I originally intended to just post a reply to Deathscythe's blog, 'Pat Robertson at it again'. But there's so much dirt you need to know about Robertson, I had to post this as a separate blog.
Unfortunately, Dr. Marion 'Pat' Robertson's interests aren't limited to the U.S, or to religion and politics. Judging by his actions rather than his words, his main interest has always been MONEY. This article says, "According to Robertson, his close relationship with God has given him the insider's scoop on successfully using what he calls "God's marvelous system of money management"." At the end of this blog, you'll discover why the root of Robertson's interest - or obsession - with money is much more likely to be familial than divine.
After soliciting millions in donations from his 'flock' to help Rwandan refugees in Zaire, he and his buddy, Zaire's dictator Mobutu, actually went looking for diamonds. Zaire's Mobutu was popularly known as the 'President of Kleptocracy' for his looting of Zaire's wealth, with estimates of how much he embezzled ranging from $2-6 billion. Yet "Robertson remained firm in defending Mobutu as a good Christian and friend to the west in the war against communism."
His warm ties with other authoritarian leaders throughout the world have included Guatemalan President Jorge Serrano, a fervent Pentecostal Christian who wanted to establish a theocratic government and was a protege of the dictator General Efrain Rios Montt. In his book "The New World Order," Robertson praised both leaders as examples of "enlightened leadership." Another case involves Zambian President Frederick Chiluba, who in 1991 embraced a form of old testament Christian Reconstructionism and declared his country 'a Christian nation'.
"Wouldn't you love to have someone like that as president of the United States of America?" Robertson asked viewers of his '700 Club' television program. According to Rob Boston, author of The Most Dangerous Man in America? Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition, Chiluba saturated Zambia's public schools with fundamentalist Christian propaganda, and ordered the nation's Hindu, Islamic and animist minorities out of the national educational system. Chiluba also announced that state-run television and radio would broadcast only fundamentalist Christian religious programming, again telling members of minority religions that they would have to build their own facilities. Chiluba shut down abortion clinics and conducted an anti-pornography crusade. Fundamentalist ministers and missionaries were given license to work with the police to publicly burn any material they deemed obscene.
Robertson briefly had ties to the Bank of Scotland, which named him chairman of its new American consumer-bank holding company. According to this article, in 1999, Robertson had a net worth estimated at between $200 million and $1 billion. In an interview with The Observer, he said his share of the reported $50 million in start-up capital for this Bank of Scotland venture was 'just a small investment for me.'
This article also provides more info on the 'diamonds and dictators' article. 'Operation Blessing' was supposedly set up to alleviate the woes of refugees fleeing genocide in Rwanda. Through an emotional fundraising drive on his TV network, Robertson raised several million tax-free dollars for 'Operation Blessing', which was purportedly to be used for medical supplies at a refugee camp in Goma, Zaire (now Congo). But the planes that Robertson bought with those donated millions were used, with the exception of one medical flight, to haul equipment for his diamond mining operation - a long way from Goma. When two pilots of 'Operation Blessing' said they'd spent most of their time ferrying mining supplies, the State of Virginia opened an investigation of Robertson's operation, to be done by the VA Attorney General's office. VA Attorney General Mark Earley, who received a 1997 campaign contribution of $35,000 from Robertson, eventually came under fire for keeping the investigation and it's findings under wraps, and I have yet to find an article saying whether his findings were ever made public.
"One of Robertson's former business partners recalled that, although he often travelled in the minister's jet, he never saw Robertson crack open a Bible. 'Everywhere we were flying he had the Wall Street Journal and Investors' Daily."
But as the Palast article points out, "The diamond safari went bust, as did Robertson's ventures in vitamin sales and multi-level marketing. These disastrous investments added to his losses in oil refining, the Founders Inn Hotel and a jet- leasing fiasco. One cannot term a demi-billionaire a poor businessman - but, outside of the media, Robertson could not cite for me any commercial success."
According to this article, his Bank of Scotland deal went south after Robertson described Scotland as a "dark" land populated by powerful homosexuals. So many Bank of Scotland customers protested by canceling their private accounts, that the bank severed their ties to Robertson.
As of '99, Robertson owned 2 million shares of Laura Ashley stock. The Laura Ashley brand of home decor, fashion, and baby items is sold in the U.S. by, among other retailers, Target and Kohl's. Around the same time as the ill-fated Bank of Scotland deal, Robertson was also appointed to Laura Ashley's Board of Directors. But due to the publicity over his statement about Scotland and the resulting protest over his Bank of Scotland deal, human rights and gay organizations also mounted a protest that got Robertson ousted from the Laura Ashley board.
