Pat Robertson Threatens Legal Action Against Filmmakers For Exposing Charity Scam

Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network is already weighing legal action against two filmmakers over their documentary depicting the televangelist’s egregious misrepresentations of the activities of his charity, Operation Blessing.

An Operation Blessing spokesman told The Virginian-Pilot that they are “considering legal action” against Lara Zizic and David Turner, whose film “Mission Congo” will hold its premier at the Toronto International Film Festival, over the film’s supposed “false and defamatory” content.

CBN has a history of going after Robertson’s critics; for example, they recently embarked on an unsuccessful push to cover up a video of Robertson — first posted here on Right Wing Watch —arguing that gay men wear special rings that they use to infect random people they meet with HIV/AIDS.

Chris McGreal of The Guardian reports that the film depicts how Robertson diverted charitable activities to help mining projects that he owned and grossly exaggerated the work of Operation Blessing among Rwandan refugees.

The bulk of the thousands of doctors and nurses struggling to save lives – as about 40,000 people died of cholera – were volunteers for the international medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The Bible readers were hired by the American televangelist and former religious right presidential candidate, Pat Robertson, and his aid organisation, Operation Blessing International.

But on Robertson's US television station, the Christian Broadcasting Network, that reality was reversed, as he raised millions of dollars from loyal followers by claiming Operation Blessing was at the forefront of the international response to the biggest refugee crisis of the decade. It's a claim he continues to make, even though an official investigation into Robertson's operation in Virginia accused him of "fraudulent and deceptive" claims when he was running an almost non-existent aid operation.



Mission Congo, by David Turner and Lara Zizic, opens at the Toronto film festival on Friday. It describes how claims about the scale of aid to Rwandan refugees were among a number of exaggerated or false assertions about the activities of Operation Blessing which pulls in hundreds of millions of dollars a year in donations, much of it through Robertson's televangelism. They include characterising a failed large-scale farming project as a huge success, and claims about providing schools and other infrastructure.

But some of the most damaging criticism of Robertson comes from former aid workers at Operation Blessing, who describe how mercy flights to save refugees were diverted hundreds of miles from the crisis to deliver equipment to a diamond mining concession run by the televangelist.



The documentary describes how dredges, used to suck up diamonds from river beds, were delivered hundreds of miles from the crisis in Goma to a private commercial firm, African Development Company, registered in Bermuda and wholly owned by Robertson. ADC held a mining concession near the town of Kamonia on the far side of the country.



The pilot said he joined Operation Blessing to help people. Of the 40 flights he flew into Congo, just two delivered aid. The others were associated with the diamond mining. "We're not doing anything for those people," he said. "After several months I was embarrassed to have Operation Blessing on the airplane's tail." He had the lettering removed.



Robertson's activities in Congo were initially exposed by a Virginia newspaper, the Virginian Pilot, in the 1990s. The investigation by Bill Sizemore prompted the attorney general in Virginia, where Operation Blessing is registered, to order a probe by the state's office of consumer affairs.

Its report concluded that Robertson made "fraudulent and deceptive" statements with claims to be ferrying doctors and medical aid to Goma when he was delivering diamond-mining equipment. It accused Operation Blessing of "misrepresenting" what its flights were doing, and of saying that the airstrip at Kamonia was part of the aid operation when it was "for the benefit of ADC's mining operation".

It also said Robertson had falsely portrayed the Dumi farm as hugely successful when it had already failed.

"Pat Robertson made material claims, via television appeals, regarding the relief efforts. These statements are refuted by the evidence in this case," the report said.



Robertson has been embroiled in mining controversies elsewhere in Africa. He supported the then president of Liberia, Charles Taylor, during that country's civil war without revealing at the time that he had an $8m investment in a Liberian gold mine. Taylor was already indicted by a UN war crimes tribunal at the time and was later convicted of crimes against humanity.

Full disclosure: The filmmakers conducted research in People For the American Way's archives.

Porter: Under Obamacare 'We Are All Dead'

For several years Janet Porter insisted that recently passed laws protecting LGBT Americans, such as the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Law, would throw anti-gay activists like herself in jail. Of course that never happened, but then again, Porter also predicted that President Obama would personally meet and negotiate with Osama bin Laden and look how that turned out.

The Faith2Action leader is now using a similar line of attack against Obamacare, which she believes will literally kill conservatives.

