[THS] Obama adviser under attack for 9/11 Skepticism
vignes at wanadoo.fr
Sun Sep 6 14:03:54 CEST 2009
Obama adviser on green jobs under attack
Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Bay Area environmental activist and White House adviser Van Jones is under attack
from Republicans for signing a 2004 petition calling for a congressional investigation
into the actions of the administration of former President George Bush surrounding
the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs offered lukewarm support for Jones Friday,
saying only that "he continues to work in this administration."
Meanwhile, Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., called for an investigation of Jones, who signed a
2004 petition by 911Truth.org, which wants attention paid to "unanswered questions
that suggest that people within the (Bush) Administration may indeed have
deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war."
Jones, a Yale Law School graduate, said in a statement Friday, "I do not agree with
this statement and it certainly does not reflect my views now or ever."
That wasn't enough for Bond, the ranking Republican on the Senate subcommittee
on Green Jobs and the New Economy. On Friday, he asked for a hearing "to reassure
the American people that their government is safe from (Jones') divisive, incendiary
and ultimately counterproductive sentiments."
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., said Friday that Jones should resign because "his extremist
views and coarse rhetoric have no place in this administration or the public debate."
The controversy is the latest for the longtime Bay Area activist, who apologized this
week for calling Republicans "-holes" during a speaking engagement in Berkeley a
month before his appointment in March as special adviser for green jobs at the White
House Council on Environmental Quality.
In the speech, Jones used the same term to describe himself and the political resolve
needed to move legislation.
In the liberal Bay Area, Jones - who transformed from street activist and neo-Marxist
to being the first African American to write an environmental book to appear on the
New York Times best-seller list - has had the support of politicians.
In the mid-1990s, he co-founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, an
Oakland group focusing on police brutality that includes Bay Area PoliceWatch.
He is friends with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and former Vice President Al
Gore, and has appeared at forums at UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law. This
year, Time magazine named Jones one of the 100 most influential people in the
Newsom described Jones as "a superstar" before the environmentalist's address at
last year's Netroots Nation convention of liberal online activists.
"Van Jones and Mayor Newsom are good friends and the mayor stands by him,"
Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard said Friday, adding that the sentiments in the
9/11 petition Jones signed "does not reflect (Newsom's) point of view."
But critics, including Newsom's ex-wife Fox News commentator Kimberly Guilfoyle,
told the network's Sean Hannity this week that "clearly (Jones) wasn't vetted. All (the
White House) had to do was go and ask a couple of questions in San Francisco about
This summer, Color of Change, an online activist organization that Jones co-founded
to focus on issues in the African American community, called on advertisers to boycott
Fox News commentator Glenn Beck after Beck said President Obama "has a deep-
seated hatred for white people."
Some ads pulled
A few dozen companies responded by pulling their ads from Beck's show. Jones has
not been active with the organization for the past 1 1/2 years.
Beck talked about Jones' past, including his participation in a Bay Area neo-Marxist
organization called Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement in the
The East Bay Express, a weekly newspaper, described the group in a profile of Jones
in 2005 as hopeful of "a multiracial socialist utopia." Jones left the group in 1996 to
co-found the Ella Baker Center.
E-mail Joe Garofoli at jgarofoli at sfchronicle.com.
This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
Obama 'green jobs' adviser quits amid controversy
By WILL LESTER, Associated Press Writer
Sunday, September 6, 2009
(09-06) 04:21 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) --
President Barack Obama's environmental adviser Van Jones, who became embroiled
in a controversy over past inflammatory statements, has resigned his White House job
after what he calls a "vicious smear campaign against me."
The resignation, announced early Sunday, came as Obama is working to regain his
footing in the contentious health care debate.
Jones, an administration official specializing in environmentally friendly "green jobs"
with the White House Council on Environmental Quality was linked to efforts
suggesting a government role in the 2001 terror attacks and to derogatory comments
Jones issued an apology on Thursday for his past statements. When asked the next
day whether Obama still had confidence in him, White House press secretary Robert
Gibbs said only that Jones "continues to work in the administration."
The matter surfaced after news reports of a derogatory comment Jones made in the
past about Republicans, and separately, of Jones's name appearing on a petition
connected to the events surrounding the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. That 2004
petition had asked for congressional hearings and other investigations into whether
high-level government officials had allowed the attacks to occur.
"On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform
have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me," Jones said in his resignation
statement. "They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide."
Jones said he has been "inundated with calls from across the political spectrum
urging me to stay and fight."
But he said he cannot in good conscience ask his colleagues to spend time and
energy defending or explaining his past.
Jones flatly said in an earlier statement that he did not agree with the petition's stand
on the Sept. 11 attacks and that "it certainly does not reflect my views, now or ever."
As for his other comments he made before joining Obama's team, Jones said, "If I
have offended anyone with statements I made in the past, I apologize."
Despite his apologies, Republicans demanded Jones quit.
Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana said in a statement, "His extremist views and coarse
rhetoric have no place in this administration or the public debate." Missouri Sen.
Christopher "Kit" Bond said Congress should investigate Jones's fitness for the job.
Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck repeatedly denounced Jones after a group the
adviser co-founded, ColorofChange.org, led an advertising boycott against Beck's
show to protest his claim that Obama is a racist.
James Rucker, the organization's executive director, has said Jones had nothing to do
with ColorofChange.org now and didn't even know about the campaign before it
Jones, well-known in the environmental movement, was a civil-rights activist in
California before shifting his attention to environmental and energy issues. He is
known for laying out a broad vision of a green economy. Conservatives have harshly
criticized him for having left-wing political views.
Nancy Sutley, chair of the council, said in a statement released early Sunday that she
accepts Jones resignation and thanked him for his service.
"Over the last six months, he had been a strong voice for creating jobs that improve
energy efficiency and utilize renewable resources," she said. "We appreciate his hard
work and wish him the best moving forward."
Associated Press writer Philip Elliott contributed to this report.
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