Echoing the rantings of political extremist Lyndon LaRouche and his followers, David Horowitz and Richard Poe charge in their new book that George Soros was a Nazi “collaborator in fascist Hungary” and “survived [the Holocaust] by assimilating to Nazism” as a 14-year-old boy. Horowitz and Poe further smear Soros and other progressives by doctoring or distorting quotes and falsely or misleadingly portraying events and statements.
In a book to be released August 8 that otherwise recycles the authors' old attacks from the discredited, Richard Mellon Scaife-backed right-wing website FrontpageMag.com, David Horowitz and Richard Poe newly charge that progressive financier, philanthropist, and political activist George Soros was a Nazi “collaborator in fascist Hungary” and “survived [the Holocaust] by assimilating to Nazism” as a 14-year-old boy.
Soros is a Hungarian-born Jew who survived the Nazi occupation of Budapest. The unsourced smearing of Soros as a Nazi collaborator echoes the obscure anti-Semitic rantings of political extremist Lyndon LaRouche and his followers, who have referred to Soros as a “Nazi beast-man” and a “small cog in Adolf Eichmann's killing machine,” aiding “the Holocaust against 500,000 Hungarian Jews.” (See, for example, the article "Dope Czar Bids to Buy Up The Democratic Party," from the 2004 LaRouche pamphlet Children of Satan II: The Beast Men).
In echoing the LaRouchite Nazi collaborator smear in their new book The Shadow Party: How George Soros, Hillary Clinton and Sixties Radicals Seized Control of the Democratic Party -- published by Nelson Current, an imprint of religious book publisher Thomas Nelson Inc. that started as a partnership with conservative website WorldNetDaily -- Horowitz and Poe mark a new low in the long-running Republican Party and conservative movement campaign of scurrilous personal attacks against Soros, a major supporter of progressive causes in the U.S. and abroad.
There was stiff competition for the prior low. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) smeared Soros on the August 29, 2004, edition of Fox News Sunday, insinuating to an apparently incredulous Chris Wallace that Soros received money from drug cartels. As Jack Shafer, editor-at-large for the website Slate, noted in his September 1, 2004, column, Hastert's attack on Soros appeared inspired by LaRouche, who distributed campaign literature in 2004 claiming that Soros receives money “from impoverishment of the poor countries against whose currencies he speculates, and from deadly mind-destroying, terrorism-funding drugs.”
Also, as Media Matters for America documented, Tony Blankley, editorial page editor of The Washington Times and former aide to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA), appeared on the June 3, 2004, edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes and said of Soros: “He was a Jew who figured out a way to survive the Holocaust.” The Nation columnist Eric Alterman reported that in a later exchange with Blankley about the slur, Blankley “expressed 'regret' that his statement on Hannity & Colmes was 'both incomplete and pregnant with a malicious implication I did not intend.' He claimed that, having read an assertion on the Internet that Soros collaborated with the Nazis, he 'started down that path and thought better of it in mid-sentence' in his appearance on Fox.” Alterman concluded, “It is hard to imagine a more immoral strategy to use against a Jewish opponent than to insinuate that his family were Nazi collaborators (not that a teenage George Soros would have had much to say in the matter at the time).”
Perhaps Horowitz and Poe chose to complete Blankley's sentence because they have nothing else new to say. Their book substantially reproduces Poe's May 2004 article in NewsMax Magazine, “George Soros' Coup” -- debunked at the time by Media Matters -- and, though the authors fail to acknowledge it, a lengthy three-part series by Horowitz and Poe published in October 2004 on FrontPageMag.com, also titled “The Shadow Party,” that drew no attention from the media nor from Media Matters. The job is so thoughtlessly cut-and-pasted that a glaring error from the FrontPageMag.com series -- a reference to a non-existent major progressive donor “Peter Bing” -- is duplicated in the book, though elsewhere in the book he is referred to correctly as Stephen Bing.
