cc: #Anonymous >> Worst-Case Scenario for Oil Sands Industry Has Come to Life, Leaked Document Shows #NOKXL #DGR #RiseUp #FightBack
As environmentalists began ratcheting up pressure against Canada’s tar sands three years ago, one of the world’s biggest strategic consulting firms was tapped to help the North American oil industry figure out how to handle the mounting activism. The resulting document, published online by WikiLeaks, offers another window into how oil and gas companies have been scrambling to deal with unrelenting opposition to their growth plans.
The document identifies nearly two-dozen environmental organizations leading the anti-oil sands movement and puts them into four categories: radicals, idealists, realists and opportunists—with how-to’s for managing each. It also reveals that the worst-case scenario presented to industry about the movement’s growing influence seems to have come to life.
The December 2010 presentation by Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor, a global intelligence firm based in Texas, mostly advised oil sands companies to ignore or limit reaction to the then-burgeoning tar sands opposition movement because “activists lack influence in politics.” But there was a buried warning for industry under one scenario: Letting the movement grow unopposed may bring about “the most significant environmental campaign of the decade.”
"This worst-case scenario is exactly what has happened," partly because opposition to tar sands development has expanded beyond nonprofit groups to include individual activists concerned about climate change, said Mark Floegel, a senior investigator for Greenpeace. “The more people in America see Superstorm Sandys or tornadoes in Chicago, the more they are waking up and joining the fight.”
[View the documents at Inside Climate News]
Since the presentation was prepared, civil disobedience and protests against the tar sands have sprung up from coast to coast. The movement has helped delay President Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline—designed to funnel Canada’s landlocked oil sands crude to refineries on the Gulf Coast—and has held up another contentious pipeline in Canada, the Northern Gateway to the Pacific Coast.
The Power Point document, titled “Oil Sands Market Campaigns,” was recently made public by WikiLeaks, part of a larger release of hacked files from Stratfor, whose clients include the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry lobby. It appears to have been created for Calgary-based petroleum giant Suncor Energy, Canada’s largest oil sands producer.
The company told InsideClimate News that it did not hire Stratfor and never saw such a presentation. Suncor is mentioned 11 times in the document’s 35 pages and all of Stratfor’s advice seems to be directed at the energy company. For example, one slide says, “Campaign ends quickly with a resolution along the lines Suncor had wanted.” In several emails released by WikiLeaks, Stratfor employees discuss a $14,890 payment Suncor owes the company for two completed projects, though no details were provided.
The presentation is the latest in a series of revelations that suggest energy companies—which for most of their history seemed unfazed by activists—have been looking for ways to dilute environmentalists’ growing influence.
Earlier this year, TransCanada, the Canadian energy company behind the Keystone XL, briefed Nebraska law enforcement authorities on how to prosecute demonstrators protesting the 1,200-mile project. In 2011, Range Resources, an oil and gas company, allegedly hired combat veterans with experience in psychological warfare to squash opposition of natural gas drilling.
"The Stratfor presentation isn’t a complete surprise," said Scott Parkin, a senior campaigner for the Rainforest Action Network and volunteer organizer for Rising Tide North America, both grassroots environmental groups. “As opposition has grown, coal, oil and gas companies are all starting to put more money into responding—from surveillance to protection to public relations.”
Who Was Targeted?
For each of Stratfor’s categories of environmental activist—radicals, idealists, realists and opportunists—the presentation explains how their campaigns are structured and how the fossil fuel industry could deal with them.
Three grassroots organizations—Rising Tide North America, Oil Change International and the Indigenous Environmental Network—were labeled radicals. Greenpeace and the Rainforest Action Network were classified as a cross between radicals and idealists. Sierra Club, the nation’s largest environmental group, Amnesty International and Communities for a Better Environment, among others, were labeled idealists. Several mainstream environmental groups, including the National Wildlife Federation, World Wildlife Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council and Ceres, a nonprofit that organizes businesses, investors and public interest groups, were called realists.
It then lays out tactics the groups would use to push for change. They include holding demonstrations outside annual meetings and marketing events, generating fear of oil spills and other environmental disasters, targeting CEOs and their families, collaborating with other green groups, and splitting the fossil fuel industry on the issue by praising companies working with activists and publicly shaming those that aren’t.
The presentation says that while environmental groups are publicly fighting to stop the expansion of the oil sands, their “real demand” is for fossil fuel companies to adopt a “global code of conduct”—a set of best practices not required by law, but that take into consideration things like greenhouse gas reduction policies and human rights.
The Power Point also describes all the ways fossil fuel companies like Suncor could choose to react to green groups’ campaigns, such as limiting contact with the organizations, intentionally delaying negotiations, developing its own environmental initiatives to overshadow activists’ demands, or simply not responding. It provides the pros and cons of each public relations decision, as well as the best- and worst-case outcomes for each.
For example, Stratfor said that choosing not to respond could be useful because in 2010, “activists are not stopping oil sands’ growth and they have no power in Alberta or Ottawa. Chance of success with U.S. government is slim.” The best outcome from a no-response strategy, according to the presentation, is that green “groups move to fracturing [natural gas fracking] or some other venue to press for the first major code of conduct.”
Stratfor would not answer questions about the presentation because it has a policy not to comment on any of the WikiLeaks documents.
