06/12/15

Dubai-based Gulftainer and Its Terrorist Ties

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton


Gulftainer, a Middle East-based company, is opening its first American cargo terminal today at
Port Canaveral. The new terminal is expected to have a $630 million impact on the local economy.
(VIDEO STILL/Gulftainer)

Gulftainer Co. Ltd., an Emirati container terminal operator, opened its first US terminal today in Port Canaveral, Florida. A number of staunch conservatives showed up to protest the opening and with good cause.

The terminal, which has leased land at Port Canaveral for 35 years, marks the first significant containerized cargo operation there and has the potential to expand to other ports. With two gantry cranes and 20 acres of container storage space, Gulftainer estimates that terminal could handle up to 200,000 TEUs—or the equivalent of 200,000 20-foot-long shipping containers—each year.

Gulftainer hopes to capitalize on Central Florida’s growing role as a logistics hub, with inland warehouses, rail access to the Northeast and Midwest and land for infrastructure development. Periodically docked at Port Canaveral are nuclear assets for the US military and NATO, so this is also a national security issue.


PORT CANAVERAL, FL April 22, 1994 A port quarter view of the British nuclear-powered
ballistic missile submarine HMS Vanguard (SSBN-50) arriving in port. NASA’s giant Vehicle Assembly
Building (VAB) at the Kennedy Space Center and various space launch pads can be seen in the distance.
UAE’s Gulftainer is building an intermodal container terminal on the same side of the port as the
U.S. Navy submarine base. (Image credit: U.S. Navy/OS2 John Bourvia/Wikimedia Commons)


Map of Port Canaveral, Florida showing Gulftainer’s area of operations, US Navy Trident
submarine base and Canaveral Air Force Station.

Peter Richards, Gulftainer’s managing director, said he has been trying to bring Gulftainer, which operates container terminals in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Russia, North Africa, Brazil and elsewhere, to the US for about two years. Founded in 1976, Gulftainer is a subsidiary of privately-held conglomerate, Crescent Enterprises, based in the United Arab Emirates. Notice that the countries where this company operates have terrorist ties and/or are hostile to the US. Since Dubai Ports World created a ruckus in 2005 when trying to take control of a number of US ports, Gulftainer has been hesitant to enter the market in the US. But with the Progressive/Marxist atmosphere of the Obama Administration and the blatant colluding with the Muslim Brotherhood here in our government, the time seemed just about right for allowing an Islamic entity to move in and control a major US port, I guess.

Gulftainer is a $100 million investment and simply put, should not be allowed. Since we are in military conflicts across the globe with radical Islamists and countries such as UAE and Qatar are known to have deep terrorist ties, this company should have been thoroughly vetted before allowing them in as an owner of a strategic port. Instead, few have looked into them and they are heralded as an outstanding company.

The promise of new jobs should not overshadow the fact that this company is a security risk. And with nuclear subs docking there, can we afford that kind of gamble? Port leaders expect the new business to create 2,000 jobs with an impact of more than $630 million on the local economy of Port Canaveral.

Perhaps we should listen to those there that are questioning the sanity of allowing a Middle Eastern company to control a port that is of huge significance to the US:

But some opponents, including a California congressman, have raised concerns that the company’s ties to [the] Middle East make it a bad choice to be located near the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and other military installations.

“We’re not bad people as I try to emphasize,” said Peter Richards, Gulftainer’s managing director. “We’re good people here for the good of the community (and) the good of the port. And I think in the next six months, they’re going to see that. We’re going to actually generate Canaveral into a good logistics hub.”

Some bloggers have even claimed Gulftainer helped ship weapons to terrorist groups, but the company said that’s not true.

“The garbage that they put about us being linked to terrorist groups, where do they come off?” Richards said. “I don’t understand how anybody can do that. We’re trusted by 15 governments worldwide. We actually cooperate with your own military. We actually provide the logistics for the American forces in the Middle East.”

Port Canaveral leaders are coming to the defense of the company.

“We’ve selected them because they are good, quality people,” said John Walsh, CEO of Port Canaveral. “They are one of the best terminal operators in the world, and then to have members of our community say things that are inappropriate, racist and profiling. To me, that’s not OK.”

And exactly how do you know they are such ‘good’ people? And is it really racist to question the terrorist ties of a company moving into your community? Sounds like those so-called leaders are telling residents to just shut up and go away – that they should know their place and leave big business to the elites as it should be. I don’t think so. Must of been a lot of silver that crossed the palms of leaders and business icons there in Port Canaveral. They’ve been blinded by the shiny light of corruption.

Gulftainer is adjacent to a US Navy nuclear submarine base and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. It has allegedly been shipping weapons through the Port of Umm Qasr to two Iranian-backed terrorist militia groups in Iraq, the Badr Brigades and Asaeib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), according to a leak from Iraq General Port Company officials in Basra to Iraqi media.

