Muammar’s man in Washington

Neoconservatives have popped up here and there on cable news as the “freedom virus” continues to spread through the Muslim/Arab world, strangely, without the help of U.S. troops. A few, like Fouad Ajami and Bill Kristol have spoken up in support of pro-democracy demonstrators, and to oppose the Muslim Brotherhood/Caliphate hysteria of both the think tankers and the pure crazies. But few have the proximity to the widening revolution of one Richard Perle.

Perle, sometimes referred to as the “prince of darkness,” (and one wonders why that might be…) apparently has had direct involvement with Libya’s quickly crumbling “mad dog” leader. From Politico’s Laura Rozen:

As several Libyan diplomats Monday denounced their country’s four-decade ruler Col. Muammar Qadhafi for unleashing the army against anti-government protesters, U.S. consultancies that have worked to burnish Libya’s and Qadhafi’s U.S. image were laying low.

Several consulting, law and lobbying firms have moved in to advise the Libyan government and energy interests since U.S. sanctions were lifted on Libya in 2004, according to Justice Department records, including Fahmy Hudome International, and White & Case LLP.

The Livingston Group canceled its $360,000-per-year lobbying contract with the Libyan government as well as one with an associated Qadhafi charity in September 2009, following the hero’s welcome Libyan leaders gave for the convicted Lockerbie bomber upon his release in August 2009 from a Scottish prison on humanitarian grounds.

One of the more unlikely image-mongers that has worked to burnish Qadhafi’s and Libya’s image never registered with the Justice Department. Prominent neoconservative Richard Perle, the former Reagan-era Defense Department official and George W. Bush-era chairman of the Defense Policy Board, traveled to Libya twice in 2006 to meet with Qadhafi, and afterward briefed Vice President Dick Cheney on his visits, according to documents released by a Libyan opposition group in 2009.

Perle traveled to Libya as a paid adviser to the Monitor Group, a prestigious Boston-based consulting firm with close ties to leading professors at the Harvard Business School. The firm named Perle a senior adviser in 2006.

The Monitor Group described Perle’s travel to Libya and the recruitment of several other prominent thinkers and former officials to burnish Libya’s and Qadhafi’s image in a series of documents obtained and released by a Libyan opposition group, the National Conference of the Libyan Opposition, in 2009.

The Monitor Group did not return phone calls left at its Boston offices Monday. But Monitor describes, in a series of documents published by the National Conference of the Libyan Opposition in 2009, an “action plan” to “introduce and bring to Libya a meticulously selected group of independent and objective experts” to travel to Libya, meet senior officials, hold lectures and workshops, and promote the image of Libya and its controversial ruler.

A 2007 Monitor memo named among the prominent figures it had recruited to travel to Libya and meet with Qadhafi “as part of the Project to Enhance the Profile of Libya and Muammar Qadhafi” Perle, historian Francis Fukuyama, Princeton Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis, famous Nixon interviewer David Frost, and MIT media lab founder Nicholas Negroponte, the brother of former deputy secretary of state and director of national intelligence John Negroponte.

“At a critical time when the United States was debating its recognition of Libya, Monitor met with senior officials in the United States government to share its perspectives on Libya,” the company’s 2007 Phase I executive summary states. “In coordination with the client Monitor briefed officials and various agencies of the United States government. Monitor continues to advocate on Libya’s behalf with a range of leading individuals. Many of these individuals have indicated a willingness to engage with Libya and visit in the future.”

There’s much more. Read it here.

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