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PA's Dept. of Homeland Security Shared Oil-Shale Protester Info With Companies

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the nothing-dirty-or-suspicious-here dept.

Privacy 293

Western Pennsylvania's shale oil deposits have lately attracted interest not only from companies who have been extracting some of that oil, but from locals who object to what they perceive as sharp dealing by the companies involved, favorable treatment by the state government, and environmental degradation as a result of the extraction. Some of the most visible of those protesters, it turns out, have been tracked (including "Web traffic") by Pennsylvania's own Homeland Security department, and that information about them has been shared not only within the department, but with the oil companies themselves. Homeland Security director James Powers defended the information shared with the oil companies as part of a triweekly bulletin, saying "We want to continue providing this support to the Marcellus Shale Formation natural gas stakeholders while not feeding those groups fomenting dissent against those same companies."

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Those damn evil Republicans (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33581876)

Oh wait, it's the democrats doing this. This is OK then.

Re:Those damn evil Republicans (1, Troll)

jcr (53032) | about 4 years ago | (#33581924)

Oh, I'm sure that local Republicans would do the same thing if they were in the democrat's shoes here. Follow the money.

-jcr

Re:Those damn evil Republicans (3, Insightful)

osgeek (239988) | about 4 years ago | (#33582062)

I'm sure they would too, but it's one of those issues where it really points out the hypocrisy of the party. It's like when a Republican violates family values and has a homosexual affair. It invokes a Nelson "ha ha" response.

Re:Those damn evil Republicans (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | about 4 years ago | (#33582150)

Is James Powers a Democrat? Seems more like he is a bureaucrat. When a new government is elected, all the existing people in various departments aren't fired and replaced with people from the new party.

Re:Those damn evil Republicans (5, Interesting)

ncgnu08 (1307339) | about 4 years ago | (#33583056)

Is James Powers a Democrat? Seems more like he is a bureaucrat.

Bureaucrat? Possibly. Democrat? No way... his bio makes me think Republican for sure. He is former military, who are usually Republican (I make no judgment here). He formally worked/possibly still does for a large oil/mining company which usually means Republican (I am making judgment here). And through that career, it seems safe to assume he has gotten rich, which means Republican (again, judgment). If one takes those three observations (not necessarily in that order) I think Republican is a sure bet. And before I get the "troll label" A)most military members vote Republican, as they used to believe in small government and a strong defense force; and B) which party is fighting to keep the tax cuts for the richest 2.5% of our population? I'm not going to turn this into a political discussion, I'm just explaining my theory and answering the question.

Republican or Democrat, this policy stinks and really runs contradictory to "of, by, and for the people" and seems to me to be more fallout from the Citizens United verdict, which I still mourn.

Re:Those damn evil Republicans (2, Informative)

Culture20 (968837) | about 4 years ago | (#33582156)

Hypocracy? What hypocracy? Total Government control is a party platform.

Re:Those damn evil Republicans (5, Informative)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 years ago | (#33582740)

James F. Powers, Jr, Director of Homeland Security for Pennsylvania, works for the energy industry. Since especially in Pennsylvania, the energy industry wrote every regulation that deals with coal, natural gas or oil, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the state's energy regulations required the release of personal information of anyone protesting fossil fuel development.

Further, here's the bio on Mr Powers:

From 2001 through mid 2006, Director Powers served as a Special Operations consultant with KWG Consulting of Waterford, Virginia; an adjunct Faculty Instructor with the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA; and a Senior Fellow with the Joint Special Operations University, United States Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, FL.

Prior to serving as a consultant and Senior Fellow, Mr. Powers served over 30 years as a career U.S. Army Special Forces officer attaining the rank of Colonel. His command and staff assignments comprised tours in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Korea, and Washington, D.C. In his last assignment on Active Duty, Colonel Powers served as the Director of Special Operations Studies, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA.

The important part of this bio is the fact that from 2001 through 2006, Powers served as a "Special Operations" consultant with KWG Consulting of Waterford, Virginia. If you look up "KWG Consulting" you don't find much. A half-million dollar budget and "from 1-4 employees" and nothing more. However (and this part's important), KWG Consulting is affiliated with KWG Resources, a multi-national mining and energy conglomerate, that's heavily involved in coal, oil and gas pipelines and railroads that carry coal, oil and gas.

So, it appears we have a hot shot special forces colonel who took big money to sell his services to foreign corporate interests, got himself appointed to Pennsylvania's DHS (what a coincidence!) and is now working as a hit man for the fossil fuel industry.

