Right Wing “Slush Fund” Behind 2008 Islamophobia Campaign

Pam Martens, writing in Counter Punch, has the scoop on the donor advised fund which provided funding for the distribution of 28-million DVDs of “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” before the 2008 presidential election. We wrote about this at the time and have identified a couple of the smaller donors. But the question of who funded the shadowy Clarion Fund‘s $17 million distribution remains an unsolved mystery.

Martens points to Donors Capital Fund, a large, far-right “slush fund,” which shows a $17,778,600 grant issued to the Clarion Fund in its most recent 990 (PDF). The source of the Donors Capital Fund’s grant to the Clarion Fund is not specified.

While Marten rightfully focuses on the large grant to the Clarion Fund, another group, Security Research Associates, shows up in the 990 as well. Security Research Associates, an organization headed by Tom Trento, a former pro-life activist who assisted the Clarion Fund in the distribution of Obsession, received $148,892 from the Donors Capital Fund in 2008.

Trento—on his now defunct watchobsession.org website—offered ‘helpful’ tips in the “Good Muslim vs. Bad Muslim” four page pamphlet on how to tell if a Muslim is of the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ variety. Trento also awarded Geert Wilders, the notoriously Islamophobic Dutch politician, the “International Freedom of Speech Award”.

It looks like Trento’s assistance in distributing the Obsession DVDs was financed, at least in part, by the same funding sources that bankrolled the Clarion Fund.

The Clarion Fund’s latest film, Iranium, is “coming soon to DVD.” According to the film’s website, it is intended to shed light on how “the Iranian regime has and continues to threaten the United States, Europe and the world at large.”

It will be interesting to track if Donors Capital Fund bankrolls the production and distribution of Iranium.

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.