February 20, 2006

Bogus Story Spreads That Pentagon Labelled a Gay Kiss-In a “Credible Threat”

Posted by Eric Jaffa
Wednesday December 21st 2005, 12:45 pm
Filed under: Government, Media Watch

There is a misleading article at Wonkette.com.

The article by DCEIVER on spying by the military describes the Pentagon as “even going so far as to label a ‘kiss-in’ at the University of California at Santa Cruz (home of the Fighting Banana Slugs!) as a ‘credible threat of terrorism.’”

This story originated with an article by “Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.”

There were protests at UC Santa Cruz on April 5, 2005, led by “Students Against War.”

Protesters objected to military recruiting based on the “racist, sexist, classist and heterosexist biases of the military.”

Click here for excerpt from Defense Dept. document obtained by NBC News which calls UCSC protest a “credible” “threat.” (Full PDF linked at article on domestic military spying by Lisa Myers, Douglas Pasternak, Rich Gardella and the NBC Investigative Unit of NBC News.)

The protests as a whole were labelled a “credible” “threat” by the military.

But the SLDN article says,

A UC-Santa Cruz ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell‘ protest, which included a gay kiss-in, was labeled as a ‘credible threat’ of terrorism.”

SLDN misleadingly implies that was the only protest there that day which could have interested the military.

None of the contemporaneous reports I’ve found on the April 5, 2005 protest even mentions a Gay Kiss-In. Did SDLN confuse that April event with an October 18, 2005 protest? (Update: in the Comments section below, “josh” identifies himself as a member of Students Against War at UCSC and says that SLDN did confuse the dates.)

The bogus story spread to Pandagon, AMERICAblog, The New York Blade,Gawker, and Wonkette.com.

« In Summary »

The military did label protests as a whole at the University of California at Santa Cruz on April 5, 2005 a “threat.” It did not single out a protest of “‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” with a gay kiss-in.

« What Difference Does It Make? »

There should be NO spying in the US by the military.

But opponents of such military spying help their case with accurate stories, not misleading ones.

« Update of December 22, 2005 »

This morning, I received the following via email from Steve Ralls, the Communications Director of “Servicemembers Legal Defense Network:”

Based on reports that we have received from UC-Santa Cruz and members of the media, it appears there may be some contradictory information.

There was an October protest, which included the kiss-in, at UC-Santa Cruz. There was also, apparently, an April protest as well, though that one did not include the kiss-in. Student organizers at UC-Santa Cruz tell us that, in fact, they believe both events were monitored.

In our FOIA request, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network will request more specific information, including exact dates, activities and protests that were monitored. Once we have received a response to our FOIA, that information will be posted to our web site.

Did the military spy on the gay kiss-in October? Did it label the gay kiss-in a “threat?” We don’t have proof at this time that the military did these things. We will have more information if the military complies with SLDN’s Freedom-of-Information Act request.

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12 Comments so far

Why are you nitpicking? The fact that the military labeled other anti-war protests as a threat in no way takes away from the fact that they also thought the “gay kiss-in” was a similar threat. I remember reading about the kiss-in at the time. It’s not surprising that gay websites would highlight that fact.

And why do you have links to the AFA and Focus on the Family on your site? Something’s fishy here.

Comment by xeric 12.21.05 @ 4:09 pm

Can you find anything on the internet written around April 5, 2005 which mentions the Gay Kiss-In?

I’m not sure if there even was a Gay Kiss-In on that day. Perhaps the writer of the article confused this with the April event with an October 18, 2005 protest.

If that was one of the protests in April, it’s still misleading to say without evidence that was what the Pentagon considered threatening.

I understand what you’re saying about a gay website wanting to focus on its issues, but that had results in this case of distorting what actually happened to lots of people, some of whom didn’t visit the SLDN website.

Regarding why SpeakSpeak links to right-wing websites: I don’t know. It’s not my website. It’s Amanda Toering’s website. If you want to ask her, you can email her using the info at:

Comment by Eric Jaffa 12.21.05 @ 4:36 pm

“The story, first reported by Lisa Myers and NBC News last week, noted that Pentagon investigators had records pertaining to April protests at the State University of New York at Albany and William Patterson College in New Jersey.

A February protest at NYU was also listed, along with the law school’s LGBT advocacy group OUTlaw, which was classified as “possibly violent” by the Pentagon. A UC-Santa Cruz “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” protest, which included a gay kiss-in, was labelled as a “credible threat” of terrorism.”

Get your facts straight before you accuse others of not getting theirs straight. In any case I’m still wondering about your motivation.

