Racepoint on Gaddafi: “The Leader is an intellectual and philosopher”
Racepoint Group were retained to promote Gaddafi as “an intellectual and philosopher”
More on the PR firm Racepoint Group from the US government’s public register of “Foreign Agents”.
Today’s find is from that not-so-long-ago moment when publicly associating with Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi was less toxic than today – and it makes an interesting compare-and-contrast with yesterday’s entry.
In 2007 Racepoint were assigned by a company named Monitor Group – whose activities on behalf of the Gadaffi regime are somewhat better known – to promote Gaddafi’s “democratic” government in the run-up to the 30th anniversary of his seizing power.
According to the project proposal, which was only submitted to the Department of Justice last month, Racepoint planned to use this anniversary “to drive global awareness and recognition for Libya’s accomplishments with the People’s Authority of Libya and related democratic initiatives.”
Racepoint would “leverage” a planned public debate between Gaddafi (“hereafter The ‘Leader'”), British sociologist Anthony Giddens, and political theorist Benjamin Barber “to draw world attention to several important positioning points”. Key among these were that “Libya is an Arab Muslim country engaging in its own form of democracy”, “The Leader is an intellectual and philosopher”, “The Jamahiriya system is a radical social experiment based on an alternative direct democracy governance model…”, and “The importance of the 30th Anniversary of the Declaration of the People’s Authority as a democratic milestone”.
“Effective execution” would “work to influence perceptions of Libya and the Leader with international media, and ultimately, the international community; enhance the international image and prestige of the Leader by establishing his willingness to engage in serious intellectual debate before a world audience; and broaden universal understanding of governmental and economic reforms being undertaken in Libya.”
The company would also work to secure a “media partner” for the event, with the BBC “the preferred partner for a number of reasons: the ongoing relationship with Sir David Frost, its global prestige, audience and reach, and its online, radio and television properties”.
“Preferred” print media would be the International Herald Tribune, New York Times, Guardian, Reuters and the Economist.
In the weeks before the debate, Racepoint would engage in “strategic ‘leaking’ of certain debate topics” and arrange “Briefings by representatives of the Leader or Mr. Giddens or Barber with a small handful of global political bloggers”.
The “project fee” for this 60-day campaign would be $75,000 – plus expenses.
There’s not a huge amount of other information publicly available about Racepoint’s work for Gaddafi, but a quick Google search turned up this:
Groundbreaking Website Reveals Libya’s Commitment to Democracy
Following a first-of-its kind event in which Muammar al-Gaddafi engaged in a free-form debate on democracy, the World Center for Green Book Studies today launched a groundbreaking Website as part of Libya’s efforts to openly engage the international community on democracy and economic development in Libya. The Website address is: http://www.LibyaInTheGlobalAge.com…
The two-hour debate focused on three distinct themes:
— Democracy in Libya – the Jamahiriya System: An exploration of the vision that led to the founding of the People’s Authority in Libya thirty years ago, Gaddafi’s aspirations for the Libyan people and the way that they engage with government.
— Globalization since the founding of the People’s Authority: A broad conversation about how the world has changed in the last thirty years – how people think and feel about the globalization of government, democracy, ideas, money, culture and politics, in an age of security threats and the implications of this change for Libya.
— What the next 30 years of the People’s Authority in Libya will bring: A discussion of the role of the Libyan state and democracy in a modern context, charting the practical progress of Libya and the increasingly important role that the civil and economic sectors will play in the country and the region.
Please visit http://www.LibyaInTheGlobalAge.com for more information.
CONTACT: Racepoint Group George Snell 781-487-4608 firstname.lastname@example.org
Reuters, meanwhile, tells the story slightly differently:
Gaddafi debate shows limits to change in Libya
Muammar Gaddafi, ever the political showman, has chosen the talk show as a new way of sending a message to the West: Economic reform will help Libya, but political change is not needed.
Sitting around a table in front of the international media, he said in an unprecedented debate with two Western thinkers and a celebrated British journalist that the ballot box was not for his oil-exporting nation…
The tape of Friday’s debate will be distributed to international television channels and may be placed on a Libyan government Web site, said George Snell, an official of a U.S. public relations firm involved in organizing Friday’s event…
“Direct people’s democracy in coming years will be a model for other countries,” the leader told U.S. political scientist Benjamin Barber and sociologist Anthony Giddens in a discussion moderated by journalist David Frost…
If the debate is broadcast in Libya, the images of give and take of the discussion could strike a blow for free expression in a country with a state-controlled media.
Gaddafi was challenged and sometimes contradicted by the Western experts on his opposition to the ballot box.
“I have a basic source of disagreement with Mr. Gaddafi,” sociologist Giddens told the gathering, using language never publicly heard in Libya.
But Saturday’s Libyan newspapers splashed reports of a meeting with political associates Gaddafi held later on Friday in which he denounced Western domination of the world and urged Libyans to train militarily to prepare to fight off invaders.
There was no word of the debate.