Bankrolled by same wealthy Saudi prince, CAIR now regular guest on cable leader
Long a reliably patriotic media source in the war on terror, Fox News may now be among news outlets who have fallen under the spell of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ propaganda machine.
“We own the media,” CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper privately brags, according to a source currently working inside the aggressive Islamist lobby group.
Fox News host Bill O’Reilly last week invited the TV-savvy Hooper on his show to debate passenger profiling, the second guest appearance by the CAIR spokesman in a month. At the end of the segment, O’Reilly thanked Hooper and called him a “stand-up guy,” sending shockwaves through the conservative blogosphere.
CAIR is no ordinary guest. The government has blacklisted it as an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator, and the group remains under criminal suspicion by the FBI, which has cut off outreach ties to it.
Congress and the IRS also are investigating CAIR, which has had no fewer than 15 executives and board members convicted or implicated in terror probes, including its founding chairman.
Given CAIR’s proven ties to terrorism – which O’Reilly failed to mention – why would Fox offer the group’s top executives a virtually uncritical forum on prime-time cable TV? Saudi Arabian money may be a factor.
It turns out that the same billionaire Saudi prince who owns a major stake in Fox’s parent company also bankrolls Washington-based CAIR. And sensitive State Department records reveal Hooper – despite his repeated public denials – has personally solicited cash from the prince and other members of the ruling Saudi royal family during recent trips to the kingdom.
The common financial bond between Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal and Fox, and between bin Talal and CAIR, raises questions not only about Fox News’s independence, but about the truthfulness of CAIR’s top spokesman.
Hooper repeatedly has denied that CAIR receives foreign support, insisting it’s a “grass-roots” nonprofit organization. In CAIR press releases, Hooper has stated unequivocally: “We do not support directly or indirectly or receive support from any overseas group or government.”
However, smoking-gun video footage obtained during a recent six-month covert investigation of CAIR puts the lie to Hooper’s claims.
In a private conversation with undercover researcher Chris Gaubatz, who was posing at the time as a CAIR intern, Hooper boasted that he personally can “bring (in) a half million of overseas money” a year, adding: “If some guy’s got a lot of extra money in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), I don’t mind taking it.” Hooper made the remarks Aug. 30, 2008, during the Islamic Society of North America’s 2008 annual convention in Columbus, Ohio.
A State Department cable citing Hooper by name, moreover, directly contradicts Hooper’s denials about foreign support, according to the blockbuster book “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America,” which exposes the secret inner workings of CAIR, among other radical Muslim Brotherhood front groups in America. (The book is based, in part, on voluminous documentary and videotaped evidence gathered by Gaubatz during his internship.)
The sensitive but unclassified communiqué was written by U.S. Embassy staff in Saudi Arabia, who in June 2006 reported the following after meeting with a CAIR delegation: “One admitted reason for the group’s current visit to the KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) was to solicit $50 million in governmental and non-governmental contributions.”
“(Saudi) King Abdullah knows CAIR very well,” the cable added.
Among other things, CAIR said the money would be used to “counter negative stereotypes about Muslims in the U.S.” media, a phenomenon described by CAIR as “Islamophobia.”
The core delegation, according to the cable, consisted of Hooper, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad and then-CAIR Chairman Parvez Ahmed. Besides Riyadh, the trio also visited Mecca and Jeddah.
Just three months after the trip, Hooper denied soliciting Saudi government funds.
“To my knowledge, we don’t take money from the government of Saudi Arabia,” he said in a September 2006 appearance on MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson show.
At a meeting held that year at the Saudi headquarters of the kingdom-run World Assembly of Muslim Youth – whose U.S. branch was formerly run by Osama bin Laden’s nephew – CAIR announced the launch of a massive PR campaign and warned potential donors that the U.S. was trying to curtail the political activity of Muslims.
Awad, with Hooper at his side, said CAIR needed a well-funded endowment to change American opinion. He proposed spending $10 million annually for five years on the media campaign.
“We are planning to meet Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal for his financial support to our project,” Awad told the Arab press. “He has been generous in the past.”
Indeed, the Saudi prince donated at least $500,000 to CAIR after 9/11. He also presented a $10 million relief check to then-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani – or at least he tried. Giuliani rejected the gift after bin Talal blamed America’s “pro-Israel” policies in the Middle East for the attacks.
Prince Bin Talal’s voting stake
Bin Talal, a member of the Saudi ruling family, owns a 5.5 percent voting stake in Fox News’ parent News Corp., run by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch. The prince has said he is willing to increase his share in Fox’s parent to fend off hostile takeover bids by rivals. Murdoch, in turn, has invested in bin Talal’s Saudi-based enterprises.
It is not immediately clear if bin Talal has influenced Fox’s decision to book CAIR. But there is strong evidence that bin Talal has directly influenced Fox News content in the past.
As WND reported, during violent street protests involving Muslim immigrants in France in 2005, the Saudi prince persuaded Murdoch to change a screen banner that identified the unrest as “Muslim riots.”
“I picked up the phone and called Murdoch (and told him) these are not Muslim riots, these are riots out of poverty,” bin Talal said. “Within 30 minutes, the title was changed from ‘Muslim riots’ to ‘civil riots.’ “
Fox News has acknowledged it changed the banner after receiving complaints from unnamed Muslims abroad. It has not denied bin Talal’s influence in its internal operations.
Bin Talal isn’t the only member of the ruling Saudi elite bankrolling CAIR.
Bank wire records published exclusively in “Muslim Mafia” show another Saudi royal family member has pumped six-figure sums into CAIR coffers. In 2007, for example, Saudi Prince Abdullah bin Mosa’ad transferred $112,000 directly into CAIR’s bank account at Citibank.
The Saudi bank transfers further undermine the official line peddled by Hooper, who has a reputation for dissembling.
Longtime CAIR critic Andrew Whitehead, for one, calls him “CAIR’s liar-for-hire,” and argues he cannot be trusted as a media spokesman. CAIR sued Whitehead for defamation and lost.
“The record shows CAIR habitually engages in deception,” said terror expert Steven Emerson, executive director of the “Investigative Project on Terrorism” and author of “Jihad Inc.”
