News Release

U.S., International Law, Libya and Israel

The United Nations Security Council is meeting today regarding Libya. On Friday, the U.S. used its veto on the Security Council to block a resolution condemning Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

PHYLLIS BENNIS
A fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Bennis is author of Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today’s UN. She said today: “There is no doubt that the military assault on unarmed civilian protesters in cities across Libya constitutes serious violations of international humanitarian law — war crimes — and very possibly crimes against humanity. The UN Security Council should demand an immediate halt to the attacks, call for immediate access for international humanitarian and human rights workers and refer the issue to the International Court of Justice to initiate on an emergency basis a full investigation and prosecution of those responsible. Governments with ties to the Libyan regime — especially those in Europe and the U.S. — should immediately sever all military ties, withholding any military equipment that may be in the pipeline. The U.S. should immediately cancel the $165 million contract reportedly signed by General Dynamics two years ago to arm the Libyan military’s elite Second Brigade.”

HOWARD FRIEL
Friel recently wrote the piece “The UN Voting Record of Susan Rice on Palestinian Rights, 2009–2010,” which states: “On Friday, February 18, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, vetoed a UN Security Council resolution which, upon condemning Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territory, had the unanimous support of the 14 other Security Council members and over one hundred state sponsors. Although Rice’s veto in this instance was certainly outrageous, she is no stranger to voting contrary to U.S. obligations under international law, in support of Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, and against the clear consensus of UN member states, since, as U.S. ambassador, she (or her office) has consistently voted against huge majorities in the UN General Assembly seeking to reaffirm Palestinian rights.”

Friel is coauthor with Richard Falk of Israel-Palestine on Record: How The New York Times Misreports Conflict in the Middle East and The Record of the Paper: How The New York Times Misreports U.S. Foreign Policy.

ANDY WORTHINGTON
Worthington just wrote the piece “Revolution in Libya: Protesters Respond to Gaddafi’s Murderous Backlash with Remarkable Courage; U.S. and UK Look Like the Hypocrites They Are,” which states: “An adept survivor, Gaddafi came onside in the ‘War on Terror’ after the 9/11 attacks, prompting the most miserably transparent examples of hypocrisy on the part of Western nations, as their leaders queued up to welcome the former pariah as an ally and barely managed to disguise their excitement at having access to Libya’s rich oil reserves.

“In ingratiating themselves with the dictator, both the U.S. and the UK willingly abandoned former opponents of the regime, who had, until then, been regarded as victims of oppression. The U.S. willingly rounded up exiled Libyans in Afghanistan and Pakistan, sending them to Guantanamo and labeling them as ‘enemy combatants.’ Two of these men eventually accepted voluntary repatriation from Guantanamo, but both were imprisoned on their return, and only one of the two, Abu Sufian Hamouda (transferred in October 2007), has been released, while the other, Muhammad al-Rimi (transferred in December 2006), is still held in Abu Salim.

“Both of these men are, however, more fortunate than Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, the emir of a training camp in Afghanistan, who was rendered by the CIA to Egypt after his capture in Afghanistan in December 2001, where, under torture, he falsely confessed that two al-Qaeda operatives had been meeting with Saddam Hussein to discuss the use of chemical and biological weapons. Although al-Libi recanted his tortured lie, it was used to justify the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, and after al-Libi had been moved around various other secret prisons, he was returned to Libya, where he conveniently died, [allegedly] by committing suicide, in May 2009, just three days before the U.S. reopened its embassy in Tripoli.” http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2011/02/21/revolution-in-libya-protestors-respond-to-gaddafis-murderous-backlash-with-remarkable-courage-us-and-uk-look-like-the-hypocrites-they-are

Worthington is author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison. He is co-director of the film “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167