The Real Terrorists

I’ve started reading through J. Edgar Hoover’s files the reports a contractor developed for PA’s Department of Homeland Security that describe political activism as a terrorist threat; Governor Rendell has made them publicly available here. I’ll have more to say about them later (though feel free to add comments on them below).

But for the moment, I’d like to unpack the underlying premise.

The whole idea behind collecting this information and sharing it with private sector entities like oil drilling lobbyists arose as part of efforts to protect our critical infrastructure from terrorist attack after 9/11. US DHS describes the imperative to protect critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR) this way:

Why is CIKR Protection Important?

  • Attacks on CIKR could significantly disrupt the functioning of government and business alike and produce cascading effects far beyond the targeted sector and physical location of the incident.
  • Direct terrorist attacks and natural, manmade, or technological hazards could produce catastrophic losses in terms of human casualties, property destruction, and economic effects, as well as profound damage to public morale and confidence.
  • Attacks using components of the nation’s CIKR as weapons of mass destruction could have even more devastating physical and psychological consequences.

The Homeland Security Act of 2002 provides the primary authority for the overall homeland security mission. This act charged the Department of Homeland Security with primary responsibility for developing a comprehensive national plan to secure CIKR and recommend “the measures necessary to protect the key resources and critical infrastructure of the United States.” This comprehensive plan is the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP), published by the Department in June 2006. The NIPP provides the unifying structure for integrating a wide range of efforts for the protection of CIKR into a single national program.

And here’s what the federal government’s Department of Homeland Security considers critical infrastructure, which is how the ITRR organized the reports it gave to PA’s DHS:

So you see, because “attacks on CIKR could significantly disrupt the functioning of government and business alike and produce cascading effects far beyond the targeted sector and physical location of the incident,” PA (and surely other states) are collecting information about the lawful political organizing of anti-drilling and animal welfare activists, among others.

What I want to know is why we regard terrorist attacks to be the greatest threat to our transportation system? To our water? To our food system?

And most of all, to our banking and finance system?

Just to take one example, who do you think is a greater risk to our oil and gas infrastructure? A bunch of hippie protesters trying to limit drilling in the Marcellus Shale and thereby protect the quality of their drinking water (which is, itself, considered critical infrastructure)? Or PG&E, which sat on knowledge of an extremely high risk pipeline for three years even after setting aside the money to fix it?

Three years ago, PG&E asked state regulators for permission to spend $4.87 million to replace a section of the pipeline associated with the pipe that exploded in San Bruno last Thursday. The 1.42-mile section that ran under South San Francisco, which is more heavily populated than San Bruno, was considered extremely high risk and in need to replacement. Last year, the utility company made a similar request to replace a larger section of the same pipeline, at a cost of $13 million. Rate increases were approved and the plan should have gone forward. Sadly, nothing was done and lives were lost.

The South San Francisco pipeline replacement project was dropped down on the priority list and the money allocated for the work was spent elsewhere. Many experts and laypersons alike are now asking, why didn’t PG&E replace pipes they knew to be extremely dangerous?

And while multiple layers of government make sure the PG&Es of the world know about those hippie protesters, they can’t be bothered to require the utilities or pipeline operators to actually return the favor by revealing where the pipelines at risk of explosion are.

In a letter sent Friday, the executive director of the California Public Utilities Commission, Paul Clanon, sought the location of each pipeline segment on the list as well as a “detailed description of the criteria PG&E uses in deciding which pipeline segments to characterize as high-priority projects.”

Clanon defended the delay in seeking the list, whose existence PG&E disclosed as early as 2007, saying the agency didn’t see the need for the information before. Just because a site is on the list doesn’t necessarily mean it is dangerous, he said, adding that it’s not his agency’s role “to run the day-by-day activities of the utility.”

Leave aside our wholesale neglect of these elements of critical infrastructure themselves–the crumbling of our pipelines and roads and financial system because neither the public nor the private sector want to spend the money and time to keep them together–and focus on the information gathering part of it.

Because terrorism is somehow a greater threat to our country than PG&E’s neglect or Wright County Egg’s negligence or Lehman’s greed, we collect and share information on hippies. But not on the pipelines that will explode of their own accord, with action from neither hippies nor terrorists.

Updated to fix typo, “Communities” instead of “Communications.”

  1. wayoutwest says:

    We know that hippies and peacenicks are the real threat because they are Socialists and Socialism is the real threat to the system.

