.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Too funny: Fake congressman now scamming Egypt

I reported earlier this week on Jack Shepard, a convicted felon and failed candidate for Minnesota Senate, governor and President, who visited Gaza this week pretending to be a US Congressman.

Apparently, the fake representative is now working on a Hamas/Fatah reconciliation!

In an exclusive interview with the Egyptian Al Masry al-Youm newspaper,he claimed that he received a letter from Hamas' Mahmoud Zahar approving Cairo's reconciliation agreement and that he was presenting it to Egyptian officials.

Shepard says that he sensed a new attitude from Hamas, and that the terror group is now willing to reconcile with Fatah in order to alleviate the suffering of Gazans.

Shepard, whom the newspaper termed a Democratic Congressman (he ran as a Republican for office,) told the newspaper that he received much assistance from the Egyptian Ambassador to Washington who helped him travel from the US to Egypt and cross into Gaza from Rafah.

This is a bit strange since Shepard lives in Italy and has not entered the US in the 25 years since his felony conviction.

In a 2008 interview when he was running for president he claimed, among other things, to be Jewish:
"Anybody who votes for me now is only voting for me for one reason, and that is not to be president, but a vote in protest against our Middle East foreign policies," Shepard says, acknowledging, "It is going to take a true miracle for me to win."

He calls himself a Middle East specialist and says he often travels to countries like Syria and Israel.

"I believe it is my destiny to bring peace to the Middle East," he says.

Shepard's name will likely appear on ballots in three or four states, including New Hampshire and Arizona, he says. He has spent about $30,000 of his own money on his campaign.

Shepard says his two main concerns within Middle East policy are the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and terrorism.

"As a Jew," he says, "Israel's violent actions are embarrassing."

Given the U.S. policy of supporting Israel's violent retaliations, America is in store for more terrorist attacks -- specifically a biological attack, he says.

One of the reasons he is running for president is to get the U.S. to stop "encouraging Israel's violence," he says. He has cousins who are in the Israeli military and believes, as president, he could encourage Israel to use more peaceful diplomacy, he says.

Shepard criticizes both Republican and Democratic candidates, saying none has the military experience necessary to lead the country in the age of terrorism.

Shepard served as an air force dentist in South Carolina. His campaign Web site has a copy of his military identification card from the 1970s.

Shepard's dentistry license was revoked in 1983. The Minnesota Board of Dentistry cited a string of violent incidents and Shepard's refusal to take lithium medication for manic-depression as reason for its decision.

Paul Zerby is a former assistant attorney general who represented the Minnesota Board of Dentistry in the hearings. Zerby describes Shepard as an odd and very angry man. At one point, Zerby says, Shepard brought a bobble-head doll to the hearing.

"If you read the transcript it's really kind of funny. The testimony is going on and then all of a sudden there's the judge saying, 'get that doll off the table.' If you hadn't been there you would have wondered what in the hell was going on," Zerby said. "One time he came in sort of dressed as a soccer player," he said.

When asked about the revocation of his license to practice dentistry in Minnesota, Shepard said, "After I left, (the country) I heard that it was revoked." He continues to practice dentistry in Italy, he says.

In addition to pleading guilty to felony sexual assault, Shepard was also convicted of narcotics possession -- a conviction he disputes, saying the drugs were legal for a dentist to own.

"I believe in divine destiny," Shepard says. "All the things I went through were to teach me things. So even being in prison I learned so much."

In May 2006, the Minnesota Board of Pardons denied Shepard's request for a pardon because he was still a fugitive. He says he is innocent of the alleged first-degree arson charge he is accused of running from.

"Someone kicked in my bedroom door and threw some fire in there and ran downstairs and ran away," he says.


Altogether, this nutcase has managed to convince Egyptians and Gazans that he is a sympathetic member of Congress.