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Like many people on this site, I had mixed feelings about the US' involvement in Libya. While the Gaddafi regime was a dictatorial one, the track record of US intervention in the Arab world has been...less than stellar, shall we say. In addition, it was, strictly speaking, in violation of the War Powers Act, since Congress did not authorize any military action after the Presidential grace period was up. People would say, "why quibble over technicalities?", but one of the fundamental tenets of our democracy—indeed, of most modern democracies—was that the president ought not be above the law, and as such I was opposed to it continuing without getting legal authorization.

So, when Dennis Kucinich announced his opposition to the US' involvement in Libya, I, like many others, assumed his stance was born out of an opposition to the US imperial war machine—however misguided that might be versus Gaddhafi—and a desire to maintain the separation of powers and the rule of law in American government.

And then, this morning, I found something which shook my confidence in him. It's below the squiggly thing.

Al Jazeera English had done a report regarding the Libyan aftermath, and some documents they had found at Libyan Intelligence Headquarters. They presented on two people. One was about a former State Department Bureaucrat named David Welch, who was giving the Gaddafi regime advice about improving their public relations. Since he works for Bechtel now, I am not surprised that's he's giving advice to dictators who might help his company out by handing out construction contacts.

And then I saw the Kucinich bit, which is at 3:06.

According to the document in the report, Kucinich had conversations with aides to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, whereupon he requested information on such things as any known personal motives for the rebels, their ties to al-Qaeda, evidence of any atrocities, any evidence that the regime was trying to settle the rebellion peacefully. According to the document, this information would have been used as ammunition for Kucinich's opposition in the House, evidence in the lawsuit he brought against the White House, and defending Saif in the ICC, should he be brought before it.

There could be a perfectly logical explanation for this. It could be that Kucinich was asking to inform his position better on Libya. It could be that Saif's aides, who wrote the document, spun a request for information into tacit support of Saif and the Gaddafi regime. But I don't know if that's the truth. And this document, taken at face value, looks very bad.

I think I owe it to myself to see if he has an explanation for this. But, at the end of the day, I will need one. Because as much as I like the man, as much as he has been a clear voice for progressive values, I cannot tolerate anyone actively, directly, assisting dictators and despots.

And if he has done these things, I am through with him.

10:35 AM PT: ItsSimpleSimon posted a link to this Atlantic article which has a reply from Kucinich's office:

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, and read there about my efforts to stop the war. I can't help what the Libyans put in their files. My opposition to the war in Libya, even before it formally started, was public and well known. My questions about the legitimacy of the war, who the opposition was, and what NATO was doing, were also well known and consistent with my official duties. Any implication I was doing anything other than trying to bring an end to an unauthorized war is fiction.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied - chains us all, irrevocably.

    by Andrew M on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 09:24:22 AM PDT

  •  A correction should be forthcoming. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nailbanger, fizziks, Zutroy

    They refer to Kucinich as "a prominent American politician."

  •  If you want all of the information in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fizziks

    a conflict you need to ask all of the parties.  Kucinich clearly could not ask for a state department briefing and get this kind of information, so he went to the source.
    I am so glad no one listened to him, and the Libyan people could have a chance at democracy and a better life, but I don't think, even if all of this is true, that his motives are any different than he has stated.

  •  This truly is disturbing. I certainly hope (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fizziks

    Kucinich has a good, long explanation that provides a reasonable answer to the questions this raises. A brief, one paragraph response would not be enough, in my estimation.

  •  Here is Kucinich's response - a denial (6+ / 0-)

    of the thrust of the document reported on by Al Jazeera.

    The Atlantic:

    Update: Rep. Kucinich's office has sent The Atlantic Wire a statement in which the congressman flatly denies Al Jazeera's report, claiming that the document in question is simply a summary of Kucinich's public positions on the Libyan campaign by a Libyan bureaucrat who never consulted with Kucinich himself:
    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, and read there about my efforts to stop the war. I can't help what the Libyans put in their files. My opposition to the war in Libya, even before it formally started, was public and well known. My questions about the legitimacy of the war, who the opposition was, and what NATO was doing, were also well known and consistent with my official duties. Any implication I was doing anything other than trying to bring an end to an unauthorized war is fiction.

    Rick Perry executed a man ... just to watch him die

    by ItsSimpleSimon on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 09:57:20 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for that. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ItsSimpleSimon, zett

      There are still questions in my mind, but upon taking a second look at everything, the idea that Kucinich was collaborating with the Gaddafis is not as clear-cut as I initially thought it was.

