Gateway Pacific Terminal Consultant Threatens Journalists at IC Magazine, Whatcom Watch
February 22, 2014
Gateway Pacific Terminal Consultant Threatens Journalists
at IC Magazine, Whatcom Watch
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In a letter dated February 5, 2014, Gateway Pacific Terminal consultant Craig Cole accused IC Magazine columnist Jay Taber and Whatcom Watch reporter Sandra Robson of committing libel, going so far as to threaten a lawsuit against Whatcom Watch for publishing Robson’s January 2014 article, “What Would Corporations Do? Native American Rights and the Gateway Pacific Terminal”.
Robson’s article and Taber’s subsequent editorial, “Echoes of Racism”, expose the convergence of Peabody Coal, Pacific International Terminals, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad and the Tea Party with the “Ku Klux Klan of Indian country”-- Citizens Equal Rights Alliance -- as a looming threat to Lummi Nation and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians that has resolved to stop schemes for exporting Tar Sands oil, Bakken Shale oil and Powder River Basin coal from proposed terminals on the Salish Sea between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia.
In her article, Robson notes that Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports (ANWJE), a front group created by Edelman PR for SSA Marine/Pacific International Terminal’s Gateway Pacific Terminal project, has hired Mariana Parks as spokesperson. Robson reveals Parks' work history includes significant stints with two former Republican Attorneys General in Washington State, Rob McKenna and Slade Gorton. Both McKenna and Gorton are well-known for fighting tribal sovereignty. Says Robson, “In 1997, as a Senator, Gorton championed anti-Indian legislation, based on an HR 2107 rider that would have diminished, if not totally destroyed, the validity of Indian tribes as sovereign nations.”
Elsewhere, Robson examines the organizing efforts of Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA), which on April 6, 2013 held a conference in Bellingham, Washington to stoke the flames of racial resentment in the Pacific Northwest region. In 2011, a year before their permit application was submitted to Whatcom County, Pacific International Terminals illegally and intentionally bulldozed a registered Native American archaeological burial site at Cherry Point, the location of its proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal. In November 2013, the consortium behind the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal laundered $149,000 through the Washington Republican Party to elect pro-coal candidates to the Whatcom County Council.
Since threatening Taber, Robson and Whatcom Watch, Cole has benefited from the efforts of Cascadia Weekly editor Tim Johnson to create disunity among Taber and Robson's supporters, causing some to question if he, too, was threatened or bribed by Cole, or is otherwise attempting to make sure Cascadia Weekly continues receiving advertising money from Gateway Pacific Terminal.
- Feb. 7, 2014 Whatcom Watch editor Richard Jehn receives libel lawsuit threat from Gateway Pacific Terminal consultant Craig Cole, dated Feb. 5, in which Cole libels Whatcom Watch reporter Sandra Robson and IC Magazine columnist Jay Taber.
- Feb. 8, 2014 Cole lawsuit threat exposed by IC Magazine.
- Feb. 9, 2014 Cole sends second threat to Whatcom Watch, further libeling Robson and Taber.
- Feb. 9, 2014 Cascadia Weekly editor Tim Johnson, speaking at the behest of Cole, advises Taber to cease rebuking Cole for his libelous threats and advises Jehn not to counterattack.
- Feb. 14, 2014 IC Magazine does follow-up editorial on Cole threats against journalists.
- Feb. 19, 2014 NW Citizen exposes Cole threats and intermediary role played by Johnson.
- Feb. 20, 2014 Cole contacts NW Citizen seeking information on Taber, and is rebuffed.