[News] I Woke Up an Object of Suspicion

Anti-Imperialist News News at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 22 13:31:23 EST 2005


December 22, 2005
http://www.counterpunch.org/lee12222005.html

I Woke Up an Object of Suspicion


The Citizen's Metamorphosis

By INGMAR LEE

This morning I awoke from unsettling dreams to recognize that my 
agenda is now construed as a hideous terrorist threat. As a regular 
non-violent civil-disobedient direct-action treesitter and an 
activist with Peace and Human Rights proclivities, I expect that I 
should be terrified about the unsurprising recent revelations about 
the extent of the Bush domestic espionage programs. I should flatter 
myself that my seemingly piddling efforts have now put me square on 
the National Security Agency (NSA) radar screen. While researching 
for this article, I have been browsing deep into the forbidden 
territory of direct-action activism, and with every click of the 
mouse, apparently, I'm lighting up a red-flag on some spy-screen down 
at N.S.A./F.B.I./Pentagon CentCom. Just by the bookmarks I've 
collected in my computer, I could well be slated for extraordinary 
rendition to some nearby dungeon of the Bush torture gulag.

In Bush's Kafkaesque oil-fuelled fantasy, his dictator's role in the 
murderous on-going slaughter in Iraq is a godsent mission to "spread 
peace, freedom and democracy in the world." But his twisted 
totalitarian tyranny requires unfettered access to oil, and he'll go 
to ungodly lengths to get it. Bush dictates that his Gestapo-type NSA 
operatives must have free licence to conduct unwarranted 
eavesdropping and infiltrations into such domestic terrorist 
organizations as the Raging Grannies, the Catholic Workers Group, 
Code Pink, the Vegan Community Project, Greenpeace, PETA, readers of 
"The Little Red Book" and "The "Monkeywrench Gang," and myriad other 
environmental, peace and human rights groups and individual 
activists. Although John Lewis, an FBI deputy assistant director and 
top official in charge of domestic terrorism says that "the No. 1 
domestic terrorism threat is the eco-terrorism, animal-rights 
movement," apparently all citizen action efforts are now under 
police-state scrutiny. In a statement before the Senate Judiciary 
Committee in May 2004, Lewis noted the "upswing in violent rhetoric 
and tactics" among eco-terrorists and said that in recent years the 
Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Earth Liberation Front (ELF) "have 
become the most active criminal extremist elements in the United States."

On February 6, 2002, Dale L. Watson, Executive Assistant Director, 
Counterterrorism/Counterintelligence Division of the FBI testified 
before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He noted that 
"during the past decade we have witnessed dramatic changes in the 
nature of the terrorist threat. In the 1990s, right-wing extremism 
overtook left-wing terrorism as the most dangerous domestic terrorist 
threat to the country. During the past several years, special 
interest extremism--as characterized by the ALF and the ELF--has 
emerged as a serious terrorist threat. The 
<http://www.fbi.gov/congress/congress02/watson020602.htm>FBI 
estimates that ALF/ELF have committed approximately 600 criminal acts 
in the United States since 1996, resulting in damages in excess of 42 
million dollars."

Last week six young environmental activists were arrested in a series 
of coordinated raids in New York, Virginia, Arizona and Oregon. 
Daniel McGowan and Stanislas Meyerhoff (Meyerhoff and Jacob Ferguson 
are now identified as informers against the others on this case 
according to JEFF BARNARD of the Associated Press) are now facing 
potential life imprisonment. They are accused of setting fires in 
2001 at a lumber company and an experimental tree farm in Oregon. No 
one was injured in the blazes. Chelsea Gerlach, Kevin Tubbs, Bill 
Rodgers and Sarah Harvey face between 20 and 25 years in prison for 
allegedly setting other fires. These are the most serious charges 
ever filed against environmental activists for allegedly taking part 
in such direct-action.

What's particularly interesting is that the remarkable efforts of 
direct-action Peaceniks who have been attacking, and causing 
significant damage to the American (and British) military apparatus 
and weapons of mass destruction have not been identified in the FBI's 
ranking of current terrorist threats. This heroic and classically 
non-violent direct-action citizens' campaign against what are clearly 
the most obscene terrorist threats ever, has been conspicuously 
absent from the FBI list, and from mainstream media attention. If 
Iraqi freedom fighters had downed two US Navy F-16's, one can be 
certain that such an accomplishment would be front-page headline 
news. But when the Italian Christian Peacenik, Turi Salvatore 
Vaccarro recently destroyed two US Navy F-16's with a sledgehammer, 
not a single headline turned up on my Google search of the incident. 
Vaccaro simply climbed over a fence into a US/NATO air base in the 
Netherlands where about 20 nuclear bombs and some F-16s were 
stationed and managed to completely destroy the cockpits of the jets.

