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Supplement to the Tulsi Gabbard Analysis

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Omidyar ShruggedRSSGandhiHitCOMMENT: In FTR #’s 941 and 942, we examined Tulsi Gabbard (D–HI), usually described as a “rising star” in the Democratic Party. Of substantively greater interest for our purposes is the fact that she was one of the driving forces behind the Bernie Sanders phenomenon.

In addition to her suspiciously anomalous views on Muslims/Islam, she networks with the BJP of Narendra Modi, a political front for the Hindu nationalist/fascist RSS.

In the above-mentioned programs, we chronicled Gabbard’s profound, long-standing involvement with a branch of the Hare Krishna cult headed by Chris Butler.

In a Huffington Post story about Gabbard and the Butler branch of the Hare Krishnas, the author mentioned that he could find no record of Gabbard having made a public pronouncement of being an acolyte of Butler. We thought this strange, since an archive about the Butler cult contained an embedded video in which Gabbard describes Butler, aka Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa, as her guru.

At the time of recording, we though that “Civil Beat” was a feature of the Huffington Post. It turns out that there is much more to the story.

Civil Beat was carried by the Huffington Post, however it was an early journalistic venture of Pierre Omidyar, whose better known journalistic effort, First Look Media, enfolds The Intercept, the media voice for Nazi fellow-traveler Glenn Greenwald.

Omidyar, as we have chronicled in FTR #889, among other programs, helped finance the rise of Narendra Modi, as well as the Maidan coup in Ukraine. Omidyar is heavily networked with the National Endowment for Democracy and the Agency for International Development. Omidyar’s brutal “philanthropic” efforts are headed by Roy Prosterman, a veteran of the Phoenix program in Vietnam.

The odd inability of the Civil Beat writer to find Gabbard’s easily accessed public announcement of her fealty to Butler is more comprehensible in light of Omidyar’s joint sponsorship of the publication and Modi’s regime in India.

“Pierre Omidyar;” Wikipedia.

….In 2010, Omidyar launched online an investigative reporting news service, Honolulu Civil Beat, covering civic affairs in Hawaii. The site has been named Best News Website in Hawaii for three consecutive years.[18] On September 4, 2013, Honolulu Civil Beat started a partnership with The Huffington Post, launching the weblog’s latest regional addition, HuffPost Hawaii…. 

 

 

Discussion

5 comments for “Supplement to the Tulsi Gabbard Analysis”

  1. Tulsi Gabbard reveals she met Assad in Syria, without informing top Democrats

    Full Article:
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/26/tulsi-gabbard-bashar-al-assad-syria-democrats

    Excerpts:

    “Initially I hadn’t planned on meeting him,” Gabbard told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “When the opportunity arose to meet with him, I did so, because I felt it’s important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then we’ve got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we could achieve peace. And that’s exactly what we talked about.”

    Democratic leaders were mum on the decision by one of their sitting lawmakers to meet with a dictator whom the US government has dubbed a war criminal for his use of chemical weapons against civilians.

    Gabbard’s trip raised alarms over a potential violation of the Logan Act, a federal statute barring unauthorized individuals from conferring with a foreign government involved in a dispute with the US. The US currently has no diplomatic relations with Syria.

    Gabbard’s office said her visit was approved by the House ethics committee. A spokesman for the committee declined to comment, although under its rules members have a period of 15 days following the completion of a trip to make public their approval letter and financial disclosures related to privately funded travel.

    The offices of Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, and Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, did not respond to requests for comment when reached by the Guardian. The White House did not immediately return an email inquiry, nor did a spokeswoman for House speaker Paul Ryan.

    Pelosi told reporters on Wednesday that she had no knowledge of Gabbard’s unannounced trip, which drew scrutiny over who arranged and paid for the travel.

    “She hasn’t reported or brought anything to our office as far as I know,” Pelosi said at a press conference held before Gabbard’s revelation about her meeting with Assad.

    “So when I know more about it, I’ll have something to say about it.”

    Adam Kinzinger, a Republican congressman from Illinois, was among few lawmakers to immediately condemn Gabbard’s actions.
    “It is sad and a shame and a disgrace,” Kinzinger told reporters at a Republican policy retreat in Philadelphia. “In no way should any member of Congress, should any government official, ever travel to meet with a guy that has killed 500,000 people and 50,000 children.”

    Kinzinger called on leadership in both parties to condemn Gabbard’s trip and questioned how it was financed. But Kinzinger – like Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran – said he would need to know more to file an ethics complaint against his colleague.
    “She has the audacity to say that everywhere she went people supported Assad,” Kinzinger said. “Of course, when you have an Assad-led tour, he’s only going to take you to places where people like him”.