According to the 1776 Channel, who has done yeoman’s work on this subject, Port Canaveral is home to critical national security operations and infrastructure. A plethora of space and defense installations and programs, many of them highly classified, are situated either inside the port or within the immediate vicinity:

• NASA Kennedy Space Center and Visitor Complex
• Patrick Air Force Base
• Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
• US Navy Trident submarine base (Trident Turning Basin)
• Top secret Air Force space plane
• National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) spy satellites
• Department of Defense/Boeing GPS satellites
• SpaceX resupply missions to the International Space Station
• SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket
• NASA Orion deep space capsule project and test launches
• United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy Rocket
• United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket
• Nuclear submarines resupply operations
• Lockheed Martin Fleet Ballistic Missile Eastern Ranger Operations
• Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) – Seismic, hydroacoustic and satellite monitoring of nuclear treaty signatory nations
• Air Force Space Command/45th Space Wing
• Air Force 920th Rescue Wing (Combat Search and Rescue)
• Craig Technologies Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing Center
• Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS)
• US Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral
• Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection
• Numerous defense contractors (too many too list)

This deal has actually alarmed the military and is raising the eyebrows of a number of security experts. It was approved by Treasury Secretary Jacob ‘Jack’ Lew, a former senior adviser to President Clinton. Gulftainer’s exclusive arrangement with Port Canaveral was negotiated in secret under the code name ‘Project Pelican.’ Evidently, you have to sign the deal before you can know what is in it there in Port Canaveral. Sound familiar? And when all else fails, pull the race card to shut people up.


THE RED SEA – MARCH 5, 2014 – IDF forces seized an Iranian weapons shipment intended for
terrorists in the Gaza Strip during the early morning hours of March 5, 2014. Israel Navy Commander
Maj. Gen. Ram Rothberg led the operation from aboard the Israeli ship and Chief of the General Staff
Lt. Gen. Benjamin “Benny” Gantz oversaw it from the Israel Navy operations room.
(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Flikr/Israel Defense Forces)

Gulftainer USA (GT USA) is a unit of UAE’s privately-held intermodal container terminal operator Gulftainer, which in turn is a unit of Crescent Enterprises, part of the Crescent Group conglomerate. The Jafar family owns both of these and has close ties to former President Bill Clinton. The UN is also tied to Gulftainer and just recently it was strongly suspected that Gulftainer was involved with Iran in shipping rockets to Gaza. The shipment were seized by Israel and the reports are classified, so it cannot be proven (yet) that this is the case. But there is an excellent chance that Gulftainer is involved in smuggling weapons and arms for and to terrorists.


The course of the Iranian weapons shipment. (Image credit: Israel Defense Forces)

It would seem that not only do we have people in the US in the highest levels of government that could not pass a background check to clean toilets… we also have Middle Eastern countries being waived into sensitive ports without so much as the most minor of security checks. That’s like sitting on a ticking time bomb and praying that it won’t blow up like a jihadist in a Palestinian work accident. It’s insane. Port Canaveral might want to consider their hasty decision before a nuclear weapon glides into that port that could be used against the US. Just sayin’.

There are brave folks in Florida standing up to this and protesting. I’d like to close with a few pictures from this morning, courtesy of Andrea Shea King of the Radio Patriot:

06/12/15

The Times’ and the Clintons’ Converging Conflicts of Interest

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

The apparent conflicts of interest that the various Clinton family initiatives create constitute a shameful example of media complicity with the left and the Democratic Party. Accuracy in Media has written time and again about the incestuous relationships forged between the Clintons and the media. For example, George Stephanopoulos recently interrogated the author of a book critical of the Clinton’s pay-for-play foundation activities without revealing to his viewers, or his employer, that he had donated to the Clinton Foundation and participated in some of their events.

As we have documented, many media corporations also donate to the Clinton Global Initiative.

Yes, the Clintons do some good work through their various projects, but the Clinton Foundation itself spent only 9.9 percent of its funds on direct charitable grants between 2011 and 2013, according to The Federalist. What purposes, therefore, do the other parts of its spending support, besides their five-star lifestyle?

The latest revelations to turn up in this mutual backscratching world of the Democrat-Media Complex was reported by The Washington Free Beacon’s Alana Goodman, who happens to be a former AIM intern.

“A little-known private foundation controlled by Bill and Hillary Clinton donated $100,000 to the New York Times’ charitable fund in 2008, the same year the newspaper’s editorial page endorsed Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary, according to tax documents reviewed” by the Free Beacon, Goodman reports.

Mrs. Clinton received the Times’ endorsement in January 2008, over then-candidate Barack Obama. The Times has refused to tell Goodman when in 2008 the donation was made.

Was this donation it made before, or after, the endorsement? Did one of them affect the other?

There may be no smoking gun to find, no email that actually says, “We, the Clinton Foundation, will donate to your foundation, and in return, you will endorse Hillary’s presidential campaign.” However, one might argue that a pattern of behavior is emerging with the Clintons. In fact, this pattern of behavior goes back many years.

Questions might also be asked about the actions of Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim Helu, and his relationships with The New York Times and the Clintons. This year Slim increased his share of Times shares from 7 percent to 17 percent. Back in September of 2008 Slim and his family acquired a 6.4 percent stake in the Times.

“Mr. Slim has a history of buying depressed assets he can later sell at a profit, and several analysts familiar with his investments say they see the purchase of the Times Company stock in that vein,” reported The Times in 2008.

Slim has been a long-time contributor to Clinton Foundation causes. On June 21, 2007, President Bill Clinton, Slim, and Canadian mining magnate Frank Giustra worked together on the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative (CGSGI). Both Giustra and Slim committed $100 million apiece.

Giustra has been the subject of controversy following revelations about the Uranium One deal, which resulted in the Russians acquiring 20 percent of America’s annual uranium production capacity.

The Times’s coverage of the Uranium One deal mentions the CGSGI and a number of other donors—but it leaves Slim out.

“As if to underscore the point, five months later Mr. Giustra held a fund-raiser for the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, a project aimed at fostering progressive environmental and labor practices in the natural resources industry, to which he had pledged $100 million,” reported Jo Becker and Mike McIntire. “The star-studded gala, at a conference center in Toronto, featured performances by Elton John and Shakira and celebrities like Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Robin Williams encouraging contributions from the many so-called F.O.F.s—Friends of Frank—in attendance, among them Mr. [Ian] Telfer.”

