President Obama has ties to Chicago activists whose homes were raided last September by the FBI as part of a terrorism probe.
Now those activists are organizing a counter-offensive utilizing local unions aimed in part at pressuring the White House and Justice Department to drop the inquiry.
The Washington Post reports indictments may be forthcoming in an investigation of 23 Chicago activists reportedly for possible "material support" for Colombian and Palestinian groups designated by the U.S. government as terrorists.
The Post reports the activists initiated the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, which has been coordinating phone banks to flood Attorney General Eric Holder's office and the White House with protest calls.
The activists also solicited letters from labor unions and faith-based groups, with backing from local and statewide affiliates representing the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
One of the activists who had his home raided on Sept. 24, 2010, was Joe Iosbaker, 52, a University of Illinois-Chicago office worker and a union steward for his SEIU local.
Iosbaker and his wife, Stephanie Weiner, worked as leaders of the Chicago New Party, a controversial 1990s political party that sought to elect members to public office with the aim of moving the Democratic Party far leftward to ultimately form a new political party with a socialist agenda.
WND previously reported newspaper evidence showing Obama was a member of the New Party.
Another activist whose home was raided by the FBI was Hatem Abudayyeh, the executive director of the Arab American Action Network, or AAAN.
As WND was first to report that Obama, while serving as a paid director of the far-left nonprofit Chicago Woods Fund, provided two grants to the AAAN.
Obama served at the Woods Fund alongside Weather Underground terrorist-group founder Bill Ayers.
AAAN was founded by a longtime Obama associate, Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi. Khalidi's wife, Mona, is president of the Arab American Action Network.
In 2001, the Woods Fund, with Obama and Ayers on the board, provided a $40,000 grant to the AAAN. The fund provided a second grant to the AAAN for $35,000 in 2002.
The $40,000 grant from Obama's Woods Fund to the AAAN constituted about a fifth of the Arab group's reported grants for 2001, according to tax filings obtained by WND.
The $35,000 Woods Fund grant in 2002 also constituted about one-fifth of AAAN's reported grants for that year. The AAAN, headquartered in the heart of Chicago's Palestinian immigrant community, describes itself as working to "empower Chicago-area Arab immigrants and Arab Americans through the combined strategies of community organizing, advocacy, education and social services, leadership development, and forging productive relationships with other communities."
It reportedly has worked on projects with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, which supports open borders and education for illegal aliens. The AAAN in 2005 sent a letter to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson in which it called a billboard opposing a North Carolina-New Mexico joint initiative to deny driver's licenses to illegal aliens a "bigoted attack on Arabs and Muslims."
Speakers at AAAN dinners and events routinely have taken an anti-Israel line. The group co-sponsored a Palestinian art exhibit titled "The Subject of Palestine" that featured works related to what some Palestinians call the "Nakba" or "catastrophe" of Israel's founding in 1948.
According to the widely discredited Nakba narrative, Jews in 1948 forcibly expelled hundreds of thousands – some Palestinians claim over 1 million – Arabs from their homes and then took over the territory.
Historically, about 600,000 Arabs fled Israel after surrounding Arab countries warned they would destroy the Jewish state in 1948. Some Arabs also were driven out by Jewish forces while they were trying to push back invading Arab armies. At the same time, more than 800,000 Jews were expelled or left Arab countries under threat after Israel was founded.
The theme of AAAN's Nakba art exhibit, held at DePaul University in 2005, was "the compelling and continuing tragedy of Palestinian life ... under [Israeli] occupation ... home demolition ... statelessness ... bereavement ... martyrdom, and ... the heroic struggle for life, for safety, and for freedom."
Another AAAN initiative, titled "Al Nakba 1948 as experienced by Chicago Palestinians," seeks documents related to the "catastrophe" of Israel's founding.
A post on the AAAN site asked users: "Do you have photos, letters or other memories you could share about Al-Nakba-1948?"
That posting was recently removed. The AAAN website currently states the entire site is under construction.
Obama is closely tied to socialist New Party.
The other activists being probed, Weiner and Iosbaker, meanwhile, were Chicago leaders of the socialist New Party.
Marxist activist Carl Davidson, a founder of the New Party, recalled in a WND interview Obama's participation with his party.
"A subcommittee met with [Obama] to interview him to see if his stand on the living wage and similar reforms was the same as ours," stated Davidson.
"We determined that our views on these overlapped, and we could endorse his campaign in the Democratic Party," Davidson said.
Davidson remembers Obama attending a New Party meeting to thank attendees for voting for him.
Using qualifying language, Davidson said that to his knowledge Obama was not a member of the New Party "in any practical way."
Becoming a New Party member requires some effort on behalf of the politician. Candidates must be approved by the party's political committee and, once approved, must sign a contract requiring they will have a "visible and active relationship" with the party.
Asked whether Obama signed the New Party contract, Davidson replied there was "no need for him to do so."
"At the end of our session with him, we simply affirmed there was no need to do so, because on all the key points, the stand of his campaign and the New Party reform planks were practically the same," Davidson told WND.
Among the New Party's stated objectives were "full employment, a shorter work week and a guaranteed minimum income for all adults; a universal 'social wage' to include such basic benefits as health care, child care, vacation time and lifelong access to education and training; a systematic phase-in of comparable worth and like programs to ensure gender equity."
The New Party stated it also sought "the democratization of our banking and financial system – including popular election of those charged with public stewardship of our banking system, worker-owner control over their pension assets [and] community-controlled alternative financial institutions."
Many of the New Party's founding members were Democratic Socialists of America leaders and members of Committees of Correspondence, a breakaway of the Communist Party USA.
Obama attended several Democratic Socialists of America events and meetings, including a Democratic Socialists of America-sponsored town hall meeting Feb. 25, 1996, entitled "Employment and Survival in Urban America." He sought and received an endorsement from the group.
While running for the Illinois state Senate in 1996 as a Democrat, Obama actively sought and received the endorsement of the New Party, according to confirmed reports during last year's presidential campaign.
The New Party worked alongside the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. The New Party's aim was to help elect politicians who espoused its policies.
Among New Party members was linguist and radical activist Noam Chomsky.
Obama listed as member of socialist party
Obama's presidential campaign in 2008 denied he was ever a member of the New Party.
But print copies of the New Party News, the party's official newspaper, show Obama posing with New Party leaders, listing him as a New Party member and publishing quotes from him as a member.
The party's spring 1996 newspaper boasted: "New Party members won three other primaries this Spring in Chicago: Barack Obama (State Senate), Michael Chandler (Democratic Party Committee) and Patricia Martin (Cook County Judiciary)."
The paper quoted Obama saying, "These victories prove that small 'd' democracy can work."
The newspaper lists other politicians it endorsed who were not members but specifies Obama as a New Party member.
New Ground, the newsletter of Chicago's Democratic Socialists of America, reported in its July/August 1996 edition that Obama attended a New Party membership meeting April 11, 1996, in which he expressed his gratitude for the group's support and "encouraged (New Party members) to join in his task forces on voter education and voter registration."
The New Party, established in 1992, took advantage of what was known as electoral "fusion," which enabled candidates to run on two tickets simultaneously, attracting voters from both parties. But the New Party went defunct in 1998, one year after fusion was halted by the Supreme Court.
According to Democratic Socialists of America documents, the New Party worked with ACORN to promote its candidates. ACORN, convicted in massive, nationwide voter-fraud cases, has been a point of controversy for Obama over his ties to the group.