Col. Muammar al-Gadhafi
UNITED NATIONS – Libyan strongman Muammar Gadhafi told a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly today he’s pleased with the direction President Obama is taking the United States, calling him “my son” or “our son” several times.
Gadhafi’s visit to New York has been a series of controversies piled on top of disputes, and his message this morning at the U.N. continued the precedent. He took a “victory lap” through the surprised audience, blasted the U.N. as unfair and suggested he be given a permanent seat on the Security Council.
But he praised Obama.
According to interpreters for the speech, he challenged, “Can you guarantee after Obama how America will be governed? We are content and happy if Obama can stay forever as president of America.”
Gadhafi also reportedly referred to the U.S. president as a “black African Kenyan.”
His words contrasted sharply with other dictators who have used the U.N. bully pulpit to condemn America and its leaders. Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez notoriously called President George W. Bush the “devil” and said the U.N. podium still smelled of sulphur.
It was Gadhafi’s first address to the U.N. assembly, and, dressed in Bedouin garb, he rambled and lectured for more than 90 minutes.
“Are we equal in permanent seats (in the Security Council)? No. The (U.N. Charter) preamble says we are equal. So we do not accept the veto. In the preamble it says we do not accept military force, but since the U.N. (was created) we have had more than 65 wars. It is full of contradictions in the Charter of the United Nations. Democracy is not only for the rich,” he said.
He complained about the use of the Security Council by the U.S. and United Kingdom in past years to punish his country for its “rogue” policies.
He also demanded that if the Security Council expanded its membership, the African Union – of which he is president – be awarded a permanent seat on a level with that of the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China.
Gadhafi took great delight in portraying his nation as a scapegoat for the “great powers,” even though those same powers now support him.
But for people such as the families of victims of the Pan Am Flight 103 terror attack over Lockerbie, Scotland, Gadhafi’s “rehabilitation,” with the acquiescence of both the U.S. and U.K. governments, has provoked strong emotions.
Some traveled to New York to join a protest march and others privately have conceded Gadhafi has indeed won the 20-year battle to bring him to justice.
Bert Ammerman, who lost his brother Thomas on the Pan Am flight, told WND that he decided to remain home in New Jersey and not join the protests in New York.
Ammerman explained that 20 years after the bombing, there is no longer an international “desire” to punish the oil-rich Libya.
In a telephone interview, Ammerman also expressed disappointment that eight months into the new administration, the Pan Am families have yet to meet Obama:
“Up until the release of (convicted Flight 103 bomber Abdelbaset Ali) al-Megrahi, I wasn’t concerned to meet with Obama, because it is 20 years later,” he said.
“I do believe that because of that release, he does owe some type of outreach which has not taken place by anybody in the executive branch of the Obama administration. I do believe that there should have been some outreach from Secretary of State Clinton or the White House. What really is important is how Obama interacts with Gadhafi this week. … The hope is that there will be no interaction,” he said.
Megrahi, the only convicted bomber of Pan Am 103, was released last summer by Scottish authorities because of failing health.
“I believe that if the United States did not want Megrahi released they would have back-channeled that and it wouldn’t have happened,” Ammerman said.
“I don’t see anything of value out of coming to New York (to protest). For the first five years (since the 1988 bombing) I worked on this 24/7. I was very much involved in different points along the way. I (now) just don’t have the desire any more,” he said.
Gadhafi earlier caused ripples by trying to get permission to set up his controversial traveling VIP tent in nearby New Jersey. Local authorities blocked the move.
Then yesterday word leaked that Donald Trump temporarily loaned the Libyan a plot of land in suburban Westchester County. Local authorities blocked that too.
So, the mercurial colonel spent the night inside the Libyan U.N. mission in New York.
Protesters’ voices could be heard as he drove to U.N. headquarters today.
The voices included families of the 270 people killed when Flight 103 was bombed.
Gadhafi’s speech followed one by Obama by only minutes, but senior members of the U.S. United Nations delegation left before Gadhafi started his message.