Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #663 Badjacketing Obama, Part III

MP3: 30-Minute Segment
NB: This RealAudio stream contains FTRs 662 and 663 in sequence. Each is a 30 minute segment.

Continuing For The Record’s examination of attempts at discrediting President Obama, the broadcast examines sinister Muslim Brotherhood elements involved with “moderate” Muslim outreach to the President. Some of these individuals figured in the Operation Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002. After noting economist and columnist Paul Krugman’s opinion that the GOP is adamantly opposed to a “new New Deal,” the program highlights sinister foreshadowing of devastating terrorist incidents “on Obama’s watch.” As noted by a former Bush speechwriter and former Vice President Dick Cheney (who recently predicted a nuclear or biological terrorist incident during the next five years), such an occurrence would minimize the Democrats’ electoral chances for many years to come. It would be foolish to dismiss the possibility that the GOP would love to see just such an occurrence. In light of the links between the GOP and elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, the possibility that such an incident might be aided and/or abetted by Underground Reich elements within the Republican Party should also be seriously considered.

The bulk of the program consists of analysis of a very important article indicating that GOP-connected Muslim Brotherhood elements are the so-called “moderates” reaching out to Obama. A “moderate” involved with the AMCE is Abubaker Ahmed al-Shingieti, an assistant to President Omar al-Bashir, the genocidal head of Sudan’s Muslim Brotherhood government. Two of his assistants are Jamar [al] Barzinji and Yaqub Mirza, both centrally involved with the milieu that was targeted by the Operation Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002. George W. Bush and Muslim Brotherhood associate Talat Othman interceded on behalf of those targets, raided for financing Hamas, al-Qaeda and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

If Obama aids and abets these people, he and the Democratic Party will be thoroughly discredited if the U.S. is struck by another major major terror incident, as is being foreshadowed by Cheney et al.

Program Highlights Include: Review of the Muslim Brotherhood links to the headscarf incident; review of the Talat Othman/George Bush/Operation Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002; review of the links between the Muslim Students Association and the Muslim Brotherhood; review of the links between the MSA branch implicated in the headscarf incident and Hizb ut-Tahrir; review of the operational links betwee  Hizb ut-Tahrir and the NPD, the top German neo-Nazi party.

1. The program begins by underscoring a comment made by Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman:

“As the debate over President Obama’s economic stimulus plan gets under way, one thing is certain: many of the plan’s opponents aren’t arguing in good faith. Conservatives really, really don’t want to see a second New Deal, and they certainly don’t want to see government activism vindicated. So they are reaching for any stick they can find with which to beat proposals for increased government spending. . . .”

“Bad Faith Economics” by Paul Krugman; New York Times; 1/26/2009; p. A21.

2. More ominous is the foreshadowing of a major terrorist incident by a Republican critic.

” . . . The most insidious line of attack involves laying the groundwork for blaming the new president in the event of a terrorist attack.

In a remarkably partisan op-ed piece in the Washington Post last Thursday, Marc A. Thiessen, who was a speechwriter for former president George W. Bush, declared flatly: ‘If Obama weakens any of the defenses Bush put in place and terrorists strike our country again, Americans will hold Obama responsible – and the Democratic Party could find itself unelectable for a generation.’

This is dangerous, both substantively and politically, and it suggests that some of Bush’s loyalists will continue to politicize issues related to terrorism in their efforts to vindicate the former president’s legacy. . . .”

“Republicans Betting on Obama’s Failure” by E.J. Dionne; San Francisco Chronicle; 1/26/2009; p. B5.

3. The above prediction was compounded and embellished by Dick Cheney.

“In an interview two weeks after leaving office, former Vice President Dick Cheney predicted a ‘high probability’ of a nuclear or biological attack in the next few years and said the Obama administration was approaching a ‘tough, mean, dirty, nasty business’ of keeping the country safe from terrorists too timidly.

Mr. Cheney singled out Mr. Obama’s decision to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and to ban coercive interrogation methods as changes in course that could make the country more vulnerable.

He also sought to justify the Bush terrorist surveillance program and the antiterrorism legislation called the USA Patriot Act. . . .”

“Cheney Predicts ‘Probability’ of Attack” by Michael Falcone; The New York Times; 2/5/2008; p. A21.

4. The bulk of the program consists of analysis of a very important article indicating that GOP-connected Muslim Brotherhood elements are the so-called “moderates” reaching out to Obama.

“In the 1990s, the extremist Muslim Brotherhood government of Sudan, led by President Omar al-Bashir, was continuing a genocidal jihad against the Christian and animist populations inhabiting the south of the country that killed nearly two million people and forced another four million from their homes. In July 2008, Bashir was indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes related to the regime’s subsequent genocide in Darfur.