So many people were mentioned, but not Slim, and his pledge—even though he was featured in the Clinton Foundation press release. Was that not relevant to the Times investigation, or their article?

However, Slim “lent the Times Company $250 million, at an interest rate of 14 percent, in 2009; at the time, with the world economy struggling and credit tight, the company looked to be in peril,” reported the Times earlier this year. “The loan was repaid in 2011, more than three years before it was due.”

The Telmex Foundation, founded by Slim, “provided between $250,000 and $500,000 for a speech by Hillary Clinton,” reported The Washington Post last month, regarding previously undisclosed Clinton Foundation payments. The article said that the Clinton Foundation revealed “that it has received as much as $26.4 million in previously undisclosed payments from major corporations, universities, foreign sources and other groups.”

Even Politico’s Dylan Byers is crying foul at this point, and implying hypocrisy by the Times. “The Free Beacon story is preposterous from start to finish,” Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy told him.

“The Times is no stranger to reporting on possible lines of influence without hard evidence of causation,” Byers writes, referring to Schweizer-inspired stories.

“Yet the Times’ response—or lack thereof—to the Free Beacon’s inquiries suggests that the paper of record holds little regard for [the Free Beacon’s] brand of journalism,” he writes. “In both cases, the Times did not respond to Free Beacon reporters when they emailed requesting comment. Then, following publication of the articles, the Times responded to inquiries from the On Media blog while continuing to disregard emails from Free Beacon reporters.”

“NO donation to The Neediest Cases Fund has ever had any impact on a Times endorsement,” Murphy told the Free Beacon. “We’re not commenting further.”

The Free Beacon later reported on Slim’s connections to the Times, and noted that additional Clinton Foundation donors may include James A. Kohlberg and Mark Thompson. The former is on the Times’ board of directors, and the latter is the CEO of The New York Times Company. Murphy told the Free Beacon that Thompson told her directly that he had not given anything to the Clinton Foundation, but one “Mark Thompson” is listed within the Post’s searchable database of foundation donors, as is one “James A. Kohlberg.”

ABC’s spokeswoman, Heather Riley, who managed Stephanopoulos’ public relations crisis, turned to none other than Byers to manage the ABC host’s scandal. The Free Beacon’s Andrew Stiles then exposed on May 15 that Riley had “worked in the White House press office from 1997 to 2000,” including serving “as a press contact for then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.”

“This is what happens when you have a corrupt media that don’t play fair, but instead put their thumb on the fairness scale to tilt it towards their partisan interests,” I recently wrote.

It is also said to be a problem when corporations try to influence elections.

If the left gets their way, all corporations, except those in the media business, would be severely restricted from supporting candidates or issues. Only corporations like The New York Times Corporation, or NBC Comcast Universal would be allowed to offer round-the-clock, unlimited support for their favorite candidates. You see, those are the good corporations, not motivated by greed or self-interest, or a political agenda—only by the public good, which in their collective wisdom means electing nearly all Democrats—and the more left-wing, the better.

06/6/15

Obama Administration Cover-ups Continue

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

President Obama’s administration has blocked more than half a million Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in the last six years, reports WorldNetDaily. This blatant circumvention of the law is causing some in the mainstream media to finally voice their concerns about how President Obama is running the government.

That is, unless you’re David Brooks of The New York Times. “And I have my disagreements, say, with President Obama, but President Obama has run an amazingly scandal-free administration, not only he himself, but the people around him,” Brooks declared on the PBS Newshour on May 29. “He’s chosen people who have been pretty scandal-free.”

That’s simply absurd. Perhaps, for the Obama administration, it’s proven easier to deny the media’s access to information that might reveal further scandals than to admit the truth about its own deep-seated corruption. But as we’ve written, the derelict mainstream media leave “many scandals uninvestigated, minimized, or outright ignored,” including Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal, and even the maltreatment of veterans or endangerment of our air travel.

FOIA is one tool for discovering the truth. Newsweek investigative reporter Leah Goodman recently “said there were no Washington-based editors or reporters from major publications on the panel testifying before the [House Oversight Committee] because they were afraid it would have a ‘chilling effect’ on their relations with the federal departments they cover,” according to WND’s Garth Kant.

“Goodman said that was also the reason no one had done a major story on the problems with government agencies stonewalling FOIA requests.”

At Accuracy in Media, we have a lot of experience dealing with the government on FOIA issues, over many years. And they sometimes take years to resolve. As a matter of fact, we currently have filed dozens of such cases in our effort to fill out the record surrounding the terrorist attacks in Benghazi in 2012. What we already know based on previously released information through other FOIA requests and lawsuits, as well as from the public record and individuals who have brought information to our Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, is chilling, and points to a systematic government cover-up.

Leah Goodman, Sharyl Attkisson and others laid bare the record of Obama administration stonewalling and corruption on FOIA at the House oversight hearing this week on Capitol Hill. The most transparent administration in history has been anything but. Even New York Times’ Assistant General Counsel David McCraw complained that the Times has to fight and sue at every turn to get the Obama administration to release information that the public has every right to know. That is ironic, considering that the Times is usually doing all it can to protect and defend the Obama administration. But there are exceptions, as we have cited before, such as New York Times reporter David Sanger who said, “This is the most closed, control-freak administration I’ve ever covered,” and James Risen of the Times, who said that the Obama administration has been “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.”

“When Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, her staff scrutinized politically sensitive documents requested under public-records law and sometimes blocked their release, according to people with direct knowledge of the activities,” reported The Wall Street Journal last month. Records that Clinton and her aides held back included documents regarding the Keystone XL pipeline and President Bill Clinton’s speaking engagements.

