New documents show that TransCanada, the corporation behind the $5.3 billion Keystone XL oil pipeline, has been briefing police about non-violent protesters and urging prosecutors to consider them “terrorists.”
“They may climb and occupy trees “
What have protesters done that is so troubling to TransCanada that they need to beg law enforcement for assistance?
“They may climb and occupy trees,” TransCanada warns.
In Oklahoma, ”a protester walked in to the lane of a slow moving vehicle.” There has been “no physical violence to this point.”
In Texas, there has been “demonstrations / protest activity,” “tree houses,” “banners,” “social media organization,” and again — no physical violence.
In Nebraska, where this briefing took place, there has been “protest/demonstrations” and “opposition attendance” at public meetings. At the very worst, landowners have allegedly been heard saying they “longed for the days when you could shoot people on your land.” However, there has not been any property destruction in the state, let alone violence.
“Try as TransCanada might to slanderize Tar Sands Blockade and our growing grassroots movement, we know who the real criminals are,” said Ron Seifert, a spokesperson with Tar Sands Blockade who was pictured in the slideshow. “The real criminals are those profiting from this deadly pipeline by endangering families living along the route and pumping illegal levels of air toxins into fence-line communities.”
The Real Threat
One of the final slides of the presentation is particularly revealing in terms of what is at stake here. The list of “Potential Security Concerns” includes
- Gulf Coast Project — recent media attention.
- Keystone XL — media, high profile.
- Environmental Activism.
- Energy Action Coalition — “Fossil Fools Day”
- Protest, Blockade, Threats, Office occupation
- Future open houses, public meetings
- Landowner court challenges
Notice the emphasis on media and public exposure? TransCanada is not pleading with law enforcement to crack down on property destruction or violence, because that’s not what this campaign is about. The campaign against the Keystone XL pipeline has resulted in widespread public support, and positive media coverage about people willing to non-violently put their bodies on the line.
That’s why TransCanada has also hired a new PR agent: the corporation says “we have been dwarfed by the content the activists have and are posting online with respect to Keystone XL.” And they say they may hire PR giant SKDKnickerbocker.
Something tells me the first recommendation from a new public relations firm will be “don’t create any more presentations like this.”
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