As Bashir was waging his holocaust against the Christians during the 1990s, one of his closest advisors and top aides was Abubaker Ahmed al-Shingieti, who from 1993 to 1995 served as spokesman for Bashir’s government (as he was identified in a 1994 New York Times article). According to al-Shingieti’s own published résumé, he later served Bashir as director of public affairs for the presidency from 1995 to 1998, as the genocidal jihad against the Christians was at its height and Sudan was the hub of the international Islamic terror network. As reported by the New York Times, eight individuals charged in the New York landmarks bombing plot in 1993 were traveling on Sudanese passports.

As a result of those arrests, Sudan was added to the U.S. State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism in August 1993. That was not long after al-Shingieti’s boss began sheltering Osama bin Laden, who lived in Khartoum from 1992 to 1996. With the close advisory role that bin Laden had with the Sudanese president and other high-ranking officials, it is highly likely that al-Shingieti would have had regular direct contact with bin Laden, as well as a host of other terrorist leaders who regularly visited Khartoum during al-Shingieti’s tenure.

This is particularly relevant as al-Shingieti will be heading the U.S. Muslim outreach to the Obama administration as the president of American Muslims for Constructive Engagement (AMCE), a collaborative effort by U.S.-based Muslim Brotherhood front organizations to infiltrate our federal government. A recent open letter signed by al-Shingieti identifies him as AMCE’s president. The group states its vision as:

The United States Muslim community and the United States government working together constructively in enhancing national security and national interests of the United States of America.

The lead organization in AMCE, the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), which al-Shingieti serves as regional director, is the current focus of a federal grand jury probe into terrorist financing. At least two other AMCE groups, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), were named by federal prosecutors as unindicted co-conspirators in the recent Holy Land Foundation terrorism finance trial, which resulted in convictions on all 108 counts. And the Muslim American Society (MAS) was identified in federal court briefs by the Department of Justice as ‘the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.’. . .”

“Genocide Henchman Leading Muslim Outreach to Obama” by Patrick Poole; Pajamas Media; 1/22/2009.

5. In addition to al-Shingieti, the AMCE features Jamal al-Barzinji and Yaqub Mirza, two of the key figures in the SAAR network and the milieu targeted by the Operation Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002.

” . . . And documents received this past August by the Investigative Project through a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that AMCE steering committee member Jamal al-Barzinji and AMCE advisory council member Yacub Mirza were listed in FBI memos as ‘members and leaders of the Ikhwan’, which is the Arabic term for the Muslim Brotherhood. Department of Homeland Security senior agent David Kane has testified in a federal court affidavit that ‘Barzinji is not only closely associated with PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad], but also with Hamas.’

A December 2002 Wall Street Journal article relates some additional information about the terrorist connections of AMCE advisory council member Yacub Mirza:

According to court records and Justice Department documents, Mr. Mirza and several associates are suspected of funding the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which targets Israeli civilians with suicide bombers. U.S. officials privately say Mr. Mirza and his associates also have connections to al-Qaeda and to other entities officially listed by the U.S. as sponsors of terrorism.

Another FBI memo obtained by the Investigative Project states that al-Shingieti’s organization, IIIT, was one of the “Ikhwan organizations” that “are involved in organizing political support which involves influencing both public opinion in the United States as well as the United States government.” This political influence campaign was considered the first phase in a plan “to institute the Islamic revolution in the United States,” according to the FBI document.

It is appropriate to revisit these extensive contacts between AMCE member organizations and officials and the international Muslim Brotherhood network, and even activity by AMCE leaders in support of Islamic terrorist organizations, because another Muslim Brotherhood strategic document entered into evidence by federal prosecutors in the Holy Land Foundation trial revealed that the activity of these organizations in the U.S. is part of a “grand jihad” to destroy the West from within:

The process of settlement is a “civilization-jihadist process” with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.

These connections and the Muslim Brotherhood’s stated goal of waging a “grand jihad” inside the U.S. raise particular concerns considering statements reported by the Wall Street Journal made by al-Shingieti’s current boss, Jamal al-Barzinji, at a fall 2001 Organization of Islamic Conference meeting in Qatar, bragging how he and his associates had successfully infiltrated Washington:

At this time, the president and his administration are continually seeking the counsel and input of American Muslim leaders. At no other time has the Muslim community in America been more effective in relation to the processes of American government.

When considering the concerted and extensive effort by the Muslim Brotherhood to infiltrate the U.S. government, we can gain insight into how Abubaker al-Shingieti has transitioned from being a top official in the genocidal Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood regime, to a top official in the U.S.-based Muslim Brotherhood network, to leading the U.S. Muslim community’s outreach to the Obama administration as the head of American Muslims for Constructive Engagement. . . .”


6. Some background on Barzinji, Mirza and the raids of 3/20/2002–the meeting was one of intercession on behalf of the individuals and institutions targeted by the raids. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill–the focal point of the intercession–was dismissed roughly at the end of 2002.