While speaking at a Tea Party rally she organized outside the offices of House Speaker John Boehner, Porter forecasted that conservatives are “all dead” if Obamacare is fully implemented.

Porter linked Obamacare to the debunked conspiracy theory about IRS targeting of conservative groups, warning that imaginary death panels will punish Tea Party members.

Watch:

Our very lives are at stake. Not only are we paying for the abortion mandates, we’ve got IRS sitting on the death panels. Sarah Palin was right, they are going to decide who lives or dies. If they use the same tactics, we are all dead. If the IRS treats health care like they treat the Tea Party, we are all dead.

Pratt Warns 'Diabolical' Obama Will Withhold Social Security During Shutdown

Gun Owners of America head Larry Pratt believes that President Obama stole the 2012 election, is raising his own private army to overpower the U.S. military, plans to send police after Republicans, will use the health care law to force gun owners to undergo electro-shock therapy, is “consistently helping Al Qaeda” because he “hates this country” and may very well be instigating a race war that will lead to the massacre of white Americans. So, perhaps it should come as no surprise that Pratt also thinks that if Republicans force a government shutdown over Obamacare, the president is so “diabolical” that he would fake an electrical outage to prevent senior citizens from receiving Social Security checks.

Speaking with leading conspiracy theorist Alex Jones yesterday, Pratt urged House Republicans to force a shutdown in their futile attempt to defund Obamacare. Pratt noted that “so-called essential” government functions, like the distribution of Social Security checks, continue during a shutdown…that is, unless “somebody as diabolical as our president were to issue an order saying, ‘We don’t have the money to run the electricity for the computers that are generating the Social Security checks, so therefore they’re not going to be able to go out.’”
 

Hey Glenn Beck, Let Us Refresh Your Memory

In a short interview published in the New York Times, Glenn Beck wonders why we can't all just get along ... and then proceeds to demonstrate exactly why we can't all just get along:

How did your fans respond to your support of gay marriage?
I don’t care. The point is that government shouldn’t be involved in marriage.

Did you hear any reaction?
Can we stop dividing ourselves? Do racists exist? Yes. Do bigots exist? Yes. But most of us are not. Most Americans just want to get along. Why can’t we do that? What has happened to us?

I think there’s a misperception that your show is more political than it actually is.
Unfortunately, because of the news of the day, we have spent most of our time on politics. What people don’t ever understand is this: I’m the guy who lives in Dallas who did not get an invitation to the George Bush Presidential Library opening. He didn’t like me. I had called for his impeachment. I didn’t call for Obama’s impeachment. People think I just hate this president. No, I hate power and those who do everything they can to hold onto it.

But you said you were going to hunt down progressives like an Israeli Nazi hunter.
Oh, I will. I think these guys are the biggest danger in the world. It’s the people like Mao, people that believe that big government is the answer, it always leads to millions dead — always.

First of all, his supporters who oppose gay marriage probably are not going to appreciate being called bigots.

Secondly, it is amazing that Beck can't understand why Americans can't all just get along, right before he asserts that progressives "are the biggest danger in the world."

Gee, Glenn, do you think that maybe spending hours every single day blaming all of the world's problems on the people with whom you disagree might just be playing some small role in sowing division within the nation?

Finally, Beck claims that he hasn't called for President Obama's impeachment, which comes as a surprise to us, because we've heard him call for impeachment over the supposed cover-up of Saudia Arabia's role in the Boston Marathon bombing as well as over the IRS scandal:

Apparently Beck doesn't think that declaring that "it is time to appoint a Special Counsel to explore impeachment of this president" qualifies as calling for his impeachment; nor, presumably, does saying that failure to impeach Obama means America is now living under tyranny.

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/5/13

Right Wing Leftovers - 9/5/13

  • The American Family Association is ending its three-year long boycott against Home Depot, claiming that the company has stopped making contributions to pro-gay causes.  We look forward to Home Depot responding by pointing out that the AFA is lying.
  • Focus on the Family's Kim Trobee says gay activists are eager to "force an entire nation into submission."
  • David Barton has endorsed Georgia State Senator Barry Loudermilk, which makes sense given that Loudermilk mindlessly repeats Barton's nonsense.
  • Rush Limbaugh literally has a new book coming out entitled "Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims."
  • James Dobson and Liberty University are "working together to build a curriculum based on Dr. Dobson’s writings and body of work."
  • FRC prays that "may the weakening of our armies by homosexual abuse and the decision to put women in bloody combat be reversed by courageous leaders in Congress and the Pentagon's weakening our Armies be reversed."
  • Finally, Bryan Fischer declares that "we are never, ever going to say same-sex marriage is okay":

Fischer: Is President Obama Secretly A Muslim Who Is Lying About Being A Christian?