It is because the difficulty of framing a terrorist label around the 
gentle and principled people who attack such obviously horrific 
weaponry is simply beyond the Kafkaesque and Orwellian machinations 
of Bush's Rovian spinmeisters. To add to their hypocritical 
difficulty, it has most often been devout Christians and nuns who are 
wielding the hammers. While the logging industry's PR henchflack may 
have successfully spun a "good-news story" of the wanton corporate 
gutting of our Earth's final ancient forests, the Bushites are 
desperately, albeit unsuccessfully trying to reframe the 
deteriorating image of their Iraq-attack. The derogatory 'hippie 
treehugger' frame has been so successfully embedded that the 
somnolent general public yawns at life sentences for Enviros who burn 
down a logging company office, but the same spin cannot be applied to 
direct-action Peaceniks. And while the importance of the Peacenik 
actions cannot be overstated, there isn't much difference between 
what the treehuggers do and what your average Humvee-burner does; 
what the animal rights activist does, and what those who attack 
nuclear submarines and missile silos with hammers do. These heroic 
people are all opposed to the wanton destruction of life on Earth, 
and the power of their simple actions severely threatens Bush's 
global domination scheme.

To realize my unsettling dreams, I should now venture into discussion 
which will get those red flags down at Spy-CentCom really flashing. 
It's tough for civilians in wheelchairs and senior citizens (see 
below) to scale fences to sledgehammer weapons of mass destruction. 
But sabotage is easy for those already on the inside. It's past time 
there was some conscience and courage from those who volunteer their 
lives to serve their country, but are now messed up with the global 
domination scheme of the current megalo-maniac dictator. The only 
German soldiers who are recognized as genuine military heroes after 
WW11 are people like Claus Von Stauffenberg, who along with Wilhelm 
Canaris, Carl Goerdeler, Julius Leber, Ulrich Hassell, Hans Oster, 
Henning von Tresckow, Fabin Schlabrendorff, Peter von Wartenburg, 
Ludwig Beck, and Erwin von Witzleben attempted to assasinate Adolph 
Hitler. There will never be a heroic epitaph written for those 
soldiers who have volunteered for George Bush's Iraq massacre, but 
whoever amongst them who works to frag this scourge and his war-chest 
will have done humanity and the good Earth the ultimate service. They 
should do their duty.

People who practice principled non-violent civil-disobedient direct 
action have exhausted all due-process options to address the 
injustices that they see. That's the point when the citizen's 
metamorphosis occurs. At some point the need for peace and justice 
goes beyond what can be advanced through existing channels. A person 
will go beyond the limitations of human organization to exert the 
tremendous personal power of the moral upper hand. The metamorphic 
stages go from the public demonstrator to those brave souls who 
commit the final non-violent act of non-sentient material sabotage to 
change the world for the better. But then there are those individuals 
who's lives have been so irrevocably damaged by injustice that their 
act of civil-disobedience passes beyond non-violence and comes to 
target the living. It is easy to understand the motivation of a 
person who awakes to find their innocent loved ones murdered by some 
heinous dictator raining hellfire from afar. We may not advocate it, 
or practice it ourselves, but we can understand, and perhaps even 
forgive their actions.

Here below, I've collected a few names and the actions of a few of 
the many great heroes of humanity whose personal non-violent 
direct-action was made truly in the name of Peace:

On New Years Day in 1991, Ciaron O'Reilly and three others entered 
Griffiss Air Force Base in New York and began hammering on a KC-135 
(a refuelling plane for B52's). They then proceeded to smash the 
engine of a nearby cruise-missile-armed B52 bomber that was to be 
used in the strikes against Iraq. They also destroyed some of the 
runway, chipping at two sections, one being nearly five feet in diameter.

In January 1996, Andrea Needham, Joanna Wilson, Lotta Kronlid and 
Angie Zeltner broke into the high security hangar owned by British 
Aerospace in Lancashire to disarm a newly built Hawk jet. The jet was 
slated for delivery to the Indonesian Government to use against 
villagers of East Timor. They broke into the hangar and set about 
destroying the war machine. They developed a steady rhythm, once they 
realised that the security was not coming. Over a period of about an 
hour the women methodically destroyed the plane's weapons system with 
their hammers.

On February 1st, 1999, Rosie James and Rachel Wenham swam 300 metres 
in wetsuits into the Vickers dock yard at Barrow in Furness to reach 
HMS Vengeance. They swam in freezing conditions in the dark with 
their disarmament equipment of hammers, chisels, crowbars, 
screwdrivers and paint. The women then climbed around the submarine 
and dismantled radio equipment used to launch weapons of mass 
destruction. They hung a banner on the conning tower which read 
"Women Want Peace", painted the words ILLEGAL DEATH MACHINE and peace 
/ women's symbols on the hull and smashed testing equipment on the 
conning tower.

