Story of Obama Heroics on Libya Rings False, NYT Phones It In
Russell Lee, Media Critique
March 19, updated -- As the US administration basks in its narrative
of multilateral success in the Security Council on Libya, dutifully
in today's New York Times, there are several discordant
narrative puts Susan Rice diplomacy at the UN at the
center, even describing her as physically pulling the South African
Permanent Representative into the chamber Thursday night to vote.
at the UN in
the run up to the vote, the US was nowhere near as central as this
narrative portrays it. Lebanon
speaking for the Arab League, the
of renegade Libyan diplomats Ibrahim Dabbashi and Shalgam,
the dynamics between South Africa
and Nigeria about the possible
intervention in Cote d'Ivoire: all of this is left out.
is ludicrous to suggest that South Africa would try to abstain by
remaining outside of the Security Council chamber or not showing up to
vote, or that South Africa's vote was determined by a single phone call.
incident of Susan Rice searching for and finding South Africa's
Ambassador and bringing him in to vote, further reporting reveals, may
never have happened, at least not as implied
by the New York
Times and its source, presumably Susan Rice.
paper of record, does not really have a reporter at the UN these
days. Therefore they take their story from a telephone interview
with Susan Rice, and throw praise on Samantha Power without
mentioning a single thing she did.
Mission to the UN is, perhaps tactically, largely inaccessible and
unresponsive to much of
the UN press corps, the strategy seems to be to give exclusive
interviews to exclusive far away media and try to have it both ways.
With Obama under fire from the right for being “too multilateral,”
this narrative argues that the US is really as dominant as ever, they
just hide it. Until you read it in the New York Times.
Obama, Rice & Clinton, NYT at UN not shown
amid coverage of
Obama's trip to Brazil -- accompanied ironically by senior officials
from Citigroup, which engaged in predatory lending including to
Brazil -- it's said that he will discuss with President Roussef
Brazil's abstention on Resolution 1973.
what about the
US-demanded carve out from the International Criminal Court referral
of the case of Libya in resolution 1970 for citizens of non-ICC
member states? Brazil nearly abstained from Resolution 1970 on that
one: but you won't read it in the New York Times.
* * *
Asks UN's Ban to “Intervene to Avoid Bombing,” China's Li Tells Inner
City Press, Germany Stood Out
Russell Lee, Exclusive
March 18 -- In front of the UN Security Council late Friday
afternoon, Chinese Permanent Representative Li Baodong, the president
of the Council for March, told Inner City Press he had just gotten a
call about Libya and
Resolution 1973 from the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.
City Press that “Libya's new premier, [Al-Baghdadi] Ali Al-Mahmoudi,
Libya will implement resolution 1973, ceasefire. He asked the
Secretary General to intervene and avoid bombing, which would cause
civil war, cause blood shed, killing.”
to Li as Security Council president asked for bombing to be avoided?
Li answered that “the Secretary General told him remarks are
positive but they must be verified... The Libyan invited observers
from any party.”
asked Li what he thought of the resolution and events since it was
was passed, with abstentions by China and four other countries:
Russia, India, Brazil and Germany.
“At least this
a ceasefire, a step in right direction,” Li answered. “But you've
got to have a ceasefire by both sides.”
Li Baodong & Ban last month, Resolution (1973)
asked Li if he had been surprised that there were five abstentions.
“A little bit surprised,” he said. “I thought four.”
that surprised you, Inner City Press asked.
“The Germans this time showed strong leadership,” he said. “Their
standing up, standing out, will gain a lot of respect.”
Council meeting were long over. There was almost no one else around.
“Have a good weekend,” Li Baodong said, and left. We'll see what
happens in Libya. Watch this site.