In 2003, for example, CAIR accused WND of “demonizing Muslims” for citing a Bay Area newspaper’s report that CAIR’s then-chairman, Omar Ahmad, told a gathering of Muslims that Islam was in America to dominate and that the Quran would one day rule over America. In a phone interview, Hooper insisted to WND that CAIR had sought a retraction from the newspaper. But Hooper was forced to backtrack when confronted with the fact that the editors and reporter had just declared they never spoke with CAIR and, furthermore, stood by the story.
Despite CAIR’s dubious reputation, Fox has recently given Hooper and other top CAIR leaders an unchallenged platform to persuade the American public to back off passenger profiling and other measures to counter an ominous upswing in terrorism.
Since the Fort Hood terrorist attack by a Muslim Army officer, CAIR’s leaders have been invited on Fox at least four times, even though there are several other Muslim groups considered genuinely moderate who could speak for the Muslim community, such as the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.
“The issue,” Emerson said, “is whether CAIR is an honest and reliable broker for American Muslims.”
Hooper was invited on “The O’Reilly Factor” twice to shoot down profiling following the attempted airline attack by a Muslim would-be suicide bomber who concealed explosives in his underwear. In both appearances, Hooper – looking less fundamentalist without his trademark kufi skull cap – was given a full segment unopposed and unanswered by other guests.
In the wake of the Fort Hood attack, CAIR chief Awad was invited on Fox, and in an interview with Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum, Awad denied Islam had anything to do with the deadly massacre – even though it was known at the time that the shooter was Muslim and had yelled “Allahu Akbar!” before opening fire. Awad also got a full segment unopposed.
Free spin on Fox
Most recently, CAIR’s chief lobbyist Corey Saylor appeared on Fox New during an interview with anchor Bill Hemmer. Fox did not balance Saylor with an opposing guest to challenge the CAIR spokesman during his full segment, in which he contended young Muslim men are no more “security threats” than 85-year-old grandmothers.
Washington recently added Saudi Arabia – CAIR’s patron – to a list of 14 mostly Muslim nations whose travelers will undergo extra airport security screening. Saylor slammed the new Obama administration policy as “across-the-board profiling” and complained “Muslims will pay the price for this one.”
At no time during any of the four appearances by CAIR leaders did Fox bring up the fact that the FBI has cut off ties to CAIR or that the Justice Department has blacklisted the group as an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator – information critical to the public’s understanding of CAIR’s possible bias in delinking terrorism from Islam and arguing against Islamic terrorist profiling.
Curiously, even O’Reilly of “no-spin zone” fame failed to so much as hint at the many controversies surrounding CAIR in his introduction of Hooper.
O’Reilly also let Hooper get away with a glaring falsehood during his most recent appearance.
Hooper maintained CAIR does not share al-Qaida’s “talking point” that America and the West are “at war with Islam.” Yet after the Iraq war, CAIR’s chairman declared: “The United States is at war with Islam itself.”
Detractors say the misleading statement is yet another example of CAIR’s deceptive tactics, which should give the media pause before booking CAIR representatives as the official voice of Muslim Americans.
Investigative journalist Paul Sperry, co-author of “Muslim Mafia,” says giving CAIR’s leaders a media platform is “like giving Hamas and the terrorist enemy a platform.”
He notes that while CAIR may bill itself as a “civil-rights advocacy group,” the FBI says that far from being a benign nonprofit, it’s an American front group for Hamas terrorists and the radical Muslim Brotherhood – the parent of both Hamas and al-Qaida. The bureau last year cut off formal ties to CAIR’s national office in Washington and all 30 of its branch offices across the country.
CAIR at the time blamed its ban on the “right-wing” Bush administration and confidently predicted that a Democrat administration would restore relations. Yet fully a year into the Obama administration, CAIR remains frozen out of any formal outreach with the FBI.
“Even the Muslim-friendly Obama has not helped CAIR,” Sperry pointed out.
At the same time, the Justice Department has blacklisted CAIR as an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator in the largest terror finance case in U.S. history, against the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation. The trial ended in convictions on all 108 counts.
Prosecutors have also connected CAIR directly to the Muslim Brotherhood, a worldwide jihadist movement that seeks to institutionalize Saudi-style Shariah law in America and the West through immigration, coercion and political infiltration.
“From its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists,” assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg stated in a court filing.
Sperry says “that makes CAIR mouthpiece Hooper an advocate for the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorists, and a fiercely effective one at that.”
He adds that the Saudis and CAIR’s other Arab patrons pay him well for it – more than $95,000 a year in total compensation, IRS records show.
Who is ‘Dougie’ Hooper?
He also commands a six-figure annual budget for conducting opposition research against CAIR’s enemies – which internal documents revealed in “Muslim Mafia” include, ironically, Fox’s O’Reilly and other “right-wing” media personalities.
A Canadian immigrant, the 53-year-old Hooper was known as “Dougie” before he converted to Islam. His birth name is Cary Douglas Hooper, according to government records.
He became a member of the Cairo Foreign Press Association while working for periodicals in the Egyptian capital, the global headquarters of the radical Muslim Brotherhood. Hooper also worked for local TV stations in Minnesota, where he once let it slip out that he favored Islamic rule in America.
“I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future,” Hooper said in a 1993 interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”
“This is Hooper’s real agenda,” Sperry said, “make no mistake.”
In an October interview with CNN, Hooper denied charges of Middle Eastern influence-peddling: “We have no ties of any kind to any foreign group in any form.”
However, CAIR is on record promising to do the bidding of its Arab backers.
In 2006, shortly after a company owned by the United Arab Emirates lost a controversial bid to take over control of several major U.S. ports, Awad, Hooper and other CAIR officials traveled to the UAE to meet with its rulers.
It was agreed that the UAE would set up an endowment in the U.S. run by CAIR to fund an “education” program to change negative perceptions about Islam that the UAE believes contributed to the public outcry that derailed its multibillion-dollar ports deal.
The endowment caught the attention of the U.S. government, which issued another sensitive State Department cable regarding the unusual deal.
It noted UAE Minister of Finance Sheik Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum endorsed a proposal to build a $24 million property in the U.S. to serve as an endowment for CAIR to launch its $50 million image-building campaign through 2011.
“The endowment will serve as a source of income,” Awad told the Arab press at the time, “and will further allow us to reinvigorate our media campaign projecting Islam and its principles of tolerance.”
