He’s the oldest and longest-serving current member of the U.S. Congress, having been first elected to his seat in the House of Representatives by the voters of west Detroit, Dearborn, and other parts of what is now the nation’s most horrific metro area way back in 1965, when it was actually not only livable but affluent. What’s striking about John Conyers‘s career is that he’s consistently won re-election despite an abiding inclination to defend despotism.
Indeed, he first got into politics thanks to two Communist Party mentors, and throughout his career has been closely associated with Communist and socialist groups.
As noted, his district includes Dearborn, which during his years on the job has become the Muslim capital of the United States. His coziness to extreme Muslim groups is legendary. In 2005 he proposed House Resolution 288, which would have violated the First Amendment by protecting Islam from criticism. He has intimate ties to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a terrorist front group, which he’s defended from charges of having spies on Capitol Hill. In 2006 he attended a fundraising dinner for Islamic Relief, a Hamas front group, at which the entertainment “consisted of young boys…simulating beheadings” and stomping on the U.S., Israeli, and British flags.
He’s also spent a lot of time hanging around with Louis Farrakhan, the contemptible, hate-spewing bossman of the Nation of Islam. Yes, Conyers has sometimes felt obliged, for political reasons, to criticize Farrakhan for things he’s said, but he keeps going back for more. In May 2013, for example, Conyers attended an event at which Farrakhan gave a speech reviling “Satanic Jews” and criticizing President Obama for surrounding himself “with Satan…members of the Jewish community.”
Oh, and let’s not forget Conyers’s wife, Monica, a former member of the Detroit City Council. For years, they’ve both been heavily involved in influence-pedding; starting in 2010, Monica spent 27 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit bribery. She’s also “famous for threatening people with guns.” Hey, but who isn’t? She’s litigious, too: this past June, she sued McDonalds for $25,000 after allegedly cutting her finger on a chair at a McDonalds at the Detroit airport.
But that’s not all. In August of this year, the Huffington Post ran a piece by Kristofer Harrison, a former Defense and State Department advisor, entitled “Putin’s Man in Congress.” Harrison explained that on June 11, the House of Representatives had passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, “rushed through by Rep. John Conyers,” that “would prevent the U.S. from aiding Ukraine’s volunteer Azov Battalion based on the Moscow-inspired lie that it is a neo-Nazi organization.” Wrote Harrison:
There is no charitable excuse for Conyers’ amendment, even if it is stripped from the final bill: It was the product of Russian disinformation. Over the past six weeks, news of the amendment featured prominently in virtually all Russian- and foreign-language propaganda outlets, and is even appearing in some U.S. press. Rep. Conyers should disclose which lobbyist cajoled him into becoming a cog in Putin’s propaganda machine.
This matters a lot to Ukraine. The Azov Battalion has been one of the most effective units at halting Russia’s advance into Ukraine. The nonsense that Ukraine is filled with Nazis has been part of a propaganda meme pumped through Russia’s state-controlled media for more than a year. Russia is trying to create the fiction that Ukraine is beset by Nazis and Islamic terrorists, thus necessitating Russian military intervention. If the idea actually takes hold in the United States, it could also cripple whatever support Ukraine is receiving.
Harrison charged that blatantly dishonest Russian propaganda about purported Ukrainian Nazis had found its way into such media as the New York Times, the Daily Beast, Bloomberg View, and Canada’s National Post. According to Harrison, Conyers has played a key role in helping “the Russian Nazi meme to evolve from the stuff of conspiracy theorists, kooks and fellow-travelers into something the mainstream press happily prints.” Since the publication of Harrison’s piece, his claims about the Azov Battalion have been harshly disputed; but whether or not one accepts his argument that the battalion isn’t packed with neo-Nazis, it’s hard, knowing Conyers, not to nod in agreement at Harrison’s statement: “I find it hard to believe Congressman Conyers reads a lot of press about Ukraine and independently drafted that amendment.”
When, Harrison wondered, did Conyers become so interested in, and (supposedly) informed about, these matters? Nazis or not, why was he standing up for Putin? What’s in it for him? Harrison wrote that he asked Conyers’s press secretary “multiple times” where her boss had gotten his information about the Azov Battalion, but “she had no response.” His question: “Who bent Conyers’s ear?”
Or, perhaps more aptly, who filled Conyers’s pockets?