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March 1, 2011: Libya

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At UN, While Few Openly Defend NATO Bombing of Libya TV, They Say Await Probe to See if Journos Killed - No Follow Up?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 9 -- After the UN Security Council on Tuesday discussed NATO's bombing of Libya state television, Inner City Press asked Council members for their views.

Russia's Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin said he had raised the matter, along with the bombing of radar at Tripoli airport, oil and other infrastructure.

When Brazil's Deputy Permanent Representative came out, Inner City Press her for Brazil's position on NATO bombing the Libyan state TV station. "We are opposed to it," she said.

The Chinese position includes points to conventions and a previous Council resolution, 1738, against targeting journalists or media personnel.

It appears that NATO's defense now is that while it targeted the TV station because it incited harm to civilians, its bombing did not as reported killed any journalists.

But should media, even the physical facilities of broadcasting, be targeted?

One Western spokesperson said that NATO is now saying that it was not targeting the TV station, but rather a "parabolic" satellite dish.

McKinney on Libya TV: bad TV, but criminal TV? NATO bombs not shown

When UK Deputy Permanent Representative Philip Parham told Inner City Press that NATO is investigating the incident, Inner City Press asked if that meant NATO is backing away from its defense of targeting a TV station. I'm not suggesting they are backing away from that, DPR Parham said, adding they are investigating what happened.

This seems to mean that NATO will dispute any report that any civilian, particularly a journalist or media worker as defined in Resolution 1738, was injured -- but will stand by its right to bomb any broadcaster or media engaged either in hate speech (Rwanda-style) or even inciting the harming of civilians, seemingly a lower standard. We'll see.

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On Libya, Amid Questions of Bombing TV Station, Ban Thinks It's Protecting Civilians

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 9, updated -- The Security Council turned to Libya in a closed door session Tuesday morning, when China and other members criticized NATO's bombing of state television there, purportedly under the authorization of Council resolution 1973.

  Since under that resolution UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was given a "coordinating" role, Inner City Press Tuesday at noon asked Ban's acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq what Ban thought of NATO's bombing of Libyan TV.

Haq replied in part that Ban "believes that resolution 1973 has been used properly in order to protect civilians in Libya.".

But, as was being asked in the Council's closed door consultations, how does bombing a TV station, in violation of conventions, protect civilians?

 Haq said the Secretariat would "need further details about what the operations that were conducted involved." But these operations took place days ago, and have been reported on. What was that, about Ban coordinating and even providing safeguards on actions under Resolution 1973?

Haq said, it is being discussed in the Council. But what about Ban's role, if not leadership? Watch this site.

Footnote: Inner City Press asked a well placed source in the Council's consultation if any member had invoked Radio Mille Collines in Rwanda as a precedent for bombing Libya TV. Cote d'Ivoire's Ouattara recently cited the station in connection with the probe of a pro-Gbagbo journalist. We'll see.

Update of 12:50 pm -- Inner City Press asked Brazil's Deputy Permanent Representaive what Brazil thinks of NATO's bombing of the Libya TV station. "We do not approve," she said.

Update of 1:21 pm -- Inner City Press asked the Deputy Perm Reps of Lebanon and then Germany for their countries' views on NATO's bombing of Libyan TV.

 Lebanon's DPR said her country supporters freedom of the press, notes that Resolution 1973 is for the protection of civilians; she got information today and will be seeking more.

 Germany's DPR said Germany will wait for NATO's investigation, that his country is a member of NATO but not of the coalition. He noted that at times media can incite violence against civilians. 

 So again we ask: did anyone explicitly cite Radio Mille Collines of Rwanda?

Update of 1:38 pm -- Inner City Press kept asking about NATO's bombing of Libyan TV. Bosnia's Perm Rep said waiting for more information, so no comment.

  Inner City Press asked Council president for August Hardeep Singh Puri about the Libya discussion and the TV bombing. He said it was in consultations, that UNESCO's (back-dated) statement was brought up, and that he would leave it there for now. He reiterated India's overall position, abstaining on Resolution 1973.

 Russia's Vitaly Churkin told Inner City Press he has raised it, as well as bombing of radar at the Tripoli airport, oil and other installations. He too references the NATO investigation. But how will its results be reported to the Security Council?  We will continue on this - watch this site.

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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

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