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Friday, December 22, 2006
Who Is Nir Gouaz?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Every original WorldNetDaily article raises the question, "How does this serve WND's biases and/or financial interests?" That is perhaps doubly so for anything written by Aaron Klein, followed by the question, "What is Aaron Klein hiding about his sources?"

Thus, with Klein's WND articles (on Dec. 18, Dec. 20 and Dec. 21) featuring Nir Gouaz -- who Klein describes only as an "Israeli businessman" who is president of a company called Caesar Global Securities -- accusing the law firm where former Secretary of State James Baker worked of helping a South Korean company collect money owed to it from Iraq, using Gouaz's company as "a middleman to bypass U.S. sanctions on Iraq." WND's bias motive is pretty clear: it aims to discredit Baker and, thus, the Iraq Study Group he co-chaired. As we've noted, Klein has already trotted out his terrorist buddies to praise the ISG plan.

On to our next question: Who is Nir Gouaz?

Turns out he, and his company, are a bit on the murky side. Caesar Global Securities has no active website (a scrap of an old site can be found in the Google cache), and it's unclear exactly what it does. Another Google cache scrap reports on a company called Caesar Global Industries, with Gouaz as president, with the following interests: "Diamonds, Energy, Food Supply, Security, Telecommunication, Waste Management and Recycling, Business Development, Debt Collection, Cree Electric Car." Also of note is the following:

Since 1989, Caesar Global Ltd. mine and export diamonds, along with gold from Zaire/Congo, Sierra Leone and Angola  under special authorization from the Local governments as part of the  Diamonds for Commodities program.
 Our turnover at the peak of the program was 160 million US dollars a year, and our biggest diamond ever export was measured at 363 carats for a single gem stone bought and exported by Nir Gouaz in July, 1988 in Kinshasa, Zaire.

Which brings us to this report by the Diamonds and Human Security Project on the diamond industry in Sierra Leone. In it is the following observation:

By the time Sierra Leone’s war broke out in 1991, the country’s then President, Joseph Momoh, had begun to shift away from Lebanese businessmen, towards Israelis. This was encouraged by Israel, which was eager to cut off Lebanese funding for anti-Israeli armed factions in the Middle East. It turned out, however, that Momoh’s new Israeli friends, among them Shaptai Kalmanovitch (of the LIAT Company), and later Nir Guaz (of the SCIPA group), were crooked, with ties to organized crime syndicates. SCIPA, which lasted longer that LIAT, was suspected of financing illegal as well as legal diamond exports, but the Israelis were generally viewed more favourably than the Lebanese. They paid far better prices to miners for their finds, and they imported rice and machinery which they sold at affordable prices.

[...]

Indeed, so popular did SCIPA become, that some Lebanese schemed with corrupt police officials to have the company driven out of the country. SCIPA’s boss, Nir Gouaz, was arrested on fake currency-related charges, detained and then deported. The Lebanese mogul, Jamil, had by then gone into self-exile in the UK, after a foiled coup plot that involved some his close friends in government, but the plot against SCIPA was contrived by his close associates in Freetown.

So, it appears that Gouaz has been involved in some shady dealings of his own. It is, of course, unsurprising that Klein would not share that with his readers; after all, as we've documented, he has whitewashed the violent extremism of Israeli's Kahane movement, members and sympathizers of which he has regularly interviewed.

Perhaps before WND flogs this story further, Klein might want to share with his readers the full story about Nir Gouaz.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:47 AM EST
Thursday, December 21, 2006
WND Again Likens Homeschool Critics to Nazis
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Dec. 21 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh asserted that "The German government, in a throwback to its National Socialist Workers Party heritage, has declared war on homeschool families." Regarding a German law requiring school attendance, Unruh adds:

Such mandatory public school attendance, and the accompanying procedures to physically escort children to schools, were legalized under the Nazis in 1938. Hitler was concerned at that time about having children grow up with perspectives that were not approved by the state.

