Raila dragged into attack on Obama
Posted Friday, August 15 2008 at 22:28
Prime Minister Raila Odinga has been thrust into the thick of the American presidential campaign in a new book being used to attack Democratic candidate Barack Obama.
The book, in which Kenya features prominently, depicts Mr Obama as a covert sympathiser of radical Islam and communism.
It has become the number-one best-selling book in the US, although it is typical of many politically biased books published during US elections for propaganda purposes.
Similar best selling attacks were published about former presidents Reagan and Clinton during their campaigns to reach the White House. Perhaps significantly both went on to win the presidency.
In May, right-wing activists in the US had attempted to use Senator Obama’s Kenyan links to discredit him. The activists had claimed that Mr Obama is Mr Odinga’s relative, whom they described as a “socialist who planned to introduce Sharia Law in Kenya”.
The allegations were motivated by a chain e-mail from Celeste Davis, an American missionary who, together with her husband, Mr Loren Davis, claimed to have worked in Kenya for 12 years. However, their scheme failed and Mr Obama went on to win the Democratic nomination against Senator Hillary Clinton.
This latest book — The Obama Nation, a deliberate play on the word “abomination” – written by Jerome Corsi contains many inaccuracies and distortions.
Mr Corsi, a well-known right-wing author, uses Mr Odinga in particular as a means of attacking Senator Obama on the two fronts of radical Islam and communism.
The Prime Minister, portrayed as a close associate of Senator Obama, is described as “a Muslim sympathiser with well-known communist political roots”.
At one point in the book, the author suggests that Mr Odinga might be a Muslim, even though, the book states, he “today professes to be an Anglican”.
Mr Odinga’s spokesman, Mr Salim Lone, last night trashed the allegations, saying: “You would think that the PM’s four months in office, and the role he played in restoring peace to Kenya and reconciling our people would have finally shamed into silence all of Mr Odinga’s demonisers.”
The new book also attacks Mr Barack Obama Snr, the senator’s father, who came from Siaya in Nyanza and who died in 1982.
The elder Obama is referred to as “an alcoholic polygamist” and a Muslim who gravitated to the “more extreme communist position openly advocated by and identified with Oginga Odinga.”
Mr Corsi was co-author of a book published during the 2004 US presidential campaign that is thought to have contributed significantly to the defeat of Democratic Party candidate John Kerry.
Like The Obama Nation, Corsi’s earlier work, Unfit for Command, portrays its target as a radical leftist who misrepresented his past to deceive American voters.
Unfit for Command took specific aim at Senator Kerry’s decorated service during the Vietnam war on a US Navy “swift boat”.
The Obama Nation shows clearly that Mr Corsi is now seeking to “swift-boat” the African-American senator who is set to be formally nominated later this month as the Democratic Party’s 2008 presidential candidate.
The book distorts Senator Obama’s political views and associations – often by means of inaccuracies – in an attempt to destroy his image as a new-style politician able to bridge cultural, racial and ideological divides.