“Among the Muslim leaders attending [the meeting with O’Neill] was Talat Othman, a longtime associate and supporter of President Bush’s family, who gave a benediction at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia in August 2000. . .But he also serves [with Barzinji] on the board of Amana Mutual funds Trust, an investment firm founded by M. Yacqub Mirza, the Northern Virginia businessman who set up most of the entities targeted by the Treasury and whose tax records were sought in the raid.

(”O’Neill Met Muslim Activists Tied to Charities” by Glenn R. Simpson [with Roger Thurow]; Wall Street Journal; 4/18/2002; p. A4.)

7. This milieu is part of the Norquist/Rove/Islamist nexus in the GOP.

“The case also highlights conflicts between the Bush administration’s domestic political goals and its war on terror. GOP officials began courting the U.S. Muslim community intensely in the late 1990’s, seeking to add that ethnic bloc to the party’s political base.”


8. The Amana organization headed by Mirza has numerous areas of overlap with organizations described as being implicated in terrorism and the milieu of Al Queda.

“Two nonprofits affiliated with Mr. Mirza and named in the search warrant, the SAAR Foundation Inc. and the Heritage Education Trust Inc., held large blocks of shares in Amana’s mutual funds in 1997, according to SEC records. The SEC documents and other records detailing connections between Mr. Othman and the Islamic Institute [on the board of which Mr. Othman serves] and the raided groups were compiled by the National Security News Service, a Washington based nonprofit research group.”


9. Further details have emerged about the links between Al Taqwa and the GOP/Bush administration.

“Mr. Othman also is on the board of Mr. Saffuri’s [and Norquist’s] Islamic Institute, the GOP-leaning group that received $20,000.00 from the Safa Trust, one of the raid’s targets. The president of the Safa Trust, Jamal Barzinji, is a former business associate of Switzerland based investor Youssef Nada, whose assets were frozen last fall after the Treasury designated him a person suspected of giving aid to terrorists.”


10. Talat Othman is part of the slumlord milieu with which Obama was associated in Chicago. Othman is also very close to George Bush.

“Mr. Othman has ties to the Bush family going back to the 1980’s, when he served with George W. Bush on the board of a Texas petroleum firm, Harken Oil & Gas Inc. Mr. Othman has visited the White House during the administrations of both President Bush and his father George H.W. Bush.”


11. Closing with review from FTR #656. During the presidential campaign, Obama was obstructed by an incident in which Muslim women wearing the traditional headscarves were asked to leave the stage. As it developed, the women both belonged to the Muslim Students Association, a Muslim Brotherhood front organization. One of the women in question, Shimaa Abdelfadeel, worked on behalf of Sami al-Arian, the North American head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group. Note that al-Arian (whom Mr. Emory refers to as “Sammy the Aryan”) was an ardent supporter of George W. Bush during the 2000 campaign. It was the investigation into Sammy the Aryan that led to the Operation Green Quest raids of March 20, 2002. Those raids exposed the link between the GOP and Bush administration elements involved with the slumlord milieu of which Obama is a part. As noted above, both Barzinji and Mirza were focal points of the Green Quest investigation.

“LSA Senior Shimaa Abdelfadeel is mailing something other than fruitcakes this holiday season.

Abdelfadeel, political chair of the University’s Muslim Students’ Association, has collected about 20 letters of support to send to Sami Al-Arian, an outspoken pro-Palestinian activist and former engineering professor at the University of South Florida.

Federal authorities jailed Al-Arian in 2003 on charges that he supported a cell of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group linked to the deaths of Israelis in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Currently, Al-Arian is in a Florida jail. . . .”

“Students Support Embattled Prof” by Kelly Fraser; The Michigan Daily; 12/12/2005.

12. Even more important for our analysis of the headscarf incident is the fact that the MSA branch at U. of Michigan/Dearborn was largely controlled by violent, fascistic Muslims, who attacked and brutalized MSA members who opposed their agenda. Note that the following incident took place in 2004. Hebba Aref was in charge of Dawah in 2002-2003. Note what was considered the norm at the MSA’s branch at U. of M. at Dearborn.

“Farhan Latif always knew it was only a matter of time before the slow-burning anger would erupt. His conservative Muslim enemies had made their intentions clear to him. They had sent threatening e-mails and left menacing messages on his cell phone. In their eyes, Farhan’s ideas were criminal. The Western world might call him a moderate Muslim, but his foes thought he was an apostate, luring young Muslims away from the faith.

The day Farhan feared came in September 2004. As he was about to enter his modern apartment in Dearborn, about one mile from his university, three young men jumped him and pushed him to the ground. They beat and kicked him without saying a word. Farhan recognied one of his attackers–the guy did not bother to hide his face under a mask. ‘Why are you doing this?’ Farhan cried, trying to shield his face from their blows.

The attackers did not reply. Within minutes, they got back into their car and tried to run Farhan over before they sped away. He managed to avoid the oncoming wheels by rolling away just in time.