Years later, these very same issues are still inciting controversy, as further Clinton and Obama administration corruption has been uncovered by authors such as Peter Schweizer. “As Clinton Cash makes clear, speech payments by Keystone XL investor TD Bank to Bill Clinton occurred at critical moments when Hillary Clinton’s State Dept. was making key decisions affecting the pipeline,” reports Breitbart News. “Moreover,” citing Schweizer, “Canadian corporations with an interest in the project hired several senior aides from Hillary’s presidential campaign to assist them in their efforts.” Millions of dollars flowed to the Clintons personally for “speeches,” and TD Bank got the decision it was hoping for from Hillary’s State Department. Smoking gun? You decide.

No matter how much journalists like David Brooks try to boldly and falsely assert that this administration remains scandal free, it is clear that the Obama administration is hiding as much information about its corrupt activities as it can, including those brought about by its former Secretary of State. By stonewalling, delaying, and blacking out as much information as possible, this administration is doing its best to conceal the scandalous actions that it has perpetrated.

05/22/15

How the Media Got Into Bed with the Clintons

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Republican operative Karl Rove writes in The Wall Street Journal that “few demonstrate as much contempt for journalists as do Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.” That may be true for Obama, but Mrs. Clinton has taken a different approach. Her platforms, the Clinton Foundation and its project, the Clinton Global Initiative, have given the appearance of humanitarian work, drawing many big names from the media into her network of influence. No wonder they treat her with deference and respect. The media have been compromised.

“Until late Tuesday afternoon,” reports USA Today, “the Clinton Foundation website listed CNN anchor Jake Tapper as a ‘speaker’ at a Clinton Global Initiative event scheduled for June 8-10 in Denver. After USA TODAY asked CNN about the event, Tapper’s name was swiftly removed from the Clinton Foundation website.”

It appears that Tapper will still participate in the meeting, but not as a speaker.

This Tapper controversy should put an end to the pretense that George Stephanopoulos of ABC News is the only member of the journalism business who was compromised through his involvement in the Clinton Foundation. A list of media members of the Clinton Global Initiative in 2011 included Stephanopoulos and many others:

  • Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent, CNN
  • Thomas Friedman, Columnist, The New York Times
  • Lionel Barber, U.S. Managing Director, The Financial Times
  • Nicholas Kristof, Columnist, The New York Times
  • Maria Bartiromo, Anchor, CNBC (now with Fox Business Network)
  • Matt Lauer, Host, The Today Show, NBC
  • Matthew Bishop, New York Bureau Chief and American Business Editor, The Economist
  • Tom Brokaw, Special Correspondent and Moderator of Meet the Press, NBC News
  • Greta Van Susteren, Anchor and Host, Fox News Channel
  • Anderson Cooper, Anchor, CNN
  • Judy Woodruff, Senior Correspondent, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, PBS
  • Katie Couric, Anchor, CBS News (now with Yahoo)
  • Fareed Zakaria, Editor, Newsweek International

The pro-Clinton group Media Matters has been having a field day with the news that Fox News personalities were on the list. The group points out that Van Susteren and Bartiromo have both lavished praise on the Clinton Global Initiative for its good work.

For our part, we have been drawing attention to media links to the Clintons for at least 10 years. It wasn’t considered controversial by the media, on the left or right, until the release of Peter Schweizer’s new book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich. Schweizer has attempted to link some of the contributions made to the Clintons to actions taken by the Obama administration when Mrs. Clinton was Secretary of State.

We noted back in 2005 that Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of the Fox News parent company, was a participant in the Clinton Global Initiative meeting held in New York in mid-September of that year. As we also pointed out, Clinton himself had appeared on Greta Van Susteren’s Fox News Channel show to promote the event.

That same year we reported that the Fox News Channel, in addition to giving Clinton a platform to talk about his Global Initiative, had done then-Senator Hillary Clinton a big favor by canceling some interviews with Ed Klein, the author of a book critical of Hillary.

Back in 2007 we noted that Murdoch had personally made a $500,000 gift to the Clinton Global Initiative.

“In terms of the Clinton Global Initiative,” Van Susteren told former President Clinton in a 2010 interview, “I’ve seen so many of the good works in terms of the money that goes around the world, whether it’s clean water in different areas. If there is one particular mission for you to describe the Clinton Global Initiative, what is it?”

Clinton’s lengthy reply to this softball question included praise for Frank Giustra, the Canadian business executive, for giving $20 million. Giustra’s donations have subsequently been linked to a plan to win U.S. approval to sell a uranium company to Russia.

Rather than look into the contributions of Giustra and others, Van Susteren encouraged others to contribute to the Clintons. She said to the former president, “A lot of people look at the program, a lot of big names, big contributors and very generous, what about somebody who says I don’t have any big money to contribute. I might have some ideas, or I’m willing to do some leg work to help. How can I participate?”

Isn’t that nice? Even Fox News was in bed with the Clintons.

In a September 27, 2012 column, we pointed out that members of the media scheduled to speak at that year’s Clinton Global Initiative meeting were:

  • Nicholas D. Kristof, Columnist, The New York Times
  • Piers Morgan, Host, CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight
  • Charlie Rose, Executive Editor and Anchor, “Charlie Rose”
  • Fareed Zakaria, Host, CNN-GPS

It turns out that 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney even attended and addressed that year’s Clinton Global Initiative meeting. Perhaps he had been told by Republican advisers like Rove that it was a humanitarian event with a bipartisan flavor.

