Playing Nice In The Sandbox?

Ben Kessler at the Tar Sands Action last fall. via We Are Powershift.

I’ve been organizing campaigns and non-violent direct actions for a long time. Over ten years now. Most of the time, I hear stories about the screwed up things our government and corporations do and I take it in stride. Every once in a while, something pops and it gets under my skin. A lot.

Case in point.

This week, the Ft. Worth Weekly (Ft. Worth’s alt weekly) posted a follow up story to last month’s Washington Post expose about the FBI investigating Rising Tide North Texas, anti-fracking activists in Denton, TX, my friend and comrade Ben Kessler and his professor at the University of North Texas Adam Briggle.

The reporter, Andrew McLemore, provided more details about the FBI and Dallas Police Dept.’s conversations with Briggle:

“The law enforcement officers asked Briggle about his involvement with the Denton Stakeholder Drilling Advisory Group, a group of residents lobbying the city council to stop issuing permits for gas drilling until potential environmental impacts are studied.

The agent and police officer also asked the professor about Kessler, who took his ethical theory course, and about some of his assigned readings. Oh, and they also asked him about IEDs, improvised explosive devices of the sort used by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“A question like that is so out of left field, it just sort of stuns you,” Briggle said. “It seemed like this was about Ben, not me. …  The Dallas police guy said they just wanted to make sure everyone was ‘playing nice in the sandbox.’ ”

Briggle said the officers seemed mainly to want him to contact them if he observed the potential for violent behavior by a student or activist. The professor described Kessler as an intelligent leader of nonviolent student protests.

“There’s a concern, not just that I get written off as a nutty ideologue, but that Ben and other protesters are written off as crazy, violent terrorists,” he said.”

Ben is marine veteran. He served in Afghanistan. Our government sends people off to participate in these wars. When they return and see how screwed up the government and corporations have made our country and world and begin to speak out about it, they are investigated as “criminals” and “terrorists.”

Adam Briggle is right. Ben is an intelligent leader of a non-violent group of students and environmentalists fighting for a safer cleaner world. It’s the FBI agent and the Dallas police officer that are conducting this “investigation” that carry guns and work for the people dropping bombs, not Rising Tide North Texas.

Here’s McLemore’s article if you want to read it in full.

2 Responses to “Playing Nice In The Sandbox?”

  1. 1 ma desauliers Apr 13th, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    see link for full story

    CNN exclusive: FBI misconduct reveals sex, lies and videotape

    By Scott Zamost and Kyra Phillips, CNN Special Investigations Unit
    January 27, 2011

    Washington (CNN) — An FBI employee shared confidential information with his girlfriend, who was a news reporter, then later threatened to release a sex tape the two had made.

    A supervisor watched pornographic videos in his office during work hours while “satisfying himself.”

    And an employee in a “leadership position” misused a government database to check on two friends who were exotic dancers and allowed them into an FBI office after hours.

    These are among confidential summaries of FBI disciplinary reports obtained by CNN, which describe misconduct by agency supervisors, agents and other employees over the last three years.

    Read the FBI documents obtained by CNN

  1. 1 bscopes best leadership blogs | RapidBI Trackback on May 22nd, 2012 at 2:25 am
Comments are currently closed.


Scott Parkin is a Senior Campaigner with Rainforest Action Network and organizes with Rising Tide North America. He has worked on a variety of campaigns around climate change, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, mountaintop removal, labor issues and anti-corporate globalization. Originally from Texas, he now lives in San Francisco.

Community Picks