edits August 2
I recently became aware of the details of and serious questions surrounding the defection of Libya's mission to the United Nations, as explained in my article Sketching out the New Libya: Departures from Protocol at the UN. As my source, Ronda Hauben, explained, this effort was led by the Deputy Ambassador, Ibrahim Dabbashi.
His Feb. 21 defection was followed by a presentation of his roadmap to the new Libya which, as I noted there, was "not the cautious statement of a loyal servant of his government forced by events. The turns of phrase and even more the suggested actions reveal a rather advanced conception of what this crisis offered and how it should be exploited." War crimes trials, asset freezes, travel bans, trade sanctions, a no-fly zone, military action to back that up, regime change by whatever means possible if not "Arab Spring" magic. All these were conceptually tabled by Dabbashi on day six of the surprise violent protests.
These actions were based on rumors that hadn't been sorted out yet, and would be later shown to be overwhelmingly untrue. Fancy that.
On the other hand, his superior, Ambassador Abdel Rahman Shalgham, at first acted quite differently. Before mindlessly repeating the tales of massacres and "genocide," he called home and asked. He was genuinely concerned, and at least half-convinced that the government was killing lots of innocent people. But the fact that he held any doubts whatsoever of the grander charges clearly irked the outside world, as can be seen in the following video.
He's being questioned by reporters right after his deputy's rather stunning presentation. As some have noted, he behaves as if stunned. A range of crushing offensives had just been proposed against the country both he and his junior the warmonger had represented, and which Shalgham still did, until his resignation three days later.
This video below was cited by Hauben in support of a major shift in Mr. Shalgham's attitude. Watched and listened to, it strongly supports the difference. Unlike Dabbashi that day, Mr. Shalgham does sound legitimately pressed, hesitant, confused, but still intrinsically sane. For the sake of history, here is the video and my transcription, or the best I can do with his garbling accent and mood and the other noises and excited cross-talk.
Update, Aug 2: I thank reader "quiestbml" for helping fill in some previous blanks, errors, and formatting. I used most of these recommendations. The rest can be seen in the comments below.
His English comments begin only at 1:53 and proceed slowly, underpinned with deep sadness, fatigue, and later annoyance, and are about as follows:
What I will say - I was in Libya, a few weeks ago. I had a meeting with my friend, the leader, al-Gaddafi. We are friends, from the school. I come from a tribe to the south of Libya - that he's my friend. I can criticize him, I can't attack him.The Ambassador changed his tune a couple of days later, comparing his brave old friend to Adolph Hitler, and requesting the world to destroy him. Something snapped in those few days in between, and the real Abdel Rahman Shalgham, the one we see dying away here, was apparently killed off in the process. Another early victim of the Libyan Civil War, snuffed out under murky circumstances.
Q: Which tribe?
What I will say - there are three phenomena - that, they don't exist anymore. Slavery, occupation, colonialism, and autocratic regime. I spoke with everyone in Libya. Secretary of parliament, and the chief of cabinet of colonel Gaddafi, [name], everyone. I told them you should stop bloodshed. [long pause - finished?]
Q: What's your personal position from the bloodshed? You're talking about bloodshed in your country. What's your personal position?
I am against death.
Q: Are you calling on the security council to take action too?
Q: Did you ask the leader to stop the bloodshed? Who is responsible?
I will try to speak with him first thing.
Q: Is Gaddafi responsible for the bloodshed?
[nodding no] I don't think he is off - he is very brave. [raising voice to cut off another leading question] I think, he is very brave. I think that he'd want to have a very ... clear and brave ... decision.
Q: Are you worried about the no-fly zone?
[nodding] No, no no. I spoke with ...
Q: What can he do?
No, I think Muammar Gaddafi is [able to decide?], he can decide, he can decide.
Q: Is he recruiting mercenaries? Mercenaries?
No, that's not ...
Q: he's not flying in mercenaries?
No, no, no, no. [he was right]
Q: Would you ask the leader to step down?
[nodding with increased annoyance] No, I ask him to stop crackdown, I ask him to change, I ask him for a constitution, for freedom, for ...
Q: Did you speak with, with him?
I tried this morning, but I couldn't.
Q: Can you clarify if in fact you're supportive of going to the Security Council, like your deputy has requested, or ...
[nodding gravely] No, no.
Q: [incredulous] You're not. You're against going ... are you against going to the Security Council?
Q: [incredulous] You're not defecting?
[nodding no] I speak to - look, excuse me, the Security Council is going to have an appeal to the regime to stop the bloodshed, this escalation?, [to abort it?].
Q: Otherwise, other measures that are requested by - the - Shal - mr. Ibrahim Dabbashi, you are against other measures?
[nodding again, negative then affirmative, yes, against]
Q: Everything? Everything. All of - everything that's ...
[nodding no again]
Q: Do you think it's - the bombing, the aerial bombing of the ...
[nodding no] It's outrageous. [name] called me yesterday, and I said to him "look, if you don't stop this I will to resign." He told me that he will invite CNN, al Arabiya, all the channels to come to the Tripoli and see on the ground the [stronghold?].
Q: So there's no aerial bombimg ...
[nodding and now walking away in frustration] No. [he was right]
Q: Thank you (repeated by many).
(may report back with specific quotes if interesting).
Shalgam Gaddafi attacks and calls on the UN ... Arabic speech at the UN, Feb 25. Hugs are shown after, and Shalgham seems to be crying. But while speaking, clear and energetic, unlike a few days before.
Sky News, with translation:
Behavior Shalgam rejected by his family استنكار ... (Arabic, Libyan TV)