The Rage Page for Willamette Week

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Never believe anything until it is officially denied. --Claud Cockburn

I put up the Willamette Week Rage Page after a reporter, Chris Lydgate, inserted me in a sloppily researched, and published in haste, article in the Willamette Week. His article associates me, in a McCarthyesque reporting style, using guilt by association, with terrorist threats made in Portland, Oregon associated with Osama bin Laden. [See reproduction of leaflet below.]
    I'm sure what they did to me is nothing in comparison to what other activists and organizations are going thru ri
ght now, also that this is certainly not the beginning nor will it be the end of the disinformation and slander that I face in the media in my little life; most of the lies more than I ever bother to challenge. I also understand this is one of those free entertainment tabloid hardly worth anyone's effort. However, since this article will be available on their internet site it would be an error to leave it unchallenged.
   During this investigation, I spent more time verifying a Chris Lydgate's gender mixup than he did researching a terrorist threat. In the course of speaking with a number of people in Portland, it became apparent there is resentment in the community because the newspaper attempts to make their newspaper more relevant than an entertainment guide, and to get more readers, by contriving controversy around individuals, then censoring rebuttals and any letters that voice a different opinion from theirs.
    The purpose of this Rage Page is for people to write their opinions about this particular piece of McCarthyish journalism, or their general and specific disagreements with the Willamette Week newspaper. That is the only purpose of this Rage Page and all off topic posts will be removed. Please note that we are in no way affiliated with the Willamette Week newspaper. Quiet the contrary.
    Mad at sloppy journalism? Mad about McCarthyism aimed at activists? Mad at the Willamette Week for any reason at all? Just hate the whole media? Say it here.Thanks for signing our Rage Page. --
Write Nikki Craft at

UPDATE: This stands as my reply since they never published my letter (printed below) in their publication or on their internet version. --NC

Osama Jihad threat leafletThinking Inside the Box
BY Chris Lydgate

Last week, an unknown left-wing propagandist slipped dozens of tabloid-size fliers into WW newspaper boxes in inner Southeast Portland.
    Illustrated by a grainy photograph of Osama bin Laden, the flier accuses the U.S. government of a familiar litany of crimes, ranging from the genocide of Native Americans to the invasion of Grenada to the deliberate creation of poverty in the U.S.
    "Create your own Jihad, take immediate action, and destroy the greatest evil on the planet...the U.S. Government," the flier concludes. "FIGHT THE REAL ENEMY BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!"
    Five weeks ago, these sentiments would have hardly raised an eyebrow. In the wake of Sept. 11, they seem disturbing--almost perverse.
    In an effort to track down the pamphleteer(s), WW entered the phrase "Wake Up Amerikkka" into our favorite search engine. We got 31 hits, perhaps the most interesting of which was an open letter written in February 1991 by radical feminist Nikki Craft, opposing the Gulf War. "Wake up Amerikkka and smell the blood on your hands!" Craft wrote, exhorting her readers to heed the words of Malcolm X: "By any means necessary."
    Craft denies any connection to the fliers. "Nothing whatsoever to do with it," she told WW. "I'm too busy at the moment to do fliers, plus you can reach lots more people on the Internet."

