Don’t Label Environmental Activists as Terrorists

Target: Russell K. Girling, CEO of TransCanada

Goal: Stop corporations from labeling peaceful protestors as terrorists

Bold Nebraska, a grassroots advocacy group, obtained slides from a TransCanada presentation from the Nebraska State Patrol which depicted cooperation between the corporation installing the Keystone-XL pipeline and state and federal forces. TransCanada has been training police forces to apprehend and deal with activists, including training police to arrest protesters with techniques labeled as “anti-terrorism.”

TransCanada’s slides attempt to paint a picture of criminal activity. They refer to the protestors as funded and organized by large organizations. One slide quotes an activist saying, “I have been an activist for fifty years. I am seventy,” attempting to paint activists as if they protest simply because they want to. Using quotes out of context, TransCanada completely ignores any reason that protestors may be protesting, chalking it up to a simple “that’s just what they do.:

Scott Parkin, an organizer for and campaigner who was listed on one of the TransCanada slides stated, “I actually find it a little disturbing to know that if I went to Nebraska or around some of these sites or an activist camp or an event or something like that, that law enforcement can just come up and just grab me based on what they’ve seen in these slideshows.”

The cooperation of the TransCanada corporation and local police has risen to a level that may threaten activist rights to peaceful assembly. Sign this petition to insist that TransCanada paint a more realistic picture of activists when collaborating with police forces to avoid further misrepresentation.


Dear Mr. Russel K. Girling,

Recently, your company has been collaborating with state and federal authorities, offering them training with regards to the activists protesting your company’s efforts to construct the Keystone-XL pipeline. Your slideshow focused on painting environmental activists as a threat to safety—as a dangerous group of criminals. The training you gave police asks them to engage activists with anti-terrorist techniques.

You appear to be trying to strip the rights of these protestors from peaceful assembly. They have not threatened, damaged, or sabotaged you in any way. They have remained civil, peaceful, and safe, yet you portray them as terrorists. Now, members fear for their safety: police have now been instructed to target them.

I insist that you issue a statement to the police you trained noting that these are peaceful protestors who are violating no laws, and they have rights as citizens to peaceful assembly. I fear for the safety of these individuals whom you have depicted as criminals and terrorists. Should they come into harm’s way, your company will be held responsible.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit:  chesapeakeclimate via Flickr

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  1. Alison Lamont says:

    Blimey! Didn’t realise that the Canadian police were under the control of big business and not the government. Talk about the tail wagging the dog 😀

  2. The only terrorists are the corporations doing the polluting and all their executives belong in prison.

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