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Devil’s Advocates

American journalist James Kirchick exposes the role that international consulting firms based in free countries play in whitewashing the crimes of brutal dictators around the world. Kirchick expounds on a project led by a U.S.-based PR firm “to enhance the profile of Libya and Muammar Gaddafi,” contractual work that mobilized a team of policymakers,academics, journalists, and other influential figures to rebrand Gaddafi as a“thinker and intellectual”—all while the dictator continued to violently repress the people of Libya. Kirchick terms these regimes “postmodern dictatorships,”governments that carefully craft an appearance of transitioning to democracy without making any real democratic advances.

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