  2. kbskiff says:

    “Critical” infrastructure must also have security on site. In some cases they are allowed to use force against a “perceived” threat. It is just a matter of time until some trigger happy bored security guard kills a photographer, protester or just a person in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Fusion Centers being expanded nationwide contemplate “corporate stakeholders” being privy to DHS information not available to others via the Infraguard program. This will lead to no good.

    • croghan27 says:

      AAAHH EW you know the answer to that one …. just as kidnapping, torture and murder are kidnapping, torture and murder if done by ‘them’. If we do it, it is just the loyal acts of patriotic citizens acting in a responsible manner.

      If Greenpeace activists climb a tower and hang a sign from it ‘dis’ing’ legal authority (corporate) then we all are endangered by the unauthorized outbreak of disrespectful anarchy and lack of (our) pure motives. While a few bad pipelines may injure a few, destroy some otherwise useless wilderness places or taint some watersheds they are only collateral damage in the great war for corporate supremacy.

  3. kbskiff says:

    Of course they are. Legal terrorists. The government gives them permits to pollute.

    If you are the one drinking the water not only are the drillers terrorists so are those that issue the permits.

  4. dustbunny44 says:

    That list outlines a government solely concerned with business interests, unconcerned with people. Gotta change.

  5. JasonLeopold says:

    Piggybacking on the pipeline issue, the country’s electrical grid is still in a sorry state as well and these companies won’t invest the funds on upkeep to address severe bottlenecks, etc (PG&E being one example).

  6. BOHICA says:

    Fools, all of them

    The 12-page bulletin that was issued Aug. 30 included a list of municipal zoning hearings on Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling, a forestry industry conference and a screening of the documentary “Gasland” as events likely to be attended by anti-drilling activists.

    Aside from the drilling-related events, the bulletin mentioned other potential security concerns that it said could involve “anarchists and Black Power radicals.”

    It listed demonstrations by anti-war groups, deportation protesters in Philadelphia, mountaintop removal mining protesters in West Virginia and an animal rights protest at a Montgomery County rodeo.

    It also included “Burn the Confederate Flag Day,” the Jewish high holidays and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as potential sources of risk.

    If anyone follows Jesus’ General, you know that “Burn the Confederate Flag Day” is one of his ideas.
    As they say, teh stupid, it burns.

  7. hackworth1 says:

    This is about protecting private (privatized = sold cheaply to political cronies) property at taxpayer expense. Privatized profits and socialized (losses/operating/maintenance) expenses.

    And Cracking Skulls – Keep a subdued and fearful population. They fear that the public is becoming more inspired to revolt and protest like the French.

  8. Scarecrow says:

    I would be surprised if the PUC doesn’t just sit there in review infrastructure-funding rate increases when the utility chooses to ask for them. My guess is has a separate division whose responsibility is safety, to set standards, perform or order/review inspections, require upgrades. The SF media hasn’t gotten to the bottom of this regulatory failure.

      • TalkingStick says:

        I speak from a vast expanse of ignorance but my sense is that safety issues at the state level are more often left to the utility to do the right thing with only a pretense of oversight.

        We here in Georgia are having trouble getting information even on nuclear reactor safety issues to the PSC..

        • emptywheel says:

          You’re likely having problems getting info on nuclear safety issues BECAUSE of this effort.

          After 9/11, they took a two-fold approach. First, they made efforts like this to make sure private sector entities got intelligence, on the logic that since most of our critical infrastructure was privately held, we had to share the info so operators could be aware of the threats they faced.

          But at the same time, they made sure it was a lot harder for the public to get info on critical infrastructure. The logic being that the safety value brought by transparency and localized pressure could not outweigh making it easier for terrorists to get what would effectively be targeting information.

          So the reason why you can’t find out if the nuke plants near you are safe is likely bc the govt is worried that al Qaeda will use evidence of vulnerabilities (that is, of potential safety problems) as the basis for an attack.

          And yes, it took 4 years (and really, Democratic control of Congress) to begin to do anything about requiring the private sector operators to actually do anything about the underlying safety. And as the case of PG&E, among others, shows, the efforts have been far too small.

          • TalkingStick says:

            Yes all true. However I am a supporter but not activist of a long established nuclear watch non-profit.

            They are well experienced in getting the information and are able to use those channels.. The difficulty lies in getting the information to the state PSCs and the public.

          • kindGSL says:

            The other reason is that nuke plants are not safe, they never will be safe, and it is being all covered up to avoid any liability and to generate ill gotten, private profits. In my opinion it is a case of take the money and run.