    Evan McMullin, a former independent candidate for president in the 2016 presidential election, asked on Twitter: “Why are so many of our leaders becoming stooges of foreign dictators and war criminals? @TulsiGabbard @realDonaldTrump This is America!”

    ———-

    Gabbard’s office claims her trip was funded by the Arab American Community Center for Economic and Social Services (Aaccess) – Ohio; however, the group has not reported any financial revenue to the US government since 2006.
    Bassam Khawam, the executive director of Aaccess who traveled with Gabbard, reportedly belongs to a pro-Assad Lebanese political party, the Syrian Social Nationalist party (SSNP). The party has dispatched its members to fight on behalf of the Assad regime during the nearly six-year war.

    The mystery surrounding Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s trip to Syria

    Full Article:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/01/26/the-mystery-surrounding-democratic-rep-tulsi-gabbards-trip-to-syria/?utm_term=.bc1fc9fd75a2

    Excerpt:

    Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) just did something few members of Congress dare to do these days: Go to Syria and meet with the man the United States has actively been trying to oust, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    Besides the fact a sitting member of Congress met with the leader of a nation that Washington has no diplomatic relations with — a man whom former president Barack Obama described as the main roadblock to peace in Syria — the timing of Gabbard’s trip is perplexing.

    Consider: President Trump has not yet signaled whether he plans to shift U.S. policy in Syria, nor how. Gabbard raised eyebrows in Washington when she met with Trump in November to share her view that the United States should stop arming and assisting rebels, a policy that candidate Trump expressed support for. Then, the week Trump is inaugurated, we find out one of the few Democrats to knowingly talk foreign policy with Trump is in Syria potentially meeting with its president.

    Gabbard returned this week and said the seven-day trip — which also featured former Ohio congressman and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich — was led and paid for by the Arab American Community Center for Economic and Social Services in Ohio. It’s common for lawmakers to take trips abroad via advocacy groups but not common for them to meet with foreign leaders without explicit permission from the president.

    Melissa Dalton, a Middle East defense expert now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies described Gabbard’s trip as “odd” and “premature.” She said it does not appear to be connected to any broader policy deliberations about how to approach Syria. If that’s the case, Dalton warned that Gabbard risks undermining those deliberations by taking things into her own hands.

    Posted by Mother Muckraker | January 26, 2017, 6:00 pm
  2. Quoting from the above Guardian article:
    “Bassam Khawam, the executive director of Aaccess who traveled with Gabbard, reportedly belongs to a pro-Assad Lebanese political party, the Syrian Social Nationalist party (SSNP)”

    Behind the Terror
    June 1987

    Full Article:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1987/06/behind-the-terror/376326/

    Excerpt:

    To inspire his troops to seek martyrdom, the Ayatollah Khomeini promises them a room next to his in paradise. The suicide bombers of the Hizballah (Party of God), whose terrorist arm is better known as the Islamic Jihad, look forward to everlasting life in the bosom of the merciful Allah. But there is a more bizarre growth spreading in the landscape of international terrorism: a party whose members go knowingly and willingly to their deaths without the comfort of a hereafter, out of pure conviction, in the service of an idea. It is a party whose leaders, men approaching their seventies, send pregnant teenagers on suicide missions in booby-trapped cars. And it is a party whose members, mostly Christians from churchgoing families, dream of resuming the war of the ancient Canaanites against Joshua and the Children of Israel. They greet their leaders with a Hitlerian salute; sing their Arabic anthem, “Greetings to You, Syria,” to the strains of “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles”; and throng to the symbol of the red hurricane, a swastika in circular motion.

    These are the hallmarks of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), the oldest terrorist organization in existence today and one of the most secret and deadly. Despite its long history of violence, Western security organs were recently taken by surprise when they learned that a well-camouflaged arm of the SSNP had succeeded in setting up a large terror network in Western Europe—complete with safe houses, weapons caches, and forged passports—and that it was the SSNP that had set off a series of deadly explosions in the heart of Paris, to gain the release of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah. The United States, too, has felt the effects of the SSNP. The explosion aboard a TWA flight nearing Athens in April of 1986, which cost the lives of four passengers—one of them an infant—has been traced to May Mansur, of Tripoli, a veteran member of the SSNP, who debarked at a previous stopover after placing a bomb under her seat.

