1) Nursing Staff – Gaddafi relies heavily on his long-time Ukrainian nurse, Galyna Kolotnytska, who has been described as a ”voluptuous blonde.” Of the rumored staff of four Ukrainian nurses that cater to the Leader’s health and well-being, one informant emphasized to multiple Emboffs that Qadhafi cannot travel without Kolotnytska, as she alone “knows his routine.”
When Kolotnytska’s late visa application resulted in her Security Advisory Opinion being received on the day Gaddafi’s party planned to travel to the U.S., the Libyan Government sent a private jet to ferry her from Libya to Portugal to meet up with the Leader during his rest-stop. Some embassy contacts have claimed that Qadhafi and the 38 year-old Kolotnytska have a romantic relationship. While he did not comment on such rumors, a Ukrainian political officer recently confirmed that the Ukrainian nurses “travel everywhere with the Leader.”
2) Female Body Guards – His recent travel may also suggest a diminished dependence on his legendary female guard force, as only one woman bodyguard accompanied him to New York. In the past Gaddafi has traveled with a group of 30 – 40 female security guards that are rumored to be virgins.
3) Self Promotion – When applying for Gaddafi’s visa, one of his staff asked whether it was necessary for the Leader to submit a portrait of himself that fit consular application regulations, noting that his photo was displayed throughout the city and that anyone of hundreds of billboards could be photographed and shrunken to fit the application’s criteria. When the rule was enforced, Gaddafi’s staff reluctantly conceded to take a portrait of the Leader specifically for the visa application.
4) The Man likes his Tent – When one of Gaddafi’s staff began to search for proper accommodations for Gaddafi, he informed us that the Leader must stay on the first floor of any facility that was rented for him. (he separately told U.S. officials in Washington that Gaddafi could not climb more than 35 steps.) He than cited this requirement as the primary reason that the Libyan residence in New Jersey was selected as the preferred accommodation site rather than the Libyan PermRep’s residence in New York City. The member of Gaddafi’s staff also sought to find accommodations with room to pitch Qadhafi’s Bedouin tent, Qadhafi’s traditional site for receiving visitors and conducting meetings, as it offers him a non-verbal way of communicating that he is a man close to his cultural roots.
5) Who fly’s for more than eight hours? – Gaddafi’s dislike of long flights and apparent fear of flying over water also caused logistical headaches for his staff. When discussing flight clearances with Emboffs, the staff explained that the Libyan delegation would arrive from Portugal, as Gaddafi “cannot fly more than eight hours” and would need to overnight in Europe prior to continuing his journey to New York. His staff also revealed in the same conversation that Qadhafi does not like to fly over water. Presumably for similar reasons, Gaddafi staff also requested a stop in Newfoundland to break his travel from Venezuela to Libya on September 29.
6) Gaddafi‘s Trusted Staff - Gaddafi appears to be almost obsessively dependent on a small core of trusted personnel. This group coordinates the logistics of Gaddafi’s visit. This group balanced the UNGA preparations between equally frenetic preparations for the August 31 African Union (AU) Summit and September 1 celebration of Gaddafi’s coup. celebrations, the group takes care of every last detail of these complex gatherings, ranging from the overall program to the position of the press pool. Long-time Gaddafi Chief of Staff Bashir Salah appears to play an equally important role in Gaddafi’s personal retinue, via an old-fashioned green phone. It is next to a red phone, which presumably connects to Gaddafi himself. We constantly hear that National Security Adviser and son, Muatassim, also plays a key role as his father’s confidante and handler during travel abroad. Muatassim also seems to have been tasked with insuring that the Leader’s image is well-preserved through the full array of carefully-planned media events.
7) Gaddafi loves Flamenco Dancing – In addition to the personality quirks revealed through Gaddafi’s travel to New York, the Gaddafi’s preferences for dancing and cultural performances were displayed over the last month. The three-day spectacle of his 40th anniversary in power included performances by dance troupes from Ukraine, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, and Morocco, as well as musical performances by bands from Mexico, Russia, New Zealand, and a number of other nations. Gaddafi appeared particularly enthralled by Tuareg horse racing during two of the events, clapping and smiling throughout the races. The flamenco dancers that participated in his celebratory events appeared to spark a similar interest, as Gaddafi decided to stop in Seville (for a “personal trip” according to the Spanish Ambassador here) on his way back to Libya from Venezuela specifically to attend a flamenco dance performance.
8) The Awkward Silence – When Hilary Clinton was briefed for a meeting with Gaddafi she was told Gaddafi is notoriously mercurial. He often avoids making eye contact during the initial portion of meetings, and there may be long, uncomfortable periods of silence.
9) Well Traveled - One member of his staff described Colonel Gaddafi’s attitude to the U.S. as ‘childlike’, quoting him asking: ‘How much of New York… will I get to see?’ and ‘Is Washington far from New York? Do you think I might have time to visit?
10) Gaddafi knows how to have a temper tantrum – A previous release from WikiLeaks revealed that dangerous nuclear material was left on an airport runway because Colonel Gaddafi threw a tantrum after being refused permission to pitch a tent outside the UN. The Libyan leader allegedly went back on a promise to dispose of weapons-grade uranium after the diplomatic spat and the highly-enriched material came close to cracking its containers and leaking into the atmosphere.
Monday, February 28, 2011
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