            • AitchD says:

              Believe it or not: a certain heat-treating company (metallurgy) in Pittsburgh signed off on pipes and fittings that hadn’t been treated. During the Carter years of energy panic, the other kind of gas lines, and double coupons at the supermarket. Maybe those pipes and fittings went to Three Mile Island. Let’s hope so.

    • PJEvans says:

      Actually, the safety regulations are DOT (49 CFR 180-186, for those who want to get lost in the deathless prose). The company I work at is spending some millions a year just to get a solid GIS system up and running for their [mumble] miles of pipe.

      Also, I’ve been told that pigging (internal inspection) of pipelines runs about a million dollars a mile: it can only be done effectively on one diameter at a time (because the pig has to fit fairly tightly in the pipe), and also requires retrofitting the pipelines with new valves and ells so the pigs can pass them (that only has to be done once, though).

  9. TalkingStick says:

    Great article Marcy. You lay it out so we can all understand. Homeland Security law has made it easier for the governments spy on its people, particularly those who are its political opponents.

    I was a part of three groups that at one time were on the DOD published enemies list (as far as I know still are) . Quakers, Vegans and Unitarians.

    No matter the times or excuses governments will spy on its people for political purposes..

    It is of course shameful. I think the best defense is, as Andrew Young described in a recent interview, to assume the spies are there and to be as transparent as possible, to even welcome them. Exposure and openness are I think our most potent tools..

  10. JamesJoyce says:

    Seems protecting status quo interests which literally rape Americans is the game plan. Now we use the color of law to protect corporations whose business interests and due process rights obliterate the rights of people, in the lust for endless profit!!! This has all happened before. It happened in America when the rights of slave owners to own people as property was protected. Leveraged economic servitude is corporate’s game. As Jefferson well understood, corporations like the King of England minimize opportunity and gain monopolies. The rule of law in America has been slanted to protect monopolistic corporations surely as the slave owners where protected via Scott vs Sanford. IE servitude!!!

    Wake up America… Turn off American Idol, stop buying overpriced coffee. Brew your own, actually smell the coffee and let the caffeine activate your critical reasoning skills, if you have any left after killing million of brain neurons drinking boooooooooze! Those deaf, dumb, and blinded kids………

      • JamesJoyce says:


        Not all corporations are bad! We agree on that, correct! Thank god for two oceans and the corporate industrial might of America, to defeat the fascist Nazis and absolutist Japanese. My sometimes harsh comments are tempered by reality. I like value for money spent. Not garbage for money spent. Americans today like our forefathers are in a similar situation. Back in those days you had literate people who understood “Common Sense.” Today we have individuals brainwashed as Kierkegaard predicted, by people in black boxes. It is pathetic America fails to realize “liberty” is an illusion when you are in a state of servitude to powerful corporate energy purveyors whose underlying cost of the commodity they monopolize, determines the price of everything else! Like Health Insurance? Which leads me to a consistent theme of mine! A war on Energy not wars fabricated on people and lands to secure the interests of energy monopolies! Could we agree on this dear! Potential energy wasted is liberty wasted. Lots and Lots of liberty squandered for the benefit of who and at whose expense? Too life not stupidity!

  11. hackworth1 says:

    Critical Manufacturing/ Commercial Facilities

    They can pick and choose which big donors get armed Blackwater guards for free (on us).

  12. nonquixote says:

    And my county just hosted a joint HS security task force last month to “swarm,” a docked Great Lakes freighter in a drill to “be prepared,” for potential threats to shipping. Four states, military, DNR, FBI, local police, I feel so much safer now, NOT!! Picture in local Repug rag showed twin 250 horsepower outboards on a boat full of armored black suits weilding weapons that likely couldn’t scale the side of the ship under any circumstances if they had to. Cost of that gear alone could have stocked tri-county local food pantries for ten years. A dozen officers in one un-armored open boat that could be taken out with someone dropping a big rock over the side of the freighter. Monty Python freakin’ circus.

    • nonquixote says:

      Get them out of the, not a ripple on the water, standing still freighter and out on the, legend lives on, gales of November, lake for a HS exercise.

      Better yet, for public safety and health, employ those resources to finish the job of bringing up the 500 some odd barrels of some kind of military trash, (bio-hazard, radio-active, no one “knows,”) dumped into Lake Superior decades ago. At least an underwater survey to attempt to locate this stuff has begun.

      • TalkingStick says:

        Doesn/t homeland security law permit the warrantless search and identity proof of any person in public within 100 miles of the border?