This is at least the fourth article in which WorldNetDaily has likened critics of homeschooling to Nazis; in addition to a Sept. 29 article and a Dec. 15 article referencing a "Nazi-era ban on homeschooling," an Oct. 25 article by Unruh stated that "A Nazi-era law requiring all children to attend public school, to avoid "the emergence of parallel societies based on separate philosophical convictions" that could be taught by parents at home, apparently is triggering a Nazi-like response from police."

Additionally, the headline of Unruh's article -- "Government declares war on homeschooling families" -- is vaguely written to suggest at first glance that it's the U.S. government that is the subject. Wasn't there enough room to add the word "German"?

And, as we've previously noted, Unruh is a homeschooling parent himself, so he isn't exactly objective on the subject. Thus, it's not surprising that the article gives no indication that Unruh contacted any German officials for their response to the "war" charges made by the homeschoolers he featured.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:25 PM EST
AIM's Terrorist Supporter
Topic: Accuracy in Media

For the third time since September, Accuracy in Media has printed a column by Cinnamon Stillwell. As we've documented, Stillwell has defended the extremist Jewish Defense League, a group with a history of violence, as well as Earl Krugel, a JDL member who plotted to bomb a California mosque and a field office of Republican congressman Darrell Issa.

We've previously asked whether AIM ought to be conferring legitimacy on a supporter of terrorists. By running Stillwell's columns, AIM has apparently decided that it wants to do just that. 


Posted by Terry K. at 9:26 AM EST
NewsMax Brings Back Old-School Clinton-Hating
Topic: Newsmax

Lest you thought that NewsMax was going all squishy and abandoning its Clinton-hating heritage, fear not.

In a Dec. 19 column, Charles R. Smith stands ready to fill the void with baseless smears and other unsubstantiated claims about the Clintons that we thought NewsMax gave up in its quest to be taken seriously a legitimate news organization. He starts off by calling Hillary Clinton a "part-time senator"; he quickly moves on to recycling old would-be scandals.

FBI files? Yep: "It served Hillary and her hit squad to snatch the FBI files and rifle through the lives of potential opponents."

The "body count"? Gotcha: "There is also that nagging problem about the body count she has left behind. Vince Foster, Moctar Riady, Johnny Chung, Charlie "yah-lin" Trie, John Huang, Ron Brown, and Webster Hubbell come to mind."

Chinagate? Yupper: "Mrs. Clinton has a few of her own pictures to live down, including one with convicted "Chinagate" figure Moctar Riady, and a photo of her with convicted cocaine smuggler Jorge Cabrera in front of the White House Christmas tree."

Even Smith appears to be bored by the whole thing and shifts into greatest-hits=medley mode:

I can hardly list her repeated scandals in a single article: For example dealing in cattle futures, firing the White House travel office, messing with health care, smearing hubby's girlfriends, blaming the far right for all her problems, and missing Rose office records reappearing out of a wormhole in time/space.

Smith then suggests that one way for Hillary to be elected president "would be for Bill Clinton to die. No one would dare oppose the mourning widow. Not a whisper would be issued about Riady money, Chinese generals, or Monica." He then quickly adds: " Don't get me wrong. I would willingly take a bullet for Bill Clinton if only to protect my financial interests in writing about his future scandals." Then, to demonstrate just how craven he is, Smith concludes:

Of course, I'd vote for Hillary. I'm sure that stuns most of my readers but clearly, a pundit with a book in the ready, filled with facts about the life and times of our future president, would want her to win.  Never mind ideology or that little bit of corruption. Money will sway my vote — because skeletons make for best sellers. So prospective publishers take note, I am waiting anxiously by the phone. 

What's missing in Smith's eagerness to cash in on Hillary, of course, is any hint of why he should be taken any more seriously than the many, many others who have ridden the Clinton scandal gravy train to increasingly diminishing returns. Maybe he should have a little chat with his NewsMax boss, Christopher Ruddy, who himself long ago abandoned the beat.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:01 AM EST
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
This Is A 'Slur'?
Topic: NewsBusters

A Nov. 19 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard called it a "slur" that Dan Rather claimed that Fox News gets talking points from the White House (never mind the evidence that supports the claim). Um, Noel: What's the big deal? Don't your friends at the MRC regularly claim that the "liberal media" uses Democratic talking points?