CAIR is working out details of its endowment with the Dubai-based Al-Maktoum Foundation, founded and controlled by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai. The anti-Israeli charity has held telethons to support families of Palestinian suicide bombers and other so-called “martyrs.” Not surprisingly, the Arab press reported CAIR “values highly the stances of Al-Maktoum Charity Foundation.”
After 9/11, the Al-Maktoum Foundation took a nearly $1 million stake in CAIR’s headquarters property, just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol, as first reported by Sperry in his 2005 book, “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”
‘Selling its services’
The United Arab Emirates fears if its image is not repaired, its business interests will continue on a downward slide in America. CAIR’s leaders, who promised to act as a bulwark against any further backlash, described the planned $50 million endowment as more of a business contract than charity.
“Do not think about your contributions (to CAIR) as donations. Think about it from the perspective of rate of return,” former CAIR chairman Ahmed told finance ministers in Dubai, according to the Arab press.
“The investment of $50 million will give you billions of dollars in return for 50 years” if a sufficiently Arab-friendly environment can be created in America to allow sheiks to buy up key U.S. assets, he said.
CAIR critic Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, says the group is “selling its services to the Saudi and UAE governments by doing their ideological and financial bidding.”
Yet CAIR is not registered as a foreign agent, as required by the Justice Department. And it has never disclosed its foreign funding or relationships with countries tied to 9/11 and potentially still hostile to U.S. interests.
According to the U.S. Embassy cable, CAIR has other wealthy Emirate benefactors as well, including: the Bin Hamoodah Group, a $500 million-a-year trading company; and wealthy stock trader Talal Khoori, a UAE national of Iranian origin who is said to have donated $1 million to CAIR.
It’s plain that, notwithstanding Hooper’s denials, CAIR’s major funding comes from foreign sources largely in the Persian Gulf, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE – two nations that formally recognized and supported the Taliban rule in Afghanistan – and not from grass-roots domestic supporters as Hooper and CAIR publicly claim.
In fact, membership dues now account for a tiny 1 percent of CAIR’s total revenue, according to IRS records cited in “Muslim Mafia.” As CAIR’s domestic grass-roots support has dried up, it has stepped up its overseas fundraising efforts. Tax records show its travel budget for fundraising purposes has doubled since 2004.
Awad makes frequent pilgrimages to the Gulf to personally solicit funds. And he’s often joined by Hooper, who over the years has obtained several passports and is described by government officials as a “heavy traveler,” according to “Muslim Mafia.”
CAIR’s board recently proposed hiring an “international events manager” to help coordinate all the fundraising and other foreign activities. It has even created a special committee on “international affairs” headed by Awad to help tailor its pro-Arab message to American policymakers.
The amount of the UAE’s pledge toward the $50 million CAIR endowment is undisclosed. But it’s hardly the only Arab government funding it.
According to CAIR board meeting notes, revealed in “Muslim Mafia,” a Washington PR firm used by the Emirates – Hill and Knowlton – has put together a “business plan” to help CAIR raise money from other Gulf states.
“The UAE ambassador is willing to gather all ambassadors of the Gulf Cooperating Council to listen to a presentation,” Awad reported to the board. “In return, hopefully they will write to their respective people to ask for support.”
The six-member Gulf Cooperating Council was set up by the Saudis as a regional common market that includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE.
Investing in CAIR means having a reliable lobby for Arab interests in Washington, critics say.
“CAIR’s leaders have clearly stated their intention to use Arab funds to promote Arab interests in America, even though CAIR is not a registered foreign agent or even lobbyist,” Sperry said, adding that the interests of Saudi Arabia and the UAE – two nations tied to 9/11 – are more often than not at odds with those of America.
“Is O’Reilly aware of this?” Sperry asks, “And if he is, why does he withhold this critical information from his viewers when he books CAIR spinmeisters on his show?”
After the FBI in 2008 severed ties to CAIR, citing court evidence that its leaders were participating in an “ongoing” conspiracy to support terrorists, Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York requested that the FBI’s anti-CAIR ban be made “government-wide policy.”
“I would second that, and add an anti-CAIR ban in the media,” Sperry said. “Of all people, Fox should know better than to give the enemy voice. There are other legitimately moderate Muslim voices out there who can better speak for the broader Muslim community, and they aren’t hard to find. Why Fox keeps going back to CAIR really makes one wonder about the influence Saudi money is having at Fox.”
Just days after a Chinese court sentenced Pastor Wang Xiaoguang of Linfen Fushan Church in Linfen, northern Shanxi province to three years in prison and handed out three- to seven-year jail sentences to four other church leaders, ChinaAid Association learned that five more church leaders were each sentenced to two years in labor camps.
The sentences were reportedly given arbitrarily by the public security bureau without a proper court trial.
“To arbitrarily send five innocent citizens to labor camps is in direct violation against the international human rights covenants and norms the Chinese government has signed and even ratified,” said Bob Fu, president of CAA, in a statement. “This case shows the Chinese government is determined to be on the wrong side of history by clenching its power with suppressing the basic freedom of religion and conscience for Chinese citizens. We call upon the international community to hold these rights abusers accountable.”
Among the five Christian leaders is Yang Caizhen, whose husband Pastor Yang Xuan had received a three-year jail sentence by the court on Nov. 25. Yang Caizhen was reportedly severely beaten during interrogation, a witness told the Texas-based rights group. One of her front teeth is said to have been knocked out during the beating. She is reportedly fasting and praying during her detention and in very fragile condition.
CAA learned about the most recent sentences of Fushan church leaders on Nov 30, but it reportedly took effect from Nov. 11 when all the leaders were already detained.
The rights group said it confirmed the reality of the sentences with individual family members of three of the five church leaders. The other two members’ sentences were confirmed indirectly by Fushan church leaders.
In the latest sentences, the members were charged with “gathering people to disturb the public order” based on when they organized a 1,000 people prayer rally on Sept. 14 – the day after hundreds of people dressed as security force had raided and demolished 17 church buildings and injured more than 30 believers on the church campus.
The 50,000-member Fushan Church was raided on Sept. 13, by reportedly 400 people. Men tore at the building’s foundation with shovels as bulldozers worked to level other buildings on the site. Church members sleeping at the construction site of the new church building were attacked with bricks and other objects, according to CAA. Several members were severely injured and were sent to the emergency room, and some members were unconscious.