The next time you want to argue with me when I say that corporations have become much more powerful than any national government in the world, remember this little story, all true. I believe the government of the United States, especially, has been replaced by corporate interests since at least 1980, and the stuff we see with elections and campaigns and political discourse is nothing but theater to keep us occupied while transnationals consolidate their position as the true government of the world. The only reason we still have something called a government here in the US is to provide an enforcement arm to the corporations and to keep some semblance of order to provide a conducive environment for corporate profits and growth.

Tell me again... (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 4 years ago | (#33581880)

I hear all the time about how government protects people from corporations, and that's why we have to keep giving government more and more power. Holy shit, you mean they actually don't?

-jcr

Re:Tell me again... (5, Insightful)

schmidt349 (690948) | about 4 years ago | (#33581976)

When you create the legal fiction that an intangible conglomeration of people, united solely in their desire to exploit other people for monetary gain, counts as a human being under the law, weird shit starts happening.

If you ask me it's time we brought back the death penalty for unruly corporations.

Re:Tell me again... (2, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | about 4 years ago | (#33582460)

If you ask me it's time we brought back the death penalty for unruly corporations.

No, because the psychopaths responsible for the decisions, will find a way out, leaving their customary trail of destruction and misery after them: they will manipulate their way out of the to-be-killed corporation that they corrupted and abused, and into a leading position in another company. Which is, btw. what they do today already, even without your proposed "death penalty for unruly corporations".

Instead, we should introduce death penalties for unruly executives, and start recognizing corporate psychopathy for the that it is.

Re:Tell me again... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33582936)

I keep hearing this, but I never hear why people should *lose* rights simply because they are pooling resources and acting as a group... Why should corporate contracts be treated as contracts between individuals? Well, because they are. What is wrong here is that a government is acting for one party and against another. It is rule by men instead of by law. Nothing to do with corporations, except that as representatives of wealthy interests they are better than individuals at corrupting the system.

Re:Tell me again... (1)

schmidt349 (690948) | about 4 years ago | (#33583010)

I'm sorry, what? Who's losing rights when we say enough to the abuse of a poorly designed vehicle for business activity?

Libertarians are statists like the rest of us, it's just that in their language "state" starts with C and ends with N.

Re:Tell me again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33583000)

If you ask me it's time we brought back the death penalty for unruly corporations.

If you ask me, crimes should be treated as crimes no matter who commits them, and just because you are the government or are a corporation in bed with the government doesn't mean you should be able to get away with crime.

When you create the legal fiction that an intangible conglomeration of people, united solely in their desire to exploit other people for monetary gain, counts as a human being under the law, weird shit starts happening.

Corporations are made up of human beings. Is it not a crime for a human being to, for example, defraud another human being? Or steal from him, assault him, burglarize his home, etc? So what's wrong with not giving corporations (or anyone/anything) special treatment and treating them as human beings (with more assets, of course) then?

I think the real problem is with who is enforcing the law -- that entity that always tells us it's there to protect our interests, but reality and history shows it's really only there to protect its own interests at our expense.

Re:Tell me again... (5, Insightful)

conspirator57 (1123519) | about 4 years ago | (#33581992)

and to think those of us who objected to PATRIOT, state fusion centers, and the rest of the expansion of the surveillance / police state were called wingnuts: after all, if you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear, and so what's the harm in letting the government spy on you? oh wait. and to think that this is merely the tip of the police state iceberg. i foresee far darker days ahead on our society's current path.

Re:Tell me again... (5, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | about 4 years ago | (#33582094)

People only tend to appreciate the evils of government when the party they dislike is in power.

Re:Tell me again... (2, Insightful)

hellop2 (1271166) | about 4 years ago | (#33582216)

I disagree with this. At least I think I do, since your use of "appreciate" is confusing. However, back at the University of Oregon, all the hippies protested Clinton, and the Kosovo war.

Show me a sane person who likes evil.

Do you think all the War protesters suddenly A-OKed the war after Obama was elected?

Re:Tell me again... (3, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | about 4 years ago | (#33582312)

No, but a lot of them stopped talking about it.

Re:Tell me again... (2, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33582924)

Probably, because the wars were winding down. Wars tend to get less attention as they wind down. There are exceptions, but the reality is that Iraq was starting to wind down and consequently there wasn't the need to do a huge amount of protest. But there was also the issue of time, when Obama took office, the war was hardly the only mess he got stuck with, people tend to focus on the things with the most immediate impact as in the economy.

I realize that the right needs to invent conspiracies to drive it, but give me a break, at some point it's just sad. Sort of like that "conspiracy" to remove the w keys from all the keyboards that didn't really happen.

