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On ATT, NGOs Say French Libya Airdrop Irresponsible, Fast & Furious Domestic?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 10 -- When non-governmental organizations briefed the press on Tuesday about the Arms Trade Treaty talks, they were asked the name the "bad" players and quickly did, listing "Egypt, Syria, Iran, Algeria, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Venezuela and Cuba."

  In their presentation it was unclear how much of the bad was substantive and how much procedural, a code word for supporting Palestine's bid to full participate under the "all states" formula.

  Inner City Press asked the NGOs to opine to acts by two of the presumptive good (or less bad) guys: France and the United States. What about France airdropping weapons into Libya's Nafusa Mountains? And what about the Obama administration's "Fast and Furious" weapons flow into Mexico?

   Oxfam's Anna Macdonald said that "governments need to take responsibility as to the end users... are they likely to be used to undermine sustainable development? If the answer is yes, the transfer should not go ahead, that's the Golden Rule that Frank [Johannson] has been talking about."

Frank Johannson, who heads Amnesty International's branch in Finland, said on France and Libya, in the EU there exists the Common Position on Arm Transfers, "that doesn't mean that the states actually follow those rules. Dropping arms to Libya is a situation of irresponsible transfer where the rules were not followed."

The moderator said that Fast and Furious is "not going to enter into the debate here," that while it showed harm of transfers, it's just a "domestic issue in the United States." Well, not really: ask Mexico. And watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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