As he rested in the hospital, nursing a swollen head, several cracked ribs and a broken arm, Farhan was depressed more than shocked over the beating. it was one thing to endure the daily blows from the non-Muslims who criticized Islam. But now he was in a battle with his fellow believers. ‘I fight against everything people say against my religion every day, on television, on the radio, everywhere,’ Farhan remarked, reflecting on the incident later. ‘I was not so much scared when this happened but sad that fellow Muslims would do this.’

Months before the attack, in the spring of 2004, Farhan was elected president of the Muslim Students’ Association at the Univesity of Michigan’s Dearborn campus. In a short time, he revolutionized the association, making it more attractive to a majority of Muslim students on campus–many of whom had refused to join when the conservatives were in charge. [Italics are mine–DE].

Farhan and the new leaders decided there would no longer be radical imams unleashing hate speech at Friday prayers. All lecturers would be required to follow certain rules. They lifted the ban that prevented women without headscarves from joining the association. [Italics are mine–DE].

All Muslims would be welcome, no matter their political ideas or their sect–minority Shiites, often scorned for their separate ways and different approach to the faith, were just as acceptable as the Sunni student majority. . . . None of this sat well with members of Dearborn’s Muslims’ Students’ association who were either radical Salafis or affiliated with the Hizb ut Tahrir al-Islami–the Party of Islamic Liberation.

The movement (Hizb ut Tahrir al-Islami)–a clandestine, radical Sunni Islamic group that is banned in several countries around the world–advocates the replacement of individual Muslim governments with single caliphate governed under a strict reading of the sharia. The students who are members of Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami share a common creed that calls for strict adherence to the Koran and the rejection of applying human reason and logic when interpreting the Islamic holy texts.

Before Farhan had arrived on the campus, radical students had turned the Muslim Students’ Association into a virtual training camp for conservative ideologues. Under the influence and guidance of an Imam at a Dearborn mosque, the students believed their fellow Muslims were straying dangerously from the faith. In their eyes, being a dedicated Muslim meant that men should work to pressure the U.S. government to change its policies in the Islamic world, Muslim women should wear headscarves and Muslims should have little to do with Jews and Christians. [Italics are mine–DE.] . . .”

“The Future of the Faith” by Geneive Abdo; The Globalist; 6/13/2008.

13. As seen above, the MSA chapter to which Hebba Aref belonged was strongly associated with Hizb ut-Tahrir.


14. Hizb ut-Tahrir works with  the German NDP, the top German neo-Nazi party. Achmed Huber of the al-Taqwa milieu also works with the NPD.

“Hizb ut-Tahrir, which was founded by a Palestinian in 1953, came to the attention of the German government in the wake of the attacks on New York City and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001. Several of the hijackers and other figures in that plot belonged to radical Islamic groups in Hamburg. It is not clear if members of Hizb ut-Tahrir are linked to Al Qaeda, but its Web site calls on its members to fight against the United States because of what it calls America’s ‘crusade’ against Muslims. Last October, the group staged a demonstration at the Technical University of Berlin at which anti-American speeches were made. In what would seem to be an odd coalition, the group maintains at least some ties with a right-wing German fringe group, the National Democratic Party, some of whose members attended the Berlin rally. The common ground between the two groups would seem to be a hatred of Jews.”

(“German Police Raid an Islamic Militant Group” by Richard Bernstein; The New York Times; 4/11/2003; p. 1.)

Description for FTR #408.


2 comments for “FTR #663 Badjacketing Obama, Part III”

  1. […] as for example, Tony Rezko. You can know more about of this by visiting these shows here, here, here and […]

    Posted by Ayers and Dohrn, Barack Obama, the death of Andrew Breitbart and the rise of Third Position fascism | Lys-d'Or | March 14, 2012, 10:25 am
  2. Back during the 2008 US presidential campaign, John McCain faced a particularly awkward campaign moment when he took away the microphone from a supporter at a rally that had just asserted that “Obama was an Arab” with the statement, “No ma’am, [Obama’s] a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.” What was also a moment that’s come to increasingly resonates with today’s political dynamics, so let’s take a short walk down unfortunate-memory lane:

    The Huffington Post

    McCain Responds to “Arab” Epithet at Rally: “Obama a Decent Family Man”

    The Uptake
    Posted: 11/10/2008 5:12 am EST Updated: 05/25/2011 12:50 pm EDT

    John McCain supporter Gayle Quinnell told the crowd at a McCain Rally in Minnesota that “Obama is an Arab.” McCain took away the microphone but failed to address Quinnell’s unabashed bigotry or the incidents of anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and anti-African American bigotry that has become an increasingly regular feature of GOP rallies as the election draws near. “No ma’am,” he says. “[Obama’s] a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.”

    Quinnell said she obtained the information on Obama being an Arab at “her local library” and from a pamphlet obtained at a local McCain campaign office (provided by a fellow volunteer not the campaign itself). She has taken it upon herself to redistribute the information as widely as possible by making copies of the pamphlet and sending it to random names in the phone book.


