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JW Sues Obama HHS for Records Detailing Grant to the National Council of La Raza
In this space I’ve often referred to the “Chicago Way,” where politicians payoff special interests with taxpayer monies and favors in exchange for political support. And ever since Chicago’s own Barack Obama took office, we have seen an explosion in this type of corrupt arrangement.
Whether we’re talking about Obamacare favors for union bosses or illegal payments to ACORN and its spinoffs, the Obama administration knows how to take care of its “friends,” and that includes the crazies from the “La Raza.”
On July 18, 2012, we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) seeking access to records detailing taxpayer-funded grants provided by the Centers for Disease Control to the National Council of La Raza (The National Council of “The Race”).
Here’s what we’re after per our FOIA request:
HHS acknowledged receiving our request on December 13, 2011, and was required by law to respond no later than January 26, 2012. However, as of the date of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, HHS has failed to respond in accordance with FOIA law.
The fact that the National Council of La Raza openly advocates for illegal alien sanctuary policies, such as drivers’ licenses and discounted tuition for illegal aliens, is no secret. But what many people do not realize is that the organization has also been linked to the Mexican reconquista movement, which seeks to conquer the American Southwest and return it to Mexico.
Now, you won’t read about these ties on the NCLR website. The organization works very hard to distance itself from radical “Chicano” organizations so it can maintain powerful friends in both political parties.
But a few years ago, Judicial Watch investigated a radical Mexican separatist school in Los Angeles, California, called Academia Semillas Del Pueblo. (You can read our report here.) And who did we find pumping good money after bad into this failing school? The National Council of La Raza, and another radical organization called M.E.Ch.A., or Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán or Chicano Student Movement of Aztlán. (Taxpayers also paid the tab to the tune of $1.6 million per year.)
Unlike the NCLR which attempts to hide its extremist agenda behind a false public façade, M.E.Ch.A. is brazen and unapologetic about its reconquista agenda. According to the organization’s statement of principles: “We are Chicanas and Chicanos of Aztlan reclaiming the land of our birth (Chicana/Chicano Nation). Aztlan belongs to indigenous people, who are sovereign and not subject to a foreign culture…We are a union of free pueblos forming a bronze (Chicana/Chicano) Nation.”
La Raza is well represented in the White House. Cecilia Muñoz previously served as Senior Vice President for the Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza. So she was, in effect, a lobbyist for illegal aliens and their Mexican separatist friends. Because her appointment would have violated Barack Obama’s lobbyist ban, the president granted Muñoz an “ethics waiver” so she could join his administration as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. (Muñoz now serves as the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.)
According to a Judicial Watch investigation, federal funding for the National Council of La Raza nearly tripled from $4.1 million to $11 million in FY 2010, the year Muñoz joined the Obama administration.
This funding for NCLR and affiliates has come from a variety of Obama administration agencies, including the Department of Justice, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Labor, The Department of Education, and the Centers for Disease Control through its “Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health” (REACH) program. (The stated mission of the REACH program is to “eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health.”)
The Obama administration is clearly embarrassed by its association with this radical organization, as it should be. But embarrassment is not a sufficient reason, contrary to law, to withhold government records. This seems to be a story of a left-wing special interest group benefiting from White House connections at the expense of the taxpayers. And we aim to get to the bottom of it.
Judicial Watch Sues FBI, Justice Department for Records of Director Mueller’s Secret Meeting with Radical Islamic Organizations
Political correctness puts our national security at risk. Case in point: The FBI’s persistent kowtowing to radical Muslims in its approach to terrorism investigations.
I’ve written previously about the FBI’s Muslim sensitivity training programs. WorldNetDaily has done some outstanding reporting on workshops run by the FBI that “educate” agents about Muslim customs and beliefs in an attempt to help them to “break down barriers” and foster “mutual understanding.”
Well, now it appears the FBI has taken another giant step down a very dangerous path with FBI Director Robert Mueller’s secret meeting with radical Islamic organizations and allowing them effectively to “edit” the FBI’s training manuals.