On August 29th, 1999, Sylvia Boyes and Anne Scholz entered the water 
in the dark to the south of the perimeter of the Faslane nuclear 
submarine base. They swam round the perimeter fence and after two 
hours in the water were intercepted while swimming under the jetties 
where the Polaris submarines were formerly berthed. Anne said: "My 
plan was to get onto a Trident sub and lock myself to it. Sylvia had 
a hammer to use on the exterior and spray paint to use on computer 
monitors inside the boat."

A Trident SSBN (Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear) has 16 missile 
tubes. Each missile can carry eight warheads, and each 100 kiloton 
warhead is eight times the size of the Hiroshima bomb. A Trident 
submarine is on patrol 24 hours a day, every day of the year, on 
reduced alert but able to fire missiles within days.

On June 24, 2000, Bonnie Urfer and Michael Sprong used hand-held 
Swede saws to cut down three poles supporting transmission lines for 
a controversial U.S. submarine communication system located near Clam 
Lake Wisconsin. After performing their "act of nonviolent direct 
disarmament and crime prevention," the two waited over an hour for 
the arrival of Ashland County Sheriff's Deputies who took them into 
custody. This was the fifth time since 1984 that the transmitter - 
known as Project ELF (Extremely Low Frequency) - was shut down by 
activists who simply walked up to poles supporting the 28-mile-long 
transmitter antennae and cut them down with hand saws.
On Sept. 4, 2002, Eoin Dubsky and Tim Hourigan of Refueling Peace 
were arrested at Shannon Airport for "Defacing an Aircraft." Mr 
Dubsky took a can of flourescent orange paint to a USAF Hercules 
plane, and afterwards, wishing to be accountable, he phoned airport 
police himself to inform them of his actions.

On October 6, 2002, the Sisters Jackie Hudson, Ardeth Platte and 
Carol Gilbert broke into a Minuteman III nuclear missile silo.They 
pounded on on the silo with hammers and smeared it with their own 
blood. The nuns said they were compelled to act as war with Iraq 
moved closer and because the United States had never promised not to 
use nuclear weapons.

On March 10th, 2003, anti-war activists breached the security at RAF 
Leuchars in Fife twice in twenty-four hours. The so-called "Citizens' 
Inspections" were made all the more embarrassing for military chiefs 
by the fact that one of the activists is a wheelchair user. At 4.30am 
wheelchair user Roz Bullen (32) and Swedish national Petter Joelson 
(22), both members of anti-nuclear group Trident Ploughshares, 
entered via holes they had cut in the boundary fence at the base. 
They were able to paint the slogans "A flower in your gun" and "Peace 
and Responsibility" in blood red paint on part of a hangar and 
military vehicles.

On March 12th, 2003, Trident Ploughshare activist Ulla Roder 
destroyed a Tornado jet at Leuchars airbase. She went into a hangar 
at the Fife airbase and discovered the plane completely unguarded. 
She said: "I took my hammer to the nose-cone, the cockpit, the 
fuselage, the wings, the tailplane and other parts of the plane which 
were safe to damage. I don't see it flying again. I then sat down and 
waited for the security people to arrive. I am pleased that this 
particular aircraft will not be dropping bombs on innocent people in Iraq."

On May 25, 2003, Mark Colville, Sister Susan Clarkson, Joan Gregory, 
and Brian Buckley went aboard for a tour of the USS Philippine Sea 
during the 16th Annual Fleet Week in New York City. The USS 
Philippine Sea was the first warship to attack Afghanistan after Sept 
11. Once on the ship, they poured their blood and hammered on the 
missile hatches that hold Tomahawk Cruise Missiles. They held up 
pictures of Iraqi children who had been injured and maimed by US weapons.

On January 29 2003, Mary Kelly caused extensive damage to a US Navy C 
40 Boeing 737 aircraft at Shannon Airport by smashing it with a 
hatchet-type hammer. She caused more than 500,000 euros worth of 
damage to the nose cone, the nose wheel, the hydraulics and electrics 
of the plane.

A week later, at the same airport on Feb 4th, 2003 Ciarron O'Reilly 
smashed the same plane which was being repaired after Mary Kellys 
disarmament action the previous week. They spraypainted the hangar 
with " PITSTOP FOR DEATH" and " THE WAR STOPS HERE ! PHIL BERRIGAN 
R.I.P." and constructed a shrine with photos of Iraqi children. Human 
blood was poured on the runway and a mattock was used to begin to 
take the runway up. Mr. O'Reilly said "that it was an emphasis on 
taking responsibility to help others". He said that after 5-6 minutes 
of beating on the aircraft, the group knew it would definitely have 
to be grounded.

Ingmar Lee can be reached at <mailto:ingmarz at gmail.com>ingmarz at gmail.com


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