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Oklahoma Governor Signs Anti-Protest Law Against “Conspirator” Organizations

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posted on May, 6 2017 @ 01:15 PM

A statute aimed at suppressing protests against oil and gas pipelines has been signed into law in Oklahoma, as a related bill advances through the state legislature. The two bills are part of a nationwide trend in anti-protest laws meant to significantly increase legal penalties for civil disobedience.

The Oklahoma law signed this week is unique, however, in its broad targeting of groups “conspiring” with protesters accused of trespassing. It takes aim at environmental organizations Republicans have blamed for anti-pipeline protests that have become costly for local governments.

The statute Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin approved Wednesday was rushed into immediate effect under a provision that declared the situation “an emergency.” It will dramatically increase penalties against protesters who trespass on property containing a “critical infrastructure facility.”


It is important to understand the scope and reasoning behind the need for such drastic and immediate action. Those who are caught trespassing in Oklahoma, will now face a felony charge and a minimum $10,000 fine if the the court finds you guilty of intending to damage, vandalize, deface, or “impede or inhibit operations of the facility.” If deliberate “tampering” or damage is found, a person could face a $100,000 fine or ten years in prison.

It doesn’t stop there. The statute also implicates that any organization “found to be a conspirator” with any single person found guilty of trespassing will be faced with a fine “ten times” greater than what was imposed on the individual. On top of that, as much as $1 million in court fees to discuss damages. These laws are mainly designed around protecting the interests of greedy oil barons and future development.

A section of the law defining “critical infrastructure” includes various types of fossil fuel facilities. Oklahoma is a center of the oil and gas industry and home of the self-styled “Pipel ine Crossroads of the World” in Cushing. The state has seen a dramatic increase in earthquakes since the nation’s fracking boom began, as companies began pumping wastewater produced from hydraulic fracturing underground. The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association is a supporter of the legislation.

Oklahoma’s Largest Earthquake Linked to Oil and Gas Industry Actions 3 Years Earlier, Study Says

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey analyzed injection data from the most active disposal wells in the area where the 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit last September.

They found that there had been a sudden and dramatic increase in the amount of wastewater injected in the first half of 2013 at some of the wells.

That contributed "a fair amount of stress on the fault and would have accelerated the natural faulting process significantly," said Andrew Barbour, a USGS geophysicist who led the study.

I also found it interesting that the creator of Bill 2128, Rep. Mark McBride (R), said that his bill intended to discourage “paid protestors,” who he claimed were largely responsible for blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline. When pressed on the issue, McBride specifically stated, “Google ‘paid protestors’” Hmm...

A second bill, passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives Thursday, would permit “vicarious liability” for groups that “compensate” protesters accused of trespassing. The bill’s author reportedly called it a response to the Dakota Access pipeline protests, aimed directly at organizers fighting to stop the Diamond pipeline, a project of Valero and All American Pipeline that would transport oil from Oklahoma to Tennessee. Protests against the pipeline have already begun and construction is scheduled for completion before the end of the year.

It appears that associating with certain groups and being found in opposition to those with power and control will become a risky and possibly costly endeavor. That's not to assume your cause and methodology is correct, but it significantly broadens the scope of recourse against those deemed as “representatives” of something greater.

For example, is being a Trump supporter (hypothetically), or in agreement with any one of his views, in turn associating me by default to an “organization” in protest against the status quo or establishment agenda? Will our past expressions dictate our current affiliates?

The trope of the “professional protester” has long been a talking point for those who disagree with participants’ politics. It was used widely this year by Republicans frustrated by a series of anti-Trump protests after his election and inauguration.

Think about it, you are out protesting with a group of strangers who are united by the same cause, when some provocateur goes rogue and decides to deface a congressional building. StingRay has already compiled all of your identities and law enforcement will use the data to issue citations and/or fines.

It was also used against demonstrators involved in massive actions in defiance of the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota, that were violently repressed by police. North Dakota governor Doug Burgum is seeking $38 million in compensation from the federal government for costs associated with the police response and with cleaning up resistance camps whose residents were evicted in February.

What if the government decides to transfer the cost to you or me, simply because of our browser history or decades old, empty rhetoric found on some obscure website?

Doug Parr has represented numerous environmental activists in Oklahoma protest cases. In an interview with the Intercept the attorney noted the liability bill’s loose wording.

“Say they lock themselves to a piece of construction equipment, and a claim can be made that there were damages from that trespass,” Parr said.

“Does this statute create a civil action for a pipeline company to then go after a person or organization that posted bond or helped pay for a lawyer for that civil disobedience?”

In the near and extreme future, will “damages” to a group’s “political infrastructure” prompt a mandatory response from those accused of being associated with whatever the accuser is at odds with? What if I stated a simple “yes” or “no” to a stranger regarding my stance on a particular national interest and afterward, that person decides to break the law and blame his supporters, can I potentially be held accountable for sharing a simple opinion, but never condoning any violence and/or law breaking?

edit on 6-5-2017 by eisegesis because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 6 2017 @ 01:15 PM

Parr said the law amplifies risks for groups that organize protest actions, who can’t always account for the diversity of tactics used by attendees. “Suppose an organization decides they want to support a perfectly legal, no civil disobedience, action,” he said.

