Acorn “Pimp” Arrested / Hate Mail from “Christians”


Landrieu calls phone allegations ‘unsettling’

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN
Associated Press

Jan. 26, 2010, 9:16PM

NEW ORLEANS — A hero of conservatives who bruised the liberal group ACORN by posing as a pimp on hidden camera is now accused in an attempt to tamper with phone lines at Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office inside a federal building.

It’s not clear what James O’Keefe, 25, and three other young conservatives were trying to accomplish Monday at the New Orleans office of Landrieu, who has been criticized for securing more Medicaid benefits for her state in exchange for her support on health care legislation.

State Democrats quickly called the alleged plot a “Louisiana Watergate,” but federal officials have not yet said why the men wanted to interfere with Landrieu’s phones, whether they were successful, or even if the goal was political espionage.

A staff member in the office told the FBI that two of the suspects, including the son of an acting U.S. Attorney, wore white hard harts, tool belts and flourescent vests and said they needed to fix a problem with the phone system.

According to an FBI affidavit, O’Keefe was already sitting in the waiting area and recorded the men on his cell phone when they walked in.

A federal law enforcement official said one of the suspects was picked up in a car a couple of blocks away with a listening device that could pick up transmissions. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the information was not part of the FBI affidavit.

O’Keefe said only “veritas,” Latin for truth, as he left jail Tuesday with suspects Stan Dai and Joseph Basel, both 24. All declined to comment.

As he got into a cab outside the jail, O’Keefe said, “The truth shall set me free.”

The fourth suspect, Robert Flanagan, 24, was released earlier Tuesday. His father, Bill, is the acting U.S. Attorney based in Shreveport. He was first assistant under Republican President George W. Bush appointee Donald Washington before Washington stepped down this month. President Barack Obama recently nominated Stephanie A. Finley for the post. His father’s office declined to comment.

All four suspects were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses for the purpose of committing a felony, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Flanagan is the only suspect from Louisiana. Basel is from Minnesota; O’Keefe, New Jersey; and Dai, the D.C.-Virginia area.

“It was poor judgment,” Flanagan’s lawyer, Garrison Jordan, said in a brief interview outside the courtroom. “I don’t think there was any intent or motive to commit a crime.”

Flanagan recently criticized Landrieu for her vote on the Senate health care bill after securing a Medicaid provision estimated in value at up to $365 million for Louisiana. Conservatives accused her of selling her vote but she insisted no “special deals” were made.

“Do not be fooled into believing Landrieu is helping the state of Louisiana,” Flanagan wrote in a Nov. 25 post on the Web site for the Pelican Institute, a Louisiana think tank that promotes the free market and limited government. “If the proposed healthcare legislation were to be signed into law, the $300 million allocated to Louisiana will pale in comparison to the long-term debt Louisiana citizens will ultimately shoulder.”

Dai, who authorities said was arrested outside the building, is a former assistant director of a program at Trinity Washington University that taught students about careers in intelligence, university president Patricia McGuire said.

The program was part of a national effort following the Sept. 11 attacks to interest students at liberal arts colleges in careers as spies. McGuire said Dai was an administrator and that the program did not teach spy craft. He was also active in the conservative newspaper and other organizations at George Washington University.

O’Keefe and Basel were also active in conservative publications at their respective colleges, Rutgers University and the University of Minnesota-Morris. They gave a joint interview Jan. 14 to CampusReform.org, a Web site that supports college conservatives on student publications.

The allegations quickly prompted outrage from Democrats and claims of vindication at ACORN, which lost its affiliation with the U.S. Census Bureau and federal funding after the uproar over O’Keefe’s videos.

Landrieu, who was in Washington at the time, said in a statement Tuesday that the plot was “unsettling” for her and her staff. She said she looked forward to the investigation to learn their motives.

O’Keefe’s arrest “is further evidence of his disregard for the law in pursuit of his extremist agenda,” ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis said in a statement. The organization’s Twitter feed commented on the news: “Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving soul.”

O’Keefe managed to do what Republicans had been trying to for years: hurt the political affiliates of ACORN, which have registered hundreds of thousands of voters in urban and other poor areas of the country.

Using a hidden camera, O’Keefe, posing as a pimp and accompanied by a young woman posing as a prostitute, shot videos in ACORN offices where staffers appeared to offer illegal tax advice and to support the misuse of public funds and illegal trafficking in children.

