F.B.I. Targets Peaceful Anti-Fracking & Rising Tide Activists, Washington Post Reveals

March 11, 2012
For Immediate Release
Rising Tide Press Contact:
Scott Parkin, 415-235-0596 (mobile)
sparki@risingtidenorthamerica.org

F.B.I. targets peaceful anti-fracking and Rising Tide activists, Washington Post reveals

Rising Tide North Texas subject of intimidation campaign by federal government

In today’s Washington Post, it was revealed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been investigating peaceful climate and anti-fracking activists as a threat. In response to anonymous complaints Rising Tide North Texas, a part of the Rising Tide North America network, has been the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation. The FBI has visited and called for an interview Rising Tide organizer, University of North Texas (UNT) student and a marine veteran of the Afghan war Ben Kessler, as well as UNT philosophy professor Adam Briggle.

“If all I have done to be investigated as a threat is to peacefully express my opinions, then we are in serious trouble,” said Ben Kessler. “Activism is not terrorism. The only dangerous threat in North Texas is the threat that hydro-fracturing, or “fracking,” has on the health and lives of the residents of our communities.”

The article also revealed cooperation between the F.B.I. and local police in Moscow Idaho around repeated protests organized by Wild Idaho Rising Tide around the tar sands heavy haul truck shipments.

Here is the article:

As eco-terrorism wanes, governments still target activist groups seen as threat

By Juliet Eilperin, Updated: Saturday, March 10, 5:12 PM

Ben Kessler, a student at the University of North Texas and an environmental activist, was more than a little surprised that an FBI agent questioned his philosophy professor and acquaintances about his whereabouts and his sign-waving activities aimed at influencing local gas drilling rules.“It was scary,” said Kessler, who is a national organizer for the nonviolent environmental group Rising Tide North America. He said the agent approached him this past fall and said that the FBI had received an anonymous complaint and were looking into his opposition to hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking.” The bureau respected free speech, the agent told him, but was “worried about things being taken to an extreme level.”

Even as environmental and animal rights extremism in the United States is on the wane, officials at the federal, state and local level are continuing to target groups they have labeled a threat to national security, according to interviews with numerous activists, internal FBI documents and a survey of legislative initiatives across the country.

Iowa Gov. Terry Brandstad (R) signed a law this month, backed by the farm lobby, that makes it a crime to pose as an employee or use other methods of misrepresentation to get access to operations in an attempt to expose animal cruelty. Utah passed a similar bill, nicknamed an “ag-gag” law, on Wednesday. Last month, Victor VanOrden, an activist in his mid-20s, received the maximum sentence of five years in prison under a separate Iowa law for attempting to free minks from one of the state’s fur farms.

At the same time, though, acts that might be defined as eco-terrorism are down. In recent years, the broad definition has included arson, setting mink free at fur farms, campaigns to financially bankrupt animal testing firms and protests in front of the homes of some of those firms’ executives.

Michael Whelan, executive director of Fur Commission USA, estimated that in the 1990s “there were close to 20 attacks per year on our farmers” and that since 2003 there have been fewer than two attacks a year on American mink farms.

“Overall we’ve seen a decline in activity, in terms of violent criminal activity,” FBI intelligence analyst Erin Weller said in an interview.

FBI officials say two factors contribute to the reduced threat.

One is their successful prosecutions of several activists, in particular the 15 convictions in 2007 for members of the Earth Liberation Front. The national sweep of radical environmentalists was chronicled in the Oscar-nominated 2011 documentary “If a Tree Falls.” Not only did several ELF members get long prison sentences — Stanislas Meyerhoff got 13 years — but also many activists testified against others to get lighter punishments.

“That’s had an impact on the movement as a whole,” Weller said.

The second factor is that environmental and animal rights activists may view a Democratic administration as more sympathetic to their goals and be less inclined to take radical steps.

“Obviously if you think there is going to be support for your position, you’re going to use legal means rather than illegal means,” Weller said.

Despite the decline in activity, the level of scrutiny has continued, say several who track state and federal enforcement.“There’s been very little change under the Obama administration,” said Will Potter, author of the book “Green is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Movement Under Siege.” After factoring in several state initiatives on top of federal enforcement, Potter said, “The political climate as a whole has gotten a lot worse.”
Read the rest of the article here

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Hoodwinked in the Hothouse: False Solutions to Climate Change – Available now!

coverFrom Rising Tide North America and Carbon Trade Watch: the 2nd edition of Hoodwinked in the Hothouse: False Solutions to Climate Change.

This 28-page booklet provides a close-to-comprehensive overview of false solutions to climate change. Fifteen concise articles—complete with photos and illustrations—cover more than 20 false solutions to climate change, from Clean Coal to Biomass incineration, providing an easy-to-read introduction to the ever expanding market place of climate crisis technofixes.