Both NewsMax and FrontPageMag.com, an organ of the recently renamed nonprofit David Horowitz Freedom Center (formerly the Center for the Study of Popular Culture), are supported by right-wing billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, who has spent more than $350 million to fuel conservative politics, including the bankrolling of a $2 million shadow smear campaign against Bill and Hillary Clinton in the 1990s, known as the "Arkansas Project" and laundered through The American Spectator magazine, that Horowitz defended once it was exposed. The first notice of The Shadow Party book appeared July 30 in the form of a Q-and-A with Horowitz in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which is owned by Scaife. Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Robert “Buzz” Patterson, author of the book Dereliction of Duty: The Eyewitness Account of How Bill Clinton Compromised America's National Security (Regnery, 2003) -- and who has made false claims about President Clinton's relationship with former director of central intelligence George Tenet -- was recently named vice president and chief operating officer of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Poe serves as “director of research and investigative projects” for the center. He and Horowitz collaborate on a website called Discover the Networks, a "guide to the political left" dedicated to tracking the so-called Shadow Party, and they also collaborated, until it was recently shuttered, on a group blog called Moonbat Central.
The Horowitz-Poe project on Soros appears to have gotten under way during a tight 2004 presidential race in which George W. Bush's re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee sought to make a negative issue of Soros and his support of various progressive independent political committees and non-profit organizations (the so-called Shadow Party).
FrontPageMag.com has rivaled LaRouchite websites as a font of anti-Soros propaganda, publishing numerous invective-laced articles, such as a November 13, 2003, article by author Lowell Ponte that cited what Ponte called an “anti-Semitic publication,” the Historical Review Press, to bolster allegations that Soros caused the devaluation of the Russian ruble in 1998. In the endnotes to the new book -- amid references to previously published material of widely varying credibility, from The Washington Post to The American Spectator's American Prowler website, to Internet gossip Matt Drudge -- the authors cite only one actual interview. Neoconservative operative Rachel Ehrenfeld is improbably described as “one source close to Hillary's inner circle,” though a quick check by Media Matters reveals that she, too, turns out to be a Soros-hating co-author (with Shawn Macomber) of a two-part October 2004 FrontPageMag.com series titled “The Man Who Would Be Kingmaker,” which refers to Soros as a “nut” and a “madman” who may be suffering from “schizophrenia.” (Horowitz's co-author Poe has also referred to Soros as a “madman,” as Media Matters has noted.)
With character assassination as the main course, The Shadow Party serves up warmed-over side plates of doctored quotes, shoddy scholarship, factual errors, and baseless insinuations on matters both small and large. Some examples follow.
(A Media Matters review of Horowitz's last book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America (Regnery, January 2006), also turned up multiple falsehoods, one of which Horowitz was forced to concede. Through his organization, Horowitz spearheads a purported academic watchdog campaign, Students for Academic Freedom, in which he has admitted perpetrating a false claim. Poe's previous book, Hillary's Secret War: The Clinton Conspiracy to Muzzle Internet Journalists (WND Books/Nelson Current, 2003) claimed that Clinton “personally led a secret police force from her office in the White House,” and that independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr led a cover-up of wrongdoing by the Clintons. In an endnote to their new book, the authors write, “In the interests of full disclosure, it should be mentioned that both co-authors of this book have, on several occasions, been targets of stunningly mendacious hatchet jobs on Mr. [Media Matters President and CEO David] Brock's website.” In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that the authors regard Media Matters as part of the so-called Shadow Party).
Doctored, misrepresented quotes
Horowitz and Poe doctored or misrepresented at least two references to the biography Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire by Michael Kaufman (Alfred A. Knopf, 2002).
On one page, the authors accused Soros of “assimilating to Nazism”; on another, they suggested a hidden affinity for Communism. They wrote on page 81: “He insists to this day that Communism repelled him, yet he admits that he told his father in 1946, 'I'd like to go to Moscow to find out about Communism. I mean that's where the power is. I'd like to know more about it.'” The endnotes refer to page 52 of the Kaufman book, where Soros is quoted as having said to his father at age 16, “I said I'd like to go to Moscow, to find out about Communism. I mean that's where the power is. Or maybe go to England because of the BBC, which we listened to.” (Soros, in fact, moved to England).