Why, yes, they do. From 2006 alone:

  • "Lynne Cheney was right. The Vice President's wife on Friday attacked a CNN pre-election special as straight out of Democratic talking points. ... Close your eyes and it sounds like an ad straight out of the DNC." -- Oct. 31 CyberAlert item (and Oct. 30 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock)
  • "In his report on the Pennsylvania Senate race for Monday’s NBC Nightly News, reporter Chip Reid had no scrutiny for frontrunner Bob Casey, whom he described using Democratic talking points: The 'son of a popular former governor and an abortion opponent like [incumbent GOP Senator Rick] Santorum.'" -- Oct. 31 "Media Reality Check"
  • "However, [CBS's Bob] Schieffer made [the Washington Post's Dana] Milbank's column sound as if it attacked all sides, when in fact it was an article that spouted the Democratic talking point that the Republicans are attacking their patriotism." -- Sept. 14 CyberAlert item
  • "David Gregory, just scolded the day before by White House Press Secretary Tony Snow for advancing Democratic talking points, pushed them again, along with Matt Lauer, on Wednesday's Today show. ... Lauer then followed Gregory's lead, pounding Senate Majority Bill Frist on the Secretary of Defense. Lauer repeatedly interrupted Frist with anti-Rumsfeld questions." -- Sept. 7 CyberAlert item
  • "The Washington Post reported on Wednesday's front page that House and Senate Republicans reached agreement on extending 'President Bush's deep cuts to tax rates on dividends and capital gains,' but the chart they used on the front page was a Democratic talking point." -- May 10 CyberAlert item
  • "But they are another example of how ABC takes Democratic talking points and uses them in news stories -- without giving the audience a heads-up about their partisan pedigree." -- April 27 CyberAlert item
  • "When Blitzer asked [Helen] Thomas if the President had satisfactorily answered her question on his 'real' reason for going to war in Iraq, Thomas started parroting Democratic talking points." -- March 22 CyberAlert item
  • "Interviewing Terry McAuliffe 18 months earlier, [John] Roberts posed a question that could have been cribbed from DNC talking points." -- February 2 CyberAlert item

Is not the MRC issuing similar "slurs" when it makes that accusation? Shouldn't Sheppard be demanding that the MRC offer the same proof that he demands from Rather?


Posted by Terry K. at 4:50 PM EST
New Article: The Cold War on Christmas
Topic: WorldNetDaily
The ConWeb takes a less aggressive approach to promoting its "war on Christmas" concept -- which includes pretending that it hasn't aggressively promoted it. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:10 AM EST
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
WND Columnist Tries to Back His Claim That Soy Makes You Gay
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Jim Rutz has started the defense of his column last week claiming that soy causes homosexuality.

His first attempt, in his Dec. 19 column (he promises more in the future), isn't very coherent. He mainly focuses on disputed health claims about soy, as well as answering the question, "If soy is so harmful as to potentially alter sexual physiology and behavior, why haven't the Chinese and Japanese all died off or become homosexual centuries ago?" And he doesn't even get to the juicy stuff: "What is that doing to their sex organs and their sexual orientation? Tune in next week." Aw, man...

On a separate footnotes page (but not in his main article), Rutz does offer "three links to articles from prestigious sources that will tell you how safe and wonderful soy is." Interestingly, he doesn't link to one study that that appears to undercut one of his main claims, that soy-based infant formula is what's making our kids all femmy and stuff (he calls infants "worst victims of soy"). That 2001 University of Pennsylvania study found that "in terms of sexual development, there is very little difference between children who, as infants, were fed cow milk formula and those fed soy formula." (Hat tip: World O'Crap.)


Posted by Terry K. at 9:07 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, December 19, 2006 9:08 PM EST
Let's Call It Obama's Law
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As we've learned with Kevin McCullough, it's becoming clear that the level of intelligent discourse in a column about Barack Obama is inversely proportional to the number of times the columnist invokes Obama's middle name.

And so it is with Mychal Massie's Dec. 18 WorldNetDaily column. Not only does he use "Barack Hussein Obama" twice, his column is headlined, "Another threat named Hussein." Massie goes on to call Obama "the extreme socialist liberal version of former Vice-President Dan Quayle, but without the substance," further claiming without evidence that he is a "supporter of sex education for grades K-5."

