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Amid ongoing unrest in the North African nation, a Cambridge consulting firm is coming under fire for work it did on behalf of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
The Monitor Group found business in Libya after Gadhafi gave up his plans for building weapons of mass destruction and sanctions against the nation were lifted in 2004. The firm was paid to generate positive news coverage on Libya and write a book proposal on Gadhafi's views on democracy.
“So one of the things [The Monitor Group] did was invite high-level experts to Libya to meet with Gadhafi and then write articles and kind of influence important people about this direction that Libya wanted to go,” Laura Rozen, a foreign policy reporter for Politico, said in an interview with Here & Now last Friday.
The firm acknowledges the book plan was a mistake, but said its other work was aimed at making Libya more democratic. The Monitor Group issued a statement saying their work was focused on helping the Libyan people work toward open government institutions.
Some opposition groups have claimed that U.S. firms consulting for the Libyan government helped to keep Gadhafi in power by focusing on his image and ignoring questions of human rights abuses.
“Well, I think that’s for the public to determine," Rozen said. "Obviously you know the opposition to Gadhafi would have an agenda here and I accept that The Monitor Group probably thought that they could play role in having, you know, Libyan good government and also they could probably make a lot of money."
The Monitor Group, which never registered as a lobbying organization with the Justice Department, wasn’t the only consulting firm working with Libya.
“[Libya is] a very energy-rich country. There were people advising the energy companies going into Libya that also did not register with the Justice Department," Rozen said. "Some of them have gone into the Obama administration as energy advisors, so there are people who are transparent that they are working for paid interest and there are people who have reputations as being scholars at universities. It's not clear that they are being funded perhaps by a consulting firm that is getting paid by the Libyan government.”
This program aired on March 4, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.
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