Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Jimmy Carter: Still Friending Tyrants

If Jimmy Carter were on Facebrook, his friends would include Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Daniel Ortega, Fidel Castro, Hafez al-Assad,  Kim Jong Il, Hugo Chavez, and the leadership of Hamas. These are all people he has embraced, legitimized, flattered, or in other ways “friended”. In fact, it is not possible to find a tyrant he does not like.

The same is not true for Israel. Carter’s best known book, a poison polemic entitled, “Palestine; Peace not Apartheid” is one of the bibles of those who seek to delegitimize Israel and represents a low point, even for Mr. Carter. (There is no shortage of lows; they include his praise of Hafez al-Assad, a man who massacred 25,000 of his own countrymen in Hama, his commendation of Kim Jong, repressive ruler of North Korea, his high marks for Fidel Castro, you get the idea)

As President, he served a single term, losing a re-election bid to Ronald Reagan.  He presided over our nation during the turnover in Iran, in which one dictator, the pro-American Shah, was replaced by another, the anti-American and Islamist Ayatollah Khomeini. This represented a step back for the Iranian people, and especially for the role of women in that unfortunate country.  And of course, he did nothing about the seizure of American hostages, an act of war by Iran.

It is often said that we grow wiser as we grow older. Something very different has happened with President Carter.

His latest adventure, again demonstrating a willingness to be used by America’s enemies, has been his recent trip to Cuba  to lobby on behalf of Cuban spies. Mary Anastasia O’Grady has written about this in the Wall Street Journal. By way of background, five Cuban spies were arrested 13 years ago by the FBI, and were convicted of conspiracy to commit murder (four Americans were killed). They had also sought to infiltrate US  military installations.

In Carter’s trip to Cuba, he went on television to argue for the release of the five spies. While in Havana, he expressed doubt about the trial that resulted in the  conviction of  the spies, and indicated that he would speak with Barack Obama about a pardon for them.  So much for his opinion of our nation’s criminal justice system.  For his efforts, he was praised by Fidel Castro as “brave and serious”.

It is difficult to imagine that Carter cares about the people of Cuba who have been living under the control of  a dictatorship for 52 years. His only concern seems to be to ingratiate himself with the Castro brothers. According to Freedom House, more than half a million Cubans have suffered in the Castros’ various gulags, dungeons and torture chambers. The Castro regime’s total death toll - from torture, prison beatings, firing squads, machine-gunning of escapees, drownings, etc,-  approaches 100,000.

In 2002, Carter opined  that  “the embargo of Cuba is the stupidest law ever passed in the U.S.”, And yet, as president, Mr. Carter imposed more economic sanctions against more nations than any other American president in modern history. These sanctions were only against U.S. allies. And so, it was not suprirising that  as Carter was leaving Havana, Raul Castro enthused  that “Jimmy Carter was the best of all U.S. presidents,”

To fully understand what makes Carter tick, one needs to “follow the money”. Alan Dershowitz has outlined Carter's extensive financial connections  to Arab oil money, particularly from Saudi Arabia.

One example concerns the Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-up, a think-tank funded by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahayan, which gave money to both Carter and to the divinity school at Harvard. Harvard  refused to be tainted and returned the money; Carter kept it. The Zayed Centre has hosted speakers who called Jews "the enemies of all nations," attributed the assassination of John Kennedy to Israel and the Mossad and the 9/11 attacks to the United States' own military, and stated that the Holocaust was a "fable." (They also hosted a speech by Jimmy Carter.) Carter has referred to Sheik Zayed bin Sultan  al-Nahyan, a known bigot, as his personal friend.

 Carter and his Center have accepted millions of  dollars from suspect sources, beginning with the bail-out of the Carter family peanut business in the late 1970s by BCCI, a now-defunct and  virulently anti-Israeli bank indirectly controlled by the Saudi Royal family. One of the principal investors and founder of the bank  is Carter's friend, Sheikh Zayed. Agha Hasan Abedi, who  gave Carter "$500,000 to help the former president establish his center...[and] more than $10 million to Mr. Carter's different projects."
Saudi King Fahd contributed millions to the Carter Center  "in 1993 alone...$7.6  million" as have other members of the Saudi Royal Family. Carter also received a million dollar pledge from the Saudi-based bin Laden family,  as well as a personal $500,000 environmental award named for Sheikh  Zayed, and paid for by the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates.  It's worth noting that, despite the influx of Saudi money funding the Carter Center, and despite the Saudi Arabian government's myriad human  rights abuses, the Carter Center's Human Rights program has no activity whatever in Saudi Arabia.

So what do the Saudis and other benefactors get for their money? Lots of attention to alleged abuses by Israel, but virtually none by Iran or any of the Arab nations. The Saudis have apparently bought Carter’s selective outrage. 

The Carter Center's mission statement claims that "the Center is nonpartisan and acts as a neutral party in dispute resolution activities."  This is clearly not the case.  What is clear is that Jimmy Carter is dependent on Arab oil money, particularly from Saudi  Arabia, and that he has  necessarily been influenced in  his thinking about the Middle East by such enormous sums.

A few questions.   With all that we know about Jimmy Carter, is this episode in Havana a new low?  What do you call a former President who considers  the leaders of democratic and pro-American Israel to be immoral, but considers Hafez al-Assad, Fidel Castro, and Kim il-Jong to be our friends? And what do you call a former President who expresses such public contempt for our criminal justice system?  And what do you call a former President who trades money from Saudi sources for selective outrage?  While some, not knowing better, will praise him as a man of peace, his historical legacy will be forever tarnished.

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  1. Great piece. The point needs to be hammered home again and again.

  2. You forgot Dhimmy Carter's biggest friend, Gadaffi. Didn't his brother Billy receive $2 million from Gadaffi to promote his (failed) Billy Beer?

  3. "I never met a man I didn't like"
    ~Will Rogers~

    "I never met a tyrant I didn't suck"
    ~Jimmah Cawtah~

    Robbins Mitchell