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Monitor Group’s Libyan paymasters sought as war criminals by ICC prosecutor

Monitor Group's most infamous client, Muammar Khadafy, sought for war crimes
Monitor Group's most infamous client, Muammar Khadafy, sought for war crimes
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The International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is seeking the arrest of Libya’s ruling trio of Muammar Khadafy; his son Saif; and brother-in-law Abdullah al-Sanusai, head of Libya’s secret police.

The Libyan trio sought by the Spanish prosecutor for war crimes against civilians were the paymasters for Monitor Group from 2006-2008 for unregistered lobby and publicity work.

Monitor Group is an international consulting company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, founded by a group of Harvard Business School professors. One of Monitor Group’s co-founders, Michael Porter, still teaches at Harvard and was the company representative who landed the Libyan business.

Porter jetted to London for a meeting with Saif Khadafy and initiated the multi-million dollar relationship. Porter told Business Week that Saif was not such a bad guy: “I’ve gotten to know Saif quite well.” Porter said. “He is very much oriented toward making Libya a member of the modern world community.”

Porter also claimed Libya was not a dictatorship because “decision-making is widely distributed” in the country.

Porter handed the prospect to Monitor Group CEO Mark Fuller who began an aggressive campaign to get business from the oil-rich nation. Monitor Group sought to capitalize on the poor reputation of the rogue regime and Fuller pitched the plan to Abdullah al-Sanusai.

Fuller, according to documents released by a Libyan opposition group, wrote to the Libyan intelligence chief: “Dear Mr. Abdullah, Thank you for meeting us today.…We agree it is time to set the National Security Council to work….Without coordination, the country will be in a real danger if it does not fulfill its promises.”

Fuller offered up a plan to modernize Libya’s security apparatus and brush up the regime’s public image but was deferential to the spy boss, “We hope that you find this presentation useful in preparing the mission, required procedures and help techniques. We are keen to start, and willing to listen to your opinion while going ahead. Faithfully, Mark Fuller.”

A recent WikiLeaks document discloses that at least one of Monitor Group’s proposals to restructure Libya’s security apparatus was adopted.

Partnering up with ultimate leader Muammar Khadafy
was Fuller’s goal and he proposed being the dictator’s biographer and more. Fuller offered to act as the “primary interlocutor between the Client and international visitors.”

However, Monitor Group’s Libyan “visitor” program and extensive media work, including damage control over bad press following the Libyan torture of Bulgarian nurses doing humanitarian work, required the consulting firm to register as a foreign agent.

The Foreign Agent Registration Act requires foreign governments to register their agents with the Department of Justice and semi-annual reports are then made to Congress. Monitor Group, under Fuller’s command, failed to register the Libyan work until a belated filing earlier this month.

After news reports about Monitor Group’s work for Libya surfaced, the Department of Justice began investigating the company’s work for Khadafy’s regime. Fuller took the matter seriously and Monitor Group hired Covington and Burling, the Attorney General’s old law firm, to represent them on the matter.

Fuller, in an apparent bid to lower his profile, also abruptly resigned his duties at Monitor Group following a vague admission of unspecified mistakes by the company. The company’s excuse for violation of FARA requirements was a purported “misunderstanding” of the law’s requirements.

U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips, who has prosecuted FARA cases, has little to say about a “misunderstanding” defense. Phillips is blunt, “Federal law requires anyone who serves as an agent of a foreign entity, including an organization, to register with the U.S. Attorney General.”

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