The attack is said to be the worst crackdown against a house church in the past decade.
After the attack, Yang Rongli, the wife of the church pastor, was leading a group of church members to Beijing to protest the destruction of the church when she was arrested and detained. Out of the ten church leaders who were given sentences, Yang was given the heaviest sentence of seven years in prison. She is accused of “illegal land occupation” and “assembling a crowd to disrupt public order.”
Yang and her husband, Pastor Wang, have led the Fushan Church for more than 30 years. During a break at their trial, they were said to have encouraged their son to stand firm in his faith in Christ despite thepersecution.
ChinaAid is urging people to contact authorizes in Linfen as well as the Chinese embassy in the United States to urge that the Fushan church prisoners be released.
By Peter Ford
BEIJING – Chinese Foreign Ministry briefings are generally pretty dull affairs, the way such events are in many countries: reporters do their best to get the spokesman to say something newsworthy, and the spokesman does his best not to oblige them.
On Thursday, though, Qin Gang inadvertently broke the mold. He said that Barack Obama, being a black president who admired Abraham Lincoln’s role in abolishing slavery and preserving the Union, should sympathize with Beijing’s opposition to the Dalai Lama.
He seemed to be making two points. The first was that President Obama’s skin color should make him especially sensitive to slavery; the Chinese government refers to Tibetan society before Chinese troops took over Lhasa in 1951 as serfdom.
The second was that Obama should learn a lesson from Lincoln’s opposition to secession, and support Beijing’s opposition to the Dalai Lama, whom the government here accuses of “splittism.”
Leave aside the fact that the Dalai Lama has repeated until he is blue in the face that he does not support Tibetan independence – only autonomy. Leave aside the fact that Obama has no slaves in his lineage.
The ministry’s spokesman appeared to be trying to make foreign audiences believe that the Communist Party of China (CPC) is the moral equivalent of Abraham Lincoln, and that the Dalai Lama is a supporter of feudal serfdom.
Considering that most people outside this country’s borders see the CPC as the ones restricting freedoms, and regard the Dalai Lama as a moral giant, Mr. Qin showed a lot of nerve.
Nerve is a valuable quality in a press spokesman, of course. But Qin’s allusions to US history also displayed a complete disregard for – or misunderstanding of – how most of the rest of the world views the Tibetan issue.
Given that the Foreign Ministry is meant to be the agency of the Chinese government that is best informed about the outside world, and given that its spokesman is meant to be one of its diplomats best qualified to win foreign reporters over, that is worrying.
Opponents say real goal is crackdown on Christians, members of other faiths
By Bob Unruh
A resolution pending in the United Nations in one form or another since 1999 is being pushed again by the Islamic nations that originally proposed the plan they called “Defamation of Islam,” which would ban criticism of the beliefs of Muhammad worldwide.
The proposal, sought by the 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, now has be renamed “Defamation of Religions,” but officials with Open Doors, an international Christian ministry operating in many of those Islamic states, is warning about its potential impact.
Now, lobbying for the resolution has resumed among decision-makers at the U.N., according to Lindsay Vessey, the advocacy director for Open Doors who traveled this week to New York in opposition to the plan.
If fully implemented, the resolution would ban “criticism” of religions worldwide.
But Vessey told WND the real agenda was revealed by the original title of the resolution, “Defamation of Islam,” which would “criminalize people who criticize a religion.”
U.N. human rights provisions always have focused on individuals, but the concept of protecting a religion would give authoritarian governments virtually unrestrained power to attack individuals whose message they don’t like, she said.
“It would legitimize national blasphemy laws in countries that are actually going to persecute religious minorities, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan,” she told WND.
Vessey said Open Doors is working with other organizations to reach out to delegates of many nations to explain the dangers and build opposition. The group also is promoting a petition opposing the plan on its website.
Open Doors President Carl Moeller recently published a commentary describing what could happen under the proposal.
“The United Nations is once again on the verge of introducing a resolution that goes against everything the world body supposedly stands for. A successful resolution would actually undermine the religious liberty and personal safety of Christians and members of other faiths,” he wrote.
In fact, he said the resolution would “silence words or actions that are deemed to be against a particular religion, and that religion is Islam. While the stated goal seems relatively innocuous – blocking defamation of people’s deeply held religious beliefs – in practice the statement is used to silence those whose only crime is to believe in another faith, or no faith at all.”
He said the OIC as the driving force behind the plan and noted, “The OIC’s goal is anything but peaceful.”
He cited a comment from Leonard Leo of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, who described the resolution as an attempt to create a “global blasphemy law.”
“From the right to worship freely to the ability to tell others about Jesus Christ, the Defamation of Religions Resolution (previously called the ‘Defamation of Islam’ resolution) threatens to justify local laws that already restrict the freedom of Christians [and other religious minorities],” Moeller said.
When such laws are adopted locally, he said, they are used to bring criminal charges against individuals for “defaming, denigrating, insulting, offending, disparaging and blaspheming Islam, often resulting in gross human rights violations.”
In August, Muslim extremists rampaged for several days through the Christian community in Gojra, Pakistan, he said. Seven Christians were killed, 19 injured and more than 100 homeslooted.
The violence was sparked by “an unsubstantiated rumor of ‘blasphemy.’”
The U.N. resolution will make such cases more numerous and worse when they occur, he said.
Vessey said the move was an effort on the part of the U.S. to advocate for free speech in a way that would defuse the threat of “defamation” proposals. However, critics of the resolution said even that would be a failure.
Steven Groves of the Heritage Foundation told WND the issue is not about free speech at all but about installing international precedents to stifle any criticism of Islam – the same goal as the defamation proposal.
Referring to the plan to “protect” speech, Groves said it would conflict with the First Amendment, which “protects free speech and expression, even when speech is offensive or insulting. Moreover, a religious ‘speech code’ would disrupt the assimilation of religious minorities that has occurred throughout U.S. history and could breed resentment rather than understanding among America’s religious communities.”
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice as well as the European Centre for Law and Justice, which has been involved in fighting “defamation of religion” plans at the U.N., said the “free speech” resolution itself “incites discrimination.”
