Operation Blessing: This is just too f*-ing much!
FEMA on its web site page How You Can Help Hurricane Katrina Victims has a list of organizations for donations. The first two organizations on the list:
American Red Cross
1-800-HELP NOW (435-7669) English,
Operation Blesing is Pat Robertson's controversial charity!
FEMA seems to be disregard their own warning right before the listing of charities:
# Beware of charity fraud. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) resources on how to make donations wisely.
# Please check with your tax advisor or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for more information regarding the tax deductibility of your donation.
More info about FEMA Directing Donations to Rev. Pat Robertson at Sploid.
“It’s an outrage,” said privacy watchdog Bill Scannell, who alerted Sploid to the FEMA / Robertson scam. “Operation f**cking Blessing? And it’s right underneath the Red Cross link!”
TomPaine.com had an article last year about this charity, Pat Robertson Counts His Federal Blessings
According to its Web site, the mission of Operation Blessing International (OBI) "is to demonstrate God's love by alleviating human need and suffering in the United States and around the world." Founded in 1978 by Pat Robertson, the organization "was originally set up to help struggling individuals and families by matching their needs for items such as clothing, appliances, vehicles with donated items from viewers of The 700 Club." In 1986, Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation (OBI) was formed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to handle international relief projects. In 1993, all Operation Blessing activities were transferred to OBI.
While OBI trumpets its work at home and abroad through its Web site, other sources provide a more nuanced picture. In 1996, the Norfolk, Va.-based Virginia-Pilot newspaper reported that two pilots who were hired by the charity to fly humanitarian aid to Zaire in 1994 were used almost exclusively for Robertson's diamond mining operations. Chief pilot Robert Hinkle, claimed that in the six months he flew for Operation Blessing, only one or two of more than 40 flights were humanitarian -- the rest carried mining equipment. OBI resources were being diverted to support the African Development Co., a private corporation run by Robertson. At the time, Robertson also had a special relationship with Zaire's late dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko.
"My first impression when I took the job was that we'd be called Operation Blessing and we'd be doing humanitarian work," Hinkle, a former Peace Corps volunteer, told the Virginia-Pilot. "We got over there and 'Operation Blessing' was painted on the tails of the airplanes, but we were doing no humanitarian relief at all. We were just supplying the miners and flying the dredges from Kinshasa out to Tshikapa."