In the face of a virtual national media blackout, patriotic rallies drawing tens of thousands of people were held in several cities as the U.S. prepared for war with Iraq. But the “anti-war” demonstrations organized by communist enemies of America and demoralizing to American troops were still getting most of the press attention.
“You can’t imagine how it makes us feel to see Americans protesting what we’re doing,” a 20-year-old Army Ranger deployed to the war front told his mother, Cindy Ralston. “As a mother, that just broke my heart,” Ralston said.
This is why, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cindy Ralston and others like her turned out in Atlanta on March 15 for a “Rally for America.” Ralston wore a T-shirt that read, “I’m a military mom and proud of it,” and her sign read, “Troops: you make us free, you make us proud, you make us brave; We love you.”
But on the March 15 NBC Nightly News, anchor John Seigenthaler noted that yet another so-called anti-war rally had been held in Washington. “About 25,000 people marched through downtown Washington, D.C. today to protest the Bush administration war policy against Iraq,” he said. “The gathering in the nation’s capital was among the largest of several similar marches?.”
Seigenthaler failed to note that the communist Workers World Party had organized the event and that banners and signs at the rally depicted President Bush as a terrorist.
But he then mentioned in passing that in Atlanta “thousands of flag waving people chanting pro-administration slogans gathered at Centennial Olympic Park to show their support for the White House campaign against Saddam Hussein. The event was part of a series of Rallies for America that have been held last month in different U.S. cities.”
These two brief and dismissive statements were how the NBC Nightly News covered a dramatic series of patriotic and pro-American rallies that had been held in cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Omaha, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Houston, Nashville, and Richmond.
While much of the national media failed even to cover the patriotic protests, conservative talk-radio helped turn people out for the pro-America events. National radio host Glenn Beck helped organize several of the rallies, while activists associated with The FreeRepublic.com Internet site were instrumental in arranging others.
But when Newsmax.com tried finding pictures of the patriotic rallies from the professional photo service agencies, none were available. On the other hand, there were plenty of photos of the January 18 and March 15 anti-war rallies held in Washington, D.C. These anti-American protests were covered by the national television networks, including C-SPAN.
AIM Report editor Cliff Kincaid covered both rallies and took photographs that you didn’t see in the major media-photos of many large communist banners and signs, some of which openly expressed support for Iraq and North Korea. Photos in this issue of The AIM Report are from the March 15 demonstration. Others are available on the AIM web site, http://www.aim.org.
The organizers of the Rally for America in Atlanta attracted 25-30 thousand people, some of whom were increasingly angry over the national media attention given to the anti-war side.
Fortunately, local reporters covered the event. Jennifer Brett of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution described the scene this way: “Thousands of flag-waving, Bush-backing, troop-loving patriots came from all around metro Atlanta on Saturday to cheer for their country at Centennial Olympic Park.” She said “signs tended to fall into one of two categories-God Bless the U.S.A. or Down with a. France, b. Hollywood, or c. the Dixie Chicks.”
A member of the Dixie Chicks band had said in London that she was ashamed of President Bush because of his anti-Iraq policy. She later apologized.
But the apology didn’t come quickly enough to avoid boycotts of the all-girl band by radio stations and consumers. Some outraged Americans even burned their Dixie Chicks CDs.
AIM has documented how members of the communist Workers World Party organized and staged the January 18 protest, and how the major media did their best to ignore the communist role.
The same was true on March 15. However, Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times wrote: “Today’s Washington protest was organized by a group called ANSWER, which stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. The group, formed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, has drawn criticism from some people inside and out of the antiwar movement because some of its chief organizers are active in radical socialist causes and because it has taken controversial positions on issues not directly related to Iraq.”
The phrase “radical socialist causes” means communist revolution and support for the regimes in Havana, Baghdad, and Pyongyang. While the WWP claims to be peaceful, its literature table featured a pamphlet that described the 1992 Los Angeles riots as a legitimate “rebellion.”
Speakers at the rally complained about a “racist” government in the U.S. while praising “revolutionary Cuba.” Convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal was treated as a hero by the crowd. Imani Henry of “Queers for Peace and Justice” gave a speech declaring that “transgendered” people who have had sex-change operations even opposed the war on Iraq.
Manny Fernandez of the Washington Post turned in another dishonest report, refusing to label ANSWER a WWP front group. The Washington Times, the conser-vative paper in the nation’s capital, also failed to tell the truth about ANSWER.
