Leslie James Pickering and I were on a recent set of Northwest Coast tour dates talking about surveillance, the Green Scare , war on terror and the effects on people and dissent. The tour for me was culmination of almost three and half months crisscrossing the US speaking. As we were driving north on I-5 this sign with its folk art Uncle Scam painting and misspellings jumped out at us with the cryptic, but clear message. "Do 'domestic terrorists' taken out with illegal drones also?" (sic). Even with missing letters the sentiment was clear that people targeted by the US government for dissent were 'terrorists' and it was ok to kill us with drone strikes possibly because obviously the US government is right about who is and who isn't terrorist.
This sign, which could have easily been in any number of states including Texas, summed up the continued uncritical thinking about the 'war on terror' and widespread surveillance, but also the inherent racism and fear that accompanies lack of understanding of other religions or world views-or even international politics. It also begs the question for me, who gets to define what terrorism is ? Corporations? (yes), governments? (yes), corporate media? (yes), public discourse? ( hell no). All contained within that simple message was the reiteration of corporate lobbying efforts, rightwing jingoism and the state control of the narrative. Its a narrative that charlatans like Fox and Breitbart news as well as Alex Jones drum home everyday to sell their stupid ideas and products. Do any of them believe it? I doubt it, but it keeps eyeballs on their sites.
I often ask the age old vaudeville question of crowds 'How can we tell the government is lying? Their lips are moving'
For me personally I had to laugh about it to shake the unease that's always at bay for the climate this kind of hate stirs in people. Even as I recognize that other communities being targeted under this farce called the 'war on terror' cannot.
And something is definitely in the water in the Pacific NW which I hadn't seen outside Texas in a minute. Some rightwingers have taken upon themselves to shut down Portland State University from having diverse or controversial views on campus (especially of the Left variety).
Two recent distorted articles claim PSU is funding 'domestic terrorists' like myself and Leslie amongst others to speak and it should be stopped! LOL
of course the facts and figures are wildly distorted, but the fact that they hype is there is always disconcerting.
These articles and ones from the past that have attacked animal rights , radical environmentalists and others in the past are OBSESSED with dollar amounts and public funding (again of its left-leaning). Many people targeted under the Green Scare especially in the animal rights movements were targets of these slick PR campagins by PR firms, front groups and legislation written by industry groups like ALEC and the restaurant lobbies.
Below are some excerpts of the high caliber writing and research done in this piece.
"PSU SCANDAL WIDENS: DETAILS OF PAYMENTS TO DOMESTIC TERRORISTS"
"...details emerged in the widening scandal involving PSU faculty staff approving payments from school accounts to domestic terrorists, Black Panthers, communists, anti-semtics and other assorted controversial figures. "
Note how they don't say 'alleged' or 'under investigation for' they just state all of this misinformation as fact. Also note that the video of the disruption that took place at a panel I was on was shot by rightwingers with an agenda.
Scott Crow, Domestic Terrorist – $1850.00: Crow is a domestic terrorist who was included on numerous watch lists. This admission brought him applause during the conference.
James Jordan, Alliance for Global Justice – $1000.00: Lantham’s organization laundered Soro’s money to fund the criminals which organized Occupy Wall Street.
Jenny Esquivel, Partner of Convicted Domestic Terrorist – $1000: Esquivel is partners with Eric McDavid who together with Lauren Weiner and Zachary Jenson, planned acts of arson and sabotage to the Nimbus Dam and fish hatchery on the American River near Sacramento.
Jonina Abron-Ervin, Black Panther (appeared with Lorenzo Ervin, Black Panther, Convicted Hijacker, with a Life Sentence) – $500.00: Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin hijacked a plane to Cuba and was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Leslie James Pickering, domestic terrorist – $1000: Pickering is one of the founders of ELF, classified as the top “domestic terror” threat in the United States by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in March 2001.
Which was also followed by this equally stupid piece from another site:
Whether they all believe it or not I see it set up a climate of fear and unhealthy distrust which leads to people being written off and expendable. A climate which is dangerous on so many levels. Remember Judi Bari and Daryl Cherney being bombed in the 90s? I think we meed to laugh in the face of desperate situations for our sanity if nothing else, but also remember that there have been real consequences. Many people targeted cannot laugh because their communites are under atttack, they went to prison , were grand juried, visited, surveilled, threatened or harrassed in keeping the 'homeland' safe (creepy sounding huh?). Could signs and pieces like this end up getting people killed? I don't know, but its unsettling.
Like I said this has been going on for a long time, but I found these latest reiterations slightly amusing in the face of the real situations and slight fear all around, but am keeping one eye open. It all makes Texas seem kinda calm on that front.