        • nonquixote says:

          Yes, I’m living in the constitution free zone, as the ACLU termed it, along with a full 2/3 of the population of the US according to their figures.

          Oh and I doubt that you would have to be, “in public,” to be eligible.

          • TalkingStick says:

            I only learned of it from an obscure report in one of the national newspapers. This really should be made more public. I hope th e ACLU will go forward.

            Pure and simple we are a police state.

        • donbacon says:

          Doesn’t homeland security law permit the warrantless search and identity proof of any person in public within 100 miles of the border?

          What they do have is Border Patrol checkpoints where motorists are stopped (supposed to be brief) and occasional inquiries made about citizenship, with sometimes more questions and requests to pull the vehicle into “secondary” for inspection. This is authorized by the Supreme Court.

          It’s definitely a constitutional question because we have the right to remain silent while the Supremes have decided that the BP has the right to inquire about citizenship. An inquiry w/o an answer? The BP delights in saying that they only need reasonable suspicion and not probable cause to do what they do.

          Searches must be either agreed to or for probable cause, but they have dogs that they can “false alert” for drugs. Many people accede to a search when asked.

          The checkpoints are legally established for immigration control but increasingly the BP is getting into drugs because (1) fewer immigrants and (2) more money in drugs.

          I have twice taken the option to remain silent regarding the citizenship question and a lot of other questions/demands: Is this your vehicle, where are you going, show me your license, etc. Once I got away with it and the other time I was held for an hour until I answered the citizenship question and then I could go.
          more here:

          • Mason says:

            Searches must be either agreed to or for probable cause, but they have dogs that they can “false alert” for drugs. Many people accede to a search when asked.

            Not correct. A person crossing the border into the United States, whether or not a citizen of the U.S., does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy and must, if requested, submit to a search of his or her person and the contents of their vehicle, including any containers inside it. The authorities do not need a reasonable suspicion, probable cause, or a search warrant to search a person or vehicle at a border crossing.

            They use search dogs to speed-up the process of deciding whom and/or what vehicles to search, as opposed to making those decisions randomly, which they also do.

            It’s just like going through customs at an airport when you reenter the country after a trip abroad. They don’t need a reasonable suspicion, probable cause, or a search warrant to look through your baggage.

      • nonquixote says:

        where the hell does this stupidity end?

        (Talking to myself again, here.)

        Thanks Marcy for the great work on this piece. It is not as if this type of government action was entirely invisible to anyone still using our heads, like most of us at FDL anyway. These little displays of force to remind everyone to be illogically and irrationally fearful are just tiring and they are as predictable as the local sheriff scheduling the pre-primary election, swat-team, be sure to remember to tell the local shopper’s news photographer, drag out all the gear that your tax money keeps us up-to-date with, “drug,” bust.

  13. Bobster33 says:

    How come conservative christian churches are not on that list? wtf, was bush co derelict in not making sure that the critical republican base was made part of the CIKR? Start writing letters, because Obama must correct this immediately. Oh wait, Obama’s a muslim because he is not interested in putting the Christian churches as part of the CIKR.

    where the hell does this stupidity end?

  14. TalkingStick says:

    where the hell does this stupidity end?

    It ain’t going away anytime soon. Couple this obsession on spying with the president’s court affirmed right to name anyone he wants to as an enemy of the US with no right to habeas corpus and subject to assassination and you have your basic totalitarian state.

  15. Jesterfox says:

    PG&E sought and received rate increases to pay for replacing the sections of pipeline. Then they used the money for something else. Isn’t that fraud? They had sections of pipeline that they yhemselves described as extremely dangerous and that they had received the money to repair, but they didn’t repair. Isn’t that willful neglect? Shouldn’t someone be criminally charged? Or will they be allowed to use this to get another fundraising oportunity rate increase?

  16. parsnip says:

    I don’t see where the report lists citizens as key resources, or civilian housing as critical infrastructure, therefore it’s foolish to expect any money to be budgeted to protect these insignificant vermin and eyesores from corporate negligence. Corporations are the only persons worthy of guarding from ankle-biting hippies and environmental terrorist symps.

    ‘Agriculture and Food’….Hmm….what about that Gulf of Mexico seafood?

    ‘Water’……Hmm….what about the water and milk cows being poisoned by fracking fluid?

    I don’t believe that the health or welfare of individuals counts for anything in this country, except insofar as squeezing us for profits, and once the poverty rate goes over a certain tipping point, our usefulness to corporate bottom lines will be gone. Has anyone noticed that the only value left in the US is the key resources under our feet and offshore waters: oil, gas, coal, minerals? This is why there’s no regard for drinking water in the Marcellus shale, or Louisiana, Texas or Wyoming. Because the people have already been written off, discarded.

