Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal reports on a visit to Libya’s destroyed intelligence headquarters in Tripoli, where he found documents implicating two very different Americans in efforts to help the Gaddafi regime survive the popular rebellion that brought it down.
I found what appeared to be the minutes of a meeting between senior Libyan officials – Abubakr Alzleitny and Mohammed Ahmed Ismail – and David Welch, former assistant secretary of state under George W Bush. Welch was the man who brokered the deal to restore diplomatic relations between the US and Libya in 2008.
Welch now works for Bechtel, a multinational American company with billion-dollar construction deals across the Middle East. The documents record that, on August 2, 2011, David Welch met with Gaddafi’s officials at the Four Seasons Hotel in Cairo, just a few blocks from the US embassy.
During that meeting Welch advised Gaddafi’s team on how to win the propaganda war, suggesting several “confidence-building measures”, according to the documents. The documents appear to indicate that an influential US political personality was advising Gaddafi on how to beat the US and NATO.
Minutes of this meeting record his advice on how to undermine Libya’s rebel movement, with the potential assistance of foreign intelligence agencies, including Israel.
There is no evidence that Israel played any role in trying to undermine the rebels.
On the floor of the intelligence chief’s office lay an envelope addressed to Gaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam. Inside, I found what appears to be a summary of a conversation between US congressman Dennis Kucinich, who publicly opposed US policy on Libya, and an intermediary for the Libyan leader’s son.
Kucinich sought the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, and won some support from the antiwar Left.
It details a request by the congressman for information he needed to lobby US lawmakers to suspend their support for the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) and to put an end to NATO airstrikes.
According to the document, Kucinich wanted evidence of corruption within the NTC and, like Welch, any possible links within rebel ranks to al-Qaeda.
The document also lists specific information needed to defend Saif Al-Islam, who is currently on the International Criminal Court’s most-wanted list.
A spokesperson for the US state department said that David Welch is “a private citizen” who was on a “private trip” and that he did not carry “any messages from the US government”. Welch has not responded to Al Jazeera’s requests for comment.
Dennis Kucinich issued a statement to the Atlantic Wire stating: “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.”
Looks like a non-denial denial to me.