On page 76, Horowitz and Poe wrote, " 'My goal is to become the conscience of the world,' Soros immodestly confessed to his biographer Michael Kaufman, in a moment of candor that would give megalomania a bad name." On page 293 of his book, Kaufman wrote: “He continued in an outburst of confessional candor: 'Yes, I do have a foreign policy, and now I have it more consciously. My goal is to become the conscience of the world.' The words sounded less pompous in conversation than they appear in print. Perhaps the hubris was modulated by a wink or a smile. 'When I talk about being engaged in policy issues, that's really what I mean. I think that creating a global open society should be our goal. There ought to be a development strategy that is clearly guided by the striving for an open society. And that is what is missing. I mean there is plenty of money for waging war, and there is absolutely no money for waging peace.”
Horowitz and Poe also doctored a quote from a Soros speech delivered at the 2004 Take Back America Conference, where he commented on the abuses at Abu Ghraib. One page 53, they report that Soros said: “I think that the picture of torture in Abu Ghraib, in Saddam's prison, was the moment of truth for us,...I think that those pictures hit us in the same way as the terrorist attack itself, not quite with the same force because in the terrorist attack we were the victims. In the pictures we were the perpetrators, others were the victims. But there is, I'm afraid, a direct connection between those two events, because the way President Bush conducted the war on terror converted us from victims into perpetrators.” The authors cite the text of Soros's speech as their source. Yet they use an ellipsis to cut out 10 words in the first sentence, altering the meaning of the passage. The sentence reads in full (with the text Horowitz and Poe deleted in italics): “I think that the picture of torture at Abu Ghraib, in Saddam's prison, was the moment of truth for us, because that is not who we are as a nation.”
In imputing anti-Semitism to Soros, the authors wrote on page 79: “More revealing still is the fact that Soros would cite this incident [with the Judenrat, a Jewish community organization in Budapest that was pressured by the Nazis], so many years later, as a reason for disliking fellow Jews.” They supply no source. According to page 167 of the Kaufman biography, Soros years later cited his experience with the Judenrat as a reason for why he had been unresponsive to philanthropic requests from Jewish community organizations, not for “disliking fellow Jews.”
Similarly, Horowitz and Poe distorted remarks made by Soros to a Jewish Funders Network event in 2003, misleadingly describing Soros as calling “on fellow Jews to acknowledge what he called their role in provoking anti-Semitism around the world.” In fact, Soros attributed “a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe” not to “fellow Jews” but specifically to the foreign policies of the Bush administration and the Sharon government in Israel.
On page 5, Horowitz and Poe addressed Soros' alleged “power to break currencies with a single utterance,” and “the possibility that Soros might one day deploy his market alchemy to the disadvantage of the United States.” They wrote:
What [former Rep. Henry] Gonzalez [D-TX] feared has come to pass. “I have to disclose that I now have a short position against the dollar.” Soros announced on CNN in May 2003. At a time when the US dollar had fallen to a four-year low against the euro, Soros now helped push it lower by informing the world that he had begun cashing in dollars in exchange for euros and other foreign currencies.
Their endnote for this read simply: “Interview with George Soros, CNN, 20 May 2003.” A Nexis search turned up no Soros interview on CNN that day -- because the interview was actually on CNBC. Also, Horowitz and Poe cropped Soros's quote, and left out the portion in which Soros explained that his decision was based on statements from then-Treasury Secretary John Snow. As Reuters reported that same day:
Since last week, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow has made several remarks that suggested to traders that the United States has abandoned its long-standing strong dollar policy -- in the process touching off a broad rout in the dollar.
“I have to disclose that I now have a short position against the dollar because I listen to what the Secretary of the Treasury is telling me,” Soros said in the interview.
If Soros was trying to “break” the dollar, it was because he was joining other investors in responding to Snow's statements.
“Where Soros goes, Hillary Clinton cannot be far behind,” Horowitz and Poe reported on page 70: “The junior senator from New York played a quiet but significant role in founding the American Constitution Society [ACS, which has received support from Soros]. While the Society's website does not acknowledge any formal affiliation with Hillary, the National Law Journal reports that she serves on the Board of Advisors.”
The authors are correct that Sen. Clinton is not listed on the society's website as a member of its Board of Advisors. They are also correct that the National Law Journal reported that she was on the board. But the NLJ article simply asserts this as fact, without sourcing the claim and without any indication that the writer contacted either ACS or Clinton to confirm it. Yet, faced with a conflict between the law journal report and the organization's website, Horowitz and Poe chose to reject the likely explanation -- that the report was simply mistaken, and that Sen. Clinton isn't listed as a member of the board because she isn't one -- and instead accused Clinton and the organization of an unlikely plot to hide the affiliation. Of course, if the authors had really wanted to resolve the conflict, they could have followed basic rules of reportage by checking with the senator or the organization, but there is no evidence they did that.
