McCain has joined the fray calling for the LA Times to release their tribute video to Khalidi whereupon:
A big farewell dinner was held in their honor by AAAN with a commemorative book filled with testimonials from their friends and political allies. These included the left wing anti-war group Not In My Name, the Electronic Intifada, and the ex-Weatherman domestic terrorists Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers. (There were also testimonials from then-state Senator Barack Obama and the mayor of Chicago.)So not only is there a video, but a testimonial book of some sort. But does any of this matter as to the election?
Yes. Think of the reverse scenario, with McCain was being linked to neo-nazis or separatists/secessionists, some of which was on a video that Fox News or Rush Limbaugh was sitting on, then imagine the reaction. But not only from a partisan perspective--the American people have the right to know if they're being pulled the wool from a guy almost nobody knew before 2004. If he likes to hang with Marxists, former radicals and ex-terrorists it's legitimate to ask whether he agrees with their views. His defense so far has been the incredulous stonewalling tactic, but time is quickly running out. So again yes, it does matter.
I'll let the big boys sort out this Times thing, since I'm more interested in whether Ayers' Weather thugs or Rashid Khalidi had any ties with the Palestinian terrorists, such as the group focused on a few days ago, the "May 15 Organization", who had a demonstrable connection to Saddam Hussein. As reported, this organization--evidently with cover from Iraq--set 13 bombs in the early 80s, one which blew up aboard a Pan Am 747 and killed a Japanese teenager. They found and defused the others.
Let's recap what was going on at the time. Reagan was president and America was slowly coming out of a recession. The Air Traffic Controllers were on strike then fired. Overseas, the Iraqis had attacked the Iranians and were fighting a bloody war on their border. One year earlier the Israelis disabled Saddam's nuke facility at Osirak and in 1982 were engaged in the first Lebanon war, a conflict started under a casus belli centered around the assassination attempt of Israel's UK ambassador Schlomo Argov by the Abu Nidal Organization, who were coddled by Saddam at the time.
In 1982 Rashid Khalidi was in Beirut working for the PLO press agency WAFA and had recently edited a section called "The Gulf and Palestine in Soviet Policy" in a book on the region, co-edited by Camille Mansour.
Name sound familiar? Well, Mansour is of no relation to Khalid al-Mansour, reportedly the benefactor who helped Obama gain entrance to Harvard Law in the late 80s. We don't know for sure because he ain't talking, which is like a flu with most of Obama's friends. Tick-tock.
What about Obama in the early 80s? He was attending Columbia and hanging around the library or so he says, at least most of the time. Meanwhile, the Weather Thugs had split up with one group containing Ayers and Dohrn and the other with the radicals, who had pulled off the Brinks robbery in 1981. Although this was the splinter weather group, there was an interesting name involved, one Nathanial Burns, aka Sekou Odinga. That should ring a bell to some, although it's not clear whether there's a connection.
But did they have any contact with radical Palestinian groups at the time? Hard to say. They were definitely part of the international resistance movement and we've learned that the Weather thugs had some contact with Cuba, but it's undeniable that Ayers and Dohrn had a cozy relationship with Khalidi after their wilder days ended, which was later shared by Obama. So it's natural to wonder if Obama shared their views about "justice" for the Palestinians, since he seems to share it for economics.
But what about Iraq? The PLO and Abu Nidal were not friends, at least on the surface. Saddam harbored Nidal, but he also befriended Arafat and later helped the families of suicide bombers in Israel with check payments. ANO was a socialist/Arab nationalist outfit, not Islamic (which would be antithetical to Ayers' since he seems to be irreligious). So even if there are no direct ties between terrorist groups in Iraq and the Weather thugs the leaders of these groups seem to have a common cause in mind--the Palestinians, and Khalidi does not seem to favor co-existing states.
But back to the 2003 party. I've been trying to find the date, but the closest I've come is a mislabeled "February 2005", missing the year. Was the party in Feb 2003? If so, that was only weeks before we invaded Iraq. Might there be some rhetoric on the tape about Saddam or other Arab nationalism? We know Obama was also familiar with Syrian Tony Rezko and Iraqi Auchi Nahdmi.
The LA Times has now said the source was confidential and they stand by their privacy agreement. How principled. Too bad they aren't the New York Times.
The apparent date of the party was early August 2003. Current events-wise, we were slogging along in Iraq with Saddam still on the lam and the Plame affair was beginning to brew based on David Corn's accusations.
BTW, here's Khalidi's perspectives on Palestine, if you can get through the video. Good luck.