Josh Tulkin, Terrorist?


(Josh Tulkin with Scott Paul outside a yurt near Tash Rabat, Kyrgyzstan. Photo Credit: Zoe Chafe)
Josh Tulkin is a very close friend. He has dedicated his life to speaking for future generations and vulnerable populations threatened by climate change. He works tirelessly to make U.S. policies more responsive to folks who can’t stand up for themselves and reflective of our most treasured national values. As far as I’m concerned, any definition of “patriot” that excludes Josh — and other devoted “community organizers” — necessarily loses any real meaning (and I’m sure when he reads this statement he’ll be as touched by its sincerity as he will be amused by its grandiosity).
Last night, Josh told me that the state of Maryland thought he was a terrorist. I was tired. He was out in a loud public place. I woke up thinking I must have gotten some part of the conversation wrong. Not so: today, I found a copy of a letter from the Maryland State Police (MSP) to Josh confirming that he, along with a number of other Maryland activists, was improperly surveilled and under suspicion of domestic terrorism by MSP under Gov. Ehrlich from March 2005 to May 2006.
Here’s Josh:

It goes without saying that Josh and the other “suspects,” many of whom worked on anti-death penalty and peace initiatives, should be allowed to view their files with their attorneys present. Fortunately, the Maryland ACLU has taken up that battle.
This issue is bigger than Josh or the other wrongly surveilled individuals in Maryland. It’s part of an ongoing assault on civil rights, hand in hand with unchecked expansion of executive power. Sound familiar?
Andy Revkin at NYT has lots of good links on this. I’ll update if I get anything interesting from Josh.
— Scott Paul


15 comments on “Josh Tulkin, Terrorist?

  1. Calista says:

    Um… last time I checked, Maryland was an OVERWHELMINGLY blue state. Did something happen in the last ten minutes to make it some type of bastion stronghold for the republicans? Somehow Bush was brought into all of this? You must be joking!
    Martin O’Malley is the governor of Maryland; he is responsible for its policing agencies. Maryland State Police is one of those agencies. Martin O’Malley is a democrat.
    Be adults, stop with all of the whining! Can we, for the love of pete, figure out a way to protect ourselves and respect our citizens instead of all the finger pointing… or maybe that’s exactly what the problem is… you all have no ability to come up with solutions, only the ability to complain about things… apparently you missed that day in kindergarten.


  2. John Merryman says:

    Given the serious problems we are facing, from peak oil to a
    financial system based on never ending credit expansion, we are
    headed for major problems, so I see the “Mayberry Machiavellis”
    of the Bush administration as inoculation against real Fascism.
    How can you have corporatism run amok, when they have buried
    the military and can’t dig it out, burst the credit bubble to the
    extent they are already nationalizing the banks and have made a
    joke of government security measures?
    Here is an idea: Money is really just another form of public
    utility, since it’s based on the tax base of the governments
    licensing it. If the taxpayers are responsible for maintaining the
    value of the currency, shouldn’t they retain the profits from
    administering it? The fear of government run banking is overly
    simplistic, since “government” isn’t just one monolithic
    organization, but many inner woven layers, from the smallest
    county council to the federal level. So if we had a public banking
    system it would also be incorporated at these various levels.
    Then the profits generated would feed directly back into the
    communities which produced them in the first place. The
    element of competition would remain because these
    communities would be competing against each other to provide
    the best environment for their citizens and business, since
    poorly run communities would fall behind. There are many
    services, schools, roads, police, courts etc. which there is little
    incentive to privatize because profits cannot be squeezed from
    them. Political power used to be privatized, but there are few
    monarchists left. Maybe this is a good opportunity to make
    economic power a public trust as well. This might seem utopian
    now, but wait till the dust settles and the bankers are holding
    onto all the money they have been given and the economy is
    frozen up. Anything might be possible.


  3. arthurdecco says:

    POA said: “I mean, I don’t know about you, but if I see thirty guys flying Mongol or Vagos colors, it strikes me as a fair indication its wise to put some distance between me and them. But if I see thirty scruffy middle aged dudes on Harleys that aren’t flying any colors, I’m just gonna assume its a bunch of attorneys pretending they’ve got balls.”
    I don’t know if the humor was intentional, POA, but I laughed and laughed again at the images you brought to life in this vignette.


  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    BTW, have any of you been following this latest idiotic approach to reining in the Mongols?
    Seems they’ve made it illegal for these bad boys to fly their club colors.
    Now, I ask you, what would you rather see, a vicious biker gang advertising the fact that they’re a vicious biker gang, or a vicious biker gang riding into town anonomously?
    I mean, I don’t know about you, but if I see thirty guys flying Mongol or Vagos colors, it strikes me as a fair indication its wise to put some distance between me and them. But if I see thirty scruffy middle aged dudes on Harleys that aren’t flying any colors, I’m just gonna assume its a bunch of attorneys pretending they’ve got balls.