“Since serving as President here in America,” Romney declared, “President Clinton has devoted himself to lifting the downtrodden around the world. One of the best things that can happen to any cause, to any people, is to have Bill Clinton as its advocate. That is how needy and neglected causes have become global initiatives.”

The comment goes to show how Clinton, who disgraced himself by having sex with a White House intern and was impeached, has had his reputation rehabilitated. A Republican who got caught doing such things would be forced to slink away and beg for forgiveness from the media.

Romney may have gotten bad advice about going to that event, but it was Romney himself who told Jan Crawford of CBS News during the campaign that the major media were not in the tank for President Obama and that he had no plans to challenge liberal media bias.

No wonder the Democrats are so confident about their ability to manipulate the press. They have the Republicans eating out of their hands.

05/20/15

Hillary Clinton’s Hypocritical and Totalitarian War on Free Speech

By: Benjamin Weingarten
TheBlaze

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has suggested that a key litmus test in evaluating prospective Supreme Court appointees would be their willingness to challenge “the right of billionaires to buy elections.”

Presumably, a suitable judge would indicate a desire to overturn the Citizens United decision that struck down a ban on political expenditures by corporations and unions ruled to violate the First Amendment protection of free speech – a case coincidentally centered on Citizen United’s attempt to advertise for and air a film critical of none other than Clinton.


Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to the reporters at United Nations headquarters,
Tuesday, March 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

In light of recent allegations swirling around the presidential favorite, Clinton’s support of such a position is highly ironic.

For while the former secretary of State may oppose the rights of the wealthy to spend money on politics, she seems to have no such concern with the wealthy spending money on the Clinton Foundation and her husband Bill – all while Hillary served in the Obama administration.

Would Clinton seek a Supreme Court justice who would protect the rights of the likes of Carlos Slim and James Murdoch to contribute to the favored cause of a politician and shower the politician’s spouse with millions for speaking engagements?

If so, this apparent hypocrisy can be read in one of two ways:

  1. Clinton believes that money does not have a corrupting influence so long as it is funneled through “indirect” channels
  2. Clinton believes that the wealthy and powerful ought to bypass funding elections and simply pay politicians outright.

Appearances of impropriety aside, there are a few substantive questions around political speech that Clinton should be required to address.

Why does Clinton believe that the government has a compelling interest in stifling the political speech of any American, rich or poor?

How does Clinton square her supposed advocacy of human rights with her belief in inhibiting the right to free speech — which facilitates the robust and vigorous debate essential to a liberal society?

More generally, given a system in which millions of dollars are spent on losing causes each election cycle on both the left and right, what have Americans to fear about spending so long as laws are enforced equally and impartially regarding “pay-to-play” schemes and other politically corrupt activity?

Spending is a symptom of our system, and an all-intrusive government its proximate cause.

This is well known to Clinton, who seeks to raise a record $2.5 billion for her own campaign.

She is aware that people spend money on politics because there is the perception that there is something to be bought.

This perception becomes a reality when government creeps into every aspect of our lives, creating an unfortunate two-way street: Individuals and businesses spend money in order to maintain competitive advantages. Politicians in effect extort individuals and businesses by threatening to take away said competitive advantages, or threatening to mitigate them.

If we want money out of politics, the answer is not to stifle speech, but to shrink government.

***

While Hillary Clinton’s aversion to political speech is well-documented, less scrutinized is her support of limitations on speech of an entirely different kind: Religious speech.

During her time as secretary of State, Clinton championed the Organization of Islamic Conference-backed United Nations Human Rights Commission Resolution 16/18, which calls for “combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief.”

Retired Maj. Stephen Coughlin, the Pentagon’s leading adviser on Islamic law as it relates to national security, makes a compelling case in his book “Catastrophic Failure” that the resolution is actually a Shariah-based Trojan Horse meant to stifle all criticism of Islam.

Coughlin writes that the Islamic Conference, through the resolution, seeks to criminalize incitement to violence by imposing a “legal standard designed to facilitate the “shut up before I hit you again” standard associated with the battered wife syndrome.”

He convincingly argues that the Islamic Conference desires that…

the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and all other non-Muslim countries pass laws criminalizing Islamophobia. This is a direct extraterritorial demand that non-Muslim jurisdictions submit to Islamic law and implement shariah-based punishment over time. In other words, the OIC is set on making it an enforceable crime for non-Muslim people anywhere in the world—including the United States—to say anything about Islam that Islam does not permit.

For believers in the sanctity of the First Amendment, Clinton’s support of this policy as secretary of State should be disqualifying.

This is made crystal clear when we consider that Clinton has shown her support for the resolution in practice.

In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, then-Secretary of State Clinton and President Barack Obama felt compelled to film an address for the Muslim world. In the video, Clinton and Obama disavowed any link between the U.S. government and the “Innocence of Muslims” movie that critically depicted Muhammad, which the Obama administration infamously argued prompted the jihadist attack.


Hillary Clinton delivers a message to the Arab world disavowing any ties between the U.S. government
and the “Innocence of Muslims” video following the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attack.
(Image Source: YouTube screengrab)

That address we may chalk up to political correctness.

But a related fact we cannot.

In spite of Judicial Watch’s bombshell report indicating that the Obama administration knew about the Benghazi attack 10 days in advance – and knew that it had nothing to do with “Innocence of Muslims” — as revealed in an October 2012 interview with Glenn Beck, Charles Woods, father of slain Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, told Beck that Clinton had personally vowed to “make sure that the person who made that film [“Innocence of Muslims”] is arrested and prosecuted.”

