WASHINGTON- Life is hard in the United States for a number of infamous world leaders. Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, who planned on sleeping in a tent encampment in a posh New Jersey neighborhood until the plan was thwarted
by New Jersey's governor, was forced to search for lodgings in Manhattan.
Fox News reported Tuesday that a number of New York hotels refused to host Gaddafi because of his involvement in the attack on the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. Ultimately, the leader decided to forego finding a hotel in face of the harsh criticism that surfaced regarding his booking in the Pierre Hotel, and decided instead to stay at the home of the Libyan ambassador to the UN.
Protestors gathered outside the ambassador's residence on East 48th Street, not far from the UN headquarters.
Legal expert, Geoffrey Robertson, who served as a UN appeals judge at its war-crimes court in Sierra Leone, wrote in the New York Post that the New York Police Department has the jurisdiction to arrest Gaddafi for innumerable terrorist attacks, murders, and torture which he has been responsible for in 35 of the 40 years of his reign.
Of course, the US will not actually go ahead with such a move. Instead, Gaddafi will actually be invited to speak at the UN General Assembly Wednesday following the address of US President Barack Obama.
The US is committed to allow representatives of each of the 192 UN member states to come to New York for the General Assembly and be allowed to move freely within a 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) radius from the UN headquarters.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, less bristling in the eyes of the American public, is staying at the Intercontinental Hotel in Manhattan. Hotel guests interviewed for the Daily News were not enthralled to hear they would be staying under the same roof as the Iranian leader. Anti-Ahmadinejad Protestors are also expected to reach the doors of the hotel.
However, two New York events halls have rejected the Iranian UN delegation's reservations for a hall in which to hold a banquet for Ahmadinejad on Friday. The first hotel to cancel
on the delegation was Helmsley Hotel, saying the Iranian leader is not welcome at any of their properties. Shortly thereafter, Gotham Hall also turned down the Iranians, saying the venue refused to be a platform for propaganda.
"As soon as we learned of the nature of the event and of Ahmadinejad's participation, we took the necessary steps to cancel the event," said David Miller, a representative of Apple Core Holdings, the parent company of Gotham Hall.
Despite these efforts, its seems as though the Iranians have successfully found a venue for holding their banquet at Essex House Hotel, next to Central Park. Intense pressure is being put on the venue's management to cancel the reservation.
Former Ambassador Mark Wallace and head of the organization United Against Nuclear Iran,
which is spearheading US boycott efforts against Iran, asked Essex House to cancel the event.
In a letter to Scott Dawson, General Manager of the Essex House, UANI President Ambassador Mark Wallace wrote, "UANI calls on the Essex House to clarify and reconsider its decision to host the banquet and address and instead decline to provide such a venue for President Ahmadinejad.
"By doing business with the Iranian government the Essex House is accepting blood money from a regime that brutally suppresses its own people and that is a danger to global security.
"Given that other area venues including the New York Helmsley Hotel and Gotham Hall have rejected hosting President Ahmadinejad and the Iranian delegation, the Essex House's provision of a forum for Ahmadinejad's propaganda is even more egregious."