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With Obama Proud of UN Gay Amendment, 10 Who Did Not Vote include Uzbekistan, Turkey & Gabon, "Strong-Armed"

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, December 22 -- After the sexual orientation amendment to UN General Assembly's resolution against extrajudicial executions passed on December 21, US President Barack Obama's spokesman Robert Gibbs issued a statement that “President Obama applauds those countries that supported” the amendment.

  Ambassador Susan Rice tweeted that the US had gone “all in” to win passage of the amendment, with 93 for, 55 against and 27 abstentions -- that is, 175 votes casts of the UN's 192 member states.

  Little noticed were the ten countries which did not vote at all of the LGBT amendment, but were present and voting minutes later on the overall resolution on extrajudicial executions, on which 185 votes were cast.

  Late Tuesday, sources told Inner City Press this was reflexive of “arm twisting” or advocacy by the US over the weekend. “They conveniently walked out of the room,” as one source put it, appearing satisfied.

  The countries which were conveniently absent on the LGBT vote included Central Asia countries with dubious human rights records: Uzbekistan, which former UK Ambassador Craig Murray accused of boiling to death the opponents of Islam Karimov; Kyrgyzstan with its recent ethnic cleansing and support from the US, and Turkmenistan, where Turkmenbashi's former dentist rules the roost.

  Also out of the room or not voting on the LGBT text, but suddenly back for the executions resolution were the African nations of Gabon, Cameroon and Madagascar.

  More tellingly, when Inner City Press on Wednesday morning in front of the Security Council asked one of the absent country's Ambassador about his country's sudden absence for the LGBT amendment, he acknowledged without hesitation or equivocation the pressure from the United States.

Obama, Hillary Clinton & Susan Rice, 3 'Stans & Gabon not shown

  As one example among those countries which did vote, advocates pointed at the abstention, rather than "no" vote, of Jamaica.

Footnotes: A country that may have walked out and not voted for its own internal reasons is Turkey. Another, Tuvalu, is small and climate change focused. The final two are harder to understand: Myanmar and Cuba, which spoke after the vote to pillory the US' hypocrisy for abstaining from the overall extrajudicial executions resolution.

 The US Mission has yet to clearly state its reason, which most take to be about its drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere. Watch this site.

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At UN Gays Added to Executions Resolution, US Overall Abstains

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 21 -- Lesbians and gays were added Tuesday to a UN resolution against extrajudicial executions from which the US abstained.

  In the run up to the vote, not only the United Arab Emirates for the Arab Group and Tajikistan for the Organization of the Islamic Conference but also Benin for the Africa Group urged that the LGBT amendment be opposed.

   Zimbabwe went further, openly referring to bestiality and saying “we won't have it foisted on us!” To the surprise of some, both South Africa and Rwanda said they would vote for the LGBT amendment, both based on evidence that gays and lesbians are disproportionately targeted.

Rick Barton of the US Mission to the UN introduced the amendment, and did not mention that the US would in fact abstain from the resolution barring extrajudicial executions, related it's reported to criticism of the US' use of drones in Pakistan and elsewhere.

The vote on the LGBT amendment was 93 for, 55 against and 27 abstaining. With it added, the overall extrajudicial executions resolution passed 122 for, 1 against, 62 abstaining - including the US.

Prior to the vote, Inner City Press asked the acting Deputy Spokesman for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon if he had any guidance for member states on the LGBT amendment. No, spokesman Farhan Haq said.

In other voting, a resolution for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty passed 109 for moratorium, the US and 40 more against it, and 35 abstaining. The Defamation of Religion resolution passed 79 for, 67 against and 40 abstaining.

 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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