Capitalizing on Fear: Gateway Pacific Terminal and the Tea Party

Tea Party Terrorists, published 29 April 2013 at IC Magazine, notes that
in Whatcom County, Washington (near the San Juan Islands between
Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia), “Wise Use ideology and anti-
Indian rhetoric today — as the Tea Party and Wise Use hate
entrepreneurs try to capitalize on fear over water rights and anxiety over
economic salvation by the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal — again
threaten to throw the region into turmoil.” Written shortly after the
CERA Northwest regional Anti-Indian Conference, promoted on KGMI
radio by Tea Party leader Kris Halterman, and organized by anti-Indian
activist Skip Richards, the concern about organized racism entering the
electoral arena was a valid one.
Hate For Hire, published 27 April 2013 at IC Magazine, notes a special
report by Charles Tanner, that includes revelation of a scheme by anti-
Indian organizers at the conference to finance a hate campaign against
the Lummi Nation, using funding by the consortium behind Gateway
Pacific Terminal. While the Anti-Indian Strategy by KGMI to drum up
resentment against Lummi Nation was a vital vehicle for promoting the
hate campaign, it was the insertion of monies from the Gateway Pacific
Terminal consortium that would provide the fuel.
Anti-Indian Power, published 18 April 2013 at IC Magazine, notes that
the Anti-Indian Movement infrastructure of national umbrella
organizations like Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA) — the
conference sponsor — is most effective when paired with local anti-
Indian groups. In Whatcom County, those groups include Citizens
Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR) and the Tea Party.
Coalgate: The Gateway Pacific Terminal Scandal, published 23
February 2014 at IC Magazine, notes that CERA celebrity Philip
Brendale — speaking at the April 2013 conference — offered his non-
profit to serve as a conduit for coal company monies, which in turn
could be used for an attack on Lummi Nation and the Affiliated Tribes
of Northwest Indians that are opposing Gateway Pacific Terminal
at Cherry Point. As Brendale put it, this would enable them to, “take
these tribes down.” Brendale’s wife Sandi is Chairwoman of Republican
Liberty Caucus of Washington (the Ron Paul formation), and an Eagle
Forum (Christian Right) media expert.
In August and September 2013, Tea Party leader and KGMI radio host
Kris Halterman established the Save Whatcom and Whatcom First PACs
with $149,000 from the Gateway Pacific Terminal consortium. Further
funds from the consortium for the Tea Party electoral slate followed in
November, after being laundered through the Washington Republican
Party. In October 2013, Gateway Pacific Terminal public relations
consultant Craig Cole was appointed to lead Team Whatcom in
supporting the Tea Party slate.
In January 2014, Whatcom Watch published Sandy Robson’s
article What Would Corporations Do? Native American Rights and the
Gateway Pacific Terminal, exposing the Gateway Pacific Terminal/Tea
Party connections, as well as the Tea Party’s collaboration with CERA,
the “Ku Klux Klan of Indian country.”
On 5 February 2014, Craig Cole threatened Whatcom Watch and Watch
contributor Sandy Robson with a SLAPP suit for libel, and
accused Whatcom Watch of engaging in a conspiracy with IC
Magazine to defame him.
As noted in Hubris Syndrome, published 26 February 2014 at Public
Good Project, Cole may actually believe there is a media conspiracy out
to get him. If that is so, it is hard to say how reckless he might become.
The Politics of Land and Bigotry, published 14 February 2014 at IC
Magazine, notes that “the Wall Street/Tea Party convergence is counting
on intimidation and thuggery to maintain power and privileges based on
wealth and race.” Unless moral authorities once again step forward to
protect activists and journalists who support Coast Salish nations in their
quest to save the Salish Sea, threats like Craig Cole’s will be emulated
by the Tea Party and Christian Right.

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