Take us off all the terror lists, say anti-fracking campaigners


Anti-fracking campaigners from North Yorkshire outside the Royal Courts of Justice last month

A group opposed to shale gas operations in Yorkshire is calling for the removal of all references to anti-fracking protesters in counter-terrorism strategies after new documents have been revealed.

Frack Free Ryedale, which has been challenging Third Energy’s fracking plans at Kirby Misperton, said the strategies, which linked shale gas opponents to extremism, were creating a “climate of fear”.

Public documents from Yorkshire and other parts of the UK have included anti-fracking protests on lists of terrorism risk alongside armed groups such as ISIL or Da’esh and the Kurdish separatist movement, the PKK.

The documents, many of them uncovered by researcher Russell Scott, include training materials and guidance compiled by councils, police forces and schools as part of the Government’s anti-radicalisation strategy, Prevent. This was re-launched in 2011 by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary and aims to identify people who may be at risk of radicalisation or being drawn into terrorism.

Since Mr Scott published some documents on the Spinwatch website, City of York Council said it would review its Prevent procedures. DrillOrDrop report

North Yorkshire Police also issued a statement:

“To avoid any doubt, anti-fracking protesters ‎are not seen as a terrorist threat by the police in North Yorkshire. On the contrary, the groups of local protesters have been nothing but peaceful and respectful of the law. Not one arrest has been made in connection with protest action associated with the issue in our area.”

And the Home Office said:

Prevent is about safeguarding people at risk of being drawn into terrorism – support for anti-fracking is not an indicator of vulnerability.”

Despite this, Mr Scott and Spinwatch have found a questionnaire used by Richmondshire and Hambleton Councils in North Yorkshire to compile their counter terrorism local profiles this year. The questionnaire includes sections on fracking protesters, as well as groups working in Syria and Iraq, extreme right wing organisations, hunt saboteurs and the PKK.

Di Keal, a member of Frack Free Ryedale and a Ryedale District councillor, said:

“We are calling on the Government and Police to take immediate action to remove all references to anti-fracking campaigners from their own and partner organisation Prevent policies, including questionnaires and training materials.

“In addition the police need to contact all those people who have undergone Prevent training to inform them that peaceful anti-fracking campaigners are no longer the subject of special monitoring. Instead, they should be showcased as a model example of peaceful democratic campaigners.”


Richmondshire and Hambleton questionnaire

The questionnaire asks participants, some of whom include councillors, the following questions:

  • Is there any information regarding individuals or groups who are engaged in fracking protests which have the potential to become more radical and disruptive in nature?
  • Have there been any suspicious sightings around the proposed fracking areas within North Yorkshire?
  • Is there any information regarding protests to be held in the North Yorkshire?

Hambleton District, which covers the area around Nothallerton, Bedale, Thirsk and Easingwold, has three hydrocarbon exploration licences. Two of them were awarded last year to INEOS and IGas.

Richmondshire District Council, which has no hydrocarbon exploration licences, has posted a video of a presentation given in July 2015 on terrorism risks to members of its scrutiny committee.


Screengrab of YouTube video of Richmondshire presentation

The officer leading the session, community safety officer, Gina Allen, told councillors:

 “A reasonably new one, is around the fracking agenda. Extreme anti-frackers causing as much disruption as they possibly can is a potential threat going forward.”

She also asked councillors for anecdotal information, including details from social media:

“You will get an email from me December-January time saying what anecdotal information is there out there around community tension. Some of that will come from Facebook. So, if you are seeing these things happening either let me know as they are going through or let us know when we send the questionnaire out.

“We’ve got the hard stats, we’ve got the intelligence analysts who are looking at the very serious high level counter-terrorism intelligence that’s coming through but what we need to know is that anecdotal community tension information that we might not have picked up on.”

Frack Free Ryedale member, Dr Tim Thornton, a Liberal Councillor on Ryedale District Council, and a retired GP, said:

“All the people I know who oppose fracking are ordinary law-abiding residents, among them are a retired bishop, many local farmers, parents, grandparents, doctors, solicitors, and local councillors. We are concerned about the damaging effects fracking will have on our communities, health and environment.

“North Yorkshire Police have tweeted that campaigners ‘have been nothing but peaceful and respectful of the law’. The Home office have publicly agreed fracking has nothing to do with terrorism.

