Anti-fracking campaigns have been listed alongside terrorist organisations, including the IRA, Al Qaeda and ISIL, in official counter-extremist documents from four regions of the UK.
Shale gas opponents in York said today they are shocked that local police had identified them as a terrorism threat, alongside the Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKK.
Evidence collected by Russell Scott, a researcher and campaigner with Frack Free Yorkshire, has revealed that the counter-terrorism strategy in York included a key risk from anti-fracking activity, as well as terrorist groups opposed to Israel and Palestine.
Writing on the SpinWatch website, Mr Scott also published documents from Merseyside, Dorset and West Sussex which made the same connection between domestic extremism and fracking. His research follows reporting by DrillOrDrop about challenges made to these links by a police monitoring group, a peer and two opponents of shale gas operations.
“Anti-fracking protesters in Yorkshire deserve praise not stigmatisation”
Today Lars Kramm, a Green councillor on York City Council, said:
“I am shocked to hear that York’s peaceful and creative opposition to the governments energy and climate agenda is now classed as terrorism.
“I have long campaigned alongside communities in the fight to stop fracking, stay on a renewable way to flight climate change and protect our rural communities from the threat of industrialisation.
“The majority of people and councillors in York share the grave environmental concerns raised by campaigners and local residents. Anti-fracking protesters in Yorkshire and across the country deserve praise for their actions, not legal proceedings and stigmatization as terrorists.”
Large parts of York are open for shale gas exploration. To the north of the city, most of Ryedale district, which includes Third Energy’s fracking site at Kirby Misperton, has been licensed. There are also licences covering much of the East Riding of Yorkshire and parts of Scarborough district. South of York, much of Wakefield, Barnsley, Doncaster, Sheffield, Rotherham and Bassetlaw have been licensed for hydrocarbon exploration, mostly targeting shale.
“Key risks” to York
The document from City of York Council, published a year ago, describes the way in which officers are delivering Prevent, the Government’s multi-agency counter-extremism strategy. (A web link to the document stopped working on 6/12/16)
Under a section headed Local picture of need, the document says:
“The Counter Terrorism Local Profile for York and North Yorkshire highlights the key risks to York as evidence of activity relating to Syria, presence of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), Anti Israeli/pro Palestinian activity, Hunt saboteurs, animal rights, anti-fracking and extreme right wing activity.”
It said York was a high priority for Prevent within the North Yorkshire police force area. The reasons given included its location on the main east coast railway line and because it has key historic buildings, military and student populations and large numbers of visitors.
Leigh Coghill, of Frack Free York, said:
“People opposed to fracking are just ordinary peaceful residents come from all walks of life, that share concerns about the environmental and economic downsides of fracking.
“They have opposed specific planning applications and government policy through written objections, talking to people including our elected representatives, and completely peaceful demonstrations in very close liaison with the police, with whom we have an excellent relationship with.
“The large protest we organised in July was completely peaceful. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever of any link with violence or terrorism.”
Ian Conlan, from Frack Free Ryedale, who lives five miles from Kirby Misperton, said:
“The Prevent strategy should focus on preventing terrorism and not the peaceful expressions of legitimate opinions and campaigning, which includes the right to protest.”
Download the pdf document here: York Prevent Strategy
Apology from Driffield
Kirby Misperton is about 30 miles from Driffield in East Yorkshire, where the local secondary school listed anti-fracking campaigners alongside Islamic State in counter-terrorism advice for parents.
DrillOrDrop reported this extract for Driffield School and Sixth Form newsletter:
“At present nationally, the greatest resource is devoted to preventing people from joining or supporting the so called Islamic State (IS) group, its affiliates and related groups. More locally, the East Riding’s main priorities are far right extremism, animal rights and anti-fracking.”
Since then, the school and East Riding of Yorkshire Council gave this statement:
“In delivering Prevent training to its schools, the council uses a Home Office training script. This includes a reference to ‘environmental terrorism’ and some audiences have asked if this includes anti-fracking. In response to that, we make it clear that we do not regard anti-fracking campaigners as an appropriate group to monitor as part of the Prevent strategy.”
The head of Driffield School, Diane Pickering, also made an apology:
“Prevent training requires schools and public organisations to be aware of all forms of extremism, but it is not the view of the school that anti-fracking is a form of extreme behaviour and we apologise that the link has been made.”
But documents from other parts of the country, uncovered by Russell Scott, suggest that other councils and police forces do hold this view.
Merseyside Special Branch presentation
Merseyside Police Special Branch gives a presentation to schools, governors, colleges and childcare providers.
In it, anti-fracking activities are listed as a type of extremism. The presentation lists them on the same presentation slide as extreme right and left wing groups, republican and loyalist groups linked to Northern Ireland and animal rights activists.
Russell Scott said the same presentation was used by Sefton Council.
Merseyside Police presentation
Dorset: “potential for violent acts”
In June this year, Dorset updated its strategy on preventing violent extremism. In a section on the county’s specific risks it said:
“Dorset is not adjudged by the Government to be a high priority area for Prevent activities; however the threats faced by the local community are no different to those faced by the rest of the UK.”
It identified the threat of radicalisation from Da’esh (also known as IS or ISIL) and far right wing extremists. On the same page it added:
“In rural Dorset issues such as the badger cull and possible “fracking” may also see form of extremism with the potential for violent acts to be committed.”
