The Institute of Terrorism Research and Response has embarrassed Pennsylvania’s Governor. Governor Ed Rendell apologized Tuesday to groups whose peaceful protests or events, from an animal rights demonstration to a gay and lesbian festival, were the subject of regular anti-terrorism bulletins being distributed by his homeland security director. Rendell said that the information was useless to law enforcement agencies and that distributing it was tantamount to trampling on constitutional rights. Bulletins also went to members of Pennsylvania’s booming natural gas industry because of several acts of vandalism at drilling sites.
A Philadelphia rally organized by a nonprofit group to support Rendell’s push for higher spending on public schools even made a bulletin, as did a protest at a couple of Rendell news conferences in recent weeks as he pressed for a tax on the natural gas industry.
“This is ludicrous. This is absolutely ludicrous,” Rendell said. “And I apologize to any of the groups who had this information disseminated about their activities. They have the right to protest.”
Basically, as the ACLU tells us here via Daily Kos, PA’s Homeland Security Director James Powers authorized the ITRR to spy – and quite probably harass in the process – opponents of drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale (with ITRR granted a contract for this type of surveillance by the state…one of the questions quite rightly posed by Rendell when he found out about this was why PA was contracting with the ITRR, when the PA State Police is capable of this type of investigation and response from law enforcement…if need be…also).
I’ve done a little bit of poking around and I found out the following here about PA Homeland Security Director Powers; as you can read, he spent 30 years in U.S. Army Special Forces, attaining the rank of colonel. It’s highly possible that he circulated with some big names in the defense biz (which would figure since, as noted here, he was following the U.S. DoD Training Manual, which treats protests of the type over the Marcellus Shale drilling as “low-level terrorism”).
Kudos to Rendell for putting the brakes on this as soon as he heard about it; also, I think you can be safe in assuming that there will be more forthcoming on this story.
Update 9/18/10: More here via Atrios…
Update 9/26/10: I would say that this is a good reason to protest drilling in the Marcellus Shale (dear God).
Politicians can’t treat fringe players like they are world leaders. This story was energized by the likes of Gen. David Petraeus, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama. The more they talked, the more credibility the object of their ire got from the media.
OK, but Smerky then tells us the following a little later…
Let’s be clear. Petraeus was right. So were Gibbs, Clinton and Holder. The president was right, too, especially in his assessment of the event as a stunt.
But by engaging the instigator – even though they were condemning his actions – Petraeus, Gibbs, Clinton, Holder and Obama created the impression that he was a serious person.
The result? Round-the-clock media attention, which in turn fueled international outrage toward the U.S. And even though the organizer didn’t actually end up burning any Qurans, the attention he received was enough to inspire copycats.
Ummm…so Gen. David Petraeus was right to call attention to that nut because his actions could pose harm to our troops (noted here), but Petraeus was wrong because he contributed to “round-the-clock media attention” also?
Well then, I suppose it’s up to everybody to just ignore religious or pseudo-religious figures who incite passion in an attempt to garner publicity for themselves. OK.
Just remember, though, that that includes this guy also.
We knew it was coming. It was only a matter of time.
Big Oil has officially put me on their list.
This week the corporate front group Americans for Prosperity bought TV and radio ads attacking me.
Americans for Prosperity is the comically named corporate front group for the oil industry. They have the distinction of being the primary corporate sponsors for those “grassroots” Tea Party rallies. Now they have decided to back my opponent, and it’s no wonder why.
Americans for Prosperity uses their vast corporate resources to advance their radical agenda. This was the group that fought so that oil companies like BP could drill wherever they wanted to, however they wanted to. Then when things went wrong, they fought to make sure that BP could carry on like nothing ever happened. These are my opponent’s new best friends.
My opponent has sold his campaign to the far-right. Americans for Prosperity is just one of many groups he has courted by simply molding his beliefs to fit with theirs. He has been rewarded for his “flexibility.”
All my opponent had to do was deny the existence of global warming, turn his back on working families, and pledge his allegiance to corporate tax breaks instead of investing in American jobs. This time his reward was $22,000 in character attacks against me.
Now we know who is in my opponent’s corner. Now we know whose interests he fights for – BP and Big Oil, not us.
Well, I want you to know that while my opponent knows he can count on his friends from Big Oil, I know I can count on you. I need your help to fight back against Mike’s pile of corporate cash.
Please, contribute $25, $50 or even $100 today, and help me reach my goal of $22,001 so we can show these corporate interests that we are NOT backing down.
Together, we can show my opponent and his Big Oil buddies that the people own this seat now – and it’s not for sale.
Thank you as always for your incredible friendship and support.
God, this is so disgustingly typical of Mikey.
He couldn’t even win the PA-08 seat to begin with in 2004 without some truly foul campaigning against Ginny Schrader, trying to link her to Hezbollah (and worse, as noted here, a particularly rank stunt since Schrader’s husband was a Jew).
He couldn’t even defend the seat in 2006 without trying to slime Patrick Murphy’s military service with the assistance of Young Philadelphia Republican Kevin Kelly (here).
And now, having lost the seat, he can’t compete for it once more without more odious campaign garbage as noted above (and in all three instances, he’s tried to disavow any knowledge of what went on or make sure he has an “out” for himself).
Let’s help Patrick however our means may allow and send Mikey packing for good by clicking here (and don’t strain too much listening for a response of protest from the teabaggers, who profess to oppose politics as usual…if the issue has anything to do with Mikey, you can rely on hearing nothing but the sound of crickets).