Re:Tell me again... (2, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 years ago | (#33582328)

Do you think all the War protesters suddenly A-OKed the war after Obama was elected?

A lot of them did. It's for two reasons, one the biggest protesting point was that Bush was involved and anything to rail on Bush seemed to be acceptable. Another reason is that once obama was elected, they had some sort of trust that the wars were somewhat necessary seeing how he didn't end them or anything. (fun fact, Obama's ending of the Iraq war was little more then renaming the support and training troops that were scheduled to be left behind from Bush's SOFA agreement that was created about a year before the elections.)

Re:Tell me again... (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33582948)

Wow, I cannot imagine how on earth you got those points. First off, you don't just remove all the troops in a couple days, the results of doing such an ill advised troop withdrawal tends to be catastrophic. Just look at what happened when we basically did that in Vietnam. Secondly, it's not just a matter of renaming the mission, they're there under a completely different mandate. By your logic, Operation Desert Storm is almost into its second decade.

Yeah that's right, enforcing the no fly zone is just a renaming of the war to keep it from being debated as a war, right?

Re:Tell me again... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 4 years ago | (#33582974)

Show me a sane person who likes evil.

Show me anyone, sane or insane, who "likes evil". I think there's a few performers and serial killers. It's not a useful observation.

Do you think all the War protesters suddenly A-OKed the war after Obama was elected?

No, but most of them did suddenly A-OK it. My take is that the issue wasn't that the US was killing innocent people, but rather who would have benefited from winning the war.

Re:Tell me again... (5, Informative)

youngone (975102) | about 4 years ago | (#33582344)

That would likely be true if The US were not just a one party state. Also have a look at this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism [wikipedia.org] Take special note of this bit: "Fascists seek to organize a nation according to corporatist perspectives, values, and systems, including the political system and the economy." That's pretty much exactly what is happening here.

Re:Tell me again... (4, Insightful)

Xaositecte (897197) | about 4 years ago | (#33582382)

Eh? Both Republics and Democrats have been pushing this shit. Who the hell is standing against it?

Re:Tell me again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33582608)

CmdrTaco. We're doomed.

Re:Tell me again... (1, Insightful)

PRMan (959735) | about 4 years ago | (#33582916)

The Tea Party. We're doomed.

Re:Tell me again... (1)

msauve (701917) | about 4 years ago | (#33582638)

You're creating a false dichotomy. Both major parties function primarily to build and maintain governmental power.

Re:Tell me again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33583008)

>People only tend to appreciate the evils of government when the party they dislike is in power.

What do people appreciate when they dislike both parties?

Re:Tell me again... (1)

quanticle (843097) | about 4 years ago | (#33582102)

How much do you want to bet that National Security Letters were involved here somehow?

Re:Tell me again... (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 4 years ago | (#33582616)

I'll take that bet, seeing as it was a state government involved, and not the feds.

Re:Tell me again... (2, Insightful)

quanticle (843097) | about 4 years ago | (#33582852)

The state Department of Homeland Security is a "fusion center" serving to "facilitate" cooperation between state and federal authorities. Given that, I wouldn't rule out federal involvement.

Re:Tell me again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33582116)

Thats because you are a fucking wing nut. Put your fucking tin foil hat back on and shut the fuck up.

Fucking pussy.

Re:Tell me again... (5, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about 4 years ago | (#33582052)

They could...

If the people actually cared about ethics in government and business...

Instead everyone wants to get rich by any means necessary, including cheating and reality tv shows.

What is the government? Its you... Its me... Its the people. Its our country. If we cant trust the government, we cant trust each other or our country.

If we want a better government, elect better people and be a better person yourself. Be vigilant

Re:Tell me again... (2, Insightful)

Whammy666 (589169) | about 4 years ago | (#33582054)

Fascism: When govt and corporations actively work together to the detriment of the general population.

Re:Tell me again... (4, Informative)

jcr (53032) | about 4 years ago | (#33582576)

That problem predates fascism by a couple of centuries. Adam Smith knew it as "mercantilisim".

-jcr

Re:Tell me again... (1)

astar (203020) | about 4 years ago | (#33582830)

If you look around there are all sorts of different definitions of fascism. You might look at the wikipedia summary on this. I use a deviate definition. Admittedly I am a little vague on the details. Try this.

Austerity on the general population. Think of it as looting their living standards, their lives, and ultimately their bodies.
A financial structure that needs that loot to keep going a little longer.
A big economic crisis.

