9 12 2006

We just listened toBuffy St. Marie, who, by the way, says she has evidencethat the US government leaned on record companies, TV networks, and concert promoters to shut down her career in the 1970’s, possibly even going so far as to hijack shipments of her albums so they never reached record stores. Although some of the evidence looks a little dubious, this wouldn’t surprise me at all. The American Indian Movement scared the hell out of the US government, which responded by framing movement leader Leonard Peltier for murder and terrorizing his followers.

Nor were the Native people alone in being subverted. A covert government program called COINTELPRO broke up not just Black Power political groups but also black cultural organizations, disrupted the burgeoning underground newspaper movement by denying access to newsprint and persuading printers and advertisers not to do business with the anti-establishment press, and a whole lot more. Although COINTELPRO officially ended in 1971, it was surreptitiously continued by the Nixon administration, survived the Carter interregnum, and blossomed into the persecution of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador and and the Christic Institute in the eighties and nineties. So I believe the government screwed her over, although I have my doubts about the guy who says the government killed Buddy Holly.

Nor have things abated. Those Democratic Senators and Representatives who are now supposed to save our asses joined almost unanimously with the Bush Junta’s party to pass “The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act,” which makes it a federal crime to disrupt the activities or profits of any business that “uses or sells animals.” “Terrorism” is defined as “placing a person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to that person, a member of the immediate family of that person, or a spouse or intimate partner of that person by a course of conduct involving threats, acts of vandalism, property damage, trespass, harassment, or intimidation.” The thing is, the fear has been injected into this issue by the “animal enterprises”themselves–slaughterhouses, oversized chicken, hog and fur farms, and laboratories that do testing on live animals. They keep talking up the possibility of violence by those who oppose them, and have used their lobbying power to make outlaws of their opposition. Animal rights groups, now viewed as “domestic terrorist organizations,” have never had a policy of threatening those whose activities they protest, although some individual members occasionally seem to get a bit unhinged and threatening. Provocateurs, perhaps?

And who’s not on the short list of domestic terrorist organizations? Anti-abortion groups—who have bombed clinics, assassinated doctors, and threatened pregnant women. Right-wing militia groups in the US are not on the short list. And remember, the vote to pass this bill singling out animal rights groups as terrorists was passed almost unanimously, with Dennis Kucinich the only dissenting voice. So yeah, I think it’s quite believable that the government hijacked Buffy St. Marie’s recordings and undermined her career. Do you know who’s reading your email?

Buffy St. Marie, “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee



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