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

News & Supplemental  

Supplement to the Tulsi Gabbard Analysis

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained HERE. The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by ear­ly win­ter of 2016. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more.) (The pre­vi­ous flash dri­ve was cur­rent through the end of May of 2012.)

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COMMENT: 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.... 




5 comments for “Supplement to the Tulsi Gabbard Analysis”

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

    Full Arti­cle:


    “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:


    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:


    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

    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!


    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


    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

    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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