I sort of think we could include the late roman empire under this rubic as fascist. So I am not inclined to buy it as a capitalist or corporate issues as some do. Oh sure, right now, we have big speculative investment banks (corporations) and they are defended as some sort of capitalist ideal somehow or the other. Maybe not today exactly, at least by very many people, but go back just to 2008. People of a certain sort like to complain about greedy capitalists, but the complainers could be helpful if they tried for precision.

The right approach is to try for a general definition and a general perspective on items that are complicated enough not to be machine-like.

As far as a parochial viewpoint, locally, in this time and country, it is not hard to identify specific people who have died from current "cut-backs" and here I think of California Fire Department cut-backs. I claim it is fair to call the current state and local government situation "austerity". What do you think?

Gasland (5, Informative)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about 4 years ago | (#33582090)

This isn't new. There are youtube videos of the water coming out of people's kitchen faucet catching on fire.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRZ4LQSonXA [youtube.com]

The process to remove natural gas and oil from shale is extremely complicated. Many companies won't even tell you what chemicals they use; they claim it's a "trade secret". They tell you that everything's okay, but you know for a fact that some of that cocktail they're pumping into the ground simply must be a carcinogen. And if they're drilling on your land, and you get your water from a well (and that's a lot of people in western PA), then you better believe that their fracking chemicals (hydraulic fracturing) are leeching into the local water table.

Naturally, there are also plenty of loopholes in the regulations to make sure that Corporate America can continue to rape and plunder low-life commoners like you and me.

For lots more information, go watch Gasland.

http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/613/index.html [pbs.org]

Re:Gasland (1)

QuickSilver_999 (166186) | about 4 years ago | (#33582478)

Ummm... That happens naturally. My grandmother's house before she sold it in the 70s. had a well that in order to use drink it you had to light the tap on fire first. After it finished, you could then drink it. Lots of fun. So, it's not just because of evil corporations. Unless you consider Mother Nature one of those evil corps.

Re:Gasland (5, Insightful)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | about 4 years ago | (#33582622)

Oil naturally leaks into the oceans. That doesn't mean all oil leaking into the oceans is natural. Lightning naturally starts forest fires. That doesn't mean all forest fires are natural.

Yes, it can happen naturally that a well might be contaminated with oil or natural gas. But, when it's the case that a well wasn't contaminated then suddenly becomes contaminated after recently drilling near or on your property, I wouldn't jump to any conclusions about it being natural. Nor, really, would I find it "beyond a reasonable doubt" simply that it was contaminated from recent drilling.

However, if it's the case that the recent drilling involved pumping a trade secret mixture of chemicals into the ground and you can find it in your well, that's a pretty strong link. So, the situation becomes finding out, in some fashion, that trade secret mixture to perform a simply comparison. I think that's all that people who feel they are effected are really demanding. Of course, if they find that fingerprint mixture, I'm sure they'll want to file lawsuits, have passed regulation changes, and/or see criminal charges to be pressed. But, all of that's pretty reasonable.

Re:Gasland (1)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about 4 years ago | (#33582796)

I'm going to guess from your reply that you didn't bother watching Gasland, because your reply does nothing to address the use of secret chemicals that are pumped underground where humans draw their drinking water from. Did your grandma have such companies trying to extract that gas by hydraulic fracturing without fully disclosing the types of chemicals they will be injecting into the ground that she drew her drinking water from?

Re:Gasland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33582758)

AFAIK, hydraulic fracturing is only done with water, hence "hydraulic". I worked a hydrofrac to open up water wells in a previous career to increase water yield in artesian wells. The process involves a piston that is lowered in the well casing down to bedrock, then inflated to seal the well and then water being pumped to a pressure of approx. 1500 psi under the piston to open up the water veins.

From my "limited" understanding of the same process in the shale oil/gas business, it pumps said oil/gas back into the water veins, thus mixing into the water supply.

Re:Gasland (4, Interesting)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about 4 years ago | (#33582856)

The fracking you did previously is quite different from the fracking gas companies are doing right now. The EPA has asked the drilling companies to disclose the chemicals. Of course, they don't want to. Of course, they also claim none of the chemicals are known to get into the water.

http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2010/0909/EPA-to-natural-gas-companies-Give-details-on-fracking-chemicals [csmonitor.com]

Re:Gasland (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 4 years ago | (#33582882)

I encourage people interested in the issues here to go out and research BOTH sides of the issue. Watch Gasland. And then go read the criticisms of the information presented in the film.

Many of the claims like those made in the parent don't stand up to research.

