Maybe you didn’t catch the news last week: President Obama was convicted by an American jury of fraud and other charges. It was easy to miss, what with The New York Times, television and cable news networks and major Internet news sites — with the exception of Salon — ignoring what one far-right group called the “greatest trial in American history.”
The trial — more like a theatrical production, actually — was not held in a courtroom, but in ATLAH World Ministries Church in Harlem. Its black pastor, James David Manning, organized the event and prosecuted the case. Columbia University was Obama’s co-defendant. The judge was a guy seeking the Republican nomination in a New York congressional district. A supposed indictment charged Obama and Columbia with, among other things, conspiring to conceal the fact that Obama is not a natural born citizen. That’s the stale staple of the “birther” movement, which maintains — without a shred of evidence — that Obama was not born in America, and therefore is not legally serving as president.
Among the spectators at last week’s so-called trial were members of an organization called American Grand Jury, who have convened “citizen grand juries” around the country, which in turn have issued criminal “presentments” to state and federal officials charging Obama with fraud and treason due to his supposed foreign birthplace.
Obama, according to Manning and his fellow conspiracy wonks, never attended Columbia, despite the university’s claim that he graduated in 1983. Obama was working as a CIA operative in Pakistan at the time, Manning claims.
Manning dropped the more serious treason and sedition charges against Obama, because they can result in a death sentence. That would have made it harder to get a conviction if any of the 13 jurors was squeamish at the thought of the president being executed.
Among the witnesses that Manning presented was former Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate Wayne Allyn Root, who repeated the less-than-stunning revelation — made earlier in a magazine story — that he attended Columbia at the same as Obama and had the same major but had never heard of Obama. No one else he knew from that era at Columbia had heard of him either.
Not called as a witness, however, was Phil Boerner, who told The New York Times last year that he was Obama’s roommate at Columbia and went to breakfast, bars, museums and bookstores with him. The nonpartisan FactCheck.org points out that Obama had an article published in the university’s magazine in 1983, the year he graduated.
As for Obama being a onetime CIA operative, Manning’s said that he received a letter from a former KGB agent (who was also a double agent for the CIA) stating that Obama worked for the spy agency in Pakistan from 1981 to 1985. Manning also claimed that the CIA was going to kill him last year, but rescinded the hit.
Manning has vociferously stated his revulsion for Obama many times, including in YouTube videos. In one video recorded last August, he repeatedly called the president a “long-legged mack daddy” — urban slang for a pimp or a ladies’ man. In the same video, Manning said Obama is a “half-breed,” an “illegal alien,” a “quasi-Muslim” and an “emissary of the devil.” He claims federal agents questioned him last November after he suggested in a video that Obama should be hanged.
Manning said on his website that he will file his faux guilty verdicts with the U.S. House and Senate, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the U.S. attorney general’s office. Those documents will be about as impressive as Manning’s doctoral degree, which he obtained from his own unaccredited theological seminary. The bellicose preacher does know a bit about criminality, however. He served about 3 ½ years in prison in New York and Florida in the 1970s for burglary, robbery, larceny and other charges.