A lawyer for radical leftist Anthony K. “Van” Jones has sent a cease and desist letter to Fox News demanding in part that the network retract Glenn Beck’s characterization of Jones’ participation in an anti-American rally held on September 12, 2001, in the wake of the terror attacks on America the day before, September 11, the Huffington Post reported Monday
Beck made the comments after an article was published at Big Government on March 25, 2011, reporting about a videotape of Jones’ statement at the rally where he said America deserved the attacks.
Jones’ lawyer, Joseph E. Sandler, also claims that Jones had nothing to do with the rally, except that he spoke there. Sandler says that Jones “does not agree with the hateful, misguided statements” by some speakers featured in the video of the rally. If true, it would appear to be the first time Jones has chosen to disassociate himself from the speeches that cheered the attacks. At the time, Jones was reported to have praised the “wise…inner-city youth” at the rally. The lawyer does not say if Jones includes his own hateful statements in his present-day denunciation.
Jones comments at the rally were first reported at Indybay.org in the early of hours of September 13, 2001, shortly after the rally at Snow Park in Oakland, California ended:
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.”
“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.”
A YouTube video of the rally posted by Bizzy Blog on September 8, 2009, captured statements by Jones and other speakers cheering the attacks and/or saying the U.S. deserved the attacks. The video was posted several days after Jones resigned from his Obama administration position as Green Jobs czar. Given the timing of the posting, the video did not draw much notice until Big Government reported on it in the March 25, 2011, article. The Bizzy Blog video went from a few hundred views on You Tube to nearly 23,000 views and was featured on Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity’s shows on Fox News.
Bizzy Blog transcribed Jones’ statements included in the video:
(at 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.”
The Bizzy Blog video also featured this statement from the rally by an unnamed male speaker:
“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!” (transcribed by Kristinn Taylor)
Bizzy Blog also transcribed these remarks by a speaker at the rally cheering the attack on the Pentagon:
(at 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.”
The Indybay article reported more anti-American statements at the rally cheering the attacks:
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 struggle 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.”
Jones’ lawyer claims Jones did not organize or lead the rally. That claim appears to be contradicted by a press release issued by Jones’ Ella Baker Center promoting the rally in which Van Jones is quoted:
“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 Indybay article described the rally 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.
Excerpt from Sandler’s letter to Fox News’ executive vice president for legal and business affairs, Dianne Brandi, from pages 5 and 6. The claim about the rally is the sixth of six complaints:
(6) “Jones organized/attended an Anti-America rally on 9/12/01″
On his program on FOX News Network on April 5, 2011, Mr. Beck stated, “we have recently found a videotape of what Van Jones was doing the day after 9/11. Where were you on 9/12?…[T]heir lives were lost because of our government, inhumane foreign policy…at what our country does around the rest of the world that leads us not to be safe her (sic)…Van Jones had similar words. That’s where he was on 9/11…Here he is the day of 9/11 at that same rally…It'(sic) the bombs that the government has been dropping around the world that are now blowing up inside the U.S. borders…When you see where he was, and what he said…when you hear what he was saying on 9/12/01, you might want to reconsider…This is a question you must ask yourself now. Do I see American (sic) the same way as these communists, radicals, revolutionaries and Islamists see America?”
Mr. Jones was one of many speakers at a small gathering in Oakland on Sept 12th 2001, convened to express shock and horror at the atrocities committed on 9/11. Mr. Jones did not organize or lead the gathering.
Mr. Jones does not agree with the hateful, misguided sentiments of some of the attendees featured in this clip and has never endorsed or adopted any such sentiments. His comments at the rally were for all people to eschew violence and pursue change through peaceful means. As with any political figure, he is often forced to share the stage with people with whom he strongly disagrees.
On behalf of Mr. Jones, we demand that the FOX News Network (i) immediately cease and desist from further dissemination of the above quoted statements or any statements similar in substance and (ii) broadcast on the Glenn Beck Program an express and specific retraction of these statements…
Jones’ lawyer does not dispute the veracity of the tape nor does he claim Jones was misquoted or quoted out of context. It’s hard to understand what Sandler’s claim is regarding Beck’s comments on the rally. Jones’ organization issued a press release on behalf of the other organizers with a quote from Jones on the purpose of the rally. That would undermine his claim that Jones did not organize or lead the rally.
Jones’ statement praising the rally belies the claim by Sandler that Jones was “forced” to share the stage with people he “strongly disagreed with.”
Jones’ own statements at the rally that are similar in tone to those by other speakers who cheered the attacks and said America deserved it make a mockery of Sandler’s claim that Jones has never “never endorsed or adopted any such sentiments.”
Jones is heard at the end of the rally video making a call for leftist revolution, destroying Sandler’s complaint about Beck’s characterization of the rally as “communists, radicals, revolutionaries and Islamists.”
Jones: “We’ve got something stronger than bombs, we have solidarity. That dream of revolutionary change is stronger than bombs.”