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.