Kidnappings, Pirates, Halliburton, Fracking, And Me.

by RL Miller

The London-based Control Risks holds itself out as “an independent global risk consultancy specializing in helping organizations manage political, integrity, and security risks in complex and hostile environments.” Or, in practical terms, it provides anti-piracy services, handles kidnappings and other crises, and writes white papers analyzing terrorism risks in various countries.

One suspects that this expertise doesn’t come cheap. Clients buy discretion for large sums of cash, but SourceWatch notes “a long history of working with the energy sector, covering ground in Algeria, Angola, Congo, Nigeria, Russia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Sudan and Yemen.”  And now it’s advising unnamed, but presumably energy-oriented and rich, businesses how to handle fracking activists.

Because a worried upstate New York farmer has a lot in common with a Somali pirate.

The splash page on “The Global Anti-Fracking Movement: What it wants, how it operates, and what’s next” is here. You’re supposed to be able to download the report only by giving an email address to receive more briefings, and if you’re a senior executive in the oil and gas industry you can get the report and a complimentary personal briefing. For those of us who are not senior executives in the oil and gas industry and who don’t want want to give our email address to a shadowy international business that may count Halliburton and Bechtel among its clients, here is the entire report (pdf format).

The report views American environmental activists through the same hostile lens as it uses on kidnappers of Exxon executives. It is shocked to report that “A notable feature of the anti-fracking movement – shared with other social movements such as Occupy – is the extensive use of online social media to disseminate information, organise and mobilise.” (p.8)

The white paper carefully separates those who call for an outright ban from those seeking tighter regulation: “the majority of the anti-fracking movement simply wants tighter environmental regulation of unconventional gas development. With tighter regulation, enforcement and accountability, a sizeable swathe of the anti-fracking movement – from grassroots activists with single-issue grievances to influential environmental NGOs such as the UA’s Natural Resources defense Council (NRDC) – is prepared to drop its objection to hydraulic fracturing.” (p.5) And it goes on to discuss, without actually suggesting that big green groups concerned about climate should co-opt local people concerned about their food and water supply, wink, nudge (p.9):

International environmental NGOs also play a key global networking role. For example, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly World Wildlife Fund) each mount anti-fracking advocacy campaigns and support local anti-fracking groups. yet in contrast with grassroots activists, focused primarily on local social, economic and environmental impacts, international environmental NGOs situate unconventional gas extraction largely within their efforts on climate change.The intervention of international NGOs has inevitably pulled the anti-fracking movement – at the global level – towards the climate change agenda, meaning that purely climate change-focused groups, such as, have obtained a prominent position. This
has occasionally resulted in friction within the anti-fracking movement, to the extent that some climate change-focused NGOs – though not the three listed above – view unconventional gas as a low carbon alternative to coal. Not only do such groups ignore
pressing local impact concerns, they may also be more amenable to tighter regulation as opposed to an outright ban.

Control Risks’ final suggestions for handling those pesky activists: “acknowledge grievances,” “engage local communities,” “reduce impacts,” and “create more winners” (pay people).  But nothing about actually listening to the activists, cleaning up wastewater, disclosing toxic fluids, or actually reducing carbon emissions. California is next in line for a fracking boom, if the clients of Control Risks have their way the federal Bureau of Land Management’s first auction of fracking leases sold 18,000 acres in ten minutes flat. The divide-and-conquer strategy is just beginning; most large green groups have stayed silent on the woefully insufficient draft regulations recently proposed, Very Serious Editorials opine that full disclosure of fracking fluids is somehow sufficient, bills being introduced echo the call for regulation rather than a moratorium, and efforts within the California Democratic Party to call for a moratorium are being watered down.

As for me, I’m not going to kidnap or terrorize the pro-fracking folk. I just don’t want them doing to the vineyards and suburbs of California what has been done to the farms of Pennsylvania and New York.

RL Miller is an attorney and environment blogger with Climate Hawks. This piece was originally published at Daily Kos and was reprinted with permission by the author.


11 Responses to Kidnappings, Pirates, Halliburton, Fracking, And Me.

  1. Ozonator says:

    The loss of Evil Inhofe from the environment committee to a more overt committee of waging war on a narrower sliver of life has freed up billions. First it was Grover Norquist and now Control Risks is taking blood money away from the usual extremist media outlets.

  2. Clifford says:

    I know this will be seen as picky, but I would ask Mr. Miller to do a little editing before posting his written work. He has some very interesting things to say, but I cannot bring myself to re-post what he has written because of the abysmal English. It would help, for instance, to put verbs in sentences without them. Poor quality writing causes suspicions of poor quality thinking or poor quality research. Mr. Miller, please do pay some attention to my comments, as I would very much like to re-post your articles in the future.

  3. Erwin Brown says:

    Really Clifford? Americans being dumbed down for over 40 years and so you wish to judge an American’s ability to think and work for grammer and such. Why you must be a near perfect speci-man of a human to be able to boast “no flaws” of your own and point so boldly at others. Reject truth for the turn of a mere letter or two. Impressive sir.

  4. Merrelyn Emery says:

    So ‘terrorism’ now includes trying to save arable land, the ultimate in emotional engineering, ME

  5. ryan says:

    “Today’s rapidly growing market for private military and security functions is essentially unregulated… Security as a commodity that is provided as a function of the market will create the situation in which derivatives of security – fundamental human rights and freedoms – become market commodities.”
    “The Private Law of War”

  6. Kim Feil says:

    An outright ban is impossible and so I have the top ten things the risk control groups can pass along to the industry to address if they really want to try to look like they are concerned about our concerns….these are listed on the right hand side of BarnettShaleHell blog.

  7. Mike Roddy says:

    It’s impossible to make fracking safe through regulation. Most wells fail over time, since the cement casings cannot withstand underground pressures, and crack after a while. This is clearly shown by a geology professor in Fox’s new short video:

    That means that the gas companies are criminally negligent, knowingly ruining water supplies and spewing vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. They are the ones who should be arrested, and sent to a prison in Somalia or, say, El Salvador. The protestors should be awarded presidential medals of freedom, and should not have to wait until it’s posthumous, as RFK and MLK did.

  8. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘Terrorism’ is and always has been whatever the Bosses say it is, ie anything that gets in their way. Who can forget Thatcher declaring the ANC and Mandela ‘terrorists’? The real terrorists are the state and corporate terrorists who have killed millions, destroyed whole countries and who are currently destroying the habitability of this planet for humanity. Declaring environmentalists to be ‘Green terrorists’ was always inevitable, and will be accompanied by the Right’s favourite tactic, the ‘false-flag’ terrorist outrage to be blamed on ‘Green extremists’ which will be followed by the sort of crackdown that Leftists experienced in the 1920s and 1950s and that Moslems are suffering now. Indeed, given the extremity of our situation and the stakes at play, I expect it to be even more ruthless.

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The ‘private security’ business in Valencia in Spain is run by an open fascist and admirer of Franco (and certainly the same tendency is discernible across Europe and the USA). The situation where the Left holds the truth and the Right the guns is immensely foreboding. Naturally, the neo-fascists everywhere hate Greens viscerally, as ‘watermelons’.

  10. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I agree, but, alas, that is not how the global capitalist system works. ‘The mean will inherit the Earth’, and they no longer seem prepared to tolerate the existence of ‘Others’.