“It concerns me therefore that councillors and school pupils have been given a different portrayal in Prevent training sessions. This encourages a climate of fear that create barriers to listening to their politely expressed views and causes confusion about the role of facts in decision making.”

DrillOrDrop asked Richmondshire and Hambleton councils:

  • What evidence was used to justify the inclusion of anti-fracking groups on the local counter-terrorism profiles
  • What guidance did the council receive from the police or others on this issue to justify the inclusion of anti-fracking groups?
  • Is the council reconsidering the inclusion of anti-fracking groups in the counter terrorism local profile?
  • How would the council respond to the call by Frack Free Ryedale for anti-fracking groups to be removed from the local profile?

We have not received a response from either councils. We will update this post if we do.

Challenging Prevent

Green Party peer, Baroness Jones, asked the government last week what procedures there are for challenging Prevent practitioners who include anti-fracking groups in their training materials.

The Home Office minister said Prevent training was kept under “continued review”. DrillOrDrop report

School guidance and fracking

Russell Scott and Spinwatch have also found evidence from another three schools which have included information or links on their websites which list anti-fracking as a type of extremism that could potentially draw children into terrorism.

They are:

A primary school in Worthing, West Sussex, has since removed the reference to fracking opposition in its guidance on extremism to parents. A secondary school in Driffield apologised after parents complained that a presentation for pupils linked fracking opposition to radicalisation risks.


Link to YouTube video of presentation on Prevent to Richmondshire District Council scrutiny committee

Link to Richmondshire and Hambleton Councils Counter Terrorism Local Profile questionnaire

Pdf version of counter terrorism local profile questionnaire_2016-2

44 replies »

  1. i thoroughly agree with this move to remove the label of extremists and terrorism from the anti fracking protesters. It would also be helpful to ascertain why this label was applied in the first place, by whom or by what organisation and for what reason.

    • With regard to all the anti-fracking protectors who have broken no laws. All information, photos etc held by the various state security authorities and also industry security companies should be compulsorily destroyed. Holding this information on members of the public who have done no wrong is a breach of privacy. However, I realise this probably won’t happen in our increasingly government and corporation dominated country.

      • Just the last week this government passed the most draconian and far reaching surveillance laws on the planet. These were un opposed by any MP of any political description whatsoever, so much for democratic promises of representation. Even the Chinese and North Koreans are jealous. We may not even be allowed to question such dictatorial laws and who and how records are collected stored and utilized in whatever way the intelligence agencies see fit. it would be an interesting exercise to try however?
        I suspect breaking or not breaking laws are no longer the issue, it is probably more to do with preserving the present jealously guarded political and social status quo.

    • These people are definitely extremists and zealots. Few of them are terrorists, but some of them have certainly shown this propensity. It makes sense to characterize them as such, just for conservatism’s sake. You can never be too careful with this group.

  2. Ruth, will you be issuing a big story on the report from the Global Warming Policy Foundation? Oh My Gosh the costs of renewables are incredibly high for the UK! Is it fair that the poor will suffer from this enormous waste of resources? Many will die due to this misallocation of funds, is that okay with the anti-frack mafia? Who is going to clean up the renewables mess? Perhaps you could address these issues in your forthcoming piece? Thanks!

    • I think you should have a scrub and wash your mouth out after even mentioning the ‘Global Warming Policy Foundation’…. a most despicable pro-fracking, anti-global warming, fossil fuel funded high level lobbying group in our land. Laughably an educational charity it was fingered for arranging fake peer reviewed science quite recently.

      • Regardless of your feelings about the group, the fact is that they point to a very real issue – the out of control costs that renewables impose on society. They also note that those costs don’t even take into account many of the hidden costs of renewables, such as the need to pay for backup power sources that will run at less than capacity so that renewables can be fully utilized.

        Sorry Phil, but reality has to step in here before your self-righteous green zealotry destroys the country. Your policies will kill people – the very people who can’t spend all day wistfully daydreaming about a world of windmills and solar panels, because they are worried about how they will pay for dinner and for their energy bills. Should they die to pay for your misdirected cause?

        I’m all for renewables, but they should be promoted cautiously until we get a good handle on their full costs to society. They are certainly not the solution to fill the looming gap in UK energy sources.