All of Purbeck District and the borough of Poole in Dorset are licensed for oil exploration, along with small parts of neighbouring districts.
Worthing Primary School: Fracking campaigns listed with Al Quaeda
Chesswood Junior School in Worthing, West Sussex, published its Prevent policy in July this year.
It defined radicalisation as “the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies associated with any terrorist groups”. It then listed examples:
“eg Far Right, Far Left, Environmental (Fracking), Animal Rights, Nationalist (IRA), Al Qaeda.”
The document continued:
“This policy has been written to ensure all members of staff at Chesswood Junior School:
“recognise that radicalisation can take many forms in line with a wide variety of causes, all of which, at the extreme end, would present safeguarding concerns for any child regardless of cause e.g. Far Right, Far Left, Environmental (Fracking), Animal Rights, Nationalist (IRA), Al Qaeda.”
There were anti-fracking protests at Balcombe in West Sussex in 2013. Balcombe is about 30 miles from Worthing, which has no exploration licences.
Chesswood Junior School Prevent Policy
Challenges to police links between fracking opposition and domestic extremism
SpinWatch article: More police forces and councils labelling peaceful anti-fracking protestors as ‘extremists’ alongside ISIS and far right
And yet Baroness Williams of Trafford is on record as saying “Prevent training does not include any reference to participation in anti-fracking groups.”
Ruth could you perhaps ask her to explain the apparent gap between her statement and reality? It would be funny if it were not so sad.
I would also question whether these strategies against a perceived threat from domestic – anti-fracking/environmentalism are discrimination under the Human Rights Act 1998 under Articles, 10, 11 and 14?
Of course anti-frackers are extremists. This is just common sense, and anyone who is in the mainstream (not many on this site!) understands it. Few anti-frackers are terrorists, but we have all seen examples of individuals in the anti-frack mafia using threatening language, and practicing threatening activities in the name of their cause.
Regardless, it is a movement build on deception. It is thus a house of cards and it is beginning to be exposed! ;o)
Hoist by your own petard peeny you are the worst source of threatening language and abusive accusations on this web site. Your favourite word is Mafia which is threatening abusive and refers only to your own state of mind and actions. The only extremists here are you and your alter ego clones.
Have a nice day
Hey Phil. I thought this article was written specifically for you and Hobson.
From the article: “Most researchers who have tried to engage online with ill-informed journalists or pseudoscientists will be familiar with Brandolini’s law (also known as the Bullshit Asymmetry Principle): the amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than that needed to produce it. Is it really worth taking the time and effort to challenge, correct and clarify articles that claim to be about science but in most cases seem to represent a political ideology?”
… funny how your thinking works peeny – it’s actually quite a good description of trying to engage with you .
Snap Phil, within 3 minutes of each other! Great minds and all that!
Hey peeny i think that defines your condition precisely I didn’t know you were into self examination? Keep it up there is hope for you yet!
Peeny old thing – I would have commented on that link when it was posted by Mad Rev on the Backing Fracking site where you pretend to be called Jim Georges, but unfortunately they block anyone who disagrees with them and shows their arguments up, so I couldn’t make the oh so very obvious comment
I think already you got owned by Phil and Philip below so we’ll just leave it there shall we 🙂
Anti franking protestors are on the whole realists who take a long term view and believe in a commitment to sustainable development through the protection and conservation of natural resources. They generally will be rational and insightful enough to see through the shtick of the pro-fracking mafia whose incredible claims, deceptions and denials are becoming increasingly transparent.
That is the best definition of anti fracking I have yet seen. That should be a standard headline, well thought out, thank you Phil
We must be the only ‘domestic extremists’ with a full colour photo feature in Lancashire Life of the very civilised and rather glamorous fund-raising ‘Do’ for Roseacre Awareness Group, earlier this year.
To label anti tracking, I prefer pro life, protesters as terrorists and extremists is a self defeating argument, since to make such labels against anyone who opposes them is an extremist act in itself, and therefore guilty of its own crime.
In the 90s the Animal Liberation Front had grown into a huge grass roots organisation, supported by people of all ages, types & cultures in the UK.
The Police labeled us extremists, the media spread alarmist stories about violent destructive actions (we always suspected that the events they chose to publicise were set ups or even totally fabricated)
Anyway, the resulting public horror at the reports of fire bombing & intimidation of animal testing staff were believed & the mud stuck.
It seems that they are returning to that method to frighten decent people away from supporting the Protectors.
We must refute this tendency to describe us as anything other than peaceful protectors because if we let this lie it will fester & ruin 4 years of hard work – literally in a heartbeat.
I’m putting this at the bottom of the pile although it is a response to Peeny’s post above. This will prevent his objective of moving the interesting/valuable content/good responses down the page to a point where genuinely interested parties have given up looking after trawling through his one liners.
If you read the above, two of the sources state ‘fracking’….so Peeny that includes pro-frackers too (especially those demonstrators who were paid to attend the Blackpool appeals for 1 hour precisely) 🙂
You seem often use abusive language on here as you are constantly being moderated; maybe by your own definition, your name has also been added to the domestic terrorist potential list?
‘It is thus a house of cards and it is beginning to be exposed!’ you love this line don’t you, but it’s getting a little overused min vän; is it on the CD?