Massie concludes with a defense of negative campaigning against Newt Gingrich's call to anbandon it, stating: "Newt also overlooks the free use of lies when he calls for an end to negative campaigns. Lying is a negative, and few are more accomplished distorters of the truth than Barack Obama." As we've documented, Massie himself is quite the accomplished truth distorter (not to mention a hypocrite).


Posted by Terry K. at 11:24 AM EST
Monday, December 18, 2006
WND Still Riding Sexpidemic! Bandwagon
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Ho-hum -- yet another WorldNetDaily article recounts an alleged case of teacher-student sex, complete with laundry list of alleged offenses.

Why "ho-hum"?

  1. That list offenses that WND repeats in every story on the subject dates back as far as 15 years, but WND leaves the impression that all listed incidents are current.
  2. Beyond the purely anecdotal list, WND has offered no evidence -- none -- that the current level of teacher-student sex is any higher than in the past.

On the other hand, we must give WND props for recognizing the simple truism that even morally upright Christians -- WND's target audience -- like to read about sex.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:29 PM EST
Salvato's Un-Researched Opinion
Topic: CNSNews.com

Frank Salvato's Dec. 15 CNSNews.com column claiming that "members of immigrating minority groups are increasingly refusing to assimilate into the cultures of their resident countries" might have made a tad more sense had he bothered to substantiate any of his claims.

Instead of evidence, Salvato instead rants against "the Progress-Left, the one-worlders, the globalists, those who have grown to practice the narcissism of placing oneself before all else" and "the aggressive dogma of 'multiculturalism.'"

Then again, evidence is a bad thing when you're trying to mislead your readers, as Salvato does.

He claims that the "reconquista" movement to reclaim the Southwestern U.S. is "aggressive" and "militant." But he offers no evidence to support it, let alone to prove that a widespread "reconquista" movement is anything more than a figment of the imaginations of conservatives (not to mention white supremacists). 

Salvato further asserts: "Their motto, “Por La Raza todo, Fuera de La Raza nada” – which translated means "For the Race, everything, for those outside the Race, nothing" – encapsulates the dangers multiculturalism poses to a nation’s identity." But Salvato mistranslates that motto -- typically ascribed to a group known as MEChA, which Salvato calls "a radical organization that promotes Latino superiority" -- or, more accurately since we doubt Salvato speaks fluent Spanish, he regurgitates what other right-wingers have written. As David Neiwert points out, it's more of an expression of ethnic pride rather than something aggressively exclusionary.

Salvato is the managing editor of a right-wing site called New Media Journal (formerly The Rant); part of its slogan is "Researched opinion. Cogent headlines." As you can see, Salvato isn't much into "researched opinion." And really, how sorry of a website are you when you're reduced to bragging about how "cogent" your headlines are?


Posted by Terry K. at 3:24 PM EST
Updated: Monday, December 18, 2006 3:29 PM EST
Spin of the Day
Topic: NewsBusters

From the front page of the Media Research Center website:

The MRC's NewsBusters blog came in second of ten blogs nominated for "Best Media Blog" in the 2006 Weblog Awards contest which closed to voting on Friday. But the winner was a far-left site, making NewsBusters the top conservative media blog.

As long as you ignore the fact that there was no "top conservative media blog" category, then yeah...


Posted by Terry K. at 2:36 PM EST
NewsBuster: Jamil Hussein's Existence Isn't the Point
Topic: NewsBusters

You knew this was coming.

After Editor & Publisher reported a blogger's apparent discovery of the existence of Jamil Hussein, an Associated Press source in Iraq whom numerous conservative bloggers declared didn't exist, Warner Todd Huston declared in a Dec. 18 NewsBusters post that Hussein's existence isn't the issue:

However, E&P seems to be missing the real story... as usual.

The fact is, whether this Captain Hussein exists or not, there is still no corroboration for the story of six burned Iraqis.

And, it has always been a staple of journalism that more than one source be required to publish a story reported as "fact". After all, if only ONE source is ever needed for a story, then anyone can publish anything as "fact" merely upon any single person's say so.