Falsely represented news articles
Also botched is an effort to tie Soros's book The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered (PublicAffairs Books, 1998) to a purported “revelation concerning Clinton's economic plans” later that year. On page 217, Horowitz and Poe wrote:
Suddenly Soros was everywhere, hawking his book on major talk shows and calling for new planet-wide regulatory bodies capable of restraining the destructive impulses of investors such as himself. The New York Times reported on 14 November 1998 that, coincidentally or not, in response to the growing worldwide recession, President “Clinton has proposed a 'third way' between capitalism and socialism.” At this point, most Americans were too distracted by the Monica Lewinsky scandal to notice the revelation concerning Clinton's economic plans, but whatever his intentions, he never got a chance to implement them.
But the Times reported no such “revelation” about “third way” or any other new economic plans that day. The Times reference -- “Mr. Clinton has proposed a 'third way,' between capitalism and socialism” -- was buried in an essay on the global financial crisis that appeared on page 9 of the Arts & Ideas section with a Berlin dateline. Of course, Clinton had talked about charting a “third way” in politics since running for president in 1992; he didn't lift the concept from a 1998 Soros book, as the authors wrongly imply. In fact, as early as Dec. 13, 1993, the Times ran an article headlined, “3 Schools of Thought on Clinton's '3d Way.'”
In another case, the authors reprint a false news report with apparent full knowledge of its falsity before correcting it themselves. On page 88, they write, “His motives in pursuing philanthropy have often been questioned.” As back-up, they cite a 1995 article in the London Sunday Times by right-wing commentator Taki Theodoracopulos, who reported, erroneously, that “all [Soros] philanthropy began in 1987, the first year he and his fund had to pay taxes. Charitable matters are tax deductible and Soros says his aim is to give way half his yearly income, the maximum he can deduct.” But Soros' philanthropy did not start “the first year he and his fund had to pay taxes”; it started in 1979, as Horowitz and Poe acknowledge in the very sentence following the Times reference. “In fairness to Soros,” they write uncharacteristically, “he actually began dabbling in philanthropy as early as 1979.” Then why print the falsehood?
Misstated backgrounds of Halperin, Neier
Though they reprint, without acknowledgement and essentially verbatim, several thousand words of their old FrontPageMag.com series attacking Soros, the authors do make one substantial change to the book text. In the series, they wrote of Morton Halperin, then a Nixon administration official and current director of U.S. advocacy for Soros's Open Society Institute (OSI): “With Halperin's tacit encouragement --and perhaps active collusion -- [Daniel] Ellsberg stole the secret history and released it to The New York Times, which published the documents as 'The Pentagon Papers' in June 1971.” But the book changes the sentence to: “Ellsberg removed the classified documents and released them to the New York Times, which published them as 'The Pentagon Papers' in June 1971.” In the new version of the authors' tale, Halperin neither encouraged nor colluded; he just isn't there.
Nevertheless, Horowitz and Poe got basic information about Halperin's background wrong. On page 24 they wrote that Halperin “became director of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1984 to 1992 and head of its 'National Security Archives.'” Halperin, however, was never director of the ACLU. As his OSI bio states, Halperin was director of the ACLU's Washington office from 1984 to 1992. Also, the National Security Archive is a separate, independent organization affiliated with George Washington University, and Halperin never headed it. The National Security Archive website states that Halperin “was an original sponsor of the Archive when he was Washington director of the American Civil Liberties Union.”
The authors are no more careful in their treatment of others named in the book. For instance, in linking the Weather Underground to Aryeh Neier, the president of Soros' Open Society Institute, they write on page 23:
During the Vietnam War, SDS [Students for a Democratic Society, with which Neier was affiliated] was the student group most responsible for fanning the flames of unrest on U.S. campuses, and later transformed itself into the terrorist Weather Underground, which declared war on 'Amerikka' and bombed the Pentagon and the Capitol. By that time, however, Neier had moved on to more important projects.
