By claiming that Democrat Barack Obama is ''palling around with terrorists'' and doesn't see the U.S. like other Americans, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin targeted key goals for a faltering campaign.
And though she may have scored a political hit each time, her attack was unsubstantiated and carried a racially tinged subtext that John McCain himself may come to regret....
Palin's words avoid repulsing voters with overt racism. But is there another subtext for creating the false image of a black presidential nominee "palling around" with terrorists while assuring a predominantly white audience that he doesn't see their America?
In a post-Sept. 11 America, terrorists are envisioned as dark-skinned radical Muslims, not the homegrown anarchists of Ayers' day 40 years ago. With Obama a relative unknown when he began his campaign, the Internet hummed with false e-mails about ties to radical Islam of a foreign-born candidate.
Whether intended or not by the McCain campaign, portraying Obama as "not like us" is another potential appeal to racism. It suggests that the Hawaiian-born Christian is, at heart, un-American.
Another reason besides this is that John McCain himself has had some questionable associations, including with 2 men who were convicted during the Iran/Contra scandal. Yes, that was a long time ago. But Obama was EIGHT YEARS OLD when Ayers was part of Weather Underground. From Meet the Press today
John McCain sat on the board of a very right-wing organization, it was the U.S. Council for World Freedom, it was chaired by a guy named John Singlaub, who wound up involved in the Iran contra scandal. It was an ultra conservative, right-wing group. The Anti-Defamation League, in 1981 when McCain was on the board, said this about this organization. It was affiliated with the World Anti-Communist League – the parent organization – which ADL said “has increasingly become a gathering place, a forum, a point of contact for extremists, racists and anti-Semites.”
Now, that's not John McCain, I don't think he is that. But you know, the problem is that a lot of people know John McCain’s record better than Governor Palin. And he does not want to play guilt by association or this thing could blow up in his face.
Meanwhile, his influence over the federal funding worth $197.8 million (£113.5 million) requested by his wife remains unknown (John McCain has made his opposition to such earmarks a central part of his campaign). Likewise, the First Dude has so far made no public explanation of his voter registration as a member of the Alaskan Independence Party (AIP) between 1995 and 2002. Many members want full secession from the US and the party’s motto is Alaska First — in stark contract to Mr McCain’s Country First slogan. The former secretary of the AIP, Lynette Clark (a freelance gold-miner) this week memorably described the McCain camp’s efforts to spin Todd Palin’s secession sympathies as “like a cat covering up crap in its litter box”.
From its inception in 1981 through its near demise in 1987, USCWF assumed a leadership position in WACL.(4) Until 1984, the activities of USCWF and of WACL received little notice as the U.S. government was funding and otherwise supporting the contra forces in Central America. When the Congress cut off all military support to the contras in 1984, WACL and the USCWF were among several private organizations which stepped in to fill the gap.
At its 1984 convention, WACL, led by Singlaub, passed a resolution and formed committees to support the anticommunist rebel groups in Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.(4) At the 1984 convention the Nicaraguan contra delegation from the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN) led by Adolfo Calero requested the USCWF to act as a clearinghouse and disseminator of current information and needs of the FDN to all WACL chapters.(4) In 1984 the USCWF and Soldier of Fortune established a private training academy for Salvadoran police forces and Nicaraguan contras. The Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS) was designed to replace the U.S. Police Academy, a government group that trained the secret police of Uruguay, El Salvador, and Panama, among others.(4) The IRIS is or was headed by Alexander McColl, the military affairs editor of Soldier of Fortune magazine. The USCWF and Soldier of Fortune also joined forces in 1984 to form Refugee Relief International, an organization of former Special Forces soldiers, paratroopers, and pilots. This group provided medical, financial, and other assistance directly to people displaced by "communist terrorism."(4)
In 1985, USCWF and the Committee for a Free Afghanistan established Project Boots. Directed by Ted Abbott, the project solicited money, boots, and blankets for the rebels in Afghanistan.(19) In late 1985, the group started a similar project, the Freedom Fighter Friendship Kits, soliciting items such as insect repellant, toothbrushes and toothpaste, disposable razors, and the like, to be sent to the Nicaraguan contras. This project was carried out in conjunction with Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum.(20,22) Singlaub was selected by the White House in 1984 to be the chief private fundraiser for the contras. The key private and foreign governmental funders were to be wealthy business people, Taiwan, South Korea, and "an anti-communist organization with close ties to those governments," (i.e. WACL).(17) Singlaub's testimony from the Iran-Contra hearings reveal that he had numerous contacts with National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Oliver North and felt his fundraising activities for the contras had the tacit approval of the executive branch of government.(13) In the same year, Singlaub assisted WACL in Canada in cleaning up its image by ridding itself of its pro-Nazi leadership in the persons of Patrick Walsh and Robert Thompson. John Gamble, a former Conservative Party member of parliament was selected to be the chairman. Gamble set up the Canadian Freedom Fdn and worked to support Singlaub's efforts.
