WikiLeaks Exposed Gadhafi Family Abuses
Clan's abuse of power helped fuel unrest
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2011 4:51 AM CST
Updated Feb 23, 2011 4:57 AM CST
Seif al-Islam, son of Moammar Gadhafi, was viewed as "self-aggrandizing and too eager to please foreigners," one cable stated.   (AP Photo/Libyan State Television)
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(Newser) – Libyans had plenty of reasons to despise Moammar Gadhafi and his clan long before the leader ordered the use of heavy artillery on protesters. State Department cables released by WikiLeaks detail some of the Gadhafis' abuses of power, which are known to Libyans despite the regime's control of the media, and are helping fuel unrest, the New York Times reports. The cables describe power struggles between the leader's eight children, at least two of whom have been involved in crushing the protests.

The clan and its scandals "provided local observers with enough dirt for a Libyan soap opera," US diplomats observed. All the Gadhafi children appear to have received vast amounts of money from state oil firms, diplomats noted. According to one cable, Gadhafi's son Muatassim demanded $1.2 billion from the national oil corporation to establish his own militia, to keep up with his brother Khamis, head of a special forces group that "effectively serves as a regime protection unit." Gadhafi himself was described as a hypochondriac who feared flying over water. One 2008 cable to Condoleezza Rice described him as "self-styled intellectual and philosopher" who "has been eagerly anticipating for several years the opportunity to share with you his views on global affairs.”