You really can’t make this stuff up: a consulting company founded by Harvard professors has received millions of dollars from Moammar Gadhafi for, in effect, rendering the services of propaganda machine to the deranged dictator.

Harvard Professors Hauled in Big Cash Consulting for Gadhafi

The Boston Globe reports that the professors tried to help improve the dictator’s image:

It reads like Libyan government propaganda, extolling the importance of Moammar
Gadhafi, his theories on democracy, and his “core ideas on individual freedom.’’

But the 22-page proposal for a book on Khadafy was written by Monitor Group, a Cambridge-based consultant firm founded by Harvard professors. The management consulting firm received $250,000 a month from the Libyan government from 2006 to 2008 for a wide range of services, including writing the book proposal, bringing prominent academics to Libya to meet Khadafy “to enhance international appreciation of Libya’’ and trying to generate positive news coverage of the country.

“The really nefarious aspect of this is that it reinforced in Khadafy’s mind that he truly was an international intellectual world figure, and that his ideas of democracy were to be taken seriously,’’ said Dirk Vandewalle, associate professor at Dartmouth College and author of “A History of Modern Libya.’’

Beyond writing agitprop for Gadhafi, the firm sent a coterie of distinguished academics to visit Ghadafi, including Joseph Nye of the Kennedy School, Lord Anthony Giddens of the London School of Economics, and Francis Fukuyama of Stanford University. The firm also helped Gadhafi’s son with his dissertation for the London School of Economics. Is that what passes for academic honor these days?

But the Monitor Group defended itself citing–what else?–hope, or change, or something: “The firm said that assistance and the book proposal were mistakes. But its statement stressed that the firm’s main effort was designed to help Khadafy’s dictatorship bring about change.”

Well, change is coming to the country–but not exactly of the kind that Gadhafi was hoping for. Maybe Gadhafi should ask for a refund.

(H/T Jammie Wearing Fool).