With the incredible pace of the climate policy debate, the 2nd edition provides key updates to crucial topics like REDD (a major new commodification of forests and lands), which was just emerging at the time of initial publication.

Equally important, the booklet expands to more technologies that are being branded as “green” despite the grave dangers associated with them, such as waste incineration, biochar, and genetically engineered “carbon sucking” trees. We’ve also included much more information on real solutions and positive steps communities can we can take to stop the climate crisis.

The booklet includes contributions from ETC Group, the Indigenous Environmental Network, Movement Generation, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, and International Rivers as well as art and photography from across the movement for climate justice.

We invite you to download Hoodwinked from the Hothouse today! Also available in it’s entirety in Spanish here!

You can order these booklets *FREE* from Rising Tide.

Continue reading

Manhattan floods, Chicago heatwaves and withering Californian vines: how scientists see the US in 75 years

Hard-hitting report describes how America will be affected region by region if no action is taken on climate change

It provides the most detailed picture to date of the impacts on the US in the worst case scenarios, when no action is taken to cut emissions. Examples include: floods in lower Manhattan; a quadrupling of heatwave deaths in Chicago; withering on the vineyards of California; the disappearance of wildflowers from the slopes of the Rockies; the extinction of Alaska’s wild polar bears in the next 75 years.

What lies ahead by region

North-east

The winter snow season could be cut in half in southern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine — maybe as short as a week or two, under the higher emissions scenario. This would destroy winter traditions like skiing and skating and outdoor ponds. Native cranberries and blueberries would disappear; dairy herds, the biggest agricultural industry, would decline under the higher emissions scenario.

South-east

Summer temperatures in Florida could rise by 4.1C (10.5F), with the heat effect multipled by decreased rainfall under the higher emissions scenario. There would be increased hurricane intensity and rising sea levels leads to loss of wetlands and coastal areas. It would lead to a severe decline in quality of life.

Mid-west

Frequent, severe and longer lasting heatwaves in cities – as many as three a year in Chicago under the higher emissions scenario.

Water levels in the Great Lakes could fall by up to two feet by the end of the century under the higher emissions scenario.

South-west

Continued strong warming will threaten flow of Colorado river.

Alaska

Has been warming at twice the rate of the rest of the US over last 50 years.

Temperatures could rise up to a further 5.4C (13F) under the higher emissions scenario. The region should be prepared for drought and increased risk of wildfire.

North-west

Declining snowpack is already threatening agriculture. Many salmon species are already threatened

Costs

Human health: Rise in deaths due to heatwaves, decline in health because of poor air quality and increase in water borne and insect borne diseases.

Agriculture: Although some crops will benefit from the longer growing season, heavy downpours could wreak havoc on others. Farmers will be forced to use more pesticides and weed killers against invasive plants. Poison ivy will bcome more abundant and more toxic. Higher emissions scenario would cause a 10% decline in dairy herd in Appalachia.

Energy: Rising heat index will increase demand on electricity for air conditioning. But water shortages could restrict electricity generation.

Oil infrastructure, along coast of Louisiana and Florida, is also vulnerable to rising sea levels and intensifying hurricanes.

Transport: Storm surges and rising sea levels could block the use of ports and coastal airports, roads and rail lines. Six of the top 10 freight gateways are threatened by rising sea levels. Entire road networks on the Gulf Coast could be at risk.

Ecosystems: Large-scale shifts in species likely to continue. Deserts will become hotter and drier, oceans more acidic. Salmon and trout populations will contract.

BREAKING NEWS: Activists Risk Arrest, Ascend Dragline to Stop Mountaintop Removal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Thursday June 18th, 2009):

Big John Dragline

Hi-Res Photos, B-roll and Video will be available, www.mountainaction.org.

Activists Risk Arrest to Stop Mountaintop Removal

Activists scaled 20-storey tall mining machinery this morning to call attention to nation’s worst form of coal mining; This is the first time a dragline has been scaled on a mountaintop removal site

COAL RIVER VALLEY, W. VA.—Moments ago, four concerned citizens entered onto Massey Energy’s mountaintop removal mine site near Twilight WV and have begun to scale a150-foot dragline machine to drop a banner that says, ‘stop mountaintop removal mining.’ The climbers plan to stay on the enormous dragline, a massive piece of equipment that removes house-sized chunks of blasted rock and earth to expose coal, until police arrest them. Equipped with satellites phones and a web camera, the climbers will be available for interviews.

This is the first time a dragline has been scaled on a mountaintop removal site, and marks the latest in a string of increasingly dramatic protests in West Virginia by residents and allies from across the country. This act of protest against mountaintop removal comes just days after the Obama Administration announced a plan to reform, but not abolish, the aggressive strip mining practice. Continue reading