Fellow green neighbor Phyllis Cole-Dai follows up on the fascist propaganda injected into a Black Hills emergency drill last week and gets the names of the people responsible for putting her, me, and other opponents of Keystone XL and Powertech Uranium on a local terrorist watch list:
The script presenting a threat ("inject") posed by a terrorist in opposition to the KXL or uranium mining was co-authored by two men at the county level of planning. The first is Ken Hawki, chair of the Lawrence County Local Emergency Planning Committee and Assistant Emergency Manager for Lawrence County. The second is Fred Wells, a 25-year veteran of the military (specializing in anti-terrorism planning) who now volunteers his expertise to "two different fire departments and his county" (Butte, I think). (A sidenote: While I don't mean to cast aspersions on Mr. Wells's military service, his involvement in this seems noteworthy when there are increasing reports of Big Oil utilizing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency tactics against groups that oppose its projects.) [Phyllis Cole-Dai, "Follow-Up on Keystone XL 'Terrorist' Drill," Fast for the Earth, 2013.05.23]
Cole-Dai reports that the script then received approval from other local officials involved in the drill:
After these two men wrote the script, it was presented for consideration to a 15-20 member group that was planning a crisis management drill in three schools (not five, as the journalist reported). Members of the group were representatives of local emergency responders, local emergency management, and the three school districts involved (Deadwood, Custer and Hot Springs). The group gave its consent for the script to be used and it was then prepped to meet federal guidelines for such drills and submitted [Cole-Dai, 2013.05.23].
Cole-Dai's report fits with a statement I received from Brad Maskovich, state exercise coordinator for the South Dakota Office of Emergency Management. He said he had one state-level person involved the day of the exercise, and that state staffer had no involvement in creating the anti-Keystone XL/uranium terrorist fantasy.
However, Cole-Dai's report runs a bit contrary to the response I received from the Hot Springs school district, where Superintendent Donald Marchant forwarded my inquiry to district lawyer Patrick Ginsbach. Counsel Ginsback responds:
The mock scenario was distributed by Fall River County Emergency Management Director Frank Maynard. The school agreed to participate in the exercise and was not aware of the scenario until it was distributed by Director Maynard [Patrick M. Ginsbach, e-mail, 2013.05.23].
Hmm... the school district says it was not aware of the scenario until it was distributed by the county EMD, but Cole-Dai says district officials were aware of and consented to the scenario.
Whoever gave the okey-dokeys, the participants are mostly running from this offensive portrayal of sensible South Dakotans as terrorists. Cole-Dai says the men who wrote the scenario are offering the classic non-apology: they are sorry if anyone took offense, but they consider the scenario justified.
I still see no justification. If, as Cole-Dai says, the main objective of the May 14 exercise was "simply to run a drill to help evaluate the crisis plans meant to protect schoolchildren against terrorist threats," what practical purpose was served by creating a little fairy tale about opponents to two big West River business projects going nuts and threatening violence? 34 comments