The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN),
the world's largest noncommercial broadcast network, was founded in
1961 by Pat Robertson. CBN was at one time the largest
supplier of 24-hour cable programming in the world, claiming
to reach 66 foreign countries through 150 local stations, 2,500
satellite cable systems, and even
through the U.S. Armed Forces Radio and Television Network.
Best known for its flagship program "The 700
Club," CBN now encompasses a state-of-the-art broadcasting
facility in Virginia (Langley?),
CBN Cable Network, CBN Continental Broadcasting, Inc., Middle East
Television, and several individual TV stations. CBN also is associated
with CBN University, the National Legal Foundation, The Freedom
Council, National Perspectives Institute, "Heads Up" literacy program,
and the Committee for Freedom. Operation Blessing is the humanitarian
relief organization of CBN's "The 700 Club."
The CBN University, established in 1978 by
Pat Robertson, has graduate programs in media. (6) In 1987 Oral Roberts
University gave its law school and its $10 million law library to CBN
University. (55) Pat Robertson is chancellor of CBN University. Holly
Coors, Major General Curry (Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship), and
Dee Jepsen (CREED) serve on its board of regents. University
president Bob G. Slosser is former assistant national editor
of The New York Times.
Robertson predicted a major depression would
hit in the early 1980s, to be followed by nuclear war in 1982. That
year, the newsletter went out of production.
Above all, Pat
Robertson is a politician and he has used CBN and its
700 Club and Operation Blessing to gather in followers and pursue his
political goals which include making "Christian values" a part of our
government. He is staunchly anticommunist and was a strong supporter of
rightwing regimes opposing communism
and of the Nicaraguan contras in their U.S. backed struggle against the
Sandinistas. (35,58) He, along with evangelist Jerry Falwell, believed
that the rightwing religious coalition could amass enough votes to run
the country. Although the Falwell-Robertson political vision was not
shared by the entire evangelical community, it did hold sway in the
National Religious Broadcasters. Robertson
joined forces with the New Right in an attempt to influence the
Reagan administration and in 1988 it led to Robertson's brief candidacy
On these (sitcom) shows in Latin America,
commercial time is sold, which for a time brought millions of dollars
to the "nonprofit" ministry. This questionable activity aroused the
interest of tax collectors, and resulted in the state of Massachusetts
suing CBN for a full disclosure of its finances (as required of all
charities in that state). Shortly after that suit was filed in 1978,
CBN split off its TV and radio stations into a tax-paying for-profit
company called CBN Continental Broadcasting Inc.
according to investigative reporter Sara Diamond, used his tax-exempt
broadcast license to hold a fundraising telethon in the United States
for the Guatemalan military and the Nicaraguan contras. (67) On "The
700 Club," Robertson has interviewed Adolfo
Calero and Steadman Fagoth, contra leaders; Efrain Rios Montt, then-president of Guatemala known
for massive human rights abuses;
Jeremias Chitunda, an Angolan guerrilla leader;
Ray Cline, former CIA deputy
director of intelligence; several Israeli
cabinet members, and even President Reagan
in an exclusive interview. One of his campaign pledges during his
brief run for the presidency was to withdraw
diplomatic recognition from Nicaragua and recognize the contras
as a "government in exile." Robertson also interviewed a former president of El Salvador,
Alvaro Magana, and individuals connected with the Salvadoran death squads. He praised death squad leader
Roberto D'Aubuisson of the ARENA party as a "very
air time has also been devoted to interviews with white
South Africans and pleas for viewers to pray for stability
there. CBN has also invited a number of pro-government black
South Africans to appear in the 700 Club program in the U.S. Ben
Kinchlow, the black co-host of "The 700 Club," travelled to South
Africa ("he personally experienced no racism there") and conducted a
live interview through satellite feed with South African Foreign
Minister Pik Botha. This was at a time when
secular U.S. journalists were not allowed access to Pretoria's top
leaders. The interview centered on the negative
consequences that would result from economic sanctions against South
Africa. More recently Robertson set up a television station to
carry CBN programs in the Bophuthatswana homeland in South Africa.
CBN has been active
frequently promoting the program of the fundamentalist International
Christian Embassy Jerusalem. (60) Robertson operates the most powerful
television transmitter in the Middle East, MET, located in Southern
Lebanon, and has had close contact with government leaders in Israel.