Fernandez of the Post used an old trick, trying to portray the crowd as diverse and all-American: “In Washington, there were teenage and twenty-something women with pink hair and leather jackets; thirty-something mothers in Old Navy sweatshirts pushing baby strollers; Muslim American women in white and black hijab, or head scarves. Nurses from Minnesota and physicians from New York City marched with the newly formed Doctors and Nurses Against the War.”
The Post carefully avoided noting the many communist banners on display, and it turns out that the “newly formed Doctors and Nurses Against the War” is another front group that was represented on stage by the wife of Brian Becker of the WWP.
In response to questions from Times reporter Lichtblau about the radical tone of the speeches, Larry Holmes said, “We don’t police our speakers at all. People here raise Palestine, Colombia, everything, but it’s all basically about peace.” Holmes was described merely as a spokesman for the ANSWER group, but he is also a top leader of the WWP. Lichtblau didn’t mention that. He also failed to note that Rep. John Conyers, who spoke to the rally, embraced the Soviet-backed World Peace Council during the Cold War and has become a partisan of the Arab Muslim cause on Capitol Hill.
Some journalists may think it’s “red-baiting” to expose communists and their allies. Others may sympathize with the protesters. In any case, most of the national media had abandoned their professional duty and obligation to report the facts to the American people.
When Democratic Congressman Jim Moran made comments that were interpreted as suggesting that Jews were driving U.S. policy on Iraq, he came in for criticism, apologized, and re-signed his position in the Democratic leader-ship. But when Rep. Conyers, with the U.S. on the verge of war with Iraq, held a meeting to plot the impeachment of President Bush, the effort was presented in a matter-of-fact manner. There was not a peep of protest, even though the plan is ludicrous and preposterous on its face. Congress endorsed the war on Iraq in a 77-23 vote in the Senate and a 296-133 note in the House.
Roll Call newspaper first reported that Conyers had assembled more than two dozen prominent liberal attorneys and legal scholars to draft articles of impeachment against Bush. The paper said the session featured “former attorney general-turned-activist Ramsey Clark…” Conyers, who hosted the meeting, was the only member of Congress to attend.
Clark, of course, is an “activist” who collaborates with the WWP and helped CBS newsman Dan Rather get his controversial pre-war interview with Saddam Hussein. At the March 15 rally in Washington, Clark urged the impeachment of Bush and promoted a pro-impeachment web site.
Francis Boyle, an Illinois law professor who has been working on the impeachment language with Clark, also met with Conyers. His background is unusual to say the least. He’s an advocate of independence for the state of Hawaii, insisting that it was illegally invaded and occupied by the United States. He is a former legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization who believes Israel should be charged with genocide.
He once claimed that President Clinton’s bombings of Sudan and Afghanistan were “an abuse of power, an impeachable act” but didn’t offer any articles of impeachment against him. Those bombings, as well as the war in Kosovo, were conducted without congressional authorization.
Just over a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Boyle opposed a U.S. strike against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which had been protecting Osama bin Laden. He opposed congressional authorization for President Bush to wage a war on terrorism.
However, this resolution passed the Senate by a 98-0 vote and the House by a 420-1 vote. The lone vote against was cast by Rep. Barbara Lee, who worked for former Rep. Ron Dellums and was exposed in documents captured during the U.S. liberation of Grenada as a fellow traveler of the communist government there. Boyle called her “courageous.”
Reporters have failed to ask Congressional Democratic leaders if they approve of the impeachment campaign against President Bush. If Moran is beyond the pale, why isn’t Conyers? By any reasonable standard, Conyers has to be considered an extremist whose only purpose is to undermine the war effort.
In calling for a tougher approach to terrorist states, columnist Cal Thomas recently wrote, “On the day of Ronald Reagan’s Inauguration in 1981, Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini released 52 American hostages he had held for 444 days. He had kept them that long because he realized a weak and indecisive President Carter?wasn’t going to employ force to get them back. The ayatollah rightly feared Mr. Reagan might turn Iran into a parking lot if he didn’t let our people go.”
Unfortunately, about two years later, on October 23, 1983, Iran ordered and carried out the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon, killing 241 American military personnel. The Reagan response was to withdraw from Lebanon. No military retaliation was ordered.
In a major development, a trial was held on March 18-19 in Washington, D.C. at which the detailed evidence of the Iranian role in this bombing-and U.S. knowledge of the plot-was presented.
Together with Syria, Iran today controls southern Lebanon through a surrogate known as Hezbollah and is pursuing weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.