For example the following discusses the trade secret issue:

http://solveclimate.com/blog/20100913/fracking-chemicals-will-be-disclosed-drilling-companies-say [solveclimate.com]

Re:Gasland (3, Insightful)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about 4 years ago | (#33582932)

lol, are you for real? Try reading the article you cite as evidence. Last time I checked, ultimatums are generally issued after significant resistance.

The Obama administration urged gas companies to voluntarily disclose the toxic chemicals they inject in the ground in a type of natural gas exploration that uses hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

If companies rebuff the request — a seemingly unlikely event — environmental regulators could get tough.

I also find it absolutely hilarious that you're trying to use an article that was printed this week as evidence that these companies haven't been fighting to keep these chemicals secret for the past several years.

Re:Tell me again... (0)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 4 years ago | (#33582132)

I hear all the time about how government protects people from corporations

Corporations are people too!

Re:Tell me again... (3, Insightful)

ExploHD (888637) | about 4 years ago | (#33582244)

I hear all the time about how government protects people from corporations

Corporations are people too!

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." -George Orwell, Animal Farm

Re:Tell me again... (1)

Haeleth (414428) | about 4 years ago | (#33582402)

I hear all the time about how government protects people from corporations, and that's why we have to keep giving government more and more power.

Really? I am forced to conclude that you work in a psychiatric ward, or possibly as a comedian, because I can't think of any other contexts where you might constantly hear that kind of claim uttered.

The usual reasoning for why we give money to government is not that they protect us from corporations, but that they provide us with services that corporations wouldn't -- like roads that lead to unpopular destinations, police that protect the poor as well as the rich, and healthcare for the people that it wouldn't be profitable to treat. (Disclaimer: I am just stating the theory, not asserting that these things are provided in practice.)

As an aside, there are some areas where the government does in fact do a pretty good job of protecting us from corporations. For example, I kind of like the assurance that the roof over my head meets certain structural standards, and it's nice knowing the food on my plate is relatively unlikely to contain any additives that aren't plainly listed on the packaging.

Re:Tell me again... (0, Troll)

jcr (53032) | about 4 years ago | (#33582582)

I can't think of any other contexts where you might constantly hear that kind of claim uttered.

Take a look at /r/politics on reddit.com.

-jcr

Re:Tell me again... (1)

aiht (1017790) | about 4 years ago | (#33582662)

... and it's nice knowing the food on my plate is relatively unlikely to contain any additives that aren't plainly listed on the packaging.

... and that the water coming out of your tap hasn't been contaminated with chemicals that aren't safe for human consumption.
Oh, wait...

Re:Tell me again... (2, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 4 years ago | (#33582786)

I hear all the time about how government protects people from corporations, and that's why we have to keep giving government more and more power.

Merely giving government the power is not enough. You also need to hold it accountable for the use of said power.

This is actually true of anyone, not just the government. The reason why government is still preferable over corporations is that we do have some means of holding the government accountable in a democracy - even if they are growing more and more theoretical in a malfunctioning one such as yours. Corporations do not have any such means even in theory.

Re:Tell me again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33582920)

NMN says:

[Snarky statement]

__~--=+`=^*^^*^=`+=--~__

why? (2, Interesting)

Phizital1ty (1755648) | about 4 years ago | (#33581882)

I don't see what the PA department of homeland security has to benefit from giving that info to the companies? Can someone elaborate?

Re:why? (4, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 4 years ago | (#33581932)

Cos they are working for the companies. Not for you. Think directorship, member of the board. that kind of thing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture [wikipedia.org]

hth.

Re:why? (3, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#33581944)

Some politician got a contribution to his reelection campaign. How we consider that anything other than bribery I will never understand.

Re:why? (2, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about 4 years ago | (#33582078)

If we put every politico that did this in jail for bribery then virtually all of them would be there......hmmm.........

Re:why? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 4 years ago | (#33582984)

Ok, but the downside would be..?

payback at later date (3, Interesting)

Lead Butthead (321013) | about 4 years ago | (#33582026)

Department of homeland security has to benefit from giving that info to the companies? Can someone elaborate?

Because James Powers will probably receive a FAT consultant job with Marcellus Shale Formation after he "retires" from his "public sector" job. Very popular thing with DoD generals and military contractors/suppliers in the past.

Re:payback at later date (4, Insightful)

M. Baranczak (726671) | about 4 years ago | (#33582162)

The Marcellus Shale Formation is a geological feature. It's not in any position to be buying politicians. The companies extracting gas from the shale - that's a different story.