        • I don’t buy this argument that suddenly everything depends on fracking. Sorry but that’s what can destroy the country/countryside and public trust while only offering a short term solution (if at all) followed by long term headaches. The legacy isnt worth it. That’s not zealotry it’s called logic and foresight.

          • No, it’s called zealotry when you cannot see past your self-righteous green agenda to understand the facts. No one is arguing that everything depends on fracking. We are arguing a very rational viewpoint – namely that the UK needs to explore the idea of exploiting its considerable onshore gas resources. The nation faces an energy crisis and it needs to look at as many solutions as it can. We gas supporters are not so zealous to suggest that renewables cannot be a part of the solution. They can help, but their use will be moderated by the fact that they are expensive and intermittent sources. Imported gas is another possibility, but the country already relies on foreigners to such a large degree that this is somewhat frightening. Foreign gas is also much more damaging to the environment (as someone who likes to argue for fugitive emissions damage, you will appreciate this). You have argued that coal should be used, which is also much more damaging to the environment.

            There are no easy answers, but it isn’t helpful to say “no” to any solution that doesn’t rely on pixie dust.

            • While we are clearing the decks, i thought it would be interesting to address some of the terminology our dear friend hballpeeny uses in his attacking posts. It always helps to know exactly what is being said.

              Definition of Zealot :meaning “emulator or (zealous) follower.”

              According to the Jewish historian Josephus, three main Jewish groups existed at the time of Christ—the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes. He also mentions a fourth group called the Zealots who were founded by Judas of Galilee and Zadok the Pharisee. Josephus notes that the Zealots “agree in all other things with the Pharisaic notions; but they have an inviolable attachment to liberty, and say that God is to be their only Ruler and Lord” (Antiquities 18.1.6).

              Late Latin zelotes, from Greek zēlōtēs, from zēlos

              First Known Use: 1537

              In the 1st century A.D., a fanatical sect arose in Judaea to oppose the Roman domination of Palestine. Known as the Zealots, they fought their most famous battle at the great fortress of Masada, where 1,000 defenders took their own lives just as the Romans were about to storm the fort. Over the years, zealot came to mean anyone who is passionately devoted to a cause. The adjective zealous may describe someone who’s merely dedicated and energetic (“a zealous investigator”, “zealous about combating inflation”, etc.). But zealot (like its synonym fanatic) and zealotry (like its synonym fanaticism) are used disapprovingly—even while Jews everywhere still honor the memory of those who died at Masada.

              Are you anti-Semitic peeny? Are you a Roman? Or are you merely congratulating people for being passionately devoted to a cause? Please define in which way you apply this epithet?

              Definition of MAFIA
              1. 1a : a secret criminal society of Sicily or Italy, b : a similarly conceived criminal organization in the United States; also : a similar organization elsewhere c : a criminal organization associated with a particular traffic
              2. often not capitalized : a group of people likened to the Mafia; especially : CLIQUE
              Origin and Etymology of MAFIA
              Mafia, Maffia, a Sicilian secret criminal society, from Italian dialect (Sicily), probably from mafiusu

              First Known Use: 1875
              MAFIA Synonyms
              cabal, conspiracy, crew, gang, ring, mob,syndicate
              Related Words
              bunch, circle, clan, clique, coterie, coven,crowd, galère, lot, network, pack, set;junta, oligarchy

              Are you accusing people of being criminal cocaine traffickers from Sicily if you are a Roman, perhaps this refers to yourself peeny?

              Definition of PIXIE
              1. 1: FAIRY; specifically : a cheerful mischievous sprite
              2. 2: a usually petite vivacious woman or girl

              Not sure what to make of this, would you care to explain peeny?

              Definition of dust
              1: fine particles of matter (as of earth)
              2: the particles into which something disintegrates
              a : something worthless
              b : a state of humiliation
              a : the earth especially as a place of burial
              b : the surface of the ground
              a : a cloud of dust
              b : confusion, disturbance
              6 archaic : a single particle (as of earth)
              7 British : refuse ready for collection
              dustless play \-ləs\ adjective
              dustlike play \-ˌlīk\ adjective

              Again i dont know what to make of this, would you care to explain peeny?

              : the quality or state of being extreme
              : advocacy of extreme measures or views : radicalism

              Radical compared to what or whom peeny, you? Perhaps you could look to your own laurels on that one?