Bryan Fischer dedicated a segment of his radio program today to laying out his latest theory that President Obama may secretly be a Muslim who is practicing taqiyya and claiming to be a Christian in order to advance the cause of Islam around the world.

As Fischer sees it, as a child, Obama was raised as a Muslim but then claims to have become a Christian.  Since the penalty in Islam for apostasy is death, Fischer said, Muslim clerics ought to have issued a fatwa against Obama, calling for him to be put to death.

But that hasn't happened, which suggests that Obama is still a Muslim who is simply lying about being a Christian for the benefit of Islam.

"Is President Obama ... taking advantage of that doctrine of taqiyya?" Fischer asked. "Is he pretending to be a Christian, falsely and taking cover under the doctrine of taqiyya because his role as the president is advancing the cause of Islam? I mean, who knows?"

Bishop Paprocki: No One In The World Handled Child Abuse Cases Better Than Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic bishop who suggested that voting for Democratic candidates will doom a person to Hell recently sat down with the Washington Times, which is controlled by the Unification Church, to discuss how Catholics should respond to issues like same-sex marriage. Ignoring the advice of former Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams that Christians shouldn’t mistake unpopularity for persecution, Springfield, Illinois Bishop Thomas Paprocki said that the United States is now a “pagan” culture no different from the era of the Roman Empire when Christians were oppressed and martyred.

He was especially offended by a David Letterman joke about the Catholic Church child abuse scandal, which he reflected “anti-Catholic bigotry” and “profound ignorance.”

According to Paprocki, no institution in the world has handled sex abuse cases better than the Catholic Church: “Certainly, we have had our unfortunate share of scandals and sin and the church is dealing with that. I would venture to say that of any institution in the country – perhaps in the world – I don’t think anyone is dealing with it as responsibly as the Catholic Church has.”

Watch:

In other parts of the interview, Paprocki expressed resentment that his anti-gay stances could be viewed as bigotry and maintained that same-sex couples can never have a real marriage.

David Lane Digs In

In July, we reported on Christian-nation extremist David Lane’s closed-door pastors briefing in Iowa, and the presidential hopefuls and other politicians who have flocked to Lane’s gatherings over the years.

This week the Des Moines Register’s Jennifer Jacobs reported that Lane’s American Renewal Project is holding church-based voter registration drives on three Sundays this month: Sept. 15, Sept. 22 and Sept. 29.  Steve Michael, a spokesperson for the project, told the Register that after the American Renewal Project’s $1.2 million voter registration campaign in Missouri during the last election cycle, the state saw a 3 percent increase in evangelical voters.  He said it will organize in Iowa “steadily until the 2014 election.”

The "Stand-up Sundays" model goes like this: Pastors ask their congregation members to stand up if they're already registered. Volunteers will then hand out voter registration paperwork to the adults still seated. But each Iowa pastor will decide how to do it, Lane told the Register.

Iowa is among 11 states the American Renewal Project is targeting in the 2014 cycle, Michael said. The others are Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.

Organizers will do “Pastors and Pews” events followed by voter registration drives in each state. Next up is Louisiana on Sept. 26-27….

Lane said Iowa may be one of the most registered states in the nation, thanks to the attention from the presidential campaigns, so he expects Louisiana, Arkansas and North Carolina to be more "target rich areas."

It’s worth noting that Louisiana, Arkansas, and North Carolina are also among the top Senate races for 2014, as are other states on Lane’s target list. 

Wildmon: 'This Is A Culture In Rebellion To God'

Mat Staver was on AFA's "Today's Issues" broadcast this morning discussing Liberty Counsel's on-going legal battles against legislation banning the use of "ex-gay" reparative therapy on minors in states like California and New Jersey.

AFA President Tim Wildmon was particularly mystified by the legislation, saying there is a move toward "promoting transgenderedism" in America and asking Staver if therapists who are prohibited from using "ex-gay" therapy on minors are still allowed to help people transition from one sex to another.

"Believe it or not, you can," answered Staver, which prompted Wildmon to respond with disbelief that "you can help people as long as they want to move to deviancy" and declare that "this is a culture in rebellion to God":

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