Contrary to what Horowitz and Poe assert, Students for a Democratic Society did not “transform itself into the Weather Underground.” SDS essentially disintegrated following a power struggle during its 1969 convention; a splinter group comprised of some former SDS members who thought the organization was too moderate formed the Weather Underground. Moreover, if Neier had “moved on” before the Weather Underground was formed, why do the authors falsely link him to it?
Distorted NY City Council coverage
On pages 43-44, Horowitz and Poe attacked the New York City Council -- which they claimed was comprised of “Soros' shadow warriors” -- for passing a March 12, 2003, resolution opposing a pre-emptive strike on Iraq. Horowitz and Poe wrote that “an alien force had taken the city government by stealth,” and that New Yorkers were left largely unaware of the resolution because the local media “downplayed the event to the point of invisibility.” They cited one New York Post columnist, Andrea Peyser, who they claimed was "[a]lmost alone among her journalistic colleagues" in attacking the city council in a March 13, 2003, column. In fact, a Nexis search revealed that The New York Times, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, and The New York Sun all reported and/or editorialized on the city council's Iraq resolution. The Post and the Sun in particular published several scathing editorials. Additionally, CNN aired four separate stories on the resolution on March 12, 2003.
Horowitz and Poe also attacked the city council for passing a February 4, 2004, resolution declaring New York City a “civil liberties safe zone,” and the New York media for again allegedly ignoring the council's actions. According to Horowitz and Poe:
On 4 February 2004, New York City's ACORN [Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now]-dominated City Council went a step beyond the [Iraq war] resolution, approving an ordinance that declared the Big Apple a “civil liberties safe zone,” meaning that the city officially renounces the USA-PATRIOT Act and refuses to cooperate with federal counterterror operations authorized under that act. This was part of the national movement described in Chapter 2, organized by the American Civil Liberties Union and other left-wing groups. Once again, local media failed to draw attention to the legislation, and most New Yorkers, to this day, have no idea it was ever passed.
Horowitz's and Poe's citation for this claim, however, is simply a Bill of Rights Defense Committee press release praising the city council's resolution. The source in no way supports their claim that the local media ignored the story, or that most New Yorkers are unaware the resolution was ever passed.
Falsely claimed Soros founded the National Voting Rights Institute
On page 126, Horowitz and Poe wrote: “George Soros took up the torch of the voting rights movement, founding the National Voting Rights Institute in 1994, with John Bonifaz as president.” In fact, it was Bonifaz, an attorney and current Democratic candidate for Massachusetts secretary of state, who founded the National Voting Rights Institute in 1994. Indeed, it is unlikely that the OSI even contributed monetarily to the NVRI's founding, as the OSI's U.S. grant-making initiative was not established until 1996.
On pages 27-29, Horowitz and Poe attempted to expose the “larger pattern” of secrecy under which the Open Society Institute operates by citing OSI's 2002 donation to the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee. Stewart, an attorney and activist, served as counsel to Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who was convicted in 1996 of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts. The grant was made before Stewart's misconduct was revealed at her own 2005 trial, in which she was convicted of providing material support to terrorists. OSI's contribution to the Lynne Stewart Defense Fund was first highlighted in a February 17, 2005, article by National Review White House correspondent Byron York. According to Horowitz and Poe:
Wrote York, “According to records filed with the Internal Revenue Service, Soros' foundation, the Open Society Institute gave $20,000 in September 2002 to the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee.” The reason York was obliged to tease this information from IRS filings, we surmise, is that the data is difficult to find anywhere else.
Nothing that York wrote, however, indicated that he had to “tease” the information from the IRS, or that the data was difficult to obtain. Indeed, the donation was recorded in the Form 990 the OSI filed with the IRS for 2002, which can be viewed on GuideStar.org (subscription only, PDF page 45). Also, the donation is listed on the Soros.org online grant database. Nevertheless, Horowitz and Poe went on to describe the great lengths they went to in obtaining this readily accessed information:
For instance, it does not appear in any of the Institute's annual reports, nor is it easily retrievable from the Institute's soros.org website. We tried to find it in the most obvious and intuitive way -- the way most potential donors, unfamiliar with the website, would have been likely to do it. We typed “Lynne Stewart” and “Lynne Stewart Defense Committee” into the website's general and “advanced” search engines. Our searches produced no links to any Lynne Stewart listing in the Institute's grant database. Only after much rambling around the Internet did we finally locate a page on the FreeRepublic.com message board where an anonymous researcher using the screen name “piasa” just happened to have posted a direct Web address to soros.org's grant listing for the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee. We found the link, but it took luck and persistence. Without “piasa,” we might have failed. This experience suggests to us that, prior to Byron York's exposé, potential donors wishing to avoid contributing to charities that fund terrorists might have found it difficult to learn about the Institute's involvement with Lynne Stewart.