Dear Editor:
    My "Wake Up Amerikkka" letter, written ten years ago in protest of the Gulf War, was co-authored, a fact not mentioned by Chris Lydgate. I stand by what I wrote as to that topic at the time.
    Lydgate can only turn up 31 entries in his search engine? If you put "Amerikkka" into my favorite you get 6,850; "Wake Up Amerikkka", you get 574, 70 related to Iraq; "by any means necessary" you get 31,200.
    The most interesting link I've found points to a Willamette Week hop-hop review, January 1999, entitled Allah's Math, a tribute to gangsta rap visiting Straight Outta Compton, Fuck Tha Police, Ice Cube, N.W.A., Public Enemy, Death Certificate, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, G-funk, Death Row, Tupac's and Amerikkka's Most Wanted. Now, that's what I call a slew of death threats. Advocating, threatening, and practicing violence (read: terrorism) in Amerikka isn't a sin; it's a religion. Flag wag all you want, but Osama bin Laden doesn't have anything on you.
    Lydgate has no evidence it was one propagandist, nor a "leftist, either, Amerikkka is used by many including right wing extremists, conspiracists, black separatists, hemp activists, anarchists and others. The phrase 'wake up america' is used for a myriad of causes as well, from sleep disorders, to chemicals in the environment and all kind of political issues. It's very good advice.
    Why single me out as a "radical feminist" except to imply that I am an extremist who wrote the new flyer calling for Jihad? Inserting my denial makes me appear deceptive as well as defensive.
    Lydgate asked if it was "fair" to call me a "radical feminist," if I lived in Portland. I wrote immediately saying I didn't live in Oregon, would rather be called a long-time political activist concerned with justice issues. Hot on the trail of his story, my lack of involvement didn't deter this reporter, who wrote back less than thirty minutes later saying his editor said no changes could be made.
    Lygate said he didn't consider the leaflet a threat, didn't even inform law enforcement; if so, why consider it newsworthy? Undoubtedly newsworthy, it deserved more investigation than contacting only me with a couple of questions via email, especially in the context of another article in the same issue about the press being under attack by Anthrax. (Gosh, why would anybody hate the media?)
    The only linkage to Portland's Osama bin Laden leaflet and my letter is Chris Lydgate's shoddy research and irresponsible McCarthyesque red-bating of an activist working against war, US imperialism and globalization; and WW's editorial policies1 that would allow such a lapse. Spare us the lectures to other newspapers about journalistic ethics, won't you? --Nikki Craft

1. Editors who censored this reply are John Schrag and Mark Zusman.

Anti-Gulf War Letter

I was as angry during the Gulf War as I was at any time in my adult life and took part in several anti-war demonstrations in the Bay Area plus writing this letter. Hundreds of copies of this Open Letter that Sharon Black (Bellingham, Washington) and I wrote, were printed up and sent to publications all over the country. The only three that published it, to my knowledge, were the Seattle Community Catalyst, Off Our Backs and a communist newspaper that I'm sorry I can't remember the name of to give proper credit.

