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Why Is FOX News Going After Rep. Jim McDermott?

Reported by Marie Therese - June 29, 2006 -

Jim McDermott is a nine-term Congressman from the 7th Congressional District in Washington State. He is an outspoken critic of the Bush administration and a prime target for the GOP in the upcoming election. McDermott backed a bill that would have amended No Child Left Behind to make it easier for parents to block military recruiters from gaining access to their high school-aged children. He is also an expert on military use of depleted uranium. But his real crime, in the eyes of the Christian right is that he omitted the words "under God" when leading the House in its daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance on April 26, 2004. So FOX News willingly booked guest terror expert, Olivier Guitta, to cast doubt on the Congressman by sliming a Middle Eastern graduate student who works with him.

Using the classic innuendo tactics of a true smear merchant, an oh-so-serious and committed Guitta implied, but never outright stated, that there is an Arab terrorist named Mustafa Khalfi working for Rep. McDermott. If Mr. Khalfi wished to sue for slander, he could not, because when one analyzes exactly what Mr. Guitta and FOX News hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade actually said, one would find that they literally said nothing that is slanderous. Through the very careful and planned juxtaposition of a series of unrelated true statements they masterfully created a false impression.

What, you might ask, are Mr. Khalfi's crimes? Read on!

1. His visa was fully vetted and approved by all pertinent governmental agencies.

2. He is a graduate student at John Hopkins.

3. He's Moroccan.

4. He's a Fulbright Scholar.

5. Since September 2005 he's been a Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

6. He is working for Rep. Jim McDermott, a Democrat that the Republicans want to defeat in November.

7. He edits a Moroccan newspaper.

8. That publication has published a link on its website to Interpal, a 10-year-old British charity legally registered and in good standing with the Charity Commission for England and Wales.

And here is where we reach the crux of this story.

In 2003 George Bush sided with Israel and required that the Department of the Treasury list Interpal as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization in spite of the the fact that our good ally, Great Britain, disagreed strongly with his decision.

In 1996 and again in 2003 Interpal was subjected to two comprehensive investigations by the Charity Commission for England and Wales and both times was absolved of any connection to the militant wing of Hamas. At the time of the 2003 investigation, which was conducted as a direct result of the terrorist designation by the United States, the Bush administration simply did not offer any substantive proof to back up its claim. Therefore, the charity was exonerated.

Subsequently, in 2005 the Board of Deputies of British Jews repeated the allegation and was sued by Interpal. After settling out of court, in December 2004 the Board of Deputies issued this statement: "..We referred to 'terrorist organisations such as Hamas and Interpal'. We would like to make it clear that we should not have described Interpal in this way and we regret the upset and distress our item caused'."

Not willing to give up, in January 2006 fifteen Jewish families in the United States sued NatWest, a banking arm of the Royal Bank of Scotland, claiming that NatWest was giving material assistance to terrorists by providing banking services to the charity. NatWest has asked that the case be dismissed. To date, there has been no disposition (at least that I can discover after multiple searches).

In essence, Olivier Guitta argued that Khalfi is a supporter of terrorism because the website for his Moroccan newspaper contains a link to a website that is recognized as a legitimate, peaceful charity by the country in which it is incorporated and most of the other countries in the world - except the United States and Israel.

In an odd departure, Guitta did not once use the favorite buzz word of the right - Islamofascist - to describe Mustafa Khalfi. Instead he used the word "Islamist", a far broader term meaning "someone who believes in Islam", revealing, perhaps, a belief that all things Islamic are subversive.

Comment: I have tried with no success to discover Mr. Guitta's religious affiliation. I suspect he is not Muslim but, from the tone of the articles I have read, I would venture an educated guess that he is a Christian, possibly even Catholic, based solely on the fact that his biography (below) mentions that he has appeared numerous times on the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN). If anyone out there knows differently, please let me know.

The odd thing about FOX is that they consistently deprive their viewers of significant details about their guests as well as their stories.

Take, for instance, FOX's designation of Guitta as a "terror analyst". Mr. Guitta is considerably more than just a simple "analyst" as we can see from his biography posted on Counterterrorism.com:

Olivier Guitta was born in Morocco and lived then in Spain, France and Germany before moving to the States in 1992. He has a Finance MBA from a French business school and a Masters in economics from the University of Cologne, Germany. He speaks five languages and has over a decade of experience in international banking and portfolio management with two major firms in New York and Miami. After September 11, he decided to switch careers and devote his life to fighting the war of ideas. He moved to the Washington, D.C. area in 2004. Mr. Guitta has broad expertise in Israel, the Arab world , Europe and terrorism. He is a consultant on the Middle East, Europe and terrorism. His clients include prestigious think tanks, lobbying firms and law firms needing assistance on terrorism cases. His daily reading of the Arabic, European, Israeli and US press gives him a different perspective on world events. His articles on the Middle East, Europe, Radical Islam and terrorism have been published in numerous outlets, including the "Weekly Standard", "National Post" (Canada), “Valeurs Actuelles” (France), "Jerusalem Post", " New York Press", "FrontPage Magazine" and "Tech Central Station". He has written in depth studies on Hezbollah for the Brookings Institution, on France's Arab policy for the "Middle East Quarterly", on Euro-US cooperation on terrorism for the American Legislative Exchange Council. His works have been translated in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Dutch. He has been quoted in the Washington Times, New York Sun, Village Voice, Chicago Tribune, The Daily Express( London), Jyllands Posten. He has also appeared numerous times on CBN.

The nagging question is why would someone with Mr. Guitta's admittedly impressive CV waste his time appearing for an interview on a piece of fluff morning show like FOX & Friends First?

Why was it so important for FOX to air this short little smear segment? It contained little of substance other than the fact that Mustafa Khafi - together with 49 million Americans and 70% of the people of the world - was upset that George Bush was elected President in 2004.

Is it so important for the Republicans to embarrass Congressman McDermott that they tapped one of their lesser lights to provide his Republican opponent with material for a negative campaign ad?

Or is it perhaps that the Department of Defense is still stinging over the fact that McDermott was able to force through an amendment guaranteeing that there will be a study done of the effects of depleted uranium on our veterans? The DoD has consistently denied that DU is harmful. However, many military families disagree. For more information click this link where you will read the following words about the parents of a young Iraq veteran who took his own life as the result of PTSD, another condition the DoD doesn't like to face up to:

While sitting in the Emergency Room for ONE HOUR with their dead son's body, being asked and explained about ORGAN DONATION, the nurse got off the phone with University Hospital in Iowa City and told Josh's parents that despite Josh's request to have his organs donated "OH, I'M SORRY, WE FORGOT THAT HE CAN'T DONATE BECAUSE HE WAS IN THE MID EAST... HE HAS A VIRUS."

When asked "WHAT Virus", they were 'put off' an never responded to.

When BEGGED by Josh's parents to TEST him to SEE if he had a VIRUS "just in case he COULD DONATE".. They just said "WE WON'T CHECK THE BODIES, EVERYBODY FROM THE MID EAST HAS GOT IT" ...it's a blanket policy!!

*note* We are still trying to get SOMEONE to tell us WHAT THIS VIRUS IS! And have since found out that RADIATION (DEPLETED URANIUM) is also a "EVERYBODY from the Mid East HAS IT!"

But, then again I could be over-thinking this whole thing.

The reason for this segment could have been something very simple and human. Maybe Mr. Guitta or someone he knows was denied a Fulbright Scholarship and this is just good old fashioned sour grapes?