Was OLPC Libya Really a Gadhafi Marketing Ruse?!


Do you remember One Laptop Per Libyan Child - the announcement that Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Abu Minyar al-Qaddafi would buy 1.2 million XO laptops and assorted infrastructure from OLPC for $250 million dollars? Well World Tribune is reporting that it could have all been a ruse to improve Gadhafi's relations with America:

Muammar al-Qaddafi
A memorandum by the Monitor Group, a consultant based in Cambridge, Mass., outlined a campaign to improve Libya's image in the United States. The document, obtained by the opposition Libyan National Conference, described the targeting of key Americans, including siblings of top administration officials, to serve in effect as lobbyists for the Gadhafi regime.

One of the Americans sent to Libya was identified as Nicholas Negroponte, brother of then-U.S. National Intelligence director John Negroponte and later deputy secretary of state. The memo said Nicholas, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, briefed his brother after returning from Libya. "Nicholas Negroponte briefed his brother and other senior officials in the White House upon his return from Libya," the memo said.

Now its no secret that Nicholas went to Libya and met Gadhafi - he announced OLPC Libya in the New York Times. But was Qadhafi really serious about One Laptop Per Libyan Child, or was he just playing Nicholas to get to John? And did Nicholas know that, going along with the ruse to help his own cause?

Remember that Libya was one of the first countries to announce a 1 million laptop order, at a time when Negroponte needed a hit. There would be great pressure on him to treat Qadhafi's MOU as binding, even if he suspected otherwise.

Of course, Libya later reduced its order and then canceled its XO participation all together, adding credence to a Negroponte brothers conspiracy.

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Satish Jha, president and CEO of OLPC India has announced via IDG that two government organizations and one private-sector entity placed a 250,000 XO laptop order. Apparently, the XO laptops will be distributed to about 1,500 schools, starting in June. [more]

1 Comment

Whatever it was, if Mr. Negroponte managed to get what he wanted its success, if he aint, he needs to try harder. Guys, You remember whats the cause of whole this stir? Like it or not, sometimes doing the biz or diplomacy needs some sacrifice from one or both sides. Good luck.