    Syrian Social Nationalist Party
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Social_Nationalist_Party

    Posted by Mother Muckraker | January 26, 2017, 6:19 pm
  3. Tulsi Gabbard’s Homophobic Remarks Surface After 2020 Presidential Announcement not once but twice!

    https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5c3a6030e4b01c93e00a5952/amp

    Posted by Robert Maldonado | January 14, 2019, 12:56 pm
  4. Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Advises Koch-Funded University Center
    …a position which she has omitted in her latest financial disclosure…
    Feb 27, 2019

    https://readsludge.com/2019/02/27/democratic-rep-tulsi-gabbard-advises-koch-funded-university-center/

    A Democratic presidential candidate is an advisor to an academic center funded by the Republican Party’s most notorious donor, Charles Koch.

    Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who announced her candidacy for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination in January, is one of 12 advisors of a foreign policy center at the Washington, D.C.-based Catholic University of America. The Center for the Study of Statesmanship (CSS) was founded in 2017 with a $2.65 million grant from the Charles Koch Foundation, which gives tens of millions of dollars to American colleges and universities each year, usually to fund ideological, free-market academic programs.

    The position is not listed on Gabbard’s 2017 financial disclosure, the most recent available. The center, which “considers how American constitutionalism, with its emphasis on limited and decentralized power, virtue, and deliberation, relates to statesmanship in foreign and domestic affairs,” brings in professors and visiting fellows, sponsors conferences, seminars, and lectures.

    Gabbard, a military veteran, has often opposed U.S. engagement in overseas conflicts, including in war-torn Syria, so she is not out of place among anti-interventionists. “Having experienced first-hand the true cost of war,” states her 2020 campaign website, Gabbard “made a personal vow to find a way to ensure that our country doesn’t continue repeating the mistakes of the past, sending our troops into war without a clear mission, strategy, or purpose.” But for a Democrat—especially a 2016 Bernie Sanders surrogate who has progressive views on campaign finance reform and single-payer health care—to accept a position at a think tank funded by Koch and staffed with several Koch-linked individuals is unusual.

    Gabbard spokesperson Lauren McIlvaine told Sludge, “As a soldier and veteran of two Middle East deployments, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has been a leading voice for ending costly, counterproductive regime change wars, working to end the new Cold War and nuclear arms race, and taking the trillions of dollars being spent on these wars and using them to serve the needs of our people on things like healthcare, affordable housing, and infrastructure. The mission of CSS is aligned with the work that she has dedicated herself to, which is why she agreed to serve on their Council of Advisors.”

    The Kochtopus
    Over the last few decades, Charles Koch, who runs the industrial conglomerate Koch Industries, and his brother David created a large and powerful conservative political network with funds that rival those of the Republican Party establishment. The Kochs and their wealthy conservative allies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the last several federal elections, often using independent political spending groups to run ads and ground operations to boost right-wing Republican candidates.
    Gabbard “has been a strong proponent for ending Citizens United and the corruptive influence of special interest money in politics,” said McIlvaine.

    Electoral politics is just the final step in the Koch influence operation. The Kochs’ effort to transform America begins with funding higher education, typically giving large amounts of money to finance or create free-market educational programs at American colleges and universities, such as George Mason, Florida State, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

    According to long-time Koch deputy Richard Fink, investing in “intellectual raw materials,” or university research, is the core of the Kochs’ “Structure of Social Change” strategy. From universities, the Koch political operation seeks not only “intellectual raw materials” but also a pipeline of young conservative graduates to join its network.

    The next step in the social change process is funding conservative think tanks that create policy proposals in line with the Kochs’ libertarian, free-market ideology, which Koch-funded political advocacy groups promote and use to impact elections. Then, the network uses direct political spending to help elect right-wing Republicans who will push these policies, such as tax cuts and environmental deregulation, that boost Koch Industries’ profits. After decades of business and political advocacy, Charles and David Koch are each worth $52 billion.

    Ralph Wilson, co-founder of the activist group UnKoch My Campus and now an independent researcher, told Sludge, “Gabbard’s involvement [with CSS] shows just how successfully the Koch network has duped public figures into legitimizing their dangerous ideology and political agenda.”

    …..Gabbard a dupe? If Gabbard is a dupe, her involvement with the CSS would not be omitted. Omitting such a position demonstrates careful deliberation designed to conceal the true motives behind her ostensibly progressive façade……
    Koch Links at CSS

    Some CSS advisors have additional ties to the Koch network. Around the same time that CSS was founded, CSS advisor Monica Duffy Toft created a similar center at Tufts University, the Center for Strategic Studies, with a $3 million grant from the Charles Koch Foundation. Advisor John B. Henry is the chairman and CEO of the Committee for the Republic, an anti-imperialist group co-founded by longtime Koch ally C. Boyden Gray. Gray and Koch are both major donors to George Mason University’s law school. Gray is also on the board of the Federalist Society, a network of conservative judges to which the Charles Koch Foundation is a major donor. The group’s executive vice president, Leonard Leo, who stewarded an anonymous $20 million grant to George Mason University’s law school that was given in conjunction with $10 million from the Charles Koch Foundation, is on the board of trustees of Catholic University and the board of visitors of its business school.

