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Deep Undercover: Police Officer in UK Fathered a Child with an Activist as Part of an Investigation – October 28, 2014

Court settlement raises new questions about ethics of police infiltration

What are the limits — if any — to undercover policing? At what point is a moral, ethical, or legal threshold crossed when an undercover operative insinuates himself into a targeted group or the lives of its members?

Last Thursday British media reported that the UK’s Metropolitan Police would pay £425,000 (about $686,000) in a settlement with a woman, known only as Jacqui, who was conned by a man who fathered her first child, said that he loved her, and then one day disappeared. She knew him as Bob Robinson. His real name, as she would learn 25 years later, was Bob Lambert. He was an operative with the Special… more

by: Adam Federman

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PA State Police and Private Security Firms Keeping Close Tabs on Fracking Opponents – October 9, 2014

Environmental watchdogs worried about the criminalization of dissent

Anti-fracking activists protesting a natural-gas conference in Philadelphia last fall were being monitored by a private security company that sent a photo of a demonstrator to the Pennsylvania State Police, according to an email obtained by Earth Island Journal.

A few months earlier, at another industry-led conference, state Trooper Michael Hutson delivered a presentation on environmental extremism and acts of vandalism across Pennsylvania's booming Marcellus Shale natural-gas reserves. He showed photographs of several anti-fracking groups in Pennsylvania, including Shadbush Environmental Justice Collective protesters demonstrating at an active gas well site in Lawrence County in western Pennsylvania.

photo of a woman holding a protest sign on a… <a href=more

by: Adam Federman

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Unsafe at Any Speed – July 25, 2014

Will new DOT regulations prevent another oil by rail disaster?

Who is responsible for the series of oil train derailments and accidents that have occurred recently? A little more than one year since a train derailed in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic, killing 47 people and destroying more than 40 buildings, this seemingly simple question remains at the heart of efforts to improve oil by rail safety. On Wednesday the Obama administration issued proposed changes to an industry that has, until now, operated with little oversight. The “Proposed Rulemaking” would gradually phase out the DOT 111 rail car, widely acknowledge as inadequate for the transport of highly flammable materials like Bakken crude; reduce “high-hazard flammable train” speeds to 40 mph;… more

by: Adam Federman

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“The Whole City Would Have Burned” – July 7, 2014

One year later, the small town of Lac-Megantic is still at the heart of oil-by-rail debate

Jean Dubé runs an office supply store in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic. Both his store and home were badly damaged in last year’s devastating oil-train derailment that killed 47 people and destroyed more than 40 buildings. Oil filled the basement. Still, he opened three days after the accident and relocated his inventory to an employee’s garage. Basic office supplies were in high demand so they delivered everything by car and truck. One of Dubé’s cousins, Marie France Boulet, was killed in the accident. She lived and worked in the center of town. Because of the extraordinary heat of the burning oil—the fire could be felt from more than a… more

by: Adam Federman

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Green Group Warns Keystone XL May be Vulnerable to Terrorist Attack. But Will the Warning Backfire? – June 17, 2014

NextGen report could lead to a blowback against peaceful protesters

NextGen Climate, the environmental advocacy group launched by billionaire activist Tom Steyer, says the Keystone XL pipeline, if built, would be vulnerable to a terrorist attack. In a recently published report authored by a former Navy Seal, the organization argues that because of the pipeline’s high profile it would be an attractive “soft” target. It’s an odd argument for an environmental organization to be making — and one that may make it harder for activists to do their work.

NextGen’s report is essentially calling for the militarization of the nation’s oil and gas infrastructure in which photographing, protesting, or visiting gas wells or pipelines could be interpreted as a… more

by: Adam Federman

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