    Gayle Quinnell: I went to the library in Shakopee and I got lots of … three pages of information about Obama

    Adam Aigner of NBC News: And what kind of information did you get?

    Quinnell: I got to tell you, you call me. It’s a long story. I’m afraid of what’s going to happen to this country.

    Aigner: What would you think would happen? Do you think it would become Muslim country and what would that mean?

    Quinnell: It would be bad

    Aigner: So even though Senator McCain told you that he didn’t feel that was true and you ought to be more respectful, you still fear that?

    Quinnell: I still do. Yeah. I’m not alone. I go to Burnsville, the main Republican headquarters and I do a lot of work over there. A lot of sending out mail and talking to people. And all the people agree with what I’m saying to you about Obama.

    Aigner :Then do you feel there are a lot of volunteers for McCain who feel that way?

    Quinnell: Yes. A lot of them. In fact I got a letter from another woman that goes over there to Burnsville and she sent me more things about Obama.

    Aigner: What was on the letter?

    Quinnell: Oh all kinds of bad things about him and how, I mean I have to tell you to call me. It’s all bad.

    Reporter: Are a lot of people getting this letter and are a lot of people believeing it and is that turning a lot of votes or support for McCain?

    Quinnell: Yeah I sent out 400 letters. I went to Kinkos and I got them all printed out. And I sent about 400 letters. I went in the telephone book and sent them out to people. So they can decide if they would want Obama.

    Noah Kunin (The UpTake): Do you volunteer at the Republican Party Headquarters or the McCain Campaign office over in Burnsville?

    Quinnell: McCain. McCain Headquarters in Burnsville.

    Noah: The McCain headquarters.

    Quinnell: It’s out over by , over by that post station there.

    Noah: Yeah, I know which one you’re talking about. And just to be sure to make sure we got your quote OK, you called Obama and Arab terrorist?

    Quinnell: Pardon?

    Noah: You called him an Arab terrorist? Is that correct? Why do you think he is an Arab?

    Quinnell Because his dad is. If you… I’ll send you the paper.

    Female reporter: His dad is Muslim His dad was Muslim. Barack Obama has never been a Muslim.

    Quinnell: No but he’s….

    Dana Bash of CNN: He’s a Christian.

    Quinnell: He’s not an Arab either, he’s a —

    Bash: His father was Muslim, and he’s a Christian.

    Quinnell: Yeah, but he’s still got Muslim in him. So that’s still part of him. I got all the stuff from the library and I could send you all kinds of stuff on him. In fact….

    Yes, before was had the Tea Party, there was “Birtherism”:

    Noah: You called him an Arab terrorist? Is that correct? Why do you think he is an Arab?

    Quinnell Because his dad is. If you… I’ll send you the paper.

    Female reporter: His dad is Muslim His dad was Muslim. Barack Obama has never been a Muslim.

    Quinnell: No but he’s….

    Dana Bash of CNN: He’s a Christian.

    Quinnell: He’s not an Arab either, he’s a —

    Bash: His father was Muslim, and he’s a Christian.

    Quinnell: Yeah, but he’s still got Muslim in him. So that’s still part of him. I got all the stuff from the library and I could send you all kinds of stuff on him. In fact….

    So that was then, when John McCain , and this is now:
    Donald Trump, who cemented his role as king of the ‘Birthers’ in 2011, was recently criticized over his response to an audience question by a man that first asserted that President Obama is a secret non-American Muslim, that Muslims are the problem facing America, that there are secret Muslim “training camps” that Obama, the secret Muslim, isn’t dealing with, and then asked “When can we get rid of ‘em?”. Trump, nodding along in agreement throughout the question/assertion, responded with “We’re going to be looking at that and plenty of other things.”

    And following an outcry over what was seen as an implicit agreement by Trump with questioner, the Trump campaign responded “The media wants to make this issue about Obama. The bigger issue is that Obama is waging war against Christians in this country. Their religious liberty is at stake.”

    So it’s looking like the inevitable “why aren’t we waging more sectarian conflict?”-phase of the 2016 GOP primary is in full swing. And, pathetically, it’s also looking like John McCain’s response to the assertion that Obama is “an Arab” with “no, no, he’s a decent man” (implying that Arabs in inherently indecent) can be looked back on as “the relatively good ‘ol days”:

    TPM Livewire
    Trump Says He’s Not ‘Morally Obligated’ To Defend Obama

    By Caitlin MacNeal
    Published September 19, 2015, 9:27 AM EDT

    After he was criticized for failing to correct a town hall audience member who said that President Obama is a Muslim and not an American, Donald Trump on Saturday morning defended himself, arguing that it was not necessary to address statements made about the President.

    During a town hall in New Hampshire on Thursday night, a member of the audience asked a question about “training camps” for Muslims, adding that Obama isn’t an American and is a Muslim himself.

    Trump nodded along during the question, and then he replied, “We’re going to be looking at that and plenty of other things.”

    Shortly after the town hall, Trump released a statement to the Washington Post defending his actions.

