December Update: Climate Action Rocks 2012, Get Ready For 2013!

December Update: Climate Action Rocks 2012, Get Ready For 2013

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Climate Justice Activists Launch Hunger Strike With Blockade At Houston Refinery
Bob Lindsey Jr. and Diane Wilson began a sustained hunger strike to demand that Valero divest entirely from the Keystone XL pipeline and invest that money into the health and well-being of the people of the neighborhood of Manchester (next to the refinery.) Hunger strikers began their protest in the Harris County Jail after blockading the refinery for several hours.
Read More Here: http://tarsandsblockade.org/13th-action/

Raising Resistance: Action Across North America in Solidarity with Unist’ot’en
Allies of the Unist’ot’en Camp held solidarity actions across North America, and around the world, warning industry and government to end their trespass against sovereign Wet’suwet’en territory. The camp is working to stop several proposed pipelines and shale gas projects in the Peace River Region.
Read More Here: http://unistotencamp.wordpress.com/

Rising Tide Vermont Disrupts Shell Oil Exec
In solidarity with the Tar Sands Blockade, Rising Tide Vermont interrupted a presentation by a Shell Oil executive.  After nine consecutive interruptions, during which members of RTVT read statements from the Ogoni and other people on the frontlines of Shell’s operations, the event was cancelled and police were called.
Read more here: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012311150032

Days of Action Against the Keystone XL Pipeline
Over 100 people in Nacogdoches, Texas rallied to defend their homes and protect their water from toxic tar sands. In solidarity, over 40 communities rallied across the country and the world against tar sands and deadly resource extraction everywhere.
Read More Here: http://tarsandsblockade.org/12th-action/

Keep Rising Tide North America Going in 2013
Climate action has rocked 2012. Rising Tide has been a central part of organizing it. Now we need you to join us and keep it going on 2013. Whether its $5, $50 or $500, please donate and help us build this movement.
Donate Here:https://www.wepay.com/xmmxkxl/donations/rising-tide-north-america

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Ft. Worth Weekly: Playing Nice? Alleged Tip Sends The FBI Out To Question Denton Drilling Activists

Playing Nice?
An alleged tip sends the FBI out to question Denton drilling activists.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012 09:45 Photos and story by ANDREW MCLEMORE

North Texas environmental activists frequently feel as though local
officials ignore their protests against gas drilling, but it turns out
it’s easy enough to get the federal government’s attention — if the FBI
thinks you might be planning eco-terrorism.

That’s what happened to University of North Texas student Ben Kessler, a
Marine veteran and dedicated activist on fracking, who spent several
months last fall dodging FBI phone calls that he felt were attempts to
intimidate him and pump him for information about legitimate, peaceful
environmental groups. Kessler is an organizer with Rising Tide, an
international network of environmental groups that sometimes employ civil
disobedience as a protest tactic.

Kessler: “I thought they were going to invade my house.”
In early February, an FBI agent and Dallas police officer came to campus
to question one of Kessler’s professors as well. David Rogers, the FBI
agent who called Kessler repeatedly, told him the agency was following up
on an anonymous tip about environmental activism in the area.

“The first conversation we had, he was kind of lecturing me about
ecoterrorism,” Kessler said. “All of the following conversations were him
basically trying to convince me that I didn’t need a lawyer and should try
to come in as soon as possible.”

For Rising Tide leaders, the monitoring by federal law enforcement sends a
clear message: Back off. “We saw that as an act of intimidation,” said
Scott Parkins, a spokesman for Rising Tide North America.

Lydia Maese, the spokesperson for the FBI’s Dallas office, would not
confirm whether the agency was conducting an investigation. It’s FBI
policy to conduct at least a preliminary investigation of any tip, she
said, though she acknowledged that not every anonymous call results in an
agent spending months trying to contact a college student and his
associates.

“We do investigate any potential ecoterrorism violations that could
potentially cause harm to the public,” Maese said. “We do this hundreds of
times. We are obligated to resolve the matter.”

Continue reading the full article.

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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