Re:payback at later date (4, Funny)

moortak (1273582) | about 4 years ago | (#33582202)

After this I think there's a good number of people looking to find him a nice position in the Marcellus Shale Formation.

Re:payback at later date (2, Insightful)

Ryanrule (1657199) | about 4 years ago | (#33582500)

imho, any govt worker who accepts any gift or job from a corporation that they have legislative influence over, should be tried for treason in a military court, and fuckin shot.

Re:payback at later date (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33582872)

This doesn't stop with the military. I work at the second largest school district in the country and management hires hundreds of contractors from firms like URS and Parsons at costs that can exceed $250 per hour. These people come in to the office and do the same work as government employees sitting at the next desk making $35 per hour. You might wonder why on Earth they would be eager to pay almost 8 times as much for a contract employee as a government employee ... it's because each executive stays just long enough to get their health benefits in retirement paid for by the public pension and then they go to work for URS or Parsons making big bucks in return for perpetuating the fraud.

Re:why? (1)

quanticle (843097) | about 4 years ago | (#33582072)

The Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security doesn't benefit from disclosing the names of protesters. However, the politicians in the Pennsylvania state legislature and the Pennsylvania governor's office most certainly do. Therefore, they start pressuring the Homeland Security Department to collect this information and share it with the oil companies involved.

It's info like that (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33581888)

Which keeps me from making a first post. I mean, who wants Cowboy Neal hunting you down?

Pennsylvania is a fascist state? (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 4 years ago | (#33581892)

Who knew...
I bet the trains run on time though.

 

Re:Pennsylvania is a fascist state? (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 4 years ago | (#33581914)

Who knew...

Not me. I thought it was a classic kleptocracy.

I bet the trains run on time though.

Most definitely not.

Re:Pennsylvania is a fascist state? (1)

vertinox (846076) | about 4 years ago | (#33582048)

I bet the trains run on time though.

Nope.

Because they were too busy searching people at the stations [nbcphiladelphia.com] without a valid reason.

Re:Pennsylvania is a fascist state? (1)

cosm (1072588) | about 4 years ago | (#33582494)

I wasn't aware trains could run on spices! [xkcd.com]

Re:Pennsylvania is a fascist state? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 4 years ago | (#33582860)

I bet the trains run on time though.

See, they found a way to weasel out of this while keeping everything else: so long as you can convince the citizens that they're living in a democracy, they will expect the government to screw such things up! ~

Someone needs to be kicked out of office (5, Insightful)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | about 4 years ago | (#33581894)

This is terribly interesting, the worst nightmare posible. The entrenched law inforcement and investigatory agency, tax payer funded being used to unabashedly help business over the general welfare. Someone should be going to jail here.

Re:Someone needs to be kicked out of office (5, Funny)

Haeleth (414428) | about 4 years ago | (#33582428)

Someone should be going to jail here.

Calm down, these things take time. They have to identify all the dissidents before they can start rounding them up,

Re:Someone needs to be kicked out of office (1)

Ozlanthos (1172125) | about 4 years ago | (#33582914)

I don't have any idea why someone would mod this statement as funny. Everything like this was considered "tin-foil hat wearing wing-nut conspiracy-theorist fodder" not ten years ago....

-Oz

"Formenting dissent"? (5, Insightful)

ugen (93902) | about 4 years ago | (#33581918)

I had to re-read this a few times. Are these guys taking their cues from North Korea newspapers? Whoever this guy is he should be 1) reminded of what the 1st amendment is about 2) fired.

Re:"Formenting dissent"? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33581958)

3. Sued by every person whose information was "shared."
4. Prosecuted by the attorney general of the state.(and if he refuses to prosecute, by the US Attorney General.)

Re:"Formenting dissent"? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33582254)

3. Sued by every person whose information was "shared."

4. Prosecuted by the attorney general of the state.(and if he refuses to prosecute, by the US Attorney General.)

Will be interesting to see how this plays in New York State, where there are currently hearings going on about what regulation should be applied to "fracking". Western/southern NY State is also over the same gas bearing shale deposits as PA, but drilling has been put on hold pending a resolution of the debate between drillers and residents (rural and small towns) worried about their well water and other ecological damage.

There are also land owners on the side of the drillers, since the potential lease income from a well is significant in many poor rural areas.

In the watershed area in the Catskills that serves NY City, I believe there is a stronger ban on drilling/fracking, but don't know the details.

Re:"Formenting dissent"? (2, Informative)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | about 4 years ago | (#33583058)

Last I heard, there was an outright ban on natural gas fracking in NY due to their concerns over the damage to the underground aquifer.

