Last night, Bin Quick put up a post that speculated that maybe the unlimited funding from the Citizens United decision had the potential to shake up the system and that could somehow be a silver lining. I traded a few be careful what you wish for’s with Bin Quick, or rather, in round robin, but the whole thing takes on a new light this morning as the funding for Newt Gingrich gets another $5 Million jolt from Sheldon Adelson’s wife this time.
Another round of negative ads? Shaking things up in Florida? Will this finally tip the race or just bring more of the same? Who’s to say. Does Citizens United change the system or not? Montana is openly challenging the system according to the New York Times Editorial page. We’ll see.
But what takes a human, not a computer or a web page to discern, by reading the Times this morning, is that the two articles on the front page give a very dark tone to the $5 Million in campaign contribution money given to the Gingrich campaign. It seems that Sheldon Adelson is also a major contributor to something called the Clarion Fund. And that fund is on the page break of the front page article called,
The article details how a film called The Third Jihad sponsored by the Clarion fund was running on continous loop during some functions — admissions, medical checks, etc., during counterterrorist trainings of the New York Police Department by the Department of Homeland Security for thousands of officers a year ago. The movie darkly asserts that the first jihad was that of the prophet Muhammed, the second, the Crusades, and the third is the takeover of the modern world. It shows mocked up atrocities, and a “Muslim” flag flying at the White House and generally panders to the worst in anti-Muslim fears. It features clips of Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly as well.
It took the Brennan Center months to get ahold of the film, after a Muslim officer complained to a reporter about the film. The department stonewalled, and originally said they only showed it once or twice. But here’s the kicker for the funder:
The 72-minute film was financed by the Clarion Fund, a nonprofit group whose board includes a former Central Intelligence Agency official and a deputy defense secretary for President Ronald Reagan. Its previous documentary attacking Muslims’ “war on the West” attracted support from the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a major supporter of Israel who has helped reshape the Republican presidential primary by pouring millions of dollars into a so-called super PAC that backs Newt Gingrich….
Repeated calls over the past several days to the Clarion Fund, which is based in New York, were not answered. The nonprofit group shares officials with Aish HaTorah, an Israeli organization that opposes any territorial concessions on the West Bank. The producer of “The Third Jihad,” Raphael Shore, also works with Aish HaTorah.
Clarion’s financing is a puzzle. Its federal income tax forms show contributions, grants and revenues typically hover around $1 million annually — except in 2008, when it booked contributions of $18.3 million. That same year, Clarion produced “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” The Clarion Fund used its surge in contributions to pay to distribute tens of millions of copies of this DVD in swing electoral states across the country in September 2008.
“The Third Jihad” is quite similar, in style and content, to that earlier film. Narrated by Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim doctor and former American military officer in Arizona, “The Third Jihad” casts a broad shadow over American Muslims. Few Muslim leaders, it states, can be trusted.
Personally, I’d like to know a whole lot more about what the donors to a SuperPAC get out of their donations. Newt was a big provider to his donors when they were “members” of his various consulting groups for which he was “not a lobbyist”. And I’d really like to know more about the film and how it got both Raymond Kelly in it and into the DHS curriculum: “An undated memorandum from the department’s commanding officer for specialized training noted that an employee of the federal Department of Homeland Security handed the DVD to the New York police in January 2010.” I want to know who that employee is, and why (s)he isn’t unemployed and facing complaints.