A Washington Post editorial noted that the suicide bombings and other attacks by enemies of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq that began in late October were probably “intended to have the same effect as the 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam: to convince Americans that their troops are committed to a losing cause and must withdraw?even if, in military terms, that is not the case.” The Post noted that Saddam Hussein and Islamic terrorists “have studied recent U.S. history for examples of how to defeat the superpower…”
The key lesson of Tet, the turning point in the Vietnam war, is that if the enemy can create the media perception that the U.S. is losing, our military withdrawal may not be far behind because the Congress could then reduce funding for the mission.
Ironically, however, the Post contributed to the terrorist Tet by failing to tell the truth about the communist role in the “anti-war” demonstrations that took place in Washington, D.C. and other cities as the military offensive against our troops began.
ANSWER, one of the co-sponsors of the protest, was ecstatic: “The October 25 demonstration to End the Occupation of Iraq and Bring the Troops Home Now demonstration was broadcast live and then rebroadcast several times on C-SPAN, it received major coverage by CNN over an 18- hour period. It was also picked up by hundreds of local newspapers and received widespread international press attention. The Washington Post carried a photograph of the demonstration on its front page?”
ANSWER called the Post story about the rally by reporter Manny Fernandez “decent and objective” because it concealed the names and agenda of the communists behind it. In Iraq, Army General Martin Dempsey said that he believed the first terrorist attacks were timed to coincide with two events on Saturday, October 25?the lifting of a curfew ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the opening of an important bridge in Baghdad. That also happens to be the day when the anti-American protests were held. With the help of the media, these protests were designed to create the impression that people in America and around the world are increasingly opposed to the U.S. presence in Iraq.
Despite President Bush’s promise to stay the course, polls had shown support for his Iraq policy declining.
Larry Holmes, one of the key organizers of the Washington demonstration, puts the issue in stark terms. A member of the secretariat of the communist Workers World Party (WWP), he recently lamented the collapse of the old Soviet Union, saying, “As we look back to 1991, we might say that this event signified the beginning of a new obstacle for the struggle for socialism. In many ways, we have been waiting for the opportunity to open up a new chapter in the struggle for worldwide socialism. There is reason to believe that now is such a time. There is a relatively large political movement that has been radicalized and mobilized by the war. There have been huge demonstrations like the ones last spring. This movement needs a worldwide revolutionary socialist perspective.”
He went on to say that the movement should see itself “as part of a world movement to defeat imperialism and to support the liberation struggle of all who find themselves under the thumb of imperialism”Y [W]e have an extra obligation to be strong, to be unflinching internationalists, to do all that we can in the class struggle at home, the anti-war struggle at home?but also to embrace and demonstrate concrete solidarity with our sisters and brothers around the globe who are fighting the imperialist empire.”
The media, however, don’t mention Holmes’ WWP credentials. Instead, he is identified by the media as the co-director of the International Action Center (IAC) and a member of the International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) steering committee.
The other rally co-sponsor, United for Peace and Justice, was co-founded by Leslie Cagan, a Marxist associated with the remnants of the old Moscow-controlled Communist Party USA.
In a joint statement, the two groups stated that, “It was the peace and antiwar movement in the 1960’s and 70’s that proved to be one of the decisive factors ending the U.S. war in Vietnam.” That’s true, but the anti-war movement was manipulated by Hanoi and paved the way not only for the communist takeover of Vietnam but Cambodia, where more than one million people were killed in the genocide carried out by the Khmer Rouge.
Banners at the demonstration advertised the Workers World Party, the Communist Party USA, the Socialist Party, the Dennis Kucinich for President campaign, and Revolution Books. Signs depicted President Bush as a Nazi and the anti-Christ and urged his impeachment.
Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton spoke to the rally, and supporters of candidate Howard Dean attended the event.
Countering the Communists and the Media
By Jon Alvarez*
I returned from Washington, D.C. after a whirlwind trip in which I drove 800 miles within a twenty-four hour period. I joined other patriots in our nation’s capital as it came under renewed assault from the anti-American, communist-backed group known as ANSWER. Now why on earth would I drive so far, leaving the comforts of my home, simply to be verbally assaulted by a group of left-wing wackos? The answer is simple: I made this trip to show my support for our president, our troops, and our country.
I also made this trip to show the nation and the world that these leftist protesters do not speak for me. I could not in good conscience sit by and allow them to march unopposed, spewing their venomous hatred not only for President Bush, but also for our country. They do not represent mainstream America, despite the attempts of the mainstream media to lead us to believe otherwise. What the media fail to report is that the primary backer of the anti-war rallies has been the group ANSWER, a conglomerate of communist organizations. I was saddened to see some young children and teens marching with these people, unaware of what they stand for.
