Saturday, March 08, 2008

THE TIBETAN LIBERATION MOVEMENT AND THE ENEMY WITHIN.THE CASE OF LHADON TETHONG.

UP FRONT News March 8, 2008
Published by Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham
"The paper that can't be bought and can't be sold."


I first met Lhadon (pronounced "Laden" as in bin Laden) Tethong several years ago when, as a long time Free Tibet activist, I was introduced to her as she was sitting among Tibetans on a bench on Central Park West at around 106th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where in the park Tibetans were celebrating the Dalai Lama's birthday (which, like that of George W. Bush, falls on July 6).

Ms. Lhadon, identified as the leader of the Students for a Free Tibet (SFT), one of several Tibet advocacy groups, was distinctly cool. For sure, like thousands of Tibetans, she knew about me because of my very public advocacy for a free Tibet and an end to the genocidal occupation of Tibey by Communist China, an occupation in which the U.S. government and the U.S. media, is complicit. UP FRONT News has lots of readers in the Tibetan community.

Indeed, many Tibetans have known about my involvement in this issue from my days as a social worker at the refugee resettlement organization the New York Association for New Americans (NYANA) from 1989 until 1993. Some of my visibility came as a result of a successful fundraising performing arts event I produced in the form of a concert at NYU fea- turing among others the world famous Tibetan flutist and didgeridoo player Nawang Khechog and the Dalai lama's favorite rock 'n' roll band, The Dharma Bums.

I made a few subsequent efforts at reaching Ms. Tethong, none of which generated a response.
I would cross paths with Ms. Tethong at the annual March 10 free Tibet demonstrations held in commemoration of the March 10, 1959 monk-led uprising in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa that was suppressed Tiananmen Square style by the Chinese Communists with 70,000 Tibetans murdered. Those rallies have for years been tightly controlled by the very controlling Tethong, who has tried to make certain that I do not get to speak at any of these events. in fact, however, several years ago, having arranged for a rally endorsement by my Congressman at the time, Jerrold Nadler, since he was unable to attend, he had me read his remarks, which I supplemented with some well received comments of my own. Helping me in the politics of the speaking arrangments was free Tibet activist Namgyal Khorko.

Despite the annual rallies, which inevitably feature celebrity speakers like Buddhism authority Dr. Robert Thurmann (father of actress Uma Thurmann), at which much anti-China rhetoric is to be heard, there has been little progress if any in liberating Tibet. Indeed the Dalai Lama has voiced his view that Tibet is in danger of at least cultural obliteration by the Communist Chinese.

For several years it has been my view that the only way to affect Chinese and U.S. policies with respect to ending the occupation is by going after the money, which means getting the cash cow known as the 2008 Olympic Games out of China.

The fact is that much of the U.S. political and media establishment, regardless of any hypo- critical "human rights" rhetoric, is unwilling to interfere with its megacapitalistic profiteering in the slave state/hedge fund known as Communist China by pushing to get the Olympics out of Beijing. Among the politicians who have been made fully aware by me and UP FRONT News that China is perpetrating genocide in Tibet are Bill and Hillary Clinton and their political underlings, most conspicuously New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Indeed, after I lobbied for years to get a City Council resolution supporting Tibet, Ms. Quinn
took the credit for introducing Resolution #802, which, using some of my language, denounced China for its actions in Tibet. The resolution, which passed unanimously, however had no impact. Why? Because it made no mention of the Olympics.

In the following years I made several approaches to Ms. Quinn urging her to introduce another resolution, this one calling for the removal of the 2008 Olympics from China. Indeed on January 30, 2006, after she became Speaker (through a classic Democratic machine backroom deal involving "outer borough" bosses) I sent her an e-mail via her Chief of Staff Chuck Meara. She never answered and she never will. Christine Quinn is a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporate cash cow Hillary Clinton (Bill is a cash bull) for whom China is nothing more than another investment opportunity.

Having gotten recurrent encouragement from Tibetans such as activist Namgyal Khorko for taking action to get the Olympics out if China, I approached a relatively new political acquaintance of mine, City Councilman Tony Avella (D.-Queens), a man who has demonstrated his readiness to stand up to Quinn in defense of honesty in government and tenants rights, two areas in which she (like the Clintons) is very weak, her rhetoric notwithstanding. As far as I am concerned, the Clintons and their underlings, like for example Quinn and my really negligent and dishonest state assemblyman Matthew Titone (D.-Staten Island), are are the embodiments of political duplicity.

The same holds true of Lhadon Tethong.

