Oil and gas reps suggest using counterinsurgency tactics on fracking opponents

Continued coverage of Sharon Wilson's psy-ops discovery

Grist | Sarah Laskow

November 9, 2011
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It's obvious that the natural gas industry has no love for opponents of fracking in places like Pennsylvania. But recordings from an industry meeting reveal that the industry's animosity goes a little deeper than mere irritation -- they think of opponents as an "insurgency" that should be handled with techniques developed to fight terrorism in the Middle East.

Sharon Wilson, who directs Earthworks' Oil & Gas Accountability Project, provided the recordings to CNBC. They're from an oil industry conference held last week in Houston.

In the recordings, one communications director says that his company has "several former psy ops folks that work for us." He goes to say that "having that understanding of psy ops in the Army and in the Middle East has applied very helpfully here for us in Pennsylvania."

Another company representative suggested that his colleagues "download the U.S. Army-slash-Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Manual, because we are dealing with an insurgency … There's a lot of good lessons in there and coming from a military background, I found the insight in that extremely remarkable."

The reps walked back their comments to CNBC, saying they were promoting "active community engagement" and "fact-based knowledge to maintain public trust." That's all well and good, but, um, there are fields besides military counterinsurgency tactics that teach those techniques.

Tagged with: texas ogap, psyops, fracking, drilling

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