Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Man Behind the Obama Smears
posted by Ari Berman on 10/07/2008

I don't normally listen to Sean Hannity, nor did I watch his Fox News special on Sunday, "Obama and Friends: The History of Radicalism." But I did read the transcript. To make their case against Obama, conservatives like Hannity are relying on a highly discredited cast of characters.

Take the example of Andy Martin, the "author and journalist" Hannity quotes extensively in his segment. "I think a community organizer in Barack Obama's case was somebody that was in training for a radical overthrow of the government," Martin tells Hannity. In Martin's view, Obama is just a puppet of radicals like Bill Ayers and Louis Farrakhan. "If you love the Cuban revolution and Castro and if you love what's happening in Venezuela with Hugo Chavez, you'll love Barry Obama--Barack Obama, as he calls himself--in the White House," Martin says.

So just who is Andy Martin? Well, for starters, he's the originator of the "Obama is a Muslim" lie circulating around the Internet, as my colleague Chris Hayes first reported last year. Here's a brief backgrounder on Martin, from Hayes' article, "The New Right-Wing Smear Machine":

During a 1983 bankruptcy case he referred to a federal judge as a "crooked, slimy Jew, who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race." Martin, who in the past was known as Anthony Martin-Trigona, is one of the most notorious litigants in the history of the United States. He's filed hundreds, possibly thousands, of lawsuits, often directed at judges who have ruled against him, or media outlets that cover him unfavorably. A 1993 opinion by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in Atlanta, described these lawsuits as "a cruel and effective weapon against his enemies," and called Martin a "notoriously vexatious and vindictive litigator who has long abused the American legal system." He once even attempted to intervene in the divorce proceedings of a judge who'd ruled against him, petitioning the state court to be appointed as the guardian of the judge's children....


The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Martin claimed he found Saddam Hussein before the US military did. "The Near North Side resident was relating how he spent most of 2003 scouring holes in Iraq with two dogs--and pinpointed Saddam Hussein's whereabouts a full two months before US troops," the Sun-Times wrote in 2006.

Now, Martin claims, he has been "the pathfinder on Barack Obama for over four years." On October 15th, Martin plans to "launch the first investigative strike force in Hawaii directed at researching Barack Obama's 'hidden Hawaiian history.'"

"As always, our goals will be factual accuracy and fairness."

Based on his past work, I'd expect nothing less...



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