UPDATED WITH A LETTER FROM ANDY MARTIN

Addressing AIPAC the other day, Barack Obama began with a joke about the emails have circulated, particularly in Jewish social circles that claim Obama is some kind of secret Muslim.

Before I begin, I want to say that I know some provocative emails have been circulating throughout Jewish communities across the country. A few of you may have gotten them. They’re filled with tall tales and dire warnings about a certain candidate for President. And all I want to say is – let me know if you see this guy named Barack Obama, because he sounds pretty frightening.

But what Obama didn’t note and what has gone largely unremarked is the incredible irony that the source of the rumors being used to spook Jewish voters is an avowed and well-known anti-Semite. Last year I wrote a piece about these emails that sought to trace them to their root. Here’s what I found:

But even if the identity of the e-mail’s author was unrecoverable, it was still possible to trace back the roots of its content. The origin proved even more bizarre than I could have guessed.

On August 10, 2004, just two weeks after Obama had given his much-heralded keynote speech at the DNC in Boston, a perennial Republican Senate candidate and self-described “independent contrarian columnist” named Andy Martin issued a press release. In it, he announced a press conference in which he would expose Obama for having “lied to the American people” and “misrepresent[ed] his own heritage.”

Martin raised all kinds of strange allegations about Obama but focused on him attempting to hide his Muslim past. “It may well be that his concealment is meant to endanger Israel,” read Martin’s statement. “His Muslim religion would obviously raise serious questions in many Jewish circles where Obama now enjoys support.”

A quick word about Andy Martin. During a 1983 bankruptcy case he referred to a federal judge as a “crooked, slimy Jew, who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race.” Martin, who in the past was known as Anthony Martin-Trigona, is one of the most notorious litigants in the history of the United States. He’s filed hundreds, possibly thousands, of lawsuits, often directed at judges who have ruled against him, or media outlets that cover him unfavorably. A 1993 opinion by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in Atlanta, described these lawsuits as “a cruel and effective weapon against his enemies,” and called Martin a “notoriously vexatious and vindictive litigator who has long abused the American legal system.” He once even attempted to intervene in the divorce proceedings of a judge who’d ruled against him, petitioning the state court to be appointed as the guardian of the judge’s children.

When I asked Martin for the source of his allegations about Obama’s past, he told me they came from “people in London, among other places.” Why London, I asked? “I started talking to them about Kenyan law. Every little morsel led me a little farther along.”

“Everybody started calling me” when the e-mail first made the rounds, Andy Martin told me. “They said, ‘Hey, did you write this?’ My answer was ‘they are all my children.’ “

UPDATE:

Here’s a letter we received from Andy Martin:

Dear Publisher:

I wish to notify you that you have posted false and defamatoryinformation about me on your web site, and possibly in an upcomingedition of your magazine. If a prominent apology and withdrawal are notpromptly forthcoming we will sue.

Your latest defamation makes a number of utterly false and scurrilousstatements:

1. You claim that Senator Barack Obama, speaking to the AIPAC conferencelast week, was validating and responding to the fact that I am the”source of the rumors being used to spook Jewish voters…” I havenothing to do with any rumors being used to “spook” Jewish voters andknow nothing about their source.

Barry Obama has problems with Jewish voters because of his longassociations with anti-Semites and anti-Americans, not because of anye-mails I have circulated. As satirist Jackie Mason has suggested, anyJew who votes for Obama would be very misguided.

On the contrary, as early as 2004 I predicted what would happen when thetruth about Obama became known. Accurately predicting a course of eventsdoes not make you a participant in them. You should be saluting me formy prescience, not smearing me with false accusations; but that wouldn’tmake as juicy a story for your Christopher Hayes, would it?

I am a legitimate investigative columnist journalist whose name has beenattached to anything I have circulated. As near as I can tell, I amroutinely criticized by both Democrats and Republicans, so I must be thehonest man in the middle. I do not do anonymous.

2. I am not an anti-Semite. This is a vile accusation and constituteslibel per se. The only citation for this accusation was the fact that aquarter century ago I was involuntarily involved in a bogus bankruptcydispute in which I exposed massive corruption in the local federal courtin Connecticut.

As a result of my battles and exposures, two (2) potential candidatesfor the U. S. Supreme Court may have later been rejected (Judges JoeCabranes and Jon O Newman; the judges are still angry at me, decadeslater). Pleadings in lawsuits are privileged precisely because they donot necessarily represent the views of counsel or parties. For you toseek to brand me as an anti-Semite in 2008 based on involuntaryparticipation in a lawsuit 25 years ago is irresponsible, outrageous andlibelous.

Moreover, there was never any due process determination of theaccusations you reference. In one case the record reflects I was noteven a party to a lawsuit (Eleventh Circuit) and was gratuitouslyattacked by mendacious judges. In the case where I was a party nohearings on these false accusations against me were held by the crookedjudges (Cabranes and Newman) involved. I exposed looting in the federalcourts by local judges and their acolytes. In our society, judges do nothave the power to brand people, and you certainly do not have theauthority to accuse me of being an anti-Semite in 2008 based onundocumented accusations in a goofy lawsuit 25 years ago.

In point of fact, I am a strong critic of the U.S.’s Middle Eastpolicies, but I have also been a supporter of Israel. My Andy MartinMiddle East Peace Plan in 2000 (available on the net with a littledigging) called for U. S. troops to patrol the Green Line to separateIsraelis from the new Palestinian nation and to protect each side fromthe other. A willingness to put Americans in harm’s way to protectIsraelis is hardly evidence of anti-Semitism.

Barry Obama and his fellow travelers constantly circulate lies and falseaccusations about me to cover up and distract attention from his longhistory of anti-Semitism, from Reverend Jeremiah Wright to the Nation ofIslam, to Father Michael Pfleger to (insert your own choice). I did notmake Obama an anti-Semite. His record of anti-Semitism speaks foritself. Now Obama & Co. are trying to block sales of my new book onObama, coming out this month, which is why The Nation is recirculatingold smears. Why are they so afraid of me? Buy the book and find out.

I do not read the Nation but my views are generally considered to bewell within the mainstream of Middle East peace discussions. Criticizingthe “Israel lobby” does not make you an anti-Semite.

Mr. Hayes needs to go back to journalism school, and you need tosupervise his writing much more closely. Hayes tries to create suspenseout of nonsense. He asked me a year ago if I had written an anonymousattack piece on Senator Obama and I responded, “everyone who writes inthis area is to some extent working off my original research.” That isin my opinion an absolutely correct statement of fact, which can beverified by looking on the Internet and seeing that people credit mewith “outing” Obama in 2004. There is noting conspiratorial or improperabout having made the unexceptionable claims about Obama that Ipresented then or since. They were all true in 2004 and they are truetoday (which is why Barry Boy is going down and taking the DemocraticParty with him). And, to the best of my knowledge, I have nevercirculated any information or any e-mail about Obama without prominentlyattaching my name as the source. So your claim I am the mastermind of ananonymous “vast right-wing smear machine” is Hayes’ fantasy.

Because I have a book coming out this month(http://OrangeStatePress.com), and because I write generally onpolitics, your attacks on my credibility as a columnist and falseaccusations of anti-Semitism are libel per se. We recently sued the NewYork Times, and they have two law firms (with more to come) defendingtheir nonsense, which was far less toxic than your own outrageousaccusations.

If you would like to run a prominent apology and retraction promptly, Iwill not sue. Otherwise, we are headed to court.

Very truly yours,

ANDY MARTIN