaba operate?

A. In Granada and several parts of Latin America, such as Cuba and Nicaragua. Daniel Ortega was a student in the Mathaba. At a later stage, it operated in Uganda and Yoweri Museveni was among its graduates and Kabila Sr. among its members.

Q. This means that Moussa Koussa was a mastermind of coups and revolutions around the world.

A. Yes, he controlled external security for 12 years.

Q. Did Gaddafi like Moussa?

A. Yes, Moussa was smart.

Q. What about Ibrahim al-Bashari?

A. Ibrahim al-Bashar, may his soul rest in peace, was the head of the external security apparatus. There was hostility between him and Moussa and overlap between the Mathaba and the apparatus. But he was a good man.

Q. What about Abdullah Sennoussi?

A. In appearance, he is a good person, respectable and generous. However, he is a bloody man implementing the will of his master, while carrying out overbidding and exaggeration.

Q. What is the most dangerous thing Sennoussi has ever done? Did he have anything to do with the Abu Salim prison massacre which claimed the lives of more than 1,200 prisoners?

A. Of course. He carried it out under Gaddafi's orders.

Q. Who used to issue the assassinations order?

A. No assassination targeted a renowned and important figure unless under Gaddafi's orders and I can testify to that. Once, Moussa Koussa asked to see me. So I said: What do you want? I swear I did not clash with the man. Each time he would ask me to bring a suitcase with clothes and toothpaste in it, I would know that a decision was issued for my imprisonment. But he stressed: No, no. I want you to meet me on the Al-Shatt road. At this point, I said to him: You are planning a conspiracy, but he laughed and insisted that I meet him. The Libyan intelligence chief was asking for me by the Al-Shatt road and at around 10pm, so I started wondering whether or not Gaddafi had plans to assassinate me with Moussa Koussa’s knowledge. I went to the meeting site next to the Libyan radio station building, and saw him carrying a suitcase. I said: Open it and it will blow up and take us both. But when he did open it, there were tapes and reports inside. So I asked: What do you I have to do with this? He replied: "The climate with the boss is very tense. I am in disagreement with him, he is mad at me and he does not want to see me." Therefore, I inquired about the content of the suitcase and he said: "This was delivered to me by an Arab interior minister and features the man's (i.e. Gaddafi's) romantic phone conversations." I took the suitcase to the person in charge of those issues and to Gaddafi, told him that this case was given to me by Moussa and revealed its content. He retorted that Moussa was a donkey and a liar, adding: "I am busy, you and Mabruka Sherif listen to the tapes." The messages and tapes contained phone calls conducted by Gaddafi with women in other countries, lying to him about their identities and familial and social statuses.

Q. What year were you born?

A. 1948.

Q. Where did you study?

A. In Libya and Italy. I studied Human Resources and in Italy, I pursued political sciences studies for three years and then received training in aviation operations. I became the director of the airport following the Al-Fateh revolution in September 1969, and transferred later on to the Foreign Ministry in the diplomatic corps. I was deputy head of protocol, and following the death of my superior, I replaced him in his post. I also carry a Master's degree in management. I was an entrepreneur from 1977 until 1992, and then continued until 1997, which is when I returned to work with Gaddafi until I left before the eruption of the revolution which toppled him.

Part 3 tomorrow