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Does Homeland Security Think Fracktivists are Terrorists?

Energy

According to comments made by Mark Grawe, chief operating officer at EagleRidge Energy, Denton, TX residents who object to his company’s reckless operations way too close to their homesschools and parks are terrorists worthy of inclusion on the Department of Homeland Security’s watch list.

Wednesday night Grawe attended a home owners association meeting in Mansfield, TX where EagleRidge has drilled and fracked several wells very close to a neighborhood, schools and playgrounds.

He appeared at the meeting with a police officer in tow. When a resident asked if the officer was for his protection, Grawe talked about a Barnett Shale Energy Education Council meeting he attended where his industry peers advised him to take security with him to community meetings because “they” have been to meetings where “it escalated.”

Grawe went on to tell the Mansfield residents that some people in Denton are “preaching” civil disobedience and that they are on “the watch list” but not his watch list.

When another resident asked whose watch list, Grawe said “Homeland Security.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Watchlist Service (WLS) is a database of known or suspected terrorists compiled by the Terrorists Screening Center.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) currently uses the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), a consolidated database maintained by the Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation Terrorist Screening Center of identifying information about those known or reasonably suspected of being involved in terrorist activity in order to facilitate DHS mission-related functions, such as counterterrorism, law enforcement, border security and inspection activities.

It’s shocking to think that young families, pregnant women and retirees who don’t want to live next to a heavy industrial plant that will decrease their property value, diminish their quality of life and emit hazardous air pollutants that compromise their health would be considered terrorists. But what is more shocking is that Grawe supposedly has inside information about who is on the DHS watch list.

If you saw Gasland Part II, you will remember that retired Air Force officer Virginia Cody was a victim of domestic spying by the DHS.

James Powers, Pennsylvania Homeland Security director contracted with an anti-terrorism contractor, Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR), to spy on gas drilling opponents. ITRR intercepted communications and tracked group members and their affiliations.

Virginia Cody was a member of Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition, a public awareness group, which is the same kind of group as Denton’s Drilling Awareness Group. Powers mistakenly sent an email to Cody that made it clear the DHS was supporting the oil and gas industry in trying to squelch opposition.

At the center of the controversy is an e-mail written by the director of the state Homeland Security Office that seemed to take sides in the Marcellus Shale gas-drilling debate.

“We want to continue providing this support to the Marcellus Shale Formation natural gas stakeholders while not feeding those groups fomenting dissent against those same companies,” James F. Powers Jr. wrote in a Sept. 5 e-mail to Virginia Cody, an antidrilling activist in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Philly.com, Rendell’s office releases content of all bulletins on planned protests

Like Denton’s Drilling Awareness Group, Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition members are not radicals nor do they participate in any illegal activities. Yet they were listed on intelligence bulletins as security threats right along with Al-Qaeda operatives.

Equally shocking was the revelation that the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security had distributed those bulletins to local police chiefs, state, federal and private intelligence agencies, and the security directors of the natural gas companies, as well as industry groups and PR firms. AlterNet, Corporations and Law Enforcement are Spying on Environmentalists

Pennsylvania State Police’s intelligence unit was not impressed with the quality of information in the bulletins.

“I likened it to reading the National Enquirer. Every so often they have something right, but most of the time it’s unsubstantiated gossip,” George Bivens, director of the state police’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, testified in a Pennsylvania Senate hearing last month. ProPublica

Governor Ed Rendell, accepted Powers’ resignation two weeks after the domestic spying news broke. Rendall said he was embarrassed by the incident but he failed to apologize. (Note: Rendell pressured the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to drop it’s investigation of water contamination by Range Resources in Parker County, TX. Parker County is one of three water contamination cases where, despite evidence, the EPA backed away from investigations).

Adam Briggle, University of North Texas philosophy and religion professor and Denton’s Drilling Awareness Group member and his student, Ben Kessler an Iraq war veteran were visited by the FBI in early 2012. The FBI questioned Briggle about an ethics course he was teaching that touched on non-violent civil disobedience. At the same time, Briggle was working with Denton’s Drilling Awareness Group helping to organize Denton residents to advocate for more protective drilling regulations. PegasusNews, UNT Professor, student questioned by FBI

Kessler had helped organize a peaceful protest in April 2011 outside Range Resources’ offices in Fort Worth. In a Washington Post article the FBI said they acted on an “anonymous complaint.”

Late 2011, I attended an industry conference where Matt Pitzarella, Range Resources’ director of corporate communications and public affairs, admitted Range deploys former military psyops operatives in our neighborhoods. At the same conference, Matt Carmichael, Anadarko Petroleum’s manager of external affairs, recommended his peers download the U.S. Army/Marine Corp Counter Insurgency Manual, and Michael Kehs, Chesapeake Energy’s VP of Strategic Affairs and Public Relations, called Americans insurgents.

The conference also included topics about how to inoculate academics, reporters and lawmakers, the most important, influential members of society, how to align with universities to gain credibility and the importance of tracking the opposition and all their contacts.

Grawe’s statement confirms there is an unholy alliance between the oil and gas industry and our government. But it also shows how deep that alliance goes and the extent of industry’s use of psyops against the American people. If even a third-tier operator like EagleRidge has inside information about who is on the DHS’s Watch List, it’s easy to believe the industry could have influence on who gets added to that watch list.

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

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Dr. Siders pointed out that it has happened before. She noted that in the 1970s, the small town of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin moved itself out of the flood plain after one too many floods. The community found and reoriented the business district to take advantage of highway traffic and powered it entirely with solar energy, as the New York Times reported.

That's an important lesson now that rising sea levels pose a catastrophic risk around the world. Nearly 75 percent of the world's cities are along shorelines. In the U.S. alone coastline communities make up nearly 40 percent of the population— more than 123 million people, which is why Siders and her research team are so forthright about the urgency and the complexities of their findings, according to Harvard Magazine.

Some of those complexities include, coordinating moves across city, state or even international lines; cultural and social considerations like the importance of burial grounds or ancestral lands; reparations for losses or damage to historic practices; long-term social and psychological consequences; financial incentives that often contradict environmental imperatives; and the critical importance of managing retreat in a way that protects vulnerable and poor populations and that doesn't exacerbate past injustices, as Harvard Magazine reported.

If communities could practice strategic retreats, the study says, doing so would not only reduce the need for people to choose among bad options, but also improve their circumstances.

"It's a lot to think about," said Siders to Harvard Magazine. "And there are going to be hard choices. It will hurt—I mean, we have to get from here to some new future state, and that transition is going to be hard.…But the longer we put off making these decisions, the worse it will get, and the harder the decisions will become."

To help the transition, the paper recommends improved access to climate-hazard maps so communities can make informed choices about risk. And, the maps need to be improved and updated regularly, the paper said as the New York Times reported.


"It's not that everywhere should retreat," said Dr. Siders to the New York Times. "It's that retreat should be an option. It should be a real viable option on the table that some places will need to use."

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