I slept with Marilyn Monroe, ya know? Print that as fact, AP... just because I say so. Even though I was but a child when she was found dead. But this one source says it's true, so the AP MUST assume it could be fact!

But as we've noted, the AP has cited other witnesses to the story of the burned Iraqis, so there is more than one source.

While the AP could certainly be more forthcoming on this issue, and while there are legitimate issues to be raised (Bob Bateman offers a less ideologically charged look), Huston and others have an agenda in their criticism: to discredit any war reporting they don't agree with, no matter how true it is.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:34 AM EST
Sunday, December 17, 2006
E&P: Jamil Hussein Exists!
Topic: NewsBusters

More here.

NewsBusters' Al Brown, Robin Boyd and Greg Sheffield are presumably commiserating on how to spin this news so as not to contradict their own writing; they claimed that Hussein didn't exist because the government told them he didn't.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:55 PM EST
Keeping the 'War on Christmas' Alive
Topic: Media Research Center

Via Tim Graham at NewsBusters, we learn that the Media Research Center's Culture & Media Institute is trying to keep the "War on Christmas" flame alive. In a CMI article, Kristen Fyfe asks why people think there is a "war on Christmas": "Because, Tiny Tim, there is." She adds: "The war on Christmas is not a figment of the imaginations of Fox News or conservative Christians, as the liberal media would have you believe."

This largely ignores that conservative groups (and Fox News) have worked hard over the past couple of years into blowing up unrelated, isolated incidents into a "war on Christmas." For instance, as we've detailed, for the last two holiday seasons, WorldNetDaily simply ran nearly verbatim (and occasionally factually challenged) press releases from conservative legal groups like Liberty Counsel and the Alliance Defense Fund promoting their "war on Christmas" legal actions without even bothering to present the other side.

Fyfe touches on this, writing: "Led by Christian organizations like the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, the Catholic League, Liberty Counsel and the Alliance Defense Fund, the push back against Politically Correct Christmas is gaining momentum." But Fyfe erroneously calls this a "grassroots movement"; in fact, these are groups that reel in millions of dollars in donations each year and have public-relations staffs whose job it is to promote their cause -- hardly "grassroots."

We see that fund-raising component in Fyfe's article by her copious use of the ACLU bogeyman; she claims that the "war" is "[l]ed predominantly by the ACLU (they’ll deny it of course, but ask the folks in Wilson County, Tennessee who are currently in court fighting the ACLU over – among other charges -- a kindergarten class singing two Christmas carols)." Indeed, "ACLU" appears eight times in her article.

Along with her copious ACLU references, Fyfe has no problem ascribing the most negative spin to those who dare to say something other than "Merry Christmas." She writes, "It seemed to culminate last year with Wal-Mart’s decision to forbid its employees to greet customers with 'Merry Christmas' " as if it were part of that purported ACLU plot -- and as if no greeting was offered at all. As the Chicago Tribune points out, the truth is much less nefarious: Wal-Mart simply tried out "Happy Holidays" and caved under the boycott threats of those, er, "grassroots" groups.

The "war on Christmas" may or may not be, in Fyfe's words, "a figment of the imaginations of Fox News or conservative Christians," but it is most definitely their creation -- and Fyfe should honestly acknowledge that.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:52 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, December 17, 2006 11:54 AM EST
Saturday, December 16, 2006
McCullough Riding Obama's Coattails?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It appears that Kevin McCullough is trying to turn Barack Obama's metoric political rise into his meal ticket into the next level of conservative prominence, a la Christopher Ruddy, Joseph Farah, et al, with President Clinton.

McCullough has written several WorldNetDaily columns attacking Obama, such as a notorious one this one that Obama "represents the views of Satan." His latest column on Obama continues that overheated tone, referring to "Barack Hussein Obama" no less than three times -- thus buying into a weird little right-wing talking point.

Of course, by buying into that talking point an hurling words like "evil" at Obama, McCullough demonstrates that really has nothing thoughtful to say on the subject. Not that it will stop McCullough from clinging to Obama's coattails, mind you.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 PM EST

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