    • kbskiff says:

      Not only are US citizens not considered critical we are in fact suspect.

      Many of the jobs in the transportation industry now require workers to get a backround check in order to procure a TWIC card. Without this in many jobs in the industry you aren’t working if you have a felony. Of course the corporations, some with multiple felonies are exempt from these requirements. It’s OK to own critical infrastructure and be a convicted felon you just can’t be a lowly worker and be a felon.

      Money makes you trustworthy apparently as well as giving you a license to destroy others resources for profit.

  17. pajarito says:

    And request FOIA for any of the government’s doings on these actions or regulations of CIKR industries and you are under investigation yourself. Simply for exercising your right under a federal law. Informing yourself becomes a potential terrorist act.

    • TalkingStick says:

      And request FOIA for any of the government’s doings on these actions or regulations of CIKR industries and you are under investigation yourself

      Yes. That us a given. It really is just a part of being a government watch-dog activist.

  18. JamesJoyce says:


    Cumby Farms! Farmhouse coffee 4.99 per 1lb vs Stop and Shop @ 4.99 for 10.3 oz of coffee! Does anybody remember a store named SPAGS???? When value had meaning!

  19. workingclass says:

    The U.S. government, a tool of the Oligarchy, has established that it can detain, torture, kill, anyone whom it designates with the term terrorist. And it can do all this in total secrecy. The U.S. government, a tool of the Oligarchy, has also established that it can watch and record your every move. They have absolute privacy. You have no privacy whatsoever. We live in a police/surveillance state. And who are these people, these tools of the Oligarchs, enemies of the people and traitors to our constitution?

    They are Democrat and Republicans.


    Boycott the legacy parties.

    • JamesJoyce says:

      Woke up a long time ago dude! About the time I stopped drinking alcohol! A long long time ago! Washington…… America’s first president was aware of the deleterious effect of political parties. He nailed it! Jefferson warned of aristocrats incapable of controlling passion for profit. He nailed it! To bad we who benefit from “Enlightened Revolutionaries” are just to fucking stupid to realize, they understood it, they nailed it, after forming it. We listen to myopic self serving assholes daily who do not get it and never will! Servitude evolved and enabled by the color of law begotten under the pretense of protection is tyranny. Just ask a former Nazi solider who survived the war and now lives in America. He understands!

  20. JamesJoyce says:

    Whatever happened to the term, “We the people!” Just amend the preamble to say……… we the corporate slave owners buy law!

  21. cbl2 says:

    thank you for this Marcy.

    kinda kewl, I’m trackin’ ya :D

    when this story broke I told oldnslow that if we’d gone to Iowa to ‘liberate’ a few million chickens, we’d do hard time in some supermax, but the guys poisoning millions of americans will have years to litigate their crimes

  22. tegrat says:

    I think the real question is what information did they share and how do they justify the sharing of that information in light of their mission?

  23. cbl2 says:


    Josh Fox, GASLAND’s creator will be featured on KO’s show tomorrow night to discuss spying on filmgoers

    something tells me Keith will have Rendell on as well to again express his ‘horror’ – uh, too late Gov, the class actions have begun

    p.s.s. they have already poisoned two separate herds of PA. cattle and under current law, do not have to disclose the chemicals used in their process – can you imagine PG&E telling investigators they don’t have to reveal anything about that pipeline as that particular array is considered “proprietary” ?!?!?

  24. donbacon says:

    A year or two ago I was visiting a historic spot off a road with some houses on it in Kingman, AZ. The nearest house to where I entered the area was at least 200 meters away. As an avid birdwatcher I was using my binoculars to look at birds as I entered the area. Very soon a police cruiser pulled up and the officer asked me what I was doing. Obviously somebody in that house was on terrorist alert and I was a potential terrorist on recon. He knew the signs — an old white geezer with binoculars looking into trees.

    But count on Jon Stewart to clear it all up.

    • bmaz says:

      How exactly is voting Dem going to solve the issue? In case you have not noticed, Dems have controlled both houses of Congress for the past four years and the White House for the past two, and the assault on the Constitution and founding principles of this country have continued unabated, if not intensified in several critical regards.

  25. nahant says:

    Our Local CH 7 is reporting that the San Bruno gas pipe was over the max pressure at the time of the explosion… More pressure the more product they can move, sell and make profit!! And we all know Profit comes way before safety.. So you lose a few civilians… Oh well that the price of doing business..

