AIM's Kincaid posted "letter" from Afghan ambassador thanking him for petition to extradite Newsweek 's Isikoff

››› ››› JOE BROWN

Accuracy in Media (AIM) editor Cliff Kincaid has posted a "letter" on his America's Survival Inc. website that he claims to have received from Afghan ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad. The "letter" thanks Kincaid for sending a petition to the ambassador calling for the extradition of Newsweek investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff to Afghanistan. But the "letter" from the ambassador, which makes reference to "the over six hundred supporters" who purportedly signed petitions calling for Isikoff's extradition, bears all the hallmarks of a do-it-yourself, cut-and-paste job.

Kincaid is the president of America's Survival Inc., a group dedicated to "educat[ing] the American people and to expos[ing] the influence of global institutions, including an International Criminal Court, on their lives."

The "letter" from Jawad is an electronic collage, consisting of an image in GIF format ostensibly representing the letterhead of the Afghan embassy, a "body" section of HTML text, and a GIF image ostensibly representing the signature of the Afghan ambassador. The word "Ambassador" appears in HTML text below the GIF "signature."

The America's Survival website also links to the text of the August 10 Kincaid letter to which the ambassador purportedly responded. The text of Kincaid's letter says it includes "a sample of signed petitions [America's Survival has] received in support of an effort by Afghanistan to have Michael Isikoff extradited to face justice in [Afghanistan]," over his role in the publication of a May 9 Newsweek article that allegedly touched off violent protests in Afghanistan, leaving at least 15 people dead. The website also links to the text of an August 10 letter Kincaid purportedly sent to Isikoff informing him of the petition effort. Newsweek later retracted its claim that an internal military investigation had uncovered Quran abuse at the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The America's Survival website does not include scanned images of the complete original letters purportedly sent by Kincaid to the Afghan ambassador and Isikoff, or of the complete original letter purportedly sent by the ambassador to Kincaid in reply. Moreover, the website does not include scans or other documentation of the petitions from the "over six hundred supporters" cited in the "letter" purportedly sent by the Afghan ambassador to Kincaid. In fact, the website makes no mention at all of an extradition petition, aside from references in the three "letters" constituting Kincaid's purported correspondence with Isikoff and the Afghan embassy, nor does it provide any clues as to where the petition can be found or how one can sign it.

Both the "Who We Are" page of the AIM website and Kincaid's biography on the America's Survival website list Kincaid as the president of America's Survival. Kincaid is the only employee mentioned on the America's Survival website, and the "Contact Us" link on the site links directly to Kincaid's personal email address, as listed on the site's "How You Can Help" page. Additionally, the "How You Can Help" page encourages donors to send financial contributions to what appears to be Kincaid's home address.

According to MediaTransparency, a web-based research organization that tracks conservative philanthropy, America's Survival has received substantial funding from the Carthage Foundation and the Sarah Scaife Foundation, two charities controlled by right-wing Pittsburgh financier Richard Mellon Scaife. He funded the Arkansas Project, a 1990s operation aimed at digging up negative information on Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton. From 1999 through 2003, America's Survival received a total of $120,000 from the Carthage Foundation and $50,000 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
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