The long lines at the airport. The delays and re-routed traffic. The occasional anthrax scare. The all-too-fresh image of the Twin Towers seared in our memory. All of these remind us that the threat of terrorism at home is far from gone.
Spurred in part by the anthrax attacks last fall, entrepreneur Ted Turner is lending a hand. He has established a new foundation and offered $250 million to the cause of combating bioterrorism and the threat of future homegrown terrorist acts.
These are laudable goals, and Turner is to be congratulated. But Turner could help stop politically motivated violence in the United States without spending a cent. In fact, keeping some of his money in his pocket would do just that.
The Turner Foundation has doled out $165,000 to the Ruckus Society, an ultraviolent anti-“globalism” group. Ruckus is not the usual bunch of angry activists marching around toting signs or dressed up like vegetables. It’s a covert militia, a small but potent army determined to cripple corporate America.
Ruckus operatives run training sessions for starry-eyed, mayhem-minded activists before major demonstrations like those in Seattle, Washington D.C., and Genoa. There, radical wannabes learn “urban climbing and rappelling,” “police confrontation strategies,” “street blockades,” and other forms of disruption. Huge amounts of tax dollars are spent monitoring and controlling their intent to destroy property.
Ruckus is at the core of what Philadelphia Police Commissioner John Timoney called “a cadre… of criminal conspirators” who “go in and
cause mayhem.” Timoney would know; in Ruckus-aided protests during the
2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, 15 of his officers were injured, and 23 police cars damaged.
But to the Ruckus Society, none of that matters. Says their director, John Sellers: “I think you can be destructive, you can use vandalism strategically.” (When Sellers was arrested by Timoney’s men, officers confiscated piano wire and gasoline-soaked rags tied to chains from fellow demonstrators at the scene.) “It may be violence under the law, but I just don’t think it’s violence.”
Ruckus openly engages in domestic terrorism with the goal of instilling fear in the commercial establishment and the consumer public that supports it. Witness the anti-World Trade Organization (WTO) riots in Seattle in 1999, when trained hoodlums ran roughshod over the city’s commercial district, smashing windows, setting fires, overturning vehicles, ransacking stores, and putting lives at risk.
At Ruckus’s Action Camps, footsoldiers learn all about “using the media
to your advantage.” In the midst of the flames and screams of Seattle,
Ruckus staffers could be found giving on-the-record quotes to national media figures. When it was all over, Sellers did not express remorse for the damage done. Instead, he smugly told USA Today, “We kicked the WTO’s butt all over the Northwest.”
Sellers has a reason to be smug: The Ruckus Society is achieving its goals. By breaking laws, escalating conflicts between police and protesters, and operating military-style training camps, Ruckus has opened the door for other anti-consumer radicals. To be taken seriously within “the movement,” Ruckus is proving, activists must be prepared to engage in organized conflict with police officers. It’s not activism; it’s insurrection.
Extremist factions are a sad but inevitable by-product of an open democratic society. But Ruckus has pulled off the neat trick of actually getting funding from its declared enemies. The Unilever multinational food, home care, and personal care empire — which includes brands like Lipton tea, Ragu spaghetti sauce, and Dove soap — is helping to foot the bill for Ruckus’s anti-corporate terror.
When Unilever bought Ben & Jerry’s, the left-leaning ice cream makers required Unilever to kick in $5 million to the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation. At least $1.1 million each year for “social change” groups. The Foundation has so far given $111,000 to Ruckus. Foundations linked to The Body Shop International and Patagonia Inc. have also chipped in big bucks for Ruckus’s “projects.” (For more on the funding of The Ruckus Society, visit www.ActivistCash.com.)
You might think Sellers would be appalled. Instead, he’s thrilled: “It
is great that it is Unilever money,” he said. “There is no better way to launder multinational largesse than giving it to the movement that is confronting it.”
These foundations could shut down Ruckus simply by withholding their money. In some cases, it’s possible that the right hand doesn’t know what the left wing is doing, and that foundation officers simply do not know what they are paying for. If that is the case, they have an obligation to investigate their contributions.
As for the rest, they need to examine their souls. In 1999, one foundation gave $50,000 to Ruckus and explicitly designated that the funds be used for “support of Direct Action Training Camps.” That was the Turner Foundation — created and controlled by alleged anti-terrorist Ted Turner.