    Lobbyist Bill Wichterman, a former George W. Bush advisor who is currently registered to lobby for companies including IBM and Qualcomm, is another CSS advisor. Wichterman previously lobbied for defense contractor Northrop Grumman and helped the Judicial Crisis Network, which receives funding from Koch-linked groups, shepherd Donald Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, through the nomination process.

    Former Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who is generally viewed as a left-wing Democrat but has defended Trump on Fox News on several occasions, is another advisor to the center.

    The Charles Koch Foundation has given heavily to Catholic University in the last several years. In 2013, it granted the school $1 million so it could launch its School of Business and Economics, prompting 50 Catholic educators to write a letter in protest. “You send a confusing message to Catholic students and other faithful Catholics that the Koch brothers’ anti-government, Tea Party ideology has the blessing of a university sanctioned by Catholic bishops,” read the letter. In 2016, Koch’s foundation committed $10 million more to the business school.

    Neo-Confederate Ties
    The Charles Koch Foundation has funded academics who have neo-Confederate ties or views, including Marshall DeRosa of Florida Atlantic University. CSS’s founding director, politics professor Claes G. Ryn, appears to be part of this trend.
    Ryn has appeared on the podcast of Tom Woods, a founding member of the League of the South, which, in its current form, the Southern Poverty Law Center considers a neo-Confederate hate group. He has written for the website of Lew Rockwell, the founder of the neo-Confederate Mises Institute and a League of the South charter member. And Ryn’s institute has published DeRosa’s work. DeRosa was once a “faculty member” at the League of the South Institute, where he taught courses on subjects including on topics including “Why secession was, and is, constitutional” and “How the ‘Fourteenth Amendment’ was never constitutionally passed by Congress nor ratified by the States.”

    Kucinich joins Rockwell on the advisory board of the libertarian Ron Paul Institute; Ryn is a member of the institute’s academic board. Paul once published a racist newsletter and later defended the Confederacy.

    “This is another example of the Charles Koch Foundation boosting the careers of fringe operatives with deep ties to neo-Confederate and white supremacist ideology,” said Wilson. “This is taking place on a campus attempting to advance Koch’s free-market ideology with Catholic theology as a moral framework for ‘human flourishing.’”

    Gabbard herself has alleged alliances with bigoted forces. As Sludge previously reported, Gabbard has ties to anti-Muslim Hindu nationalists and accepted campaign donations from members of a Hindu nationalist group.

    Gabbard is “not aware of Mr. Ryn’s associations,” said McIlvaine. “She continues to forcefully denounce hatred, bigotry, and racism, calling for inclusivity, respect, and aloha—love.”

    ….. After this reporter’s questioning and subsequent article, Gabbard is now fully aware of Mr. Ryn’s associations.….

    Posted by Mother Muckraker | March 9, 2019, 3:53 pm
  5. Tulsi Gabbard Took Thousands From Members of Right-Wing Hindu Group
    Critics say that the Hindu American Foundation is “a pernicious organization” with ties to the Indian right wing movement.

    December 26, 2018
    By Eoin Higgins, Edited by Donald Shaw
    https://readsludge.com/2018/12/26/tulsi-gabbard-took-thousands-from-members-of-right-wing-hindu-group/

    Tulsi Gabbard, the Iraq War veteran who represents Hawaii’s 2nd District in the House of Representatives, is widely believed to be close to announcing a run for president. Gabbard hopes to capitalize on her ties to popular Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who may himself be considering a run for the White House; she’s already made moves to secure talent in advance of a run.

    Despite her popularity with some liberal Democrats, however, Gabbard’s connections to right-wing groups both at home and abroad have raised eyebrows. Whether it’s the affection shown her by Steve Bannon, who set up Gabbard’s meeting with Donald Trump before the president’s inauguration, or the congresswoman’s associations with autocrats like President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Gabbard’s views on foreign policy remain problematic for some on the left.

    Gabbard and her office did not answer a request for comment.

    Gabbard, who is Hindu, has connections to India, the world’s most populous Hindu nation, including to the country’s Hindu nationalist movement, which is considered fascistic by observers like Rajeev Ravisankar, a PhD student in media studies at the University of Oregon and observer of Indian politics.