This week we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seeking access to records detailing a February 8, 2012, meeting between FBI Director Robert Mueller and Muslim organizations. Judicial Watch is also investigating the FBI’s subsequent controversial decision to purge the agency’s training curricula of material deemed “offensive” to Muslims.
On March 7, 2012, Judicial Watch submitted FOIA requests to the FBI and the DOJ seeking access to records regarding the meeting. We’re after “any and all records setting criteria or guidelines for FBI curricula on Islam or records identifying potentially offensive material within the FBI curricula on Islam,” and any directives to withdraw FBI presentations and curricula on Islam.
We’ve also asked for records of communications between the Office of the Attorney General and several entities, including the Obama White House, the Executive Office of the President, and Muslim organizations, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Society of North America, and the Council for American-Islamic Relations regarding the FBI’s curricula on Islam.
The FBI acknowledged receipt of our FOIA request on March 20, 2012, and was required to respond by May 1, 2012. The DOJ acknowledged receiving Judicial Watch’s FOIA request on March 14, 2012, and was required to respond by April 11, 2012. But so far, after months, we’ve received nothing from either agency.
According to the press, Mueller reportedly met secretly on February 8, 2012, at FBI headquarters with a coalition of Islamist organizations, some with radical ties to terrorist organizations.
For example, per The Washington Examiner, one group that reportedly met with Mueller – the Islamic Society of North America – “was tied to the terror groups Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood in federal court documents.” The government named the Islamic Society of North America as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorist financing lawsuit, along with the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the North American Islamic Trust.
During the February 8 meeting, Mueller reportedly assured the Islamic groups in attendance that the agency had ordered the removal of presentations and curricula that were deemed “offensive” from FBI offices around the country. As reported by NPR, overall, “The FBI has completed a review of offensive training material and has purged 876 pages and 392 presentations, according to a briefing provided to lawmakers.”
The material purge was allegedly initiated in response to a letter of complaint sent by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). However, other members of Congress, including Rep. Allen West (R-FL), object to allowing radical Muslim organizations the opportunity to dictate U.S. counterterrorism policy and want the material to be reinserted into the documents: “Now you have an environment of political correctness which precludes these agents from doing their proper job and due diligence to go after the perceived threat,” Congressman West said.
I couldn’t agree more. There is no question that the country is less safe when we allow radical Muslim organizations to tell the FBI how to train its agents and do its job. The Obama administration owes the American people a full accounting of how and why this terrible decision was made.
Judicial Watch Sues Navy for Records Detailing bin Laden Burial, CIA “Finds” Stack of Docs Re: bin Laden Film Controversy
After Navy SEALs captured and killed Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011, within 24 hours the body was reportedly whisked out to sea aboard the USS Carl Vinson, and given a Muslim burial. Judicial Watch is trying to obtain details regarding bin Laden’s burial at sea, but we are once again being stonewalled by the Obama administration.
And so, on July 18, 2012, we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the United States Navy for records detailing “any funeral ceremony, rite or ritual” for Osama bin Laden prior to his burial at sea.
As I say, the details have been sparse so far and so, when faced with stonewalling, we were forced to sue. If U.S. Navy regulations were followed, the “proper Muslim burial” would have included a prayer to “Allah” to make bin Laden “enter paradise and save him from the trials of grave and the punishment of hell.”
Pursuant to our March 20, 2012, FOIA request, we seek access to the following records:
i. Any and all records utilized, referenced, or relied upon during the preparation and execution of any funeral ceremony, rite or ritual for Osama bin Laden on the USS Carl Vinson prior to his burial at sea. This request includes, but is not limited to, the text of any prepared remarks or prayers, any instructions provided to those in attendance, or any instructions or guidance regarding the handling of bin Laden’s remains.
ii. Any and all records of communication between any official or employee of the Department of the Navy and any official or employee of any other government department, agency or office regarding any funeral ceremony, rite, or ritual for Osama bin Laden prior to his burial at sea.
