This tiny mistake is most embarrassing for the Post-Gazette's main conservative columnist. Most embarrassing.
This Sunday, he wrote:
Hamas (the Arabic acronym for “Islamic Resistance Movement”) was founded in 1987 with initial funding from Saddam Hussein, according to Discover the Networks, a website that tracks the political left. Hamas is an affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan Muslimin) founded in 1928, which received initial support from Adolf Hitler.I'm not here to defend Hamas or Israel or the Muslim Brotherhood or Saddam Hussein or Adolph Hitler. Let's just get that out of the way. I'm just doing what my good friends at the Post-Gazette should be doing: Fact-checking Jack Kelly.
Let begin. Jack says that Hamas was founding in 1987 with initial funding from Saddam Hussein and uses as a source this website, Discover the Networks.
Well, let's go see what DtN has to say about Hamas. At the top of the page there's a set of bullet points - and this, I believe, is where Jack made his embarrassment:
- Islamic terrorist group founded in 1987
- Received funding from Saddam Hussein
Take a look at the "Saddam" passage:
Some clandestine fundraising takes place in Western Europe and North America as well. When the United Nations Oil-For-Food program was in effect, Iraqi president Saddam Hussein skimmed more than $21 billion from its coffers and sent some of it directly to Hamas.So according to the website Jack cited as saying the funding was "initial," whatever Saddam money that made its way to Hamas came from the UN's Oil for Food program. And when you follow DtN's link above, among the first things you read is this:
Established in 1995 by U.N. Security Council Resolution 986But how can that be "initial funding" if Hamas was founded eight years earlier? In any event, how much of the Oil for Food billions were sent to Hamas? As far as I can tell, not much. Take a look at this from the Council on Foreign Relations:
Iraq has also supported the Islamist Hamas movement and reportedly channeled money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. A secular dictator, however, Saddam tended to support secular terrorist groups rather than Islamist ones such as al-Qaeda, experts say.In fact, the only reliable corroborating info I can squeeze out of the internets reference those payments to the families of some suicide bombers. Like this from CBS:
Saddam Hussein has distributed $260,000 to 26 families of Palestinians killed in 29 months of fighting with Israel, including a $10,000 check to the family of a Hamas suicide bomber.So while Jack mis-cites DtN, and DtN talks billions, the real number may, in fact be in the thousands. Remember, Saddam was secular and supported secular terror - not faith-based terror. Initial or otherwise.
Which leads me to the next "initial" reference of Jack's. The "initial support" Hitler gave the Muslim Brotherhood. Jack says the Brotherhood was founded in 1928 and "received initial support from Adolph Hitler."
This is surprising since Hitler's Nazi party only held 12 of the 491 seats in the German Parliament after the elections of May 1928. They only rose to power 5 years later.
Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the first thing they did was to support the brotherhood, how can that possibly be "initial" support??
It's a small point, but AGAIN, DOESN'T ANYONE FACT-CHECK JACK KELLY?
And now the useful post script. What is "Discover The Networks" anyway? From its website we learn:
Welcome to DiscoverTheNetworks, a project of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This website is a "Guide to the Political Left." It identifies the individuals and organizations that make up the left, and also the institutions that fund and sustain the left; it maps the paths through which the left exerts its influence on the larger body politic; it defines the left's (often hidden) programmatic agendas; and it provides an understanding of the left's history and ideas.How that overlaps any discussion of Saddam Hussein's interactions with Hamas are anyone's guess. And who is David Horowitz? The Southern Poverty Law Center has an idea:
Horowitz, who spent his young years as a Marxist, has in recent years become a furious far-right antagonist of liberals and leftists. He also provides some funding support for other anti-Muslim ventures, including, according to the blog SpencerWatch.com, paying Spencer $132,537 to run the JihadWatch website. Horowitz sees no philosophical gradations; if you're not in total agreement with his view of Islam, you're in favor of Muslim hegemony. He believes the Muslim Brotherhood and "Islamofascists" control most American Muslim organizations, especially Muslim student groups on college campuses.Do I need to mention that the David Horowitz Freedom Center is a hard right organization? One that's received about 36% of it's foundational suport from the Scaife Foundations?
So can hardly be a balanced and thoughtful information source, can it?
If all of that is the case, then HOW CAN JACK KELLY USE IT AS A CREDIBLE SOURCE FOR A COLUMN?
Doesn't ANYONE check these things on the Boulevard of the Allies?