    “The Hindu nationalist, or Hindutva, movement is one of the largest global right-wing movements in the world,” Ravisankar told Sludge in an email. “It directly drew inspiration from European fascism and has developed a vast network in post-independence India.”

    According to Ravisankar and other critics, like progressive Hindu organization Sadhana, Hindu nationalists in the U.S. have a political voice in the Hindu American Foundation, an organization founded in 2003 by Dr. Mihir Meghani, Aseem and Suhag Shukla, and three other individuals. The organization has received criticism over the past 15 years for its ties to right-wing Indian politicians and what some see as genocide denial. Observers on Capitol Hill say the Foundation has recently become more vocal in their support for India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

    “HAF’s alacrity in protecting Hindutva organizations from any kind of international censure for violence against minorities in India stands in stark contrast to its vigorous efforts to highlight the plight of Hindu minorities in countries around the world,” the Coalition Against Genocide’s Dr. Shaik Ubaid and Dr. Raja Swamy said in a statement dated April 7, 2014. “Far from being an organization committed to promoting human dignity and pluralism, HAF stands exposed as a foe of human rights, working to defend the Hindutva movement from much needed public scrutiny in the US.”

    The Foundation, for its part, considers the Coalition a Hinduphobic organization and, in a Dec. 15, 2013, statement, Samir Kalra, now the organization’s senior director, referred to the Coalition as “radical extremists.”

    Gabbard has been the beneficiary of the largesse of the Foundation’s board members and officers. In the 2017-2018 cycle, the Congresswoman received a maximum $2,700 donation from Shukla, and three donations totaling $1500 from her husband and foundation Board Member, Aseem; a total of $10,800 over four donations from Board Member Ravij Pandit and his wife, Priya; and two donations totaling $4,400 from Treasurer Rishi Bhutada. Meghani, HAF’s Chairman, was Gabbard’s biggest donor, maxing out to the campaign in two donations for $5,400 and delivering another $10,000 to the Congresswoman through her Time to Unite Lead and Serve with Integrity (TULSI) leadership PAC.

    “The political contribution history of our Board members and officers is publicly available, and you’ll find they’ve contributed to a variety of candidates over the years at similar levels,” said Senior Director Shukla in an email to Sludge. “Indeed as the first Hindu American elected to Congress, Rep. Gabbard naturally enjoys the support of many Hindu Americans.” Ravisankar described the Foundation as “a pernicious organization that has positioned itself as a mainstream advocacy outfit simply representing Hindus in the US.” “HAF is better situated as part of the broader right-wing Hindu political sphere,” Ravisankar added.

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governorship of the Gujarat province from 2001 to 2014 included being in charge during anti-Muslim riots in 2002 that claimed between 1,044 and 2,000 lives. Modi has been accused of, at best, refusing to intervene and, at worst, of encouraging the violence.

    The Foundation’s support for Gabbard—over $24,000 in 2017-2018—is a not insubstantial amount, even in context of Gabbard’s total $1,394,524 haul for the cycle. And that support has been reciprocated by the Congresswoman; an internship program funnels students from the organization’s offices in Washington to Gabbard’s offices in the Capitol, Gabbard regularly attends events sponsored by the Foundation, and both Gabbard and the organization joined forces to welcome Modi to the US in September 2014. That December, at Modi’s invitation, Gabbard traveled to India and met with right wing leaders in the country.

    In her statement to Sludge, Shukla cited ties between the Indian Prime Minister and American politicians of both parties.
    “Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle and members of both the Trump and Obama Administrations have visited India to demonstrate their commitment to expanding the US-India strategic partnership,” said Shukla. “President Obama met with Prime Minister Modi eight times during his second term, described his relationship with PM Modi as one of his highest foreign policy priorities, and even called to say goodbye during the last days of his presidency.”

    Those denials notwithstanding, the organization has maintained ties with right-wing elements in India, especially as the Asian subcontinent nation’s politics have gone further to the right.

    But, Shukla said, it’s likely that criticism of Gabbard on her connection to Modi and the Indian right wing may be based in something uglier.

    “Rep. Gabbard similarly met with India’s leaders,” said Shukla, “so judging Rep. Gabbard or any Hindu American by a measure different from that of others, or to impugn a different, or ‘special’ relationship with a foreign government simply on the basis of a shared religion is Hinduphobic and xenophobic.”

    UPDATE (Dec. 27): Shukla said in an email to Sludge that the Hindu American Foundation denies any associations with groups based in India. 
        
    CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that Ramesh Bhutada was a member of the Hindu America Foundation’s Board of Directors. It also said that a press release from Kalra was from 2003 when it was in fact from 2013.

    Posted by Mother Muckraker | March 9, 2019, 4:16 pm

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