Monday, February 9, 2015

The FBI is Making Visits to Anti-Tar Sands Activists and No One Knows Why

Katie Valentin reports:

Tar sands activists in several states have been getting visits from the FBI, and no one knows yet exactly why.
Federal agents have been contacting activists who have participated in anti-Keystone XL and anti-tar sands protests, according to the Canadian Press. The visits have been happening to activists in Oregon, Washington state, and Idaho, and a lawyer working with the activists told the Canadian Press that he has advised them not to talk to the agents.
“It’s always the same line: ‘We’re not doing criminal investigations, you’re not accused of any crime. But we’re trying to learn more about the movement,'” he said.
The agents have reportedly been targeting activists who have protested “megaloads,” atruckload of tar sands extraction equipment that can be longer than a football field and can take up two lanes of a highway. These protests have blocked highways and delayed the equipment’s shipment.
One woman who was contacted by the FBI, Helen Yost, is the co-founder of Wild Idaho Rising Tide and has been arrested twice while protesting tar sands. Yost told the AP in January that she refused to talk to the agent.
“We don’t see ourselves as posing any threat,” she said. “We see the FBI contact as being unwarranted.”

The FBI told the Canadian Press that it doesn’t investigate political movements — instead, it focuses on crimes.

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