    “The media wants to make this issue about Obama. The bigger issue is that Obama is waging war against Christians in this country. Their religious liberty is at stake,” Trump said in the statement.

    Following the town hall, both Democrats and Republicans criticized Trump for not sticking up for the President. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Trump’s fellow presidential candidate, suggested that Trump’s past statements questioning whether Obama was born in the U.S. influenced those who still believe Obama is not an American.

    “Mr. Trump in many ways is responsible for this, by creating this idea that maybe Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii,” Graham said on Friday. “Saying that most illegal immigrants are rapists and drug dealers. He’s playing into this hateful narrative. It’s now time for him to set it right.”

    So will catering to ‘Birtherism’ get one last hurrah before the end of the Obama presidency? It’s certainly looking like it. And will that actually harm Donald Trump’s presidential ambitions? Well, it may not help with his presidential ambitions, but before that happens he has to actually get the nomination and when it comes to getting the nomination, ‘Birther’ dog-whistles and talk of secret Muslim paramilitary training camps probably won’t hurt, and might actually help:

    US News & World Report
    Will Rekindling the Birther Debate Help or Hurt Trump?
    In declining to correct a supporter, Trump caters to an audience of unbelievers.

    By Joseph P. Williams
    Sept. 18, 2015 | 3:26 p.m. EDT

    When a supporter at a town-hall meeting told him President Barack Obama is a Muslim who was born overseas, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump didn’t bat down the assertion, an omission that touched off clashes between his campaign and two cable TV news anchors and drew a rebuke from a GOP rival, as well as a Twitter slap from Hillary Clinton, the Democrats’ top contender.

    Coming off a dismal performance by their candidate in Tuesday’s second debate, however, the question, and Trump’s inaction, has energized a core Trump constituency: so-called “birthers,” who don’t believe Obama was born in the U.S.

    A recent Public Policy Polling survey shows that, six years after the 2008 presidential election — and four years after he produced an official copy of his birth certificate — more than 60 percent of Trump backers don’t think the president is a Christian or an American citizen, a notion they also link to their candidate’s call to end citizenship for anyone born in the U.S.

    In a statement to The Washington Post, Trump’s campaign walked past the issue altogether, declaring that the president “is waging a war against Christians in this country. Christians need support in this country. Their religious liberty is at stake.”

    But as the Republican presidential campaign grinds on, it might not be so easy for Trump to brush off the controversy — a hot-button issue for the GOP grassroots, but a turn-off for most mainstream voters — especially when his grassroots supporters bring it up in the public arena.

    “It looks as if he does have a great amount of support” among birthers, says Dr. Krista Jenkins, director of PublicMind, a public opinion think tank based in Fairleigh Dickinson University. In January, PublicMind released similar data showing a third of self-identified Republicans believe Obama was born somewhere other than the U.S.

    “Maybe they became aware of [Trump’s] status as a politician because of his leadership in his movement,” Jenkins says, referring to Trump’s 2011 clash with the White House. But since most Americans are satisfied Obama was born in America, she added, “It’s going to be an open question as to how he deals with people that want to raise the specter of birtherism.”

    In 2011, as he was considering running for the presidency, Trump publicly questioned Obama’s citizenship, and launched a public campaign to force the president to prove he was born in the U.S. The billionaire didn’t run, but when Obama released the long-form version of his birth certificate to silence the uproar, Trump crowed that he was “proud” he’d forced Obama’s hand.

    The issues surfaced again in 2012, when Trump announced he’d back Mitt Romney, the GOP’s nominee, against Obama for president. As the race between Romney and Obama wore on, however, the issue faded into the background, and hasn’t been a factor in Trump’s 2016 campaign thus far.

    On Friday, the day after Obama’s citizenship was raised at a Trump event, the candidate abruptly canceled an appearance in South Carolina, an early primary state. “Mr. Trump has a significant business transaction that was expected to close Thursday,” according to USA Today, quoting a campaign e-mail.

    Yet it’s unlikely that a skipped campaign appearance will be enough to quash the controversy, given the results of a Public Policy Polling survey.

    Trump “is benefiting from a GOP electorate that thinks Barack Obama is a Muslim and was born in another country, and that immigrant children should be deported,” according to a PPP statement released with the poll.

    The polls show that “66 percent of Trump’s supporters believe that Obama is a Muslim to just 12 percent that grant he’s a Christian.” At the same time, “61 percent think Obama was not born in the United States to only 21 percent who accept that he was,” according to the poll.

    Meanwhile, “63 percent want to amend the Constitution to eliminate birthright citizenship, to only 20 percent who want to keep things the way they are.”

    As the controversy spread on Thursday, Trump surrogates tried to put out the fire, but at least one seemed to be using gasoline.

    Appearing on MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” Tana Goertz, the campaign’s Iowa co-chair, skirted questions about Trump’s non-response to the man questioning Obama’s citizenship. But she also pumped up notions that investigators the billionaire dispatched to Hawaii found damning evidence about Obama’s birth, and that Trump will reveal all “when the timing is perfectly strategic.”

