Evidence that former Bush official David Welch and US Rep. Dennis Kucinich tried to help Gaddafi retain power — updated

(Update below)
Jamal Elshayyal visited Libya’s intelligence headquarters in Tripoli, much of which were destroyed in NATO airstrikes.

I managed to smuggle away some documents, among them some that indicate the Gaddafi regime, despite its constant anti-American rhetoric – maintained direct communications with influential figures in the US.

I found what appeared to be the minutes of a meeting between senior Libyan officials – Abubakr Alzleitny and Mohammed Ahmed Ismail – and David Welch, the former assistant secretary of state who served under George W Bush and the man who brokered the deal which restored 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 there.

During that meeting Welch advised Gaddafi’s team on how to win the propaganda war – suggesting several “confidence building measures”, the documents said. 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 note his advice on how to undermine Libya’s rebel movement, with the potential assistance of foreign intelligence agencies, including Israel. “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…”

The papers also document that Welch advised Gaddafi’s regime to take advantage of the current unrest in Syria, pointing out: “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.”

Despite this apparent encouragement to Gaddafi of going on a propaganda campaign at the expense of Syria, the documents claim Welch attacked Qatar, describing Doha’s actions as “cynical” and an attempt to divert attention from the unrest in Bahrain.

The documents claims that Welch went on to propose the following solution to the crisis which he said many would support in the US administration; Gaddafi “should step aside” but “not necessarily relinquish all his powers”. This advice is a clear contradiction to public demands from the White House that Gaddafi must be removed.

According to the document, as the meeting closed, Welch promised: “To convey everything to the American administration, the congress and other influential figures.” But it appears that David Welch was not the only prominent American giving help to Gaddafi as NATO and the rebel army were locked in battle with his regime.

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 Denis Kucinich, who publicly opposed US policy on Libya, and an intermediary for the Libyan leader’s son.

It details a request by the congressman for information he needed to lobby American 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 his fellow countryman 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.

Update: Al Jazeera:

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.”

The document connected to Welch can be read here.

The document connected to Kucinich can be read here.

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8 thoughts on “Evidence that former Bush official David Welch and US Rep. Dennis Kucinich tried to help Gaddafi retain power — updated

  1. Christopher Hoare

    I’m now waiting for some action against these men from the Obama White House, not more “let bygones be bygones” statement about looking forward.

    Particularly interesting are the references to accusations from the Qaddhafi government of NTC members being associated with al-Qaeda, which was one of the accusations thrown about by Pepe Escobar in Asia Times articles. There could be plenty of material here for a good investigative journalist to track down.

  2. Joseph Partida

    I agree with Mr. O’Toole
    I don’t see that letter implicating Mr. Kucinich. This guy Welch on the other hand, needs to be brought to the light along with his “connections”.

  3. Colm O' Toole

    Indeed Pepe Escobar has done some good research of the Al Qaeda links between some of the top rebels namely Abdelhakim Belhaj who ran the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and was the military commander of the capture of Tripoli.


    Al Akhbar the Beirut newspaper which just launched an English language version last week also had a good profile of Belhaj and his history:


    Also just for the fun of it…. I went onto the US State Department’s Terrorist Watchlist. It hasn’t been update since 19th May 2011 but they still have the LIFG listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation.

    Not only is the Emir of the LIFG now the head of the Military Council in Tripoli after his assault but the LIFG is estimated to have used some 800 fighters in the February 17 Martyrs Brigade.


    Maybe Sec of State Clinton needs to update the list since they now “freedom fighters”.

  4. Paul Woodward

    Colm — I didn’t realize you were such a true believer in the war on terrorism. Of course for everyone whose knees wobble whenever they hear the name al Qaeda, any possible link that can be made between al Qaeda and Libya must make the departure of Gaddafi seem tragic and inexcusable.

    Since Belhaj is supposedly the poster boy of the Qaeda connection, it’s curious that once he landed in the hands of the CIA he didn’t get shipped off to Guantanamo. Why not? “[T]he CIA confirmed that Belhaj was not a member of al-Qaida” — that’s from the Al-Akhbar article you cite.

    As a founder of the jihadist Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Belhaj (aka Sadeeq) did have connections with al Qaeda, but the LIFG eventually severed these ties and, in what Escobar dismisses as a publicity stunt, abandoned terrorism.

    Anyone who sees the world the way the Israelis do will of course say a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist. There cannot be such a thing as a political evolution in the minds of people who we all supposedly know to be the embodiment of pure evil. There are others however who have a somewhat more nuanced perspective.

    One would be the former terrorist, Noman Benotman. He sees the inclusion of Sadeeq and other former LIFG members in the rebel forces as something that has legitimized those forces in the eyes of younger Libyan salafists.

    Benotman says that former LIFG members who have again taken up arms have fused their efforts with rebel forces and do not operate as a separate armed group. Instead they have created a new political organization called the Islamic Movement for Change, which Benotman says is committed to working within a future democratic process.

    More propaganda, I hear all the war skeptics mutter.

    Well here’s something worth ruminating on: the view of an al Qaeda-controlled Libya that Escobar is helping promote is being picked up with enthusiasm by Zionists.

    Qaddafi Exits, Al Qaeda Enters” runs the pro-settler Aruz Sheva headline and the primary source for their analysis is Escobar’s article in Asia Times.

    Who could have predicted that Libya would help anti-imperialists, Zionists, and the Tea Party all stand together in solidarity.

  5. Paul Woodward

    Goodness me. Life was so much better under Gaddafi’s rule. It makes you wonder why there would so many dumb Libyans who didn’t realize that. But what can you expect from stupid Arabs, never interested in following the advice of their progressive white friends.

  6. Jon

    This is not new with people that used to be active in the previous administration’s circle. They are using America’s foreign policy for private gains, and sometimes undermining another administration while doing it.

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