The coyness of the Lynne Stewart listing reflects a larger pattern in Soros' Open Society Institute. Reliable information is elusive, at best.
Apparently, according to Horowitz and Poe, a few failed Google searches is evidence enough of a conspiracy to conceal information. In fact, the only thing Horowitz and Poe exposed with the above passage is the fact that their research capabilities are not up to par with those of an anonymous Freeper. They acknowledged this fact directly with their dramatic declaration: “Without 'piasa,' we might have failed.” Also, while OSI is legally obligated to notify the IRS of the donation, it is in no way obligated to list that donation on its website, which begs the obvious question: Why, if that information is supposed to be “elusive,” would it be listed on the organization's website in the first place?
Grossly overstated OSI support for ACLU
Horowitz and Poe claimed [p.33]:
According to data on file with the Capital Research Center, the Foundation Center, and the Internal Revenue Service, Soros' Institute contributed nearly $19 million to the ACLU during the seven-year period spanning 1998 to 2004 -- about $2.7 million per year, on average.
This is false. Very false.
The database of the Capital Research Center -- a conservative organization that has previously made dubious claims about foundations controlled by Teresa Heinz Kerry -- includes grants from OSI to the ACLU for the years 1998 through 2002. According to the CRC database, OSI gave the ACLU slightly less than $4 million during that period.
GuideStar.org provides IRS Form 990s for OSI for every year from 1998 through 2004, except 1999, which is missing from the site. A Media Matters review of the available 990s finds less than $5 million in grants from OSI to the ACLU (including state chapters).
Using the Capital Research Center's data for 1999 to fill in the gap in the GuideStar data, Media Matters found roughly $6.6 million in total grants paid from OSI to the ACLU during the years in question -- roughly one-third of the $19 million Horowitz and Poe claim.
Because Horowitz and Poe offer such vague citations for their number (“data on file with the Capital Research Center, the Foundation Center, and the Internal Revenue Service”), Media Matters cannot reconstruct how they came up with their $19 million figure. Perhaps they took the amount listed in the Capital Research Center database (roughly $4 million), added it to the amount listed in the available 990s (roughly $5 million), doubled that total, added an extra million dollars just to be safe, then rounded up.
Repeated debunked claim about ABC News memo
On page 70, Horowitz and Poe recited the claim that “Mark Halperin, who is political director of ABC News, issued a memo to his reporters during the final weeks of the 2004 campaign, instructing them to slant the news in favor of Democrat candidate John Kerry.” In fact, as Media Matters noted when Brit Hume made a similar charge in October 2004, the memo actually said the opposite of what Horowitz and Poe claimed -- that reporters should hold Kerry and Bush to the same standard. (Mark Halperin is the son of the aforementioned Morton Halperin. An October 2004 FrontPageMag.com article by Ponte that makes a similar claim about the ABC News memo described Mark Halperin as “the red-diaper baby of hard-Left-connected controversial foreign policy specialist Morton Halperin”; in the book, Horowitz and Poe softened that description to “another son of Morton Halperin.”)
On page 7, Horowitz and Poe implausibly claimed that "[m]uch of the evidence" surrounding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing “pointed to Saddam Hussein.” They wrote:
The terrorist ringleader [Ramzi] Yousef had entered the country with an Iraqi passport and was known in New York as “Rashid the Iraqi.” Another suspect, Abdul Rahman Yasin, was a US-born Iraqi whose family had taken him back to Iraq to live when he was still a child. After the World Trade Center bombing, Yasin fled to Baghdad, where he was given asylum and, according to one source, a government job. Somehow he eluded US occupation forces when they arrived in Iraq. Yasin remains at large to this day, with a $5 million reward for his capture.