* * *
Libyan Resolution Passes With Five Abstentions, Half Answers by
Lebanon & Dabbashi, Rice Chats with Sudan
17 -- The Libya
resolution passed the UN Security
Council Thursday evening with ten votes in favor and five abstaining:
Russia, China, Brazil, Germany and India.
its ceasefire proposal had the support of “a number of (Council)
members,” and that its questions on the resolution just adopted
remained unanswered. What are the limits of the use of force? He
said if things go badly, it will be the responsibility of those who
said her country is sensitive to the call of the Arab
League for a no fly zone, but that the resolution in Paragraph 4 went
Wittig also said that military force carries
risks that have been under estimated.
Deputy Permanent Representative criticized the whole resolution,
saying the Council should have waited for the report of Ban Ki-moon's
envoy Al Khatib, and that sanctions may hurt the Libyan people.
Inner City Press asked Libyan diplomat Ibrahim Dabbashi to respond to
India's statement about the sanctions hurting Libyans. Dabbashi's
response was only that the resolution does not allow foreign
asked Dabbashi about the possibility at some point of UN
peacekeeping mission. No, Dabbashi that, not that. He said it's the
Libyan people against Gadhafi.
took questions, and Inner City Press asked
him about the critique of some of the abstainers that the resolution
went beyond what the Arab League has asked for. He replied that the
Arab League only spoke about a no fly zone. Exactly.
few questions then it was “last question.” Since she had said
Gadhafi had lost legitimacy by attacking his own people, Inner City
Press asked, “What about Bahrain... and the crackdowns there?” These
have included attacks on hospitals, blatant violations of international
law. But Susn Rice was gone.
spoke at the stakeout, Susan Rice was speaking with a
Sudanese diplomat from Khartoum. Inner City Press is seeking the US
read out on the communication, and what the US is going to do,
especially at the UN, about the stand off between SPLM and Khartoum
on the reports of Khartoum aiding the two renegade generals in and
around South Sudan, and on the crackdown on student protesters in
Darfur that even UNAMID reported on earlier today. Watch this site.
* * *
Slows on Libya, Dabbashi Says “10 Hours, Treki in
-- While the UN Security
Council went through its
five page draft resolutions paragraph by paragraph, Libyan diplomat
Ibrahim Dabbashi came out to talk to the Press. He had prepared
talking about, about Gadhafi using mercenaries “who fought in
Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda,” from Niger, Mali (off camera)
and Chad (on camera).
told Inner City Press that while they may be
“individual Chadians” fighting with Gadhafi, the Deby government
does not choose between him and the rebels.
Dabbashi said a Council resolution authorizing air strikes is needed
“in ten hours.”
do you have?” Inner City Press asked Dabbashi. Enough, he said. He
said the rebels' use of these planes has driven Gadhafi crazy.
questions about timing -- Dabbashi backed off the ten hour figure,
ending up saying the revolutionaries are “not counting” on the
Council -- Inner City Press asked him if the UN Secretariat has
spoken to him about the letter from Gadhafi's government saying he
and Shalgam no longer represent Libya, or if he thought the UN
Secretariat now recognized the rebels as the government,as France
our work with credentials, Dabbashi said.
Where is Shalgam? He is here in New York, Dabbashi said.
“Where is Treki?”
Dabbashi quickly answered.
met with Ahmed Gebreel, who worked on Treki's transition
into the Presidency of the GA. There is talk of the UN of Ali Treki,
former President of the General Assembly, seeking to go into exile
rather than come to New York to represent Gadhafi at the UN. But his
family is still in Libya. Has there ever been an Ambassador at the
UN under duress?
Dabbashi earlier at UN: now, only 10 hours? Recognized by UN?
spokesperson emerged from the Council to say that the Council is
going through the resolution paragraph by paragraph, given the
came out and told press he was angry at being
portrayed as an obstructionist. The buzz is that Russia by asking
questions is seeking to slow things down. “They don't dare veto
it,” a source said, “so they seek to slow it down.” But what
about the US? Watch this site.
for Mar 1,
BloggingHeads.tv re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
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.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.