“The proclamation of the Gospel in Muslim countries has been called incitement of religious discrimination,” he told WND. “The U.S. backing of this is a mistake. The Universal Declaration of Human rights protects free speech.
“I am very concerned the U.S. is co-authoring something like this,” he said.
The U.N. General Assembly has approved a “defamation of religions” resolution in each of the three sessions from 2005 to 2007. The text always has been similar, and it always has had major support from Islamic nations with opposition from Western democracies, including the U.S.
“‘Incitement’ and ‘hatred’ are in the eye of the beholder – or more precisely, in the eye of those who make such determinations,” he continued. “The powerful can decide to silence the powerless by classifying their views as ‘hate speech.’ The Founding Fathers knew that the freedom of speech was an essential safeguard against tyranny: the ability to dissent, freely and publicly and without fear of imprisonment or other reprisal, is a cornerstone of any genuine republic. If some ideas cannot be heard and are proscribed from above, the ones in control are tyrants, however benevolent they may be.”
Eugene Volokh, who teaches free speech law, criminal law, tort law, religious freedom law and other subjects at UCLA, and also founded the Volokh Conspiracy weblog, said that the First Amendment protecting speech in the United States isn’t so secure all of a sudden.
“If the U.S. backs a resolution that urges the suppression of some speech, presumably we are taking the view that all countries – including the U.S. – should adhere to this resolution,” he said.
“If we are constitutionally barred from adhering to it by our domestic constitution, then we’re implicitly criticizing that constitution, and committing ourselves to do what we can to change it,” he said.
The administration, he opined, would “presumably be committed to filing amicus briefs supporting changes in First Amendment law to allow such punishment, and in principle perhaps the appointment of justices who would endorse such changes (or even the proposal of express constitutional amendments that would work such changes).”
The 57 member nations of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference have lobbied for the “anti-defamation” plan, which is based on the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, since 1999. The Cairo declaration states “that all rights are subject to Shariah law, and makes Shariah law the only source of reference for human rights.”
The U.S. State Department also has found the proposal unpalatable.
“This resolution is incomplete inasmuch as it fails to address the situation of all religions,” said a statement from Leonard Leo. “We believe that such inclusive language would have furthered the objective of promoting religious freedom. We also believe that any resolution on this topic must include mention of the need to change educational systems that promote hatred of other religions, as well as the problem of state-sponsored media that negatively targets any one religion.”
The report comes from Judicial Watch, the Washington public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption.
The organization says it filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Justice Department records concerning incidents of theft of sensitive U.S. military equipment and technology.
The documents from the Justice Department’s National Security Division included a report titled “Significant Export Control Cases Since September 2001″ which was written by the Counter Espionage Section and lists a series of cases.
Judicial Watch said the report, labeled “For Official Use Only,” reported Iran was cited for 31 cases between Sept. 29, 2001, just after the 9/11 terror attacks, and May 16, 2008.
China was cited for 20 cases.
Among the situations that were documented:
- “U.S. v. Eugene Hsu, et al.” (9/21/01): Eugene Hsu, David Chang and Wing Chang were charged with “Conspiracy and an attempt to export military encryption units to China through Singapore.” All received guilty verdicts however Wing Chang is still listed as a fugitive.
- “U.S. v. Avassapian” (12/03): Sherzhik Avassapian was a Tehran-based broker working for the Iranian Ministry of Defense when he attempted to “solicit and inspect F-14 fighter components, military helicopters and C-130 aircraft which he intended to ship to Iran via Italy.” Avassapian pleaded guilty to issuing false statements.
- “U.S. v. Kwonhwan Park” (11/04): Kwonhwan Park was charged with “Exporting Black Hawk engine parts and other military items to China.” Pleaded guilty and sentenced to 32 months in prison.
- “U.S. v. Ghassemi, et al.” (10/06): Iranian national Jamshid Ghassemi and Aurel Fratila were charged with “Conspiracy to export munition list items &emdash; including accelerometers and gyroscopes for missiles and spacecraft &emdash; to Iran without a license.” Ghassemi and Fratila are at large in Thailand and Romania respectively. Justice is currently seeking their deportation.
Judicial Watch said last October, the Department of Justice announced that criminal charges had been issued against more than 145 defendants in the previous fiscal year.
More than 40 percent of the cases involved weaponry, ammunition or other restricted technology intended for China or Iran, Judicial Watch said.
“These documents show that Iran and China have concerted efforts to obtain U.S. military technology in violation of our laws,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
“The Obama administration needs to maintain vigilance against the illegal efforts of enemies such as Iran to obtain our sensitive technologies,” he said.
His organization said items sought by Iran include missile guidance systems, Improvised Explosive Device components, military airplane parts, night vision systems and products desired by China have included rocket launch data, Space Shuttle technology, missile information, naval warship specifications and drone technology.
America reacts to Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize
By Drew Zahn
“It’s not April 1, is it?” a White House aide reportedly asked ABC’s Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos.
In an official statement, the president says he was “most surprised and deeply humbled.”
Others have expressed similar shock that Obama, in office for less than 10 months, had been awarded the prize. Underlying the shock is the fact that the deadline for filing nominations for the award is Feb. 1 of any given year, meaning the president was nominated after being in office for just 11 days.
“The real question Americans are asking is, ‘What has President Obama actually accomplished?’” said Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele in a statement. “It is unfortunate that the president’s star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights.”
A shocked Michael Savage further blasted the Nobel Prize committee for its choice:
“What has [Obama] done? Has he discovered a cure for brain cancer I don’t know about?” the talk radio host asked in a Newsweek interview. “We all know what the Nobel Prize committee is ever since Yasir Arafat won. It’s a radical leftist front group that hijacked Alfred Nobel’s prize.”
Fellow radio talker Rush Limbaugh also heaped on criticism, stating that awarding the prize to such an unaccomplished president is a “greater embarrassment” than Obama’s recent failed bid to bring the Olympic Games to Chicago.
“This fully exposes the illusion that is Barack Obama,” Limbaugh told POLITICO in an e-mail. “And with this ‘award’ the elites of the world are urging Obama, THE MAN OF PEACE, to not do the surge in Afghanistan, not take action against Iran and its nuclear program and to basically continue his intentions to emasculate the United States.”
Limbaugh continued, “They love a weakened, neutered U.S., and this is their way of promoting that concept.”