This article also says Robertson was [and possibly still is] partnered with 'a Malaysian group' that provides 'no news-no sex-no violence television programming' throughout China and much of Asia. Most likely, this 'Malaysian group' is MUI Group (Malayan United Industries), which owns a controlling interest in Laura Ashley and the UK's Corus hotels (among other ventures). MUI Global's homepage says it's success is due to its loyal workforce, dynamic management, and "above all, by the grace of God".
In 2000, undetered by his '99 diamond-mining losses, Robertson created another Cayman-based company, saying this company would spend up to $15 million to look for gold in Liberia, in partnership with the Liberian government, i.e. the dictatorship of 'President' Charles Taylor. Political opponents and human rights groups have frequently accused Liberian President Charles Taylor of operating a criminal cabal dealing in everything from weapons to development concessions of Liberia's vast gold, diamond and other mineral reserves. And they say Taylor is as ruthless as Mobutu in trying to crush political dissent, suppress religious minorities, and enrich himself in the process.
It bears mentioning that in 1980 there was a bloody coup in Liberia, and Samuel Doe became head of state. After taking office in 1981, Ronald Reagan increased military and other aid to prop up this new Liberian government, and Doe emerged as a central player in US geopolitical strategy. During that time, there was widespread corruption and misappropriation of aid funds, and in 1983, 'President' Charles Taylor, then a procurement official in the Doe government, fled to the US after being charged with embezzling millions of dollars. US Marshals put Taylor in a Massachucetts jail to await extradition, but in 1985 Taylor somehow managed to escape. Of course, it's probably just a coincidence that by 1985, the US was getting annoyed with the Doe government's rampant corruption. After escaping from this Mass. jail, Taylor somehow managed to completely drop out of site until 1989, when he re-entered Liberia at the head of a band of guerillas, and started a civil war that left at least 150,000 dead and another 500,000 homeless. Taylor described this bloody civil war as an act of God to punish Liberians for their sins.
If you keep up with current affairs, perhaps you know that Liberia's neighbor, The Ivory Coast, has for some years now been enduring a civil war. Roving bands of militia rape and pillage the populace at will - as do some of the UN troops that are supposedly there to try to restore order - since there is no government to speak of. What you may not know is that Charles Taylor's regime is largely responsible for the proliferation of arms in Africa, and allows these Ivory Coast militias to use Liberia as a base of operations. Taylor's 'Special Security Service' has also been accused of numerous human rights abuses, including 'extrajudicial killings', torture, and other cruel and inhuman treatments and punishments.
Warlord-turned-President Charles Taylor also embarked on a religious crusade. He views his regime as anointed by god. When a top aide and several civilians standing nearby were killed in an October, 1996 assassination attempt, Taylor escape unharmed and promptly headed over to the KISS studios to inform the nation, "I have survived by the grace of God." Shortly after that, he fired most of his Cabinet and the heads of several agencies who failed to attend one of his mandatory prayer services, saying 'Any government official who does not know God will not serve in my government.'
Palast's article says that in his younger days, Pat Robertson gave up worldly wealth to work in the ghettos of New York. But a former Christian Coalition executive says, 'Pat's changed'. This change accelerated in 1988 when, according to his former television co-host Danuta Soderman Pfeiffer, 'he was ensnared by the idea that God called him to run for President of the United States'. Although the media still incorrectly refer to him as 'Reverend Pat', he gave up his ordination as a Baptist minister in 1988.
The 1988 run for the Oval Office, which began with Robertson announcing his endorsement by the 'Highest Authority', was not some quixotic adventure. The race generated a mailing list of 3 million Americans, whose rage against the establishment was given voice by Robertson, who formed the Christian Coalition out of his campaign defeat.
In 1997, Christian Broadcast Network, Robertson's 'ministry', took in $164 million in donations plus an additional $34 million in other income. A tidal wave of tax-deductible cash, generated by a daily dose of holiness, paid for the cable channel - which was sold in 1997 to Rupert Murdoch for $1.82 billion. However, seven years prior to this sale, the tax-exempt 'ministry' had been 'spun off' into a for-profit corporation, in which Robertson held the controlling interest. Robertson donated hundreds of millions of dollars from the Murdoch deal to both CBN and CBN University (now Regent University).
