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Muammar Gaddafi lets loose on the UN

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It was meant to be a day of global reconciliation, when the new leader of the free world put all the rancour of the past eight years behind him and heralded an era of unity. And so it might have been were it not for a short man, swathed in saffron robes and a black felt hat waving his arms around and shouting: "Terrorism!"



Muammar Gaddafi - for it was he - grabbed his 15 minutes of fame at the UN building in New York today and ran with it. He ran with it so hard he stretched it to an hour and 40 minutes, six times longer than his allotted slot, to the dismay of UN organisers.


On his first visit to the US, and in his maiden address to the UN general assembly, Gaddafi fully lived up to his reputation for eccentricity, bloody-mindedness and extreme verbiage.


He tore up a copy of the UN charter in front of startled delegates, accused the security council of being an al-Qaida like terrorist body, called for George Bush and Tony Blair to be put on trial for the Iraq war, demanded $7.7tn in compensation for the ravages of colonialism on Africa, and wondered whether swine flu was a biological weapon created in a military laboratory. At one point, he even demanded to know who was behind the killing of JFK. All in all, a pretty ordinary 100 minutes in the life of the colonel.


To be fair, this was a man suffering from severe sleep deprivation. The US state department, New York city council and Donald Trump had prevented him from laying his weary head in an air-conditioned tent in New Jersey, Central Park and Bedford respectively, and the resulting strain was evident.


"I woke up at 4am, before dawn!" Gaddafi lamented about an hour into his speech, adding for the benefit of the jetlagged diplomats seated stony-faced in front of him: "You should be asleep! You're all tired after a sleepless night!"


Gaddafi certainly knows how to woo a crowd, particularly at important junctures such as this. This was after all his big chance to cement Libya's re-entry into the bosom of the international community after 20 years in the wilderness.


The technique he chose to do so - cunningly - was to blatantly insult his audience. The representatives of the 192 nations assembled in the assembly hall were no better, he told them, than orators at Hyde Park's Speakers' Corner. "You make your speech and then you disappear. That's all you are right now."


He then turned his wrath on to America, Britain, France, Russia and China - the permanent members of the security council, or "terror council" as he renamed it. Their veto was tantamount to terrorism. "This is terrorism, like the terrorism of al-Qaida. Terrorism is not just al-Qaida, it takes many forms."


In case the point was lost on anyone, he tore up his copy of the UN rule book.


Having thus abused and alienated 99.99% of the world's top diplomats, he suddenly changed tack, heaping praise and devotion on the one man he appears to respect. "Now the black man doesn't have to sit in the back of the bus, the American people made him president and we are proud of that. We would be happy if Obama stayed president of America forever."


Poor Barack Obama. Having Gaddafi applaud his stance towards the world must have been as pleasing as being congratulated on his domestic policy by the leader of the birthers, who insist Obama was not born in America.


In an example of exquisite stage management in which the UN appears to specialise, Gaddafi was scheduled to speak immediately after Obama's first historic address to the general assembly.


If Gaddafi upstaged everybody inside the austere UN assembly hall, outside the building the PR message would have been a little less to his liking.


Relatives of the victims of Pan Am 103 gathered in New York's First Avenue bearing posters saying "Murderer" and venting their anger about the hero's welcome given to the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi last month.


That aside, the self-proclaimed king of kings, figurehead of a thousand African kingdoms, must have been chuffed by how his morning had turned out. Now, where to pitch that tent?


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And here is the other side of the story--the valuable Qaddafi.



Former Pariah Qaddafi’s U.S. Trip Seals Courtship of Libyan Oil


By Steve Scherer Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- The families of Americans killed in the bombing of a jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 will protest Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s visit to New York this week. His United Nations counterparts may be more welcoming.


Qaddafi, who speaks at the UN tomorrow, has cemented ties with countries that shunned him for three decades and are now lured by Africa’s biggest oil reserves and a 150 billion-dinar ($123 billion), five-year government infrastructure-inves tment plan.


“With fewer and fewer sizable oil patches left, oil companies have incentives to acquire acreage wherever they can,” said Geoff Porter, the chief Africa and Middle East analyst for the Eurasia Group, a New York-based firm that analyzes political risks. For oil companies, doing business with a former pariah state “is worth it,” he said.


More than 40 foreign oil companies are working in Libya, including London-based BP Plc, Eni SpA of Rome, Irving, Texas- based Exxon Mobil Corp. and Occidental Petroleum Corp., which has headquarters in Los Angeles.


Qaddafi’s spending program is attracting companies such as Alcatel SA, which is based outside Paris, Munich-based Siemens AG, Milan’s Impregilo SpA and London-based Rentokil Initial Plc. Businesses from China, South Korea, Brazil and Turkey also are working in Libya, said Salah el-Houni, head of international exhibitions for Libyan media company Dar Alarab, sponsor of fairs in Tripoli for foreign firms.