              Meaning: the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion

              This is interesting peeny, are you accusing people of terrorising anyone by coercion? Would you care to explain exactly how you apply this epithet? What do you mean by coercion? What do you mean by systematic?

              Time for answers peeny i suggest you be careful how you do so..

    • Renewable mess? Ha ha peeny you are so funny. When you have cleaned up years of fracking pollution across the planet, our clean country will consider your kind, if, misplaced offer. Though i suspect your own cleaning task will take around a thousand years and then some. I hope you have a good supply of hazmat suits and buckets, you are going to need them.

        • You seem to be still looking in that mirror peeny.
          Mirror mirror on the wall who is the flimsiest fantasist fabricator of failed fiscal fracking of them all?
          There is no other than your problematic personage purveying positively pathetic propaganda perennially past painful perception.

  3. Are the spooks going to withdraw the undercover informants they have deployed, or are they just using local misguided fracking supporters at the moment?

      • Good reporting Philip at last the truth has come out, though the pussy footing around the phraseology used proved the previous report was compromised to produce the results the fracking industry demanded, not the truth. So it was lies all along.
        Time to re-evaluate every government policy on fracking here too, we need to ban fracking now until this matter is resolved and fully fund the EA to test all fracking sites, processes, spills and evaluate every aquifer effected.

        Ruth, is this time for a new post on this subject alone?

        • actually I think Tina Louise might have broken the story first over here – I learned of her post via Peter Strachan.

            • Have any of you actually read it yet. It is quite interesting. And not the conclusive fracking banning document that one would have expected based on all the posts / youtube videos on this BB. And it would also appear that the industry has got much better with time and experience and that the few contamination incidents can be avoided by following the EPA guidelines.

              • ‘Few contamination incidents’ meaning hundreds Paul. They will only refer to the few that they followed up on and even then there have been mysterious reasons why they bailed on many investigations (political pressure?). Remember many, many cases also get concealed by non-disclosure agreements …. This is just the start – the EPA has been leaned on to toe a fracking-is-in-the-national-interest policy line, just as our EA will be. Your own take is hardly non-partisan!

  4. EPA study aimed to find proof that fracking is the cause of systemic water contamination. The first conclusion is not enough data to prove fracking is the cause and so they reported that it is not the cause. Obviously it didn’t go well woth the environmentalists so they changed to not enough data to rule out it is the cause. As in any investigation it there is not enough evidence in such an extensive study to prove it is the cause then in legal term it is not guilty of the charge. With a wording like that anti-fracking groups can interpret as fracking remain guilty because of inconclusive finding because in their mind fracking is already guilt with or without proof.

    • Interesting take – I presume you didn’t read the articles carefully. The logic is carefully explained. Nowhere is there any of an ‘aim’ that matches your first assumption.

  5. Fascinating, the fracking industry thought they had hidden the water pollution evidence from public view by stealth by altering the wording the first time, its pretty weak wording this time, but it can no longer be hidden even after $29 million of investigation! Having read most of the document through, as I am sure we all have, it really is quite conclusive. Fracking contaminates water supply, its not how many water supplies it has contaminated, not yet at least, until further testing is made, but that fracking has contaminated water supplies, it does contaminate water supplies and will continue to contaminate water supplies in the future. The fracking industry cannot escape this one simple fract. The implications of this are far reaching. The cat is now well and truly out of the bag and well and truly amongst the pigeons. This will run and run and run.
    Have a nice day.

    • Astounding, you betray yourself time and time again Paul. Perhaps you would like to deploy rubber bullets? Tear Gas canisters? Pepper spray? impact grenades? What do you want, a war?

      A report from Standing Rock North Dakota puts the ‘proposal’ posted by Paul Tresto in some perspective.

