Westerners who enjoy largesse from our thugs or theirs

The depravity of bought intellectuals, not unlike many journalists who get wined and dined by US forces in Iraq or Afghanistan or in the halls of Washington, Canberra or London. Power can be appealing but it also corrupts:

A trip to Libya in 2006 by Anthony Giddens, the former London School of Economics director and eminent sociologist, when he met Muammar Gaddafi in his tent, was first vetted by the Libyan leader’s head of intelligence, leaked documents show.

Lord Giddens, guru of Labour’s third way, twice met Gaddafi on trips in 2006 and 2007 organised by Monitor Group, a US lobbying firm. Leaked documents show at least one trip was disclosed in advance to Abd Allah al-Sanusi, blamed for atrocities in the present uprising.

Giddens, 73, was LSE director for six years until 2003, is the author of 34 books published in 29 languages, and is credited with devising the “third way” political philosophy taken up by Tony Blair.

Monitor Group was paid more than …£2m by the Libyan government in 2006 to conduct a “cleansing” campaign of its image, according to leaked documents.

A letter sent in July 2006 by executives at Monitor Group to Sanusi, also known as Abdullah Senussi, is about targeting influential academics to emphasise the emergence of “the New Libya”.

“We will create a network map to identify significant figures engaged or interested in Libya today … We will identify and encourage journalists, academics and contemporary thinkers who will have interest in publishing papers and articles on Libya,” the letter claims.

“We are delighted that after a number of conversations, Lord Giddens has now accepted our invitation to visit Libya in July,” the letter adds. It ends by saying to Sanusi: “We very much look forward to hearing from you with any questions or comments that you may have.”

As part of the fall-out, billionaire US financier George Soros last night apologised for having advised the LSE to take Libyan money. Soros studied at LSE as an undergraduate, and had advised the school that it was acceptable to receive the contribution from Gaddafi’s son, Saif, on the grounds that he appeared at the time to be a believer in open society and claimed to be working to move Libya in that direction. A spokesman for Soros said he had come to see that his advice was “a mistake in judgment, which he now greatly regrets”.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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