In 1984 and 1985 Singlaub made numerous trips to Canada to raise money and supplies for the contras.(9) USCWF paid $125,000 to Freedom Marine in 1985 for the purchase of three "stealth boats" with hulls reinforced for machine gun mounts. In Honduras in 1986, the coastal resupply system for the contras inside Nicaragua utilized three stealth boats.(24) In 1985, USCWF hired Carter Clews public relations agency to improve Singlaub's public image in hopes of enhancing his fundraising efforts. The agency was recommended to USCWF by Rob Owen, a contract agent of the Nicaraguan Humanitarian Aid Organization. Owen also acted as a courier and liaison with the contras for Oliver North during the period when U.S. government support of the rebels was prohibited. The Carter Clews agency did the promotion and publicity for the 1985 WACL convention.(13)
In 1986, USCWF purchased a UH-1B Huey helicopter, Lady Ellen, with money donated by Ellen Garwood.(4) It received permission from the State Department in April to send the copter to Nicaragua for the purpose of evacuating injured and sick rebels from war zones.(31) USCWF employed pilots Ed Dearborn and Mike Timpani to fly the old military copter (with hard points--brackets that can be used to mount machine guns) to a contra base in Honduras.(4) Dearborn was or is the aviation adviser for USCWF. Dearborn has an extensive background with the CIA, and Timpani is a former army helicopter pilot involved in the Delta Force and the invasion of Grenada.(16) Dearborn oversaw the reconstruction of three other planes intended for contra use--a vintage Cessna L-19 spotter plane donated by a retired air force officer, a Cessna 337 utility plane donated by a retired officer in Hawaii, and a Helio Courier short-takeoff-and-landing plane.(29)
Joyce Downey of USCWF said the organization spent at least $500,000 in 1985 to reconstruct the planes.(31) In October of 1986 the New York Times reported a cargo plane shot down over southern Nicaragua--flown by Eugene Hasenfus, whose downing revealed the first glimpses of the Iran-Contra affair--was operated "an organization run by retired General John K. Singlaub." Singlaub in a statement relayed through Joyce Downey, executive director of USCWF, said the incident had nothing to do with USCWF.(30) The 1986 tax return of the rightwing Council for Inter-American Security reported a $13,000 contribution received from USCWF.(52)
In 1986 the Christic Institute filed a civil racketeering suit under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act) against Singlaub and other contra supporters including Oliver North, Rob Owen, Tom Posey, and Adolfo Calero.(42) The suit charged Singlaub with involvement in the bombing of La Penca, the jungle headquarters of Eden Pastora, in which various journalists and other on-lookers were killed or injured.(42) The suit was costly to Singlaub.(21) One part of the suit involved the USCWF's attempt to purchase a C-130A cargo plane from Arizona's Valley National Bank. USCWF offered the bank partial payment in cash and part in a "tax credit for the donation." (The bank refused the offer.) Ed Dearborn, aviation adviser for USCWF, said that this was one of several efforts to obtain a plane, and if it had been successful, the plane would have been operated by USCWF to deliver non-lethal supplies to the contras.(16) In December of 1987 the IRS revoked USCWF's tax-exempt status.
When interviewed, USCWF attorney Thomas Spencer said he felt the IRS action was the result of complaints about the organization's private aid to the contras being in violation of the neutrality laws. Others at USCWF felt it might have been a reprisal from the White House for Singlaub's candid testimony at the Iran-Contra hearings.(15) An article in This Magazine in 1988 reported that USCWF was suffering from financial problems as a result of losing its IRS tax-exempt status.(9) In 1988, General Daniel Graham, vice chair of USCWF, was one of an eight-man delegation that met with President Ronald Reagan in an effort to block the Geneva accords calling for a withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan.(23) The USCWF also co-sponsored an ad with the Conservative Caucus calling on citizens to contact their congresspeople and urge them not to support the United Nations efforts to achieve troop withdrawals in Namibia and Angola.(24) USCWF was listed among the 29 private groups still supporting the contra cause in the March/April 1988 Common Cause magazine.(28)
In late 1988, Singlaub was indicted in a second law suit regarding his activities around the contras. This one was brought by the stockholders of the Miami Bayshore Bank naming Singlaub as a participant with Barbara Studley--a TV personality and head of GeoMiliTech--in a scheme to loot the bank to buy arms for the contras. The bank failed in 1985, partly because it transferred $5 million to GeoMiliTech; the money was not repaid.(21) An August 31, 1989 newsletter from Don Devereux, an investigative journalist from Scottsdale, reported that the USCWF had closed its doors in Phoenix. It was also reported that former USCWF executive director, Joyce Downey had retained the USCWF office space and was launching her own organization--the U.S. Alliance of Freedom Fighters.(47) USCWF, however, apparently did not dissolve as an organization, but moved to Alexandria, Virginia. Because of continued financial difficulties, NARWACL (the North American Regional World Anti-Communist League made up of the U.S. and Canada WACL organizations) was unable to hold its annual meeting in 1988-1989.(48)
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