The “Innocence of Muslims” filmmaker and former bank fraudster Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was later arrested and charged with violating the terms of his probation, spending one year in prison.

Consequently, the U.S. government — as promised by Clinton — in effect enforced Shariah compliance concerning blasphemy consistent with the Islamic Conference-backed resolution, and did so knowing that the film had nothing to do with the Benghazi attack.

Of course, even if a jihadist declared explicitly that he killed Americans because of a film, or a Muhammad cartoon or a burned Koran, it is the jihadist and the jihadist alone responsible for such actions. This point is apparently lost on the U.N.’s policy advocates, who in their victomology fail to realize that they are exhibiting the soft bigotry of low expectations when it comes to Muslims.

Hillary Clinton has shown herself to be an ardent opponent of free speech, notably with respect to politics and religion.

Her positions are anathema to an America founded on the basis of protecting political and religious dissent, which requires free expression.

Absent such protections, an America under Clinton will look increasingly like the totalitarian Islamic world that she seeks to protect, rather than the Liberal Judeo-Christian America with which we have been so blessed.

Feature Image: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

05/18/15

Stephanopoulos Fiasco is Par for the Course

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

What is surprising about the latest George Stephanopoulos controversy is that most of the media are treating it as something unusual rather than an acknowledgement of a problem that’s been plaguing the media for decades. We at Accuracy in Media are happy to see this issue receive the scrutiny it deserves. However, anyone convinced that Stephanopoulos’s ongoing political conflict of interest and failure to disclose it to his viewers is the exception, not the rule, hasn’t been paying attention to a long history of media corruption.

Stephanopoulos interviewed Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos on April 26. But the ABC host, formerly a Senior Advisor on Policy and Strategy, and unofficial hatchet-man, for President Bill Clinton, treated his broadcast as more of an interrogation than an interview in an effort to discredit Schweizer and defend, in turn, the Clintons. A real interview would have endeavored to understand Schweizer’s critique of the Clintons, not demand to see a “smoking gun” or “evidence” of a crime.

Stephanopoulos’s conflict of interest was blown wide open by an excellent outfit, The Washington Free Beacon, which started the ball rolling when it contacted ABC News about Stephanopoulos’s donations to the Clinton Foundation. ABC’s spokeswoman, Heather Riley, said that they would respond, but then turned first to a friendly ally—Politico—to spin the story favorably for the network and its golden boy.

“I thought that my contributions were a matter of public record,” said Stephanopoulos in his apology. “However, in hindsight, I should have taken the extra step of personally disclosing my donations to my employer and to the viewers on air during the recent news stories about the Foundation.”

ABC News initially incorrectly stated that he had given only $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation—an amount he later amended to $75,000 over three years.

But there’s more, much more.

The Washington Free Beacon’s Andrew Stiles reported that Ms. Riley “worked in the White House press office from 1997 to 2000,” including serving “as a press contact for then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.”

But beyond that, Schweizer followed up on the week’s revelations, and found that Stephanopoulos’s ties with the Clinton Foundation were much closer than just cutting checks to the foundation. Schweizer called it “the sort of ‘hidden hand journalism’ that has contributed to America’s news media’s crisis of credibility in particular, and Americans’ distrust of the news media more broadly.”

He pointed out that Stephanopoulos “did not disclose that in 2006 he was a featured attendee and panel moderator at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).” Nor did he “disclose that in 2007, he was a featured attendee at the CGI annual meeting, a gathering also attended by several individuals I report on in Clinton Cash, including mega Clinton Foundation donors Lucas Lundin, Frank Giustra, Frank Holmes, and Carlos Slim—individuals whose involvement with the Clintons I assumed he had invited me on his program to discuss.” And on it goes.

Stephanopoulos inadvertently revealed in another setting what donations such as his are all about. “But everybody also knows when those donors give that money—and President Clinton or someone, they get a picture with him—there’s a hope that it’s going to lead to something. And that’s what you have to be careful of,” Stephanopoulos said to Jon Stewart about Schweizer’s theory on April 28. “Even if you don’t get an action, what you get is access and you get the influence that comes with access and that’s got to shape the thinking of politicians. That’s what’s so pernicious about it.”

“Could Stephanopoulos, who is also ABC News’s chief anchor and political correspondent, be hoping for access to and exclusives from Bill and Hillary, giving him a competitive edge during the 2016 presidential campaign?” asks Lloyd Grove for The Daily Beast.

On the May 15 broadcast of Good Morning America Stephanopoulos “apologized” again—while patting himself on the back for supporting children, the environment, and efforts to stop the spread of AIDS. “Those donations were a matter of public record, but I should have made additional disclosures on air when I covered the foundation, and I now believe that directing personal donations to that foundation was a mistake,” he said. “Even though I made them strictly to support work done to stop the spread of AIDS, help children, and protect the environment in poor countries, I should have gone the extra mile to avoid even the appearance of a conflict.”

The extra mile?

This is, basically, the same argument the Clintons and their Foundation have put forth to explain their conflicts of interest or “errors,” after having taken millions of dollars from companies and countries that had business with the U.S. government while Mrs. Clinton served as Secretary of State. Their failure to disclose many of these donations resulted in them refiling their tax returns for five years, once the obvious conflicts of interest came to light.

In reality the Clinton Foundation gives about 10% of what it collects to direct charitable grants, according to a study by The Federalist, as reported in National Review. “It looks like the Foundation—which once did a large amount of direct charitable work—now exists mainly to fund salaries, travel, and conferences,” writes David French. The study pointed out that “Between 2011 and 2013, the organization spent only 9.9 percent of the $252 million it collected on direct charitable grants.” In other words, less than $10,000 of the money that Stephanopoulos paid as tribute to the Clintons went to the causes he claims to care about.

