|Barto Compressor Station, Lycoming County, PA|
Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee
At the request of a Bloomberg News reporter, I made a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of the FBI. Here's what I got back:
Based on the information you provided [name, address, ss#], we conducted a search of the Central Records System. We were unable to identify main file records responsive to the FOIA.
In other words, The FBI has nothing. The letter goes on to issue disclaimers about what's excluded by Congress--but this is all just boiler plate.
But that raises the following question: Mike Hutson is with the Pennsylvania State Police/FBI Joint Ecoterrorism Task Force--so what was he doing at my door? On what possible grounds could he have had reason to drive all the way from Williamsport (about an hour) on a snowy Winter Valentine's Day in the middle of the day with no particular expectation that I'd even be home from work? Who, Officer Hutson do you work for?
The only investigation I have been able to unearth in which Officer Hutson was involved had to do with alleged pipe bombs at 14 locations, but only one identified at a frack pad in Zelienople, PA. But while he canvases a number of possibilities about the culprits--Officer Hutson does not even consider the possibility that the report is false, that even if there were explosive devices found, that they were planted by the industry itself: "With no suspects except in one case, “we don’t know the intent,” said state Trooper Michael Hutson, a member of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force based in Williamsport" (Hazardous devices found at gas well sites but intent unknown | PennLive.com).
Officer Hutson then goes onto say something rather telling: "It does not appear the natural gas industry was targeted because no environmental group has come forward to claim responsibility, he said."
So, again, what brought you to the door of my home, Officer Hutson? What could have possibly justified that visit--paid for by tax dollars, without a warrant, and without any claim of wrong-doing on my part?
Are we comfortable as a public--as citizens--with State Police/FBI investigators just "comin' to chat awhile"? Coming to our homes on fishing expeditions?
We should not only find this wholly unacceptable--but clear evidence of a state police whose job has become to run interference in the interest of protecting an industry favored by a corrupt state.
And anyone who thinks this will change one iota under a Tom Wolf administration is a fool.
Would the gas industry plant its own unexploded explosives in order to prompt the state police to deploy such repressive strategies like paying visits to citizens--effectively criminalizing the exercise of first amendment rights?
Goddamn right they would.
Next: FOIA request at the Pennsylvania State Police--I'll let you know.
UPDATE 3: WITH PERMISSION, FROM ANONYMOUS ENGAGED CITIZEN:
"Ace reporter Morgan Myers always get the story straight! Let no one be deluded - there is indeed a causal relationship between Mr. Hutson harassing law-abiding citizens who chose to exercise their constitutional rights and this story in Sun Gazette. However, I would suggest that the relationship is actually the inverse - Mikey, or his industry cronies, put that story out to the Sun Gazette in order to counteract the firestorm of negative publicity that the Joint Terrorism Task Force is receiving as a result of his (and their) blind assumption that anyone who photographs or speaks out publicly against the gas industry is associated with "terrorism".
Think about this - this dude's livelihood is predicated upon combatting "terrorism." Random acts of vandalism against stuff left in the woods hardly qualifies as "terrorism". Are smashed rural mailboxes acts of terrorism against the US mail system? Are the ubiquitous gunshot holes in rural stop signs indicative of a clandestine insurgency against the Department of Transportation? Mikey NEEDS to show he is actually DOING SOMETHING. What better way to maintain funding for his shiny black, freshly-washed, tinted-window, fully accessorized, anti-terrorism, assault vehicle than to inflate the threat perception? Otherwise he is back to working as a crossing guard outside the elementary school.
Not convinced that his "investigations" are not legitimate? This guy used state tax dollars to travel up to New York State to come to the door of Jeremy Alderson (NO FRACK ALMANAC fame) over an alleged "trespassing" claim! When the seismic stooges trespassed on MY LAND three years ago and left cut brush and flagging as evidence the State Police refused to send a trooper out. They told me to call the district attorney's office. When I called the district attorney's office they told me to call the State Police!
Who do YOU think Mikey is protecting? Number one - he is protecting Mikey. Next, he is protecting the interests of wealth and property. He is NOT protecting the community.
And anyone who is reading this industry company newsletter (the Sun Gazette) should only do so to mock the grammer, writing skills and intellectual acumen of the Sun Gazette staff and editor. The vast majority of people who read these local rags are seeking bias confirmation of previously held beliefs, not information that will make them think or, god-forbid, challenge their operational paradigm.
The proper response - satirize them and rob them of all credibility. You do not win by debating them as you can not teach stupid, you win by exposing them as hypocrites and stooges."
|Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee|
UPDATE 2: My comment (posted below) at the Williamsport Sun Gazette on the wholly fake MORGAN MYERS "news" "story" on ecoterrorism. At least NOW we know why Officer Hutson was at my door.