Other reactions, however, have been glowing:
“Obama got the prize not for doing, but for being. Not for making peace, but for exemplifying something new on the world stage – the politics of dignity,” wrote Robert Fuller, former president of Oberlin College, on the Huffington Post. “What is dignitarian politics? It is the recognition that people the world over actually want dignity more than they want either liberty or equality. In policy terms, it means ensuring dignity for all – within and among nations.”
Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in a statement, “We are pleased that our president has been awarded one of the highest honors for any world leader. Under president Obama’s leadership, our nation is beginning to restore its international image as a beacon of peace and justice.”
He continued, “CAIR and the American Muslim community stand ready to partner with President Obama in promoting the ‘mutual interest and mutual respect’ he mentioned in his inaugural address.”
WND readers have sent in their share of comments, too.
“To the best of my knowledge, no American President in modern history with no significant foreign policy experience, no major world-shaking legislation to his credit as a junior senator with two years of experience and only a few weeks in office as president before the deadline for nominations ended has won a Nobel Peace Prize,” writes WND reader Geoffrey Cox. “Surely this could only be accomplished either by a figure of deity, or by the voting of some incredibly stupid or corrupt Norwegians – I’m going with the latter.”
Obama is the third sitting U.S. president to win the award, after Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, the former in the fifth year of his presidency for negotiating an end to the Russo-Japanese war and the latter in the sixth year of his administration, largely for his role in establishing the League of Nations.
Other WND readers have also taken exception to awarding the Nobel Prize to a president with few international accomplishments:
- “The Nobel Peace Prize nine months into his term for … what?” asks WND reader Henry Frickel. “That’s like giving me, a guy who barely knows how to cut-and-paste and thinks Excel is something you do with that pedal on the right, the Computer World ‘Techie of the Year Award.’”
- “Obama winning the Nobel, what a joke!” scoffed reader Sherry Perkins. “How do you win a Nobel Prize for peace when you have troops killing people in another country?”
- “Has President Obama reduced standing armies? Did he speak out for the peace process when thousands of Iranians were slaughtered in the streets? No,” writes reader Louis Frederick. “He managed to convince most the world that America is arrogant, uncaring and not worthy of the superpower status we once held. He stood with hands on hips while Russia rolled over the democratic state of Georgia, and the reward was the removal of a missile shield from Czechoslovakia. He flaps lips while Iran is feverishly working on nuclear weapons to bring ‘peace’ to the Middle East by destroying the democratic state of Israel. Ludicrous.”
- R.C. Rochte comments, “So, ‘The One’ has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (on credit for more surrenders of American sovereignty in the future, no doubt).”
Other reactions from around the country have challenged Obama’s merit for the award, not on his resume but on his politics. Judie Brown, president of American Life League, released the following statement:
“Bestowing the Nobel Prize on the most rabid pro-abortion president in history is a direct slap in the face to past recipient, Mother Teresa of Calcutta who said, upon receiving her Nobel Peace Prize: ‘the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing – direct murder by the mother herself.’” Brown said. “In awarding the prize to Obama, the Nobel Committee is announcing that abortion is the cornerstone of a hellish ‘peace’ – the damning silence of 51 million aborted children in the United States alone.”
She concluded, “The Nobel Committee has bestowed the ‘Peace Prize’ on a man dedicated to war in the womb.”
Geir Lundestad, director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, however, defended the choice – even stating the vote was unanimous – on ABC’s “Good Morning America”:
“President Obama has changed very dramatically international politics,” Lundestad said. “We feel he has emphasized multilateral diplomacy, he has addressed international institutions, dialogue negotiations. He has inspired the world with his vision of a world without nuclear arms. He has changed the U.S. policy dramatically. There’s a whole list.”
As for the president himself, Obama said from the White House Rose Garden, “I do not feel I deserve to be in the company of so many transformative figures who have been honored by this prize.”
“I also know this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women … want to build,” Obama said of the prize committee. “I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments but rather an affirmation of American leadership.”
He concluded, “I will accept this award as a call to action.”
Venezuelan site could give Hezbollah door to atomic mischief
Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.
Iran may consider a proposal from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to build a backup “nuclear village” in his nation to produce nuclear energy and also to have a safe fall-back production capability in case there is an attack by Israel or the United States on nuclear facilities in Iran, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Chavez, in a visit last week to Iran, proposed to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the idea of building a project in Venezuela.
Security sources have confirmed such a “nuclear village” could become the Iranian nuclear production alternative, or a location to hide especially critical nuclear components from attack.
With the United Nations about ready to take up the issue of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear enrichment efforts, such a prospect of attack, particularly from Israel, is increasingly likely. Israeli officials have stated on numerous occasions that a nuclear Iran would threaten Israel’s existence.
While the U.N. is expected to consider proposals for sanctions on Iran, there is an expectation that Russia and China will reject further sanctions. If that happens, security experts believe that Israel then could declare diplomacy a failure, opening the way for its long-intimated attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The issue of nuclear cooperation between Iran and Venezuela arose in the context of military and security cooperation agreements reached between their two leaders.
Keep in touch with the most important breaking news stories about critical developments around the globe with Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium, online intelligence news source edited and published by the founder of WND.
France was quick to object to any nuclear cooperation, saying that it would violate various United Nations resolutions, including U.N. Security Council Resolution 1737. That resolution calls for all U.N. members to refrain from the direct or indirect purchase of nuclear-related technology from Iran.
Iran and Venezuela are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT, and their legislatures have ratified it, compelling their compliance. At the same time, it allows them to undertake a peaceful nuclear development program.
The purpose of the NPT is to allow for the promotion of cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy while trying to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation. The NPT is the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to disarmament by nuclear countries.
To date, some 187 countries are signatories to the NPT. It offers a safeguard system under the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, to verify treaty compliance through inspections. At the same time, it promotes equal access to nuclear technology.
Security experts believe, however, that efforts to insure effective Iranian compliance with the NPT or the U.N. resolutions would be difficult given the need for policing and investigation, something which most countries are not equipped to undertake and may not have the political will to do.
