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WH pushes back on charge that it didn't consult with Congress

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro and Chuck Todd
Administration officials began to pushback hard today in Chile on the charge that the White House did not consult with Congress.

Exhibit A for the White House: A Senate resolution that passed March 1, which denounced Khaddafy's atrocities. The White House says the U.N. resolution authorizing force in Libya incorporates it.

The resolution was incorporated unanimously and calls for a "no-fly zone."

The resolution "urges the United Nations Security Council to take such further action as may be necessary to protect civilians in Libya from attack, including the possible imposition of a no-fly zone over Libyan territory."

Still, the resolution was non-binding and does not have the weight or legal standing of a declaration of war.

Full text of the resolution below. The lead sponsor was New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez (D). Co-sponsors included: Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ben Cardin (D-MD).

The New Jersey delegation, remember, has particular interest in Libya and Khaddafy because of Khadaffy's suspected involvement in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 that killed 270 Americans, including 38 from New Jersey.

Here's the full text of the resolution:

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

Strongly condemning the gross and systematic violations of human rights in Libya, including violent attacks on protesters demanding democratic reforms, and for other purposes.
Mr. MENENDEZ (for himself and Mr. Kirk, Mr. Lautenberg, Mr. Durbin, Mrs. Gillibrand, Mr. Sanders, Mr. Whitehouse, Mr. Schumer, Mr, Wyden, Mr. Casey, Mr. Cardin, Mr. Levin) submitted the following resolution:
RESOLUTION

Strongly condemning the gross and systematic violations of human rights in Libya, including violent attacks on protesters demanding democratic reforms, and for other purposes.

Whereas Muammar Qadhafi and his regime have engaged in gross and systematic violations of human rights, including violent attacks on protesters demanding democratic reforms, that have killed thousands of people;

Whereas Muammar Qadhafi, his sons and supporters have instigated and authorized violent attacks on Libyan protesters using warplanes, helicopters, snipers and soldiers and continue to  threaten the life and well-being of any person voicing opposition to the Qadhafi regime;

Whereas the United Nations Security Council and the international community have condemned the violence and use of force against civilians in Libya and on February 26, 2011,  the United Nations Security Council unanimously agreed to refer the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court; impose an arms embargo on the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including the provision of mercenary personnel; freeze the financial assets of Muammar Qadhafi and certain family members; and impose a travel ban on Qadhafi, certain family members and senior advisors;

Whereas Muammar Qadhafi has ruled Libya for more than 40 years by banning and brutally opposing any individual or group opposing the ideology of his 1969 revolution; criminalizing the peaceful exercise of expression and association; refusing to permit independent journalists' and lawyers' organizations; and engaging in torture and extrajudicial executions, including the 1,200 detainees killed in Abu Salim Prison in June 1996;

Whereas Libya took formal responsibility for the terrorist attack that brought down Pan Am Flight 103  over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people, 189 of whom were U.S. citizens and high-ranking Libyan officials have indicated that Muammar Qadhafi personally ordered the attack; and

Whereas Libya was elected to the UN Human Rights Council on May 13, 2010 for a period of three years, sending a demoralizing message of indifference to the families of the victims of Pan Am flight 103 and Libyan citizens that have endured repression, arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance or physical assault in their struggle to obtain basic human and civil rights.

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the United States Senate--

(1)          applauds the courage of the Libyan people in standing up against the brutal dictatorship of Muammar Qadhafi and for demanding democratic reforms,  transparent governance, and respect for basic human and civil rights;

(2)          strongly condemns the gross and systematic violations of human rights in Libya, including violent attacks on protesters demanding democratic reforms;

(3)          calls on Muammar Qadhafi to desist from further violence,  recognize the Libyan people’s demand for democratic change, resign his position and permit a peaceful transition to democracy governed by respect for human and civil rights and the right of the people to choose their government in free and fair elections;

(4)          calls on the Qadhafi regime to immediately release persons that have been arbitrarily detained; to cease the intimidation, harassment and detention of peaceful protestors, human rights defenders and journalists; to ensure civilian safety; and to guarantee access to human rights and humanitarian organizations;

(5)          welcomes the  unanimous vote of the United Nations Security Council on resolution 1970 referring the situation  in Libya to the International Criminal Court; imposing an arms embargo on the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya; freezing the assets of Qadhafi and family members; and banning international travel by Qadhafi, members of his family, and senior advisors;

(6)          urges the Qadhafi regime to abide by UN Security Council Resolution 1970 and ensure the safety of foreign nationals and their assets, and to facilitate the departure of those wishing to leave the country as well as the safe passage of humanitarian and medical supplies, humanitarian agencies and workers, into Libya in order to assist the Libyan people;

(7)          urges the United Nations Security Council to take such further action as may be necessary to protect civilians in Libya from attack, including the possible imposition of a no-fly zone over Libyan territory;

(8)          welcomes the African Union’s condemnation of the “disproportionate use of force in Libya" and urges the Union to take action to address the human rights crisis in Libya and to ensure that member states, particularly those bordering Libya, are in full compliance with the arms embargo imposed by United Nations Security Council resolution 1970, including the ban on the provision of armed mercenary personnel;  

(9)          welcomes the decision of the United Nations Human Rights Council to recommend Libya’s suspension from the Council and urges the United Nations General Assembly to vote to suspend Libya’s rights of membership in the Council; and

(10)        welcomes the attendance of Secretary of State Clinton at the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva and 1) urges the Council’s assumption of a country mandate for Libya that employs a Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Libya
and 2) urges the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations to advocate for improving United Nations Human Rights Council membership criteria at the next United Nations General Assembly in New York City to exclude gross and systematic violators of human rights.

(11)        Welcomes the outreach that has begun by the United States government to Libyan opposition figures and supports an orderly, irreversible and transition to a legitimate democratic government in Libya.