“If you’ve got a blacklist, I want to be on it.” –Billy Bragg
Have you heard the latest? The Pennsylvania Dept of Homeland Security and their mercenary Israeli security firm are comparing Rainforest Action Network and our friends at the Ruckus Society to Al-Qaeda.
Give me a friggin’ break! When was the last time Osama Bin Laden gave a non-violence training? Or Khalid Sheikh Muhammad dressed up like an orangutan at a Cargill shareholder’s meeting?
For a few months, stories have been coming out that the PA. Dept. of Homeland Security hired a Mossad- and IDF-linked Israeli security firm called the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR) to monitor “terrorist” (read “activist”) activities in Pennsylvania. This crackerjack investigation has included security operatives monitoring screenings of the film “Gasland” as a possible source of “direct action” and tracking the anti-fracking and anti-mountaintop removal movements. Their investigation also watched animal rights, gay rights, immigration, anti-immigration, peace and civil rights organizations.
Interestingly enough, in the 138 bulletins that ITRR put out, the group with the most mentions is Rainforest Action Network (158 mentions). That’s right, an organization built on the principles of Martin Luther King and Gandhi, dedicated to saving the rainforests, fighting for human rights and ending climate change is the top of the Dept. of Homeland Security’s watch list.
Furthermore, they have a multi-page bio of our new executive director, Rebecca Tarbotton, and speculation that our outgoing executive director, Michael Brune, will be bringing direct action to his new organization, the Sierra Club.
In a recently released email between Mike Perelman of ITRR and the protectors of our homeland, Perelman describes the network organizing that RAN and our friends at the Ruckus Society regularly engage in:
“The Internet is an incredible force multiplier — example: I doubt that the Rainforest Action Network or the Ruckus Group number more than 25 people each. But they have incredible reach, sophistication, and influence on local groups.”
Perelman immediately followed with this description: “Shades of Al Qaeda!”
Are we an Al-Qaeda in the making?
The real answer is we are effective. Our campaigning, organizing and networking model utilizing grassroots organizing, public education, online organizing, non-violent direct action and savvy media strategies puts nasty corporations like Chevron, Cargill, Asia Pulp and Paper and some of Wall Street’s biggest banks into a tail spin, and gets results.
The criminalization of dissent and direct action are part of a systemic process that industry, politicians and law enforcement have engaged in for a long time, but the process has escalated since 9/11. The more effective campaigns are, the harder the backlash from industry and government.
Animal rights activists are serving time in the U.S. and U.K. for effective anti-corporate campaigns. Greenpeace, RAN and dozens of grassroots groups have been put under more and more private and government scrutiny. They have lots of resources to use against us.
Our solution? Fight smarter, fight harder.