    • PJEvans says:

      I wonder how much the fine is going to be – because running over the rated pressure is Not A Good Idea, for very obvious reasons. (Which one, though? We have two numbers: maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) and maximum operating pressure (MOP). MOP is usually lower than MAOP.) Also, it looked, in the photos I saw, like the welds at the end of that section of pipe went, which is bad.

      • nahant says:

        The was 384 pounds per Sq inch over the maximum allowed, yes the pipe is rated at 400 lbs per Sq inch. It was over the limits that were thought to be the max allowable and not what the pipe was rated at but sure is just below structural limits of a pipe that is 62 years old.. Time waits for no one and deterioration starts right after the pipe was manufactured.

        • PJEvans says:

          I see their MOP was 375, so at 384 they were spiking and should have had red lights going on in their operations center. Much better to be running under the MOP, it leaves you breathing room and lowers the stress on the pipe (literally).

          As far as age goes – the section that blew out is actually less than 60 years old. Soil conditions are a factor – pipe can corrode much faster in some soils than others. Proper maintenance helps a lot, too.

  26. Arkinsaw says:

    What’s just as important is to look at the contractor that got the $125,000 contract to do this “investigating.”

    According to Mondoweiss

    Institute of Terrorism Research and ResponseITRR is an Israeli “security” and “anti-terrorism” company — and like most of such companies has close ties to Israeli military and intelligence. According to ITRR’s website, the group describes itself as “the preeminent Israeli/American security firm providing training, intelligence and education to clients across the globe.”

    The site boasts of its “Israeli-style training” that “All ITRR courses are approved by the Israeli Ministry of Defense.” ITRR lists among its “partners” such groups as “The Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute” and it lists its offices in Philadelphia and Jerusalem. ITRR also shockingly is a “partner” of Philadelphia University…

    Going through ITRR’s website I found this item which states:

    All of the information ITRR’s staff creates is sent to its monitoring center in Jerusalem, where it is analyzed and verified with other local sources.

    “We never have just one member of the ground truth network in a country,” Perelman said. Right now, the institute has more than 15 people in the field. “We are constantly cross checking with ground truth sources and communications that we receive through other means.”

    ITRR’s network is global but not all countries are currently monitored. “If a client feels the need for coverage in a particular area we will obtain the information and coverage,” Perelman said.

    This appears to confirm that ITRR is gathering information on Americans and sending the data to Israel — almost certainly to Israeli intelligence. It would not be surprising if this firm were simply a front for Israeli intelligence and in effect being paid by US taxpayers to spy on them. In Pittsburgh, a city council member has demanded a probe into ITRR accusing the firm of “espionage.”

    • emptywheel says:

      And as qweryous noted to me via email, the guy who gave them the contract is an old JSOC guy.

      From 1971 to 2001, Powers served in the U. S. Army, retiring with the rank of colonel. As a Special Forces officer, he served in increasingly responsible positions both at home and abroad, including assignments with both the 5th and 7th Special Forces Groups, the Joint Special Operations Agency, Special Operations Command — Europe, the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command, and the U.S. Army War College. Prior to his appointment, Powers served as a senior fellow with the Joint Special Operations University.

      • phred says:

        Oh that’s reassuring, ex-military spying on citizens, spitting distance from violating posse comitatus. Magnificent.

  27. radiofreewill says:

    EW, I think you’re right on!

    And, I think there’s a path – using B.H. Liddel-Hart’s “Strategy of the Indirect Approach” – that decisively surrounds the real culprits – the real terrorists – with over-whelming forces for the Public Good.

    The Goopers are arrayed with their line split between the McConnell/Boehner old-line GOP and the Tea Party out on the Extreme Right. If they could stay unified and strong supports for each other, then they would likely steam-roll the mid-terms.

    However, the truth is that the GOP and the Tea Party aren’t unified, and they aren’t equally strong supports for each other, either. In fact, the truth is that the Tea Party is chronicly weak – they are All demonstrably irrational, self-refuting hypocrites with no ability to direct a coherent effort – they’re a mob led by rabble rousers, essentially.

    They’re 30% of the electorate – and that’s bigger than the remaining 20% of the electorate that McConnell and Boehner can influence.

    So, the way to a government responsive to the needs of average Americans, instead of a government shamelessly manipulated by greedy ideologues, the real terrorists, seems clear: Co-opt all the rational/sensible voters and defeat the Tea Party across-the-board in the mid-terms.

