Monday, March 03, 2008

More Troubling Obama Ties: Where's MSM, GOP?

An anon commenter called my attention to investigative reporter Aaron Klein's Feb. 27 column at World Net Daily [excerpts]:

Democratic presidential frontrunner Sen. Barack Obama served as a paid director on the board of a nonprofit organization that granted funding to a controversial Arab group that mourns the establishment of Israel as a "catastrophe." (Obama has also reportedly spoken at fundraisers for Palestinians living in what the United Nations terms refugee camps.)

The co-founder of the Arab group, Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, is a harsh critic of Israel who reportedly worked on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization when it was labeled a terror group by the State Department.

Khalidi held a fundraiser in 2000 for Obama’s failed bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 2001, the Woods Fund, a Chicago-based nonprofit that describes itself as a group helping the disadvantaged, provided a $40,000 grant to the Arab American Action Network, or AAAN, at which Khalidi’s wife, Mona, serves as president. The Fund provided a second grant to AAAN for $35,000 in 2002.

Obama was a director of the Woods Fund board from 1999 to Dec. 11, 2002, according to the Fund’s website. According to tax filings, Obama received compensation of $6,000 per year for his service in 1999 and 2000.

The $40,000 grant from the Woods Fund to AAAN constituted about a fifth of the group’s reported grants for 2001, also according to tax filings. The $35,000 Woods Fund grant in 2002 made up about one-fifth of AAAN’s reported grants for that year as well.

Headquartered in the heart of Chicago’s Palestinian immigrant community, AAAN describes itself as working to "empower Chicago-area Arab immigrants and Arab Americans through the combined strategies of community organizing, advocacy, education and social services, leadership development, and forging productive relationships with other communities."

Speakers at AAAN dinners and events routinely have taken an anti-Israel line. The group co-sponsored a Palestinian art exhibit, titled "The Subject of Palestine," that featured works related to what Palestinians call the "nakba" or "catastrophe" of Israel’s founding in 1948.

The theme of AAAN’s Nakba art exhibit, held at DePaul University in 2005, was "the compelling and continuing tragedy of Palestinian life ... under [Israeli] occupation ... home demolition ... statelessness ... bereavement ... martyrdom, and ... the heroic struggle for life, for safety, and for freedom."

Another AAAN initiative, "Al Nakba 1948 As Experienced by Chicago Palestinians," seeks documents related to the "catastrophe" of Israel’s founding. ...
What do Senator Obama and the Khalidis say about what you've just read?

Klein reports:
Concerning Obama’s role in funding AAAN, Khalidi claimed he "never heard of the Woods Fund until it popped up on a bunch of blogs a few months ago." He terminated the interview when pressed further about his links with Obama.

Contacted by phone, Mona Khalidi refused to answer questions about AAAN’s involvement with Obama.

The Obama campaign did not reply to a list of questions sent by e-mail to the senator’s press office.
Klein ends his column with reporting concerning Obama's ties to William C. Ayers, a former member of the Weather Underground terrorist organization:
In addition to questions about his relationship with Khalidi, Obama may face increased scrutiny over his ties to William C. Ayers, a member of the Weather Underground terrorist group that sought to overthrow the U.S. government and took responsibility for a string of bombings in the early 1970’s.

Obama served on the Woods Fund board alongside Ayers (who is still on the board). Ayers, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has written about his involvement with the Weather Underground’s bombing of U.S. governmental buildings including the Capitol in 1971 and the Pentagon in 1972.

Although charges against him were dropped in 1974 due to prosecutorial misconduct, Ayers told a newspaper reporter several years ago that he had no second thoughts about his violent past. "I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough," Ayers told The New York Times in an interview published, ironically, on Sept. 11, 2001.

In his memoir, Fugitive Days, Ayers wrote: "Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon" – though he continued with a disclaimer that he didn’t personally set the bombs but his group placed the explosives and planned the attack.

Besides serving with Obama on the board of the Woods Fund, Ayers contributed $200 to Obama’s senatorial campaign fund and has served on panels with Obama at several public speaking engagements.
Why isn't MSM all over what Klein's reporting?

I just did a news-google search using entry word combinations of Klein, Obama, and Khalidi. With the exception of one brief Fox report, it didn’t turn up a single hit involving a major MSM news organization such as the NY or LA Times, the networks and CNN. All the hits were for smallish news outlets with an obvious conservative bent or blogs, but not any I recognized as high traffic ones.

Another commenter added this:
I'm waiting to see if the GOP is going to press Barack Obama about his close association with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

I was a Special Agent with Army MI in Chicago 1968-74 and I was on the streets when Dohrn and Ayers led the Weatherman Faction who trashed homes and businesses and attacked police and city officials. They also bombed NYC police stations, military recruiters, and were responsible for several police deaths.

I know MSM will try to ignore these facts, but will the GOP have the integrity to push the issue? Or will they lie down and play dead like Burr and Dole have done when asked to address the Duke lacrosse frame-up?
We should be reading and hearing a lot more about all of this, including what Obama has to say about it all. And, yes, GOP leaders should be out front asking questions.

Klein's entire column is here.


AMac said...

Larry Johnson is apparently a long-time Democratic high-up who has cast his lot with Hillary!. He was a passionate defender of Ambassador Wilson... perhaps not the strongest of bona fides, at least in my book.

At this 2/16/08 Huffington Post piece, No, He Can't Because Yes, They Will, you can see Klein's charges as they were made from the perspective of the kinder, gentler Netroots.

Anonymous said...

John -

There are two questions you asked. The first is where is the MSM, and the second is where is the Republican Party.
The first question is an easy one to answer. After Durham/Duke, it should be obvious that the MSM is not on the side of truth but a on the side of the meta-narrative which they would prefer to be true. The second question is more complicated. It seems to me that right now the best strategy for the Republicans would be to lie low and say nothing; just let the facts play out on blogs such as yours and in debates (or smears) between Clinton and Obama. For the Republicans, there will plenty of time after the conventions to bring all of this tawdry stuff out into the open.

Jack in Silver Spring
(PS - Thanks for bringing this to our attention.)