An army officer who is facing court-martial charges after refusing orders to deploy to Afghanistan has been attracting support from a number of prominent figures on the extreme right.
The most recent endorsement of Lt. Col. Terry Lakin’s claim that no orders issued by the US military are legitimate because President Barack Obama is not a native-born American citizen comes from Maj. Gen. (ret.) Paul Vallely, who stated in a radio interview featured on Friday by the conservative website WorldNetDaily that he believes Lakin has “a valid point.”
“I think many in the military — and many out of the military — question the natural-birth status of Barack Obama,” Vallely remarked. “I’m not convinced that he is [a natural-born citizen].”
Even before Vallely weighed in on the case, Lakin’s defiance was coming to be seen as something of a publicity stunt. Dave Weigel, who blogs about the conservative movement for the Washington Post, headed a Friday entry, “Yes, the birther soldier is doing this for publicity” and described WorldNetDaily as “the ground zero for coverage of this stuff.”
WorldNetDaily previously promoted an appearance by Lakin and his lawyer on the syndicated radio show of convicted Watergate felon G. Gordon Liddy. Jerome Corsi, author of the anti-Kerry Unfit for Command and more recently of a widely-criticized book slamming Obama, has also been publicizing the Lakin case in his role as a WorldNetDaily reporter.
Vallely’s participation brings a new dimension to the case, however. His words may appear to carry more weight because he is a former military officer, but they also raise certain suspicions because of his extensive history of involvement in propaganda operations.
Vallely first came to prominence as the co-author of “From PSYOP to Mindwar: The Psychology of Victory” (1980) which advocated “the deliberate, aggressive convincing of all participants in a war that we will win that war.”
Since retiring from the Army in 1991, he has served as a military analyst for Fox News, and he was named by The New York Times in 2008 as a participant in a Pentagon propaganda operation which covertly employed retired officers to support the Bush administration’s war on terror.
Vallely is also known for his claim that he had heard Joseph Wilson boasting in 2002 that his wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA officer — well before she was outed by Robert Novak. Wilson ultimately threatened to sue both Vallely and WorldNetDaily unless the claim was retracted.
And finally, Vallely spent much of 2003 insisting that Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction had been smuggled out of Iraq prior to the war and hidden in Syria. He is also a long-time advocate of regime change in Iran and a supporter of the terrorist group Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK).
Vallely’s latest shift from Middle East warhawk to birther may seem like a strange transition. It does suggest, however, that there is more to the Lakin case than has so far met the eye.