Jerome Robert Corsi (born August 31, 1946) is an American author and political commentator, who has been labelled by corporate media (including Wikipedia) as a conspiracy theorist. He is best known for his two New York Times bestselling books: The Obama Nation and Unfit for Command (with co-author John O'Neill). Both books, the former written in 2008 and the latter in 2004, attacked Democratic presidential candidates and were criticized for including numerous inaccuracies.
In other books and columns for conservative websites such as WorldNetDaily and Human Events, Corsi has discussed topics that are considered conspiracy theories, such as the alleged plans for a North American Government, the theory that President Barack Obama is not an American citizen; criticism of the United States government for allegedly covering up information about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, promoting the Abiogenic hypothesis of the origin of oil (arguing that oil is produced from chemical reactions in the Earth, in contrast to the general consensus of the scientific community that oil is produced from organic materials, such as zooplankton and algae), and alleged United States support of Iran in its attempts to develop nuclear weapons.
Early life and education
Jerome Corsi was born in East Cleveland, Ohio, to Louis E. Corsi, a union public relations director, and Alice Corsi, née Hanlon. He graduated from St. Ignatius High School in 1964. He earned a BA from Case Western Reserve University in 1968, and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He received a PhD in political science from Harvard University in 1972.
Corsi has been married twice. His first marriage was to Joy Dugan on May 8, 1970. The marriage ended in divorce. He married his second wife, Monica, in 1991. He currently lives in Denville, New Jersey.
In 1972 Corsi published his doctoral dissertation, Prior Restraint, Prior Punishment, and Political Dissent: A Moral and Legal Evaluation, which discussed the 1968 Democratic National Convention and Vietnam War protests in the context of government tolerance of "internal political activism".
Corsi went into banking and finance in 1981. In 1995 Corsi helped launch a mutual fund to invest in formerly Communist Poland after the fall of the Soviet Union, which eventually lost $1.2 million, much of it from a group of about 20 Minnesota investors. Some of the investors blamed the organizers, including Corsi, for their investment in the former Communist country. Two investors sued Corsi and his partners on the basis that the organizers had given their personal guarantee backing up the investment, and won judgments against them. They did not collect from Corsi because, as one investor claimed, the money "had been moved into his wife's name ... There was nothing to get out of him". The FBI found no basis for bringing criminal charges. Until his 2004 book, Corsi was a financial services marketing specialist.
In January 2005, Corsi told the Boston Herald that he planned to bid for John Kerry's Senate seat in Massachusetts in 2008 as a Republican or Independent candidate. He later said his wife had "vetoed" this plan. Then Corsi stated: "Howard Phillips of the Constitution Party asked me to consider seriously running for president in 2008 and I am doing so." He then agreed to be nominated at the Constitution Party National Convention, but he dropped out in July 2007.
Writings and conspiracy theories
Corsi has written about a variety of subjects, including Democratic politicians and conspiracy theories. According to The Guardian, Corsi—who is Catholic—has been accused by the American press "of being anti-Islamic, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic and homophobic, and of exploiting racial prejudices in an attempt to 'scare white America'". In 2004, Corsi wrote a critical biography of then Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry called Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry. In 2005 he published Atomic Iran: How the Terrorist Regime Bought the Bomb and American Politicians, which claimed Democratic politicians are corrupted by Iranian money and are helping the Ulemas, who seek nuclear weapons, in Tehran. That same year he co-authored Black Gold Stranglehold: The Myth of Scarcity and the Politics of Oil (2005) with Craig R. Smith.
In 2006, he co-authored Showdown with Nuclear Iran: Radical Islam's Messianic Mission to Destroy Israel and Cripple the United States with Michael D. Evans. In August 2006 he published Minutemen: The Battle to Secure America's Borders with Minutemen founder Jim Gilchrist. This book criticized President George W. Bush's border protection policies, accusing him of furthering plans to create a North American Union. In May 2006, Corsi co-wrote the book Rebuilding America with Kenneth Blackwell, then Ohio secretary of state and a Republican candidate for Governor of Ohio.
In 2007 Corsi wrote that he himself is not a Republican and complained that "the Republican Party is controlled by what used to be called the 'Rockefeller Wing'". In addition, Corsi called for the impeachment of George W. Bush. On August 15, 2008, Corsi endorsed Constitution Party presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin, who had campaigned to reopen the investigation into the September 11, 2001 attacks in support of the 9/11 Truth Movement.
Factcheck.org called Corsi's The Obama Nation "a mishmash of unsupported conjecture, half-truths, logical fallacies and outright falsehoods". Obama's campaign has criticized Corsi as a "bigoted fringe author" for these claims, as well as "the bizarre, conspiratorial views that Jerome Corsi has advocated in his broader work". Corsi has also appeared on INN World Report, a news program on Free Speech TV, to advance his claims.
Unfit for Command
In August 2004, Corsi's Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, with attributed coauthor John O'Neill, was published by Regnery Publishing. The book sold more than 1.2 million copies.
