The Lynden Mafia

Fighting white supremacy and the ‘Lynden Mafia’ is perhaps the most vital task for citizen journalists in Whatcom County. As reported in the WWU student journalism publication The Western Front, the Mafia’s attack on farm labor unions and their social justice friends uses deception and fraud in media ad campaigns to confuse the public.



As applied research, storytelling by citizen journalists covering the Anti-Indian movement on the Salish Sea is unique; as volunteers, their factual reporting–based on publicly available documents–stands in sharp contrast to their paid counterparts.

In the global conflict between indigenous peoples and modern corporate states, this storytelling can literally make the difference between life and death–of tribal leaders, First Nations, and aboriginal cultures. (See resources for activist scholars below.)

Communication, Power and Counter-power in the Network Society

Storytelling and Globalization

The Zapatista Social Netwar in Mexico

On the Take

Mainstream media in Whatcom County–like everywhere–makes its creds covering local events and activities; they make their money covering up corporate crime. If you want to know which corporate criminals they are covering up for, all you have to do is look at the biggest advertisers–those who take out full-page ads, and produce slick, misleading PR campaigns so-called journalists cut and paste and call news.

This corruption of mainstream media–public radio and TV included–starts with corporate underwriting, and ends with malicious harassment of individuals and organizations by big business, all without a peep from so-called newspapers. Case in point, the smear campaign by the Washington Farm Bureau designed to intimidate RESources and their supporters.

As a lobby organization for major polluters at factory farms and feedlots–which contaminate streams and shorelines with fecal coliform–the Farm Bureau is part of the anti-environmentalist Wise Use movement. This movement, along with the Anti-Indian movement, has been a key player in American fascism for over 30 years.

In 1995, Whatcom Environmental Council published Wise Use in Northern Puget Sound, documenting the Wise Use/Anti-Indian corruption, malicious harassment, and terrorism that took place in 14 Washington counties–organized and financed by Wise Use organizations like the Washington Farm Bureau, the Washington Association of Realtors, and the Building Industry Association of Washington.

In 2018, the Center for World Indigenous Studies in Olympia published an updated version of its 1992 report Anti-Indian Movement on the Tribal Frontier, including a 6-part special report on Wise Use/Anti-Indian terrorism in Whatcom County between 2013 and 2017. Don’t expect to hear a word about this corporate crime in your local paper; they’ve been on the take too long.

A Human Element

The Washington State Ferry Hyak earned a gold stripe on its stack last year, symbolizing fifty years of service. As a vessel that still uses an engine room telegraph, where engine room workers alter speed and direction by hand–instead of automated machinery–the Hyak will continue as a relief vessel, in order to expedite maintenance on other ships in the 22-vessel WSF fleet.


Now that the Washington State Legislature and Governor overruled the Washington Supreme Court decision on Hirst v Whatcom, the fight to save salmon from extinction in the Salish Sea–once again–falls on the backs of Northwest Treaty Tribes. You can read the perspective of the Treaty Tribes on the water bill that sets the stage for a federal confrontation in which the Anti-Indian Washington Attorney General will lead the charge against tribal treaty rights.

Meet the McKinneys

As reported in this March 2017 expose by Sandy Robson, the Whatcom Tea Party changed its name to Common Threads Northwest. That marketing move mirrors the November 2017 deceptive campaign mailer sent out by Whatcom Republican candidates claiming to be non-partisan.

In the March story, Robson reveals two new players in Whatcom politics–the husband and wife team of James and Laura McKinney–who assumed key positions in the Anti-Indian, Tea Party network: James as Executive Director of Common Threads Northwest, and Laura as Director of Operations and Communications for the Whatcom Business Alliance–an advocacy organization in support of fossil fuel export at Cherry Point.

James McKinney is known for comparing environmentalists to communists. As the newest member of the Blaine School Board, Laura McKinney notes in her profile that she previously worked for the United States Chamber of Commerce–a lobbying organization that opposes unions, affordable health care, occupational safety, and public health measures that threaten the tobacco industry.

This is how the Tea Party became a powerhouse. They run candidates for school board, which makes their name familiar, then run them for state and county offices.
It’s an apprenticeship program, that trains Christian Right candidates to avoid exposure.
Allied with real estate developers–that spend a lot of advertising money in local media–they essentially get a free ride for their racism.