New Hampshire police arrested a man yesterday after a poster 'confessed' to the murder of a California policeman online.
In this extraordinary post to San Francisco's Indymedia site on Monday evening, one "Andrew McCrae" wrote:-
"Hello Everyone, my name’s Andy. I killed a Police Officer in Red Bluff, California in a motion to bring attention to, and halt, the police-state tactics that have come to be used throughout our country.
Now I’m coming forward, to explain that this killing was also an action against corporate irresponsibility."
Acting on a tip-off, police arrested an Andy McCrae at a Concord, NH. Hotel on Tuesday morning. Police had been hunting the killer of 31 year-old officer Dave Mobilio[honored here] murdered nine days ago in Northern California. They have yet to release any evidence linking the man arrested to the killing, but the suspect is reported to have made a verbal confession to a reporter from the Concord Monitor, which promises to run its account later today.
McCrae claims he isn't responsible for the killings, because he's acting on behalf of a corporation he's registered called "Proud and Insolent Youth."
This is an ironic gesture which will bring McCrae lasting infamy. Assuming certain facts are true, which we will unassume shortly.
"I’m going to utilize the WTO’s tactic of applying to a foreign state the laws of the state in which I was incorporated. I encourage everyone else to do the same," writes the Indymedia poster McCrae.
McCrae's point is that corporate crime[*] goes largely unreported, and since the end of the last century corporations have been protected by assuming the rights of an individual: specifically first amendment rights, and it's this concept - so rarely-mentioned - that underpins much of the current copyright debate, for example. (This provoked a heated mailbag over several weeks here over the summer [example].
And that alone must ensure McCrae figures as a major topic of conversation over the holiday season turkey this week. Particularly as his critique was so humane and eloquent.
" I am a graduate of the U.S. Army Ranger School, Airborne School, and Jungle Operations Training School," he claims, which is … topical.
At no point does he attack capitalism by name, or claim that all business is bad business. In fact, he seems guided by a sentimental small-town ecology which most of us can relate to. You don't need a political label to know that to be at the receiving end of a credit card company, or an MCI Worldcom, a Starbucks or a Microsoft your "customer experience" is going to be nasty, brutish and short.
And McCrae makes a powerful and at times poetic case that big money interests have broken their social contract, and morphed into cynical and brutalizing lobbies that buy influence at home and destroy cultures abroad.
"Through the IRS’s Net Operating Loss deduction, corporations can demand back tax money they’ve paid if they lose money in their business. When you are just barely able to afford rent, and groceries, are you allowed to ask for your taxes back?" he asks.
Guilt by association
All of which raises a fair few questions.
Is McCrae a tasteless, publicity-seeking prankster who's trying to use an unsolved murder to promote his cause? Or is he an instrument of a psyops operation to discredit the burgeoning anti-globalization movement - which, when you take away the richly-funded thinktanks and institutes and warblogs of the conservative right, is the only political movement in America with any momentum right now?
A feeble campaign saw the Democrats deservedly trounced in the recent elections, and the party quite seems to have forgotten what it is, and what it was ever supposed to do. Drawing from, and taming, the wellspring of ideas from the anti-globalization movement - which ranges from libertarian copyright-querying file-swappers to die-hard constitutionalists, and right across to the decidedly insecure middle-classes (who have been shafted hardest by the "boom") would seem to provide an alternative. Unless, that is, this "alternative" is tainted with such murderous connotations as a nutball cop-killer.
We don't know - because McCrae hasn't even been indicted yet. But either way, Amerca has its new Unabomber, which is fascination enough. ®
Bootnote: [*] A few days before the 2000 election I was called by a telephone pollster who wanted to know if I felt "crime in my area" was rising or falling. I thought it was getting worse, I said. My neighborhood of San Francisco back then, like much of America, is a safe and beautiful place to be. No, I said as he delved into specifics: I don't feel I'm going to be robbed, or mugged. But crime is stratospheric: we were just entering the power crisis that we suspected, and now know was rigged by Enron and which cost California billions of dollars, and the Microsoft antitrust case was lurching closer to its guilty-but-acquitted verdict. A few of the victims of Microsoft's business practices were "in my area", as the pollster requested. But he didn't have a tick-box on his form for my answers, and we concluded the conversation in a state of mutual exasperation.