February 10, 1991

Dear Editor:
    At a demonstration in San Francisco last weekend it was rumored that Amnesty International has estimated that three hundred thousand are dead in the Persian Gulf. Of course we can’t forget those dead twelve Marines nor that Israeli child who was suffocated by her gas mask. (What about the Palestinian children who have no gas masks?) But we can never know how many have really died, because our so-called “free press” has been bought and sold in one too many corporate mergers. All the arrogant generals, draped in the flag, who bombard our TV screens these days have said they won’t get into any kind of body count, they’d rather count sorties. That’s how cheap life is to them. These guys ooze an attitude of: “Ask not what you can do for your country . . . but what you can do to someone else’s country.”
    When the bombing first began and the people of the Persian Gulf donned their gas masks many U.S. citizens wore smirks on their faces. U.S. soldiers wrote women’s names on the bombs they were dropping and were observed by reporters to be hysterical and “giddy” with exhilaration from their killing. But many of us here feel sad and hopeless, and we are suffocating from all the propaganda and lies. The media encourages us in this pathological passivity: They tell us to listen to the psychological advice of Mr. Rogers and be sure to watch H-A-P-P-Y movies. But we know there is a better solution, and that is to figure out, each in our own way, how we can begin to wage war against this terrorist government of ours.
    There is little about this country that can make us feel proud. The U.S. is a nation bathed in blood: the blood of Native and Afro-Americans (and anyone else who gets in the way of Euro-Caucasian Patriarchal domination); and the blood of the Poor. Then there is the blood of women who are always (though few care about it) living and dying in a war zone of their own--killed and harmed mostly by men they live with--men they know. Now, some people--mostly racially stigmatized men and a few token women--have been coerced by the low intensity economic war at home to join a ‘volunteer’ military which (as always) is for rent to large corporations owned by the same rich white men (what a coincidence!) who own The Media. It’s not a pretty picture, and it sure ain’t democracy that’s at work here.
Wake up AmeriKKKa and smell the blood on your hands! Have you noticed that our smiling “friendly fascists” in Washington aren’t looking so friendly anymore? We think that after several decades of restrictive adherence to the practice of non-violence the anti-war movement needs to heed the words of Malcom X. He emphasized: “By Any Means Necessary.”
    Instead, we hear a lot of talk in the peace movement about not alienating the mainstream by strikes, the blocking of roads, the closing of buildings, civil disobedience; or even by expressing anger. Some of the pacifists have even charged that and chanting is violence. We agree that it can be inane--but violent? The privileged honkies who run the peace movement and dish out this jive have no idea what violence is. Besides, with all these yellow polyester ribbons and flags, and the blind nationalistic fervor building in this country, it looks like these good folks need to get alienated even more.
    It worries us too when we hear so-called peace activists saying: “We oppose the war, but we support the troops.” That makes about as much sense as saying: “I oppose rape, but I support the rapist.” It’s a non sequitur; it must be a Zen paradox: It’s an excellent example of 1984 double think: and it’s double talk too. As George Orwell wrote, and Tracy Chapman sings: “War is peace. Love is hate. No means yes. We’re all Free.” It’s bliss-ninny mindless babbling. It’s so much nonsense.
    So won’t all you peace activists and good Americans out there please stop for a moment and really think about what you are saying, when you say, “I support the troops!” Check out the definition of the word support in the Random House: “to bear or hold up; to serve as a foundation for; to sustain, serve as a prop for; to maintain by supplying with things necessary for existence; to advocate; to corroborate; to assist in performance; maintenance with necessaries, means, and funds; to give aid and assistance to.”
    The U.S.A. superficially appears to support its troops when they are young, fresh, healthy, and, most importantly, malleable; or when they need to use the names of the dead to build support for future wars. But they have always pushed aside those who have fought in past wars. Saddam Hussein is not the only leader guilty of using chemical weapons on his own people. Have we forgotten that the U.S. government tested the atomic bomb on it’s own citizens, as well as the Natives on the Bikini islands? The U.S. Government did essentially the same thing when they exposed U.S. troops in Vietnam to Agent Orange. They then destroyed the computerized records showing when and where it was used, conspired to hide the debilitating effects, and worked for over a decade, through the courts, to prevent financial reimbursement to those suffering from this ‘friendly’ chemical warfare. Where is the U.S. Government’s support for these veterans?
    Remember all this when you say you support the troops, or the government for that matter. Support the individual men, if you can, if you must. But it is imperative at the same time to hold them accountable for their individual and collective actions. We must carefully analyze, recognize and then challenge the political forces at work that transform too many of them into rabid trained killers--imperialists enforcing white supremacy on “foreign” soil; and then rapists, batterers and abusers of women--misogynist terrorists enforcing male supremacy in their own homes when they return.
    Remember that the troops are the military, and the military’s Commander in Chief is George Bush. If you support the troops you support George Bush. And it is Bush (manipulating the troops as his pawns) who presents the most immediate and dangerous threat of nationalistic fascism with his habituated invasions of other countries and his trilateralistic fetish for a New World Order or else. The military is the government, and vice versa, and both take orders from the large corporate interests. You cannot, though the government will welcome this stupid confusion by the anti-war movement, conveniently separate them.

Are we Kinder and Gentler Yet?

Sharon Black Nikki Craft
Bellingham, WA Rancho Cordova, CA

Please consider running this as an editorial or a letter to the editor whichever is more appropriate for your format.

