Skip to comments.'Baghdad' Jim McDermott Took Cash from Saddam Ally
Posted on 05/01/2003 9:34:43 AM PDT by kattracks
Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., who famously traveled to Baghdad last fall and pronounced President Bush a liar, accepted a cash payment less than a month later from an Iraqi-American businessman with ties to Saddam Hussein.
McDermott collected the payment from Shakir al-Khafaji, the same Detroit-based Baghdad apologist who paid former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter $400,000 two years ago to make a pro-Saddam documentary about Iraq.
Appearing live from Baghdad on the Sept. 29 broadcast of ABC's "This Week," McDermott proclaimed, "The president of the United States will lie to the American people in order to get us into this war." The comment generated a firestorm of criticism in the U.S. that earned him the moniker, "Baghdad Jim."
A little less than a month later, on Oct. 25, McDermott accepted a check from al-Khafaji for $5,000, made out to the antiwar Democrat's "Legal Expense Trust."
McDermott set up the trust to fend off a lawsuit filed by Ohio Republican John Boehner stemming from McDermott's relationship with a Florida couple who wiretapped a 1997 conference call between Boehner and then-Speaker Newt Gingrich, along with several other Republicans.
The revelation that on the eve of war, a pro-Baghdad U.S. congressman was accepting cash from a Saddam ally was first reported in this week's Weekly Standard.
The magazine said that the McDermott bombshell was uncovered amidst a treasure trove of Ba'ath Party documents discovered by coalition forces after the collapse of Saddam's government. Other documents in the same find indicated that George Galloway, a pro-Saddam member of Britain's Parliament, may have accepted millions of dollars in payments from Baghdad.
The Galloway shocker was first reported by London's Daily Telegraph on April 22.
The staggering news that antiwar politicians on both sides of the Atlantic may have been on Saddam's payroll is fueling concerns that some of the antiwar coverage by Western reporters may have been bought and paid for by Baghdad.
As noted by the Standard, in 1991 the Wall Street Journal reported that Saddam's propaganda strategy included "waging an intensive, sometimes clandestine, and by most accounts highly effective image war in the Arab world" ranging from "financing friendly publications and columnists as far away as Paris to doling out gifts as big as new Mercedes-Benzes."
Today's Washington Times hints there may be a connection between Saddam's attempts to buy favor with influential Westerners and the failure of the U.S. media to devote much attention to the McDermott-Galloway story. Citing the Media Research Center, the Times reports:
"Although the Telegraph began reporting on documents showing Galloway's payoffs on April 22, it's been blacked out at ABC, CBS, NBC, as well as CNN, NPR, Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report.
"'But the outlets most responsible to follow the money trail to Galloway and other anti-war voices are the outlets who promoted them on American airwaves,' said [the MRC's Tim] Graham, citing ABC's 'World News Tonight,' 'Nightline' and 'Good Morning America'; CBS' 'The Early Show'; and 'NBC Nightly News.'"
Read more on this subject in related Hot Topics:
Ritter didn't need money to be turned. Just some of those little girls with the big brown eyes that Uday had lined up. A few pictures and Ritter forgets all about Semper Fidelis.
Just one of the many possible explanations for his 180 degree turn on Iraq.
I don't recall if they suggested McDermott be hanged. No doubt the Washington Post will say nothing and hope we don't notice!