Saif Gaddafi, Jose de Venecia, and the Universal Peace Federation

The Observer reports on the Gaddafi International Charity & Development Foundation:

The ruling body of the London School of Economics was so concerned about the university’s burgeoning links to the Gaddafi regime that in 2009 it quietly forced one of its professors to stand down from a foundation run by the dictator’s son.

[David] Held was appointed to its board along with luminaries including Giulio Andreotti, the former prime minister of Italy, Nobel prizewinner Professor Richard J Roberts, and the Rev Dr Chung Hwan Kwak, chairman of the Universal Peace Federation, an offshoot of the Unification Church founded by Sun Myung Moon.

Members of the board also include Jose de Venecia, former House Speaker of the Philippines Parliament. De Venecia has long-standing close links with the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), and in 2008 he cited Rev Moon as the inspiration for his efforts to promote a proposed UN “Interfaith Council” (including support for a Saudi-led initiative on the issue).

In  December 2007, de Venecia presented Saif Gaddafi with a Congressional Medal of Achievement; the Manila Bulletin reported:

De Venecia cited the various significant roles Saif has played, including humanitarian activities and support of the peace process in Mindanao.

“You are one of the outstanding young leaders recognized in the international community,” De Venecia said as he bestowed the award on Saif in ceremonies witnessed by guests who included members of the House of Representatives and the diplomatic corps.

The award was given by De Venecia to Libyan Leader Col. Muammar Al-Qadhafi in Tripoli, Libya in 2003.

…A special guest at the occasion was Dr. Martin Luther King III, who runs the Center for Non-Violent Social Change founded by his martyred father, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

A few days previously, Martin Luther King III had spoken at a UPF Global Peace Festival, alongside Rev Moon’s son Hyun Jin Moon; I blogged this event here. The following month, a piece appeared on the Unification Church’s website entitled “The Gentleness of Change in Libya“. The author was the Church’s appointed female “national messiah” for Libya, Mihoko Hamasaka. She wrote:

On our visits to Libya, we had the chance to meet representatives of their Committee on Education, as well as leaders of the Revolutionary Committee, to whom we testified to True Parents’ movement…

During this period also, Libya suspended its terrorist activities, destroyed its weapons of mass destruction and publicly recommended to North Korea that it also abandon such weapons. When the Philippines presented a resolution to set up a religious council at the UN, in line with True Parents’ direction, Libya voted for it.

…Colonel Gadhafi is planning to bequeath the next administration of the country to his son, Mr. Saif Al-Islam Al-Gadhafi. The younger Gadhafi happened to be visiting the Philippines recently, on invitation from the government, at the time that Hyun-jin nim was holding the Global Peace Festival I there. Through an introduction by the Philippines Government, Mr. Saif Gadhafi, seen as the second-generation leader of the future Libya, was able to meet Hyun-jin nim in Manila! We are deeply grateful that such developments were able to take place, as a blessing also from Heung-jin nim in the spirit world.

Returning to the Gaddafi foundation, the Observer goes on to note that

While ostensibly a charity, the foundation seemed to be chiefly a vehicle for promoting Saif Gaddafi’s autocratic views. Its latest minutes are effectively an attack by Gaddafi on press reports suggesting he was engaged in a power struggle with his brothers and lived in an expensive house in London.

Those minutes can be seen here; Saif Gaddafi stated that

I want to make clear that I am not formally involved in the work of the Libyan executive branch, and should not be presumed to agree with all of its policies.

The minutes go on to record that

Having received these clarification from the Chairman the Board sincerely hopes that these clarifications will set the record straight about the various incorrect assertions directed toward the Foundation’s Chairman in preceding months.

Since then, though,some members of the board have had second thoughts. According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, de Venecia has written to Gaddafi senior:

De Venecia wrote mainly in light of his personal relationship with the Libyan leader, and as a board member of the Gadhafi International Charity and Development Foundation, along with other prominent civic and public leaders around the world.

“I must tell you that a good number of the directors consider resigning from the Foundation because of the horrific violence that the media report as taking place in your country,” wrote the former speaker.


Another Moon-Gaddafi link is Curt Weldon, who in 2004 was a Republican Congressman and one of six Congressional Co-Chairs who attended Rev Moon’s bizarre “Coronation” as the world’s “King of Peace” at the Dirksen Senate Buildingin Washington DC. John Gorenfeld noted

Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., whose office maintained he did not attend the event until I provided photographs of him there — spoke beside a photograph of himself pinning an American flag on Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy,