Newark, NJ scammed into signing a sister city agreement with a fake country

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, son of the infamous anti-Semitic playwright and poet Amiri Baraka (formerly Leroi Jones), evidently does not sweat the details when it comes to official duties.  His city finally fessed up a few days ago to having been scammed by a notorious international fugitive conman into signing a sister city agreement with a fake nation, complete with a nice ceremony last January 12.  (Why a sister city agreement with any nation, fake or real, was seen as appropriate is a subordinate but interesting question.)

Twitter video screen grab.

Barstool Sports explains:

The scam was created by Nithyananda, a swami that is a fugitive from India, where he is on the run from rape charges. Nithyananda, a well-known scam artist, created the website for Kailasa in 2019 while attempting to apply for asylum in Sri Lanka. In January, Newark held a ceremony at City Hall honoring the fake country while signing a cultural trade agreement. 

During the ceremony on January 12th, Mayor Ras Baraka and the Newark City Counsel invited officials from the phony nation and signed an agreement on cultural trade. The mayor made a statement that he hoped the deal would help political development and improve the lives of everyone in Newark and the fake nation of Kailasa. Newark would take six days to realize that the country did not exist, as the deal was voided on January 18th.

How hard is it to check to see if a country exists? Does Wikipedia have an entry for it? According to the India Times:

[T]he United States of Kailasa (USK)…according to Nithyanada, is a Hindu nation with its own flag, passport, and even a central bank system. 

However, it has no geographical location. There are rumours of Nithyanada buying an island off the coast of Ecuador and that his nation, indeed is in one of the Ecuadorian islands. However, the Ecuadorian administration has confirmed that no such nation exists. Very recently, the USK has launched its citizenship application, the USK also claims to serve as a nation for its population of "two billion Hindus."

In another embarrassment, Newark unveiled a new statue of abolitionist Harriet Tubman, replacing a Christopher Columbus statue that had been torn down at the behest of radicals in the George Floyd riots.  Ms. Tubman is more than worthy of honoring, but this statue is frankly embarrassing.  Coming in the wake of a grotesque Martin Luther King, Jr. statue in Boston, one wonders what sort of artistic impulses are guiding those who decide on new mionuments to African American worthies.

The Tubman statue has two parts: a hollow (what is the message behind hollowness?) framework of a vaguely human form in a vaguely angry posture, arms akimbo:

...and a bas relief of angry face that is...let's see what color...white:

YouTube screen grabs.

But don't worry.  I am sure that the voter rolls in Newark are completely honest because the crew running government there is so sharp and trustworthy.

Hat tip: Mike Nadler.

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