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Radical Time Capsule

by Michael I. Niman / Jul. 7, 2015 11pm EST

A long time ago I gifted a worn and rather worthless car to a friend. Though he intended to nurse my old hooptie back to life, he wound up abandoning it. Years later I stumbled upon the car, embalmed in bird droppings and wrapped in vines, tucked away in another friend’s backyard. Finding it was like finding a time capsule, ripe with artifacts from my prior life, reemerging like a ghost after two decades.

My reunion with my old car offers, at best, a poor analogy for what Buffalo bookstore owner Leslie James Pickering must be experiencing right now. But luckily for me, it’s the best one I can come up with. When I try to empathize with Pickering, this is all I have to work with.

Pickering just received a shipment from his prior life, by way of the FBI. A decade and a half ago, Pickering lived in Portland, Oregon. He, along with his friend, Craig Rosebraugh, operated from their house what can best be described as a not-for-profit public relations agency. Their outfit operated much like many large multinational corporate PR agencies, offering press releases and data in support of their clients’ positions and actions. The biggest difference, beyond scale and their lack of a profit motive, was in the clients they represented.

Whereas the corporate outfits regularly represent ecocidal companies or warring governments whose actions sometimes result in thousands of human deaths, Pickering and Rosebraugh’s primary client was the Earth Liberation Front (ELF).

Continued in The Public