A former top deputy to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan tells Newsmax that Barack Obama’s ties to the black nationalist movement in Chicago run deep, and that for many years the two men have had “an open line between them” to discuss policy and strategy, either directly or through intermediaries.
“Remember that for years, if you were a politician in Chicago, you had to have some type of relationship with Louis Farrakhan. You had to. If you didn’t, you would be ostracized out of black Chicago,” said Dr. Vibert White Jr., who spent most of his adult life as a member and ultimately top officer of the Nation of Islam.
White broke with the group in 1995 and is now a professor of African-American history at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
White said Obama was “part of the Chicago scene” where Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. and radicals would go to each other’s events and support each other’s causes.
“Even though Chicago is the third-largest city in the country, within the black community, the political and militant nationalist community is very small. So it wouldn’t be uncommon for [Obama and Farrakhan] to show up at events together, or at least be there and communicate with each other,” White told Newsmax.
The Anti-Defamation League has denounced Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam as a “hate group.”
Farrakhan has called Jews “bloodsuckers,” “satanic” and accused them of running the slave trade. He has labeled gays as “degenerates.” In a 2006 speech, the ADL again condemned Farrakhan when he said: “These false Jews promote the filth of Hollywood that is seeding the American people and the people of the world and bringing you down in moral strength. … It's the wicked Jews the false Jews that are promoting lesbianism, homosexuality. It's wicked Jews, false Jews that make it a crime for you to preach the word of God, then they call you homophobic!"
Obama was careful to “denounce” Farrakhan’s comments – but not the man - during the Democratic primary season earlier this year, but only after Hillary Clinton called him out for benefiting from Farrakhan’s support.
Farrakhan endorsed Obama in a videotaped speech to his followers at Mosque Miryam in Chicago in February. “You are the instruments that God is gonna use to bring about universal change, and that is why Barack has captured the youth,” Farrakhan said.
He told the crowd that Obama was the new “messiah.” See Video: Farrakhan Endorses Obama, Calls Him Messiah.
Once the news media and the Clinton campaign got hold of those comments from Farrakhan, demands mounted from all sides that Obama “renounce” Farrakhan.
But as he has done repeatedly throughout this campaign, Obama was careful to parse his words.
“You know, I have been very clear in my denunciation of Minister Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments,” he said during one appearance on “Meet the Press.” “I think that they are unacceptable and reprehensible.”
Obama hastened to point out that Farrakhan had been praising him as “an African-American who seems to be bringing the country together. I obviously can't censor him, but it is not support that I sought. And we’re not doing anything, I assure you, formally or informally with Minister Farrakhan.”
But Obama, once again, was less than candid.
In 1995, according to a profile of Obama that appeared in the Chicago Reader newspaper, Obama “took time off from attending campaign coffees to attend October’s Million Man March in Washington, D.C.”
At the time, Obama was running for the Illinois Senate from Chicago’s South Side, a seat he won after getting surrogates to challenge the signatures on nominating petitions for his chief rival, the incumbent Alice Palmer.
The march, which fell far short of attracting the million men it advertised, was organized by Farrakhan and by Obama’s then-pastor, the anti-white black nationalist Wright.
Obama spoke at length with the Chicago Reader upon his return from the Million Man March. “What I saw was a powerful demonstration of an impulse and need for African-American men to come together to recognize each other and affirm our rightful place in the society," he said.
“These are mean, cruel times, exemplified by a ‘lock ’em up, take no prisoners’ mentality that dominates the Republican-led Congress,” Obama said.
“Historically, African-Americans have turned inward and towards black nationalism whenever they have a sense, as we do now, that the mainstream has rebuffed us, and that white Americans couldn't care less about the profound problems African-Americans are facing."
“Black nationalism” is a current of thought and political action in the African-American community that has been championed by the likes of Farrakhan, Wright, Malcolm X, the Black Panthers and Khalid al-Mansour. Obama discussed his attraction to black nationalism at length in his 1995 memoir “Dreams of My Father.”
Obama further parsed his words in a Feb. 25, 2008, presentation to a Jewish community meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, where he insisted that Wright “does not have a close relationship with Louis Farrakhan.”
And yet, just months earlier, Wright’s Trumpet magazine gave Farrakhan its Lifetime Achievement Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award, saying that Farrakhan “truly epitomized greatness.”
That award was the fruit of a long and deep relationship between the two men, White told Newsmax. In 1984, Wright accompanied Farrakhan on his much-criticized trip to meet Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, at a time when Gadhafi was considered an enemy of the United States.
Wright also accompanied Farrakhan and Jackson to Syria in 1986, where they successfully negotiated with Syrian strongman for the release of downed American pilot Robert O. Goodman.
Obama’s Speaking Style
In addition to the ideological affinity Obama expressed for the black nationalist movement, White believes that Obama owes much of his success as a public orator to speaking techniques that Farrakhan developed over the years, and exploited for years to great success.
“If you listen to the rhetoric and you take away Obama’s political jargon, you hear a religious tenor to it that is very much Nation of Islam-like. I don’t know if anyone has ever touched on it, but Obama’s speaking style is very Malcolm-like, very Farrakhan-like,” White said.
Any American who has listened to early radio or television interviews of Obama can hear how dramatically Obama’s speaking style has changed since he became a United States senator.
In clips dating from 2001 and even early 2004, Obama speaks haltingly and in long, rambling sentences packed with legalese and dense pseudo-academic rhetoric. But not today.
“As a former minister of the Nation of Islam, I know how they speak,” White told Newsmax. “I don’t know who was training Obama. But that style is not a ministerial style like in the Christian church. It’s a Nation of Islam style.”
White began in the late 1970s as a foot soldier in the Fruit of Islam, the military branch of Farrakhan’s Black Muslim group, then rose to become a minister of the Nation of Islam and a top deputy to Farrakhan himself.
Known initially as Brother Vibert L.X., and later as Minister V.L. Muhammad, he parted ways with Farrakhan not long after the Million Man March, after nearly 25 years within the organization.
White’s 2002 book “Inside the Nation of Islam” prompted death threats by Farrakhan loyalists, so he left Illinois and moved to Florida to teach at the University of Central Florida.
He told Newsmax that Obama’s remarkable speaking style, even his manner of standing at a podium to appear larger than life, is directly copied from Farrakhan.
“If the Nation of Islam can’t do anything else, it can train people how to speak. And nobody can outspeak a Muslim minister,” he said.
Earlier this year, a pro-Clinton blog run by former CIA officer Larry Johnson unearthed a 2004 photograph showing Michelle Obama and Farrakahn’s wife, Mother Khadijah Farrakhan, at an event hosted by Jackson’s Citizenship Education Foundation.
Newsmax queried Obama’s U.S. Senate office, his Chicago office and his campaign press office about his ties to Farrakhan, but did not receive a reply.
Ever since he appeared before the annual policy conference of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee in June, Obama has attempted to convince the Jewish community that he is pro-Israel.
But his longstanding ties to Farrakhan, Wright and Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi, among others, have disturbed many Jewish community leaders.
Sen. John McCain publicly chastised The Los Angeles Times on Thursday for not releasing a videotape the newspaper said it possessed of a 2003 dinner for Khalidi, where Obama reportedly accused Israel of carrying out a “genocide” against the Palestinians.
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