Re:"Formenting dissent"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33582704)

4. Prosecuted by the attorney general of the state.(and if he refuses to prosecute, by the US Attorney General.)

And if^H^Hwhen the US AG refuses? (see FISA 2008, aka "We know we spied, but here's our get-outa-jail-free card")

I'm just wondering when it's politically correct to start investing in guns and ammo.

Problem? (2, Insightful)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about 4 years ago | (#33581928)

State Homeland Security Director James Powers explained that he has been including anti-gas drilling activist information in his triweekly intelligence briefings for about a month because there have been “five to 10” incidents of vandalism around the state related to the natural gas industry, which is one of the sectors he is charged with monitoring.

One of those incidents, he said, involved someone shooting a natural gas container tank with a shotgun in Venango County.

If someone is shooting at my stuff, especially if it's the large, exploding kinda stuff, like a gas storage tank. I'd expect to be told about it. This doesn't sound so sinister.

Re:Problem? (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 years ago | (#33582036)

If someone is shooting at my stuff, especially if it's the large, exploding kinda stuff, like a gas storage tank. I'd expect to be told about it. This doesn't sound so sinister.

No, you expect the appropriate authorities to be told about it. You might rightfully expect some information on the general nature of the threat (if any) but you should not expect to be told about specific persons which seems to be what is happening here.

That would be vigilantism.

Re:Problem? (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about 4 years ago | (#33582392)

No, you expect the appropriate authorities to be told about it. You might rightfully expect some information on the general nature of the threat (if any) but you should not expect to be told about specific persons which seems to be what is happening here.

That would be vigilantism.

This information is generally available in any local newspaper, there is no harm in directly bringing to the attention of a company during a briefing. It's only vigilantism if you actively hunt those people down and punish them outside the laws. I still don't see a problem with police going to a company and saying something like "It looks like Group ABC has been shooting up your gas storage tanks, you might want to have your security guards keep a close eye on their members if you see them in the general area of the tanks."

Re:Problem? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33582046)

If someone were to ruin your water supply, especially with poisonous, exploding kinda stuff, by drilling at an adjacent property, wouldn't you also expect to be told about it? Keep in mind that the locals depend heavily on well water. This is a serious issue.

Re:Problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33582506)

Jeezus. Just run your well water into a tank and through a filter before pumping it into your house. The tank will allow any gasses in the water to escape, and the filter will.. well, filter the water.

Voila- no more bad tasting, explody water in the house.

Re:Problem? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 4 years ago | (#33582066)

You'd expect to be told info about a group of people that are in no way implicated in the attack other than that they don't like you exploiting their state's natural resources? You'd expect to be privy to private information and e-mails and web traffic? Well...if you're connected politically you can evidently have those expectations fulfilled.

Re:Problem? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 years ago | (#33582512)

Its a fast slope down to
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiwa_family_lawsuits_against_Royal_Dutch_Shell
It starts out with chats, then a closer working relationship, a two way flow of information on people of interest.
Soon the flow is one way as the local issues are solved - permanently.

I wonder what forum meme would appear here first? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33581936)

Yea I know there are more important things to discus, like how the rich and connected hose those with more altruistic motives. Anyway Pedobear doesn't aprove, and he was here first.

Should be Fired (2, Insightful)

JackSpratts (660957) | about 4 years ago | (#33582264)

and pronto. Hydraulic fracturing of shale is an absolutely legitimate health and environmental concern. There is no place for his behavior in Penn or any other state. The Justice Dept should get on this and him.

Maybe a re-naming is in order? (4, Insightful)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about 4 years ago | (#33582372)

For many years now I've been calling the agency in question 'DFS', for 'Department of Fatherland Security'. I guess it was only a matter of time before they demonstrated their fascism in a public, step-on-your-own-dick manner. Now their pretense of righteousness has fallen away; DFS is obviously all about money and power, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the safety and security of America and her citizens. These clowns are simply organized criminals with a government mandate, and they run the biggest protection and extortion rackets in the whole country. Given a choice, I'd rather deal with the Mafia - they seem more honorable and more competent, and at least they don't pretend to hold the moral high ground.

Re:Maybe a re-naming is in order? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 years ago | (#33582566)

Re Department of Fatherland Security' Anyone with photoshop or gimp skills like to make some fitting artwork for slashdot?

The Natural Evolution (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 4 years ago | (#33582380)

"Homeland Security" was sold as a defense of the "Homeland" against external enemies. Now we're seeing Homeland Security being used to investigate political activities of U.S. Citizens.

This is making me think of Flint in 1933. That's not good.