What else did the media fail to report? They did not report that this anti-war protest was deemed a huge failure. ANSWER had estimated their numbers to be approximately 100,000, yet I can attest that they had no more than 10,000 people in attendance. Furthermore, I have heard reports that their event in San Francisco attracted only several hundred supporters. This is very good news in that it shows that their movement is losing supporters as their anti-American agenda becomes more visible.
The media cameras also failed to capture the message of hatred for all things American. The actions of these people could have a negative impact on the morale of our soldiers. That’s why it’s imperative that the media report on the patriotic presence as well.
It was at our second rallying point, along the parade route of ANSWER that we came face to face with these people. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for some of the participants. They fail to realize that they are on the wrong side of history. Surely they were unaware that they were marching with a vile, anti-American communist group? We, too, want the troops to come home. We don’t want war, but we cannot allow terrorism to survive. To show weakness, to pull our troops from Iraq at this time, would only spell disaster for America.
I think several of these people were uncomfortable with the viciousness of the protesters as they came around the corner and saw our patriotic signs and show of support for our country. Like rabid dogs, they screamed, spit, ranted, and raved. These are the ones driven by anger and hatred. These are the same people that spit on our returning soldiers from Vietnam, who called them “baby killers.” They are the social misfits, the dirty and the disheveled that relish social upheaval. They are the strong supporters of groups like ANSWER and it was good that we have exposed them for what they represent.
No bias in the media? The D.C. Chapter of Free Republic, the organizers of the event, notified C-SPAN well in advance of the day’s events, only to be told that they would only cover the ANSWER rally. It must have been deemed that several hundred Americans, proclaiming support for their country, were not newsworthy. Furthermore, despite the abun-dance of reporters and camera crews that interviewed us during and after our engagement with ANSWER along their march route, there was little if any reporting of our presence and viewpoint. Even my local news outlets, notified of my intentions weeks ago, seemed to have no interest yet carried the network headlines about “huge anti-war protests.” So much for presenting both sides of the issue.
We heard from great speakers, including former Congressman Bob Dornan. All shared the same message: we live in the greatest country in the world, we cannot compromise with evil, and we cannot allow groups like ANSWER to portray themselves as a group that represents America. It’s too bad the liberal media failed to report on both sides of the issue, particularly the American side.
*Jon Alvarez lives outside of Syracuse, New York. He is a graduate of the University of Texas and taught 8th grade U.S. history before embarking on a career in sales. Jon became interested in politics and political commentary after 9/11 (that’s when he, along with many of his countrymen, woke up from their peaceful slumber). He is the founder of the group, Patriotic Americans Boycotting Anti-American Hollywood (http://www.pabaah.com), which exposes the Hollywood celebrities who fail to support America in her time of need.
Pro-Peace Reds Support War and Terrorism
By Sherrie Gossett*
Despite its description by mainstream media as an “anti-war” group, the International Action Center (IAC) supports armed Marxist revolutionary groups dedicated to the overthrow of democratically elected capitalist governments throughout the world. The IAC is the Workers World Party front group behind International ANSWER, the co-sponsor of the October 25 “anti-war” demonstration in Washington, D.C.
The IAC has supported the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC), and the National Liberation Army of Colombia (NLA or ELN). Both groups are labeled terrorist by the U.S. State Department.
Just a week before a Dec. 7, 2000 deadline for the expiration of peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the revolutionary movement, an IAC delegation headed by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, traveled to the demilitarized zone in Colombia to meet with FARC leaders.
The delegation also included Teresa Gutierrez, an IAC co-director and member of the Workers World Party and ANSWER, Elisa Chavez, who videotaped key discussions, and Carl Glenn, who served as an interpreter. According to Glenn, once in the demilitarized zone, a FARC official known as Lucas picked up the visitors and drove them to a FARC encampment outside Los Pozo.
There the IAC met with leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC). Clark met for several hours with FARC Secretariat member Commander Raul Reyes, who heads the insurgent group’s “International Commission.”
In addition to discussions with the revolutionary commanders, the delegation also met with FARC soldiers and area residents and spent the night in the encampment. IAC leaders later boasted that in the 36 years since the FARC’s founding, only four other U.S. visitors had been invited to any of the insurgent encampments.
Video footage of Clark’s meeting with Commander Reyes, as well as other footage from the trip, was screened for the first time at a Dec. 12, 2000 IAC meeting held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Labor Center of the 1199/Service Employees Union in New York. Local 1199’s U.S. Health Care Trade Union Committee, a co-sponsor of the event, opened the evening with a greeting and a message of solidarity to opponents of U.S. intervention in Latin America.