The main theme of Corsi's portion of the book was to criticize Kerry's antiwar activities after returning from Vietnam, and to dispute many of his and other antiwar activists' assertions that US soldiers had committed war crimes and atrocities, burned down villages, and murdered innocent civilians in Vietnam. Kerry gained notoriety, the book argues, by bringing to light such horrific events as the My Lai Massacre, thus damaging the image of the US Military in the Winter Soldier hearings.
The other theme of the book was that Kerry's four-month tour in Vietnam had been marked by cowardice under fire and fraudulently obtaining medals. In that regard, the book contained statements by some veterans of the Vietnam War who served with John Kerry on Swift Boats, several of whom executed affidavits in support of their claims; these claims were repudiated by other veterans who served with Kerry and often were disproven by outside sources, including the Navy's official records.
After controversial comments Corsi had made at the Free Republic website were publicized by the Media Matters for America website, John O'Neill claimed that Corsi was not actually a co-author of the book Unfit for Command, but rather was "simply an editor". Nevertheless, O'Neill described Corsi as the book's "coauthor" in a 2007 letter to The New York Times. Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler describe Corsi's efforts in writing the book, referring to him as one of its "authors" in their book To Set the Record Straight.
In 2007 Corsi, along with Bill Gertz, Lt. Col. Robert (Buzz) Patterson, Joel Mowbray and Richard Miniter, sued Regnery's parent company, Eagle Publishing, claiming the company "orchestrate[d] and participate[d] in a fraudulent, deceptively concealed and self-dealing scheme to divert book sales away from retail outlets and to wholly owned subsidiary organizations within the Eagle conglomerate". The suit was dismissed on June 30, 2008.
The Obama Nation
Corsi's book The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality was released on August 1, 2008, and is critical of Barack Obama and his candidacy for President. In response, the Obama campaign issued a 40-page rebuttal called "Unfit for Publication" on his website FightTheSmears.com, alleging factual errors. Corsi proclaimed the Obama report a confession that the most serious charges against Obama were true, because, he said, the campaign report cited minor issues, responded to charges different from those that Corsi had made, and implicitly confirmed many of Corsi's allegations.
According to The New York Times, "Significant parts of the book, whose subtitle is 'Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality,' have been challenged in the days since its debut on Aug. 1." The book made its first appearance on The Times' best-sellers list for nonfiction hardcovers at No. 1. Corsi conducted over 100 interviews promoting the book, including a scheduled appearance on The Political Cesspool, a white supremacist radio talk show. He previously appeared on the show on July 20, but he canceled his August 17 appearance citing a change in "travel plans". In August 2008, Corsi appeared on Alex Jones' radio show and promoted The Obama Nation.
On October 7, 2008, Corsi and his media consultant Tim Bueler were detained by immigration authorities in Kenya while doing further research related to the book, allegedly for failure to have a work permit. Corsi had scheduled a press conference to announce new research proving that Obama had raised a million dollars for the election campaign of Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga, and had helped run Odinga's campaign as a strategist, including setting the stage for the campaign of violence and bloodshed that had brought Odinga to power after a disputed election. The meeting was interrupted by Kenyan immigration officials when they detained Corsi. Corsi was eventually deported.
Black Gold Stranglehold
Corsi has also promoted the theory of abiogenic petroleum origin (as opposed to the theory for formation of petroleum from biological matter): the idea that oil is naturally produced underground through chemical processes under extreme heat and pressure, rather than by the conversion of biological material. In his book Black Gold Stranglehold: The Myth of Scarcity and the Politics of Oil, Corsi questions the "truism that oil is fossil fuel". As oil wells have drilled ever deeper, and discovered oil at 30,000 feet beneath the surface (5½ miles) it becomes clear, Corsi argues, that no dinosaur remains were buried 30,000 feet under ground. Corsi argues that oil men have long noticed that oil wells pumped dry sometimes "refill" with oil, suggesting a much deeper source for the oil, rising up under pressure to refill oil wells. Meanwhile, scientists have detected the presence of "fossil fuels" or hydrocarbons on Saturn's moon Titan. Furthermore, Corsi argues, science has never put forward a satisfactory explanation for how a dinosaur can turn into oil. Oil is not, in fact, formed from dinosaurs, but from fossilized plant remains.
Corsi suggests that the world buys into scientific views of petroleum formation because it would be "disastrous—both to oil companies and to politicians in office" in terms of pricing to admit that oil is not a scarce commodity. The abiotic oil theory is in conflict with scientific consensus.
On the inside flap of the book:
Jerome R. Corsi and Craig R. Smith expose the fraudulent science that has been sold to the American people in order to enslave them — the belief that oil is a fossil fuel and a finite resource. On the contrary, this book presents authoritative research, currently known mostly in the scientific community, that oil is not a product of decaying dinosaurs and prehistoric forests. Rather, it is a natural product of the Earth. The scientific evidence cited by Corsi and Smith suggests that oil is constantly being produced by the Earth, far below the planet's surface, and that it is brought to attainable depths by the centrifugal forces of the Earth's rotation.