    We can do this!

    It takes a whole State going collectively crazy to elect a Tea Party candidate as their Senator! That’s a whole State putting its health and wellness in the hands of an Irrational tool of extremist Neocon ideology.

    If properly exposed for their nuttiness, imvho, all the Tea Party candidates would have the same liklihood of being elected Senators as Sarah Palin would have of being re-elected Governor of Alaska – almost zero.

    Once the Tea Party is swept out of the way, the enemies of Our Quality of Life – the real terrorists – will have no one left to hide behind – then we’ll finally see the complete capitulation of the Extremist Right and the return of Balanced Reason to our Body Politic.

  28. Xboxershorts says:

    I’m one of those hippies who is actively working to bring the drilling activities within the Marcellus Shale into some semblance of regulatory structure that actually has some foundation in reality.

    Thank you for a succinct analysis of what is wrong with the PA DHS program. I would also like to point out that ITRR, the company contracted by PA DHS to collect, analyze and report on CIKR is an international company rooted in the middle east (Israel) and as such, can be seen view public dissent through the eyes of one wholly unaccustomed to vocal citizen protest.

    I beg you to note how often the word “jihadist” appears on their reports regarding protests and potential protests of marcellus drilling activity.

    Not only was it a horrible abuse of our right to address our government, to have these reports made to the corporate interests we’re struggling to regulate. But, the analysis that makes up these reports is severely slanted and biased in the eyes of an authoritarian style viewpoint that sources from an entity who’s nation deals with the implications and repercussions of terror every day. This daily state of fear and terror just doesn’t exist in Pennsylvania which makes a lot of ITRR’s assumptions, well…total bullshit.

  29. Xboxershorts says:

    I mean, I’ve read 8 or 9 of these PDF’s and I’m absolutely astounded by the number of times the word jihadist comes up.

    I live in Potter County, PA and I can tell you, in no uncertain terms, there’s not a jihadist within several hundred miles of us here.

  30. AitchD says:

    On 9/11 PA’s then-governor became the first director of the newly-formed Homeland Security agency, Tom ‘duck tape and cover’ Ridge. So it seems natural that his own state would receive the full “one percent” solution invented by Dick Cheney. You don’t like your lockdown society? Start a revolution. Don’t expect anything official to make you happy again.

    Pennsylvania isn’t typical or comparable among the states. Real or imagined threats matter more there. For one thing, Pittsburgh has been the largest inland port. The city also used to be HQ for US Steel, Gulf Oil, Alcoa, and Westinghouse. Three Mile Island is in central PA, and still home to the only domestic nuclear disaster in 1979. It’s why the nuclear energy programs were halted. The Mellon family of Pittsburgh would be the wealthiest American family if not for the Rockefellers. Oh, and a little more than 100 years ago, Andrew Carnegie’s employee, Henry Clay Frick ordered the Pinkertons to open fire on the steel workers who were on strike.

  31. dipper says:

    Excellent writing and brilliant reporting. Top notch. These things need to be said and understood.

    I want to shout out again what Jeff Kaye said!

  32. fatster says:

    Protests bad/fraud not so much.

    U.S. contractor accused of fraud still winning big Afghan projects

    “On July 31, 2006, an employee of the Louis Berger Group, a contractor handling some of the most important U.S. rebuilding projects in Afghanistan, handed federal investigators explosive evidence that the company was intentionally and systematically overbilling American taxpayers.”


  33. skdadl says:

    OT, but tangential: The adventures of three of your senators — Lindsey Graham, plus Chambliss and Hagan — in tarsandsland (northern Alberta)

    See li’l Lindsey gush about how clean the oil from our tarsands is. By “clean” he means that Canada is a well-behaved client state and not one of those scary ME terrist places where they persecute DFHs so why can’t homegrown DFHs be more grateful that we don’t persecute them more, eh? Note that he does not address the environmental problems of the tarsands seriously at all, and the Alberta premier spared the sensibilities of the senators by not taking them to Fort Chipewyan, where First Nations people who depend on the Athabaska River for their lives are developing and dying of cancer at alarming rates.

    • fatster says:

      The environment? The ENVIRONMENT? That’s not important when there’s oil money to be made and the necessity of flying Lindsey back-and-forth from SC to DC on high fuel-consumption jets. Who’re you, anyway, a Quaker or sumpthin;?

    • qweryous says:

      Well we can have some of that tar sands oil mining here (in the USA state of Utah).

      Already covered here at FDL Seminal.

