Thursday, October 13, 2011

When the word "terrorist" loses all meaning...

For those of you who think that Canada is a much more open-minded place than its mighty neighbour to the south, think again.

OTTAWA — A government agency responsible for tracking financial transactions to ensure they aren't used for illicit purposes has identified animal rights activists and "environmental extremists" as terrorist groups on a website rife with references to al-Qaida.

The page is part of an online terrorism-financing tutorial hosted by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre.

The government established FINTRAC in 2000 to detect and prevent money laundering and other illegal financial transactions by terrorists and organized crime groups.

The story goes on to say that animal rights activists are "single issue" terrorists who resort to violence to achieve their goals, and they deserve to be lumped together with other extremists and zealots, including Al Qaeda.

If being horrified by the systematic murder of 59 billion land animals a year makes me a terrorist, then I'm a terrorist.

If hating the violence that goes into the commodification of living, sentient beings puts me in the same league as Osama Bin Laden, then scoot over Comrade Bin Laden. You've got a new sidekick.

If believing that sentient beings on land and in the sea have rights and that human beings have NO right to breed them, rip them apart from their loved ones, put them in dark places for their short lives and then sever their veins and eat their flesh and other excretions makes me a kindred spirit to the maniacs who flew airplanes into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, then this blog has officially become a "Jihadist Zone."

I'm a terrorist because I hate mass murder. I'm a terrorist because the very thought of putting flesh in my mouth sickens me. I'm a terrorist because I can't look the other way when seals are clubbed, whales are harpooned, fish are gutted while they're still flopping, lobsters are thrown into boiling water alive.

I'm a terrorist because I lay awake at night, haunted by the thought that the average calf who is turned into veal has a shorter lifespan than a housefly.

Never mind the institutions and people that murder billions of sentient beings. They are simply fulfilling "demand" in the glorious "free market" system upon which our civilization is built.

A world where the murderers are the virtuous and the compassionate are terrorists is absolutely unthinkable. And, yet, here we are. We're in it. This is the reality we must confront.

I will let my lifelong hero Mario Savio have the last word in this case:

"There comes a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part, you can't even passively take part; and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop, And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, the people who own it, that unless you're free the machine will be prevented from working at all."


  1. I guess one thing we can count on is that corporate behaviors ignore national boundaries. In my childhood (way, way back) "communist" became an all purpose word for anyone that did anything that wasn't in line with the policy du juor or with corporate interests.

    Now, terrorist is the new communist...the all purpose boogeyman whose principle purpose is to, when invoked, short-circuit rationality and result in a Pavlovian-like response of fear and revulsion -- and allow draconian and freedom-extinguishing behaviors on the part of government and corporate lackeys --- all in the name of "security" and "protecting" the public.

    George Saunders, in his fantastic essay "The Brain Dead Megaphone" ( points out that the media are complicit in this conspiracy (conscious or unconscious) to subvert rationality and discernment and paying attention to the nonsense spewed out by these megaphones might actually degrade the ability to identify poppycock.

    This sort of crap has been going on for way too long. Look at the demonizing once directed toward Native Americans and toward African Americans...

    Mario Savio is perfectly correct, what Mario Savio isn't saying anything about here is what in hell is wrong with a species that creates Frankensteinian "machines" repeatedly. A question to consider is...have we ever created any other kind?

  2. Thank you for your wonderful comments, V.E.! I agree with everything you say here. There has always been an "other" throughout American history that authorities can point to (Native Americans, anarchists, communists, etc. etc.) and then lump all "subversives" in with them. What we see happening with the word "terrorist" being used so sloppily is nothing new at all. And the abuse and misuse of such words seems doubly egregious when it is being used to describe people who are out there actually resisting terrorism and struggling for social justice. Expect this kind of B.S. to continue, as long as the very foundations of the system that the powers-that-be are defending are rotten.

    Thanks again for your great comments!