Lanny Davis Running P.R. For Laurent Gbagbo, Sanctioned Ivory Coast "Strongman"

Over in the Ivory Coast, things are not going well. Last month, incumbent president-slash-strongman Laurent Gbagbo lost an election to Alassane Ouattara that was deemed fair and square by international observers. Since then, however, Gbagbo has refused to step down, and has instead stepped up the violent suppression of his political opponents. Gbagbo is currently in a standoff with U.N. peacekeeping forces, who have refused his order to decamp from the country because "more than 50 people have been killed in recent days in Ivory Coast" and there are "hundreds of reports of people being abducted from their homes at night by armed assailants in military uniforms." And now, he's earned sanctions from the United States State Department as well.

Naturally, Gbagbo has retained the services of homunculoid flack Lanny Davis. We go live now, to Justin Elliot in the Salon War Room, who notes that "even for Davis, taking on Ivory Coast leader and flagrant human rights violator Laurent Gbagbo as a client, as he did this week, seems to cross some kind of line":

Despite what the United Nations calls "massive violations" of human rights, Davis is out spinning harder than ever for Gbagbo. According to CNN, Davis asserted at a press conference Monday that Gbagbo has renounced violence:

"Mr. Gbagbo opposes violence and has authorized me to say he wants a mutual renunciation of violence and calls on Mr. Ouattara to join him on putting the arms down and let's sit down and talk," Davis said.

That does not square with the known facts. Davis has not returned a call seeking comment.

The latest out of Ivory Coast is that Gbagbo has cut off food and medical supplies to the UN peacekeepers that are guarding the hotel where Gbagbo's opponent -- and the rightful victor of the election -- is holed up.

This isn't the first time Davis has taken on a troubling client. Back in July of 2009, Davis worked on behalf of the Business Council of Latin America (CEAL), lobbying U.S. lawmakers to support the removal-by-coup of the democratically elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya. But wow, Laurent Gbagbo! Who knew it was so comfortable to sleep atop a mattress made out of fungible convictions?

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