Two former top executives in the for-profit operation said that the tax-exempt religious group's mailing lists and the Christian Coalition's mailing lists were used to build what became Kalo-Vita, the pyramid sales enterprise that sold vitamins and other products. That company collapsed in 1992. A former Kalo-Vita officer alleged some of Kalo-Vita's operations, including offices, phones and secretarial help, were funded, without compensation, by donations to the ministry. When questions arose about using donations for a commercial enterprise, Robertson produced minutes of board meetings that characterised as 'loans' the start-up capital obtained from CBN. Not all board members were made aware of these meetings until months after they were held.
Palast's article also says the US Federal Election Commission charged Robertson's groups with misusing mailing lists. Federal courts reviewed Christian Coalition internal documents, including a Sept. 1992 memo, from Ralph Reed to the coordinator of President George H.W. Bush's re-election campaign, which said Robertson was prepared to assist by distributing 40 million voter guides.
At the time, this offer represented an unprecedented level of cooperation and assistance from 'Christian leaders'. Unprecedented and illegal, said the Federal Election Commission, which took legal action against the Christian Coalition, technically a tax-exempt educational corporation, for channelling campaign support worth tens of millions of dollars to Republican candidates.
Records subpoenaed by the FEC from the Christian Coalition contained a carefully scripted set of questions and answers by the Coalition and the Republican Party for a 1992 'interview' with Bush, Sr. by Robertson, broadcast on 700 Club.
Palast says this caught his eye - first, because it appeared to constitute a prohibited campaign commercial; and second, because Robertson had months earlier claimed in his book New World Order that Bush was 'unwittingly carrying out the mission of Lucifer'. With Bush running behind Bill Clinton, Robertson must have decided to stick with the devil he knew.
The FEC never saw all of the Christian Coalition documents they'd subpoenaed. Judy Liebert, formerly chief financial officer for the Christian Coalition, told Palast she was present when Coalition president Ralph Reed personally destroyed crucial documents.
When Liebert complained to Robertson about 'financial shenanigans' at the Coalition, 'Pat told me I was "unsophisticated". Well, that is a strange thing for a Christian person to say to me.'
The Coalition has attacked Liebert as a disgruntled ex-employee whom it fired. She responds that she was sacked only after she went to government authorities - and after she refused an $80,000 severance fee that would have required her to remain silent about the Coalition and Robertson.
Liebert also claimed that her evidence about the Coalition's illegal printing of Republican campaign literature, stored on the hard drive of her computer, had been removed. Indeed, the entire hard drive had been mysteriously pulled from her machine - but not before she had made secret copies of the files.
The Feds never acted on Liebert's charge of evidence tampering, and little of all this about Robertson has been reported in the press. Why? Palest says that while researching his article on Robertson, he endured an hour-long diatribe by Robertson's chief banking officer, Volder, who threatened to use Britain's draconian libel law and Robertson's bottomless financial treasure chest to sue any newspaper that didn't provide what he called a 'balanced' view. Volder also boasted that one of Robertson's lawyers had 'virtually written' a lauditory profile of Robertson which appeared in one UK newspaper.
In his book New World Order (written before his ill-fated deal with the Bank of Scotland), Robertson singled out, as the apotheosis of Satan's plan for world domination, the British-chartered central banks conceived by Scottish banker William Paterson. In the book, Robertson explains that Rothschild interests carried on the Paterson plan, financing diamond mines in Africa which, in turn, funded the 'satanic' secret English Round Table directed by Lord Milner.
The Scottish banker's charter became the pattern for the US Federal Reserve Board, a 'diabolic agency', according to Robertson, that was created and nurtured by the US Senate Finance Committee, whose chairman was Senator A. Willis Robertson - Pat Robertson's father.
Palast asks, "Are you following this? That's right. Pat is the scion of the New World Order, who gave up its boundless privileges to denounce it. Or did he? As I drove away from the chapel/TV studio/ university/ ministry/banking complex, I realised I, too, had a vision of an 'Invisible Cord' that went from Scottish bankers to African diamonds to the Senate Finance Committee to Christian conservatives to the communist dictators to the World Wide Web... "
Oh dear, I think I forgot to mention Robertson's Chinese internet firm, which he calls 'the Yahoo of China'. Well, I'll leave that, and any further research, to you guys.