In a tragic comedy worthy of Shakespeare, Craig Cole, political consultant to Pacific International Terminals, has threatened two journalists and publications for exposing an apparent anti-Indian strategy by his employer, and for linking the anti-Indian hate campaign by right-wing media and the Tea Party to the political climate Pacific International Terminals actively created through its inflammatory deceptions, cynically exploited by hate campaign entrepreneurs working in tandem with white supremacists. As one of the journalists threatened by Cole, I note that my collegial relationship with Whatcom Watch contributor Sandra Robson has been especially productive, generating positive responses from human rights organizers and Lummi Nation leaders opposing Pacific International Terminals’ callous disregard for indigenous human rights, as well as the laws of the United States and State of Washington. Given the importance of providing “thorough, fair, insightful and important” information about the Wall Street/Tea Party convergence against Lummi Nation — and indeed against the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians — Cole’s threat cannot go unanswered.
Sandra Robson’s January 2014 Whatcom Watch article about Native American Rights and Gateway Pacific Terminal, in footnote number nine, cites my May 5, 2013 article at IC Magazine titled White Power on the Salish Sea. White Power on the Salish Sea notes the role of Craig Cole, as political consultant to Gateway Pacific Terminal proponents, who were exposed in Robson’s article as apparently pursuing an anti-Indian strategy.
On February 3, 2014, Craig Cole left a comment on Intercontinental Cry Magazine editor John Schertow’s January 5, 2014 article, requesting a US mailing address for IC. On February 7, Whatcom Watch received a 4-page letter from Cole about Robson’s January article, accusing her and myself of libel, and demanding that Whatcom Watch print an apology to him, as composed by him, threatening that Robson and Whatcom Watch are thus “put on notice.”
On page four of the April 16, 2013 issue of Cascadia Weekly is my letter to the editor titled Givers and Takers, in which I opine that the April 6, 2013 CERA anti-Indian conference covered by IC Magazine and Cascadia Weekly should come as no surprise after a year of mobilized anti-Indian resentment over the Gateway Pacific Terminal. Shortly after it appeared, Craig Cole phoned Cascadia Weekly‘s editor Tim Johnson, protesting his choice to print my letter.
As I remarked to my colleague Ms. Robson in January, “I was thinking about Craig Cole and how he must be tormented by the groundswell of moral support for Lummi Nation from churches and human rights organizations. The only way for him to redeem himself at this point is to resign from his post with Pacific International Terminals, apologize to the Lummi people, and announce his regret for not having done so sooner.”
Update: Craig Cole subsequently complained that he is an aggrieved party, expounding on how much he cares about Indians. Indeed, he thinks his past philanthropy excuses his and his employer’s present misbehavior. I beg to differ.
Did Cole speak out against Pacific International Terminal’s desecration of Lummi burial grounds in the dark of night? No. Did he speak out against CERA and the Tea Party for promoting interracial discord? No. Did he speak out against Pacific International Terminal’s participation in money-laundering to elect anti-Indian candidates to the Whatcom County Council? No. Did he speak out against Pacific International Terminal’s PR choice to hire anti-Indian Slade Gorton’s former mouthpiece? No.
So the best that can be said about Cole is that he is not a racist, but only a cowardly opportunist in bed with a corporation that stands to benefit from the organizing activities of the “Ku Klux Klan” of Indian country and the Tea Party. And he wants us to feel sorry for him? Please. Cole’s protestations are merely a tactical ploy to neutralize his critics.
Disturbing turn of events: I was shocked and outraged that Cascadia Weekly editor Tim Johnson lobbied me and Whatcom Watch editor Richard Jehn on behalf of Cole. Tim has been on the right side of battling the racist right, and we have a collegial relationship that was rock solid until this betrayal. I am bemused and saddened by his behavior on such a serious public issue.
Tim Johnson is a very smart guy, and clearly knows better than to defend an obvious attack on investigative journalism. Sandra Robson has immense courage, integrity and ability, and I will not let Cole and his minions intimidate her without consequence.
Johnson’s ongoing efforts on Facebook (since being outed by NW Citizen yesterday) to distort the issue makes me think he was either threatened or bribed by Cole. Maybe instructed by the real estate developers who own his publication.
What happened to Tim between Feb. 5 when he printed my letter to the editor praising Robson’s January article, and Feb. 9, when he went to bat for Cole? Only things I know of are the Feb. 7 receipt of Cole’s threat by Jehn, my Feb. 8 rebuke of Cole’s behavior, and by Tim’s own admission, a conversation with Cole that included sharing the two threatening letters. At the very least, Johnson ought to reveal the amount of advertising money Cascadia Weekly has received from Gateway Pacific Terminal.
The implications of this only accentuate my concerns for a free and independent press, uncompromised by threat or bribe. That is horrifying.