Oh, Good, my state is in the news again. (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | about 4 years ago | (#33582396)

I was getting worried when the hubbub over the school spying on its students through webcams died off. Good to see we're maintaining our position as the fifth worst state in the Union.

Re:Oh, Good, my state is in the news again. (0, Troll)

timothy (36799) | about 4 years ago | (#33582590)

Curious -- what's the ranking system, and which are the four "winners" on that scale? I don't know enough to say that PA's #45 on my list of states in which to live (been there, done that, visiting's fine, thanks), but it's sure not in the top 10 right now :)

(Are you familiar with Harrisburg's incinerator debt? It's pretty astounding, when you divide by taxpayers ... )

timothy

Re:Oh, Good, my state is in the news again. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33582752)

Those two events seem very similar in a lack of respect of privacy/bounds of jurisdiction kind if way.

A what-if, for your consideration (0, Troll)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about 4 years ago | (#33582502)

Cop walking the beat sees series of poorly xeroxed flyers affixed to several utility poles in neighborhood:

Vandalize Joe's Deli for being a capitalist pigdog! Contact Karl for organizing information.

Does the local police department be proactive, investigating Karl and reporting this issue to Joe, a private businessman?
Or does it wait for Joe to find his window busted?


Now what if the sign were just as poorly xeroxed, Karl just as big of a troublemaker, but the sign said "Protest" instead of "Vandalize"?
Where do you draw the line? It's a hard question to answer in a free society that also demands security, and given how much expensive and dangerous toys mining companies have in their possession, and how certain environmental "activists" and "protesters" like to carry tire irons and bold cutters in their arsenal of free speech, where do you draw the line now?

Just something to thing about before accusing your fellow Americans of being fascists and capitalist pigdogs.

Re:A what-if, for your consideration (1)

stinerman (812158) | about 4 years ago | (#33582538)

The local police department sounds like a great idea. This was the PA Department of Homeland Security.

Re:A what-if, for your consideration (3, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 4 years ago | (#33583022)

Vandalism is a crime. Protest is not. If the latter turns into the former, then by all means, prosecute, but we can't just make the assumption that it will.

What if the sign said "meet to discuss"? (1)

bigtrike (904535) | about 4 years ago | (#33583032)

Your analogy is far from what happened here. A lot of these people were simply attending meetings in an attempt to change official policy.

Just because Karl has a history of vandalizing the deli doesn't mean the state has a right to tell Joe which people share Karl's political viewpoints and are trying to lawfully shut down the deli through zoning changes.

In this case, you have state employees who have clearly violated federal free speech laws, does that mean that we should track the peaceful political actions of all federal employees on their private time for being associated with them?

Full Circle (5, Informative)

Voline (207517) | about 4 years ago | (#33582540)

This is apropos because the Pennsylvania State Police began in the early 19th century as the private Iron and Coal Police of the mine and mill owners. The owners tired of paying for their muscle all by themselves and recruited the taxpayers of Pennsylvania to chip in by getting the State of Pennsylvania to ... what's the opposite of "privatize"? Publicize? Anyway, the State adopted the bosses' private security apparatus as a whole, changed its name to the State Police, and started to pay their salaries to do what they had been doing anyway: fighting the unions and communities that were struggling to improve wages and working conditions in the coal mines and steel mills of Pennsylvania.

This is all detailed in Kristian Williams's excellent history of the police in America Our Enemies in Blue [amazon.com] .

Re:Full Circle (3, Informative)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 4 years ago | (#33582578)

what's the opposite of "privatize"? Publicize?

Socialize.

F*** It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33582544)

To paraphrase the techno band Pendelum "Ok, F*** it, we do whatever the big corporations want. What you gonna do?"

This is why there's almost never such a thing as an actual conspiracy. Why spend the effort to hide something when you can do it in the open without any consequences?

Pennsylvania, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33582864)

Ain't that the state with water that lights on fire, ground that's burning hot enough to cook a turkey, and Alabama in the middle?

I say we nuke it from Orbit. It's the only way to be sure. Damn sure. Plus we get rid of Alabama.

Can you tell I went to Auburn?

To quote Nixon from "Radio Dinner".... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33582884)

The institutions of government must be used against the people! I guess Govt. believes that now....

Government is the enemy of the people. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33582930)

That's why the Bill of Rights was written. That's why the weakening of the Tenth Amendment was treasonous behavior. That's why Franklin D. Roosevelt was a traitor to the American people. Government is not the solution to the problem, it is not part of the problem, it is the problem itself.

Oppose it.

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