John Loftus knows him some Nazis.
The former Department of Justice prosecutor and St. Petersburg native has made a career out of revealing what he says is the US government's deepest, darkest secret: how it harbored upper-level Nazis after WWII in order to defeat the Soviet Union.
Now Loftus has taken up a new mission: exposing what he claims are the Nazi origins of the Muslim Brotherhood, which yesterday announced it would become an official political party in a now Hosni Mubarak-less Egypt.
Loftus argues that, contrary to a recent op-ed by a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, the group has fascist origins incompatible with a democratic Egypt.
"In the last week, The New York Times has written three articles stating that the Muslim Brotherhood is a secular, peaceful organization," Loftus says. "But the Muslim Brotherhood is absolutely opposed to democracy: they believe that men choosing their own leaders is a heresy and that only religious clerics should pick them, like in Iran."
"Hassan al-Banna was a correspondent and admirer of Hitler," he says of the Islamic organization's founder. "Hitler loved the Muslim Brotherhood. He thought Arab Nazis would be his key to dominating Africa."
Hmmm... Then again, Loftus supports his argument by telling Riptide to search for "Nazi" and "Banna" on Google -- not exactly a primary source.
But he has written a handful of books on Nazis in America, so Riptide decided to consult with a couple other Middle East experts to see if Loftus was out of his Nazi-hunting mind. The verdict: not entirely.
"John Loftus is right in this case," says University of Miami professor Ira M. Sheskin. "There was a significant fascist, Nazi trend in Egyptian politics during the era when the Muslim Brotherhood was founded. Even former president Anwar Sadat was a clear Nazi sympathizer."
But Sheskin isn't quite so quick to label the Brotherhood -- in Loftus's words -- "terrorists" and a "cult."
"There are some people in the Muslim Brotherhood who want a democratic government in Egypt, but given what I know about the group's history, a majority would want an Islamic state," Sheskin argues. "It's a mixed group between those who would like to see Eygpt become the next Iran and those who think Islam should just play a bigger role in life."
Other experts are less charitable to Loftus, who fashions himself a Julian Assange-like whistle-blower delving into the dirty past of American intelligence agencies.
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"There is nothing that I have ever read among serious historians of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt that makes the claim that the MB was founded along the principles of fascism or that al Banna was a member of the Nazi party or that he had contact with Hitler," writes Steven Cook, an Egypt expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. "Unless your guy has authenticated original material, I would take his claims with more than a few grains of salt."
It also doesn't help his credibility that while working as a commentator on Fox News, Loftus gave the address of someone he claimed was a terrorist on air only for it to turn out that the alleged jihadi had moved out three years earlier. Instead, Fox News listeners harassed a family of five living in the home. Someone even spray-painted "Terrist" (sic) on their house.
Watch out, Muslim Brotherhood. Nazis or not, John Loftus is on to you.