On Sunday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CBS's Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation that supporters of Muammar el-Qaddafi had placed the bodies of civilians around the sites of NATO air strikes to make it look like more had been killed. That story has a higher probability of being true than Qaddafi's infamous line about protestors having their Nescafe drugged, but both governmental claims exemplify the strangeness of the reports and rumors coming out of this conflict. As President Barack Obama gets ready to address the nation on Libya tonight, we've collected some of the wilder reports that have added a touch of eccentricity to this brutal civil war and international conflict.
A Libyan "kamikaze" pilot crashed his jet into the compound of Qaddafi's youngest son Khamis, killing the 27-year-old commander of the infamous "Khamis Brigade" of special forces. This story has been the darling of the UK tabloids and no other major news services, so we're giving it a middling-at-best likelihood. However, we do know that plenty of Libyan armed forces members defected to the rebels' side, and reports are trickling in that Khamis was killed, one way or another, so this is far from impossible. The Daily Mail claims it has identified the suicide pilot.
The Libyan government used a tactical nuclear weapon in Benghazi. This seems so far-fetched it can't be true. Current TV picked the story up from Veterans Today, which went huge with it, but nobody else has touched it. Veterans Today says it has been besieged by requests to take the story down, which it is "taking as confirmation" that it's true. Well, there certainly was a large explosion in Benghazi, but most reports say it was an ammunition depot, not a nuke. Still, it's highly unlikely either side would ever confirm the use of nuclear weapons, so there may never be a solid answer.
Using the bit.ly URL shortener supports the Libyan government. There was apparently quite a bit of chatter on various message boards about this because of the .ly assignation. Finally, somebody went and asked the company, which denied it. However, in its own explanation the company acknowledged that its .ly assignation is, in fact, registered in Libya, so while bit.ly may not have an overt link with the government, it does have a hand in the country's internet service, so could potentially be affected by whatever the government there does.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.