It's another shock wave throughout the sane global community. Libya has just been voted to head the UN Commission on Human Rights. The US, Canada, and apparently Guatemala were the sole three to vote against the proposition. Proceedings on January 20 were by secret ballot in Geneva.
It was the Africans' turn to select the commission head. They went for Libya, no doubt because Colonel Moammar Gadhafi has been courting them vigorously, particularly by paying off various African countries' debts.
All this adds up to a terrorist country surveying the state of global terrorism. Gadhafi's regime has been accused of kidnapping and torturing enemies to his rule, openly endorsing terrorist groups such as the Irish Republican Army, and is alleged to have bombed in 1988 the Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Welcome, Chairman Gadhafi to this new power position where you may once again parade your ad infinitum verbalizations, posh fashion outfits, and ever present honorable appearing smile.
The commission's leadership is a rotating one, circling the UN's five geographical areas. It was the African region's turn at the headship. Libya was the only country nominated by the African delegation. Libya has not enjoyed a free election since Gadhafi took power in 1969.
His election "poses a real test" for the UN commission, stated Joanna Weschler, the UN representative for Human Rights Watch. Amnesty International stated concern that approximately 150 persons opposed to Gadhafi are facing trial later this month; it is feared they may not receive a fair hearing.
But Hassuna Shawush, Libyan Foreign Ministry spokesman, said from Tripoli, that the vote for Gadhafi was "a shining victory which gives back their rights to the oppressed peoples." It showed "historic world recognition that Libya has a clean sheet with regards to human rights."
As to Libya's terrorist linkups, the US State Department and Council on Foreign Affairs add them up to include:
- An American in Lebanon was sold to Libya and then murdered in 1986.
- Libyans try to blow up the US embassy in Togo in 1986.
- The bombing of a West Berlin disco in 1986. American soldiers frequented there. Three persons were killed, two being US service personnel.
- Abu Nidal, representing Libya, hijacks Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi, Pakistan in 1987 with several Americans murdered during the ordeal.
- In 1988, a Japanese Red Army operative with bombs was kept in custody in New Jersey. He planned to attack a US military base, such coinciding with the second anniversary of the US air strikes on Libya.
- Two Libyan agents in 1988 were alleged to have bombed Pan Am Flight 103 — 270 killed, 200 being Americans.
- In 1988 Libyans bombed US libraries in Peru, Colombia, and Costa Rica.
- Libyan masterminds engaged Chicago hoodlums in 1989 to shoot down US airliners with shoulder-fired missiles. The plot was foiled.
- Libya is alleged to have been involved in the 1989 bombing of a French airliner over Niger. Also, in 1999 a French court convicted six Libyans for their part in the attack.
- Libyans are believed to have killed Libyan opposition political leaders living in Britain in the 1980s and 1990s. Also, experts conclude that Libya supported schemes to assassinate the heads of Chad, Egypt, Suda, Tunisia, and Zaire.
- Libya has given training and weaponry, money and safety to Palestinian terrorist organizations as well as to the Irish Republican Army, the Basque separatist group ETA, and Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front.
- In 1999, Libya gave aid to a Philippine terrorist outfit with ties to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.
Monday's vote will simply further Gadhafi's revolutionary goal of establishing himself and his regime as a legitimate voice in the world community, while all along continuing ties with terrorists groups worldwide.
Further, he has made it known that one day his agents will successfully complete attacks in North America. In 1986, Gadhafi spoke to the Organization of Non-Aligned States: "I will do everything in my power to divide the world into imperialists and freedom-fighters."
He went on to elaborate that any violence against an "imperialist" nation would be honorable. Those perpetrating the violence would not be "terrorists" but "freedom fighters" for "national liberation can only be achieved through armed struggle."
- J. Grant Swank, Jr.