Beck, Poe play guilt-by-association to baselessly link Soros to Kenyan violence

Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

During his Fox News show today, Glenn Beck invented yet another offense that George Soros committed: he "interfered in Kenya in 2007 in the elections, and how that interference played a role in creating complete chaos there." He pointed readers to an article about it on his website by discredited author Richard Poe.

In the article, Poe asserted: "Following Kenya's disputed elections of December 2007, activists funded by Soros' Open Society Institute demanded that the election be overturned. The country erupted into violence, leaving more than 1,100 people dead and some 350,000 homeless. Thousands were injured, tortured, mutilated and raped."

According to Poe, Soros' Open Society Institute helped to fund a radio station in "one of Nairobi's largest and most violent slums" that discussed "political participation," and it mobilized youths with a campaign that "lured thousands of young people to all-day music events, which doubled as recruiting venues." This, Poe claimed "followed the familiar five steps" that Soros uses to overthrow a government. When questions were raised about the 2007 presidential election, Poe wrote, "a coalition of Kenyan activist groups which would soon become known as Kenyans for Peace, Truth and Justice (KPTJ)," which received Soros money, contested the results. This was followed by "horrific acts of violence" that killed hundreds.

Even though Poe offered no evidence that KPTJ was involved in any acts of violence -- to the contrary, it condemned the violence -- he insisted that "the violence helped their cause. The election was overturned. International arbitrators negotiated a peace deal, in which [challenger Raila] Odinga now shares power with [incumbent leader Mwai] Kibaki. Once more, a team of Soros-funded activists managed to stop an election in its tracks. Once more, Soros altered a country's destiny. But this time, the price was high. Whether intentionally or not, Soros' Kenya operation cost many lives."

That's guilt by association in his most blatant form. Poe has accused Soros of doing nothing more than getting people involved in the political process and challenging the results of an election that even Poe admits were "questionable." The view that the election was riddled with fraud is pretty much universal; the UK's Independent found "systematic electoral fraud including vote-rigging in a third of all constituencies, stuffed ballot boxes and election officials changing results," and National Review reported that "turnout was in some places over 100 percent" and that vote-count discrepancies between on-the-ground reports and what came out of Nairobi's central election headquarters invariably added votes in Kibaki's favor, adding: "And so was an election rigged -- clumsily, even by African standards."

Poe never explains why getting people involved in politics is a bad thing -- though he hints that because the people purportedly targets for involvement lived in "violent slums" they are unworthy of the privilege -- or what was so offensive about speaking out about election fraud. Again, any evidence to back up his desperate attempt to impugn Soros is lacking.

Given that Beck's so-called evidence against Soros has consisted largely of false claims and statements plucked out of context, his reliance on such an empty article by Poe is not surprising.

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