Interesting links found with my search:

Wake up Amerikkka
hip-hoppers deny music invokes violence

Walter A. Hass School of Business, University of California at Berekely, California (1988 editorial about involvement in Iraq)

Wake up Amerikkka!!!

Wake up Amerikkka

Make you own entry to the Willamette Rage Page.

Thanks to Semira Dallali and michelle andreson.

No Status Quo

What others have said

Karl Schaffer
Tuesday, October 23rd 2001 - 09:42:10 PM
I think this was a gratuitous and thoughtless article, and I hope they see fit to print an apology. The reporter seemed completely unaware of the widespread use of the term "Amerikkka." and foolishly enamored of the power of the search engine. He might as easily have looked for mention of the name Osama or the colors black and white or the phrase "greatest evil on the planet" (the latter of which might have brought up George Bush's name!) The mention of Nikki Craft seemed to be his substitute for even the simplest real investigation.

Jamye Gleaves
Monday, October 22nd 2001 - 01:05:43 PM
This outrage doesn't surprise me at all. As a Portlander who's continually disgusted and pissed off by the WW male-driven leftist stance on everything--I find this incident as although ridiculous--one of their tamer shenanagins. Anyone who actually considers herself a women in her own power in the Portland area--knows not to take this publication seriously. WW is nothing but a bunch of Liberal Arts college graduate's looking to caplitalize on what little controversy they can find(or design) in the Portland area. Shame, shame Willamette Week.

Monday, October 22nd 2001 - 02:12:13 AM
This is simply an excuse for anti-feminist smear campaign against Nikki Craft, one of the ploys that intellectually-corrupted and socially irresponsbile people like to do. The media should exercise greater responsibility and care with how it presents news. Keep up with your great works Nikki - we know you are against acts of terrorism - whether delivered by state or non-state parties.

Diana S
Sunday, October 21st 2001 - 11:09:07 PM
Outrageous. This is almost blood libel. Lydgate wrote that before sept 11 these sentiments (the ones on the pro-Bin Laden flyer) would have hardly raised an eyebrow but now they are disturbing and pervese.

Well, what does he think slandering someone as pro-Bin Laden is now, after people have been KILLED because they seem like they might be on the wrong side?!?!?!!!?

From what I know of Nikki Craft, I know she's not scared by bullshit like this. Still, that sensationalist smearing has to be seen for what it is.

Make you own entry to the Willamette Rage Page.



ACLU Anti-War Index

WOMEN UNITE Reclaim Your Own Land
Click for Larger Version
Rape and Violence Against Women
Have Always Been Terrorism
Are We Keen To Go to War for All Women?

Nikki Craft
Wake Up Amerikka!

My complete exchange with Chris Lygate, Willamette Week.

Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 18:44:32 -0700

Hello Nikki,
Could I talk to you about Wake Up Amerikkka?

Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 21:45:22 -0600

Sure Chris, talk on about anything you like. :-) Nikki

Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 10:36:34 -0700

Hello Nikki,
Thanks for your email. I wrote to you because someone has been putting flyers in our newspaper boxes titled "WAKE UP AMERIKKKA" and I wondered if there was any connection.


hi chris,
connection to what? What do the ads say? Other than that is sounds like pretty good advice, but doubtful at this point it's going to happen. :-) Nikki

Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 11:08:38 -0700

>connection to what? What do the ads
say? Other than that is sounds
>like pretty good advice, but doubtful

at this point it's going to happen. :-)

Well, the text includes these lines:

Wake up Amerikkka
Your US government is lying to you
Osama is telling the truth

I don't think bin Laden is telling the truth any more than our government, but he sure is more interesting to listen to, with a wider vocabulary and better understanding of world politics than George Bush has.

The US Government, its agencies, and US capitalist interests have created and provoked the majority of terrorism. Bring the war home! Fight the real enemy By any means necessary!

There's a long section about American
atrocities towards indigenous people, its foreign policy, etc. etc. etc. and how the US government is generally the "greatest evil on the planet."

