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

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At UN, Susan Rice is Asked About Obama Order for CIA in Libya: Were Council Resolutions & Members Skirted?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 30 -- While the Obama administration argues that the UN Security Council resolutions on Libya provide the “flexibility” to allow arming of the rebels, a new question emerged on Wednesday.

After US officials told the press that Obama signed a finding two or three weeks ago authorizing Central Intelligence Agency activities in Libya, Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Susan Rice on camera if that complied with the UN resolution, and whether it was or should have been disclosed to other Security Council members.

Ambassador Rice said she would not comment on intelligence matters, that President Obama said yesterday he has “not made any decision” on arming the rebels, has not “ruled anything in or out” but is “considering all forms of potential assistnace to the opposition.”

Inner City Press began to ask as a follow up whether the US thinks that arming the rebels is permitted by the resolution or requires a ruling or new resolution. But Rice moved on to a question about the visa status of Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, click here for that Inner City Press story.

Rice, Obama & Clinton, negotiation of 1970/1973 & "finding" for CIA in Libya not shown

Moments later off camera Susan Rice summoned Inner City Press and said that “we have not made any decision” about arming the rebels. She said she had not seen the story quoting US officials about Obama signing the finding allowing CIA action in Libya.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told Inner City Press that the resolution do NOT permit arming the rebels, adding that the it “was the American who asked for the arms embargo.” How will he and other Security Council members react to the US officials' quotes about Obama authorizing CIA action in Libya, right while Security Council resolutions were being negotiated? Watch this site.

From the US Mission to the UN's transcript:

Inner City Press: There are reports that President Obama signed a finding allowing the CIA to assist the Libyan rebels. Does this in any way implicate the two resolutions, including the arms embargo in 1970 that was modified by 1973? Is this something that you disclosed to other Council Members? Does it raise issues under the various prohibitions of the resolutions?

Ambassador Rice: Well, first of all, obviously, as is longstanding U.S. practice, I’m certainly not going to comment on any intelligence matters. I will reaffirm what President Obama said yesterday which is that we have not made any decision about whether the United States will provide arms to opposition elements in Libya. We have neither ruled it in, nor ruled it out. We are considering all forms of potential assistance to the opposition from humanitarian, which we are already providing, to political and other forms of support.

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On Libya, As Russia & India Say Can't Arm Rebels, Ban Punts, Obama & Shalgam

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 29 -- While the chairman of the UN's Libya Sanctions committee says that arming the rebels would be impermissible, and the Permanent Representatives of Russia and India told Inner City Press just that on the morning of March 29, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon apparently, or conveniently, takes no position.

Inner City Press at the noon briefing asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky for if it is Ban's understanding that the arms embargo of Resolution 1970 still prohibits arming the rebels, despite the protection of civilians “notwithstanding” clause of Resolution 1973.

I think that's for the Security Council to determine,” said Nesirky, who had just said that “the ceasefire means what is says,” a ceasefire on both side.

Why would Ban opine on one portion of the resolutions and not another? Inner City Press pointed out to Nesirky that Ban's predecessor was willing, at least once, to opine on the legality of a Permanent Council member's action.

The US, notably, is now arguing that the resolutions give the “flexibility” to arm the rebels, and France is saying it is ready to talk about it, seemingly not through the UN Security Council.

It's a battle among the Permanent Five members of the Security Council, for now with US and Russia with directly opposite positions.

On March 29 Inner City Press asked Russian Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin of the resolutions permit arming the rebels. “No,” Churkin, noting that the US had asked for the arms embargo.

Minutes later, Inner City Press quoted Churkin's response to US Permanent Representative Susan Rice, who had earlier on “Good Morning America said that

the United States would maintain financial and diplomatic pressure on the Libyan government until Gaddafi leaves and hinted that new steps could be in the offing, including the arming of Libyan rebels. 'We have not made that decision, but we’ve not certainly ruled that out,' she said on ABC’s 'Good Morning America' program.”

    Ambassador Rice said thanks for the information about what Churkin had said. Inner City Press has asked the US Mission to the UN to explain their argument, and “If the US were to move to fund the rebels, would it inform (and, separately, seek guidance or approval from) the UNSC Sanctions committee first?” So far answers have not been provided.

  But, in fairness, the US Mission to the UN did answer an Inner City Press question about if anti-Gaddafi dipomats Ibrahim Dabbashi and Shalgam are invited and present at President Obama's dedication of the Mission's new building. “Shalgam is here,” the Mission has informed Inner City Press.

Later, Obama is headed uptown for a $30,000 a plate Democratic National Commitee fundraiser at Red Rooster. Inner City Press is told there will be protests. Watch this site.

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

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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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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