      With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied - chains us all, irrevocably.

      by Andrew M on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 10:32:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There were two other diaries on this yesterday (0+ / 0-)

    My own, which was updated with new info this morning:
    UPDATED: Secret files reveal Dennis Kucinich talks with Qaddafi Regime
    And the one that actually broken the story at DKos:
    Documents Found in Libya Say Dennis Kucinich Offered to Help Qaddafi

    Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

    by Clay Claiborne on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 11:03:03 AM PDT

    •  Apologies. (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't see those in the diary search when I started it. Thanks for your efforts.

      With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied - chains us all, irrevocably.

      by Andrew M on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 01:39:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I understand the concern, but I have a question (0+ / 0-)

    about all this that no one has yet addressed:

    Hindsight is 20/20, but back at the beginning, why should Kucinich (or anyone else for that matter) be expected to assume that the rebels were genuine representatives of the people, or that freedom and democracy were their actual goals?  Why is doubting their legitimacy or asking for evidence of it such a crime?  

    Whatever else he was, Qaddafi has been the head of state for Libya since nearly forever.  Yes, he was a vicious killer, but so was Mubarak.  Until it is crystal clear that their people have turned against them and will no longer tolerate them, don't we basically have to give them the benefit of the doubt?

    The TeaParty would love to crucify Obama, probably even literally, and they are loud about it.  They are rebels.   Should the governments of the world take them at face value and refuse support to Obama?  Or would it make more sense to ask for evidence of their actual agenda?

    "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something." President Obama in Prague on April 5

    by jlynne on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 01:08:09 PM PDT

    •  Other than basic humanity, what is the basis on (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jlynne, sewaneepat

      which you are equatinig Quaddafi whose record is well known and noxious and wsa before this started, with either Obama or the US government? The notion that this was rational conduct on Kucinich's part assumes that, when it is plainly not in evidence.

      •  Equated only as heads of state (0+ / 0-)

        we have to deal with them, even the lousy ones.  

        And it wasn't all that long ago that all of DC was singing Qaddafi's praises because he was our buddy and had agreed to voluntarily give up his weapons of mass destruction.  

        As for Kucinich, I do think it was rational conduct.  What I'm not sure of is whether he was legitimately trying to learn more about the rebels or whether he was trying, as it has been presented, to organize a defense for Qaddafi's regime regardless of the nature of the rebellion.  Either way, it was rational - whether it was admirable is an altogether different issue.

        "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something." President Obama in Prague on April 5

        by jlynne on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 01:54:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Gaddafi regime would not be the place to ask. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jlynne, Clay Claiborne

          I'm going to read the other diaries now to see if I can figure out whether Kucinich actually asked the Gaddafi regime for the answer to these questions. But if he did ask them, he surely expected to get an answer that served their purpose and not the truth.

          You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

          by sewaneepat on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 02:08:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  yes (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sewaneepat

            but it was also the only way to ask the question of the regime and maintain any kind positive relationship.  I would like to know if he asked the questions of anyone else.  

            If not, and assuming the truth of  the reports, it certainly appears that Kucinich was willing to support a despot in order to further his own anti-war agenda.  Yet one more example of why the ends can never justify the means.  

            "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something." President Obama in Prague on April 5

            by jlynne on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 02:17:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  He said elsewhere he contacted : (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jlynne
              including members of the Gaddafi regime and some with ties to the rebels

              unnamed "ties to the rebels", not exactly the same as reps of the NTC, not exactly something that can be checked on.

              Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

              by Clay Claiborne on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 06:02:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  At the time (0+ / 0-)

                there really weren't any reps of the NTC were there?  I seem to remember how difficult it was for NATO to establish any sort of reliable contact on the ground.

                That said, you are right, it's not verifiable.

                "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something." President Obama in Prague on April 5

                by jlynne on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 07:36:10 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Do you really think Kucinich thought he could (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jlynne

      get accurate info on the resistance from Qaddafi? Do you think he's that stupid? I don't. I think he was looking for info to do a hit job on the freedom fighters.

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 05:55:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think (0+ / 0-)

        that anyone who really cared about digging up the truth would ask the Qaddafi regime those questions and see where it leads.  I think the response itself would be highly informative, however self-serving.  As an outsider where else could you start?  

        I don't think Kucinich is stupid.  I also don't think he has any real interest in doing a "hit job" on freedom fighters.  If that was his goal, don't you think that the Qaddafi regime would have manufactured whatever evidence was necessary?  Don't you think Kucinich would have used it?

        "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something." President Obama in Prague on April 5

        by jlynne on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 07:34:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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