“Somebody in that crowd, who has come to the protest at the request of that organization, then jumps the fence, and runs in there, and spray-paints on a storage tank, ‘This equipment causes earthquakes. Shut it down.’ … These statutes could be used to attack that organization and impose financial liability on them.”

A guy who lived in a nearby state traveled to North Dakota to protest against the Diamond pipeline’s construction and was quickly arrested and accused of being an “out-of-state, paid protestor," because he "worked for an environmental organization.”

“I don’t think that when we’re talking about life, not only the life of our children and the life of our brothers and sisters, but when we’re talking about life itself, all living things on the planet, that state borders are going to deter or stop anybody from going to try to protect a body of water.”

Yeah, I guess I’m a part of that “organization.” One that cares about the environment and wonders why oil, gas and coal energies are still dictating the type of infrastructure we continue to develop. OH, THAT’S RIGHT!! Big Money/Oil and corporate interests come first and the rest of us are supposed to sit by and watch the world burn.

It’s only going to get worse…

Where Anti-Protest Bills Have Been Introduced in State Legislatures

As of April 2, Common Dreams counted 19 anti-protest bills across the U.S. Bills in Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota were directly aimed at activists attempting to block oil and gas infrastructure. Other laws, in places like Minnesota, responded to protests in 2015 and 2016 that blocked roads and highways after police killings of black men and women in various cities.


Bridgwater said his biggest concern is reserved for citizens who might think twice before attending a protest. “We see all of these bills as nothing more than corporate America being fearful of how successful the Standing Rock protests were.”

Seriously, how am I supposed to search for Dulce’s DUMBs and reach level-seven? I would blame most of my motivation for trespassing on ATS and that would make all of you guilty!!


edit on 6-5-2017 by eisegesis because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 6 2017 @ 01:26 PM
a reply to: eisegesis

Wow!! A law making it illegal to tear up other people's sh*t!!! What will the government impose on us next? (shaking in boots)

posted on May, 6 2017 @ 01:36 PM
a reply to: eisegesis

It says "paid protesters". If you go out and protest for compensation then you run the risk of these penalties along with the payer. If you ask me this sounds good. Ole' George is going to have to shell out some serious bucks if he wants to pay people to protest.

I also think they should add a law that makes it illegal to go to a protest wearing any kind of face covering. Give law enforcement the right to arrest anyone covering up. It seems to me that a majority of the trouble is started by these individuals.
edit on 5/6/2017 by brutus61 because: added paragraph

posted on May, 6 2017 @ 01:40 PM
Can I ask a serious question?

I went with y'all when you said carbon dioxide was bad for the earth despite the epochs including and preceding the cretaceous period THRIVED during eras with double the CO2...

I even stayed quiet when y'all switched from global cooling to global warming to climate change…

But, can you say now with a straight face that we are causing earthquakes...
Seriously, can you do it with a straight face?

Oklahoma is very similar to Texas insofar as a bunch of jobless hippies trespass on my land they will be met with sword and shield [as it were]...or guns in our hick vernacular..

So take your art history/English degrees and go back to one of the coasts…
We don't need y'all in Texas and Oklahoma…
We're doing just fine without your liberal idiocy...


posted on May, 6 2017 @ 02:09 PM
Some of these protests are so stupid. When you abuse the privileged of protesting for piddly things, then laws are formed to restrict our rights on important things. I am thinking that someone or some organization is paying people to rile up piddly things causing protests that go wild, which will aid in the creation of laws that take away our rights. People will be so sick of this chaotic protesting that they will not stop the creation of laws like this.

Could someone like Soros funding stuff be actually causing us to pass laws to make the government have more power? Is there a real plan behind this that is way more structured than most people can comprehend. There are expert groups that evaluate things, figuring where to cause the most pertinent use of money to create what they want to get accomplished. Sort of like a think tank. Think tanks are real. They are used a lot in our society and in big business.

What do you think a board of directors is in a big corporation, they are a think tank that are employing specialsts in fields to gain what they desire to gain.
edit on 6-5-2017 by rickymouse because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 6 2017 @ 02:29 PM
Trespass,Destruction of private property,vandalism. basically anything the antithesis of peaceable assembly.

Has absolutely no constitutional protection.

In other words action that's already violating current laws are verboten and has no protection under the Bill of Rights.

Do it the right way or not at all.

Still want to act like thugs ?

Have at it.

ACTIONS have consequences.
edit on 6-5-2017 by neo96 because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 6 2017 @ 02:45 PM
a reply to: eisegesis

Any time I see laws like this, the first thing I do is look to see how it could/would be abused.

Trespassing, destruction of property is already illegal.

Not sure why we need to make it illegaler.

posted on May, 6 2017 @ 07:10 PM
Targeting critical infrastructure is something a fifth column would try to accomplish behind enemy lines.

posted on May, 6 2017 @ 07:27 PM
This is authoritarianism and fascism plain and simple and completely unconstitutional, not that Republicans give a damn about that.

"Paid protesting" isn't even proven to exist, let alone be illegal or unconstitutional. This is a bunch of BS.

And yes, fracking is pretty much proven to be causing the earthquakes in Oklahoma. You'd have to be pretty ignorant not to know that.

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