      Tar Sands Mining Coming NOW to the United States” by RLMiller Mar 19 2010.

      Newly approved permit for that mine just last week.

      Utah approves America’s First Tar Sands Mine” at OILCHANGE International.

      “On Monday, John Baza, the director of Utah’s Division of Oil, Gas & Mining, upheld an earlier decision by his staff to give Canadian company Earth Energy Resources a permit to mine a 62-acre pit in eastern Utah.”

      Also this :

      “The site of the mine is within the Colorado River watershed, which supports 30 million people across the region. And local environmental activists argue that for that small amount of oil, the Colorado River watershed, which is already over-stretched, will be put at risk.

      Processing the tar sands is incredibly energy and water intensive. Critics argue that it is madness to approve a thirsty and polluting industry in America’s second most arid state. They point out that there is already enormous competition for Utah’s limited water supply, and demand for the tar sands will make matters much worse.”

      Need for political support to progress this through…who better to ask.

      • skdadl says:

        And you know where they’re going to come when they need more water? Our guys are already making nefarious deals with your guys about our water. My position: but we need it! We’re built that way!

      • KenMuldrew says:

        “On Monday, John Baza, the director of Utah’s Division of Oil, Gas & Mining, upheld an earlier decision by his staff to give Canadian company Earth Energy Resources a permit to mine a 62-acre pit in eastern Utah.”

        It will get worse. The tailings ponds alone in the Fort McKay area cover 15,000 acres.

        Skdadl at 75:
        You just need the right frame of reference. The natives at Ft. Chip have a long, long way to go before they’re dying like the people of Iraq. Compared to that, the tarsands are environmentally benificent.

  34. skdadl says:

    OT: Today is Omar Khadr’s 24th birthday. Captured in Afghanistan at 15, tortured at Bagram, transported to GTMO about three months later at 16. Trial resumes 10/18. Via Carol Rosenberg on Twitter.

  35. JohnLopresti says:

    Intro: I looked slightly into the PGandE element of the post, and created a draft timeline, one not as technical as some of the ASTM-NIST related comments. Further, I avoided much of the polemics of the post proper, some of its points valid, some of those issues equal parts rhetorical and perennial questions the generations ask of one another, often with salubrious effect.

    My initial interest in mapping PGandE*s recent disaster was to contextualize maintenance in business terms.

    CA embarked on electricity deregulation in 1998. By 2000-2001 Enron and a bevy of market-smart cohorts created electricity starvation in the CA grid, an embarrassment to a newly elected governor, which new governor was insufficiently nimble to solve the grid gaming by the energy companies, nor his own challengers who launched a recall petition, bring the Republican script-reader governor Schwarzenegger to office by 2003.

    After conducting the energy taskforce meetings in January 2001 in secret the vice president in a Toronto speech added his voice to Bush*s in characterizing the CA artificially electricity starved market a harbinger of nationwide shortage of energy, and a proof it was time to waive environmental regulations, and extract energy resources, and build plants for electric generation urgently.

    In 2001 Bush named former TX energy regulator PWood to FERC. Also in 2001 PGandE filed for bankruptcy. While still in the early phase of the bankruptcy process PGandE paid $50 million in executive bonuses, and petitioned the bankruptcy court to allow an additional $17 million in bonuses as persuasion to assure executive retention.

    In 2004 Ashcroft*s DoJ launched a claim against one electricity market gamer for falsification of records in the CA scam. The CA AG also won several similar cases over the next few years.

    I wonder how much attention PGandE management provided for maintenance in that turbulent environment during its bankruptcy years; and what the Schwarzenegger Republican national committee script he read in his governor role at that time called for him to pretend he was going to do to assure PGandE vitality.

  36. donbacon says:

    Unfortunately it seems that the Border Patrol would like to use border procedures internally — they seem to be going in that direction.

  37. bobschacht says:

    I’m late to the party after a busy weekend, but let me join others in thanking you for this expose of misplaced priorities. It looks to me like the real CIKR they are trying to protect is the oligarchy of people who control our economy and national life– i.e., the power structure elite who consider themselves the most important “Key Resource”.

    We need to change the nature of this conversation, and you’ve made an excellent start!

    Bob in AZ

  38. wavpeac says:

    How do we wake people up to see that this nation is no longer “one nation” and that “we the people” no longer run this gov’t??? With Faux news being so effective in persuading people of the “untruth” it seems that truth is an impossible task.

    Thanks E.W…I just wish there was something more I could do besides post this on my face book page…