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

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At UN on Libya, US Didn't Raise Arming Rebels in 1st Session on Sanctions

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 27 -- Barely an hour after Obama administration spokesman Jay Carney argued in a Washington press conference that the UN Security Council resolutions imposing an arms embargo on Libya have the “flexibility” to allow arming the Benghazi based rebels, the US took part in the first meeting of the Council's Libya sanctions committee.

In the closed door meeting, however, the US did not disclose or argue for the permissibility of any plans to arm the rebels, the Portuguese committee chair Jose Filipe Mendes Moraes Cabral on the record and a range of other participants told Inner City Press.

According to sources in the meeting -- not the Chairman or anyone in the Portuguese Mission -- the US representative asked only to discuss additions to the sanctions list, and asked that the rules of the committee be called “provisional,” allowing future changes.

No date for a second meeting of the committee was agreed to, or requested by the US.

As the US knows, the chairman of the committee has expressed his view that the wordings of the two resolutions, including a phrase in Paragraph 4 of Resolution 1973 that seems to create an exception to the arms embargo, do not permit giving weapons to the rebels.

And after the meeting, other members of the committee including a country with a population over one billion said it was “absolutely clear” that the resolutions do not allow for arming the rebels.

A source in the room while Resolution 1973 was being negotiated said that US Permanent Representative Susan Rice explained that she needed the “notwithstanding” loophole for a situation in which the US might have to go in with weapons to save a downed pilot, and wouldn't want merely carrying weapons to violate the arms embargo.

So the US said one thing at the UN to explain, as quasi legislative history history, an exception in the arms embargo, and now says another thing from Washington.

Susan Rice, Obama and Clinton, negotiation of Paragraph 4 and new position not shown

  (Susan Rice, it's said, will be back at the UN on Monday.)

   Chairman Cabral has explained that the sanctions committee could take up the possibility of arming the rebels. But if the US just did it, the committee would have to be unanimous to condemn it.

  It is similar to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon naming Jordanian businessman and Senator Al Khatib as the UN's envoy to Libya despite financial conflicts of interest, then saying that a financial disclosure not due until March 2012 is the only way and time to address it. Ah, the rule of law. Watch this site.

Footnotes: also in the first meeting of the Libya sanctions committee meeting, there was discussion of a query from Belarus about the scope of the resolution's asset freeze -- the US proposed a response that the freeze did NOT apply to the entities Belarus asked about -- and a recitation of approval given an emergency basis to a request by Senegal to extract its citizens from Libya on a Gambian plane.

All of these make more clear the lack of transparency of the process. Ukraine wrote it about extracting its national, and got listed as one of the dozen supporting the no fly zone. They protested, and were dropped from the list.

  Others have written in, but call it a “note verbal,” and are not listed. And STILL the UN Spokesperson's office has not confirmed what Inner City Press reported on March 25, that Kuwait wrote in to say it will help with humanitarian. Some system.

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On Libya, UN Resolution Left Arming & Funding Rebels Unresolved, But Intervention Permitted

By Matthew Russell Lee, Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, March 23 -- Can countries legally provide weapons to the Libyan rebels in Benghazi and elsewhere?

  The question has been asked, so far without clear answer, of UN diplomats since the passage of Security Council Resolution 1973 on March 17.

  One major proponent of the resolution claims to be checking with its top lawyer, despite its role in drafting the resolution.

  The Security Council's first Libya resolution, 1970, imposed an arms embargo in its 9th paragraph. But resolution 1973 permits member states to “take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians” in Libya.

  What does this “notwithstanding” mean? Is the arms embargo entirely trumped? At least one major nation, with a long common law legal history, is not sure.

   What about others? It is reported that Egypt began allowing arms transfers to the rebels hours after resolution 1973 was adopted. Is Egypt in violation of resolution 1970? If so, who would say and do anything about it?

  Why would major countries leave such an obvious unclarity in their work product? Cynics or realists say that it is intentional, to allow the powerful to do whatever they want.

Photo composite Telegraphs identity of vituperator?

  These same proponents of Resolution 1973 are now complaining that the press is misreporting what the resolution prohibits. Only “foreign occupation” is precluded, they point out, not “intervention.” Still they claim they do not intend to intervene.

  Resolution 1973 left for another day the logistics of transferring Gaddafi's frozen funds to the rebels or people of Libya. In the Iraq Oil for Food program, BNP Paribas' actions led, even years later, to France abstaining from Iraq resolutions in the Security Council. So will escrow accounts be set up in the case of Libya, “notwithstanding” the Oil for Food scandal? Watch this site.

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Due to US Libya ICC Loophole, Qatar, Ukraine & UAE Could Also Be Immune

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 23 -- When the UN Security Council referred the case of Libya to the International Criminal Court in its Resolution 1973, the United States demanded and got an exemption for citizens of countries which are not members of the ICC's Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute.

Inner City Press first reported on this loophole, then asked US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice if it might allow certain possible war crimes to be exempt from the ICC referral. Rice responded that she doubted the ICC would go after “small” mercenaries.

But now, even of the first twelve countries which have provided notice to the UN under Security Council Resolution 1973, several beyond the United States are not ICC members. That is, if they dropped bombs on civilians -- even intentionally -- they would be exempt from any referral to or prosecution by the ICC, thanks to the loophole the US demanded for itself.

Both Arab countries which have provided notice, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, are not members of the ICC, and therefore exempt from referral to the ICC. So too with Ukraine, which has provided notice (but see this other story).

The UK has claimed that Kuwait will soon be joining -- but it has not joined the ICC.

And while Turkey has said it will offer humanitarian help without providing UN notice, it is not a member of the ICC either.

What hath the US wrought? Watch this site.

* * *

UN Envoy Al Khatib Is On Board of Jordan Ahli Bank, Links With Libya Central Bank

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 8 -- In selecting Abdul Ilah al Khatib as the UN's envoy on Libya, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon moved quickly -- maybe too quickly.

 Since serving as the foreign minister of Jordan, describe even some close to Ban as an autocracy, al Khatib has served on the boards of director not only of Lafarge Jordan Cement Company but also of Jordan Ahli Bank.

Jordan Ahli Bank is active beyond that country's borders. A sample connection: along with Libyan Foreign Bank, a fully owned subsidiary of the Central Bank of Libya, Jordan Ahli Bank is a top 20 shareholder of Union de Banques Arabes et Francaises.

   Could there be conflicts of interest? Did the UN's Ban administration even consider these?

   Ban previously claimed that 99% of his officials have made public financial disclosure. But when Inner City Press showed this is not true -- even Ban's close ally Choi Young-jin, his envoy in Cote d'Ivoire, declined to make public financial disclosure -- Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said Ban's statement had been “metaphorical.”

Now Ban names and injects al Khatib into a struggle about democracy and free press, when as Inner City Press noted yesterday

"Foreign Minister Abd al-Ilah al-Khatib in January initiated a criminal defamation suit against weekly newspaper al-Hilal's editor-in-chief Nasir Qamash and journalist Ahmad Salama. He [al-Khatib] objected to the content of a January article, and said his tribe had threatened to beat up Salama if he failed to take action. The case remains in the courts at this writing."

  By what process was al-Khatib vetted and selected? 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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