According to secret files recovered from Libya’s intelligence agency in Tripoli, former George W. Bush assistant secretary of state David Welch advised Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and tried to help him retain power prior to his fall. Other documents indicate U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich requested information that could help him stop NATO’s bombing campaign.
Al Jazeera news producer Jamal Elshayyal reported discovering minutes from a meeting between senior Libyan officials and Welch, who helped restore diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Libya in 2008.
On August 2, 2011, Welch met with Gaddafi officials at the Four Seasons Hotel in Cairo near the U.S. embassy where he instructed them on how to win the propaganda war and how to undermine the Libyan rebel movement with assistance from foreign intelligence agencies, including Israel’s. One of the documents read:
“Any information related to al-Qaeda or other terrorist extremist organisations should be found and given to the American administration but only via the intelligence agencies of either Israel, Egypt, Morroco, or Jordan… America will listen to them… It’s better to receive this information as if it originated from those countries…”
Welch also advised the Gaddafi regime to exploit the unrest in Syria:
“The importance of taking advantage of the Syrian situation particularly regarding the double-standard policy adopted by Washington… the Syrians were never your friends and you would loose nothing from exploiting the situation there in order to embarrass the West.”
Welch proposed that “[Gaddafi] should step aside” but “not necessarily relinquish all his powers”, claiming that many within the U.S. administration would support such an approach. However, this advice clearly contradicts the White House’s public calls for Gaddafi’s complete removal.
Elshayyal also found an envelope that contained notes from a conversation between Kucinich and an intermediary for Gaddafi’s son, Saif Al-Islam, which details a request made by the congressman from Ohio for information that would allow him to lobby U.S. lawmakers to end the NATO airstrikes.
Kucinich was specifically looking for evidence of corruption within the opposition’s National Transitional Council (NTC) and links between rebel leaders and Al Qaeda. Al Jazeera uploaded a translated copy of the document which can be found here.
A spokesperson for the State Department stated that Welch was acting as a private citizen and did not carry “any messages from the U.S. government”. Welch has not yet responded to Al Jazeera’s requests for feedback.
Dennis Kucinich issued the following statement in response to the uncovered memo:
“Al Jazeera found a document written by a Libyan bureaucrat to other Libyan bureaucrats. All it proves is that the Libyans were reading the Washington Post… I can’t help what the Libyans put in their files… Any implication I was doing anything other than trying to bring an end to an unauthorised war is fiction.”
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