Back in 1993, FBI assistant director James Fox, who then headed the Bureau's New York City office, suspected that the Iraqi intelligence service Jihaz Al-Mukhabarat Al-A'ma had orchestrated the bombing, using Islamist volunteers from other countries as cover.
Horowitz's and Poe's source for this information is American Enterprise Institute adjunct scholar Laurie Mylroie's book The War Against America: Saddam Hussein and the World Trade Center Attacks (ReganBooks, 2001). Mylroie's theories regarding Saddam Hussein and terrorism -- essentially, that Iraq was behind every major terrorist attack against the United States dating back to 1993 -- have been widely dismissed as unsubstantiated and conspiratorial. However, as journalist David Corn noted in an August 2003 LA Weekly article, several key Bush administration officials, such as former Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle and former deputy defense secretary and current World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, espoused Mylroie's writings in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq.
In a December 2003 Washington Monthly article, terrorism expert and New America Foundation senior fellow Peter Bergen dismantled Mylroie's theory connecting Yousef to Saddam Hussein:
But Mylroie claims to have discovered something that everyone else missed: the mastermind of the plot, a man generally known by one of his many aliases, “Ramzi Yousef,” was an Iraqi intelligence agent who some time after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 assumed the identity of a Pakistani named Abdul Basit whose family lived there. This was a deduction which she reached following an examination of Basit's passport records and her discovery that Yousef and Basit were four inches different in height. On this wafer-thin foundation she builds her case that Yousef must have therefore been an Iraqi agent given access to Basit's passport following the Iraq occupation. However, U.S. investigators say that “Yousef” and Basit are in fact one and the same person, and that the man Mylroie describes as an Iraqi agent is in fact a Pakistani with ties to al Qaeda.
An April 5, 2004, Newsweek article on former National Security Council counterterrorism coordinator Richard A. Clarke's book Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror (Free Press, 2004), noted that, according to Clarke, Wolfowitz insisted the U.S. government verify Mylroie's theory about Yousef being an Iraqi double agent, and that the resulting fingerprint analysis proved her theory to be completely bogus:
Clarke is scathing about Wolfowitz, whom he depicts as obsessed with proving a conspiracy theory propounded by Laurie Mylroie, a controversial academic who contends that Iraq's Saddam Hussein was behind the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. According to Clarke, Wolfowitz commissioned former CIA director Jim Woolsey to fly to England to retrieve fingerprints of WTC bomber Ramzi Yousef, in order to show that Yousef was a “false double” inserted by Iraqi intelligence. The FBI objected to this wild-goose chase, but Wolfowitz insisted. As it turned out, the fingerprints disproved Mylroie's theory -- they matched those of the Ramzi Yousef sitting in a U.S. federal prison.
Falsely portrayed GOP support for Bosnia, Kosovo conflicts
In attacking Democrats for criticizing Bush's foreign policies, Horowitz and Poe wrote in the second paragraph of the introduction (p.ix): “Bipartisanship in wartime has been a hallmark of American foreign policy since the Second World War. Republicans displayed it when Clinton went to war in Bosnia and Kosovo --wars conducted without congressional authorization or UN approval, but which Republican leaders nonetheless supported.” In fact, while some members of the congressional Republican leadership supported one or both wars, especially in the Senate, several members of the House Republican leadership cast repeated votes against committing troops to either conflict.
On the day that the Dayton Accords were signed, ending hostilities in Bosnia & Herzegovina and allowing a NATO force including U.S. ground forces to act as peacekeepers in the region, most House Republicans, including most of the leadership of the body voted against deployment to Bosnia in December 1995. Then-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) did not vote but Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX), Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX), House Armed Services Committee Chairman Floyd Spence (R-SC) and House International Relations Committee chairman Benjamin Gilman (R-NY) all voted against deployment. Their opposition did not end with the deployment of U.S. troops. In 1998, the House held a near party-line vote on whether to remove troops from Bosnia. The resolution failed 225-193. Among those voting to remove troops were Armey, DeLay, House Republican Conference chairman J.C. Watts (R-OK), Spence and Gilman. Similarly, a large number of Republicans in the House, including members of the leadership, voted against the involvement of U.S. troops in Kosovo on March 18, 1998: The vote to authorize troops succeeded 219-191 with 173 Republicans voting against allowing the troop deployment and 44 voting for the deployment. Among those voting against the deployment were Armey, DeLay, Spence, and Watts.
