What the Tar Sands Blockaders are experiencing isn’t new — the apparent influence of corporate desires on law enforcement; the use of “non-lethal,” or as it’s also referred to, “less lethal,” law enforcement tactics; the confiscation of cameras and phones of those trying to document what’s happening. All of that was / is a part of responses to, for the most obvious and recent examples, Occupy actions, political national convention protests, and Walmart strikers.
Relatively speaking, the Tar Sands Blockade is small, but that only makes their efforts, and those of law enforcement, that much more significant. One take-away from the East Texas blockaders: no action challenging the Corporate State is too small to yet be a powerful voice.
From Tar Sands Blockade:
Insult to Injury: Shannon Retroactively Arrested for a Felony
In response to the use of torture tactics used on our friends Benjamin and Shannon at the behest of TransCanada supervisors, there has been an outpouring of response from across the country. With the help of our national allies hundreds of people called TransCanada’s Headquarters, signed petitions to demand they denounce the unconscionable tactics. Over 20 national and grassroots organizations even signed onto a statement condemning the tactics. To this day TransCanada has yet to deny or condemn any of the allegations levied against its agents and their actions.
There is also a new and outrageous development in the story. Our brave friend Shannon Beebe is now being charged retro-actively with felonies for using a device to lock arms with Benjamin around a piece of Keystone XL construction machinery as part of a peaceful protest. This is an archaic charge (use of a ‘criminal instrument’) that has literally no case history in the last 30 years. This adds ‘insult to injury’ with slapping additional FELONY charges against our friend. Yesterday, Shannon was pulled over and arrested because of this new, outstanding warrant for a retro-active felony charge. She’s currently in jail on a $7,500 bail. It’s clear that the industry is pursuing a strategy to utilize their deep pockets and corporate lawyers to drain the limited grassroots resources we’ve managed to raise. …
Shannon isn’t the only one facing these trumped up charges and outrageous bail amounts. To date three blockaders have received this charge: Shannon Beebe, Alejandro de la Torre, and Maggie Gorry. Alejandro, arrested on Monday, was given a $10,000 bail for defending a family farm from Keystone XL’s destruction. Then Maggie was given an $11,000 bail on Wednesday for sitting atop a 40-foot high timber pole, a courageous action that forestalled Keystone XL clear-cutting operations around the epic tree blockade for two entire days. Since when did a tree become a ‘criminal instrument?’
For more related to Shannon’s arrest, see A Firsthand Account of Shannon’s Retroactive Arrest.
(Tar Sands Blockade Logo / Shannon Portrait via Tar Sands Blockade)