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TransCanada Screams “Terrorist!” at American Opponents of Keystone XL

Regular readers know I don't go for conspiracy theories. But give me three instances of the powers that be portraying anti-Keystone XL activists as terrorists, and I can't help thinking we face an orchestrated corporate PR campaign.

First public officials in the Black Hills publicly portray opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline as terrorists in a fictional scenario completely unnecessary to their emergency drill.

Then well-connected journalist Bob Mercer defends that propaganda by pointing to "people in the guerilla fatigues with masks" who stood in silent protest at a State Department hearing on the pipeline in Pierre. Mercer makes no mention if the intimidation factor of burly union reps bused in from other states to the September 2011 Pierre hearing wearing t-shirts declaring their support for Keystone XL.

Now Bold Nebraska finds TransCanada documents showing that the pipeline company is waging a PR campaign to make state and local law enforcement officials view Keystone XL protestors as a terrorist threat:

TransCanada, the Canadian corporation behind the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, is providing security briefings to Nebraska authorities warning them to look into the application of "anti-terrorism laws" on people who oppose the pipeline despite the fact that no Nebraskan has committed a crime in the state in their efforts to stop the pipeline.

Bold Nebraska obtained TransCanada documents from the Nebraska State Patrol through a Freedom of Information Act request and was alarmed to discover what they describe as efforts to build distrust between Nebraska police and citizens who have organized to oppose the pipeline which threatens their air, land and water.

...The preponderance of opposition in the state has come from farmers and ranchers, whose threat level TransCanada describes as "low" while calling them "abusive and aggresive." In the presentations, dated December of 2012 but presented last month in Nebraska, TransCanada warns authorities that actions in Texas and by Anonymous could be coming to Nebraska and are "potential security concerns." They warn authorities to prepare for coming incidences of property destruction and "monkeywrenching." No such incidents have occurred in Nebraska to date [Mark Hefflinger, "TransCanada Calls Nebraska Ranchers Aggressive and Abusive, Talks of Terrorism,", 2013.06.11].

Bold Nebraska posts TransCanada's offending anti-American propaganda for you to read and judge for yourself. But it seems the only real violence happening anywhere along the Keystone XL construction route down south is police roughing up protesters.

TransCanada uses our courts to take our property rights. Now they try to co-opt our police to take away our rights to assemble, protest, and petition. And those corporate-state tactics intimidate some people less than a couple hippies in Army jackets.


  1. Bree S. 2013.06.14

    I don't have a problem with the existence of the oil industry. But I love how the majority of Republicans give this abusive company deferential treatment and ignore the rights of the landowners, and how most Republicans look aside from this company's abuse of eminent domain and trampling of property rights. Someone needs to tell these Republican legislators that landowners are not second class citizens.

  2. Vincent Gormley 2013.06.14

    TransCanada is clearly the terrorist and tar sands is their 'dirty bomb'.

  3. kurtz 2013.06.14

    yo, vinny!

  4. Douglas Wiken 2013.06.14

    Take a look at latest Scientific American page 56 on "Green House Goo". The $Billions involved are like low-hanging fruit for politicians on the make. The article makes the case that the US State Department made serious mistakes in analysis because it assumed that whether or not the XL Pipeline were built, the tar sands goo would get moved to the US. But, it appears that the economics and problems with alternatives may not be economically or politically feasible.

    Among the "terrorists" are environmental scientists who have been arrested protesting XL.

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.15

    Scientists not on the corporate payroll do strike terror in the hearts of Big Oil and the GOP.

  6. Donald Pay 2013.06.15

    My experience with people wearing fatigues and a mask is that they are National Guard or US military personnel cleaning up some chemical spill. Did Mercer intend to label the US military as "terrorists?"

    Still, the terrorist threat (real terrorists, not people who protest in outfits) to these pipelines is one reason not to be building them. If I were Obama, I'd take TransCanada's propaganda seriously. That pipeline does present a valuable target to terrorists, so I'm not putting our energy future at risk.

    If terrorism is a threat, as TransCanada says it is, doesn't building the pipeline put our economy in danger? We've seen how minor glitches at refineries can make world and spot markets for oil and gas fluctuate violently. Where I live we recently experienced a 30 cent per gallon rise in the price of gasoline in two days, and it's stayed high for weeks.

    Since TransCanada's oil is going to be exported, any disruption of flow is going to have a major impact on world oil prices, perhaps causing a world economic collapse. It's too big to fail in the oil market.

    TransCanada needs to decide. It seems to be admitting the the terrorist threat to this pipeline is real and growing, yet it insists that state taxpayers foot the bill for it security. Why?

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