Operation Blessing in 1986 was sending
$50,000 a month to Ethiopia in conjunction with the U.S. Agency for
International Development (AID). (USAID
is a known CIA front, like NED,
and the CIA also used the AFL-CIO and Peace Corps)
criticized the direction of the
organization's political activities, involving some 75
full-time field workers and 200,000 contributors concentrated in states
with key presidential primaries.
a Washington Post report said that the Freedom
Council used millions of CBN dollars to elect Robertson supporters as
delegates in Michigan.
The New York Times reported that the Freedom
Council's name was changed to National Freedom Institute, and that on
the same day, another Freedom Council was formed under the 501(c)(3)
tax status. Robertson organized, and CBN financed, the Committee
for Freedom, a multicandidate political action
committee. (a lot of "freedom" here ....?)
CBN broadcast a 30-minute documentary film opposing ratification of the Reagan-Gorbachev INF pact
designed to reduce mid-range nuclear weapons arsenals
of both countries. The film, produced and distributed by The
Conservative Caucus (TCC), included remarks by Senators Jesse
Helms and Gordon Humphrey, retired military rightwingers Major General John K. Singlaub
and Brigadeer General Albion Knight and TCC chairman Howard Phillips.
Phillips are on the Council for National Policy, and via those
connections, act as collaborators with surviving Nazis and Japanese
ABA was reluctant to accredit the CBN law
school because its funding is dependent upon the "fluctuating fortunes
of Mr. Robertson's television ministry," and because its professors are
forced to sign a
statement of faith, which may
compromise their academic freedom to present a broad range of ideas.
producing a children's Bible program for
Soviet viewers ... permission to open a Ministry Center in Moscow ...
broadcasting its Bible series,"Superbook," on Soviet state-run
CBN is spearheading a grassroots movement
called Christian Coalition,"a house united." The goal of this
operation--similar to many others in the Christian Right--is "to make government and the media responsible
to our concerns." Headquartered at CBN offices
in Virginia, the coalition includes Christian stalwarts such as Beverly
LaHaye, Rev. D. James Kennedy, Rev. Charles Stanley, and Father Michael
Coalition was an Al-Qaeda supporter, and LaHaye and D.J. Kennedy are
also part of the CNP with it's fascist and CIA connections.)
In May 1985, CBN/Operation Blessing
announced a $20 million relief campaign to send "humanitarian"
supplies--food and medicine--to Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
This joint CBN and AmeriCares effort brought supplies "of a strictly humanitarian nature" to refugees and displaced people. AmeriCares gathered the
contributions of medicines, pharmaceutical supplies, and nutritional
supplements, and CBN provided $2 million cash for shipping and
in original AP story]. Several tons of the
AmeriCares/CBN supplies were also transported
to Guatemala and the Honduran Mosquitia region on U.S. Navy ships in the Navy's
humanitarian aid program called "Operation Handclasp." Some of
the aid was to be distributed through Operation Blessing units in
Central America, and also by Knights of Malta. While
en route to Honduras in a C-130 full of medical supplies, Robertson
told a reporter in Miami that "some [of this aid]
may get to the contras." [...] Robertson
was so popular among the contras
that one group named itself the Pat
Robertson Brigade. [...] On a trip
to Honduras in 1985, Robertson met with President Roberto Suazo
Cordova. (23) He also visited contra
training camps in Honduras in June 1985, where he met
with top leaders of the FDN and was saluted as a
guest of honor.
(In a separate article in
Mother Jones, a Florida hospital that Jeb Bush helped
get more Medicaid and Medicare funding above legal
limits, was used as a hospital for treating wounded Contras.)
Robertson: "CBN is helping starving
and displaced persons in 15 countries, including some in Central
America. The help is absolutely non-political.
Articles claiming support by CBN of the contras in Nicaragua are incorrect."
At a political fund-raiser in Chicago, Pat Robertson was asked about CBN's support for the contras. He refused
to answer directly, but said,"The fact is that the communists
make people suffer. If that makes it [Operation Blessing]
political, then, I'm sorry, we're still going to help them."
(the communists were building the first medical centers and food
distribution, with money that was supposed to be taken by US
A refugee worker said that in 1985, a CBN
film team came to a World Relief refugee camp asking for gasoline. "I
told them I would give them the fuel, but not if their vehicle belonged to the contras.