Several environmental groups named in the Stratfor presentation said they weren’t surprised by the consulting firm’s assessment of their work, but were disappointed, especially by its assumption that all they wanted was a code of conduct.
"The environmental community has been very united in saying that we need to stop tar sands expansion and clean up the mess already made there," said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s international program. “That’s the only real path forward if we’re going to protect not only the health of communities on the ground in the boreal forests near the tar sands region, but also around the world from the impacts of climate change. We’re not looking for a code of conduct.”
For many, the leaked presentation provided proof that their work was having an impact, boosting their confidence to keep protesting.
"Knowing that groups like Stratfor are targeting us, surveying us, and also analyzing us shows how powerful these movements have become," said Parkin of the Rainforest Action Network and Rising Tide North America. "Obviously this wasn’t meant for public consumption, but this doesn’t intimidate us. If anything, it emboldens us. It encourages us to push harder."
Auret van Heerden: Making global labor fair
Labor activist Auret van Heerden talks about the next frontier of workers’ rights — globalized industries where no single national body can keep workers safe and protected. How can we keep our global supply chains honest? Van Heerden makes the business case for fair labor.
I know you’re out there.. I know that you’re paying attention.. I know that no matter what they feed you.. or how side-tracked you see others get (myself included).. well, I know that you understand. I know there is a connection between us. I know you know that I know that you know the ringing sound of truth. ~ I’ve always been here to fight for you, and for me. I’m still here fighting for you, and for me. They took my friends from me. They coerced my allies to switch sides. They scattered my people to the wind. But, I know you are still out there. I know that I am still in here. I know that the knowledge of the electrified connection between us can burn holes in governments. I know that there are no firewalls that can contain (or prevent) our fire. I know this, and, it keeps me going.
I have to tell you, though, I’m deeply suspicious some of the NSA’s assertions.
They seem to be claiming that they have cracked nearly everything, and that they have backdoor access to privacy software. But this is practically impossible.
A lot of encryption software used today is actually ‘open source’. This means that the software code is freely available to anyone.
GNU Privacy Guard (GPG) is a great example. GPG is an open-source, free alternative version of Phil Zimmerman’s original PGP software. And it’s widely used to encrypt files and emails.
But because GPG is open-source, the software code is available for anyone to view, inspect, and modify. If there were any backdoor access for the NSA, thousands of people would see this.
Not to mention, to penetrate a single 2048-bit encryption key can take anywhere from thousands of years to tens of millions of years, even with the fastest supercomputers.
Consequently, it’s IMPOSSIBLE for the NSA to have cracked everything. And my assessment is that this is an intimidation campaign.
The NSA wants people to think that they have this capability.
And if everyone thinks that the NSA is Big Brother’s Big Brother, all-seeing and all-knowing, then not only will everyone be terrified, but everyone will simply stop using encryption.
After all, why bother going through the hassle of encrypting/decrypting if the NSA can still read the contents of your email?
It’s in the NSA’s interest for people to think that the agency is almighty. I don’t buy it. These people are seriously vile. But they don’t have superpowers.
When done properly, email encryption is still a good option. And there are a number of open-source tools out there to consider using.
An intelligent human would ask the question, “Why are our governments completely ignoring the Japanese Nuclear Meltdown from the #fukashima reactor? The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) admitted enormous leaks of radioactive water are pouring into the Pacific Ocean. What is the worse is the water leakage everywhere else - not just from the tanks TEPCO is storing of radioactive water. It is leaking out from the basements, it is leaking out from the cracks all over the place into the groundwater. Nobody can measure that.
They are entering the oceans at levels that then will accumulate in seafood and will cause new health concerns. This is a disaster. The Japanese are asking for immediate help. No foreign bankers seem to care. They’re too interested in starting WWIII. Obama’s got no control of the White house. And millions of people have no idea of anything going on outside of TV Land. Those who act unreasonable get the government they deserve. People gotta come together with the wisdom out there if you expect to survive with goodness for all. Point blank. The end is always on its way. Life is finite. It is our duty to uphold the Universal Law, “The Will to do Good.”
#SPREADTHIS -> (AMY GOODMAN): ‘What are you facing? When you say “the lesser of two evils,” what was the other choice?’ *
(LADAR LEVISON): ‘Unfortunately, I can’t talk about that. I would like to, believe me. I think if the American public knew what our government was doing, they wouldn’t be allowed to do it anymore, which is why I’m here in D.C. today speaking to you.’
I watched an interview about this last weekend. If you don’t know the details, I strongly suggest you read up and be horrified and write letters and vote because holy crap, this is not how the US should be running. (via monkeyfrog)
It would appear as though the tinfoil hat-wearing were vindicated today, as news broke of the true scale of the U.S. government’s surveillance of its citizens’ online activities, conducted primarily through the NSA and seemingly beyond the realm of the law.
If the reports are to be believed, metadata about virtually every aspect of individuals’ lives - phone records and geographic data, emails, web application login times and locations, credit card transactions - are being aggregated and subjected to ‘big data’ analysis.
The potential for abuse, especially in light of the recent IRS scandal and AP leak investigation, appears unlimited.
Knowing this, what steps can ordinary individuals take to safeguard themselves against the collection, and exposure, of such sensitive personal information?
I would start with greater adoption of PGP for emails, open source alternatives to web applications, and the use of VPNs. Are there any other (or better) steps that can be taken to minimize one’s exposure to the surveillance dragnet?