The videos were first posted on biggovernment.com, a site run by conservative Andrew Breitbart. In the past, Breitbart has said O’Keefe — now a paid contributor to biggovernment.com — is an independent filmmaker, not an employee.

In a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press, Breitbart said: “We have no knowledge about or connection to any alleged acts and events involving James O’Keefe at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office. We only just learned about the alleged incident this afternoon. We have no information other than what has been reported publicly by the press. Accordingly, we simply are not in a position to make any further comment.”

O’Keefe’s father, James O’Keefe, Jr., of Westwood, N.J., said he hasn’t spoken to his son in several days and didn’t know he traveled to New Orleans, let alone why he went to Landrieu’s office.

“That would not be something that I can even imagine him doing,” he said of the allegations against his son. “I think this is going to be blown out of proportion.”

O’Keefe said his son travels frequently for speaking engagements.

“He’s a good kid,” he said. “He’s a very talented, very creative creative guy

=====================================================

Brad Friedman reported in his BradBlog, the following. The column contains copies of the hate mail but including it here was just too long. Please go to BradBlog for the rest.

By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2010 8:42PM

Exclusive: Group Receives ‘Tsunami of Vile Hate’ After ABC Exposé on U.S. Military ‘Jesus Rifles’

Anti-Semitic email, threats sent to Mikey Weinstein, founder of Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Rifle sight contractor Trijicon reportedly describes group as ‘not Christian’; MRFF responds with threat of possible legal action…

And what they will never tell you on Fox “News,” and probably not even on CNN or MSNBC, etc., is contained in the following three emails sent to Mikey Weinstein of the Nobel Prize-nominated Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), following an ABC News exposé last week on the bible verses that are encoded on the rifle scopes made by Trijicon, Inc., and used by our military serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The first disturbing email below is from a U.S. soldier who happens to be a Caucasian Muslim, horrified by the dangers of having such verse referenced on military equipment used in the Middle East, particularly in the event of capture. The soldier shares an appalling alleged account of his superior officer’s description of the weapon as the “the Fire Arm of Jesus Christ.” All the better, said the officer according to the soldier, than what they might have received, since “Uncle Sam had seen fit not to give us a ‘pussy “Jewzzi” (combination of the word ‘Jew’ and Israeli made weapon “Uzi”).'”

That account is then followed by two very short, anti-Semitic threats sent to Weinstein in regard to the same matter, following ABC’s report. Moreover, a senior company executive is said to have described MRFF as “not Christian” to ABC, according to a letter threatening legal action sent to the company by the non-profit organization which counters that it’s allied with thousands of Christian troops and organizations.

All three of the email missives are horrifying, though none of them are likely to receive the time of day in the bulk of the cowardly corporate media, where the real cause and effect of the Rightwing’s modern day politicized religious agenda is rarely broached in any way, shape, or form…

I should add that the horrors illustrated by these emails are likely very well known by public officials on the Right, who also abhorrently turn a blind eye to it all, in favor of the political gain it offers them.

I continue in amazement that anyone of the Jewish persuasion (which I am) in the U.S. would continue to delude themselves about the true heart of Republicanism, simply because of claims by the GOP in support of Israel. They may support Israel, my friends, but not for the reasons they’ve convinced you of. The folks behind the politicization of Christianity, and the use of Jesus Christ as a political bludgeon, hate Jews only slightly less than they hate A-rabs. That so many supporters of the GOP, due to their stand on Israel, still either fail to see it, or simply turn a blind eye, continues to amaze me.

The two hate mails below are a fairly representative sample of a “tsunami of vile hate,” as Weinstein described it, many of which were reviewed by The BRAD BLOG, that the group has received since ABC’s report. Another one of MRFF’s board members, “a highly decorated former Vietnam USAF chopper rescue pilot” with “so much shrapnel in his legs that he sets off the metal detectors at airports,” according to Weinstein’s characterization, has tried to help him respond to some of the incoming emails. The board member writes of “A disconnect that any thinking person having experienced it would believe they were whisked back in time to the 12th Century in which religious ignorance reached it’s peak and reigned over torture, genocide and all forms of tyranny.”

More at  http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7663

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