Iranian interest in nuclear cooperation with Venezuela has come up in the past. In 2006, Ahmadinejad and Chavez voiced the need for similar cooperation. At the time, Iranian parliament speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel said that Iran would study the possibility.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s comments coincide with report that IAEA withheld evidence about Iran‘s nuclear weapon capabilities
In a rare interview with Western media, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Iran has no need for nuclear weapons, but he did not rule out the possibility that Iran might develop them in the future. The broadcasting of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s remarks coincided with a new report, based on previously undisclosed information, that the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog has withheld evidence about how close Iran is to making a nuclear bomb.
In excerpts of an interview aired Thursday night on NBC News, Ahmadinejad said that “the enrichment of uranium for peaceful purposes… will never be closed down here in Iran.” When interviewer Ann Curry asked whether Iran would ever develop a nuclear weapon, Ahmadinejad said Iran had no need for such weapons.
“If nuclear weapons were influential, they would have prevented the downfall of the Soviet Union — for that matter, the downfall of the Zionist regime,” he said, referring to Israel, long believed to possess 200 nuclear weapons. “Our people have never had a need for nuclear weapons.”
“So, may I assume, then, your answer to that question is ‘no’?” Curry asked.
Again, Ahmadinejad said: “We don’t need such — we don’t have a such a need, nuclear weapons. We don’t need nuclear weapons. Without such weapons, we are very much able to defend ourselves.”
Curry pressed Ahmadinejad again on the question, noting that “people will remark that you did not say no.” He replied, “You can take from this whatever you want, madam.” Further excerpts of the interview, which was taped a week previously in Tehran, ran Friday morning. The full interview is to be aired Sunday afternoon.
Ahmadinejad’s refusal to rule out Iran building a nuclear weapon comes just a day after President Barack Obama announced plans to scrap the Bush administration’s missile shield plan in favor of a new system which would better deal with short- and medium-ranged missiles launched from Iran. President Bush‘s plan would have placed interceptors in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend against long-range Iranian missiles targeting Europe.
Also on Thursday, the Associated Press released a report that experts at the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, believe that Iran is currently capable of building a nuclear weapon. The AP based their report on a confidential document titled “Possible Military Dimension of Iran’s Nuclear Program,” which was written by senior IAEA officials.
The information in the document that is either new, more detailed or represents a more forthright conclusion than found in published IAEA reports includes:
– The IAEA’s assessment that Iran worked on developing a chamber inside a ballistic missile capable of housing a warhead payload “that is quite likely to be nuclear.”
– That Iran engaged in “probable testing” of explosives commonly used to detonate a nuclear warhead — a method known as a “full-scale hemispherical explosively driven shock system.”
– An assessment that Iran worked on developing a system “for initiating a hemispherical high explosive charge” of the kind used to help spark a nuclear blast.
In another key finding, an excerpt notes: “The agency … assesses that Iran has sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable implosion nuclear device (an atomic bomb) based on HEU (highly enriched uranium) as the fission fuel.”
These details add significantly to previous reports on Iran’s nuclear capability, as summarized this summer in a Monitor briefing, ‘How close is Iran to a bomb?’
The AP writes that two international officials confirmed the authenticity of the document, though they insisted on anonymity because the document was meant only to be seen by top IAEA officials.
The IAEA denied that it was hiding evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, calling such an idea “politically motivated and baseless,” Reuters reports. In a statement commenting on the AP story, the IAEA said that it “has no concrete proof that there is or has been a nuclear weapons programme in Iran.”
Reuters also writes that Israel, which has typically been highly vocal about the threat of a nuclear Iran, may be changing its message. Ehud Barak, Israel’s minister of defense, said that even if Iran had nuclear weapons, it would not be able to defeat Israel.
“Right now, Iran does not have a bomb. Even if it did, this would not make it a threat to Israel’s existence. Israel can lay waste to Iran,” Barak said in a transcript of a newspaper interview obtained by Reuters before publication Friday.
Israeli leaders have repeatedly sounded alarms over Iran’s atomic ambitions, pointing at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s calls for the Jewish state to be “wiped off the map” and support for Islamist guerrilla groups arrayed along Israel’s borders.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a right-winger who brought the centre-left Barak into his coalition government, said he saw “eye to eye” with the Defence minister – signalling a possible change in Israel’s official rhetoric as world powers prepare to revive diplomatic engagement with Iran next month.
Reuters adds that Mr. Netanyahu issued a supportive response to Mr. Barak’s comments, saying “I think that what the Defence minister wanted to say, something that I believe, is that the State of Israel will be able to defend itself in any situation.”
Shariah experts to proclaim ‘Our Day has Come‘
Muslims who are working to stage the “Our Day Has Come” day of prayer at the U.S. Capitol have discussed views that include an Islamic takeover of the White House, from where they say President Barack Obama is providing their inspiration.
Building on the Islamic interest in Obama’s inauguration, when Muslims claimed in a magazine that “It’s our time,” the event planners are calling for 50,000 Muslims to attend the 4 a.m. event on the National Mall on Sept. 25
The organizer is Hassen Abdellah, who leads a Elizabeth, N.J., mosque, and two special guests for the event, according to the website, will be Sheik Muhammad Jebril and Sheik Ahmed Dewidar.
According to the website, Jebril’s degree is in Islamic Law and he learned the Quran by the age of 9.
According to blogger Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs, Jebril specializes in Shariah law and served as the imam of an extremist mosque in Cairo starting in 1988.
Likewise, the prayer day website reported Dewidar studied law at the University of Alexandria and took a master’s degree in Shariah. He moved to the United States to lead a Muslim community in New Jersey and later established the Islamic Center in Manhattan.
In the interview, Dewidar talked about sermons he’d heard that “Muslims should march on the White House…”
The interviewer asked for an explanation.
“One cleric said in his sermon: ‘We are going to the White House, so that Islam will be victorious, Allah willing, and the White House will become into the Muslim house,’” he said, according to the MEMRI report.
Dewidar denied that this was a plan for a physical occupation of the building.
“They say that through the domination of Islam and its ideas, the White House will change,” the report quotes Dewidar saying.
Atlas Shrugs also cited Dewidar’s comments for a Muslim Brotherhood website that American society is controlled by Jews.
His translated comments include, “Whether or not these events were planned, or pinned on the Muslims, or something else – [it] provided an opportunity for [the American government] to legislate dubious laws that restrict the growth and presence of Islam in the U.S,” Atlas Shrugs reported.
Organizers themselves have credited Obama’s advocacy for Islam for their inspiration.