But here's a short version of my response: Bite. Me. I will not be silenced, deterred, or fear-mongered by anyone--but especially by an industry who--drunk on a devil's brew of arrogant entitlement combined with increasing desperation borne of the fact that their fossil fuel heroin is about to run out--thinks it can dispatch a state police officer/FBI jack boot to my HOME.
"It's stunning that what sadly passes for a newspaper prints as if it were news what is in fact industry fear-mongering propaganda designed to stifle legitimate protest. There was no story here. Morgan Myers is a PAID SHALE PLAY GAS SHILL. This is how a corrupted state, a grossly inept governor, and an industry hellbent on maximizing its profits insures against the increasing public outrage at a process that destroys the conditions of life. For a far truer picture of this collusion see "When the Gas Industry uses the State Police," Wendy Lynne Lee, at The Wrench."
|Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee|
UPDATE 1: TREMENDOUS THANKS TO ALL OF THE SUPPORTIVE FOLKS WHO'VE RESPONDED TO THIS POST. I HAVE BEEN JUST OVERWHELMED AND AMAZED AT THE NUMBER OF BLOGS AT WHICH IT'S BEEN REPOSTED--AND THE NERVE IT HAS CLEARLY TOUCHED. I WILL BE UPDATING AND ADDING POSTS AS THIS STORY DEVELOPS, AND I HAVE BEEN TRACKING THE SITES WHERE IT'S BEEN REPOSTED. I HAVE LISTED THESE AT THE BOTOM OF THE POST.
AND HERE'S THE ORIGINAL STORY:
I was brushing my teeth, and getting kidney meds into my cat, Switch, when I heard my three dogs going nuts downstairs.
I jostled down the stairs, wiping toothpaste off my face to attend to the rapping, and the doggies.
There was a man at the door.
I thought it was a Jehovah Witness, so I was wondering whether to make coffee.
I arrived at the door, signaled to the fellow--who I could now see was holding out a badge--that I needed to get my dogs outside. 'Barky, not bitey," I believe I said.
The man's name is MIKE HUTSON, Pennsylvania State Police, Intelligence Unit, Williamsport Office.
He was investigating reports of "vandalism" at unspecified compressor station locations, and he had with him a copy of the excellent Jeremy Alderson's Fall/Winter (2.2) Edition of the NO FRACK ALMANAC (http://www.nofrackalmanac.com/downloads/volume2_2.pdf).
He wanted to know about the pictures--the ones I have included here.
He wanted to know about the activists in the anti-fracking movement--and whether or not "they" commit acts of vandalism and/or violence.
He wanted me to give him names of "bad apples."
I know of no such "apples."
So, I scoffed.
Such a notion--as I made very clear to Mr. Hutson--is preposterous.
|Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee|
I reminded him of the activism of Nelson Mandela, Rigoberta Menchu, Aung San Suu Kyi , Ella Baker, and Martin Luther King, and made very clear that these were our heros.
I mentioned Socrates who was willing to die for what he stood, and that he was executed for daring to question authority.
In fact, if there's to be a discussion of violence, I said, he'd be far better to investigate the industry. It will use whatever it can to silence us--and that is what brought the state police--an intelligence unit in a big black window-tinted van--to my door in rural Pennsylvania.
We see that everyday in its flagrant flouting of environmental, safety, and zoning law, and in it's liberal use of retired intelligence agents to harass, follow, surveil, and intimidate us.
Many of us have experienced vandalism clearly intended to silence our voices.
I used to wonder if I was surveilled, if my phone was tapped.
Now when I call my mom, I say into the phone that the agent listening might as well go get donuts.
Now I have the state police intelligence unit at my door.
What more effective way to intimidate a movement activist than to make up a complaint about "vandalism" at "compressors" that will get the police to her door?
But I have a message for this industry:
I AM NOT AFRAID OF YOU. AND I AM NOT AFRAID OF THE STATE YOU WIELD AS YOUR PERSONAL POLICE FORCE.
Here's the good news:
First, I got nothin' to hide. In fact, I'll bet that makes the industry even more nervous. I'm a mommy and a professor with some goddamn convictions, a steady paycheck, and a deep sense of duty to my four kids.
Doesn't get more ferocious than that.
Second, as a movement, we must be making some real headway for the industry to go to all the trouble to fake a vague charge against some unspecified folks in order to get an intel-officer dispatched on the tax payer 's dime and time to the door of an activist with no arrest record, no history of violence.
What she's got is a raft-load of knowledge about an industry that ought to be criminalized, a capacity to write down what she knows, a good camera, and some guts.
And she's keeping all four.
*Update: Thank you "BJ" for bringing the following two items to my attention--particularly thefact that Mr. Hutson is with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Wendy Lynne Lee
All photographs: Wendy Lynne Lee, taken with a Nikon, and a telephoto lens on PUBLIC ROADS.
|Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee|
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THANK YOU MICHAEL BADGES CANNING AND TOM JEFFERSON FOR THIS GREAT POSTER: