The Canada Free Press site has reported that Jimmy Carter’s Carter Center has taken a large amount of contributions from the bin Laden family over the past several years, reminding some of the specious lines Michael Moore attempted to draw between Osama bin Laden and George Bush in his film Fahrenheit 9/11. The only problem with this latest revelation is that it uses the same bad assumptions Moore used in smearing Bush for fun and profit on the silver screen:
Ex-U.S. President Jimmy Carter is in league with Osama bin Laden.
A paper trail shows that more than $1 million has been funneled from Bakr M. Bin Laden on behalf of the Saudi Bin Laden Group to The Carter Center.
That’s an impressive bit of investigative journalism that comes your way, not courtesy of the New York Times and company, but from Melanie Morgan, Chairman, Censure Carter Committee.
“An investigation by the Censure Carter Committee into the financing for The Carter Center of Atlanta, Georgia founded by President Carter and his wife to advance his “Blame America First” policies reveals that over $1,000,000 has been funneled from Bakr M. Bin Laden for the Saudi Bin Laden Group to the Carter Center,” says Censure Carter.Com in a mainstream media-ignored recent media release.
“In fact, an online report accuses former President Carter of meeting with 10 of Osama Bin Laden’s brothers early in 2000, Carter and his wife, Rosalyn followed up their meeting with a breakfast with Bakr Bin Laden in September 2000 and secured the first $200,000 towards the more than $1 million that has been received by the Carter Center.”
Judi McLeod warns her readers not to expect Hollywood to correct the story told by Moore in F-9/11 in 2004. However, she may well be incorrect, because the basic premise of her article — and of Moore’s film — fails because it assumes the Bin Laden Group reflects Osama’s worldview and supports his efforts. Nothing in the record substantiates that, and by this time the Censure Carter Committee should know better.
In truth, Bakr bin Laden and the rest of the bin Ladens have had little or no contact with their terrorist-leader relative, and the BLG in many ways represents everything that Osama opposes. Two years ago, Newsweek ran a major rebuttal of Moore’s film, calling it “unfair” and titling their article, “More Distortions From Michael Moore” (and here is my post on this article). Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball reminded their readers then that the bin Laden family, apart from Osama, have never had any ties to terrorist activity. It relies heavily on business with the West, and all terrorist activities that pressure their business partners cost them a great deal of money.
With that history, and with many articles and posts defending George Bush against this brainless smear already in archives all over the Internet, the use of this particular connection by the Censure Carter Committee seems very strange indeed. In the first place, using allegations that an organization’s likely allies have already repeatedly debunked tends to erode credibility very quickly. Second, it attempts to burn Carter for what may be one of the more positive projects he has undertaken. If we want to transform the Middle East through engagement and democracy, having one of the most powerful Saudi families publicly supporting the Carter Center helps legitimize Western ambitions in that direction.
Most of all, it makes the Censure Carter folks look rather desperate. I have little regard for Jimmy Carter, and I know that we have plenty of material already for which to excoriate him. Why go out on a limb with this tripe? More importantly, why spend all of this money advertising this unimportant episode in an effort to get the mainstream media to notice it? McLeod works her prose into a lather, but it doesn’t hide the sad truth that Bakr bin Laden is not Osama bin Laden, the Bin Laden Group is not al-Qaeda, and the Censure Carter Committee is about to spend thousands of dollars destroying its own credibility. The only affect this will produce will be to make Jimmy Carter look good in comparison.
Perhaps Hollywood and the media might spend some time debunking this if the commercials roll. That might bring an unintended side benefit of further discrediting Moore’s smear campaign against George Bush. It will certainly raise sympathy for Carter at a time when he has the potential to do tremendous damage to American interests around the world. For that, we will have only the Censure Carter Committee to thank.
UPDATE: DaMav in the comments makes a good point that Carter never defended Bush on this score even though Carter had to have known the allegations were ludicrous from his own experiences with the bin Laden family, nor did he challenge Moore at the 2004 Democratic convention. That wasn’t the allegation coming from the Censure Carter Committee, though, and the CCC shows itself in the same league as Moore with this silly campaign.