When Obama administration Green jobs czar Anthony “Van” K. Jones resigned late Saturday night, September 3, 2009 over the long Labor Day weekend, a storm of breaking news about his radical anti-American history was being reported by conservative bloggers. One such storm was about the racist, hate-America rally Van Jones held the day after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States where speakers cheered the attacks and Jones himself said America deserved it.
World Net Daily was first to report on the rally, on August 28, 2009.
However, it was Powerline’s post the evening of September 3rd (and expanded on at Free Republic), hours before Jones’ resignation was announced, that included the first mention of what Jones said at the rally. The Powerline article was based on a leftwing report made at the time of the rally.
A YouTube video of the rally reported on by BizzyBlog on September 8th captures some of Jones’ remarks at the rally. (The quote from Jones is similar in nature to that quoted in the leftwing article. However, no context is given so Jones could have said both lines, or been accurately characterized but misquoted.)
Jones is featured twice at the end of the five minute video. BizzyBlog transcribed his comments:
(4:38) “It’s the bombs that the government has been dropping around the world that are now blowing up inside the U.S. borders.”
“We’ve got something stronger than bombs, we have solidarity. That dream of revolutionary change is stronger than bombs.”
One unidentified speaker on the video praised the 9-11 attackers as heroes (transcribed by Kristinn Taylor).
“We’re always seeing America dropping bombs on people. Now the chicken is coming home to roost, as Malcolm say. (Cheers from the crowd.) We gotta deal with it. They got people so dedicated they gonna commit suicide to make their point. We gotta understand there’s a war going on that people are fighting for their own life, for their land. Right? We gotta support those people. We cannot let the lies of the media take our spirits down. We don’t want to see our people dying, innocent people dying. But in fighting a war, they don’t have the army to fight and block our warfare with the American people. Don’t call them cowards. They’re heroes that died. And they’re the people that we have to support in this case. The people of color are rising here and we gotta understand that. I just want to say we gotta support and don’t let this thing turn your spirits down. Turn ‘em up!”
An article posted by “gkt” at the leftwing site Indybay.org in the early hours of September 13, 2001 reported on the rally held just hours before in Oakland, California’s Snow Park:
A recurring theme of the speakers was the brutal violence committed by or supported by the United States government on a daily basis. “The bombs the government drops in Iraq are the bombs that blew up in New York City,” said Van Jones, director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, who also warned against forthcoming violence by the Bush Administration. “The US cannot bomb its way out of this one. Safety at home requires justice abroad.”
In a diverse international community shocked by recent world events, deep feelings about the United States government were expressed. A young Puerto Rican person said that “the belly of the beast had something back to eat.” A young Filipino human rights activist said that “when we found out what kind of place got hit, we were kind of glad to see the Pentagon burning. But we also know that thousands of Puerto Ricans, Haitians and other workers were in those buildings.” An African-American man who works on gentrification issues in West Oakland said that “we’re always seeing Americans drop bombs on people. We watch the Vietnamese get bombed, Iraqis get bombed, Palestinians get bombed, now it has come home to roost.” Japanese-Americans spoke about internment camps and the nuclear holocaust brought on by US militarism.
Violence and repression within the United States was also talked about. A representative of TransAction said, “We know what it’s like to experience police violence on a daily basis.” Mesha Monge-Irizarry, the mother of Idriss Stelley (who was killed by SFPD in June), also spoke: “We pray for many lives killed by this government, of black people, and of innocent black people in the third world who will be slaughtered with this terrorism retaliation.”
United States support, in the form of arms and funding, for apartheid in Israel was also discussed. “You want to know why they hate us?” asked one woman. “Forty Israeli tanks just entered Jericho tonight.”
Those present were determined to make their voices heard in an increasingly hostile, war-mongering climate scripted by the government and recited by corporate media. They also vowed to fight within their own communities against racism and hostility towards Arab-Americans. Everyone sensed that this was an important time in history, and that the stuggle against injustice requires international solidarity. “Everyone should be as wise as these inner-city youth here today,” Van Jones concluded. “We all have more in common with the working people of the earth than we do with George Bush or Colin Powell.”
The article described the gathering as:
Organized by youth and people of color in Oakland and San Francisco, solidarity speakers included supporters of Palestine, people returning from the WCAR in South Africa, police brutality activists, anarchists and socialists, anti-gentrification activists and other people representing dozens of cultures and ethnicities. International solidarity was the theme as community and activist groups stood together against the threat of more US violence.
The comment by one of Jones’ “wise inner-city youth” cheering the attack on the Pentagon appears on the video and was transcribed by BizzyBlog:
(4:10) “But when we knew what those places represented, we were kind of also glad that there’s a place called the Pentagon where, where, military strategies which have killed millions of people around the face of the world (unintelligible). We know, to see that place burnin’, there was some satisfaction to it.”
A press release for the rally issued by Van Jones’ Ella Baker Center and STORM, bluntly stated the groups’ leftist race-baiting agenda:
Anti-Arab hostility is already reaching a fever pitch as pundits and common people alike rush to judgment that an Arab group is responsible for this tragedy,” said Van Jones, national executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. “We fear that an atmosphere is being created that will result in official and street violence against Arab men, women and children.”
“No matter who ultimately is to blame for these bombings, we cannot tolerate stereotypes and blanket attacks against any ethnic group,” said Raquel of STORM. “And we especially don’t want Asian-American, African-American, Latino or Native American communities getting pulled into a frenzy of hatred toward our sisters and brothers. We must stand together.”
Though people of color in particular will be invited to speak at the gathering, but everyone is welcome. (sic)
The groups behind the instant racist hate-America rally were listed in the press release as:
The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Let’s Get Free, Youth Force Coalition, JustAct, Bay Area PoliceWatch, Underground Railroad and STORM/Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement.
Van Jones was a founder of STORM.
Newsbusters was the highest profile outlet to report on Jones’ remarks. After he resigned from the Obama administration, reporting on Jones’ background ceased. Even when he was picked up by Princeton and the Center for American Progress, the media swept his radical past under the rug.
In forthcoming articles, we’ll be picking the rug up to show more of what we and others found and reported about Anthony “Van” Jones that momentous Labor Day weekend of 2009.