While he praised Islam during his inauguration, Obama elaborated during his speech in Egypt months later.
He carried a greeting from “Muslim communities” in America, complained how Muslims had been “denied rights and opportunities,” and stated, “I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam at places like Al-Azhar that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s renaissance and enlightenment.”
Besides crediting Islam with significant responsibility for the development of civilization in Europe, Obama also said Muslims have served similarly in America.
“And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States,” Obama said. “They have fought in our wars. They have served in our government. They have stood for civil rights. They have started businesses. They have taught at our universities. They’ve excelled in our sports arenas. They’ve won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building and lit the Olympic torch. And when the first Muslim American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same holy Quran that one of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, kept in his personal library.”
According to a Daily India report, Abdellah confirmed the idea of the event “germinated” after Obama’s inaugural speech, then was reinforced by the Egypt speech.
“For the first time in my lifetime,” Abdellah said. “I heard someone of his stature speaking about Islam and Muslims not in an adversarial sense, but in the sense of being welcome and acknowledging we are integral citizens in the society-that we’re gainfully employed, we’re educated.”
Gellar wrote of another event organizer, Abdul Malik.
“I highly recommend taking a look at Abdul Malik’s Facebook page, and watching the video – during which he says many interesting things including: Polygamy is an American tradition,” she wrote.
She also cited this comment from Malik: “Democracy is not revelation, and democracy does not equal freedom, for in democracy you have apartheid, you have slavery, you have homosexuality, you have lesbianism, you have gambling, you have all of the voices that are against the spirit of truth; so no we don’t want to democratize Islam, we want to Islamize democracy. That’s what we want.”
“It is a mockery of the Christian faith,” Safa told the magazine. “It’s a mockery of all of it. In a sense, I’m happy for it because the church needs to wake up before it’s too late.”
The prayer day website says, “The Athan will be chanted on Capitol Hill, echoing off of the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and other great edifices that surround Capitol Hill.
“Our Time Has Come.”
Obama repeatedly has denied he is a Muslim. His presidential campaign website contained the statement, “Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised as a Muslim, and is a committed Christian.”
But as WND has reported, public records in Indonesia listed Obama as a Muslim during his early years, and a number of childhood friends claimed to the media Obama was once a mosque-attending Muslim.
In Obama’s autobiography, “Dreams From My Father,” he acknowledged studying the Quran and describes the public school as “a Muslim school.”
“In the Muslim school, the teacher wrote to tell mother I made faces during Quranic studies,” wrote Obama.
In an interview with the New York Times, Obama described the Muslim call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.”
The Times’ Nicholos Kristof wrote Obama recited, “with a first-class [Arabic] accent,” the opening lines of the Muslim call to prayer.
The first few lines of the call to prayer state:
Allah is Supreme!
Allah is Supreme!
Allah is Supreme! Allah is Supreme!
I witness that there is no god but Allah
I witness that there is no god but Allah
I witness that Muhammad is his prophet …
Some attention also has been paid to Obama’s paternal side of the family, including his father and his brother, Roy.
Writing in a chapter of his book describing his 1992 wedding, Obama stated: “The person who made me proudest of all was Roy. Actually, now we call him Abongo, his Luo name, for two years ago he decided to reassert his African heritage. He converted to Islam and has sworn off pork and tobacco and alcohol.”
WND’s 5-month series of exposés leads to White House’s 1st casualty
The last straw for Jones was being caught on tape in an expletive-packed rant, directly attacking Republicans in the Senate who he said abused their majority position in the past to push legislation through. He admitted after the statements were released that the comments were “inappropriate” and “offensive.”
“They do not reflect the experience I have had since joining the administration,” Jones said in the statement.
Jones was also linked late last week to efforts suggesting a government role in the Sept. 11 terror attacks and to derogatory comments about Republicans.
When the White House press corps grilled White House press secretary Robert Gibbs about Jones on Friday, a reporter asked how the administration could reject “conspiracy theories” about his birth certificate while employing someone who previously charged the U.S. government with masterminding Sept. 11.
Gibbs said only that Jones “continues to work in the administration,” a non-ringing endorsement that set the stage for his ouster. Jones’ name appeared on a petition calling for congressional hearings and other investigations into whether high-level government officials had orchestrated the 9/11attacks.
Jones flatly said in his statement that he did not agree with the petition’s stand and that “it certainly does not reflect my views, now or ever.”
As for his other comments he made before joining Obama’s team, Jones said: “If I have offended anyone with statements I made in the past, I apologize.”
In April, Aaron Klein, Jerusalem bureau chief for WND.com, broke the first major story on Jones who was identified as a self-described radical communist and “rowdy black nationalist” who said his environmental activism was actually a means to fight for racial and class “justice.”
Succeeding revelations by WND included:
- Jones previously served on the board of an environmental activist group at which a founder of the Weather Underground terrorist organization is a top director.
- Jones was co-founder of a black activist organization that has led a campaign prompting major advertisers to withdraw from Glenn Beck’s top-rated Fox News Channel program. The revelation followed Beck’s reports on WND’s story about Jones’ communist background.
- That Jones and other White House appointees may have been screened by an ACORN associate.
- One day after the 9/11 attacks, Jones led a vigil that expressed solidarity with Arab and Muslim Americans as well as what he called the victims of “U.S. imperialism” around the world.
- Just days before his White House appointment, Jones used a forum at a major youth convention to push for a radical agenda that included spreading the wealth and “changing the whole system.”
- Jones’ Maoist manifesto while leading the group Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement, or STORM, was scrubbed from the Internet after being revealed by WND.
- Jones was the main speaker at an anti-war rally that urged “resistance” against the U.S. government – a demonstration sponsored by an organization associated with the Revolutionary Communist Party.
- In a 2005 conference, Jones characterized the U.S. as an “apartheid regime” that civil rights workers helped turn into a “struggling, fledgling democracy.”
- Jones signed a petition calling for nationwide “resistance” against police, accusing them of using the 9/11 attacks to carry out policies of torture.
While talk radio and cable television picked up WND’s reporting and increased the pressure on the administration to cut Jones loose, there was no significant press coverage of the scandal by the major U.S. news media until late last week.
Note: Media representatives interested in interviewing WND’s Aaron Klein should e-mail WND.