WikiLeaks Cables Detail Qaddafi Family’s Exploits
By SCOTT SHANE
In the newspaper he controlled, Seif indignantly denied the report — the big spender, he said, was his brother,
It was Muatassim, too, the cable said, who had demanded $1.2 billion in 2008 from the chairman of
As the Qaddafi clan conducts a bloody struggle to hold onto power in Libya, cables obtained by WikiLeaks offer a vivid account of the lavish spending, rampant nepotism and bitter rivalries that have defined what a 2006 cable called “Qadhafi Incorporated,” using the State Department’s preference from the multiple spellings for Libya’s troubled first family.
The glimpses of the clan’s antics in recent years that have reached Libyans despite Col. Qaddafi’s tight control of the media have added to the public anger now boiling over. And the tensions between siblings could emerge as a factor in the chaos in the oil-rich African country.
Though the Qaddafi children are described as jockeying for position as their father ages — three sons fought to profit from a new Coca-Cola franchise — they have been well taken care of, cables say. “All of the Qaddafi children and favorites are supposed to have income streams from the National Oil Company and oil service subsidiaries,” one cable from 2006 says.
A year ago, a cable reported that proliferating scandals had sent the clan into a “tailspin” and “provided local observers with enough dirt for a Libyan soap opera.” Muatassim had repeated his St. Barts New Year’s fest, this time hiring the pop singers Beyoncé and Usher. An unnamed “local political observer” in
Another brother, Hannibal, meanwhile, had fled
Amid his siblings’ shenanigans, Seif, the president’s second-eldest son, had been “opportunely disengaged from local affairs,” spending the holidays hunting in
The same 2010 cable said young Libyan contacts had reported that Seif al-Islam is the ‘hope’ of ‘Libya al-Ghad’ (Libya of tomorrow), with men in their twenties saying that they aspire to be like Seif and think he is the right person to run the country. They describe him as educated, cultured, and someone who wants a better future for
That was then. Today the young protesters on the streets are demanding the ouster of the entire family, and it was Seif el-Qaddafi who declared on television at 1 a.m. Monday that Libya faced civil war and “rivers of blood” if the people did not rally around his father.
As for the 68-year-old Colonel Qaddafi, the cables provide an arresting portrait, describing him as a hypochondriac who fears flying over water and often fasts on Mondays and Thursdays. The cables said he was an avid fan of horse racing and flamenco dancing who once added “King of Culture” to the long list of titles he had awarded himself. The memos also said he was accompanied everywhere by a “voluptuous blonde,” the senior member of his posse of Ukrainian nurses.
After Colonel Qaddafi abandoned his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction in 2003, many American officials praised his cooperation. Visiting with a congressional delegation in 2009, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, Independent of
Before Condoleezza Rice visited
“A self-styled intellectual and philosopher,” the cable told Ms. Rice, “he has been eagerly anticipating for several years the opportunity to share with you his views on global affairs.”
Andrew W. Lehren contributed reporting from
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