Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t CFACT – Bonner Cohen (CFACT) writing for The Hill notes that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies are responding vigorously to threats from eco-terrorists – so vigorously the eco-terrorists are complaining.
Eco-terrorist attacks on energy infrastructure on tap for 2018
December 29, 2017 by Bonner Cohen, Ph. D.
Determined to disrupt the interstate transport of oil and natural gas throughout the United States, a network of environmental activists is openly threatening to resort to sabotage to achieve their ends. And having let their intentions be known, they are crying foul now that law enforcement officials are taking their threats seriously.
Indeed, the recent past foreshadows what is to come. In October 2016, a group of five demonstrators cut through padlocks and chains to enter the flow stations of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Dubbed Valve Turners, they shut off the pipeline’s valves, temporarily stopping the flow of oil through the pipeline. Local law enforcement officials in North Dakota apprehended the group. A court found two of the protestors guilty of felony charges, two more are awaiting trial, and a fifth was found guilty of second-degree burglary.
The Valve Turners were hardly the only protestors to turn to sabotage in the name of combating climate change. Anti-pipeline activists set fires and caused $2 million in damages near Standing Rock in North Dakota. Elsewhere, two women from a social justice charity proudly told the Des Moines Register how they had used oxyacetylene cutting torches to attack another stretch of the pipeline in Iowa’s Mahaska County. In another incident, damages to pipeline construction equipment in Iowa reached $2 million.
Alarmed that acts of vandalism against public and private installations will not go unpunished, groups that can best be described as “Green Antifa” are conjuring up visions of noble activists facing police-state tactics.
“This crackdown is happening, because activists have been successful, and because industry realizes that protest is a threat,” Kelsey Skaggs, executive director of the Climate Defense Project, recently told ThinkProgress.
On the contrary, officials and lawmakers are rightly concerned that acts of sabotage pose a threat to public safety. Anti-pipeline protesters have the right to free speech and free assembly; they do not have the right commit acts of sabotage, arson or trespassing.
Think Progress sees the legal crackdown differently. From 20th December;
The criminalization of environmental protest in Trump’s America
Environmental protesters had a successful 2016. Then came the crackdown.
DEC 20, 2017, 10:29 AM
In October of 2016, a group of five climate activists across four states cut through padlocks and chains to enter flow stations for the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which runs from Canada to the United States. In an orchestrated action, the activists shut off the valves for the pipeline, effectively bringing the transport of millions of barrels of tar sands oil to a halt in an attempt to shine a light on the global climate crisis.
Legal retribution against the group, dubbed “Valve Turners,” was swift and severe. The activists were charged with a litany of crimes, including, most notably, criminal sabotage and criminal mischief — both felonies that can carry sentences of 10 years in prison. Two of those activists have already been found guilty of felony charges, while two others are still awaiting trial. The fifth activist’s case initially ended in a mistrial, with a jury finding him guilty of just one charge, second-degree burglary, during the second trial.
“This crackdown is happening because activists have been successful, and because industry realizes that protest is a threat,” Kelsey Skaggs, executive director of the Climate Defense Project, told ThinkProgress. “We’ve seen it begin, and now we’ve seen it worsen.”
“The conditions now are perfect for an increased crackdown, because the Trump administration is so friendly in terms of pro-policing, pro-business attitudes, and because a lot of state legislatures are controlled by Republicans,” Skagg said.
“This suit is part of a rising tendency on the part of government and industry to demonize activists and to criminalize free speech activity,” Ted Hamilton, co-founder of the Climate Defense Project, told ThinkProgress in August when Energy Transfer Partners first filed their lawsuit. “Fossil fuel companies know that they’re losing public support for their poisonous activities — and so label their opponents ‘terrorists’ and seek gag orders in court.”
What did you expect Ted? A mass uprising of people demanding liberty for your followers, an end to fossil fuel heating for their homes, and an end to fuel for their vehicles?
The US constitution protects free speech. It does not protect “free speech activity”, which you seem to define as dangerous interference with or destruction of property owned by other people.
I and I’m sure many other people would love to be able to live without fossil fuels. I would love to buy an affordable car which never needs gasoline, yet still offers me the convenience of rapid long distance travel. I would love to go off grid, without the inconvenience of having to gather and burn large quantities of firewood, or truck in and burn large quantities of fossil fuel to power my home.
Sadly nobody wants to sell me a couple of miniaturised nuclear reactors.
Eco-terrorists who commit crimes against property or people are being treated as they deserve; as dangerous criminals pursuing a pointless vendetta against the lifeblood of our society.