They said it didn't. But when they came back a few days later, they
admitted they had lied.
The jeep belonged to Misura [contra forces]. CBN went down to do a
story on freedom fighters. They weren't
interested in refugees."
According to an August 1984 ACA newsletter
article by ACA president Brig. Gen. Harry C. "Hienie" Aderholt (USAF
Ret. ), the transport of 9-1/2 tons of
supplies and medicines from Selfridge Air Force Base to
Dulles Airport in Washington DC was provided by Operation Blessing of CBN. From there the
supplies were shipped to El Salvador. [...] Upon his return he noted that the political
situation in the country was encouraging and attributed the
improvement, at least in part, to "one of the strongest
religious revivals in the world. Whenever you see that, you
are not going to see communism and oppression."
Guatemala: Within a week of the 1982
coup which brought evangelical Gen. Efrain Rios Montt to power,
Pat Robertson flew to Guatemala to meet with the new president.
[...] Robertson also urged donations for International
Love Lift, a relief project of Rios Montt's
U.S. church, Gospel Outreach.
(elsewhere described as launched by a CIA psywar specialist)
Bizarre: Operation Blessing has
shared resources with Brotherhood of Nicaraguans and Food for the
Hungry. All of its budget currently comes from the United States.
Operation Blessing tries to combat malnutrition, but the administrator
says that "the problem in Guatemala is not the lack of food but
not knowing how to eat.
We believe we can attack the problem of malnutrition by teaching
people how to feed themselves."
(Don't know how to EAT?
My cat knows how to eat. Babies know how to eat. Besides PR
propaganda, probably "taught" people to live on sparse rice and beans
diets to fend off total starvation, and to accept survival as a blessing.)
Robert Warren, a retired U.S. Navy counterinsurgency
expert, is head of Operation Blessing.
CBN's Operation Blessing's activities are
also under fire for delivery of rancid
food and defective equipment. Critics claim that
Operation Blessing also greatly
overvalues its donations and is "a
great business, where the poor of the world are just another factor on
the spreadsheet, some place to dump old food or defective
The film "Jesus," produced by the Campus Crusade for Christ was hauled
into remote areas (along with portable power equipment to run the
equipment), often with the assistance of Missionary Aviation Fellowship
planes. Campus Crusade for Christ, Bill Bright's
evangelical, fundamentalist Christian organization, provided a week of
training for CBN's 40 teams of evangelists involved in this campaign. (Campus Crusade for Christ was described to a reporter
as "Agency", meaning a CIA psywar operation.)
Pat Robertson is friends with Ronald Reagan and former Attorney
General Edwin Meese.
Meese spoke at the dedication ceremony of the CBN University
library. In 1985, Pat Robertson toured
Sudan at the invitation of then-Vice President George Bush. Robertson
has described Iran-Contra defendant Oliver
North as "a personal associate." Robertson and
other CBN representatives met with White
House officials about private aid to Guatemala.
AmeriCares/CBN shipments were delivered from Norfolk, Virginia to the
Honduran Mosquitia area and Guatemala by
the U.S. Navy under "Operation Handclasp." Under
this program the Navy is permitted to accept relief supplies for its
humanitarian aid program if the delivery will not cost the government any money or require special stops.
"Joseph Coors," wrote Al Weinrub in the
Labor Report on Central America, "has used the power of the Coors
financial dynasty not only to provide support to the contras,
but to set a rightwing political agenda in the U.S.
Coors who serves on the CBN University board of Trustees, is a funder
and cofounder along with Paul Weyrich
founder of the Heritage Foundation, and a
member of Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International. He
was the chair of the Rocky Mountain region
Reagan/Bush campaign in 1984. He also has supported
various groups organized by New Right tactician Paul Weyrich including
the Catholic Center, a religious group that sent conservative
"truth squads" to counteract the activities of liberal
bishops, and the Free Congress Foundation, a group dedicated
to electing (fake) conservatives to Congress.
Coors supported Lt. Gen. John Singlaub's U.S.
Council for World Freedom (USCWF), the U.S. chapter of
the World Anti-Communist League (WACL)
(a Nazi front). USCWF and
the Nicaraguan Refugee Fund (another Coor's
cause) helped fund the Nicaraguan contras. He was on the advisory
council of the National Strategy Information Center,
a rightwing think tank for military
strategy, and a member of the secretive Council for