      “The complaint describes the excessive force with which the nine class representatives were met while peacefully protesting. Five are Native, including two members of the Lakota Nation. Vanessa Dundon of the Navajo Nation was hit in the eye with a tear gas canister that was shot by police directly at the crowd of Water Protectors. Jade Kalikolehuaokakalani Wool had two grenades blow up near her head, knocking her down, burning her face and sending shrapnel into it, and causing her to be hospitalized. Crystal Wilson was shot with a water cannon, tear gassed and shot with a munition. David Demo was filming police when, without warning, they shot him with a water cannon and then in the hand with a munition. He was hospitalized with broken bones and was told he would need reconstructive surgery. Gary Dullknife III saw a Water Protector knocked to the ground by a water cannon. As police sprayed her on the ground, he tried to move her away. He was shot in the chest, stomach and leg by impact munitions. Mariah Marie Bruce was peacefully protesting when police sprayed her with water cannons. She was then hit in the genitals with a grenade, and was hospitalized. Frank Finan was taking pictures when he was shot in the abdomen and knocked to the ground by a rubber bullet. Israel Hoagland–Lynn tried to help two people who had been shot with water cannons and rubber bullets and was shot in the back of his head by an impact munition. He lost consciousness, was hospitalized, and needed 17 staples for a head wound. Noah Michael Treanor, while praying, was shot by the water hoses or cannon. Once on the ground, he was shot in the head by an impact munition. Bleeding badly, he was hospitalized.”

      This post proves once again the mindset of these PF’s, and you want to invite them into your community?

      And no Paul, this is not a joke

  6. I thought we needed to get back on topic. We should be happy we live in the UK where water cannon are not permitted. The odd farmer spraying manure works well though does it not?

    • dang! I was just about to photoshop one of the protesters banners to say ‘Protect our Water’ before anybody noticed.

    • I think Boris Johnson, that well known humanitarian and Trump pre-cursor, ordered four slightly damp second hand German Water cannon trucks, but got his bottom smacked by the Tory Party, who obviously thought canons and Boris was a temptation too far. So I suspect tucked away in some dark dank car park in London there are some rusting relics along with other Boris memorabilia, maybe a panzer or two and some very tight black uniforms for David and him. So comforted he is now foreign minister, it turns out Teresa May has a sense of humour after all, possibly due to the leather trousers?

  7. The title of the BBC article I linked is:

    “London’s unused water cannon to be sold by Sadiq Khan”

    Did you not look at it?

    They are one and the same Phil C.

    • Yes, that’s what I said, it didn’t say who to though😉! I cant see Boris parting with his toys for long? Not now UK has some……interesting laws to operate!

  8. Do excuse me if I divert from the trolling and trivia back to the original topic.

    Is anyone else wondering why, in times of austerity and savage cuts to public funding, we are targeting anti-fracking groups as a potential threat to national security, alongside ISIS/Da’esh, PKK, Animal rights protestors etc? The latter groups all have a proven history of murder, violence and law-breaking to varying degrees. The former are almost exclusively peaceful and law-abiding, as evidenced by several quotes, including from North Yorkshire Police and this from the Home Office “Prevent is about safeguarding people at risk of being drawn into terrorism – support for anti-fracking is not an indicator of vulnerability.” So where is the evidence of ‘threat’ that warrants these people’s inclusion in the Prevent program. Such inclusion inevitably means that anyone opposing fracking may be targeted for monitoring of their emails or phone calls, or even for surveillance. The cost of the equipment and manpower (including security clearances) for such surveillance will be huge – very expensive kit and highly skilled analysts. Worse still, it diverts resources away from surveillance of those groups that represent a known and proven threat to this country and its citizens. There is also the time of police, councils and schools to consider – all diverting time and money from meaningful work and still without the hard evidence for doing so.
    Only this morning, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, chief of the Met Police said the threat of terrorism was unprecedented and it is a significant challenge to keep an eye on terrorists. Interesting that the police have to keep one of their eyes on peaceful, non violent people that are ‘not vulnerable to terrorism’ then.
    Any FOI request to find precisely who is being targeted for surveillance will inevitably be refused on the grounds of ‘National Interest’, which would presumably mean that anti-fracking campaigners will continue to be targeted, despite the flurry of officials trying to distance themselves from the nonsensical Prevent program. The Home Office minister said Prevent training was kept under “continued review”.’ Which is presumably Orwellian Newspeak for ‘we will continue to undermine and demonise anyone who tries to stop our plans to frack the hell out of the desolate north’. I realise that anti fracking campaigners can be argumentative and persistent, but does that make them potential terrorists?
    The real question is: Do the peaceful and law-abiding protectors opposed to fracking represent a threat to national security? If not, what possible reason could there be to divert significant and much needed funding from genuine and proven national security threats? Surely economic risks, failed energy policy and political dogma shouldn’t warrant this? On the other hand, it appears that anything is possible.

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