DAMAGING DISCLOSURES IN VAN JONES SCANDAL
By Cliff Kincaid
October 25, 2009
When Van Jones resigned his White House job, under fire for his pro-communist views, White House adviser David Axelrod said that Jones had himself made the decision to leave the administration. But new documents indicate that Jones didn’t even write his own resignation letter. It is now abundantly clear that he was pushed out because the scandal threatened to implicate Obama friend and White House adviser Valerie Jarrett in the scandal that gave him a critical White House position without proper vetting.
Jones, a self-identified communist, was an anti-police activist in Oakland, California, before an extreme makeover landed him at the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. as a “senior fellow.” This is the entity that has provided a number of top officials for the Obama Administration and even sponsored public appearances by cop-killer apologist Marc Lamont Hill, the fired Fox News analyst who appeared regularly on The O’Reilly Factor.
The documents I have received indicate that many different officials from the White House, operating on the evening of Saturday, September 5, and into the early morning hours of Sunday September 6, were preoccupied with the matter of how to arrange Jones’ ouster from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). It is clear that the increasing scrutiny devoted by Glenn Beck of Fox News to Jones’ communist connections was taking its toll on the Obama Administration.
Citing his coverage of Jones, the Center for American Progress (CAP) had attacked Beck for “red-baiting” and channeling Joe McCarthy, the anti-communist Senator.
Yet, Jones was deeply involved in a Marxist group, Standing Together To Organize a Revolutionary Movement or STORM, which sent some of its members of Cuba for brainwashing. Jones was also on a list of “veteran activists” attending a conference in the summer of 1998 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the same place where Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers is now a professor, in order to plot the "Black Liberation Agenda for the 21st Century" under the auspices of the Black Radical Congress. Angela Davis, former Communist Party USA official, participated, and the CPUSA helped organize the event. Jones named a son in honor of Amilcar Cabral, the African Marxist.
CAP insisted that Jones had renounced his communist views in 2000 and favored “business-based solutions” for the environment. But in fact he gave an interview last year to “Uprising Radio” stating that his goals were “transforming the whole society” and going beyond "systems of exploitation and oppression” and even “eco-capitalism.”
When I initially requested documents through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) relating to the hiring of Jones by the White House CEQ and the agency’s knowledge of his communist background, the agency said it had none. However, Jones, the “Green Jobs Czar,” was technically a “special adviser” at the CEQ, and his hiring had been announced by Nancy Sutley, chair of the CEQ. It was strange, to say the least, that the entity which employed him had no documents about how he was hired and by whom.
There is nothing in the new documents I have received—and I requested a copy of anything relating to his resignation—indicating that Jones had written the resignation statement himself. Indeed, there are no emails from Jones himself about any of this. Everything seems to have been orchestrated by the CEQ working under the supervision of Obama’s White House advisers.
“This is Van’s [resignation] statement,” states an email from Jonathan K. Carson, chief of staff at the CEQ. “He understands that it will be sent out tonight.” The tone of “he understands” suggests that Jones has been informed or even told how his resignation will be carried out.
Before becoming chief of staff at the CEQ, Carson was national field director for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.
The timing of the email exchanges was unusual, indicating that the controversy was so intense that things couldn’t wait until Monday, September 7.
The Carson email was dated Saturday, September 5, around 10:42 p.m., and was sent to a number of high-level Obama Administration staffers, including Communications Director Anita Dunn, press secretary Gibbs, and Patrick Gaspard, Director of the White House Office of Political Affairs and former operative and lobbyist for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The CEQ said, however, that it was withholding three documents totaling 5 pages in response to my request.
The documents which have been released are nevertheless significant because they help demonstrate that Jones was indeed answerable to Obama’s inner circle. Obama White House adviser Valerie Jarrett had said publicly that “we” had been following Jones since his days as an activist in Oakland, California, and had “recruited him into the White House.” The “we” presumably included the president himself.
The mounting controversy over his role in the administration and the attention being given to his communist background was something that greatly concerned Obama’s top advisers.
The focus, as noted by New Zealand blogger Trevor Loudon, who broke the story of Jones’ communist connections, was going to the question of “who hired him and why an easily identifiable communist revolutionary with a police record could serve as a presidential adviser.”
As this attention was building, AIM released a column, “Van Jones Scandal Threatens the Obama Presidency,” on the late afternoon of September 5, in which we pointed out that “…if Jones’ background can sink Jones, the President himself is in trouble. Obama has decades of friendly associations with communists and terrorists, ranging from Communist Party USA member Frank Marshall Davis in his youth in Hawaii to communist terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn in Chicago when he was doing community organizing and running for political office. By comparison to Obama, when it comes to nefarious connections, Jones is a piker.”
After his forced ouster, Jones’ former patron and sponsor, John Podesta of the Center for American Progress, adopted the White House line and declared that Jones “has chosen to resign because he believed he was serving as a distraction to the president’s agenda. I respect that decision.”
But the documents released to this columnist through the FOIA include no indication whatsoever that Jones wanted to resign. Instead, the documents indicate that a resignation letter was written for Jones and issued in his name.
At about the same time that Carson informed the White House that a statement of resignation would be issued in Jones’ name, CEQ chair Nancy Sutley sent an email to Carol Browner, the White House energy czar and an associate of the Socialist International, informing her about the pending “Resignation of Van Jones.” At one minute after midnight, the Jones resignation statement had been sent out.
An email from another CEQ official, Jessica Maher, a former senior policy advisor for socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, was sent shortly thereafter. She said that “I reached out to Reid, Pelosi, Durbin and Hoyer offices.” Damage control was now completely underway.
The White House line was that Jones was gone and it was time to move on. The Jones resignation letter was sent out along with a statement thanking him for his service from Sutley.
“Christine has the list of the White House reporters for both of the statements to be sent to,” stated an email from Obama’s former Senate press secretary and now White House spokesman Benjamin LaBolt.
Christine is Christine Glunz, who functioned as Jones’ mouthpiece and sidekick and previously worked for disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich.
The coverage followed the carefully orchestrated White House line. “In a statement Saturday night,” CNN declared, “the White House said Jones was giving up his post at the Council on Environmental Quality, where he helped coordinate government agencies focused on delivering millions of green jobs to the ailing U.S. economy.”
On September 6, Obama adviser David Axelrod was on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and denying that the president had asked Jones to resign. “Absolutely not,” Axelrod said. “This was Jones’ own decision.”
Axelrod added, “He said in his statement that he didn't want his comments to become a distraction from the issue, which is so important to the future of our economy and communities around the country. And I commend him for making that decision.”
Meanwhile, $500 million has already been authorized by the Obama “stimulus” bill for “green jobs” projects that Van Jones was supposed to specialize in.
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One group that has been following where the money is going with keen interest is Green for All, Jones’ former organization, which is working to funnel it to left-wing labor unions to hire “green collar” workers.
© 2009 Cliff Kincaid - All Rights Reserved
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Cliff Kincaid, a veteran journalist and media critic, Cliff concentrated in journalism and communications at the University of Toledo, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Cliff has written or co-authored nine books on media and cultural affairs and foreign policy issues. One of Cliff's books, "Global Bondage: The UN Plan to Rule the World" is still awailable.
Cliff has appeared on Hannity & Colmes, The O’Reilly Factor, Crossfire and has been published in the Washington Post, Washington Times, Chronicles, Human Events and Insight.