Kenya deports writer who wrote anti-Obama book

McClatchy NewspapersOctober 7, 2008 

NAIROBI, Kenya — Jerome Corsi, the controversial author of a much-criticized book slamming Sen. Barack Obama, was detained in Kenya on Tuesday for an immigration violation as he arrived for a press conference to promote his book.

Authorities in Kenya, where Obama's father was born, said Corsi had entered the country as a tourist and wasn't allowed to work here. A Kenyan aide to Corsi said that he was en route to the airport Tuesday evening and would be deported.

Corsi's book — titled "The Obama Nation; Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality" — portrays Obama as an untrustworthy radical seething with "black rage," and rehashes a host of false claims about Obama, including that he was raised a Muslim.

The nonpartisan Factcheck.org website called the book "a mishmash of unsupported conjecture, half-truths, logical fallacies and outright falsehoods." Obama's campaign posted a 40-page rebuttal to Corsi's claims on its anti-rumor website, fightthesmears.com.

Corsi, who gained notoriety in 2004 by launching the so-called "Swift Boat" attacks against then-Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, arrived in Kenya about a week ago to publicize his book and conduct research on Obama's family, according to Peter Mbae, a Kenyan journalist who helped coordinate Corsi's visit.

But the trip appeared to be mostly a mean-spirited stunt on the fringes of a presidential campaign that's rapidly turned nasty.

Corsi's book questions links between Obama and Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who is from the same Luo ethnic group as Obama's father, a well-known economist who died in 1982.

An e-mail sent to Kenyan journalists before Tuesday's book launch said that Corsi would "expose details of deep secret ties" between Obama and certain Kenyan government officials as well as a "subsequent plot to be executed in Kenya" if Obama is elected president.

The e-mail also claimed that Corsi planned to meet Obama's half-brother, George, who lives in a Nairobi slum, and present him with a $1,000 check from Joseph Farah, founder of the conservative WorldNetDaily.com website.

The Standard, one of Kenya's leading daily newspapers, described Corsi's visit in Tuesday morning's editions as "a smear crusade" that "makes no secret of the intention to hurl dirt at Obama and undermine his campaign from his ancestral home."

Obama is wildly popular among Kenyans of all tribes, and news of the press conference appeared to spur authorities into action.

"The government didn't want to be seen allowing that gentleman to give a statement denouncing Obama," Mbae said.

Even the five-star hotel where Corsi was scheduled to appear issued a statement later saying that it "does not condone any smear campaigns."

Obama barely knew his father, who had problems with alcohol and died in a car crash in Kenya at age 46. The Illinois senator wrote poignantly of investigating his identity in Kenya in his 1995 memoir, "Dreams from My Father," and last came to the country on an official visit in 2006.

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McClatchy Newspapers 2008

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