In the Senate, in 2000, 40 of 55 Republicans supported cutting off funds in the absence of a plan for withdrawal from Kosovo. Among those voting in favor of cutting off funds were Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), Majority Whip Don Nickles (R-OK), Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Strom Thurmond (R-SC), Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC), and Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK). The attempt to cut off funds failed by a vote of 53-47.
Falsely portrayed public support for Vietnam War
On page xiv of the introduction, Horowitz and Poe claim that "[t]he American people supported the war in Vietnam to its bitter end. Yet, after years of organized chaos on the home front, American leaders grew weary of the internal divisions and yielded to the forces of defeatism." In fact, on the eve of the announcement that the United States had suspended offensive operations in Vietnam and the Paris Peace Accords signed on January 27, 1973, Gallup found that a majority of the American people did not support the war. In a January 9, 1973, Gallup poll (subscription required), 60 percent of Americans said “the U.S. made a mistake sending troops to fight in Vietnam,” while 29 percent said it was not a mistake.
Not-so-hidden “hidden” arrangements
“The Shadow Party is a network of private organizations that exercises a powerful hidden influence over the Democratic Party, and through it, over American politics in general,” the authors alleged. “It is not a political party per se, and it works outside of the normal electoral system, in pursuance of goals that are not openly disclosed.” In order for this to be taken seriously as a thesis, however, there must be evidence of a party operating in the shadows. Yet with presumably unintentional hilarity, on page 181, the authors reported that these “hidden” arrangements -- the decisions reached by Soros and other major donors to fund various progressive organizations -- were disclosed and widely publicized three years ago. “By November 2003, the Shadow Party was ready to go public,” Horowitz and Poe reported. Indeed, with the exception of the single previously noted actual interview, this book is sourced entirely from information (and misinformation) in the public domain.
The authors make a habit of undermining their own assertions, often within a few lines of text. Writing about the establishment of the Joint Victory Campaign 2004, a 527 fundraising committee run jointly by America Coming Together and The Media Fund, the authors referenced a “mysterious” 527 committee called the Sustainable World Corporation, which donated $3.1 million to the Joint Victory Committee. “The [Washington] Post failed in its attempt to discover the source of the $3.1 million donation,” the authors claimed. Yet, in the very next sentences, they explain that the Post didn't fail to discover the source of the funds after all: “When the Post called Harold Ickes [who formed the Joint Committee], it was lucky enough to catch him in a candid and forthcoming mood -- which is not his usual posture with the press. Though under no legal obligation to answer the Post's question, Ickes generously explained that Houston investor Linda Pritzker of the Chicago Hyatt hotel family was the mystery benefactor behind Sustainable World Corporation.”
Unsupported insinuations of lawbreaking
Worse still, the authors baselessly charge that the so-called Shadow Party is essentially a criminal enterprise. On page 22, Horowitz and Poe wrote that Soros's "[p]olitical operations are facilitated mainly through the Open Society Institute (OSI)." In fact, OSI is a tax-exempt charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and, as stated by the IRS, is “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.” Horowitz and Poe's statement that OSI is “facilitat[ing]” "[p]olitical operations" amounts to an unsubstantiated accusation that Soros and OSI are in violation of U.S. tax law. According to the IRS, "[v]iolation of this prohibition [on political campaign activity] may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise tax."
The text is also shot through with slanderous insinuations that the activities of various characters in the book constitute illegal coordination between political campaigns and independent political committees. “Hillary and her partner George Soros remain secretive about many details of their collaboration, and with good reason. A political partnership between them would be illegal -- expressly forbidden by the campaign finance laws incorporated into the McCain-Feingold Act,” they wrote on page 62. On page 64 they asserted: “To whatever extent Ickes is facilitating such coordination, he is violating federal election law.” And again on page 192, they wrote, “If [Jim] Jordan helped launch America Votes while working as Kerry's campaign manager, he violated FEC regulations, which bar coordination between campaign officials and independent political committees.”
Yes. But the evidence the authors produce of illegal coordination is the same as that supplied throughout the book -- invisible. Apparently, only the Shadow knows.