    At the same time, CNN’s Anderson Cooper tangled with one of Trump’s business associates who attempted to defend the real estate mogul’s position on Muslims and Obama’s birth. Then, Clinton sent out a tweet demanding Trump “cut it out”:

    Perhaps sensing an opportunity to make favorable headlines, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie jumped into the fray on NBC’s “Today” show Friday morning.

    “I would just tell you that if somebody at one of my town hall meetings said something like that, I would correct them and say, now, the president’s a Christian and he was born in this country,” Christie told host Matt Lauer. “Those two things are self evident.”

    Fairleigh Dickinson’s Jenkins says she’s not surprised that Trump has the birther vote, or that the controversy over Obama’s citizenship hasn’t gone away.

    “As our data shows, there’s a partisan difference and a media source difference,” she said. “The president’s opponents are most likely to believe he isn’t a citizen. And people who are more likely view Fox News Network are more likely to believe he’s not a native-born citizen. Those are the two facts we can at least ground in that data.”

    And the facts, she says, don’t really matter to them.

    “Even though there’s certainly an abundance of sources that have corrected the record, the reality is there’s the internet and other places where you can go where [Obama’s birth] is an open question,” she says. “I think that provides you with some degree of cover for dismissing the accurate information…When a pollster asks you, you can ground your perception in something out there that legitimizes your dubiousness.”

    “I honestly don’t know” if the revitalization of the birth certificate question will hurt Trump in the polls, Jenkins says. “He says the things that [his supporters] believe, as we’ve seen in our data.”

    Nevertheless, “any coalition of people who support a candidate is more complex” than on the surface, Jenkins says. “I think it will alienate some, but others will rally to his side.”

    Yes, with 2/3 Trump supporters already pretty sure that Obama was born outside the US, and 1/3 Republican voters in general supporting that sentiment, we probably shouldn’t be surprised that not only is the Trump campaign catering to these sentiments but they’re apparently sitting on new evidence that “when the timing is perfectly strategic”:

    As the controversy spread on Thursday, Trump surrogates tried to put out the fire, but at least one seemed to be using gasoline.

    Appearing on MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” Tana Goertz, the campaign’s Iowa co-chair, skirted questions about Trump’s non-response to the man questioning Obama’s citizenship. But she also pumped up notions that investigators the billionaire dispatched to Hawaii found damning evidence about Obama’s birth, and that Trump will reveal all “when the timing is perfectly strategic.”

    So the “Summer of Trump” just might end up being the “Fall of Birtherism”. That should be fun.

    But as the article below points out, what that audience member brought up in his question/rant was far more than just questions of Obama’s religion and place of birth. He was basically eluding to the same world-view held by Robert Doggart, the man recently charged with planning an armed assault on the predominantly Muslim community of Islamberg, New York over fears that the community itself was basically a militant Islamist “training camp”. And if you’re someone that holds that worldview, you just might be supportive of some sort of ethnic cleansing:

    Here’s the terrifying anti-Muslim conspiracy theory that Trump’s supporter was citing

    Updated by Max Fisher on September 18, 2015, 10:40 a.m. ET

    On Thursday night, at a town hall in New Hampshire, Donald Trump nodded along and even seemed agree when a supporter declared, “We have a problem in this country, it’s called Muslims,” then went on to ask, “When can we get rid of ’em?” The man also declared President Obama to be Muslim.

    The supporter also said something else: “We have training camps growing where they want to kill us.”

    The question about the training camps wasn’t incidental. In fact, even the Trump campaign is insisting that’s what the question was about — and that that’s what Trump was responding to when he said, “We’re going to be looking at that and plenty of other things.”

    The Trump supporter was talking about a conspiracy theory that been festering on the far-right fringes of American political discourse: that Muslim American communities are sheltering secret terrorist training camps in the US.

    The very basics of the “Muslim training camps” conspiracy theory

    “Fears of ‘Muslim training camps’ have simmered on the far right for years, especially since the rise of the Islamic State,” Jenna Johnson writes in the Washington Post, adding that right-wing media sometimes claim there are dozens of such camps.

    These stories make it into more mainstream right-wing media as well. Johnson links to a January Fox News clip in which Bill O’Reilly hosted a member of a far-right group who claimed that Muslim Americans are organizing secret paramilitary communes poised to commit acts of terrorism. O’Reilly and the guest discussed the supposed Muslim training camps at length. On Fox Business, also in January, Lou Dobbs hosted the same group to repeat these claims.

    This conspiracy theory has prompted attempts at far-right violence in the past. Just this spring, FBI arrested a Tennessee man named Robert Doggart who was plotting to lead a far-right militia on a killing spree against a heavily Muslim community in New York state.