The trial in Washington involves a case brought against Iran by attorneys Steven Perles and Thomas Fortune Fay on behalf of the families of the Marines who were killed. Under a U.S. law passed in 1996, victims of terrorism can sue state sponsors of terrorism and collect damages from the assets that the terrorist regime may hold in the U.S.
The trial featured a videotaped deposition of a former terrorist insider named “Mahmoud,” who described in detail how Iran ordered the terrorists to attack the U.S. Marines and French troops in Lebanon, and revealed that the driver of the truck carrying the bomb was an Iranian. In a videotaped deposition, former CIA officer Robert Baer testified that there was no doubt, based on the best intelligence information, that Iran was behind it. Baer, who handled Middle Eastern affairs, said this bombing, and a previous bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, were “acts of war.”
Dr. Reuven Paz of Israel testified via videotape that before the Marine barracks bombing Israel had intercepted a message from the government of Iran to its Ambassador in Syria, calling for military attacks on the foreign forces in Lebanon, including the Americans. Paz, who worked for the Israeli security service known as Shin Bet, said the intercepted message was provided to the CIA.
Admiral James Lyons, who was Deputy Chief of Naval Operations at the time, testified that he received a copy of the message, which described the need for a “spectacular action” against the Marines. But he received the message two days after the bombing.
Sergeant Steve Russell, who was guarding the embassy on that fateful day, said he had been warned about a possible car bombing of the barracks literally hours before it happened. He warned others, and stayed alert. But, as a “peacekeeper” under restrictive rules of engagement, he carried an unloaded gun and the compound was surrounded only by concertina wire. The car bomber drove through all of this into the barracks.
On Meet the Press on March 16, Vice President Cheney brought up the Marine barracks bombing, saying it was an example of the “unfortunate practice that we’ve often failed to respond effectively to attacks on the United States.”
However, the evidence from the trial that began just one day after Cheney’s statement-showing that the U.S. knew at the time who ordered and carried out the Marine barracks bombing-received very little attention. We saw stories about the trial in the Washington Post, Boston Globe and Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Steven Perles is the attorney who also brought the case against Iran for the murder in 1995 of Alisa Flatow, a 20-year-old American foreign exchange student in Israel who was killed when a suicide bomber drove a van into her bus. U.S. District Court judge Royce Lamberth, who is handling the Marine barracks case, ordered Iran to pay $247 million in damages to the Flatow family. Perles produced hard evidence that Iran supported Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which was responsible for the bombing.
Florida Professor Sami Al-Arian was recently indicted as a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, after convincing journalists such as New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof that he had absolutely nothing to do with terrorism.
In addition to the 1983 Marine barracks bombing, Cheney listed other attacks on Americans: the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the destruction of the Khobar Towers military complex in Saudi Arabia in 1996, the east Africa embassy bombings in 1998, and the attack on the USS Cole in 2000. Cheney said that “each time there was almost no credible response from the United States to those attacks.”
He left out the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 by Libya over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people, including 189 Americans. There may be a reason why he neglected to mention this. The Bush administration has continued negotiations that may settle this case by letting the dictatorship of Libya offer financial payments to families of the victims and take some form of responsibility for the crime. In return, Libya expects U.N. and U.S. economic sanctions on the regime to be lifted, and to be taken off the official U.S. list of sponsors of terrorism.
The bombing occurred near the end of the Reagan administration’s second term but it was the incoming administration of President George H.W. Bush which developed the evidence linking Libya to the crime. However, it did not pursue military retaliation, and the problem was turned over to the U.N. The result under the Clinton administration was a deal brokered by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan that saw a Scottish court in 2001 convict a top Libyan intelligence agent, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, of the bombing. He was given “life” but will only serve 20 years in a secure unit of a Scottish prison with special amenities and perks.
The deal also included an agreement, which was kept secret for over a year, that the trial would not “undermine” Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s regime. This was viewed as a guarantee not to charge Gadhafi or his top aides.
William Burns, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs under President Bush, has been negotiating with Libyan officials about the case. The latest meeting took place in London on March 11 as the U.S. was planning to wage war on Iraq, in part over its terrorist connections.
Susan Cohen, who lost her daughter Theodora in the Pan Am 103 bombing, says, “My child has been killed by Gadhafi, and I want to see him pay, not rehabilitated.” Of course, she meant “pay” with his life.
Like Iran, Libya is believed to be pursuing weapons of mass destruction.