The Strange, Unverifiable Tales of Jim Garrow

The Strange, Unverifiable Tales of Jim Garrow June 17, 2015

You remember Jim Garrow, the guy who spread the unbelievably ridiculous claim that President Obama tried to nuke Charleston, South Carolina, don’t you? He’s not to be confused with Jim Garlow, a self-declared prophet and Christian right leader. Garrow lives in Guelph, Ontario and the local paper there did some investigating on some of his other claims. They came back as unverifiable and sound like tall tales of a professional liar to me.

Jim Garrow says he made “a lot of money” as the owner of many language schools in China, and he has said that millions of those dollars have been used to fund a baby-rescue operation in that country.

Garrow, 65, claims to be, and has been touted to be, personally responsible for rescuing more than 48,000 girl babies in China from potential infanticide. But it appears that his Bethune Institute, and its charitable arm, Pink Pagoda Girls, have gone silent, their websites dormant.

The Guelph Mercury cannot verify the status of these organizations. Efforts to contact them through all listed telephone numbers on their websites resulted in out-of-service messages.

Last year, online payment processor PayPal froze the account of Bethune Institute and requested banking and other documentation from the organization. Garrow said in a recent interview that funds that had been frozen were now released.

An attempt to access PayPal through a course registration page on the Bethune Institute website triggered an alert stating: “This recipient is currently unable to receive money. There is a problem with the merchant’s PayPal account.” Garrow was asked in repeated emails to explain why PayPal is unavailable on the site, but he did not respond to the request.

Garrow, an occasional right-wing political commentator for mostly U.S.-based online and radio talk shows, is currently raising money for his legal defence related to criminal charges for firearm possession…

During an interview in the driveway of his modest, two-storey Guelph home, Garrow said that in the interests of “safety” he will never reveal information about the inner workings of his Pink Pagoda Girls operation, information that could verify his claims.

After repeated email requests for additional information, he refused to provide the names or locations of the Chinese orphanages he is purported to be affiliated with, the names and locations of the families that are purported to have adopted Pink Pagoda Girls rescued babies, or offer the names and locations of his language schools in China.

Garrow was asked to provide information to verify his claim of having saved babies in China, but refused.

“It’s called safety,” he said. “It’s a safety and security issue for the babies and those who take them into their charge.”

On May 29, he was asked via email to provide information to prove his claim of having rescued 48,000 babies in China. “Can, but will not,” he wrote in response.

Asked during an in-person interview whether Bethune Institute and Pink Pagoda Girls had been shut down, Garrow said both are still active. He said in a previous Guelph Mercury report that Bethune Institute was affiliated with more than 165 schools in China. The Bethune Institute website features four schools — Living Waters, New Life, New Hope, and Grace — but withholds their locations.

“No, they’re not gone,” he said in his driveway of Bethune Institute and Pink Pagoda Girls. “Just because you can’t find them online doesn’t mean they’re gone.”…

Garrow’s biography on the Pink Pagoda Girls website states he was the runner-up for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, a claim that cannot be proven due to a 50-year embargo on revealing the names of Nobel nominees. He claims to have been the runner-up to U.S. President Barack Obama for the prize in 2009.

Garrow began using the honorific “Dr.,” after receiving an honorary degree from a theological college in North Carolina. Garrow told the Guelph Mercury in 2010 he received the honorary degree for his work in China.

So, he claims a fake doctorate to call himself “Dr.” He claims to have been runner-up for the Nobel Peace Prize, which he cannot possibly know. He may well have been nominated, but hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people are nominated every year. Virtually any public official or prominent person in the world is allowed to nominate people. But the identities of those nominated are not revealed, much less the number of votes they received. I think it’s safe to say that Garrow is a fabulist, to say the very least.

Over the last few years he has made several appearances on right-wing radio and online political broadcasts in the states.

He has stated at various times that U.S. President Barack Obama plotted to detonate nuclear bombs in the U.S., that the president introduced a new “litmus test” requiring U.S. military personnel to be willing to fire on Americans, and that the Obama administration would claim to have made contact with extraterrestrials to boost its sagging popularity.

In the interview in his driveway, Garrow indicated that Obama may have had a hand in his current legal challenges. “I’m not very popular with Mr. Obama,” he said, referring to the charges against him for firearms possession. Garrow said in the interview that he found a pistol in his trailer that he said was put there deliberately, or planted by someone. That is what the weapons charges against him stem from, he said.

Last year, he asserted on one of those programs to have worked as a covert operative for the American government for 45 years, but was relieved of his duties because of his criticism of the Obama administration.

The statement has been often referenced in online right-wing subculture forums. But Garrow declined to answer a question sent to him by email asking what the word “operative” referred to, or what government agency he worked for and what his duties were during a career that would have started in his late-teens.

Seriously, how many people have claimed to be a secret agent in order to bolster their credibility, if not with right-wing “news” sites then with women in a bar?


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