At the meeting where the video was screened, IAC speakers tied their opposition to “Plan Colombia,” the U.S. policy of supporting Colombia’s democratic government, to upcoming protests and urged everyone to build for the demonstrations against the inauguration of George W. Bush in Washington on January 20, 2001.
Earlier that year, IAC spokeswoman Monica Somocurcio reported on a FARC meeting in Columbia that addressed the coca issue. She quoted FARC-EP leader Manuel “Tirofijo” (Sureshot) Marulanda, who was dressed in combat fatigues, as saying, “If the U.S. approach to guerrillas prevails, the FARC, as the people’s army, will fight back.”
At the same meeting, FARC Commander Ivan Rios said that the group would arm coca farmers and might buy missiles to shoot down U.S.-supplied helicopters if the Colombian government carried out an offensive with U.S. aid. Somocurcio complained, “The capitalist countries that sent representatives are no friends of the FARC-EP, of course. The Colombian armed forces and their U.S. backers are among the most flagrant violators of human rights in the world.”
In August of 2001, another IAC delegation traveled to El Salvador to attend a meeting of revolutionary Marxist groups hosted by the Faribundo Marti National Liberation (FMLN) of El Salvador.
The meeting was attended by and featured speakers from the Sandinista National Liberation Front in Nicaragua, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), National Liberation Army of Colombia (NLA or ELN), and the Revolutionary Forces in the Dominican Republic.
Other communist parties throughout the globe attended and brought messages of solidarity.
Said Rebeca Toledo, a member of the IAC delegation: “Participants were excited by the IAC’s proposal to surround the White House on Sept. 29, 2001. The date was declared an international day of protests against U.S. military intervention in Colombia and Latin America.”
The September 29 protest had been organized by a now-defunct IAC offshoot group called Beat Back Bush. After the 9/11 attacks, the IAC quickly changed its tack, formed the International ANSWER coalition in order to combat the “criminal conduct of the US,” and continued promoting a protest for September 29, 2001.
The IAC and WWP applaud FARC military victories, including attacks on military bases housing U.S.-trained battalions, the deaths of Colombian soldiers, and “spectacular” raids on prisons, police establishments and communications centers.
FARC engages in bombings, murder, mortar attacks, kidnapping, extortion and hijackings, directed against Colombian political, military, economic and civilian targets. It also has well-documented ties to the drug trade, something the IAC tells followers is a “lie.”
The IAC/WWP makes it clear that FARC’s goal is “the taking of power” and the building of a society without “exploiters or exploited”?a socialist society.
The Colombian situation is complicated by extreme poverty, the rampant drug trade and human rights violations carried out by police and army units. A 1998 U.S. State Department report detailed “egregious” human rights abuses by out-of-control police and military groups, including the torturing, terrorizing and murdering of civilians in order to dissuade others from joining FARC. In May 1998, the army formally disbanded the 20th Brigade (military intelligence), which had engaged in targeted killings of civilians.
Meanwhile, FARC continues the cycle of violence, and has engaged in torture, castration and decapitation of civilians and army/police personnel. FARC is also known for its violent efforts to interfere with elections and the voting process.
As Colombian President Pastrana entered Los Pozos on Feb. 9, 2001 to engage in talks with FARC, a song by FARC soldier Lukas Igurar?n played over the loudspeaker. “Let’s go, dear, to Bogot?,” Lukas sang, “I want to see the barricades in the barrios and the people incited. Prepare the dynamite!”
The IAC’s answer to violence is portrayed in American media as one of peace, non-violence and a renunciation of war, militarism and social injustice.
Given their ties to FARC and ELN, groups that support armed violence, we should ask why the media have failed to report on the IAC’s glaring hypocrisy.
And the IAC isn’t the only one getting a free pass from mainstream media. Another noted “anti-war” group, the Revolutionary Communist Party, published a statement in 2000 in support of all “People’s Wars,” meaning Marxist armies attempting to overthrow governments.
The statement heralded Maoist armed rebels groups operating in Peru and Nepal, as heroically trying to establish “Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.”
“LONG LIVE THE PEOPLE’S WARS!” the statement proclaimed, adding, the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement supports “a century of People’s Wars!” to establish communism throughout the world.
Media have ignored the declaration. RCP member C. Clark Kissinger, serves as a public contact for the Not in Our Name (NION) campaign, another anti-war group, and gets only positive, unquestioning press from mainstream outlets.
The truth is, while groups like the IAC and RCP denounce American “militarism,” they support violence, torture and bloodshed carried out by Marxist armed insurgencies as unavoidable and a just way to create a better society. The global struggle between capitalism and communism didn’t end with the demise of the Cold War.
*Sherrie Gossett, a Florida-based freelance writer, was a researcher with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.