Now the U.S. Navy acknowledged receipt of Judicial Watch’s FOIA request by email dated March 22, 2012, and redirected the request to the Commander, Naval Air Forces on March 27, 2012. By law, a response was due by April 24, 2012. However, as of the date of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, the U.S. Navy has failed to respond to the FOIA request in accordance with the law.
Barack Obama has been more than willing to talk about his role in ordering the May 2, 2012, raid by U.S. Navy SEALS in Pakistan that led to the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden. But the administration has been very secretive with respect to the details of the events that followed. I suspect the Obama administration is embarrassed by the burial ceremony, which explains our having to go to court to get basic information about this important piece of history. And if reports are to be believed, the president should be embarrassed.
Quoting Pentagon officials, ABC News reported that bin Laden was buried at sea within 24 hours of his death aboard the USS Carl Vinson in accordance with Muslim law: “…bin Laden’s burial at sea was conducted by a Muslim seaman, who recited the prayers and ensured that the body was washed and wrapped appropriately in cloth.”
According to U.S. Navy regulations, the prayer for Muslim burials includes the following: “O Allah, forgive him, have mercy on him, pardon him, grant him security, provide him a nice place and spacious lodgings, wash him (of his sins) with water, snow and ice, purify him…make him enter paradise and save him from the trials of grave and the punishment of hell.”
So this would mean the U.S. Navy sent the mastermind of 9/11 off with a prayer that he be given all of the benefits of paradise!
As you know, in addition to our lawsuit over the bin Laden funeral records, Judicial Watch also sued the Obama administration to force the release of the bin Laden post-mortem photos and video. The Obama administration continues to withhold these records citing national security concerns. On May 4, 2011, President Obama told CBS News in an interview that he would not release the death photos of Osama bin Laden, who was captured and killed by U.S. Navy SEALs, to the public, saying “we don’t need to spike the football” or “gloat.” On April 26, 2012, a federal judge blocked public access to the records.
Judicial Watch also sued the Obama Defense Department and CIA for access to records detailing communications between the Obama administration and Kathryn Bigelow, the Hollywood filmmaker who reportedly received classified information from administration officials in preparation for her upcoming film entitled “Zero Dark Thirty.”
According to records uncovered by Judicial Watch, the Obama Defense Department identified and offered to make available to Bigelow and Boal a “Planner, Operator and Commander of SEAL Team Six,” which was responsible for the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, to help Bigelow prepare her upcoming feature film.
And now we learn, via a DOJ court filing, that the CIA recently “discovered” a stack four to five inches high of responsive documents that were “inadvertently overlooked” by the agency!
As reported by Politico:
The Central Intelligence Agency recently discovered a “4 to 5 inch stack” of documents that relate to the spy agency’s cooperation with the makers of a forthcoming Hollywood film on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, according to a new court filing.
The documents about CIA dealings with the film now titled “Zero Dark Thirty” were “inadvertently overlooked” in response to a Freedom of Information Act request and lawsuit filed by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, Justice Department attorneys said in a motion filed in federal court in Washington Tuesday afternoon. (The DOJ’s motion is posted here.)
The CIA wants a month-long extension to review the docs. In a court filing in response, we object. Congressman Peter King (R-IA), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, issued a statement on Thursday and is none too pleased:
I find this recent document discovery troubling. The Obama Administration’s extremely close, unprecedented, and potentially dangerous collaboration with these filmmakers is a serious matter that deserves serious scrutiny.
From previously released documents, we know that, at the urging of Democratic lobbyists, DoD, CIA, and White House officials shared information in at least 16 meetings and briefings with Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal in the weeks following the bin Laden raid. So I am very eager to know exactly what, if any, new information is contained in these undisclosed documents.
Barack Obama is playing politics with bin Laden’s death and ignoring the rule of law – especially the transparency laws that his appointees violate with impunity. Rest assured we have no intention of abandoning our battle to gain access to these records. Stay tuned for future updates in this space.
Until next week…