Stephanopoulos has removed himself from the ABC-sponsored Republican presidential primary debate next February. Yet he simultaneously claimed, “I think I’ve shown that I can moderate debates fairly.” His decision to not participate ignores the bigger picture.

As we have pointed out, the incestuous relationships between the Democrats and media are almost endless. It’s not just ABC’s Sunday show, but the two other main broadcast networks that also feature highly partisan Democrats as hosts. NBC’s Meet the Press host Chuck Todd “served as a staffer on Democratic Senator Tom Harkin’s 1992 presidential bid,” according to Politico. John Dickerson, the new host of CBS’s Face the Nation gave the following advice to President Barack Obama in 2013: “The president who came into office speaking in lofty terms about bipartisanship and cooperation can only cement his legacy if he destroys the GOP. If he wants to transform American politics, he must go for the throat.”

Stephanopoulos says he should have announced his conflict of interest. If such announcements become commonplace, which they should, where exactly will that end? Should CBS News announce each and every time it broadcasts news about President Obama’s foreign policy or national security issues that the president of CBS News is actually the brother of White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes? Or should ABC News have regularly disclosed that its former ABC News President Ben Sherwood had a sister with the Obama White House? She still works with the Obama administration. And, NBC? That’s the network of Al Sharpton, Brian Williams, Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow. Need I say more?

Chris Harper, formerly of ABC News, has posted his views, along with those of other mostly liberal former ABC News people, as cited by Kevin Williamson of National Review: “During the 15 years we worked for ABC News,” wrote Harper, “we remember that we had to sign a yearly disclosure of gifts worth more than $25 and contributions. Perhaps these documents no longer exist in the muddled world of TV news.”

Added Harper: “Mr. Stephanopoulos has few defenders among his former colleagues. According to a Facebook page, ABCeniors, the rather liberal bunch of former network staffers discussed the problems with his contributions. ‘That shows either indifference or arrogance. Or a nice cocktail of both,’ wrote one former ABC hand. A former producer noted: ‘He knew what he was doing, and he didn’t want us to know. That’s deceit.’”

Geraldo Rivera recalled that he had been fired from ABC back in 1985 because of a $200 political donation. At least that was the reason given at the time. Rivera wondered why Stephanopoulos was being treated differently: “The point is ABC treated my undisclosed $200 donation harshly because the network wanted me out for that unrelated reason,” Rivera continued. “Now ABC is bending over backward to minimize and forgive George Stephanopoulos’s $75,000 donation to the Clinton Foundation because he is central to the network’s recent success.”

Former ABC News reporter Carole Simpson said Sunday on CNN’s Reliable Sources that she “was dumbfounded.”

“But I wanted to just take him by the neck and say, George, what were you thinking?

“And clearly, he was not thinking. I thought it was outrageous, and I am sorry that, again, the public’s trust in the media is being challenged and frayed because of the actions of some of the top people in the business.”

She added that “there’s a coziness that George cannot escape the association. He was press secretary for President Clinton. That’s pretty close. And while he did try to separate himself from his political background to become a journalist, he really is not a journalist. Yet, ABC has made him the face of ABC News, the chief anchor. And I think they’re really caught in a quandary here.” She believes that ABC, despite their public support for Stephanopoulos, is “hopping mad” at him.

When the left has conflicts of interest involving money, the media allow the perpetrators—including themselves—to portray this as charity and supporting good causes. “[NBC’s Brian] Willams wrapped himself in the flag; Stephanopoulos cloaked himself in charity,” writes Grove. MSNBC identified 143 journalists making political donations between 2004 and the start of the 2008 campaign. “Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes,” according to NBC News.

But when conservatives are shown to have financial conflicts of interest, or even to have accepted legitimate campaign donations, they are generally portrayed as serving the interests of evil, greedy businessmen or lobbyists who are paying off politicians to allow them to pollute, destroy the environment, fatten up defense contractors and avoid paying taxes.

“As you know, the Democrats have said this is—this is an indication of your partisan interest. They say… you used to work for …President Bush as a speechwriter. You’re funded by the Koch brothers,” Stephanopoulos told Schweizer during the interview, casting the author as biased. Stephanopoulos, however, they want us to believe, is just an impartial journalist inquiring after the truth.

This is what happens when you have a corrupt media that don’t play fair, but instead put their thumb on the fairness scale to tilt it towards their partisan interests.

05/15/15

Only one presidential candidate besides Hillary Clinton appears in the bombshell ‘Clinton Cash’ — in a very sordid episode

By: Benjamin Weingartin
TheBlaze

Peter Schweizer’s “Clinton Cash” links Bill and Hillary Clinton through their work at the Clinton Foundation and State Department to all manner of unsavory characters, including authoritarian leaders, African warlords and businessmen with dubious backgrounds, in addition to more respectable Clinton political operatives and supporters who in Schweizer’s writing paid the Clintons and enriched themselves by way of projects supported by the Clintons.

One Clinton-linked transaction however implicates another figure: presumed 2016 GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush listens to a speaker before giving his keynote address at the National Summit on Education Reform in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

In a chapter titled “Disaster Capitalism,” Schweizer explores the dealings of the Clinton Foundation — in league with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — in Haiti following the devastating January 2010 earthquake that claimed the lives of approximately 230,000 people.

In the wake of the disaster, the Clintons immersed themselves in the relief effort, helping procure and allocate funds towards activities such as cleaning debris, fixing roads, and arranging deals for things like building telecommunications infrastructure and constructing homes, with varying degrees of success but almost universal financial rewards for those connected in one way or another with the Clintons.

