The Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance is doing great work opposing the industrialization of rural Oklahoma and the construction of dangerous pipelines through farm country. As many of you know, I was arrested earlier last year for chaining myself to an excavator. I know it seems like a useless activity, but when I went through my decision process, I decided that the future was worth the personal risk. And however useless it seems to people on the outside, the energy industry seems to be taking it very seriously, judging by their way out of proportion reaction to the most recent escapade of the Great Plains Tar Sands resistors.
During their protest at the new skyscraper headquarters of Devon Energy — our very own Dark Tower that looms over our city lol — a banner was unfurled featuring a “Hunger Games Mockingjay” holding a monkey wrench. The banner was decorated with glitter.
I know, how subversive is glitter, right?
During the demonstration, some of the glitter fell on the floor.
In response, Oklahoma authorities have charged two of the demonstrators with the crime of “terrorism hoax”. Below is the statement of Stefan Warner, who I have known for many years and he is a stand-up guy with love and concern for the planet, its critters, and all people. He is not a terrorist, he is an honest man attempting to speak truth to power. It’s like Oklahoma authorities setting the dogs on the Civil Rights protestors in the 1960s. It seems as though we haven’t changed much.
Devon Energy, on its part, seems well prepared and even excited to play its dominating role in this our very own Hunger Games saga.
We here in Oklahoma have a great need for solidarity actions. If we don’t hang together, we most assuredly will be hung out to dry by the increasingly cruel and merciless social darwinist attitudes of our governor, mayor, many city council people, the state legislature, and etc. who are making a mockery of the rule of law as they subvert the democratic process to take from the people and give to their campaign contributors and special interest supporters.
Oklahoma has a long history of vicious racism, as bad as anything that has gone on further south of us. Events that happen here are not widely publicized elsewhere.
So the great need of the moment is SOLIDARITY! Solidarity is not just a feel good emotion. It is action on behalf of others during a time of grave need. Here are four things everyone can do. It’s especially important for our leaders to hear from people outside the state.
+ If you’re into prayer. . . Pray for us and those who have been arrested, and for Oklahoma authorities involved with this.
+ Make this injustice visible. Write letters to your local papers. Publish this statement in your blogs, newsletters, on your websites. Tell your friends in other states about this outrageous situation. Tweet! Facebook! Instagram! Pinterest!
+ Write letters to Oklahoma authorities (suggested addresses and names below). Tell them that you are watching what happens with this. Tell them that charging people with the crime of “terrorism hoax” is a terrible over-reaction that speaks very poorly of the commitment of the government of this state to protecting the rights of citizens to dissent and protest. Tell them that branding dissent as terrorism is evil and violates the First Amendment of the Constitution. It is already making Oklahoma the laughing stock of the nation.
Send copies to Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance so we will be encouraged by your solidarity! firstname.lastname@example.org .
Bob Waldrop Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House
Mayor Mick Cornett
City of Oklahoma City
200 N. Walker
OKC, OK 73102
Governor Mary Fallin
State Capitol Building
Oklahoma City, Ok 73105
Oklahoma County District Attorney
320 Robert S. Kerr, Room 505
Oklahoma City, OK 73102 —-
RELEASE: ANTI-FRACKING ACTIVISTS ARRESTED ON “TERRORISM HOAX” CHARGES RELEASE STATEMENTS. by GPTSR
Please consider sharing this and donating to our legal defense fund! http://gptarsandsresistance.org/donate/
For Immediate Release:
ANTI-FRACKING ACTIVISTS ARRESTED ON “TERRORISM HOAX” CHARGES RELEASE STATEMENTS.
Moriah Stephenson: 405-203-3675 Stefan Warner: 405-863-2888
Oklahoma City, OK: On December 13th of last year, anti-fracking activists with Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance staged a demonstration at the Devon Tower to protest the State of Oklahoma’s subsidizing of irresponsible and dangerous oil and gas extraction and the health effects that Devon’s practices have on communities in Oklahoma and elsewhere.
Four were arrested””two for locking themselves inside a revolving door, and two for hanging a banner inside the (open to the public) atrium of Devon Tower. Moriah Stephenson and Stefan Warner, the two Oklahomans arrested for dropping the banner, were booked in on charges of “disorderly conduct,” “criminal trespass,” and “terrorism hoax”””the latter referring to a small quantity of glitter that fell off the banner.
The escalated charge of “terrorism hoax” carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and serves to brand activists with the “terrorist” label to delegitimize real concerns for the health and safety of Oklahomans. The charges against Stephenson and Warner are a part of a larger campaign to criminalize dissent””the Canadian-based corporation TransCanada has been meeting with local law enforcement, including the Oklahoma Fusion Center in April of 2013, and encouraging them to pursue terrorism charges for acts of peaceful protest.
From journalist Will Potter: “TransCanada offers police a playbook on how to go after activists. The company suggests prosecuting using criminal trespass, criminal conspiracy, criminal instrument or device (the PVC pipe used for non-violent civil disobedience), grand juries, and “federal/state anti-terrorism statues [sic]. http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/transcanada-police-presentation-on-protests/7094/
“My intention on December 13th, in the tradition of Rev. Martin Luther King Junior was to “˜arouse the conscience’ of a state that refuses to provide storm shelters for children at public schools yet has the gall to pay out $645,000,000 in tax subsidies to the oil and gas industry the past three fiscal years,” says Stefan Warner, one of the Oklahoma City residents facing 10 years behind bars on possible “terrorism hoax” charges for a glittery banner.
[See also: http://okpolicy.org/unnecessary-and-unaffordable ]
“I know what the water looks like after a frack site has wreaked its havoc, and I know what cancer looks like after the water has gone bad and the flares stop burning,” said Moriah Stephenson. “At every stage of the fracking process, there’s contamination. 93% of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing processes have been proven to damage health, and with the scale of fracking close to Oklahoma communities I’m worried for the health of folks who live nearby.”
Stefan Warner’s statement can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/1er7TE0
Moriah Stephenson’s statement can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/1ghJrX5
Both Moriah and Stefan are available for comment and are willing to go on camera. Email email@example.com for photo requests. ###