FBI spies on tar sands opponents under banner of "national security"

They've followed Canada's RCMP in classifying tar sands opponents as threats to national security and fair game for intense surveillance.

"National security" means "things the government of the day would like to get done," not "threats to the nation." When politicians conflate their whims and campaign policies with the very existence of the state, they become dictators-in-waiting.

On the contrary, in fact: as an FBI document published last week by the Guardian and Earth Island Journal demonstrates, the FBI has monitored members of Tar Sands Blockade, an organization trying to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline because its members believe it would mean "game over" due to climate change. Part of the FBI's justification was that the "Keystone pipeline, as part of the oil and natural gas industry, is vital to the security and economy of the United States."

According to the Guardian, FBI files show it conducted an investigation into Tar Sands Blockade members in which the Bureau "collated inside-knowledge about forthcoming protests, documented the identities of individuals photographing oil-related infrastructure, scrutinised police intelligence and cultivated at least one informant."

The Guardian adds that "the documents connect the investigation into anti-Keystone activists to other 'domestic terrorism issues' in the agency and show there was some liaison with the local FBI 'assistant weapons of mass destruction coordinator.'"

FBI Invokes National Security to Justify Surveillance of Tar Sands Protestors [Alleen Brown/The Intercept]

(Image: Keystone XL Pipeline Protest at White House,
tarsandsaction, CC-BY