It is in the area of home construction where former Florida Governor Jeb Bush appears.

Clinton supporter and former Democratic presidential candidate General Wesley Clark traveled to Port-au-Prince Haiti in the wake of the earthquake to lobby Haitian president René Préval for a home-building contract for a south Florida company in which Clark was a board member called Innovida.

One of Clark’s colleagues on the Innovida board was Jeb Bush.

What would happen to Innovida serves as a microcosm of what Schweizer dubs the “Clinton Blur” between philanthropy, politics and business.

As Schweizer tells it:

[Wesley] Clark was a big cheerleader for the company [Innovida]. “It can do more for housing in Haiti, better and faster, than any other technology out there,” he said. Innovida’s ties to the Clintons ran even deeper than Clark. According to the South Florida Business Journal, Innovida’s CEO Claudio Osorio was a “big fundraiser” for the Hillary 2008 campaign and had contributed to CGI.

Innovida had little track record of actually building homes. Yet the company saw its project fast-tracked by the Haitain government and the State Department. Innovida received a $10 million loan from the US government to build five hundred houses in Haiti.

Sadly, the houses were never built. In 2012 Osorio was indicted and convicted of financial fraud. Prosecutors would later accuse Osorio, who drove a Maserati and lived in a Miami Beach mansion, of using the money intended for relief victims to “repay investors and for his and his co-conspirators personal benefit and to further the fraud scheme.” He was ultimately sentenced to twelve years in jail. Innovida collapsed.

Of Bush’s involvement with Innovida, Jim Geraghty at National Review wrote in a January 2015 post:

The Washington Post put an article about Jeb Bush’s ties to InnoVida on page A1 on Monday. The article was careful to state that “there is no evidence that Bush had any knowledge of the fraud.” The law-enforcement cases against the company mentioned Bush only in passing, describing him as out of the loop, basically a prop used to enhance the company’s stature. A 2012 Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit against the company, Osorio, and company CFO Craig Toll said that “to add an air of legitimacy to InnoVida, Osorio recruited a high-profile board of directors for InnoVida that included a former governor of Florida.”

Osorio’s lawyer, Humberto Dominguez, told the Post that “Bush had nothing to do with the scheme” and that Bush had been brought in only for his business connections. One of the company’s investors, Christopher Korge, told the paper that he was “impressed with Bush’s response” once serious questions of Osorio’s dishonesty were brought to his attention.  According to a legal statement in U.S. bankruptcy court, Bush, on September 19, 2010, “severed all ties” to InnoVida, “expressing concerns over Debtors’ governance and urging the Debtors to adopt more professional transparent business practices, including obtaining audits by a national accounting firm.” This was about nine months after the company received the OPIC loan [a $3.3 million U.S. government loan to build and operate a panel-manufacturing facility in Haiti].

Geraghty continues:

Still, Bush’s relationship with the company was relatively long and lucrative. According to the bankruptcy-court filing, from December 5, 2007, to September 16, 2010, InnoVida and Miami Worldwide Partners, an entity affiliated with the Osorios, collectively disbursed $468,901.71 in payments and expenses to Jeb Bush & Associates, the former governor’s consulting firm.  In March 2013, Jeb Bush & Associates paid $270,000.00 to Soneet R. Kapila, the trustee attempting to return money to InnoVida investors who were defrauded. Bush’s firm admitted no wrongdoing, and asserted that it merely “provided services in good faith for reasonably equivalent value.”

… The legal documents paint a picture of Bush remaining out of the loop on all of the fraudulent activities of Osorio and the company, asking questions about the lack of audited financial documents, and then cutting ties when his questions weren’t answered adequately and investors raised questions about Osorio’s honesty.

But obliviousness to a business partner’s crimes isn’t a great look for an aspiring president. And it’s painfully easy to picture a future Republican rival, the DNC, or American Bridge PAC running an attack ad against Bush with the entirely accurate statement that “Jeb Bush spent years on the corporate board of a company that took government money and promised to help Haitian earthquake victims . . . and then turned around and spent it on themselves.”

Particularly relevant in context of “Clinton Cash” is how Geraghty concludes his post:

… [T]he idea of Osorio causing headaches for a potential GOP presidential candidate is ironic, in light of the fact that he and his wife were high-level Democratic-party fundraisers. The pair had hosted fundraisers for both Clintons and both Obamas, and in fact lamented to the Wall Street Journal that they had a bad experience at the 2008 Democratic National Convention:

Amarilis Osorio and her husband, Claudio, a Miami Beach, Fla., entrepreneur, decided at the last minute to attend the convention. The couple held a fund-raiser at their house earlier this month with Sen. Obama’s wife, Michelle, and raised $400,000. “We had to fly commercial — a private jet was too expensive,” said Ms. Osorio. “And our hotel room is dreadful.”

In 2013, the Clinton Foundation returned a $22,000 donation from Osorio.

Worthy of note is the fact that the Clintons and Bushes have developed a close rapport since Bill Clinton left office, as detailed in Daniel Halper’s “Clinton Inc.

Peter Schweizer has indicated that he is currently probing Jeb Bush’s finances as part of his next project.

Note: The links to the books in this post will give you an option to elect to donate a percentage of the proceeds from the sale to a charity of your choice. Mercury One, the charity founded by TheBlaze’s Glenn Beck, is one of the options. Donations to Mercury One go towards efforts such as disaster relief, support for education, support for Israel and support for veterans and our military. You can read more about Amazon Smile and Mercury One here.