    Doggart believed the community was a “Muslim Jihadist Training Camp,” according to a post he made on his web site. He wrote, “Given the recent beheading of an American Journalist by the treacherous ISIS group, the Islamic networking that is underway in America, and the threats directed at us, there is no choice but to engage this topic, face-to-face, on location.”

    Why this conspiracy theory is growing, along with incitements to anti-Muslim violence
    [see video clip of Lou Dobbs segment about Muslim paramilitary training camps ]

    The implication and basis of the conspiracy theory are pretty clear: that the 2.6 million Muslim Americans in this country are not equal citizens who happen to follow a different faith, but rather a frightening enemy within that must be confronted, violently if necessary. Calls for a mass ethnic cleansing campaign against Muslims, like the one the Trump supporter implied is necessary, are merely the next step in that horrifying logic.

    Like much of the rising tide of Islamophobia in America, this conspiracy theory has been around for a while but has grown since the emergence of ISIS, helped along by US media coverage that frequently conflates ISIS with all Muslims and suggests, as CNN often does, that Muslims are inherently violently people.

    The conspiracy theory also feeds into far-right fears about demographic change, and a belief that, as white Christian Americans lose their demographic dominance, they will come under physical threat as well.

    These fringe extremists see the world as divided into racial and religious groups, and believe that they are already under imminent physical danger from people who look different from them. Within that warped worldview, pre-emptive violence against their perceived enemies would be entirely justified.

    More media-savvy groups, such as the one Fox News has hosted, will simply point out that it’s a shame that restrictive laws make it impossible for the FBI to arrest the people in these training camps. But this is just a way of subtly suggesting that America would be safer if we could take away the pesky civil liberties of the members of these “Muslin training camps,” who, recall, are in fact innocent Muslim American families.

    That is what led Robert Doggart to plan to attack innocent families in New York, and it is what led Trump’s supporter to call to “get rid of” Muslims. So while Trump’s campaign is trying to spin this as Trump only agreeing with the call to “look into” Muslim training camps, make no mistake that when far-right groups talk about “getting rid” of Muslims or even just Muslim training camps, what they are actually talking about is large-scale discrimination and perhaps even violence against Muslim American families.

    This is not a problem of just the far right

    The New York town that Doggart was planning to attack, by the way, had been featured prominently in the January O’Reilly segment as a secret training camp.

    This is to say that, while Trump and his supporter are being covered as just a wacky clown candidate refusing to confront a wingnut supporter, in fact this episode is a direct outgrowth of anti-Muslim incitement and bigotry that has been promoted for months on right-wing outlets such as Fox News.

    “This is to say that, while Trump and his supporter are being covered as just a wacky clown candidate refusing to confront a wingnut supporter, in fact this episode is a direct outgrowth of anti-Muslim incitement and bigotry that has been promoted for months on right-wing outlets such as Fox News.”

    Part of what makes the “all Muslims are inherently violent Jihadists” meme that’s regularly pushed by folks on Fox News and the right-wing media so disturbing and unhelpful is that if you wanted to devise a plan to actually empower and garner sympathy for the genuinely militant and radical Islamist movements and leaders within the American Muslim community, you almost couldn’t come up with a more effective campaign than the “all Muslims are secret Jihadists, just like Obama” memes that are not just championed by Trump but much of the American right-wing at this point. Sure, there’s no shortage of theological justifications for violence or authoritarianism that one can find if they go looking for it in Islam or Christianity or any other major religions, but, of course, it’s also the case that people have been living under various theologies or ideologies throughout history that can lend themselves to the justification of all sorts of horrible behaviors and it would be silly to assume that all of the people living in those societies embraced the worst interpretations of their communal beliefs. And yet that’s basically the meme embraced by Trump and the larger right-wing media infrastructure: that nearly all Muslims embrace the worst aspects of contemporary Islam.

    And part of what makes this campaign against all American Muslims so horrible in the global context is that the deeply far-right theocratic strains of fundamentalist Islam promoted by groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist governments of the Gulf states, or the lunatic Mullahs of Iran really do hold enormous power in Muslim communities around the world and the American Muslim community is probably one of the best positioned to counter that influence by promoting, by both example and education, non-fundamentalist versions of Islam that represent a meaningful break with the Muslim Brotherhood-style lunacy. And one of the best ways to disempower the moderate American Muslim community is to see a bunch of right-wing Americans, many of whom adhere to various forms of Christian fundamentalist thought, embrace the “all Muslims are violent and we need to ‘get rid of them'” meme. Radical fundamentalists love calling themselves “moderates”, which is exactly why grouping all Muslim in with the radicals is so harmful. That’s what the fundamentalists want.

    But here we are, with the leading GOP candidate, who just happens to be king of the ‘Birthers’, catering to “let’s get rid of the Muslims” crowd and responds to the criticism by saying, “the media wants to make this issue about Obama. The bigger issue is that Obama is waging war against Christians in this country. Their religious liberty is at stake.” It’s more than a little ominous. Ominous and oh so ironic.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 19, 2015, 4:41 pm

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