  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hundreds of thousands of known street gang members marauding on the streets of America’s urban centers, and these assholes in Washington are spending billions to protect us from environmentalists, peace activists, and uppity nuns.


  6. ... says:

    i agree strongly with JohnH comment.. further to that, it is like once this cat has been let out of the bag, if americans aren’t strong enough to oppose it, the thing will turn into a much bigger monster… bush has wrecked havoc on what the USA has stood for, and many in the political sphere on both sides seem to be turning a blind eye, or not directly challenging it, which is what needs to happen in a very big way… a small step would be to have Bush/Cheney tried for war crimes… the dems have shown how weak kneed they are on issues like this unfortunately…


  7. questions says:

    Clearly this guy “Josh” is an unrepentant community organizer. He probably pals around with Obama supporters. If he’s on the no-fly list, than all the McCain supporters can know that they are safe — they don’t have to sit next to a guy who thinks clean air matters. PHEW! It’s a relief we’re being protected from such dangers to polluters everywhere.


  8. Bill R. says:

    And Sarah Palin and John McCain remain silent when asked if abortion clinic bombers are terrorists(NBC interview with Brian . Back in the 90s in my state of Oregon John McCain sat next to a woman, a state senator(Marilyn Shannon), who preceded him in speaking at a right wing anti-gay fundraiser (Ore. Citizens Alliance) giving praise to a fundamentalist extremist who shot a doctor in Oregon who performed abortions. So according to the McCain/Palin doctrine, those who are peace and social justice activists, acting peacefully, are terrorists, and but those who commit violence in the name of right wing values, aren’t terrorists. These people are hideous. What has happened to the Republican party?


  9. ej says:

    This is actually good!
    As someone who has been viewed by so-called “normal” society as a threat of some sort or another and marginalized most of my life (born in US but of Mexican descent, counter-culture anti-war youth, artist entire adult life), the more individuals who are closer to the power elite who become radicalized the better.
    Most people do not understand the true dangerous to humanity nature of the power/wealthy elite and the lengths they will go to (both individually and institutionally) to maintain that wealth and power.
    The recent assault in this country on our constitution and the so-called “terrorist” scare is just the lastest ploy in maintaining power.
    People all over the planet have been repressed, marginalized, and victimized by the power elites throughout the history of societal man.
    When those with more and more power fall victim to the repression, perhaps then we as a race (human) have a chance through their power and influence at redemption and change.
    Only then, when enough people of power become radicalized will we be able to carve a new way to go about in the world with more justice, egalitarianism, beneficence, magnanimity, and humanity.


  10. Linda says:

    Of course, there is a need to change the philosophy of the government about the right to dissent, privacy, and more transparency and protection.
    But we also need a government that is managed better and more efficient–that we surely did not get with our first MBA President on everything from having accurate “no-fly” lists at airports to enforcing the SEC and other regulations and Federal Reserve powers that did exist and could have softened or even prevented current fiscal crisis.


  11. liz says:

    I agree with all posts BUT, when our government is wasting time and resources making innocent people into terrorists, they are NOT CAPTURING and BRINGING TO JUSTICE those REAL terrorists that apparantly have broken up our society and civilization.
    This is an outrage and it’s most assuredly a waste of resources in this fake war on terror. The war on terror appears to be a war against Americans who express their first ammendment right to voice their opinions.
    Bush said “the terrorists seek to change our way of life”.
    WHO IS CHANGING the way of life in this situation????


  12. bangzoom14 says:

    This story is incredible! How many more lives are going to be ruined because of the warped mentality in this white house?


  13. Kate Davenport says:

    I just need to echo Scott’s sentiments here. I have known for years about some of the infringements on base civil liberties that have been happening in my dear and beloved country, the USA. To have it hit this close to home is strange and surreal. All I can say is that Josh, his colleagues at CCAN, and all of those that are working to bring smart solutions to climate change are filled with patriotism and love for our country, our people, our differences, and our beauty of natural resource, and most of all our extreme connection to natural resources and livelihoods. Some much of why I love America is that is allows for freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom to think. As equal to that is my love for the innovation and creativity in America. And that is what fighting climate change is all about, how do we bring innovation, enterprise and creativity to create win-win situations for our economy, our environment, our health, and our lives. Those that are fighting for such and trying to figure out our next steps as communities, as a country, and as a world are our heroes and our patriots.


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