Some years ago "Cry of the Snow Lion", a dramatic film documentary of the 1959 uprising, was being shown at a Greenwich Village theatre. I went to the Office of Tibet to inquire about obtaining a press pass. I was referred to the SFT office on East 14th Street. When I got there I was "greeted" by Ms. Tethong. To say she was only rude in her refusal to give me a press pass would be to let her off easy. Within a moment of her refusal she had summoned a man almost as big as a Tibetan yak. As Ms. Tethong, threatening me with arrest, ordered me from the room, the yakman approached me in a distinctly menacing way, spewing some profanities in English.

As I made my way toward the door, another gentleman who witnessed the incident told me to wait downstairs for him. After a few minutes the gentleman (whose name I do not recall) emerged. He made some very negative references to Ms.Tethong, suggesting that I am not the only person experiencing serious difficulties with her. He also helped me get the press pass. Indeed, not only did I review this gripping film, which shows the Chinese Communists for the fascists they are, I arranged for the filmmaker to be interviewed on the INN World Report, a nationally broadcast news program (seen here on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network) on which I have been a guest on several occasions. INN President Lenny Charles, like UP FRONT News, covers the stories that the mainstream media (typified in perhaps the worst way by the heavily censored establishment-obsequeous Staten Island Advance) suppresses.

At last year's March 10 demonstration in Union Square, although a number of Tibetans urged me to go to the Lhadon-controlled microphone and speak. Although Lhadon looked over at me with some visible fear in her eyes, I confined myself to some out loud urgings regarding getting the Olympics out of China. After the very predictable Columbia University Professor Robert Thurmann yammered something about being nice to your oppressors, Lhadon suggested that Tibetans should demonstrate at the Beijing Olympics. A move like that would result in instantaneous arrest as well as the likely detainment of any reporter witnesses. It is important to remember that "Communist" China is a full-fledged fascist state.

At my behest and with the support of the U.S. Tibet Committee of whose Board of Directors Namgyal Khrorko is a member, Councilman Avella has committed himself to introducing a resolution citing the Tibet occupation and calling for the removal of the 2008 Olympics from China. I suggested that it might be a good idea for Mr. Avella to address the rally. The USTC and the overall "March 10 Organizing Committee", which includes several groups, among them Tethong's rather gentrified pretty much lily-white SFT, agreed. Mr. Avella agreed to my request that I introduce him at the rally. And while the USTC has agreed and while organziing committee chair of the Tibetan Youth Congress of New York and New Jersey has told me he has no objection, I have been advised that I will not be permitted to introduce him.

For sure this is not a mere personality conflict, although the possibility of Ms. Tethong and I becoming friends is about as likely as an UP FRONT News endorsment of Hillary Clinton or mayoral wannabe Quinn. Ms. Tethong in her consistent efforts at sabotaging me and my efforts at getting the Olympics out of China is in effect helping the Chinese. She is a fifth columnist and, as far as I am concerned, qualifies as the Vidkun Quisling of the Tibetan liberation movement.

I am told that, Richard Gere may speak. Mr. Gere, with whom I have dealt when I was with NYANA and who preferred to treat me as an anonymity me in his correspondence, is a self- proclaimed "Buddhist", who, as an increasing number of Tibetans are becoming aware, is facing a huge Hollywood-style embarassment in a matter widely circulating in the New York and California undergrounds and sneaking its way up media-wise. While followers of Tibetan Buddhism are not all vegetarians, the Dalai Lama is known as a deep respecter of life and a abhors any cruelty to animals. I am certain that the Dalai Lama would be upset to learn of any harm coming to an creature as meek as a gerbil.

In any event, as far as the presumbly sincere Councilman Avella is concerned, since it is apparent that there are some power brokers in the Tibetan community that are in fact hostile to getting the Olympics out of China, he should consider slowing down his resolution efforts until the Tibetans get their act together - which, as far as I am concerned, means disempowering Lhadon Tethong. I don't know about the somewhat bombastic Thurmann, but his employer, Columbia University, is a mega-corporation and a part of the military industrial/ real estate/educational complex, (much like NYU, where SFT is active), has a very dubious record when it comes to human rights.

It is also important to note that thanks to people like the community-insensitive Lhadon, the free Tibet movement has almost no involvement of African-Americans, a major irony in light of the not very well known fact that the Tibetans are a dark-complexioned people being genocided by the light-complexioned Chinese.

And since I belong to the large mostly African-American First Central Baptist Church in Staten Island led by my friend civil rights leader Rev. Demetrius Carolina, the African-American community will learn the truth about how the Tibetans are being sold out by (at least) one of their own.

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