Did you know that the US government decimated the indians by giving them small pox on blankets? Wouldn't it be a sad irony with a twist of poetic justice if the country ended the same way it began? Wouldn't it make a great "Outer Limits" or Hollywood movie?

>I wrote to you because I found an open
letter you wrote in 1991 about the
>Gulf War, which contained the phrase

"Wake up Amerikkka" and "By any
means necessary."

Actually my opinion is not so unique, and that is apparently a relatively common saying. fyi, there's some anti globalization websites that are called "Wake up America" but I don't know how they spelled it. By any means necessary has become practically a political cliche from Malcom X

So my question is, are you connected in any way to these flyers?

nope, nothing whatsoever to do with it. I'm too busy at the moment to do flyers, plus you can reach lots more people on the internet. I wonder if they have a website? If you find it would you let me know?

Many thanks,

P.S. It's nice to know there are still investigative journalists out there digging up the facts. :-) Good for you.

[Editors note: Boy, was I wrong, about this guy!]

Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 11:53:50 -0700

Hello Nikki,
Are you still there? Please reply ASAP.

Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 12:40:27 -0700

Hey Nikki,
Thanks for your email. I really appreciate your response.

Do you live in Portland? Is it fair to describe you as a radical feminist?

Many thanks,

Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 15:05:27 -0600

good lord, a reporter who cares about fairness? This is just toooo much to believe. :-) I hope you can live up to it in the context of the way you about to use my quotes tho I can't see why draw me into it except to say that I have no connection to it whatsoever. Isn't that a bit strange? I would like to see what you write, if you will please let me know where it will appear. Is that possible? My preference would be to describe me in this way: "a long-time political activist concerned about issues of justice" Otherwise, since you are asking, just describe me as a "political activist" because radical feminist doesn't describe me, it's too limiting and my activism in much broader than feminism. If you can use a sentence let me know and I'll write up one up for you. Nope, I never have lived in Portland, not even in the state. good luck with your article. Nikki

Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 13:42:02 -0700

Hey Nikki,

I'm very sorry, but the article has already gone to press. I just asked the copy desk to see if they could recall it, but they said no go. Please accept my apologies.

The piece (which is less than 200 words) will appear in tomorrow's issue. You can find it on the web at

Thanks for your help,

Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 15:51:14 -0600

If you had already sent the article why bother to ask me if it was fair? Now I've got a question for you. How did you include me in your article and why when i told you I don't live in the area, and was not involved. Your story is 200 words. Did you just use me to make your story without persuing it any further? That's not investigative journalism, after all, doesn't sound like to me. Nikki

Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 15:17:06 -0700

The piece went through the copy desk in between your first email and your second email. They held it as long as they could.

The story explains that we typed "Wake Up Amerikkka" into a search engine and came up with 31 hits, the most interesting of which was your web site. It does NOT accuse you of planting the fliers. It DOES includes your statement that you had nothing to do with it.


Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 17:30:43 -0600

Okay chris, I'll see the article tomorrow. I'm sorry if I'm a bit jumpy. It concerns me to have myself defined with a limited term, in a community where my work is not known, when radical feminism in the public views has such negative conotations (for some of your readers you might as well have described me as a radical islamic bomber :-) when we are living in a time when people are getting all kinds of harassment, threats and physical attacks for speaking out, much less being associated with this kind of message on the streets. It like McCarthyism, like do you or have you ever been.....Your article could cause me to be investigated by law enforcement, which I don't care much care about, in this case, but in your profession I hope you are on the side of working in behalf of people's rights to speak out rather than trying to figure out how to expose them or shut them up just because you don't happen to agree with what, or feel threatened somehow about, what they are saying. Know what I mean? Thanks for the explanation and I'm glad you found our site interesting. :-) I'll let you know what I think after I've read what you wrote. Sincerely, Nikki

p.s. did you happen to use the quote about small pox and indians? I hope so.

Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 18:16:39 -0700

After the article appeared Nikki wrote:

Hello Nikki,

>1. Where else did the leaflet appear in the city except your newspapers boxes?

I don't know.

>2. Did you and your newspaper take this as a serious threat?

I didn't take it as a threat of any kind.

>3. What law enforcement agencies did you report this to? Please send me all contact information as I will be interviewing them for what I'm writing.

I didn't report the flier to any law enforcement agencies.

>4. How many people, organizations, agencies individuals did you contact in Portland or Oregon in the course of writing your article about a terrorist threat in Portland? I would be interested in an itemized list, partial or full, but will glad settle for the rounded off number. Was it 10? 20?

Nikki, I don't think the flier constitutes a terrorist threat-- just a bit of misguided thinking. It gave no date, time or place, nor any specific action.

Besides yourself, I contacted the Red Rose School in Portland. They did not reply before the deadline.

Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2001 00:07:18 -0600

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your reply.

1. Why did you contact Red Rose School? What did they have to do with it?

2. How do I get a copy of the leaflet? Can you please fax me one?

3. How many searches did you do in the search engines? Do you consider your research sufficient for such an article?

4.   Why did you not tell me the leaflet read: "Create your own Jihad, take immediate action" in the original email you sent me? That was a fairly magnificent omission, wasn't it?

5. You said in your article that these words would have hardly raised an eyebrow five weeks ago. If so why did you use my letter that was written ten years ago?

6. Do you consider your article to be responsible journalism?

7. Why don't you consider the leaflet a threat? Do you think other people in Portland and across the world would consider it a threat? And since you don't, why did you find it newsworthy at all, and why include such a poorly researched article in the same column you had run only a week or two ago about Anthrax threats to the media and how on edge journalists were fearing attacks?

8. Do you believe your research was sufficient considering your topic? Do you think it was fair to single an individual out, with guilt by association, where denials only imply more guilt, in such an article?

9. I would appreciate it if your paper would write something, an apology or explanation. Is that possible? Also, how many words will I be allowed for a letter to the editor, or preferably an editorial, to clear this matter up and respond to the issues and also will your newspaper reprint my original letter to remove it from the context of illegal acts against your newspaper and Osama bin Laden? Please speak with your editor and let me know.

Thank you for helping me with this information, Nikki Craft

Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2001 10:30:28 -0700

I suggest you contact my editor, John Schrag.


Hi Chris, In fact that's what I'll be doing, hopefully later today. However, before I do I need to find out the answer to the questions that are directly related to you and that your editor will not be able to answer. As I replied to yours please have the same respect for my requests for information. If you are for some reason unable to reply, or don't know the answers to any of my question please feel free to note that. Thank you. Nikki Craft

[I deleted question #9 which was the only one not direclty relevant to Lydgate and still no reply.]

Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2001 15:07:14 -0600

I await your reply before I compose my letter to the editor in reply to your article. What's the problem? Why can't you answer these very reasonable questions? If you can't manage to reply to any of the others try this one: Do you consider your article to be responsible journalism? Thanks, Nikki Craft

Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001 18:17:18 -0700

I think we would both save a lot of time and heartache if we can talk on the phone instead of trading emails. Or, if you prefer, you can contact my editor, [Phone and email provided.] You are certainly welcome to submit a letter to the editor in addition.

Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001 20:27:35 -0600

Now seems like a pretty piss poor time to start talking on the phone, don't you think? Just please answer my questions. Thanks.

[Still no reply.]
More on the Willamette Week's lack of journalistic ethics, plagiarism and censoring responses.

Willamette Week Writer Steals from Band He’s Writing About

"The Willamette Week, a Portland, OR weekly newspaper, has always presented itself as the guardian of journalistic ethics. But last week, a reader discovered that one of the paper’s music reviewers had blatantly plagiarized a review for a well-known reggae band. What’s even more alarming was the paper’s hush-hush response to accusations." More

Make you own entry to the Willamette Rage Page.

Since 10.21.01