The PR firm that helped Libya (Mother Jones)

March 4, 2011
(EOZ)In February 2007 Harvard professor Joseph Nye Jr., who developed the concept of“soft power”, visited Libya and sipped tea for three hours with Muammar Qaddafi. Months later, he pennedan elegant description of the chatforThe New Republic, reporting that Qaddafi had been interested in discussing “direct democracy.” Nye noted that “there is no doubt that” the Libyan autocrat “acts differently on the world stage today than he did in decades past. And the fact that he took so much time to discuss ideas—including soft power—with a visiting professor suggests that he is actively seeking a new strategy.” The article struck a hopeful tone: that there was a new Qaddafi. It also noted that Nye had gone to Libya “at the invitation of the Monitor Group, a consulting company that is helping Libya open itself to the global economy.”Nye did not disclose all. He had actually traveled to Tripoli as a paid consultant of the Monitor Group (a relationship he disclosed in an email to Mother Jones), and the firm was working under a $3 million-per-year contract with Libya. Monitor, a Boston-based consulting firm with ties to the Harvard Business School, had been retained, according to internal documents obtained by a Libyan dissident group, not to promote economic development, but “to enhance the profile of Libya and Muammar Qadhafi.” So The New Republic published an article sympathetic to Qaddafi that had been written by a prominent American intellectual paid by a firm that was being compensated by Libya to burnish the dictator’s image.  People that the Monitor Group brought to Libya, along with their subsequent speeches of articles. They include Richard Perle, Anthony Giddens, Francis Fukuyama, Nicholas Negroponte, American Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, Bernard Lewis, David Frost, Benjamin Barber and Joseph Nye. In addition, the Monitor Group maintained contacts with other influential people to get them to be more sympathetic to Libya, including George Soros, Fareed Zakaria, and Thomas Friedman. Posted via email from noahdavidsimon’s posterous