“Because of the sheer size of the investment in infrastructure, it’s one of the most attractive business opportunities in the world,” said Antonio De Capoa, the chairman of the Italy-Libya Chamber of Commerce.


Qaddafi Follows Obama


Libya, which took responsibility for the Lockerbie attack in 2003, holds the presidency of the 64th UN General Assembly. Qaddafi, 67, is scheduled to address the assembly immediately after President Barack Obama, who is the third speaker at the opening session.


Outside the UN, family members of the victims of Pan Am Flight 103 will be holding signs with “murderer” written above a picture of Qaddafi, according to Bob Monetti, whose 20-year- old son, Rick, was one of the 270 killed in the terrorist bombing.


“As long as Qaddafi sits on all this oil, he can do whatever he pleases and get away with it,” said Monetti, 66, a retired medical engineer in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. “There’s no morality in politics. Politics are about business, and in Libya, business is about oil.”


Qaddafi will be speaking a month after the only man convicted of the bombing was released from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds, sparking outrage in the U.S. and political questions over U.K. business ties with Libya.


'Highly Objectionable'


Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, who is dying of prostate cancer, received a nationally televised hero’s welcome to Tripoli on his return from Scotland on Aug. 20. Obama called the scenes of his arrival “highly objectionable.”


Al-Megrahi has since been hospitalized as he prepares an appeal, the BBC reported Sept. 12, citing his brother.


U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who said he was “repulsed” by the greeting, was forced to deny intervening in Scotland’s decision to release him after political opponents accused him of seeking to curry favor with Qaddafi.


The world’s relations with Qaddafi, who took power in 1969 and came under U.S. and UN sanctions in the 1980s and 1990s, have improved since he abandoned a nuclear-arms program and renounced terrorism between 2002 and 2005.


Leaders Meet


During that period, in 2004, Siemens, Germany’s largest engineering company, won an order worth 180 million euros ($264 million) to upgrade Libya’s power-supply grid after a visit by then-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.


Former U.K. premier Tony Blair visited Libya in May 2007 when BP, Europe’s second-biggest oil producer, signed an accord to conduct a $900 million exploration program with Libya’s National Oil Corp.


By December of that year, Qaddafi was pitching the Bedouin- style tent he uses while traveling in Paris as a guest of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who said the Libyan would sign $15 billion worth of contracts. Toulouse, France-based Airbus SAS at the same time confirmed an order for 15 aircraft from Libyan Airlines.


Last year, Qaddafi paid a final installment in a compensation package to Lockerbie families, clearing the way for normalizing relations with the U.S., and settled a dispute over Italy’s colonization of Libya from 1911 to 1943.


Italian Road


Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi agreed to build a $5 billion coastal highway as part of the agreement. Berlusconi visited Qaddafi last month to mark its anniversary.


Obama became the first U.S. president to meet and shake hands with Qaddafi during a summit of global leaders in Italy in June. The handshake took place 23 years after Ronald Reagan, who called Qaddafi the “mad dog of the Middle East,” ordered the bombing of the colonel’s compound, among other targets.


“Qaddafi has been very successful at engaging the West,” said Dana Moss, an analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “He’s been able to remain in power, and at the same time develop the country’s oil and gas industry.”


Libya, a country of 6.3 million, counts on oil exports for a quarter of its gross domestic product, which was about $100 billion last year, according to the CIA Factbook. Proved oil reserves amount to 45 billion barrels, it said. That equates to $3.13 trillion at the current price of about $69.50 per barrel.


Oil Reserves


The country has 5 billion barrels of untapped oil, or about 12 percent of its total reserves, and is seeking to boost output to 3 million barrels a day from 1.8 million now, the government said this month. Italy has more than tripled its oil imports from Libya since sanctions were lifted in 2003 and the African country now provides about 30 percent of Italy’s daily oil needs.


Oil is also financing Libya’s sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority, which has $80 billion to spend, the fund’s chairman, Abdulhafid Zlitni, told Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper in February. Libya’s central bank last year bought a 4.6 percent stake in UniCredit SpA, Italy’s biggest bank.


Libya may increase its stake in Italian oil company Eni to 10 percent from less than 2 percent now, Shokri Ghanem, the former head of the National Oil Corp., said in May. As politicians greet Qaddafi and companies jockey for Libya’s riches, Monetti grows more disgusted.


“This man has left a trail of death all over the world” he said. “And they treat him like he’s a normal person.”

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The funniest thing about the entire process was when the interpretor gave up midway thru the speech. Then a UN staffer took over and she chuckled @something he said..cant remember what it was exactly. Probably some out of this world crap.


Duke,will you meet the President when he comes to Mpls?

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