Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Robertson May Have, Inadvertently, Caused Hajj Stampede Deaths

Was Working On New Material For Bush Video Blitz, Testing New Curses and Condemnations

The White House announced this morning that outspoken and controversial televangelist Pat Robertson may have been the cause last week of the Mecca stampede that took over 350 lives.

"It's come to our attention," offered a sullen Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary in a briefing today, "that Reverend Robertson may be involved in this."

This comes on the heels of Robertson stating that the stroke suffered by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stroke was divine punishment for "dividing God's land", as well as other outlandish and over-the-top pronouncements last year, including that the U.S. Government should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Impressed with the media coverage Robertson generates with his raving, the White House, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld met with Robertson last week, and secured his services to produce "Al Qaeda-style" videos for the U.S. Military, condemning and berating Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists.

The annual pilgrimage, or hajj, was attended by over 2-million Muslims this year.

The site a two-story bridge, where the nearly 363 deaths occurred, has been the center of deaths in the past.

"One of the biggest problems was this bridge," said Osama al-Bar, director of the Hajj Research Center at Umm al-Qura University, which oversees the safety of the hajj said In the New York Times today. "After 32 years and 1,500 lives, it's finally going down. I'd really like to know who thought this structure up."

The White House was quick to say that, as best as it is known at this point, Robertson is not involved with any of the past deaths at Mecca.

As described by McClellan, Robertson, eager to get the Video Blitz program going, was in-studio, rehearsing for his first broadcast.

"He had a script, which he followed, but, apparently, he improvised, either after reading what was written, or changing the content himself," said McClellan.

"The CIA and State Department are reviewing the tapes, to find out exactly what it was that Reverend Robertson said. From the others that were in the studio at the time, it was reported that he was, more-or-less, an ad-lib, something along the lines of "the pilgrims of Mecca will meltdown if they pray with Osama" or that "they need to fall in line". As I said, we're reviewing the tapes to get, exactly, the comments made, and to see if Reverend Robertson said anything that can be attributed to causing the disaster."

McClellan would neither confirm or deny the rumors that the missile strike in Pakistan, that killed 18 people, including innocent woman and children, was also caused or influenced by Robertson.

To help sell his vision of New Orleans as a "Chocolate City", Mayor Ray Nagin announced that special "Chocolate Hats" are now available and for sale to supporters of the plan

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