Iraq and Afghanistan War Vets Denounce ‘Energy Citizens’ Campaign As “Oil Dependence Tour”

Operation Free, a coalition of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and national security organizations, today slammed the ‘Energy Citizens’ Astroturf campaign orchestrated by the American Petroleum Institute and other Big Oil interests as a detriment to America’s energy security.

“Veterans understand the connection between energy security, climate change and national security,” said Jon Powers, Chief Operating Officer of the Truman National Security Project and an Iraq war vet.

Describing climate change as a “threat multiplier” for the armed forces, Powers denounced the ‘Energy Citizens’ campaign, stating that Big Oil does not have America’s best interests at heart.  “Veterans do not want to see America’s national security in the hands of Big Oil,” said Powers during the press teleconference today.

Houston Energy Citizen Event not a Rally - it was a Company Picnic

energy citizen rallies

Note: the times, dates and locations of all the upcoming American Petroleum Institute “Energy Citizen rallies” are at the end of this post.

As regular readers will recall, DeSmogBlog was the first blog to report on an API memo obtained by Greenpeace outlining a series of “energy citizens” rallies that would rely heavily on local oil companies bussing in their employees to create the appearance of a grassroots uprising against the Waxman-Markey clean energy bill.

Since then, I have received a lot of emails from oil company employees who know these fake rallies are wrong. Members of the Texas Public Citizen group attended the rally, and as they rightly report these were more like a company picnic than a spontaneous uprising of citizens.

If you’ve received an invitation to one of these energy citizen rallies, send me an email: [email protected] or call me at 778-240-6343 and let me know the details so we can continue to send folks out to report on these company picnics.

Here’s a list of upcoming astrturf events:

Congress Should Expose or Outlaw Astroturfers

The venerable New York Times has reported the discovery of “More Fake Letters To Congress” by Bonner & Associates, the Astroturf specialists hired by Americans for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCE) to interfere with the vote on the Waxman-Markey bill.

As much as Bonner has tried to deny its involvement, the agency was clearly the source of forged letters, purporting to come from charitable organizations opposed to the climate bill. But then, Bonner’s record is well-recorded.

As William Greider described in his book, Who Will Tell the People, Bonner has operated a “boiler room” that featured “300 phone lines and a sophisticated computer system, resembling the phone banks employed in election campaigns. Articulate young people sit in little booths every day, dialing around America on a variety of public issues, searching for ‘white hat’ citizens who can be persuaded to endorse the political objectives of Mobil Oil, Dow Chemical, Citicorp, Ohio Bell, Miller Brewing, US Tobacco, the Chemical Manufacturers Association, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association and dozens of other clients.”

YouTube Reinstates banned Climate video

In July, as part of my “Climate Denial Crock of the Week” video series, I published a piece that criticized and parodied the work of well known climate denier Anthony Watts, and his “SurfaceStations.org” project.

On July 26, Watts filed what I regard as an improper “DMCA” claim against the video, and had it removed from YouTube.

The DMCA, (Digital Millenium Copyright Act), was originally intended to protect copyright owners from internet abuse, but has been occasionally used improperly, notoriously by authoritarian religious groups and cults, in order to restrain criticism and free speech on the internet.

After some investigation of related cases and obtaining additional opinions as to relevant copyright law, I  confirmed my original belief that my videos in no way violate copyright law, especially in light of the principles of critical review, parody, and transformational use of material.

In accordance with established YouTube guidelines, I filed a “counternotice”, affirming, “under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that the material  was removed or disabled as a result of a mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled.”

As of today, I have received the following confirmation from YouTube:

” In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we’ve completed processing
your counter-notification regarding your video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcxVwEfq4bM

This content has been restored and your account will not be penalized.”

I wish to extend my sincerest gratitude to YouTube, to all those who advised and supported me in this effort, and most especially, to Anthony Watts and SurfaceStation.org, for providing invaluable exposure to my video series, and greatly increasing my traffic and visibility.

DCI: Tobacco PR firm creates fake health care group

DCI Group, a PR firm that got its start by creating phony grassroots organizations on behalf of big tobacco, has been outed by ThinkProgress as the  firm behind the new anti-health care Astroturf group, the Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights (Infamous Astroturf Lobbying Firm Behind New Anti-Health Reform Group).

DeSmog readers might remember DCI from a sleazy set-up job in 2006, when the firm created a YouTube video attacking Al Gore and then posted it claiming that it was the work of an independent 29-year-old. ThinkProgress also itemizes some of DCI’s other adventures, many of which also involve setting up fake “grassroots” organizations that do the bidding of DCI’s big-budget clients.

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