In 2005 Corsi's Atomic Iran: How the Terrorist Regime Bought the Bomb and American Politicians was published by WND Books with an introduction by Craig R. Smith. In the book he claims Democratic politicians are corrupted by Iranian money and are helping the mullahs, who seek nuclear weapons, in Tehran. Corsi accused an aide for John Kerry of helping the mullahs, who strongly rejected the claim. To promote the book, Corsi appeared in conservative venues such as on Hannity & Colmes on April 8, 2005, at the Heritage Foundation, and on WEJEW Radio.
On the topic in April 2005, Corsi wrote "An atomic Iran is imminent ... mullahs may have bomb by June." One year after the publication, Corsi wrote in his WorldNetDaily column, "I told you so", and claimed his book was right about failed talks. The book was taken as highly controversial, generating opposing views.
Where's the Birth Certificate?
Corsi wrote Where's the Birth Certificate?, a book that questions Obama's American citizenship. Prior to its May 2011 release, the book enjoyed a buzz-building teaser article in the heavily trafficked Drudge Report website, but Obama released his long-form birth certificate three weeks before the book was published. Shortly after the book's publication, Esquire issued a satirical report that the book had been recalled, which prompted Corsi to sue Esquire for damages of over $285 million. The lawsuit was dismissed in a US District Court in a decision stating that satire is protected by the First Amendment and noting, "Having become such well-known proponents of one position on the issue, plaintiffs cannot complain that the very intensity of their advocacy also became part of the public debate. Those who speak with loud voices cannot be surprised if they become part of the story."
North American Union conspiracy theories
Corsi claimed that "President Bush is pursuing a globalist agenda to create a North American Union", a theoretical continental union of Canada, Mexico and the United States, that will supplant the United States. In 2007 he predicted a new unit of currency, called the Amero, which would replace the Dollar for this union within 10 years. The "Union" is a theme in two of his books The Late Great U.S.A.: The Coming Merger With Mexico and Canada (2007) and Minutemen: The Battle to Secure America's Borders (2006) as he explained on The Conservative Caucus's TV show. On December 15, 2006 Corsi reported for the first time he "had found a major intellectual leader behind the push to integrate North America suggesting that a crisis of 9-11 proportions might be just what was needed to advance the process toward establishing a North American Union and the Amero."
In 2007 he claimed that a North American Union driver's license had been created and that the US State Department was in talks to "move toward a transatlantic union". That same year he claimed: "Virgil Goode, R-Va., has introduced a House of Representatives resolution expressing congressional opposition to construction of a NAFTA superhighway or entry into a North American Union with Mexico and Canada." The validity of those claims was criticized in Newsweek and the author noted: "Corsi offered a warning: President Bush's supposed determination to force North American integration, he told the audience, could cost the GOP the 2008 presidential election. Corsi may have a conspiratorial bent. But he sure knows how to spin stories that shake up an election – and at least one candidate seems happy to help him."
John Hawkins, a fellow writer for Human Events, responded: "Yesterday, Jerome Corsi was prattling on about the North American Union again after Michael Medved deservedly spanked him for spreading conspiracy theories. While I don't think Corsi is any more worthy of being taken seriously than those who think Jews rule the world or the 'Truthers' who think President Bush is responsible for 9/11, I thought I would respond to him one last time." John Hawkins listed Corsi as number three on his list of "The Most Annoying People on the Right", and wrote: "Nobody has worked harder to convince people that the completely moronic North American conspiracy theory is real than the right's version of Dylan Avery, kooky Jerome Corsi." Additionally, conservative Hugh Hewitt said Corsi is "from the fringe".
In October 2009, his book America for Sale: Fighting the New World Order, Surviving a Global Depression, and Preserving USA Sovereignty was published, which alleges "the globalists' plan to put America up for sale, from its financial services firms to public infrastructure such as highways and airports". To promote the book, he appeared on Sean Hannity's show on Fox News and then discussed the issue on Coast to Coast with George Noory.
9/11 conspiracy theory
According to Corsi, "A video clip widely circulated on the Internet shows a test that pulverized an F-4 fighter on impact with a hardened target, providing evidence to answer 9/11 skeptics who question why so little identifiable airplane debris remained after the hijacked American Airlines Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon." Audio and a YouTube video were circulated, especially among those questioning Corsi's credibility, of Corsi's January 29, 2008 interview on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones's radio show. In the interview Corsi discusses "the findings of Steven Jones, physicist and hero of the '9/11 Truth' movement who claims to have evidence that the World Trade Center towers collapsed due to explosives inside the building, not just the planes hitting them, during the attacks". Corsi cites Jones's findings of microscopic forensic evidence which seemingly negates the US government hypothesis that the aircraft's jet fuel-fed heat alone was sufficiently hot to collapse the steel superstructure of the buildings.
Corsi released his book Hunting Hitler: New Scientific Evidence That Hitler Escaped Nazi Germany on January 2, 2014. According to the publisher's description, the book explores claims made in 2009 by three US professors who believe that Adolf Hitler did not die in 1945 and instead escaped Berlin. In an interview with Newsmax TV on January 20, 2014, Corsi said of the Nazi leader's alleged escape discussed in the book: "Hitler was removed from the bunker by a helicopter, flown from Austria to Spain, and put on a submarine, the U-530, and brought across the ocean to Argentina."