Comment by xeric 12.21.05 @ 4:51 pm

xeric -

You quoted the article at:

I debunk that article above.

As for my motivation, I care about the truth. I don’t want liberals to score points with an inaccurate story.

If you’re wondering, whether I’m a liberal, the answer is YES.

My website is:

Comment by Eric Jaffa 12.21.05 @ 5:11 pm

You didn’t debunk anything.
This site CLAIMS to be against the radical rights attempts at censorship yet you are doing exactly what they do and are doing.
I think you’re full of bull.
“I don’t want liberals to score points with an inaccurate story”
A. you haven’t proven it’s inaccurate
B. leave that up to the radical right

Something about you and this site I don’t like.

Comment by xeric 12.21.05 @ 6:05 pm

The proof is that the Defense Dept document says
“Protest Agaisnt Military Recruters at University of California”

Excerpt at:

The Defense Dept document doesn’t mention a gay Kiss In, and the report from that time on the event at:

doesn’t mention a gay Kiss-In, either.

If you’re looking for a website which never criticizes liberals, you can probably find one, but this isn’t it.

Regarding the idea that I should be silent about a mistake by liberals:

If a mistake on liberal websites goes uncorrected on the left, then a major liberal figure may use the faulty information and wind up being embarassed when the truth is revealed. Better to correct the mistake as-soon-as-possible.

Comment by Eric Jaffa 12.21.05 @ 6:23 pm

What a load.
Either you’re just trying to make a name for yourself as some kind of internet journalist by doing some googling or you have some other agenda. You didn’t contact SLDN which a real journalist would do and you are nitpicking about when the gay kiss-in occured. The fact is it did occur as have several others in different locations. I have more faith in the SLDN than you since they are at least filing a freedom of information act as opposed to your half-assed bull. What is your real agenda here? It appears to be similar to the AFA and Focus in that you are obsessing about gay rights in some way. Why wouldn’t the Pentagon consider the kiss-in a threat since they consider other non-violent demos a threat? It makes no sense to assume otherwise unless you have some other agenda.
I think you’re a fraud and a hypocrite and this site may be some false flag operation. You are not to be trusted.

Comment by xeric 12.21.05 @ 7:52 pm

hi folks. I’m a member of Students Against War at UC Santa Cruz.

There are over 400 pages of ‘incidents’ the Pentagon spied on, only which 8 were released. In that 8 pages was our April 5th protest, which kicked military recruiters off campus with about 300 students. It wasn’t just an antiwar protest, but was a protest of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and the variety of ways the military negatively affects communities in the U.S. and abroad.

Our Queer Kiss-In was on October 18, and was not listed in the first 8 pages released. However, we highly suspect that the Pentagon spied on that as well, but we won’t know until they respond to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request or MSNBC releases the other 382+ pages.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) released their press release and citing our ‘Queer Kiss-In’ likely due to confusion or misinformation that was started by local TV stations showing footage of the Queer Kiss-In and rally this fall rather than our action last spring.

We’ve called SLDN and clarified the information for them, so hopefully future discussion will have the correct information.

Even though there’s been some confusion about this particular element, it doesn’t undermine the huge concern we should all share for the Pentagon’s irresponsible spying on peaceful protestors.

Comment by josh 12.21.05 @ 9:02 pm

Actually, I did write SLDN today. I haven’t received a reply yet. (Update of Dec. 22, 2005: I received a reply this morning and posted it at the end of the blog-article.)

I think it’s admirable that SLDN filing a Freedom of Information Act request. They seem like a good organization, but may have confused the dates of two different protests in the article quoted above.

Most of the articles at “Speakspeak” aren’t about gay rights, and I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed with the subject. I support gay marriage, if you were wondering.

Just because you don’t like one blog-article here doesn’t mean that SpeakSpeak has a right-wing agenda. If you read more of the blog-articles here, maybe you will find one you like.

But if this website isn’t for you, there are thousands of other political websites to choose from.

If you’re looking for a liberal blog, you can type “liberal blog” at www.google.com and a lot of choices will be returned.

Comment by Eric Jaffa 12.21.05 @ 9:14 pm

josh -

Thanks for clarifying that there was no gay Kiss-In on April 5, 2005.

Did the October 18, 2005 event consist almost entirely of the gay Kiss-In?

Comment by Eric Jaffa 12.21.05 @ 9:31 pm

I am student at UCSC and attended both the April and the October event. I have pictures and video from the october event here:

Comment by Evan 12.27.05 @ 2:47 am

you can check out our press release on Santa Cruz Indymedia, which contains links to photos and accounts of both protests:


Comment by josh 01.16.06 @ 6:47 pm

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